Tag Archives: death metal

Interview: Necrophagia’s Killjoy Talks Next Album And Filmmaking Plans

On January 9th, Venom offshoot Venom Inc and death metal pioneers Necrophagia played New York City’s famous venue Webster Hall as part of their first US circuit. For the uninitiated, Venom Inc is a new band that features ex-Venom members Mantas on guitar, Abaddon on drums, and Demolation Man on vocals, making this band a reunion of Venom’s 1988 to 1992 line up.

After the local openers, Necrophagia hit the stage. Their set was mostly focused on later material, as no songs from before 1998 were played. The band performed several fan favorites, such as “Embalmed Yet I Breathe” and “Blood Freak”, all while vocalist Killjoy practiced his horror theatrics. The band ended their set with their most well known song, “Cannibal Holocaust”, based on the horror classic of the same name.

After Necrophagia’s killer performance, it was time for Venom Inc. Audiences were curious due to the fact that though this version of Venom does not include classic vocalist Cronos, they still have two of the original three members. The band started their set with the title track from the 1988 Venom album Prime Evil. This was the only song they played from the line up they were a throwback to; from that point on the set list was mostly songs from the first two albums, Welcome to Hell and Black Metal. This included many classics such as “Black Metal”, “1,000 Days in Sodom”, “Countess Bathory”, “Don’t Burn the Witch” and “Schizo”. They also played some of the non-album singles from that era such as “Warhead” and “Bloodlust”. The band had good energy and looked like they were having a lot of fun. All and all the show was loved by the crowd who were sad about returning to reality afterwards.

I was given the opportunity to interview Necrophagia vocalist Killjoy. We had a pretty natural feeling conversation that revealed his plans for the next Necrophagia album as well as films he plans on making.

So how is the tour going so far?

It’s going great, a lot better than I expected. I’m getting drunk every night with Abbadon.

How did a bill like this happen?

Venom Inc personally wanted us for this tour. They contacted our manage,r who hooked us up with their booking agent. If it wasn’t for this tour we wouldn’t be touring at all instead I would have used the time to work on the next album.

Can you tell us a little bit about this next album?

The album will be a little bit more aggressive than our other stuff. It will just be a straight forward record, no interludes and nothing out of the ordinary and no random non-metal songs like “Sadako’s Curse”. It will just be a full on metal album that is more aggressive and maybe a little faster.

Speaking of “Sadako’s Curse”, what inspires you to write those non-metal songs?

I think it’s because I quit so many different side projects, and without taking away from what Necrophagia do, I think we were never a death metal band. I just keep my mind open. I’m a fan of Death In June, The Smiths, Elvis, Combichrist, and a lot more stuff that’s far from the metal genre. I try to make these influences work without going too left field.

That would explain why you guys sound nothing like other death metal bands yet you are credited as one of the first .

Early on, there was no terminology for it. I understand we had bands like Death and Possessed, but we didn’t really know what we were doing. We were just trying to make music that was as heavy, sick and different as possible. Everyone started going in that direction once we did Season of the Dead in ’87. To me that album is not a death metal record, people always tell us that we helped start death metal and I don’t care. I don’t claim to have started anything and neither did Chuck of Death. He was a very good friend of mine. We both just loved horror films and love bands like Hellhammer and Venom and let it influence our work.

People love labeling everything. Nowadays it’s gotten really out of hand. I’ve seen people say that punk and punk rock are different genres.

That is weird. I know you have hardcore punk and crust and grindcore and all that, but I don’t get how you can have punk that’s not rock. To me we are just a metal band. I don’t like just one certain tag.

If you were to bring back one of your aformentioned old side projects which would it be?

I’d bring back Enoch, because I love making music that is horrific and sometimes making heavy music isn’t always horrific sounding. To me, that project was more of a challenge… people got to hear a soundtrack to a movie that they never heard of ’cause it only exists in my head.

Would you ever do a voice over for a horror film? Made voice a demon?

If I like the script yes, I’d even do it for a cartoon if I liked the idea. It’s something I’ve thought about actually. Ultimately, I want to direct movies. I have three different scripts written so when I finally call it a day with this band, that is what I will do.

Can you tell us about these scripts?

I rather not, only because the titles of these alone give what they are about. I can tell you they are straight through and through horror films. Two of them are very occult based, while one is going to be the most extreme and original thing anyone has seen… and I stress original, which is why I don’t want to say what its about cause its never been done.

If you were to get any director, dead or alive, to direct these scripts who would it be?

It would be easy to say Fulci though I don’t know if his style would fit even though hes a huge influence on me. I’d say Mario Bava. I feel my stuff would be more up his alley.

Ten Of The Heaviest Bands From Australia

Australia one of the world’s biggest countries is known for having some of the most interesting and diverse animals on the planet. The country also has many bands that are as extreme and interesting as its wildlife. Here in no order are some of the country’s best metal and hardcore punk bands. Some of these bands are well known, but fans tend to forget that they are Australian.

Captain Cleanoff

Australia has been a full force for punk, hardcore and grind as early as the 70’s with classic bands like The Birthday Party. One of the bands doing it best today is the grindcore band Captain Cleanoff. With fun short songs and distinct drumming this band is a must hear for any fan of the punk side of grindcore.

