Municipal Waste, Electrified Brain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The seventh album from Richmond, Virginia’s Municipal Waste is Electrified Brain.

Municipal Waste just passed the twenty-year mark in their career, and they are just as irreverent and rowdy as they were at the beginning. Tony Foresta (vocals), Ryan Waste (guitar), Philip “Landphil” Hall (bass), Dave Witte (drums), and Nick Poulos (guitar) return now for the seventh long-player amongst the long list of splits and EPs they’ve sown over the years. I always geta kick out of listening to a Municipal Waste record and seeing them live is a party every time. Looking over a few photos of the last show of theirs I attended, I could tell where it was by the brand of beer can flying through the air in half the pics. Carling’s Black Label – name that festival!

There are fourteen short and tight tracks on the new album. Every one of them packs a punch. You just never know from which direction it’ll be coming. The title track is the first song, and the punk and thrash are strong in it. Ripping pace and blistering lead guitar complement perfectly Tony Foresta’s urgent singing. The pace shifts to a groove hook toward the end and lays down an homage. Great start. “Demoralizer” continues without missing a beat on a different thrash trajectory, and “Last Crawl” feels like a high-speed chase. We are rolling now.

Every song is a new crack and always a good ride. Look out for “Ten Cent Beer Night,” “Putting On Errors,” “High Speed Steel,” and “Restless And Wicked.” These are the ones that stood out for me, but you might find you have other favorites instead. We can debate it at the next show.

Municipal Waste at Pure Filth Festival 2022

This new album is one of their best – a great Municipal Waste set. Highly recommended.

Electrified Brain is out on Friday, July 1st through Nuclear Blast Records.

Municipal Waste at Pure Filth Festival 2022
Municipal Waste at Pure Filth Festival 2022

Band photo by Corey Davenport. Live band photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://municipal-waste.bandcamp.com/

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

Municipal Waste website, https://www.municipalwaste.net/

Nuclear Blast Records, https://www.nuclearblast.com/eu/band/municipal-waste

© Wayne Edwards

Municipal Waste at Heavy Montreal 2019
Municipal Waste at Heavy Montreal 2019

Municipal Waste, Electrified Brain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Kreator, Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast 2022)

German thrash legends Kreator are back to shred the bare earth with Hate Über Alles.

Kreator is one of the most prolific and influential European thrash (and speed) metal bands. Taking the name Kreator in 1984 after trying on a few others, they released their first full-length album in 1985, Endless Pain, followed almost immediately (the next year) by Pleasure To Kill. The thrash has flowed ever since as one classic after another was brought forth. It has been five years since the last studio album Gods Of Violence and fans are chomping at the bit for more hair-raising metal. The band is founders Miland “Mille” Petrozza (vocals, guitar) and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil (drums), joined by long-time member Sami Yli-Sirniö (guitar) and relative newcomer Frédéric Leclercq (bass).

There are ten songs and an intro piece, “Sergio Corbucci Is Dead,” on Hate Über Alles, and it breaks out in a dead run on the title track right after the calming ramp. This is Kreator from the first note – a careening juggernaut hellbent on its objective. Blast beats, a commanding bass line, Petrozza telling you the score, and, of course, the blazing, blistering guitar shreds.

Every song is a powerful statement made in metal. “Crush The Tyrants” slows the tempo a bit but keeps in all the heavy. “Strongest Of The Strong” has a melodic take while “Conquer And Destroy” begins with a reflective cadence and inserts battering passages along the way to make its point. “Midnight Sun” employs the beautiful voice of Sofia Portanet to deepen and shade the thrash that surrounds her.

My favorite tracks come toward the end of the album. “Demonic Future” is a dizzying construct with a melodic chorus that ensures the song cannot be forgotten. “Dying Planet” is the final song on the album, and the longest one as well. It feels like the biggest, too, and not just because of its length. The weight of the composition, its tone and theme, and its resolving moments are poignant. This album is going to be a big one for Kreator fans, and it reaches across the aisle to anyone who wants to join in the pit. Recommended.

Hate Über Alles is out now through Nuclear Blast Records in an array of variants and formats.

Links.

