Category Archives: Exploring New Things

Every now and then we come across something that is just a bit different.

African Death from North to South: Scarab, In Oath and The Overmind


African MaskIt may surprise more than a few of you good people to learn how many African countries boast top-quality metal bands. Limiting ourselves to just one genre, the ever-popular death metal, let’s take a short journey from the northern end to the southernmost country of my home continent, with a halfway stop for lunch in equatorial Africa.

Thus our itinerary is mid-morning tea in Egypt, a lunchtime barbecue in Kenya and an afternoon beer or six in South Africa. At these events we’ll say hello to truly world-class bands. I’m not going to say much about each band. Let them tell us who and what they are.

 

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Various progressive metal releases to get excited about in 2015


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This is only a small selection of the best upcoming progressive rock/metal releases, some that have already been announced and others from bands who are working on new material.

*It’s been almost four years since the last Symphony X and now it’s time for their ninth work of art to reach our ears. The band says they are going back to their older sound, a mix of previous albums “The Odyssey” and “Paradise Lost” (those are not very old…), less heavy,  more melodic and classic sounding. Interesting! It’s set for an early 2015 release. Listen to older Symphony X.

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*A couple of days ago I read a claim that “Australian prog will take over the world”, and felt there’s hope for a bright future after all! Arcane are contributing to this cause, after a successful crowd funding campaign, with their ambitious 2-disc concept album “Known/Learned”, fronted by Caligula’s Horse’s brilliant vocalist Jim Grey. The songs are divided on two discs – the first one being on the heavy, traditional side of prog and the second goes into lighter acoustic/folk songs. A deep, thoughtful story of a father and his daughter on a bittersweet journey through life. Release date: January 20th.

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Underground Metal from the Deep South


Kelly McCoyThe culturally and religiously conservative south-east of the USA, commonly known as the Bible Belt, isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you consider the roots of old-school, fuck-you-all death metal and black metal. Yet it’s given rise to some of the enduring stalwarts of those genres over that last three decades or more.

Extreme underground metal isn’t exactly popular in the Bible Belt. The kick-ass bands that start there go elsewhere in the US to find audiences who won’t damn them for all eternity for playing the music of the Devil. The more successful of those bands go to Europe to spread their type of music to new audiences.

The demonic-looking guy in the photo is Kelly McCoy, one of the seasoned movers in American underground metal and a champion of other extreme bands as well as his own. He invited Metal State to make a short journey into the hard, nasty, uncompromising shadowland of brutal bands from the Deep South. He introduced us to bands he’s with and to other bands who have chosen the same road to perdition.

The metal they play is raw. This certainly doesn’t mean raw in the sense of underdone or unprofessional… anything but! No, it’s raw in the sense that the flesh still drips blood when you rip it off the bones. It’s mighty powerful, deeper than the region where it originated, and I’m sure you’re going to find diabolical beauty in the music. I did. I have the scars to prove it.

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Various thrash and death metal releases to get excited about in 2015


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Thrashy and Heavy Shreds 

*Sci-fi thrashers Vektor have been writing on a new album for quite some time now. There’s no hint of a release date, they are still finishing up everything and we can only hope for another exhilarating Vektor space odyssey soon. In the meantime, here’s from previous masterpiece “Outer Isolation”

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*Angelus Apatrida is the name of an excellent thrash act from Spain, giving us their fifth riffage opus “Hidden Evolution” on January 19th.

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Various black metal releases to get excited about in 2015


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Last year was great for black and blackened metal of all varieties, we received goodies like The Great Old Ones, Infestus, Thantifaxath, Behemoth, Enthroned, Ifing, Emptiness and much more. I’m hoping this year will provide us with just as many quality releases, to make our existence darker and more uncomfortable. Just the way we like it.

The New Blacks 

*The ambitious A Forest Of Stars (progressive black) have already shared extensive information about their new album “Beware The Sword You Can Not See”, and it will contain panic, maggots, crumbling cities and mental collapse, presented in a neat package with the most gorgeous looking artwork. Out on February 27th. A taste from previous album:

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Seasonal Diversion: Christmas Triple-Play


No smiling dayThe photograph on the left is there to let you know that this set of songs can’t possibly offend anyone because I don’t think they’re at all amusing. The only reason I posted them was to annoy myself. I get these masochistic impulses every now and then. Right now it’s more now than then because it wasn’t funny then, and now it isn’t funny either.

Oh, and one more thing: Metal never takes the piss out of anything. It is deadly serious about its commitment to blossoms and sunshine and happy picnics with “Kumbaya” floating in the background.

Having unset the mood, let’s unset it again with my favourite Christmas song that is not metal in any possible way and very few impossible ways.

To continue with the proceedings we have something special for the guy who never laughs about anything except making you miserable. He’s very much like every politician you can think of. I suspect he actually is all of them in a mash-up, but not as self-centred.

How could I, a mammal, not end this sermon on a mammalian note? This video is just sick. Literally. I refuse to confess that I just about hosed myself at this one. That would be admitting that I am coarse and vulgar.

 

A Peculiar Diversion: Heino – Schwarz Blüht der Enzian


Worst-Album-Covers-HeinoSome months ago I took a poll among my Facebook friends to decide what was the worst album cover ever produced. This one for an album by Heino was the clear winner – or should that be the worst loser?

Heino was a very young German balladeer when his “Liebe Mutter” was released. That would have been about 1743 BC.

Since then he’s been through a few transformations, always carried forward by his big, rich voice. His most recent album, released this year, is – amazingly – folk metal.

I think it’s terrific. If I’d known about it earlier, it would have been my Album of the Year… OK, so that’s a mild exaggeration, but only in the sense that it’s a complete lie. Even so, I think this is rather jolly. Astound your friends by playing it for them and doing some moshing.

 

Seasonal Diversion: The Who – Christmas


It’s still the weekend in some places. I’m still where I was yesterday, in the Metal State vaults where we store ancient vinyl albums. Yesterday I went back to 1970. Today I’ve travelled even farther back, to my #1 album of 1969.

When most people ponder on who their favourite vocalists might be, they don’t usually consider Roger Daltrey of The Who because they hadn’t been born yet when “Pinball Wizard” was released. To us wizened and wise ones, Daltrey was one of the best. The Who was one of the best bands. Mind you, back then there were only about a dozen really superb bands.

The song is about the deaf, dumb and blind kid who somehow became a pinball wizard, and that was without any help from Hogwarts.

 

 

Year-end Diversion: Magna Carta – Seasons


The Metal State tyrants occasionally release me into the dungeons to explore the dusty stacks of vinyl. That’s where I rediscovered this 1970 song by Magna Carta, my favourite prog folk group of the time. My favourite non-prog folk group was Simon & Garfunkel.

Magna Carta’s finest song (in my opinion) seems appropriate for this time of year.

 

A gift from Incendia Music: Pay-what-you-want compilation


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13 tracks of the best unsigned and up and coming talent around at the moment in the world of rock and heavy metal. Whether you’re into your rock, prog, tech metal or electronic 80’s progressive metal… there’ll be something here that tickles your fancy! And did we mention….. it’s FREE! Happy Christmas from Incendia Music

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