Metallian Heavy

Japan-based FESTERDECAY has a record called Reality Rotten To The Core through Everlasting Spew Records on 24.02.2022.

Time To Kill Records has signed Italian veteran death metallers SEPOLCRAL. The band is putting the finishing touches to the new album Scourge currently. It will be released in 2023.

Spain-based EMPTY has an album called Omnia Amet Lorem through Drakkar Productions, A Fine Day To Die Records, Vertebrae and Negra Nit. Metallian will update with the list of additional labels as they join the release list.

Avantgarde Music is issuing ENISUM’s Forgotten Mountains (black metal from Italy) in February, CIEMRA’s The Tread Of Darkness (black metal from Belarus) also in February and GRÁ’s Lycaon in January.

Everlasting Spew has issued OCCULSED’s Parturition Of Adulteration and is releasing NOTHINGNESS’ Supraliminal album this month. The latter band hails from the USA.

Odium Records has signed HYL for the 2023 release of a debut album called Where Emptiness Is All. The band hails from Poland and Italy. Ex-Marduk bassist Devo Andersson can be heard on the record.

ARCHSPIRE, BENIGHTED, PSYCROPTIC and ENTHEOS will tour Europe in March 2023.

Aftermath music has issued black metal group DJEVEL’s Naa Skrider Natten Sort album.

Atmospheric black metal act VISITANT has a single and video called Dematerialization. The band, which is Matthew Brown (DEMON KING and ex-ENFOLD DARKNESS), Taylor Tidwell, and Chelsea Strickland (voice actor at Monster Factory), with the later addition of Terran Fernandez (ex-MINDSCAR) and Anthony Lusk-Simone (ABIOTIC), is working on a demo for 2023.

Sweden-based DEAD SUN will release a new full-length, which is entitled Soul Diseased, through Xtreem Music in February. It was mixed and mastered by Håkan Stuvemark (WOMBBATH) with cover art by Felipe Mora.

ABYSMAL LORD has a full-length called Bestiary Of Immortal Hunger through Hells Headbangers.A vinyl version is coming this year.

Singapore-based RUDRA is back with another album. Eight Mahavidyas was issued through Awakening Records on 22.12.2022. It is a concept album. The album explores eight female characters from ancient times until the 18th century who broke stereotypes and became teachers of wisdom. Each song presents the wisdom of a woman.

PESTIFER has signed a deal with the French label Debemur Morti Productions. The first product is a concept EP, called Defeat Of The Nemesis, which is due in 2023.

Switzerland-based thrash metal band ALGEBRA has completed a European tour with VEKTOR called Activate Europe. The band supported its Chiroptera LP, which was issued through Unspeakable Axe Records. The band is working with Metalworld Switzerland.

Brazil-based thrash metal band SADISTIC MESSIAH issued its new full-length Dehumanizing Process through Thrash Or Death Records.

EXHUMED is booked to tour Japan next July.

Odium Records will issue a split release called Drakonian Elitism in June. The record features ten new tracks from OFERMOD, ACHERONTAS and BLACK ALTAR.

Denmark-based grind band SEQUESTRUM (featuring members of CHAOTIAN and UNDERGANG) has a debut EP called Pickled Preservation through Extremely Rotten Productions.

The Czech Republic-based grind duo !T.O.O.H.! has a 4-song EP called Premiant through Lavadome. A tape version is coming soon. Premiant was recorded at Studio Šopa, Studio 53 and Studio 27 in 2021 and mixed and mastered by Staňa Valášek in 2022.

ROTTEN SOUND will release a new album called Apocalypse through Season Of Mist in March.

THE CROWN has parted ways with drummer Henrik Axelsson. He was replaced by Mikael Norén (IMPIOUS). The band’s guitarist Robin Sörqvist was in IMPIOUS as well.

VADER has announced the Revelation Of The Wicked – North American 2023 tour. KRISIUN and DECREPIT BIRTH are opening the trek, which takes place in March and April.

NERVOSA’s new drummer Nanu Villalba is already out of the band, “due to lack of common agreement.” The band was due to enter the studio this month. Nanu had joined in September replacing Eleni Nota who left for health reasons.

