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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Ultimate Drumming Featured on New PYREXIA

Pyrexia - Feast of IniquityNew York death metal vets, PYREXIA, are back with Feast of Iniquity via Unique Leader Records on October 29, 2013.

The biggest news about the record is the fact that it features both Doug Bohn (SUFFOCATION – Pierced From Within) and Dave Culross (SUFFOCATION, MALEVOLENT CREATION) on drums.  Sick.  Doug Bohn is the band’s fulltime drummer.

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

SUFFOCATION – Pinnacle of Bedlam

Suffocation - Pinnacle of BedlamThe good news right off the bat: Pinnacle of Bedlam is the best of post-reunion SUFFO albums.  Everything from the songs, production, progression, and the return of drum god Dave Culross see the band full of life force.  Also important to know is that due to the complex nature of some songs, the album is a grower, requiring time and many listens.

Everything fans have come to love about SUFFO‘s legendary brutal, technical death metal style are all here.  However, the album is more like the band on steroids where they take everything to another level, mostly the technicality and progressive influences.  SUFFO explore their classical music influences, as heard on the Pinnacle of Bedlam‘s first two songs.  Keen ears will recognize a classical waltz rhythm going on.  The song/riff/tempo progressions are very intertwined and complex and often go on their own.  Overall, the songs on the album are very diverse within themselves in all the different dimensions that they explore.  The band easily transition from a melodic riff to a slam riff to a breakdown.

Things get a hair more straight forward or traditional in the middle of Pinnacle starting with the devastating “As Grace Descends.”  “Sullen Days” starts off with a clean, pristine proggy guitars before chugging into unsettling pinched harmonics.   The title track explores the classical waltz tempo again while also blasting into CARCASSHeartwork-era melodics.  Closing track, “Beginning of Sorrow,” is absolutely devastating in its sheer intensity and easily ranks as one of their best.

Longtime fans should shell out the extra money to buy the digipak version, which contains the DVD, The Making of Pinnacle of Bedlam.  Not only do you get to see the recording process but you get to learn more about their individual personalities.  SUFFO also provide a breakdown of their inside terminology of the various trademarks of the band’s sound.  Very cool stuff.

Pinnacle clearly demonstrates the immense effort that went into creating the band’s most complex and challenging album.  All your fave nerdy prog bands be damned.  (Nuclear Blast Records)

Drummer Dave Culross Rejoins SUFFOCATION for Pinnacle of Bedlam

New York death metal legends SUFFOCATION are currently in the finishing stages of their upcoming new album entitled Pinnacle of Bedlam. The record was produced by the band and tracked at Full Force Studios in New York by longtime collaborator Joe Cincotta. The mixing and mastering of the album is set to be handled this time around by world renowned producer/engineer Zeuss. Pinnacle of Bedlam will feature 10 genre-defining-bone-crushing tracks and also marks the return of drummer Dave Culross, who played with the band previously on their Despise the Sun EP.

Bassist Derek Boyer offered the following update:

“The recording process of our new album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, began Monday, August 13th. We brought in our gear, mic’d up the drum kit, imported tempo maps from our pre-production sessions, then dove right in! The drum tracking came out amazing! Dave Culross killed it! Once I laid down the bass tracks, the foundation of the album was built and was very solid and ready for Terrance and Guy to begin recording guitars, which they have. Thereafter, Frank began working on his vocals. The recording process is just about wrapped up, we just have some tweaking to do before we send it off to get mixed and mastered.”

“The meaning of the album title Pinnacle of Bedlam is the tipping point or most elevated moment as we approach the chaotic climax of this existence,” added guitarist Terrance Hobbs. “The cosmic scale teeters and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. People should expect nothing less than sheer brutality, as we perform together with this incredible line up! We feel this CD will be the best SUFFOCATION album ever to have been released and are confident the fans will love it.”

In other news, SUFFOCATION are among the inductees for this year’s class of the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame. The event will be held on October 18 at The Paramount in Huntington, New York. Tickets to the event can be purchased here. A special induction celebration performance will also take place at The Revolution in Amityville, NY on October 21st to give back to the fans for their support.

