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Distorted Sound - Issue 29 2017 part 2

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Written by
WINTERSUN are a band that have become a
key staple in metal music but not without some
controversy. They have earned the trust of their
fans to set up Crowdfunding campaigns to pay
for a studio to be built to complete Time II, their
long-awaited album and then instead delivered a
new album called The Forest Seasons, which was
released earlier this year. Distorted Sound had the
chance to catch up with Jari Mäenpää and Teemu
Mäntysaari ahead of their closing slot at this
year’s Bloodstock Festival to talk the new album,
the controversies around their Crowdfunding
campaigns and what is next for the band.
Teemu was definitely the most talkative of the two,
an excitable attitude compared to the shyer Jari,
delving into things a lot more informatively. Talking
about their new album, The Forest Seasons, Teemu
was quick to point out that a lot of people were
surprised at the release, it wasn’t the album they
said they were going to release but fans were putting
that aside and the reception was going well for them,
Jari on the other hand mentioned that whilst fans
are enjoying the new album there are people who
aren’t happy about the decision that WINTERSUN
Photographs by
Onni Wiljami Kinnunen
made regarding an even further delay on Time II.
Asking about the criticism, Jari responded “yeah,
there’s some people like that and aren’t happy
about it but most of the fans are really enjoying the
new album and I feel really good about that. It’s a
different kind of album and we had to take a side
road for now and do something different because
it was also for me, the album. Time II is killing
me and I couldn’t make it with my resources that
I had like mixing and timing in my apartment.”
This is where Crowdfunding requests come in from
WINTERSUN, to make Time II the band requested
that fans could help them fund the albums progress
as Jari has expressed many times that he doesn’t
have the resources to make the album the way he
wants it. He is particular and knows exactly how he
wants it to sound, the frustration is definitely there
for him and the rest of the band to not be able to
produce their vision but because of this it led to some
frustration from fans as well. During the release of
the Crowdfunding campaign and even now there
are fans out there that don’t believe that they’re
using the money on exactly what they say they are,
it’s to splurge on getting this big studio with all the
t buil
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trimmings – the arguments online about it were
rather finger-pointing but after the release of The
Forest – Documentary, fans quickly started to see
that this is what WINTERSUN were spending the
money on as opposed to the speculated ideas. Jari still
had to defend himself though to some and to this day
he does, ignoring trolls but also showing fans what
the money is going on and that he’s also pumping
his personal earnings into the project as well.
Defending the Crowdfunding campaign, Teemu
said “well if people looked at the videos we did for
the Crowdfunding, people will understand why
we did it in the first place and where the money
goes. Now, with this big sum of money and we are
really grateful for all the fans that participated and
supported us, a big part of the money is going to
go to the Finnish government with taxes so that
is why we need another Crowdfunding campaign.
Hopefully not a third one, but at least a second one,
and then really the idea is to build a studio facility,
and of course there has been the sauna-gate thing!”
Explains Teemu. “The thing is, we’re not just building
a studio facility, we’re building a place where Jari can
live himself because for him, making music is not
an 8-4 job. For him, it’s really when the inspiration
strikes and then he can work like five days in a row
with no sleep. Having our own space where we can
do really professional stuff from the beginning,
when you have the inspiration and you can just walk
into the recording room without using a third-party
studio, that’s really the main point of the studio.”
It might not seem fair that WINTERSUN should
defend themselves as there are so many bands out
there that use these platforms to make albums etc.
but none have really used it to build a space to record
but the defending of themselves and their decisions
has not made them lose sight of what they want and
they have still pushed ahead to achieve their goal.
Time II might be further in the horizon but they
have given us The Forest Seasons which is going
down a treat with fans, they just have to be a
slight bit more patient. In the meantime, though,
WINTERSUN are going to be embarking on their
own headlining European tour, covering around
15 countries. After that they’re going to be setting
a goal to go to Asia, Australia and South America
but it has been officially announced now that at the
beginning of next year the band will be supporting
ARCH ENEMY all around Europe. After all the
touring, they are hoping to have the fundamental
ideas for Crowdfunding campaign number two to
go ahead. So, whilst they feel they should defend
themselves at times it’s not hard to see that the band
work hard to achieve their full potential and the
talent that ebbed out of The Forest Seasons may only
make the eventual release of Time II even sweeter.
There a number of festivals out there now, and the majority will try and cater to
a broad audience in order to gain the maximum appeal. But then there are places like
ArcTanGent Festival, where the bands can be as far left field as they come, with
the majority not even coming with a vocalist. These festival caters to the thinking
music fan, with technical wizardry from the musicians coming under tremendous praise
and every band being able to pull a crowd thanks to the nature of the ArcTanGent
punter; someone who actually wants to listen to the bands playing. The tiny site
means the festival has an incredibly intimate feel to it, making the whole weekend a
remarkable experience. Find out what we thought in the full review below!
GALLOPS - 7/10
For the uninitiated GALLOPS are a good introduction to the weird and wacky sounds of ArcTanGent
Festival. The looped electronic sections gives the sound an eerie atmosphere but with the band relying on
the loops to start the songs, when the tech failed throughout their set, the momentum drags to a halt. When
everything is working there is a dark tranquillity to their music that makes it enticing.
USA NAILS - 5/10
With a dirty garage punk sound, USA NAILS play a set that
oozes attitude but lacks anything of real melody. The vocals
are lost in the mix of the harsh guitars and the songs, whilst
boasting choruses and sections to move your feet too, aren’t the
most memorable collection.
HECK - 9/10
Playing their last ever show after only announcing it mere
days beforehand, the PX3 Stage packed out to watch HECK
decimate one more venue before they called it a day. Before
the band starts, the words ‘one more time’ murmur from
the amps before Powerboat Disaster absolutely levels the
entire tent. The band hold absolutely nothing back as they
blast through their set staples of Good As Dead, The Great
Hardcore Swindle and Mope. Whilst the members flail
around on stage, jumping off amp stacks and generally
running riot, the thoughts of losing a band as brilliant as
this becomes quite a bitter pill to swallow. British hardcore
has always been a bit whacky, but HECK, as they proved
during their final show, took whacky and ran with it to the
greatest effect.
TOTORRO - 8/10
Despite being such a young band, TOTORRO have created a nice little following behind them. Playing their
second ArcTanGent Festival, the French five-piece lead the crowd through a incredibly enjoyable 40 minute
set complete with a conga line. Their feel good summery tunes are somewhat juxtaposed by the rancid weather on site but the band all play with huge smiles and the crowd reciprocates the tangible positivity that the
band create.
