Soulfly, Totem (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Soulfly returns with their twelfth album, Totem, and it is another earthshaker.

The beginning of Soulfly dates back to the mid-nineties. After leaving Sepultura, singer and guitarist Max Cavalera started the band, initially playing a kind of nu-metal that integrated influences from diverse sources. As the years passed, the compositions continued to weave in fascinating elements from world music while turning toward thrash and groove metal, and death metal as well. The new record, Totem, makes an even twelve full-length albums from Soulfly, and it is as creative and innovative as any in their canon. Zyon Cavalera (drums) and Mike Leon (bass) join Max Cavalera to create some of the biggest sounds you will hear this year.

The ten-track set opens with “Superstition.” You can sense the rampage coming from a mile off as the sound builds to an explosive level. Max Cavalera’s familiar voice immediately centers you and draws your attention to the mangling configuration. You are trapped by the whirling guitars, and there you stay until the end. “Scouring The Vile” loads next, and there is a seamless continuation into another situation of adrenaline-soaked menace and groove. Fast and chopping, this one breaks you open from the inside out. “Filth Upon Filth” is a tantalizing riot of surges paired with an arc of extra-sensorial guitar sincere enough to vibrate your molars.

These first three songs were released as singles before the full album dropped, and they set the stage perfectly for the rest of the music. There is a lot going on here. Witness “Rot In Pain” as a short ragged punch and compare it to, say, the title track where the groove has a bigger place and the song has a longer and deeper path, generally. Or “Ancestors,” which is itself dramatic and fascinating, with the epic closer, “Spirit Animal” – a song with some similar elements that are developed into a sustained assault and explored in fascinating variety. The perfectly matched segments, if you heard them separately, would seem to be from different songs but here in tandem coalesce into an unforgettable journey. This album is another triumph for Max Cavalera and Soulfly. Highly recommended.

Totem is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Order Totem here, https://www.soulfly.com/totem

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SoulflyOfficial

Nuclear Blast Records, https://www.nuclearblast.com/eu/band/soulfly

© Wayne Edwards

Soulfly, Totem (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Crowbar and Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

It was a big night of monstrous riffs at Piere’s when Crowbar and Spirit Adrift stormed the stage, along with openers Wolftooth, Blood Of Heroes, and Lust Witch.

You know The Riff Beast Tour is well named if you have ever heard Crowbar. As the headliner and anchor of the evening, they provided the biggest, most massive guitar pronouncements. There were many incredible preludes as well when the opening acts were on the stage.

First up was Indianapolis doom band Lust Witch. This trio is working on a new EP called We All Die Alone, and you’ll be able to grab before too long. I love doom metal so this was the perfect way to start the evening as far as I was concerned. The band was already playing when I got inside the venue and I am sorry I missed part of their set because I really liked what I heard.

Danville, Illinois metal band Blood of Heroes came next. Having recently signed with Dark Star Records, they have several up-coming dates to promote their presence and get ready for more roadwork and newly recorded music. They play in a heavy metal groove lane, and put out an energetic live performance. I am looking forward to the follow-up to their debut album Symbolic Voices (AMG).

Wolftooth is from Richmond, Indiana. Their most recent album is Blood & Iron (Napalm Records), and they played several songs from that set. Their record label describes their sound as “offering a colossal slab of genuine, proto-metal influenced heaviness with a deep dose of doom essence and addictive stoner riffage to boot.” I can’t argue with that. Spirit Adrift’s lead singer described them as “corn-fed Iron Maiden,” and certainly their sound can be experienced in the Iron Maiden vein. Whenever you see them on a bill, make sure you get to that show.

I have written about Spirit Adrift regularly since I saw them for the first time at Aftershock in 2019. They are a straight-up heavy metal band with killer hooks and amazing guitar work. Lead singer and guitarist Nate Garrett has an ideal voice for their brand of music, and every time I have seen them has been an occasion. I would go to festival on the strength of them performing there alone. Spirit Adrift has a new EP coming out soon with a couple of originals and a half dozen covers – expect to hear a lot more about that album in this column when it drops.

Crowbar is an iconic sludge metal band. Fronted by the legendary Kirk Windstein, Crowbar has been putting out music for more than thirty years. Zero and Below is their newest album, and it forms the basis for the current Riff Beast Tour. When I was reviewing that record, I wrote, in part, “Windstein’s vocals blast power and energy that combine with the titanic riffs and percussion to forge an instantly recognizable and unforgettable sound.” Somehow, in all my years I had never seen Crowbar live. I don’t know how that is possible, but the situation was remedied on the last day of July in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Crowbar is out for the next few weeks with Spirit Adrift. Both bands continue after that in separate directions for dozens of dates throughout 2022. Go out and see them when they enter your orbit. It’ll be a show you talk about for months to come.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Band Links.

Crowbar, https://crowbar.bandcamp.com/

Spirit Adrift, https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/

Wolftooth, https://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/

Blood Of Heroes, https://www.bloodofheroes.net/

Lust Witch, https://www.facebook.com/Lust-Witch-110221191691214/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

Photo Galleries.

