Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New tracks round-up

Cradle Of Filth – Lilith Immaculate
The infamous Cradle Of Filth have delivered this new number, ‘Lilith Immaculate’ – the first taster from new record, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.

Opening with unrelenting drums and delving into thick symphonics ‘Lilith Immaculate’ is all Cradle, especially when Dani Filth’s deafening squeal enters and is joined by Ellyllon’s devilish vocals. It’s Cradle Of Filth doing what Cradle Of Filth do.

Bring Me The Horizon – It Never Ends
‘It Never Ends’ is the first single and video from Bring Me The Horizon’s forthcoming third album – There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret. The standout element is by far the riffs, by a presumably incalculable distant. The opening thunders through in furious fashion, but also delivering on the melodic front. Frankly, vocals let the momentum wane a bit though not entirely as they’re far from bad. They just don’t complement the music as they should. That said, the massive shout along chorus is just huge and tailor made for the live experience. Check out the odd video below.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Canvas Solaris - Irradiance

Across four exceptional albums the ludicrously technical instrumental metal outfit Canvas Solaris have garnered a much esteemed reputation for themselves. Fifth full length Irradiance, the follow up to 2008’s The Atomized Dream, continues that awe inspiring trajectory with aplomb.

This record is a vivacious clinic of dancing up and down the fret board. Guitarists Nathan Sapp and Chris Rushing create as well as dominate the focal point of Irradiance. The fretwork is otherworldly and while tremendously technical these nine songs never lose sight of tastefulness and very much remain songs. Their jaw dropping musicianship and blurring finger prancing would have both John Petrucci and Ron Jarzombek nodding approvingly in their direction. Look to 'Conveyance Of Flux' as evidence, it oozes hooks aplenty to engage with as angular riffs weave in and out.

That said, while guitars reign supreme Canvas Solaris are still a band and one that has grown sharper and more ambitious during this album’s predecessors. A thick plaiting bass underlies the whole affair, adding veritable muscle. The cascading synths and samples too deliver a fresh dimension as they meet the stylishly executed drums.

Irradiance is bustling with ideas left right and centre but it’s incredibly tight yet still ambitiously sprawling and spacious. All is focussed with no cramming or suffocating of thoughts and designs, everything has room to breathe.

Both 'The Horizons Feast On Stars' and 'Glacier' heave with bombast but conversely, 'Soliton (Emergence From Dispersion)' smoothly glides in with a slick trade off of guitars. Effortlessly rising and rising, the gloriously polished guitar work is emphasised increasingly so by a faultless production. All is then complemented by the dazzling close of mesmeric samples.

Irradiance also plays with some heavy jazz influences and remains unyieldingly solid from start to finish. But it’s moments like those hair raising crescendos that make Irradiance special. 'Vapor Chasm' is like a steam train for the most part, powering through riffs only to descend into a soothing hypnotic close. Followed by album swansong 'Null Proximity' which sees acoustics introduced, Irradiance is brought to a restful finish. Five albums in Canvas Solaris have brought the goods once again.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier

Doubtless, one of the most anticipated and simply biggest records of the year. It may also be Maiden's last. Click HERE to find out how it fares.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Dimmu Borgir track

Norwegian symphonic black metallers Dimmu Borgir are readying the release of their eagerly awaited record Abrahadabra. It’s the first since the somewhat acrimonious departure of bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex and keyboardist Mustis.

‘Gateways’ opens with typical Dimmu riffs and unrelenting drumming with their ever present symphonic grandeur emphasised greatly. For the most part it’s all very familiar, particularly regarding Shagrath’s vocals. But when frantic, staccato female vocals enter, the track hits an upward trajectory. Galder makes his presence felt with wondrous guitar leads and the eventual towering vocal exchange in the closing seconds between Shagrath and the unnamed guest vocalist changes the anticipation for Abrahadabra completely. ‘Gateways’ is far from an instant clicker though.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Löbo track & demo download

Portugal’s finest purveyors of experimental doom, traversing at a snail’s pace, Löbo have popped up again following on from the release of their simply stunning EP Alma.

