Hellfest 2014 August | 2011 |

Archive for 08/31/2011

Textures – Dualism (2011)

Hailing from The Netherlands, Textures have crafted a vastly creative album with Dualism, their fourth studio work. Since the release of their first album, Polars in 2003, the band has toured in Europe with Arch Enemy and All That Remains, as well as playing twice in India. Dualism is the band’s first album with new vocalist Daniel de Jongh and keyboardist Uri Dijk.

The band handled production on the album, and the finished product is very crisp sounding. No one instrument overpowers the others, allowing the many different pieces of their music to mesh perfectly. Daniel de Jongh’s clean vocals are incredibly wide-ranging, and they seem to be his forte on Dualism. He more frequently uses a variety of deep, intense growls that are equally as varied. The tracks on this album flow together perfectly, cresting with multi-layered guitar & beautiful clean vocals, then crashing back down to wonderfully technical progressive riffs.

Some of the best tracks on the album are: ‘Reaching Home’, perhaps the best example of de Jongh’s fantastic vocals, the track has a catchy chorus. ‘Foreclosure’ has a huge sound, it’s very open and airy. The closing track, ‘Sketches from a Motionless Statue’, has some of the best guitar work of the album and has a nicely rollicking chorus & plenty of time changes that close out the album well.

The album comes out Sept. 27th in the US. Check them out on their first-ever US tour with Periphery, The Contortionist, and The Human Abstract. Here is a link to tour dates: http://bit.ly/r3JyhN

Sabaton – World War Live, Battle In The Baltic Sea (2011)

Swedish war machine Sabaton, surprises with this live performance recorded at their own Sabaton cruise on December 2010. Regularly live albums are’t that good due to the lack of production, but World War Live, Battle Of The Baltic Sea is an exception to the rule. With a great set list, including songs like Uprising, Aces In Exile and White Death out of their latest album Coat Of Arms, and the loved by the fans Ghost Division, Attero Dominatus, 40-1 and Primo Victoria.

Sabaton delivers war and a great deal of energy on stage, and clearly reflects why they are in the path to become one of the best power metal bands out there. The band is schedule to tour North America this coming September and October supporting swedish comrades Evergrey, so if you are in or close to one of the cities, please come and enjoy their show and don’t forget to pick up a copy of World War Live, Battle Of The Baltic Sea…see you in the battlefield field

Edguy – Age Of The Joker (2011)

After three years of absence Edguy returns more strong and funny than ever with Age Of The Joker their tenth studio album – and not this is not a stand up comedy CD – but it could be, when you heard lyrics like “Robin Hood is after you and He’s not in a joking mood” of their first single Robin Hood.

The album continues in the same path that their predecessor Tinnitus Sanctus, a more hard rocking sound that tell the duality and the musical flexibility of the band. As always when bands experiment with different sounds, people tend to divide their opinions around them, and is not the exception in the case of Edguy. Indeed the album is not a power metal album, but for some reason it fits pretty well the moment for which the band is going through.

About the sound, Age Of The Joker, presents itself like a calm and fun album that do what Edguy knows best, play good music and have fun while doing it. Along the album the tracks have different influences from a cowboy style on Pandora’s box, a more epic and aggressive on Behind The Gates To Midnight World,to a romantic tone in Every Night Without You. One constant in this album is the quality of musical production handled by Sascha Paeth and of course the great voice of Tobias Sammet, that imprints feeling to each song.

Overall is a good album that shows the musical quality Edguy and their evolution as a band and like guitarist Jens Ludwig told us in a recent interview ” this album is the perfect combination between keeping your roots and experiment with new elements”. So no doubt you will be getting a great musical piece and a good laugh with Edguy‘s Age Of The Joker.

Interview with Thrainn Arni Baldvinsson of Skálmöld

 

Last week we had the opportunity to have a chat with Thrainn Arni Baldvinsson guitarist of the Icelandic viking metal band Skálmöld, about their new album Baldur, touring plans and a general state of the band. This is what he told us:

What is it Skálmöld? And where did it come from?

Skálmöld basically means ‘’an age of war’’ or ‘’the age of the sword’’. The word is first used to describe a war between four clans in Iceland, fighting for power in the 13th century.

Where the idea for the concept album “Baldur” came from?

We just wanted to make music based on our heritage. We did not want to use the old stories, that´s been done over and over so we just wrote a new story and made it fit with within the old form of the sagas.

How was the experience of work with local producer Alex (Flex) Árnason?

It was great, he made us work hard. We tried working alone before we decided on working with Flex and that did not work, so we ended up going to him and we don’t regret that decision.