Spirit Adrift, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/06/photo-gallery-spirit-adrift-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Wolftooth, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/05/photo-gallery-wolftooth-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Blood Of Heroes, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/04/photo-gallery-blood-of-heroes-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Lust Witch, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/03/photo-gallery-lust-witch-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Crowbar and Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Photo Gallery: Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Spirit Adrift is the special guest on Crowbar’s Riff Beast Tour. Here are some photos from their performance at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Spirit Adrift, https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist/spirit-adrift

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Photo Gallery: Wolftooth at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Wolftooth was featured on the Crowbar’s Riff Beast Tour performance at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Wolftooth, https://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/

Napalm Records, https://label.napalmrecords.com/wolftooth

FFMB review of Blood & Iron, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2021/12/22/wolftooth-blood-and-iron-napalm-records-2021/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Wolftooth at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Amon Amarth, The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade 2022)

Iconic Viking metal band Amon Amarth have crafted their twelfth album, The Great Heathen Army.

Since 1992, Amon Amarth has been carrying the banner and swinging the sword for Viking metal, an heroic melodic heavy metal style that is wildly popular from sea to sea and icecap to icecap. Releasing a new album every two or three years for the past three decades has made them a reliable source of fresh music for their legions of fans. The new record has nine tales of heroism and conflict set in a savage world and told in the way only Amon Amarth can. The band is Johan Hegg (vocals), Olavi Mikkonen (guitar), Johan Söderberg (guitar), Ted Lundström (bass), and Jocke Wallgren (drums).

The battle begins with “Get in the Ring.” The song has a very ominous set-up to put you in the right frame of mind for the tenacious musical intercourse. Hegg’s gruff vocals cast their familiar spell over the abiding guitar riffs and steady percussion. It is an excellent choice for an opening song as it reminds you how much you like Amon Amarth. The title track follows, and it has a serious tone with a lithe delivery. “Heidrun” takes the baton and charges the field with a romping riff that sounds like the steady movement of a well-appointed army. A catchy chorus makes this song one that will stick in your head. “Oden Owns You All” is a much more aggressive track, with rippling percussion and forceful pattering that enhances the established style and theme.

Overall, the album delivers what the band’s fans are looking for. My favorite track is “Dawn of Norsemen” because it encapsulates the elements I like most about Amon Amarth from the story to the melody to the reliable rhythm section. You might choose a different favorite, but if you have enjoyed the previous albums from Amon Amarth, I think we will agree that the new one gets high marks. Recommended.

The Great Heathen Army is out now through Metal Blade Records in a variety of forms. Make your choices at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://amonamarth.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-heathen-army

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/amonamarth/

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/releases/amon-amarth-the-great-heathen-army/

© Wayne Edwards

Amon Amarth, The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade 2022)

Photo Gallery: Blood of Heroes at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Blood Of Heroes joined Crowbar on The Riff Beast Tour for the show at Piere’s in Fort Wayne last Sunday night.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Blood Of Heroes, https://www.bloodofheroes.net/

Dark Star Records, https://darkstarrecords.net/artists/blood-of-heroes/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Blood of Heroes at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Coscradh, Nahanagan Stadial (Invictus 2022)

The debut full-length album from Dublin’s Coscradh is a menacing dark wonder.

Formed in Ireland in 2015, Coscradh is a death metal band that integrates black metal and doom elements to produce profoundly heavy music. They have released a demo and a couple of EPs over the years, and now they present their first long-player, Nahanagan Stadial.

The title of the album refers to a time in history usually called the Younger Dryas in the US. It is thought to be a time of cataclysm, with meteor impacts and coronal mass ejections from the sun causing the sudden onset of a short-lived ice age that destroyed civilizations across the globe. In Ireland, these events wreaked havoc, decimating the population and driving them off. Keep this in mind when you listen to the album, because that is what it’s about.

The set opens with the title track. It sounds like a catastrophe is underway. You can hear and feel the destruction; if you close your eyes you can see it. Guitar riffs impact you like granite slabs dropped from a great height, pulverizing your senses. The vocalizations are warnings that come too late. The lead guitar describes the rending of reality, and the grimy end to your own existence. The track is ten minutes long and there is no respite at any point.

“Feast of the Epiphany” follows and it is more actively aggressive, like an attack. You might say this track leans more in on the death metal side than doom, and ends in screaming. “Plagues of Knowth” offers a similar pace, even faster, in fact. The music breaks into chaos in the second half and your ability to reason flees as well. “Cladh Hàlainn” is a black metal upheaval, a rattling so severe its echoes might never leave your ears.

The record ends on the twelve-minute epic “Feallaire Dóite.” The mass of the doom in this song has a planetary equivalent. There are pace changes throughout, and magnitude of the musical presence remains dense. For a time, you can hear the howling wind of the ice age grow and the whispering of lost souls freezing in their places of ethereal torment. The is album is a dark destructive wonder. Recommended.

