Recent Posts in metal
December 4, 2013
By Doug Moore
Behemoth at Irving Plaza, 2012 (more by Greg Cristman)
Behemoth frontman Nergal is kind of a badass -- he's an extremely gifted musician and a live-performance powerhouse who's played an important role in putting the potent Polish metal scene on the international map over the past 20 years. He's also a cancer survivor; after his 2010 leukemia diagnosis, he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Two years later, Behemoth were back on the road and plowing through high-energy live sets like nothing had happened. Again, badass.
Behemoth announced a 2014 release for The Satanist -- their tenth album, and their first in half a decade -- a few months ago. I admittedly haven't been too excited by their last few efforts, but after watching the NSFW video for leadoff single "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" (streaming below), my enthusiasm for the band has been rekindled. It's far moodier and more patient composition than the cluttered, robotic death/black metal that they've produced recently. They can still put the hammer down when they need to, though; the song's final minute is both the catchiest and most intense moment I've heard them produce since the mid-aughts. The video is pretty cool too, especially if you're into artsy black-and-white shots of evil rituals happening in slow motion.
In related news, Behemoth were also recently announced as part of the initial lineup for the 2014 edition of France's Hellfest, which will take place from June 20 through 22 (6/20-6/22). The lineup so far is huge and crazy: there's a "huge rock band" stage, featuring Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Soundgarden, among others; a big-name thrash/black metal stage that spotlights Slayer, Death Angel, Emperor, Iced Earth, Behemoth, and more; a death metal stage that will include Death To All, Carcass, Opeth, Nile, Gorguts, Hail of Bullets, and Weekend Nachos; a smaller black metal stage topped off by Watain, Gorgoroth and 1349; a sludge/stoner stage featuring Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet, Unida, Kylesa, Godflesh, and Clutch; and a punk stage topped by Walls of Jericho, Millencolin, and Turbonegro. Wow. You can reserve tickets now, if you feel like parsing the Google-Translated ticket page.
Check out the Behemoth video and the full set of Hellfest announcements below.
by Doug Moore
Deafheaven at Saint Vitus (more by Lukas Hodge)
As Deafheaven bask in the first wave of the year-end accolades that everyone knew they'd be getting, they've made a simultaneously odd and totally logical career decision: they've announced a North American tour with Between the Buried and Me, Intronaut, and The Kindred for early 2014. BTBAM are headlining, but it looks like Deafheaven will provide direct support.
BTBAM and Intronaut are both quite popular, so it makes sense for Deafheaven to ride their current wave of hype onto a bigger-budget tour. But Deafheaven's core fanbase is quite different -- BTBAM and Intronaut are both fairly noodly prog-metal bands who, despite their considerable crossover successes, have younger fanbases and have never been the subjects of the same type of mainstream-media adulation that Deafheaven are currently enjoying. By the same token, parts of the BTBAM/Intronaut fanbase may not have paid much attention to Deafheaven yet. Even though it's kind of a strange aesthetic match, it's an opportunity for them to access another sizeable and lucrative market. When you're basically living off your touring band, it's hard to pass opportunities like that up.
The tour isn't currently scheduled to hit NYC, but it comes close on February 21 at The Paramount in Huntington, and also includes a couple upstate stops in Clifton Park on 2/22, and Syracuse on 3/2. Tickets for the Paramount show go on sale 12/17 at noon.
All dates are listed below...
December 3, 2013
by Wyatt Marshall
Unlocking the Truth at Afro-Punk Fest 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Earlier this year, ears were turned when video emerged on YouTube of a trio of pint-sized metalheads destroying the streets of NYC. Their synchronized headbanging, shred skills, and massive breakdowns were the real deal. Their name: Unlocking the Truth.
Unlocking the Truth may need to get dropped off at their gigs, but they're sharing the stage with some big names at some pretty big shows. They recently shared a billing with metal legends Slayer (who just played The Theatre at MSG) at Fun Fun Fun Fest and played Afro-Punk Fest earlier this year. Now they're scoring pretty sweet deals--they're already sponsored by ESP guitars, and here they are looking super dapper in their own br00tal take on "Jingle Bells" (Jingle Hells?) that they recorded as part of a Cole Haan promotion. Slaying with style, for sure.
Video of Unlocking the Truth destroying Christmas, "Master of Puppets" and more below...
photos by Caroline Harrison; words by Doug Moore
Slayer @ Theater at MSB
Thrash metal institution Slayer brought their "old-school set" tour with Gojira and 4Arm to the Theatre at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday (11/27).