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

Website, https://www.kreator-terrorzone.de/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/kreator-hate-ueber-alles.html

© Wayne Edwards

Kreator, Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The new album from Greek symphonic death metal band Septicflesh is Modern Primitive, their eleventh.

Beginning in 1990 with the slightly different name of Septic Flesh, the Greek death metal band released six albums in the next many years. Taking a break in 2003, they returned four years later as Septicflesh, and since then have been back to their founding premise, continuing and expanding the scope of the their dramatic music. Modern Primitive is Septicflesh’s first album in five years, following Codex Omega. The band is Seth Siro Anton (vocals and bass), Christos Antoniou (guitar), Sotiris Anunnaki V (clean vocals and guitar), Psychon (guitar), and Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (drums).

There are nine tracks on the new album. “The Collector” is an ominous beginning for Modern Primitive, with its frightening melody. Even the clean vocals are paired with a crackling dark side. Full, rich compositions, a hallmark of symphonic metal, are on display establishing a theatrical presence and framework, really, for the album. “Hierophant” is a storm rolling across the Adriatic with unstoppable menace. Growls and punishing percussion burn off any remaining illusion, plunging you into “Self-Eater,” a state where you cannot hide from yourself. These songs are tied together in the narrative and, by themselves, create a classical drama.

The album continues with elaborate constructions and emotive metal. Stand-out songs for me are “A Desert Throne” with its stabbing guitar and aggressive footing that the melody is laid over, and “Modern Primitives” because of its pervasive heaviness tag-teaming with royal flourishes. The final track is “A Dreadful Muse.” This song is among the most energetic of the entire bringing a strong finish to an excellent album. Once things got started there was no slowing this metal down. Recommended.

Modern Primitive is out now through Nuclear Blast Records in the usual variety of formats.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://septicflesh.bandcamp.com/album/modern-primitive

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

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

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/Septicfleshoffcial

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/item/groups/51000.1.html?article_group_sort_type_handle=rank&custom_keywords=septicflesh

© Wayne Edwards

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The flipped coin lands on the Black Void side with Antithesis.

Norwegian band White Void plays a luxurious sort of heavy music; bright and melodic. Black Void is looking at the world from a different perspective. Not like Janus, not to me anyway. These two forces exist together. I read this description of Black Void: “a musical equivalent of a punk with a Mohawk fighting a dude in corpse paint.” I’ll take that one, too. White Void put out a successful album last year, and now we have this alternate look on the world from Black Void, Antithesis. The band is Jostein Thomassen (guitar), Tobias Øymo Solbakk (drums), and Lars Are Nedland (vocals, bass).

The music is described more formally as a combination of black metal and punk. Whenever I hear those two mentioned together my mind immediately skips to Venom, but that is not where Black Void goes. There is a punk sensibility throughout, and you can hear black metal twinges, but they are much more subdued. There are many hooks and catchy moments, and there are also frequent melodic passages. The perfect example is “Tenebrism Of Life,” which has gruff vocals and an aggressive guitar attack. I also offers singable moments and toys with pop-punk catchiness. It is an excellent hard-edged song that gets right in your head.

Top picks for me on the album are “It’s Not Surgery, It’s A Knife Fight” and “Void.” Both of these have the kind of punkitude that brightened me up and made me want to punch the air. The final two songs on the set are heavy hitters, too: “Nihil” and “Dadaist Disgust.” The band has talked about the nihilist aspects (Nietzsche) and the influence of Dadaism on this set. If you are looking for it, go to the end and work your way back toward the beginning. You will not be disappointed. I don’t know what White Void fans will think of Black Void, but I think this record is great. Recommended.

Antithesis is out on Friday, May 27th through Nuclear Blast Records. More info at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blckvod.bandcamp.com/album/antithesis

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/black-void-antithesis.html

© Wayne Edwards

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Watain, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Notorious black metal band Watain release their seventh studio album on an unsuspecting world, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain.

It has been almost twenty-five years that Watain has stalked the earth now. This black metal band from Sweden has a reputation like no other, building loyal fans from all over the world by creating unique dark music with no compromises. Their first full-length album, Rabid Death’s Curse (2000), was a sign to anyone who wanted to read it, and the promises made then are fulfilled with every new set.

