Stop by the Sonic Core GmbH booth during NAMM 2013 as Overlorde’s Mark “M.E.” Edwards demos the Cubase VST Amp Rack emulation plug-in. He will be performing a few of his original instrumental songs, and one cover tune featuring Germany’s Cinja Pausewang on vocals.
The recent Version 7 release of Cubase includes VST Amp Rack presets designed by M.E., along with presets from other guitarists including Wolf Hoffmann, Ty Tabor, Ihsahn, and Fredrik Thordendal.
Trough Overtures’ Facebook and Youtube pages, lead singer Michele Guaitoli – frontman of the Italian heavy/power-metal band – has published the recording sent to Kamelot two years ago as audition to substitute Roy Kahn.
“Something like two years ago Roy Kahn announced his split from Kamelot. As for the most of their fans, I was absolutely shocked and I felt really sad about it: Roy Kahn was (and still is) one of the most important influences for my musical growing. He is one of those singers who, release after release, always gave me strong emotions, without making me care or even think about any technical questions: he simply arrives. Beyond the obvious opportunity, those were the reasons that made me decide to try to submit my audition. I am actually extremely happy that their choice went on Tommy Karevic, an amazing vocalist that I was already following in Seventh Wonder, and I am still a huge fan of Kamelot. Today, in response to some requests I had by mail from some Overtures’ followers, I decided to publish the clip I loaded on Youtube 2 years ago: this link was meant for Kamelot and for a few friends, but seen the situation, I made it public, but I want to say it clear: I look at Kamelot with HUGE respect and admiration, and I absolutely don’t mean anything with this clip: watch it just like you watch any other cover on Youtube!”
Overtures just finished the recordings for their third album “Entering the maze”: more news about it will be released soon.
During the winter holidays it’s always a bit quiet, but here we are again! Queens of Metal is proud to announce more band confirmations for the festival in 2013, during the next week there will even be more to come – stay tuned!
Here are our three bands for this week: Knorkator
So one half of all bands is confirmed now:
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Legion Of The Damned
Dr. Living Dead
Wild Zombie Blast Guide
“This Momentary Bliss,” a new track off the ninth studio album by Swedish melodic metal band SOILWORK, is now up on YouTube for your listening enjoyment: http://youtu.be/LR2C2kEONIU
About the song, SOILWORK frontman Björn “Speed” Strid has stated: “Reminding you of A Predator’s Portrait days. Super-catchy and groovy chorus.”
SOILWORK’s first dual-disc release, The Living Infinite, will be released on February 27th in Asia (via license to Marquee Records), in Europe on March 1st, and in North America on March 5th. Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica and to
Micko Tweedberg at Roastinghouse for the help.
Thanks to Roastinghouse Records for the promo pictures of the band
At the end of the summer 2012 the latest studio album by Cloudscape called NEW ERA reached stores. It was the fourth album by this Swedish melodic/progressive metal acts and for this interview I once again hooked up with singer Mike Andersson to talk about the brand new album, line-up changes, and much more. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »
Botanist, the unconventional one-man black metal band featuring vocals, drums, and hammered dulcimer instrumentation, is gearing up to release its fourth album, IV: Mandragora, on February 19th from experimental metal label The Flenser. Combining lyrical creativity and musical ingenuity, IV: Mandragora is a concept record on the alchemical creation of a mandrake, and how The Botanist is instructed on raising an army of mandrakes to wipe out humanity. The songs of Botanist are told from the perspective of The Botanist, a crazed man of science who lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible. In his sanctuary of fantasy and wonder, which he calls the Verdant Realm, he surrounds himself with plants and flowers, finding solace in the company of the Natural world, and envisioning the destruction of man. There, seated upon his throne of Veltheimia, The Botanist awaits the day when humans will either die or kill each other off, which will allow plants to make the Earth green once again.
Check out the exclusive premiere of Botanist’s “Mandrake Legion (Mandagora V)” over at Pitchfork.
Doom metal is the name of the game now as Lord Vicar, led by the former Reverend Bizarre man Kimi Kärki, has been unleashing the epicus doomicus metallicus since 2007. Even though the line-up consists of members living all around the planet, the four piece has managed to get two albums and, three split releases out by now. The latest opus titled SIGN OF OSIRIS is a fine slab of catchy and spellbinding doom metal. Therefore having an interview with Kimi Karki for Metal-Rules.Com is nothing, but obvious. Read the rest of this entry »
Candlelight Records today confirms March 12 as the North American release date for A Eulogy For the Fans-Orange Goblin Live 2012. The CD/DVD is the first proper live recording from ORANGE GOBLIN and will be released in tandem with the band’s first full stateside tour in over eight years. The special recording kicks off a planned year of non-stop touring and continues the success found in 2012 in which the band appeared/topped countless “Best Of” magazine and fan generated polls.
