Open Grave Records has signed French death metal/industrial band, ART 238. The band’s debut full-length album on Open Grave Records is planned for release late this year. The label has also set a release date of July 11th for the CD of Chicago’s death metal band THE EVERSCATHED'S full-length album, Razors Of Unrest. The band is comprised of W. Frickenstein – vocals and bass (UNSOLEMN, ex-ENMORTEM), Brice Dalzell – guitar and vocals (ex-CORPSEVOMIT (US), ex-ENMORTEM) and Tim Frickenstein - drums (UNSOLEMN, ex-ENMORTEM)…DOWNLORD, featuring Dave Ingram (ex-BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER) on vocals, Donovan Spenceley (ex-SACRIFICIAL and EXCESSIVE PAYBACK) on guitar, Rene Falther (ex-EXCESSIVE PAYBACK and INIQUITY) on guitar and Thomas Fagerlind (ex-INIQUITY, DAEMON) on bass, has signed to Open Grave Records. An album, entitled Random Dictionary Of The Damned, is due later this year…Danish hipsters MNEMIC have named Frenchman Guillaume Bideau (SCARVE) as the act’s new vocalist. The band is recording a new album for Nuclear Blast…MANES has signed to Candlelight Records. Two albums are currently in pre-production and the recording of the first of these, given the working-title Invention..., will begin this summer with an estimated release for early 2007…GENERAL SURGERY has announced the addition of a bassist named Dr. Van Touminen (FINGERSPITZENGEFÜHL and THE GROKENBERGERS) and the return of singer Grant McWilliams…GENERAL OTTOMAN’s new demo, Way Of The Blade, is due for release this month…Supreme Chaos Records reports that it has been dropped by its distributor, Twilight Vertrieb. Consequently, the release of albums by AGRYPNIE’s (a project from NOCTE OBDUCTA’s singer Torste) F51.4 CD, CRISIS NEVER ENDS’ A Heartbeat Away 12" and GUT’s Pimps Of Gore 7" have been postponed…Displeased Records will re-issue ATROPHY’s Socialized Hate and Violent By Nature albums, as well as many Roadrunner albums from the early ‘90s, in late autumn. The label has discovered it does not have the rights to the early SACRIFICE back-catalogue, however, and has cancelled those albums…In a blow to its extended farewell plans, DISSECTION’s shows in Israel were cancelled due to logistical difficulties with the promoter…Selfmadegod Records has signed Virginia’s DRUGS OF FAITH, which features former ENEMY SOIL member Richard Johnson. An eight-song self titled mini-album will be released through Selfmadegod in July, 2006…Sweden’s ETERNAL OATH has asked singer Joni Mäensivu to leave the band. Apparently, the act is looking for vocals which are less extreme…Following guitarist Ed Carlson’s decision not to play with FLOTSAM AND JETSAM at the Bang Your Head Festival this month original member Mike Gilbert was temporarily re-drafted into the fold…Reformed thrashers ONSLAUGHT have signed to Candlelight Records and will enter the studio this month in order to record a new album with Andy Sneap. An album is due in December…ANAL CUNT’s singer Seth Putnam recently flew to Russia to perform with an ANAL CUNT cover band called ANAL NOSOROG. ANAL CUNT now features guitarist Josh Martin, who replaced John Kozik and returning drummer Nate Linehan…Death metal band DIABOLIC has reformed with a line-up of guitarist Kelly McLauchlin, drummer Aantar Lee Coates and BLASTMASTERS members Jesse Jolly (vocals and bass) and R.J. (guitar). A new album, called Shellfire And Tombstones, has been recorded