With basslines that hit right in the gut, THE
FUTURE OF THE LEFT boast some proper power
behind them, and their weird lyrics and song topics
just make the set a different affair from the rest.
Whilst the muscle is definitely there, the band lacks
any real hooks instead opting for groove to keep the
crowd locked in.
Watching NORDIC GIANTS live isn’t as simple as watching any other band. The two piece ambient outfit
don’t simply offer up live music, instead opting to deliver a complete experience including some mind
boggling visuals. Walking on stage to a large screen and a projector, every song NORDIC GIANTS play
serves as the soundtrack to a short film, each one different from the last and yet still as impactful and moving.
Seeing this band live is a completely different experience to anything else, as there isn’t just enjoyment to be
found here, but buckets of admiration towards just how much work must go into making something of this
With a MASTODON support slot ahead of them, RUSSIAN CIRCLES
show just why they’ve been chosen for that tour. With a colossally heavy
sound that crashed like a tidal wave whenever the band see fit, their
crunching guitar tone sounds massive on the Yohkai Stage. The band
pack out the tent, probably due to the fact that the entire surrounding
town can hear them due to how loud the music is, but this works in the
groups favour, as the crowd provides plenty of energy to make up for the
rather static members on the stage.
Opening up the main stage are the two piece of RIGHT HAND LEFT HAND, and their performance is
intriguing in its set up. With a drummer and a guitarist, the guitarist loops motifs from one guitar before
switching to another and so forth before the song is made. It’s a cool idea but the swapping of guitars wastes
time and the songs are difficult to really get into as they’re being built.
HIKES - 8/10
Playing their first ever UK show, HIKES absolutely
smash the main stage. With their almost lounge
influenced sound, they run through a soothing
selection of pleasant rock with enough thought
behind the drums and polyrhythmic guitars to keep
even the most technical musical brain on their toes.
The band show such gratification for being on the
stage, with the band mentioning how happy they are
In the moment of playing. It’s a great set and one that
paints HIKES in an incredibly memorable light.
Having caught OHHMS at Bloodstock Festival
just the previous week, OHHMS still refuse to let
their set be anything close to disappointing. With
vocalist Paul Weller looking more comfortable on
a smaller stage, the packed out crowd on the Bixler
Stage at ArcTanGent Festival is treated to some truly
thunderous riffs that are played with authority. The
Fool is still a fantastic album and The World simply
left the entire tent speechless before their final song
lets the set just dissolve before the audiences eyes.
OHHMS are proving to be a consistently fantastic
live band.
With some funny stage banter LISTENER ease themselves onto the stage and start their set and show that
their banterous nature flows through into their strange, semi spoken lyrical delivery. The intonation in which
vocalist Dan Smith delivers his words is difficult to get to used to, but it makes the music feel almost as if he
was making it up on the spot and his emotive voice really lets the poetic words impact as they were intended.
Musically the band sound relatively stripped back, clearly allowing enough room for the vocals to remain the
focal point, and it allows LISTENER to set themselves apart from not just the bands without vocalists, but the
band with.
With a sound caught somewhere between the
emotionally inflicting musings of AMERICAN
FOOTBALL and the hardcore energy of BEING AS
unique feel to them from the moment they get onto
the stage. With every member boasting a clear and
differing style from the next, the rag tag group write
songs that incite not only sing-alongs but also have
enough bite to get some people off their feet. With a
bit more fullness to their sound then this band could
indeed tap into a market that is begging for more
talent, but until then their modest and stripped back
guitar leads will have to do.
OHHMS - 8/10
HARK - 7/10
At a festival that is dedicated to the weird, wonderful
and often times confusing music, HARK are a
welcome reprive, with their set containing only
the most monster of riffs being used for their set.
The welsh lads are an imposing force on stage, with
little movement from any of them but every single
one of them stares murderously into the crowd
whilst delivering riffs that groove and crash with
frightening effect.
BOSSK - 8/10
Continuing to prove their ability to play at almost any festival, BOSSK play a set that feels like it has far more
energy than their set from last weekends Bloodstock Festival. Their set not only has more bite but seems to
have an urgency that wasn’t there last weekend. With this added pace, the set feels far less choppy, and even
allows for far more segments that get every head within the Yohkai Stage tent banging. BOSSK straddle so
many genres with their music that it’s a wonder they aren’t bigger than they are.
HO99O9 - 8/10
One of the more unspoken acts within the alternative
scene, HO99O9 fuse the relentless punk rock energy
of the late 70’s with the attitude and punch of modern
day hip/hop to create a frightening aural assault
that is genuinely unique. Their drummer keeps the
other two members in lock step whilst also being the
inciter of the ridiculous moshes that kick off when
the band up their gears. HO99O9 have enough angst
and noise to force the attention onto themselves if
they have too, because pretty soon people are gonna
click onto something this good.
Being one of the most prolific bands on ArcTanGent Festival’s lineup, Ireland’s own GOD IS AN
ASTRONAUT provide some of the heavier instrumental experiences over the weekend. When they decide
it fit, the group bring a monstrous sound to the main stage and when coupled with the spinning light show
going full pelt behind them, GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT deliver one of the more interesting and investing
performances over the weekend. There’s a tangible weight to their music and it elevates their songs whilst
they try to create a celestial atmosphere with the star map lighting up behind them.
Easily the most aggressive act on the line up, CONVERGE
are also one of the most prolific and consistent bands on the
planet; if you book CONVERGE, you’re almost guaranteed
a good show, and tonight is no different. Opening with
Dark Horse the band refuse to fuck about, kicking right
into a set that represents the musical equivalent of being
savaged by a Rottweiler. Under Duress and I Can Tell You
About Pain fit snuggly into the setlist as fresh cuts but
it’s the haunting Eve that provides the set highlight, as
Jacob Bannon screams his though provoking lyrics with
aplomb. The awful weather simply helps create the perfect
atmosphere for CONVERGE to thrive in, with the rain
reflecting in the spotlights making the entire scene feel like
a battleground, and the muddy ground dirtying up the stage. CONVERGE are a band to be reckoned with
and with the state of affairs regarding their new sound, the band should very quickly find themselves atop the
pack once again after tonights performance.
Starting off the day with a haze, BOSS KELOID laid
out their stoner grooves to the early risers present
in the Yohkai Stage. With tunes like Lung Mountain
and Cone in their arsenal, the grooves sound massive
and everyone’s heads starting banging the moment
they step out onto the stage. The best thing about
BOSS KELOID is how they carry themselves with
such confidence; it starts to ooze out their music and
infect all of those present.