The new track, ‘Nöite’ was recorded during the Alma sessions, which is heard vividly in its 8 minutes. It works with a mellower vibe, something that delivered greatly on the EP in between colossal, crashing doom and drone riffs. Its electronics are utterly hypnotic and engrossing to boot. Löbo have begun work on their first full length album now and of course, it’s more than something to look forward to.

The band have also re-released their Dânaca demo from 2008. For quite some time it was difficult to track down online – no more, it is available for free download. Click HERE to avail of these new servings from Löbo.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New All That Remains track

Metalcore stalwarts All That Remains return October 12th with their new record For We Are Many and have officially released the title track online.

The song continues on greatly from the vibe and execution of predecessor Overcome. The riffs are hook laden and just rightly polished with Phil Labonte maintaining his vocals which have always been of a high quality. The clean passages and the chorus are of course the centrepiece of the track and focus of All That Remains’ music. That, unsurprisingly, looks set to be accentuated once again on For We Are Many.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shadowcast Sun interview

Click HERE for the Drop-D interview with Kildare based atmospheric metal outfit Shadowcast Sun. It's a first of sorts as the band usually reside in mystery, finally find out some information about the band and their dazzling ambient music.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Swans track

Click HERE to listen to the new track, ‘Eden Prison’ from the freshly reunited experimental rock pioneers, Swans. ‘Eden Prison’ is the first taste of new album My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky. Band leader, Michael Gira’s voice is as recognisable and unmistakeable ever as it runs over harsh guitars yet still manages to be wondrously melodic. But a crashing noise at 3 minutes derails all that and from there it hurtles its way through to the close when it’s once again joined by Gira’s mesmeric vocals.

Thanks to this track My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky’s hype finds itself well and truly raised.

Swans play the following Irish tour dates
October 21 – Cork, Cyprus Avenue
October 22 – Dublin, Button Factory

‘Eden Prison’ can also be heard below:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Glassjaw track

Is it just another tease? Is this a new single from that EP that will be soon released? Well we can hope so. You read that title right, a new Glassjaw track – ‘All Good Junkies Go To Heaven’.

The track pushes Glassjaw’s more melodic side. After 2.30 minutes the audio slides into what sounds like a rip of fan recording of live show. This may be deliberate or it may suggest that this is not in fact the studio version as the title of the video suggest. That aside ‘All Good Junkies Go To Heaven’ is promising to say the very least.

Rumours are circulating web that Glassjaw have finished the EP but of course that’s nothing to go on for now. When details officially land we’ll have it here.

Devil Sold His Soul - Blessed & Cursed

It’s been three years since Devil Sold His Soul’s debut album A Fragile Hope was finally released to a degree of hype. It’s also been far too long a wait for a band that was on the cusp of promising things to deliver a follow up. Their blending of metalcore vocal lines and occasional breakdowns with lushly tonal and dense instrumentation marked a moment of excitement for this act. So now with sophomore record Blessed & Cursed they have their opportunity to re-take that promising path.

The mystic yet creeping scaling intro of 'Tides' eventually explodes invigoratingly into the earth shattering 'Drowning/Sinking' and really puts into focus what this album is about. The crossover they’ve created from many, to use an only vaguely accurate phrase, “core” influences and thickly heavy and experimenting influences of Cult Of Luna reaches an impressive stream on this record. Across the ten tracks this ideal is only intensified.

'Callous Heart' brings the punishment only to lead into 'An Ocean Of Lights'’ aching poignancy. While the guitars, drums and keyboards/samples collide for a staggering and glowing soundscape, vocalist Ed Gibbs truly excels. His post hardcore informed voice gels gorgeously with the weighty meeting of seismic guitars and the results of the din created is in all, blissful. A grandiose and spectral vibe runs throughout Blessed & Cursed as edified by 'Frozen', slowly burning to a cataclysmic crescendo. As well as that the gentle piano led verses of 'A Foreboding Sky' similarly erupts into a dazzling close.

