Breaking News: Thy Art Is Murder Announce New Album and Release New Single

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Late last week, deathcore titans, Thy Art Is Murder, released a brand new single to accompany their upcoming fourth studio album, “Dear Desolation”, which will be released on all platforms August 18th.  The new album, whose sinister artwork can be seen above, is the first album by the group since vocalist CJ McMahon’s brief exit/re-entry with the band.  Despite the internal struggles the band has gone through recently, the sound of the band has been unwavering, and is debatably better than ever.

“Slaves Beyond Death” is the first track released from the upcoming album and it is a great first impression. A fast tempo, chug heavy track filled with a plethora of death growls pretty much sums up the near 4 minute long TAIM track.  Besides being a little too repetitive, I believe “Dear Desolation”, based off what has been heard on “Slaves Beyond Death” alone, has the potential to be the greatest, or at least the second greatest, Thy Art Is Murder album in their discography.  What truly is the most significant aspect of track, that might also reflect on the entire album, is that it seems to be a “transition” track that could showcase Thy Art Is Murder moving from a deathcore genre to a straight up death metal genre.  This genre bridge by an album, which Job For A Cowboy exemplified early on in their career, could be what “Dear Desolation” is remembered for, and if so, the anticipation for the fourth studio album by the Australian metal act would be through the roof.  Personally, I would love to see TAIM eventually become a death metal band, but until more sure to be fantastic singles are released, the speculation of how the band’s sound will evolve will have to be based off just one superb first impression.

The first single, “Slaves Beyond Death”, is attached below!  Of course, as we get closer to “Dear Desolation’s” release date, more reviews and news about the album will be posted here, so stay locked in to Erik’s Album Reviews.  Give the first single a listen, let us know what you think in the comments below, and stay tuned for more reviews and news due out this week!

 

“Slaves Beyond Death”:

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Breaking News: The 2017 Summer Slaughter Tour Lineup and Dates Have Been Announced

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Recently, one of the heaviest touring festivals in extreme music, or as they like to brand themselves, “The Most Extreme Tour of the Year”, has finally announced their lineup and tour dates for the 2017 summer.  The Summer Slaughter tour, which is primarily run and funded by Sumerian Records and Sumerian Films (explains why the film “American Satan” is funding the tour and why there are multiple Sumerian bands on nearly every Summer Slaughter lineup), will run from July 27th until August 26th and will feature some of the biggest names in deathcore and death metal.

Personally, while I am a huge fan of literally every artist on this year’s bill, I am slightly disappointed to see a lack of diversity in the lineup.  Featuring a plethora of big name deathcore bands, and including some accomplished death metal acts with the likes of Origin, The Black Dahlia Murder, the Faceless, and of course, Dying Fetus, the Summer Slaughter tour is perfectly fit for one specific group of extreme music fans.  If you like the more aggressive styles of deathcore and modern death metal, then this tour is a dream come true.  However, for the metal fans that listen to a wide variety of heavy music, the streamlined roster may be slightly disappointing when comparing the 2017 lineup to past ones.  For example, the 2008 lineup featured a vast group of metal bands with everything from Vader to Cryptopsy, Aborted to Whitechapel, Despised Icon to Born of Osiris, and The Black Dahlia Murder to the Faceless.  In comparison, only 5 years ago in 2012, the Summer Slaughter lineup featured GoatWhore, Exhumed, and Periphery, and even featured Between the Buried and Me going on stage right before the headliner, Cannibal Corpse!  This extreme variation in styles of metal and sizes of recognition and fan base within the metal community exemplifies how diverse the Summer Slaughter lineup can get.  While this year’s lineup is sure to feature great live bands who are some of the heavyweights in their respective genres and are guaranteed to bring in some of the greatest ticket sales the tour has ever seen (due of course to their relevancy and more “radio friendly” sound compared to other artists in past lineups), the lack of true metal diversity is hopefully a trend that does not stick with the annual Summer Slaughter tour.

