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)

Critical Defiance, No Life Forms (Unspeakable Axe 2022)

South American thrash metal band Critical Defiance returns with their sophomore album, No Life Forms.

Critical Defiance is from Chile, and they have been playing thrash metal in that vibrant scene since 2013. The new record follows the success of the band’s 2019 debut long-player Misconception, and it is a mighty step forward. Proceeding from the standard of early thrash lines, the music you will hear is rendered at high-speed and set to disrupt. Critical Defiance is not very concerned about where the border lines are in heavy music – they crank it up and do what they want, mixing in some delightful surprises. The band is Mauricio Toledo (guitar, vocals), Rodrigo Poblete (drums), Felipe Alvarado (vocals, guitar), Ignacio Arevalo (bass), and Javier Salgado (guitar).

There are ten tracks on the new album. Many are on the short side, with four running under three minutes. The kick-off is “A World Crumbling Apart.” Faithful to the title, this song comes at you from all directions at once, demonstrating apparent chaos. The speed is dizzying and there is a lot going on for a song that runs less than two minutes. It all sorts out in your head and the aggression and perfectly paced fretting gets the gears turning. “The Last Crusaders…Bringers of Death!” chomps at the bit all the way through. The vocals are urgent and forceful, and the rhythm section is deliberate and careening. The first guitar solo is executed with tripping ferocity while the second one is more melodic. It is an excellent combination. And then “Altering The Senses” pivots between a groove riff and a blistering rager. This album does not allow you to become complacent.

Other stand-out tracks for me are “Elephant,” which has a sort of jazz lounge thrash beginning before opening the gates of speed, and “Warhead,” a composition that is completely off the rails. A transition piece leads into the closer which is the title track and the longest song on the album. It is fantastic, displaying both the most patience of any piece on the album, and the greatest sense of completed energy. Thrash definitely lives on this record. Recommended.

No Life Forms is out now through Unspeakable Axe Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://criticaldefiance.bandcamp.com/album/no-life-forms

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

Unspeakable Axe Records, http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Critical Defiance, No Life Forms (Unspeakable Axe 2022)

Rotheads, Slither In Slime (Memento Mori 2022)

Romanian death metal band Rotheads bring the menace on their second full-length album, Slither In Slime.

From Bucharest, death metal ministers Rotheads have been laying down the riffs since 2014. Originally springing up as a side project for members of the band Keeng Ra’at, Rotherads have definitely become their own thing. Their first long-player, Sewer Fiends (2018), hit the street hard and the ranks of the band’s followers have been swelling ever since. Their music has death metal as its starting point and infuses thrash and surprising catchiness to create something that you will not hear anywhere else.

The new album has seven luscious tracks. “Vampyric Inbreeding” calls the meeting to order with a deceptively straightforward death metal set-up in the rhythm, guitars, and vocals. The divergences are manifest with choppy riffs and tasty licks somehow living in the caustic environment. “Lost in the Cemetery Gardens” sounds like it could be an overture at times; very theatrical and dramatic but also dark. “Gut Mauled” is a walk up a haunted mountain trail with lost guides who turn on you with a grin on their lips and knives in their hands. Yeah. Exactly like that. Great song.

The band next shows us “Gore Coffin,” raring at pace – there is no time to get out of the way. The pliant guitar line has a mesmerizing effect, a hypnotizing influence. “Spectral Visitation” carries with it the weight of doom as it pulls back misty veils to reveal another world. “Skin Forest” is a tome of dark secrets that are both right at hand and also from distant lands. Finally, “Dragged Through Existence” has the last word and makes the most of the opportunity. It is the longest song on the record and the most densely composed, and it will churn beneath the shell of your consciousness long after it seems to be over.

The music on this album is death metal expanded in a way I have never heard before. It is captivating, with all the strong metal roots needed for sustenance and such an incredible variety of otherness that you are constantly engaged while you’re listening to it. Highly recommended.

