• NAPALM DEATH To Release 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat' In January

    British grindcore legends NAPALM DEATH will release their 15th studio album, "Apex Predator - Easy Meat", on January 27, 2015 (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media Records. NAPALM DEATH vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway had the following to say regarding the album's title and concept: "Sometimes you have to ponder long and hard for an album title, but following the Rana Plaza disaster of last year (collapse of a textile sweatshop building in Bangladesh), it spurred me on to try and craft an expose of slave labour in the modern world (and the surrounding conditions propping it up). "Some in power like to declare that slavery is consigned to the history books. But if you look beneath the surface, it is alive and well in many different forms — it just has a different face now, and exists in ways that may seem ethically ambiguous. "Using the terminology of evolution particularly interests us, so in this case the 'Apex Predator' represents those who bring the slavery to bear (and capitalize from it), and the 'Easy Meat' is of therefore those who feel they have no option but to comply. "Fittingly, the music on 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat' is punishing. We feel it's more ambient, more expansive, more unsettlingly discordant than ever, and importantly, still extremely rampant at excessive speed. We hope in every respect — both musically and lyrically — this album will make your eyes burn with the harsh sonics and harsh visions of the dumping ground of globalisation." Songtitles set to appear on "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" include "Copulating Snakes", "Dear Slum Landlord", "What Is Past Is Prologue" and "Stunt Your Growth". NAPALM DEATH will appear at the 2015 edition of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise in the Caribbean (Florida / Jamaica) from January 22 to January 26, alongside bands like ARCH ENEMY, BEHEMOTH, BLIND GUARDIAN, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MUNICIPAL WASTE and many more. NAPALM DEATH's last album, 2012's "Utilitarian", sold around 2,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD debuted at No. 14 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

  • BOLT THROWER: Fan-Filmed Footage Of Stuttgart Concert

    Fan-filmed video footage of BOLT THROWER's October 3 performance in LKA-Longhorn in Stuttgart, Germany can be seen below. The last three albums from BOLT THROWER — "Mercenary" (1998), "Honour Valour Pride" (2001) and "Those Once Loyal" (2005) — were reissued on vinyl on October 24, 2011 via Metal Blade Records. All three albums were released as gatefold LPs in colored vinyl, limited to 1,000 units each. BOLT THROWER indefinitely postponed plans to record a new studio album after the band realized that the new stuff it had written "just doesn't match up" to the group's last CD, "Those Once Loyal". "We have a lot of pride in our back catalogue, and we refuse to turn into one of the many bands (like the ones we grew up listening to) who end up releasing crap, and we're also not prepared to compromise by instead releasing an album of cover versions or a 'best-of' album," BOLT THROWER explained in a statement. "Those Once Loyal" entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 76 — the group's highest-charting release in Germany so far. The follow-up to 2001's "Honour, Valour, Pride" was recorded at Andy Faulkner's Sable Rose studios and was the band's first album since the return of original vocalist Karl Willetts as a full-time member.

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  • DUFF MCKAGAN Doesn't Rule Out Recording With GUNS N' ROSES Again: 'I Never Say Never To Anything'

    On Sunday, October 26, Eric Blair of "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" conducted an interview with Duff McKagan (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER, LOADED, WALKING PAPERS) and Duff's daughter Grace McKagan, who plays in the band THE PINK SLIPS, on the red carpet at an evening of art with Billy Morrison and Joey Feldman benefiting the Rock Against MS foundation at Village Studios in Los Angeles, California. You can watch the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On reuniting with Axl Rose and the current version of GUNS N' ROSES for some live shows earlier in the year: Duff: "It was great going and playing those shows with him. We had a good time." On whether he would consider doing some recording with GUNS N' ROSES again: Duff: "I never say never to anything, actually, these days. I've kind of learned. You never know what's around the corner. And all that aside, I'm just glad he and I were able to get together and talk about some stuff and then laugh about a lot of other shit that happened." On the status of WALKING PAPERS: Duff: "We just finished our second record. We actually over-recorded. We recorded 21 songs, and on the drive here, we were just listening, trying to pare it down to 12." On what makes WALKING PAPERS special: Duff: "I think it's a unique band because, number one, [former SCREAMING TREES member] Barrett Martin, the drummer, plays rhythms that are influenced by his time in Senegal and the Peruvian Amazon, and you just don't get that ever. [Laughs] Jeff Angell, his lyrics are hard, from living through it. We have a wacky and truly gifted keyboard player [Benjamin Anderson], and just the whole thing together, we're taking chances. I've never been one to just play safe music and think that's all there is to it. I get to be in a band that's pushing the envelope." On whether he wants there to be another VELVET REVOLVER album: Duff: "I don't think we're done. Yes." On whether VELVET REVOLVER has any potential lead singers in mind to replace Scott Weiland: Duff: "We played with some guys only two weeks ago, as a matter of fact. All really talented guys, but it's just… We'll know when he walks in the room, I think."

  • DEVIL CITY ANGELS Featuring POISON, CINDERELLA, Ex-L.A. GUNS Members: Acoustic Performance Footage

