APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2013

carcass.surgicalsteelOnce again, another fruitful year in extreme music draws to a close.  We saw some long awaited comebacks by legends, three quarters of the original SABBATH line up, VOIVOD and CARCASS.  The godfathers of U.S. death metal had a healthy year with strong releases by SUFFOCATION, DEICIDE, and IMMOLATION.  We also saw young superstars, GHOST B.C. and KVELERTAK, release good sophomore albums.  Perhaps the most polarizing and criticized album is SATYRICON‘s self-titled album, which was roasted by the majority of the media and fans.

Among the mountains of releases, there is one album that we’ll gush about again and again, and that’s CARCASS‘ comeback album, Surgical Steel.  There are always good and interesting albums coming out all the time, and then there are the untouchable albums that only the legendary bands could create.  Surgical Steel scorches everything in its path and clearly shows that in the pantheon of active bands, they are at the top.

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ROTTING CHRIST – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy

Rotting Christ - KTAEThe criminally unheralded Greek gods of extreme metal prove once again with Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, or “Do What Thou Wilt,” that they are the best at what they do. ROTTING CHRIST take on a straight forward approach to the album, where power and hooks are the emphasis of a presentation that is grand and ritualistic.

In Yumen – Xibalba” is an immense opener that sounds like a ritualistic opening of the gates. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy takes off from there and never lets up until the journey concludes.

The band do a great job in creating strong atmospheres by adding elements such as group chanting vocals, cries of babies, bells, percussion instruments and Greek folk instruments. ROTTING CHRIST easily show why they are the masters in the wide range of dynamics here. Vocalist/guitarist/bassist Sakis Tolis regularly utilizes a dual guitar approach with very interesting results.

On “P’unchaw kachun – Tuta kachun,” the band build and then release tension and energy. “Grandis Spiritus Diavolos” then breaks away from any semblance of tension with a decidedly lose and simple main riff and feel. Sakis‘ guitar melodies and balls out solos add plenty of color and diversity. “Cine iubeste si lasa” has a dark piano intro and excellent lead female vocals. “Iwa Voodoo” thrives off of a simple main riff and head stopping tempo. ROTTING CHRIST follow this up with two majestic tracks filled with blast beats and half-time blast beats. “Ahura Mazda-Anra Mainiuu” is ominous with chants and war drums. “666” is the sounds of a dark and ancient ritual; epic stuff.

Something in your gut immediately tells you that Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy is something very special. Surely, it is one of the best releases of 2013. Flavor of the month underground metal bands come and go but ROTTING CHRIST is forever. Hail. (Season of Mist)

Tickets for Extreme Metal Cruise, Barge to Hell, on Sale Now

The world’s first extreme metal cruise, Barge to Hell, featuring 40 bands of extreme metal’s best bands is set to depart from Miami, Florida on December 3, 2012 for Nassau, Bahamas and back on December 7, 2012.  Tickets are now on sale.  The luxury cruise will feature two performances from each band on three different stages, karaoke, and more.

So far 21 out of a total of 40 bands on board are known:

ARTILLERY
AT THE GATES
BELPHEGOR
ENSLAVED
HACKNEYED
HYPOCRISY
KAMPFAR
KRISIUN
LOUDBLAST
MOONSPELL
MORGOTH
PARADISE LOST
POSSESSED
ROTTING CHRIST
SACRED REICH
SANCTUARY
SEPULTURA
SIX FEET UNDER
SODOM
SOILWORK
SOLSTAFIR

ROTTING CHRIST, MELECHESH, HATE, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA (3/28/11)

This tour has a great mix for fans of different genres, as the top billed bands are from Europe, but they all bring a different flavor to the table. ROTTING CHRIST and MELECHESH provide the slower and heavy dosage, while HATE brings the brutal death metal end. I wasn’t too worried that I missed the hardcore-turned-black metal band, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, but death metal veterans HATE brought the crowd to life with an energetic set focused mainly on their new album, Erebos. With speed, intensity and blast beats filling the air, HATE has transformed from a Polish DEICIDE copycat band to BEHEMOTH Jr., but that’s not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

