New Video: Check This Out – The Hell


This is the sort of Christmas music they should play in stores. It would chase the masses of Elton John fans out and leave the aisles uncluttered for ‘core and metal lovers.

If it doesn’t sound totally like Christmas music to you, then you probably don’t know that The Hell are currently doing their Shitmare Before Christmas tour in the UK. You’ll find tour venues and dates on their Facebook page. The page should also tell you that the band members are “shouty, sweary, snotty, lairy, bandanna-clad punks,” so clearly they are not the most pretentious guys from Watford, England.

I mentioned Elton John because he used to own Watford Football Club. The Hell’s hardcore may not be right up his street, but even he would have to agree that this song and the video really kick some arse. The British don’t kick ass, in the UK that means being cruel to a donkey.

The song is taken from The Hell’s album “Groovehammer”. You don’t have to be a hardcore fanatic to want it.

 

 

New Video and Single: Ophidian I – Whence They Came


To keep the interest in their forthcoming second album at a nice bubbling temperature, the Icelandic technical death band Ophidian I have a released a single which they recorded during pre-production. To go with the single they’ve also done a YouTube video with appropriately gruesome animation by Andres Montero.

Ophidian I’s debut album, “Solvet Saeclum” (2012), cemented the band’s place among the top metal outfits from Iceland and made some impact in the wider market. It was well-received by critics and congnoscenti (who are not necessarily the same people).

If you know anything about Iceland and music, that tiny island with its small population produces an amazing amount of good metal. Merely being “a top band from Iceland” is usually enough to establish a band’s credentials. All Ophidian I needs now is wider exposure to break though in the international markets. Like the pretty people in the shampoo adverts, they’re worth it.

 

 

Album Review: Anubis – Hitchhiking to Byzantium


Anubis_Cover_ArtLocation: Sydney, Australia

Genre: Neo-progressive rock with experimental touches and cinematic sweep

Release date: 30 May 2014

Label: Birds Robe Records

Tracks: 10

Length: 1 hour 18 minutes

Recommended to: Fans of Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Airbag and other emotional, atmospheric, introspective prog rock

Mammal’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: The Stats


MetalCatSorting out my year-by-year hit parades taught me a lot about myself and my changing tastes in metal. If you’re ever so bored that you start drawing faces on all the potatoes in the pantry, you may find it interesting and perhaps illuminating to do such an exercise too.

The big pattern was clear to me before I started making my lists. Even with my museum exhibit of a brain I knew that I’d been listening to less symphonic and heavy metal and more of the harder music over the years. My personal average scores for all my selections are thus an average over a long period, not a snapshot of any particular year in that period. If there’s been a constant over those two decades, it would be prog metal.

I used a fairly common scoring system to analyse my hit parades. For some years I had as few as ten selections and for the last year, 2013, I chose 25 songs. For the sake of consistency I cut my lists to the top 10 songs for each year. Then, for each year, I scored 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on down to 1 point for #10. Microsoft Excel did the rest for me.

But first! Yes! Before I insert my lists, it is is time to reveal one of the best-kept secrets in the Universe… the true identity of Dark Metal Cat, my constant adviser and referee. He’s taken off his costume and revealed himself as…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten, a.k.a. Cookie Cat or Caucus Caterus Cattus or Flubby, the world’s fattest thin cat. He doesn’t play the guitar. He’s a keyboard artist. He can make Windows do things I can’t, and he does it often. My darling wife doesn’t like metal and won’t go to sleep on my desk in front of the monitor, so I couldn’t use her to put in creative typing or exit from unsaved work.

My top bands of the last 21 years

1. Opeth (Sweden), Progressive Death Metal: 73
2. Dream Theater (USA), Progressive Metal: 36
3. Riverside (Poland), Progressive Metal: 33
4. Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Symphonic Black Metal: 29
5. Therion (Sweden), Symphonic Heavy Metal: 27
6. TIE: Borknagar (Norway), Folk Black Metal ~and~ Leprous (Norway), Progressive Metal: 26
8. Arch Enemy (Sweden), Melodic Death Metal: 25
9. Ayreon (Netherlands), Progressive Metal: 24
10. Orphaned Land (Israel), Folk Death Metal: 23

My top metal genres and sub-genres of the last 21 years

1. Symphonic Metal: 127
2. Folk Metal: 125
3. Progressive Death Metal: 105
4. Melodic Death Metal: 87
5. Progressive & Experimental Metal: 78
6. Thrash Metal: 60
7. Gothic Metal: 44
8. TIE: Black Metal ~ and ~ Doom Metal: 39
10. Stoner & Sludge Metal: 38

My top metal countries of the last 21 years

1. Sweden: 219
2. USA: 216
3. Norway: 131
4. UK: 122
5. Finland: 86
6. Netherlands: 71
7. Poland: 65
8. Germany: 43
9. Israel: 33
10. Canada: 26

Album Review: Soen – Tellurian


soen-tellurian-7113“I will fight the system, break it down and redesign it, I don’t want anything the way it’s created by them. Where is my right to choose, if all the options are theirs?

Release Date: November 4th 2014 on Spinefarm Records

Tracks: 9

Length: 53 minutes

Genre:  Atmospheric progressive metal

Previous releases: Cognitive 2012

Location: Sweden/US

Recommended for fans of:  Opeth, Leprous, Rishloo, Riverside, Karnivool

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #5 – #1


MetalCatAnd so we reach the final countdown in my personal 21-year journey through metal. If you all promise to behave nicely, I promise not to post that song by Europe.

It’s been a good ride. Thinking back to the first time I heard Sabbath, metal has given me a wonderful ride for more than 40 years.

What’s really beautiful about metal – to me, at least – is that it keeps growing bigger, more diverse and better. I greatly look forward to continuing the journey until my brain atrophies again, as it did a couple of years ago when it turned into a fossil like the rest of me.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral


640x360-1Album:  Grand Morbid Funeral

Label:  Peaceville

Release Date:  18 Nov 2014 (US)

Songs:  11

Length:  47 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Resurrection Through Carnage (2002); Nightmares Made Flesh (2004); The Fathomless Mastery (2008)

From:  Sweden / England

FFO:  Quality death metal  Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #10 – #6


MetalCatI haven’t referred to my list of top albums of 2013 that I posted on Metal State at the end of last year. I don’t need to because I know it’s markedly different to my current sets of year-by-year hit parades. This series has featured my favourite songs, not albums. It hasn’t included non-metal, whereas my top albums list did.

I set another condition for myself at the start of this exercise, which has been a wonderfully enjoyable game. To spread the pleasure among the artists who’ve given me so much pleasure over the years, I chose only one song per year per artist. There too I’ve been arbitrary at times. There are albums so good that just about any song would be a contender for top song by that artist.

No doubt my lists would look different if I re-did them in a year’s time. Music shapes itself to our moods.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #15 – #11


MetalCatThree lots of prog metal today, from Dante, Oceanborn and Leprous. Also deathcore from Within The Ruins and melodic death from Amon Amarth.

I hate it when Dark Metal Cat goes gallivanting with feline temptresses and isn’t here to write my intros for me.

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry

Streaming: Opus Of A Machine – Simulacra


Opus of A Machine started out in 2012, formed by Caligula’s Horse‘s guitarist Zac Greensill and they play a brilliant mix of raw and honest-sounding progressive rock/alternative metal reinforced with powerful clean vocals. Check out their newly released album here:

Facebook      Bandcamp

0003860075_10