Fuck… I’m Dead

The country also delivers when it comes to the more metal side of grindcore. Fuck… I’m Dead are a goregrind outfit from Melbourne. Their groovy sound should please any fan of bands like General Surgery and Haemorrhage.

The Amenta

From South Wales comes one of the country’s most overlooked and original bands. Formed as Crucible of Agony in 1997 the Amenta plays a fusion of death metal, black metal and industrial.  The result is a sound that is really heavy as well as haunting.

The Berzerker

One of the most well known grindcore bands, The Berzerker’s music is a good gateway to those looking to get into the genre. The band played an electronic music influenced death metal/grindcore fusion with some of the fastest drumming known to man. Live, the members sometimes wore monster masks and the shows were known for intense energy. The band is now broken up, but with all these recent reunions maybe one day they will return.

King Parrot

From Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records comes the one and only King Parrot. The band plays a mixture of thrash, grindcore and sludge with parrot squawk vocals and comedic lyrics. They are mostly known for their live shows which consist of the band throwing water at the audience and vocalist Youngy mooning them the whole set. Last year the band toured with Superjoint Ritual and responses to their set were pretty positive.

Sadistik Exekution

Kinda like the Mortal Kombat franchise, this band loved using the letter K in the place of the hard C sound. Sadistik Exektion was a old school death metal band from South Wales. They were mostly known for their second album We Are Death… Fukk You!   This was a reaction to music critics mislabeling the band as a black metal band and also shows they had a sense of humor. Ironically their later albums contained black metal elements. Sadly this band is no longer together.

Nazxul

Most of the time black metal bands that use keyboards tend to be very cheesy. Nazxul are not only one of the exceptions, but are one of the best at it. The keyboards add great atmosphere and the vocals sound completely inhuman (in a great way). They played Maryland Deathfest in 2010.

Hobbs’ Angel of Death

Named after vocalist/guitarist Peter Hobbs, this hidden gem plays 80’s thrash in the vein of old Slayer though the band prefers to be labeled as “virgin metal”. Though a big name in Australia, they were always pretty obscure elsewhere. In recent years they have been getting more worldwide exposure, slowly making them a new favorite among old school thrash fans everywhere.

Portal

One of the strangest metal bands out today, Portal plays a style they call “avant garde blackened death metal”. Their sound is extremely heavy with ultra deep vocals and off beat droning riffs. They are also known for their bizarre on stage look which includes vocalist The Curator wearing various objects on his head. The band has played Maryland Deathfest in both 2010 and 2015.

Destroyer 666

Since the sub-genre’s inception, Australia has always had a plethora of blackened thrash bands. The greatest and most well known of these are Destroyer 666. Playing a take on this style that sounds really evil and really epic at the same time help make this three piece one of the best post-80’s thrash bands. In 2001 the band relocated to Holland. They are scheduled to play this year’s Maryland Deathfest and have their first new album in seven years to be released in late February.

 

Morbid Angel’s Albums Get Ranked Up!

Formed in 1983 and run by guitarist Trey Azagthoth, Morbid Angel is one of the biggest death metal bands of all time. Their distinct riffs, powerful drums, and dark atmospheres have kept them a favorite among metal fans young and old. To celebrate the band’s body of work this new installment of Alternative Nation’s “Ranked up”  series will focus on Morbid Angel.  This list will include studio albums only.

51q5V2rSA9L._SY300_

9.Illud Divinium Insanus (2011)

Often called the St. Anger of death metal, the band’s most recent album is a total train wreck. The album was hyped up due to eight years with no new Morbid Angel albums and the return of iconic vocalist David Vincent.  When the album was finally released, it was met with heavy criticism and memes bashing it all over the net. Morbid Angel tried to experiment with industrial. Now if Morbid Angel took influence from bands like Throbbing Gristle, Foetus, or Skinny Puppy, this album could have been awesome. But instead they mix in cheesy Vampire Freaks.com industrial and end up sounding close to nu-metal (in 2011!). The album’s mind numbing lyrics (such as “kill a cop kill a kill a kill a cop”) make it even worse.

MorbidAngel_Heretic

8. Heretic (2003)

Released three years after the amazing Gateways to Annihilation, Heretic was a huge step backwards. The style of this album is that of your usual later Morbid Angel release minus the memorable song writing.  None of the songs really stand out and it just feels like a disappointment after how good the last one was. After this album vocalist Steve Tucker would leave the band and join the awesome super group Nadar Sadek.  He would return to Morbid Angel in 2015. This is also the last album to feature drummer Pete Sandoval as he would leave in 2010.

 download (4)

7. Domination (1995)

Joined by former Ripping Corpse guitarist Erik Rutan, Domination was the band’s  attempt at a more commercial sound. The album sounds overly polished,downed down and one dimensional. With that said the songs ,”Dominate“, “Where the Slime Live“, and “Dawn of the Angry” are still solid tracks. After this album Erik Rutan would leave and form Hate Eternal, only to return to Morbid Angel in 2000. David Vincent would also leave the band and not return untill 2004.

437130

6. Abominations of Desolation (1991)

Recorded in 1986 this was supposed to be the band’s debut album, but was scrapped because the band did not like the end product. In 1991 the band’s then label Earache records decided to release it due to their  new found popularity. The line up on this release included Trey Azagthoth on guitar, John Ortega on bass, Richard Brunelle on guitar and Mike Browning on both drums and vocals and was produced by David Vincent.  All of the songs except for “Demon Seed” would appear on later albums. This album is a fun listen mostly to hear how classics like “Chapel of Ghouls” originally sounded. After this album Mike Browning would leave to form Nocturnus. John Ortega would also leave, but not really go on to join or form any band.

