Black metal band STRIBORG has signed to Displeased Records. An album called Embittered Darkness is due this year…ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW will issue Before The Bleeding Sun on April 26th through Spinefarm Records. The reunited band recorded the album at Tico Tico Studio…DARKTHRONE's new album, The Cult Is Alive, will be issued next month through Peaceville…DEICIDE’s The Stench Of Redemption album will be issued by Earache in May…INCARNATED recorded its second full-length album at Bloodline Studio in January. The record, entitled Pleasure Of Consumption, will be released through Selfmadegod Records in March…Asguard is putting together a tenth anniversary package which will be available in 2006. This special package will include a DVD, a book and a special audio CD…Ukraine’s grind/death metal outfit FLESHGORE has signed with This Dark Reign and will issue a debut release May God Strike Me Dead in early 2006…LYZANXIA has entered Fredman Studio on January 9th, 2006 to record its third full-length album Unsu with Fredrik Nordström…The black metal band YERSINIA PESTIS is now known as SPEARHEAD…FALL OF SERENITY is at Rape Of Harmonies Studio recording its debut full-length for Lifeforce Records, entitled Bloodred Salvation, with producing team of Patrick W. Engel and Ralf Mueller…Italy’s HANDFUL OF HATE has signed to Cruz Del Sur Music. The band’s Gruesome Splendour will be released in the spring…PHARAOH has announced the completion of its second full-length album, entitled The Longest Night, due this month through Cruz del Sur…GOREFEST, MASTER, LUNAFIELD and RESURRECTURIS are touring Europe…DESTROYER 666 and REVENGE are touring Europe in March and April…Red Stream Records has issued NOKTURNE’s Kruelty Kampaign CD/DVD. The DVD was filmed in California in 2004…The End Records’ AGALLOCH has finished recording its Ashes Against The Grain CD…NEURAXIS and guitarist Steven Henry have parted ways. The man will continue with his side projects URBAN ALIENS, IDIOPATHETICS and EMPATHY DENIED…Crash Music has signed ABYSMAL DAWN which is a Los Angeles-based band featuring former members of RISE and INHUMAN VISION. The band’s From Ashes album is due in April…MAYHEM, now featuring singer Attila Csihar again, has picked Ordo Ab Chao as the title for its new album due in the spring through Season of Mist…MONSTROSITY, DEEDS OF FLESH, VILE and IMPALED use the Gutting Europe 4 tour monicker for a series of shows in March
and April…ATHEIST, featuring bassist Tony Choy, has reformed and will play festival shows in Europe this summer…Former HIRAX guitarist Glenn Rogers has joined ONCE DEAD which is a white metal band featuring former members of VENGEANCE RISING…OCCULT has changed its name to Legion Of The Damned in order to escape its history and line-up legacy. The new album, Malevolent Rapture, will be issued by Massacre Records under the new name…Earache’s BEECHER
has thrown in the towel…NECROPHOBIC has signed to Regain
Records and will issue a new album entitled Hrimthursum late
this year…DECAPITATED, featuring bassist Richard
Gulczynski, will issue its new album Organic Hallucinosis
this month…Century Media has signed TERRORIZE, which now features guitarist Tony Norman (MORBID ANGEL and MONSTROSITY) and singer Tony Militia of RESISTANT CULTURE)…GORGOROTH bassist King Ov Hell and ex-GORGOROTH drummer Kvitrafn have a new band called JOTUNSPOR. The black metal group’s Gleipnirs Smeder album is expected next month through Candlelight…DISMEMBER’s new album, The God That Never Was, is out next month…Candlelight Records has signed East Coast USA’s STARKWEATHER. The band's new album, en titled Croatoan, was produced by Pierre Remillard and will be out in May...ANCIENT RITES, freshly signed to Season Of Mist, has finished the recording of its new album and is currently mixing the songs. Meanwhile, the band has decided to name the album Rubicon. The disc is due in June…Morningstar Records has issued BLOODTHORN’s Genocide CD…Peaceville has signed Japan’s crustcore all-girl trio GALLHAMMER. The band will issue a compilation before entering the studio in the spring in order to record new material…MISERY INDEX has signed with Relapse and is working on a new album…COVENANCE, featuring former MISERY INDEX members Matt Byers and Bruce Greig has parted ways with vocalist Vince Matthews due to "professional differences." His replacement is former CRYPTOPSY frontman Martin Lacroix. The band is entering the studio this April…MANNGARD will re-release its debut album, Circling Buzzards, on February 20th through Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records…Norway’s KOLDBRANN will enter the studio this month in order to begin recording its sophomore album, entitled Moribund…Singer Björn Goosses (also of NIGHT IN GALES) has left Italy’s INFLICTION…RAGE’s new album, Speak Of The Dead, will be out this spring through Nuclear Blast Records…Former IMPIETY drummer Fauzzt has joined CHAOS REGAL…Norway’s DISIPLIN has recruited Italian drummer Massimo Altomare of BLACK FLAME, DAEMUSINEM and MORTUARY DRAPE fame…SHADOWS FALL has lined up a string of shows in March with AGNOSTIC FRONT, STILL REMAINS and BYZANTINE. The band has signed to Roadrunner in Europe…CRUCIFIED MORTALS and DECEASED have issued a split EP through Hells Headbangers. DECEASED is separately working on a full-length called Surreal Overdose…The next ARCH ENEMY release will be a live video…BRUJERIA’s ranks have been swelled by drummer Angelito and bassist El Cynico…WASTEFORM, now featuring guitarist Justin Knipper (formerly of MUCOPUS) has left Xtreem Records and will re-issue the Crushing The Reviled album through Nice To Eat You Records…ABYSMALDAWN has recruited bass player Carlos Arriola (ex-SAVAGERY) after a search spanning two years.