Despite the fact that the city had emptied out considerably for the Thanksgiving holiday (which fell on the following day), and despite the considerable aspersions that certain quarters cast on the current Hanneman/Lombardo-less iteration of the band, the show drew a strong and enthusiastic crowd. And deservedly so; both Slayer and Gojira ripped it. Slayer's set in particular took on a considerable emotional charge -- this tour is not only their first since Hanneman's death, but also marks their first appearance at MSG since the early '90s. From our extensive writeup at Invisible Oranges:
The attendees of this packed NYC show were clearly glad that Slayer still exists in some form. This band continues to inspire the kind of borderline-pathological enthusiasm that is normally reserved for acts like Phish and Jimmy Buffett. Metal's unspoken law against sporting the logo of the band you're seeing has no force at Slayer shows. We saw Slayer shirts without number; Slayer hats; Slayer hoodies; Slayer jackets; Slayer tattoos; even multiple pairs of sexy Slayer/American flag leggings. (The trendy Slayer Christmas sweater was notably absent). I planned to keep track of how many times I heard people spontaneously scream "SLAYER!" between bands, but I lost count before I got past the beer line.We also touched on the flack that the band has caught for carrying on in the wake of Hanneman's passing and Lombardo's departure:
Putting aside the unknowable details of the Lombardo split, suppose that Araya and King's decision to continue as Slayer is purely financial. Do you blame them? If you were in their position, would you set aside the creative business that you'd helped to build for your entire adult life in favor of the nebulous cause of artistic integrity? Or would you do as they've done, and keep reigning?Check out the whole review and an extensive Slayer/Gojira picture set (we missed 4Arm) over at IO and we've got a few more pics in this post. If you need more Slayer-related reading material after that, consider purchasing the extensive Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff and Dave Years for a thematically appropriate $6.66.
Also, Slayer's classic debut Show No Mercy turns 30 today (12/3). You can stream that via YouTube and check out more pics from Slayer's Theatre @ MSG show below...
by Doug Moore
LA's The Shrine -- not to be confused with King Khan's backing band -- have the whole vintage-costumed proto-metalrockpunk thing down pat, with a little more West Coast punk rock in the mix than many bands in the vein deploy. Fittingly, they toured with Graveyard last year, and they're out on the road with the like-minded Red Fang and Indian Handcrafts right now. That tour hits NYC at Bowery Ballroom on 12/11 with Cancer Bats (tix), after which there's a gap day in the tour's schedule.
True to road-hungry form, The Shrine have filled that schedule gap with a one-off Brooklyn headlining show at the Acheron on December 12 (12/12). Local support will come from similarly backwards-looking acts Natur, Dirty Fences, and Iron Force, who are also playing an old-timey rock'n'roll revue with Valkyrie and Sinister Haze on Saturday (12/7). Tickets for the Shrine gig are available.
Check out some of The Shrine's music and take a look at the remaining Red Fang tour dates, below...
December 2, 2013
by Doug Moore
Kurdt Vanderhoof (right), pictured with a dude who is no longer in Metal Church
Serious question: do defunct metal bands that have any remotely plausible claim to "legendary" status ever really die? The answer increasingly appears to be no, as long as at least one original member is still interested in playing live under the name. (And not even that is necessary; see Napalm Death.) While certain highly (or moderately, or kinda-sorta) influential bands from metal's golden age have gone permanently to their graves, the Diamond Head and Anvil types, who endure perpetual lineup changes while periodically touring or releasing critically-ignored variations on their early material, may actually be more common.
Metal Church are another example of this phenomenon. Like Diamond Head, they're a turn-of-the-'80s band that straddles the line between thrash metal and NWOBHM; they're also best known these days for their association with Metallica. In Metal Church's case, that association comes by way of Lars Ulrich, who drummed for them very briefly in their early days; James Hetfield also lobbied successfully on their behalf with Elektra Records, who picked them up in 1984.
Metal Church's star faded with metal's fortunes as a popular music genre in the early '90s. The group has flickered in and out of existence since, splitting for a few years in the mid-'90s and again in 2009 before reforming in 2012. Only main guitarist and songwriter Kurdt Vanderhoof remains in the band from their original lineup; almost two dozen musicians have been in and out of the group since its inception 33 years ago. They released a new album to minimal fanfare back in October, and now they've announced a February/March 2014 tour that includes a stop at Saint Vitus Bar on March 4. Tickets are on sale but the supporting lineup hasn't come together yet.
Shows like this one (or like Diamond Head's gig at Vitus earlier this year) always pose dilemmas. On one hand, the prospect of seeing a band that was so massively popular and influential at one time in such a tiny venue is enticing if you're a fan of their classic-era material. On the other, Metal Church 2013 is literally not the same band as the Metal Church that recorded Metal Church and The Dark in the mid-'80s. Rickety or phoned-in live shows are always a risk with such fourth-gen lineups (though most of the current Metal Church unit have been associated with the band for about a decade). I doubt that most of this show's attendees will be old enough to remember the band's performances from their prime , but it's still possible to sully the recorded material from the era.
How many of you are fans of this band? Will you check this gig out? Stream a cut from their new album and check out the full run of dates below while you ponder your answer.
by Wyatt Marshall
A couple weeks back we talked about Metal Meowlisha IV: A Headbangers Furball, death metal greats Obituary's fundraiser fest for feral cats in the Tampa area on 12/21 featuring Exhumed and Terrorizer (lineup below). Those in need of further proof of the inborn bond between metal man and kitty cat need look no further than the previously mentioned Metaldudes Cats book titled, fittingly, Metal Cats will be published in April 2014 and is meow available for pre-order. The book, cover art above, contains photos of over 100 metal musicians and fans with their cats, including:
Black Goat, Thrones, Isis, Lightning Swords of Death, Winterthrall, Wizards of Wor, The Cauterized, Book of Black Earth, Skarp, Harassor, Akimbo, Aldebaran, Atriarch, Oak, Ghoul, Ludicra, Holy Grail, Xasthur, Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Exhumed, Anhedonist, Morbid Angel, Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Gypsyhawk, Nausea, Phobia, Napalm Death.That's a lot of cats! A portion of the proceeds of Metal Cats will go to no-kill shelters.
In other metal book news, a new Slayer biography has emerged, titled Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years. A Metal Band Biography. The book was written by DX Herris, who previously has written about Slayer in his 33 1/3 series entry, Slayer's Reign in Blood. The book clocks in at a whopping 628 and here's a description:
This timely rock biography answers burning questions, shatters popular myths, and uncovers new truths about Slayer, the iconic group that became the embodiment of heavy metal. This full-length, exhaustively researched account of the thrash kings' career recaps and reevaluates the years guitar hero Jeff Hanneman and drum legend Dave Lombardo were in the group. Over the course of 59 chapters, 400 footnotes and three appendices, it profiles the members and presents dramatic scenes from 32 years in the Abyss: A fresh look at the group's early days. Reign in Blood tours. A European invasion. The Palladium riot. The seat cushion chaos concert. Newly unearthed details from Lombardo's turbulent history with the band. Historical artwork and photos never seen in public before. The entire diabolical discography. Hanneman's hard times. The Big Four's big year. Lombardo's final exit...And a lot more -- sounds pretty thorough. It's currently available in an interactive e-book edition for... $6.66.
Slayer recently rolled through Madison Square Garden with Gojira on their first tour since the passing of Jeff Hanneman. We'll have photos soon -- did you go?
Meowlisha 2013 line-up below...
by Doug Moore
The New England Metal & Hardcore Fest is returning to the Worcester Palladium from April 17 - 19, 2014 in Worcester, MA, and the initial lineup was recently announced. It includes Nails, Nile, Counterparts, All Out War, Cruel Hand, Harms Way, Suburban Scum, Naysayer, Reign Supreme, Fit For An Autopsy, Alpha & Omega, Slapshot and more. Tickets (3-day passes and individual day tickets) are on sale now. Full lineup below.
For long-running and ever-verbose American death metal institution Nile, that fest is part of their recently-announced 2014 North American tour. The tour will hit NYC at Stage 48 on April 20 (4/20) ((har har)). Tickets for that show go on sale December 14 at 10 AM. The band will play a selection of material from across their seven-album catalog, and support will be comprised of "three of the best local bands in every market." There's lots of good acts to choose from around here, so hopefully the openers won't be selected on the basis of their willingness to cooperate with pay-to-play ticketing schemes.
Check out the list of all dates and stream a tune from their 2012 album, At the Gates of Sethu, along with the initial New England Metal & Hardcore Fest lineup, below...
Decibel Magazine is back with its annual top 40 albums of the year list. Two of the top three (including the #1 spot) are reunion albums from death metal veterans, though many younger bands place highly as well. And the one metal album we can safely expect on many non-metal lists, Deafheaven, makes it on there too.
Check out the full list below...
by Doug Moore
Overkill at Stage 48 (more by Kassandra Carmona)
This past weekend was extended by the food / booze / football bacchanalia that is Thanksgiving, which is pretty metal as far as holidays go. Still, a bunch of noteworthy stuff happened before you made a home on the couch. Here's what you might've missed:
Some not-quite-metal but sufficiently heavy show announcements saw the light of day: Converge/Cave In side project Mutoid Man's record release party (and full album stream); Goblin and Zombi's not-unexpected NYC tour stop; and Pissed Jeans in February. We also reminisced a bit about Overkill, Kreator, and Warbringer's two-night stand at Stage 48 the weekend before.
Not a bad short week over at Invisible Oranges, either. We talked to Integrity about their Systems Overload revamp (and streamed the whole thing). We also found out that people like novelty yacht rock covers of Iron Maiden songs way more than we thought. We streamed new music by suicidal sludgesters Servants of the Mist, majestic black metallers Ered Wethrin, and local no-guitar weirdos Geryon.
We also debuted two live Judas Priest videos from US Fest '83: "You've Got Another Thing Coming" on IO with a great writeup by longtime contributor Richard Street-Jammer, and another of "Breaking the Law" here on BV with a much lamer writeup by me. On our East Village Radio show, we chatted with IO contributor Beth Winegarner about her upcoming book, The Columbine Effect. (Don't forget to tune into the show every Tuesday at 10pm.) And, as ever, we ran down every noteworthy metal release of the week.
What did we miss?