Hellfest 2014 January | 2012 |

Archive for 01/31/2012

Alcest – Les Voyagers d’Âme (2012)

 

Back in 2001, a little known solo project from France called Alcest released their 1st demo Tristesse Hivernale. The brain child of Black metal veteran Neige (French for snow), Alcest was initially Black metal but over time has incorporated post-rock and shoegazing structures and melodies. In 2004 Alcest released their first full-length Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde which showed a major departure from his early demos incorporating much clean singing and post-rock overtones leaving out much of the grim and grittiness of Black metal. With the release of his 2nd full-length Ecailles de Lune in 2010, Neige mixed in much more Black metal riffage and vocals creating a balance between that and post-rock/shoegaze. Come 2012 and now Neige has released Alcest’s third full length: Les Voyagers de l’Âme.

Neige states that his greatest influence for Alcest is dreams of a “fairy tale” that he had when he was a child. This influence is greatly seen in Les Voyagers de l’Âme where out of this world melodies and angelic vocals cascade to the listener’s ears, taking them on a journey through a magical world. The album starts off with Autre Temps where soft guitars create this lush atmosphere that builds up to the chorus. The second song, Là Où  Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles, again continues on Neige’s ability to create atmosphere however an interesting note is the addition of Black metal rasps and blast beats to give the song much more intensity. The title track opens the floodgates of emotions and takes the listener into Neige’s world where the building and unbuilding of intensity is ever present. Nous Sommes L’Emeraude again continues on the journey and is a shorter song than the past two. The next song Beings of Light sounds exactly as the title suggests, there is a strong ethereal quality to this song and again takes the listener in another world. Faiseurs de Monde is probably their most ‘heaviest” song on the album, starting off with a repeated guitar riff where again Neige uses his Black metal rasps. Havens and Summer’s Glory are the last two songs (Havens being a short instrumental) in the album. In Summer’s Glory the listener’s journey in Neige’s world is complete ending on a sort of high.

The lack of “Black metal” in this album will be off-putting to the more traditional fans of the style and yes this album is not true Black metal in any sense. However, Alcest is a band that is not afraid to push the limits and creates a memorable piece of art.

Track listing:

1. Autre Temps *

2. Là Où Naissant Les Couleurs Nouvelles

3. Les Voyagers de l’Âme *

4. Nous Sommes l’Emeraude

5. Beings of Light

6. Faiseurs de Monde *

7. Havens

8. Summer’s Glory

* favourite tracks

Interview with Axel & Joakim of Graveyard

Graveyard is a band that has been around since 2006, keeping alive the spirit of classic rock, with influences that goes from Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and early Deep Purple, the band had developed a unique sound based on those classics, not a repetition of them but a different approach maintaining the music intact, and their shows are all about bringing back that 70′s spirit, and having a great time. Graveyard released last year their second album titled Hisingen Blues under Nuclear Blast records.

Last week The Age Of Metal had the opportunity to talk with Axel (drums) and Joakim (guitar) of Graveyard during their show at Yucca Tap bar in Tempe, AZ. we talked about the tour, their album and the ideas behind the band.

Abigail Williams – Becoming (2012)

If you’ve been around Arizona’s metal scene in the last few years, then you’ve probably heard of, if not heard Abigail Williams. This past Tuesday marked the release of their third full-length album with Candlelight Records. Becoming marks a new leg of the journey for this three-piece ensemble from Phoenix, Arizona.

Since the band’s 2005 inception, they have seen many changes from band mates to home states, and with that comes a change in their sound; and Becoming is no different. From the first song on the album, “Ascension Sickness,” there is a clear difference from their previous albums. They start off with a soft & slow crescendo building into the sound that they have become known for. What is great about the sound in this song is the clear madrigal drawn from the title as the song “ascends.” This sound clearly draws upon one of their major influences, Enslaved. The orchestration, while not used in every song on this six-track album, is a prevalent theme through out, as the vocals never over power the instruments, something very common with actual orchestrated pieces. “Beyond The Veil,” is definitely my most liked song on the album due to the beautiful, folk-y violin opening and the gentle build over the main melody as the guitars pick up. Becoming is a much slower album that Abigail William’s previous two albums In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns and In The Absence of Light, yet the band never loses a sense of energy or motion throughout Becoming. The pensive atmosphere of the album is energized in a way different from their previous albums and pushes the band more so into the black metal category than before. 

