REVIEW: Malkavian’s Second Full Length “Annihilating the Shades” [Lyric Video]

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I had a flashback, some deja vu of sorts, when I first saw the name Malkavian come across my screen.  A little synapse in the back of my head lit up, screaming about how familiar that name was.  After some ponderance, my brain finally hit upon the source while listening to the band’s latest release: the Malkavian were a race of vampires in the popular role playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, most notably known for being insane.  Whether or not this is the true source of their name, French thrash metal spiked with technical groove maestros Malkavian certainly play to the chaotic nature that is a key feature of the species.  Originally formed in 2008, Malkavian released their first EP in early 2009.  After hitting the road to make a name for themselves in France’s metal scene, the band worked through 2010, making some tweaks to what would be their finalized lineup around 2011, and eventually got the chance to open for well known deathcore act Suicide Silence come 2012. Their first full length,  “The Worshipping Mass“,  saw its biggest distribution in 2014 under current label Finistrian Dead End.  Ever since, Malkavian has kept busy by working the dual grind of festival and tv appearances, and are ready to drop their 2nd full length on March 31st. 

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Review: VIBRANT HEELS – ‘Driven’ [Album Stream]

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Photo Credit: Catherine Pelchat

Vibrant Heels hasn’t been around all that long, and you’d never know that from hearing their music. The Alt rock / Metal band hails from Canada and formed in 2015. They claim they are the band that just doesn’t fit in. They blend catch lyrical melodies, heaviness & groove filled rhythms all at the same time. They are like the guys next door really, just normal guys trying to create their own niche in music and they are truly headed in the right direction. The bands latest release ‘Driven’ released on February 10, 2017. The album was recorded at Broil Audio by Raphael Malenfant & Michael Fontaine (Frequance Production) and also mixed by Raphael Malenfant and mastered by François C. Fortin. Vibrant Heels truly blends a variation of sounds, and upon the first listen of the album it may seem a little obscure, but as you continue down the rabbit whole of music they have created it becomes more and more addictive.  Continue reading

NAILS, TOXIC HOLOCAUST AND GATECREEPER KICK OFF TOUR 03/16/17! [Tour Announcement][Video]

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Hardcore punk, thrash-punk, and death metal fans alike are in for a treat! Tomorrow, 03/16/2017, starts the beginning of this extreme music trifecta hitting the road together for this 18 date, 17 city tour that’s sure to be a monster.  Nails is a hardcore punk band from Oxnard, CA currently signed with Nuclear Blast.  Currently with 3 full lengths and a couple of EPs under their belt, band members Todd Jones (ex Terror), John Gianelli, and Taylor Young meld elements of grindcore, powerviolence and death metal to create their own exclusive taste of hardcore. They will be supported by the intense but fun thrash punkers Toxic HolocaustTH has won recognition from metal publications across the board who all agree that they are among one of the most important and entertaining thrash bands in the modern era.  Originally founded as the solo effort of frontman Joel Grind, Toxic Holocaust now claims Nick Bellmore on the skins with Charlie Bellmore stepping in the role of touring guitar support since 2015. Last but certainly not least are their Relapse Records label mates Gatecreeper who saw the release of their first full length album last fall.  The quartet of Chase Mason, Eric Wagner, Seth Mears, and Matthew Arrebello have a primarily death metal sound that’s interwoven with a peppering of thrash and punk elements, but one that maintains death metal as it’s core.  The three bands combine on the same bill to form the Voltron of the hardcore/punk/thrash/black metal scenes, a juggernaut of a tour that’s sure to please old fans and invite curious new ones.  Don’t make excuses; make plans instead to catch this as it’s definitely gonna be a highlight of the touring circuit this year!  Dates and locations are posted below:

3/16/2017 Orpheum – Tampa, FL
3/17/2017 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
3/18/2017 Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
3/19/2017 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
3/20/2017 Broadberry – Richmond, VA
3/21/2017 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
3/22/2017 Music Hall Of Williamsburg – New York City, NY
3/23/2017 Middle East (Downstairs) – Boston, MA
3/24/2017 Foufounes Electriques – Montréal, QC
3/25/2017 Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
3/26/2017 Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
3/27/2017 Park Street – Columbus, OH
3/28/2017 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
3/29/2017 Neumos – Seattle, WA
3/30/2017 Analog Theater –  Portland, OR
3/31/2017 New Parish – Oakland, CA
4/01 & 02/2017 The Hi Hat – Los Angeles, CA

Follow Gatecreeper on Facebook here, Nails on Facebook here, and Toxic Holocaust here.

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Manchester’s COLD FELL Offer Up Full Length Debut [Album Review] [Album Stream]

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Manchester, England, a city that exploded around the turn of the Industrial Revolution, has served as a backdrop and inspiration of metal musicians of all ranges.  No small wonder, either, given the social issues created once the trappings of the industrial exploitation machinations were set into play. Workers were often forced into inhumane working conditions and eventually, periods of civil unrest between the working poor and the bourgeois erupted, leaving behind inauspiciousness in it’s wake. From these circumstances, and similar in cities such as Birmingham, the bubblings of metal sprung forth to unleash upon the world an especially dreadful perspective.  The natives Cold Fell (so named for a mountain in the North Pennines, a spine, if you will, that weaves throughout northwestern English countryside) have finally gotten the opportunity to add their own voice to the offerings, four years after the release of their first EP. Comprised of Laurence Taylor (of Caina) on vox, Karl Sveinsson and Giovanni Infantino on lead and rhythm guitar, Callum Cox pounding on the drums, and Oliver Edward Turner on bass, Cold Fell evidently put the gap time after their initial EP to good use as 2017 has been gifted with one smoking full length debut. 

“Irwell” is both the name that christens their Argento Records release and a river valley nestled in (you guessed it) northwestern England.  Coming in with eight tracks, “Irwell” is a solid monster of a proper debut which bares it’s teeth from the opening, snapping fierce jaws within instrumental passages so you, the listener, do not escape it’s mighty grasp.  The band members here have an excellent chemistry which is evident in the ways in which each track has been composed.  There’s not a superfluous time change, solo or angry vocal howl throughout the album that I could find; these guys were on a mission of craft and on “Irwell” they absolutely bring the pain.  Peppered throughout each of the songs, one can easily see the influence that classic black metal and contemporary bands of the same genre have had on the members, and rather than setting out to exploit those genres or relying on a more avant garde/experimental approach, CF pay homage to those before and current in black metal by efficiently utilizing the core sounds, topped with their own personal flavor. Take, for instance, ‘Folly (Health & the Glory)’  which opens with a nicely fat bass thrum underlying the assault unleashed by the typical frontrunners of guitar and drums.  Densely atmospheric in the right places, the track pummels along, punctuated with howling guitar shrieks that eerily mimic a female’s screams in places, while ‘Bone Ceiling’ bites and snarls in its own right, featuring a nice addition of fist pump worthy chants that will surely be as appreciated during a live performance as it is on record. My overall album pick, though (and it’s surely a close call to make), is narrowly the doom and gloom served up by ‘The Whip (Armed to the Teeth): furious skin work where appropriate with some nicely bitter slower tempo drops, some skillful lead guitar that helps pull the beat back from the mire and cohesive and spot on instrumental passages.  The album closer, ‘Dream of Seppuku’, is a wholly appropriate one that fits like a glove.  Seppuku refers to the Japanese act of suicide by disembowelment, and this track moves in thematically appropriate ways until it fades into a more somber tone sprinkled with some piano keys.  While not necessarily a game changer (and not that it had such ambitions in the first place), “Irwell” delivers a solid album sure to catch the attentions of the black metal scene, and gives just enough to keep us wanting more.

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Review: POWER TRIP – ‘Nightmare Logic’; Full Album Stream

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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

SOCIETY 1 Release “It’s Yours Now” Music Video (Featuring Sin Quirin of MINISTRY)

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Photo Credit: Anabel DFlux

Southern California Industrial Metal band SOCIETY 1 have released a brand new music video for the song “It’s Yours Now” which features Ministry guitarist Sin Quirin. The song is from the bands upcoming album ‘Rise From The Dead’ scheduled for release this March on DSN Music. The video was directed by vocalist Lord Zane. SOCIETY 1 was founded in 1996 by the infamous Lord Zane on lead vocals, also features veteran guitarist Maxxxwell Carlisle, bassist Dirt Von Karloff, and drummer Iorden Mitev. “It feels good to be back at it again, like an old lover who fucked you better than anyone before or after” said Zane during a decadent signing party at the DSN Music complex in Malibu, CA. “Everyone has those moments when you resurrect and reinvent. This album Rise From The Dead is one of those moments.” The comeback for Zane follows a hiatus during which he established a successful Hollywood career as a music video director, working on projects with such acts as Zakk Wylde, John 5, Wayne Static, and Orgy“For me this isn’t so much of a return for the band but more a return of my understanding of how necessary musical exploration is to my existence,” said Zane. The band is well known for their stage presence, especially Zane who sometimes inflicts pain on himself for the shock and amusement of fans. At Download Festival in 2005, Zane broke several records by performing the bands entire set suspended from 4 meat hooks through his back. While SOCIETY 1 us referenced as an industrial metal band this new track “It’s Yours Now” has much more of a groove filled grunge or 90’s rock sound. At times the song sounds hauntingly similar to the late Layne Staley fronted Alice In Chains. Though nothing can truly compare to seeing SOCIETY 1 in a live setting, this new video is a greatly directed piece of cinematography that showcases the band and a little bit of skin as an added bonus. Continue reading