ANIMAL’s next album, Violent New Breed, is due out in the summer through Diesel And Glory Records…ANTHENORA has signed to My Grave Productions which will release the Soulgrinder album in March…Drummer Snowy Shaw is the latest member of DREAM EVIL to leave the fold…Former RATT singer Stephen Pearcy has been joined by bassist Chuck Wright (QUIET RIOT) and drummer Scott Coogan (BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION) for the Metal In America tour with BANG TANGO and PRETTY BOY FLOY beginning this month…According to InsideOut Music, DEREK SHERINIAN is in the studio producing his fifth solo album. Supporting him are Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and OZZY OSBOURNE), John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER), Steve Lukather (TOTO), Simon Phillips (TOTO, THE WHO and JUDAS PRIEST), Tony Franklin and others…THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND will be on tour in February with OPETH and DARK TRANQUILITY...CONCEPT 7’s new CD The Undeniable Constant has just been released. For more information head to www.Concept7.co.uk…QUEENSRŸCHE has signed to Rhino Records and will issue Operation: Mindcrime II in March…MOTÖRHEAD’s Stage Fright 30th Anniversary DVD is now out…RHINO BUCKET will issue And Then It Got Ugly in March through Acetate Records…BANG TANGO has signed to Perris Records and will issue From The Hip in May. A tour with BULLETBOYS was in the works, although the latter later dropped off the line-up…One-time GRIP INC. and HEATHEN bassist Jason Vie Brooks has a new band called THE ALLKNOWING…INVOCATOR’s Jacob Hansen who has been a producer in recent years has joined ANUBIS GATE, the band of his former mates, as singer…Former ANUBIS GATE vocalist Torben Askholm, who was supposedly not able to sing anymore, has announced a new band called STRANGER TIDES. The band’s style is described as fusion…Crash Music has signed LUPARA featuring ex-BROKEN HOPE guitarist Jeremy Wagner. An album will be recorded in March and released in the autumn time frame…It only lasted a month. QUIET RIOT and guitarist Tracii Guns have parted ways…Drummer Igor Cavalera has temporarily left SEPULTURA to spend time with his wife while awaiting a new child. Former SOULFLY man Roy Mayorga will fill in…The next DOKKEN album will be called Lightning Strikes Again. The album features guitarist John Levin…YOB has thrown in the towel after losing Travis Foster and Isamu Sato last July…Century Media has signed Sweden’s WOLF…CRYSTAL BALL and bassist Dany Schallibaum have gone separate ways so the latter can focus on his family…STATETROOPER is mixing its live album, recorded during the set at last year’s Sweden Rock Festival. The band is also preparing to record a new album…Firebox Europe has organized the Metal Mania II Festival in Budapest, Hungary on the second of March. Bands appearing are ANATHEMA, CHARON, NEVERMORE and others. More information can be found at http://www.negativeart.hu/metalmania…Due to the split between Elitist Records and Earache, CARNIVAL IN COAL’s contract with the British label has been cancelled. The band only found out about the development after looking at the label’s website! The French duet has just inked a contract with French independent label Equilibre Music and is working on its fifth album due in 2007…The End Records’ latest signing GIANT SQUID has relocated from Sacramento, California to Austin, Texas…SEPULTURA’s latest album, Dante XXI, is out March 20th. The album is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s classic work, The Divine Comedy…Mike Kischnick and EMPYRIA have a new web site at http://www.empyriaproductions.com…ANTHENORA’s Soulgrinder album will be out next month through “an Italian label.”