LOST IN KIEV have a tricky start to their set. Sounding utterly crushing when the full crescendo hits the
audience, they’re sound cuts out for a period of time after their first song, resulting in the band simply staying
on stage in silence before the issue is resolved. The sound returns and the band continue on their way, but
the early set stoppage takes it toll on the performance and despite the band giving it all they can, the sense of
them still reeling from everything lingers.
TOSKA - 7/10
Over on the main stage, the three piece instrumental outfit TOSKA show themselves to be one of the few
instrumental bands with genuine connection to the crowd. Their heavy segments give life to the crowd and
the dynamic music offers up a real treat for anyone who was able to catch them. With tracks from Ode To The
Author sounding huge on the stage, it only leaves room for the imagination of where a band as talented as
these lads can go.
Coming out with the biggest smiles of the day, Australian group
SLEEPMAKESWAVES immediately kick off their set, refusing
to let anything get in their way. With the triumphant Made
of Breath Only album on their side, tracks like Glacial really
shine in the late Sunday sun. The four piece own the stage,
with the connection between band and crowd second to none
over the weekend. Considering the band have never played a
northern hemisphere show, the reaction from the crowd and
the enjoyment and excitement from the band makes this a truly
memorable set.
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL have spent their career grafting their ambient infused post-hardcore, gaining
themselves an almost cult following of truly loyal fans. It’s a shame that today their set is a rather boring affair.
The vocals are drowned out of the mix and when the band do decide to bring their own brand of heaviness to
the table, it doesn’t hit nearly as much you would like. Time serves as an excellent display of what they can be
like, but their set feels like it’s dragging its feet too much.
LANDSCAPES have been quietly kicking in the underground
for a while now, and whilst their moody post-hardcore does
tick the right boxes, when they play shows like today it doesn’t
do them any favours. The band come out seemingly all guns
blazing, but there feels like something is missing, and as
the band play through their set that something never really
materialises. The audience is there, yet the band fail to capitalise
on the moment. They sound tight and the tunes sound good,
but the audience is left wanting.
It’s a shame that EMPLOYED TO SERVE are playing
immediately after, because DEFEATER might have gotten
away with it. After their stunningly good Warmth of A
Dying Sun album, EMPLOYED TO SERVE have more
momentum than they know what to do with, and so they
simply lay waste to the PX3 Stage instead. Void Ambition
and Good For Nothing damn near incite a riot, and then
Greyer Than You Remember essentially does whilst their
guitarist crowd surfs round the entire tent. If you are
yet to decide whether EMPLOYED TO SERVE are all
they’re cracked up to be, believe the hype, because this
performance indicates a band with an incredibly healthy
future ahead of them.
By this point, TESSERACT are so tight and have so many good songs that seeing them live is an expected
masterclass in musicianship and performance, with today being no different. Their later material fitting in
perfectly with the older tunes, the final moments of Deception leading into Survival and then finally set
closer Nocturne gives the audience an amazing taste of how the band have developed their sound over the
years, and Dan returning the band has only elevated them even further. Is there a headline slot from this
band in the future? If they’re as consistent as they’ve already shown themselves to be then you’d be silly to bet
against them.
SIKTH - 9/10
With no one ever expecting them to make their initial return, SIKTH now have new material to boot and
tonight’s performance suggests the band have hit a brand new stride in their long tenure as a band. Despite
having technical issues the and continue to deliver a crushingly heavy set, all whilst remaining the tightest
live band of the weekend. The keen crowd offers up plenty of energy that the band thrive off of. Plugging their
new tour as well, making sure to tell everyone that some of the songs played tonight will be the last they’re
heard of for a while, making this set feel far more exclusive than it ever was supposed to be.
For anyone coming from SIKTH, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY will already feel slightly muzzled, but only
because of the transition of sounds. Their refined and simplistic light show creates an amazing atmosphere
on the roof of the main stage, and their slow building ambient music makes for a truly reflective time for
everyone present, as the music swells, so do the emotions that music like this creates inside the listener. The
music sounds soft, with no instrument really taking centre stage, instead the band sound perfectly balanced
and it allows their crescendos to hit with the utmost impact. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY really embody why
ArcTanGent Festival is such a wonderful thing, as everyone who was previously losing their minds to SIKTH
are calmly taking in the music, proving that this festival is for people who want to come and listen to music,
and what beautiful and moving music EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY create.
Enduring the
Long Game...The
Black Dahlia
Murder’s vicegrip
on death metal.
Photographs by KAREN JERZYK
Death metal is about the long game. While the mainstream buzz bands come and go and trends fluctuate or stagnate, death metal endures.
Death metal survives. Death metal leaves a legacy. Not that the underground doesn’t have trends and a turnover of new sounds and subscenes of its own, but this is where the very best bands come in, the bands who build album upon album, year upon year, to a place where
they sit atop all of the changing tides within their own unassailable vehicle. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER upon their entry into the scene
in the early 2000s were sold as a “kid band” as frontman Trevor Strnad puts it, amazement at their youth being a major marketing point in the
media. Fast forward to the present day, and their eighth album Nightbringers has just broken the record for the largest amount of pre-orders
in Metal Blade Records history.
“There was a point where all I wanted was to make
one record,” says Trevor. “To have one real CD on a
label that I could show my mom. This has gone a little
further than that but I still feel the same excitement,
maybe even more so now that it’s taken on such a
life and had such continued success, and it’s looking
like this could be the biggest slice of the story yet.”
Trevor as a frontman is the perfect representation of his
band, funny, affable and light-hearted, but more than
anything else a massive death metal nerd with a great
deal of love for its history and traditions alongside its
present and future. It’s this channelling of its original
spirit and foundations into a cutting edge template
that has made THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER such
a consistently engaging band over the past decade
and a half, and on Nightbringers this is as true as
ever. Like its predecessor Abysmal, Nightbringers
is an album that never pauses for breath, constantly
flying at the listener in a blur of flashing claws and
razorblades and knowing when not to outstay its
welcome as it clocks in at just over half an hour.
“I think it’s definitely Brandon coming in the fold,”
Trevor offers when asked about this record’s particular
flavour, referring to their newest member Brandon Ellis
who replaced previous lead guitarist Ryan Knight upon
his departure last year. “The solos are quite different I
think, he wrote a handful of the songs and injected
some different elements. He’s got some neoclassical
stuff with Matriarch, As Good as Dead has a bit more
hard rock to it than we’ve ever done, and that’s him.
He’s a sleazy rock god at 24. He’s just a baby but he’s a
monster musician and has put his stamp on this thing.”