Blessed & Cursed is an example of how to every action is a reaction. When Devil Sold His Soul are at their darkest and most crushing here, the aura eventually swerves to their melodic shades. This spectacular dichotomy is never once faceless, it’s wholly candid. For proof look to 'Crane Lake'’s intro, its sheer ardent guitar work comes avalanching in only to plunge into sharply delivered devastating passages.

It’s energetic, strikingly heartfelt and passionate. While certain airs of despondency reigns with some tracks, overall Blessed & Cursed is a cathartic and exhilarating record. It’s an unexpected triumph in many regards from a band who were laying low for far too long – with this, things could, and should, change.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Korn - III: Remember Who You Are

It would be a tad silly to not acknowledge the importance of Korn. Like it or not they’re one of the most influential heavy bands of the last 15 to 20 years, just think of the amount of bands both good and bad that have followed in the wake of their visceral 1994 self titled record. It reinvented heavy. But in recent years as Korn experimented with their sound and shed a member or two that acknowledgment took somewhat of a back seat.

And while previous records like Untitled and See You On The Other Side stunned in terms of experimentation for the band (opinion of course) they weren’t the towering presence they once were, particularly in the late 90s. As the title would suggest they have taken a trip down memory lane and what better means of doing so than enlisting the producer that brought them to life all those years ago?

The return of Ross Robinson, who produced the first two albums, along with a revitalised sense of being has ensured that III: Remember Who You Are is Korn’s best record in quite some time.

Remember Who You Are sees the re-emergence of Jonathan Davis’ thunderous screams and bellows, not heard since 2003’s Take A Look In The Mirror. It’s a welcomed return. On tracks like lead single 'Oildale (Leave Me Alone)' he roars through what will become a live staple thanks to its bulging chorus. Similarly, 'Pop A Pill' reminds us of how heavy, as well as groove oriented, Korn can be when they truly want to be. Also back is Fieldy’s dirty slap bass playing, a core element that was missed in Untitled – once an all too familiar component, it’s welcomed home with opened arms.

'Are You Ready To Live?' keeps heavily in common with the frustrated riffs and tweaks of Life Is Peachy, meanwhile 'Move On' astounds with keenly heavy riffage and Davis’ vicious vocals. Closer, 'Holding All These Lies' acknowledges some of Untitled’s stylistic toing and froing while taking much from the painful emotion of their debut.

The vital ingredient of this record is that it’s not a simple rehashing of the past. Korn aren’t young guys any more and their awareness of this along with the vague sense of reminiscence has ensured the record doesn’t in anyway sound contrived or desperate. They’ve accomplished the near impossible – made a reflective record that sounds and feels fresh.


Friday, August 6, 2010

36 Crazyfists - Collisions And Castaways

36 Crazyfists can safely take a bow for this, their fifth studio effort Collisions And Castaways. It’s strange to think that these Alaskans aren’t huge. They’ve certainly earned any success they do have, struggling through personal grief in the band and releasing solid, zero dud records every single time. Yet the glass ceiling remains unbroken for them and it’s said with each record, “now things will change”. That said they haven’t, by any means, been static. Each new chapter has marked a beguiling evolution and 2010’s evolution is no different.

Collisions And Castaways is their heaviest and most abrasive record to date, as well as their most expansive. Criminally underrated guitarist and chief composer Steve Holt has valiantly spread his creative wings here, all made evident by opener 'In The Midnights'. In all it has a more epic, for the want of a better word, vibe with creeping acoustics giving way to sprawling leads and an eventual barrage of riffs. Then by rolling into the ferocious and edgy 'Whitewater' Collisions And Castaways truly gets underway.

Similar to his comrade in Holt, vocalist Brock Lindow has upped his game delivering his finest performance yet being his most frenzied as well passionate. On predecessor The Tide And Its Takers he teased at the intensity and ferocity he was capable of but here it’s come full circle, all proven by 'Mercy And Grace'. But melody and hooks haven’t been sacrificed for the sake of brutality. Lead single 'Reviver' has a colossal chorus destined for chaotic sing-alongs live, meanwhile 'Caving In Spiral' tugs ruthlessly on the heartstrings. In some ways 36 Crazyfists exude an air of melancholy in tracks like the latter but it’s twisted and moulded into a wholly positive emotive affair.

