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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Video of the Day: The Hidden Gem in KEEP OF KALESSIN’s Back Catalogue

Tried and true underground metal warriors are all familiar with Norway’s KEEP OF KALESSIN. No doubt they’re a worthy band with good records. However, one of their releases, the rare Reclaim EP, is something that may have eluded the access of many. If you can find this hard to find release, I suggest you snatch it up immediately.

Band mainman/guitarist, Obsidian C., recruited black metal legends, Attila Csihar (vocals) and Frost (drums), for this glorious undertaking. What resulted is one of the coolest pieces of black metal in an easy to enjoy EP format.

Check out this track and then prove me wrong:

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SEPULTURA Announce North American Headlining Tour

Brazil’s SEPULTURA have announced a North American headlining tour in support of their forthcoming Nuclear Blast debut. The tour will take place throughout April and May and feature a rotating array of support from BELPHEGOR (4/18/11-5/22/11), KEEP OF KALESSIN, HATE, NEURAXIS, BONDED BY BLOOD, NEVERMORE (5/23/11-5/31/11), and D.R.I. (5/7/11, 5/8/11 only).

Dates as follows (at the time of this post):
04/18/11 The Opera House – Toronto, ON – CANADA
04/19/11 Imperial de Quebec – Quebec City, QC – CANADA
04/20/11 Club Soda – Montreal, QC – CANADA
04/22/11 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
04/23/11 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
04/24/11 The Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA
04/25/11 The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
04/26/11 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
04/27/11 The Club at Firestone – Orlando, FL
04/28/11 Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
04/29/11 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
05/01/11 Clicks – Tyler, TX
05/02/11 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
05/03/11 Trees – Dallas, TX
05/05/11 Jake’s – Lubbock, TX
05/06/11 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
05/07/11 The Clubhouse – Tempe, AZ (w/ D.R.I.)
05/08/11 Club DV8 – Tucson, AZ (w/ D.R.I.)
05/09/11 House of Blues – San Diego, CA
05/10/11 The Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
05/11/11 The Grand Ballroom at Regency Center – San Francisco, CA
05/12/11 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
05/13/11 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
05/14/11 The Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
05/16/11 Gothic Theater – Englewood, CO
05/18/11 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
05/19/11 Reggies Rock Club – Chicago, IL
05/20/11 Blondie’s – Detroit, MI
05/21/11 Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
05/22/11 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
05/23/11 Expo Five – Louisville, KY
05/24/11 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
05/26/11 The Zoo – Winnipeg, MB – CANADA
05/27/11 The Exchange – Regina, SK – CANADA
05/28/11 Dickens – Calgary, AB – CANADA
05/29/11 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB – CANADA
05/31/11 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC – CANADA

Special VIP tickets that include a pre-show meet-and-greet are available now through EnterTheVault.com through December 28th, at which time they go on sale through all other ticketing systems.

Visit the band’s websites for all up-to-date touring information:


KEEP OF KALESSIN have been in the 2nd tier in terms of popularity because their big brothers in EMPEROR, IMMORTAL, and SATYRICON have infamous pasts. These Norwegian metalheads try and match their counterparts with their versatility and improved musicianship.

With an acoustic beginning and lush keyboards, “Dragon Iconography” starts off sounding like KOVENANT’s Nexus Polaris, but the crunchy guitar tone, intense blast beats, and thick production immediately shows otherwise. The vast improvement in production makes the previous effort, Kolossus, and its trash can sounding snare drum pale in comparison. Sometimes the vocals come off slightly Shagarath (DIMMU BORGIR) sounding, but tracks like “The Awakening” feature choir and clean vocal parts, and counter the usual black metal riffs and aggressive double bass typically adapted in this genre. Reptilian tries to balance itself out by varying the tempos within all the tracks.

While “The Dragontower” is a weaker tune, which includes a cheesy rock ‘n roll chorus line, “Dark As Moonless Night” is a slow and heavy track, laced with equally slow, but melodic solos to finish. When it’s time to get down and dirty, however, extreme tracks like “Judgment,” “Leaving the Mortal Flesh,” and “The Divine Land” blast away with thick bass backlines and blast beats that would make any extreme metal drummer proud.

Reptilian Majesty,” the final track, can be viewed in two parts; the first part being the black metal portion, which serves as a fitting end to a well-rounded disc. After a short ambient interlude, the second half of the 14-minute track begins, which is a slow, metal/rock/blues-solo inspired jam before returning to its roots and finishing with a furious black metal attack.

Reptilian is a long album with long songs, but that just means multiple listens will yield different results for the better. KEEP OF KALESSIN, while not pure black metal, have not abandoned their black metal roots, and the album is still very extreme, fast, and brutal, which should not disappoint older or newer fans of the band. (Nuclear Blast Records)

KEEP OF KALESSIN: Kolossal Ascension

Norwegian black metallers KEEP OF KALESSIN‘s outstanding last album Armada positioned the band to take it a step higher.  With a new label home in Nuclear Blast Records and new album in Kolossus, KEEP OF KALESSIN have their sights set on becoming the next big band from Norway.  APESHIT caught up with the band (sans drummer Vyl) right before their set in Anaheim, CA opening for BEHEMOTH and DIMMU BORGIR to talk about their ambitions, the process of creating Kolossus, and continuing the legacy of Norwegian black metal.

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ENSLAVED Land on Billboard Charts; Confirm 2009 Tour

Norway’s ENSLAVED have landed on the American Billboard Hard Music chart at #11 and the Heatseekers chart at #49 after having sold over 1,100 copies of their latest album Vertebrae since it’s October 28th release.

ENSLAVED guitarist and founding member Ivar Bjørnson shares his thoughts on this accomplishment and the upcoming 2009 North American tour:

“We were on the first day of our European tour in Copenhagen when we got the update from the U.S. on the Vertebrae release. We’ve been told the first sales figures are very good! We are very grateful for the reception Vertebrae has received in America; and now to see the first-week sales being doubled compared to those of Ruun is nothing short of amazing. We wish to thank the fans for backing the release, the media for the in-depth reviews and features, and everybody at Nuclear Blast for getting 100% behind ENSLAVED on this release.”

“The new songs sound like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and we can’t wait to take this album on the road – luckily the wait is over! The confirmation of the North American dates in May 2009 is the best news we could get. The two tours over there in 2007 were fantastic; the response was overwhelming and we got to meet and know so many dedicated fans and followers of ENSLAVED all over North America. Going back now, with the massive welcome Vertebrae has received, is something we can’t wait to do. Having SWALLOW THE SUN and KEEP OF KALESSIN as support is absolutely great. We can’t wait!”

Confirmed North American tour dates are below. Advanced tickets are on sale now exclusively through EnterTheVault.com until November 26th. On November 27th, tickets will go on sale through normal ticketing outlets.

May 01 Mokena, IL @ Pearl Room
May 02 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
May 03 Winnipeg, MB – Royal Albert Arms
May 04 Regina, SK – The exchange
May 05 Edmonton, AB – Starlite Room
May 06 Calgary, AB – Warehouse
May 07 Vancouver, BC – Plaza Club
May 08 Victoria, BC – Sugar
May 09 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
May 10 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
May 11 San Francisco, CA – Slims
May 12 West Hollywood, CA – Key Club
May 13 San Marcos, CA – Jumping Turtle
May 15 San Antonio, TX – Scout Bar
May 16 Houston, TX – Scout Bar
May 18 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
May 19 Orlando, FL – Backbooth
May 20 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
May 21 Raleigh, NC – Volume 11
May 22 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar – Maryland Deathfest
May 23 Worcester, MA – Palladium
May 24 New York, NY – The Blender Theatre at Gramercy
May 25 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Électriques
May 26 Toronto, ONT – Opera House
May 27 Rochester, NY – Penny Arcade
May 28 Springfield, VA – Jaxx
May 29 Louisville, KY – Uncle Pleasants
May 30 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave


The huge waves that KEEP OF KALESSIN made with their third album, Armada, fueled the anticipation for their follow-up, Kolossus. While those who expected to be totally floored will be disappointed, Kolossus still maintains a good level of quality. The album carries with it the same storytelling approach but has more of an epic feel overall. Stylistically, KEEP OF KALESSIN continue the sound of the previous album with perhaps less thrashy parts. However, there is growth and elaboration in the song structures to give Kolossus a grander feel. Vocalist Thebon continues to grow as one of extreme metal’s more distinct and recognizable voices with his ability to use his voice in whichever way the song calls for. The rest of the band are tight and blast and pull back the throttle with ease. “Rising Sign” has a fantastic song section that slowly fades with some beautiful piano, strings, and acoustic guitars and gives way to sweeping heavy guitars. “Warmonger” gets the blood flowing with an up tempo thrash beat and a catchy chorus. It is here that guitarist/band leader Obsidian C. decides to unleash his lead guitar skills with a great solo that crescendos to a volcanic peak. The song also has an excellent clean guitar riff that is laid on top of the heaviness. The title track takes a while to get started but it turns into a blast fest and sees KEEP OF KALESSIN at their best. The intensity burns aways into a Middle Eastern-style lead guitar section which then leads to a totally epic, almost-movie like section. The song then boomerangs back to blasting intensity. Overall, listeners may have their patience tried when seeking big hooks, the harder hitting impact, or sense of urgency found on its predecessor. While there is plenty of good material here and some new dimensions to the band’s sound, the album feels as if it sometimes gets too lost in much of its embellishments or scope. (Nuclear Blast Records)

Death by Decibels Tour Dates Announced

The latest installment of the Death by Decibels tour has been announced.  This edition will feature KATAKLYSM, DYING FETUS, ELUVEITIE, and KEEP OF KALESSIN.

Chrigel Glanzman of ELUVEITIE commented on their participation: “ELUVEITIE is homesick for America! We are more than just happy to be welcomed for a second time with the mates of KATAKLYSM and KEEP OF KALESSIN. Our clan is so pleased to cheer up with all of you again and we simply can’t wait to be back in the States. See you there!”

Obsidian C. from KEEP OF KALESSIN added:  “KEEP OF KALESSIN is excited about returning to north America for the second time in 2008! After the very successful tour we did with BEHEMOTH and DIMMU BORGIR in April, it will be great to play for the American audience again, now that our new album Kolossus is in the stores!”

Tour dates are as follows:

09/26/08  The Pearl Room – Mokena, IL
09/27/08  Harpo’s Concert Theatre – Detroit, MI
09/28/08  Peabody’s Concert Club – Cleveland, OH
09/29/08  Blender Theater at Gramercy – New York, NY
09/30/08  Sonar – Baltimore, MD
10/01/08  The Palladium – Worcester, MA
10/02/08  Jaxx – W. Springfield, VA
10/03/08  The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
10/04/08  Ground Zero – Spartanburg, SC
10/05/08  Volume 11 – Raleigh, NC
10/07/08  Meridian – Houston, TX
10/08/08  White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
10/09/08  Ridglea Theater – Dallas, TX
10/10/08  Club 101 – El Paso, TX
10/11/08  Soma – San Diego, CA
10/12/08  The Key Club – Hollywood, CA
10/14/08  The Avalon – Santa Clara (San Francisco), CA
10/15/08  Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
10/16/08  Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
10/24/08  Le Medley – Montreal, QC – CANADA
10/25/08  L’Imperial – Quebec City, QC – CANADA
10/26/08  The Opera House – Toronto, ON – CANADA

BEHEMOTH Prepares For DIMMU BORGIR Tour; Shoots New Video

Poland’s BEHEMOTH are set to make their much anticipated return to North America this spring on “The Invaluable Darkness Tour Part 2” as direct support to DIMMU BORGIR. The month-long trek, which kicks off on April 2nd, also features KEEP OF KALESSIN in the support slot and marks BEHEMOTH’s third stateside run in support of The Apostasy.

