ICS Vortex’s Debut Solo Album, Storm Seeker, Coming Out August 2011

ICS Vortex, former DIMMU BORGIR and current BORKNAGAR and ARCTURUS member, has announced that his debut solo album, Storm Seeker, will be released on August 22nd, 2011 in Europe and August 23rd, 2011 in North America via Century Media Records.

Check out the track, “The Blackmobile,” below:

The album’s line-up reads as follows:

ICS Vortex – Vocals
Asgeir Mickelson – Drums (SARKE, SPIRAL ARCHITECT, ex-BORKNAGAR)
Terje “Cyrus” Andersen – Guitar (SUSPERIA)
Jens F. Ryland – Guitar (BORKNAGAR)
Steinar “Azarak” Gundersen – Bass (SPIRAL ARCHITECT, SATYRICON)

DOCTOR MIDNIGHT & THE MERCY CULT – I Declare: Treason

When Hank von Helvete abruptly and quietly quit Norwegian death punk gods TURBONEGRO in 2010, it shocked and saddened fans. And with the same suddenness he is back with a new band, DOCTOR MIDNIGHT & THE MERCY CULT. This super group also features ex-members of APOPTYGMA BERZERK, CADAVER, EXTOL, KMFDM, and MARILYN MANSON. Their sound is straight up metal with a mean, dark, and brooding edge.

It doesn’t take much to discern that the theme of I Declare: Treason deals with very personal issues such as betrayal, disillusionment, revenge, misunderstandings, redemption, and broken relationships. There’s no doubting that Hank is singing from the heart.

I Declare: Treason is quite diverse in its metal riffing. It’s a seamless blend of classic and contemporary thrash, death metal, and black metal that doesn’t seek to blow the listener apart with speed or heaviness. I Declare: Treason is not necessarily about being hard hitting, immediately gratifying, or extreme either. Instead the band focuses on strong riffs, hooks, muscular grooves, and spacing. Credit must certainly be given to this veteran line-up.

Hank von Helvete lays down, perhaps, his most soulful and diverse vocal performance here (i.e. “Ok (We’re Just About to Die)“). His vocal lines fit in with whatever the song calls for instead of being a one trick pony. His hardcore punk background also helps to inject some attitude that is often missing from other bands.

Taken as a whole, the album hits its stride often with some less potent songs in the mix. Stylistically, it may take some time to adjust to the band’s unique style but it’s definitely worth it. If you can get the digipak version which contains two bonus songs, go for it. I Declare: Treason is a damn good debut album that may be one of the year’s best releases. They got the snarling attitude and the songs to back it up. (Season of Mist)

Video of the Day: The Hidden Gem in KEEP OF KALESSIN’s Back Catalogue

Tried and true underground metal warriors are all familiar with Norway’s KEEP OF KALESSIN. No doubt they’re a worthy band with good records. However, one of their releases, the rare Reclaim EP, is something that may have eluded the access of many. If you can find this hard to find release, I suggest you snatch it up immediately.

Band mainman/guitarist, Obsidian C., recruited black metal legends, Attila Csihar (vocals) and Frost (drums), for this glorious undertaking. What resulted is one of the coolest pieces of black metal in an easy to enjoy EP format.

Check out this track and then prove me wrong:

1349 – Demonoir

1349 is a band that has flown under the radar for years now, despite having one of the most skilled drummers in the world – Frost of SATYRICON fame. Even their Norwegian brethren KEEP OF KALESSIN have grown more popular than these blast masters. While 1349 turned off a large percentage of their fan base with the experimental Revelations of the Black Flame album, Demonoir returns to proper form with unrelenting, ugly black metal, the way it’s supposed to be.

As with Revelations of the Black Flame, Demonoir features ambient tracks, but the ambient passages on this album should be looked at as completely separate “music” from the actual songs. This works to 1349’s advantage as the flip flop of ambient tracks and regular songs breaks up the speed and intense battery of Frost’s hellfire to avoid the monotonous blast formula as evidenced on some MARDUK releases. Demonoir consists of seven ambient parts which alone make up an amazing horror soundtrack, as well as the six actual songs to assault the ears with.

Atomic Chapel” starts the chaos with blazing double bass and blasts reminiscent of Hellfire with SATYRICON riffs thrown in. The intense non-stop blast fest of “When I Was Flesh” pushes speed and beats per minute (bpm) to the limit before peaking with “Psalm 7:77,” which incorporates a thrashy main riff, insane drum fills, and can be best described as “controlled chaos.”

Hints of Beyond the Apocalypse and Hellfire can be found in “Pandemonium War Bells,” but these riffs still sound fresh and Frost’s use of the high hat and ride cymbals are best heard when listened to at maximum volume. “The Devil of the Deserts” shows where SATYRICON would be if they continued with the style of writing as witnessed on Nemesis Divina – great riffs, balanced with the brutal machine gun blastbeat attack is definitely not for the faint of heart. Although the piano piece is oddly placed at the end of the track, it creates an atmosphere fitting to lead into the last track, “Demonoir.” The final opus slows down the pace, and takes the approach of latter SATYRICON-era riffs – the simplistic yet heavy riffing that would make even Satyr jealous.