and is being shopped to labels…CATARACT and bassist Michael Henggeler have parted ways…DRAGONLORD has been forced to cancel its American tour following the development of tendonitis in the hand of guitarist Gian Pyres…1349 guitarist Tjalve (André Kvebek) has left the black metal band in order to focus on his other bands, PANTHEON I and SARKOM…AMON AMARTH has picked With Oden On Our Side as the title for its sixth album, which is due in September through Metal Blade Records…NOCTURNAL BREED has left Painkiller Records due to contractual differences. The band’s Code Of Conduct album will instead appear through Holycaust Records…Germany’s PARADOX has announced Electrify as the title for its upcoming album, due later in the year through AFM Records…ENTOMBED, GRAVE, DISMEMBER and UNLEASHED will tour together in November using the Masters of Death European tour…COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN has issued three song, Seeking The Prophets, BloodOath and Scars Upon My Flesh on the Internet and is seeking a new label after being dropped by Season Of Mist…NECROPHOBIC’s Hrimthursum has now been issued by Regain Records…CELTIC FROST singer Thomas Gabriel Fischer is recovering from a bout of kidney stones and will resume touring next month…NIGHTRAGE has signed to LifeForce Records. The band will enter Studio Fredman late this year in order to record a new album…BRUTAL TRUTH has scheduled a single reunion show on September 3rd at the Double Door in Chicago as part of the second annual Electric City Rockfest…Vocalist Gabriel McCaughry has left ION DISSONANCE after expressing his disenchantment with the band’s musical genre...Drummer Mike Bartek has been asked to leave CIRCLE OF DEAD CHILDREN…HEAVEN SHALL BURN will issue a new album calledDeaf To Our Prayers on August 28 th. It was recorded at Rape Of Harmonies Studio in Germany…MEADS OF ASPHODEL will release a MCD, called In The Name Of God, Welcome To Planet Genocide, through UK label Firestorm this month. The lyrics are described as being about “the slaughterhouse nature of Human cruelty and cancerous existence upon a world rotting in blood letting and religious
oblivion.” The album features Alan Davey of HAWKWIND on bass and Mirai of SIGH on keyboards…Metal Mind Productions has announced that on the 24th of August OBITUARY will play a gig at the Stodola Club in Warsaw, Poland. This concert will be recorded for the band’s first official DVD…Death metal trio WARFACE will release its debut album Insanity Of The Obsessed on Deathquake Records on August 15th…NOCTE OBDUCTA has officially split up. The band will record its last album Sequenzen Einer Wanderung this year and hopes to have it released through Supreme Chaos Records…SUFFOCATION has issued an online-only disc called Live In Quebec. The band’s next album is self-titled and due in September through Relapse Records…Brazil's Mutilation Records is collaborating with POSSESSED singer Jeff Becerra in order to issue a DVD called Possessed By Evil Hell this August. The video will feature material recorded in 1997…Guitarist Erik Rutan (who leads HATE ETERNAL) will rejoin MORBID ANGEL in August for a European tour…KATAFALK has a new demo, entitled Death’s Contradiction…GORGOROTH’s bassist and songwriter King Ov Hell has left the band due to interpersonal differences…Pyrexia has signed to Unique Leader Records. The band’s Age Of The Wicked album is due in October.
