APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2018

What a glorious year in metal we just experienced.  After the sheer amount of quality albums that were released in 2018, there is no question that the genre is as healthy and full of life as ever.  Thus, making our top albums lists harder than usual.

For the APESHIT goons, 2018 was the year where the legends all shined.  JUDAS PRIEST led the charge with their best album since 1990’s Painkiller.  DIMMU BORGIR finally emerged from a long slumber and did not disappoint. VOIVOD remain the gods that the mass metal media won’t acknowledge as such.  We can’t really think of any letdowns.  Can you?

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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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Irish Heroes PRIMORDIAL Return with Where Greater Men Have Fallen

Dublin, Ireland’s PRIMORDIAL will make their return with Where Greater Men Have Fallen.  The new album is set for a November 25, 2014 release via Metal Blade Records.   Sing along to the title track:

Singer A.A. Nemtheanga elaborates: “Some time at the end of 2013 we sat and began to plot a course for album number eight. We moved camp to a new rehearsal room and the ideas began to take shape. We felt it was time to try a new studio and engineer so we went to Grouse Lodge deep in the middle of Ireland and employed Gomez to come over and work on the new album.” The band’s idea was, of course, to keep the PRIMORDIAL trademarks intact while incorporating a broader, heavier more organic sound. “We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history!”

All-Star BATHORY Tribute Band, TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, Set to Release Debut

Twilight of the Gods - Fire on the MountainTWILIGHT OF THE GODS, the super group featuring Alan Averill (PRIMORDIAL), Nick Barker (ex-CRADLE OF FILTH, ex-DIMMU BORGIR), Rune Eriksen (AURA NOIR, NADER SADEK, ex-MAYHEM), Patrik Lindgren (THYRFING), and Frode Glesnes (EINHERJER) have named their debut album Fire on the Mountain. It will hit the stores on September 27th (October 1st in North America) via Season of Mist.  The band originally started out as a tribute to BATHORY following the death of Quorthon and made only live appearances before turning into a full-fledged band years later.

Check out the title track:

All-Star BATHORY Tribute Band TWILIGHT OF THE GODs to Release Original Material

Season of Mist just inked a deal with all-star band TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. Initially joining forces as a tribute band to BATHORY, singer Alan Averill (PRIMORDIAL), guitarists Rune Eriksen (AVA INFERI, AURA NOIR) and Patrik Lindgren (THYRFING), bassist Frode Glesnes (EINHERJER) and drummer Nick Barker (LOCK UP) recently started to write their own material, which should end up on a full-length album some time next year.

The band issued the following statement: “We are proud to sign a worldwide deal for TWILIGHT OF THE GODS with Season of Mist… So first question, why? The idea originally was to piece together an international band to pay tribute to BATHORY. Nothing more and nothing less. A challenge and a homage. We toured the BATHORY set last year and played some festivals here and there. We never say never again but some form of line was drawn under last years triumphant set at Ragnarok festival which made the whole journey seem worthwhile.

“We were asked to re-record BATHORY classics and offered this and that to make DVDs and live albums. Never in a million years was this going to happen… Yet the chemistry was so good between the five members we talked about writing our own material. It seemed a shame to file away the energy and synergy on a dusty shelf somewhere when new possibilities were open to all of us.

“Life after all is about new challenges and journeys so in the month of October the five members of TWILIGHT OF THE GODS convened in Southern Portugal for a writing session. On the back of this a contract was signed and things began to take shape. None of us in our respective bands and pasts have ever played straight forward Heavy Metal and this is what TOTG is shaping up to be… Sure there are some Epic parts and some 70s rock influences but the vast majority of the material sounds truly classic metal.

“Right now we are looking at going into the studio sometime in the first couple of months of 2012. So expect a full on Heavy Metal album crafted by a motley crue with over 40 albums experience within them and two decades each individually sharpening their swords…”

PRIMORDIAL – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand

When Irish heroes, PRIMORDIAL, finally gained the recognition and success that was well-deserved for their last masterpiece, To the Nameless Dead, it was only natural that the anticipation and expectations for its follow-up would be high. Well, the band have certainly met the challenge with the excellent Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand. While it may not be on the same godly level as its predecessor, it is certainly not very far from it.

Stylistically, this is still PRIMORDIAL and their unique style of Irish folk influenced black metal remains intact. Those familiar strummed guitar chords and rhythms are still there. The songs average around the 8:00 minute mark and are journeys/stories that PRIMORDIAL are known for. Overall, the pace of the album is on the slower end of things. The dead serious tone and the slow pace of most of the songs may weigh down the momentum and energy at times but never the passion behind them.

Vocalist Alan Nemtheanga plays a more prominent role here as his vocals lead the rest of the band more than ever. Perhaps this is due to the guitars/bass parts taking more of a background role on much of the songs. Regardless of the reasoning, Alan Nemtheanga delivers the kind of passionate, charismatic, and profound performance that continues to separate him from the rest of metal vocalists. Few frontmen in metal are such eloquent and powerful lyric writers. One would be absolutely foolish to disregard the lyrics.

