ARCTURUS – Arcturian

Arcturus - ArcturianThe last time ARCTURUS released new music, they were not at the top of their game.  Sideshow Symphonies was simply not on par with the band’s previous releases.  Ten years later, we have Arcturian and a band that sounds creatively refreshed.  Arcturian is unequivocally better than its predecessor and brings ARCTURUS back on track with some of their best material to date.

The album is sharp, direct, and wastes no time with meandering.  The symphonic elements, the space/prog rock elements, subtle dark electronic influences, and the black metal roots meld together wonderfully.  There are song sections and entire songs that exemplify the band’s previous albums as well as new elements brought to the table.

Crashland” sounds like the stepchild of La Masquerade Infernale with its string arrangements and atmosphere.  “Angst” has the glacier-sized keyboards of the band’s early releases with a ferocity not heard since “Radical Cut” featuring Ihsahn.  “Warp” is archetypal ARCTURUS with spacey synth, solemn pianos, and non-stop pulsing energy.  “Demon” sounds like DEPECHE MODE – in a good way.  “The Journey” is new territory with its new age feel.  It starts out with electronic beat and violins before segueing with acoustic guitars and ghostly vocals sweeping in and out.  “Bane” closes out Arcturian with a strange space carnival caravan, which fits their onstage presentation.  It’s also one of the weakest songs on Arcturian.

As far as performances go, the band are at the top of their game.  Co-founding member Hellhammer is as godly as he always is.  Other co-founding member Sverd dazzles and shows why he is the most legendary synth player in the Norwegian metal scene.  Knut Magne Valle‘s first take-improvised guitar solos are perfect.  ICS Vortex may be the only one to take a hit for some of his vocal lines.  They can come off as off key here and there.  But to his credit, he does sing his ass off and sounds good for the most part.

Arcturian is not perfect but overall, it’s a strong return to form.  There is a lot to love about it.  Welcome back, ARCTURUS.  (Prophecy Productions)

MAYHEM Comments on Announcement of Lords of Chaos Movie

Former BATHORY drummer turned film and music video director, Jonas Åkerlund, is set to direct the film based on the 1998 book, Lords of Chaos, which covered MAYHEM‘s history and the infamous deaths and church burnings in Norway in the early 90’s.  The book is interesting but is by no means the be all end all of that era of the Norwegian black metal scene.

Rolling Stone spoke with MAYHEM co-founder/bassist Necrobutcher to get his reaction to the announcement:

“This book Lords of Chaos is fucking crap and that some stupid Swedes are gonna make a movie out of it is not OK…I will do everything I can to stop this film…. Tell the Swedes and the Hollywood people to go fuck themselves.”

You gotta love Necrobutcher.

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2014

Unlike everyone else, we waited until 2014 was actually over to recount our favorite albums. It’s been a great year for extreme music with a healthy amount of excellent releases.  We saw the return of legends in GODFLESH and AT THE GATES as well as welcome returns from long recording breaks in BEHEMOTH and MAYHEM.  And who can deny the GHOST B.C.-like popularity explosion of Japan’s BABYMETAL?  Crazy shit.  Metal is certainly a diverse genre.

For 2014, the APESHIT goons did not have any unanimous or semi-unanimous album of the year (i.e. 2013’s CARCASSSurgical Steel).  But MAYHEM, BLOODBATH, GODFLESH, and TRYPTIKON were near consensus picks.  Sorry, ENTOMBED A.D. didn’t make it here.

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NADER SADEK: “Re: Mechanic” Video Released

Three years subsequent to the formation of elite metal project, NADER SADEK, and the release of the collective’s debut album, In The Flesh, the final video from the album has been released.

Re:Mechanic” was re-recorded with vocals by Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION), backing vocals by Mike Hrubovac (MONSTROSITY, VILE) and Tim Rocheny (MAUSOLEUM), drums by Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY), main guitars from Rune Eriksen (AVA INFERI, ex-MAYHEM), leads from Orestis Nalmpantis, and bass by Kelly Conlon (PESSIMIST, ex-DEATH, MONSTROSITY). Yet in the ever-morphing fashion of the NADER SADEK entity, the video hosts an altered cast. While Eriksen and Mounier are featured, the rest of the filmed lineup is rounded out with bassist and vocalist Novy Nowak (CONDEMNATION, ex-VADER), as well as SADEK himself not only directing the video but also appearing as the Desert Druid.

The video was filmed on multiple continents, in both underground NYC locations as well as at the ancient Crystal Altar in Egypt.

NADER SADEK Announces Canadian and European Tour Dates with New Line Up

Visual/performance artist NADER SADEK, who conceptualized the 2011 blackened death masterpiece In the Flesh and its live follow-up Living Flesh, will return to the stage in late May with a string of Canadian and European dates.

