The long-anticipated, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons debut album, ‘The Age of Absurdity’ is catchy, golden-era hard rock with a modern-day shine. Nuclear Blast is set to release this collection of eleven songs and one bonus track (“Silver Machine,” a Hawkwind cover) on January 26, 2018. The album was recorded during the summer of 2017 and Phil Campbell had this to say about the process, “I am really excited for the fans to hear our debut record. Every part of the process was done in Wales, from the writing to the recording, and even the artwork!” ‘The Age of Absurdity’ was recorded at Rockfield Studios and Longwave Studios in Wales and produced by Romesh Dodanga (Motörhead, Bullet for my Valentine). Continue reading →
Throughout their 24 year career, the modern metal colossus that is Machine Head have seen their fair amount of love, hate and skepticism. A band who change with the times, not necessarily with the trends, they have shown especially interesting senses of progression most recently through adding string sections, choral chants and a bigger sense of scope to their crushing brand of metal. Fans have been kept on their toes in other words and the Machine Head brand is not easily painted into a corner. So when the band’s new record, ‘Catharsis’, was unveiled and its mission statement was to be a major statement for rock & metal music in 2018, one can’t help but let curiosity take over and see what the Cali boys have concocted this time. ‘Catharsis’ was recorded with Zack Ohren (Fallujah, All Shall Perish) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California and will be released via Nuclear Blast on January 26th, 2018.
From fanatic heavy-metal advocates to casual listeners, a group that has managed to reel in an eclectic mixture of both communities is the now long-established, versatile force of Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, whose tenth studio album, whimsically titled ‘Grimmest Hits’ is perhaps a little bit of a celebration record for the band as it marks their twentieth anniversary as a recording unit. The record is scheduled to be released via eOne Music on 19/01/2018. Continue reading →
Formed in 2004 by former The Gates Of Slumber drummer Chuck Brown, the band followed their 2008 ‘Sincerest Misery’ debut with “Last Sunrise” in 2010, then, in between two splits and a demo, released ‘Of Woe And Wounds’ in 2014, which also served as their first album for Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music. Just in time, Apostle of Solitude greets the legions of doom in early 2018 with their fourth studio album, ‘From Gold To Ash.’ Continue reading →
Wyatt “Screamin’Demon” Anderson – vocals JonLeon – bass/guitars JamesJLaRue – lead guitars and keyboards/orchestration DylanMarks – drums
As an answer to the angsty, low tuned, screamo music that has taken over since the early 2000’s, Los Angeles, CA’sWhiteWizzard was formed by bass/guitar player and songwriter JonLeon in mid-2007. Stressing the importance of superior songwriting, melody and appropriate harmonies, Jon set out to add all of the fun and good times back to HardRock and Metal that had been all but abandoned since the late 80’s and early 90’s when Metal was in its infancy and heyday. Since their inception, WhiteWizzard has released a couple of EPs, a number of singles and four, full-length CDs entitled OvertheTop (2010), FlyingTigers (2011, and one of my favorites!), TheDevil’sCut (2013) and, released Friday, January 12th, 2018 on the M-TheoryAudio label (a first for the band), InfernalOverdrive.
Ape Cave are a talented band from the musically rich city of Portland, Oregon. The band’s debut release was on May 31, 2015 in the form of an EP titled ‘Primordium’. It was engineered by Ryan Grunest and The Human and mixed/mastered by The Human at Human Studios. ‘Primordium’ has been described as an eighteen minute long embarkment spanning over bountiful sonic landscapes – listeners will find themselves immersed in formidable singing, kaleidoscopic guitar solos and rigid rhythms. I have become addicted to their unique sound since hearing their 2016 release ‘Pillars of Evolution’ which also made my best of album list for that year. It was engineered/mixed by Fester at Haywire Studios and mastered by Stephan Hawkes at Interlace Audio. The band describes the album “Prepare to undertake a momentous odyssey through Kashmir’s bluffs, devastating Egyptian plains and volcanic panorama in Ape Cave’s LP ‘Pillars of Evolution.’ The psychedelic guitar work, roaring bass lines, thunderous percussion and dark vocals soaring to pyramidal heights are just a fraction of the elements that will leave listeners captivated. The tale of a wanderer experiencing an intensely hallucinogenic, trans-continental journey is yet to be unraveled.” The band has now released their follow up to that album with ‘Language of the Earth’ which like the last album released on January 1st. Ape Cave continues to bring amazing gifts on January 1st with their album releases and though it’s the first day of the year when December rolls around it will still be in your album rotation. This was true with ‘Pillars of Evolution’ and I’m sure the same will be true with ‘Language of the Earth’. This album was Engineered/mixed/produced by Billy Anderson who has worked with notable acts like The Melvins, Neurosis, Swans, Brutal Truth and many more. Continue reading →