MOTÖRHEAD will release its next album, Kiss Of Death, through Sanctuary Records on August 29th…HEAD’s It’s Electric live album is out this month through Secret Records. The band is also issuing a DVD called To The Devil His Due…Former URIAH HEEP man Ken Hensley has announced that following a tour this year he will leave the music scene behind…Perris Records is issuing a new disc by BABYLON A.D. called In The Beginning. The album features the band’s early 12-song demo. The label will also issue ZAN CLAN’s live album, Kickz The Livin' Shit Outta Of Stockholm City...IRON MAIDEN plans to release the new studio album, entitled A Matter of Life And Death, in early September…PRIMAL FEAR has signed with Frontier Records following its well-publicized departure from Nuclear Blast Records last month…Rhino Records will issue SAMMY HAGAR’s Livin’ It Up on July, 25th. The album features the singles Let Me Take You There and Sam I Am…MOONSPELL, KATATONIA and DAYLIGHT DIES will tour North America this autumn beginning in late October…HECATE ENTHRONED‘s first tour in six years will take place this August in the UK…Displeased Records will issue MANEGARM’s Urminnes Havd - The Forest Sessions MCD this month…LETHAL has reformed with the Your Favorite God/Poison Seed albums line-up of Tom Mallicoat (vocals), Dave McElfresh (guitars), Eric Cook (guitars), Jerry Hartmann (drums) and Glen Cook (bass). The group hopes to issue an album in 2007…Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. was found not guilty by the Scottsdale Arizona Court in his ongoing case of assault dating back to August of 2005…A new ACID DRINKERS DVD/DVD+CD - The Hand That Rocks The Coffin will be available this month through Metal Mania…HYDRA VEIN has a new site at www.hydravein.co.uk…Due to personal differences Brandon Wars and Jason Decay have split GOAT HORN. Jason Decay, along with drummer Al Biddle will continue down the band’s path as CAULDRON once a new guitar player is enlisted. The band’s tour plans have been cancelled…CRACK OV DAWN’s White Line album is now out through Equilibre Music…Sanctuary Visual has issued a triple disc DVD of BRUCE DICKINSON. Billed as the definitive Dickinson package it includes over six hours of videos and live performances, and previously unreleased and archive material…Lucretia Records will issue a new KINGCROW album, called Timetropia, on September 29th, 2006…THE LIZARDS new CD Against All Odds will feature Glenn Hughes on four songs…Thundering/Manitou has signed AKROMA, which it describes as, “progressive & symphonic black metal.” The band features Matt from ELVARON and Bob formerly of SCARVE and MORTUARY. The forthcoming album is called Seven…KISS singer/guitarist Paul Stanley has signed a deal with Universal Music in the US to release his new solo CD, Live To Win, in September…EIDOLON’s The Parallel Otherworld is now out…Leonard Haze has left Y&T due to musical differences and been replaced by newcomer Mike Vanderhule…Former PENANCE vocalist Brian Balich has joined ARGUS…GLENN HUGHES’ Music For The Divine album has just been issued by Frontiers Records…WOLF has announced The Black Flame as the title for its fourth album, which will be released by Century Media Records in the autumn…MARSHALL LAW and guitarist Jack Frost have parted ways. The parties have cited a lack of time as the reason behind the decision…According to TIGERTAILZ (featuring Pepsi Tate, Jay Pepper, Kim Hooker and Matt Blakout) the UK Patent Office has ruled in their favour and against the registration of the TIGERTAILZ name as a trademark by Steevi Jaimz. This ends a two-year legal wrangling between the parties…NEVERMORE’s singer, Warrel Dane, is working with former SOILWORK guitarist Peter Wichers on Warrel’s first solo album. The album will SANCTUARY (which featured Warrel) drummer Dave Budbill, currently of ZEROCREEP…Former ACCEPT bassist Peter Baltes has opened a music school called the Rockfactory in Newtown, Pennsylvania...Former MSG and current STATETROOPER singer Gary Barden has issued his first solo album using the GARY JOHN BARDEN monicker. The Agony And Xtasy features an appearance by Michael Schenker…Poland’s MOONLIGHT has a new drummer. Krzysztof Nêdrala joins the band from BODY MIND RELATION. The band is writing new material for its next album…Reformed ‘80s band BATTLE BRATT is considering changing its name to INFLICTED SYSTEM in order to better reflect its more modern musical approach.
