Posts Tagged “Metal Roots”

KATATONIA and OPETH have historically been muttered in the same breath as fellow impresarios of fugue metal, even if the former hasn’t been anything remotely close to metal in quite some time. Of course, the bands shared Mikael Åkerfeldt through the Nineties, so they were bound to share the spotlight as well. Over the years, however, the two bands have become divisible even while rolling as touring mates. Since “Discouraged Ones” and “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”, KATATONIA have taken ongoing steps away from a pure metal path. OPETH continues to embrace it while exploring new courses, as “Damnation” and most recently, “Heritage”, have proven. In both cases, their progressive refinement is world-class.

Since their transformation that came as much out of necessity due to Jonas Renkse‘s battered vocals that demanded a clean-sung repertoire, KATATONIA has excavated labyrinths of atmosphere in search of an alternative and prog-grounded emotiveness. Long gone is the dusky grit from the early years when KATATONIA was the two-man operation of Renkse and Anders Nyström. As if the duo could foresee where the band has found itself on the heels of “Brave Murder Day”, one of the band’s last authentic metal albums. Today, KATATONIA keeps a spotless yet spacious music space, while Jonas Renkse has evolved into a beguiling, if frequently sullen vocalist.

Last year, KATATONIA took another major step away from their metal roots with “Dead End Kings”, a revelatory album that stripped down even more static than ever before. “Dead End Kings” pushed out heavy tones incrementally while embracing piano, synths, strings and an overall gentler touch that nevertheless hit home.

Now this year comes “Dethroned & Uncrowned”, a largely acoustic reworking of the “Dead End Kings” album for Kscope, sister label to the band’s main hub, Peaceville Records. Suffice it to say, KATATONIA strips things down even further on the redux, manufacturing even more elegance out of these eleven songs. While “Dead End Kings” manages to flex stray bars of electric muscle, “Dethroned & Uncrowned” hones deeper on the six- and twelve-string dreaminess that served as the former album’s epicenter, now this one’s apex.

Instead of making this a pure acoustic project, KATATONIA spills extensive piano scales, chamber fugue, Mellotron, synthesized beats, brass, reed instrumentation and acoustic bass to broaden the plaintive moods of the original songs. “Dethroned & Uncrowned” is thus stunning and quixotic, even more so than “Dead End Kings”. Every song in transition is a success, most notably “The Parting”, “The One You Are Looking For is Not Here”, “Lethean”, “Hypnone” and “Dead Letters”.

The near-naked character is essentially the same throughout “Dethroned & Uncrowned”, which means this re-imagination is demure, seductive and inspiring, even with KATATONIA‘s frequent themes of dirge and despondency. The lulling melodies of “Dead Letters” is so gorgeous one could picture it accompanying a Gothic romance film. In particular is a singular acoustic twine draped across an encompassing bridge that feels both windswept and amorous. This version of “Dead Letters” is by far one of KATATONIA‘s most engaging and articulate productions to-date.

The breezy cello and deeper accented piano plucks on this take of “The Parting” is enthralling in its own right, while THE GATHERING vocalist Silje Wergeland‘s vertigo-inducing parts on “The One You are Looking for is Not Here” are pushed up towards the front of the mix this time. The strategy allows for more congruency with Jonas Renkse‘s fervent swooning. Together the duet sounds as captivating as the massive layers of synth, string, piano and echoing percussion heaped into this inveigling cut of the song.

There are only a couple of spots on “Dethroned & Uncrowned” where electric guitars are retained, such as “Hypnone” and “Ambitions”. In turn, the distortion is struck altogether from the jazzier, piano-driven noodling on “Buildings”, the one moment on “Dead End Kings” that came close to constituting actual metal attributes.

