Axamenta has begun writing for its second album. The album, due in 2003, has a fantasy concept...Founding member of Antagony Carlos Saldana has left the band to pursue a sales career. His replacement is Bray Almini. The band has also begun writing material for a new release...Guitarist Brian Griffin and Sean Baxter (now on guitar) both formerly of Broken Hope have completed a pre-production demo for their new act which is called Incivism. The band is working towards the recording of an album tentatively entitled Voluntary Exile at Griffin's Quali-Tone Studio. The duo are currently sharing the vocal duties...Kreator, Destruction, Cephalic Carnage and December have been confirmed for a two month long tour of North America. The tour kicks off with nine Canadian dates on August 13th...Overkill front man Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth suffered a minor stroke while performing in Nürnberg, Germany on Thursday, June 27th. He is currently vacationing in Europe and expected to make a full recovery. The band still plans to have a new studio album ready through Spitfire Records for next February...Danish thrashers Invocator have reformed. The band is currently at Aabenraa Studios, Denmark recording a full length which will feature the four songs from Demo 2002. Singer/guitarist Jacob Hansen is producing and former Withering Surface member Jakob Gundel is on drums. Also expect a cover of Assassin's Abstract War...Crash Music has signed King's Evil for North America. The band's Deletion Of Humanoise is now in stores. Also out soon on the label is Metalium's Metalium Attack DVD...Cannibal Corpse is releasing an EP called Worm Infested this autumn. The EP features tracks from the band's latest album Gore Obsessed, as well as Japanese bonus tracks. The EP will be on sale exclusively at the band's upcoming tour with Macabre and Cattle Decapitation, as well as on the band's and Metal Blade's web sites...Six Feet Under and Hatebreed will be touring North America this autumn...God Dethroned is entering Studio Berno (Seance, Insision, etc.) this October to record its next album entitled The Universal Slavedriver. The album is due in January...The Crown is playing several live dates (including Party San Open Air) with original singer Johan Lindstrand this summer. With the departure of vocalist Tomas Lindberg the band is still seeking a permanent front man...Fleshcrawl have recruited Oliver Gbravac to replace departed and original guitarist Stefan Hanus. Gbravac's debut will be at the Wacken Open Air this summer...Red Stream is shortly releasing Xasthur's Nocturnal Poisoning album. The band is originally on Blood Fire Death and has been compared to Burzum...Ravenous is recording a MCD entitled Apocalyptic Paranoia...Following the departure of Malfeitor Fabban, Void Of Silence is seeking a singer. The band has made vocal-less versions of songs available at www.dauphins.com/void for prospective singers...Colombia's Underthreat has signed to Conquest Music. Touring with Monstrosity in Colombia this summer, the band's album Behind Mankinds Disguise will be released this autumn...California's Midnight 666 Records has issued a Cadaverizer/Funebrarum split EP. The former band features former Massacre/Death singer Kam Lee as well as members of Exhumed. The latter hails from New Jersey and plays Scandinavian-inspired death metal. Funebrarum will soon release a full-length entitled Beneath The Column Of Abandoned Gods through Necroharmonic Productions...Lyzanxia's Mindcrimes will be released in Japan by King Records on October 2nd...Krisiun had this to say about their next album which is expected early next year, 'it's gonna be a deadly true death metal album which will try to capture the real aggressive, innovative and brutal essence our music.'...Myrkskog's next album album is called Superior Murder and due in September via Candlelight...Following a self-titled album on Rage Of Achilles Records, Cult Of Luna has now signed to Earache. The noise mongers are currently recording at Tonteknik Studios in Sweden...Norway's Perished has signed with Displeased Records...Following the disappearance of Renegade Records, that company's Chris Pelletier will handle the operation of Season Of Mist in America. The label has secured distribution via Music Cartel/Caroline...Disinter has announced that a third album entitled Designed By The Devil, Powered By The Dead will be issued through Morbid Records early next year...Some news from Warpath Records: former Bloody Gore members bassist Mithos and guitarist Rio have recruited new members and formed a new band called Funeral Inception. The band's full length Anthems Of Disenchantment will be out in September. The label has also signed Russia's Mortem whose album Death Is My Name is due this year...Bastardsun, featuring former Cradle Of Filth man Stuart Anstis, has an EP on Ireland's Sentinel Records...Napalm Death and producer Simon Efemy have begun work on an album tentatively entitled Order Of The Leech. A new DVD is also planned for this year...Guitarist Ivan Alcala has left Serberus for Throcult. The band is auditioning replacements...Black Witchery is now on Osmose Productions...Following two years of dormancy, and while owner Wilko worked at Hammerheart Records, Fadeless Records is back. The label has signed Misery Index for Europe and will also reissue the first two Vomitory albums with bonus tracks...Lividity is heading to Europe in September to participate in the Morbid Festivals...Incantation, Impaled, Decapitated, Vehemence and Dead To Fall will follow up an appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest with a tour of the USA...Mordgrimm Records is set to release a six-track EP by Anaal Nathrakh in September. The EP will feature a guest appearance by Attila Csihar formerly of Mayhem. In related news, Rage Of Achilles Records is releasing the band's demos on CD...Blood Red Throne will release their second album, Affiliated With The Suffering, this October through Hammerheart Records...Thy Majestie's new album is entitled Hastings 1066 and due in October. The album will feature a cover of Stryper's In God We Trust...Abscess has signed with Peaceville. The new album is called Through The Cracks Of Death...Pandemia's second album, Personal Demon, is out this month through Lost Disciple Records...Grindcore pioneers Nausea have reformed and independently reissued the Crime Against Humanity LP originally issued by Wild Rags in 1991...Former Benediction drummer Neil Hutton has joined Stampin' Ground...Forthcoming releases on Worldchaos Productions are the debut of Soulless (US thrash), an album by Denmark's Ilnath, as well as albums by Japan's Hydrophobia and Plastic Earth...Mannhai, featuring former Amorphis man Oppu Laine and former Xysma singer Joanitor Muurinen, are at Sweden's Mega Studio recording a new album for Spinefarm...Producer Devin Townsend and Lamb Of God will commence work on the band's second album on November six. The album is due next April...
Düsseldorf, Germany is the site for the fourth annual Deathparade demonstration in support of heavy metal on August 17th. Please visit www.deathparade.de for more...After being forced to removing Slipknot from the bill due to massive protest by metal fans, the promoter has completely cancelled Leipzig, Germany's Off Limits Festivals...Silver, featuring former MSG singer Gary Barden, has a new album entitled II out on September 9th via Point Music. Barden is playing a gig in Thailand on August 31st which will be recorded for a DVD release...Former Blacktask singer Warren Appleby (a.k.a Ay) is back with fresh solo material. For more information, as well as mp3's please visit www.warrenappleby.com...Fresh from the release of the debut, entitled Sacred Fire, France's Phenix has penned new songs for the next outing. Described as, 'faster' and 'with less breaks' several titles are Trial By Fire, The Last Ride and The Fifth Dimension. The album will also feature the continuation of the Endless Quest tale in the form of Endless Quest part II...Sanctuary Records is releasing a two-record live album by Black Sabbath. Entitled Past Lives, disc one of the set is the 1980 Live At Last record originally released by the NEMS. A limited edition digi pack (5,000 copies in Canada) will feature extra goodies such as a guitar pick, poster and liner notes...Finland's Maple Cross has reformed and issued a new demo...After dropping out of the Abrasive Rock Festival in order to open for Judas Priest, Reverend has now been dropped from the latter event by the organizer...After ten years of existence and two album through Invasion Records, Sweden's Embracing is back with a new demo entitled The Dragon Reborn. The band's drummer Mattias Holmgren has also recently issued a 'solo' album for his project Tired Tree via Musea Records...Pretty Maids were forced to cancel their recent Scandinavian tour because their new album Planet Panic's release was delayed. The band plans to tour Scandinavia in late autumn instead...Chaos Theory has added vocalist Adam Ritchie to the fold...After a six-year absence British pomp rockers Magnum are back with an album entitled Breath Of Life via SPV. The album features six bonus live and acoustic tracks...Rhapsody, and their label Limb Music, have cancelled plans for the Rhapsody In Black project fearing confusion among fans regarding the project and the nature of the band...To support Deception Of Pain, Valley's Eve will tour Europe this autumn with Powergod and Chinchilla...In Flames will support the release of Reroute to Remain this October by supporting Slayer and Soulfly on the H82K2 tour. The band is also filming a video for the song Cloud Connected...Century Media is releasing the new album of Canada's Into Eternity entitled Dead Or Dreaming in North America. Originally on DVS Records, the Regina band is influenced by Rush, Dream Theater and Death...Vicious Rumors are shopping for a new record deal...There is a new Lillian Axe record out soon entitled Live 2002...After releasing two albums on AFM Records, Sweden's Steel Attack has signed with Arise Records. An album is expected next April. Also on Arise, Finland's Celesty at the Fantom Studio recording its debut. The label also has albums by Freternia (called A Nightmare Story and produced by Andy LaRocque) and Dark Moor due soon...Belgium's Double Diamond has two new songs completed entitled Break The Chains and Murder At Midnight...Brazil's Shaman has signed with Universal Music for that country only...Skyclad, now on Demolition Records, has opted out of the Milwaukee Metal Fest...Nightmare Records has released the new Domain album entitled The Artefact...SPV is imminently releasing the debut studio album of The Company Of Snakes featuring former Whitesnake guitarists Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody and former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray. The album is called Burst The Bubble. The album was produced by Nikolo Kotzev...Eyehategod will perform six shows in the UK to coincide with the August 18th tribute to the late Iron Monkey front man Johnny Morrow. The tribute show will take place in Nottingham....Axel Rudi Pell's thirteenth album Shadow Zone is issued by SPV...Madison, Wisconsin will see a one-off reunion show by America's Last Crack on August third...Victor Griffin has been joined by Scott "Wino" Weinrich (ex-The Obsessed, ex-Spirit Caravan) in Place Of Skulls. The band's debut on SouthernLord is entitled Nailed...According to Osmose Productions Exciter has regrouped and are listening to tapes in order to recruit a new singer...Avidost has recruited guitarist Mike Kosciuk to replace the departed Oliver Homann. The band has also added keyboardist Giam Andrianopoulos to the line-up...Mob Rules will support Savatage this autumn in Europe in order to promote their next album Hallowed Be Thy Name...Metal Blade has signed Symphorce for four albums. Phorceful Ahead is the title of the band's forthcoming album which is due in November...Demolition Records has announced a new Sacred Sin album for later this summer entitled Hekaton - The Return To Primordial Chaos...Tom Galley and Phenomena are recording a new album slated for the spring of 2003...Keyboardist Derek Sherinian is touring with Billy Idol...Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer and former Motley Crue vocalist John Corabi have a new project called Twenty 4 Seven. There is no confirmation on the status of Corabi's Union...David Coverdale has confirmed both a new album and a tour by Whitesnake for 2003. Previous reports had indicated that Coverdale will only be compiling a band anthology...After cancelling an appearance at this year's Wacken Festival, Angel Dust has now officially split up. Nevertheless bassist Frank Banx and guitarist Ritchie Wilkison are relocating to the USA and intend to jointly continue the venture...Ozzy Osbourne has left the current set of Ozzfest shows in order to spend time with his wife and Ozzfest founder Sharon Osbourne. Organizers have shuffled the bands' slots in order to accomadate the change...In an interview with Germany's Rock Hard magazine Rob Halford has admitted that forgetfulness is the reason behind his recent lackluster live persona. Halford told the interviewer that he is using a teleprompter to sing the lyrics and is undergoing medical supervision...Guitarist Kaos has left Samael. The band is continuing work on its next album entitled Era One.
BLACKENED - REVENGE BE MINE
OK, firstly, when Ali "The Metallian" of the editorial board sent me a CD from some German guys I checked out the band name and noticing the band name thought to myself 'wow, either a Metallica cover or a black metal band.' I took the spikes and leather out of the closet and so was ready to go downright evil. But the cover looked like Manowar and breed and I thought that might be the band's influence. Next I checked out the band portrait as I always do thinking 'I hope these guys have long hair and look the part.' OK, so here is what happened. There was no black metal band. There was no Manowar either. Oh no, absolutely not because Blackened is a mix between singing and drumming like Metallica, guitar playing like Paradise Lost and atmosphere like Sentenced. That's OK I can take it even though Metallica lost me as a fan and for good reason, but here is where I could not take it any longer. There was no hair, no locks, no flowing mane. Buben, come one grow the hair and you will get more fans at shows I promise. So if you like Metallica after 1989 and don't mind your men with chopped hair here is the ordering information. 8 Euros for Europe, 10 Euros for Canada and here is the address Kaufstrasse 8, 77694 Kehl Germany. You can e-mail Herr Truttenback at email@example.com - Sheila Wes Det
ATROPOS - CREATURE CHTHONIENNE
Atropos is an interesting French quintet which was formed in mid-1998. The band's influences range from Classical music to Dark Tranquillity and, follows logically, Iron Maiden. While the former two are interspersed throughout, a couple of exact Iron Maiden sound-alike segments are a Trooper riff on Foret Viscerale and the quiet melody of Rime Of The Ancient Mariner on L'y Reconduirait Encore. The former also utilizes Diamond Head's Am I Evil as a bridge. Atropos was a Greek goddess of mythology who supervised fate and the 40+ minutes of layered music follow the story of a battle among the same gods. The lyrics are in French and the vocals are of the screechy variety which are often associated with black metal bands. Atropos Shuns the chorus/verse structure in favour of speedy harmonies and longer passages. The shortest song here is the older La Fileuse de Mort which is over five minutes in length. The CD has a good sound and the musicianship is above-average. Every member contributes and kudos go to a couple of neat drum sounds here and there. Seeing how the band remains unsigned and given the band's direction, Atropos is reminiscent of Canada's Aphasia. Send $14 (cdn.) to Gerald Milani, 34 La Roque Courbiere, 13680 Lancon France or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
KINGCROW - SOMETHING UNKNOWN
Heavy metal followers seeking a different-sounding entity ought to take note of Italy's Kingcrow. The music is clean and en route to the progressive tag. However, not being there yet, today Kingcrow is an original and compact heavy metal act which relies on a sound all its own. If forced to make comparisons, however, names like Iron Maiden and Fates Warning may cautiously be used. The band is epic in sound and emphasizes melodies of its own. This is a case of less is more though and not a complex CD. The singer is quite an acquired taste who, nonetheless, is a pleasure to hear to these ears for all his original and emotion-laden performance. This even if his strength is not his range. He oddly enough reminds me most of Loudness Minoru Niihara. If one criticism were to be levelled at the band it would be the drumming which is far too reliant on following the rest of the band and rarely attempts anything independent. The band attempts something very soulful and surprisingly commercial with Can My Soul Fly Free. This is where the capability of the lead guitars can be heard. Hurricanes Eye is an instrumental with a short dream-like female voice. The demo features full artwork, booklet, lyrics and a video which only augments this very interesting effort. Stop press: singer Stefano Tissi has left the band. Where this will leave the band is hard to imagine given his unique talent. For more information please visit www.kingcrow.it.
DAVIDIAN - UNPURIFIED
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome out of the mecca of metal, the centre for speed and the land of heaviness Davidian from Utah! Utah? Did you say Utah? As in the state where people think musical diversity means country and western? At least if Utah means a lack of things to do outside, staying at home might not be so bad. Where else does the church sanction multiple wives? Goofing about Utah over and out of the system, Davidian is a cool name for a metal band. It's evil, violent, fanatical and reminds one of polygamy. Hmmm... that again. Musically, Davidian leaves one decidedly of two minds. The vocals of Shawn Kapinos are certainly an acquired taste. He sounds rough 'n ready and well, angry. There is not much of a range to speak of though. The band's style is thrash metal with an affinity for Hexx and the mid-paced material Epidemic used to deliver in its earlier days. A bassist is not identified, yet his sound does come through strongly. More importantly, one of the guitarists decides to do some acrobatic shredding once in a while which sure makes things more interesting. He should certainly let loose more. The sound is good and as an added bonus do check out the hair style of one of the members who is straight out of Kajagoogoo! Please write to email@example.com to contact the band.
THE SEVENTH GATE - NONE SOL BLOODY AS THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Several things quickly appealed to this writer once this independent CD came in. There is the crimson-drenched cover art adorning the demo. A strongly-justified logo and involved lyrics also leapt to mind. The basics down pat, one had to wonder about the band's self-described 'Satan Rock' style. The same being the band's address on the Internet, seeds of doubt were planted for a metal fan can hardly be expected to admire Danzig or some such commercialism.
Having absorbed the full length it is a pleasure to report that The Seventh Gate is a dark and doomy band whose strongest attribute is the savagery emanating from its singer's larynx. The other members do not quite attain the same level of ferocity partly due to their musicianship and partly due to a muted and much muffled production. There are indeed occasions where the vocals and drums drown all else. On the other hand, things are not wholly dire and given the singer and an upcoming and new demo this summer it might be a good idea to keep an eye on this band. That said, the band would be wise to skip tracks like the demo-closer whose attempt at a softer vocal approach is clearly an inferior entity. Please find the band at www.satanrock or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SENCIROW - DREAMSPACE
Dreamspace is an impressive demo for a debut. Originally released in 1999 and sporting a three dimensional cover appropriate for its title, Dreamspace is a melodic heavy metal disc which has been self-produced. The songs enjoy the kind of fluidity usually reserved for more mature bands and a sound which is complementary to the music. The vocalist sounds like a less gruff James Hetfield and struggles on an occasion like Talking To God (Religious Insanity). On other occasions he is well and acceptable. The rest of the band does put in an impressive effort, again given their youth, and capably handles both the instrumentation and arrangements. The band is comparable to an NWOBHM band which nonetheless carries much originality on its shoulders. The lyrics too are impressive. Although no lyric sheet is provided, a clear tendency towards a Humanist theme is present throughout songs like Dreamspace, Disgrace On The Wicked and the aforementioned Talking To God. Sencirow's follow-up release has to be an impressive effort. The band can be reached via www.sencirow.de or c/o Daniel Seifert, Zur Talweise 22, 57334 Bad Laasphe Germany.
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