Anyone who has seen Watain live surely has a story about the experience. It is a journey bathed in darkness. The band has found a way to capture the live experience more essentially than ever before with the new album, which was itself recorded live in the studio, where founding members Erik Danielsson, Håkan Jonsson, and Pelle Forsberg, were joined by Alvaro Lillo, Hampus Eriksson, and Emil Forcas.

“Ecstasies In Night Infinite” breaks through the veil first with an unrelenting, monstrous assault. The combination of the roaring speed with cascading riffs overlaid by a black lace of cogent lyrical hooks is a structure that stands up to the many twists and turns presented. The vocals are coarse and intimately discernable; the lead breaks are savage and crackling. Watain stands alone in the way they combine dark, heavy elements into music that is approachable in the groove and complex on every individual layer as well as in the spaces between them. Just listen and you will hear it in every song.

“The Howling” is next, and it offers us more of everything from other angles we hadn’t contemplated before. The groove is seductive and black metal is razor sharp. “Serimosa” shows a down-shifted tempo perspective with theatrical balancing, further demonstrating the variety and complexity of the music Watain presents on this album. “Leper’s Grace” is another example of the unexpected in rhythm and pace – it is one of my favorites from the set as it left me tipsy by the halfway mark.

“Before The Cataclysm” is especially eerie, and that is saying something in the context of this music. Here again, it is the fascinating combination of elements that are themselves individually stunning and somehow, in their amalgamation, rise to another place altogether. “Septentrion” brings the curtain down in a grand fashion, hearkening to the mystery and wonder of the spaces in the cold dark north. It is an enduring culmination.

This music is not meant for the weak of heart or mind. The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain is out through Nuclear Blast Records on Friday, April 29th. Recommended.

Live photos by Wayne Edwards, Webster Theater, Hartford, 2019.

Links.

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

Bandcamp, https://watainsom.bandcamp.com/album/the-agony-ecstasy-of-watain

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Watain, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Hellacopters, Eyes Of Oblivion (Nuclear Blast 2022)

After a fourteen-year recording hiatus, The Hellacopters are back with a new studio album, Eyes Of Oblivion.

Starting off as a garage rock-style band in 1994, Sweden’s Hellacopters forged a following with a big start opening for Kiss not long after releasing their debut long-player Supershitty to the Max! in 1996. They released six more studio albums in the following years before embarking on a farewell tour in 2008 and wrapping things up. You can’t keep a good thing down forever, though, and the band reëmerged in 2016 for some anniversary appearances. Now we have Eyes Of Oblivion.

What’s the new one sound like? The band’s Nicke Andersson has a few thoughts. “The album has 10 songs and although it’s obviously not easy to be objective at all, I think musically it sums up everything we’ve touched upon from the start in 1994 up until now. Some of the songs date back as far as 10 years or more, and some were written more recently. It’s rock and roll played with high energy, so for lack of a better term I say High Energy Rock And Roll.” It is hard to argue with that. The music on the album is a kind of summary, in a way. Given the long history of the band and its legion of fans, new music that has a familiar flavor is bound to be just what the people want.

“Reap A Hurricane” breaks the ice with a catchy, guitar-driven hard rock head rattler. The chorus has you singing along immediately and every time the guitar breaks through it is cause for a fist-pump. “Can It Wait” has a more serious tone – a little – and takes a couple more chances with tempo. “So Sorry I Could Die” is a heavy-hearted blues number that that shifts from head-bobbing to a cool sway. Very nice.

I really like the title track, I must say, and it is clearly a banner-carrier for the album, as we might expect. Crisp and clippy, it has radio written all over it. Listen to this track first if you want a get-acquainted ramp. The top track for me is “Beguiled” for its incredible urgency and the way it got stuck in my synapses on the first play. Play that one second, then start at the beginning and go all the way through.

There are many twists and turns on the record. Enjoy the regular emergence of rock and roll piano in the rhythm section and absolutely delightful homages. The Hellacopters have come together and put out a great record that is a truly welcome return. I hope many more will follow. Recommended.

Eyes Of Oblivion is out now on Nuclear Blast Records. Check out the links below to see what and all can be had.

Link.

