Photo Gallery: Drummers, Part 2

Anthrax, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Armored Saint, Versailles, Ohio
Black Veil Brides, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Dopethrone, Heavy Montreal
Goatwhore, Higher Ground, Burlington
Halestorm, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Incantation, Piere’s, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Tennessee Metal Devastation
Voivod, Pure Filth Festival

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Drummers, Part 2

Ashen Horde, Antimony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Progressive blackened death metal band Ashen Horde summon essences from the beyond for their fourth long-player, Antimony.

Initially, Ashen Horde was a one-man band, but since its beginning the line-up has expanded to Trevor Portz (guitar, clean vocals), Stevie Boiser (harsh vocals), Robin Stone (drums), and Igor Panasewicz (bass). With at least seven EPs and three previous long-players in their catalogue, the band has a lot to offer. The new record expands and deepens the musicians’ legacy, moving them closer to the vanguard of contemporary metal.

After a short intro, “The Throes of Agony” is the ice breaker. At the beginning, the music feels like a battering from a rock hammer – on the pointy end. The weight of the metal accelerated by the swing assists in the deep penetration of the probing end. The lead guitar break is surprisingly lyrical, and the riffs have an underhanded hookiness to them. The vocals are half-hissed. When the elements are brought together this way, the blast beats enter easily and the gruff vocals, when they arrive, are perfectly in place. Excellent. “The Consort” brings its own introduction, which distracts from the cliff you are walking toward. The music reminds me of a dark carnival in many places. But then in the second half, there is a long guitar break that brings on nostalgia for metal from the past. The dueted vocals are a surprise.

Not counting the intro bit and the short “bonus” track at the end, there are eight longish songs on the album. Each is a combination of different genre lanes, assembled carefully for impact and consistency. Listening to the entire album is an unusual experience because, despite the angular differences in the pieces – both within and between – it all fits and flows so nicely together. “The Barrister” is an excellent example of this by itself. There is not much dissonance, although you will find it in places, like on “The Neophyte.” Overall, this is a great metal album that will have a broader appeal than I at first imagined. Recommended.

Antimony is out on Friday, January 27th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Tons of great merch and format variants are available for this release through the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ashenhordeband.bandcamp.com/album/antimony-black-death-metal

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Ashen Horde, Antimony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

European death metallers Dead Will Walk brand the pages of history with their latest music, A New Day Of Dawning.

It has been six years since Dutch death metal band Dead Will Walk released new music. Their first published work was a split with Entrapment in 2017 followed in that same year by their debut EP Unleash The Dead. Fans have been on tenterhooks ever since. The good news is A New Day Of Dawning will certainly sate their musical thirst. The band is Patrick de Vaal (guitar), Sander Vos (vocals, drums), and Rick Schonewille (bass).

There are six tracks on the new EP. “Raise the Horde” leads the way. It has a military feel to it, and, while the music fits firmly in the ranks of death metal, I enjoyed a nice flush of black metal rippling beneath the skin. “Nightscreams” is a paint peeler, with surging punk energy and a raking vocal delivery that matches perfectly the lyrics. The horror vibe is real and pulsing, saturated in the dark music. I anticipated a heavy dooming vault for “Concrete Wombs,” but the song turns out to be very active and it has a smashing nature to go along with the doom vibery and massive heaviness. The shifts are regular and sometimes sharp. It is like walking through a dungeon and discovering new terrors around each corner.

“From Moving Grounds” continues the contemplative slugging from the end of side one and takes it even deeper. There is a long heavy chop at center stage, contained by the established undulating moat. “Day of Dawning” is positively aerobic for long patches, accepting tinge and tint from other regards to complete the picture. The set finishes with “Headstone Tales.” My favorite track on the album, this anchor piece is a massacre at midnight, incorporating all the best elements the band has showed off so far and seamlessly integrating them into a dark anthem. Once you reach the end, your first thought will be that you must hear it again. Recommended.

A New Day Of Dawning is out on Friday, January 27th through Dawnbreed Records. Check it out at the links below.

Band photo by Ronald van de Baan.

Links.

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

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

Dawnbreed Records, https://www.dawnbreed.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

Slog, Divination (Morbid and Miserable 2023)

Los Angeles doom duo Slog render dark rituals and bring forth a bleak harvest on their second album, Divination.

