Tales from Bandcamp: Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird

a2684052136_10I’m not the type of person who often remembers their dreams.  However, I do remember a few.  One of them was from when I was a teenager or something.  Probably after watching The Blob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I had this dream where I was trapped in a dank sewer trudging through the sludgy sewage while Charon floated in his boat behind me and whacked me with his oars.  Listening to Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird reminds me of that dream.  It’s dark, sludgy, and smacks you around.  Elements of black metal and thrash round out this roughly 30 minute romp.  The artwork is pretty rad too.

Check it out, share with you buddies, toss some couch change at the band, and let us know what you thunk.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

What is a True Metal Fan?

Bwib33wYou’re not a true metal fan!  This is the allegation I have read in several metal forums over the years.  It always boggled my mind when I saw someone say that to someone else.  I mean, who gets to define what a true fan is?  What constitutes being a fan of something at all, let alone being a “true” fan?  What the hell does that even mean?  In the context of heavy metal I have heard this phrase expressed for at least a couple of reasons. Read the rest of this entry

Judging a Book by Its Cover

imagesIn my free time when I’m not attached to some video game or repeatedly listening to whatever album I’m currently hot on I like to scour through Bandcamp and Metal State’s Haulix promo pile (for those who don’t know, Haulix is a commonly used streaming/downloading platform for giving reviewers access to promo albums) and see if anything catches my ear.  With literally hundreds of records to choose from at any given moment I don’t have the time nor the will to listen to everything.  So, what do I do to narrow down my selections?  Well, first there are certain P.R. reps we have a good rapport with as well as the very rare, well written review request (for another article, but, independent bands, proofread your shit, keep it short, and use Bandcamp or some other super easy streaming service).  Otherwise, I break a Golden Rule.  I judge a book, errr, album by its cover.

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Full album stream: Infanteria – Where Serpents Conquer

InfanteriaMeet Infanteria from Cape Town, at the southern tip of Africa. Through them, meet my top contender so far for thrash album of the year.

The essence of “Where Serpents Conquer” is thrash, the type of solid, enduring thrash that turned a generation of rock fans into dedicated metalheads during the 1980s. It’s also the sort of thrash that continues to attract new followers in droves, and keeps the older fans nodding and saying, “Now that’s metal!”

There is much more to Infanteria than their main musical style, however. They bring the best of many worlds in one package. Like many of the bands who are expanding their territory in the 21st century, Infanteria delve into other types of metal and weave it into their repertoire. They enrich their sound by playing the most up-to-date style of thrash as well as the old school style. The variations they write into their songs include passages of death and prog metal.

In my library I’ve filed this album as progressive thrash. That salutes the band’s eagerness to shove through the genre fences and experiment with whatever fits best into their music.

Infanteria have won considerable acclaim from metal fans and critics in South Africa. They were selected to represent their rainbow nation at Wacken Open Air in Germany in 2013. That was the year they released their debut full-length album, “Isolated Existence”. If they’re planning to take their music to a global audience, “Where Serpents Conquer” would be the perfect vehicle to transport them there.

The eight tracks on the album showcase the versatility and quality of the band. It’s difficult to pick a stand-out song, they’re all effing great. “Where Serpents Conquer”, the title track, starts as the purest thrash before flowing into a decidedly deathy conclusion. “Silence In Sight” could easily have come from a Best Thrash of the Eighties compilation. “Beneath The Waves” is an ultra-modern thrash scorcher with dark vocals, and rapid-fire riffs and drumming that conjure up images of a Vulcan canon firing 9,000 rounds per minute. “We All Have Dreams” develops from a sweet acoustic opening to become a thrash ballad that  Megadeth would have been proud to record. “The Arrow” has the feel and sound of deep, melodic prog metal.

Infanteria band

Since I’ve mentioned most of the songs on the album, let me make a special point about “Runes in the Red Forest”, the longest song on the album. It’s a masterpiece of progressive death/thrash, one of the finest metal songs of any genre I’ve heard this year.

The band members on “Where Serpents Conquer” are Chris Hall (vocals and rhythm guitar), the founder, composer and writer; Adriano Rodrigues (lead guitar), Tim Leibbrandt (bass); and Adrian Langeveld (drums). I rate Chris Hall very highly as a composer and lyricist.