Review: XIBALBA – ‘Diablo, Con Amor.. Adios’ [Full Stream]

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XIBALBA is one of the most violent and fierce acts I have ever witnessed in person. The band formed in 2007 in Pomona, California. The band’s sophomore release and Southern Lord Records debut ‘Hasta la Muerte’ (2012) is still one of the most influential hardcore albums released in the last decade. It was during their tour in support of that album that I was able to see them in what used to be a United States Post Office in the small town of Whitesburg, Kentucky. The city has a population of less than 2,500 people, and it just goes to show the band is willing to play anywhere that their music is wanted. They followed up ‘Hasta la Muerte’ with their 2015 release ‘Tierra y Libertad’. On that album XIBALBA demonstrated their ability to progress their aggressive sound from one album to the next. It’s been one year since the release of ‘Tierra Y Libertad’, XIBALBA now returns with three vicious new tracks of hard hitting hardcore on ‘Diablo, Con Amor.. Adios’ via Closed Casket Activities. The EP is a continuation of the bands gritty, raw, downtuned, metallic grooves. As with their prior titles, ‘Diablo, Con Amor.. Adios’ was recorded at The Pit Recording Studio with longtime cohort Taylor Young (Nails, Twitching Tongues, Disgrace) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Nails, Harm’s Way), XIBABLA also once again secured artwork from Dan Seagrave (Dismember, Entombed, Suffocation) to visually depict the wrath of these three relentless tracks. XIBALBA has climbed their way to the top in regards to hardcore bands and the new EP is the proof that they have earned their rightful place at the top. Continue reading

Review: KEMEROV – ‘FMKD’ [Album Steam]

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Photo Credit: Kwstas Kartelar

Two guys that grew up with old school 90’s death metal joined forces and formed the band Kemerov in 2013. The quartet hail from Serres, Greece. They could never really choose between the metal sound and the rock n’roll feeling, and their sound meshes the two together perfectly. Giving in to these schizophrenic tendencies, they are inspired by bands like Entombed, Cathedral and Turbonegro and various others. Kemerov decided to throw all their influences into the mix, which created this new hybrid sound you won’t find anywhere else. In 2013 they got the ball rolling with guitar, voice and occasionally bass and drums. By the summer of 2015, the band had acquired permanent members for both drums and bass. This would become the first ever full Kemerov lineup. The lineup was now stable and in November 2015 they released their debut self-titled EP, and they’ve began to hit the stage in support of acts like Rotting Christ, Septicflesh and Jucifer, among others. During this time the band was also working on new material for their debut full-length release. The full length titled ‘FMKD’ was released on January 31, 2017. The album was produced by Kemerov & Emmanouil Hermano Tselepis. The band recorded at various studios including Flow Recordings Studio, Galdemi Studio and Steve’s studio and then it was all mixed and mastered by Emmanouil Hermano Tselepis.   Continue reading

Review: Darkening – ‘In Exile United’ [Stream]

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Darkening was formed in 2004 by guitarist Oscar Pita in Havana City, Cuba. That same year the band released their first EP ‘When The Soul’ and played numerous venues around the island of Cuba. Oscar in 2008 moved to the U.S. and the band was on a hiatus for a period of 7 years before he started to reform the band on American soil. He was able to reform the band with several other Cuban musicians in the bands new hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Over 1,000 miles from where the band originated it was rebuilt. They began to write music and it was somewhat different than the previous material, but it stayed true to the bands brutally heavy roots. The band recently finalized their sophomore release ‘In Exile United’ and it released on December 9, 2016. The album was produced by Artifex Pereo guitarist Jordan Haynes (We Were Giants, Greyhaven, Intent To Kill) at Earlygrayce Studios in Louisville, Kentucky. The band also recently recorded a music video for the track “Time” from the EP. The video was filmed and directed by YoYo Lopez, and is expected to release in March, in the meantime you can see a small clip of the video below.

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EVOCATION Reveals Album Details; Launches Single, “Children Of Stone” [Streaming]

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On March 10th, Evocation will celebrate their return to death metal with the stunning new album, The Shadow Archetype! While honoring their Swedish death metal roots, The Shadow Archetype also adds thrash metal elements to their addictive, heavy sound. Evocation guitarist Marko Palmen comments: “In my opinion, the new album is a step towards the roots of the band, although it also has a footing in the future. I think the sound of the new album in many ways reflect the dynamic of me and Simon, who wrote the music for the album. I’m more of an old-school death metal kind of guy and Simon comes from the younger generation of death metal freaks who enjoy technicality and brutality. Somehow, we just merged those two sides of death metal into the creation that will be known as ‘The Shadow Archetype’. But I also have to point out that the album is a creation made by all the members of Evocation and I think we all pushed ourselves to the very limit of what is achievable. I’m certain that we all can stand proud of the album in the future.” Pre-order the new album at www.metalblade.com/evocation  Continue reading