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

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/the-hellacopters-eyes-of-oblivion.html

© Wayne Edwards.

Hellacopters, Eyes Of Oblivion (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Overkill, Prong, and Cultus Black at Piere’s, March 9, 2022

It was a night of thrash in northern Indiana when Overkill stopped by for a little rampage on The Wings Of War tour.

I like the extremes of heavy music – I love doom and I love thrash. New Jersey’s Overkill has always been one of my favorite thrash bands. Starting back in the early 1980s, they have released nineteen (!) studio albums, the most recent being The Wings Of War (Nuclear Blast), which they are supporting with the current tour. My favorite Overkill album is probably The Electric Age, and I have been told many times that it’s a controversial choice. I stand by it, and at the same time, I will listen to any of their albums all the way through any time. The music always cranks the adrenaline up. I was most excited to see Overkill, but two other impressive acts went on ahead of them.

A band that I was seeing for the first time, Cultus Black (or Cvltvs Black), opened the show at Piere’s Entertainment Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. On their Facebook page, they describe themselves as “a dramatic deathcore/Nu-metal crossover.” The photos will give you some idea of what went on. These musicians were fully committed and you have to see them live if you really want to understand the experience.

Like Overkill, Prong, too, have a history that stretches back to the 1980s. They released five albums during their first run, then took a break for a few years. For the past twenty years, they’ve been hitting it hard and putting out new music regularly. The band’s latest full-length album is Zero Days (Steamhammer). The style of heavy metal they play has been described in many ways, ranging from hardcore to punk to industrial to thrash to groove. I am satisfied to call it high energy heavy metal, and they stalked the stage like they owned the place. Great set.

Overkill took the stage and took no prisoners. They opened with “Wrecking Crew” and played one monstrous metal anthem after another, wrapping things up on an tidy encore. Founding members Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and D. D. Verni led the way and Overkill tore the roof off the place to the delight of screaming fans. I was expecting to see a raucous performance but what the band delivered went above and beyond. Many famous and impressive bands play at Piere’s, and Overkill making the journey there was something extra special; another step up.

The Wings Of War tour continues, with many more dates this month and later in the year. Get out there and see these bands to satisfy your need for speed.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Overkill, http://wreckingcrew.com/Ironbound/

Prong, https://prongmusic.com/

Cultus Black, https://www.cultusblack.com/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://label.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/about/71097.overkill.html

Steamhammer, https://shop.steamhammer.de/artists/prong

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Overkill, Prong, and Cultus Black at Piere’s, March 9, 2022

Immolation, Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast 2022)

New York death metal icons Immolation let loose their eleventh studio album, Acts Of God.

After a couple of early name changes, Immolation got going in 1988. Their first full-length album, Dawn Of Possession (1991), planted a death metal flag that still flies. The new album has been five years in the making and fans are ready to reap the rewards of the long wait. Acts Of God certainly fits the bill. The band is Ross Dolan (bass, vocals), Robert Vigna (guitar), Steve Shalaty (drums), and Alex Bouks (guitar).

There are fifteen tracks on the album, including a couple of transitional pieces. Dolan’s rough vocals are the first thing about Immolation that imprints on your memory when you listen. The percussion and rhythm have such an unswerving reliability that they show themselves as co-necessities up front as well. The lead and melody guitarwork sail sublime seas whenever they appear. Their music is a full-force attack from every angle.

I love “Noose Of Thorns” because it is so dreary and oppressive with a caustic grind and shimmering lead break. “Blooded” is another stand-out, with the guitars seeming in a way to be mercurial. And then there is “Incineration Precession,” establishing immediately its breath-taking insistence and sure-footed forward push that cannot be resisted. These three songs might be my most preferred, but there is something remarkable that can be said about each one in the set.

There are a few heavy bands out there that have been around as long as Immolation, but there aren’t many at all that can match them. This new album is exceptional. I can tell already after a couple of listens that it will be one of my favorites of theirs. Highly recommended.

Acts Of God is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. Check out the links below. Immolation is on tour right now as well so catch them live if you can.

Links.

