Friday, February 26, 2010

New Killswitch Engage track

‘My Obsession’ is the next track released for inclusion in God Of War III, the last being Trivium.

The track subtly creeps in with a guitar intro reminiscent of Gojira’s ‘Oroborus’ before leading into some abrasive riffs and textbook double kick drum pounding from Justin Foley.

The hooks are bountiful of course while Howard Jones shreds through his deafening vocals. Meanwhile, the chorus has that almost typical soaring KSE quality. ‘My Obsession’ is far from anything staggeringly new, but makes for a satisfying stop gap.

There are still three more tracks to surface from the God Of War III soundtrack, from Dream Theater, Opeth and newly signed to Roadrunner Records, Taking Dawn.

New tracks round up

Constants – Those Who Came Before [Justin Broadrick remix]
Massachusetts prog metallers Constants are currently working on their third record, the follow up to last year’s The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension. Plus, the effort is being produced by visionary Justin Broadrick, who has, here, remixed a version of ‘Those Who Came Before’ from TFTMTA. This should serve as a taster for what Broadrick will get up to at the desk. The haunting ambience is of course retained and still sounds unnervingly beautiful. But frankly, this can’t be used to even attempt to gauge what we can expect from Constants’ new album. You can listen to the track on their myspace HERE.

Cynic – Re-Traced preview
As reported before, Cynic played a brand new track live recently entitled ‘Wheels Within Wheels’. It’s the only new song that will be featured on a forthcoming EP which also includes re-interpretations of tracks from Traced In Air. Below is the official preview for the EP.

This idea is sketchy, as it’s been too long since Traced In Air for it to be considered a stop gap. It will undoubtedly echo the sentiments of all Cynic fans to say that a new full length would be much more welcomed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Deftones track

The forthcoming new Deftones album is without doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2010. After the horrific car crash that has left bassist Chi Cheng in a coma, the band have decided to keep plugging away and ‘Rocket Skates’ in the first serving.

It kicks off with a numbingly heavy riff before Chino Moreno’s utterly unmistakable croon slithers in which lead onto some urgent sounding verses. This is then accentuated by Chino shifting to his abrasive shriek. But following that, the chorus has a vintage Deftones charm to it, oozing that inimitable vibe that drifted on records like White Pony.

The new album Diamond Eyes is released on May 18th.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alright The Captain interview

Click HERE to read the Drop-D interview, conducted by me, with Nottingham based post rock outfit Alright The Captain.

Monday, February 22, 2010

HIM - Screamworks: Love In Theory & Practice, Chapters 1-13

Oh marmite, there’s nothing quite like it, is there? That said HIM really have become exemplary icons of the phrase in the last few years. They have hordes of die hard fans worldwide, who with remarkable vehemence lap the band up and hang on every one of front man Ville Valo’s words. But on the extreme flip side they’re as equally loathed by others, many of whom are ridiculously pre-occupied with being more metal than thou.

Predecessor Venus Doom was written by Ville Valo when he was still lurking in the shady mire of his alcoholism, resulting in that record being a far more darker and despondent affair. Screamworks is almost a full 180 on that, feeling like a therapeutic release for Valo. The output here is unashamedly clean and buoyant, like the effervescent melodies of 'Heartkiller'. The somewhat unexpected tones are evident as soon as Valo opens his mouth on album opener, 'In Venere Veritas'.

'Scared To Death' then drops into swaying keys, all replete with some mind numbingly awful cheese. The lyrics are ridiculously amiable – “I’m not afraid to say I love you”, but the hooks are still inescapable.

'Shatter Me With Hope' laces up more of those hooks, this time with more startling ease which harks back to the poppiest moments of Razorblade Romance. In fact, when at its most poppy and accessible, Screamworks owes much to Razorblade Romance; but just lacking that bit of vitality that made the latter album such a staggering one.

Conversely though, 'Ode To Solitude' is up there with 'Your Sweet 666' and 'Buried Alive By Love' as being one of HIM’s finest moment, effortlessly lodging itself in your head with not as much compromise.