MorbidAngelFormulas

5. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh (1998)

After Domination took them in a bad direction, Formulas got the band back on their feet. Out was David Vincent and in came Steve Tucker who proved he was a better vocalist (yes you read that right!). The satanic lyrics of the first four were replaced with lyrics based on Sumerian and Lovecraftian deities with some of the lyrics even being in Sumerian. This theme would follow on all of the Tucker era albums. The album’s musical sound is very similar to that of Covenant but with more extreme vocals. Highlights include the thick sounding “Prayer of Hatred”, the semi anime inspired “Hymn to the Gas Giant” and the haunting tune “Hellspawn: The Rebirth“.

 

BlessedAreTheSick

4. Blessed are the Sick (1991)

This sophomore effort  is known for creating the band’s signature sound. The album is slow paced although contains some very fast riffs and has overtones from goth and classical music. This style would follow the band on most later releases. Some of the best tracks from here include “Desolate ways” ,”Blessed are the Sick”, and “Day of Suffering“.

Morbid_Angel_-_Covenant

3. Covenant (1993)

 

Morbid Angel’s third album is their most well known and their first taste of mainstream success. The album was put out by Giant records, a division of Warner Bros making it the first death metal album to be put out by a major label. The music continues the style that the previous album started but speeds it up slightly. The lyrics are the band’s most satanic to date and the song “God of Emptiness” was featured on an episode of Beavis and Butthead.  Some other classic’s from this album include “Vengeance is Mine, “Rapture“, and “Angel of Disease“. In 2013 the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of this album though even when not celebrating it, plenty of songs are bound to appear in the band’s setlist.

altars

2. Altars of Madness (1989)

One of the most iconic death metal releases of all time, Altars of Madness is a classic from front to back. Here on the band’s true debut album (not counting Abominations) Morbid Angel plays their original trashy and slightly technical death metal. Here the world got the first real taste of Trey’s amazing guitar work, Pete’s insane drumming and David’s demonic vocals on classics such as “Chapel of Ghouls“, “Immortal Rites“, “Maze of Torment” and Lord of All Fevers and Plagues“. Many music magazines and websites to this day still list it as one of the best death metal albums of all time, with a few even giving it the number one slot.

download (6)

1. Gateways to Annihilation (2000)

While Covenant will always be remembered as the band’s most well known release and Altars of Madness as their most important, Gateways to Annihilation is Morbid Angel’s musical peak. With Steve Tucker on vocals, Erik Rutan returning on guitar and the combined might of Trey and Pete we get the ultimate Morbid Angel song writing team. The album’s style is much slower than any other album by the band and is heavy on atmosphere. The guitar tuning is extremely low giving the riffs are really chunky and give off a crushing sound. Erik and Trey’s lead solos bring on a feeling of destruction and chaos. Now that Steve Tucker is back in the band hopefully we will see a proper follow up to this masterpiece of music. Summoning RedemptionI and Ageless Still I Am are the best tracks from this album.

 

 

 

Interview: Hate Eternal Bassist Discusses New Album And Response to Solo X-mas EP

Tampa’s Hate Eternal has been pummeling the masses since 1997. 2015 has been no exception with the release of their sixth offering Infernus. Recently I had the opportunity to have an exchange with bassist J.J. Hrubovcak via e-mail. We discussed a range of topics from the new album, to what motivates him, and even touched on his death metal Christmas record from 2013.

Looking back what was your favorite moment of the recording process of “Infernus”?

My favorite moment is the actual writing. This band is a collaborative effort and I really enjoy being able to contribute so much to the process. Erik and I live pretty far from each other so we exchange Pro Tools files and Skype, but the best moments are flying down to sunny Florida to jam in person. We both grab a guitar and go to town and see what comes of it, then arrange it. Chaos Theory was one of those born from a 3am jam. I’ve been in the band 7+ years at this point and I really feel like I am in the groove. I contributed on guitar to Phoenix [Amongst The Ashes] as well, but I was newer to the band and my approach to the riffing is different now. Anyway, I’d have to say the creative process is my favorite part of any album. That and hearing the final result!

Any plans for a promotional music video? What track do you feel deserves one the most?

The plans are in the early stages on that front. I’m so proud of every tune on this record and there are choice cuts throughout the album. I think each person has their own favorite and it really depends on what we want to convey in the video. This record is really dynamic so do we choose a slower one? A faster one? A mix? On this album, I don’t think only one tune stands out. There are multiples – all of them! You tell me! Which one is the best for a video?

Speaking from a rhythm perspective, do you feel new drummer Chason, is a great match for you when playing together?

Chason is a great match! He brings a spastic, animalistic energy to the table and you can hear it in his fills. Plus the guy hits like a champ and plays with tree trunks for sticks – I think they are 3A. He also has a lot of groove and can play multiple styles. The videos are out there for folks who are interested in just hearing him jam.

Regarding your upcoming tour with Misery Index, Beyond Creation, and Rivers Of Nihil; Who are you most excited to be touring with?