 “Baldur” is a long album, why did Skálmöld decided to record a long album as a début?

I don’t thin it´s a long album. We thought it was too short! An EP was out of the question, either we make an album with an album worth of material or we do nothing at all. Take no prisoners!

How has been the reception of the album by the fans?

Great, absolutely great! We are so happy. Fans and critics alike, people seem to love the album which is a big bonus for us. We loved the album from day one and we were happy with it, so for others to like it makes us even happier!

You guys played the W.E.T Stage on Wacken Open Air 2011, how was the experience of playing a huge metal fest like that one?

We are still wondering how in the name of ……… we made it on to the festival bill! It was awesome, it´s an amazing festival.

Are there any touring plans? And if so is the US including it on those plans?

The album was released in the USA in early august so we should support the album in the states but at the moment there are no plans for an US tour. We will tour Europe in October as a part of the ‘’Heidenfest 2011 tour’’ but we really wanna tour the US. Let´s hope our record company sends Skálmöld to the states in 2012 J

 What is the next step on Skálmöld’s career?

A big show here in Iceland in September and then a 24 date European tour in october. After that another big gig in Iceland as well as keep on promoting the album. Then it´s off to the rehearsal room to start writing for our next album which should hopefully see the light of day in the spring of 2012.

Psychostick – Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs in 3D (2011)

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Tempe’s own Psychostick recently came out with a new album that will make you burst out laughing. Space Vampires is the comedy band’s fourth release, and it will make you want to laugh and head bang at the same time. Most of the songs on this album stay within the realm of metalcore, providing a strange-but-good mix of catchiness and aggression behind the lyrical sketches. It occasionally drifts off into other genres, such as on the track ‘It’s Just a Stupid Movie’ (about crappy romance movies) which has a humorously and purposefully generic pop-rock verse. This album sounds ready-made to be performed live, where I’m sure the band can build on their already funny songs.

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Some of the highlights of the album are:

‘Sadface’ – This song is about those annoying people on facebook that overshare everything. It samples ‘The Beautiful People’ by Marilyn Manson and the viral Youtube hit ‘Bed Intruder’.

‘Political Bum’ – With a ridiculously catchy and heavy riff, this song is guaranteed to get stuck in your head, while the topic is one that everyone has surely encountered.

‘Numbers’ – While this song runs on a bit long, it’s a pretty funny take on Drowning Pool’s ‘Hit the Floor’. The lyrics are about how the vocalist can’t count past four.

‘Root of All Evil’ – One of the heavier tracks on the album, this song is about a trip to the dentist that doesn’t go so well.

Check out the video for their song ‘BEER!’ off of their album ‘We Couldn’t Think of a Title’:

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Documentary (2011)

Many things had been said about Ozzy Osbourne, from devil worshiper, drug addict and alcoholic to be a bad influence in society. Some of those things are true, but what Jack Osbourne his son intended with this documentary, besides tell the story of his father and his battles with life. From his youth in a working class family in Astoria (England) to his success with Black Sabbath and later in his solo career. Is tell the story of Ozzy Osbourne the father and his battles with himself.

This documentary shows not only Ozzy Osbourne as the rock star that begun his music career as part of the most influential band in metal history, and then his successful solo career that with drugs, alcohol and scandal took him to be named as the prince of darkness. This movie shows Ozzy as the family man who with all the problems, addictions and misbehaviour achieved a change in his life and his vindication as father and husband.

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne delivers a message far beyond of the iconic character and what he represents to rock and roll, is the real life story of the issues that rock stars have to go through in and out the stage and the difference that they made in their life of those around them.

A very deep storytelling documentary that reflects the character of the Godfather of metal, but from his son perspective and shows the life of Ozzy from wrongs, to worse, to wrongs again, and to rights. Is a film worth watching as sneaks into the rock star life from the inside to show that behind the legend is a man with rights and wrongs like any ordinary human being.

Jens Ludwig of Edguy checked in with The Age Of Metal

German metal band Edguy returns with their tenth studio album, Age Of The Joker. After finished a world  tour with his side project Avantasia, vocalist Tobias Sammet meet with the rest of the Edguy gang and started writing and producing material to what it is the new album of Edguy. Age Of The Joker will be release this week in Europe and at the beginning of September in the USA.  The Age Of Metal had the opportunity to talk with Edguy‘s  guitar player Jens Ludwig about Age Of The Joker, their first single Robin Hood (see video below) and the upcoming European tour. This is what he told us

How do you describe The Age of the Joker?

What is your favorite track of the album?

Sasha Paeth has been producing for Edguy since Rocket Ride, how was the production process now with the Age of The Joker?