A Eulogy For The Fans-Orange Goblin Live 2012 includes ORANGE GOBLIN’s complete performances professionally recorded at Bloodstock Open Air Festival (England-August 11, 2012) and Hellfest (France-June 15, 2012). The DVD further includes the official Tom Cronin directed videos for “Red Tide Rising” and “Acid Trial,” the latter courtesy of Scion A/V, plus the Matt Chance directed “Red Tide Rising Documentary” and Gaetan Chataigner directed “Highway To Hellfest Documentary.” Art and design was once again provided by Jimbob Isaac under the direction of vocalist Ben Ward.
Discussing the album, Ward says, “for years people have been asking us to release a live album. It’s a warts and all recording to highlight exactly what you get at an ORANGE GOBLIN show. It’s not over-produced; you can hear the bum-notes and the forgotten lyrics as well as the energy and power emanating from the stage. And the crowd! I think that’s what a good live album is all about. It’s just the sound of us getting up on stage, plugging in and going hell for leather. Crack open a beer, turn it up loud and bang your head.”
England’s Classic Rock Magazine says, “put simply, ORANGE GOBLIN are the best metal band in Britain.” A permanent fixture on the metal landscape since their formation in 1995, ORANGE GOBLIN recordings have been embraced by fans the world over. Their live performances have been hailed as one of the best. Kerrang! says, “ORANGE GOBLIN shows are very predictable… you know they are going to be brilliant before they even hit the stage.” ORANGE GOBLIN signed to Candlelight Records late 2008 and immediately began writing new material for the first time in over five years. Teaming with producer Jamie Dodd and two-time Grammy-nominated engineer Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd), the band completed recording of A Eulogy For The Damned late September 2011. The record was released February 14, 2012 entering the UK Top 200 at 96 and landed on Billboard’s Heat Seekers chart at 38. The album hit the top of CMJ’s Loud Rock album chart on March 7 and ended the year at position 6 on the Top 50 Year-End Album chart. Decibel Magazine called the album,” maximum riffage, turbo-doom biker rock… awesome!.” Hellbound proclaimed, “this dish is one spicy meatball.” Popdose confirmed, “possibly the best record from start to finish that they have released yet.”
A Eulogy For the Fans-Orange Goblin Live 2012 features songs that span the band’s extensive repertoire including fan favorites “Stand For Something,” “Scorpionica,” “Quincy The Pigboy,” “Blue Snow,” “Time Travelling Blues,” and the album’s single “The Filthy & The Few” which is set to impact loud rock radio on February 26.
Complete dates with Clutch are noted below. Ticket preorder goes live via Artist Arena Fanclub on January 22. Public on sale date for tickets is January 25.
3/08/2013 Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH
3/09/2013 Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN
3/10/2013 Pop’s – Sauget, IL
3/11/2013 Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom – Little Rock, AR
3/12/2013 Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
3/14/2013 Palladium Ballroom – Dallas, TX
3/18/2013 Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO
3/19/2013 The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT
3/21/2013 House of Blues – W. Hollywood, CA
3/22/2013 The Marquee – Tempe, AZ
3/23/2013 Hard Rock Café – Las Vegas, NV
3/24/2013 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
3/26/2013 Regency Grand Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
3/27/2013 Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
3/29/2013 Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA
3/30/2013 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR
3/31/2013 Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
4/01/2013 Wilma Theater – Missoula, MT
4/02/2013 Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
4/03/2013 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
4/05/2013 Flames Central – Calgary, AB
4/06/2013 Odeon Events Centre – Saskatoon, SK
4/07/2013 Union Hall – Edmonton, AB
4/09/2013 Garrick Centre – Winnipeg, MB
4/10/2013 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
4/11/2013 Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
4/12/2013 House of Blues – Chicago, IL
4/13/2013 Orbit Room – Grand Rapids, MI
4/15/2013 Wescott Theater – Syracuse, NY
4/16/2013 Toad’s Place – New Haven, CT
4/18/2013 Sound Academy – Toronto, ON
4/19/2013 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
4/20/2013 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore, MD
ORANGE GOBLIN is vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Chris Turner. The band delightfully use/endorse Meinl Cymbals, Lace Pick Ups, Fender Guitars, Marshall Amps, Vater Sticks, Orange Amps, Natal Drums, Rotosound, and Jagermeister.
As always, the top albums are for releases from 2011 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for the year, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each staff members personal “best of” lists which besides the top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, best metal book of 2012, disappointments of the year, greatest hopes for 2013, personal metal discovery of 2012, and various other related categories. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »
Some may forget this one for best of 2012 as it came out back in January 2012. For me, no other album has been played as many times this past year. The effortless vocals and range of Ralf Scheepers, and the strong song writing prowess of Mat Sinner and cohorts, meant that we were delivered with another magical metal album from one of the BEST metal bands in the business. It’s really too bad that the band didn’t make it to North America for the UNBREAKABLE tour, hopefully this will corrected in 2013.
2. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
Testament – DARK ROOTS OF EARTH
Jaw-dropping is but one way to describe this release. Four years ago, we were collectively blown away by The Formation of Damnation as it topped the Metal-Rules.com Best of 2008 list. If Dark Roots doesn’t chart really high for 2012, I’ll be shocked because it is even better! Its heavy parts are heavier, and the melodic parts are even more melodic. It’s just such a well-rounded/written/preformed/recorded masterpiece!
3. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Ascending to Infinity
LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY “Ascending To Infinity”
Let’s just overlook all the weirdness with the split of the band into the “LT” and the “of fire” versions. All I care about is that they can both continue to create groundbreaking symphonic metal. With Ascending to Infinity, Luca proves that he still has the magic. New vocalist Alessandro Conti also pushed the operatic elements further with vocals that are some of the best I’ve heard.
4. Kamelot – Silverthorn
Kamelot – Silverthorn (limited edition)
Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that new vocalist Tommy Karevik is pretty much a dead ringer for Roy Kahn. From his enunciation of words, range, and even stage crouching moves, he made sure the transition was seamless and for a casual fan, unnoticable. The music of Silverthorn is also top notch. The album drags a little further in with some of the slow ballad styled songs. However, this concept album is amongst the best the band has done.
5. Dragonforce – The Power Within
Dragonforce – The Power Within
I was rather surprised with how good this album turned out to be. I’ve always LIKED Dragonforce, but they’ve never cracked into my best album list until now. I think the “over the top-ness” of their music was the main reason why I never completely jumped on board. With new vocalist Marc Hudson and with more songs that are much more calm like the powerful “Cry Thunder” the band covers more bases while still maintaining the frenzy with songs like “Give Me the Night”.
6. Accept – Stalingrad
Accept – Stalingrad
Another excellent album from masters of classic heavy metal. Coming just two years after the brilliant BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, this proves that their comeback is no stroke of luck.
7. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
KREATOR: PHANTOM ANTICHRIST
Mille is awesome…his ripping solos continue to provide me with inspiration. His vocals are still insane, and for me, are about the best in “brutal” vocals period. I’ve loved Kreator since the first time I saw the video for “Toxic Trace” on the the Much Music Power Hour way back in the 80′s and the band still maintains the same level of intensity and awesomeness to this day.
8. Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere
Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere
Wow…this is Vision Divine’s 7th album, yet it’s the first one I’ve really played the shit out of. Part of me wonders if that’s because of the spaceship on the cover…but that only caught my eye, not my ears. Vocalist Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) as always sounds fantastic and the prog/power metal songs and riffing were something that I instantly loved.
9. Sabaton – Carolus Rex
Sabaton – “Carolus Rex”
This is Sabaton’s last album to be recorded with the line-up we all became familiar with. So it will be interesting to see how the band’s next album sounds. The Art of War (2008) is still my fav Sabaton album, and Carolus Rex sounds quite similar to Coat of Arms (2010)…perhaps too similar in a way. I love it, but hope for something just slightly different next time.
10. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
I was NOT a believer. I never thought DLR and the Van Halen’s would put aside their egos or tempers or whatever it is that has kept them aprt for an eternity to get this quality album out! I really thought Eddy was DONE….and I’m very happy to be proven wrong! I was never into Van Hagar, didn’t like the Extreme fronted VH…for me, the only required VH is their very early stuff. While I wish the album was full of songs like “China Town”, the album is still remarkable for what it represents.
11. Heidevolk – Batavi
Sadly there are not many folk/viking metal bands with melodic clean vocals. Heidevolk (Dutch for “heath-folk”) has two rich dual vocalists who provide a uniqueness sound that is all their own. The mix of folk and metal riffage is also done expertly.
12. Prong – Carved Into Stone
Prong – Carved Into Stone
While many of the bands that claim an influence from Prong suck, Prong themselves were innovators and were one of the cooler bands of the early 90′s. Not since then have they released such a vital and ass kicking album.
13. Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine
Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine
Saw these dudes, and gal, open for Blind Guardian in 2010 and was made a fan then. Their new album is stronger again than their previous with some vicious playing and great songs.
14. Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name
Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name
While this album is a bit puzzling at times with a hillbilly song, a cock rock song, some power metal, some rock, some ballads…but most of the album is really surprisingly good.
15. Striker – Armed to the Teeth
Striker – Armed to the Teeth
After checking out a bunch of Canadian metal recently, one band really shone through with a pure metal heart, and that band is Striker. Very traditional sounding, and not what you’d expect from a Canadian band…also my top “discovery” for 2012! Excellent band, hope they get heard more!