Inspired by KEEL? GORGUTS has reformed and will play a concert at Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Philly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in April. Other acts appearing are EYEHATEGOD, INCANTATION and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.

OVERKILL has picked Scorched as its new album title. The band is touring Europe in April. The group appeared at Ruhrpott Metal Meeting in December.

SCARS OF ATROPHY, which is an off-shoot to the thrash metal band ATROPHY, is working on a 2023 album. Song titles include Purge, Burn The Veil, and A Trophy Kill.

DEATH cover band LEFT TO DIE, which features former DEATH members Terry Butler and Rick Rozz, is touring Europe in the spring.

DÉTENTE is back and will be playing its 1986 album Recognize No Authority in its entirety at the Metal Threat Fest Illinois, USA on April 16th.

…And The Sky Turns To Black… (The Dark Age Has Come), the third album by HEADHUNTER D.C. has been re-released on black vinyl through Peruvian label Crypts Of Eternity Productions.

NOMAD is a new Canada-based act that claims to be “groovy.” The band’s debut demo is called The Mountain and mixed by drummer Bretton Melanson and mastered by Christian Donaldson.

COGNITIVE will support GOROD on a USA spring tour dubbed The Orb Release Tour.

Caligari Records will release Infernal Ordinance, the sophomore full-length from USA- based death/doom trio ACT OF IMPALEMENT, in February.

Rockshots Records has signed Italy-based EMBRYO and will release the A Vivid Shade On Misery album on March 17th. The band recruited freelance Greek drummer George Kollias. The previous album A Step Beyond Divinity was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci; this new work is inspired by Michelangelo Merisi a.k.a.Caravaggio.

BLOOD RED THRONE has signed a worldwide deal with Soulseller Records. The band is working on its next full-length, which will be released in the second half of 2023 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the band.

No Reentry Records has issued ELEMENT’s 2198 Secondi Di Odio. The nine tracks are sung in Italian.

Japan-based thrash metal group OUTRAGE has a live video for the song Fangs accompanied by an orchestra. The footage is taken from the band’s 35th anniversary show from early 2022. The song itself is taken from The Final Day album of 1991.

USA-based thrash metal duo ANARCHŸ has a demo called Sentïence.

Time To Kill Records has signed Italian thrashers ADVERSOR. The band is putting the finishing touches to the Portrait Of A Wasteland album, which will be released sometime in 2023.

MESHUGGAH, THE HALO EFFECT, SCAR SYMMETRY and ORBIT CULTURE are touring Norway and Sweden in March and April.

ANTHRAX has cancelled its slot at Bloodstock Open Air festival 2023 due to “logistical issues,” which typically refer to cost analysis showing lack of profitability. The band had also cancelled European concerts last summer. TRIPTYKON has stepped in.

The reformed PANTERA had to replace bassist Rex Brown with CATTLE DECAPITATION, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR man Derek Engemann for December South American concerts. Brown had contracted COVID-19.

Detroit, USA-based ASYLENCE has a demo called Endanger Us All. An advance song is available and called In Solidarity We Die. The band is compared to DEVILDRIVER and IN FLAMES.

Japan-based SERENITY IN MURDER has completed work on its next album, which is due now. It features new vocalist Ayumu’s first recording with the band. The band is touring Europe with FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, W.E.B. and STRUCTURAL.

The Apocryphal Spells, Vol.I and The Apocryphal Spells, Vol.II are two odds and ends compilation EPs by ROTTING CHRIST issued through Century Media. They are available digitally now and physically early 2023.

Bassist Kristofer Elemyr, formerly of FARSOTH and EREB ALTOR, among others, died in December.

Turkey-based EXNUN has signed with Time To Kill Records. The band was founded in 2016 and will release its debut album in 2023. The band’s current line-up is Can Temiz on bass, Ozan Çam (KOZMIK YIKIM) on guitars and vocals, Ersin Çağlayan (RADICAL NOISE) on guitars and vocals and Aberrant Engin (BURIAL INVOCATION, DIABOLIZER, etc.) on drums as of 2021.