2008’s lineup:

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2012’s lineup:

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This is, however, the first year that I am a big fan of every artist on the roster.  This, of course, means I will be able to witness hours upon hours of my favorite deathcore and death metal bands play live in a row, but will unfortunately prevent me from discovering new artists that I might become extremely found of, like how I became a huge fan of Beyond Creation after seeing them on the 2015 Summer Slaughter tour.  The full tour poster for the 2017 tour is attached below.  To see complete lineups, visit your local venue’s website to see what local bands will also find a spot on the festival’s date nearest you!  Also, maybe next year we will finally see a black metal band play the Summer Slaughter tour, but until then, enjoy the greatest deathcore and death metal roster the Summer Slaughter tour has ever created!

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500 Word Review: Primal Rite “Sensory Link To Pain”

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Recently I’ve gotten back into thrash metal by listening to both classic bands like Metallica and Slayer and newer bands like Skeletonwitch and Eternal Champion.  However, through listening to the new era of thrash metal, I was able to discover a recently formed band, Primal Rite, who combine influences from hardcore punk and thrash metal to embody a hard-hitting, completely abrasive thrash metal sound that is simply addicting.  Last month, the San Francisco based metal band released their latest EP, “Sensory Link To Pain”, which showcases the group’s stellar, most recent sound.

The EP begins with a sinister, ominous sound of guitar feedback slowly fading in, leaving the listener anxious and at the edge of their seat as to what is coming next. Suddenly, the whole band enters and a wailing, distorted guitar, pummeling drums, rattling bass, and of course aggressive, hatred filled vocals create the title track, “Sensory Link To Pain”. Sporadic section changes with heavy, yet intriguingly groovy riffs encompass the entire EP with only a few moments of chugging riffs at a slower tempo to give the listener some kind of breathing room in between the chaos filled parts heard throughout each track.

These slower tempo sections can easily become highlights of tracks, however, as the near breakdown heard on “Is It Me?” becomes the most memorable part of the entire track and is easily the catchiest riff you will hear in Primal Rite’s latest project. This hardcore influenced breakdown perfectly exemplifies Primal Rite’s raw, bone-snapping sound of hardcore influenced thrash metal. The project itself, which comes in at just under 8 minutes, leaves its audience feeling like they got hit by a train of pure hardcore and thrash metal, as the project ends just as abruptly as it began with the fast tempo, mosh pit inducing riffs on “Primal Discipline” transitioning directly into the same eerie guitar tone heard at the beginning of “Sensory Link To Pain” slowly fading out. This Primal Rite EP is in your face hardcore thrash metal done right and is full with non-stop, unrelenting heaviness from start to finish.

In summation, this is metal, simply put. Everything from the harsh vocals, to the phenomenal guitar riffing to the upbeat, old school thrash metal inspired drum beats purely encompasses what the new era of thrash metal is all about. The only gripe I have with this project is that it sounds a little too much like Power Trip, who happen to be the most prominent modern hardcore influenced thrash metal band, and my personal favorite thrash metal band as well. I’m sure over time Primal Rite will find their signature style and sound in this crossover subgenre of punk and thrash metal, but their latest material still resembles, and is inspired by, the Texas based act in a very prominent way. However, if you listen to older Counterparts material, you can hear how it is directly influenced by Misery Signals, so it’s not a huge concern to seem Primal Rite paying tribute to the sound of the act they most likely look up to, especially since sounding like Power Trip is far from being an insult. I give “Sensory Link To Pain” an 8.6/10 and highly suggest that you check this EP out by the soon to be household name, Primal Rite.

 

“Sensory Link To Pain”:

500 Word Review: Jeff Caudill “Voice/Wishing Well”

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For those who might not be familiar with Jeff Caudill, he is the frontman for the notable punk band, Gameface.  Singing for the band since the early 90s, and also being apart of the group, Your Favorite Trainwreck, since 2012, Caudill has established himself as an accomplished artist within the punk scene for decades.  However, it’s the recent release of two tracks as a solo artist that has caught my attention.  The tracks “Voice” and “Wishing Well”, which are Sense Field and Black Sabbath covers, have been recorded to fit the style of Caudill’s solo material with all proceeds earned from the two singles being donated to the family of Jon Bunch.