16. Overkill – The Electric Age
Overkill – “The Electric Age”
Good ole reliable Overkill. Never a letdown, always a precise thrash attack!
17. Bloodbound – In The Name of Metal
Bloodbound “In The Name Of Metal”
A mix of traditional metal and power metal in line with bands like Dream Evil and HammerFall. Easily one of this band’s best albums!
18. Thy Majestie – ShiHuangDi
Thy Majestie – ShiHuangDi
Here’s a band I’ve been a fan of since day 1. They’ve had some ups and downs but again deliver a solid release with ShiHuangDi. “Qin Shi Huang was the king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC, during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC. He ruled until his death in 210 BC at the age of 49.” (Wikipedia). The thing that makes this album stand out is new vocalist Alessio Taormina (he’s the best frontman they’ve had to date, so if you didn’t like them before give them another try!).
19. Orden Ogan – To the End
Orden Ogan – To the End
Great band, even though I often misspell their odd band name!
20. Joe Stump – Revenge Of The Shredlord
Joe Stump – Revenge Of The Shredlord
Man it was hard to narrow down my list to 20 and very hard to knock a few away as I liked them equally. However, since this level of inspired yet melodic shred isn’t often heard, I had to go with the mighty Joe Stump!
Best Live Album
Gamma Ray – Skeletons & Majesties Live
Gamma Ray – Skeletons & Majesties Live
For some reason the video (blu-ray/DVD) for this isn’t out in North America yet otherwise it may have also made my selection for best live video. The song selection here isn’t just the typical material as the band digs deep and pulls out some gems that stand up against their most known material. As Gamma Ray is my favorite band, I don’t make the distinction between the two as I listen to the albums in full as they were meant to be heard! Such as great band, and a nice farewell to longtime drummer Daniel Zimmermann, he’ll be missed for sure.
Best DVD / Blu-ray
Stratovarius – Under Flaming Winter Skies – Live In Tampere (Blu-Ray)
Stratovarius – Under Flaming Winter Skies – Live In Tampere (Blu-Ray)
Another of my fav bads is saying farewell to their drummer with a live release. The songs in here are more-so the most known ones. The only problem I had with the DVD is the 5.1 audio mix has the vocals way too low! In stereo mix, the vocals sound loud enough though and it’s a great concert from the highly influential melodic Finnish power metal band.
Best Remake Album/Compilation
Blind Guardian – Memories of a Time to Come
Blind Guardian – Memories of a Time to Come
While this is mostly remixes (which sound awesome), there are also a few glorious re-recordings on this double CD package.
Best (metal-relayed) Movie
Rock of Ages. This is definitely not 100% “metal”. It is mostly hard rock / classic rock, but it does capture some of the 80′s Sunset Strip sound and glam metal bands. Strangely absent is the biggest of them all from this scene and era – Motley Crue. Also puzzling is the absence of Ratt, Dokken, and Van Halen…with the perplexing inclusion of C-level glam and some questionable classic rock.. It’s really too bad no one asked me what bands/songs to include eh? haha!. Oh and BTW…the live musical for Rock of Ages that I saw in Toronto was better than the movie.
Best Local Metal Band
Again this year, I have to give the nod to Wizards of Kaos. In 2012, they signed with Canadian label Diminished Fifth Records, opened up locally for Black Label Society, and have played live countless times at the only 2 local bars that support original heavy music (Distortion and The Levee).
Nightwish/Kamelot (at the Sound Academy in Toronto, Sept. 20th)
Nightwish/Kamelot (at the Sound Academy in Toronto, Sept. 20th)
Just days before Annette’s departure from the band I had the pleasure to see them live in Toronto. It was magical. Kamelot’s opening set was also mind-blowing. It was cool to attend with a fellow Metal Rules writer (Waspman) as well!!
While I’ve read a bunch of metal books in 2012, none of them actually came out in 2012. So rather than leave this section empty, I’ll list the metal book that I most enjoyed in 2012: Once Upon a Nightwish: The Official Biography 1996-2006 by Mape Ollila and Olga Pohjola (released in 2008).
Best New Band
Huntress – Spell Eater
Huntress was a band that got a lot of exposure in 2012 with the release of their debut full-length, SPELL EATER. It was the song and video for “Eight of Swords” that caught my ear. I really wish the band would lay off the hipster instagram photos though, it’s not 1960 and these photos make you (and the other bands who think they are great) looks like silly hipsters.