Certain numbers like 'Disarm Me (With You Loneliness)' and 'Acoustic Funeral' pass off as being emblematic of HIM swinging the melancholic airs on their heads. But to close, 'The Foreboding Sense Of Impending Happiness' makes a congenial nod to their morose side. Overall HIM’s seventh’s effort is largely repetitious, and is heavily deficient of that salience that’s been the centrepiece of the band’s past, most notable, records.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Bullet For My Valentine track

Bullet For My Valentine have set Fever as the title for their new album, the follow up to 2008’s atrocious Scream Aim Fire and have released this new song from the record.

The track ‘Begging For Mercy’, is fervidly poppy with the guitar production being immaculately clean but far too polished making it sound too synthetic. The same goes for the vocals as initially, they burst through in a typically metalcore style until the even more incredibly “scene-ish” chorus hits.

Bullet For My Valentine look set to be sticking to their guns for Fever, though this taster does exhibit more vigour then Scream Aim Fire did as a whole.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jesper Strömblad leaves In Flames

Jesper Strömblad has left In Flames after nearly 20 years in the band. The guitarist had been battling alcoholism for the past year, a battle that saw both him and the band cancel various tours. Strömblad himself commented on the departure:

“I have decided it is best for me to leave In Flames and to quit the band permanently.

“The last 17 years have been a blast, and I am proud to have been part of this great journey, with the most talented and amazing people anyone can wish to have the privilege to work with.

“I’m also the luckiest guy in the world, to have the BEST fans in the world, who have been supporting me during my difficult times. It means the world to me, and I’m determined to fight and defeat my demons once and for all…. and by the help from you guys, I’m on my way.

“I’m far from done with music, metal, or whatever my direction is taking me, so be sure to hear from me in the future.May the Force be with you!”

The rest of the band stated that they are “behind him 100% on his decision.” They continued that there’s no word on any replacement for him yet or where they stand with regards to a new record.

Fear Factory - Mechanize

It’s almost a year ago that metal fans worldwide rejoiced in unison when word surfaced that Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares had well and truly stitched up their wounds and reformed Fear Factory, being the band’s two key components. But the reunion was not without its aches and pains as original bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera reared their heads and threatened legal action over the usage of the FF name last summer. But much of the legal threats and nattering seemed to dwindle away and this new incarnation of Fear Factory set about a new album with Byron Stroud on bass and the inimitably renowned drummer, Gene Hoglan.

So, with a refreshing vigour and ambition bestowed upon one of the most important metal bands in the 90s who dropped albums like Demanufacture it was going to be an enthralling set of events to watch unfold since the last record, 2005’s rather slushy Transgression.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. While Fear Factory plodded along without Dino Cazares following his departure in 2002, the band were inescapably hit and miss although Archetype displayed some solid and thunderous tunes. But in contrast, it was followed up by the aforementioned Transgression, which left many a fallow feeling behind.

Mechanize is the complete opposite of that though. The title track is largely emblematic of the no frills, straight for the jugular metal that is this album’s focal point with Bell ruthlessly bellowing. But although Mechanize is wholly unrelenting and insistently heavy it doesn’t lack hooks, as 'Powershifter' and 'Controlled Demolition' edify.

All of the new Fear Factory’s parts have everything they’ve been hyped up to have. Bell’s vocals are consistent and solid and Dino Cazares’ fret bothering remains its unique self. Cazares has been lauded throughout his career for his slick riffing and much of the record’s guitar work is some of his heaviest and devious. But along with that, Gene Hoglan shines wondrously here with unremitting and viscerally punishing drums.

Each track brings something to the table meaning the record never feels laborious like 'Christploitation' which indicates that Bell is as pissed off as ever, being incessant and not letting up an ounce on the aggression. But then album closer 'Final Exit' provides for an awe inspiring crescendo and appropriate exit for Mechanize.

It seems that all the BS of the years has only fuelled a raging fire inside Fear Factory. Mechanize will sit contentedly next to other career bests Demanufacture and Obsolete and should with time and the expected immense touring, reinstate Fear Factory as being one of the top guns in metal.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Trivium tracks

Finding its way online is the new Trivium track, ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ which the band has recorded for the soundtrack EP for the game, God Of War 3. This new track is a stand alone number and won’t be featured on the new album expected some time this year. Also, this the band’s first recording with new drummer Nick Augusto.

