Rob Zombie, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Zombie stalks again with a new statement of his musical hurricane philosophy, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy.

Rob Zombie first entered my sensory orbit the way he did for most people, with the formidable band White Zombie. Those last two albums, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One (1992) and Astro-Creep: 2000 (1995), are platinum monsters. The combination of horror movie themes and dialogue clips from films was a pretty new thing at the time, and White Zombie brought them into the mainstream with a sledge hammer.

Zombie went solo after the titanic success of White Zombie, releasing the beefy album Hellbilly Deluxe in 1998, and the big follow-up, The Sinister Urge, three years later. After that, he became more and more interested in making films, and his music shifted a little. He kept releasing albums every few years, and he remained extremely popular for his live performances, I last saw him at Aftershock in 2019 and it was a riot – and incredible show of loud music, flashes and bangs.

The new album has seventeen tracks with six transition segments. The opening insinuation is uncustomarily gentle. Oh, it picks right up, never fear. The music is not far off of what you probably expect: big guitar riffs, sound effects, dialogue captures, and Rob Zombie’s commanding voice.

The themes are from horror movies and situations, along with a number of completely off the wall crossovers, like the delightfully unexpected country-western-metal fusion of “The 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket to the Ghost Train.” There are bangers in there too, as in the single, “The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man,” a super-creepy whisperer “Boom-Boom-Boom,” and even an instrumental ballad, “The Much Talked of Metamorphosis.” The closer is the longest song, “Crow Killer Blues,” and it is a little horror musical all its own. It has the most serious tone to my ears, and it is the most compositionally fulfilling. There is something in here for everyone.

One thing you know for sure about a Rob Zombie album is that it’s going to be entertaining. Box checked. Recommended.

Get it absolutely everywhere now. Links below.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards, Aftershock 2019.

Links.

Website, https://robzombie.com/

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/rob-zombie-the-lunar-injection-kool-aid-eclipse-conspiracy.html

Rob Zombie, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Korpiklaani, Jylhä (Nuclear Blast Records 2021)

For almost twenty years, Korpiklaani has been a prominent driving force in the Folk Metal music world, and now they are releasing their eleventh full-length studio album, Jylhä.

It all started with Spirit of the Forest in 2003 and there has been a steady creative flow ever since. The band is from Finland and while there are folk fusion amalgams from many musical traditions all over the globe, there is something that makes this particular folk music the perfect building block for a heavy music combination. Or maybe it is just that the musicians in Korpiklaani are among the very best at what they do, which is certainly true as well. The band is Cane (guitar and vocals), Jonne Järvelä (vocals, guitars, multiple folk instruments), Jarkko Aaltonen (bass), Tuomas Rounakari (violin), Sami Perttula (accordion), and Samuli Mikkonen (drums).

The music begins big in guitars with “Verikoira,” laying down a catchy, quick rhythm for the more traditionally folk elements to surround. The accordion takes the lead on the second track, “Niemi,” at the gate, but the guitar is never far away. The blending of metal and traditional instruments and melody is, after all, the point. Each song has its own look and life, casting a vast array of colors and spells throughout the thirteen songs on the album.

The music on the album is very up-tempo and vibrant, and even on quieter pieces with less riffage (like “Leväluhta”) the metal does not completely disappear. There is always an elegant balance across the diversity of musical structure so that neither primary force is lost to the other. You want to hear this music for that balance, to get the rare elements that don’t typically exist in heavy music while maintaining the adrenaline and drive of metal. That is exactly what comes through in every track. Recommended.

You can pick up the CD and digital download of Jylhä on Friday February 5th. The vinyl versions are a little bit delayed because of the pandemic – they will be out in March.

Links.

Website, https://korpiklaani.com/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://www.nuclearblast.de/label/music/band/news/uebersicht/71067.korpiklaani.html

Korpiklaani, Jylhä (Nuclear Blast Records 2021)

Soilwork, A Whisp Of The Atlantic review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

The new Soilwork EP is Long Play in length and grand in stature.

I jumped onto the Soilwork bandwagon with Sworn To A Great Divide in 2007, and that was their seventh full-length album so I started out way behind the curve. Discovering the rest of their music over the years by hearing the subsequent new releases while simultaneously going through the back catalogue was a journey and a quest. Melodic Death Metal segue to Metalcore and Groove, the music was always full bodied and finished with precision.