STRIKER, from Edmonton, Canada, are:
Dan Cleary – Lead Vocals
Ian Sandercock – Lead/Rhythm Guitar
Chris Segger – Lead/Rhythm Guitar
Dave Arnold – Bass Guitar
Adam Brown – Drums
Firewind – Few Against Many: Too “rock n’ roll”, too many groove riffs, not heavy enough, etc. I’ve spun this album many times, even enjoyed it on some level, but it has nothing on any of the other recent Firewind albums. Everyone’s performance and playing is solid, it’s just the songs are overall kinda bland. You’d think Gus would of put out a heavier, speedier, more power-thrash laden album after playing Ozzy’s greatest hits for a couple of years. I’m still a big Firewind fan, and I have hope as Gus is one of the better younger shredders. This is a disappointment that was simply born out of very high hopes.
Fear Factory – The Industrialist: Not as good as the previous, just not as many hooks, and therefore kinda forgettable.
Unisonic: The single from this album was fantastic – upbeat, a mix of hard rock and power metal with some soaring vocals and riffing. This song is what I expected from the album as I knew we would not get a bunch of classic Helloween songs – no matter how much I wanted it to be so. Sadly, the rest of the album lost me. The performances are professional, but the songs just didn’t grab me as most are more in the hard rock realm.
Metal Evolution (Banger Films): While I loved a lot of this mini-series and would highly recommend that metalheads check it out, overall it left me feeling a bit empty. My main beefs are the inclusion of grunge and mallcore (incorrectly called “nu-metal” by the mainstream, but it was neither new nor was it ever metal!). Neither played a role in the evolution of metal, and were put in there perhaps to pander to the masses, VH1, or whatever….I dunno, it just has no bearing on metal so it should of been omitted! Sadly they left out black metal and death metal (an oversight even the creators acknowledge and want to roll into a single episode using pledge music). Also, Sam Dunn’s lack of “understanding” of Power Metal is baffling considering his love of Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM bands and the clear progression from this style that power metal represents. That fact that he felt it necessary to even mention he didn’t “get” power metal kind of made me a little unhappy little…hahah.
Metallic Hopes for 2013
Primal Fear to play in Montreal and Toronto for the UNBREAKABLE tour….they haven’t been over this way in a while now, time to come back!
Helloween & Gamma Ray Hellish Rock returns to Canada.
Would also love to see Kamelot and Stratovarius in 2013….
Albums I’m looking forward to: Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Stratovarius, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Queensryche with new frontman, Riot continus onwards and pays homage to their fallen brother Mark Reale, Jag Panzer reunites to record new material, etc….
Floor Jansen (perhaps my fav female vocalist!) is a permanent member of Nightwish and the band recorded AND releases a new album in 2013…..wouldn’t that be awesome!
Savatage anniversary/reunion album featuring both Jon Oliva & Zachary Stevens…one can dream…I’ve had this one listed for what, almost 10 years?
As I’ve mentioned before… The demise of all the core bullshit in metal. It’s become almost as bad as “mallcore” and the trend needs to go away…there doesn’t need to be a “trend” just listen to metal already!
Top Metal News of 2012
Black Sabbath: Live shows without Bill Ward / Tony Iommi’s Lymphoma
I know, this one surprised me too. If you’d asked me about Cattle Decapitation a year ago, I would’ve told you that they were an above average gore metal band with an interesting animal rights shtick. If you’d asked me about Cattle Decapitation after the release of MONOLITH OF INHUMANITY, I would’ve told you that they were quite possibly one of the most important death metal bands in the scene today. This album is the perfect culmination of gut wrenching death metal brutality, technical precision, and twisted social commentary; it’s hard to believe that this is the same band that released HUMAN JERKY just a few years ago. To paraphrase Anchorman’s Champ Kind, MONOLITH OF INHUMANITY will smash your face into a windshield, and then take your mother for a nice seafood dinner and NEVER call her again. It’s that brutal.
2. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction
The title of the album says it all. Easily the best doom metal album of the year, and a very close runner up for my overall top spot. Pallbearer make you want to curl up into a ball and slip into nothingness, but you don’t, only because you don’t want to miss the next song.
3. Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol
The pioneers of gothic metal return with an album that’s on par with their best, and proves yet again why they are the best at what they do.
4. Napalm Death – Utilitarian
These guys can do no wrong, UTILITARIAN is another jewel in the crown for the kings of grindcore.
5. Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
REIGN SUPREME finally achieves the ideal blend of groove, grind, and tech that Dying Fetus has been building up to.
6. Prong – Carved Into Stone
A love letter from Tommy Victor to the fans, CARVED INTO STONE is Prong doing what Prong does best. Almost 20 years since the release of CLEANSING, who could’ve guessed that ol’ Tommy Boy would’ve still had an album this good in him?
7. Nile – At the Gate of Sethu
This record didn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserved, but was so good I bought it twice (f@#! You, iTunes).
