This week we have a massive blog for every discriminating metal taste. As always, we have a weekly rundown of metal shows, any of which are worth attending—again, there’s something for everyone here. Also featured is my intrepid interview with () or Kim Carlsson of Lifelover, depressive black metallers from Sweden, who pretty much shot down some of my questions or basically made me look like a fool. Read on to find out where you can download
Singapore grindmasters Wormrot’s new album for free. There are also blog exclusive reviews of LIK, Mhorgl and Ommatidia, and a new feature called Quickies— shorter reviews—of releases all out on March 29.
As is often the case with most musical releases these days, the new album from Wormrot leaked onto the internet before its official release date. Rather than wallow in the disappointment, Earache Records has taken the power away from the power away from the pirates by offering the new album, Dirge, as a free download on their website. While you’re there, feel free to pre-order Dirge on vinyl or CD or buy some merch. You can grab the album here: http://www.earache.com/misc/downloads/wormrot/
Tonight at Burt’s, get your weekend metal on early with Speitre (pronounced “Spider”), Dethblo and The Insurgence. $5 cover, tunes underway at 9 p.m.
On Friday night, Arsenic Addiction and Ravings of a Madman play an all ages show at Mo’s Bar & Grill (358 S. West Temple, SLC). $5 gets you in, so bring the kiddies and rock out. Also Friday, Club Vegas hosts a well rocking evening with The Thirteenth Key and Remains Faceless opening up for a trio of rip roaring cover bands: Rattlesnake Shake (Motley Crue), Elephant Riders (Clutch), and of course, Irony Man (Ozzy era Black Sabbath). A mere $5 cover gets you into this shindig to celebrate April Fools Day.
Saturday night is a big night for local metal.
Option 1 - at the Dawg Pound, HGR Records host its first installment of Arena Rock & Power Metal Fest. Not only is it an opportunity to snag Vol. 2 of HGR Records Utah Compilation CD for free, but Arsenic Addiction, Sonic Prophecy and Resurrection will play and be filmed for an upcoming HGR (Heavy Guitar Rock) DVD. Cover charge or not, it’s going to cost you less than a Starbucks Frappacinoo to get in. Tunes underway at 8 p.m.
Option 2 - At Burt’s Tiki, Muckraker hosts their CD release party with the resurrected Beyond This Flesh and Massacre at the Wake. $5 cover gets you in, music at 9 p.m.
Option 3 – Club Vegas hosts the Metaljuana tour kick off and A Balance of Power CD release show with Incidious, Dead Vessel and Ravings of a Madman. $5 advance tix are available through the bands or $7 at the door.
Option 4 – At an early show (this is the one I’ll be at) Raunch Records hosts Reproacher from Cheyenne Wyoming and Death of Self with local stoner/doom kings Dwellers. Donate what you can and help rock the hell out of Sugarhouse and the snobs at Barnes & Noble across the street. Tunes kick off around 6 p.m.
On Thursday April, 7 kick off your weekend early with the nice and noisy sounds of Wizardrifle, Laughter and Oldtimer at Burts. $7 bones gets you in, tunes underway around 9:30 p.m.
SLUG: Can you give a brief history of Lifelover—how the band got started, what got the musicians together, and how the choice of crafting Lifelover’s style come about?
(): No. It’s easy to find for anyone truly interested. I don’t consider Lifelover do be any style or have any for that matter... it’s a reflection of ourselves manifested through lyrical, audio and visual elements.
SLUG: Forgive my unfortunate ignorance in not being able to understand most of the band’s lyrics, tbut hematically is there a specific direction for the new album or is it a mix?
(): We have a direction of what lyrics we choose for the band and each album, but there is no special theme that we choose for each album in the wider-known definition of the word theme. But of course, it’s very important for us that each album has an entirety.
SLUG: Follow-up to the last question, what are some of your favorite lyrics that were written for the new album?
(): If it would be for any personal reasons the lyrics to “Expandera” is very dear to me, but that will hardly represent any of the other members’ view as it’s highly personal, although most should be able to relate to it. If you want something less bleak and melancholic and a entirely different kind of personal reflection, I’d say “Karma,” which is bitter in a wonderful way.
SLUG: Sjukdom offers some new musical ideas, mostly in the use of some heavier guitars on some of the tracks. Was there any reasoning for this or was it something that just developed as the writing/recording process went on?
(): The whole album is reflecting a lot more aggression and frustration, so it needs to be more filthy and violent, so the reasoning behind having these elements in “Sjukdom” should be quite obvious.
SLUG: Is there a place that a lot of the pain that is so prevalently expressed (on past albums and Sjukdom which seems to have it’s share of misery and anger) comes from for the band?
(): We all have a past and present, but I can’t speak for all members. Every ray of sunshine is tainted by shadows covering a landscape of filth. There are too many places. You really have to be more specific to get any proper answer to this one—I’m getting angst just trying to think about where to start.
SLUG: There are quite a few different formats of the new album being released. How important to the band is it to have different packaging and different packaging elements for fans, as well as providing an extended expression of Lifelover’s art?