Demonoir can be characterized as the typical fast Norwegian black metal album, but 1349 is still underrated and underappreciated in the extreme metal circuit. As always, the best part of 1349’s albums is the fury that Frost unleashes, and unlike being told what drum beats to play, like for the OV HELL project, he doesn’t hold back this time around. Demonoir is uncompromising, raw, with no pretty melodies, and anyone opposed to that style should stay clear of this brilliant piece of work. (Prosthetic Records)

SATYRICON – The Age of Nero

On their seventh full-length album, Norwegian veterans SATYRICON continue the path of “Black n’ Roll” they started ten years ago on their Rebel Extravaganza album. The lackluster “Commando” kicks off the proceedings with some promising speed and force before settling into a plodding, sluggish groove that goes nowhere fast. However, the band recovers with the next two tracks that offer catchy, albeit simple, driving rhythms that neither offend or challenge the listener. The Age of Nero finally hits pay dirt with the one-two punch of “Die By My Hand” and “My Skin is Cold,” in which the band finally mixes things up, offering a balanced attack of speed, dynamics, and tempo shifts. Unfortunately, SATYRICON loses momentum with the next songs offering little in the way of variety, instead meandering around with some bland, uninspired song writing and performances. Closer “Den Siste” brings in some atmosphere, and the use of trombones in a black metal song is unconventional, but it becomes a case of too little, too late. The Age of Nero isn’t necessarily a bad album, as much as it’s a safe, somewhat predictable affair, especially when one considers that this band was responsible for the incinerating Nemesis Divina album. SATYRICON has it in them for many more great albums in the future, but Satyr and company are going to have to mix it up with some variety and depth to their songwriting as opposed to simply rehashing safe, ok versions of a successful formula. (E1 Music)

CHTHONIC, SATYRICON @ The Key Club, Hollywood (10/8/09)

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Anticipation for this show was high as kids started waiting outside the Key Club as early as 5pm. Taiwanese extreme metallers CHTHONIC opened the show with a short but powerful set. It was clear from the audience reaction that a significant amount of people were there to see the band play. CHTHONIC had great stage presence and played well. Vocalist Freddy made sure that the audience knew that they were proud to be from Taiwan. The band also took the time to meet with fans after their performance. There was a good number of fans who waited patiently for their chance to get their pictures taken with CHTHONIC and get their merchandise autographed. It was surprising that after the band had finished up their meet and greet, a noticeable number of attendees left the Key Club.

As the night wore on, incoming fans packed the Key Club in order to see headliners SATYRICON. The band played songs predominantly from their last three albums with a few old ones from their classic, Nemesis Divina. The fact their SATYRICON‘s newer material is mid-paced and has many slow plotting sections caused numerous moments of stagnation in the adrenaline department. It may have left some fans wanting a more balanced set in terms of tempo.

Band mastermind Satyr was pretty vocal with the crowd and never failed to show his appreciation for the fans throughout their set. He too was proud to represent the country that the band were from. Satyr also busted out his guitar for a few songs as well. Strangely enough, his guitar was louder and better sounding than that of his two session guitarists.

The star of the show was drummer Frost. After all my years of going to shows, Frost‘s performance was by far the best drum performance that I’ve ever seen. It was truly godlike. He blasted faster than even Flo from CRYPTOPSY, and his blastbeats were super tight and clean. You could see his hair flying through the air as he did the helicopter headbang all night. The drums sounded absolutely immaculate in quality. He played flawlessly and if anything, he made the songs sound better live. Frost also rewrote his drum parts for the older songs by adding plenty of extra intensity and skill.

BLEEDING THROUGH Drop Off SATYRICON Tour

Orange County’s BLEEDING THROUGH have dropped off the SATYRICON/CHTHONIC tour. The band offered the following words:

“Hello All we’ve got some good news and bad news. The bad news is that we’ve had to drop off of the remaining dates on our US tour with SATYRICON due to some personal / family business that must be attended to immediately. Thank you for respecting our privacy.

“The good news is that we can now officially announce that BLEEDING THROUGH is the surprise special guest for our friends in TIGER ARMY on Halloween Night in Orange County! We’re going to help them close down their four-night ‘Octoberflame‘ event in style by sharing the stage on Halloween Night at The Grove Of Anaheim! Get tickets HERE!. TIGER ARMY sold out The Grove last Halloween so you should try to get your tickets right away.

“Rest assured that everything is fine as far as THE BAND is concerned! We’re looking very forward to the Halloween show followed by the creation of our BRAND NEW ALBUM, which we can tell you will take place in December and January before our European tour with MACHINE HEAD, HATEBREED and ALL SHALL PERISH! That’s right, NEW BLEEDING THROUGH album in 2010!

“We are very excited about our first album with Rise Records. We’ve got a lot of material and we’re anxious to hit the studio in December and get it out to you in the first half of 2010!