8. Testament – Dark Roots of Earth
Proving that the FORMATION reunion wasn’t just a fluke, DARK ROOTS OF THE EARTH is a darker and heavier Testament album that trumps its predecessor on every level.
9. Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65
Oh Lillie, your majesty is marred only by your brevity.
10. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
Don’t listen to the internet trolls, BOOK BURNER may not be as frenzied as PROWLER IN THE YARD, but it’s every bit as good as the hype surrounding it would lead you to believe.
11. Corrosion of Conformity – Corrosion of Conformity
12. Christian Mistress – Possession
13 Ihsahn – Eremita
14. Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming
15. My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures
16. Incantation – Vanquish in Vengeance
17 Six Feet Under – Undead
18. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
19. High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
20. Goatwhore – Blood for the Master
Down – DOWN IV PART I: THE PURPLE EP
“Bless the bravest attempts to tear us down…Good luck and f@#! your retort…”
In all honesty, if we didn’t have to break out EPs from full lengths for our year end lists, THE PURPLE EP would’ve easily been my overall #1. Crack open a bottle of Abita Purple Haze, light up a big fat J, press play, and accept that your band will never sound as good as what’s coming out of your speakers.
Best Live Album
Sacred Reich – Live at Wacken
Classic thrash from one of the greats. Buy this, you’ll thank me later.
Last Days Here
This documentary about Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling had a very limited theater run in 2011 but finally saw its release on DVD this summer. While the subject matter treads the familiar ground of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, it focuses on the ugly realities that come with the lifestyle. Liebling’s addictions are put on full display, including the gruesome physical ramifications of decades of substance abuse, mental breaks, and the disappointments that come with being so close to success only to see it slip away.
Death to All Tour (Beacham Theater, Orlando, FL)
How fitting that the final stop for this travelling tribute to the music and memory of Chuck Schuldiner wrapped up not only in his hometown, but in the same venue where the “Lack of Comprehension” video was filmed? Despite missing the first half of Atheist’s opening set due to a ridiculously early 6pm start, seeing members of Cynic, Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn, and a who’s who of the extended Death family share the stage together to celebrate Chuck’s music made this the best live show of the year.
Okay, so GN’R may not technically be a metal band, but everybody reading this right now has probably owned a copy of APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION at some point in their life. A 3 ½ hour set in a 1,000 seater venue that was most definitely oversold and a stellar performance from Axl’s current lineup earns this gig a place in my all-time top 5. So what if Axl Rose looks like Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies, his voice still sounds like its svelte 1987 self. And Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is one of the most impressive guitar players I’ve ever seen live.
Best Discovery of 2012
Relics of Martyrs
Were it not for one of the most polite emails I’ve ever received with a review submission, chances are I never would’ve been introduced to Relics of Martyrs and their debut album SCENES OF BLOOD AND BETRAYAL. This young Jordanian outfit cranks a serious blend of death infused thrash that is nothing short of homage to the greatness of metal. Geography and political climates stack the deck against metal bands from this region of the world, which only makes the level of talent and skill exhibited by these guys that much more impressive.
Disappointments of 2012
The Black Sabbath/Bill Ward reunion soap opera – I love, LOVE, Black Sabbath, down to the core of my being, but drama like this is enough to sour the best of relationships. Couldn’t we have discussed this like gentlemen outside of the public eye, especially as this album will likely be the band’s epitaph? As much as I want a new Black Sabbath album, I don’t want it to happen this way. And oh yeah, Tony Iommi has cancer – Seriously God? It wasn’t enough for you to take Ronnie from us, but you’ve got to yank our chains with Tony as well? WTF man? Despite his apparent recovery, a scare like this only emphasizes how fragile life is, and that second (or third) chances should be embraced for the gift that they are.
Randy Blythe may spend a decade in a Czech prison because some dumbass kid made the mistake of trying to get on stage and died as a result. That’s not a crime, it’s natural selection. I’m not even remotely a Lamb of God fan, but Randy is one of us, and if this can happen to the frontman of one of the biggest bands in metal, it can happen to anyone.
The state of the music industry is so craptastic that Frank Mullen may not be able to tour with Suffocation to support the new album? This is the unfortunate economics of being a 40-year-old man fronting a death metal band. Keep metal alive – buy a t-shirt, pay for a legit streaming service, or just buy the goddamn album already. Enough is enough.
Hopes for 2013
NEW CARCASS ALBUM!!!!!! Seriously, how did this manage to stay under the radar for so long? AND Bill Steer is returning to the mic? I’m as giddy as a school girl on prom night. I’m well aware of the potential for disappointment, but if anybody can pull this off, it’s Carcass.