NE OBLIVISCARIS and PERSEFONE will use the Exul monicker for their European tour beginning May.

TULUS will release a new full-length, called Fandens Kall, through Soulseller Records on February 17th.

USA-based solo act PALACE OF WORMS will be releasing its new album, entitled Cabal, through Acephale Winter Productions in February. There are half a dozen contributors.

BODYFARM has videos for Blasting Tyranny and Torment, which are taken from the band’s upcoming full-length Ultimate Abomination. The album will be released through Edged Circle Productions in February.

MALEFIC THRONE has signed a deal with Agonia Records. The band is working on its debut album currently.

Ecuador-based industrial/noise/grind band GIGANTIC RED has a demo called Merciless Supernova. The duo’s lyrics focus on stellar phenomena. The music focuses on a drum machine.

OUIJA has released its new album, entitled Fathomless Hysteros, through Negra Nit Distro. The album was recorded and mixed by Javi Felez at Moontower Studios and mastered by Magnus Andersson at Endarker Studio, Sweden.

PAGAN RITES and VULCAN TYRANT have a split release through Horror Pain Gore Death.

Metallian Hard

Germany-based hard rock band STARSTRIKE has an album called Legacy Or Destiny through Golden Core. The band contains two MASS members.

Glam metal band TIGERTAILZ has recruited singer Ashley Edison (POWER QUEST) as the replacement for Rob Wylde. The band has a re-recording of its song Sick Sex with the new frontman and plans to perform at concerts in 2023.

Slovakia and Italy-based BULLET-PROOF has replaced drummer Lukas Hupka with Željco Marinkovič.

Denmark-based EXELERATE has signed with From The Vaults and will issue its debut and self-titled record in March.

Italy-based TWILIGHT ZONE has an album called Visions Of Freedom through Diamonds Prod.

Rockshots Records is releasing Australia-based NOTHING SACRED's Leviathan EP in February. There is a music video for the song Leviathan. Singer Chris Stark has returned and replaced James Davies. Drummer Sham has edited the video for the title track.

QUIET RIOT has a single and video of a song featuring dead former members singer Kevin DuBrow and drummer Frankie Banali. I Can't Hold On, which will also be included on QUIET RIOT’s next album, also features Alex Grossi on guitars and Rudy Sarzo on bass.

NWOBHM band TRESPASS, which was founded in 1979, has signed with From The Vaults and will release an album in late 2023.

IMAGES OF EDEN has an EP called Weathered And Torn through Pavement.

France-based black doom metal group WOLOK has a new album, called The Bilious Hues Of Gloom, through Brucia Records.

KAMELOT, ELEINE and so-called modern metal act LEAGUE OF DISTORTION are touring Europe in March and April.

APRIL WINE singer and guitarist Myles Goodwyn has retired from touring due to his health including diabetes. Goodwyn will continue to write for the act. The frontman’s last concert will be in Nova Scotia, Canada on March 2nd. Unknown Marc Parent will replace him as the band intends to continue without any original members.

SAXON and RAGE are touring continental Europe in March.

Sweden Rock Festival in July features MSG, SAXON, BLIND GUARDIAN, Canada’s TEAZE in Europe for the first time, ALESTORM, MOLLY HATCHET, MASTERPLAN, TREAT and ANGELWITCH among others. A trilogy of Tom Fischer’s band, HELLHAMMER, CELTIC FROST and TRIPTYKON, is also programmed.

CANDLEMASS is supporting its Sweet Evil Sun album through a tour of the USA in March.

M3 Rock Festival will take place in Columbia, Maryland, USA on May 6 and May 7, 2023. Bands appearing include LOUDNESS, EXTREME, LITA FORD, SLAUGHTER, L.A. GUNS and KIX.

PRONG has recruited Jason Bittner (OVERKILL and SHADOWS FALL) as a replacement for Griffin McCarthy to play drums on the European tour as openers for LIFE OF AGONY. The 30 Years Of River Runs Red tour also features MADBALL as openers in the UK.

