Atmospheric Videos: The Sun Explodes – The Unnatural


It’s not the first time we write about the brilliance of a little band called The Sun Explodes, a progressive metal/rock act from Carlisle, UK. Their adventurous album “We Build Mountains” was one of my favourite releases in 2013, and these guys are finally back with more music to caress and impress our ears. Here’s the first single from the upcoming EP, accompanied by a beautiful, atmospheric video that smoothly emphasizes the strong melancholic emotions in the song.

“The Calm, The Storm” EP is released on May 18 and front man Dave Maclachlan gives us a good picture of what it’s about:

“Expect some big hooky chorus’, the occasional techy riff, and plenty of self-indulgent grandiose. Remember when you had some good food and you were all like, f**king hell this is so good, why doesn’t all food taste this good?! That’s us, but we’re a band not a food.”

No, he’s not just bragging. It’s actually true.

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Album Review: Graveward by Sigh


a4227779154_10Italy is known for many things: Food, culture, food, friendly people, food, women, food, wine, food, fashion, food, beautiful seas and landscapes, and food.  If you happen to be a fan of cinema, Italy also has got you covered there, especially if you happen to be a fan of the horror genre.  From Dario Argento and Joe D’Amato to Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava you could almost say that gore and suspense were practically invented on the Big Boot.  Italy is also home of two of the most controversial horror/suspense flicks ever made (Cannibal Holocaust and Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, neither are safe for life).  If you have ever seen the Fulci classic Zombi (or known as Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters in some places, same movie, it’s confusing, roll with it) you no doubt remember one of the finest scenes in horror movie history, Zombie vs. Shark in a battle to the death.  What makes that scene so special goes beyond its ridiculousness and it’s shot straight-faced.  It creates this unique dynamic of art house, horror, and comedy that modern Zomedy directors could only wish to achieve.  With this particular approach to horror/suspense it’s always amazed me that metal bands rarely channel this particular sect of horror, especially given its massive influence on the genre that maybe too many metal bands take their inspiration from.  Enter Japan’s Sigh, a band that has not even once followed anything close to ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’, and their new record Graveward.

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Album Review: Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful


613dW-xBHFL._SY300_Album:  Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Songs:  22 (deluxe version)

Length:  2 hours; 38 minutes (deluxe version)

Previous Albums:  Angels Fall First (1997); Oceanborn (1998)’ Wishmaster (2000); Century Child (2002); Dark Passion Play (2007); Imaginaerum (2011)

Genre:  Symphonic Metal

Location:  Finland

I had high hopes for a newly invigorated Nightwish.  Not that Anette’s departure was a blessing, I actually liked Anette with Nightwish quite a bit.  Lineup changes happen and sometimes it is unfortunate. But, after hearing Floor’s initial performances with the band on various YouTube clips I maintained the hope that Nightwish would continue to pump out highly fervent symphonic metal to the masses. I read that Floor was with the band during the recording process which was something new for the band.  This led me to believe things would be just different this time around.  Sadly, the only thing that is different that Nightwish acquired a new singer that’s sounds equally as excellent their previous front-ladies, but the passion in their music seems to be largely absent.  Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Bandcamp: Moonlover by Ghost Bath


a0529726240_10It’s rare that something can execute being so violently melancholic and at the same time life-affirming and uplifting.  Last time I can think I’ve had those feels hit me this hard simultaneously was when I first saw the first ten minutes of the Pixar film ‘Up’.  It’s quite the enigma of emotional cocktails.  Ghost Bath masterfully pulls at heartstrings with the aptly titled Moonlover.  Whirlwinds of chaotic black metal peppered with lush soundscapes of post-rock all meld together to create this unique, indescribable sound of heart-wrenching beauty.  It’s just something that has to be heard to be understood.

And with that, I’ll leave this post short and let you all have at it.  If you fancy bands such as Deafheaven than this is mandatory listening.  All others, do give this masterpiece a shot.  Be prepared for some feels.  Let us know what you think!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Tales from Bandcamp: The Ark Work by Liturgy


a2971740128_10On Liturgy’s Bandcamp page for this album there is a solitary (for now) user review which says “Haven’t decided yet, if this is total crap or genius :-) Favorite track: Follow.”  That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the latest from Liturgy.

Firstly, The Ark Work is totally nowhere close to what I was expecting as a follow-up to the hipster black metal darling (and I honestly do mean that in a complimentary way), Aesthetica.  I mean, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix stoically raps over a MIDI chiptunes blaring black metal tremolo riffs.  There’s fanfare horn sections, techno beats, ambiance, and a noticeable lack of black metal rasps (which are replaced with this kind of grunge era brooding singing/mumbling).  Very little of what I loved about the black metal aspects of Liturgy made it over to this record, and yet this record is 110% Liturgy.  Pretentious, experimental, ‘transcendental’.  Yet, each time I give it a spin I ask myself, what the fuck am I listening to?

And somehow, I keep putting it on.  It engages me every time.  There is something absolutely genius in the confounding directions each song takes.  The confusion is both infuriating and relaxing.  Some of the performances are absolute shit, namely the vocals, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t say everything all fits together perfectly.  It’s kind of like Steve Buscemi, a beautiful train wreck.

I think I lean more towards the opinion of genius on this one, but the cat’s still in the bag.  I don’t know.  I’m confused.  Maybe it needs a more spins.  But why do I continue to fucking listen to this album?

Let me know what you think of this mindfuck down in the comments.  Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Album Review & Interview: Southern Front – Death Throes


sothern_front_-_death_throesAlbum:  Death Throes

Label:  N/A

Release:  1 Nov 14

Songs:  8

Length:  28 Minutes

Genre:  Thrash/Death

Previous Albums:  Join or Die (2010); Seasons of Hate EP (2012)

FFO:  Lamb of God, Testament, Exodus, Pantera

Location:  Austin, Texas, USA

For those that feel an album must be of a certain length, Southern Front’s Death Throes is probably going to disappoint you before it even begins.  It’s a quick album and you’ll have to get used to it.  Southern Front is not about pumping their albums full of anything irrelevant.  Therefore, it’s quality over quantity on this one.  It’s just metal and quite heavy metal at that.  I’ll admit it even falls a bit short on whether I would call Death Throes an album or an EP, but for eight songs and the punch they pack, it’s an album.  Following up their Seasons of Hate EP, Death Throes is a no frills experienced mixed with growling (Lamb of God-like) vocals, copious double bass drumming, and enough guitar solos that give them a more thrashy edge. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Katatonia – Sanctitude (Live)


489616I am not one for live albums anymore.  I used to always buy them because I felt I was enjoying a piece of the band that I did not have regular access to.  The live setting was raw and mostly unedited back then.  It seemed pure and energetic.  Then, bands like Dream Theater and Opeth (to name just two) went and threw a whole bunch of production into their live albums/DVDs and now my bar has grown accustomed to excellent sound.  How can I go back to bootleg-ish production now?  There is one exception to the rule though.  The (sort of) “unplugged” setting is an intimate atmosphere free of distortion and all around craziness.  More importantly, bands have to rehearse quite a bit because the audience will be able to hear every single nuance of the music.  It has to be awesome.  This is where Katatonia’s new live concert, Sanctitude, comes in.  It is (basically) unplugged, crisp, and sensational.  Of course, the production helps.  Read the rest of this entry

Retro Roundtable Review: Gorguts – Obscura


3009Label: Olympic Recordings
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Release Date: June 23rd 1998
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Songs: 12    Length: 1 hour
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Genre: Technical Avant-garde Death metal
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Studio Albums: Considered Dead 1991, The Erosion of Sanity 1993, From Wisdom To Hate 2001, Colored Sands 2013
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Location: Canada
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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for March: Part 2/2


SC logoHere are the second six of the 12 female-fronted albums our friends at Sonic Cathedral reviewed during March. I’m still trying to determine if the Christopher Backeberg who does reviews for SC is the same one who posts as ChristopherMammal on Metal State. Every time I look for him, he seems to be looking for me.

 

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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for March: Part 1/2


SC logoOur good friends at Sonic Cathedral have reviewed 12 albums since our February digest. SC covered a lot of different types of music, from alternative and prog rock to death metal, all featuring female vocalists. Sonic Cathedral is a destination all FF metal and rock bands and fans should know about and visit.

Thanks again, SC, for sharing your coverage and the summaries of every review!

We’re posting a song from each album. This round-up will be in two parts ‘cos we don’t wont to super-saturate you with top-class FF music. As a digression, that reminds of an answer some chemistry student gave in a test. Q: What is a super-saturated solution? A: A solution that holds more than it can hold.

 

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