Every once in a while, when you live in a place like Finland where there are so many metal bands and a lot of enthusiastic fans, you find yourself in some new, interesting event. This time also the venue is totally new for me. Looking like something in between an abandoned factory and an hangout for young people (there are even skateboard ramps here and there), for two days Ääniwalli, this strange place in the neighborhood of Vallila, Helsinki, is filled with metalheads. The occasion: Fight the Night, featuring band such as Goblin (Claudio Simonetti’s version), Mortuary Drape, Master, Antichrist, and several other talented acts.
The beginning is not however so smooth: the doors open some 45 minutes later, as from outside is possible to hear the soundcheck in the venue. Unfortunately the delay is only going to get worse during the evening, messing up the entire schedule.
Despite that, the bands performing tonight are worth the wait. In fact I am not so surprised to see already so many people gathered for the Psychedelic Warlords, Alan “Boomer” Davey’s creation in tribute to his big musical love: Hawkwind, of course. The band will open both nights with two different sets, tonight is the turn of Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters. The surreal atmospheres created by these guys with their psychedelic rock are really fitting to open this Fight the Night with style. I strongly recommend to everyone to go see their show live if you ever have the opportunity. I would do that again immediately.
In the meanwhile I manage to briefly check out also a few songs of Obnoxious Youth’s gig, which is playing in the club stage. The Finno-Swedish band bring some lively show up there, with a very interesting musical mix, completely involving the crowd. Something I will have to check out on record, that’s for sure. It’s kind of funny that it’s impossible to hear what’s happening from one room to another inside this place, but the sound is indeed very loud, and the design of the hall is so that it doesn’t really seem to have the best acoustic ever.
Indeed the guys of Master are not so satisfied, as there seems to be a combination of technical issues delaying the show. The Death metallers lead by the bearded singer/bass player Paul Speckmann, however, don’t get discouraged so easily, and hit the audience with their powerful sound, starting from the opener “Master”. The show goes on among songs like “Slaves To Society”, “Submerged in Sin” and “Funeral Bitch”, as the crowd is getting heated up by the American/Czech band. Far from their latest gig in Helsinki, but still an enjoyable 75 minutes of old school thrash-influenced death metal.
Today is filled with good bands, so if you are not familiar with Jumalation, you have to see them live. These thrashers, featuring at the vocals Rytmihäirö’s drummer, are a really energetic and spirited lot. They also are a great fun to see play, which is why I recommend it again. Don’t miss them!
The highlight of today is the Italian band Goblin. Currently having two versions, the one performing here is Claudio Simonetti’s, featuring Bruno Previtali (bass), Federico Amorosi (guitar) and Titta Tani (drums). It takes an awful amount of time to set up properly the keyboards, and the band is so kind to apologize for making the fans wait so much. It’s surprising how everybody has been waiting more or less patiently, inciting the guys several time in the meanwhile.
The magic of the show is in the complex melodies filling the air with a surreal feeling in the almost complete darkness of the venue. “Phenomena”, “Tenebre”, “Zombi”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “Profondo Rosso”, are only some of the most well-known soundtrack which the guys perform today. The audience is completely captivated. Funny that I, as an Italian, had to go to Finland to see them play live for my first time.
Again running against time, I am lucky enough to see a small part of Lord Fist’s gig on the other side, as this is yet again another of those Finnish bands that gives its best live. Traditional heavy metal in all its epicness is their daily bread: the guys know how to play it, the fans knows how to enjoy it. I just regret having missed a big part of the show.
When Antichrist finally gets under the spotlight, everything should have already ended. In fact, unaware that Malicious Death has already started their set on the club stage, I miss them completely. On the other hand, the Swedish thrashers manage to keep about half of the crowd still glued against the main stage, in fact some people now seem more full of enthusiasm and energy than ever, and others attempt crowdsurfing. It’s normally rare to see Finnish people getting excited, but some guys are really into the show. I, for once, am way too tired, and have to forfeit the ending, as work is still waiting me the day after. Another of those bands I’ll have to give a proper chance in a better occasion.
Tomorrow is another day!
Saturday I have to skip the first half of the festival due to its clashing with ZZ Top’s performance in the center. Nothing to complain about, except that after yesterday I was even more looking forward to see this Hall of the Mountain Grill set from the Psychedelic Warlords, as well as Ride For Revenge. Anyway, I enter Ääniwalli just when the latter is already towards the end of the show, and so I decide not to skip at least Tombstoned on the club stage. The singer Jussi has to play sitting on a chair due to an injured (broken?) leg, but that doesn’t affect the show, which goes on riding the sound wave of stoner/doom mixed with 70’s psychedelic rock influences. It’s with these kind of bands that you can really say it’s true that “you are what you listen to”.
Again today the main course is another Italian act, although way different from what we saw yesterday with Goblin. Mortuary Drape is one of the earliest Black Metal bands on the Italian scene, and despite not being extremely active, is impressive that Walter “Wilderness Perversion” Maini has been able to carry on for almost thirty years, especially when Italy is traditionally a very difficult territory where to survive for this kind of music scene. The band is regarded surprisingly well here in Finland, where they played last at Black Flames of Blasphemy a few years ago (that was indeed a memorable gig).
Starting the show immediately with “Primordial” and “Mortuary Drape”, the red-hooded guys have no intention to go easy on the crowd today, and so does the audience itself, going completely nuts in the front. From my point of view is amusing to see Finnish people so excited for an Italian band, but I guess one could say the same when foreigners are all so pumped up about some local Finnish bands.
“Necromancer”, “Tregenda” and “Vengeance From Beyond” are some of the best moments of this intense as much as obscure ritual of darkness, and in the encore there is still room for “Inquisition” and “Cycle of Horror”. It’s hard to pick a favorite between yesterday’s and today’s headliner as they are so different. So I won’t, as they have been both very interesting shows, and for me is always a pleasure to see some good bands from my home country being so appreciated abroad.
Salem’s Pot show is pretty unique: the mysterious stoner/doom metallers hide their faces behind masks, and play with the only light given by the psychedelic images projected on the wall behind them. I didn’t know their music before, and I really enjoyed what I saw of their concert tonight. Now their debut “…Lurar Ut Dig På Prärien” will enter my “to check out”-list of bands I have been seeing live.
The good stuff hasn’t yet finished (and we are not even running as late as yesterday! good improvement), so it’s now the turn of the American Chrome, long running experimental rock band. Their music is very particular compared to everything else seen so far in this festival, and sets a totally different mood than the guys of Mortuary Drape. This might be one reason why I somehow cannot give my full attention to the show, despite part of the crowd seems really fired up. Also tiredness from a long week is starting to affect me, and luckily we are at the final moments of this event. Oh, and like yesterday I somehow miss the last band of the club stage, so hopefully I will make it up to Krypts soon.
This festival was without doubt a positive experience. Even if not without troubles, things have been already improving on the second day, and I expect that next time they will be even better. After all you learn by doing, and in addition to this, the quality of the bands make it unique and appealing at the same time to an audience who wouldn’t otherwise have many chances to see these kind of foreign bands often without traveling. Everything is well-mixed with a few talented Finnish acts as well. The location was also very interesting and in many ways appropriate to the event, even if at first it sort of looks like it’s about to fall apart any minute (and a window shutter actually did!), with some adjustments it might become even a nice venue for hosting regular events. Looking forward to the next Fight the Night!
Promo photos and album cover from Prosthetic Records
Photos of Christos Antoniou and Septicflesh live by Peter Atkinson
Opening night of a North American club tour co-headlined by a pair of European underground symphonic death metal bands. What could possibly go wrong? For Greece’s Septicflesh, the June 22 kickoff of their “Conquerors of the World” tour with Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse turned into something of a comedy of errors – as guitarist Christos Antoniou explains below. Yet the band were able to shrug it off and put on a stripped down but rather pummeling set at Springfield, Va.’s, Empire Club despite most of their equipment and “armor” still being somewhere in transit.
And they weren’t the only band on the bill with problems. Despite having the least distance to travel, Pennsylvania’s Black Crown Initiate – who earned a spot on the tour after Italy’s Hour of Penance ran into a visa snag and dropped out – missed the first two dates when their van broke down. Canada’s Necronomicon didn’t play in Springfield either because of unspecified “technical issues.”