Nahanagan Stadial is out on Friday, August 5th through Invictus productions. Stream sample tracks for free and buy the album at the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://coscradh.bandcamp.com/album/nahanagan-stadial

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Coscradh/

Invictus Productions, https://invictusproductions.net/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Coscradh, Nahanagan Stadial (Invictus 2022)

Photo Gallery: Lust Witch at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Indianapolis doom band Lust Witch was one of the opening acts for the Crowbar stop on the Riff Beast Tour at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I got to the show just as they were finishing their set so I was only able to get a couple of snaps. Photo galleries of the other bands and a show recap coming in the next couple days.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Lust Witch, https://www.facebook.com/Lust-Witch-110221191691214/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Lust Witch at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Abaddon Incarnate, The Wretched Sermon (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Irish grindcore band Abaddon Incarnate release their sixth album, The Wretched Sermon.

Abaddon Incarnate started out in the early nineties, and even before that under a different name. They broke ground with black metal and death metal, evolving over time toward the grindcore side of the field. It has been eight years since their last long-player, Pessimist, and fans are more than ready for new music. The band is Steve Maher (vocals, guitar), Bill Whelan (guitar), Irene Siragusa (bass), and Olan Parkinson (drums).

There are thirteen tracks on the new album, mostly in the short and savage territory. To wit, “Rising Of The Lights,” which opens the show. It is bewilderingly aggressive at the jump, with screeching vocals and positively pummeling percussion. “Veritas,” at seventy-seven seconds, is even more to the point. It is amazing how much the musicians can pack into to such a compact delivery vessel, from the squealing guitar instantiations to the insistent pulsing bass, the music is designed to disrupt.

With so many short, fast, loud songs, you might worry they’ll all run together, but they absolutely don’t. “Gateways,” one of my top picks from the album, has a killer lead break and a dire, eerie atmosphere unique to it – no other track on the album sounds like it at all. “Parasite” breaks sour and twists you up while “Into The Maelstrom” is a slight of hand behind a dark veil that raises a sense of terror throughout. Great song. “Resurrected From A Mass Grave” has a delightfully caustic groove.

The brevity works to advantage, overall – get in, do it, get out. “Isolation And Decay” is a long piece that stands apart because of its size and, more importantly, due to its unique construction. The song contains a few movements and pace shifts, although the intent itself never dissipates even when the sounds move from valley to mountain to sea. The last word is “Silent Indifference,” and it takes the set out on a howl. Killer track.

If you haven’t heard Abaddon Incarnate yet, it is time to get with it. Start here, because this album will shake you up. Recommended.

The Wretched Sermon is out on Friday, August 5th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Touch the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://abaddonincarnateband.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/abaddonincarnate

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Abaddon Incarnate, The Wretched Sermon (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Grave Bathers, Rock N Roll Fetish (Seeing Red 2022)

Philadelphia psychedelic stoner band Grave Bathers regale the world with their debut album, Rock N Roll Fetish.

Since 2018, Grave Bathers have been delighting the stoner rock/metal crowd with mood- and mind-altering music. Their combination of doom, groove, and even boogie produces an alluring aural argument for even more of the same – once you start listening, you don’t want to stop. The band is Drew Robinson (vocals), Jaret Salvat-Rivera (guitar), Steve Capitanio (guitar), Davis M. Shubs (bass), and Sean Lafferty (drums).

The album is massive, with twelve tracks mostly running over six minutes each. The opener “Ghost Em All” is an excellent example of what to expect. A peppy, rockin’ riff up front, a dooming slow down with a killer lead guitar break, then a shift back in the to more up-tempo rock-n-riff posture. And then little guitar-driven boogie side of fries to go along with that. Damn.

So, each song is a journey, but they certainly are not all the same. “Brain Thief” starts with a craftsman riff that is a thing of beauty. The vocals are spacier here than in the first song, and a generally more psychedelic feel obtains. O, and there is a wild drum solo in the middle. “The Mole” stalks into different terrain altogether with an eerie, slow intro that builds into monstrous doom riffs then turns melancholy before exploding as the end nears. “Tarman Cometh” sounds at first like a straight-up doom treatise but careens into Clutch territory. The patterns are dissolving, if they were ever there at all. When the title track rolls, I finally stop trying to anticipate what will be next because this could be Dr. John sitting in on a doom session and I did not see that coming. Fantastic.

I could go on and on here, but I think you are getting the idea and it is better if you go right to listening to it instead of reading more of my musings on the subject. This is a grooving doom album with inventive, unstoppable guitars, astonishing percussion, and, if I haven’t mentioned it yet, amazing bass lines. I don’t think I will never get tired of hearing this record. Recommended.

Rock N Roll Fetish is out on Friday, August 5th through Seeing Red Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://gravebathers-us.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/gravebathers

Seeing Red Records, https://www.seeingredrecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Grave Bathers, Rock N Roll Fetish (Seeing Red 2022)