THE SPIRIT – Sounds from the Vortex

While THE SPIRIT hail from Saarbrücken, Germany, they sound like they were born in the metal Mecca of Gothenburg, Sweden.  It’s abundantly clear that DISSECTION are, by far, their main influence.  However, a closer ear can hear influences from other Swedish black/death metal bands such as UNANIMATED and SACRAMENTUM.

A handful of bands have tried to carry the torch left by the legendary DISSECTION, such as THULCANDRA, but none of them have come as close as THE SPIRIT.  On their debut album, Sounds from the Vortex, they essentially wrote the album that could’ve followed Storm of the Light’s Bane, and I do not make that statement haphazardly.

Sounds from the Vortex has the perfect balance of pure ferocity, melody, and, most importantly, that mysterious atmosphere of the classic albums that came out of Sweden in the mid to late 90’s.

Having said all of that, THE SPIRIT should also be praised for the endless prime riffing, instrumental prowess, and tight songwriting. Check out the barrage of ice that hits on the 4:09 mark on “The Clouds of Damnation.” “Cross the Bridge to Eternity” has unique riffing patterns reminiscent of something off of DARK TRANQUILLITY‘s The Mind’s I.

The album’s finishes out as strongly a possible in its final three songs.  Powerful and confident, these songs close out what is one of the best debuts in years.  If THE SPIRIT can replicate this level of excellence on album number two, their ascension is guaranteed. (Nuclear Blast Records)

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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DARK TRANQUILLITY: First Video “The Pitiless” Released; Bassist Officially Announced

On November 4th, 2016, DARK TRANQUILLITY will release their 11th album Atoma through Century Media Records. The band is proud to present the first single and video for the song “The Pitiless“:

The band comments: “Selecting the first single from an album as diverse as Atoma is always a hard task, but we felt that The Pitiless gives a good representation of the general vibe of the material. It’s fast, melodic and with a sense of urgency that permeates the whole album. Enjoy!”

The video was filmed during their stay at the German Turock Open Air Festival 2016 in Essen by the director Dirk Behlau. The next video will be filmed by Vesa Ranta (ex-SENTENCED drummer) in Northern Sweden and you can expect something very epic.

Additionally, the band have finally announced that Swedish death metal vet Anders Iwers is an official member:

“We’re happy to announce mr. Anders Iwers (known from his work withTiamat, Avatarium and Ceremonial Oath) as a full member of the band! As most of you know, he has been handling bass duties live for quite a while now, as well as doing a fantastic job playing on “Atoma”, so we’re very pleased to get rid of the “session” tag and officially welcome him to the fold. Follow him on Anders Iwers Official.

Founding DARK TRANQUILLITY Member Martin Henriksson Announces Departure

Photo credit: Sinners ArtFounding DARK TRANQUILLITY member, Martin Henriksson, has announced his departure from the band.  Whether it was through his bass playing in the earlier years to his guitar playing, he helped start a revolutionary new style of metal and put Gothenberg, Sweden on the map for the past 26 years.  Here is the official statement:

“While putting the finishing touches on the material for our next album, we have to inform you that guitarist and original member Martin Henriksson sadly but amicably left the band a couple of months ago. Here is his statement:

“Dear Dark Tranquillity fans,

“I recently quit the band. I feel I have lost the passion for playing music, and Dark Tranquillity deserves to have members that are 100% committed to the art. Therefore I decided it’s in everyone’s best interest to step aside and leave the band with the best possible ability to grow and get even stronger. I’ve had 26 years filled with wonderful memories and we made a lot of great music together, and for that I’m forever grateful. Thanks to all the fans, crew and other people involved that supported Dark Tranquillity through the years!
Martin Henriksson


Dark Tranquillity - ConstructAlbum number 10, Construct, is finally here from the kings of Gothenburg, Sweden.  After making their biggest leap in sound and style in recent times with We Are the Void, DARK TRANQUILLITY continue moving forward.

Those ghostly, eerie, and beautifully sublime and sad feelings from We Are the Void are further explored.  New melodic sensibilities and angles are born here as well.  There are also nods to the past but presented with the wisdom that the band has attained through out the years.

Songs such as “The Silence in Between,” “Apathetic“,  “Endtime Hearts” and “Weight of the End” are a piece of cake for them.  Catchy as hell with some of the best riffs DT have ever written, and I’m referring to those distinctly invincible DT riffs.

Where they shine the brightest on Construct is when they shift into the somber, subdued atmospheres.  The sad melodic lead guitar riff on album opener, “For Broken Words,” speaks volumes.

Uniformity” calls to mind the band’s love of DEPECHE MODE as well as the cold atmospheres from We Are the Void. It is this track where we hear Mikael Stanne  utilizes those soulful clean vocals that we all love so much. The song ends likes glaciers in the distance silently and slowly toppling into the sea.

Construct goes to another level with the soulful “What Only You Know.” The song is a culmination of the best elements of the album – soul, massive keyboards, different tempos, great transitions between quiet and heavy parts, and clean vocals.

State of Trust” is an exercise in dichotomies with the band at its cleanest crashing against heavy, jagged rocks of tension.  The volatility and contrast are awesome.

Album closer, “None Becoming,” sends Construct into the depths of oblivion.  It ranks as one of the band’s most powerful, epic songs, and is a true culmination and summary of present day DT.

Bonus tracks, “Immemorial” and “Photon Dreams,” are definitely worth the few extra bucks.

The subtleties on Construct should never be ignored, whether it be technical brilliance, song arrangements, well placed drum fills, or great lyrics.  Those are the crucial details that distinguish DT as standing high above the pack.  Res ipsa loquitor.

The New DARK TRANQUILLITY Album Approaches

Gothenburg, Sweden’s DARK TRANQUILLITY are set to release their new album, Construct, on May 27, 2013.  Check out the trailer.  There are some snippets of the new album.

Dark Tranquillity - ConstructDARK TRANQUILLITY has this to say about Construct:

“The selected few people that so far have been granted the privilege of hearing the full album are uniformingly convinced that ‘Construct‘ is the strongest and most exciting D.T. album in a long time, and who are we to disagree? While still bearing the unmistakable mark of the dark tranquillity, the record is probably our most different and diverse offering since 1999’s ‘Projector‘. For now, we’re pleased to share the track-list, trailer and sleeve design with you, but the first musical preview will appear in the near future.”

Construct US release track-listing:

1. “For Broken Words
2. “The Science Of Noise
3. “Uniformity
4. “The Silence In Between
5. “Apathetic
6. “What Only You Know
7. “Endtime Hearts
8. “State Of Trust
9. “Weight Of The End
10. “None Becoming
11. “Immemorial” (bonus track)
12. “Photon Dreams” (bonus track)

New DARK TRANQUILLITY Album Hits May 2013

Dark TranquillityGothenburg gods, DARK TRANQUILLITY, released their first album, Skydancer, 20 years ago and are set to release 10th album, Construct, on May 2013.

The band comments: “Greetings, Darklings! After having played over 200 shows in every corner of the world in support of the ‘We Are The Void‘ album, it’s time to focus inwards and lock ourselves up in the studio. Months and months of hard songwriting work has paid off, and the recording sessions will start early this year. Further details will be announced in due time, but for now we can reveal that the album will be entitled ‘Construct‘ and that we’re very excited to have Jens Bogren (PARADISE LOST, OPETH, KATATONIA) taking care of the mix. The release date is set for May 28 in North America.”

The next chance to see DARK TRANQUILLITY live will be in Dubai, where the band has never played before. Some European summer festival appearances have also been announced, and the band is currently working on a US tour for this upcoming September. Stay tuned for more tour dates coming soon!

DARK TRANQUILLITY to Digitally Release Zero Distance EP on October 22nd

Swedish melodic death metal legends DARK TRANQUILLITY will digitally release their Zero Distance EP on October 22nd in North America. Taken from the European tour edition of We are the Void (2010).

Zero Distance tracklisting:

Zero Distance
Out of Gravity
Star of Nothingness
To Where Fires Cannot Feed
The Bow and the Arrow

DARK TRANQUILLITY had this to say about the EP and the immediate future of the band: “We are excited to offer the ‘Zero Distance‘ EP to our US fans who missed out on being able to pick up the limited tour edition of ‘We Are The Void.’ We would also like to inform our fans that we’re are already working on songs for the new album and we plan to enter the studio after the ‘Metal Attack Over Europe‘ tour with our label mates WARBRINGER! We expect to see a summer 2013 release of this new opus and we look forward to seeing everyone in the U.S. as we tour in support of this new release…”

Check out video for the track “Zero Distance”:

The band is currently working on their 10th studio album, tentatively set for a summer 2013 release via Century Media Records.