“Thanks as always for all of your support.”

SATYRICON to Headline North American Tour

Norway’s SATYRICON have announced a 24-city headlining tour of North America which kicks off September 25th in Baltimore, MD. Support will come from BLEEDING THROUGH, CHTHONIC, and TOXIC HOLOCAUST (through 10/10).

SATYRICON frontman, Satyr, commented on the tour: “Finally…The way everyone greeted us in the states and Canada during our run in January, February and March, it was obvious that we needed to come back as soon as possible. The reception we got every night, all the conversations we had after the shows with everyone who had been waiting for us to make it over…it was given that it was never a question of if, just when. For the most part we are focusing on coming back to the same cities as we visited in the winter, so that you can see the full SATYRICON show that you got a taste of a few months back. There are also some cities in there where we will be visiting for the first time.”

Dates are as follows:
9/25 Baltimore, MD Sonar
9/26 Norfolk, VA Norva
9/28 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
9/29 Orlando, FL Firestone
10/1 Houston, TX Warehouse
10/2 Dallas, TX The Door
10/3 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit
10/5 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
10/6 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theater
10/7 Pomona, CA Glasshouse
10/8 West Hollywood, CA Key Club
10/10 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
10/12 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
10/13 Seattle, WA El Corazon
10/14 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theater
10/16 Salt Lake City, UT Club Sound
10/17 Englewood, CO Gothic Theater
10/19 Mokena, IL The Pearl Room
10/20 Cleveland, OH Peabody’s Down Under
10/21 Toronto, ON Opera House
10/23 Worcester, MA The Palladium
10/24 Philadelphia, PA The Trocadero
10/25 New York, NY The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza
10/27 Montreal, QC Club Soda

To coincide with the tour, SATYRICON will be releasing a special edition 2-CD set of its latest album, The Age of Nero. Bonus material includes 8 live and rare recordings never before available in North America. This edition drops September 29th.

SATYRICON: Headlining North American Tour with BLEEDING THROUGH, CHTHONIC, TOXIC HOLOCAUST

SATYRICON have announced that they will be returning to North America for a headlining tour this fall. The tour will be rounded out by BLEEDING THROUGH, CHTHONIC, and TOXIC HOLOCAUST.

Confirmed dates are as follows:
Sep. 25 – Baltimore, MD – Sonar
Sep. 26 – Norfolk, VA- Norva
Sep. 28 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Sep. 29 – Orlando, FL – The Club
Oct. 01 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Oct. 02 – Dallas, TX – The Door
Oct. 03 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
Oct. 05 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
Oct. 06 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater
Oct. 07 – Pomona, CA – Glasshouse
Oct. 08 – West Hollywood, CA – Key Club
Oct. 10 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
Oct. 12 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
Oct. 13 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Oct. 14 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Rickshaw Theater
Oct. 16 – Salt Lake City, UT- Club Sound
Oct. 17 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theater
Oct. 19 – Mokena, IL – The Pearl Room
Oct. 20 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
Oct. 21 – Toronto, Ontario – Opera House
Oct. 23 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Oct. 24 – Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero
Oct. 25 – New York, NY – The Fillmore @ Irving
Oct. 27 – Montreal, Quebec – Club Soda

SEPTICFLESH to Open CRADLE OF FILTH, SATYRICON North American Tour

Greece’s longstanding black/death band SEPTICFLESH have been announced as the official opener for the upcoming CRADLE OF FILTH and SATYRICON tour this January and February! The full North American tour rampages through the US and Canada from mid-January through the end of February.

Tour dates:
1/15/2009 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
1/16/2009 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
1/17/2009 Metropolis – Montreal, QC
1/18/2009 Capitol Theatre – Quebec City, QC
1/20/2009 Sound Academy – Toronto, ON
1/21/2009 House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
1/23/2009 Harpo’s – Detroit, MI
1/24/2009 The Eagles Club – Milwaukee, WI
1/25/2009 House of Blues – Chicago, IL
1/26/2009 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
1/28/2009 The Gothic – Engelwood, CO
1/30/2009 MacEwan Hall Ballroom – Calgary, AB
1/31/2009 Edmonton Events Centre – Edmonton, AB
2/02/2009 Commodore – Vancouver, BC
2/03/2009 Showbox Theatre – Seattle, WA
2/04/2009 Roseland Theatre – Portland, OR
2/10/2009 The Grand Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
2/11/2009 Henry Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
2/12/2009 The Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, CA
2/13/2009 Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
2/14/2009 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
2/16/2008 Scout Bar – San Antonio, TX
2/17/2009 House of Blues – Dallas, TX
2/18/2009 House of Blues – Houston, TX
2/20/2009 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
2/21/2009 The Club @ Firestone – Orlando, FL
2/22/2009 Club Cinema – Pompano Beach, FL
2/24/2008 The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
2/25/2009 Norva Theatre – Norfolk, VA
2/26/2009 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore, MD
2/27/2009 Nokia Theatre Times Square – New York, NY
2/28/2009 The Trocadero Theatre – Philadelphia, PA