Nergal (vocals, guitars) states: “We’ve always been big DIMMU fans, plus I’ve known the guys since early 90’s and we’ve remained friends ever since. Silenoz (DIMMU BORGIR guitarist) and I have been thinking about putting together this package for a long time now. The idea was to create the most lethal bill and bring evil back to States! For BEHEMOTH it’s gonna be the last tour of North American for The Apostasy touring cycle. I’m stoked. I’m more than sure that fans will totally dig this package. We’ve got some surprises ready for this event, so hopefully you are all ready for it. See you all there.

“We just finished shooting a video for another song from The Apostasy. Picking ‘At The Left Hand Ov God’ as our next single seemed to be a natural choice. We wanted to do something new and refreshing. This is the most epic clip we’ve ever done. Darek Szczepanski from Group 13, a company based in Wroclaw, Poland, was in charge for the production. We had 20 people working for us for two days, 15 hours straight. Sit tight and get ready for something huge and disturbing!”

04/02 Sound Academy – Toronto, ON
04/03 Metropolis – Montreal, QC (w/NECRONOMICON)
04/04 The Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA
04/05 Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
04/07 The Myth – St. Paul, MN
04/09 Edmonton Events Center – Edmonton, AB
04/10 MacEwan Ballroom – Calgary, AB
04/11 The Big Easy – Spokane, WA
04/12 Roseland Theatre – Portland, OR (w/HEAVEN SHALL BURN)
04/14 The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
04/16 The Grove – Anaheim, CA
04/17 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
04/18 Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
04/19 Ogden Theater – Denver, CO
04/21 Stubbs BBQ – Austin, TX
04/22 Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
04/24 Mr. Smalls Theatre – Millvale, PA
04/25 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
04/26 The Palladium – Worcester, MA (New England Metalfest)
04/27 930 Club – Washington, DC
04/28 NorVA – Norfolk, VA
04/30 Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
05/01 Jannus Landing – St. Petersburg, FL
05/02 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
05/03 Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH
05/04 House of Blues – Chicago, IL


In support of their Billboard Top 200-charting album In Sorte Diaboli, Norway’s renowned melodic black metal band, DIMMU BORGIR, will be returning to North America as part of “The Invaluable Darkness Tour Part 2 – Legions Of The Chosen Few” headlining run with Poland’s BEHEMOTH and fellow countrymen, KEEP OF KALESSIN. The 24-show trek will launch on April 2nd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and will end on May 4th in Chicago. Drummer Tony Laureano will continue to handle drum duties, as the 2007 injury suffered by Hellhammer still has him sidelined.


04/02/08 Sound Academy – Toronto, ON – CANADA
04/03/08 Metropolis – Montreal, QC – CANADA
04/04/08 The Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA
04/07/08 The Myth – Minneapolis, MN
04/09/08 Edmonton Events Center – Edmonton, AB – CANADA
04/10/08 Macewan Ballroom – Calgary, AB – CANADA
04/11/08 The Big Easy – Spokane, WA
04/12/08 Roseland Theatre – Portland, OR
04/14/08 The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
04/16/08 The Grove – Anaheim, CA
04/17/08 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
04/18/08 Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
04/19/08 Ogden Theater – Denver, CO
04/21/08 Stubbs BBQ – Austin, TX
04/22/08 Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
04/25/08 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
04/26/08 The Palladium (New England Metal Fest) – Worcester, MA
04/27/08 930 Club – Washington, DC
04/28/08 The Norva – Norfolk, VA
04/30/08 Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
05/01/08 Jannus Landing – St. Petersburg, FL
05/02/08 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
05/03/08 Bogarts – Cincinnati, OH
05/04/08 House of Blues – Chicago, IL