CONVERGE and NAPALM DEATH Split 7″EP Coming Soon

Legendary bands CONVERGE and NAPALM DEATH have come together for a split release on Deathwish Inc.

Recorded as part of their new album sessions, CONVERGE offer up the blazing new song “No Light Escapes.” Also on the release, CONVERGE offer a “We Are the World” styled rendition of the influential ENTOMBED classic “Wolverine Blues.” Joining them in tribute is a number of friends including Tomas Lindberg (DISFEAR, AT THE GATES, LOCK UP), Aaron Turner (ISIS, OLD MAN GLOOM, SPLIT CRANIUM), Kevin Baker (APMD, THE HOPE CONSPIRACY), Brian Izzi (TRAP THEM), and more. A new CONVERGE album will surface later in 2012 on Epitaph/Deathwish Inc.

On the flip side, metal pioneers NAPALM DEATH offer up two new aural monsters. First, “Will By Mouth” erupts in classic grind fashion. Also on the release, NAPALM DEATH offer the slower and textural new song “No Impediment To Triumph (Bhopal)“. A deeply resonant number that lyrically sheds light on the horrific Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984.

NAPALM DEATH – Utilitarian

Long time fans of NAPALM DEATH out in the world and in the media are probably all guilty of one thing…and that is taking NAPALM DEATH for granted. For the past 12 years, NAPALM has done nothing but release consecutive high quality albums starting with the return to form, Enemy of the Music Business. Meanwhile, some new band gets all the attention and hype after releasing an album that doesn’t even come close to NAPALM‘s level of quality.

Utilitarian demonstrates more of the band’s trademark sound. Their driving, grinding, and slamming riffs are all present along with blasting, chugging, and bouncy punk tempos. In the vocal department, Barney injects more of his clean, ominous vocals into the mix in addition to his famous bark. Guitarist/vocalist Mitch Harris contributes a good amount of his punk vocals and when he sings with Barney, it’s excellent. And who can forget the contributions of riffmaster general Shane Embury and unsung drum god Danny Herrera?

Throughout Utilitarian‘s 17 songs, the strong sense of urgency and immediacy is omnipresent as the band scorches through. While fans may obtain the album in strictly mp3 format, they would be doing themselves a disservice by not obtaining the lyrics.

NAPALM continue to stand out as stellar songwriters always remembering that memorable, catchy songs are what makes a great band versus sheer extremity, gimmicks, or costumes. Long live the gods of grind! (Century Media Records)

Grind Supergroup LOCK UP Announces First U.S. Tour

LOCK UP, the grindcore supergroup featuring genre veterans, Tomas Lindberg, Shane Embury, Nicolas Barker and Anton Reisenegger, has announced its first ever North American tour, a headlining run with GOATWHORE and STRONG INTENTION.

Said drummer, Nick Barker, “After many attempts in the past, sadly to no avail, Lock Up finally gets to make it stateside for a string of shows with our good friends from Louisiana, GOATWHORE. For us in LOCK UP, to play with GOATWHORE in the US is like a dream tour, as they are one of our favorite bands – and being good friends with them too only makes this package even more special to us. Be prepared North America ‘cause we’re coming over to blast your minds into deathgrind oblivion!”

Tour dates:
2/08 – Buffalo, NY @ Club Infinity
2/09 – Albany, NY @ Bogies
2/10 – Boston, MA @ Club Lido
2/11 – Montreal, QC @ Katacombes
2/12 – Tortonto, ON @ Wreck Room
2/13 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
2/14 – Columbus, OH @ Alrosa Villa
2/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
2/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Europa

Final List of Confirmed Bands for Maryland Death Fest X

The final list of bands confirmed to play next year’s Maryland Death Fest X has been announced. Headliner acts include GODFLESH, MORBID ANGEL, ELECTRIC WIZARD, NAPALM DEATH, AUTOPSY, and SAINT VITUS. The full roster can be viewed here.

The event will take place May 24-27, 2012 at Club Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 26, 2011. They can be purchased here: http://www.marylanddeathfest.com/.