Slither In Slime is out on July 25th through Memento Mori. Peruse the label’s website or hit up Bandcamp at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://rotheads.bandcamp.com/album/slither-in-slime

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

Memento Mori, http://memento-mori.es/home.php

© Wayne Edwards

Rotheads, Slither In Slime (Memento Mori 2022)

Inhuman Condition, Fearsick (Listenable Insanity 2022)

Death and thrash metal combine to form a musical juggernaut with Inhuman Condition on their new record, Fearsick.

Less than two years in, Florida metal band Inhuman Condition is making a big splash in the heavy music pool. Peopled by musicians of notable pedigree, we have a line-up to reckon with: Jeramie Kling (vocals and drums – Venom, Inc., The Absence), Taylor Nordberg (guitar – Deicide, The Absence), and Terry Butler (bass – Obituary, Death, Massacre). Releasing their debut album Rat°God right out of the gate in 2021, they are back at it again now with Fearsick.

There are nine boiling tracks on the new album. First up is “The Mold Testament,” opening with a solitary guitar riff that is steady and determined. The vocals join, and they are gruff yet decipherable. There is an early thrashy shift that makes sure you are paying attention, and the hook returns so your bearings are not lost. “Recycled Hate” is a different animal, already worked up into a lather at the jump and proceeding as it does with a heavy, meaty chop. “Caustic Vomit Reveries” adds chaos to the mix. The guitars buzz and the rhythm alternates between cracking on and laying back. Piercing lead guitar moments pop in here and there, and the machine rolls on.

“I’m Now The Monster” is one the most memorable tracks. Released as one of the singles leading up to the drop date for the album, it also has a video to go along with it. Hitting the riff hard as with most tracks, this song makes greater use of vocal innovations to go along with the tempo changes and the accent of expanded lead guitar entries.

Watch out for “Hellucid,” too, with its dramatic presentation in the middle and “Wound Collector” for its chronically sinister touches. The curtain is drawn with “Where Pain Is Infinity,” a growling, merciless affair. This final song has some of the heaviest anticipatory moments of the set, and it wraps things up perfectly. This album will definitely get you moving on down the road. Recommended.

Fearsick is out on Friday, July 15th through Listenable Insanity Records. Grab and go at Bandcamp – link below.

Links.

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

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

Listenable Insanity Records, https://www.facebook.com/ListenableInsanityRecords/

© Wayne Edwards

Inhuman Condition, Fearsick (Listenable Insanity 2022)

Gwar, Goatwhore, Nekrogoblikon, and The Native Howl at Higher Ground, June 15th

Gwar rolled the Black Death Rager World Tour over Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont.

Gwar

I wrote about the first show on this tour a while back, and I also wrote a little about Goatwhore’s performance at Higher Ground in separate posts (links below). I don’t want to repeat myself too much so I won’t ramble hereabouts – check out those recap notes in the earlier posts if you are interested. This entry exists because I had a few photos to put up that weren’t in the other bits.

Have a look at the bands’ links following the photos, and see them on the road this summer and fall.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

The Native Howl
The Native Howl
The Native Howl
The Native Howl
The Native Howl
Nekrogoblikon
Nekrogoblikon
Nekrogoblikon
Nekrogoblikon
Nekrogoblikon
Nekrogoblikon
Goatwhore
Goatwhore
Goatwhore
Goatwhore
Goatwhore
Gwar
Gwar
Gwar
Gwar
Gwar

Links.

FFMB review of the tour performance at Piere’s, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/05/20/gwar-at-pieres-fort-wayne-indiana-may-19th/

FFMB review of the Goatwhore performance at Higher Ground, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/17/goatwhore-at-higher-ground-burlington-vermont-june-15th-2022/

Gwar, https://gwar.net/

Nekrogoblikon, https://nekrogoblikon.bandcamp.com/

The Native Howl, https://www.thenativehowl.com/

Goatwhore, http://www.goatwhore.net/

Higher Ground, https://highergroundmusic.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Gwar, Goatwhore, Nekrogoblikon, and The Native Howl at Higher Ground, June 15th

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)

Blasphemous Creation, Beyond The Grave (HPGD 2022)

Reno’s Blasphemous Creation re-records four classic tracks on Beyond The Grave.