Photo by Todd Fixler

After listening to the 2 song project entirely, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the instrumental tracks embodying a soothing and well recorded sound.  The vocals from Caudill himself are very clear in quality and intertwine well with these superb instrumental tracks.  Starting with “Voice”, in Jeff Caudill’s version of the song, the track starts off very bland, but begins to steadily improve as Jeff fleshes out the track further and further. The use of multiple electric and acoustic guitar tracks, keyboard, bass, and percussion tracks, and even doubled tracked vocal sections that slowly emerge as the song progresses truly strengthens the song. In a similar way to how Sense Field originally recorded the track, Caudill starts off with only a handful of individual tracks and builds upon this base gradually as the song goes on.  Even though Caudill’s version is very similar to Sense Field’s original recording, I actually like Jeff’s version a little better, as it is able to embody the distinct power that the original track features without bombarding the listener with noise.  The use of varying acoustic instruments and better recorded vocals give it a more fuller sound that is not heard on the original version. Essentially, “Voice” is a song that starts off simplistic and gradually adds different parts brick by brick until you hear the true, full sounding composition.

“Wishing Well”, the Jeff Caudill version that is, starts off in a very similar way that “Voice” does.  An intricately strummed acoustic guitar matched with a vocal track, that I have mixed opinions about, are the only two instruments heard when we initially hear the first few measures of the song. “Wishing Well” also fits “Voice’s” structure of gradually adding parts, but instead of constantly adding more layers of instrumentation, “Wishing Well” adds a single piano track, a single percussion track, and only double tracks the vocals in sections where Jeff sees that it is necessary to fit the delivery of the specific lines sung. The rhythmic flow of the song itself and the calm, melodic guitar riffs give the song a dreamy sound that I really enjoy in “Wishing Well” that also reminds me of mid to late 90s Bush material. This is slightly different from “Voice”, which has more of an upbeat, sing-a-long structure that is also something I’m fond of.  When comparing Jeff’s version to the original Black Sabbath track, it’s clear that the two versions are polar opposites, as the Black Sabbath recording is more harsh and in your face, and at some points, even reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is fairly odd considering this song was written by one of the first metal bands to exist.  There are some notable similarities, however, as the chorus in Jeff Caudill’s version matches the melodic, close to anthem sounding, structure heard in the original and each version features a powerful delivery of the meaningful lyrics that make up “Wishing Well”.

Even though I am really not a huge fan of the vocal melodies heard on these two songs, how Jeff uses the powerful lyricism in the original tracks to relate to his personal life is fantastic and helps explain why he chose to cover these two tracks.  The purpose behind this project is to pay tribute to Jeff’s late friend, Jon Bunch, who was the vocalist of Sense Field.  After his death last year, Jeff Caudill has put together these two songs, which lyrically are dedicated to him, in order to pay tribute to the singer and close friend while also donating the profits made to Bunch’s family.  Hearing the somber, sincere sadness in his voice mix with the powerful lyricism in both “Voice” and “Wishing Well” elevates this project to something truly memorable.  Lyrics like “And I want to hear it again that it’s going to be all right” and “Look in the water, tell me what do you see reflections of the love you give to me” truly resonate with the listener and help connect with the emotions Jeff is expressing in these two tracks.

Overall, while I was not a huge fan of the overall sound of the covers, their meaning and how they were recorded are truly phenomenal.  I give the project a 7.5/10 and highly suggest that you take 6 min out of you day to listen to and appreciate this release from Jeff Caudill.  The songs are attached below and check back in later this week for more reviews due out very soon!

 

“Voice”:

“Wishing Well”:

500 Word Review: Mastodon “Emperor of Sand”

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When “Once More ‘Round the Sun” dropped, I was still in shallow denial of Mastodon’s new direction. But after the release of “Sultan’s Curse”, I had to cast aside all delusions of bearing witness to the return of their unstoppable sludge. Those days are long gone, and it’s impossible not to hold them over what Mastodon has become.