LOCK UP – Necropolis Transparent

LOCK UP have set the bar pretty high for properly executing blistering grind albums, and their TERRORIZER-inspired grind/death style is seemingly unstoppable. PENTAGRAM guitarist Anton Reisenegger pays homage to original axe grinder, Jesse Pintado (RIP), by writing a few angry and aggressive songs to say the least.

Upon pressing play, “Brethren of the Pentagram” blasts and grinds your face in immediately, and you can bet that Necropolis Transparent is going to be one hell of an album with no compromise whatsoever. The fury of Nick Barker’s (ex-DIMMU BORGIR) insane drumming, the chaotic guitars, and Tomas Lindberg’s (AT THE GATES) tortured soul all equate to a combination made perfectly from hell. Songs like “Anvil of Flesh,” “Rage Incarnate Reborn,” and “Vomiting Evil” are guitar driven, super catchy, and brutal, with a tinge of the European flavor.

Bringing in Jeff Walker (CARCASS) and ex-LOCK UP vocalist Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY) for a good chunk of the songs sure doesn’t hurt, either. Their vocal styles compliment Lindberg’s harsher style nicely, accenting some catchy lines in a few tracks, such as “Necropolis Transparent,” “Parasite Drama,” and “Through the Eyes of My Shadow Self.”

There are plenty of worthy grind albums these days, but LOCK UP is the closest band to rival the debut album from TERRORIZER. With short, blasting tracks that make sense, this is one of the few “supergroups” who are not overrated, so be sure to pick this one up for a dose of grind filled goodness. Wherever he is, Jesse Pintado is somewhere out there smiling and proud of this effort. (Nuclear Blast Records)

Straight Shooting: TERRORIZER’s World Downfall is the Holy Grail of Grindcore

Sometimes being the first band to do something doesn’t necessarily guarantee that first always means best – case in point, TERRORIZER‘s 1989 debut, World Downfall. Sure, one can point to NAPALM DEATH‘s Scum as the birth of grindcore but let’s be honest, the album isn’t very listenable.

Simply put TERRORIZER‘s World Downfall is absolute perfection.

The influence of the legendary World Downfall can be heard in virtually every grindcore, death metal, or extreme metal album that came afterwards. Often times, you can put on an album by a band that came afterwards and hear direct ripoffs. The generations of bands that this record has directly or indirectly influenced is readily apparent in everything from the vocals, riffs, drumming, song structures, and style. Just take the drumming for example. Who in the world was drumming with these kinds of archetypal fills, blast beats, sped up d-beats, and with this kind of complete mastery in 1989 other than Pete Sandoval?

Let us enjoy some selections:

After World Obliteration“:

Fear of Napalm“:

Dead Shall Rise“:

What happens when you gather together a young and hungry Pete Sandoval, David Vincent, Jesse Pintado, and Oscar Garcia? Perfection.

DYING FETUS – History Repeats…

Maryland based veterans DYING FETUS were heavily influenced by the underground death metal scene in the early 1990’s, so it’s quite fitting that the band pays homage to their influences on History Repeats…

FETUS has covered ground from the most popular bands in death metal, such as with CANNIBAL CORPSE’s “Born in a Casket” or NAPALM DEATH’s “Unchallenged Hate,” but they don’t forget about the underrated bands, either.

Their cover of BOLT THROWER’s “Unleashed Upon Mankind” might even sound better than the original, and the PESTILENCE cover of “Twisted Truth” is up to par as well. Some bands deserved more credit than they received, such as BROKEN HOPE, and FETUS’ rendition of “Gorehog” is brutal and sounds extremely close to the original. The band also covers an obscure but heavily underrated slam/groove/death metal band from New York, called DEHUMANIZED, and they nail “Fade Into Obscurity” to a T. Throw in “Rohypnol,” an original DYING FETUS track exclusive to this EP, and you’ve got yourself another worthy release from this hard working trio.