This album’s version of “Ambitions” slinks on an erotic crawl via an echoing drum machine as it does with smooth syncopation and flirtatious Mellotron on “The Racing Heart” prior to. In the latter’s case, Jonas Renkse pulls off a near-close imitation of Seal. “Undo You” later rides upon tertiary coatings of cello, Mellotron and piano that garnish the primary acoustic spools and Renkse‘s placid wheedling. Despite the deathly odes of the song, “Undo You” gains momentum on this version from its initial conveyance of desperateness, nudging out of its bleak conundrum with flowing aspiration.

While absorbing the soul-torn despair of its predecessor, “Dethroned & Uncrowned” thrusts “Dead End Kings” onto a more dignified platform where further grandeur is raided and then pampered with the deepest respect. This could’ve been a cheap ploy to ride the success “Dead End Kings”, but it’s a testament to KATATONIA‘s gifted ensemble they manage to far outclass its predecessor. “Dethroned & Uncrowned” mirrors OPETH‘s magnificent “Damnation” in certain fashions, but KATATONIA proves here they have smartly mapped out their future, one that could find them scoring a film project or gracing an orchestra hall. Without using direct metal overtures, KATATONIA has helped legitimize the genre with as much class and poise as their celebrated countrymen.

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“Again And Again”, the new video from veteran Italian metallers EXTREMA, can be seen below. The song comes off the band’s latest album, “The Seed Of Foolishness”, which was released on May 21 via Scarlet Records.

Active in the metal scene for over 25 years, EXTREMA has unleashed a new chapter in its already astonishing career. “The Seed Of Foolishness” sees the band going back to its thrash metal roots, displayed in 10 powerful new tracks which have already been described as some of the best ever written by the band, a relentless touring machine that over the years has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in heavy metal (METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, KORN and DEATH ANGEL, to name a few).

“The Seed Of Foolishness” takes its inspiration from a series of events that led to the economic crisis that we are all suffering today, providing therapy for all the anger and frustration resulting from it. “Combat Metal” was how fans and critics alike used to refer to when talking about EXTREMA at the time of their incendiary debut album, “Tension At The Seams”, but such definition is more relevant today than ever.

“The Seed Of Foolishness” track listing:

01. Between The Lines
02. The Politics
03. Pyre Of Fire
04. The Distance
05. Ending Prophecies
06. Bones
07. Again And Again
08. Deep Infection
09. Sick And Tired
10. A Moment Of Truth

EXTREMA entered Fear Studio in Alfonsine (RA), Italy in May 2012 to begin recording the follow-up to 2009’s “Pound For Pound” with producers Tommy Massara (EXTREMA guitarist) and Gabry Ravaglia.

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Megadeth are ready for album number 14. Hopefully not called ’4teen’ or something.

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine was at NAMM in Anaheim, California this week to show off his sparkly new double-neck Dean guitar.

“When I went to Dean, I found out that the guitars were very responsive,” Mustaine comments. “And one of the most important things was the attention to detail. Also the relationship with me as an artist. Because the previous companies I was with, the guitars were good, but the relationship was sour. And I found that being with Dean was really good for me, because they took care of me as an artist, they took care of the guitars, they also knew what the public liked.”

SHINY

“Those of you that are distributors, you know that the younger generation, they want guitars that look cool and play great, that are affordable and that icons use,” he adds. For me, I’m flattered to be considered an icon, but I’m just a guitar player. And to have this kind of backing and support from a company that is as reputable as Dean is really flattering.”

Have a look at a video of the guitar being unveiled below:

Megadeth are currently busy beavering away at Vic’s Garage Studios in California, working on their fourteenth studio album.

The opus will serve as the follow-up to solid 2011 full-length Th1rt3en, which itself followed on from 2009′s Endgame, which we can all safely agree is one of the best thrash albums of the last ten years or so. Basically, Megadeth are on a roll again, so we’re stoked for this.

“Some of it’s a little darker, some of it’s a little faster,” motor-mouthed frontman Dave Mustaine recently told NME. “Being in this position right now, not knowing where we’re gonna go or what we’re gonna do, it’s kind of like the world’s ours to do what we want. Are we gonna go back to the speed and thrash metal roots that made us who we are? Are we gonna experiment and rely on the melody that we’ve discovered in Megadeth songs?”

