THE SIRENS: Godmothers of Female Metal Vocalists Join Forces in New Project

The progenitors of female lead vocalists in metal, Liv Kristine (LEAVES’ EYES, ex-THEATRE OF TRAGEDY), Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING) and Kari Rueslåtten (ex-3RD AND THE MORTAL), have teamed up for a new project, THE SIRENS.

Two songs have been posted online:

THE SIRENS are also hitting the road in Europe this month.  As a special treat for fans, they will be performing classics from their former bands.

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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Devin Townsend‘s last record, Deconstruction, was the soundtrack for a man going through many life changes and a total reconfiguration of himself going forward. Now that Devin has been reborn, Epicloud is a return to the familiar euphoric sound and style that fans have come to love. The songs seemingly run the whole spectrum of his solo career.

First things first, Epicloud can only be fully enjoyed and appreciated in its full form, the 2-CD version. While the songs have been sequenced on the first disc or single disc version to be more cohesive or singular, the songs on the second disc display more of the excellent diversity of Devin.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Epicloud is the return of Anneke Van Giersbergen (AQUA DE ANNIQUE/ex-THE GATHERING). Once the hilarious lyrics sung by a choir on “Effervescent!” are complete, Anneke‘s beautiful vocals come in with, “I love you. I need you…,” and you’re instantly in heaven. She appears throughout the record and is utilized in different degrees rather than as a “co-vocalist.” Her first appearance with Devin on Addicted worked out so well and the results are just as good here.

Epicloud represents what everything that is pure and honest about great music. There is so much content here like the fun and funny songs like “Lucky Animals,” the soulful “Where We Belong” and “Divine,” the offkilter “The Mind Wasp,” and the godly “Save Our Now.” Longtime fans will recognize PHYSICIST‘s “Kingdom” in re-recorded yet unchanged. STRAPPING YOUNG LAD fans will be happy to hear the closest thing to STRAPPING in the blasting “Socialization.” “Little Pig” closes out the record in style with acoustic guitars, pure soul, and a feel good tone.

The bottom line is that Epicloud is one of the greatest records of Devin Townsend‘s career. The indisputable, beautiful level of musicality and emotion will make this a favorite for decades to come. (Inside Out Music/Century Media Records)

ANATHEMA Post Preview of New Orchestral Album, Falling Deeper

Liverpool, England’s ANATHEMA have posted a preview of their upcoming orchestral album, Falling Deeper, online. The release will be available September 5th in Europe. No North American release date has been announced yet.

According to ANATHEMA’s website:

Falling Deeper continues where Hindsight left off. The album features brand new arrangements of songs and haunting melodies from our earliest days. It’s a mesmerising blend of the orchestral – majestic and at times ethereal – with beautiful vocal arrangements and our unique ‘feedback’ lead guitars, all centred around a grand piano and a huge rhythm section. All the layers work together to convey the haunting internal landscapes ANATHEMA have become renowned for.

“This is an album which we hope will excite old and new ANATHEMA fans equally. A fresh musical and lyrical approach has transformed songs such as ‘Crestfallen,’ ‘Kingdom‘ and ‘Sunset Of Age.’ This record reveals how, even from the very start, the band wrote melodies which would always have a universal magic and emotional impact.

“Another highlight of the album, ‘Everwake,’ features the incredible voice of Anneke van Giersbergen and has brought a higher dimension to one of the band’s earliest and simplest acoustic pieces.

“The record has been produced by Daniel Cavanagh and was recorded and mixed by Andrea Wright at the legendary Parr St Studios, Liverpool. The orchestral arrangements are from Dave Stewart who worked so successfully with ANATHEMA on We’re Here Because We’re Here.

Anathema – Falling Deeper (Album Montage) by Kscope

DEVIN TOWNSEND: The Rebirth of Devin Townsend

Few artists in metal have been as single-handedly influential and prolific in the late 90’s/2000’s as DEVIN TOWNSEND. Despite amassing a diehard fanbase and the high praise and respect of his peers, Devin‘s personal life was suffering. After taking a self-imposed sabbatical in conjunction with the end of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, Devin went through a soul searching journey and a reevaluation of his life.

APESHIT spoke to the mad scientist of metal before his show in LA earlier this year. We’re happy to report that not only is Devin back with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration, he’s here to be bigger and stronger than ever.
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Metal god Devin Townsend bestows upon us album number two in his four part “THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT” entitled Addicted. The album is most reminiscent of his Infinity album but with a lot more of everything. The album is built upon beautiful upon beautiful layer of synthesizers, fantastic hooks, and those familiar guitar tones in that famous Devin “metal pop” style. If you thought Infinity sounded futuristic, Addicted is light years ahead of that album.