While some bands try to experiment or change the original songs too much, things can get a bit blurry, but DYING FETUS sticks to the originals as closely as possible. It’s a treat for old school death metal fans to hear these classic tracks updated in DYING FETUS fashion, and at the same time gives the younger generation a feel for how great these original songs were. (Relapse Records)

VOLBEAT – Beyond Hell/Above Heaven

Four albums into their career and I can happily report that VOLBEAT are still going strong. Beyond Hell/Above Heaven is more or less “a VOLBEAT record” with it’s distinct blend and balance of thrash, punk, rockabilly, country, and 50/60’s rock n’ roll. There are some subtle nuances here and there but nothing that significantly changes what fans have come to expect from the band.

This time the band don’t start out with an obligatory “intro” of country guitars but instead breaks out of the gates with the heavy “The Mirror and the Ripper.” “Who They Are” is one of the band’s heaviest songs with an intro that sounds like 80’s METALLICA trying to sound like 80’s SLAYER with perhaps a dash of CANNIBAL CORPSE. Lead single, “Fallen,” is a memorable song with a big chorus, showing the pop-ier side to the band. “7 Shots” features the legendary Michael Denner and Mille Petrozza and is the song is 100% metal in spirit as a result. Denner’s guitar solos are absolutely exquisite and add the kind of flavor not found on VOLBEAT’s other songs. Mille’s distinct vocal bite on the song’s chorus sound great.

Like any VOLBEAT album, there are some definite monster songs that stand out from the rest. This time around “A New Day” plays that role to perfection. The song has plenty of soul and hooks. “16 Dollars” gets right down to it with its rockabilly/50’s rock n’ roll stylings complete with upright bass. “Evelyn” may be VOLBEAT’s heaviest song as the majority of the song is grindcore madness featuring NAPALM DEATH’s Barney Greenway. When you compare and contrast vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen and Barney’s vocals, Barney completely overpowers Michael’s vocals with his ferocity. Given the band’s commercial success thus far, VOLBEAT take time out to thank their fans via album closer, “Thanks.”

At the end of the day, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven is another high quality, solid offering of fine songs from these Danish gods. (Mascot Records)

INSIDIOUS DISEASE – Shadowcast

The debut of this supergroup has been in the talks for a few years now, and has finally come to fruition with Shadowcast. It also marks the return for old school vocalist Marc Grewe (MORGOTH) to the metal fold once again. Some heavy talent is abound with the guitar attack of Silenoz (DIMMU BORGIR) and Jardar (ex-OLD MAN’S CHILD), low end and grind extraordinaire Shane Embury, and the insane drumming of Tony Laureano. On paper, this project looks very promising, and INSIDIOUS DISEASE sounds nothing like the work of any of the bands the members are involved in, but the end result is a mixed bag of average death metal.

The downtuned and dirty guitar work in “Nuclear Salvation” sounds like the album will be one furious slab of death metal. Grewe’s vocals sound like a combination of Martin Van Drunen and John Tardy, and no doubt Shane Embury’s NAPALM DEATH influence is quite prominent in these songs. Laureano blasts away as he normally does, but unfortunately, he’s limited to the basic death metal staples – double bass, a few blasts, and never has the chance to breathe and come up with his own fills and flair like he did with NILE or ANGELCORPSE. When the band is blasting with aggression, things are on the up and up, but when they try hard to slow it down on tracks like “Boundless” and “Abortion Stew,” the songs hit a wall and become dull rather quickly.

The Essence of Neglect” has glimpses of promise, but almost everything sounds like recycled riffs of death metal past, and other bands have done it better. “Rituals of Bloodshed” gives way to a few catchy riffs, and “Facemask” definitely keeps the album afloat, but the rest of the album falls flat. The bland instrumental outro, “Abandonment,” does nothing to wash the disappointed taste out of your mouth, and for an album that lasts 40 minutes, the songs feel a lot longer than they really are.

While LOCK UP and BLOODBATH are excellent supergroups, not all supergroups are created equal. The members of INSIDIOUS DISEASE are all amazing in their respective real bands, but this creative outlet is just hype for their record label to sell albums. (Century Media Records)