    Video footage of DEVIL CITY ANGELS, the band featuring former L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns alongside drummer Rikki Rockett (POISON), bassist Eric Brittingham (CINDERELLA), and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Brandon Gibbs (CHEAP THRILL), performing acoustically on October 27 in the studios of 97X, the commercial classic rock radio station licensed to Moline, Illinois, can be seen below. "It was kind of by accident how it came together, it really was," Tracii told Lithium Magazine about DEVIL CITY ANGELS' formation. "Rikki and I had done a John Entwistle/Keith Moon tribute show together. We went backstage after playing our songs and the guys backstage were all kind of chanting, 'Guns and Rocketts, Guns and Rocketts' as a joke. And we kind of laughed it off but then Rikki suddenly turned around and said, 'Guns and Rocketts' actually has a pretty nice ring to it, don't you think. So we decided right there to start a band." Guns, who has a solo project called LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, continued: "[LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN is] more of a vanity project. I wanted something that I could go and tour with and be in a real band. We thought of a few different players and Rikki said he knew Brandon. He said he knew this guy who was younger than us, but should have been born decades earlier. He had a real bluesy sound and played with Eric. We decided to check him out so I called him and he was a really cool dude. And before you knew it, we had him ask Eric if he was interested. He said absolutely and they flew out here a couple weeks later and we recorded [our] first song [called 'All My People']." Regarding "All My People", Tracii said: "The song was written by Rikki and Brandon a couple of years before. They each did their parts separately and then we did the vocal tracking. They went home and I spent the rest of the time doing the lead guitar stuff. And we sent it to Anthony Focx, who is an amazing engineer and mixer who has worked with [former] METALLICA [bassist Jason Newsted] and AEROSMITH and a bunch of other bands. He is a good friend of ours and he mixed it really good and we put it out." He added: "It was eight days from recording to releasing it. It was beautiful the way it came together, kind of old school." Tracii also spoke about DEVIL CITY ANGELS' musical direction, saying "It's basic. It's simple. We might groove out a little more on some things and we might have a ballad or two. But other than that, we're going to keep it pretty straightforward 1977 rock. Since we have a winner with 'All My People', we are just going to stay in that framework. We feel that kind of music and Brandon surely delivers it."

  • MAX CAVALERA: Why SOULFLY Isn't Playing Any SEPULTURA Songs On Current Tour

    Jo Schüftan of Horns Up Rocks! conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, KILLER BE KILLED, SEPULTURA) on October 13 at Idle Hands bar in New York City. You can now watch the chat below. Speaking about SOULFLY's current U.S. tour, Max said: "It's the first time I'm playing only SOULFLY [songs] on the whole show. Yeah, so I decided to experiment with that and see how it's gonna be, if some people are gonna be mad or if people will understand. And to me surprise, people really understand and they really like it. Even some people commented to me, they say they wanted to see that for a long time, because they think SOULFLY has so many records. We've got nine records out now, so it's a lot of music. And we do a pretty full setlist — an hour and a half, playing a little bit from every record; from the first one all the way to [SOULFLY's latest album] 'Savages'. And we're having a lot of fun. The lineup is the same: me, Marc [Rizzo, guitar], Tony [Campos, bass] and Zyon [Cavalera, drums]. And Zyon's kicking ass, doing great on drums. And we're just having fun, man, playing small places for the hardcore fans, which is what I like about this tour; it's an intimate situation [where] you get real close to your fans. You can actually smell them and get their sweat on you, and get the mic stand knocked down a couple of times. But it's a lot of fun, man. I'm really enjoying it." SOULFY's ninth album, "Savages", was released on October 1, 2013 via SOULFLY's new label home, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced by Terry Date, who is known for his work with such acts as PANTERA, DEFTONES and SOUNDGARDEN, among many others. Guest vocal appearances on "Savages" include SOULFLY bass player Tony Campos, CLUTCH's Neil Fallon, NAPALM DEATH's Mitch Harris, Jamie Hanks of I DECLARE WAR and SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera's son Igor Cavalera (of LODY KONG).

  • OZZY OSBOURNE Prefers Making Cheap, Simple Music Videos

    In a brand new interview with the Cleveland Scene, Ozzy Osbourne spoke about his distaste for making music videos, especially during the '80s when MTV's popularity was on the rise and videos became an essential marketing tool for a single and album. "You think these fucking directors were making 'War And Peace'," Ozzy said. "They were only three-minute videos. "I remember when I was making the video for 'Mama, I'm Coming Home'. I went to this sky blue room and had to get a side of pork and walk across the room. I thought, 'What the fuck does this mean? [This is] going to cost 900,000 dollars.' I went and used the cameraman who did the NIRVANA video for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. He just did a video with me in the car. That cost about 10,000 dollars. I prefer the one I did because it was cheap and there was no elaborate fucking trickery. MTV played them both. "Sometimes I would just go, 'What are you fucking thinking?' It's only a music video. It didn't warrant spending millions of dollars." Ozzy has worked with a number of acclaimed video directors over the years, including Rob Zombie, Jonas Åkerlund and Wayne Isham. The BLACK SABBATH singer's "Memoirs Of A Madman" CD sold 4,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 90 on The Billboard 200 chart. The collection serves as a career-spanning audio release, featuring 17 of Ozzy's greatest hit singles compiled in one place for the first time in his career. Released on October 7 via Epic Records/Legacy Recordings, it is available in a single CD, two-LP set and two-LP picture disc set configurations. BLACK SABBATH will release one final studio album and tour behind it in 2015, with Ozzy telling Esquire, "The record company wants us to do one more record, and we've decided to do one more tour, and at the end of the tour we just disband and I go back to doing my solo stuff."

  • Video: LITA FORD, CHERIE CURRIE, MARKY RAMONE Perform 'Cherry Bomb' At CHILLER THEATRE Expo

    Attendees of the Chiller Theatre expo were in for a surprise treat when some living legends took the stage on October 25 in Parsippany, New Jersey to perform their classic hits. THE RUNAWAYS' Cherie Currie and Lita Ford, Marky Ramone of the RAMONES, along with LIFE OF AGONY's Alan Robert rocked out to THE RUNAWAYS' smash "Cherry Bomb" followed up by the RAMONES' "Rock 'N' Roll High School". Fan-filmed video footage of the "Cherry Bomb" performance can be seen below. Currie and Ford reunited on stage for the first time in 37 years on October 19, 2013 at the sixth annual Malibu Music Awards at Smothers Theater at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California to perform "Cherry Bomb". In 2010, the movie "The Runaways" was released starring Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame as singer Joan Jett. The band formed in 1975, with Ford on lead guitar. She was 16 at the time. "The Runaways" was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who is best known for directing music videos by such artists as David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and Sheryl Crow. In an interview with Metal-Rules.com, Lita stated about the possibility of a RUNAWAYS reunion: "Well, Cherie and I talk all the time. We're all for it both of us. You know I'm friends with Vicki [Blue, bass] and I'm friends with Jackie [Fox, bass]. Of course, Sandy [West, drums], unfortunately, is not around, but Joan is the only missing link." For the first time since 1977, Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and Lita Ford were in a room together on April 23, posing for cameras backstage at the Revolver Golden Gods awards where Joan was the first female recipient of the Golden God Award. Ford last fall partnered with Currie to record a special holiday song. "Rock This Christmas Down" marked the first time Lita and Cherie recorded new music together since 1977. The single was released on iTunes on December 3, 2013.