Where do you think this album stands amongst The rest of Edguy’s discography?

The joker is been like a mascot for Edguy, what is the role of the joker in the new album and where the idea of the cover art came from?

Let’s talk about the Robin Hood video, the first time i saw it, the only thing that came to my mind was the movie “Robin Hood : Men In Tights”. Is it any inspiration on that movie for the concept of the video?

At the end of September Edguy will be kicking off the European tour, supported by Kottak (band of Scorpions’s drummer James Kottak). What do you expect of this tour?

Is been almost 2 years since Edguy played in the USA, are there any plans for a The Age Of The Joker North American tour?

Interview with Cris J.S. Frederiksen of Svartsot

Last week we had the opportunity to chat with Cris Frederiksen guitarist of Danish metal band Svartsot about their new album Maledictus Eris, the current state of the band and future plans, this is what he told us:

1.     Where the idea of write about the black plague in Denmark came from?

We basically got tired of the Viking/pagan label that some have seen fit to force upon us, as this was never what Svartsot is about. We have always had very mixed sources of inspiration for our lyrics, starting from before the Viking age and leading right up to folklore collected in the 18th century. So we decided we’d write an album that had nothing to do with Vikings, and seeing as we’ve always had a strong medieval feel to the music – which became even stronger for this album – the medieval period was the obvious choice.

The decision to write an album about the Black Death first came about after a few tracks had been written. The music had taken a more somber turn for this album, and we needed to find a more serious subject matter. The Black Death was discussed for some of the first tracks, and the more we researched into it, the more opportunities we found in it. There was even some scope for the few “positive” sounding tracks on the album. So the album pretty quickly became a concept album.

2.     How was the experience to work again with Lasse Lammert and LSD studios on the making of Maledictus Eris?

We have a pretty good relationship – both working and now also private – to Lasse, so it was a pleasure to work with him again. In many ways it wasn’t that different to the recording of the last album, but in other ways it was a far more complicated process. The material is a lot more complex on this album, and this of course was reflected in the actual recording process. I think also we used Lasse more as a producer this time, and bounced more ideas around with him than we had done on “Mulmets Viser”. But seeing as Lasse knows us all now, it made the process a lot more smooth running than it probably would have been with a new producer. Although Lasse is very much a perfectionist, he knows how to get the best out of us without making us feel awkward.  Besides that we’re very happy with the way both albums have turned out, and I can’t see any reason for us to change him out for future albums.

3.     The artwork of the album is really impressive, who made it? And what is the meaning behind it?

The artwork for the album was done by a Hungarian artist called Gyula Havancsák, who has also worked with bands such as Destruction, Annihilator, Grave Digger and Týr amongst many others. There isn’t any hidden message or anything behind the picture, but it is a kind of stylized view of the Black Death, with the central figure representing the plague in human form. He has just taken a victim – the young woman hanging in his arms – and around him are other victims – the young man, the priest, and the mother and child. That his eyes are covered by the banner suggests that death is blind and takes whatever is in its reach. The ship represents the way the disease seems to have spread – along seaways and trade routes – and on the ship a sick sailor is vomiting from the railings (one of the symptoms of the plague). The picture is kept to blues, maintaining the dark image, and the red as a contrast. For me the red also symbolizes the fact that the disease was carried around the body in the blood, attacking the internal organs first. The roses the priest is holding are from a tale Gyula found about priests and survivors making rose garlands to ward of the plague.

4.     What is the difference between Mulmets Viser and maledictus eris?

There are a lot of differences in many ways, so it’s difficult to know where to start! But at the same time, I also feel there are many direct developments from “Mulmets…”, or even right back to “Ravnenes… “

I think the main differences are the more serious attitude towards the music in general, the addition of Swedish bagpipes and even a song that is sung rather than growled. With this album we’ve left most of the rowdiness of the first two albums behind us, and concentrated more on atmospherics and layering of the music. This of course has also resulted in a more serious lyrical theme than on the past albums. This complexity also means that the album is nowhere near as accessible as “Ravnenes…” was, and some listeners may need to listen to the album several times before they get the full picture. This process was started on “Mulmets…”, and is definitely the way will continue for future albums. I am personally not interested in writing another one-dimensional album like “Ravnenes…”, as I find them extremely boring in the long run.

Although “Mulmets…” didn’t appear to get the best critique after the release, many now say that the album is far better than “Ravnenes…”, and I think this will probably be the case for “”maledictus eris”” too. As far as we are concerned, it is the best album we’ve recorded so far and marks the start of a new era for Svartsot.