Mastodon took nearly 3 years to put out this album since their previous release. During that time, the band was dealing with family issues, a problem that has never stopped them before. Instead they took a lousy situation and turned it into musical inspiration again. Despite that, my first impression of “Emperor of Sand” was that it felt rushed. More specifically, it sounds like the band barreled through the writing process and rushed on to recording and production. It has some telltale qualities of an album put out to satisfy the requirements of a record deal. There is filler at every turn. They kill time with uninspired guitar solos lacking class and containing too many pinch harmonics, reminiscent of the ostentatious shredding cherished by Avenged Sevenfold. Such douchery is available in “Word to the Wise.” There are two, or even maybe three respectable solos on the eleven-track album, but none of them are particularly memorable. In other cases, halfhearted guitar parts and mediocre verses serve as a vehicle for a more compelling vocal section or instrumental feature. “Roots Remain” fits that description well, containing two clunky verses sung by Troy Sanders backed by an unpleasant guitar riff and an acceptable solo to pad the rather excellent vocals of Brann Dailor. Unfortunately, this gives similar songs on the album the vocal driven, for-the-masses rock experience heard on albums like Queensrych’s self-titled 2013 release. These have the regrettable quality of predictable track structure. The lyrics should be well inspired, but there are plenty of lazy rhymes like in “Ancient Kingdom.” The narrative is hindered by offending lazy lyrics, but it still captures a mournful tone. The vocal delivery is inconsistent, ranging from passable to excellent, but they, along with everything else on the album, seem a bit artificial. This gives the drumming, the most consistent element of the album alongside the unfaltering bass guitar, a very subtle case of metalcore drum kit.

Returning to the idea that “Emperor of Sand” sounds rushed, I am reminded of problems with transitions and pacing. “Show Yourself” and “Precious Stones” begin abruptly, as if they had their first half spliced away. The rapid and awkward verse/chorus transitions, while not limited to these tracks, are distracting. When each song ends, something seems to be missing.

There are satisfying parts here and there, like the refreshing guitar lead in “Scorpion Breath” but a comparable number of poor sections. In “Andromeda” the band seems to mistake loud and ugly for heavy. Where “Crack the Skye” is elegant and “Leviathan” is powerful, ‘Emperor of Sand” is choppy and weak. To wrap things up, I thought the mixing was representative of the Mastodon experience, except for the volume of the lead guitar at times. While this was a critical review “Emperor of Sand” is still a decent album, I just happen to be disappointed with the lack of sludge metal.

 

Score: 7/10

 

Album Review by Zachary Norton, April 2017

“Emperor of Sand”:

Breaking News: Fit For An Autopsy Announce Headlining Tour with Tombs and Moon Tooth

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Recently, the trailblazing, New Jersey based deathcore band, Fit For An Autopsy, announced a new headlining tour in support of their fourth full length album, “The Great Collapse”, which was released earlier this year.  The US tour will start this June and will run until the first week in July and features only 20 total dates.

What’s most interesting about this tour is the support FFAA will have while performing in support of “The Great Collapse”.  Only two other bands are embarking on this North American tour: the famous death metal band Tombs and lesser known, but extremely skilled, prog/math metal band Moon Tooth.  This support is pretty odd, yet fitting for the tour itself.  It is peculiar to see a deathcore band play alongside these notable bands, especially Tombs who have a completely different sound and possibly a bigger fan base, but FFAA is becoming one of the few versatile modern deathcore bands who can successfully and effectively tour with deathcore, metalcore, death metal, deathgrind, and other varying genres of extreme metal without appearing out of place on the lineup.  In fact, after further listening to the two supporting bands for the upcoming tour, it actually seems like the 3 groups themselves will actually fit well together on this upcoming tour.  Even though Tombs does embody a sound that is very unlike Fit For An Autopsy, the aggressiveness and overall heaviness of their sound is actually very similar in comparison.  Also, after listening briefly to Moon Tooth, its pretty apparent that their songwriting and guitar riffs heard on projects like “Chromaparagon” is extremely similar to FFAA, and one could even go on to say that riffs heard on “The Great Collapse” could be directly inspired and influenced by the 2016 Moon Tooth album.  A small group of diverse, yet similar bands should result in one of the most entertaining metal shows to come to a city near you this summer.

