Review: Havok – ‘Conformicide’

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Havok

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.

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Oldschool Sunday: DBC (Dead Brain Cells)

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Multi-instrumentalist Erik Larson (Backwoods Payback, Alabama Thunderpussy, Birds Of Prey, Hail!Hornet) recently brought to mind a band that had not actually crossed my mind in many a year: Dead Brain Cells, or as they’re commonly known, DBC. The band itself was a Montreal-based thrash metal band that originally formed in 1986 after beginning under the name of Final Chapter in 1985 with guitarists Eddie Shahini and Gerry Ouellette. The pair began looking for a drummer and soon entered former Unruled and Vomit & The Zits drummer Jeff Saint-Louis and guitar player Phil Dakin, who switched to bass for the band. Also joining at the time was former Vomit & The Zits singer Dave Javex Ray-O-Vac (David Leone) as the band’s vocalist. Realizing they were on to something serious, the guys took the new name of Dead Brain Cells, one of three suggestions by Leone, the other two being “The Mental Pukes” and “The Retarded Assholes”. However, before the band could really get going or perhaps even record, Leone had to exit due to employment commitments and so Dakin decided he would sing and play bass at the same time in DBC. By 1987 Dead Brain Cells were signed to Combat Records for whom they would record their landmark debut self-titled full-length album, Dead Brain Cells, that very same year. Produced by the famed Randy Burns (Nuclear Assault, Ludichrist), the album contained 13 tracks of ferocious, well-executed thrash metal with elements of hardcore and thought-provoking, socially conscious lyrics. The album elicited positive reviews from the likes of Metal Hammer, Burn and others as it quickly gained acceptance with fans in the metal underground as well.
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OVERKILL ‘The Grinding Wheel’ Review & Select Track Streams

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The biggest underdog of Thrash metal, but one with as much standing and respect as any of those in the supposed Big Four, is the New Jersey neck-wreckers Overkill. The earliest origins of Overkill date back to 1980 and despite regular line-up changes, revolving record labels and what have you, Overkill‘s two longest constant members, vocalist BobbyBlitzEllsworth and bassist D.D. Verni, always keep their vision alive with the band. Referred to as the “Motorhead of thrash metal” due to their uncompromising need to stay true to themselves, their music and their fans, the band continues to forge ahead with some of the best metal on the planet. The latest example of that dedication is the recently released eighteenth studio album from Overkill, “The Grinding Wheel“, which is out now from Nuclear Blast Records. Alongside Ellsworth and Verni on this latest salvo from the band once again are drummer Ron Lipnicki and guitarists Dave Linsk (lead) and Derek Tailer (rhythm) and we are here to break down this latest offering from this iconic band.


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An Interview With THANE FARACE Of Rabid Assassin, Pillbilly & Toxic Rabid Films

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Thane Farace is a wild man! At least that is the impression I get anyway and yes, while it is true that I have never met Thane in person, there’s enough stuff out in the cybernetic realm to come to that conclusion. He’s an integral member of Pennsylvania-based, oldschool heavy metal-influenced Rabid Assassin along with being a co-conspirator in the Pillbilly project alongside Dave Sherman. He is the head honcho and multifaceted force behind the independent film company Toxic Rabid Films whose very name gives you a distinct impression as to what type of cinematic greatness they create. Thane is clearly a creative dynamo that more than capably multi-tasks with a plethora of irons in the fire, juggling projects and undertakings like a skilled entertainer tossing one into the air while grabbing another elsewhere. He adroitly balances them and handles his biz like a man possessed, each endeavor a feat to be accomplished and then unveiled to the public to witness and experience. From the blistering thrash ‘n groove of Rabid Assassin to the outlaw country-fried southern rock of Pillbilly or his own ongoing solo musical artistry currently in the works, Thane Farace delivers the goods time and time again. With an exclusive endorsement through Epiphone Guitars as a shredding guitarist or the Coldcock Whiskey sponsorship of Rabid Assassin, countless people and companies recognize what a truly talented entity Mr. Farace is as do I. So, recognizing that he was someone we could all learn a thing or two from, I contacted the man and was eventually able to pick his brain about all the stuff he has going on. That includes three separate musical projects with albums in production, the films and other items planned via Toxic Rabid Films and God only knows what else so..no more hype, let’s jump right into The Metal Nexus Interview With Thane Farace!
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ALL HELL To Release Prosthetic Records Debut ‘The Grave Alchemist’ In April; Tour Dates

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One of our favorite regional bands (for those of us at MNHQ that is), Asheville, North Carolina’s All Hell, have shared some details of their upcoming debut for Prosthetic Records, “The Grave Alchemist“. Produced by Kris Hilbert (The Body), who worked with the band on their earlier release The Red Sect, and mixed and mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust), The Grave Alchemist will see a worldwide release on April 14th. The album contains twelve tracks of the ferocious blackened thrash that we have come to love seeing the band perform on a regular basis here in the Appalachian locale. The press release included with the news of the album states “The album is a narrative-driven horror concept album that weaves a tale of alchemy, necromancy, and vampirism over the span of three centuries. It is a potent blend of violence, mysticism, psychology, and the occult, distilled into an aural elixir of Blood and Gold.”

