DARKANE Back from North American Tour; Begin Working on New Material

DARKANE are back in Sweden having completed their North American tour.  Guitarist Christofer Malmström offered the following update:

“We’re back in Sweden from a what we believe was a very successful tour in North America together with SOILWORK, WARBRINGER and SWALLOW THE SUN. Thanks a lot to the other bands, crew, and all the fans that showed up and made us feel welcome. Playing 50 shows in 52 days was kinda tough, but we’re very happy we managed to pull it through without any bigger issues. Now we are focusing on writing new material for the next album but before that, we played a show at The Tivoli in our home town Helsingborg on Saturday April 4th, and then we have the Roskilde and Nuclear Assault festivals booked for this summer, and hopefully more will show up. Next week, [DARKANE drummer] Peter Wildoer will head out on a European tour with PESTILENCE for three weeks.

“I am also very proud to announce that I am now officially endorsed by Steve Clayton guitar picks. I have been using Clayton pics (1.26 mm) since the middle of the nineties. Since DARKANE‘s music is based on accurate playing I need a pick that feels steady and that I can count on when I hit my strings very hard. With the Clayton picks, I get a very good and reliable grip allowing me to alter between fast and rhythmic playing without having to think about what my right hand is doing.

“See you out there!”

Read our review of their show with SOILWORK in Hollywood, CA: http://www.apeshit.org/live/soilwork-darkane-the-key-club-hollywood-3809/

PESTILENCE Return After 15 Years with New Album

O.G. death metallers, PESTILENCE, are back after 15 years of deathlike silence. The band are set to release a brand new studio album entitled Resurrection Macabre. The album is a display of the timeless power of brutal death metal with modern day technique and skill of experienced musicians.

The brand new album was recorded in Denmark, with producer Jacob Hansen. The new incarnation of PESTILENCE consists of original band member Patrick Mameli, the American bass wizard Tony Choy (ATHIEST, CYNIC) and powerhouse drummer Peter Wildoer (ARCH ENEMY, DARKANE). Guitar player Patrick Uterwijk will join the band for the live shows.

Mameli explains: “When so many people asked to resurrect PESTILENCE it got me thinking. For many years it was a closed chapter. I have always been very clear about that. The last couple of years I discovered, to my amazement, that the band had not been forgotten, but still meant a lot to many fans. So there were a few things that got the ball rolling. First of all the fans. I also noticed that old school death metal was making a come-back. It did wet my appetite. I discovered that I felt the urge to get involved again with the great musical tradition that is death metal. I wanted to leave my own mark again. Another important factor was that I knew that with Tony Choy and Peter Wildoer by my side I had found the right people to make this dream come true. These guys are both absolutely stunning musicians. Simply the best one could wish for. Their creative input on the album is invaluable.

“I don’t want to rely on successes of the past. This is not a reunion, but a second life for PESTILENCE. That’s why we wanted to mark our comeback with a new studio album. Stylistically it goes back to the days of Consuming Impulse and Testimony Of the Ancients, but it’s also apparent that time did not stand still. I am a better musician than a was back then. Compared to the old days the technical possibilities are limitless.”

The new album also features some re-recorded classic PESTILENCE songs: “Chemo Therapy“, “Out Of the Body” and “Lost Souls“, all coming from the first two PESTILENCE albums.

“It seemed like a good idea to connect ourselves to our musical past,” commented Mameli. “Apart from that I liked the idea of revisiting those old songs and to see what they would sound like when performed and recorded in this advanced day and age.”

The band plan to hit the road following the release of Resurrection Macabre.

Check out a new track, “Devouring Frenzy“:

For more information on PESTILENCE, go to http://www.myspace.com/pestilenceofficial.

CYNIC – Traced in Air

Bands reforming and reuniting seem to be the trend in underground metal lately (CARCASS, EMPEROR, IMMORTAL, AT THE GATES, etc.) – however most of the bands just cash in for a tour, or play a few exclusive festivals, and that’s the end of it. A few of the bands that have reformed, actually make new albums, and since CYNIC‘s Focus is touted as one of the best progressive death metal masterpieces of all time, Traced in Air has long time CYNIC fans wondering if they could stand the test of time. After all, the band was put to rest and forgotten about. CYNIC is, and always will be a “love them or hate them” band, as there is no in between. If you hated the robot voice and entire Focus album, you will not enjoy Traced in Air at all.

Traced in Air is the ultimate album CYNIC die hards have been asking for, and the band does not disappoint. The album opens with “Nunc Fluens“, and almost instantly you hear Sean Reinert doing what he does best – pounding the drums with technical precision. Although he and Paul Masvidal both played on DEATH‘s Human album, CYNIC was their creative force and really brought their jazz fusion influence out into the open. “The Space For This” and “Evolutionary Sleeper” are bona fide CYNIC tracks, although some vocal parts can get too flowery at times. No need to fret however, as there still death metal growls that accentuate the chorus at the exact perfect points. Newbie OPETH fans may get a kick out of this album, but this album was written for CYNIC fans exclusively. Reinert‘s superb drumming really highlight the entire album, and “Adam’s Murmur” is a track where the band really gels as the drums, technical bass and guitar playing mesh as one cohesive unit. “Nunc Stans” closes the album in CYNIC fashion, with an eerie and mellow outro.

While parts of the album feel too empty and lacking intensity, that was the purpose of Traced in Air – getting away from the whole death metal genre and instead into the progressive rock/metal arena. More progressive rock than metal is showcased on the album, so if you miss the aggression but still want the progressive death metal, you’ll have to put in DEATH‘s Human or PESTILENCE‘s Testimony of the Ancients. CYNIC will always have ties with PESTILENCE and ATHEIST as progressive death metal kings, and hopefully those two bands can also match this excellent “reunion” album as well. (Season of Mist)

HAIL OF BULLETS – Of Frost and War

In an age where death metal seems to be defined by who the fastest, most technical band is, it’s cool to hear a group sit out the tech-shred olympics and focus on what really counts–writing catchy, heavy songs. Leave it to Martin Van Drunen (PESTILENCE, ASPHYX, BOLT THROWER) to show the new school punks how it’s done with his new heavy-as-a-tank band, HAIL OF BULLETS. Joining Martin in his onslaught is most of THANATOS handling the strings and GOREFEST‘s Ed Warby on drums. Ambitiously enough, the Dutch death squad’s debut, a 13-track crusher, Of Frost and War, is a concept album chronicling the Eastern front offensive between the Germans and Russians during World War II . “Before the Storm” sets the stage with ominous keys, setting a somber tone. But from “Ordered Eastward” through the final track “Berlin,” it’s all business. “Ordered Eastward” provides maximum buzzsaw riffage and drum pounding, before Van Drunen‘s unmistakable hoarse growls pierce the speakers. The song arrives at an absolutley crushing mid-section replete with powerful guitar harmonies and some guest vocal spice from Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH). “The Lake Lagoda Massacre” and “General Winter” both counter with doom-beyond-death sludge before kicking in with an AUTOPSY vs. ASPHYX vs. MASSACRE battle of old school riffs. “Advancing once More” and “Nachthexen” meanwhile, unleash a firestorm of thunderous rhythms. “Insanity Commands” on the other hand alternates between an atmosphere of slow, impending doom and furious, headbanging groove. Of Frost and War is a rock-solid hammer of an album, devoid of nonsense and pointless noodling .It’s heavy, mean and ugly everything a real death metal record should be. (Metal Blade Records)