5.     Are there any plans to tour Europe or any other places anytime soon?

We stand in the unfortunate situation that we don’t have an agent that can decidedly deal with worldwide booking for us right now. Our Danish/Scandinavian booker is doing what he can, but his main contact area is of course Denmark. So booking for outside of Denmark isn’t that easy for us at the present time. We do have a couple of shows in Germany, and our agent is working with some other plans, but there are unfortunately no European tours planned for the time being. We hope of course to be able to find a suitable booking agent to deal with worldwide booking as soon as possible, as we would love to get out on the road in Europe again soon, and hopefully make it to other places too.

6.     What is the next step on Svartsot career?

Apart from finding a booker to deal with worldwide booking, we don’t have any major plans. We really want to get out and play outside of Denmark again, so that would be the next plan after sorting the booking agent situation. I’m also just slowly starting to work on new material, but I want to give myself more time for the next album. Writing two albums in relative quick succession was pretty hard, and I have therefore taken a break in writing since I finished writing material for “maledictus eris”. Normally I have at least one track on the go, so it was a bit strange for me to not write anything. But generally we take things as they come in this band, so not having any big plans is quite normal for us.

I.C.S Vortex – Storm Seeker (2011)

Simen Hestnæs better known as I.C.S Vortex has been one of the most proliferate musicians in the international metal scene. first with Black Metal band Borknagar, then with the Avant-Garde metal band Arcturus. But it was his role as bassist and clean vocals in Dimmu Borgir that gave him a boost of notoriety, until he was booted out of the band back in 2009.

After connecting with his old band mates of Borknagar and Arturus (on and off project). He decides to launch his solo career and with a new line up full of experienced musicians like Asgeir Mickelson – Drums (Sarke, Spiral Architect, ex Borknagar, ex Testament), Terje “Cyrus” Andersen – Guitar (Susperia, ex Satyricon, ex Dimmu Borgir), Jens F. Ryland – Guitar (Borknagar) and Steinar “Azarak” Gundersen – Bass (Spiral Architect, ex Satyricon) and of course I.C.S Vortex on clean vocals. The result is Storm Seeker.

A totally unorthodox album that for many classic black metal followers would result in disappointment, but for others with a more open mind is just genius. Storm Seeker‘s first two tracks (The Blackmobile & Odin’s tree) keep a heaviness in the borders of black metal, but without guttural voices. From that point on the album is a rollercoaster of experimental sounds, with a familiar 70′s or Deep Purple kind of sound, but on steroids. Tracks like Windward, Oil On Water and When Shuffled On are an example of that experiment.

Indeed Storm Seeker is not a Black metal or a Avant-Garde album, but something different a new chapter on the career of I.C.S Vortex that not only shows his vocal capabilities but his musical awesomeness in a total different metal prospect.

Tracklist:

1. The Blackmobile (3:18)
2. Odin’s Tree (4:43)
3. Skoal! (2:30)
4. Dogsmacked (4:25)
5. Aces (3:42)
6. Windward (3:55)
7. When Shuffled Off (3:47)
8. Oil In Water (4:55)
9. Storm Seeker (6:32)
10. Flaskeskipper (2:48)
11. The Sub Mariner (4:35)

 

 

Interview with Maria & Chris of In This Moment

Last week the All Stars Tour 2011 passed through to the valley of the sun, and with it seasoned metalcore band In This Moment. But it was a bit odd for me see them on this tour, because 99% of the bands that played on it are unknown to me and are different to the style of In This Moment, but I’ve wanted to talk with the band since I saw them last semester.

I must say that their show just blew me away, the charisma and professionalism of Maria Brink in the stage as front woman is amazing, and the energy and delivery of the band was incredible. The band played songs like The Gunshow, The Promise, and Iron Army, just for name some of them. Even Maria got into the crowd (surrender by women of course) and with a huge mosh pit around her put the venue to rock, that was crazy and awesome at the same time.

Previous to the show, I had the chance to talk with Maria & Chris (guitar player) about the tour, their latest album and what is coming up for the band. This is what they told us:

How has been the all-stars tour so far?

Which has been the craziest crowd?

In This Moment would be part of the Shiprocked 2011, sharing stage with bands like Queensryche, Buckcherry, Hellyeah and Sevendust, what are your expectations for this giant floating stage?

Last year In This Moment released A Star Crossed Wasteland, how has been the response of public to the new album?

How was the experience of working with Kevin Churko (Ozzy & Five Finger Punch) producing the album?

We heard that In This Moment is working in new material for the next album, what can you tell us about it?

Maria, you got the Hottest chick metal award on the 2010 revolver golden gods award, how do you see the role of women in metal today?

what is next for In This Moment?