Abigail Williams, despite all the changes and progression, they still keep their core sound that is characteristic of the band. Even though they have since moved their home base to Los Angles, they are still one of our own. Becoming marks a new chapter in the life of Abigail Williams, as they now delve into a new sound that makes them akin to Wolves in the Throne Room. I know many people have written them off in the past, but Becoming marks the start of a new sound that deserves a listening to.

 Becoming (2012)- Abigail Williams Track List:

1. Ascension Sickness

2. Radiance

3. Elestal

4. Infinite Fields Of Mind

5. Three Days Of Darkness

6. Beyond The Veil *

*Personal Favorites (:

 

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (2012)

 Germany’s very own Primal Fear latest release “Unbreakable” is power metal at its finest with singer Ralf Scheepers hitting his high vocals blasting listeners away, Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt shredding on guitars, along with Mat Sinner on bass and drummer Randy Black.  It’s the bands latest studio album since The new album has been released in North America on January 24th by Frontier Records and should be Primal Fear‘s pride and joy. The album has a very classic sound that will capture everyone’s attention this year. After listening to the album I can gladly say the band keeps pumping out the tracks with the most amazing guitar rifts, melodies, and vocals.

The intro “Unbreakable” (Part 1) of the album builds anticipation and then the first official song of the album “Strike” starts off with grand force and kicks things in gear.  “Strike” is full of energy and continues to push it over the top with Ralf’s Scheepers vocals which clearly have the Heavy Rob Halford influences.

 “Give’ Em Hell”  keeps things moving with a catchy drum beat that everyone can follow along to.  The song reminds me of “Scream” off the “16.6: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead.” (2009) album.  “Bad Guys Wear Black” (Featured music video) & “And There Was Silence”, open strong which will have fans screaming for more.  Both are very up beat tracks that will cling to your and will not not let the beautiful melodies out of your head.

 “Metal Nation” & “Where Angels Die” tones it down by being more calm but lets you appreciate and really soak in Ralf‘s Scheepers loud epic vocal range. The songs are much slower than the other tracks on the album but it really is a nice medium that give the album structure becuase it gets you high in the begining and eases you half way through.

“Unbreakable (Part 2)”, “Marching Again”, & “Blaze of Glory” are colossal songs that bring the album back to speed and get you going.  “Unbreakable” is a total power ballad that definitely shows that the band hasn’t lost their touch, it’s probably the most epic song on the whole album.

“Blaze of Glory” is very heavy metal song with a intense deep guitar opening illustrating the drums in a classic Primal Fear Style as “Blaze of Glory” is chanted through the chorus.

 “Conviction” is the last song on the album starts off with Ralf‘s infamous screams! The track closes the album with a nice touch being a heavy fast guitar song.  It ties the whole album together and leaves with with an intense impression that will make you want to listen to it all over again.

Track List:

Unbreakable (Part1)
Strike*
Give ‘Em Hell
Bad Guys Wear Black*
And There Was Silence
Metal Nation*
Where Angels Die*
Unbreakable (Part 2)*
Marching Again
Born Again
Blaze Of Glory
Conviction

(* personal favorites)

Over all the whole album had great recording the vocals were crisp and clean the guitars were breath-taking.  The album is one of their greatest works yet, its classic and highlights everything that Primal Fear is.   The more times you listen to the album the more it gets drilled into your head andwill leave you singing even after the music has stopped playing.  “Unbreakable” is a tremendous Power Metal Album that fans should pick up and listen to this 2012.