All three of these bands have their unique styles. Rivers of Nihil have been killing it. I’m new to Beyond Creation and I like what I’ve heard. I’ve always loved Misery Index and we are good friends so it will be a fantastic tour.

What are your thoughts on letting albums stream in their entirety before they hit stores? Did you have any say when it came to “Infernus”? Do you view it as just giving your art away for free?

I leave that up to the professionals. Labels release many albums per year and they’ve obviously seen a boost from it, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. I’m old school so originally I wondered if that was a good idea when labels started it. But the bottom line is that folks who want it for free, will get it for free. By streaming it yourself, you are giving someone the opportunity to 1) realize just how badass the record is, 2) click ‘buy’ on the stream page when they otherwise wouldn’t and 3) view the special collector’s edition packages. Will the future show everyone that it is the right thing to do? I don’t know.

Overall, how would you say was the response to your X-mas metal EP? Would you do it again?

The response was overwhelmingly positive! I was hoping that would be the case because I put so much effort into crafting it as a dark death metal record regardless of seasonal theme. There are so many death metal Christmas tunes out there that are cheesy and campy. For instance, you can find a bunch of growling “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” covers. I wanted to do the exact opposite of that. I didn’t want this EP to be a joke, but instead base it on dark, morose hymns with a twist on the lyrical content and frame it in a death metal context. I would like to do another one, but it would have to be right. The musical themes would have to be dark enough, but also recognizable enough. There are a lot of happier, recognizable Christmas tunes, but many of the darker hymns are
religious in nature and I don’t know if they would be too obscure. We shall see…

Who’s your favorite 3-piece metal band (besides Motorhead)?

There are so many good ones – among them are Krisiun, Deeds of Flesh (for a long period) and of course Destruction! Destruction is great!

What is your favorite Hate Eternal song (pre-Phoenix) to play live?

Definitely “Whom Gods May Destroy”. That song is just hauling! Fury and Flames is so tortured! I love that record. Alex’s bass lines on that tune are fun to play also.

What is your desert island album?

That’s a hard one. It’d probably be one of the big four thrash band records like Reign in Blood or Peace Sells. I think that either way, if you have to listen to one record over and over on a desert island alone, you are going to go crazy! My brother used to like some of the Japanese noise bands. If you are going insane, you might as well get there faster with a bunch of noise band static on endless loop!

Rotting Christ Frontman Talks Live Album, 25+ Year Career, And New Album

Sakis Tolis has been a core member of Rotting Christ since the band’s inception in the late 80’s. For decades the band has honed their craft of dark metal, blending the styles of gothic and black metal together. The time and resources spent has given them 11 full-lengths under their belt, with album number 12, Rituals, on the way in February of next year. This year saw the release of “Lucifer Over Athens”, a double live album recorded in their homeland of Athens, Greece, showcasing the band’s 25+ years of musical output. Recently I was fortunate enough to have an exchange with the frontman via e-mail, where he seemed overjoyed to say the least.

Regarding your double-live album: Just how difficult was it selecting 2 hours worth of material from a discography spanning 25+ years?

A pain indeed! 123 albums more of 150 songs in our career and we had to get the summary of them! A hard job indeed but after a lot of talks and philosophy we went ahead with a setlist that includes songs from our early demos through our very latest material. I hope the setlist satisfied at least a bit of our metal brothers around.

“Lucifer Over Athens” contains a bonus track from the “Katá ton Daímona Eaf̱toú” sessions “Welcome To Hel”. How did that track not make the album itself?

We always have bonus tracks for any kind of use extra editions limited editions etc etc… how did that sound for you?

I see you’ve contributed the keyboard tracks for past albums? Have you ever desired to have a live keyboardist?

We did once in the past but didn’t work. Man it looks awful on the stage playing keyboards, at least for our band…

Do you still like being referred to as “Necromayhem”?

Why not? If you want to call me like this feel free to do. I never forget my roots.

You’ve made it clear that the band name expresses your opposition to any religion. What do you think of the New Atheist movement?

Is there any? I mean a movement? Atheist movements exists since the ancient times… you mean atheist in our music? If yes, of course and its good.

NON SERVIAM brothers.

How is the new album coming?

Almost ready… I do not know man. I have been working since last year on that and I am not able to tell you how sounds or better; if its good or bad. It sounds dark though. With many guests, including our fans, who actually participated on the chorus of one song!

What can we expect from your sets on the upcoming tour with Mayhem and Watain? As varied as your live album? Or new material?

Both… in the little time we will have on stage… we will try to not disappoint anyone, and will include songs from all of our eras.

What is your desert island album?

BLACK METAL – VENOM

This is history and personally I have a strong respect for history!

Closing Remarks:

Thanks for your attention.