Nevertheless, Antoniou was in reasonably good spirits when we spoke in the back lounge of the band’s bus in the Empire parking lot a few hours before Septicflesh went onstage. As the mud/shaving cream/chocolate sauce-splattered hijinx of “Wipeout” played almost silently on the TV above us – everyone else was watching the U.S.-Portugal World Cup match in the front – the dread-locked guitarist spoke about Septicflesh’s ambitious, heavily orchestrated new album Titan, their unique history and backgrounds (Antinou has Bachelors and Masters degrees in classical music from the London College of Music; his brother, bassist/singer Spiros ”Seth” Antoniou, aka Seth Siro Anton, is an accomplished artist who has created album covers for dozens of bands; and second guitarist/clean vocalist/lyricist Sotiris Vayenas is a banker who rarely performs live with the band) and the “show must go on” mentality that is put to the test on days like this. Read the rest of this entry »
Dutch Blackened Heavy/Thrash Metal band ONHEIL is proud to announce the release of their upcoming album ‘Storm Is Coming’ to be set for the 5th of September 2014. The follow-up to their critically acclaimed album ‘Razor’, is their second full-length album and will be published by German record label CYCLONE EMPIRE.
Indian metal veterans Demonic Resurrection have just added more tour dates to their UK tour. The band is on tour with UK heavyweights De Profundis for the first half following which they join thrash Legends Onslaught and Danish thrashers Artillery on their UK mainland dates.
With De Profundis
07.07.14 – Cavern, Exeter
08.07.14 – Tiki Bar, Plymouth
10.07.14 – Owl Sanctuary, Norwich
11.07.14 – Black Heart, London
12.07.14 – Eradication Festival, Cardiff
13.07.14 – Green Door Store, Brighton
Check out the above interview where we get to hear about Richie and how he almost missed the email about joining the band! They talk about the new album, metal fans, and music. The new Judas Priest album,
JUDAS PRIEST – Redeemer of Souls
Tickets and VIP Bundles go on sale soon for our US Redeemer of Souls tour with Steel Panther! Check http://tickets.judaspriest.com/ for details! Redeemer of Souls will be released one week from today on July 8th but you can stream the album at iTunes right now at this link: http://smarturl.it/ROfS!
The single Redeemer of Souls now available on Amazon and iTunes:
The official music video for “Stampede,” the red hot opening track to the new ACCEPT album Blind Rage, is now available for viewing on the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel:
ACCEPT – Blind Rage
“Stampede” was filmed on location in April in the high desert of California at Devil’s Punchbowl (a tilted sandstone formation with other-worldly geology) with director Greg Aronowitz (Batman & Robin, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and features ACCEPT unleashing blistering heavy metal from the mountain tops against a wide-spanning horizon and an absolutely amazing natural backdrop.
Two sets of behind-the-scenes photos from the video shoot taken by photographer Alan Hess can be viewed at the following links:
Swedish metal institution, The Haunted, have revealed details for their upcoming new album, which sees the band return to their classic deadly thrash metal sound.
The Haunted’s new album, which was again recorded with the band’s longtime producer Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studio (Dark Tranquillity, Heaven Shall Burn, Sick Of It All) in Denmark, is symbolically and programmatically entitled Exit Wounds, and will be released on August 25th in Europe and September 2nd in North America via the band’s longtime label partner, Century Media Records.
Vocalist Marco Aro commented on the album’s impending release’s title and artwork as follows: “OK my friends, so here we are again… at the threshold of a new The Haunted release. It maybe doesn’t sound very exiting to some… but… it is!!!
This time around we’ve found our way back to where we once started! You could say that we’ve gathered the old crew, both in music and the artwork. Our old friend Andreas “Diaz” Pettersson is back, an amazing artist with a rap sheet which includes the artwork on no less than four The Haunted albums. He always finds a way to put our thoughts into print where he sometimes even scares us a bit… and this release is no different.
We decided on Exit Wounds as being a good title for the album given the recent history of the band, but also a sort of a phoenix rising. FUCKING JÄVLA FÅGEL FENIX… WE ARE BACK!!!