The track weaves even more through the vein that previous effort Shogun so vehemently advocated. It also shares much with the song structures of Ascendancy. The riffs are simply crushing and it’s up there with some of their heaviest moments. Vocally, Matt Heafy is stunning, as he delivers deafening roars and bellows completed by a hook laden clean chorus.

A mention must be made to the drums. Augusto clearly has some balls in his playing considering his work with grind acts Maruta and Implosive Disgorgence, and here it’s brutally audible. But it’s unknown just how much Augusto has contributed to the creative process, but either way his performance here is dazzling.

In their latest recording sessions Trivium also tackled Sepultura’s ‘Slave New World’ from their classic record Chaos AD. The track is available for free download
HERE or can be viewed below. This cover too features Augusto. Trivium has retained the song’s original heaviness and jagged grit. Heafy again shines, spitting out his throaty rendition of Max Cavalera’s vocals.

New tracks round up

Cancer Bats - Scared To Death
Canadians Cancer Bats have released a new track, ‘Scared To Death’ from their upcoming new album Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones. The track marks somewhat of a departure from their early hardcore sound. Last effort Hail Destroyer flirted with a more “metal sound” and here that seems to have materialised more. Vocalist Liam Cormier is really on top of things maintaining his pissed off manner but still lending some conviviality to the tune. But despite that the band haven’t forgot that they’re still a hardcore band, and that still occupies the majority of their soul. Judging from this taster, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones will, if anything, push them to loftier heights and certainly more fans.

Coheed & Cambria - The Broken
Coheed & Cambria have also released a new track ‘The Broken’, from their forthcoming album Year Of The Black Rainbow which is the prequel to the grand concept (The Amory Wars) of the band’s previous albums which closed on last effort No World For Tomorrow.

‘The Broken’ doesn’t encroach on any particularly new fields on the first few spins, but Claudio Sanchez has further proved that he is a notable songwriter. However, C&C have always been band that unravels themselves with time, unveiling shimmering majesties given patience. Their crossover appeal between hooks galore rock and sophisticated musical vistas have always been something that makes them such an alluring band. Multiple spins of Year Of The Black Rainbow in full will determine how or whether it will stand up with previous glories like Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness.

Colour System Failure - If Kerry Katona Could Fly
Dublin based post hardcore/metalcore act Colour System Failure have finally reared their heads again and released a new track, ‘If Kerry Katona Could Fly’ since their eponymous, self released album in 2008. Stylistically it remains more or less akin to the record but both heavier and more melodic in parts. But as far as some variation goes there’s some mix up in the vocals. The band was recently recording some more fresh material, so a new release is expected in the not so distant future.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

David Ellefson returns to Megadeth

With shock but with massive grins we welcome the unexpected news of bassist David Ellefson returning to the Megadeth ranks after an eight year absence. On the return, Dave Mustaine said “This shows the power of brotherly love and forgiveness. David Ellefson belongs in Megadeth. Next we are going to show you the power of getting your asses kicked…HARD!” Ellefson himself added: “This is a huge moment for all of us, band and fans alike.”

He continued, “It literally happened over the weekend. And I can hardly believe it myself. There was clearly gonna be a change in the lineup, because James Lomenzo was leaving. Dave and I talked on the phone, and all the feuds, all the arguments we’ve been having over the years just melted away. It just goes to show what direct contact can achieve!”

This news is greeted with particular joy as Megadeth are currently touring to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the landmark album Rust In Peace, and playing it in its entirety.

The Megadeth line up now sees Mustaine and Ellefson alongside drummer Shawn Drover and esteemed guitarist Chris Broderick.

Finally, Megadeth play the Marquee, Cork on June 14th.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Burzum samples online

Upon trekking through various sites and forums on this Friday morning, this little discovery was stumbled upon. On Amazon you can hear short samples of each of the new tracks from Varg Vikernes’ return with Burzum on new record Belus. Click HERE to hear the samples.