Trevor’s job however involves work of a darker kind,
stringing together the morbid and grisly lyrical
narratives that he’s so fond of. “It’s definitely a macabre
album as you’d expect. I really tried to ramp those
elements up in a huge way here. Matriarch takes the
crown as the creepy song this time around. It’s from the
viewpoint of a woman who is on a mission to carve a
baby out of another woman because she can’t have one
herself. It was cool to write from the viewpoint of a
woman, I haven’t done it that many times, and it’s kinda
flipping the tables a little because it can often be more
misogynistic with male characters torturing women.”
It’s an image that may immediately bring to mind for
some death metal fans CANNIBAL CORPSE’s iconic
Butchered at Birth artwork, and Trevor is immediately
quick to say that while a lot of topics in gore have been
done to death, it’s quite simply down to the spin you
put on it. “Butchered at Birth was one of the early
slices of death metal I saw and I was hella afraid of
that album! I read the lyrics to the title track of that
album and for the next week I was losing weight, I
couldn’t eat much. The stuff that really brought
me into death metal was so gore-fuelled. It was
put me into that mindset of songs being short stories
with a real shock factor. Now the world has changed,
and the internet has largely desensitized people, so
you really have to try to shock people. For me, I like
to take it into a psychological realm. A necrophilia
song is one thing but if you can explain why that’s
creepier. I like ones where the lines are blurred, where
the character can’t tell if his lover is dead or alive.”
“It’s definitely a macabre album as
you’d expect. I really tried to ramp
those elements up in a huge way
“When I first got a glimpse of telling that kind of story
in a romantic way it just blew my mind as a kid. On
Hating Life by GRAVE, the very first song is about
this guy who is gonna kill this woman he wants but
can’t have, and that struck me so hard and was so
much creepier than SLAYER’s Necrophiliac which is
basically “Yo I need to nut in a cold one!” There’s a song
on the new record, The Lonely Deceased, which is told
from the perspective of a morgue worker. He really
likes to work alone because he fucks the corpses, but
it’s because he’s very sad and lonely. He spoons them
on the slab, he’s different. I wanted to make this album
just more monstrous than ever, to have songs with
really memorable and gruesome character. The song
Jars for example is about a guy who lives somewhere
where it gets dark for a lot of the year like Alaska and
it’s made him a little crazy. He kills people and he
pickles their meat and keeps them in jars in his cellar,
where he goes down and eats from the different jars
remembering the nights where he killed each person in
kind of a masturbatory thing for him. I enjoy pushing
the boundaries. There’s not really much left to cover in
the world of gore but it’s just the way you do it. I try to
put my own style on things, I guess a poetic spin, but
half the people aren’t going to read the lyrics anyway!”
For a band with such reverence for death metal’s
have endured a lot of undeserved cynicism from more
elitist corners of our world, but now they sit firmly at
the top of the table. “I realise in a lot of cases that we
are a gateway band for young people getting into death
metal, so I try to paint the picture of death metal as I
like it with BLACK DAHLIA. It’s really flattering that
this band has in any way shaped people’s perception
of death metal. I feel old when kids come up and talk
to me like I’m an old wizard! I see myself at 15 though
out in the crowd every night. A little nerd kid with
a bowl cut, wire glasses, looks like a total introvert.
That was me, and I pay extra attention to that kid.”
“Butchered at Birth
was one of the early
slices of death metal
I saw and I was hella
afraid of that album”
“I realise i
n a lot of
cases tha
are a gate
t we
way band
for young
getting in
to death
tal, so I tr
paint the
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y to
h metal a
like it wit
RATING - 7/10
Swedish melodic death metal band ARCH ENEMY
are a household name and for many good reasons,
the excitement for their 10th studio album, Will
To Power has been outstanding and the reception
of the released singles prior have been showing
that this album is going to give fans what they
want. It is the first album to feature Jeff Loomis
and the first to feature clean vocals, signalling that
the band are open to experimenting a bit more.
One of the standout things with ARCH ENEMY
is always the guitar work, Michael Amott and Jeff
Loomis exceptionally together. This has already been
proven with their live performances but hearing it
for the first time on a studio album they bounce off
each other with such extravagance. As said, one of
the standout things in the band is the guitar work, it
really hits home and catapults the mood of the sound
toward perfection and Will To Power certainly has
some beautiful riffs and solos on it, ones that will make
songs memorable and become staple in their career.
Leading back to the experimentation in sound,
Reason to Believe is the first song the band have
done that features clean vocals on and essentially
taken a step back from that full on melodic death
sound. If anything, the song is that of a hard rock
anthem and it may or may not grow on fans but it’ll
certainly be a divider and whilst it’s not a bad song,
it’s just not an ARCH ENEMY song. In some parts,
it does have that vibe but mostly it feels as though
you’re listening to a HALESTORM song that just gets
heavier in some parts. The placement of the track is
also a disappointment, it’s slap bang in the middle of
the album and breaks up that feeling you get when
listening to the band – perhaps the story would be
different if it was a closing track. It’s understandable to
see where they were going and what they were trying
to achieve but it hasn’t gone the way it could have done,
once again though it’s certainly a song that divides
fans and will potentially show more in the future, it’s a
bold move and that must be honoured in some ways.
It is without a doubt that Will To Power is an album
set for being held highly in terms of their career and
establishing the places of Alissa White-Gluz and
Jeff Loomis even further but it cannot be ignored
that it’s also an album of a few disappointments. It
was expected that there might be some downfalls to
the album, especially with experimentation but the
level of the disappointment with that was a bit too
much – perhaps as said, it could show potential in
the future but for now it is lacking. ARCH ENEMY
have created an absolute banger of an album, it’s
got moments of sheer brutality and beauty but
most definitely isn’t the greatest they have done.
TWo PAths
RATING - 9/10
Finnish folk metal heavyweights ENSIFERUM are set to
release their seventh studio album Two Paths, coming
just two years after their previous record One Man Army.
Like their previous work, and something which has
become a common feature on folk/power metal
albums, the opening track, Ajattomasta Unesta, is an
instrumental. It helps to set the tone of the record, and
is a gentle way to introduce the audience to the record,
building up gradually in a typical folk metal style as if
it is the introduction to a film. The opener flows into
the next track, and the band’s only single from the
new record, For Those About to Fight for Metal. The
intro beings with an exceptionally fast paced guitar
solo from Markus Toivonen, quickly accompanied
by the electric accordion and drums to give that
authentic folk metal sound. Petri Lindroos delivers
on the harsh vocals, and the whole package is quality.
