Candlemass, Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm 2022)

Legendary doom metal band Candlemass release their thirteenth studio album, Sweet Evil Sun.

One of the earliest and most influential doom bands to ever rise, Candlemass formed in Sweden in the early 1980s. Few question the significance of the band’s first full-length album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986), and, for me, it is a record I can return to time and again with no loss of awe. I greet each new Candlemass release with a sort of luxurious expectancy, and I have never been disappointed. The most recent long-player, The Door To Doom (2019), continues to get regular spins in the den, and there is no doubt Sweet Evil Sun will receive the same treatment. Candlemass is Johan Lanquist (vocals), Lars Johansson (guitar), Mappe Björkman (guitar), Leif Edling (bass), Janne Lind (drums).

The characterizing elements of the music are massive guitar riffs, sweeping melodic vocals, and mesmerizing lead guitar work. The choruses tend to be memorable, even catchy, and the reliable structure of the songs creates anticipation in a state of recurring temporal existence that is unswervingly rewarded.

The first of nine songs is “Wizard of the Vortex.” It opens with a clobbering riff that is tense and foreboding. When Johan Lanquist begins to sing, the trepidation grows. An early guitar flourish sinks the hooks in deep enough for measurable permanence so that when the instrument returns halfway through you are ready for the bigger presentation. The opening thunder returns, and the music moves toward its resolution. It is clear we are on the path. The next track is the title piece, and I have heard it before because it was released earlier as a single. This song shows clearly what the album, in its completely unfurling, will reveal.

“Angel Battle” is one of the heaviest pieces on the record, and that gives it high starting marks. After the intriguing dirge-like opening, the guitars turn more active, pressing the advance. “Black Butterfly” similarly inspires dread, calling forth some of the vibes I remember from the first time I heard Rainbow’s “Gates Of Babylon,” but with the signature Candlemass guitar sound and expression. “Goddess” is the final song, appropriately mournful. The last word is the short yet formidable outro piece “A Cup of Coffin.” The album is excellent. It is exactly what I was expecting and hoping to hear. Highly recommended.

Sweet Evil Sun is out now through Napalm Records. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.

Band photo by Linda Akerberg.

Links.

Candlemass website, https://candlemass.se/

Bandcamp, https://candlemass.bandcamp.com/album/sweet-evil-sun

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

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/candlemass

© Wayne Edwards

Candlemass, Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm 2022)

Photo Gallery: Warbringer at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Warbringer is touring with Max & Iggor Cavalera. These photos are from their appearance in Indianapolis at The Vogue. Hit the link below for the full review and photos of the other bands.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Full FFMB review, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/12/max-iggor-cavalera-warbringer-and-healing-magic-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

Warbringer, https://warbringer.bandcamp.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Warbringer at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Paddy and the Rats, From Wasteland To Wonderland (Napalm Records 2022)

Pirate polka punks Paddy and the Rats hit the high seas again for new adventures on From Wasteland To Wonderland.

Formed around 2008 in Hungary, Paddy and the Rats plays a type of polka punk you might expect to hear from Irish exile bands, with a specific and deliberate focus on a shanty vibe. The band is big, and it needs to be with all the instruments deployed: Paddy O’Reilly (vocals, guitar), Sam McKenzie (fiddle, bagpipe, banjo, whistles), Bernie Bellamy (accordion), Joey MacOnkay (guitar), Vince Murphy (bass), and Seamus Conelly (drums). From Wasteland To Wonderland is the band’s sixth full-length album, and it is the crest of the wave.

There are thirteen rousing tunes on the new record, appropriately beginning with “Wasteland” and ending with “Wonderland.” The opener is up-tempo and peppily scored with catchy refrains and a sing along chorus. The music is guitar driven, but there is so much more going on you can lose track of that aspect, and if you do it is because the rest is so enchanting. “Ship Will Sail” comes next in the set, and, if anything, it is more on brand than the first song. Truly, when I think of Paddy and the Rats, this is this song that will pop in my head first.

“After The Rain” and “Everybody Get Up” were released earlier as singles, and “Party Like a Pirate” was the lead at the street date for the album. The entire album is very much party music so that fits right in. There are a few slower songs, but mostly these are ale-pounding anthems. If you want to get in a good mood or if you are already in a good mood and you want to keep it rolling, this is the album for you. Recommended.

From Wasteland To Wonderland is out now through Napalm Records.

Links.