Slog is Nicholas Turner (strings) and Jared Moran (drums, vocals). These two prolific musicians created the Graves album in 2021 as the first instantiation of Slog. Grim tidings that one was, and no mistake. They return now with disturbing music to menace your waking moments and trouble your dreams.

“Illuminated Expansion” begins like a dark lullaby, quiet and creepy. The music twists increasingly as the bars pass, souring, metastasizing. Two minutes in the doom droops like a cloudburst. The creepy tones continue, and the vocals are a grating groan from the pits of the netherworld. The song continues, and transforms – it speeds up, infuses a lead break, and takes new ground, ultimately ending on a screaming crescendo. Next, we hear “Synthesis Sequencer,” and it starts off completely differently, choosing an all-guns-blazing entrance and flesh-raking riffs. Doom does hit in this track, but the tempo never slows to the level of the opener. “Creeping Flora” takes us down a different path, offering black metal at the doorstep and a heavy press thereafter, underpinned by a knowing clomp. The way heavy styles are mixed and integrated in these songs accentuate a delightful musical wickedness.

More enchantments await as the set continues. Each song breeds new interest and engages a broad range of ideas demonstrating over and again the immediacy and pliancy these compositions embrace. The journey is inveigling in a way, as it always finds an avenue that is irresistible. “Theurgy Equinox” stands out for its ethereal guitar and haunting vocals while “Labyrinth Amulet” is a straight-up terrorizer. “Eucharistic Purification” is the final word and the longest track on the album. It might also be the most schizophrenic. The extended quiet closing moments work an hypnotic effect. Recommended.

Divination is out on Friday, January 13th through Morbid and Miserable Records and Transylvanian Recordings. Have a look for yourself at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://morbidandmiserable.bandcamp.com/album/divination

Morbid and Miserable Records, https://morbidandmiserable.storenvy.com/

Transylvanian Recordings, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Slog, Divination (Morbid and Miserable 2023)

Hate Forest, Innermost (Osmose Productions 2022)

Prolific Ukrainian black metal band Hate Forest release their sixth album, Innermost.

Formed in 1995, Hate Forest spent a few years on the stage before issuing a triplet of EPs in 2000-2001. They solidified their place in black metal history by releasing four strong long-players in the first half of the same decade, and then they drifted apart for a while. Fast forward to 2020 and the full force return with the resounding record Hour of the Centaur. And now we have Innermost. On the record label’s page for the new release, there is the note that “Hate Forest is R.” Presumably, that is a reference to Roman Saenko, suggesting this music is his solo creation.

There are six tracks on the new record, starting off with “Those Who Howl Inside the Snowstorm.” The song begins like the opening of a window on a dark winter day. The storm from the title is outside, but now it is coming in, and its speed and intensity is growing with each passing moment. The usual black metal approach is turned askance, tuned in a somewhat different direction. Likewise, the vocals, which preserve at times the black metal expectation but otherwise introduce amalgamation and crossover sorcery. “By Full Moon’s Light Alone the Steppe Throne Can Be Seen” equals the intensity and presses it even further. Two minutes in, we hit an acoustic cliff that resets the tempo then marches off at a charging gate that is less of a frenzy but still most menacing. All of this and the music is only really beginning.

Throughout the album, the compositions stir emotions that are primitive and enduring, ones often buried deep. The guitars seem to bite into your flesh and the music could very well be an agent of change. The final track, “Solitude In Starry December,” is among my favorites. It has a patient set-up – the vocals enter only after about three minutes – and the endgame is not fully revealed until it is reached. The album is concise and memorable because it is so excellently constructed. Recommended.

Innermost is out now through Osmose Productions in many formats. Press the link below for all the details.

Links.

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/people/Hate-Forest/100050494209434/

Osmose Productions, https://osmoseproductions-label.com/hate-forest-innermost/

© Wayne Edwards

Hate Forest, Innermost (Osmose Productions 2022)

Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant, Split (HPGD 2022)

Black metal madness times two is laid bare on the Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant split.

Pagan Rites is a black metal band from Sweden that has been punishing the world with their heresies since 1992. They specialized in EPs and demos in the early days, but more recently have published a massive barrage of full-length albums. The band contributes two songs on the split.

