APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2016

VirusAnother strong year is in the books for heavy music, so strong that making a year end list seemed unfair to every release that we did not include in our lists.  The underground continues to thrive with releases from legendary bands such as DARK FUNERAL, VADER, and NEUROSIS that will stand the test of time. Actually, most of the long running bands did not fail to meet or exceed expectations.  Thrash metal pioneers, MEGADETH, VOIVOD, and TESTAMENT, certainly released excellent records.  What is more important is that 2016 saw a lot of great releases from less trendy, more obscure bands.

Trees of EternityThis past year is personally notable as lost a dear friend and contributor, Brandon Stratton AKA rocknro11chef13.  As a small tribute, we’ve included albums that he would’ve likely picked for his year end list.  Life is short, my friends.  Embrace it.

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AMON AMARTH: Three-Part Mini Documentary Trailer Revealed

AMON AMARTH‘s forthcoming mini documentary, Forging Mjolnir, will appear as a three-part series with each official segment slated to premiere via the band’s microsite at http://deceiver.amonamarth.com/.  Check out a trailer:

The Forging Mjolnir documentary comes in anticipation of AMON AMARTH’s ninth studio offering, Deceiver of the Gods.   The new album comes adorned with another outstanding Tom Thiel-created cover portraying a mythical battle between the Norse Gods Loki and Thor. As an added bonus, Messiah Marcolin (ex-CANDLEMASS) makes an appearance as guest vocalist on eighth track, “Hel.” Check out the title track:

AMON AMARTH – Surtur Rising

The AC/DC of Swedish death metal are back with their latest viking-themed album, Surtur Rising. AMON AMARTH fans know exactly what to expect: an album cover in orange/red hues with a viking and fire, Norse mythological themes, those melancholic melodies, steady handed tempos, and those deep growls from vocalist Johan Hegg.

Surtur Rising is as consistent and solid as records go. The tone or song variety never significantly go up or go down. Things remain very constant. AMON AMARTH know exactly what they want to achieve and they once again flawlessly execute it. The albums eight songs are based around various characters and events in Norse mythological and are as triumphant as expected.

Songs like “Live Without Regret” are sure to strike a personal chord in fans and become a new anthem. “The Last Stand of Frej” is total HYPOCRISY (middle era) worship with its slow pace and melodies. The melodic lead guitars in “For Victory or Death” are classic melodic Swedish death metal with a touch of MAIDEN‘s “Revelations.”

The bottom line is if you love AMON AMARTH, you will love Surtur Rising. No overthinking or contemplation necessary. (Metal Blade Records)


SLAUGHTER OF THE BLUEGRASS, a group of musicians from Sweden known for their bluegrass renditions of AT THE GATES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, and AMON AMARTH songs, have released three new IN FLAMES covers: “Jotun,” “Moonshield,” and “Stand Ablaze.”

Listen to and download the tracks below:

“Stand Ablaze”

Also, visit the band’s website to check out past covers: http://www.sotb.se/

AMON AMARTH Announces the Twilight of the Thunder God II Tour

In continuing support of the band’s 2008 release Twilight of the Thunder God, AMON AMARTH has announced a spring, 2010 North American headlining tour, which marks the band’s first tour in the states since their April/May 2009 run. The scheduled 15 date trek kicks off on April 8th at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA. Support on the tour will come from Pasadena, California’s HOLY GRAIL and Switzerland’s ELUVEITIE.

AMON AMARTH comments: “We’re extremely excited to be hitting North American shores again for a final run of the Twilight of the Thunder God tour. We’re also happy to bring two great bands, ELUVEITIE and HOLY GRAIL with us.”


04/08 West Hollywood, CA House Of Blues
04/09 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom w/ FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, HOLY GRAIL, ELUVEITIE
04/10 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
04/11 Seattle, WA Showbox At The Market
04/12 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
04/14 Calgary, AB McEwen Hall University Of Calgary
04/15 Edmonton, AB Edmonton Event Center
04/16 Saskatoon, SK Odeon Event Centre
04/17 Winnipeg, MB Garrick Center
04/18 Saint Paul, MN Station 4
04/19 Chicago, IL Logan Square Auditorium
04/21 Toronto, ON Opera House
04/22 Montreal, QC Metropolis
04/23 Quebec City, QC Imperial Theater
04/25 New York, NY The Fillmore

AMON AMARTH to Reissue The Avenger as a 2-Disc Set

Following the successful reissue of Once Sent from the Golden Hall, AMON AMARTH will be reissuing The Avenger as a 2-disc, deluxe, digipak set on May 26.  Disc one features the entire The Avenger album, re-mastered, plus the bonus track “Thor Arise.” Disc two features the live recording of the show AMON AMARTH played on December 29, 2008 in Bochum, Germany where they played the album in its entirety. The order of songs is the same as on disc one (excluding “Thor Arise“). This re-issue also features new liner notes by singer Johan Hegg and tons of photos.