The new EP is 38 minutes long with an epic opening song that runs nearly half that total length. Soilwork has produced some long songs, but nothing like this. And significantly, there is a lot of story here, which makes sense given the nature of the construction. The band for A Whisp Of The Atlantic is Bjorn Strid (vocals), David Andersson (guitar), Sylvain Coudret (guitar), Sven Karlsson (keys, samples), and Bastian Thusgaard (drums).

Andersson tells us that each songs has an underlying core, “From the desire of ‘Feverish,’ the urge of ‘Desperado,’ the determinism of ‘Death Diviner,’ the insights and questions of ‘The Nothingness and the Devil’ and the acceptance and spiritual searching of ‘A Whisp of the Atlantic.’” The centerpiece title song is a complicated composition ranging over a broad spectrum of music and feeling in its seventeen minutes. It does not stand alone on the album, but it could, in my estimation. It is theatrical and cinematic, by which I mean the presentation of the story through the music exists on the large broad scale and also on a close, intimate one. It is hard to imagine that a band with legendary status like Soilwork would continue to innovate to this degree and post such a milestone so far along their path, but here they have done it. Recommended.

December 4th is the drop date for A Whisp Of The Atlantic. It is an essential element in the Soilwork canon.

Band photo by Stephansdotter Photography.

Links.

Soilwork website, https://www.soilwork.org/

Soilwork Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/soilwork/

Nuclear Blast, https://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/discography/details/6963921.70960.a-whisp-of-the-atlantic-ep.html

Soilwork, A Whisp Of The Atlantic review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

The trilogy is now complete as Scour releases the final EP in the cycle, Black.

The band Scour is the stuff of dark dreams: Philip H. Anselmo (lead vocals), Derek Engemann (guitar, vocals), John Jarvis (bass, vocals), Mark Kloeppel (guitar, vocals), and Adam Jarvis (drums). These musicians came together in 2015 and started a musical project to be released in three parts. First was Grey (2016), and then Red (2017), and now the final installment has arrived, Black.

The music has a ravaging brutality about it, a dedication to Black Metal and Grindcore principles. “Doom” breaks the silence with sirens, fair warning and a sign that the onslaught is underway. The music is a massive, pulverizing force, directed along by the drums and liberated through vocals and a piercing, succinct lead break. “Nail,” “Propaganda,” and “Flames” pile drive new legendary pillars into the heavy landscape as Anselmo’s voice is joined in chorus, flanked by guitar and with underlay of bass and drum. “Microbes” is a beautiful instrumental track with melancholy violins and a disturbing, increasingly destabilizing piano. The menace builds with bigger strokes and added vocals, leading at the end to “Subprime” – the closer and the final hammer down on the shattering granite.

The band brought in guests Pat O’Brien, Erik Rutan, and, improbably, Jason Momoa for the recording of the last piece of the puzzle. Every element came together in synchrony and synergy. Black is the best end to the trilogy I could imagine. Recommended.

The music is available now at the links below in many forms. Listen to the earlier installments first, then dive into Black.

Band photo by Joseph P. Dorignak IV.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://scourhc.bandcamp.com/album/black-ep

Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/scourband

Label, http://www.thehousecorerecords.com

Label Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/housecorerecords

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

My Dying Bride, Macabre Cabaret review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Hot on the heels of The Ghost Of Orion released earlier this year, My Dying Bride issues even more new music with Macabre Cabaret.

My Dying Bride is a storied band. A pioneer of Doom Metal and atmospheric Death Metal, not to mention Gothic Metal, they have been a mainstay in heavy music for thirty years. The band is Andrew Craighan (guitars, keyboards, and bass), Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals), Lena Abé (bass), Shaun Macgowan (keyboards and violin), Jeff Singer (drums), and Neil Blanchett (guitars). Macabre Cabaret includes three songs.

The title track is a ten minute long expression of dark beauty. It is solemn and ethereal, with movements of quiet reflection seamlessly transforming into forceful, surrounding dread. “A Secret Kiss” echoes like a seafaring nightmare told on a dark rocking ocean after the sun goes down. It is the essence of sinister. “A Purse Of Gold And Stars” is a plea to unseen universal forces. A quiet piano and softly spoken lyrics glide atop a churning malevolence of sound and, as the song progresses, a ghostly accompaniment of violin and disembodied choir. The final simple singular notes are piercingly haunting.