Fit For An Autopsy have seen some extremely successful recent years as a band.  Not only have they released some genre defying albums, but they’ve also had very well known, prominent bands like Tombs, Aborted, Lorna Shore, and Black Tongue open up for them.  This tour, which will feature FFAA playing mostly tracks off the latest full length album and older tracks that they haven’t performed in awhile, is sure to be one of the most interesting tours you will see all year.  The official tour poster is attached below for you to see where’s the nearest place to see FFAA, Tombs, and Moon Tooth perform on the same stage!  Also, I do want to mention that the new version of the artwork featured on the poster actually looks better than the original artwork.  The blueish filter applied to the artwork looks fantastic, and after seeing it I really wish it was used for the album itself, rather than just the tour poster.  Lastly, a video review of “The Great Collapse” will be posted to the Erik’s Album Reviews Youtube channel and will be one of the first ever reviews published in video form!  Check out the channel below and visit the site for more news and reviews about Fit For An Autopsy!

Erik’s Album Reviews Youtube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT2WZ3e5utc9eqs7JF8PnTA/videos

 

“The Great Collapse” Tour Poster:

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Breaking News: Woe Responds to Being Kicked Off Droneburg Festival For Touring With Inquisition

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Recently, Brooklyn based Black metal band, Woe, were scheduled to play the Droneburg Festival in Germany along with Ulthra and other acts.  However, only hours before the festival would open their doors, they notified the two bands mentioned via SMS text messages that they had been kicked off the shows lineup.  The reasoning behind this swift and drastic decision was that Woe and the other band in question had toured with Inquisition and played the Conspiracy of the Damned Festival, which took place in Rotterdam and featured Inquisition and other similar acts, and because of this the festival assumed Woe held the same beliefs as Inquisition and decided to prevent them from performing on the Droneburg stage.

For those who don’t know, Inquisition, and most of the artists who make up the Conspiracy of the Damned Festival, are nationalistic, and in some cases openly Anti-Semitic and racist, NSBM artists whose ideologies and beliefs are both reflected in their art and representation of their respective bands and above all, inhumane.  Droneburg Festival apparently has a very strict policy about NSBM associated bands performing on their bill, so before doing any further research, they decided to kick Woe off their roster last minute.

Despite touring and playing alongside Inquisition, Woe actually openly embraces an entire different political stance. Woe represents a very anti-fascist political stance, and not only is it embedded in their material, like in the song “No Blood Has Honor”, but they frequently play in front of apolitical black metal crowds while playing this material and even educate concert goers and other black metal fans about how they can also embrace an anti-fascist stance without “sacrificing the harsh, abrasive stance of a black metal band”.  This explains their touring with infamous fascist bands and playing festivals that support these acts as Woe is not supporting these ideologies, but directly challenging them, protesting them, and openly opposing them in hopes of educating those in that environment.  Woe further explained their response to being unfairly omitted from the Droneburg festival in a well-spoken way in their statement attached below for you to read.

If you weren’t a fan of Woe by now, this statement should definitely help at convincing you to become a fan in the very near future.  This political activism and active attempt to grow and help broaden the perspectives of individuals in the metal community is something that is admirable to say the least.  Also, political opinions set aside, Woe writes some sensational black metal that is truly impressive to say the least.  I enjoyed the New York black metal outfit before this news story initially broke, and I can now say that I am an avid fan and cannot wait until this group makes it to a nearby venue!  I’ve also attached the stream of their latest project, “Hope Attrition”, for you to check out below!  Let us know what you think about Woe’s response to the Droneburg Festival incident and stay tuned for more metal news!

 

Woe’s Statement:

“Hope Attrition”: