CELTIC FROST has announced the addition of a touring guitarist by the name of V. Santura of the black metal group DARK FORTRESS…CRIONICS next album is called NeuThrone and due in June through Candlelight Records…DARKEST HOUR’s next album is called Deliver Us and is due in July through Victory Records. The album is being recorded at The Warehouse in Vancouver…GENERAL SURGERY and FACE DOWN members have joined together in a hardcore band called NICE IDIOT. The band features singer Mikael Van Tuominen (FINGERSPITZENGEFÜHL and GENERAL SURGERY), guitarist Joacim Carlsson (FACE DOWN and GENERAL SURGERY), bassist Johan Norsebäck of MASSGRAV and drummer Ove Wiksten (SAYYADINA and I QUIT!)…Selfmadegod Records has announced a March 26th release date for the European release of Assassins Of War EP by HIRAX…SOIL, and former BROKEN HOPE, guitarist Shaun Glass has a new project called DIRGE…NAER MATARON has found a home at Season Of Mist following the demise of its previous label, Black Lotus Records…DERANGED is looking for a new label following its split with Listenable Records…Drummer Tom Hunting has returned to EXODUS having apparently sorted out his problems. Paul Bostaph is out of the group and seeking a new gig…ABIGOR (T.T. and Peter Kubik) will issue its comeback album Fractal Possession in June…ARTILLERY has had to cancel its appearance at the Keep It True VIII festival in Germany this month due to its singer and bassist not being quite ready. DESTRUCTOR has been added to a set which also features PILEDRIVER, SABBAT and DIAMOND HEAD…Singer Thomas Väänänen and guitarist Henrik Svegsjö have left THYRFING due to a lack of motivation. Former NAGLFAR and current PROFUNDI singer Jens Ryden has joined the band…Jacoby Kingston has abandoned his long held position fronting and playing bass with DEEDS OF FLESH due to a lack of time. His replacement is one Erland Caspersen from Norway…Norway’s IN VAIN will release its debut, Called The Latter Rain, this autumn through Indie Recordings…The title of the next ICED EARTH album is Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1) which should be out in September. The album will be followed by a second part roughly six months later. In the meantime, Bo Wallace has left the band due to family issues. He might be replaced by BEYOND FEAR’s Dennis Hayes...DEW-SCENTED has announced the addition of drummer Andreas Jechow of DESILENCE to its ranks. The new man has joined the band after the recording of the new album, Incinerate…Drummer Neil Hutton has returned to BENEDICTION to release Nick Barker who is spending time touring and recording with TESTAMENT. Hutton was most recently in STAMPIN’ GROUND…Drummer Alsvid has temporarily returned to ENTHRONED to contribute to the recording of Tetra Karcist album as present member Glaurung cannot take time off work…Colombia’s WITCH TRAP has signed with the Hells Headbangers label for the US license of its demo/album…Lance Ozanix of SKITZO has been hospitalized due to his vomit antics and consequently the band’s album release date has been pushed back. According to the hospital physician Ozanix has a Mallory-Weiss tear (bleeding where the esophagus connects to the stomach due to repeated vomiting). Five Point Containment will now be issued in June instead of May…After an 18-month pause and taking time to travel and study guitarist Christopher Amott has returned to ARCH ENEMY. The band is working on new material…Los Angeles’ WINDS OF PLAGUE has signed to Century Media. The band released an album called A Cold Day In Hell on Recorse Records in 2005 and will soon begin immortalizing newer material with producer Daniel Castleman…Italy’s EVISCERATE has split up…The new MORRIGAN album The Damned will be out in April through Undercover Records. The band is part of the Anti-Christ Crusade tour of Europe with MORTUARY DRAPE and BESATT…Lifeforce Records will issue HELL WITHIN’s Shadows of Vanity on May 25th…Lithuania’s OBTEST is entering Poland’s Hertz Records in order to record a new album called Gyvybes Medis [The Tree Of Life]…ATROCITY has signed with Open Grave Records for a new full-length album due out late 2007 or early 2008. The label reissued the Contaminated album, which featured alternative recordings from the original Infected sessions of 1990...DECLINE OF HUMANITY’s Corrosive album will soon be issued through Thundering Records…ENIGMATIK’s Slytherin album is almost complete and will be issued through Thundering Records. The band claims to have broken death metal speed limits…VITAL REMAINS was forced to place a slipcase on its new CD due to the explicit image of Jesus on the cross. The album, Icons Of Evil, is now in stores and again features Glen Benton of DEICIDE on vocals…Open Grave Records has announced the re-release of HELLWITCH’s, Syzygial Miscreancy album along with CRUCIFER’s, Pictures Of Heaven and EXTERMINANCE’s, Vomiting The Trinity…The Exterminance Discography...Osmose Productions reports that the PHAZM/DECAPITATED/HATE tour of Europe has had to be cut short by ten days to miscellaneous issues like a defective bus, lack of payment and food and so forth. Blaming the promoter, Poland’s Rose Productions, the label reports that PHAZM had to find its own way home after being stranded on the Spanish/French border…AKERCOCKE has picked Antichrist as the title for its new album, which is due on May 28th through Earache Records. The album is a concept…Shannon Lucas, formerly of ALL THAT REMAINS has joined THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER on drums...CEPHALIC CARNAGE has completed work on its next album, Xenosapien. The album will be released through Relapse Records on May 29th…The reunited ANGELCORPSE has recruited J.R. Daniels formerly of CATTLE DECAPITATION to play drums on the band's U.S. tour. The band’s Of Lucifer And Lightning is due for release next month…GOREFEST drummer Ed Warby has also joined Sweden’s DEMIURG…MTM Music will release Hell Destroyer, the new album by white metal band CAGE…Colorado-based COBALT has signed a deal with Profound Lore Records and will release its sophomore album, Eater Of Birds, in July…Metal Mind Productions will issue ONSLAUGHT’s Live Polish Assault 2007 DVD in May…Regain Records of Sweden has opened an American office and established distribution through Koch Records. The label was previously distributed through Candlelight Records USA in North America…Mike Cosio (GRAVE DESECRATION and formerly of EXCRETION) has joined ABYSMAL DAWN on bass…Second guitarist Lou Cortez has joined SUN DESCENDS. The band’s next CD The Entropy Formula will be released through Twilight Distribution in late summer of 2007…ARAPACIS has gained two new members. They are drummer Franck Jake and singer Elizabeth Fyre. The band has also signed with ANVIL’s management, Sol Music…Guitarist Markus Lempsch has written in to note that he left German death metal band OBSCURA not due to a lack of dedication, as described last month, but because he lived 600 kilometers away and could not make the trip.
IRON SAVIOR will release a new album, entitled Megatropolis, on June 4th through Dockyard 1. Running Riot, The Omega Man and Flesh are among the song titles…The third instalment of the AVANTASIA saga is called The Scarecrow and is being completed by main man Tobias Sammet and producer Sascha Paeth…EYEFEAR has signed with Dockyard 1. The band’s new CD, A World Full Of Grey, was recorded at keyboardist Sammy Giaccotto's studio Peak Time Productions in Melbourne, Australia. It was mixed by Andy La Rocque at Los Angered Studio in Sweden…Original HALLOWS EVE members singer Stacy Andersen and bassist Tommy Stewart will appear on stage together for the first time since 1989 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Metal Blade Records. They will be joined by ex-RIGOR MORTIS lead vocalist and guitarist Doyle Bright and drummer Dane Jensen...Vocalist Rick Mythiasin has rejoined STEEL PROPHET just in time for the recording of a new album…HAMMERFALL has extended its contract with Nuclear Blast Records for another six albums. The band lost its bassist Magnus Rosen however following the man’s decision to concentrate on his own projects and creative process...ANGEL BLAKE has been dropped by Metal Blade…KING DIAMOND's Gimme Your Soul... Please, will be released in June 26 through Metal Blade Records and Massacre Records…BLOODBOUND has recruited German vocalist Michael Bormann (JADED HEART, BONFIRE and RAIN) and is writing new music…Tobias Sammet is working on a new AVANTASIA album. Collaborating with him are KISS drummer Eric Singer and guitarist and producer Sascha Paeth…Glamsters TIGERTAILZ have signed with Sanctuary Records for the release of a new album called Thrill Pistol. The album will be a double-CD release featuring 1991’s unreleased Wazbones album…EVERGRACE has decided to change its name to INCRAVE. The group's self-titled debut album from last year will be re-released on April 20th under the new name. Its title will be The Escape. The album will include a bonus track called The Masquerade as well...In advance of the release of the Mastercutor album U.D.O. will issue an EP called The Wrong Side Of Midnight this month…Denmark’s ANAMOLY has thrown in the towel…ROYAL HUNT and singer John West have parted ways apparently over musical differences. The band is seeking a replacement as it works on a new album…Italy’s GRAVEWORM will release its next album, entitled Collateral Defect, on May 25th through Massacre Records…Sweden’s NOCTURNAL RITES has announced The 8th Sin as the title for its new album, which will be released on May 28th through Century Media Records…CENTURY MEDIA has signed Texas band AT ALL COSTS which it describes as a mix of hard rock and thrash metal. The band had issued an album on Combat Records previously…Italy’s EXTREME has parted ways with V2 Records and signed with Scarlet Records. The band is working on a double-DVD…Nightmare Records has signed Italy's HEART OF SUN and Brazil's SCELERATA…Magic Circle Music has just issued a single by the band HOLYHELL called Apocalypse. The single features a duet with MANOWAR singer Eric Adams…Scarlet Records will issue a new album by VISION DIVINE in June. The album is entitled The 25th Hour and will be sported by confirmed Asian tours…Houston progressive metal act KRUCIBLE is confirmed to take part in Houston's Texas Madfest in July. This will mark one of the first live appearances of the band's new line-up, which now includes renowned singer Lance King of Nightmare Records. Members also include Eric Halpern (ex-LEATHERWOLF/HELSTAR) and ProgPower Showcase promoter Shane Dubose (ex-OUTWORLD/CEA SERIN/STRIDE), Don LaFon (6 MINUTE CENTURY/ex-MYSTIC CROSS), Adam Rawlings (VICTIM/ex-TYTON) and Jeff Baniak…MIDWINTER’s The Glassy Waters album is ready for release through Thundering Records, although the guitarist Joackim Menard has left leading the band to search for a new member…The End Records has set June 12th as the release date for the seventh 7th studio album of Japan’s SIGH. The album is entitled Hangman’s Hymn…Original SHOK PARIS drummer Bill Sabo suffered a heart attack and died on March 16th. He was 46 years old…CYNIC has cancelled its appearance at the Maryland Death Fest in May…KAMELOT’s Ghost Opera will be issued in June through SPV. The first pressing of the album will feature a bonus DVD…BLITZKRIEG’s next album, Theatre Of The Damned, will be issued by Armageddon Music in July. Biff of SAXON is billed as the record’s co-producer…SAVATAGE and solo Guitarist Chris Caffery has joined DORO for the latter band’s tours of America and Europe…Stormspell Records will shortly issue AMULANCE's The Rage Within And The Aftermath CD. The album is in fact the band's The Rage Within demo of 1987 as well as unreleased music from The Aftermath Sessions recorded in 1988 and 1989. The music has been remixed and remastered…KEEN OF THE CROW has thrown in the towel citing creative and managerial issues…Drummer David Dahir has left CELLADOR. The man apparently prefers to play death metal…WINDS, the Norwegian band consisting of Lars E. Si (Eikind), Carl August Tidemann, Jan Axel von Blomberg (Hellhammer) and Andy Winter, is entering the studio on April 4th to complete work on its fourth recording. The album will be issued through The End Records…LILIAN AXE will issue an album called Waters Rising through Metro City Records…Baltimore’s SHIFT, featuring Rich Davis and Chris Lembach of MYSTIC-FORCE, has a CD called Creating A Monster…Bassist Chris Griffin has left TRANSCENDING MORTALITY. The band has temporarily recruited its former member Corey Eves…Former AVENGER bassist Mick Moore intends to launch legal action in order to reclaim the band’s name following his departure from the NWOBHM act.
SEASONS OF SORROW - THE AWAKENING
The Septet from Vancouver Island, Canada offers up what is predictably and typically dubbed atmospheric black metal. In this three song EP, however, the music moves into folk territory, features some hard rock influences and frequent guitar solos not too unlike the NWOBHM style. The songs all feature a combination of clean, snarling and baritone vocals with the mandatory addition of female vocals which in this case is rather annoying when it is used in conjunction and at the same time of Adrian Miles’ lead vocals. Sometimes, and unfortunately, the band Cradle Of Filth comes to mind here but one can assume the band would not mind the comparison but for better or worse, the bands are not too similar. Add in the presence of violins courtesy of Tyson MacMillan and a look at the titles, Across Bleeding Seas, The Forsaken Prophecies, and Penance In Black, it is not too difficult to guess what Seasons Of Sorrow, formed by Jesse Day, is about. Contact the band at www.seasonsofsorrow.com or via email at email@example.com. – Anna Tergel
TRANSCENDING MORTALITY – THE LAST HORIZON
Transcending Mortality is a young Australian heavy metal band that most readers would not be familiar with or recognize. While The Last Horizon is not the band’s first demo, the disc is its first fully promoted and full-length release. The CD is professionally recorded and presented and features over fifty minutes of music in seven songs. The disc is not value for money only because of its length. There is not a single bad song in the bunch. The band claims influence from the likes of Blind Guardian, Fates Warning, Nevermore and Death and is in fact as good, if not better than, some of those groups. The Last Horizon is an all-out superb and surprisingly mature collection of tracks.
Beyond Remembrance is a melodic heavy metal start to the demo and sounds like Icarus Witch musically with shades of Triumph’s Rik Emmett vocally during the higher pitches. Transcending Mortality has more good riffs and leads on song than bands have on an entire album. Into The Light is catchy and hints at Hammerfall (a line in the song: a ‘crimson’ trail of…) musically. Guitarist Shane Linfoot deserves kudos for his progressive and adaptable axe work. Into The Light is the disc’s shortest track at four a half minutes in length. The Spiral has a heavy guitar chug and has singer Mike Zoias do a dandy impression of Threshold’s Mac at the 2:40 mark. Veil Of Midnight presents more superb notes as the music oscillates between the heavy and the serene. Next up is Twilight, which is both rich in texture and infectious, yet is probably the band’s weakest track here. Dawn Of Defeat begins with a speed riff, but is ultimately a good example of traditional metal done right. The Last Horizon draws to an end with the title track, which is again in the vein of Hammerfall with an early Iron Maiden-like melody at the 6:30 mark.
Newer heavy metal and power metal bands have gravitated more and more towards melody, versus a harsh edge or heavy rhythm, in the last several years partly as a reaction to the more popular ‘core’ styles of music out there. Compared to the ‘80s metal bands the younger groups of today seem to miss the brashness and the rough edges and that is something that these bands, and Transcending Mortality, need to rediscover. The Australian five does inject enough power and heaviness to make this one of the better discs of the year and coupled with the other aforementioned pluses has released a marvelous overall package. Either write to the band at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.transcendingmortality.com for more information. – Ali “The Metallian”
UNATURAL DESASTER – VIOLENT FATE
New York City’s Unatural Desaster at first sight looks like a fan of Destruction’s (classic song: Total Desaster) brand of thrash metal, but upon closer inspection one notes the misspelling of both words in the band’s name.
The band is true to thrash metal regardless and proudly old school. The band’s sound, style, logo, titles and graphics all smack of 1986 which is all good and dandy at Metallian Towers. Having said that, the quintet (the disc was recorded with four members) needs some work before becoming anything past an acquired taste. Chief among the issues is the voice of singer and guitarist Peter Aiello who comes across as too rough and ready and devoid of much in terms of graces. The production is not particularly strong either, but more ominously are the odd samples and noises the band has deemed fit to include. A lyrics sheet was not provided to satisfy the curiosity regarding song titles like Stalinisicism, TCBS or Faith Terminated, but the odd screams on Faith Terminated, for instance, really have to go.
Fans of old Megadeth, Exodus, Exumer and the like need to mind their spelling before typing out www.unaturaldesaster.com. - Ali “The Metallian”
NEFAS – PROMO 2006
Nefas is an Italian band that has apparently released several albums and demos previously, although I would wager that the group is fairly unknown even in the underground. Promo 2006 features the three songs Dust Of Centuries, Subconscious and Keeper Of Forbidden Words. The band’s cover artwork is strongly mysterious and could have appeared on a Coffin Text or Nile album, yet the group’s music screams Immolation at me. The band’s music is complex, technical and fast. It is as if Immolation took its newer work and resurrected its earlier (Dawn of Possession) speeds. Nefas rules because its complexity does not hinder the heaviness and because the band can play with the best of them. Godly technical death metal! – Anna Tergel
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