King Diamond may be ready to hit the road again. Holy crap, how about that stage at Helfest? While I’m skeptical that King would be able to support that level of production on a North American run, the fact that he’s put so much emphasis in the press on recent deals with booking agencies and the ink still being fresh on a new contract with Metal Blade gives me some hope that we’ll at least get a taste. Now about those DVDs you’ve been promising…
For Metal Blade Records and Spotify to work out a licensing agreement. C’mon Slagel, Century Media finally got on board, you’re the last holdout. I can’t begin to express how much it irks me that I can’t add albums like HELL AWAITS, PSALM 9, SYMBOL OF SALVATION, and a slew of past and present artists from your roster to my high quality streaming audio playlists.
Having been around for many years, this band are still proving to be going strong and making more & more fans every year!
Ancient Ascendant – Into the Dark
This band are a hybrid of genres mixed together and spitting out something truly spectacular. With Into the Dark, these guys have really found their sound, moving away from their death-thrash sound and adding a healthy dose of black into the mix, somehow still managing to avoid the technical route, keeping strong rhythmic grooves throughout the EP. On the surface, catchy and enjoyable, but with so much more going on underneath it keeps you listening again and again. Only one downside, where’s the rest of it?
Best Covers Album
Darkthrone – Holy Darkthrone
I’ve never been a big fan of cover albums, they always seem to be a number of bands attempting a song in a style that doesn’t suit them, producing mediocre results. This album, however, is one of the only cover albums I can honestly say I like every track on the album. Perhaps it’s the careful selection of artists of the fact that each band brings something new to each song while staying true to the old sound but these set of covers are really not to be missed by any black metal fan.
Black Metal: Beyond the Darkness: The best place to start with this book is the very striking cover. With it’s black and white colour scheme, inverted forest picture and simple font, it is a clever nod to the black metal aesthetics and fundamental ideals. The contents of the book are equally as exciting, covering all areas of the genre, from a brief overview of the events that started the movement, right up to the modern day bands, lifestyle and aesthetics. The thing I enjoy most about this book is the distinct lack of focus on the Scandinavian scene, which, although interesting and majorly influential, is starting to become a little over published in music literature. This book has something to offer both the avid black metal listener and the person only just starting out. A must read for anyone interested in the genre.
Behemoth @ Bloodstock Open Air: After waiting a year to see Behemoth after they pulled out of Bloodstock 2011 due to illness, I had very high expectations for them. From the very first song, they were everything I could have hoped for and more. Skull crushingly heavy, exceptionally tight and flanked with a pair of burning inverted crosses, they secured themselves as both the highlight of bloodstock and of the year for me.
Best local band
Craven Idol: London based band dishing out their own brand of blackened-thrash, bathed in reverb and packed with atmosphere. These guys are a little quiet when it comes to social media, making it a little hard to know what and when things are happening with them but when it does happen, it’s definitely worth the wait. With the release of their EP Etherial Alters in 2010, it’s been a long wait for the followup album, although there are hints it may be out next year.
Saturnian With their first album being released this year and opening up Bloodstock Open Air this year, this band are quickly asserting themselves as a major player in the British metal scene. With their own brand of extreme symphonic metal, this band are a must for fans of Dimmu Borgir, Septic Flesh and Cradle of Filth’s early work.
Wodensthrone Discovering this band while browsing through the Damnation Festival line-up this year, its hard to see how I missed this band. Black metal from the frozen north lands of… well England, these guys have risen fast, signing a contract with candlelight records to release both their albums.
Major events in the Metal world
Tony Iommi being diagnosed with lymphoma. One of the founders of Heavy Metal and Black Sabbath guitarist, Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma early this year, a type of blood cancer. One of my personal heroes and an influence sited by just about every metal band ever, the decline in his health is a sad day for all in metal.
Randy Blythe was arrested on manslaughter charges Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was arrested on June 28 by police in the Czech Republic accused of manslaughter. Everyone has already made their own mind up on the charges, however a guilty charge could leave many bands defenceless against fans that insist on climbing onstage. Hydra Head Records closes its doors. American record label Hydra head records closed its doors this year due to financial difficulties. Able to boast signings such as Sunn O))), Cult of Luna and Isis, its a shame this label never gained the recognition they deserved.
Jim Marshall died at 88 Founder of Marshall Amps, Jim Marshall, dies at 88. Perhaps not directly metal, he created an amp used by so many in the scene, influencing the sound of so many major metal artists. Roadrunner shut down their UK and Canadian offices Due to a merger between Roadrunner and Warner Brothers, the decision was made to shut down both the Canadian and Uk offices. A lot of good people lost their jobs that day and good artists lost their contracts.
Nergal charged with offending religious feelings Behemoth frontman Nergal has been arrested for a second time for offending religious feelings after he ripped up a Bible onstage. This charge is a violation of freedom of speech and artistic licence and a threat to extreme metal in Poland and other religiously dominated countries.. Lets hope he gets off with a light sentence.