Macabre Cabaret is out now and available at the links below. The CD reportedly has an additional track, “Orchestral Shores (Buiksloterkerk Cathedral Mix).” Fans of the band will immediately embrace this album, and it is an excellent introduction for newcomers as well. Recommended.

Photo by John Steel.

Links.

Website, http://www.mydyingbride.net/

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/mini-cd/my-dying-bride-macabre-cabaret.html

My Dying Bride, Macabre Cabaret review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Fuming Mouth, Beyond The Tomb notice (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Following up on their impressive debut full-length from last year, Fuming Mouth has released a new EP.

Since 2013, Fuming Mouth has been releasing demos, splits, and EPs, leading up to The Grand Descent (2019). That was a big album with twelve crushing tracks. The new one is three songs, and they are just as ferocious.

“Beyond The Tomb” is a dark curse thrown at your spirit that cannot be escaped. “Master Of Extremity” is a steam roller headed straight for you. “Road To Odessa” is a heavy hammer of doom. Three things stand out to me about this release: the attack vector of the music which I hear as multidirectional, the massive bass lines, and the originality of the clever elements that are integral to the music, not merely ancillary. It is not easy to make a place for yourself in the heavy music scene, but Fuming Mouth is doing just that. This is a band to watch.

The new EP is out now from Nuclear Blast Records. Gather it unto you, in digital or physical incarnations. Either way, consider it highly recommended.

Photo by Gabe Becerra.

Links.

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

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

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/vinyl/lp/fuming-mouth-beyond-the-tomb.html

Fuming Mouth, Beyond The Tomb notice (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, We’re The Bastards review (Nuclear Blast Records 2020)

The Bastard Sons are back with another great album, We’re The Bastards.

Phil Campbell is a veteran metal guitarist I have always admired. I can think back to seeing him so many times with Motörhead and every performance had a singular brilliance. After Lemmy died and that iconic band was no more, Campbell formed The Bastard Sons. Their first release was an EP in 2016, followed by the full-length The Age of Absurdity two years later.The music is solid hard rock and heavy metal – guitar-driven goodness that salves the wounds of the modern world. I have been counting down the days to the new album because the ones that came before were so excellent.

“We’re The Bastards” is the opener and it is the right foot forward – it is an anthem about heavy music and the intentions of the band, which are uncomplicated: playing heavy music. “Son Of A Gun” follows and it is a high speed banger. The story rolls on in “Promises Are Poison,” where a more serious tone is established. What is constant throughout are the harrowing riffs, the commanding percussion, and Phil Campbell’s impeccable guitar work. Neil Starr has the perfect voice for this music, tying it all together.

There are so many great songs on this album it hardly makes any sense to separate them out. The guitar in “Animals” is monstrous, but it is on “Keep Your Jacket On” too. The singles are all cracking, and the longer pieces like “Desert Song” and “Waves” are composed in uncompromising balance. This music sounds like it was designed to be performed live – when you listen to the songs you can’t help but visualize the band on stage belting them out. This one is a keeper.

Nuclear Blast has many versions and bundles for you buying enticement. The limited digipack has four live tracks not on the regular CD, so that is something to consider if you are into the physicals. Whichever way you go, you get to hear the music and that’s the winner. Recommended.

Link.

Band website, http://www.philcampbell.net/

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, We’re The Bastards review (Nuclear Blast Records 2020)

Carcass, Despicable review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Carcass first appeared more than thirty years ago, becoming a Death Metal mainstay immediately, and they are not done yet.

Carcass created its place in music history by pioneering extreme metal on their earliest albums in the late 1980s. A few years later, they were on the forefront of a new movement in metal, melodic death metal. In both of these cases, the band provided a vision that was expanded on by multitudes of other acts and that persist today. They took a break for a long stretch after Swansong in 1996, not releasing another full-length album until Surgical Steel (2013).

Despicable is an EP released in advance of next year’s full-length album, and it holds songs that will not be on that longer album. The band is Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, Daniel Wilding, and Tom Draper, and the music continues on the path the band has solidly established in its second incarnation.

There are four songs on the new EP, beginning with “The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue,” which has delightful thrashiness to it, culminating in a swirling storm of enraged hornets performed on guitar toward the end. “The Long and Winding Bier Road” has a slower and heavier taste, telling a story in clever hooks. The gas is punched again on “Under the Scalpel Blade,” adding in a sordid Penny Dreadful storyline to warm your veins. “Slaughtered in Soho” is the sign-off, with an airy riff and a tender growl – and a wailing lead break. If these four fine songs are any sign of what the 2021 album will be like, we are definitely in for a wild ride. Recommended.