Final List of Confirmed Bands for Maryland Death Fest X

The final list of bands confirmed to play next year’s Maryland Death Fest X has been announced. Headliner acts include GODFLESH, MORBID ANGEL, ELECTRIC WIZARD, NAPALM DEATH, AUTOPSY, and SAINT VITUS. The full roster can be viewed here.

The event will take place May 24-27, 2012 at Club Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 26, 2011. They can be purchased here: http://www.marylanddeathfest.com/.

SUFFOCATION Added to 70,000 Tons of Metal, Working on New Record

Legendary New York death metal pioneers, SUFFOCATION, have been added to the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise festival happening January 23 – 27. 2012. For more info and tickets visit www.70000tons.com.

Commented the band:

“We’re looking forward to our first cruise ship performance. 2012’s 70,000 Tons of Metal will be a devastating event! Come witness a crushing multi-day festival and hang out with SUFFOCATION and many others!”

“Also, SUFFOCATION has some killer new material up their sleeves for a 2012 release with Nuclear Blast Records. With no shortage of chaotic mayhem and earth shattering slams, the content and concepts are sure to please SUFFOCATION fans new and old. Prepare to receive the mark!”

SUFFOCATION will play a handful of exclusive one off shows, in the middle of the group’s writing process for the follow up to their most recent release, Blood Oath. The following dates have been confirmed so far:

11/12/11 Kingdom – Richmond, VA
11/13/11 Jaxx – W. Springfield, VA
11/20/11 Korova – San Antonio, TX (Gorgrowlers’ Ball #5)
12/10/11 Reverb – Reading, PA (w/ BLACK ANVIL)
12/16/11 Northern Lights – Clifton Park, NY
04/07/12 Park Theater – Winnipeg, MB – Canada
05/27/12 Sonar – Baltimore, MD (Maryland Deathfest 2012)

Straight Shooting: Extreme Metal Artists are Good People

Throughout my years of going to shows and meeting extreme metal bands to just say “hello” and “thanks” or to conduct an interview or hang out as colleagues, I have always found these artists to be very humble, down to earth, and hardworking people. Playing extreme metal is often a thankless and perilous endeavor that regularly tests just how much these artist are dedicated to their art.

Specifically, the legendary bands tend to be the most approachable and appreciative. They are more than happy to shake your hand, pose for photos, autograph all your merchandise, thank you for your support, and speak with you for a little bit. They may not have the most time in the world or be in the mood to do so, but they often try their best. Even strong and intimidating personalities such as David Vincent, Trey Azagthoth, Glen Benton, and Chris Barnes are all nice dudes. On the other hand, there are also exceptions to this but they shall remain nameless.

The brothers in KRISIUN are some of the coolest guys you can meet. They are so grateful when you compliment them on their performance or music. And if you’ve been a diehard for a long time, that makes their day. They never brag about their musicianship even though it’s totally insane, especially given the fact that they perform flawlessly every night. Whole notes don’t really exist in their songs. Hell, if you have the opportunity to party with them, they’ll share their whiskey or herb with you without hesitation.

Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna from IMMOLATION are awesome guys. I’ve seen them in various cities across the U.S. and they are always the same. Zero egos. Zero gimmicks. They’ve always been underdogs in terms of popularity despite the fact that they are legends but they never complain about anything ever. They just work hard and try their best.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Andreas Kisser twice throughout the years and he is just as, if not cooler, than what you see in SEPULTURA home videos or elsewhere. He’s just a really cool and friendly person ready to laugh and is always positive. No shit talking from him. Andreas is probably one of the most open-minded people you can meet as well.

If you’ve ever seen SUFFOCATION live, then you’ve seen just how down to earth Frank Mullen is with the crowd. He never tries to act like the toughest guy on earth. He just speaks to the crowd like he would with people that he knows in his personal life. Offstage, the man is the same. Just a cool, honest, and passionate person. Frank appreciates any fans whether they be long time or brand new ones.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of extreme metal bands that tour all over the world don’t really make much money. And yes, many of them have families and day jobs to take care of back home. It can be a meager existence. Thus, you can’t blame them for having tours with VIP packages.

Without their dedication and immense talents, there wouldn’t be much of a scene. So next time you’re at a show and you see a band member walking around or just hanging out, it will never hurt to just say “hello” and show appreciation for their hard work. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
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