Biggest Disappointments 2012
Sonisphere being cancelled in the UK
Disbanding of Cathedral I never really appreciated Cathedral for a long time, until my recent discovery of how brilliant doom metal is. So when I finally begin to explore the works of this great band, I was devastated to hear a few months later that they are calling it quits after 23 years.
Predictions for 2013
Finntroll’s new album will be incredible These scandinavian folk-metal gods have returned to the studio to followup 2010′s Nifelvind. I’m hoping this album will be just as good as every other album they’ve done. Fingers crossed for a UK tour so I can see them for the millionth time. Charges will be dropped against Randy Blythe I may not be a Lamb of God fan, but I don’t want to see the man go down on such ridiculous charges. Free Randy Blythe!
People will stop complaining about Bloodstock Because they’re probably going to do what they do every year and announce loads of amazing bands on the Sophie Lancaster stage!
Norwegian legends Darkthrone have completed work on their latest album ‘The Underground Resistance’, which is set for release on Peaceville Records on February 25th.
‘The Underground Resistance’ is Darkthrone’s latest venture through the metal cosmos, & first new album since the 2010 opus ‘Circle the Wagons’. A continuation of the free-spirited metallic lands the duo of Fenriz & Nocturno Culto have been roaming for a long time, ‘The Underground Resistance’ contains Darkthrone’s trademark masterful riffing in a broad range of styles, effortlessly bounding through the annals of classic metal, taking in thrash, speed & black metal, & not forgetting a dose of Punk. All in all a ferocious & dynamic set of tracks drenched in Fenriz’s & Nocturno’s rich & diverse tastes in all things metal, primarily those rooted firmly in the spirit of the 80’s. 6 tracks long, & every one an epic in itself, this is undoubtedly Darkthrone’s strongest outing of late.
‘The Underground Resistance’ was written & recorded spring 2010 to summer 2012 at Necrohell 2 studios by the band themselves. The album was mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door, Texas USA. Cover artwork also comes courtesy of the iconic & celebrated artist Jim Fitzpatrick.
“3 songs each, Ted’s are flown from the universe of metal with his strongest voice ever so far. Songs of mine are torn from the wombs of the riders of rohan of metal; safely cradled in 1985 style” – Fenriz, December 2012
Darkthrone began life in the late 80’s as a thrash/death metal act & progressed through technical death/doom metal experimentation to become legends of the black metal world & one of the original leading bands of the Norwegian scene, as well as inspiring a whole generation of metal bands.
Philadelphia-based sci-fi thrashers VEKTOR have confirmed a short US tour, which is due to kick off on February 14th in New York City.
The band recently performed a blistering set at Earache’s 25th Anniversary showcase in Los Angeles, following the re-release of their 2011 album, OUTER ISOLATION.
VEKTOR bassist FRANK CHIN comments:
“We’re stoked to once again hit the road and jam, especially since the majority of cities will be firsts for us. We hope to see as many of you as possible! This will be a great start to an even greater year. You’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of us whether you want to or not! Sci-fi or die!”
See VEKTOR live on tour at the following shows:
Feb. 14 – New York, NY – Saint Vitus Bar
Feb. 15 – TBA
Feb. 16 – Wallingford, CT – Cherry Street Station
Feb. 17 – Keene, NH – Railroad Tavern
Feb. 18 – Burlington, VT – Nectar’s
Feb. 19 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
Feb. 20 – Providence, RI – Dusk
Feb. 21 – TBA
Feb. 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Winter’s Wake Festival
Anthrax has just made available a taste of the band’s upcoming EP Anthems, due out March 19 (Megaforce). ”Anthem,” the band’s cover of the classic Rush song, can be heard here.
In addition to the EP’s cover art, each of the cover songs will have its own special artwork, each one based on the tracks’ original album cover art, but subtly “reimagined” by Anthrax’s Charlie Benante and artist Stephen Thompson.
The eight-track Anthems EP pays tribute to the classic songs by some of Anthrax’s favorite bands from the 1970s. In addition to Rush’s “Anthem,” the track listing includes Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak,” “TNT” by AC/DC, Boston’s “Smokin’,” “Big Eyes” by Cheap Trick, Journey’s “Keep on Runnin,” as well as the album version and a special remix of Anthrax’s “Crawl” from the band’s critically-acclaimed 2011 album Worship Music.
Anthems was produced by Anthrax, Jay Ruston and Rob Caggiano, and recorded for the most part throughout 2012 literally all over the world: at Benante’s home studio, in Ruston’s New York studio, on the band’s tour bus while on last summer’s Mayhem Tour, in hotel rooms, and backstage at their Berlin show last December.