First up is “Pain of the Flesh.” The song has a theatrical opening that slowly gains a more sinister purchase, laying into hooks that hold on while the vocals claw at you. Ultimately a pummeling ensues, replaced at last with gentler tones that remain, nevertheless, threatening. The other track is “Sign of the Horn,” and it leans a bit in the punk direction, setting it in feisty juxtaposition to its partner. Nicely done.

Vulcan Tyrant, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, had a strong beginning in 2005, then took a break for more than a decade just two years later. Concentrating on splits with other bands, Vulcan Tyrant did release one long-player in 2021, Vulcanocide. Like Pagan Rites, they add two tracks to the album.

“Invocation Of The Lion-Headed Serpent” is set up with a more old school arrangement than the other band’s songs, and its recording is decidedly different – more distant and echoing. It is speedy, thrashing. “Vexed By A Wicked Nightmare,” then, has a grand sound as its herald. The pace turns blistering after only a few bars, and then it is mainly in line with its forerunner.

Originally released by Take This Torch Records in 2021, the split is now available from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions in digital and CD forms. Hit the links below. If you don’t have this already, the HPGD release is a ghastly find. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/split-12

Pagan Rites Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PaganRites

Vulcan Tyrant Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/VulcanTyrant/

Horror Pain Gore Death, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant, Split (HPGD 2022)

Abysmal Lord, Bestiary Of Immortal Hunger (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Abysmal Lord let out the beast on their third full-length album, Bestiary Of Immortal Hunger.

New Orleans has a metal scene that both destroys and innovates. Fitting right in, Abysmal Lord has tracked loud and offensive metal since their first demo back in 2013. Their previous two long-players, Disciples of the Inferno (2015) and Exaltation of the Infernal Cabal (2019), are surrounded by a sea of EPs, with a live record and a split in there for good measure. Their place in the metal scene is secure and their expression is unmuted, never more so than on the new album.

After a creepy ninety second intro, the sinister proceedings get fully going with the barbaric “Satanic Return.” There is a steadying rhythm that the musical violence rides upon during the assault and the vocals, too, offer a kind of reassuring linearity. Caustic other elements bristle and shriek and threaten. “Glowing Baphomet” is an uneasy meeting of speed and sloth, each taking bites out of the other as the song progresses. A noisy lead guitar break rattles membranes and deadens your autonomic responses. “Medo da Morte (yrasor)” is an instruction leading into the feature, “Bestiary of Immortal Hunger.” The title track is nearly groovy in its opening bars, but never fear – chaos does indeed follow. There is a battering blackness that surrounds you, and the guitar becomes a beast that spits burning sulfur.

The album is a pestilence in declaration and retort; a savoring of the wretched and profane. Enjoy particularly the impatience of “Carcass of the Living God” and the vile indifference of “Towering Leviathan” where the music has its own agenda and cares nothing at all for the listener. “Ultra Expulser” is a forbidden curiosity and nearly an epic with its four-minute running time. The final words are in “Deny the Paradise.” Odd and compelling chanting give way to guttural barks and croaks, leading to a local downward spiral and plotting a course toward earsplitting guitar nastiness. It is a delight. Recommended.

Bestiary Of Immortal Hunger is out on Friday, December 30th through Hells Headbangers Records on digital, CD, and cassette, with vinyl to follow early next year. Start the new year on the right hoof by clicking the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://abysmal-lord.bandcamp.com/album/bestiary-of-immortal-hunger

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/people/Abysmal-Lord/100053215632295/

Hells Headbangers Records, http://hellsheadbangers.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Abysmal Lord, Bestiary Of Immortal Hunger (Hells Headbangers 2022)

Black Anvil, Regenesis (Season Of Mist 2022)

New York metal band Black Anvil release their first album in five years, Regenesis.

Black Anvil came together in 2007 at the end of the first lifecycle of New York hardcore band Kill Your Idols. Since then, they have released four full-length albums, a split, and an EP. They are typically described as a black metal band, and while that label does cover part of the story, it also leaves quite a lot out.