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

Website, https://www.paddyandtherats.hu/

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

Napalm Records, https://label.napalmrecords.com/paddy-and-the-rats/

© Wayne Edwards

Paddy and the Rats, From Wasteland To Wonderland (Napalm Records 2022)

Destruction, Diabolical (Napalm Records 2022)

German thrash legends Destruction celebrate forty years of mayhem with their fifteenth studio album, Diabolical.

The story of Destruction stretches back to 1982 when they first operated as Knight Of Demon. Quickly changing their name to the more familiar current one, the 1984 demo the band put out shook things up. Infernal Overkill (1985) and Eternal Devastation (1986) followed quickly, and when the Mad Butcher EP dropped in 1987, Destruction was on a path that could not be denied.

There have been a few shakeups in the lineup lately with the notable departure of co-founder Mike Sifringer last year. As disruptive as that could have been, Destruction pressed on and has created an excellent new album. On Diabolical, founding bassist and vocalist Schmier (Marcel Schirmer) is joined by Martin Furia (guitar), Randy Black (drums), and Damir Eskić (guitar).

Talking about the new album, Martin Furia said, “Diabolical is an album of extremes, everything is more brutal and more technical but at the same time more melodic and to the point. It’s a pure and devastating Destruction album with no gimmicks, full of power and adrenaline.” Some of that sounds a little contradictory, but it is not at all. The speed is furious, the technical performance is flawless, and the songs are filled with hooks and great choruses.

“Under The Spell” wakes the music gently, then builds on a march toward the rampage that is “Diabolical.” The Destruction sound is there – the pace, the shreds, the voice. This is everything fans are looking for. One great track after another follows, with stand-outs like “Hope Dies Last” and “The Last Of A Dying Breed.”

Other favorites for me are “Tormented Soul” as it has a powerful clomping pace that hammers a heavy tone in hard, and “Servant Of The Beast” that offers a careening wallop that’ll take your breath away. The closer is a cover, “City Baby Attacked By Rats,” that brings a little hardcore into the mix. I didn’t see that one coming. All signs point to Destruction being on pace to ravage the stage for years to come. Highly recommended.

Diabolical is out now through Napalm Records. Hard copies are available is many forms, and streaming can be had at all the usual places.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://destruction.bandcamp.com/album/diabolical

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

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/destruction

© Wayne Edwards.

Destruction, Diabolical (Napalm Records 2022)

Wolftooth, Blood and Iron (Napalm Records 2021)

The third album from Wolftooth is their best yet: Blood and Iron.

Wolftooth is from Indiana. In 2018 they released their first album independently, Wolftooth. The band’s second album came out two years later from Ripple Music, Valhalla. That is when I first heard them, and I was greatly impressed. That album was one of the best I heard last year. The new one is a continuation of epic-scale heavy metal with colossal riffs and melodic vocals embracing lush lead guitar work. It is their best album yet. The band is Jeff Cole (guitars), Johnny Harrod (vocals, drums), Terry McDaniel (bass), and Chris Sullivan (vocals, guitar).

Blood and Iron has nine tracks. A quick look at the cover art and a browse through the song titles will tell you right away that the lyrical themes tilt toward fantasy and epic legend territory. The band has this to say about their new album – “Blood & Iron is the culmination of all the work that we as a band have put into forging our sound over the last four years. Musically, we feel that we’ve honed what works well for us while expanding on what was already there. This album represents a more mature direction, relying on classic heavy metal influence with a strong nod to our proto-metal roots. Lyrically, the album focuses on kings, battle, conquest and myth. These elements together coalesce into a riff-laden slab of heavy metal that we are all proud of.”

What I like especially about this music is the solid layering, the meaty length given to each song, and the lead guitar work which has an urgent quality to go along with is melodic essence. The title track is the perfect example of all this. As much as I liked last year’s Valhalla, I have to say I like the new one even better. The bluesy elements and fuzzy stoner presence is a winning combination with the fantastical lyrical ideas and the epic scale of the compositions. Top marks all around. Highly recommended.

Blood and Iron is out now through Napalm Records. Check out the label’s Wolftooth page, the band’s own site, or Bandcamp to see the available varieties.

Links.

Website, https://wolftoothmetal.com/

Bandcamp, https://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/album/blood-iron

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

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

Wolftooth, Blood and Iron (Napalm Records 2021)

Alien Weaponry, Tangaroa (Napalm Records 2021)

New Zealand metal band Alien Weaponry pull out all the stops on their second long-player, Tangaroa.