Last two tracks 'The Deserter' and 'Waterhaul II' portray some more violent tumult and a return to visceral/melodic clashes. 36 Crazyfists have struck an assiduous balance and uncovered and laid claim to a familiar sound that they can call their own. Like Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God before them they’ll be mimicked but it’s their sound now due to an arduous honing of the craft with each album. Collisions And Castaways is a triumph in a multitude of ways for them and should, if justice prevails finally, reap many rewards.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare

To say there's a buzz about Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare is quite the under statement. Click HERE to see how it fares under the hammer of criticism.

New Linkin Park track

The mass unit shifting rock machine Linkin Park has released the first single, ‘The Catalyst’ from their forthcoming album A Thousand Suns. The track shows a slight accentuation of the U2-isms of Minutes To Midnight as well as the political and societal undertones. But ‘The Catalyst’ doesn’t sound a thing like, say, ‘What I’ve Done’. It in fact owes a great deal to Chester Bennington’s beat-led side project Dead By Sunrise with the guitar being almost mute, opposed to the heavy radio anthem vibes that permeated the last album. Any hope of the return of Hybrid Theory’s bounce and youthful recklessness is quickly dispelled by this single’s overtly serious demeanour.

Be wary if you are looking around online for this track as several fan remixes have been released with some posing as the original track.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Iron Maiden, The O2 Dublin - 30/7/2010

Let’s just get this out of the way. Heaven & Hell were supposed to be playing this O2 Dublin date alongside Iron Maiden. But of course the tragic passing of the great Ronnie James Dio meant that that wouldn’t happen. Unsurprisingly MCD took the easy route with this fill in and enlisted, once again, the services of Belfast’s NWOBHM residuals Sweet Savage – much to the dismay of punters who originally paid for two legendary metal acts. They plod through a set of weathered rock tunes. That said, the three piece are clearly enjoying every moment of playing this massive stage climaxing with a 'Whiskey In The Jar' rendition that connects the strongest with the crowd, obviously. The principal problem with Sweet Savage is that they’re not necessarily a horrendous band as some will have you believe, there’s just no solidity and vitality in them, simply put there’s nothing good just like there’s nothing bad and that’s almost worse.

But negativities aside this is a night about Iron Maiden, the most important metal act of well, ever. Like the US leg of the tour the set-list is dominated by material from Maiden’s last three albums – A Matter Of Life And Death, Dance Of Death and Brave New World. It’s pleasing to witness a band with a vintage like Maiden to have such confidence and belief in their recent output and not to rest on the laurels of triumphs past. 'Wicker Man' couldn’t be a better choosing for an opener, played with unruly conviction and thrusting all on hand into euphoria.

Bruce Dickinson leaps and bounds across the stage with the energy of a Duracell bunny and the fitness of an Olympian. It’s merely a reminder as to why he’s probably best frontman there is, shrinking the mass present and placing them all firmly in his hand. In fact the same can said for all the members, there’s not one moment in the set’s duration that the adrenaline and high octane wanes. It just climbs and climbs with each track whether it be 'Ghost Of The Navigator' or No More Lies'; each serving is as enthralling as the last.

The monolithic 'Blood Brothers' is dedicated to Ronnie James Dio and its life affirming chorus means it couldn’t be a better choice. They also unleash new tune 'El Dorado' from the swiftly approaching new record The Final Frontier. Its force and power is multiplied tenfold live and sounds more vigorous than the track released online.

While the vast majority of the evening is populated by fresher songs they don’t ignore their untouchable masterworks. 'Wrathchild' explodes with Steve Harris delivering that monumental bass-line and each person standing before these legends screams the words back. Of course 'Fear Of The Dark' is an otherworldly spectacle and so too is the flawless encore. 'Number Of The Beast' makes you wonder how Bruce is still standing as he glides across the various stage set ups. But it’s 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' that steals the show with its heart stopping crescendo and with 'Running Free' and Bruce thanking each person in attendance with a pint of Guinness in hand, it hits home: you saw Iron Maiden and it was indeed something very very special. But come on, were you expecting anything less?