APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2017

Dependability is crucial to any band’s fanbase and 2017 did not disappoint.  All of the bands that we’ve come to depend on for great music more or less delivered the goods.  One band stood out to us all were the death metal gods from Yonkers, New York, IMMOLATION.  They continue to stand as a pillar for metal with their unending well of creativity and longevity.  Atonement blew us away with its complexity, ominous atmosphere, and inventive brutality.

Enjoy our lists of our favorite albums of 2017. And remember: Buy or die!

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MORBID ANGEL – Kingdoms Disdained

Six years ago MORBID ANGEL released their most anticipated and ultimately most disappointing album, Illud Divinum Insanus.  Instead of the album being a return to the Domination-era sound or a continuation of the very obscure, Heretic, the band experimented with industrial, hardcore, and even rock influences.  Well, fans should be happy, and perhaps relieved, to know that Kingdoms Disdained is a return to pure death metal.

With the perpetually underrated Steve Tucker back in the fold, MORBID ANGEL have their best album since Formulas Fatal to the Flesh and Gateways to Annihilation.  Former guitarist Erik Rutan handled the production.  New drummer Scott Fuller does a solid job.

With full mastery and power, the band goes into full attack mode from the first note on “Piles of Little Arms.”  The riff that kicks in late at the 2:50 mark is godly.  “D.E.A.D.” is intentionally discordant, schizophrenic and suffocating.

The momentum of Kingdoms Disdained  then falls too much into a plodding pace and tone.  The riffing is overly busy without strong hooks.  There are dynamics but they don’t possess enough charisma and power to excite.  “Garden of Disdain” is essentially a little brother to “Where the Slime Live.”  Things continue to lose a bit of momentum with “The Righteous Voice” as the fast song sections are the only parts that keep it afloat.  Stand out riffs shake the plodding such as the song section that kicks in at the 3:37 mark of “The Pillars Crumbling.”  “Declaring New Law” is essentially a war chant.  It is the simplest and most straight forward track.

The action picks back up with “From the Hand of Kings” as the band focuses on what works well on the album, speed and brutality, as shallow as that may sound.  Closing track, “The Fall of Idols,” is gloriously intense and momentous.  Trey Azagtoth‘s guitar solo at the end is the sound of a behemoth falling to earth.

At the end of the day, Kingdoms Disdained is a good but not great album.  The magic moments are too few and far between for a band of MORBID ANGEL‘s legendary status.  (Silver Lining)

MORBID ANGEL Line-Up Gutted; Steve Tucker Returns

This past week, MORBID ANGEL announced the departures of drummer Tim Yeung, guitarist Destructhor, and today, frontman/bassist David Vincent.  On June 15th, the band announced former frontman/bassist Steve Tucker‘s return even though no official statement on David Vincent‘s status was announced.

Needless to say, this is a complete mess and further dilutes and hurts the legacy of the band.  David Vincent chose to take the high road in his official statement:

“I had good communication with Trey yesterday and we agree that there are incompatibilities with regards to us working together.

Trey and I have accomplished amazing things together over the past 30 years and I wish him the best with his future projects.  Out of respect for the legacy of these accomplishments, I encourage Morbid Angel fans to not take sides because, I am not.

“I look forward to sharing my new endeavors with all of you in the near future. Until then, stay Morbid!  ~David Vincent

MORBID ANGEL haven’t been musically relevant in a very long time.  Let’s see what the future holds.

Metal Meets Cats in New Book

It was inevitable.  The worlds of metal and people who love cats have finally converged in a new book, Metal Cats.  The book features photos of musicians, fans, and promoters of metal with their cats, including members of ISIS, AKIMBO, GHOUL, LUDICRA, EXHUMED, MORBID ANGEL, MUNICIPAL WASTE, NAUSEA, PHOBIA, and NAPALM DEATH.

A portion of the proceeds from this book and a series of benefit shows held along the West Coast will go towards one no-kill shelter in each of the four main cities visited.