The Avenger track listing:

Disc 01
1. “Bleed For Ancient Gods
2. “The Last With Pagan Blood
3. “North Sea Storm
4. “Avenger
5. “God, His Son And Holy Whore
6. “Metalwrath
7. “Legend Of A Banished Man
8. “Thor Arise” (bonus track)

Disc 02 (Live)
1. “Bleed For Ancient Gods
2. “The Last With Pagan Blood
3. “North Sea Storm
4. “Avenger
5. “God, His Son And Holy Whore
6. “Metalwrath
7. “Legend Of A Banished Man

AMON AMARTH – Twilight of the Thunder Gods

With their relentless touring schedule and countless albums underneath their belt, AMON AMARTH have proved that hard work in the metal scene does indeed pay off. Twilight of the Thunder God shows that although their style of Viking death metal is different and more accessible than UNLEASHED, they can put out a solid album as well. Following the path of the last album, Twilight of the Thunder God treats fans to memorable choruses, melodic riffs, and a few surprise guest appearances. AMON AMARTH offers no bullshit, just straight up headbanging material.

The title track opens the album with tons of ferocity that will indeed make every AMON AMARTH fan smile with approval, and Roope Latvala of CHILDREN OF BODOM fame lends his talents with a nicely executed solo in the track. Fans of all Swedish death metal should be pleased that ENTOMBED growler L.G. Petrov belts out a few lines and backup vocals in “Guardians of Asgaard,” and his vocals compliment Johan Hegg‘s quite well. Johan has definitely stepped up to the plate, as his vocals on Twilight of the Thunder God are decipherable, yet deeper and stronger than ever before.

While the middle of the album loses some steam, “Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags” picks right back up and many of the songs on this album were written for the live setting as you can picture the entire crowd easily singing along and headbanging to certain parts. “No Fear for the Setting Sun” has an aggressive IN FLAMES feel to it, and will certainly satiate the thirst of all Swedish death metal lovers.

Live For The Kill” features APOCALYPTICA, but the cellos do not come into play until almost the end of the song, and while it is a nice touch, it could have been easily substituted with keyboards. “Embrace The Endless Ocean” closes the album nicely, capturing the spirit of a Viking warrior riding into the sunset across the vast ocean. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself singing along to this album while drinking some beer and headbanging at the same time. (Metal Blade Records)

DECAPITATED, AMON AMARTH Announce Late 2007 Tour

DECAPITATED and AMON AMARTH will be hitting the road this November for a U.S. tour. Opening on the tour will be HIMSA and SONIC SYNDICATE.

Tour dates:
19 San Diego, CA – House of Blues
20 Tempe, AZ – The Clubhouse Music Venue
21 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
22 San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
24 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
25 Houston, TX – Meridian
26 New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues
27 Orlando, FL – The Club at Firestone
28 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
29 Charlotte, NC – Tremont Music Hall
30 West Springfield, VA – Jaxx

01 Worcester, MA – The Palladium
02 Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero
03 New York, NY – The Fillmore
05 Montreal, QC – Le Medley
06 Toronto,ON – Opera House
07 Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s Down Under
08 Chicago, Illinois – House Of Blues
09 St. Paul, MN – Station 4
11 Englewood, CO – Gothic Theater
12 Salt Lake City, UT – Avalon Theater
14 Vancouver, BC – Croatian Cultural Centre
15 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
16 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
17 Bend – Domino Room
18 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
19 Los Angeles, CA – The Avalon
20 Mexicali, Mexico, – MexEl Jardin del SIlencio Extreme Rock Bar

DECAPITATED will issue a limited edition version of their dramatic debut album, Winds of Creation, on December 4 (October 8 in the U.K. and Europe), complete with a bonus DVD. Here is the tracklisting:

01. “Winds of Creation
02. “Blessed
03. “The First Damned
04. “Way to Salvation
05. “The Eye of Horus
06. “Human’s Dust
07. “Nine Steps
08. “Dance Macabre
09. “Mandatory Suicide