Immolation website, https://www.immolation.info/acts-of-god

Bandcamp, https://immolation.bandcamp.com/album/acts-of-god

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/immolation-acts-of-god.html

Immolation, Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Earthless, Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Heavy psych-metal trio Earthless are back with a new two-track, sixty minute album: Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons.

Earthless is a trio that play guitar-driven, primarily instrumental, music. You could call it stoner, and that counts, but heavy psych makes a little more sense to me. I am a huge fan of instrumental heavy music, and Earthless has been a favorite of mine since I first heard them – so label them however you like so long as you listen to the music. The band is Isaiah Mitchell (guitar, vocals), Mike Eginton (bass), and Mario Rubalcaba (drums).

Earthless is known for long instrumental pieces, as on their seminal on albums Sonic Prayer (2005) and Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky (2007). More recently, on 2018’s Black Heaven, they created shorter songs, many with vocals. While the singing was a surprise, I liked that album a lot, too, because it still had the amazing musical compositions I had come to expect from the band. On One Hundred Demons, it is back to the long form.

According to the band, the new music was sparked by an ancient story. “The album and its title were inspired by an ancient Japanese legend in which a horde of demons, ghosts and other terrifying ghouls descend upon sleeping villages at night, once a year. Known as Hyakki Yagyō, or the “Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons,” one version of the tale states that anyone who witnesses this otherworldly procession will die instantly—or be carried off by the creatures of the night. As a result, the villagers hide in their homes, lest they become victims of these supernatural invaders.”

There are two tracks on the new album. The title track is forty minutes long and split into two parts. The second song is “Death To The Red Sea,” a mere twenty minutes. The short one was released in advance of the album, so I heard it first. It is an incredible high-energy heavy metal guitar jam sustained over the entire run time after only a very short on-ramp. It is simply incredible. It don’t know how the musicians can do it, frankly, especially Mitchell, whose fingers must have been on fire by the end.

“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons” begins more slowly and has a beautiful opening section that builds quietly, hopefully. The tempo turns sharply about seven minutes into a more dramatic posture and urgent style and pace. There is a roaring guitar movement near the fourteen-minute mark that is the inevitable result of the preceding arc. The second movement takes off in the mysterious direction and leads us along the ever-blurring path of nighttime and the cosmic realm. The incredible guitar passages are here, too, of course, and the finale is a grand exposition.

Earthless delivers on every level with this new album. The extended, intricate pieces are absorbed into your psyche while you listen. This is top-form work. Highly recommended.

Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons is out now through Nuclear Blast Records.

Links.

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

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

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

Earthless, Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Battle Beast, Circus Of Doom (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The unstoppable Battle Beast launches their sixth session of epic metal mayhem: Circus Of Doom.

I saw Battle Beast at the Worcester Palladium a few years back at what might have been the final New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. They were one of the earlier acts then, opening, in a way, for bands like Kamelot. I have to say Battle Beast gave the best show of that group. They had a positive, high-energy attitude and they did not hold anything back. I have had my eye on them ever since.

Circus Of Doom is Battle Beast’s sixth full-length album, following 2019’s No More Hollywood Endings. There have been a few line-up shifts, including one highly publicized schism. Whatever effect this had on the band, in the years since I have been following them there is only evidence of growth in songwriting and performance. Each album is a notch up from the one before, and the legion of fans for the band from Finland keeps expanding.

The title track opens Pandora’s Box with a calliope of metal. This is dramatic, epic music. In other words, intense, layered production surrounds the clear, powerful vocals of Noora Louhimo, who has one of the best voices for metal performance working today. The heavy guitar and rhythm makes appearances by stepping into the light and then sidles back to the shadows, but it is always there. Epic metal is a clear and particular lane for heavy music, and Battle Beast charges right down the middle of it.

Every song is up-tempo, and each has a combination of smoother and rougher elements, some leaning more on the one and others, the other. Put together, then, the album is a great success in variety and delivers to fans exactly what they are looking for. Recommended.

Nuclear Blast issues Circus Of Doom on Friday, January 21st in a plethora of physical forms and, of course, digital. You can get it anywhere that heavy music lives.

Links.

Website, https://battlebeast.fi/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://label.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/discography/details/7563223.591628.circus-of-doom.html

Battle Beast, Circus Of Doom (Nuclear Blast 2022)