The following track on the record, Way of the
Warrior, doesn’t seem to have that same folk metal
sound and seems to go more down the death/thrash
metal route. There’s a lot more emphasis on the
bass and the riffs are much more frequent. Couple
that once more with Lindroos’ vocals and you’ve
got a recipe for an excellent heavy metal track. The
folk metal elements do appear towards the end,
which help to strengthen the quality of the track.
There are a lot of hidden gems on this record – in fact
it’s a safe bet to say that every track is very well written,
and the sound on each one is sublime. Some of the
tracks lean more towards the folk metal side of their
music and the sound is more noticeable, for example
Feast with Valkyries, which also feature the softer
yet equally as powerful vocals of Netta Skog, while
others like Hail to the Victor are on the other end of
the spectrum. Two of the tracks also have alternative
versions, God is Dead and Don’t You Say, though
having listened to both versions it is difficult to work
out what the main differences are between the two.
Overall ENSIFERUM have delivered another
exceptional record; the sound is on point throughout,
and they have struck the right balance between folk
metal and the more heavier elements that feature on
the record. For a band that have been going for over 20
years, they have managed to maintain that strong level
of consistency, as well as maintaining their own unique
sound which has followed them throughout their
careers. Two Paths is definitely one of the best records
to have been released this year, and it wouldn’t be at all
surprising if it features in the top 20 albums of 2017.
RATING - 10/10
The snow-covered forests of black metal have always
held a certain mystique about them; the genre’s
extreme nature certainly isn’t for everyone, and
that has afforded bands like DIMMU BORGIR and
EMPEROR to remain somewhat under the radar
despite their legacy and influence on the scene
in general. In recent years, however, bands like
OATHBREAKER have opened up the genre to a
wider audience and lit a couple of torches for people
to follow into the depths of the trees. MYRKUR,
the one-woman project of Amalie Brunn, is another
example of this – her debut album M scored acclaim
from all corners of the metal world as it showcased
her ability to branch out her own brand of black metal
into gothic and ambience with complete control and
unerring brilliance. Two years later and she’s back,
with sophomore album Mareridt (the Danish for
‘Nightmare’), released on Friday via Relapse Records.
Coming into an album like this is never easy because
MYRKUR is one of those artists where absolutely
nothing can be expected, and this is made all the more
apparent by the opening two tracks. The title track is
an overall mellow affair that combines strings and
Brunn’s delicate vocals with the background noises
of an ongoing storm, the follow up, Måneblôt, is a
raw and desolate black metal assault which sends you
into another plane of reality entirely. Nevertheless,
they are both excellent compositions and set the tone
for what is a quite sumptuous album that pushes
the boundaries of extreme music to places it’s never
been before. At times, MYRKUR sounds like ENYA
fronting IMMORTAL as Brunn’s ethereal voice
soars across the record whilst the chaotic sound of
shredding guitars and fast drums rattle underneath.
There’s a touch of battle metal involved with Elleskudt
and Ulvinde (She-Wolf) is much more downtrodden
and crushing, but done in such a way that you can’t
help but smile as you slip into a void of sheer brilliance.
At others, Mareridt becomes one of the most beautiful
sounds known to the human ear, which is easily the
best way to describe the two stand-out tracks on
here – the first, Crown, is piano led with elements
of ambience and darkwave thrown in to emphasise
and enhance, with Brunn yet again staking her claim
for the most gorgeous voice in metal right now with
an astounding performance that’s otherworldly
in every respect, and on Funeral she’s joined by
Chelsea Wolfe for a masterful duet as two angelic
voices combine with mournful, low guitar tones and
bring to the fore a spectacle of doom perfection.
There is nothing in this world that comes close to
sounding anything like MYRKUR, and it’s highly
doubtful there ever will be. This is a richly textured,
dynamic, monolith of a record that will bowl over
all who listen to it for years to come and has laid
the foundations for Amalie Brunn to become a
name on the lips of every single person in the
metal scene. Forget Album of the Year contender
– this is going to be up for Album of the Decade.
RATING - 9/10
Written by DAN McHUGH
Since their rebirth in 2008 SEPTICFLESH have been
firing on all cylinders, with albums Communion, The
Great Mass and Titan all achieving critical acclaim
continuously pushing the limits of extreme metal
and 2017 sees the greek visionaries return with
their highly awaited tenth release Codex Omega
released via Season Of Mist. Their unique blend of
symphonic death metal has turned many heads in
the metal world since their inception and they plan
to continue their rule over this domain and show to
everyone that they are consistently raising the bar.
Utilising the services of an entire orchestra (in the
form of the FILMharmonic Orchestra of Prague) and
a full choir requires an incredible level of technique
and skill and as soon as opening track Dante’s
Inferno commences you know you are about to
experience something special. Harbouring sinister,
dark tones from the offset you feel yourself being
immersed in the majestic combination of calculated
guitars, pummelling drums and the accompanying
orchestration which elevates the entire composition
to an almost theatrical level. One of the most
inviting qualities of SEPTICFLESH’s compositions
is how immediately distinguishable frontman Seth’s
vocals are in the overall production as they pierce
through like a cut throat razor with ferocious clarity.
Now the band have suitably eased you into the
unravelling experience the shackles come flying
off as they hit you straight in the face with the
relentless shredding and bone shattering blast
beats of 3rd Testament which is like an adrenaline
rush straight to the bloodstream. The recruitment
of Kerim ‘Krimh’ Lechner behind the kit was a
masterstroke as his lightning quick limbs provide
the most insatiably clinical backbone to the entire
arrangement. Portrait of a Headless Man follows suit
with its equally powerful yet methodical approach
that also includes some experimentation with
woodwind instruments and chilling violin sections.
Martyr unassumingly creeps into your airways with
its soothing Japanese vibe before bursting into life
with one of the most infectious riffs you’ll hear all year
almost ripping your head clean off in the process with
its raw energy and sheer brute force. If this doesn’t
make it to their live set it’s a crying shame as it’s
screaming out to be set free inciting a barrage of pits
in its wake. Enemy Of Truth leaves very little time for
respite as it dives head first into ominously savage riffs
and its incorporation of the choir that feel like they
have extracted the best parts of BEHEMOTH and
DIMMU BORGIR to create the ultimate destructive
force leaving you reeling from it’s ruthlessness.
The sheer orchestration involved in Codex Omega
is awe inspiring and every single instrument has
been used to its full potential, never overstaying its
welcome or feeling over zealous. SEPTICFLESH have
developed what feels like you are being transported
through an incredible voyage of emotions and artistry
that will surely leave your jaw hanging in utter
amazement. There is no doubt that Codex Omega is
up there with some of the most intense music that
extreme metal has ever witnessed and it will leave
the remainder of 2017 with an insurmountable
standard that will take something special to surpass.