  • GUS G. Says FIREWIND Still Hasn't Found Permanent Replacement For APOLLO PAPATHANASIO

    In a brand new interview with Alternative Nation, Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, was asked if if there are any plans for FIREWIND to write and record its eighth studio album. "Not at the moment," Gus replied. "The band is on a break and we still haven't found a singer we want to work with, so we're going to take our time and there's no rush. I'm also very busy with my solo thing right now. I'm out on the road until Christmas and then I will be doing more touring in the beginning of 2015. I think there'll be another solo record from [me] before we see another FIREWIND album." FIREWIND celebrated its 10th anniversary by releasing a live album in June 2013 via Century Media Records in Europe. Titled "Apotheosis - Live 2012", the CD contained 17 songs recorded at special anniversary shows in Greece as well as all over Europe during the band's "Few Against Many" tour in 2012. It marked FIREWIND's final release with singer Apollo Papathanasio, who decided to leave the group at the end of 2012. FIREWIND toured in 2013 in support of "Apotheosis - Live 2012", with Kelly Sundown Carpenter (ADAGIO, BEYOND TWILIGHT) handling lead vocals on the trek. FIREWIND's latest album, "Few Against Many", entered the official chart in Greece at No. 42 and in Germany at No. 90. Released in Europe on May 21, 2012 via Century Media Records and in North America on May 22 through DisManic, Inc. via eOne Distribution, the CD was mixed by Jason Suecof and Eyal Levi at Audiohammer Studios (TRIVIUM, ALL THAT REMAINS, DEATH ANGEL) in Sanford, Florida. A special expanded edition of Gus' solo album, "I Am The Fire", will be released in Europe on November 3 (digitally in North America on November 4). This limited CD + DVD digipak will feature four bonus tracks and a 62-minute bonus DVD (including the album's four official video clips so far, plus three live tracks, six guitar tutorials, as well as an EPK and track-by-track commentary).

  • THRESHOLD: 'Unforgiven' Video Released

    "Unforgiven", the new video from British progressive metallers THRESHOLD, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band's latest album, "For The Journey", which came out on September 22 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2012's "March Of Progress" was produced at Thin Ice Studios in England by THRESHOLD members Karl Groom (guitars) and Richard West (keyboards) and was mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox in Finland. "For The Journey" marks THRESHOLD's second release with vocalist Damian Wilson since his return to the band in 2007. Damian told Prog magazine about the band's relationship and how easy it was recording the new album: "I think it's just the fact that we've become really good friends and it's the companionship in the band," he said. "We seem to care a lot about each other and we've become really close. So we thoroughly enjoy making music together." "For The Journey" track listing: 01. Watchtower On The Moon 02. Unforgiven 03. The Box 04. Turned To Dust 05. Lost In Your Memory 06. Autumn Red 07. The Mystery Show 08. Siren Sky Bonus tracks: 09. I Wish I Could (digipak, vinyl and digital versions) 10. Lost In Your Memory (acoustic version) (vinyl and digital versions) Commented West: "'For The Journey' is one of our strongest albums and one of the most enjoyable to make. I've probably heard it a thousand times during the recording process, but now that's it's over, I still can't stop listening to it!" The cover artwork was created by Polish artist Leszek Bujnowski, whom THRESHOLD found on the Internet. "He's designed some beautiful pieces and we thought this was a perfect THRESHOLD cover," stated West.

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  • AVENGED SEVENFOLD Singer Reveals Plans For DVD

    According to The Pulse Of Radio, AVENGED SEVENFOLD is taking the rest of 2014 off and will spend some of that time working on a brand new DVD. Singer M. Shadows said that the band is dealing at the moment with mixes and editing and artwork for the disc, which should come out sometime early next year. He told The Pulse Of Radio that the documentary uses the 2009 death of drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan as a starting point. "The DVD will take place right before we lose Jimmy, and then it's gonna basically take you all the way through to now," he said. "So it'll be mixed in with some live performances, but there will also be a very strong story arc to what our story is and what's going on with us." Shadows told Loudwire about the DVD: "It’s basically tracking the whole thing through our own eyes and words, because no one has really heard our side of the story. Other people have just talked about it themselves. We’ve always been pretty private about it. So now people are going to get to see visually what we went through." The singer added that the DVD will contain performances from the band's sets at key events like the Download festival, Rock In Rio, Rock On The Range and others. AVENGED SEVENFOLD will tour Southeast Asia and China in January and will tentatively start writing music for the follow-up to last year's "Hail To The King" next summer.

  • HATE ETERNAL Announces New Drummer

    Florida-based extreme metalelrs HATE ETERNAL have announced the addition of drummer Chason Westmoreland to the group's ranks. The native of Las Vegas, Nevada has already laid down drum tracks for the band's forthcoming album, the title and release date of which have yet to be revealed. Westmoreland will also join the band on the upcoming tour, which is scheduled to begin in the spring. 25-year-old Chason Westmoreland has been playing drums since the tender age of five and has tour with such renowned acts as FALLUJAH, BURNING THE MASSES, ENFOLD DARKNESS and OCEANO. HATE ETERNAL founder and principal member Erik Rutan (guitar, vocals) comments on Westmoreland joining the band: "Chason is such an amazing talent and a very determined guy. He came down to try out in June and literally blew us away! We bonded instantly musically and personally, and JJ and I knew he was the right guy and drummer for HATE ETERNAL. Chason has a high motor, hits hard, plays fast and is a very diverse and dynamic player. "The drums on this album have a very primal and visceral feel to them and I think he did a tremendous job on the recording. "I cannot wait for us to get on tour and deliver the goods!" Westmoreland states on joining HATE ETERNAL and his contribution to the new album: "I am extremely honored to join HATE ETERNAL. "The new material is very challenging and has a lot going on. I put everything I had into this album and I'm very excited about the results. "I cannot wait to see what the future holds and get on the road with our new album!" Rutan and bassist/vocalist J.J. Hrubovcak are holed up in the bandleader's Mana Recording Studio (CANNIBAL CORPSE, MOUNTAIN GOATS, GOATWHORE) putting the finishing touches on the new HATE ETERNAL album, which is due in early 2015 via Season Of Mist.