Out now from Nuclear Blast, you can get Despicable in all sorts of formats from Bandcamp or through the store portal link below.

Links.

Carcass Bandcamp, https://carcass.bandcamp.com/album/despicable

Carcass Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCarcass

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

Nuclear Blast Records Store Portal, https://media.nuclearblast.de/shoplanding/2020/Carcass/despicable.html

Carcass, Despicable review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

The Troops of Doom, The Rise of Heresy review (Blood Blast Distribution 2020)

The debut release from Troops of Doom is a Heavy Metal eruption that will be heard in every corner of the Earth.

The band is from Brazil: Jairo “Tormentor” Guedz (guitar), Alex Kafer (bass and vocals), Marcelo Vasco (guitar), and Alexandre Oliveira (drums). You certainly recognize the first person on that list as an original guitarist for Sepultura. The sound of The Troops of Doom has its starting point in early (classic) Death Metal, and from there it grows into its own beast.

The new EP has four original songs and two covers of well-known Sepultura songs. First the originals. “Whispering Dead Words” has an orchestral opening with big brass horns and the full complement. The strangling starts right past the one minute mark. “Inspired by hate / Existence fades away / Burn those bastards / To Infernal flames.” “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” is a ripper – fast and furious, with a catchy clomping riff in the middle. “The Confessional” has that steady head banging momentum as well, leading into the title song, which is the track that’s stands out the most for me. “The Rise of Heresy” displays punishing percussion and fierce rhythm riffs standing shoulder to shoulder with the grizzly vocals.

The covers are “Bestial Devastation” from the Bestial Devastation (1985) EP and “Troops of Doom” from Morbid Visions (1986). The new versions certainly sound better given the more recent recording capabilities and the covers are consistent musically with the originals. It is nice to hear them updated and they ring as true in their new incarnations as they did back in the mid-1980s originals.

The Rise of Heresy is available now in the digital and you can get it at Amazon Music and stream it at Spotify. Physical versions are on the horizon and are popping up in various forms around the globe. Think of tracking them down as a quest. Whatever way you consume this music, if you are a fan of Sepultura, you are bound to like The Troops of Doom. Recommended.

Links.

Band Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/thetroopsofdoom/

Band YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkmgbCkDR4PohSI89P14pLg

Blood Blast, http://www.bloodblast.com

Blood Blast Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/BloodBlastDistribution

Amazon Music, https://www.amazon.com/music

The Troops of Doom, The Rise of Heresy review (Blood Blast Distribution 2020)

Death Angel, Under Pressure review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Metal icons Death Angel release a four track acoustic EP of three covers and one new song.

Fans of Death Angel are used to crushing Thrash riffs and blistering lead breaks. Quiet, slow acoustic melodies barely even waft through the transom of your mind when Death Angel is on. Usually. But these are weird times and all sorts of unusual things are happening.

The set is titled for the Queen/David Bowie song “Under Pressure,” which was a huge pop hit way back when. Death Angel’s version is an acoustic replication that is an homage in a clear show of respect to the artists and composition of the original. The new song is “Faded Remains.” It is a song of hopelessness and plays like a Murder Folk entry with an exceptional lead moment. You can bet this one will be in the live sets when the world comes back.

The other two pieces are acoustic versions of well-known Death Angel songs: “A Room With A View” from Act III and “Revelation Song” from Humanicide. The former song was largely acoustic in its original incarnation but it had a heavy middle. Here there is a nice acoustic lead break in the middle and what sounds to me like a quiet electric guitar, too (and again at the end). For “Revelation Song,” the guitars are very aggressive, pushing the threat level up for an instrument of pacifism. The vocals are also gruffer, pledging a direct line to the original version from last year’s original.

This is most definitely a different take for the band, and that is exactly what it is supposed to be. Recommended.

The digital EP is available right now. Look for it on Amazon and other outlets (link below to streaming sources).

Links.

Band website, https://www.deathangel.us/

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/deathangel/

Nuclear Blast streaming link, http://nblast.de/DAUnderPressure

YouTube video of “Under Pressure”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hCy1Y5_-k8

Death Angel, Under Pressure review (Nuclear Blast 2020)