Blasphemous Creation is a death metal / thrash metal quartet centered in Reno, Nevada. Since 2009 they have been handing fans a steady flow of full-length albums jam-packed with searing metal. The new EP is a blast from the past. The band has gone back to the early days from 2006-2009 and cherry picked four of their favorites to re-record and re-celebrate.

“Diabolical Kingdom” is a high-speed invocation. The vocals are grumbled and run so quickly you have to put your ear into it to get it all. The lead guitar is a whirlwind, a bladed assassin’s weapon that has you down before you even know it has hit. “Beyond The Grave” has percussion that seems to be beating directly onto your defleshed skeleton. This song is a ravaging in every sense of the word. The guitar here is speedy and sour, with more than enough bite to make you squeal. There is an extended groove passage in the middle that is completely unexpected, and it rolls back into speeding metal with little concern for your equilibrium.

“Shadows Of Evil” is creepy, as the title implies it should be. Don’t worry, though, because the gleeful pummeling and the hooks are in here as well, along with shocking moments of belligerence. The final track is “Black Winter,” and it is my overall favorite of the four. It contains all the elements I like about the band, and they are executed with insistence. The darkness combined with the groove is a beautiful thing. Recommended.

Beyond The Grave is out now through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. Bandcamp is the quick place to pick it up.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grave

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Blasphemous Creation, Beyond The Grave (HPGD 2022)

Pure Filth Festival, Sharkey’s, Liverpool, New York, June 18th 2022

The Pure Filth Festival went down at Sharkey’s Event Center in Liverpool, New York last weekend. What a day. I tell you all about it in an up-coming Ghost Cult Magazine article (link below). Meanwhile, here are a few photos to whet your appetite. The bands were Year of the Cobra, Savage Existence, Bewitcher, Extinction A.D., Carnivore AD, Integrity, Voivod, Municipal Waste, and Exodus. There are one or two (or three) photos of each band that won’t be in the Ghost Cult article. Links to info for each band are at the bottom of the post.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Year of the Cobra
Year of the Cobra
Savage Existence
Bewitcher
Bewitcher
Bewitcher
Extinction A.D.
Extinction A.D.
Carnivore AD
Carnivore AD
Integrity
Integrity
Integrity
Voivod
Voivod
Municipal Waste
Municipal Waste
Municipal Waste
Municipal Waste
Exodus
Exodus
Exodus
Exodus

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/festival-review-pure-filth-festival-at-sharkeys-event-center-liverpool-new-york/

Exodus, https://exodusattack.com/site/

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

Voivod, https://www.voivod.com/

Integrity, https://www.facebook.com/INTEGRITY.HT

Extinction A.D., https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionAD

Bewitcher, https://www.bewitcher.us/

Savage Existence, http://savageexistence.com/

Year of the Cobra, https://yearofthecobra.com/

Sharkey’s Event Center, https://sharkeysbarandgrill.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Pure Filth Festival, Sharkey’s, Liverpool, New York, June 18th 2022

Goatwhore at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, June 15th 2022

Goatwhore is on tour with Gwar right now – I caught up with them in Burlington, Vermont.

Goatwhore is a New Orleans death/black/thrash metal band that has been roaming the earth for twenty-five years. I have listened to them for much of that time, but I didn’t get a chance to see them live until Psycho Las Vegas in 2019. I was completely blown away. They played their set in the House of Blues and that place absolutely melted down. Ever since then, I have been on a quest to see them again and maybe get a couple of photos.

I saw Gwar at the very first stop on their current tour, but Goatwhore wasn’t at the show because they were playing somewhere else. Damn and blast. I tracked them to the North Country and found them at Higher Ground, one of my favorite music venues in all the world. Here are a few photos from that show. Go see them on their co-headlining tour in August with Incantation – and any other time you can.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Goatwhore, http://www.goatwhore.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thegoat666

Higher Ground, https://highergroundmusic.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Goatwhore at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, June 15th 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)