Boogie band ZZ TOP and southern rock act LYNYRD SKYNYRD are co-headlining The Sharp Dressed Simple Man tour in Canada and USA this summer. The monicker refers to successful hits for the respective groups.

JOE STUMP's TOWER OF BABEL is in the studio recording its second album. The band announced its new singer Jo Amore (NIGHTMARE/KING OF CROWN) in 2021 and performed its first concert in three years at the Mennecy Metal Fest 2022 in France.

JAG PANZER has signed with Atomic Fire Records for the release of its next album, The Hallowed, which is out in the spring. Ken Rodarte is the new second guitarist.

Yet another project: FREDLÖS is a new folk and metal act featuring ENTOMBED guitarist Alex Hellid. The group’s debut record is self-titled and out through Hellid’s Threeman Recording in February. The band’s lyrics narrate historical and mediaeval tales.

My Kingdom Music has issued pomp rock band DRAGONHAMMER’s Second Life album. The band has a keyboard player.

Rockshots Records has signed MANIGANCE for the English release of its latest album, The Shadows Ball (Les Bal Des Ombres), which is out on February 24th. The original francophone version was released through Verycords on March 18, 2022. The band was a cover band initially over two decades ago. The band has a 2023 European tour with RHAPSODY OF FIRE in March.

LORDI has a new version of its Eurovision Song Contest winner, Hard Rock Hallelujah. This version features German musician, comedian and entertainer Bürger Lars Dietrich.

PENTAGRAM singer Bobby Liebling will play two concerts as BOBBY LIEBLING AND THE RIVETHEADS in Austin and Houston, Texas, USA this month.The act will offer songs from PENTAGRAM and BEDEMON.

Greece-based CHARON'S CLAW's first album is entitled Streets Of Calimport and out through Metal Fighter Records. The heavy metal group recorded the album with Jon Soti of FLOATING WORLDS as singer.

Chicago, USA-based ENDGAME has issued its Serpent Whispers demo with The Palace Is Burning as a lyric video.

ROSE TATTOO has recruited guitarist Ronnie Simmons (RICHIE RAMONE, FASTER PUSSYCAT, etc.) as its newest guitarist replacing the departed Bob Spencer.

AEROSMITH, which was in the midst of its Deuces Are Wild residency, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, cancelled its December 2nd concert as singer Steven Tyler was ill and could not perform. Subsequent concerts were also cancelled. In the meantime, AEROSMITH has unified its catalogue, merchandising and the marketing of its imagery under the Universal Music Group. Terms of the deal were not announced. Simultaneously, Julia Holcomb Misley, a then-teenager, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against Tyler alleging sexual assault during a three-year period in the 1970s. She is using an extension offered by a California law.

A woman in the audience claimed facial injury during GUNS N’ ROSES’ concert in Adelaide, Australia on the 29th of November after being hit by the microphone, which singer Axl Rose typically throws into the audience towards the show’s end. Axl Rose subsequently promised to end the habit. Elsewhere, GUNS N' ROSES is suing an online gun shop called Texas Guns And Roses, alleging that the name is similar to that of the group. The band states it does not want to be associated with a business selling weapons obviously. GUNS N’ROSES will headline London, England’s annual BST Hyde park concert on Friday, June 30th 2023.

Formerly called SEXREX, Germany-based DEVIL'S HOUR has an EP called Black N Punks Marauders through Crawling Chaos.

THE OBSESSED has signed a deal with Ripple Music and will release a new album in 2023. The group is in the studio.

Norway-based STARGAZER releases an album called Life Will Never Be The Same through Mighty Music in March. It was mixed and mastered by Soren Andersen (GLENN HUGHES and ELECTRIC GUITARS).

ENSLAVED and INSOMNIUM will co-headline a tour of Canada and USA in April.

Solo Saudi Arabia-based act DUSK will release its first full-length demo Spectrums in February. The man has been writing its music since November 2021. It will feature guests such as Khalid C from local Saudi melodic death band ENTROPIA and Abdulrahman Elghazali (who was a featured guest on the To Where I Belong demo). Jaani Peuhu (SWALLOW THE SUN and IANAI) makes a guest appearance.

