APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2015

motorheadWhen looking back at 2015, the only thing that seems to matter is the passing of Lemmy Kilmister. Of course losing Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor in November was sad but Lemmy was on another level – one of the pillars of the entire rock ‘n roll universe. Thankfully, he left a voluminous legacy for us to enjoy for eternity, including some of music’s best interviews and quotes possible. Cheers, Lemmy.

Other than that, 2015 was a remarkably strong year for the pioneering, long-running bands in the metal scene.  Everyone from KILLING JOKE, MY DYING BRIDE, FEAR FACTORY to AMORPHIS put out fantastic records. This past year also saw some very good super groups in TAU CROSS and FIRESPAWN make their debuts.  You’ll find that many of them made it to our respective lists.

Additionally, we’ve recruited some fresh blood in Charles Elliott, Andrew Sample, and Jeff Wagner. These industry vets have been in the trenches with us for years and years, and have helped bring you many of the greatest records ever released for the past 20+ years.
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SOLEFALD Venture to Tanzania for New Album

Underrated Norwegian avant garde black metallers SOLEFALD recently traveled to the nation of Tanzania to record their album, Kosmopolis.  The band are no strangers to travelling to different countries to conjure up inspiration as they travelled to Iceland for the recordings of Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey, Part 1 and Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey, Part 2.

Check out this awesome video of Cornelius doing some recording with guest musicians:

By the look and sound of it, it looks like another interesting album from SOLEFALD!

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2011

2011 was a very productive and enjoyable year for extreme music, perhaps the best in years. Thus, it was not an easy task choosing what we enjoyed best since they were just so many. 2011 also gave us unforgettably bad albums by LOU REED and METALLICA, flops by THE HAUNTED as well as controversial ones by MORBID ANGEL.

We look forward to another strong year in 2012 in which we will celebrate our 10 years online. Cheers for all of your support in 2011! Radikult!!
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SOLEFALD – Norrøn Livskunst

The always intriguing, fascinating, and wildly creative Norwegian duo, SOLEFALD, are back with another journey into Norwegian history. Norrøn Livskunst is absolutely bursting with substance and content to uncover and enjoy.

Musically, this is SOLEFALD doing what they do best – unique avant garde Norwegian black metal that always incorporates new sounds to stir the pot. Dynamics and diversity rule Norrøn Livskunst. Much of the lyrics are sung in a 1917 variant of Norwegian called “høgnorsk.”

The first curveball comes in the form of “Tittentattenteksti.” ANIMAL ALPHA/DJERV‘s Agnete Kjølsrud does an amazing job in creating this wicked, trollish, rhythmically rapid fire vocal attack contrasted against soothing ghostly vocals. Some will undoubtedly hate it while others will love it.

The weirdness doesn’t stop there. “Blackabilly/Stidsljod” follows with some of the weirdest lyrics ever (i.e. “Rockabilly mockabilly / Blackabilly burnin’ / Fuckabilly muckabilly / Whackabilly churnin'” and “Hey chilihead”) and almost children’s song vocal lines in the first verses by vocalist/guitarist/bassist Cornelius. But the song works very well.

Eukalyptustreet” brings the bombastic madness to a halt with a mellow song filled with pianos and saxophones. There is a keyboard riff in the song that is absolutely epic and magical. However, the band teases the listener by only playing the riff once at a time during the song.

Raudedauden” has got one of the greatest classic Norwegian black metal riffs this side of old DARKTHRONE plus a nimble fingered guitar solo courtesy of Vangelis Labrakis (MENCEA).

Hugferdi” has an inexplicable wank lead guitar part that sounds like someone learning to play their wah wah for the first time. Very bizarre.

The band return to their epic An Icelandic Odyssey albums with the equally epic, “Waves over Valhalla: An Icelandic Odyssey Part III.” The song start off with the excellent lyric, “As the last god on Earth I ask for a whisky.”

Beyond what has been highlighted above, there is so much more to Norrøn Livskunst to be enjoyed like the fantastic arrangements and vocal performances by Lazare. While it may take a while to catch up to where Cornelius and Lazare‘s heads were at while creating this record, the journey is well worth it. As always, when you’re ready to graduate to a new level of eclectic, eccentric metal, SOLEFALD will be waiting. (The End Records/Indie Recordings)

SOLEFALD Sign to Olso’s Indie Recordings; The Circular Drain Available for Order

Norwegian avant garde band, SOLEFALD, have announced their signing to Oslo, Norway’s Indie Recordings. The band expect their next album to be released next fall. The band’s compilation album, The Circular Drain, is now available via Season of Mist and Indie Recordings. Here is more from one-half of the band, Cornelius:

“Dear fanatics,

“I am happy to announce that SOLEFALD have inked a two-album deal with Indie Recordings in Oslo. After a twelve-year voyage over the foreign seas, it feels good to anchor in a Norwegian harbour. Indie having distributed our last releases thoroughly, we trust they will deliver in the campaign for our forthcoming albums.

“As Lazare is now the happy father of a little boy (born in late November – our congratulations!), and I am currently ill, our next album will be out in the early Fall 2009. We won’t go G’n’R on you, though – that is a promise!

“The first pressing of our compilation album ‘The Circular Drain‘ is going gently and steady. It is now distributed by Season of Mist in France and by Indie in Norway, which means that you can order the album through ordinary retailers in those countries.

“If you wish a Yule present for yourself or for someone you like, you can also order the album directly from me. I will ship incoming orders next Monday, meaning that you should receive the album before Yule (at least in Europe and the US – it takes a bit longer to reach Asian destinations). For quick delivery I recommend Americans to order here. Be sure to check out my experimental G.U.T. project as well – wicked crossover electro that might appeal to SOLEFALD fans, featuring a cover of DARKTHRONE‘s “Transilvanian Hunger“. You can order the SOLEFALD + G.U.T. cds for only 29.90 euros at at Von Jackhelln Inhuman’s MS page.

“I wish you a merry Yule, with plenty of happiness and love (screw the old hag Misery, she will come for you in January… ho ho!)

“Yours,
Cornelius”

WINDS – Prominence and Demise

It took three years to see what Norway’s WINDS have been working on but the final product exceeds all expectations. First off, WINDS have taken everything to new levels. The songs are significantly more dense, catchy, and compelling. While it’s obvious that the band are talented artists, the true exhibition of their talents and skills are on full display on Prominence and Demise. Guitar master Carl August Tidemann takes his playing to another level by reaching a perfect balance between his technical prowess with stronger, catchier guitar parts. Prominence and Demise is also their most guitar-heavy album as well as featuring plenty of acoustic guitar. Vocalist/bassist Lars Erik Si lays down his best vocal performance by far with strong vocal lines. Keyboardist Andy Winter and drumgod Hellhammer’s performances might just be the best of their respective careers. Additionally, Prominence and Demise features the notable contributions of Agnete M. Kirkevaag (MADDER MORTEM), Lars Nedland (SOLEFALD, BORKNAGAR), Dan Swano (EDGE OF SANITY), and Oystein Moe (ex-TRITONUS, ULVER). Their contributions, though still guest appearances, prove to be of high value in terms of adding new dimensions to WINDS. Highlights can be found all over Prominence and Demise with so much content and quality to digest and understand over time. WINDS have taken strong hold of their artistic destiny and produced an absolutely brilliant album. The next album should be an even bigger monster. (The End Records)

SOLEFALD’s 10th Anniversary Re-mix Album, The Circular Drain, Available for Pre-order

Norway’s SOLEFALD celebrate their 10th anniversary with the release of The Circular Drain. The album contains a remixed version of their 1996 Jernlov demo as well as remixes of select SOLEFALD songs spanning their catalogue. The album can be pre-ordered here.

Here is official word from the band:

“In the liner notes of The Linear Scaffold we audaciously announced a follow-up by the name The Circular Drain. Now, ten years later, it is here, an anniversary album celebrating SOLEFALD‘s first decade. It features the Jernlov demo from 1996, available on cd for the first time. Four songs of total screaming madness! 300 numbered tapes of the demo were printed in 1996. The demo sold out quickly and has been unavailable ever since, going for exorbitant sums at Ebay. Jernlov has now been remastered by Endre Kirkesola and sounds pretty damn necro! An example: If you thought the screams on The Linear Scaffold were intense, you ought to hear the demo…

“Furthermore, The Circular Drain includes remixes of several SOLEFALD classics. HAVOC UNIT has remixed “Sun I Call” quite beautifully; THE BOMBS OF ENDURING FREEDOM has given “Survival of the Outlaw” the bigbeat aggression it needed; Newcomer EXORCISE offers a breathtaking version of “Red for Fire + Black for Death“; Lazare has finally remixed his favourite track “Fluorescent” (he has been fantasising about that since we recorded Neonism in 1998); I have recorded a semi-unplugged version of “When The Moon Is On The Wave” as G.U.T. Check out the tracklist below for all the details.