  • DAVE GROHL Says New FOO FIGHTERS Song Was Inspired By NIRVANA's Demise

    According to The Pulse Of Radio, FOO FIGHTERS frontman Dave Grohl has told Studio Brussel in a new interview that a track on the band's upcoming "Sonic Highways" album and HBO series, called "Subterranean", was inspired by the end of his previous band, NIRVANA. Grohl explained that the first music he recorded under the FOO FIGHTERS banner after the death of NIRVANA frontman Kurt Cobain was done in the same studio where NIRVANA had recorded its last complete song. Grohl recalled: "I didn't want to make music any more after NIRVANA, then time went on and I thought wait a minute, music is the one thing that's going to help me start over, it's going to heal me, so that's what I have to keep doing. So I went back to that same studio, and recorded again, and my life started over again, so that becomes the theme of the episode, and that also becomes the theme of the song." That final NIRVANA song was called "You Know You're Right" and Grohl recalled the sessions. "We had some time off before a tour, and Kurt wanted to go in and demo some stuff, so I said, 'Hey, why don't we do it at this studio down the street from my house,'" he said. "And we went down there, and we had three days booked. Kurt came in the last day and we were like, 'Okay, what do you wanna do?' And Kurt said, 'Well, why don't we do that song we've been doing at soundcheck?' And so we rehearsed it, I think, once, and then recorded it. Kurt did three or four vocal takes, and that was it." The Seattle episode of the HBO documentary series on the making of the album, also called "Sonic Highways", will premiere on November 28. The "Sonic Highways" series follows the FOOs to eight different American cities, where they record a track for the album that's influenced by the local scene and musicians. The series premiered on October 17. The "Sonic Highways" album arrives on November 10.

  • First Look At SLAYER-Inspired SCION Car (Video)

    Gear Gods has uploaded video footage of the SLAYER-inspired Scion car "Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC" which will make its debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, November 4-7, 2014. Check it out below. Frequently cited for its deep influence on other metal bands, SLAYER has a look, sound and approach all its own. The band's aggressive style carries into the tC sports coupe's exterior look and band-inspired details. Inside, the vehicle has been transformed into a multimedia machine with amps, towers of speakers, a custom mixer and a 32-inch monitor for media playback. Mike Vu of MV Designz is leading the build process. "SLAYER's fans are going to be excited when we reveal what a metal-inspired Scion tC looks like," SLAYER guitarist Kerry King said. "Working with Scion has given us another way to reach new audiences and inspire them to keep going down their own paths." "Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC" will join a diverse collection of modified Scions at SEMA, including three FR-S sport coupes designed by media partners as part of the 10th annual Scion Tuner Challenge. While the SEMA show is not open to the public, there will be opportunities to see the Slayer tC and Skate Tour xB at Scion events later in the year. "SEMA is the ultimate opportunity to look at Scion vehicles through a new lens," said Doug Murtha, vice president of Scion. "We're looking forward to showing fans what the members of SLAYER envisioned for the tC and encourage fans to imagine for themselves."