Any fan of Symphonic, female-fronted Metal is intimately familiar with, now legendary, Leaves’ Eyes. Over the course of the last fourteen years, the band has released a total of six albums including Lovelorn(2004), VinlandSaga(2005), Njord (2009), Meredead (2011), SymphoniesoftheNight (2013) and KingofKings in late 2015. Based on a myriad of Nordic themes such as the mystical, underwater world of the mermaid, adventures of the ancient mariner, Celtic folk songs, tales of heroic women over the course of mankind’s existence and, most recently a concept album revolving around the first king of Norway, Leaves’ Eyes has carved their epic status in stone and set a firm foundation for the entire Symphonic sub-genre of Metal. By April 2016, Finnish vocalist ElinaSiirala replaced long-standing front-woman LivKristine amid much drama and controversy. Fans from all over the world held their collective breaths as the first act of the band played out to its close. Once Elina proved herself at Hammersonic in Jakarta, Indonesia, MetalFemaleVoices, WaveGotik, Treffen, MastersofSymphonicMetal, FullMetalCruise and many other, fans breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Elina had what it takes to carry the standard. This should come as no surprise since Liv had a hand in choosing her replacement. Last year, Leaves’ Eyes ventured on their most bold world tour yet, hitting Europe, Asia, North America and South America; even being joined by one of my favorite bands, Sabaton, among many others and selling out shows throughout. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of seeing Leaves’ Eyes live but are said to have “shows [that are] are spectacular events featuring breathtaking stage sets like a Viking ship or the unforgettable ‘SwordsintheStone’ monument.”
Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple and Black Country Communion) – Bass
ChadSmith (RedHotChiliPeppers) – Drums
MikeFraser(AC/DC, TheRazor’s Edge and long time Satriani collaborator since CrystalPlanet) – Producer/Engineer/Mixer
JoeSatriani certainly needs no introduction and remains one of my favorite guitarists of all time. What will be sixteen albums over the course of thirty one years, teacher of many other great guitarists (KirkHammet, AndyTimmons, SteveVai, AlexSkolnick, CharlieHunter, LarryLaLonde, KevinCadogan, RickHunolt, DavidBryson, GeoffTyson, PhilKettner, to name a few), member of supergroup Chickenfoot, undeniably one of the most influential guitarists of all time, multiple GrammyAward nominations, headliner of G3 since 1995 featuring a veritable who’s who of the greatest the guitar world has to offer and a man that just exudes passion and fun on every stage he has ever landed on are just a few meager mentions of this man’s incredible talents. I have had the pleasure of seeing Joe quite a few times over the course of his long career and he so obviously loves what he is doing now more than he ever has. He just keeps getting better and enjoying it more and more as the years wear on. Where a jaded view of the music business has tainted the passion of so many other bands I have seen lately, Satriani hits the stage with continued wide-eyed wonder. Honestly, I think Satch enjoys playing more than his fans like watching him slay his beloved Ibanez.
For fans of Nineties psych-fused heavy rock, a group that commonly springs to mind is Los Angeles based power-trio Nebula, a group whose initial incarnation was formed out of the ashes of Fu Manchu and their decaying line-up at the time. Celebrating their 20th Anniversary, the group are planning to reissue their first three recordings under the newly-established, slightly esoteric label under the name of Heavy Psych Sounds. Each individual release features two bonus tracks as well as the original track-listing and is certainly marked by a deep feeling of sentiment and accomplishment. Today we’ll be focusing on the first of their upcoming releases which is also evidently the first plunge into oblivion the group embarked upon as a recording unit; – why yes, of course I’m talking about the EP ‘Let it Burn’ which was in its heyday originally released via Relapse Records. Continue reading →
Harm’s Way is a band that some may find difficult to categorize. Originally formed in Chicago, Illinois in 2006 as a casual side project playing fast-paced powerviolence and hardcore punk; the band has since gone through several metamorphoses, and over the years, have slowed down their pace and leaned more toward a down-tuned “metal” sound. We can throw around labels all day such as hardcore, metalcore, death metal, nu-metal, industrial, thrash metal, groove metal, sludge, and the list goes on and on. Certainly, influences of all these genres can be heard in their music. At the end of the day, from what I can tell though, these guys are just simply evolving their style to become the heaviest, most brutal, powerful, in-your-face sounding music they can come up with. There’s no frills or gimmicks; no wank-off guitar solos or whiney ballads; It’s – Just. Plain. Heavy. Whatever you decide to classify them as, Harm’s Way’s latest full-length studio album, ‘Posthuman,’ is the sonic equivalent of a brutally violent ass-beating by a ten-ton sledgehammer. Continue reading →