WITCHERY – Witchkrieg

After taking a breather in their respective other bands, namely THE HAUNTED, OPETH, and ARCH ENEMY, the members of WITCHERY offer Witchkrieg, the first album with vocalist Legion (ex-MARDUK) on board. Upon first glance, Legion’s vocals are much more varied than when he had the monotone screech in MARDUK – unfortunately, most of his vocals are masked by too many effects, which cheapens the excitement of the new vocalist.

Witchkrieg” opens with the crunchy, old school WITCHERY sound, with nice, crisp production, as the album starts off with a lot of promise. Kerry King’s trademark solo fits the opening track perfectly, and sounds completely in tune with the music. But the album is quite bi-polar, as a song like “The God Who Fell From Earth” opens with a bland nu-metal riff, and even guitar master Hank Shermann cannot save this blunder. “Conqueror’s Return” has a few headbanging riffs, but the layers of effects on the vocals make the song almost unbearable. Witchkrieg thrashes away with “The Reaver,” and the trade off solos from EXODUSGary Holt and Lee Altus show that this album has glimpses of brilliance.

Witchkrieg falls into the cliché of cheesy songwriting, as “From Dead to Worse” has a great opening, but the chorus is so bland that it sounds like Nathan Explosion of DETHKLOK is singing; fortunately, the solos from Andy LaRocque adds a nice flair to the end. “Devil Rides Out” is classic WITCHERY material, and “Hellhound” is a fast, brutal, and all out thrash attack.

Witchkrieg is an average effort, as there are good riffs scattered around here and there, but is mostly mediocre and somewhat disappointing. The band should always be looked upon as just a side project, as guitarist Jensen has used up all his good riffs in THE HAUNTED. While the plethora of guest musicians add a nice touch to the album, it’s safe to say that people have given this band more credit than they deserve. (Century Media Records)

OPETH to Release In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in September

As an ongoing celebration of OPETH‘s 20th anniversary, the band will be releasing live video footage and audio from their recent performance at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall.

In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall is set for a September 21st release through Roadrunner Records, and will be available in three configurations…

–Limited Edition Vinyl Box Set (double DVD set, four 180-gram LP’s, numbered lithograph with art designed by Mikael Åkerfeldt and Travis Smith, 20-page booklet, more)
–5-disc set (2 DVDs, 3 CDs)
–Double DVD set

Recorded April 5th, 2010, the performance includes two sets–the first consisting of the band’s Blackwater Park album in its entirety, and the second, a chronologically arranged set from OPETH‘s entire catalog.

Set 1:
1. “The Leper Affinity
2. “Bleak
3. “Harvest
4. “The Drapery Falls
5. “Dirge For November
6. “The Funeral Portrait
7. “Patterns In The Ivy
8. “Blackwater Park

Set 2
1. “Forest Of October
2. “Advent
3. “April Ethereal
4. “The Moor
5. “Wreath
6. “Hope Leaves
7. “Harlequin Forest
8. “The Lotus Eater

IHSAHN: Progressive Thrills and Chills for a Post-Black Metal Age

The following interview with Ihsahn was conducted and gracefully provided by MetalGeorge for Examiner.com, as the site’s Cape Cod Rock Music Examiner (original article).

Having first acquired a copy of After-the third solo effort from former EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn-in late 2009, it was clear from the get-go that this truly was going to be the first great album of 2010. Time has proven this initial analysis correct, as After survives further investigation in spades, spreading the wealth of its expansive songwriting and proving-beyond a shadow of doubt-that Ihsahn has certifiably arrived as a solo artist. Notoriously perfectionist in his regard for art and music, Ihsahn spoke to Cape Cod Rock and shed a little light into exactly what sort of thoughts drive this creative, driven mind to unleash sounds beyond the oft-limiting parameters of the black metal spectrum.
Continue reading

OPETH, ENSLAVED to Tour North America in May

Sweden’s OPETH are set to return to North America for a third tour run supporting their acclaimed Watershed album.  Direct support will come from Norway’s ENSLAVED, who recently won their third Norwegian Grammy award, are touring in support of their much talked about Vertebrae album.