We are so excited about this little thing we’ve created! Can’t wait to get out there and start playing these songs and for me personally, I could not be more proud of what we have done, I really hope you’re going to enjoy it!” Read the rest of this entry »
Tod Howarth is an American musician from San Diego, California. He is best known as the vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist for the band Frehley’s Comet, which was led by former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. With Howarth, Frehley’s Comet recorded two studio albums FREHLEY’S COMET and SECOND SIGHTNING, a live EP called LIVE + 1 and produced four promotional videos before the lineup dissolved in 1988. Howarth’s music career began in the early 1980’s with hard rockers 707 with whom he released several albums including MEGA FORCE (1982). Howarth has also performed as a live member with Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent and released four solo albums. The first solo album SILHOUETTE came out in 1995 and the latest OPPOSITE GODS in 2010. The latest project Tod is involved with is a brand new band called Four By Fate. The band also features Tod’s old Frehley’s Comet band mate and a good friend John Regan, drummer Stet Howland and guitarist/vocalist Sean Kelly. The band is currently working on their debut release which should be out in in the fall. Tod Howarth and John Regan arrived to Finland in May to take a part in the KISS ARMY FINLAND’s organized KISS Convention which was held in the club On the Rocks in Helsinki. And there I had a pleasure sit down with Tod and discuss his solo career, Frehley’s Comet, and of course, about Four By Fate which is the future for Tod, right! Read on!
The British rock legends UFO are no strangers in Finland. In fact, the band has visited Finland a few times and they have a solid fan base in here. Although there are only two remaining members left from the bands “golden era”, vocalist Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker, UFO has still managed to put out several decent albums during the past few years. YOU ARE HERE (2003) was the first release featuring Vinnie Moore on guitar and later on they have put out THE MONKEY PUZZLE (2006), THE VISITOR (2009) and the latest opus SEVEN DEADLY which came out in early 2013. However, it’s time to check out if UFO is still flying on 2014.
The first new album trailer for (r)Evolution, the ninth studio album by Swedish heavy metallers HAMMERFALL, is now available for viewing on the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel:
(r)Evolution is due out in North America on September 2nd andwas produced by Fredrik Nordström (DIMMU BORGIR, SOILWORK, OPETH), who also helped produce the first two HAMMERFALL albums, 1997’s Glory To The Brave and 1998’s Legacy Of Kings.
Pitch Black Forecast and Bitch Wrangler planning a new release this fall
Pitch Black Forecast, an all star project formed by Jason Popson (J Mann of Mushroomhead) and Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Death, Dark Angel) has signed a deal with Ohio-based Ferocious Records for release of a new album featuring guest spots from Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God), Devin Townsend and M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold).
The as-yet-untitled project includes completely remixed and remastered tracks from Pitch Black Forecast’s two previous self- releases (an out-of-print full length and EP) plus a special bonus EP by Bitch Wrangler. Read the rest of this entry »
Retro rock/doom metal sorcerers, BRIMSTONE COVEN, will unleash the psychedelic rumblings of their self-titled new full-length and inaugural release for Metal Blade Records.
Formed in Wheeling, West Virginia in 2011, BRIMSTONE COVEN churns a cogent blend of dark, smoky cult rock that echoes the eerie reverberations of hard rock icons such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram, mixed with the classic rock craftings of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, all the while preserving a vintage rock sound mixed with a style all their own. Read the rest of this entry »
Shredguy Records has officially released Onward’s “missing” album fourth album New Fathoms Down.
“This album is for the Onward audience and dedicated to the late Michael Grant. As promised, we are happy to bring you Onward’s “New Fathoms Down”! It’s complete.” states guitarist Toby Knapp who has spent the last few weeks restoring the album. The vocals and music were originally recorded in raw demo form in 2002 and Knapp re-tracked instruments this year.
Interview with Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost and Vallenfyre
In a time of just about any style being called “death metal” if someone shrieks or growls during the recording, Vallenfyre stay true to the older ideal of powerful, melancholic, evil and naturalistic music. We were fortunate to catch a few words with founder GREG MANCKINTOSH of the well-known pessimistic dark metallers Paradise Lost about his second band’s album, Splinters, Jay Z (?), Celtic Frost and of course about the new stuff by Paradise Lost.
Metal-Rules.com:Hello Greg! It’s Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com. I am very happy for this interview, and greetings from Greece! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
Hey Hellias. I’m good. I’m at home in the UK at the moment. Simultaneously writing new Paradise Lost material and making a Vallenfyre promo video.
Metal-Rules.com: Oh! Great news! Let’s kick off with the new upcoming Vallenfyre album. Please give us some words about it: the songwriting sessions, the production, the artwork, everything!