“Here is how to preorder The Circular Drain: Below you find a series of buttons that will take you to the PayPal site where you can pay with debit and credit cards as well as with bank transfers. As we are dealing with exclusive stuff here, I cannot give the albums away; but there are good discounts if you buy several copies. International shipping is included in the price. You can also order at the MySpace profile of Von Jackhelln Inhuman, where the G.U.T. album My Only Drug Is Madness is equally available.

I send out the numbered copies of The Circular Drain in the order that they are bought. This means I will send cd number one to the first buyer; cd number two to the second buyer, and so forth. As of yet, we are early on and there is a good chance of getting an low number! Grab the chance and get your hands on this exclusive object! You have the option to get the album dedicated to you personally.

“The cd is a 6-page digipack designed by Trine Paulsen and Kim Sølve, who have done our last four releases. The front cover is a real surprise: It features the Theodor Kittelsen drawing that gave “SOLEFALD” our name. With Kittelsen on board we are closer to the TNBM look than ever before!

“I will personally sign and number every cd by hand. Along with the cd I will also send you a hand-printed card from an old-fashioned Berlin typographer stating that you belong to the SOLEFALD hardcore. Your red certificate will carry beautiful German gothic fonts, and I will add your name and the number of your cd by hand. The cds will be ready to ship by January 4th, 2008.

“Being number seven in our discography The Circular Drain is an official SOLEFALD release. The remix album holds our usual professional standard when it comes to design and production (well, today the demo sounds pretty necro, although it was quite hi-fi back in 1996…) You will not find The Circular Drain in the shops anytime soon.

“If this isn’t a damn good gift idea for Yule, I don’t know what would be! Get SOLEFALD remix albums for your friends and family. For your lover and your teacher. For your grandparents and your pet. When they realise just how exclusive this is they will love you forever. For all orders placed before Christmas I will send out a specially designed gift certificate you can print out and give to your loved ones.

“Now check out the new remixes by EXORCISE and HAVOC UNIT!

“Here is the complete tracklist:
Jernlov – The Iron Law
SOLEFALD Demonstration Tape – 996 AF
1. “Motmenneske”
2. “Philosophical Revolt”
3. “Sivilisasjonens Slør – Ravnens Fall”
4. “When The Moon Is On The Wave”

The Circular Drain – Det Sykliske Sluk
SOLEFALD Remixes & Free Mixes
5. “Red For Fire + Black For Death” – EXORCISE
6. “Survival Of The Outlaw” – THE BOMBS OF ENDURING FREEDOM
7. “Fluorescent (The Total Orchestra)” – dj:!!j Lazare
8. “Sun I Call” – HAVOC UNIT
9. “There Is Need” – The Extreme ZWEIZZ Fuckover
10. “CK II Chanel no 6” – HALF SHERMAN
11. “A Motion Picture” – RED SECTOR A
12. “Bragi (Prayer Of A Son)” – HAVOC UNIT
13. “When The Moon Is On The Wave” – G.U.T.

“The total playing time is approximately one hour.

“Best regards,
Cornelius von Jackhelln

Berlin, December 6th, 1007 AF”

SOLEFALD – Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Part II

The Norwegian mad scientist duo known as SOLEFALD complete the second half of their Icelandic Odyssey with Black for Death. As with every SOLEFALD release, it takes some initial time to digest and comprehend what these maniacs are doing, mainly because they are always along the outlaying borders of what defines (Norwegian) metal. The band use Norwegian-Icelandic mythology as the back drop of the album while also drawing parallels to contemporary topics. Opening track, “Red for Fire + Black for Death,” makes a grand entrance with plenty of heavy guitars and violins/cellos and draw allusions to MAYHEM’s Euronymous. Black for Death carries a strong mystical and epic atmosphere and a strong sense of continuity in terms of artistic vision. It’s easy to get enveloped by the album’s storytelling feel like a great BATHORY album. “Necrodyssey” laments and condemns the loss of the true spirit and vision of Norwegian black metal. “Allfathers” is an homage to the band’s cultural ancestors, the Norwegian Vikings. ULVER’s Trickster G fittingly blesses the excellent “Loki Trickster God” with his ice cool lead vocals. Another strong point of the album is SOLEFALD’s incorporation of violins, cellos, female vocals, and spoken storytelling vocals, which result in a great compliment to what the duo of Cornelius and Lazare already bring to the table. By the end of Black for Death, you’ll not only be thoroughly impressed with the quality of the album but also have a new level of respect for one of the most underrated bands in underground metal. (Season of Mist Records)