The first two songs on Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand start things off a bit more subdued and somber, especially when compared the epic opener of “Empire Falls” from the last album. The energy level rises afterwards though. “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” is the epitome of passion, will, and soul in metal. “God’s Old Snake” has a great sense of urgency and tension. When the tension is released at the peak of the crescendos, it is an awesome moment to behold. “The Mouth of Judas” creates such a serious and grave atmosphere that it feels like the air has been sucked out of your surroundings. Album closer, “Death of the Gods,” is a prime example of how powerful, passionate, and solemn PRIMORDIAL can be. It leaves quite an impression.

They are still hungry. They are still one of the underground’s best bands and epitomize the values and qualities that make this genre of music so great. Lastly, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand is another fine album from Ireland’s greatest metal band. (Metal Blade Records)

PRIMORDIAL – Storm Before Calm (Reissue)

Metal Blade has been churning out PRIMORDIAL reissues in full force because the originals are out of print. The Storm Before Calm reissue deserves some revisiting as there are a few gems on this disc.

Seconds within hitting the play button, the songs have been noticeably remastered with a cleaner sound and heavy hitting production. “The Heretic’s Age” grasps hold quickly with the Celtic inspired/black metal riffing that separates PRIMORDIAL from other bands within the genre. Their mid-paced style always incorporates minor chords and gloomy hooks mixed with great vocal lines. The drumming is more than adequate, and while the guitars keep consistent with the black metal style, it is singer A.A. Nemtheanga who plays an integral part of this band. Nemtheanga’s clean vocal breakdowns alway signify the catchy parts of PRIMORDIAL tracks.

As “Fallen to Ruin” starts with an acoustic intro, the energy picks up and crescendos ever so slightly into a dark and moving piece. Although “Cast to the Pyre” drags the album down a bit, the band segues nicely with each song, and “Suns First Rays” paints a grandiose picture with an excellent black metal feel with hints of Irish influences. The instrumental, “What Sleeps Within,” displays their Irish pride with riffs influenced from Irish folk songs, and once again distinguishes PRIMORDIAL’s unique style from the average folk black metal band from Europe. Towards the latter stage of the album, “Sons of the Morrigan” is quite the gem, as it ends with a brilliant riff that sticks in your head. The last track, “Hosting of the Sidhe,” is just filler, but makes the listener want more, and with longer songs than the average band, Storm Before Calm produces a full experience with only 7 tracks.

While the reissue includes a live DVD as an extra incentive, the songs alone should garner interest for fans of To the Nameless Dead, and reinvigorate old fans that have forgotten about this album. (Metal Blade Records)

PRIMORDIAL Singer Talks About New Album, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand

Irish pagan metal masters PRIMORDIAL have just released the reissue of their classic Storm Before Calm album in Europe. The album is available in a remastered version as a double digipak with new artwork. The package also contains the bonus-DVD, Live at Summer Breeze 2004.

Meanwhile PRIMORDIAL have finished the recordings on their seventh studio album, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand, with producer Chris Fielding. It is scheduled for release on April 23rd in Europe and April 26th in North America.

PRIMORDIAL vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga comments on Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand:

“If I had to sum this album up I would say this is the ‘death’ album. Plain and simple. There isn’t exactly a whole concept but many of the themes deal with mortality, how we deal with it. The spiritual structures we place around us to make sense of it. Sex, death, procreation and god. As we get older our relationship to our lives changes, the realization you will not live forever, the grand plan you hoped to uncover never materializes, food for worms and nothing more.

“We are animals, beasts and making peace with that beast might be your life’s work but more often than not he is never tamed.

“Once a wolf always a wolf. We all seek redemption in one way or another, from lies or from truth. Those of us who are godless or faithless often envy the man of faith for his life seems to have an extra purpose, despite the fact that logic, pragmatism, science and realism should crush any sign of faith, we still persist in lying to ourselves. Perhaps the alternative is too much to bear. So the themes of religion, mortality and death occur over and over again, along with continuing themes of alienation, martyrdom, sacrifice, violence and retribution. Occasionally, very occasionally a chink of light breaks through.

“This is our seventh album, you know what to expect, passion, intensity, commitment and sheer bloody mindedness. Don’t expect fantasy or escapism. No remorse, no regret.”

All-Star BATHORY Tribute Band, TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, to Perform Live this Summer

The new all-star BATHORY tribute band, TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, have announced that they will be performing at festivals in Europe this summer. The band consists of Alan Nemtheanga (PRIMORDIAL), Blasphemer (AVA INFERI, AURA NOIR, ex-MAYHEM), Frode Glesnes (EINHERJER), Nick Barker (BENEDICTION, ex-DIMMU BORGIR and more), Patrik Lindgren (THYRFING).

Check out this video interview, which includes rehearsal clips:

PRIMORDIAL: Passion Aflame

When you think about countries where great metal is from, Ireland might be the last place you’d think of. However, Irish heroes PRIMORDIAL have been paying their dues in the (international) underground scene since 1991 with their unique style of folk/black metal. While groundbreaking albums such as A Journey’s End have drawn the adoration of tried and true underground fans, the band’s new monumental album, To the Nameless Dead, seems to have finally broken through to the rest of the metal masses at large. We spoke to vocalist Alan Nemtheanga about the band’s vision and source of inspiration as well as a host of other topics including their love of BATHORY.

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