The songwriting for this album was primarily done by me again, but the difference this time is everyone was involved from the first note. I needed the other guys’ wealth of knowledge to help develop Vallenfyre further. This carried on through the recording which was produced by Kurt Ballou in Godcity studios, Salem, MA. All the guys in the band lived together in a house near the studio for 3 weeks. Even though the songs were written before the studio, I wanted a decent amount of improvisation to happen to bring the album to life, and living together, discussing it every day made this much easier to do.
The artwork was done by Brian D’Agosta, who came to my attention through Scoot, our bass player. Brian had worked with one of Scoot’s other bands, Extinction of Mankind, before. I loved his style and the diversity of his work. He was a pleasure to work with, and after I gave him some lyrics, demo tracks, the title and some outline ideas, he came up with the whole concept, which suits the music and photography perfectly in my opinion.
Metal-Rules.com: What’s new on this album compared to Vallenfyre’s debut, ‘A Fragile King’?
The new album is more extreme than the first. ‘A Fragile King’ is a straight up homage to the glory days of death doom. With ‘Splinters’ we wanted to keep that core but diversify the influences. So we have things like rudimentary grind core, classic crust punk, funeral doom, and even black metal moments happening within this record.
Metal-Rules.com: Did you have an idea of what you wanted to achieve with‘Splinters’from the get-go, or did that develop as you were writing it?
We had an outline idea that we wanted to push the boundaries more, whilst kind of developing our own sound somewhat. We also wanted to really mix up the styles so that a 7 minute epic doom track would blend straight into a 1 and a half minute grind core punk song. The album plays out very much in the same way I listen to music, in that I wouldn’t listen to grind core for 70 minutes straight. I might listen to a couple of tracks and then put on some doom metal or punk.
Metal-Rules.com: What does the future hold for Vallenfyre? Will there be a tour?
I hope so. With everyone in Vallenfyre’s hectic schedules, it makes it difficult, but I am determined to do a small European tour, a small US tour and some decent flyer shows within the next year. We are looking into it at the moment. I am kind of waiting to see what the demand is once the record is out.
Metal-Rules.com: You have been playing for the past 25 years. I’m sure you had many difficulties throughout this time…What makes you always keep pushing forward?
Music is my passion. It always has been, and creating it gives me a great buzz. Sure it has ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it.
Metal-Rules.com:What do you think of today’s music industry in general?
The music industry in general is fucked. Downloading has pretty much destroyed 90% percent of world sales. Simon Cowell is seen as a deity of the music industry, when really he is just a cunt. Jay Z is seen as a genius when all he does is talk over a shit drumbeat. It really is a joke, so I tend not to even take any notice of it. In the metal scene, things were getting pretty bad too with every band having the same production with over-edited, soulless songs. Fortunately in the last 2 or 3 years, there have been quite a few metal bands turning away from this and doing it on their own terms again, which really restores my faith in extreme music.
Metal-Rules.com:If you could pick only one musician to work with that you have not collaborated with to-date, who would that be and why?
Tom G Warrior because he has written some great stuff over the years and I think it could be interesting.
Metal-Rules.com: Tom G Fischer and Celtic Frost is a very big influence on Vallenfyre, right?
Of course! I don’t know what I would have done without them!
Metal-Rules.com:Clearly. You saidbefore something about the new Paradise Lost album. When it will be released?
This is a really interesting question, because we had to enter the studio to record the new stuff in the end of the summer. However, the date was moved around a little later in the fall / spring. I would like to be released until the end of the year. Approximately the half record is finished.
Greg, thank you very much for your time and the chance to have a closer look into the Vallenfyre camp. Wish you all the best!!!
Review by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Jo Moolenschot
On a rather warm afternoon in London, Metal-Rules.com UK team were privileged to head nowhere else but to The Union Chapel, which happens to be nothing else but a church. Why, you would ask?
Well, the answer is nothing but… As Katatonia roll into town with their “Unplugged & Reworked” tour, they’ve picked one of the most iconic venues with, undeniably, best acoustics in London, and, so what, that it also happens to be a church!? Church or not, but none of us had any idea what we’re about to experience and just how simply magical this experience is going to be, as Katatonia put on a remarkable show that’s going be a tough one to forget. So, read on, folks… Read the rest of this entry »