Much of the material seems to be veering towards straight up, no frills black metal. This comes as a surprise as Vikernes has loudly stated in recent months his disdain for modern black metal and much of Belus seems to be in that vein. Another surprising element is the production which is near spotless given the style but still has a very crunchy edge to it.

From this vantage point it’d be rather unfair to judge but regardless of the inexorable twatiness that he exudes, from these samples, Belus may be a contender for Varg’s best work, if not, certainly up there.

Belus is released on March 8th.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trivium part ways with Travis Smith

After months of uncertainty it’s now official, Trivium have parted ways with long time drummer Travis Smith. His permanent replacement Nick Augusto was announced today. Augusto has been filling in for Smith on Trivium’s recent US tour and recorded 2 new tracks including ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ with the band.

Matt Heafy, vocalist and guitarist commented: “We’re really happy to have our good friend and fellow Floridian Nick Augusto join the Trivium family. Nick’s drumming is very technical and diverse and he brings a real intense energy to the band and we can’t wait for everyone to hear the new song, ‘Shattering the Skies Above,” that we just recorded with Nick. I think it’s the best Trivium recording we’ve ever done; it’s raw, full of energy and I think Nick’s drumming really pushed us to a new level.”

Travis “temporarily” left the band during the US tour for reasons still wholly unexplained which led to much speculation about his future in Trivium. Now, those rumours are cast aside as the new line up embarks on a European tour next month and recording a new record.

New tracks round up

Cynic – Wheels Within Wheels [Live footage]
The reunited Cynic recently debuted a brand new track live entitled ‘Wheels Within Wheels’ on their current US tour supporting Between The Buried And Me. The new track is due to appear on a forthcoming new EP. Some good quality fan footage can be seen below of the song’s performance.

From this, it’s easy to gauge that Cynic are remaining their avant-garde themselves where some enthralling samples collide with riffs and Paul Masvidal’s ethereal vocals. It’s also easy to hear some vintage prog vibes float about with that. Also, Sean Reinert renowned pummelling of his drums only sates fans’ appetites for now. The studio version should astound if this is merely a taster. Cynic’s new EP, as yet untitled, will also feature four “re-interpretations” of tracks off 2008’s master work Traced In Air.

Rotting Christ – Noctis Era
Greece’s finest extreme metal export Rotting Christ return this month with their latest offering of relentless carnage Aealo. Here’s ‘Noctis Era’, a hint of what’s to come on the record.

‘Noctis Era’ is a furiously stampeding track, beginning with some war like chants. While the guitars melodically weave around the crushing heaviness, Sakis Tolis’ voice cuts through the din. To the outsider the vocals may be repellent though. But Aealo looks set to be a punishing affair.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dillinger Escape Plan jump to Season Of Mist

Imperative noise makers Dillinger Escape Plan have left their long time label, Relapse Records in favour of the ever rising Season Of Mist. The jump comes just in time for the release of their new album Option Paralysis.

A statement reads:
Dillinger Escape Plan announced their departure from Relapse Records last night and this morning they have officially joined the ranks of Season of Mist. The band’s new album will be released in early-2010 via Season Of Mist in collaboration with the group’s new label, Phonogetic Records.

Guitar player Ben Weinman comments: “It is becoming clear that as the music industry standard continues to morph and change on a daily basis, artistic and operational freedom has become a band’s most valuable asset. 100% free of all previous contractual ties, Dillinger is in an amazing position to collaborate with some interesting partners which will continue to nurture the ethic that we have been doing our best to stay true to for over 10 years now. While touring Europe in support of our record, Ire Works, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Berberian, distributor and owner of the independent record label Season of Mist. It quickly became clear that we had very similar ideas about Dillinger’s music and its place in the underground. Season of Mist has always been a leader in releasing some of the most extreme and interesting metal and experimental music. We look forward to releasing our next full length effort in association with Season of Mist as the very first chapter of this new journey. Also, Michael’s last name almost spells out Barbarian which Greg was really excited about.

This new signing is a major coup for Season Of Mist who also count Cynic in their ranks. It’s also a surprise to see DEP leave Relapse, a label they have hugely assisted in its development, along with Neurosis and Mastodon.

Option Paralysis will be released on March 23rd and the track “Farewell Mona Lisa” can be heard HERE.