Peter Wichers Rejoins SOILWORK

Original SOILWORK guitarist Peter Wichers, who split from the band in December of 2005, has announced he’s rejoining the band.  An official statement from the band reads:

“The past two years have been great although sometimes a bit turbulent. We made another killer album and did several amazing tours around the world; and today it is with sheer joy and excitement that we announce the return of Peter Wichers as a guitarist in SOILWORK. He’s been missed both as a bandmate and as a songwriter.

“We know that we can come back even stronger, and it definitely gives us a feeling of inspiration and completion to have Peter, one of the founders of SOILWORK, come back to the fold. We feel that we can look into the future with greater confidence and musical creativity. Having Peter back will complete the circle and the final line up of the band.

“This also marks Daniel Antonsson‘s departure from SOILWORK as Peter‘s replacement since 2006. We are really grateful for Daniel‘s excellent work and he will be missed. However, to us it’s ideal for Peter to fulfill his former duties as a songwriter and guitarist. Going separate ways with Daniel is not an easy decision for us to make, but it’s the right one. We wish Daniel the best of luck in the future and many great things with his other band DIMENSION ZERO! Rock on Daniel!!!

“As we previously announced, Dirk‘s bandmate in SCARVE, Sylvain Coudret, has been doing session work for us throughout the Summer festivals and shredding on second guitar. Therefore we’re taking this opportunity to confirm Sylvain as a permanent guitar player for SOILWORK. Since we’re big fans of SCARVE, we know Sylvain will make a great addition to the songwriting process for the next SOILWORK album.

“We’re looking forward to rocking out with all of you this Fall and Winter… See you on the road for a unique Swedish metal feast that may very well include some blasts from the past!”

Wicher‘s return will commence with the upcoming European tour. He also offered an official statement:

“Let me first of all say that I’m incredibly grateful for all the amazing feedback and support that I’ve received since my departure from SOILWORK almost three years ago.

“When I left SOILWORK, I was at a place in my life where I felt burnt out on touring and I needed to get my life into a more stable situation. I needed to do something other than SOILWORK, perhaps explore more diverse styles of songwriting and musical journeys. Therefore, over the past few years, I’ve been very focused on production, songwriting and family, and have had the privilege to work with some amazing artists on some really cool and rewarding projects.

“During my time away from the band, my good friend Bjorn ‘Speed’ [Strid] and I had always kept in touch and maintained a great friendship. We recently spoke about working on a possible musical collaboration, and that’s when we started toying with the idea of me perhaps returning to SOILWORK.

“I needed some time to think about it, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided that I still have tons of enthusiasm and creativity to contribute to SOILWORK. I have a lot of love for my brothers in the band, and I would of course be honored to once again share the stage with the greatest metal band in the world!

“So it is with great honor that I now announce my return and 110% commitment to SOILWORK. I guarantee that we’ll bring forth one hell of a show and write the best album in the history of SOILWORK‘s career.”

SOILWORK will be on tour with ZIMMERS HOLE and ONE-WAY MIRROR in Europe this November and December. Shortly after, the band will headline a massive North American tour to begin in late January 2009 with DARKANE, WARBRINGER, and SWALLOW THE SUN.

Visit the band’s official website for all the latest news and tour dates: http://www.soilwork.org/

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2007

It’s been a grossly successful 2007 for APESHIT, and though we find it hard pressed to make that same general claim for metal in 2007, a handful of albums did manage to leave a strong impression on us. We here at APESHIT individually compiled our own top 10 metal albums of 2007 lists for a new “blog” category that we look forward to experimenting with in 2008. Let us know what you think and post your own top 10 metal albums of 2007 in the comments section below. Cheers!

dr.park’s top 10

1. MANES How the World Came to an End

This album really just came out of nowhere and turned out to be one of the best albums in recent years. The album is so deep in its scope, ambition, and execution and is a winner in every facet. Ideally, this should be an underground/indie hit. [Read our full review]