  • .5: The Gray Chapter - SLIPKNOT

    It's been four years since co-founding bassist and principal SLIPKNOT songwriter Paul Gray passed away. A lot of grief and reported pent-up energy has propagated the band's return, which emerges amidst the controversial replacement of drummer Joey Jordison. Departure or dismissal, that's as much a mystery as the identity of the new guy under the mask taking Jordison's place. SLIPKNOT has opted to stay mum on the issue, but the new members are believed to be drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro "Vman" Venturella. As the world turns in the SLIPKNOT camp with new leases and new costumes, held down by its "official" members Corey Taylor, M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan, Jim Root, Mick Thomson, Chris Fehn, Sid Wilson and Craig "133" Jones. Following a prolonged grieving period, Jim Root got to work penning material for SLIPKNOT's fifth album, ".5: The Gray Chapter". The album was completed with input by the rest of the band plus Greg Fidelman (having also worked with SLAYER and METALLICA), who returns to the SLIPKNOT cause following their previous collaboration on "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses". As might be expected, ".5: The Gray Chapter" is a largely dark, often moving listening experience. Summoning a return to their punishing roots in a number of spots, SLIPKNOT continues to evolve as songwriters, which means more melody, more clean vocals and tighter arrangements than ever before. However, as uncomfortable as their previous album "All Hope Is Gone" might've made some fans, ".5: The Gray Chapter" is a logical advancement between old and new SLIPKNOT, made unavoidably bittersweet by the band's adversities. Quirky tones from a vintage pump organ ring like twisted bagpipes, while a humming synth and xylophone chimes ring in the solemn opener "XIX". Corey Taylor wails in relative clean mode, "I've been too busy being called to disappear, I'm in no shape to be alone contrary to the shit you might hear". Not quite within his STONE SOUR range, some SLIPKNOT fans may stand leery of where ".5: The Gray Chapter" is headed from this point. Instead of immediately hitting an obvious rage fest, "Sarcastrophe" hits a slow stride with wallowing guitars and percussion on the intro, taking its time before flying off from that point. As SLIPKNOT breaks away, the riffs drape behind Corey Taylor's bellowing and the combined electro pulse and clouts from the new drummer, who exhibits a hair more grind tendencies than Joey Jordison's contributions to the band. Jordison is perhaps more precise and snap-tight, but the varying speed and crunch tempos delivered into "Sarcastrophe" allows SLIPKNOT to establish its usual madhouse-carnival feel with a few extracurricular touches. "AOV" zips into some of the thrashiest tones SLIPKNOT's yet delivered, but that breakneck velocity only applies to the intro and bridges. The band throws out slower, bopping grooves which gives Corey Taylor a chance to huff-rap the verses and ultimately hit a full-clean swoon (aided by soothing background vocals) on the melodic choruses. As SLIPKNOT's grown more progressive with each release, they roll the bones on a break-in slowdown sequence, which is quite articulate and tastefully brief. This, before sending "AOV" on a melodic sing-along to the end, which caps with rhythmic percussion and battering riffs. Whether or not you subscribe to all of the mucking about SLIPKNOT's being doing since "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses", the band is hitting a zenith of creativity, regardless of who hangs with them for the journey. "The Devil In I" chugs out of a warbling doom line at the beginning and sets itself onto a morose but tuneful course with moody guitar chimes, dirge-loaded bass and empathetic swills from Corey Taylor. The choruses are a little too safe, but a massive and quick-stepped breakdown plus a grinding bridge thereafter keeps the song robust and hectic. "The Devil In I" dumps right into "Killpop", which threatens to come off like STONE SOUR meets NINE INCH NAILS and maintains nuances of each along its skulking path. The clattering percussion behind the dejected yet soaring choruses is great, as are the crazed tempo spikes that jerks "Killpop" toward a chaotic wrap-up and abrupt stoppage at 3:45. Lyrically dedicated to Paul Gray, "Skeptic" picks things back up with a clobbering groove and chunky riffs that should satisfy longtime followers along with "The Negative One". To some latitudes, "Skeptic" comes off like "Album of the Year"-era FAITH NO MORE with SLIPKNOT's own embellishments. "I know why Judas wept, motherfuckers!" Corey Taylor next screams into "Lech", a track that rips and skids and repeats the scheme, but that's not all you get. The back and forth drum patterns are so well-plotted you never want them stop, but inevitably they change course to slower breakdown rhythms before jacking up once more and even thrashing out in spots. "Lech" is a tricky bastard of a song, but it scorches in every spot it's designed to, which gives enough of an adrenaline charge to allow the squirming and dragging electro pulses of "Goodbye" to serve as respite. Corey Taylor's cleans swim amongst "Goodbye"'s echoing culverts, even staying largely in soar mode once the heavier masses take over the song. The double-timed rhythm assuming itself over "Goodbye" gravitates toward a terrific guitar solo and the threat of a thrash break never happens as everything stops at the song's climax. "Nomadic" mashes up the manic blitzing mindset of SLIPKNOT's early years with charged-up, harmonious choruses. It's "Wait and Bleed" for this era. Again, it's subjective to the listener if the changes to SLIPKNOT's to music are palatable, but you can't ask for a tighter stream than the band executes here, whirling out a mini-hurricane during the solo section along the way. The reckless haste of "Custer" gives way to a spoken-word passage by Taylor, but soon his rant-scats take over in-between the crushing velocity and the barking "cut me up" and "fuck me up" mantras. These serve as the song's invitation to pogo and to scream along blindly at live gigs. Corey Taylor has cited himself as one of the most hated men in metal music, which can be considered valid or self-hype, though it's guaranteed there are many listeners who will be throwing darts at his picture while spinning ".5: The Gray Chapter". SLIPKNOT is forever changed and that has less to do with the internal strife and more to do with the fact this band has grown tremendously as musicians over the years. The six-year interval between this album and "All Hope Is Gone" has sparked a ton of resourcefulness, songwriting that manages to make sense of the mainstream euphony that was a rude awakening for many fans. No matter how close to the border of AOR this album gets at-times, it's a still a SLIPKNOT album. The nerve-shattering interlude "Be Prepared For Hell", followed by the thrash, grind and turntable-scratching mayhem gusting behind "The Negative One", are proof positive. Without trying to be melodramatic, for the misfortunes SLIPKNOT's faced, ".5: The Gray Chapter" is an album that answers their own call. The slow but compelling closing number "If Rain is What You Want" serves as a final bereavement march in memory of Paul Gray, marking both an end and a beginning. It, like most of this album, is heartfelt and appropriately allayed after an extensive mourning period that unfortunately generated other casualties in Gray's wake. Let those get on board who will. The others will no doubt continue throwing darts at Corey Taylor's picture.