(): You think? We haven’t even gotten started—there are many more fun things we could do. Of course it’s very important that the listener can get a picture that is as complete as possible for each album. Of course a booklet with images and lyrics is enough to get a clear picture of what we do and no one will ever have to get our most extreme special editions to get the picture, but for anyone interested in getting more in-depth we are more than happy to offer this to those interested.
SLUG: For someone that has never heard Lifelover but listens to metal of the dark nature, how would you describe what Lifelover sounds like?
(): A great party that no one comes to. An audile walk under the sunrise on a benzodiazepine-haze. Your first love. Your first overdose. A harsh hangover. Narcotic Metal!
SLUG: Drugs are a frequent topic of Lifelover. Were there any particular drugs of choice being utilized as Sjukdom was being created?
(): Several of us are on medication for life or have at least been during the existence of Lifelover, so it’s hard to avoid benzodiazepines for example. I don’t know of any vocal-recordings done without forementioned substance or wine.
SLUG: You have a new project coming up called Horns Emerging. Is there anything you can tell fans of Lifelover about the new band?
(): They should be very excited but they should also be aware of that it doesn’t have anything in common with Lifelover at all—it’s an entirely different entity in every aspect.
SLUG: If there is anything at all that you’d like listeners to take away from listening to the new album (I’ve definitely taken a lot from Sjukdom) what would it be?
(): “Take away” intended as remove from their thoughts, or something they really should think of? I really have no idea what you ask here.
SLUG: Lifelover to me is about depravity, hopelessness and just outright depression. I know the band has to have their own demons,. What would be one of the worst things possible that could happen to Lifelover?
(): No matter what would happen there would be many different ways to handle it—I would be able to continue what I do even if I would lose most of my senses and I know that this applies to most of us in the band. Perhaps it would be if we all lost consciousness or the last of our so-called sanity? No, that would not matter at all—when there is a will there is always a way to get the visions through
Blog Exclusive CD reviews
Lekamen Illusion Kallet
The Second Wind
Lekamen Illusion Kallet = Burzum (new) + Lönndom + occult black rock
No matter how hard you try to make sense of The Second Wind’s obscurities and bipolar song tempos, emotional responses can differ with every listen. Lekamen Illusion Kallet (or LIK) is mainly the product of Stoif, handling the vocals and every instrument except for the drumming. Stoif, also known by his other moniker Graav, made black metal waves with Swedish underground black metal heroes Armagedda as well as his folk project Lönndom, but LIK is a completely different entity. It’s as though the man placed his hands possessed by his creative collective into a mystery box, where they will either be embraced or subject to rigorous tortures. The Second Wind is black-rock to it’s core but maniacally all over the place from simple strumming hymns to upbeat rocking track. If you took Stoif’s vocals minus the gravel and oily grit, you could consider some tracks straight up rock songs. Just as you can be rocking out to very infectious rhythms, the guitars slow into near psychadellia or fully altered mental and physical states—think of downing a plethora of energy drinks then popping a bunch of painkillers and chugging a bottle of wine. Whatever your view, this album is up to you the listener, but I applaud the “love it or hate it” creation that it is that very much feels as if Stoif made the album first for himself and then for anyone willing to listen. –Bryer Wharton
In This Life, Or The Next
Season of Mist
Ommatidia = Tiamat + Paradise Lost + My Dying Bride
Featuring some members of the notable The Old Dead Tree, French band Ommatidia’s debut is definitely a promising start. Where many newer gothic type metal bands generally try to sound like the 69 Eyes or Lacuna Coil, the roots of inspiration for In This Life, Or the Next are the glories of mighty early-to-mid 90s gothic doom glories that haven’t been matched for quite a while. There is very little rehash on this album—each song sounds fresh. Guitar tones aren’t completely drenched in down-tuning, but contain a much more melodic sense backed by an intriguing rhythm section and an earnest vocal performance that is the epitome of gothic doom: sorrowful yet stunning with wide ranges of power and depravity. Ommatidia pay great tribute to some of the best groundbreaking and game-changing metal albums of the early ‘90s, but continue to tread new paths leaving you with dark serenades where no emotion feels forced. –Bryer Wharton
The Execution Kollective
Mhorgl = Deathspell Omega + Nightbringer + Unexpect + Liturgy
Australia’s Mhorgl have much to offer and much more to prove with their second offering to the black metal gods. For one, they offer a giant fist up the ass of all the black metal cynics that say the genre is dead and no band can possibly offer anything new. Antinomian is as fervently raw as it is morbidly melodic. The only instrument on this album that has any redundancy is its fairly typical black metal vocal scowl, but even that often times goes above and beyond. It gives some razor burn rawness to the wounds that Antinomian has already delivered, by way of its dual guitar intricacies and manic tempos. Some could lay say this is almost math-metal like. The churning swirling drum tempos that keep pace and tune with the guitar glories and atrocities that Mhorgl offer. The production with the album lends it’s way to highlight the guitar playing which is really the big star of the show here at times making a mockery of the standard tremolo black metal riff we’re all used to. You may have heard something like this in bits and pieces before from other artists, but you really haven’t heard anything like this album. Add a crazy as hell cover of Ozzy’s “Mr. Crowley” and you have even more reason to behold this album and all that it conquers. –Bryer Wharton