There are twelve cuts on the new record. After a solemn intro, black metal riffs and vocals reign on “In Two.” As the song goes on, the style transforms into more of a melodic death metal stance. Dark metal, really. By the end of the song, it has become an explosive amalgamation. “The Bet” follows a similar trajectory while veering less and remaining more caustic overall. It is more of a battering, “The Bet,” and we’re the better for it – a nice sharp punch to keep our attention. “8-bit Terror” is considerably different, making the set hard to clock in a narrow way. The music is expansive, pulsing on a sigmoid wave that is writhing itself.

I found “Silver and Steele” particularly compelling, and I say that meaning to take nothing away from the rest of set. This one, though, found a way in and a way to stay. “Grant Us His Love” is notable for the wrecking ball it will take to your sensibilities. The final song is the title track. It feels like a mantra and a command at the same time. A herald also, you might say, and a reckoning, like the album in total. Recommended.

Regenesis is out now through Season of Mist. Examine the options at the links below.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blackanvil.bandcamp.com/album/regenesis

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

Season Of Mist, https://www.season-of-mist.com/bands/black-anvil/

© Wayne Edwards

Black Anvil, Regenesis (Season Of Mist 2022)

Cannibal Corpse at The Vogue, Indianapolis, December 6, 2022

Cannibal Corpse continued its rampage across North America with at stop in Broad Ripple at The Vogue Theatre.

It was quite the bill: Black Anvil, Immolation, Dark Funeral, and Cannibal Corpse. First up, New York City’s Black Anvil. Riding on a high from the release of their fifth album, Regenesis (Season of Mist), they filled the theater with hair-raising black metal and ravaging guitar mayhem. They played a good chunk of that new album and, judging from the reactions of the crowd, they made a lot of new fans.

Black Anvil

Another well-known New York band, Immolation, took the stage next. This was the second time Immolation had played at The Vogue this year, the first being when they toured with Carcass and Creeping Death in the Spring. Like Black Anvil, they are supporting a new record, Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast). They did several numbers from the new album, and also pulled from their deep history to feature fan favorites off of earlier releases. I was at both Broad Ripple shows this year and I can’t wait to see Immolation again and hear some more unique death metal.

Immolation

Dark Funeral is a black metal band from Sweden that has been darkening the consciousness of listeners for nearly thirty years. Focusing on the occult and dark realms generally, they have legions of loyal fans, many of whom where in the crowd at the show. Their 2022 album, We Are The Apocalypse (Century Media), was reason enough for them to hit the road and show off their wares. To go along with the new songs, they reached all the way to back to 1996 and The Secrets of the Black Arts album to conjure the title track, and then one step further back to their self-titled 1994 EP for “Open The Gates.” I was glad to be in the house for those.

Dark Funeral

I have seen Cannibal Corpse many times, including earlier this year at Blue Ridge Rock Festival, and I will be the first in line to see them again whenever the chance arises. Who has done more to popularize death metal than Cannibal Corpse? Exactly. They are the reason I am a death metal fan today. Since 1995, George Corpsegrinder Fisher has been the voice of the band, and his stage presence is a force to be reckoned with.

Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse

As with the other veteran bands paying at the show, Cannibal Corpse had a metric ton of material to choose from. They hit a number of songs from their latest album, 2021’s Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade), and more than a dozen skull-pummeling classics from one of the most vibrant heavy music canons in existence. I was almost sorry to hear “Hammer Smashed Face” because I knew that meant the end was here. It was an amazing evening with all four bands playing at the top of their form.

Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse

The US leg of the tour is wrapping up this weekend. You can catch Cannibal Corpse in the Spring when they start their European tour in March.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Cannibal Corpse, http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

Immolation, https://www.immolation.info/band

Dark Funeral, https://www.darkfuneral.se/

Black Anvil, https://blackanvil.bandcamp.com/album/regenesis

The Vogue Theatre, https://thevogue.com/

Photo Galleries.

Cannibal Corpse, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/12/09/photo-gallery-cannibal-corpse-at-the-vogue-12-6-2022/

Immolation, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/12/09/photo-gallery-immolation-at-the-vogue-12-6-2022/

Dark Funeral, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/12/09/photo-gallery-dark-funeral-at-the-vogue-12-6-2022/

Black Anvil, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/12/09/photo-gallery-black-anvil-at-the-vogue-12-6-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Cannibal Corpse at The Vogue, Indianapolis, December 6, 2022