  • At War With Reality - AT THE GATES

    Probably the most anticipated metal album this year, AT THE GATES' "At War With Reality" will turn into one of 2014's genre events, and not just because it's been nineteen years coming. Cited by more bands (largely from the metalcore and melodic death sanctions) as a primary influence, the Gothenburg peers of the realm haven't lost a lick of their eminence since releasing 1995's "Slaughter of the Soul". Having said repeatedly since their reformation attempts in 2007 and 2010 that there would be no new AT THE GATES album, "At War With Reality" finally comes to fruition. For diehard fans, the wait will be damned well worth it. With one of the more unique album intros you'll ever hear, the Spanish spoken-word track "El Altar de Dios Desconocido" sets up the album's first blitzer, "Death and the Labyrinth". The latter rockets along until hitting a straightforward mid-tempo mash and cascading chords alongside Tomas Lindberg's blaring vocals. Over with at an effective 2:33, "Death and the Labyrinth" dumps into the similarly-structured title track, which is three minutes highlighted by Adrian Erlandsson's parade of batters and stomps. The guitar solo is superbly dealt between the varied tempos and even the breakdown maintains intensity since AT THE GATES keeps the track ebbing along with no pause. "The Circular Ruins" is written similarly to the point of predictability, which is really the only fault of the album. Blazing velocity in the beginning and stomping crunch modes thereafter signal a trend that's bound to repeat. However, the playing is so stinking tight and full of ornate passages AT THE GATES remind why they were there long ahead of the pack. Gothic laces open the otherwise loud "Heroes and Tombs", smothered by a steady throb over which Tomas Lindberg bellows his guts out. The riffs plowed by Anders Björler, Martin Larsson and Jonas Björler gouge into the verses, growing more ornate on the choruses, despite the bitter tones gnashing about them. Afterwards, "The Conspiracy of the Blind" stays in speed mode a while, teetering backwards to another set of marching modes. AT THE GATES does try to shake up the script a bit by letting another racing barrage manifest within the song's mid-tempo flow. What keeps "The Conspiracy of the Blind" interesting is the band's eloquent layering. If it wasn't for the overwhelming talent of these guys, the script would already be tiresome at this point. However, AT THE GATES senses this by instinct and splices the script with "Order rom Chaos", a slow, heavy number carrying thick chords on the verses and a dark melody on the choruses. "The Book of Sand (The Abomination)" veers into speed and death metal territory at times, but the expected slowdown arrives midway before peeling off once more. In both measures, the guitars carry up and down in waves, while the jerked about solo is stunning. A final transition out of a quiet bridge into a dramatic, double-hammered finale allows AT THE GATES to pour lava into their riffs. The gloomy instrumental "City of Mirrors" has loads of blaring guitar layers vying for attention overtop its melancholic melody. Expectedly, "Eater of Gods" comes snorting out from there with equal boom and upfront guitar rakes amidst the song's by-and-large thrashiness. Even the mosh rhythms on "Eater of Gods" keeps the sweat pouring and the tones pounding, that is, until another trooping transition takes the song into a different direction. The fight for dominance amongst the guitars and bass is tremendous, and each layer is worth keying in on. Point blank, AT THE GATES are the legends they are because they give their listeners so much to feast on with each song, no matter if repeat patterns become the norm on this album. AT THE GATES make mincemeat out of this album and efficiently plot most of their songs to wrap in far less time than their acolytes. The average song on "At War With Reality" clocks in between two-and-a-half and four minutes, yet all feel like far more has transcended. That's something special. Inadvertently and unfairly credited for the ascension of metalcore, AT THE GATES releases a demonstrative comeback album that's simply metal, forget the 'core-rellations.

  • Watchers of Rule - UNEARTH

    Metalcore favorites UNEARTH are back following their 2011 album "Darkness in the Light", and what's changed in the interim are a new drummer, a few modifications and even better playing from a band that's already long been at the head of their class. In other words, UNEARTH does what they do best: bum rush, bark and barrage, but with scores of enhancements. Their new album "Watchers of Rule" is so well-executed it excuses the same ol' same ol' aspect about it. After a gorgeous, guitar-swarming intro number, "The Swarm" rips away with exactly what the title would entail: teeming guitars from Ken Susi and Buz McGrath, who play at lightning speed as the track flies in tandem. These guys slay their positions better than any surviving metalcore act out there. Current drummer Nick Pierce proves himself up to the task of providing a fast, pounding platform for Susi and McGrath to sizzle over, while John "Slo" Maggard rumbles along on bass and Trevor Phipps rages above, sounding like he still has everything to prove. Regardless of the expected breakdowns that crop up, "The Swarm" is an exciting, decorative burner that gets an equally busy successor, "Lifetime in Ruins". The shoving, breakdown-minded riffs on the latter's intro are given a steady pound to huff along to, which would've been plenty enough to chew on for this cut. UNEARTH changes signatures more than a handful of times on this track, so pay close attention. Nick Pierce's tempos shift without warning and the guitars have minds of their own, dotting with neoclassical scales in rivulets, as they do on "The Swarm". "Guards of Contagion" rides a panting hardcore groove at its base, while Trevor Phipps woofs on and sounds like he's carrying a hundred gigs of the past behind him, which is meant as a compliment. There's a sage craftiness about "Guards of Contagion", which finds more ornate scales frolicking behind the coarse riffs, all building to a harmonious chorus. "From the Tombs of Five Below", similar in theory, only with darker, digging 'core chords and even more crowding guitar layers. A blasting solo section will have UNEARTH fans screaming "Sick!" wherever they behold it. Subsequently, "Never Cease" pushes on with persevering energy, giving only a bare pause to serve up a chiming guitar solo that ushers a buzzbombed breakdown and a classy bridge before grinding hurriedly along to close. The breakdowns get more prominent spots on "Trail to Fire", which utilizes them to crawl out of the random thrash nudges. As before, it's Buz McGrath and Ken Susi who inject classical-hummed lines into the song, give a lot more to absorb in "Trail to Fire". The jumpy and lambasting "To the Ground" is one the heaviest numbers of the album, carrying even enough sustenance and energy to close the album, and yet there are still three pounding numbers left to go. Aside from the ridiculous playing on "Watchers of Rule", UNEARTH have learned the art of efficiency. Knocking out most of these songs within three to three-and-a-half minutes, "Watchers of Rule" packs tons of punches and they deliver a kayo of an album in economical time. The short time off and change behind the kit has given UNEARTH massive urgency. Still containing four-fifths of their core, UNEARTH may destroy drummers from the vigorous demand of their music, but that demand is why this band is tops of their breed. "Watchers of Rule" kills it — and how.