The band also has a new line up of all-stars for the tour:

Vocals – Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION)
Guitars – Rune Eriksen (AURA NOIR/ex-MAYHEM)
Guitars – Bobby Koelble (DEATH TO ALL/ex-DEATH)
Bass – Martin Rygiel (ex-DECAPITATED)
Drums – Flo Mournier (CRYPTOPSY)
Concepts and Direction – Nader Sadek

Tour dates are as follows:

5/20 Montreal, Quebec @ Petit Campus
5/23 Rome, Italy @ Traffic Live Club
5/24 Florence, Italy @ Cycle Club
5/25 Novara, Italy @ Rock’N’Roll
5/26 Martigny, Switzerland @ Sunset Bar
5/27 Paris, France @ Glazart

New MAYHEM Record Coming May 2014; Grand Declaration of War Reissue Announced

Norwegian black metal legends MAYHEM will release their long-awaited new album on May 23rd (May 27th in North America). Entitled Esoteric Warfare, MAYHEM’s fifth full-length will be the follow-up to 2007’s excellent Ordo Ad Chao. Esoteric Warfare will be preceded by the release of new single Psywar as a 7” vinyl on April 25th (April 29th in North America). A lyric video of the song is below:

The B-side of the Psywar 7″ vinyl is made of the From Beyond the Event Horizon demo, a non-album track taken from the band’s 2012 Budapest sessions. The single will come in different editions featuring art from Zbigniew Bielak (WATAIN, GHOST, BEHEMOTH) and Costin Chioreanu (ULVER, VADER, IHSAHN). It is available for pre-order at Season of Mist’s e-shop. Here are all four versions:

In other news, the reissue of the iconic and controversial Grand Declaration of War, originally released in 2000, will be released this April. The album will a second CD, which includes 2001’s European Legions, made of live tracks and pre-production versions of songs from Grand Declaration of War.

WINDS/AGE OF SILENCE Leader Andy Winter Launches First Music Video

After releasing his latest full length solo album Incomprehensible on The End Records in January 2013, ANDY WINTER (WINDS, AGE OF SILENCE, SCULPTURED) now returns with his first ever music video; an artistic collaboration by various talents in the realm of music, film and fashion.

Musically speaking, “Uncountably Infinite” is a stylistic departure from Andy Winter’s usual style of subdued and progressive art-rock. The sound takes on a more metallic edge with harsher and rougher tones, featuring a crunchy wall of guitars courtesy of Andy Winter himself, complimented by the vocals of Mirai Kawashima (SIGH), bass playing of Jason William Walton (AGALLOCH, SCULPTURED), drumming of Jan Axel von Blomberg AKA Hellhammer (WINDS, MAYHEM, ARCTURUS), and guitar solo by Donald Anderson (AGALLOCHSCULPTURED).

Starring in the video is actress and burlesque dancer Tristan Risk, most recently featured in the cult horror film “American Mary” by The Soska Sisters.

NADER SADEK: Art Unbound

Nader Sadek

Among the legions of death metal bands that are spawned, few endeavor to do anything more than pay tribute to their influences. However, once in a while a unique band comes along and brings their own style of death metal to the table. NADER SADEK has brought together his talents as a visual artist and musician to bring forth a dark and brooding experience via his excellent debut album, In the Flesh, and his brand new live DVD/CD, Living Flesh. While it’s easy to get star struck by the live all-star line up of drummer Flo Mournier (CRYPTOPSY), guitarist Rune Eriksen (AVA INFERI, AURA NOIR, ex-MAYHEM), bassist Novy (ex-BEHEMOTH, ex-VADER), and vocalist Steve Tucker (ex-MORBID ANGEL), APESHIT caught up with the mastermind behind it all to find out more about one of the best, new extreme metal bands in the scene.

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NADER SADEK – Living Flesh

Nader Sadek - Living FleshOne of the coolest death metal debut albums in recent years, gets the live treatment with Living Flesh.  Band mastermind Nader Sadek gathered together his core recording line up of Steve Tucker (ex-MORBID ANGEL), Rune Eriksen (AVA INFERI, ex-MAYHEM), and Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY) along with Novy (ex-VADER, BEHEMOTH, DIES IRAE), Sean Frey, and Carmen Simoes.   Do not mistake this for being just another live recording.  Living Flesh is a special CD & DVD/Blu-ray live recording with a presentation and execution unlike any other live metal album.

Visually, Nader Sadek did a great job in creating a unique, artistic stage set up, complete with a throne, emaciated branches over the monitors, and Flo Mounier‘s drumkit in the audience facing the stage.

Soundwise, the production is immaculate.  Warm tones, crystal clear drums, and great balance bring the performance to life.  The whole band is on top of the game and one just help but wonder what this line-up could do on another NADER SADEK studio album.  Lead guitarist Sean Frey does a great job in shredding every which way throughout the set.

Taken all the together, the eerie, melancholic, and slithering death metal of NADER SADEK comes to life and sounds infinitely better than In the Flesh.  In many ways, Living Flesh demonstrates that NADER SADEK embodies what makes death metal so unique and special.  Don’t miss out on one of the best new bands to emerge in years.  Highly recommended. (self-released)