Martin Steene of Iron Fire talked to The Age Of Metal about Voyage Of Damned

Iron Fire is one of the power metal bands that have been around for a long time, but that contrary at their peers of Hammerfall, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, they have count with almost no luck on strike a major impact on the metal scene. Leaving that behind, this year Iron Fire returns with a new album, Voyage Of The Damned, a new image and musical proposal that breaks away from the traditional power metal imaginary of dragons, knight quests and space sci-fi stories, that have been the core concepts of this genre for years.

With Voyage Of The Damned the band takes their music to a different level, still in the power metal path but with a fresh approach, more faster, and stronger. Songs like Enter Oblivion OJ-666, Leviathan or Voyage Of The Damned are example of that change. Another new feature on Iron Fire‘s music is the addition of semi-growling vocals on tracks like Realm Of Madness, Dreams Of The Dead Moon and Warmaster Of Chaos, that makes the album even more aggressive and daring. This changes shows a new attitude on the band at the time to make music.

Voyage Of Damned is probably the strongest album the band have put out so far, still power metal, but done with a different prospective that surprises and leave you craving for more. A great album to head bang hard and throw the horns up.

Last week we had the chance to talk to Martin Steene vocalist and founder of Iron Fire, we talked about the new album, the production, the power metal scene and the plans of the band for the near future. Here is what he told us:

Iron Fire is about to release their 7th studio album Voyage Of The Damned, what can you tell us about the album?

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What are the main differences between Voyage Of The Damned and your previous album Metalmorphosized?

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The producer on this album is Jacob Hansen, who had work with Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Aborted and Dragonland. How was the experience of working with him on the new album?

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Voyage Of The Damned includes guesses like Dave Ingram from Benediction and Nils Rue from Pagans mind, how they come to be part of the album? and how was the experience working with them?

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Your vocals are a bit more aggressive on this record than in your previous work, what influence the decision of include semi growling voices on the album?

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Iron Fire has been broken apart from the rest of Euro-Power metal bands out there, how do you see the power metal scene now in contrast with 10 years ago?

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Can you name new bands that you listen now and that had impact you or surprise you in any way?

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Are there any tour plans for 2012?

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What is next for Iron Fire?

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Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel at Marquee Theater. Tempe, AZ 01/24/12

It’s been more than 25 years since thrash metal appeared on the bay area of San Francisco, California, and shifted the musical gears of metal forever, it was because of bands like Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel that we today know what this music is. Faster riffs, blazing drums and lyrics that talk about war, pain, and the reality of life.

Last night I had the pleasure to see for the first time Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel on the same bill, and it was like 1985 all over again. The public now on their thirty’s and forty’s behaved like they were eighteen again, some of them wearing denim jeans and Anthrax or Death Angel white T-shirts, but all were there to mosh or drink or celebrate this great bands in concert.

The line was already a block long outside of The Marquee Theater before 6:30 that was the open doors schedule time. After I got my ticket and meet some friends we head up to the line. Once inside Death Angel took the stage around 7:30 pm kicking off the party with songs like, Mistress Of Pain, Evil Priest & Seemingly Endless Time. this warmed the mosh pit that got quite big at the middle of their set. A great show for a band that deserve more of what they have achieved so far.

The next band on the bill was Testament another veteran from the bay area, and a band that has kept a traditional sound preserving that essence from the 80′s almost intact. Opening with The Preacher, the band let little rest to the crowd that went nuts at the riffs of Alex Skolnick and the drum beats of Paul Bostaph, they played everything from Souls Of Black, Electric Crown, 3 Days In Darkness, Henchmen Ride and Into The Pit. Their sound was amazing and their performance was unique.

Even though people were tired, it wasn’t that many people who went out to grab some air or even grab a beer, instead people were anxious and excited about the next band. Anthrax a long time pioneers of the thrash metal sound was headlining the show, so at soon the lights went down the voice of the crowd went up, and like I said before it was 1985 all over again.