From the very beginning it was clear there was something different and very special about the music of Alien Weaponry. It is hard-driving thrash/metal infused with traditional Māori instrumentations and language. The pulsing, charging constructions stand alone in the heavy music universe and comparisons are destined to fail. Over the past decade the band has released a string of EPs and the influential full-length album, (2018). Musicians on Tangaroa are Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong (drums, backing vocals), Lewis Raharuhi de Jong (guitars, lead vocals), and Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds (bass) who recently replaced the departing long-time bassist Ethan Trembath.

There are twelve tracks on the album, opening with “Titokowaru,” a song that highlights the syncopation and powerhouse musical presentations that will characterize the rest of the set. “Hatupatu” expands on the vocal capabilities of band, adding depth with carefully structured layering. “Ahi Kā” takes off in a different, mysterious direction, employing audio captures to the creative vocals and setting them over a lyrical bed and around rousing rhythms.

The title track, “Tangaroa,” is a centerpiece of the album with its socially relevant message and its elegant combination of linear aspects and challenging musical elements prominent in other songs. Really, every song has something about it that memorable and noteworthy from the magnificent opening riff on “Buried Underground” to the ethereal wind instrument on “Īhenga.” The variety and inventiveness in the compositions is enthralling and offers listeners what seems like an endless array of aural experience.

Engaging, original, and 100% authentic metal, Tangaroa is going to be on Year’s Best lists far and wide. Recommended.

Tangaroa is out on Friday September 17th through Napalm Records in CD, digital, and vinyl versions.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://alienweaponry.bandcamp.com/album/tangaroa

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

Alien Weaponry website, http://alienweaponry.com/index.html

Napalm Records, https://label.napalmrecords.com/alien-weaponry

Alien Weaponry, Tangaroa (Napalm Records 2021)

Destruction, Live Attack (Napalm Records 2021)

Legendary German thrash band Destruction release a massive double live album, Live Attack.

Destruction began in the early 1980s and went through a number of stylist and line-up changes over the years. To me and their legions of fans they are a thrash band. If you take a look at their discography it is a little overwhelming. So many long-players, splits, and live albums. Destruction has been a fundamental metal force for decades and they never experienced much of a lull that they didn’t bounce right back from with renewed energy.

Recently, founding guitarist Mike Sifringer left Destruction suddenly and was replaced by Martin Furia, who appears on the newly released single “State of Apathy.” As earth-shaking as this development was, there was never any question about Destruction continuing as a band because they still have a lot of metal in them waiting to come out. The musicians now are Schmier, Randy Black, Damir, and Martin Furia.

Live Attack has twenty rampaging tracks from their livestream performance recorded at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland. They play classics like “Mad Butcher” alongside newer songs such as “Born To Perish” from the recent studio album of the same name. This concert is distinct from last year’s Born To Thrash live album which was taken from a 2019 show. Both are great sets, but the big advantage to the new album is its more comprehensive scope and expansive set list. The playing is crisp and sharp, as always, and the recording capture is top-notch. I have been a thrash fan since thrash began, and I have followed Destruction all along so this new release is a must-listen for the likes for me. Recommended.

The digital version of Live Attack is out now and the vinyl will be shipping in the coming weeks. There is also a CD/Blu Ray set if you want to witness the performance.

Links.

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

Band website, https://www.destruction.de/

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/destruction-live-attack-black-3lp.html

Destruction, Live Attack (Napalm Records 2021)

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)

Crypta, a metal band reaching across the globe from Brazil to the Netherlands, release their first full-length album, Echoes Of The Soul.

Composed of former members of Nervosa, Burning Witches, and Hagbard, Crypta brings forth the Death Metal like no other. The band is Fernanda Lira (bass and vocals), Sonia Anubis (guitar), Tainá Bergamaschi (guitar), and Luana Dametto (drums). Together they form a whomping juggernaut fit to crack your bones.

You don’t hear a lot of female vocalists in heavy music, especially ones rolling out coarse deliveries. An obvious example is Butcher Babies, of course, and Dopethrone, but thinking of others requires some reflection. Crypta leans more toward the Black Metal hiss side of Death Metal vocalizations, hailing the dark and menacing.

There are nine songs and an into bit on Echoes Of The Soul. “Starvation” starts off at a full sprint. The percussion is insidious, the riffs contentious, and the vocals are threatening. That is a good combination. The lead break runs the range of steady to hyper in a display of possibilities. “Possessed” follows and is more theatrical in a Phantom of the Opera kind of way. Wicked and eerie, it is, with a sorrowful lead.