Photographer Alexandra Crockett had the idea to give accolades to local musicians and artists in the metal scene, while also bringing to light no-kill shelters and their importance for animal rights.

Pre-order the book at Amazon.com.

MORBID ANGEL: Covenant 20th Anniversary U.S. Tour

Covenant 20th anniversary tourMORBID ANGEL will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their classic album, Covenant, with the Covenant–United States Tour 1993-2013.  The tour starts in November.

In 1992, MORBID ANGEL was the first death metal band to be signed to a major label (Giant Records/Warner Brothers) and Covenant was their first release on that label in the USA. The album was released on June 22nd, 1993 and went on to garner great critical and commercial success.

On this tour, the band will play the album in its entirety and, after a short intermission, some additional surprise classic cuts. Further, there will be special commemorative items produced exclusively for this tour.

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)

National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2013 Show Report

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2013 has now concluded, and many new and innovative products were featured on the massive lot at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Many of these products pertain to musicians in the Metal scene, and some of the products are just plain cool.

The turnout was crazy as usual – some were there to do business, while others were there to be seen.  Metal remains one of the best represented genres of music, as members of SLAYER, ANTHRAX, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, NILE, MONSTROSITY, MEGADETH, and more were checking out the latest and greatest gear as well. Without further ado, let’s get started with what APESHIT thought were the best products NAMM had to offer for our metal fans out there.
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NADER SADEK’s Debut Live Performance, Living Flesh, Hits February 2013

Nader Sadek - Living FleshLiving Flesh, the first ever live performance from NADER SADEK‘s critically acclaimed In the Flesh project will be self-released on February 27th.  The November 20, 2011 show featured the original line-up of musicians from the In the Flesh record, as well as two new performers. The original line-up consisted of Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY); Rune Eriksen (AURA NOIR, AVA INFERI, ex-MAYHEM); Novy (ex-BEHEMOTH and ex-VADER); and Steve Tucker (ex-MORBID ANGEL in his first and last live appearance for this project. Those greats are joined by Sean Frey as guest live guitarist and Carmen Simoes on backing vocals.

Living Flesh also brings you photos of that evening, demonstrating why NADER SADEK has been a favorite set-designer for the likes of SUNN O))) and MAYHEM.

The songs themselves differ from the original studio album arrangements. Not only are they played at a much higher speed, but have been extended to allow the audience to sink into and absorb the relentless riffs. The live show also features one track that does not appear on the studio album: Flo Mounier‘s extraordinary drum solo that shifts from brutal mechanical noise to rhythmic musical patterns, paralleling the overlap of man and machine charted by Sadek‘s petroleum-based project. Living Flesh will also be released in a single, unique vinyl edition. Consisting of a very special packaging and extra content, this piece is limited to one exclusive copy worldwide. Details to be announced.

MORBID ANGEL Announce U.S. Tour with DARK FUNERAL & GRAVE

The legendary MORBID ANGEL have announced a month long North American tour. Support will come from Sweden’s DARK FUNERAL and GRAVE. The tour starts on September 21st in Atlanta, GA and runs through October 19th in San Antonio, TX.

The band is touring in support of their latest album Illud Divinum Insanus (released by Season of Mist in June 2011).

Tour dates:
7/ 6 Halifax, NS @ Spread the Metal Festival (MORBID ANGEL only)
9/21 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9/22 Louisville, KY @ Headliner’s Music Hall
9/23 Columbus, OH @ Screamin Willie’s
9/24 Washington, DC @ Howard Theater
9/26 New York City @ B.B. King’s
9/27 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
9/28 Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
9/29 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
9/30 Montreal, QUE @ Club Soda
10/1 Toronto, ONT @ Opera House
10/2 Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
10/4 Joliet, Il @ Mojoe’s
10/5 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
10/6 Des Moines, IA @ Peoples Court
10/7 Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theater
10/8 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
10/10 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
10/11 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
10/12 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
10/13 Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades
10/14 Anaheim, CA @ The Grove
10/15 Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
10/17 Dallas, TX @ Trees
10/18 Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
10/19 San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Lounge