See you in on the road for some hellish shows around your land.
until then…

BE TRUE TO YOUR OWN SPIRIT

SAKIS/NECROMAYHEM on behalf of ROTTING CHRIST

10 Metal Covers So Different, They’re Wasteful

In this writer’s opinion, a band can do a cover song injustice one of two ways (in rare cases both). One is by playing the song to a T, and adding no elements of what your band has to offer. For some reason the most occurring example in my mind is Joan Jett’s cover of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. But this editorial is dedicated the other path of injustice, having a cover so different that it either is unrecognizable, or defeats the purpose of the original version. Now for those of you who think that I’m being “too mean” or that “a band has every right to do a grindcore version of “Genie In A Bottle”, I just want to make you aware that covers cost money. Yes, music law is a thing, and it states that your band must have a license for every cover song that it records and sells (even for streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp), and venues must obtain licenses if they are going to allow bands to play cover songs. My co-writer once spoke to members of Jungle Rot about the possibility of performing their cover of “Jesus Hitler” originally by Carnivore, and their response was along the lines of “we don’t want to deal with the paperwork”. A mechanical license can be very expensive depending on how many copies of your cover song you intend to sell. So I would imagine if your band was to do a cover song, you would want the perfect blend of originality and homage so that you would get a return on investment. But these 10 songs that I will now list, seem like a wasted investment and their efforts would have been better spent on just another original. I’m not sure if mechanical licenses were acquired for all of these. Some are so different that you could get away with claiming it’s an original. I’ve divided this list into 2 parts; 5 metal covers of metal songs and 5 metal covers of non-metal.

 

Forgotten Tomb – Depression (Originally by Black Flag)

You’ll understand why this cover is ridiculous at 3:06. First of all, it’s a good thing this band didn’t sell this record on iTunes because in accordance with their policy on 10 min+ songs, this cover wouldn’t be available for purchase unless you bought the whole damn “album”. Secondly, when there’s an extended period of feedback, it’s usually reserved for live shows, and it’s best when it’s accompanied by breaking instruments on stage. Other than a small minority of extreme noise fans, does anyone really want 7 minutes of feedback/wasted space on their music player?

 

Sunn0))) – For Whom The Bell Tolls (Originally by Metallica)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRLBCeC-uCk

West Coast weirdos Sunn0))) did several of these types of covers. Initially I thought they just played this Metallica classic 3x slower. But no. There are no vocals, and there’s not much variance in the riffs, as was on the original version. The band has been on record stating that this was meant to be a reinterpretation rather than a cover, explaining why there is literally zero resemblance to Metallica’s recording, sounding instead like a Sunn0))) original. Still, a music lawyer once told me that even rearrangements require a license. And why even bother slapping Metallica’s name on 10 minutes of drone doom?

Fun fact: The full title of this track (last track on “Flight Of The Behemoth) is “F.W.T.B.T. (I Dream of Lars Ulrich Being Thrown Through the Bus Window Instead of My Mystikal Master Kliff Burton)”

 

Tuathail – This Charming Man (Originally by The Smiths)

The guitar melody on this bears resemblance to the original, although the distortion makes this cover look like a troll. And the main importance of songs from The Smiths is Morrissey’s vocals. Replacing them with typical black metal vocals doesn’t do The Smiths justice, while the pop-esque melody doesn’t do black metal justice.

 

Amon Amarth – Aerials (Originally by System Of A Down)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy_6Z7tto2k

Same case as above. SOAD’s vocalist Serj is one-of-a-kind. And while Amon Amarth’s vocalist Johann could be considered the same, he really should stick to what he knows, lyrically and vocally.

 

In Extremo – This Corrosion (Originally by The Sisters Of Mercy)

The token folk metal tune on this list. The use of folk instruments on this recording definitely bring something different to the table. Problem is that the instruments give it too much of an improper upbeat tone, while the original recording has a gothic tone that is too epic to be messed with.

 

Epica – Crystal Mountain (Originally by Death)

Sometimes you can sneak clean vocals into death metal songs and keep them good. But having a soprano interject in the middle of a death metal classic is just over-the-top. The addition of a symphony is pretentious as well.

 

Celtic Frost – In The Chapel In The Moonlight (Originally by Dean Martin)

Yes. Celtic Frost does Dean Martin. This song has a percussive track just like several of their originals from earlier works. Tom G. Warrior for the most part refuses to do actual singing on this as usual. As was the case with The Smiths, it’s injustice to a singer but now with a beat that sounds nothing like the original.

 

Crystal Viper – Tyrani Piekieł (Originally by Vader)

I can’t help but feel that this was done out of nepotism. Both bands are from the same Polish metal scene. This cover features Vader frontman, Piotr Wiwczarek, but as a backup vocalist for the most part, only having the lyrics in the bridge to himself . While this doesn’t annoy me as much as Epica’s Death cover, the clean vocals still defeat the purpose of this death metal track. The guitar tuning on the original recording was more aggressive as well.

 

Machine Head – Colors (Originally by Ice-T)

Given that this song was recorded when the Nu-Metal movement rose to popularity, it of course raised some eyebrows. Flynn’s rapping isn’t too different from Ice-T’s. So to give the song a twist, he inserted a few guitar techniques here and there. But pick scrapes can’t really hold a candle to record scratches in my opinion.

Vital Remains – The Trooper (Originally by Iron Maiden)

This is my example of a cover being unjust by being the same and different all at once. Before the death growls kick in, the guitars are played in the same way as the original. So the beginning sounds like power metal. Hence they’re trojan horsing their death metal on you here. In the past, death metal bands have covered metal classics. But in other cases, the riffs were made more aggressive and tuned lower.