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A two-minute teaser for “Resurrect Me”, the upcoming album from female vocalist Pamela Moore, who is best known for her performance as Sister Mary on QUEENSRŸCHE’s 1988 epic release “Operation: Mindcrime” and 2006’s sequel “Operation: Mindcrime II”, can be seen below.

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Megadeth are ready for album number 14. Hopefully not called ’4teen’ or something.

Megadeth have posted some footage of themselves beavering away at Vic’s Garage Studios in California, working on their fourteenth studio album.

The opus will serve as the follow-up to solid 2011 full-length Th1rt3en, which itself followed on from 2009′s Endgame, which we can all safely agree is one of the best thrash albums of the last ten years or so. Basically, Megadeth are on a roll again, so we’re stoked for this.

“Some of it’s a little darker, some of it’s a little faster,” motor-mouthed frontman Dave Mustaine recently told NME. “Being in this position right now, not knowing where we’re gonna go or what we’re gonna do, it’s kind of like the world’s ours to do what we want. Are we gonna go back to the speed and thrash metal roots that made us who we are? Are we gonna experiment and rely on the melody that we’ve discovered in Megadeth songs?”

Have a look at Dave doing this thaaaaang in the studio below:

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Megadeth are ready for album number 14. Hopefully not called ’4teen’ or something.

Megadeth have officially started work on their new album! Hooraaaay!

The thrash titans will take a break from getting spiders named after them to record the follow-up to last year’s Th1rte3n opus with producer Johnny K.

“Some of it’s a little darker, some of it’s a little faster,” Dave Mustaine told NME. “Being in this position right now, not knowing where we’re gonna go or what we’re gonna do, it’s kind of like the world’s ours to do what we want. Are we gonna go back to the speed and thrash metal roots that made us who we are? Are we gonna experiment and rely on the melody that we’ve discovered in Megadeth songs?”

Given the run of form they’ve been on over the last few albums, we’re feeling pretty confident about this one.

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Florida melodic death metal act Wirethrone is streaming the track “The Architect.” The song is the first single from the band’s upcoming debut LP “The Sun Betrays Us to the Night,” which is targeted for a spring/summer 2013 release. The band is currently shopping the release for label support.

Wirethrone was formed in Lakeland, Florida in late 2011 by Trey Hawkins, James Harper, Steven Behr, and Josh Delgado. Taylor Halpin was added as bassist. Seeking to combine elements of Gothenburg and modern melodic death metal roots with progressive elements, Wirethrone entered Revelation Studios in June 2012. The group worked with producer Matt Johnson of The Autumn Offering fame to record the first full length album. “The Sun Betrays Us To the Night” is a concept album dealing with loss, sanity, and defining realities.

Check out “The Architect” here:

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“Behold the Ascension of the Execrated,” Manticore’s first full-length album since 2006′s “For Rats and Plague,” sees the Cleveland trio continuing in its black metal roots. “Behold the Ascension of the Execrated” was recorded in the basement of the Last House on the Left on the unholy days of October 12th and 13th by Don Sukis, Jr. who also mixed and mastered it. Nestor Avalos is responsible for the artwork on the album, which is being released on Deathgasm Records. Album track “Denying the Resurrection” is streaming over at soundcloud or in the widget following the tracklisting and cover art.

Behold the Ascension of the Execrated
From the Darkness Below
Abhorrent Baptism in the Vestal Cavity
Procession to Possession
Denying the Resurrection
Torn Apart by Hate
In Nomine Satanas [Venom cover]
Filth Upon Filth
Abolished Holy Conceit

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After the release of Speaking to Stones’ 2006 self-titled debut, guitarist Tony Vinci began work on a more progressive project that called for a new group of musicians. Speaking to Stones’ current line-up includes Andy Engberg (Section A) on vocals, Mark Zonder (Fates Warning, Slavior) on drums, Greg Putnam (Jam Pain Society) on bass and stick, and Anthony Brown (Graphite Symphony) on keyboards.