To add to this musicial orgasm is another underground metal pioneer, Anneke Van Giersbergen (AGUA DE ANNIQUE/ex-THE GATHERING), who shares vocals duties on Addicted. To have her sing on Devin‘s songs is not only extremely interesting but it fits so perfectly. Both vocalists write catchy vocal lines and also hold out those long notes with ease. It’s a joy to hear two vocalists who can really sing their asses off throughout an entire album.

Songwise, you’ve got the songs with the gigantic cascades of lush synthesizers, driving tempos, and “big” vocals. One pleasant surprise is “Ih-Ah!” which is an acoustic guitar/piano driven song that is easily one of Devin‘s most accessible to date and least “abrasive.” Album closer, “Awake!!,” is the most bombastic track and features some fantastic vocals from Anneke and Devin.

Devin Townsend justifies his godly status with Addicted being yet another great work. The album would’ve been superb without Anneke Van Giersbergen. However, her part in Addicted really puts it over the top in the echelon of Devin Townsend albums. Few albums released in 2009 can match the pure listening pleasure and feelings of euphoria that is Addicted. (Inside Out Music)

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Videos of Anneke van Giersbergen’s Entire Acoustic Performance Posted

Footage from Anneke van Giersbergen‘s recent in-store appearance at Plato in Utrecht, Netherlands on April 3rd has been posted on YouTube for viewing.  The fan-filmed videos of former THE GATHERING and current AGUA DE ANNIQUE vocalist was provided by dastardmusic.  Check out the performance below:

Beautiful One
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View the rest after the jump.

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Anneke van Giersbergen‘s departure from THE GATHERING was certainly a surprising announcement. But with a rapid turnaround not remotely metallic, it appeared to be a necessary move for van Giersbergen to foster creative explorations. On the surface however, AGUA DE ANNIQUE treads the same waters of latter-day THE GATHERING. Though that’s every bit satisfying, it leaves a bit to be desired without much true differentiation. Regardless, Air is a relaxed album of enjoyable post-metal, gothic-tinged, indie rock, driven by Anneke‘s familiar voice. “Day After Yesterday,” “My Girl,” and “Sunken Soldiers Ball” are soft yet pleasant songs in a happier key not far from COLDPLAY-level adult contemporary, whatever-rock. On the more haunting end are tracks like “Ice Water” and “Trail of Grief,” which are dressed with darker melodies and parallel works of ANATHEMA and/or IN THE WOODS… The album’s best track is clearly “Yalin,” a song who’s vocal melodies change up beautifully between verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. Despite the too familiar sounds (songwriting, vocals, instrumentation), AGUA DE ANNIQUE‘s debut album is thoroughly positive and enjoyable. Let’s just hope that the band continues to grow and develop away from the familiar territory of its singer’s former band. (The End Records)

THE GATHERING – A Noise Severe

The only way to follow up an award winning DVD in A Sound Relief is to release another award worthy-DVD. A Noise Severe is packed with an abundance of the highest quality content that the band could include. The first disc is composed of THE GATHERING’s live performance in Santiago, Chile in front of 4,000 enthusiastic fans. The atmosphere of the vibe is simply electric as the band and the crowd constantly feed off each other’s energy making for a really fantastic performance. THE GATHERING put on a near-flawless show with plenty of smiles on the band’s faces throughout. As far as the two hour setlist goes, there is a really nice blend of songs from all albums of the Anneke van Giersbergen-era. The biggest thrill for many will undoubtedly be the inclusion of half of the landmark Mandylion album. The visuals are great in not only the fact that the stage presentation is top-notch but there are numerous cameras that allow for multiple views of the show. The second disc is comprised of a documentary of the making of the Home album and various video clips of songs from albums. The documentary, “Homemade,” is a very candid and insightful look into not only the writing process for Home but also a look into the personalities and lives of the band. You come away feeling a greater appreciation for the band as well as getting a new perspective on the album. Overall, this is simply one of the best music DVD releases available. The double CD version of A Noise Severe serves as a quality stand alone release due to the fantastic mix, performance, and the compelling atmosphere of the show that translates easily into an audio format. A Noise Severe is also a perfect snapshot in the life of the band near the end of the Anneke van Giersbergen-era. (The End Records)