Top 10 Metal Albums From 1995

1995 was a year for change in metal; mainstream groove metal was in full swing, old school death metal was dying out and being replaced with all kinds of spin offs, and black metal was starting to get mainstream attention. Many new ideas also started to come out of the genre, including several that are still influential in metal today. Here, in no order, are ten classics from that year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCtjAmtIGf0&w=420&h=315]

At The Gates – Slaughter of the Soul

The fourth album by Sweden’s melodeath creators and the bands most well known, Slaughter of the Soul is more melodic than the band’s previous efforts and contains some of the band’s most well known songs. While not their best album, it’s still a solid release that helped evolve the sub genre.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8uw0L_csZk&w=420&h=315]

Immortal – Battles in the North

Immortal’s most well known album is one of the most popular Norse black metal releases. Like the previous two albums, the lyrics are about winter, fantasy and the forest. This is the first album to feature songs about the Blashyrkh, a theme that will appear on all later albums. A great album for those looking to get into Norwegian black metal.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhY6hy4Rfwg&w=420&h=315]

Abigor – Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)

Abigor’s classic record succeeds in incorporating symphonic elements that are very subtle and don’t drown out the other instruments, while also containing very distinct riffs and vocals.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hppxFR0KJDM&w=560&h=315]

Alice in Chains – Alice in Chains

Affectionately called Tripod by fans, the third Alice in Chains studio album displays the band’s usual sludge metal/grunge fusion with even more melodic songwriting sensibilities, mixing elements from the first two albums and the Jar Of Flies EP, making it the band’s most depressing release to date.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtSTzXU0mTY&w=420&h=315]

Dark Tranquility – The Gallery

While many melodeath albums have been released at this point (including one by these guys), this album helped to further define the genre. The Gallery is full of both clean and growled vocals, keyboards, depressing lyrics, and acoustic parts. All of these would later become part of the band’s signature sound. Bands like Kalmah and Omnium Gatherium would probably not exist without this album.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoHa48lqsqE&w=560&h=315]

Meshuggah – Destroy Erase Improve

One of the most important metal albums of the whole decade. On their first album the band played thrash with prog mixed in. On this album the band takes on a style of its own. The album’s full of groove, technicality, and free jazz influence. This style would give the band legendary status. Many bands would try to copy this style. Sadly, they missed the point.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjW_7N9dfCs&w=560&h=315]

Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side

Blind Guardian’s previous album, Somewhere Far Beyond, showed hints of the band transforming from traditional metal to power metal. Here is where the transformation is complete. While most power metal is very cheesy, Blind Guardian keeps the cheese level to a minimum and focuses on just being awesome, and IFTOS is one of the best releases from a band that never disappoints.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfAHfZc0pWE&w=420&h=315]

Down – Nola

Throughout the 90’s, Eyehategod, Pantera, Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity all released some solid work… so what better to do then have the bands join forces! Their combined might gave birth to Down! Mixing Black Sabbath with the sounds of the south, Nola is one of the best efforts by any of these musicians.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8raOyF92iQ&w=560&h=315]

Suffocation – Pierced From Within

Long Island’s Suffocation are most known for being forerunners to both the technical death metal and brutal death metal sub genres. Here on Pierced From Within, they perfected their style. Tons of amazing drum fills, guitar riffs, and grooves are heard here, resulting in one of the best death metal albums of all time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-uM6oDkw8c&w=420&h=315]

Dissection – Storm of the Lights Bane

Last and nowhere near least is Sweden’s Dissection and their album Storm of the Lights Bane. The band’s sound is a perfect mixture of black metal, death metal and melody. Here on their second album, the band does it best. The album gives off a haunting feel mixed in with its fantastic guitar work and dark fantasy lyrics. To this day, the track “Where Dead Angels Lay” is one of the most acclaimed black metal tracks of all time. The band may be long gone, but their legacy lives on!

Doug McCausland is co-editor and reporter for Alternative Nation. If you have any questions or tips you can email him at dmccausland1(at)gmail.com

 

10 Astonishing Metal Bands From Israel

This June, yours truly will be making the third trip of his life to Israel. In honor of this upcoming trip, I’ve decided to do some reflecting on my favorite bands from the country home to “The Holy Land”, in order of formation date. Metal is viewed as sacrilegious particularly in Israel. Many venues will not host shows on the Sabbath. Despite this, several of the bands below have endured the controversy and have become well-respected in the metal underground.

Salem – Tel Aviv – Formed in 1985

The name was taken from the horror film “The Witches Of Salem”. Their style is a blend of death and doom metal with occasional oriental influences. Drummer Nir Nakav, has stated in an interview for the documentary “Global Metal”, that their lyrics pertaining to Jewish suffering has had the band butting heads with Varg Vikernes (despite Varg admitting to appreciating the music). In 1994, they released their debut full-length Kaddish. The title pertains to the Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer for dead relatives, included in three daily synagogue services.

The opening track, “The Fading”, received regular airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. The 9th track on Kaddish, “Ha’ayara Bo’eret” (The Burgh is Burning), is a cover of an Israeli folk song, sung in Hebrew, and its lyrical content is associated with the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust. They’ve released 4 other studio albums since then, and in 2011, Kaddish was re-released. A special concert to commemorate the re-release took place in Tel Aviv, where GN’R guitarist “Bumblefoot” joined the band on stage.