Live At Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, 20/12/04
01. “The Fury
02. “Three-Dimensional Defect
03. “Lying and Weak
04. “Winds of Creation
05. “Nihility (Anti-Human Manifesto)
06. “The Negation
07. “Perfect Dehumanisation (The Answer?)
08. “Sensual Sickness
09. “Spheres of Madness
10. “Mother War

Sounds of the Underground 2007: GWAR, CHIMAIRA, EVERY TIME I DIE, More

The third annual Sounds of the Underground tour has been announced and will feature main acts GWAR, CHIMAIRA, EVERY TIME I DIE, JOB FOR A COWBOY, and more. GWAR will close most nights, while CHIMAIRA, EVERY TIME I DIE, and a third to-be-announced band will rotate in the headlining position prior to GWAR.

Other acts confirmed to appear on the tour are NECRO, DARKEST HOUR, AMON AMARTH, THE ACACIA STRAIN, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, HEAVY HEAVY LOW LOW, THE NUMBER TWELVE LOOKS LIKE YOU, GOATWHORE, THIS IS HELL, and 2 CENTS. Additional special guest headliners will join the bill on select dates.

Mark Hunter, CHIMAIRA vocalist boasts, “We are happy to announce that we will be taking part in this years Sounds Of The Underground. We played the first year and we had a fucking blast. This year we are going to up the production level and bring something special to our fans. Then we will get wasted every night with EVERY TIME I DIE and GWAR. See you this summer!”

There will also be a 2CD + 1 DVD Sounds Of The Underground exclusive compilation which will go on sale in stores and online in late June.

Presale tickets for the tour will go on sale April 25th.  Tickets for the general public will go on sale May 11th.  You can find constant updates on the tour at http://www.soundsoftheundergroundtour.com/.

The complete tour itinerary is as follows:

July 06 – Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom
July 07 – Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete St. Amphitheatre
July 08 – Houston, TX – Verizon Wireless Theatre
July 10 – Orlando, FL – UCf Arena
July 11 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House Of Blues
July 13 – Worcester, MA – Palladium
July 14 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom Outside
July 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
July 16 – Winston-salem, NC – Millennium Center
July 18 – Toronto, ON – Koolhaus Complex
July 19 – Detroit, MI – State Theatre
July 20 – Milwuakee, WI – Eagles Ballroom
July 21 – Cleveland, OH – Time Warner Cable Amphitheater At Tower City
July 22 – Columbus, OH – Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
July 23 – Chicago, IL – Congress Theatre
July 24 – Minneapolis, MN – Myth
July 27 – Calgary, AB – Macewan Hall
July 28 – Edmonton, AB – Shaw Conference Center
July 30 – Portland, OR – Expo Hall
Aug. 01 – Salt Lake City, UT – Salt Air Pavilion
Aug. 03 – San Jose, CA – Events Center AT San Jose Univ.
Aug. 04 – Irvine, CA – Irvine Meadows Side Stage
Aug. 05 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Amphitheatre
Aug. 06 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues
Aug. 08 – Denver, CO – Fillmore

AMON AMARTH – With Oden on Our Side

When it comes to Viking metal bands, AMON AMARTH continually stands out as one of the best in the industry. Their particular blend of AT THE GATES-inspired Swedish death metal will never disappoint. This time around AMON AMARTH comes back with their most aggressive album since The Crusher. Although at first it may sound similar to their prior outing, Versus the World, in terms of pacing, their newest release contains far more aggression and animosity. Unlike their previous album, The Fate of Norns, which was a much slower, melancholy album, With Oden on Our Side explodes full of Viking fury with songs about hand-to-hand combat, remembering fallen comrades, and legendary folk tales involving colossal serpents and fighting the Irish. “Valhalla Awaits Me,” “Runes to My Memory,” “Asator,” and “Cry of the Blackbirds” are the heaviest, fastest tracks on the album, while the others are more mid-tempo accounts of various Viking exploits.

Johan Hegg‘s vocals improve with each successive album, and his performance on this release stands out as his best thus far. He ranges from high pitched screams to incredibly low, grumbling roars. Excellent riffs are provided as usual by Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg, and Fredrik Andersson‘s drumming chops have only gotten better. This is an incredibly strong album by perhaps the strongest Viking metal band, and both newcomers and long time fans should bask in the glory of this melodic death masterpiece. In a year full of excellent metal releases, this album still stands as one of the very best of 2006. (Metal Blade Records)