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D.R.I. Announces New Leg Of Tour Dates In AU. & North America

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Thrash/Punk/Crossover legends D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) have announced a whole new leg of tour dates for their latest release, 2016’s “But Wait..There’s More!” EP. The next leg of the road trek finds that band hitting markets in Australia, Canada and the United States including these following dates and locations:

AUSTRALIA 2017
02.16.17 CANBERRA, AU – TRANSIT LOUNGE
02.17.17 SYDNEY, AU – FACTORY FLOOR
02.18.17 BRISBANE, AU – CROWBAR
02.19.17 SYDNEY, AU – BLACKWIRE (all ages) Continue reading

EXMORTUS Premieres ‘For The Horde’ Official Video

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Classic thrash/speed metallers Exmortus have just debuted an official video for the song “For The Horde” from the 2016 Prosthetic Records release “Ride Forth“. The clip was directed by James Pesature with footage filmed during the band’s touring with Children Of Bodom, Abbath and Oni recently. The band are currently preparing to hit the road in EU. with Havok, Warbringer and Gorod and you can find those dates/locations listed below.

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Unsigned Band Review: CURSED SUN ‘The Amygdala’ EP Review & Official Video

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Directly from Belfast, Ireland has come “The Amygdala 5-song EP from one of the country’s longest running extreme metal bands, Cursed Sun. After at least one full-length effort and numerous EPs, these lads are well established veterans within the the Northern Ireland music scene and for damn good reason. The music contained on this latest salvo is intense, multifaceted metal that incorporates primarily Thrash, Death Metal, Hardcore and Metalcore along with some hard Rock into the mix, and all with an endless supply of grooves. The guys themselves, vocalist Jones, guitarists Jonny and Ciaran, drummer Chris and bassist Monty, run like a well-maintained engine of pummeling savagery. It’s easy to hear what bands have probably both inspired and influenced them to play metal themselves, the primary comparison is to Pantera pure and simple. You can hear that nod to the legendary band in the savage introduction to this release, the opening cut “Breeding To Bleeding“. It’s a mid-tempo, chunky and heavily beefed-up hard hitter that chugs along with some killer guitar-fueled grooves, solid drumming, and great gravelly vocals that are full of angst and aggression. What’s really interesting is the band’s ability to merge somewhat tranquil, more melodic elements into things such as the emotion-evoking title song “The Amygdala” and its alternating harsher and cleanly sung vocals. They fluidly interchange nicely as the song’s music is equally diversified and able to provide varying types of energy, like a rollercoaster ride basically.

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WITHERFALL ‘Nocturnes And Requiems’ Review & Album Stream

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It was back in December 2016 when I first learned of the then-newly surfacing project named Witherfall and was promptly amazed by the song I heard at the time, “End Of Time“. It was a bittersweet discovery to be honest as the music was exceptionally fantastic but I was quickly made aware that it was some of the last recorded work from drummer Adam Sagan (R.I.P.) who had recently passed. Alongside Adam in the band was a stellar pair of amazing artists, guitarist Jake Dreyer (Iced Earth, White Wizzard, Kobra And The Lotus) and vocalist Joseph Michael (White Wizzard). Bassist Anthony Crawford completed the roster and the foursome collectively created their incredible debut album “Nocturnes And Requiems“, which was produced Michael and Dreyer. It was mixed and mastered by the renowned Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris, one of the most highly sought after studio wizards in today’s music community. What this team has created here is one far-reaching musical journey into a wide expanse of modern Progressive Metal and I will adamantly say that this record is definitely placing now as one of my first Best Of 2017 releases along with the upcoming Arduini/Balich debut, “Dawn Of Ages“.

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Milestones In Music: STRAPPING YOUNG LAD ‘City’

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By the time that Strapping Young Lad issued its second album “City” via Century Media in early 1997, the project had actually metamorphosed into an actual band. Where 1995’s debut “Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing” was the result of Devin Townsend writing and doing mostly everything with help from the occasional studio musician, “City” was the rendering of a full-on collaborative band. Joining Hevy Devy on the offering was drum deity GeneThe Atomic ClockHoglan (Dark Angel, Testament, Pitch Black Forecast), guitarist Jed Simon (Zimmer’s Hole, Vimic) and bassist Byron Stroud (City Of Fire, Fear Factory, 3 Inches Of Blood). In fact, there were myriad differences between SYL’s debut and this sophomore outing such as a conscious effort to just create chaotic, over-the-top extremity on the first record but not necessarily so with “City“. Sure, the second effort had whiplash-inducing speeds and ratcheted up musical intensities but there was melodic elements embedded within the semi-industrial sonic content. The extremes were still intact but here they were governed with a bit more of a controlled chaos approach..just listen to “Oh My Fucking God“, perhaps the heaviest song ever recorded depending on whom you ask. This is the album where Strapping Young Lad not just became a band but also found it’s truest, most defining sound that would dominate the unique body of material lauded on three more studio albums after “City“.
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