The band kick off their set with Earth On Hell, Fight’em, and Caught In A Mosh. The pit was brutal, they were loud and they were awesome. The show reached its climax with songs like Indians, Madhouse, Metal Thrashing Mad, that received a great ovation from the crowd and even a bigger pit. Guys and girls, old and young were moshing and crowd surfing a typical picture of a 80′s thrash metal show. The band closed with I Am The Law, that was screamed and moshed by a satisfied crowd. Indeed a night to remember, and a “Slayer neck” that it would take at least a couple of days to go away.

Here are some pictures we took of Anthrax during their set.

Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline (2012)

As a band that once carried the flags of Gothic Metal during the early years along side with bands like Within Temptation, After Forever and NightwishLacuna Coil still a relevant band on the metal scene, personally I have not listen a whole album by them since Comalies (2000) I tried to listen their last two records, Karmacode (2006) and Shallow Life (2008) But I just could not get myself through those albums the band was on a different moment at that time.

With Dark Adrenaline I thought it would be the same thing, but the Italians proved me wrong. To begin the production on this record is great, and the sound is cleaner than their earlier work. Even though, that they still have that Linkin Park influence lurking around, Dark Adrenaline breaks away from their previous album. Tracks like Kill The Light, End Of Time, I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow & The Army Inside are good examples of a new chapter on Lacuna Coil‘s music. One interesting song in particular is the cover that the band did for this record of the song Losing My Religion original of R.E.M, the interesting thing about this song is how Cristina’s voice make the song softer and dark, still a bit more enjoyable than the original. The band indeed continues on the path of alternative rock, with some gothic elements here and there, but for sure this is a better effort than their predecessor.

One thing that I still don’t understand is the work of Andrea Ferro on main vocals sometimes eclipsing Cristina Scabbia’s amazing voice. If you listen carefully to songs like UpsideDown and My Spirit, Cristina’s vocals go to a simple background support where the music fits her true vocal potential better that Andrea’s voice. I believe that even though having Cristina as sole front woman would put Lacuna Coil back on the pack of female front woman movement, that is what best fits the band.

Dark Adrenaline is a step forward on the band’s career and a good effort that put them back on track to their good old dark sound that the band has been known for. They are not going back to their original roots but at least their sound is more mature now. Lacuna Coil will be on tour in North America this February as part of the Gigantour sharing the stage with bands like Megadeth, Motorhead and Volbeat.

Orange Goblin brings A Eulogy For The Damned and talked to The Age Of Metal about it.

Talk about Orange Goblin is talk about of one of the most enduring British heavy metal institutions that has flourish during the past 15 years. This year the band is coming back with their 7th studio record A Eulogy For The Damned, a total trip down to the core of stoner rock, classic rock and heavy metal. The album opens with Red Tide Rising one of the heaviest tracks on the record right next to Acid Trial and Death Of Aquarius. I found amusement on tracks like The Filthy And The Few and Bishop’s Wolf that had some elements of British punk, a genre that ruled the country on the late 60′s and early 70′s.

A Eulogy For The Damned is a fun and enjoyable album, each song has its own character, but together they make the personality of this album, an example that I found out curious is, how the title track of the album A Eulogy For The Damned, sounds like it was out of a Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez movie soundtrack, and songs like The Fog have this total Sabbath aura lurking all over the track. Indeed if you are looking for an enjoyable album that just relax you, Orange Goblin have exactly what you are looking for, if your lucky enough to be in the U.K this spring the boys will be on the road touring, otherwise here in America we might have to wait until next year perhaps.

Last week we had the opportunity to talk with Ben Ward singer of the band, about their new record, Black Sabbath, and their spring UK tour. This is what he told us.

For those one that never heard of you, what is Orange Goblin? And how it came to be?

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Orange Goblin will be releasing their 7th album A Eulogy For The Damned soon, what can you tell us about the album ?

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How was the writing process for this record?

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What are the differences between A Eulogy For The Damned & Healing Through Fire your previous release?