HAMMERFALL has returned to Nuclear Blast after four albums on Napalm Records. The act will release a so-called platinum edition of 2002’s Crimson Thunder with bonus material and tour in 2023.

Italy-based ATHENA XIX (formerly ATHENA) has signed with Atomic Fire Records.The band again includes returning singer Fabio Leone who is active in half a dozen projects like TURILLI/LIONE RHAPSODY. XIX refers to the act’s reformation year.

KK'S PRIEST will co-headline Alcatraz open air festival 2023, which will take place August 11 to 13th in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Surely the start of eternal merchandising and endless releases: What would become CHILDREN OF BODOM’s final concert, which took place at the Black Box in Helsinki Ice Hall on 15.12.2019 will be released as a live record. Alexi, the band’s frontman, died a year later.

UDO bassist Tilen Hudrap has left the band. He is typical of modern musicians juggling a dozen projects simultaneously and falling ill and collapsing early in the autumn. The band quickly displaced him by former ACCEPT bassist Peter Baltes.

Former MARY’S BLOOD drummer MARI is issuing a solo albumin March. Guests include Guitarist Hizaki of JUPITER and VERSAILLES, bassist Masahi (also of VERSAILLES), bassist Miho formerly of LOVEBITES and more.

FnA Records has unearthed another older recording and will issue WANTED’s Set Me Free record. The 1980s and 1990s’ band is known for occupying an old apartment on Clark Street 205 in Los Angeles where MÖTLEY CRÜE resided. WANTED was founded in 1988.

MARDELAS will release a live album called Mardelas IV Tour 2022 In Nagoya this month.

FATE GEAR is returning to Europe for a tour in July.

Every Japanese girl who was fired, sired or hired elsewhere leaves her group for “health reasons.”