…Victoria’s FACES OF BLACK has a new drummer, Donnie Black. A US tour is in the works for the summer…While performing in Spain CHILDREN OF BODOM’s singer/guitarist Alexi Laiho has broken a toe. Laiho has promised to keep touring nevertheless…VOIVOD, which is finishing off recordings for a new album post-Piggy, has signed to Nuclear Blast in Europe. The band’s record company remains The End Records in America…EVERGREY has picked Monday Morning Apocalypse as the title for its sixth studio album, due on April 4th through InsideOut Music...CRASHDIET’s frontman David Hellman was found dead in his apartment on January 20th…CELTIC FROST has signed a deal with Century Media Records. The band’s Monotheist album is due in May. Shows in Europe and North America are planned for the summer…On March 7th Rhino Records will release a new version of GLENN TIPTON's 1997 Atlantic Records album Baptizm Of Fire (including two extra tracks) as well as the TIPTON, ENWISTLE AND POWELL album Edge Of The World, which consists of previously unreleased recordings with the late Cozy Powell and John Entwistle that were laid down at the same time as Baptizm Of Fire...Perris Records has just issued Hollywood Hairspray Vol. 5 sampler featuring ANIMAL/ZAN CLAN Guitarist Chris Laney, Cory Clarke (WARRIOR SOUL/SPACE AGE PLAYBOYS) new band DIRTY RIG and new tracks from a slew of newcomers…Lion Music will issue HUBI MEISEL’s Kailash album later this month…Magic Circle Music has the following planned for 2006: MANOWAR will have a new single, The Sons Of Odin, followed by a new album. RHAPSODY will release its first live album, Live In Canada 2005 - The Dark Secret. Fans can also expect a live DVD in the near future. The label will issue an album by HOLYHELL, FEINSTEIN and JACK STARR'S GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME…HELSTAR has issued a DVD called Burning Alive through Perris Records. The band has signed to Perris only for the video so far… Henjo Richter, the guitarist for GAMMA RAY, was injured on a ferry from Sweden to Finland after falling down a set of stairs. He is temporarily he's replaced by Kasperi Heikkinen from the Finnish GAMMA RAY tribute band GUARDIANS OF MANKIND…Swedish white metal band NARNIA has signed to Massacre Records which will release the band's new album, Enter The Gate, on April 21st...Germany’s IN BLACKEST VELVET has recruited drummer Raphael "Raf" Kobold (formerly of ABSENCE and MIRRORED MIND)…PAIN CONFESSOR will issue its second album, entitled Fearrage, on March 3rd through Megamania…DORO’s Warrior Soul will be issued next month by AFM Records…Finland’s MANITOU will release a single, entitled Fools In Control on February 8th through Firebox Records…CRYPT OF KERBEROS has reunited and is working on newer songs. The band was last heard from last year via a compilation CD...Perris Records is issuing an album entitled Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ by reunited glamsters SWEET CHEATER...Jim Kane, the original lead vocalist for the band, has joined BATTLE BRATT Again…POWERWORLD, the new band of former FREEDOM CALL bassist Ilker Ersin, is seeking a singer. Candidates should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org…TWILIGHTNING has asked Keyboardist Mikko 'Nasse' Naukkarinen to leave the band and will continue without a piano player.
OBTENEBRIS – Same
Obtenebris is a young band from Montreal mixing harsh and gruff vocals with melodic, but underground metal. The multiple vocals tones are all savage, although the guitarists play it rather safely despite Stephane Constantin’s insistence that Andy LaRocque inspires him. Where are the leads then?
