*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*
Our first artist is Black Map!
Black Map will be taking the Chicago Open Air stage on July 15th this year at Toyota Park and we couldn’t be more excited. This will be the first Danny Wimmer Presents festival that Black Map will be a part of . We are kicking off the artist spotlight in a special way as we also include an album review of their new release: ‘In Droves’. The alt metal trio unleashed their first songs in 2014. First, their 4-song EP titled ‘Driver’ was released in February and all 4 songs were included later on that year on their first full length album ‘…And We Explode’. They put off a heavy 90s rock vibe with huge, blasting riffs and raw emotion all packed into one punch. Last year the band made a large breakthrough with the premiere of a new song “Run Rabbit Run”. This song took the airwaves by storm and told us to get ready for 2017 because Black Map is quickly on their way to the top. ‘In Droves’ will drop across the US on March 10th via eOne Music. The album was produced by Aaron Hellam at Hellman Sound. You can pre-order ‘In Droves’ here on the band’s website. Continue reading
Within The Ruins is a metal band based out of Westfield, Massachusetts. They have a new album coming out March 3rd 2017 via eOne Music, titled ‘Halfway Human. When the band was talking about the writing process for this record, they touched upon the fact that they usually rush out music and jump into the studio. Within The Ruins collectively decided they were sick of the same old formula and wanted to try something new and take the time write a great record. Within The Ruins has stated they took the time to review their older material and have tried to make something different sounding. With the time, patience and research they have put into their new album ‘Halfway Human’ I’m sure most will be impressed by what Within The Ruins has done on their 5th studio record. Continue reading
Artwork by Shaun Beaudry
Melodeath/Metalcore band Darkest Hour has made a return to form with their new release titled ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora’. The band’s ninth studio album drops on March 10th via Southern Lord Records. It was recorded in Salem, MA at Godcity Studio with producer/engineer Kurt Ballou (guitarist of Converge) and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. The cover art by created by Shaun Beaudry. This release returns all band members from the previous self-titled record released via Sumerian Records in 2014. The Washington D.C. quintet have put together a killer release that will appeal to the old school fans that loved the early albums. ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora’ is an absolutely relentless, marvelous clash of uncompromising riffs and utter domination on the vocals. The band is currently on tour with Ringworm, Rivers of Nihil, Rotten Sound, and Tombs, dates can be viewed below. You can pre-order the upcoming album here. Continue reading
The Motor City’s HATE UNBOUND are like a high performance engine that keeps cranking. The band are the sonic equivalent of a booze fueled fist fight among friends. The band heralds a do it yourself attitude that has allowed them to lead the charge in defining today’s heavy metal landscape. Singer Art Giammarra, guitarist Daryl Mitchell, guitarist William Cundiff, bassist Sean Demura, and drummer Franklin “Foot” Hannah have a range of influences like Death and Lamb Of God. The members equally collaborate together to create their unique sound. After their formation in 2013 the band has performed along side acts like Beyond Creation, Rivers of Nihil, Warbringer, Havok, and Belphegor. HATE UNBOUND have made a name for themselves due to their energetic live performances. HATE UNBOUND released 3 track demo in July of 2015 and now things are about to heat up even more for the band. Their debut album ‘Plague’ was just released on February 17th via Inverse Records. ‘Plague’ was recorded, mixed and mastered during the spring and summer of 2016 at Elaire Studios in Detroit, Michigan. The process was delayed so HATE UNBOUND could perform at the New Jersey Metal Fest and Full Terror Assault festivals in the summer of 2016. Putting their album on hold shows to perform live shows the respect and admiration they have for their fans, and they do not disappoint when they take the stage either. HATE UNBOUND aren’t just another metal band, they are the keepers of all that is heavy. Continue reading
King Diamond – vocals, producer
Andy LaRocque – guitar
Michael Denner – guitar, assistant producer
Timi Hansen – bass guitar
Mikkey Dee (Micael Kiriakos Delaoglou) – drums, assistant producer
Roberto Falcao (Roberto Johansson) – engineer, keyboards
What an honor and a privilege to cover the thirty year anniversary of one of the most beloved, important and influential Metal albums of all time: Abigail by the almighty King Diamond! AThirty years. Man, how time does fly. I can remember listening to Mercyful Fate as a kid, loving King’s first solo album, Fatal Portrait and the first time I heard Abigail shortly before graduating from high school back in 1987. Like many others from that time, my jaw dropped into my lap and has still not fully recovered to this day. It never comes close to getting old and is the album that scared the shit out of my girlfriend (now my wife of almost thirty years), shying her permanently away from the darker side of Metal this thing gave rise to. Hell, I was jamming it shortly before I learned that I would have this rare indulgence to cover a timeless Classic! It just always manages to snake its way into just about every playlist I listen to and/or create. Like many from my era, Abigail remains one my most loved albums of all time.
POWER TRIP; Hailing from Dallas, the band has toured the world relentlessly for years. Their musical proficiency, perfect song structure, rich tones, fierce riffs, delivery, and collective attitude has seeded them as one of today’s most prolific acts in any astute or heavy genre. POWER TRIP executes music with raw energy, and it’s easily heard on their previous material as well as this new release. They are the up and coming thrash band that everyone should keep their eyes on. These thrashers have 2 full length albums ‘Manifest Decimation’ and their most recent release ‘Nightmare Logic’ out and both are impressive feats. With 5 other releases in their discography that include EP’s, a split and a demo, it shows that nothing can hold this band back from success. Continue reading
WOUNDVAC is a hardcore/grind quartet from Phoenix, Arizona. The band formed in 2014 The band’s most predominant styles are hardcore and grind, but you also can hear some punk influence within their sound as well. The band has 7 varying format releases so far in short amount of time they have been formed. Everything was started with the bands ‘S/T’ EP that released in 2014, and then followed up with ‘DISGRACED CONVERT’ 7″ in 2015. In 2016 the band had 4 different releases. The first of which was a ‘WOUNDVAC // COLUMNIII Split’ 7″ that featured 2 tracks from WOUNDVAC and one from fellow the Arizona natives COLUMNIII. It was on this release that current vocalist Rich joined the band, taking the place of the bands original singer. The next release was the single “Sentient Cancer” which is features an array of political themed lyrics. Next was another split released in October of 2016, this time released on cassette. The ‘WOUNDVAC // GLITTERBOMB Split’ Cassette which featured 2 songs by each band. The 4th and final release of 2016 was a two track flexi disc release titled ‘They Eat Their Own Young / Rumination’. The flexi disc is a record made of a thin, flexible vinyl sheet with a molded-in spiral stylus groove, and is designed to be playable on a normal turntable. Though the flexi disc was created in the 60’s their popularity was brought back by Decibel Magazines monthly flexi disc series that features exclusive songs. Now WOUNDVAC has started off the New Year strong with yet another release. ‘Infamy‘ was released on February 17, 2017. Drums recorded at Arcane Digital Recording with Ryan Butler (Exhumed, Ghoul, Nightrage), the Guitars, bass, and vocals were recorded and mixed by Kiel Siler and Additional vocal mixing by Zachary Rippy at Sound Signal Audio. The album was mastered by Ronald J. Llewellyn (The Freeze, Destruction Unit) of Welshman’s Pride. WOUNDVAC has not only proven that they have achieved the sound in which they have been progressing towards, but their vast discography in less than 3 years as an active band shows the immense work ethic they have. Continue reading
***** Review by guest contributor Roni Palmer *****
NonHuman Era is:
Pierre St–Jean – Vocals
Carlo Zappavigna – Guitars
Rick Dessi – Drums
Jean – Francois Vincenti – Bass
Marek Krowicki – Keys
Out of Montreal, NonHuman Era consists of founding members and cousins Rick Dessi [drums] and Carlo Zappavigna [guitar], along with Pierre St. Jean [vocals, guitar–Heaven’s Cry, Alcoholica (a Metallica tribute band)], Jean–Francois Vincenti [bass—Alcoholica] and Marek Krowicki [keyboards]. I gave this album a listen on the recommendation of a friend and my only regret is that I didn’t hear of it when it first came out in November of 2015. I’m completely blown away that they haven’t been picked up by a major label. A Progressive Metal band that’s a synergy of sound and energy reminiscent of Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Symphony X with a polish that you seldom hear on a first album.
Havok is an American thrash metal band from the mile high city of Denver, Colorado. Since being formed in 2004 the band has been dominating the thrash scene. ‘Conformicide’ is Havok’s 4th studio album and it was done through Century Media Records. It’s the first album with bassist Nick Schendzielos as well as the first release via Century Media Records. This is also the longest gap between albums, coming 4 years from their last effort. ‘Conformicide’ will be released on March 10th 2017. Relatively speaking, Havok is “new” to the thrash scene. They have been around since 2004 but have really secured their place in the new wave of thrash metal. They drastically change their sound with every record and that keeps them interesting enough to stay on top of other bands coming through the thrash scene. This album is largely centered around politics with another big focus to the record being a religion.
Frederick, Maryland based four piece SLOTH HERDER have been working steady at distilling their sound since their formation in 2009. The band quickly released two EP’s in 2012, ‘Sluggard’ and ‘Abandon Pop Sensibility’. The later of the two has been noted as being very obscure but also receive critical acclaim throughout the metal community. SLOTH HERDER is a band that doesn’t just think outside the box, they break the box. Their unique style has varying moments of influence from a cast of different genres. You will hear a grindcore style for moments and then hints of black metal sprinkled in, and then out of nowhere you will get a faint taste of doom in their mix. SLOTH HERDER will not be barricaded to one genre and the simplest way to define their sound is extreme. In addition, do not let the word “Sloth” in their name deceive you. Unlike the Central and South American mammal in their name, nothing about this band is slow. The follow-up their 2012 EP, ‘Abandon Pop Sensibility’, SLOTH HERDER’s ‘No Pity, No Sunrise’ released via Marland based Grimoire Records presents a monstrous, fourteen-track attack in just over thirty-five minutes delivered by vocalist Josh Lyon, bassist Luke Ibach, drummer Sean Wilhide, and guitarist Nick Craggs, and additional sounds by Ryan Neal. An unhinged surge of extreme metal that will appeal to a wide range of acts, from Antigama to Pyrrhon, Yautja to Gaza. The album also includes some amazing imagery within the cover art as well. It would surely be one of those albums you buy on a whim just because of the album art. ‘No Pity, No Sunrise’ was recorded by Noel Mueller in the Fall of 2016, who also mixed and mastered the album. ‘No Pity, No Sunrise’ will be released on March 24th in several formats including CD, pro-cassette, and digital download. Grimoire Records’ Noel Mueller, who also handles the recording of the label’s releases stated, “We’ve been talking to SLOTH HERDER and trying to record/release an album with them ever since we started Grimoire Records back in 2013. So yeah, we couldn’t be more stoked that four years later, the band finally decided to step into the Grimoire studio and recorded their long anticipated full length with us. The payoff is that much sweeter given how long we’ve been waiting for this to happen.” Continue reading