V is just another great record from one
of punks most reliable bands. Previous
experiments are now refined and the band
still deliver plenty for old school fans. It’s
clear that this is an older and wiser band
than the one who released those early albums
but they can still rage just as hard. One of the
most defining characteristics of this album is
just how cool it sounds. From the production
job to the performance, everything just oozes
style and charisma.
To have two MASTODON releases in a year
is extremely special; they’re a band who are
consistently brilliant and never do anything
by halves. Even this EP of supposed bonus
tracks has clearly been crafted with care and
precision, and will tie us all over nicely for the
UK tour that comes here in December. Blue
Walsh is much a truly cheery number, with
a driving 70’s rock riff anchoring the track
and the vocals adding a healthy dose of the
‘BEE GEES meets MASTODON’ claim Brent
Hinds made prior to the release.
Frank Iero and the Patience - Keep The
Coffins Coming
Archspire - Relentless Mutation
Relentless Mutation is once again, and
predictably, a shimmering display of the
technical prowess that ARCHSPIRE have
become renowned for. ARCHSPIRE; they’ve
firmly held onto the foundations that gave
them their name, whilst adding a pinch of
progression and increased maturity. Whilst
this merely feels like a small step, its certainly
enough; it wouldn’t be outrageous to predict
that bit by bit, this band are taking steps in the
right direction, and slowly working towards
developing a more refined and complete
The craftmanship of the EP cannot be flawed
as whilst it’s raw and punchy, it’s just as
gentle and that takes skill. Keep The Coffins
Coming may not be the EP that will break
boundaries this year and perhaps something
new could have been done as opposed to
what has been heard before but it does show
are a much loved band.
Perhaps the most appealing part of Deep
calleth upon Deep is that, despite the
new additions in their musical repertoire,
SATYRICON still sound very much like
they did when they first hit the scene.
Deep calleth upon Deep is arguably
one of SATYRICON’s finest albums to
date. Its incorporation of new ideas and
original sound have come together to create
something quite special, that stands out
from the ever-expanding crowd that is black
metal. With this record, SATYRICON
have reaffirmed that they are one of the
most impressive bands in the market right
now, and their attitude towards music and
development is needed more in the scene.
Cradle of Filth - Cryptoriana - The
Seductiveness of Decay
You’d be forgiven for wondering whether
CRADLE OF FILTH might have decided to
play things a bit safer, such was the success
and acclaim of what came before. In truth
though, Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of
Decay is another near-perfect masterpiece
of an album from one of British extreme
metal’s leading lights, and one that can
arguably stand toe-to-toe with the very
peaks of their canon thus far. Fans will no
doubt be delighted with this record, and with
good reason – if Cryptoriana is anything
to go by, then it’s difficult to argue that this
incarnation of CRADLE OF FILTH seem
to have anything other than near-limitless
WORDS: Tim Redman
LIONIZE have found a way to accommodate
their influences and styles and bond them
together to create their own special sound.
Nuclear Soul is an album that is going to
raise the bar in their career, it has showcased
their talent and passion for what they create
like their lives depended on it. There is
simply no disappointment to this album,
this is why they deserve to come out of the
shadows and unleash what they have to offer
to the entire world.
WORDS: Jack Fermor-Worrell
Satyricon - Deep calleth upon Deep
WORDS: Jordan McEvoy
WORDS: Jessica Howkins
Lionize - Nuclear Soul
WORDS: Sam Alberti
Mastodon - Cold Dark Place
WORDS: Jessica Howkins
WORDS: Sam Dignon
The Bronx - V
WORDS: Elliot Leaver
Implore - Sunjugate
Ending as they started, Gazing Beyond
offers one final explosion of sound from
IMPLORE as the band keep the intensity
incredibly high through razor-sharp guitar
work and another excellent bout of vocal
lines from Dubko. A satisfying end to
Subjugate. Subjugate is a ferocious record,
one which is uncompromising in its output
and holds nothing back. Whilst there are a
few moments that miss the mark, ultimately,
IMPLORE have delivered on their promise
to deliver an album that will obliterate all that
stand in its path and Subjugate will surely
send IMPLORE up the ranks within extreme
WORDS: Sam Alberti
WORDS: Sam Alberti
Belphegor - Totenritual
Caligula’s Horse - In Contact
Novelists - Noir
At only 28 minutes long, You’re Not You
Anymore whips by that’s its hard not to
feel like you want more. There isn’t a single
second of filler here and the quality of the
songs is so good its a shame its over so
quickly. COUNTERPARTS are clearly a
band who are growing with each passing
release whilst not losing sights of their roots.
This album will certainly please long term
fans whilst hopefully bringing in new ones.
2017 has been a particularly strong year for
hardcore and this album sits nicely near the
top of the more melodic side of the genre.
BELPHEGOR have managed to marry death
and black metal in a way that many of their
peers have tried, but just fallen short of. Each
track on its own has its own individuality
and identity, but there is something in all of
them that brings them all together as part of
this particular album. More often than not it’s
Helmuth’s vocals or the guitars of Serpenth
being reigned in occasionally. On the first
couple of listens the middle section does seem
a little out of place but on repeated listens that
little break is needed before the final onslaught
begins. Definitely a grower, but well worth
sticking with, because you will be rewarded.
This album represents not only a magnificent
display of songwriting, technical prowess,
and production, but also a sizeable amount
of progression and change for CALIGULA’S
HORSE. More importantly, they are
able to achieve this without even vaguely
abandoning any signature aspects of their
style, and as mentioned before, this is a
flawless formula for any band to apply to new
music. To offer sentiments in a nutshell, this
album is exactly as progressive, inventive
and technical as we want it to be, whilst
also managing to be entirely catchy and
NOVELISTS’ Noir very much represents a
double-edged sword; on one side, the band
have been able to deliver a body of music that
is exactly as impressive and hard-hitting as
the beloved Souvenirs, but on the other hand
however, the record fails to represent any kind
of new chapter for this outfit, showcasing very
little progression or innovation, barring a few
minor details. Regardless, its clear that Noir is
still a thoroughly enjoyable record in its own
right, and to the band’s credit, they’ve still
managed avoid being completely undermined
by the success and reception of their prior
WORDS: Sam Dignon
WORDS: Jack Richardson
WORDS: Luke Bell
WORDS: Jordan McEvoy
Counterparts - You’re Not You Anymore
WORDS: Stephen Fallows
WORDS: Sam Dignon
The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
Neck of the Woods - The Passenger
Cannabis Corpse - Left Hand Pass
Comeback Kid - Outsider
This output from THE CONTORTIONIST
is highly impressive, their use of melodic and
softer vocals is a continuation of elements
seen before but expanded and improved.