It is still early days for the band, of course, and the three-song/15-minute demo is hopefully just a harbinger. Come next demo the band should cut the single instance of spoken vocals, add some solos and have the drummer try something more varied. Still, this is respectable and hardly abysmal. The CD is available for $5 through www.obtenebris.com or e-mail email@example.com. - Ali “The Metallian”
MACHINA – DARK AGE DIGITAL
Yes, Machina is from Finland and yes it is a melodic metal band, but Machina is worth looking at. The band was formed with the stated intention of sounding like vintage Judas Priest, although here the style has little to do directly with Priest and is closer to Stratovarius albeit without (much) keyboards. The music has little to do with Fear Factory either despite the title or the cover art. The singer is capable of hitting the notes he reaches for and proves it by his performance on Absence Of light, the music is charming and the production professional. My favourite song is The Menace which has a great solo, although fans of Stratovarius, Sentenced and Freedom Call will generally like these six songs. Now, what is what that ‘parental advisory’ tag on the back cover? The CD is available for $8 Cdn through firstname.lastname@example.org. – Anna Tergel
WINTERFELL – THE VEIL OF SUMMER
Winterfell comes to us from Pennsylvania as a serious, professional and talented band. The CD itself is an example of professionalism in packaging and sound, but it is the band’s compositions that should determine a band’s rite of passage. The quintet (although drummer Eddie Van Silva has hung up his Winterfell sticks recently) may sound like a schizophrenic progressive band at first. The eight-minute long opener Threnody supports the supposition with its soft and melodious passages and harder metallic interruptions. There is this duality all across the songs that makes the listener question Winterfell and its intentions. With repeat listens of the songs 1 to 9 the picture becomes clearer. At times Winterfell is like Fates Warning, at others like Biomechanical and at others like a mixture of both. The band touches upon Iced Earth and Iron Maiden territory mid album and repeats the pattern until the longish closer Catacombs. The long songs, varied music and fantasy themes begin to gel in the mind. The weak link, occasionally, is singer Robb Graves whose pleadings do not match his aspirations. He is not bad truth be told, but hardly manages to elevate his voice either.
Winterfell is a long demo CD with lots of interplaying elements and surprising amounts of complex music. The band’s mixture of styles is a matter of taste, but there is no denying the talent and the potential. Perhaps you need to hear it for yourself? www.winterfell.org– Anna Tergel
AROARAH – TOGETHER LIFE MEANS SO MUCH MORE…
Aroarah (another way of writing Aurora) is not the type of band to which the knights of Metallian Towers normally would give an audience. The band is more into the pop punk sound, which is fine, and does not exude a metallic sound.
The four-piece California all-girl act has an anti-glam look, wasted hair, outfit and all. The sound is both gritty and soft as is the singer who manages both with fair amount of confidence. The band is a mix of L7 and Avril Lavigne constantly titillating between the two sounds. Proving its commercial potential, Aroarah has already appeared on tours and events like Warped Tour, ESPN and Fox, Girl Powder Snowboard tour and American Idol Underground. Safe to say that no one at Metallian Towers really knows what any of these things are or mean.
Younger listeners into balancing the abrasiveness of punk with the accessibility of the charts would probably eat this stuff up. As such and for more information check out www.aroarah.com or e-mail email@example.com. The CD can be had for $8 (US). – Ali “The Metallian”
THUNDER REIGNS – SHADOWS
This CD is packed with around 46 different files all containing the same song, called Shadows, in mp3, .wav, video, mpeg and so forth formats, but there is little information here other than two names (a singer and a guitarist) and an Internet address. The song/video is a prime example of a band in love with King Diamond. Everything sounds like the infernal Dane. The video is cheesy, but obviously built on a shoestring budget. Although there is no excuse for the, er, effects. For more information or to view the video head to www.thunderreigns.com or e-mail them at the spam thwarting firstname.lastname@example.org. The only redeeming factor is the guys’ long hair. – Sheila Wes Det
EVENT HORIZON X – FAR ACROSS THE WASTELAND
Event Horizon X (written out as Event X Horizon in the band’s logo) is a real labour of love. This one-man act has three CDs to its name and Far Across The Wasteland is a professionally recorded and packaged full-length. While there are weaker moments, songs and instruments on this disc like the song Leaving Behind or the drum sound, most of the power metal is worthy of more than one listen and pretty good. Who needs a record company when this disc’s packaging beats the stuff established labels release? Who needs a label when the sound on these songs is fully acceptable and so is the compositions? Check this out for a decent power metal CD with high vocals, an epic sense of fantasy and an independent ethic. More information at http://www.eventhorizonx.com or e-mail the man at email@example.com. - Anna Tergel
IAN – DRAIN YOUR DREAMS
The CD in my hands is a three-song album preview of Drain Your Dreams. The act is really the work of the Zorro-esque solo practitioner and is rather strange. The minimalist music and programmed drums are topped by some of the most abrasive growls and screams this side of The Great Kat. It is noisy and harsh, but based in heavy metal. The whole affair is unconventional and rooted in the depths of the underground, but who can argue with the sentiment “soon, very soon, everyone’s dreams shall be drained”? For more information and general insanity head to www.drainyourdreams.com. - Anna Tergel
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