Amon Amarth = Unleashed + Thulcandra + God Dethroned
Lucky number 8 or unlucky, you be the judge. Swedish melodic death metal juggernaughts Amon Amarth return to pretty much the form they’ve been in since their 2002 Versus the World album. All you really need to know is if you’re a fairly hardcore fan of the band you’ll dig the record—a fair-weather fan, you may mildly enjoy it. I personally found the songwriting to be redundant. The wrath that was unleashed on the band’s last album, Twilight of the Thunder God, seems caged to a tamer much more melodic set of tunes. Expect big death grooves plenty of melodies and solos – like em’ or not, if you know the modern era of Amon Amarth you already know this album. –Bryer Wharton
Beardfish = King Crimson + Gentle Giant + Yes + prog rock obscurity
Sweden’s Beardfish have definitely offered up the prog rock goods on their sixth full-length album. Being a fan of prog rock is a definite prerequisite to enjoying this record, asnon-proggers will ultimately be confused. Sounds range from blissful, happy melodies, to crazed keys, big guitars and some raging improve instrumentations with horns, guitars, vocals. Huge ‘70s influence, great for old school and newer prog fans. –Bryer Wharton
Blackguard = Children of Bodom + (insert bad generic melodic power metal band here) + a really bad version of Alestorm
The only thing remotely metal that I’d consider Victory Records to have released recently is the latest album from Pathology. I guess Blackguard are metal in some respects—they do have guitar solos, though they are all miserable attempts at anything remotely good. The keyboards accompanying Blackguard try to sound like Children of Bodom, especially in their early days, but Blackguard’s orchestrations might as well be a steaming turd on a keyboard. The only thing it adds to the music is further annoyance from stupid screamy vocals and generic riff after another. Reall, you have every reason to avoid this: their first album was awful, this is no different. –Bryer Wharton
Bloodiest = Neurosis + Yakuza + Godflesh + A Storm of Light
Bloodiest is a collective of fantastic musicians from Chicago, Illinois, including the very busy man Bruce Lamont, whose recent releases include Yakuza, Children of Animals, a solo album and other projects. This is a big bite of post-metal juiciness: extremely rhythmically oriented with elegant keys giving a pleasant taste to the bitter tremolo guitar picking and thick bass guitar and pounding drums. Tribal in its minimalist sense, atmospherically deep and a great self-contemplator of a dark album going way beyond realms of what is considered metallic. –Bryer Wharton
Time is Up
Havok = Testament + Exodus + Slayer
Retro/modern thrash metal from Havok’s sophomore album, this is kind of one of those “if you’re in the mood for it” pieces of metal. The thing I find slightly ironic is there are a few one or two album bands from the ‘80s that blatantly tried to copy the Bay Area thrash stalwarts and now are regarded as “classic,” so why can’t a modern band doing the same be heralded as face-melting thrash? Fans of retro-thrash can definitely enjoy this album, but it went in one ear and out the other for me. Go buy Testament’s last album if you haven’t already and save this for the discount bin. –Bryer Wharton
Mercenary = Soilwork + Solution .45 + Sonic Syndicate
Denmark’s Mercenary changes things up quite a bit on their sixth full-length album, moving away from what was fairly standard guitar-oriented melodic power metal with the occasional death growl. The aptly titled Metamorphosis sees Mercenary moving towards melo-death metal, which is good if you’re a fan of said genre. The songs can get redundant especially when the main riffing is chugging along with no steam. Fans of newer Sonic Syndicate, Soilwork, Solution .45 should definitely look into the album. –Bryer Wharton
Within Temptation = Nightwish + Edenbridge + Delian
While not a complete return to their humble beginnings The Unforgiving offers up a ton of catchy songs, be they powerful rocking tune or ballads. If you ever liked Within Temptation, you’ll like this record. The songwriting puts the band’s last album to school and much of the pop oriented songs from the last record have almost returned to full on melodic female fronted power metal. Sharon Del Adel is the voice of Within Temptation and The Unforgiving is a magnificent platform to let her voice soar while you hang on to every moment. –Bryer Wharton
Various Artists = metal vocalists taking on Frank Sinatra
A heavy metal/hard rock tribute to the Chairman of the Board? Yes indeed, this fun compilation features your favorite metal and hard rock singers taking on Sinatra. The music accompanying the vocal performances is ultra-cheese ball, at times capturing the swagger of the music of Sinatra but sometimes is a bit overly bombastic. Check out the contributions from Devin Townsend, Geoff Tate, Dee Snider, Robin Zander, Joey Belladonna Dug Pinnick, Tim “Ripper” Owens. Keep in mind a few doses is plenty—the album is a novelty and not something you’re going to want to jam regularly. –Bryer Wharton