 

Orphaned Land – Bat Yam – Formed in 1992

A progressive metal band which incorporates elements of Middle-Eastern and Arabic music. Each of their albums contain the concept of two extremes clashing; Shadow to Light, East to West, Past to Present, or God to Satan. Their lyrics have often promoted a message of unity and peace between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

Their debut on Century Media Records, Mabool, tells the story of three angels, one from each of the Abrahamic religions, on a journey to warn humanity of a flood invoked as punishment for its sins. Despite several biblical references in their lyrics, most members of this band identify as agnostic or atheist. Overall, the one message this band wants to relay to all who listen is as follows: “People should be judged by their hearts and inner sincerity, not their religious beliefs.”

 

Melechesh – Jerusalem – Formed in 1993

They may be residing in The Netherlands now, but Melechesh have a history in Israel and are still being marketed as a band from Jerusalem. Their name derives from two words with Aramaic and Hebrew origins. The meaning of the conjoined words is “King of Fire”. Up until 1998 the band recorded and gigged in Jerusalem where they were harassed by law enforcement officers with deeply held religious beliefs, prompting their relocation to The Netherlands. Their debut was controversially titled As Jerusalem Burns. They refer to their sound as Sumerian metal. Just think Absu, but with more oriental influence. On their most recent album, Enki, from this year, they had the opportunity to collaborate with Max Cavalera.

 

Distorted – Bat-Yam – Formed in 1996

They took influence from progressive and gothic metal bands and an oriental influence from their country-mates Orphaned Land. They didn’t release a debut album or tour outside of the Tel-Aviv area until 10 years after forming. The success of the debut, Memorial, earned them a deal with Candlelight Records.

 

Winterhorde – Haifa Region – Formed in 1999

Originally called Autumn Palace, they changed their name to Winterhorde two years later after some soul searching and line-up changes. The success of their demo grabbed the attention of Greek label Burning Star Records. The label would release their debut album, Nebula, prompting positive feedback and demand for Israel’s answer to theatrical melodic death/black metal to tour Europe. Their 2010 sophomore album Underwatermoon was met with similar positive response, and the band is currently working on album number three, Maestro. They have shared the stage with several international acts with similar musical influences. Such includes Keep Of Kalessin, Negura Bunget, Crematory, and later this year they are due to open for Ne Obliviscaris in Tel-Aviv.

 

The Fading – Tel-Aviv – Formed in 2000

They began at the dawn of the new millennium as Excessum, then changed their name to “The Fading” (me thinks named after the opening track on Salem’s debut) in 2006. Two years later, The Fading competed in Israel’s division of the Waken Metal Battle for a spot on the WET stage at that year’s Waken Open Air. They competed against several Israeli metal bands including one with their former producer, and won. They also won the global division of the Waken Metal Battle, held while they played the festival. Their prize as such, was a record deal with the festival’s record label. Under this deal the band recorded their debut album, In Sin We Find Salvation.

The success following the debut, has earned them the opening spot on several shows with international metal bands coming through the Middle-East. They are often matched up with melodic death metal favorites such as In Flames, Children of Bodom, and Arch Enemy. In 2013, the band announced work on a sophomore album, self-produced. As of this year, they have announced via Facebook that ‘Till Life Do Us Part, is due to be released later this year.

 

Nail Within – Tel-Aviv – Formed in 2001

Like The Fading, Nail Within play melodic death metal, though the latter is a little more aggressive and thrashy. While recording their debut album in Germany, the band got to meet figures of the Teutonic Thrash Metal scene, as well as At The Gates singer Thomas Lindberg, all whom made guest appearances on the eponymous album. The band ended up being short-lived, breaking up soon after their release show, yet being highly influential to Israel’s melodeath scene. They played a one-off reunion show in Tel-Aviv with Salem’s drummer as well a guest appearance by Thomas Lindberg.

 

Dagor Dagorath – Afula – Formed in 2003

Filed under Tolkien-named metal bands. Specifically, their name refers to “The Battle Of Battles”. They faced a four-year hiccup due to some members’ mandatory civic duty of military service. Hence their debut album, Yetzer Ha’ra, was released 6 years after their formation. They have been featured in an issue of Metal Hammer UK as well as the first volume of Burning Roots, an anti-nsbm compilation.

 

Whorecore – Tel-Aviv – Formed in 2003

A six-piece grindcore/death metal act, from “The city that never stops”. Known for playing as many shows as they can with a total disregard for venue or audience. They are considered Israel’s best live actin the punk, grind, and metal communities. They have two full-lengths under their belt, with their debut album, Protection, released in 2006. Also featured in “Global Metal”. “Supporting violence against stupidity since 2003” (Facebook excerpt).

 

Hammercult – Tel-Aviv – Formed in 2010

Considered a supergroup in Israel’s metal scene that featured two members of The Fading. Their unique blend of thrash and death metal won them the Israeli Waken Metal Battle of 2011, as well as the Global Waken Metal Battle that same year. They’ve done several European tours with the likes of D.R.I., Sepultura, and Napalm Death. Their first album, Anthems Of The Damned, was released by German label Sonic Attack in 2012. Continuing to promote their second album, as well as a potential third album, they will be the support act for Overkill’s show in Tel-Aviv this June.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Acropolis – Melodic Power Metal with Trance influences  – Tel Aviv

Buzzer – Stoner/Sludge Metal – Tel-Aviv

Edited by Doug McCausland

Metal Artist Spotlight: Lesch-Nyhan, The Story of Lesch-Nyhan

Lesch-Nyhan is a rare genetic disorder in which children are born with kidney issues, bad muscle control and are usually known to self mutilate. Just as rare as the disorder is a hidden gem of a death metal band from Broomall, Pennsylvania, of the same name. The band had previously released a demo in 1991 before disbanding in 1994, and have their first official studio album on the horizon after their sudden reunion in 2012.  I had the chance to catch up with vocalist Gary “Throat” Hadden he tells the story of the band known as Lesch-Nyhan. .