  • The Last Act of Defiance - SICK OF IT ALL

    Hardcore icons SICK OF IT ALL are back with their first album in four years, not counting the 2011 "Non-Stop" compilation. "The Last Act of Defiance", like many of their albums, is over with as soon as it gets rolling, even at fourteen songs. God bless these guys, because they waste not a single second in this loud 'n proud effort. You can't ask for a rowdier opener than "Sound the Alarm". Built for speed for most of the way, SICK OF IT ALL plunges the accelerator and tosses out gang shouts galore behind Lou Koller's gravelly hollering. A brief slowdown stomp toward the end of "Sound the Alarm" keeps the song from exploding as the band switches between speed and slower mosh rhythms on "2061". Here Lou Koller issues an indictment aimed toward corporate gluttony plus his projection of a societal and economic collapse in the not-so-distant future. Armand Majidi's clobbering beat, Pete Koller's enormous riffs and Craig Setari's dangling bass rolls "Road Less Traveled" through a mostly moshing course as the band woofs about hardcore as lifestyle. Business as usual, suffice it to say. Subsequently, "Get Bronx" is dished as a mid-tempo, teeth knocking street anthem where Lou Koller summons SICK OF IT ALL's fans to stay hard and defy oppression, NYHC style. None of this litany is different than what's come before "The Last Act of Defiance". In fact, the recurring messages of scene sustenance, self-empowerment and righting the wrongs against the disenfranchised become subordinate after a while. The key lure to this album is hearing SICK OF IT ALL grind things out short and mostly fast. Since the late Eighties, this band has remained true to its New York hardcore roots. In 2014, it's a blast hearing SICK OF IT ALL not only continuing to give a damn, but running to the line on nearly every song. The cacophonous clatter of the 1:27 "Act Your Rage" is self-explanatory and well-pushed to the limit, even with a brief slowdown to the mayhem. "Part of History" trundles through a medium-paced stomp, but some wicked snare blasts and random tempo spikes from Armand Majidi bring extra heat to the cut. "Losing War" is a whirlpool starter with its brisk shakes following the parading intro. Craig Setari, one of the best bassists in hardcore history (along with former CRO-MAGS member Harley Flanagan), rocks this album all over the place, not only standing out on "Road Less Traveled", but "Never Back Down". The crew calls rattle everywhere on "The Last Act of Defiance", at times coming off imposing, other times like harmonious punk mantras. Both modes are evidenced on "Facing the Abyss". "Beltway Getaway" is a tuneful jam stocked with yells, croons and declarations of being up shit's creek, all in the spirit of cajoling a loud and puerile sing-along. This before SICK OF IT ALL again employs the speed and slam scheme on "Sidelined". The band waits for the closing number "DNC" to whip up the "oi" chants along with gang rumbles that collectively sound like a punker's block party. The ferocity of "The Last Act of Defiance" is its selling point. A SICK OF IT ALL follower knows what to expect from these guys and thus has a new of tunes to practice at lungs' capacity in front of dresser mirrors. This in anticipation of the live environment, where fans are expected, not merely encouraged, to pour the lyrics back at Lou Koller. SICK OF IT ALL pounds the snot out of their instruments on "Outgunned" while hollering about the world testing the mettle of their scene, despite overwhelming odds. That's the hardcore ethos broken down to its simplest memorandum. Consider yourself served once again.

  • Time to Die - ELECTRIC WIZARD

    For their eighth album, "Time to Die", British black-doom cultists ELECTRIC WIZARD bring drummer Mark Greening back to the studio, and apparently they fell into their own trance as this album clocks in at more than sixty-five grueling minutes. Fans will be mesmerized by ELECTRIC WIZARD's extensive tone drenching on "Time to Die", while others with less time to invest are strongly advised against it. "Time to Die" is a brutal, scalding affair that will rape your senses and defy your temperament. The montage opening "Incense for the Damned" paints a horrific picture about satanic murders and black-metal music being blamed upon drug usage, setting the listener upon a ten-minute course of winding doom and stoner measures. Jus Osborn grates about the world being screwed up without the assistance of narcotics and weed, issuing a proposition that staying high actually curbs nihilistic inclinations. His suggestion about being a modern-day Caligula if left unchecked by a calming trip bears a twisted sense of rationality, and will assuredly become an anthem for those of the spliff patrol who can hack music this dark. The buzzing, up-and-down chords from Osborn, Liz Buckingham and session bassist Count Orlof soon turn the song's prolonged marathon into a screeching stupor while Osborn utters his mantra "We wanna get high before we die." Hardly new lyrical turf for these guys, of course, but there's a heated "yearning" for vindication seldom few can honestly relate to. Only the chord structure changes as "Incense for the Damned" spills into the 7:49 drone-bombed title track. If anything, the key goes even lower as Court Orlof plants a vibrating floor for Liz Buckingham and Jus Osborn to peel off pulsating riffs, extended note tugs and ear-gauging wah. Mark Greening throws a ton of fills into what is essentially a death crawl of a song, and the offsetting mollification of the random organ splashes succumb to the overwhelming static ELECTRIC WIZARD sears them with. The 11:31 "I am Nothing" dials things back even further with singular riff divots and frigid tones, setting a long, disturbing ostinato for Jus Osborn to call his "supercoven" to arms by his litany of demise. If you're a metal music veteran, this is easy to take as part and parcel to sounds so caustic, but caveat if you're a yeoman; : "I am Nothing" has the propensity to scare the living shit out of you. By the time Mark Greening breaks up the deadening monotony of the song with a plethora of tom rolls, the guitars increase in intensity, creating a deafening static miasma even the SONIC YOUTH troupe could applaud. Now that's scary. More news, soundbytes from a 1984 "20/20" segment entitled "The Devil Worshippers" is given a subdued organ and guitar fugue on "Destroy Those Who Love God". Little else needs to be said, other than the chilling edict by a young Satanist that ends the daunting track leaves you scarred. At last, "Funeral of Your Mind" picks up the pace with a mid-tempo doom jam that keeps a stripped, menacing cadence that would've sounded perfectly at home in underground 1984. While the main melodies are BLACK SABBATH and SAINT VITUS-bred (ditto for "Lucifer's Slaves"), ELECTRIC WIZARD huffs a ton of squawking feedback and gallons of acidy guitar goo into the track. Following those seven minutes of pummeling comes the excruciating drag of the 9:05 "We Love the Dead". Once more the chunky chords plow southwards and even Count Orlof hits some inexplicably dense tinges. The inherent harmony of "We Love the Dead" would actually serve a throwback horror flick well, but there's naturally something far more sinister at work within this dirge. It's only palatable to freaks of this stuff, no matter how awesome the guitar "picks" and shreds get within the final minutes. "SadioWitch" and "Saturn Dethroned" cut the listener a break with much shorter running times and tighter, relatively faster lines. Nevertheless, when "Time to Die" is all said and done, the listener will feel shorn and naked like the ritual offering depicted inside the liner notes. Whether "Time to Die" is meant to expose the dank underbelly of Satanism or to mock outsider perceptions of it (the religion at its core is meant to celebrate to the nth self-empowerment and fulfillment versus gory sacrifice), ELECTRIC WIZARD issues a long-meted provocation that's only meant for a select few.