Their technical ability is still easily good
enough to rival other bands within the field
MONUMENTS. What sets them apart is
their use of synthesisers and guitars to create
atmospheric, almost dream like states which
progress naturally throughout a song. This is
definitely an album to listen to in its entirety
and absorb, its scale alone is huge and after
every listen different elements previously
missed are revealed. All in all the hype is
thoroughly justified, this album is a must
The intricacy of this album makes it hard to
believe that it is a debut but this also means
that there is so much more to come from
NECK OF THE WOODS and with this
absolute rager of an album under their belts
already, who knows what on earth we can
expect from them next. If you’re a fan of
brutal riffs, of intertwining guitars, or deep
roaring vocals, this album is about to blow
you away. NECK OF THE WOODS take
influence from bands such as CONVERGE,
really can hear the melding of all of these
sounds on The Passenger.
Left Hand Pass is an album that could
have been so much more. It has incredible
moments, but its depletion in variation
halfway through the album spoils the
experience somewhat. The technicality
and musicianship is clearly developing in a
stronger direction, which is only illustrated
further in their more technical areas. One
of the best things to take from this record is
that CANNABIS CORPSE are at no lack for
creativity or determination, as they continue
to experiment and delve into their true
potential more and more with each release.
Outsider is an interesting new chapter for
COMEBACK KID. After being so good at
something for so long, it’s natural that the
band would want to try something new.
This album feels like a great starting point
for newcomers as well whilst still having
enough to appeal to long time fans. Outsider
feels like a strong starting point for this new
direction COMEBACK KID are headed in. It
might not quite reach the heights of their of
their very best albums but if they can develop
the ideas from this album then they will still
have plenty to offer in the future.
WORDS: Jordan McEvoy
WORDS: Dan McHugh
WORDS: Sam Dignon
Stray From The Path - Only Death Is Real
Death From Above - Outrage! Is Now
Dyscarnate - With All Their Might
Red Mountains - Slow Wander
Only Death Is Real the strongest album
STRAY FROM THE PATH have released.
The passion the band have takes what is a
very good hardcore album and just elevates
it even higher. Whilst it might upset large
portion of Americans with a certain political
view, that is no doubt what they were aiming
for. The album just succeeds as a blunt and
honest look at the current situation America
is facing from a band who want to make a
All I C Is U & Me and NVR 4EVR, while cute
in their naming, are nothing but good riff
after good riff. It’s a wave of consistent playing.
Some might find this a little too commercial
for their taste, but it adds a good contrast for
the tracks that throw you into the darker side
of the band. Holy Books is a great way to end
on. Those who enjoy the shouty, distorted
sound that DEATH FROM ABOVE utterly
master, then DEATH FROM ABOVE have
provided what fans are always looking for
in their work; bouncy, deep bass riffs and a
feeling of unity in the chaos of it all.
With All Their Might is not quite as
elaborate in technicality as their previous
efforts DYSCARNATE have most certainly
created some of the most hard hitting
and infectious tracks of their tenure so
far. They have somehow managed to
develop their sound in such a unique way
that it brings a lot of exciting, refreshing
elements to the table but it still maintains
their distinguishable sound and hits you
like a tonne of bricks containing the same
powerhouse mentality of its predecessors.
With All Their Might is a huge declaration
that DYSCARNATE are not to be
Slow Wander is a crushing record. Blending
calming, psychedelic instrumentals and
gargantuan riffs is easy to either miss the
mark with or drag on so much that it becomes
tiring, however RED MOUNTAINS have
nailed the balance of both worlds. In a mix
of genres with new bands coming out left
right and centre, RED MOUNTAINS are at
the top of their game with Slow Wander, and
certainly are a force to be reckoned with. RED
MOUNTAINS manage to make every song
their own and memorable. It’s safe to say that
this album doesn’t necessarily have a weak
track to it.
WORDS: Jordan McEvoy
WORDS: Dan McHugh
WORDS: Jack King
WORDS: David Creamer
WORDS: Laura McCarthy
Ufomammut - 8
Helpless - Debt
Threshold - Legends of the Shires
Paradise Lost - Medusa
8 is not simply named thusly due to being
UFOMAMMUT’s eighth recording or
the fact that it contains eight songs. It is
supposed to represent the continuous nature
of the album itself, each song channelling
into the next with no interruption, constantly
swelling and diminishing with sonic
soundscapes, droning passages and almost
thunderous grooves. The onset of the album’s
discourse instantly thrusts the listener into
a swarming mass of well fuzzed out tempos,
each track henceforth gravitating into acidrock inspired guitar leads with warped and
booming howls as vocals before landing back
into trance-inducing passages where the riffs
simulate a repetitive motion that reflects
Whilst the heavy as balls parts are brilliantly
done, it’s those creative against the grain
moments on the record which what stop
HELPLESS from being another agro-ashell grind band and make them frightfully
promising. Debt makes itself stand out from
the screaming crowd by taking a breath once
in a while, and because of that, it’s louder
than everything else. Debt’s closer Denied
Sale has a repetitive plodding beat that drills
its way into your head for five minutes and
almost feels like a break from the chaos in the
way Japanese water torture is a break from
waterboarding (in a good way of course).
Legends Of The Shires displays frequent
glimmers of brilliance but it is clearly evident
the members are incredibly adept musicians
and their comradery shines through with
some masterfully executed dual keyboard/
guitar solo displays but sometimes the less
is more approach provides a more impactful
experience where as sometimes Legends Of
The Shires runs the risk of sounding over
zealous. THRESHOLD have crafted a strong
offering of tracks with Legends Of The
Shires but whether it is up there amongst
their best and is robust enough to stand out
from the pack, throwing down the gauntlet
to the rest of the progressive metal genre is
up for debate.
Overall, Medusa is a solid addition
to PARADISE LOST’s ever-growing
discography. There are moments in this
record that are some of PARADISE LOST’s
greatest yet, such as Fearless Sky however
the rest isn’t overly memorable. Medusa had
the potential to be one of PARADISE LOST’s
strongest records yet, however it seems to
fall somewhere in the middle amongst their
greatest and not-so-greatest. This said, it’s a
welcome addition to their discography and is
worth the listen for Fearless Sky alone.