Tour dates are as follows:
May 1 – Starland Ballroom, Sayerville, NJ
May 2 – House of Blues, Boston, MA
May 3 – Medley, Montreal, QUE
May 4 – Sound Academy, Toronto ON
May 5 – Mr. Smalls, Pittsburgh, PA
May 6 – House of Blues, Chicago, IL
May 8 – Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE
May 9 – Fox Theater, Boulder, CO
May 11 – Knitting Factory, Boise, ID
May 12 – Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
May 13 – Senator Theater, Chico, CA
May 14 – Regency Center at Grand Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
May 15 – The Glasshouse, Pomona, CA
May 16 – Avalon, Los Angeles, CA
May 17 – Rialto Theater, Tucson, AZ
May 19 – Scout Bar, San Antonio, TX
May 20 – Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK
May 21 – New Daisy Theater, Memphis, TN
May 22 – Bijou Theater, Knoxville, TN
May 23 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
May 24 – Clutch Cargo’s, Detroit, MI
May 26 – Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center, New York, NY
May 27 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2008

We finally got off our asses and did it.  It’s already the year 2009, but we’ve complied a list of our top albums of 2008.  Compiling such a list is never easy, and 2008 was no exception.  Maybe it was a lack of albums that really stood out, or maybe we just weren’t paying enough attention.  Regardless, we took a quick look back on the metal albums we felt were notable in 2008.
Continue reading

Ihsahn to Support OPETH on Norwegian Tour

Mnemosyne Productions have announced that Ihsahn will support OPETH on their upcoming Norwegian live performances arranged by Rikskonsertene/Statnett.

Ihsahn had this to say about the live dates: “I’ve been getting quite a few live-offers for my solo stuff, but haven’t found time to prioritize this until now. I feel this is an opportunity to try out the material live on my home-ground and to travel with a great band like OPETH while doing it.”

Tuesday 10th of March – Oslo, Rockefeller
Wednesday 11th of March – Trondheim, Samfundet
Thursday 12th of March – Volda, Rokken
Friday 13th of March – Sogndal, Meieriet
Saturday 14th of March – Bergen, USF Verftet
Sunday 15th of March – Stavanger, Folken
Wednesday 18th March – Drammen, Union Scene

IHSAHN: New Empires

Becoming an unquestionable underground legend as a member of EMPEROR in your teens can be a hard act to follow. However, Ihsahn has taken on the task of continuing his musical legacy with his solo albums in addition to his work in PECCATUM and HARDINGROCK. Armed with the strong artistic vision he is known for, his new solo album, angL, is a further exploration of new sounds and places for Ihsahn. One of metal’s most relevant and potent artists shared his thoughts about his artistic vision, Rob Halford, and the challenge of continuing his musical legacy.
Continue reading

OPETH – Watershed

OPETH have gone through a lot of changes throughout their impressive rise to the top of the underground. Watershed their ninth studio album, sees the band continue to develop, refine, and expand their unique sound creating what may be their most complete work to date. Oddly enough, Watershed opens up in a gentle, understated manner with “Coil” a soft, acoustic number that would have fit right at home on the band’s predominately acoustic album Damnation. Embracing classic 70’s folk prog, the song evokes an almost cinematic quality once the wind instruments kick in and guest singer Nathalie Lorichs arrives to match Mikael Akerfeldt‘s tender croon. But the soft breeze soon disappears with the arrival of the powerful, mammoth sounding “Heir Apparent.” Thick, dense layers of riffs permeate throughout the song before evolving into a maze of carefully thought out arrangements and intricate textures. “The Lotus Eater” follows up with furious blastbeats courtesy of new drummer Martin Axenrot, who delivers a much more powerful, thunderous hammering than either of his predecessors. Further enhancing “The Lotus Eater” is multi-instrumentalist Per Wiberg who takes on a more prominent role this time around with his extensive choice of keys, organs, and pianos creating new layers of sound as well as busy free flowing movements to Akerfeldt and new guitarist Fredrik Akesson‘s treasure trove of riffs and baroque, almost classical scales. The level of composition and performance on this track is at an all time high, and it makes it worth the price of admission alone. Then there’s “Hessian Peel” which starts with soulful vocals and elegant acoustics, gradually building in atmosphere and mood before Axenrot‘s double-bass drumming and the band’s driving metal riffs come storming in. The song continuously builds and changes taking the listener on a road less traveled. It pretty much goes without saying, but OPETH have delivered yet another level of quality musical craftmanship, once again creating another album of the highest standards which isn’t likely to be topped until their next audio journey. (Roadrunner Records)

