State of the Art: Pennsylvania – BLACK URN

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

 For those that have missed it for one reason or another, Monday marks the day that the staff here at Metal Nexus aims to shine a light on a previously unknown/undiscovered band from a certain state. Currently on Pennsylvania, I, your beloved Mstr, have got one hell of a find for YOU, our precious readers.  Hold on to your horses, my friends, because the boys in Black Urn are raring to have you drawn and quartered in the public square.  Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Black Urn are artists painting on a complementary canvas to counter that idealistic nickname (even though the nickname is just the literal Greek translation, and not a reference to the abundance of eros in Philly).  There’s a number of (insert sub genre category) metal to have emerged from the Keystone State, although sadly, in my eyes, the best of what it has to offer is often getting overlooked. 

Cover Art for 2017’s split album with Moros

Along with Black Crown Initiate and the as-of-the-first-of-this-month disbanded Brontide (if you’re reading this, I beg y’all to reconsider), Black Urn are mastering manipulating the depths of darkness into songs that feel as heavy on the listener as a death shroud made of concrete, albeit in different ways. Black Urn dives through the swampy thick throes of sludge and doom, and rather than having a flat, straight genre approach, they pepper in influences from a variety of metal styles that manages to lift them above your run of the mill, just doing it for the bills feel of those that stay safely within the confines of the genre. Founded rather recently in 2014, this quintet sounds like they’ve known and played together for years.  There’s a nicely creative yet cohesive touch to their songs, often spotlighting thrash, grind, and black metal in a way that is owed to the band’s je ne sais quoi.

Vox: John Jones Photo Credit: SoundShooter

 

Black Urn’s Alex Ouderdonk slappin’ da bass at the Doomed and Stoned Festival. Photo Credit: SoundShooter

When vocalist John Jones gets busy ripping his vocal cords to tatters, one can FEEL it, much like the ever present and nicely fuzzed out bass provided by Alex Ouderdon k. With the backbeat fleshed out by drummer Tim Lewis and sometimes dueling guitar work by Jordan Pierce and Ryan Manley (who also provides some backing vocal duty), I am genuinely surprised that these guys remain independent and unsigned. Since forming, they’ve released recorded material every year, and after getting a chance to listen to their entire discography, I absolutely must formulate a plan to go see these guys live, and SO SHOULD YOU.  Their next show is June 11th at the Barbary in Philadelphia.  If you’re even a casual fan of sludgeoned doom, I’m willing to wager a buck or five that it’s worth the trip.  They have a split with Portland’s Shrine of the Serpent that is scheduled for release this summer (cd, cassette, and vinyl) to sate you thirsty bastards until the release of their 2nd full length sometime later this year.

Photo Credit: SoundShooter

Photo by SoundShooter

Curious yet? Still haven’t checked out their Bandcamp?  Here.  Because I love you, I’ll make this easy.  Just click here to experience the track that I’m obsessing over, or maybe even here for “Empty Handed Lord”, another personal favorite, one that demonstrates their skill in burying thrash in amongst sorrowful layers of sludgeoned doom, with a passage that would get even the most stubborn circle pit going.  Even better? Grab your headphones (not your earbuds or that crappy set of desktop speakers, either) and listen to every.thing.they.have. (check out the media player below) and in the process,  getcherself a new, favorite sludge band to follow obsessively.  We’ll be keeping up with Black Urn as their career develops, and we’ll keep you up to date as well as we receive the news!  Give ’em a follow on the book of Face here and on Instagram as well to help spread the word!

BLACK URN – “Spindle of Spines” (Live from Doomed and Stoned Fest)

SLAYER/LAMB OF GOD/BEHEMOTH NA Tour, PLUS A Chance For FREE TIX! [Tour News, Contest Announcement]

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ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME?!?

I mean, just look at at that lineup! Our friends over at WOLVERINE KILLS gave us a heads up here at the Nexus about the upcoming tour between larger than life legends Slayer, the MIGHTY Behemoth, and the ferocious Virginia based Lamb of God (themselves now ubiquitous on the ever expanding metal tabula rasa) Continue reading

Take A Chance On This Chalice of Suffering Contest!

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Hailing from twin-city-to-St.Paul Minneapolis, Chalice of Doom have thus far shared one solo album of exemplary funeral doom with the world so far, with plans for their sophomoric release sometime SOON.  While we anxiously await for that album to drop (and if you haven’t already, check what my duderus Fist had to say about their debut here), these pallbearers of funeral doom purveyors are giving away some sweet swag to TWO lucky winners via their Facebook page!  Continue reading

Review: AVERSIONS CROWN – ‘Xenocide’ [Official Video]

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Aversions Crown is a death metal band from Brisbane, Australia. The 4 piece consists of vocalist Mark Poida, bassist Steve, drummer Jayden Mason, guitarists Chris Cougan and Kevin Butler. They first started out really strong with their debut album called ‘Servitude’ back in 2011. 3 years later they released their second album ‘Tyrant’. From this point on their releases come via Nuclear Blast. This has been a really big deal for the band because this is one of the top labels out there. It really stepped up their game big time. Beginning this year they released their third album ‘Xenocide’. This album features a new vocalist and he fits the band perfectly, the album theme is really important for the band so that has to show in the vocal style and I can assure you that he is doing a great job on it.

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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.

Nails:

Toxic Holocaust:

Gatecreeper:

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