  • Blood Mantra - DECAPITATED

    Almost twenty years together, Polish death-tech legends DECAPITATED take their time in delivering new product to their rabid fans. Only their sixth full-length, "Blood Mantra" is a prime example of substance versus quantity. Even with a mere eight songs on it, "Blood Mantra" accomplishes more in one sitting than some death metal bands need three albums to achieve. DECAPITATED's proficiency has always been one of their biggest assets, but on "Blood Mantra", the band reportedly went back to the explorative mindset of 2006's "Organic Hallucinosis". If anything, "Blood Mantra" captures the essence of its predecessor, then takes a huge evolutionary step forward as DECAPITATED mingles numerous theories to produce a volatile and wildly entertaining record. They make you wait for it a few rounds on "Exiled in Flesh". Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka's shredding guitar lines alone are heavy enough, but then DECAPITATED hits the blast button and sends the song onto a blazing path. The rest of "Exiled in Flesh" is dealt by new drummer Michal Lysejko in mostly two measures, grind and thrash, before everything fades into a droning cascade. After that, "The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation" flares along for 2:31, again switching between blast measures and restrained, though no less extreme thrash punches. Kieltyka's guitar and Pawel Pasek's bass on both songs swarm gracefully overtop the cataclysmic debauchery beneath them. The chuffing riffs and moshing tempo serving up "Veins" will summon pit churns and here is where DECAPITATED largely stays, sending the song into a fun dance of the damned where brushing strokes merge with down-picked spools. A decorative melody emits during a tone-drenched bridge and subsequent breakdown. For music this extreme, there's a serious verve to it all. As much as this band likes to impress by their velocity (spiking things to jackhammer speed by song's end), they doubly impress with their punctuated musicianship and tendency to rock out as they do on "Veins". This trend continues on the banged-up title track, one guaranteed to snap necks and keep the whirlpool flowing on the floor. At 5:06, there's more groove than embellishment and transition going on here (albeit, there are a few turns taken in the second half of the song), which makes the explosive thrash hurled into the final minute much more spectacular. It's savvy songwriting you just can't teach to your average death metal act. As "Nest" rolls on for 6:26, it's this dedication toward groove that keeps the song interesting. DECAPITATED stitches their sicko riffs in front of a churning guitar melody and keeps the method up longer than most bands today would. Thank God for that, because the steady crunch of the song makes the out-of-nowhere glide into a gorgeous harmony on the bridge appealing, even more so once Waclaw Kieltyka hits an equally attractive solo. As impressive as anything DECAPITATED has ever performed, this is how you effectively marry beauty and the beast in death metal. Reserving their fullest chops for the hyperactive "Instinct", DECAPITATED goes berserk instrumentally for a minute-and-a-half before pulling much of the guitars away, flirting with bare whispers behind the continuous beat pounding on the verses, then blaring them at full volume. As fast as "Instinct" goes for most of the way, every time the guitars and bass hit their strides, they smother you before the song hits a few signature volleys. At that point, the riffs march along with a slower tempo and hits a striking concord in mid-stride. The 7:38 "Blindness" again makes the listener wait with rolling, patient guitar lines and a riveting rhythm. Even when Rafal "Rasta" Piotrowski's bear vocals emerge, DECAPITATED continues the same pattern, layering things in repeat. Whenever you think this song is about to erupt in speed, it doesn't, and that's crafty showmanship. "Blindness" stays on a hypnotic lull, constantly baiting and tiding over with a guitar solo that winds along with the rest of the song. For lesser bands, this gambit wouldn't pay off, but DECAPITATED hardly loses their urgency on this cut. If anything, they give a protracted tease that still satiates. If you're expecting a blistering closing statement with the instrumental "Red Sun", forget it, but by this time, DECAPITATED has already delivered a masterful set of songs that are plenty enough to chew on. "Blood Mantra" is perhaps the most poised and gutsy album DECAPITATED's yet delivered and its courageous bends make it a turbulent but pleasurable ride.

  • ACCEPT's WOLF HOFFMANN: No. 1 Chart Position In Germany 'Took Us Mostly By Surprise'

    myRockworld recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of German/American metallers ACCEPT. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. Asked how it felt to see ACCEPT's new album, "Blind Rage", enter the German chart at No. 1, Wolf said: "It feels great. Who could have believed that after 35 yeas or longer in this business, finally we get a Number One. It took us mostly by surprise, to be honest, but we're very happy about it. [It was Number One] in Germany and Finland and I think it made some really good chart positions in other countries all around Europe. But what's even more important to me than the chart position is how well it was received by the fans and all the critics. That, to me, means everything, really. A chart position is a chart position; it comes and goes and it's nice. But what's the staying power of an album and what do the fans really say at the end of the day? That's what's important. And so far the reactions have been overwhelming, amazing." "Blind Rage" sold around 6,400 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The band's previous CD, 2012's "Stalingrad", opened with around 5,400 units to debut at position No. 81 on The Billboard 200 chart. The group's 2010 album, "Blood Of The Nations", registered a first-week tally of 2,900 copies to land at No. 187. "Blind Rage" was released on August 15 via Nuclear Blast. Like its two predecessors, 2010's "Blood Of The Nations" and 2012's "Stalingrad", the new effort was helmed by British producer Andy Sneap, who has previously worked with MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ARCH ENEMY and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. The cover artwork was created by Daniel Goldsworthy. The "Stampede" video was filmed on location in the high desert of California at the Devil's Punchbowl (a rock formation that looks like it's from another world) with director Greg Aronowitz ("Batman & Robin", "A.I. Artificial Intelligence", "The Lost World: Jurassic Park").

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