IHSAHN’s Second Solo Album Set For May 27th Release Date

Candlelight Records today confirms May 27 as the American release date for strong>angL, the second solo album from former EMPEROR vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. The album features nine new songs all written and performed by the highly respected musician. The album features guest performances by drummer Asgeir Mickelson, bassist Lars Koppang Norberg (both of the band SPIRAL ARCHITECT) and Mikael Akerfeldt (OPETH).

Recorded and mixed by Ihsahn at Symphonique Studios in Notodden, Norway (the studio owned by Ihsahn and partner Heidi Tveitan), additional work was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios and Borge Finnstad at Toproom Studios. Commenting about the record’s musical collaborations, “Asgeir (Mickelson) did such a great job on my last album (The Adversary, Candlelight 2006), that while in preproduction for angL I programmed a much more generic drum track to leave more creative license for him. It was on Asgeir’s recommendation that Lars (Koppang Norberg) contribute to the album. They both recorded at Asgeir’s studio (Multimono Studios) and it came together nicely.”

Working with Mikael Akerfeldt, “Mikael and I go back as friends since the early nineties. We met up when EMPEROR headlined Wacken in 2006 and had a great time watching bands together. We talked then about doing something together at some point and in spite of busy schedules on both sides this luckily came to happen. Rough mixes of “Unhealer” with lyrics were sent to Mikael with the idea for both clean and growl vocals. He worked on it during his off-time recording the new OPETH album. I could not be any happier with the results.”

Writing for angL began early in 2007 and picked up momentum after the EMPEROR US performances early last summer. “I knew to a greater extent where I wanted to go with this album, though I feel all albums are a kind of struggle to overcome. Regardless of how many you make, it never gets any easier.” An aggressive schedule to complete the album, in addition to recording projects for HARDINGROCK (in which Ihsahn also contributes) and STAROFASH (released February 26), Ihsahn completed album tracking in early December. With mixing and mastering completed early this year, the musician is already starting promotion with for the album; efforts that will take up much of his time over the coming months leading up to album release.

Track listing for angL (not in running order) is: “Alchemist,” “Elevator,” “Malediction,” “Misanthrope,” “Monolith,” “Morningstar,” “Scarab,” “Threnody” and “Unhealer.”

3 Announces “Progressive Nation” Tour Dates, The End is Begun Special Edition

Prog-rockers 3 are pleased to announce that they will be performing on the Progressive Nation Tour this Spring. The Progressive Nation Tour features prog-metal extraordinaires DREAM THEATER, OPETH, and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME. The tour kicks off in Los Angeles on May 2 and wraps up June in Tampa, FL.

3 will be taking part in the tour to support the February 19 re-release of their latest album, The End is Begun. The Special Edition of the album features a cover of PINK FLOYD’s “See Emily Play,” as well as a bonus DVD featuring live footage of the band’s performance at the Metal Blade 25th Anniversary show from Worcester, Massachusetts and music videos for the songs “All that Remains” and “Alien Angel.”

5/02 – Los Angeles, CA – Gibson Amphitheater
5/03 – Oakland, CA – Paramount Theater
5/05 – Seattle, WA – Wamu Theater
5/06 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum
5/09 – Calgary, AB – Macewan Hall
5/10 – Calgary, AB – Macewan Hall
5/12 – Minneapolis, MN – Myth
5/13 – Chicago, IL – Rosemont Theater
5/14 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
5/16 – Columbus, OH – LC Amphitheater
5/17 – Cleveland, OH – Time Warner Amphitheater at Tower City
5/18 – Albany, NY – The Armory
5/20 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theater
5/21 – New York, NY – Terminal 5
5/22 – New York, NY – Terminal 5
5/26 – Washington, DC – DAR Constitution Hall
5/27 – Richmond, VA – The National
5/28 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
5/30 – Miami, FL – The Fillmore
5/31 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock
6/01 – Tampa, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall