Review: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘Atonement’ [Song Stream]

 

If you’ve not heard of Killswitch Engage by now, number one: you are severely missing out on some of the best music out there, and number two: you definitely live under a rock. Killswitch has been releasing perfect album after album since 1999; they hail from Massachusetts. They are credited as one of the most successful bands from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. They have continued to headline international tours and have massive festival appearances. “Atonement” will be their eight LP and the follow-up to the masterpiece, “Incarnate” from 2016. The aforementioned album will be their very first release via Metal Blade Records on August 16. Killswitch Engage is metalcore perfection. If it is not already obvious, KSE is one of my all time favorite bands and I may or may not have shed a tear whilst at their shows. 

As it should, “Atonement” begins with a roar- it really does! “Unleashed” is the opening track and the first single the band shared. The first thing that many Killswitch fans will recognize is how flawless singer, Jesse Leach’s vocals sound. Many know that he underwent vocal surgery last spring, and to say he’s made a recovery is an understatement. Perhaps some of his strongest recorded performances yet are found on the new album. “Unleashed” doesn’t particularly stray too far from the tried and true Killswitch Engage formula, but that’s okay because they do it so goddamn well. The song has a verse that sticks and a chorus that ends with a sick breakdown. What more could you need?

The second track is something that many KSE followers have dreamed about for years and it has finally happened. Jesse Leach and the band’s former frontman, Howard Jones (who should need no introduction at all, but it anyone was wondering, he currently fronts Light the Torch) on one song together. This, I believe, will solve all the worlds’ problems. “The Signal Fire” comes in hot, with a deathcore introduction and it’s thrashy in your face feel. The chorus is a total earworm with such conviction. Jesse and Howard together is every girls dream… or maybe it’s just mine? Regardless, these two sound perfect and this is a standout track. 

“The Crownless King,” is such a fist pumping pit starter. This one will go over extremely well live. A great mid tempo track with soaring vocals, “As Sure as the Sun Will Rise.” Of course it’s impossible to review “Atonement” without addressing the song with the first video from the record, “I Am Broken Too.” Leach has been very forthcoming with his personal struggles with mental health in past lyrics and this one is no acception. It’s stripped down and a little more simple and incredibly powerful. Killswitch Engage both on record and live, is a great balance. Songs like this one, and older tracks like “Arms of Sorrow” and “Rose of Sharyn” deal with heavy topics and then there are just some straight up bangers. The ever amusing guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz brings the comedic relief to their sets, dawning headbands that read, “TRASH” and spurting out lewd and insane remarks. Killswitch knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to be Adam.  

Like every album before and like every album will be, “Atonement” is fantastic. Currently in first place for metalcore album of the year, curated by myself. It’s out August 16 on Metal Blade and currently up for preorder. A European tour is in order for the fall, but if you are in the states you can catch them (along with many others) at the first inaugural Exit 111 Festival in October, taking place in Tennessee. This record will not disappoint and if you haven’t seen Killswitch Engage live, you’re dead to me. 

 

MESHUGGAH & THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Bring the Heavy To Nashville [Review & Photo Gallery]

Meshuggah

Swedish extreme metal innovators Meshuggah treated U.S. fans to a surprise when they announced they would hit the spring U.S. festival circuit and sprinkle in a handful of select cities across the states in between. In addition to Welcome to Rockville, the Epicenter Festival, the Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival, and the Chicago Open Air Festival, Meshuggah chose to destroy six other lucky cities as they traversed the southern and northeastern states before heading to Europe this summer. Joining them on these select dates were Detroit, MI death metal veterans The Black Dahlia Murder. Continue reading

CATTLE DECAPITATION Announce Mini-Tour With Special Guests UNIDAD TRAUMA

Cattle Decapitation will kick off a five-date mini-tour with special guests/grindcore merchants Unidad Trauma next week. The journey will rampage its way through San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs. See all confirmed dates below. Continue reading

Review: WHITECHAPEL – ‘The Valley’ [Album Review & Video Stream]

 

Since their inception in 2007, Whitechapel have embraced darkness unlike many other bands have been able to do, and their forthcoming seventh studio release, The Valley, is no different. Let’s set the record straight for a second, though. There aren’t many, “happy,” things about their music to start with, but when you start to dig deeper than the music and the lyrics, and begin to strike a personal connection with the stories they tell, you begin to feel like you’re one with the grim tales that they narrate in their music. For frontman Phil Bozeman, this is as personal of an album as ever, giving you an inside look at events that he went through as a child growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, with a new perspective on life and how his childhood traumas have molded him into the human being he is now. From his putrid relationship with his step father, to diving deep into analyzing his mother’s multiple personality syndromes, it is nothing short of a lyrical masterpiece that exceeds any and all expectations from a modern Deathcore band in today’s music scene. The Valley, based on true events by Whitechapel, is an overwhelming, emotional, and cut-throat look into the darkest side of a person’s mind.

The album begins with the opening track, When A Demon Defiles A Witch, a song that Bozeman wrote about his mother’s personal demon. A gruesome tale that properly sets the mood for the unrelenting and over the top musical onslaught that you will face when listening to this album. To make things perfectly clear, this song has nothing to do with his stepfather, but it is about a demon by the name of, “Mycar,” that used to haunt her in their home. Bozeman’s mother had journals that she kept writings in of all the things that she experienced with this being, and these journals actually contained lines and phrases that Bozeman would use as lyrics for the track in certain places, (“Burn the bed, burn everything, it’s a lie anyway.”) the original writings of the journal concur that she referred to herself as a witch, and talk about how the demon would sexually assault her in her bed. Continue reading

Review: KING DIAMOND – ‘Songs For The Dead Live’

The King is back! After a long wait, King Diamond has returned with ‘Songs for the Dead Live,’ which is the first thing KD has released since 2007’s ‘Give Me Your Soul….Please.’ On January 25th, KD will release a new DVD/Blu-ray ‘Songs for the Dead Live’ via Metal Blade Records. Here is some official info summarizing what to expect from this extensive collection of music and footage: Continue reading

WHITECHAPEL Release “Black Bear” From Upcoming Album ‘The Valley’ [Song Stream]

 

On March 29th, Whitechapel will release their 7th full-length, ‘The Valley’, via Metal Blade Records. Mixed by David Castillo, mastered by Ted Jensen, and produced once again by Mark Lewis (Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder), ‘The Valley’ is a reference to the part of Hardin Valley (west of Knoxville, Tennessee) where vocalist Phil Bozeman grew up. Set against this backdrop, he approaches his subject matter unflinchingly, building upon everything that came before, making it clear that he has survived that which he was forced to endure and is not afraid to confront it. “Phil has been upfront in his lyrics in the past about hardships he endured in his life as a child, and I believe with this record we tried to paint a better picture of that,” says guitarist Alex Wade, who alongside his bandmates, stands 100% behind everything their vocalist has to say. “I feel our music is Phil’s release from his past, being able to get it out and speak about it, and hopefully anyone who hears it that may have gone through similar experiences can find some release in it as well.” This is the second track released from the upcoming album, the first of which was “Brimstone” which can be streamed here. Continue reading

BEHEMOTH Unveil New Video For “Wovles Ov Siberia”

 

Hailing from Poland, blackened death metal band, Behemoth formed in 1991. Releasing 10 albums with Nergal riffing on guitar and vocals, Inferno Manning the drum cannons, Orion creating low end frequencies, and Seth holding rhythm duties. The band has been the torch bearers for embodying evil in the death metal genre. Behemoth recently just wrapped up a tour opening for the all mighty Slayer on their final world tour. To be included on a lineup along side 3 of thrash’s Big Four shows Behemoth has molded themselves into a must see and well respected group of musicians. Continue reading

Review: BYZANTINE – ‘The Cicada Tree’ [Official Video]

 

West Virginia’s best hidden secret Byzantine have long been the underdog in the metal world. Their last album ‘To Release Is To Resolve’ along with the powerful single “The Agonies” really propelled the band out of the Appalachian Mountains and into the ears of metal heads worldwide. The band self released the album and it was well received and got tremendous airplay on Sirius XM radio. The hard hitting progressive band also snagged a record deal with powerhouse label Metal Blade. On July 28th, Byzantine will release their new album, ‘The Cicada Tree’, via Metal Blade Records. Heralded as the most underrated band from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Movement, Byzantine has slowly gained a cult-like following after releasing 5 genre-bending albums. 16 years underground, it’s finally time for the world to hear Byzantine! To state that The Cicada Tree is ‘classic Byzantine‘ in no way implies that this is an album solely rooted in the band’s past. Certainly, all of the hallmarks that have made their sound so compelling for close to two decades are present and correct: muscular yet lithe riffs and fluid leads play against gripping, dynamic and at times unpredictable rhythms, while rich melodies and lyrics that are both involved and intelligent wind their way through every track. But, once more, the groove metal unit has continued their steady evolution – the interplay between their members organic and natural, imbuing the record’s sixty-two-minute running time with a freshness and urgency. The album title – and the song of the same name – is drawn entirely from an event the frontman experienced in his home state of West Virginia in 2016, “The Seventeen Year Cicada” cycle. “It’s a type of locust that lies dormant underground for sixteen years, only to emerge in the seventeenth year, and it then lives for three months above ground to morph, mate, give birth and die. We had a swarm of roughly 1,000 cicada in my front yard underneath a small tree. My eight-year-old daughter, my pregnant-at-the-time girlfriend and I spent the whole season catching and studying them. It was a beautiful experience.” While looking for potential album titles, Ojeda’s girlfriend playfully suggested The Cicada Tree, and while initially dismissing this as a joke he soon had an epiphany. “Byzantine was coming up on its seventeenth year of existence and, just like the cicada, we spent the last sixteen years underground. So, ‘The Cicada Tree’is a metaphor for the lifespan of Byzantine.” Byzantine’s Metal Blade debut ‘The Cicada Tree’ drops on July 28th it’s an album you don’t want to pass on.  Continue reading

WOVENWAR Launches New Video For “Cascade”!

Wovenwar started their career in 2013 in sunny Southern California. The band is comprised of three members of As I Lay Dying Nick Hipa on lead guitar, Josh Gilbert on bass and vocals, and drummer Jordan Mancino. Shane Blay from Oh, Sleeper was brought in as the vocalist and rhythm guitarist. The bands most recent album ‘Honor Is Dead ‘ also features Phil Sgrosso who was also a member of As I Lay Dying, but he left Wovenwar last year. The members formed Wovenwar after As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis was arrested for soliciting the murder of his wife.  Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: BEHEMOTH

*Every Tuesday and 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.*

Today’s artist is Behemoth.

On Sunday, July 16th, Chicago Open Air gets a taste of one of the world’s most acclaimed black metal bands, Behemoth. Since forming in 1991, the Polish black/death metal band has been known for their polarizing, intense live shows that sweep the crowd off of their feet. Typically meant for playing in the dark for the atmosphere, it will be interesting to see how Behemoth adjusts to bringing their full power into the sun. They are hitting the road here in the US with Lamb of God and Slayer so they definitely are not to be taken lightly. They are also one of the few bands that still put a great amount of thought into their music videos. Videos like “Ben Sahar”, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, and “At The Left Hand Ov God” contain very vivid imagery rather than only showing the band performing like most bands do now. Some people may be turned away from them because of the satanic content but I encourage you to give them a chance live. I know several people that did not appreciate them until watching one of their incredible live shows. Continue reading