While HATE teased the crowd, everyone was prepared for the Middle Eastern onslaught of MELECHESH. I’m always excited when bands come to play in the U.S. for the first time, and MELECHESH did not disappoint, as they plowed through an intense set ranging from Sphynx to the latest album, The Epigenesis. Vocalist Ashmedi fired up the crowd with his enthusiastic guitar playing and screeches from hell. Highlights of the set included “Ghouls of Nineveh” and “Deluge of Delusional Dreams,” while “Grand Gathas of Baal Sin” got everyone amped up as the entire crowd was doing fist pumps and chanting along with Ashmedi. As MELECHESH closed with “Rebirth of Nemesis,” the fury of the crowd was unleashed as a sea of hair was flying everywhere, and both the band and crowd were satisfied with each other.

ROTTING CHRIST had a tough act to follow, as MELECHESH had the crowd in a frenzy, but almost everybody stuck around to watch the headliners. While mostly playing tracks off Aealo, the band threw in a few oldies for good measure. One-third of the way through the set, frontman Sakis Tolis had issues with his guitar and wrist, and the band continued the show with only one guitar. Guitarist Giorgos Bokos kept the fans entertained with solos and scales while waiting for Sakis to come back on stage. As Sakis returned, he sang the songs with gusto while making hilarious faces and entertaining the crowd with his gestures. ROTTING CHRIST weren’t fast or brutal, but they were sure heavy as hell. Despite the technical difficulties, everybody had a good time and enjoyed the set by the Greek metallers and are anxious for the band to come back to the states again.

Check out some pictures of MELECHESH and ROTTING CHRIST above.

“Lucifer Over America” Tour: ROTTING CHRIST, IMMOLATION, BELPHEGOR, More

The Austrian blackened/death metal machine, BELPHEGOR, will be returning to the U.S. this February with ROTTING CHRIST, IMMOLATION and AVERSE SIFERA for the “Lucifer Over North America” Tour. Vocalist/guitarist, Helmuth, had to this to say about what could be the most blasphemous paring of bands in quite sometime:

“It’s an honor for us to return to U.S. shores! The last two runs were beyond fucking amazing and we had such a good time there. Thanks to First Row Talent and Nuclear Blast Records for bringing BELPHEGOR over again. I´m sure this whole tour will exceed our expectations yet again. Hail Chaos – Hail Satan!”

Confirmed Dates:

02/04/08 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
02/05/08 Jaxx – West Springfield, VA
02/06/08 Webster Theater – Hartford, CT
02/07/08 Penny Arcade – Rochester, NY
02/08/08 The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
02/09/08 Mark’s Place – Bedford, NH
02/10/08 BB Kings Blues Club – New York, NY
02/11/08 Peabody’s Down Under – Cleveland, OH
02/12/08 I-Rock – Detroit, MI
02/13/08 Huntington Music Hall – Huntington, WV
02/14/08 The Muse – Nashville, TN
02/15/08 The Pearl Room – Mokena, IL
02/16/08 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN
02/19/08 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
02/20/08 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
02/21/08 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA
02/22/08 Galaxy Theater – Santa Ana, CA
02/23/08 Jumping Turtle – San Marcos, CA
02/24/08 House of Blues – Hollywood, CA
02/25/08 El Jardin del Silencio Extreme Rock Bar – Mexicali, MEXICO
02/26/08 Orpheum Theater – Flagstaff, AZ
02/27/08 The Sets – Tempe, AZ
02/28/08 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM
02/29/08 White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
03/01/08 Cine El Rey – McAllen, TX
03/02/08 Meridian – Houston, TX

BELPHEGOR recently entered Andy Classen‘s Stage One Studios in Kassel, Germany to begin recording their new album for an April 11, 2008 European release via Nuclear Blast Records (April 15 in North America). The follow-up to 2006’s Pestapokalypse VI is being recorded in three separate sessions lasting through the middle of January 2008.