Metallian Demos

Izmatik is a Tokyo, Japan-based group that is comprised of three or four non-ethnic Japanese and one Japanese person. It is something of an oddity and likely a good conversation starter for the band.
‘Well, how did you guys come to be?”
‘We met at the Roppongi gaijin club.’
Or ‘we were all simultaneously queued outside the only realtor that houses foreigners and domestic beasts in Tokyo.’
Or ‘We all teach English here!’ The drummer: “Not true! Not me! I… ,er, recruit English teachers here. Want to work for a thousand an hour?’
‘You pay a thousand dollars an hour??’
‘No, a thousand yen!’
‘What the heck? The corner store pays more than that and the employees take home leftover bento at the end of the day too!!’
We are having fun here and hopefully not at the band’s expense, but alongside them so let us move forward to the actual review, shall we?
Mystery Step is a full-length digipak CD with a professional cover artwork and an accomplished production. Add to these intricate compositions, backing vocals and involved lyrics. It all adds up to the easily reached conclusion that the band has invested a lot of time and money in its craft. It is plain to see and hear.
As for the result: The challenge for a band like this is that few people are in the mood for music that oscillates between heavy and soft; sensitive and intricate; progressive and alternately slow and fast and all that within the same track. Well, some people are, but they are in a minority and listen to such music a minority of the time. Izmatik, on Mystery Step, presents 58 minutes of it. Speaking of which, most would misread the demo’s title after pondering what the meaning of the monicker is. The typeface reads ‘Aystery’ Step.’ This band refuses to make things easy for itself or the audience.
Beginning to spin in order to review the CD is a process filled with trepidation. After all, the band goes out of its way to let one know that it is not stuff of heavy metal dreams and, instead, is ridden with other influences. It has been a source of astonishment for years as to why ‘metal’ needs to incorporate pop, rock, goth, jazz and whatever influences, but we can never hear a jazz band say something like ‘being also into grindcore, we have incorporated blast beats.’ Yeah, yeah, metal is for the strong only.
This Legacy, the disc’s opening cut, establishes the band’s divergent musical approach as well as the vocalist’s character. She does her own thing, singing, bellowing, whispering, chanting and adding backing vocals. She does not have much of a range, but compensates with character and personality. Anne Vieste sings rowdily and talks like a lout. The music is momentarily simple and buried under the vocals before picking up and strutting its technical chops with impressive bass, soloing and even a catchy guitar rhythm. Sudden changes are a major thing with Izmatik. Technical yes. Progressive check. Constant seldom. Half of what the vocalist does works and half of it doesn't, but candidly no one will accuse her of being a copycat or conventional. She also makes good use of her backing vocals. She being an acquired taste is not any different than the band as a whole. The singer thankfully does not look like a cheap trashy ho like the one in Jinjer and that may be a function of her living in Japan. Instead she comes across as a cross between Blondie and Wendy O Williams (how do I come up with this stuff?) vocal-wise. The opening track also tells one that the drum is under-mixed, yet has a good snare sound when audible. Most 21st century drums sound like weak and ineffectual triggers. They sound like a pencil hitting a desk with congruous (lack of) power. Izmatik’s drum sounds like a percussion instrument for a change and the band gives it a short shrift on the mixing table. Finally, the lyrics are long and important to the band, but hardly articulate. Someone should finally explain this to me before I die: What is the point of actually writing and caring for lyrics when no one gets what they are about - if anything? Ignoring all the ‘baby baby’ stuff out there, which actually make sense in their own right, why don’t bands attempt to be meaningful to the listener with their words as they are with their music? The burden of this dilemma does not solely reside on Izmatik’s shoulders obviously, and no one is expecting every band out there to be articulate like Rush, but surely bands could do much better saying something.
The Script starts with a pounding rhythm similar to Band-Maid's Thrill before slowing down. It further affirms the band's progressive credentials. Start like Primus, pick up and build on the tempo before stopping. The guitar tone is laudable. It is serene, lucid and expressive. The title track ‘Aystery Step’ is not different. It goes through mood changes but its beginning has a clone of an Iron Maiden riff. The singer stridently issues commands about a cannon ‘foder’ whatever that is. Listeners will find more metal riffing on Dead Man's Fire Wall, which is an intriguing title and has angry lyrics. What about? Facebook for all one knows. Regardless, this track may harbour the disc’s most distinctive vocals with the most personality. Vieste yells with authority and the music exudes some effective originality. This is where fans of late Nevermore, Fates Warning and even newer Cynic may get mileage out of this CD. It is the arms of the goddess on the cover manifesting in a myriad of styles and moods.Cosmic Drama is a weaker track. The lyrics are about how Donald Trump has just admitted to be an orange allotriomorphic monster intent on destroying Earth (for all I know). It is less a song with any actual singing and more a collection of rhythms, yelling, whispering, doodling and an improvised jam. Violent Tide is heavier obviously and almost thrashy despite the soft start. The bass comes alive here. Towers Of The Damned is heavy again, but oscillating and twisting as Izmatik habitually is. Hear the obvious Rush influence in the rhythm section and it becomes easy to dig this one. The singer’s heaviest delivery is on Skeptic Oracle, one of the band's more frenzied deliveries, with a certified progressive structure - such an ironic statement that deserves a whole essay to itself - that reaches Voivoidian levels. A video for it ironically shows a rather orderly and calm tide despite the sped up motion. Nevertheless, imagine she sings of modern trends like social media and all the anti-vaxx, anti-government and conspiracy theory-laden garbage being spewed on Twitter, Facebook and Tiktok. Then she is right quipping, "violent ride.. rises with the time... forever.. in our mind.” By the way Anna, prayers do not work. Never have and never will. Also, "so presume your free" should be "so presume you're/you are free." This is worth pointing out because musicians, in general, and progressive rockers, in particular, should presumably be more sensitive to accuracy and strive to be fastidious. Innate Awake has belting vocals and the band joins in on the background vocals rapidly. It is a tight structure, but the group peculiarly never becomes dense in sound. This just is not a band of thick tones - on guitars or otherwise.
Presumably, even the band would acquiesce and admit that it is more of a racket of a jazz band than a metal one and, as such, goes wherever, everywhere and nowhere. With that said, the metal purist in this writer could have admired the band and disc just for its front and back covers. Catch up with the band at - Ali “The Metallian”