RATING - 8 / 10
BROKEN HOPE have been a force on the
death metal scene for decades now and
their performance in Manchester more than
demonstrated that the years of experience
has helped the band create a refined and
solid live sound. Throughout their set the
American outfit’s brand of uncompromising
death metal shattered ear-drums and whipped
up a storm through a flurry of crushing riffs,
pounding drumming and monstrous vocal
lines from Damian Leski. BROKEN HOPE’s
puppet-master Jeremy Wagner served as the
glue binding the band together and in the
live environment this was clearly evident as
Wagner’s slick and impressive guitarwork
often stole the spotlight and gave moments
to remember. In a set of menacing brutality,
there were times where the sound felt muddled
and repetitive but, on the whole, BROKEN
HOPE delivered a solid set that more than
showcased their stability within death metal.
RATING - 9 / 10
With the opening bands building anticipation
there was a pressure for headliners CATTLE
DECAPITATION to deliver and once the band
erupted into opener The Carbon Stampede,
CATTLE DECAPITATION exploded into life and
gave a performance that was utterly monolithic.
As soon as the band took to the stage, the surged
in momentum delivering slab after slab of musical
ferocity. The razor-sharp riffing from Josh Elmore
on The Prophets of Loss packed an absolute punch
whilst the infamous Forced Gender Reassignment
sounded even more menacing in the live
environment. With the band hitting unstoppable
from on the back of the last trio of records, the
setlist of the night reflected this, and whilst it
was disappointing that there was an absence of
material from the band’s early material, it did
not detract from the quality on show. Froman
Travis Ryan manned the helm of this musical
carnage and Ryan more than demonstrated why
he is such a revered vocalist in the death metal
scene. From jaw-dropping guttural growls to earpiercing shrieks (like on A Living, Breathing Piece
of Defecating Meat for example), Travis Ryan
executed his phenomenal vocal range effectively
throughout CATTLE DECAPITATION’s set and
maintained their ferocity from start to finish.
With little room to breathe and catch your
breathe, CATTLE DECAPITATION brought
a whirlwind of a performance to Manchester,
one which more than showcased why they
are top of the pile of modern death metal.
RATING - 8 / 10
However, the quality was upped to the max once
HIDEOUS DIVINITY took to the stage. The
Italian metallers unleashed a monstrous sound
that boasted elements across the board of the
death metal spectrum. Guitarists Enrico Schettino
and Giovanni Tomassucci ebbed and flowed
without buckling the momentum, transcending
from melodic and intricate soloing to monolithic
shredding which packed a mighty punch. With
drummer Giulio Galati and bassist Stefano
Franceschini keeping the pacing of HIDEOUS
DIVINITY at breakneck speed, it allowed
frontman Enrico Di Lorenzo to come into his own
and dominate the stage through his excellent vocal
deliveries and charming persona. A strong set from
a band that surely will start making some big waves.
RATING - 9 / 10
Certainly keeping up with the punk aesthetics that
seem to be so prominent with all of the acts that
performed on this day, IMPLORE took the stage in
a frenzy of highly commanding stomps around the
stage, generous sprinklings of noisy feedback, and a
whole lot of spitting at each other. From the moment
these guys took the stage they knew what they wanted
to do and not even guitar issues would stop them,
switching to a back-up guitar with quick efficiency.
So much so that it wasn’t even an issue to begin with.
To put their set into one word is difficult. That is
because the tenacity with at which they played at can
be carried by so many synonyms. Anger, fury, raging.
Photo by
By all means take your pick. You need only look at the
furore each and every single member of this act plays
with, adding a violent face to their violent music. This
tenacity is matched only by their proficient playing,
making no mistakes whilst effectively going nuts on
stage. Dare to say, they made it look so effortless.
Blending what can only be described as lashings of
grindcore with a blackened punk-like attitude makes
for a very fresh performance. Laden with biting and
abrasive feed-back on top of their crushing chainsaw
tones, this band is clearly a monster summed up by
some incredibly powerful live performers all feeding
off each-other’s bestial presence. If you like seriously
ferocious live shows, hit up one of IMPLORE‘s concerts.
RATING - 8 / 10
Topping off an evening full of dark savagery came
the doom/death super group that is VALLENFYRE.
And with them they brought a brooding performance
with dim lighting combined with vibrant coloured
lights, their trusty banners clad with their insignia,
and a rather dramatic change in terms of the sound
engineering. A noticeable difference from the other
openings acts was that the sound was actually a fair
bit quieter. Where sections of the bands such as the
bass guitar were often swallowed in the mix of some
extremely distorted guitars and thunderous drums, it
was often the case that the bass guitar in the instance
of VALLENFYRE proved to drown at least the
rhythm guitar out of the mix, leaving some sections
rather lop sided. To trouble the waters even further,
Greg’s voice was rather tired and haggard considering
it was maybe one or two shows into the tour. And
it was definitely so much so it did not warrant him
announcing it so. Yet in the face of such adversities,
these titans of doomy death metal carried on, failing
to take themselves seriously during any point of this
set. Part live music performance and part stand-up
comedy with Greg enlisting bouts of hearty laughter
in between songs. Aside from the issues with the
sound, VALLENFYRE still delivered a cracking
performance, one that played on the almost cave-like
stage set up that Rebellion offers to create a dusky void
complete with reverberating vocals and sludgy guitars.
RATING - 8 / 10
Heralding from the somewhat ‘quaint’ little town of
Oldham in Greater Manchester, one can already imagine
what they could behold of WOLFBASTARD’s attitude
towards playing their crust laden variety of black metal.
Boasting members from other somewhat ubiquitous
outfits such as BURIAL, WOLFBASTARD play to
the stance that the often serious nature notoriously
held by so many black metal bands is a dumbfounded
one. Such is the case with some of their cleverly titled
material like their “Pop-Punk summer anthem” Sick In
The Bath. To put it short, if you like black metal but
hate fun, then these guys are simply not the band you
are looking for and you should turn your attention
back to places like Scandinavia. WOLFBASTARD
sure do know how to not waste time, as exemplified
by the punk length of much of their material. D-beat
speeds, fizzing distortion and brooding chords. While
many would object and demand more from this,
there simply isn’t a need for it. Rather, their material
and unfettered live performances stand to remind us
of the punk roots that black metal has that so many
tend to often forget about. And recently becoming
a three piece down from four appears to have had
no detriment to their capabilities. Even drawing a
reasonably healthy crowd of dedicated fans on a dreary
Monday evening as the opening act also shows us
their worth. Mosh friendly riffs-a plenty and a couple
of laughs from the band’s part along the way. While
there was not much movement on the crowd’s behalf,
you could still see heads bobbing somewhat viciously
as well as expect a hearty cheer in between songs. It
is very easy to see why they are so well liked amongst
the local metal scene. An act that you should definitely
seek out in light of their next anticipated release.
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