Between 2009 and 2012, this cast of international performers collaborated on the five thematically-linked tracks that make up the band’s upcoming November 16th, 2012 release: “Elements.” According to a press release, the result is a “musical narrative that builds on groove metal roots and develops into a soundscape of symphonic complexity and technically prodigious performances.”

A sampler featuring music from the album can be heard below. Lion Music also comments:

“Elements is a metaphysical journey that explores our relationship to the physical world and our hopes to become part of something more. Musically and lyrically, the album delivers us into the extremes of our experience—from the infernal intensity of ‘Fire’ to the ambiguous peace of ‘Water’ to the ethereal tonalities of ‘Quinta Essentia,’ Elements creates a new world.

“While Elements is certainly a progressive metal album that includes more than its share of searing vocal melodies, adventurous time-signatures, and blistering solos and instrumental interludes, it is much, much more. Each song borrows from different musical traditions (Eastern tonalities, electronic rhythms etc.). When it comes to Speaking to Stones, the song never remains the same—it develops into something surprising without losing the essentials of great song writing: locked-in grooves and haunting melodies.”

Tony Vinci comments, “The goal in writing Elements was to craft a type of thematic concept album that doesn’t necessarily tell a single story, but inspires a collection of themes and moods that work together to create a diverse but unifying musical and lyrical experience. Also, we wanted to present a truly international cd that blends the best of American progressive with the best of European metal. The way to achieve this was to write the skeletons of the songs and then let each musician transform them with their individual talents and voices. While each song balances itself between each instrument, one could listen to the whole CD while focusing on a different element (guitars, bass, drums, etc.) and hear a brand new CD each time.”

SPEAKING TO STONES – Elements (sampler) by LionMusicRecordLabel

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Ichabod has released new album “Dreamscapes From Dead Space” digitally, and the album will see a CD release via Rootsucker Records/Black Lotus Entertainment on October 30th, 2012. You can now stream the full album through the bandcamp player below, and the track listing is:

1. Huckleberry
2. Looking Glass
3. Baba Yaga
4. Epiphany
5. Hollow God
6. All Your Love
7. 108
8. Return of the Hag

Dreamscapes From Dead Space by Ichabod

The following press release was issued about the album:

“Following more than a decade of perpetually mutating and expanding their unique style of rock/metal, Boston-based Ichabod release their most progressive album to date with Dreamscapes From Dead Space this month.

“Conceived and founded in 1998, Ichabod quickly formed an immediately diehard audience with several awesome demos before the turn of the century. Sporadic but steady live shows have constantly helped the band retain a solid fanbase, and since 2000 they’ve summoned forth four massive and ever-expanding studio full-lengths, culminating with the diversified 2012, released by Rootsucker Records in 2008.

“Amidst praise of 2012 from internationally-based media outlets, vocalist Ken MacKay decided to part ways with Ichabod. Remaining members Greg Delaria (bass), Dave Iverson (guitar), and Phil MacKay (drums) inducted longtime friend John Fadden as new throat to help them finalize their newest material, what was then penned as the band’s swansong. Fadden’s style brought on newfound inspiration for the entire unit, and the band recruited friend Jay Adam on second guitar. Instead of disbanding, Ichabod forged an entirely new path of musical exploration.

“Ichabod’s fifth full-length, Dreamscapes From Dead Space, visits new territory for the band’s already expansive sound, melding elements of their sludge/doom metal roots with a more prog/psyche ‘70s vibe, adding a lot more rock to how they already triumphantly roll. Featuring nearly fifty minutes worth of otherworldly, free-flow, heavy-ass rock, recorded, co-produced and mixed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with final mastering done by Nick and Rob at New Alliance East Mastering. The artwork bears original paintings by Mike Kent and layout but Aaron D. C. Edge. Dreamscapes From Dead Space showcases the broad range of a proficient musical force in a renaissance era.”

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