Infanteria need an international breakthrough album. “Where Serpents Conquer” could be the one if it receives enough exposure, so spread the word.

Check out Infanteria on Facebook. The link to the album stream is also where to pick up this shiny new album and “Isolated Existence”.


Album Review: Coma Ecliptic by Between the Buried and Me

Coma_Ecliptic_cover_art_by_Between_the_Buried_and_MeEver so rarely an album comes by that encapsulates the soul band.  From a group’s particular style to even their namesake, these albums showcase all that is and has propelled them into the leaders of their genres.  Seventh Son of a Seventh Son from Iron Maiden, Pelagial by The Ocean, and Panopticon by Isis are some examples of records that lay in this very small group with both fan and critical praise being forever lauded upon them.  But the big daddy of them all belongs to Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater.  It is of my opinion that no other album sums up a band as perfectly as that record does.  The music connected to the narrative, the ‘dream’, which is played out through the album, the ‘theater’, is executed so perfectly and passionately I had never thought no other album could ever achieve the multitude of musical accomplishments as deftly as it has done.  That is until Between the Buried and Me unleashed their latest record, Coma Ecliptic, unto the masses for me to listen, absorb, and consume ravenously.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Art rock, post rock & math rock

Main categories

As I said in the first part of this series, so much great music has been arriving at Metal State this year that it’s impossible to review everything. Yet it would a crime, not merely an omission, if we failed to bring the best of different types of music to your attention. Therefore, here’s another selection of superb bands with new or recent albums that deserve all the attention they can receive.

This episode covers some of the slightly more obscure sub-genres of progressive rock. It’s one of those occasions when I wear my Other Music cap. If you don’t already know, I ostensibly came on board Metal State to review and write about non-metal bands as well as the numerous flavours of metal that tickle my fancy and other parts. We will gloss over the real truth, which is that the Metal State team invited me to join them because I am irresistibly cute and charming, like a favourite garden gnome.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Assorted genres

Main categories

Metal State often receives ten invitations a day to review new albums. In physical terms, it would be impossible for a whole battalion of writers to do full reviews of so much new music. In practical terms, we don’t want to overwhelm our readers with so many posts that few would have or make the time to read them all. How then to do some justice to the many outstandingly good submissions we take in each day?

One way to help the best bands reach a wider audience is to compile digests of new albums, and that’s what I’m starting to do here. The graphic shows what type of ground I’ll be covering in the next few weeks, months and the rest of my life. After that, I’ll do mixed digests of different flavours of metal and other music as soon as possible after it arrives at our dungeon. For now, I’ve sorted my best albums received so far this year into main categories. You can see them in the graphic on the left. I’ll tick off each category as I add posts.

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Album Review: Forgotten Horror – Aeon of the Shadow Goddess

R-6980387-1430907835-3119.jpegAlbum:  Aeon of the Shadow Goddess

Label:  Walpurgis Night MMXV

Release Date:  15 May 2015

Genre: Black Metal

Songs:  9

Length:  46 Minutes

Previous Album:  The Serpent Creation (2011)

Location:  Finland

It isn’t every day that I decide to sit down and willingly listen to music saturated with black metal blast beats or listen to music even slightly blackened by any signature black elements or anything relating to “black” and “metal” in the same sentence.   Even if it’s a little bit black metal it’s sort of like asking a strict vegetarian to try this all-beef burger because it’s so good and they’re sure to like it.   I’m not a vegetarian, but you get the picture.   Black metal and I tend to not get along well, though I have much respect for the genre.   It is intense and in most cases quite extreme.   What’s not to respect about that?  And, there are some blackened/near black/mostly black/partly black metal bands I do like, but they are usually the ones that most “true” black metal fans don’t like.  Anyway, before I decided to review Forgotten Horror, as you might have guessed bears its roots in black metal, I gave the album no less than 8-10 listens so I could be honest with my feelings.  Read the rest of this entry

Matt’s Top Ten Nintendo Games

11059954_10152894849946447_731675211293523623_nToday it was announced that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had passed away on July 11th, 2015 due to a bile duct complication.  To say that myself and the rest of the gaming community were shocked and saddened by this would be an understatement.  What Iwata-san has done for video games is immeasurable.  Starting in the 80’s as a programmer for NES games such as Kirby and the almighty Earthbound.  He worked his way up the ladder eventually being named Nintendo’s president in 2002 spearheading the development and launch of the revolutionary Nintendo Wii.  Along with the visionary Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie “My Body is Ready” Fils-Amie he put his face out there and became a very public face for the company.  Focused on transparency, making personal connections with Nintendo fans, and delivering high quality and above all, fun experiences, us fans looked forward to each installment of Iwata Asks and the Nintendo Directs.  In a gaming scene that was veering towards homogenization he took the wheel and steered the climate of Nintendo into one of innovation and genuine personality.  Even just a few weeks ago he responding and commenting on the feedback he had gotten from Nintendo’s E3 showing.

From my first NES console at age at 7 to last night spreading ink all over the place in Spatoon on the Wii U, Nintendo has been and always will be a huge part of my life.  From helping create and grow friendships over some rounds of Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros to easing my sadness with the bright and colorful Mushroom Kingdom and Dreamland to waxing philosophical and adventuring into the unknown with The Legend of Zelda series and Earthbound, Iwata-san has either directly or indirectly influenced some of the most joyous moments in my life.  The photo below is a shot of a bit of my current Nintendo collection (unfortunately things get lost and broken when one moves around a lot) and each piece there is more than just a game or character.  Each is a memory of a good time and good times to still be had.


When someone dies I feel it is better to celebrate their life than mourn our loss.  So, in honor of Satoru Iwata I would like to make a Top Ten of my all time favorite Nintendo games.  Many will be obvious and maybe a couple out of left field will pop up and a looooooooot have been left out (I could have easily made this a Top Twenty or Thirty list).  All are among the best games I have ever played and have returned to countless times.  To put it simply, each game is fun.  Quoting Iwata-san “Video games are meant to be one thing.  Fun.  Fun for everyone.”  And with that quote he sums up why I love Nintendo and look into the future with nothing but positive vibes for the house he helped build.

R.I.P. Satoru Iwata.  Thank You!!!

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FREE MUSIC! – 20 new grindcore tracks

GrindGive Praise Records, specialists in grindcore and grind-anything metal, are giving away their July sampler, “The Path To Grind”, containing tracks by 20 bands. Most of them are likely to be new to you even if you’re already heavily into grindcore. If you’re not, I can tell you there’s some damn cool stuff on this sampler. Of course it is all as brutal as anything gets.

As the advertisers say, “Act Now! Limited Offer!” The digital album is completely free via Bandcamp until about Wednesday, so get downloading this weekend.

The Bandcamp page contains the usual invitation to pay what you like, but Give Praise want you to ignore that. Just grab the sampler. Share it. They want you to do that too.

Here’s the full track list:

  1. ABORTION – Children Of Satan
  2. BRUCEXCAMPBELL – Humanity Deserves To Die
  3. CHOKED BY OWN VOMITS – Sweatpants Factory
  5. ENDLESS DEMISE – Seeds Of Destruction
  6. FUBAR – Death Or Doubt
  7. GORGONIZED DORKS – Your Wealth
  8. INTESTINAL ROT – Cranium Crushing Cannibals
  9. MESRINE – Blood Boils
  10. MOLOCH – Unendlichkeit
  11. OSK – Burning Human
  12. PROLETAR – Global Darkness Destruction
  13. RITUAL MISERY – Cult
  14. SICK OF STUPIDITY – Slumber Of Humanity
  15. SOIL OF IGNORANCE – Downfall Existence
  16. STRONG INTENTION – The Carnivore
  17. SUFFERING MIND – Down My Throat (DISRUPT)
  18. TO DUST – The Perspectivist
  19. VIOLENT OPPOSITION – Logic VS Retaliation
  20. WAKE – Smolder

As you can tell from the band names and song titles, there aren’t many songs about butterflies and sunshine in this selection. So, go here on Bandcamp and download some head-exploding grind. Blast the neighbours into the next county.