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The song A Eulogy To The Damned sounds like came out from a Tarantino movie soundtrack, Have you ever thought on put your music on movies?

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Orange Goblin got their musical influence from Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy and other great metal bands, after the announce in November of a new Black Sabbath record and a reunion tour, what would you expect on their new record?

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This is your first release with Candlelight Records, how has been the relationship with the label so far?

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Orange Goblin is gonna be touring the United Kingdom this coming April, what the UK fans can expect on those shows?

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Last time Orange Goblin toured the United States was on May/June last year. Are there any plans to comeback to America anytime soon?

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What is next for Orange Goblin?

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Lamb of God- Resolution (2012)

 

Lead singer of Lamb of God, Randy Blithe sure finds himself busy these days with his proclamations of running for president in the 2012 campaign and the release of a new album, but somehow he manages to do it and blow everyone away while doing so.

Lamb of God fans, old and new will find something to enjoy in their lasted album release, Resolution. Their last release, 2009’s Wrath was good, but many felt that it wasn’t as great as it could have been. After the slight disappointment with Wrath, fans had wondered if Lamb of God had hit the wall and were ready to fade out, but Resolution completely destroys any notion that this band has reached any kind of limit. Resolution undoubtedly revamps their sound and shows that this band is far from fading out into oblivion. This band of brothers from Richmond, Virginia continues to show that they kick ass and are here to stay as one of the most success bands to come from the New Wave of American Metal scene.

Resolution’s first song on the album, “Straight For The Sun,” is like jumping into a pool, starting off with a heavy breath and then taking off into some of the heaviest riffs recorded since “Vigil.” Randy Blithe’s signature vocals dominate the album, but in particular with “Straight For The Sun,” his vocals are much grittier, perfectly complimenting the heavy riffs. Randy, showing that he is just as versatile as the band even sings on this album on “Insurrection.” Resolution is filled with Pantera-esuqe guitar solos and driving drums and songs like their single “Ghost Walking,” keep with the southern rock feel. It starts off with a solo guitar riff that breaks into some of their signature sound shortly after, but keeping that main idea going throughout the song. If you haven’t already heard “Ghost Walking” and already found out that it is very catchy, then it’s sure to be a song that sticks with you after the first listening. “Cheated” harkens to a punk/thrash sound which is sure to get people up and moshing and please some of those who have been with the band since their inception. The last track on the album “King Me” definitely illustrates how Lamb of God is pushing forward into uncharted territory for the band with an orchestrated back ground and spoken word lyrics interspersed between the bands typical vocals and riffs. Perhaps my favorite part of the album is the fact that “King Me” ends on the same breath that kicks the album off in “Straight For The Sun.”

Overall, Resolution is a great release from Lamb of God that really expands on an already well-crafted sound. Keeping with the idea shown in the cover art for the CD, Resolution holds with the theme of desolation, emptiness and destruction. Not surprising from the band that released “Hourglass” and whose lead singer has joked about becoming the next president and saving the country from its desolate state, the lyrics definitely have politically driven feel to them with songs like “Desolation,” “Guilty,” and “The Undertow.” This album has a great balance if the old sound that everyone has come to love about Lamb of God, but definitely shows that they are by no means down for the count and that they have much more territory to cover in the frontier of American heavy metal.

Resolution Track List:

  1. Straight For The Sun*
  2. Desolation
  3. Ghost Walking*
  4. Guilty
  5. The Undertow*
  6. The Number Six
  7. Barbarosa
  8. Invictus
  9. Cheated*
  10. Insurrection*
  11. Terminally Unique
  12. To The End
  13. Visitation
  14. King Me*

* Personal favorites (:

Sven de Caluwé of Aborted talks with the Age of Metal.

Last week we got a chance to speak with Sven de Caluwé of Aborted. We talked about their new album Global Flatline, the change of members and how it has affected the band, his opinion on streaming online music, Aborted’s new video The Origin Of Disease and the future tour plans of the band.

Check the interview out here.