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj1J9xYTV6g&w=560&h=315]

How would you describe your band’s sound?

Lesch-Nyhan has a unique sound. I don’t think you could say we sound like many other bands. I think we were able to keep that since 1989, when we started. Me, the guitarist, the bassist and the drummer all put as much time and creatively we possibly can onto each song. And its all real! No dubbing or effects used.

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming debut album?

We are going to keep the old school death metal sound in the same vein as we have now, just going to make it a little more aggressive.

After being broken up for such a long time what made you decide to bring the band back?

Rob, who was one of the original guitar players for the band, just called me out of the blue asking me if I wanted to bring the band back. I said yeah. At that time, in 2012, I was surrounding myself with black metal. I didn’t like the death metal that was coming out at the time. Since the band got back together, all I listen to is old school death metal again. Pretty much, we wanted to get back to our roots and show young people what death metal really is. Not this computer age music that is being done today.

With fests like Maryland Deathfest and all these bands getting back together, do you feel old school death metal is making a comeback?

I think for the last few years it has. All these classic bands, such as Morpheus Descends, have been getting back together and doing well.

You are actually being interviewed from the town Morpheus Descends is from [Middletown, NY]. 

Yeah, those guys are cool. I talk to a lot of the guys in Mausoleum as well. The scene was never really that divided. Even back in the old days. Honestly all the musicians that I run into, whether its Philly, New York, Boston, Chicago… everyone is really down to earth.

I notice you got your name from a genetic disorder and utilize real photos of it in your artwork. Why did you choose to name the band after this specific disorder?

We were just sitting, me and my best friend Greg, who was the bass player at the time. We took a look in a medical dictionary. We were looking for cool words and stuff like that and we came across Lesch-Nyhan. Oringally we were called Iconoclast but we found out there was already a band with that name. We quickly sought out a new name and that created Lesch-Nyhan.

I think it’s important from my standpoint of having gory pictures and all that. I think its important cause it is a disease. We have a song called Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, where I explain what its all about. Live, I create antics to that song. In no way do we make a mockery of it.  It’s a serious thing. We chose the name because it fits all five of us. We were young kids and just nuts.

If you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring one album which would it be?

Bark at the Moon by Ozzy.

 

Interview: Benighted Drummer Talks Recent Live Album, France’s Metal Scene

French death metal/grindcore act Benighted recently released a live CD/DVD combo titled “Brutal Live The Sick”. This combo features their performance at Sylak Open Air along with other greats such as Gojira, Turbonegro, Coroner, and Red Fang.  I had the chance to do an email interview with the band’s drummer, Kevin Foley, about this new release as well as other topics.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new live Cd+Dvd “Brutal Live the Sick”?

After the release of our latest record  “Carnivore Sublime”, we realized that we didn’t make anything special for the 15th anniversary of the band. We had in mind for a long time to record a live album and DVD as our main strength, which are our live performances. So as soon as we had the confirmation for the Sylak Festival, we chose to do it there and make this live CD/DVD in a limited edition as a gift to our fans who have supported us for such a long time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPFJFBlBExQ&w=560&h=315]

What made you choose this particular concert for this two disc combo?

The promoters are very good friends of ours and have supported us since the very beginning. It’s the biggest festival in our area and it was obvious to record it there and thank them by the way for what they’ve done for the band even when we just started.

Whats your thoughts on the state of death metal today?

It’s great to see that the biggest bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Napalm Death and many more are still up there producing amazing albums, and on the other side bands like Cattle Decapitation (can’t wait to hear their upcoming record) and Anaal Nathrakh are bringing  a new sound to the scene. We are very lucky in France to have bands like Loudblast, Kronos, Gorod, Blockheads and Inhumate that prove France is exporting its scene.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccgqj3KDaVY&w=420&h=315]

You guys started out as a black metal band. What made you decide to make the drastic change from black metal to deathgrind?

Death Metal and Black Metal have always been a part of our music. Black Metal is still an influence to us like Grindcore, Hardcore, Punk around a Death Metal spine. Our music has to be brutal and groovy before all, and we don’t fear any experiment that could sound totally different than death metal if it serves the efficiency of our music.

What do you think is the most important element a metal band should focus on? Technically, brutality or something else?

Efficiency before all and by all means, using brutality, technique or high speed tempos.

Vocalist Julien Truchan works in a psychiatric hospital. Is this a major influence on the band’s lyrics?

All the lyrics in Benighted are inspired by his professional experience and taken from true cases and pathologies he has met at his job. If our music is kinda schizophrenic, our concept is totally respecting the reality of what mental illnesses are. The last album, for example deals with the story of a man suffering with a borderline personality and each track is about a part of his life and symptoms of his disease.

Any advice for young bands starting up?

Always be honest with the music you play. Don’t ever follow fashion styles, that’s the secret of the band.

If you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring one album which would it be and why?

Anaal Nathrakh / Passion, especially with the second song that really sounds like the apocalypse to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPwOKohNY9s&w=420&h=315]