2. ULVER Shadows of the Sun

It’s sounds tired to say but ULVER have done it yet again. Shadows of the Sun is another creative gem. The strong melancholic, subdued atmospheres make for some of the best mood music you can find. [Read our full review]

3. TURBONEGRO Retox

Retox is far better and more solid than their recent efforts. Finally, fans have been given an album that comes as close to their zenith, Apocalypse Dudes, as the band can get. Retox is also prime party music. [Read our full review]

4. MAYHEM Ordo Ad Chao

Just when you thought Norwegian black metal had grown too safe, accessible, and popular, MAYHEM makes an essential album that crushes all. Ordo Ad Chao is a powerful statement of true Norwegian black metal the way it used to be: pure, dark, raw, and evil. [Read our full review]

5. SHINING V: Halmstad

SHINING are one of the best underground Swedish death/black bands that many underground fans have yet to hear. Great riffs, flow, balance and strong vocal presence from band leader and raging maniac, Niclas Kvarforth. V: Halmstad is some of the best (Swedish) metal not coming from Gothenburg. [Read our full review]

6. DIR EN GREYThe Marrow of a Bone

Though most of their U.S. fans are teenage girls with Japanese pop culture fever, don’t let that subtract and detract from this quality album. The Marrow of a Bone is ugly, dark, and has the right balance of hooks and brutality that has allowed it to be another worldwide hit for the band. [Read our full review]

7. WATAIN Sworn to the Dark

To steal a thought from shady rajah: This is the album that DISSECTION should’ve written as their final album. WATAIN keep the flame of classic Swedish black/death metal burning with no peers in sight. [Read our full review]

8. PRIMORDIAL To the Nameless Dead

Ireland’s premier metal band, PRIMORDIAL, have written yet another excellent album of folk/black metal that is so much grander, powerful, and spirited than so much else out there. [Read our full review]

9. MELECHESH Emissaries

If you haven’t heard this band or this album, you are missing out on a lot. There’s nothing like MELECHESH‘s Mesopotamian metal and Emissaries is easily their best album. NILE is good and all but MELECHESH are better at conjuring the ancient rhythms, spirits, and mythology of the gods. [Read our full review]

10. PARADISE LOSTIn Requiem

It’s always a great thing when underground legends can continue to make high quality music so deep into their careers. In Requiem is not your flavor of the month underground metal but who cares…it’s timeless stuff. [Read our full review]

shady rajah’s top 10

1. WATAIN Sworn to the Dark

As the only worthy successor to the departed DISSECTION, WATAIN has carved their own bloody path to black metal glory. Sworn to the Dark is an album filled seething aggression and evil atmosphere that is complex in details, but undeniable in song craft. WAITAIN are a band that’s made black metal dangerous again. [Read our full review]

2. DOWNIII: Over the Under

DOWN‘s third album couldn’t have had a more fitting title, as the band overcame a mountain of adversity. Over the Under successfully captures all the pain, sweat and struggle with all the heat and density of an Louisiana swamp, resulting in 2007’s most heartfelt, honest and real album. [Read our full review]

3. EXODUSThe Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A

A recent thrash metal trend has surfaced ushering hordes imitators still trying capture that classic 80’s sound. EXODUS isn’t it making it any easier for these wannabes as The Atrocity Exhibition drove shards of razor sharp thrash in to the jugular of pretenders everywhere. Nearly thirty years later, these Bay-area bruisers just seem to keep getting heavier, and are keeping true thrash alive and killing. [Read our full review]

4. SHININGV: Halmstad

Niklas Kvarforth has kept the flame of darkness and hatred burning for a decade now, with each album becoming increasingly more complex and intricate while retaining the feeling dread and despair that has existed since the band’s beginning. V: Halmstad is the band’s masterwork, engulfing the listener in darkness. Suicide has never sounded better. [Read our full review]

5. MIDDIANAge Eternal

Formed from the ashes of YOB, MIDDIAN was the vision that continued Mike Scheidt‘s path of doom metal mastery, laying the foundation for the future of sludge. Age Eternal brought the power of slow and the strength of the riff. Unfortunately the band was dropped and forced to change their name, but in their brief moment time, MIDDIAN created a small piece of doom metal history. [Read our full review]

6. DIMMU BORGIRIn Sorte Diaboli

Norway’s premier black metal(ish) super group, DIMMU BORGIR delivered yet another powerful entry in their already considerable catalog, with a driving guitar heavy album that was catchy as it was complex. Having Hellhammer on board didn’t hurt either, as Jan Axel carved layer of intricate drum patterns to enhance the band’s already ambitious anti-Christian concept album. A successful anti-Christian concept album…how awesome is that? [Read our full review]

7. ABORTEDSlaughter and Apparatus: A Methodical Overture

Sven De Caluwe may have lost all his original members, but nothing detered the growling machine. He simply assembled a new death squad and delivered another precise, surgical slaughter of bludgeoning death metal. Relentless and furious yet containing some of the catchiest songs about mutilation written in recent memory, Slaughter and Apparatus continues the band’s excellent carnage. [Read our full review]

8. MACHINE HEADThe Blackening

After dabbling in bland nu-metal for a spell, MACHINE HEAD came roaring back with their return to form, Through Ashes of Empires. But that was just the warm up. The Blackening is the main course, with the band firing on all levels, encompassing MACHINE HEAD‘s most challenging work to date. The Blackening serves as both a defining moment in the band’s history as well as one of 2007’s finest albums. [Read our full review]

9. IMMOLATIONShadows in the Light

These death metal veterans helped shape and form death metal in it’s earliest stages, but the Yonker’s natives still show they have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. IMMOLATION deliver an intricate maze of riffs, complex drum patterns, and heapings of sinister atmosphere…not to mention an ample amount of guitar shredding. Their legacy of death continues to grow. [Read our full review]

10. SOILWORKSworn to a Great Divide

Despite losing a pivotal member with the departure of Peter Wichers, the band nonetheless stepped up to the plate, dove in to their considerable arsenal of hooks, and soldiered on with one of the year’s catchiest records. Balancing song craft and drummer Dirk Verbeuren‘s well thought out drum patterns, Sworn to a Great Divide is full of hooks that stick in your head. [Read our full review]

roycifer’s top 10

1. HIM Venus Doom

These Finns have always been top-notch songwriters, and they succeed again while under the delicious influence of doom. Ville Valo‘s singing and songwriting don’t miss a step, and the band sound at home with the heavier vibe. “Sleepwalking Past Hope” is a magnificent epic of “November Rain” proportions.

2. MAYHEM Ordo Ad Chao

With Ordo Ad Chao, MAYHEM made black metal sound exciting and totally fucking evil again! The album trembles with such unnerving, nihilistic ferocity not heard since the inception of black metal. Hellhammer‘s best performance. [Read our full review]

3. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGEEra Vulgaris

Josh Homme is a music making beast with such a distinct style and vision. Everything he touches, turns into gold. Their best album since Rated R. [Read our full review]

4. SCARVE The Undercurrent

Guitar music hasn’t been this exciting since SOILWORK emerged onto the scene. But SCARVE are not merely a guitar band. Drummer Dirk Verburen really helps shapes the band’s sound and provides a necessary dynamic with his drumming. [Read our full review]

5. CHIMAIRA Resurrection

This was the album that should have followed The Impossibility of Reason. CHIMAIRA have always had a lot of potential and are continuing to show their steady growth as musicians and songwriters. Move over LAMB OF GOD, CHIMAIRA are the true heir to PANTERA‘s throne. [Read our full review]

6. SHINING V: Halmstad

V: Halmstad is uniquely black metal in that it draws a lot of influence from rock and classical music but is pieced together in a very progressive manner. The excellent songwriting is topped by the tortured vocals of Niclas Kvarforth. Suicide never sounded so damn inviting. [Read our full review]

7. MANES How the World Came to an End

How the World Came to an End is an eclectic album for the ages that spans rock, electronic, and hip-hop while still feeling every bit metal. ULVER, eat your heart out. [Read our full review]

8. AMORPHIS Silent Waters

Silent waters was where the band was treading about for a few releases. But their latest album is solid collection of timeless listening. Singer Tomi Joutsen has breathed new life into a group of vets making waves once again. [Read our full review]

9. MARDUK Rom 5:12

Black metal’s ever-black sons of Swedish blackness keep getting better (and blacker) with age. New singer Mortuus‘ is ferocious and has a voice all his own. To quote dr.park, “it sounds like he’s gurgling blood.” Rom 5:12 also marks a newfound reach to diversify and expand their style…and those risks certainly pay off. [Read our full review]

10. ION DISSONANCEMinus the Herd

While the bees were busy buzzing about JOB FOR A COWBOY, ION DISSONANCE were having a ho down of their own. Minus the Herd tops JOB FOR A COWBOY‘s Genesis on technicality, dynamics, and lasting interestingness. [Read our full review]

SCARVE: Thrashing Young Lads

France generally isn’t the first, second, third, or fourth European country you think of when you think of “metal,” but France’s SCARVE is putting their stamp on the metal world one album at a time. 2004’s impressive Irradiant piqued ears and garnered comparisons to MESHUGGAH and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. That year also saw drummer, Dirk Verbeuren, join Sweden’s SOILWORK. Despite seemingly unending singer woes, SCARVE dropped their latest, The Undercurrent, to an unsuspecting public. The Undercurrent is a dynamic album of gobsmacking technical metallic goodness. APESHIT pinned down the ever-busy Dirk to tell us more about France’s latest stars on the up and up.

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SCARVE – The Undercurrent

France’s SCARVE forge ahead with their futuristic style of progressive death metal in The Undercurrent. While it’s obvious that the band are influenced by the likes of MESHUGGAH and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, comparisons at this point are basically irrelevant as SCARVE have carved out their unique sound. The band has met the task of creating a worthy follow-up to the highly impressive Irradiant with an album that is more challenging, accomplished, and arguably more creative. The Undercurrent is the perfect mix of raging fury, technical prowess, and tasteful progressive influences. There is a great level of energy and consistency in quality flowing throughout The Undercurrent, which helps to create such a solid feel. Ex-DARKANE vocalist Lawrence Mackrory does a fine job in replacing the departed Guillaume Bideau. Songwise, there is plenty of diversity and character among the memorable songs. Perhaps where The Undercurrent shines brightest is not in the obvious fast, straight forward song sections but in the clever and highly refreshing riff writing, the flawless tempo shifts throughout, the variety of different drum/guitar/bass rhythms, and the shifts between raging to desolate atmospheres. SCARVE is the ideal metal package – a fresh, distinct sound; strong songwriting skills; a high level of technical wizardry; and the talent to execute their artistic vision. The future of metal is now. (Listenable Records)

MNEMIC – Passenger

On each new album, Denmark’s MNEMIC have made considerable improvements in terms of both songwriting and production and with their third album, Passenger, the band has delivered their most consistent and focused work to date. Throughout the album’s eleven tracks, the band balances busy stop-start rhythms against melodic vocal sections. Although this is hardly a new trick, the band executes these contrasts with considerable finesse. “In the Nothingness Black,” “In Control,” and “The Eye on Your Back” all offer prime examples of this, with each syncopated rhythm answered with memorable hooks and choruses that draw the listener in. Sonically, the album’s production is as tight as a bolt, which is a feat in itself considering the fact that the album was recorded with three producers in three different countries. Somehow it manages to maintain a level of cohesiveness throughout its entirety. New singer Guillaume Bideau (formerly of SCARVE) also makes an impression with his debut with the band as he handles Passenger‘s open-ended concepts about existence and life’s journey with confidence. His ability to shift from harsh to clean vocal sections and then back again, make him a perfect addition to the band. MNEMIC‘s ambition and drive have paid off. Passenger is easily their finest hour and another step in the right direction for this continuously evolving band. (Nuclear Blast Records)