“Under The Black Wings” stands out to me for the heaviness and darkness of its composition. You have a real sense of witnessing an inevitable calamity when you hear it. I really like “Dark Night Of The Soul” as well for its incredible lead guitar work and the closer, “From The Ashes” might be the song to either open or end the show on tour because it has a burning energy that can work at both perspectives. This is a different kind of Death Metal and well worth your attention. Recommended.

Echoes Of The Soul is out now and available all around.

Links.

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

Website, https://www.cryptaofficial.com/

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

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/crypta

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)

Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

Monster Magnet comes out with a cover album of psychedelic songs you have probably never heard before.

The legendary Monster Magnet was formed in New Jersey on the cusp of the nineties. Creating an innovative fuzzy sound that sparked memories of the psychedelic past, Spine Of God (1991) and Superjudge (1993) are now classics that set the stage for the popular success of Dopes To Infinity (1995) with the radio hit “Negasonic Teenage Warhead.” Best remembered in the mind of society afterwards for Powertrip (1998) and Mastermind (2010), Monster Magnet has always created music on their own terms. The band is founder Dave Wyndorf (vocals) along with Phil Caivano (guitar), Garret Sweeny (guitar), Alec Morton (bass), and Bob Pantella (drums).

You never know for sure what the next Monster Magnet album is going to be like. The Last Patrol came out in 2013 and then the very next year the band released a “re-imagining” of that album, Milking The Stars, with substantially altered arrangements. Then in 2015 Mastermind got a make-over with Cobras And Fire in a similar fashion. Mindfucker (2018) was tailored for the wild turn the world took in 2016 and now we have A Better Dystopia, a collection of covers that many fans will be entirely unfamiliar with. Consider this: Is it a cover tune to the listener if they never heard the original?

An odd choice, this album, but a bold and brilliant one. Drawing mainly from psychedelic-styled work from a by-gone era, the songs chosen by Wyndorf and crew have a contemporary resonance. Some of these were new to me and are genuine deep pulls. Here is the track list to marvel at: “The Diamond Mine” (Dave Diamond), “Born to Go” (Hawkwind), “Epitaph for a Head” (J. D. Blackfoot), “Solid Gold Hell” (The Scientists), “Be Forewarned” (The Macabre), “Mr. Destroyer” (Poo-Bah), “When the Wolf Sits” (Jerusalem), “Death” (Pretty Things), “Situation” (Josephus), “It’s Trash” (The Cave Men), “Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)” (Table Scraps), “Learning to Die” (Dust), and “Welcome to the Void” (Morgen).

The song that interested me most was Dust’s “Learning To Die.” I love Dust and this song in particular has always been one of my favorites. Like all the music on this album – and every album by Monster Magnet – energy and passion blazes through no matter the tempo or perspective. Expect fuzzed-up heavy psychedelic stoner rock. First listen to this album all the way through, then go out and dig up the originals. It is a trip comparing the new versions with the way-back-whens. Highly recommended.

A Better Dystopia is out now in myriad forms to please each and every one of the people of the Earth.

Links.

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/monstermagnet

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

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

Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)

Returning with their first album in eight years, Evile lands hard and hits the ground running.

The band’s first full-length album came out in 2007, Enter The Grave. From the initial riffs of the title track you could tell you were in for some heads-down thrash. There was a new album every couple of years after that until 2013 when Skull came out. A few line-up changes have occurred over the years and the band is now Ol Drake (vocals and guitar), Ben Carter (drums), Joel Graham (bass), and Adam Smith (guitar).

There are nine big tracks on the album beginning with the blistering “Paralysed.” This is exactly what I was hoping for – high speed attack in guitars and percussion, ravaging vocals, and a maniacal lead break. Ah, thrash. “Gore” is next and it is another blasting ripper. “Incarcerated” gives a short breather at its front but it does not hold a quiet line. These front three make an excellent impression.

My favorite songs are probably the title track, which anchors the album, and “The Thing (1982).” These both hit me on a fundamental level and played directly into my earliest love of heavy music, which is straight-up thrash. In addition to the speed and technical acumen that flows freely from the songs, they both also have additional depths and turns that sink the metal in deep.

The album has a couple of surprises. There is a guest appearance by Brian Posehn who is best known as a comedian and has in recent years been getting involved in heavy music because of his lifelong love of metal. Then there is the cover of the Mortician song “Zombie Apocalypse.” That’s something different for Evile. This new set has the craft and style fans have embraced over the years. It delivers savage thrash on every level. Recommended.

Hell Unleashed is out now. In the UK hit the band’s website. For EU, Napalm Records’ site works great and Bandcamp is the best bet in the US.

Links.

Website, https://www.evilecult.com/

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

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

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/evile

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)