ARKHON – I AM THE SKULL
Metal bands from Cyprus are rare and so the arrival of Arkhon’s CD at Metallian Towers was greeted with some curiosity. As it happens, I Am The Skull had its shortcomings, but was an encouraging sign from the divided island nation and hopefully a sign of more to come. While the band does owe much to the Greek black metal sound, Arkhon does incorporate a bit more extremeness into its repertoire than the average Greek band. In this sense, the band is more akin to Naer Mataron than say Rotting Christ. At first, there was even some suspicion that the quartet harbours Christian feelings, what with a quotation from Bible on its jacket and a website at www.fishbonerecords.com, but it is hard to believe how a Christian band would ascend to such furious heights musically. The band’s best track is opener Human. The furious riffing and abrasive guitar sound complement the dual-vocal system (screams and growls) to powerful effect. This songs and parts of closing number Vanity reach levels of heaviness directly comparable to Impaled Nazarene. Neatherscurrial follows and is again uncompromising. By now though, the first of the band’s weaknesses has become unconcealed, namely the use of drum machines. Disappointing, but not fatal due to the overwhelming power of the vocals and the guitars riffs – with the leads needing some work. It is on the aforementioned Vanity and Deathborn Caress though the band shows weakness and herd mentality and introduces the ever-irrelevant female vocals. Why, nobody knows. That disappointment and the lack of a real drummer are the band’s Achilles heel, although the first half of Vanity clearly demonstrates what this band is capable of should it simply choose to. Vanity, incidentally, is over ten minutes long, although upon closer listen it actually sounds more like two songs with a distinct gap in the middle than one unitary number. Either way, I Am The Skull has turned out to be hit and miss, although the ‘hits’ are certainly quite impressive. Write to email@example.com. – Ali “The Metallian”
MICHAEL GIBBONS – BELIEVE
Gibbons is a solo artist who has issued a demo CD with straight rock songs like Believe, Circles and Worlds Of Souls. Believe is certainly not aimed at had rocking guys and gals, but the man’s talent is very clear. It might be a one-man project, but the drums, vocals and the guitars are all impressive and, if not original, certainly creative. Gibbons used to spend time in hardcore, but little on this disc hints at that style. Instead, Believe is about great hooks, great picking, fun vocals and fine harmonies. Circles is probably the best track here while The Traveler reminds one of Saga. This song also has a quirky split-second backing vocal on it. A couple of the tracks have some cracks at experimentation on them. Worlds Of Souls has a touch of New Age with the samples of water and waves and is minimalistic. Four Suns Shine is slow and acoustic. There are moments like Lynyrd Skynyrd and a couple of Manowar-like vocals here too.
Michael Gibbons certainly looked hot with his long mane from years ago, but this CD is a cool listen for fans of singer/songwriter rock music. Visit http://www.gibbonsongs.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. – Sheila Wes Det
MSOD – METAL SYMPHONY OF DARKNESS
MSOD is a reformed band featuring two former Icarus Witch members, namely singer and guitarist Greg Gruben and drummer Keith Hurka. The band, as Metal Symphony Of Death, was active between 1995 and 2002 when Gruben deactivated the band and spent some time in a fledgling Icarus Witch. He didn’t stay long, but long enough to steal the witches’ drummer. The band’s new demo is billed as a limited edition of sorts featuring a mixture of newer and not so new songs. The band does bear some comparison to Icarus Witch, albeit with better leads and a heavier sound. MSOD (pronounced em-sod) is more in the vein of Iced Earth however. The vocals ring in the ears like former Iced man Matthew Barlow, while the music traverses the line between heavy metal and power metal. The crunchy riffs and fairly well developed songs propel the CD with a little help from the ripping leads and a lot of help from the constant backing vocals. Opener Darksoul is the band’s best, while Mastermind (presumably about war given the samples) suffers a bit from the repetitious chorus and vocal line. The guitars do jazz things up though. The last song Maelstrom is basic and has a faint and annoying synthesizer sound, though follows the band’s basic metal artistry. For information write to email@example.com or visit www.myspace.com/msod. - Ali “The Metallian”
NOVEMBERS FALL – MYTHAEON
It is immediately clear that this young German band is influenced by the likes of Anathema and Paradise Lost. No surprise, given the lonesome and melancholy depicted on the demo’s cover. It is startling though that the band claims to be a mixture of death and black metal. The band does not justify the description and one suspects that because of the presence of screams and growls amidst all the clean vocals Novembers Fall believes it is death or black metal somehow. Instead, the quartet sounds like a mix of Paradise Lost, Night In Gales and early Pyogenesis. The last song on this 20-minute long demo is closer to Opeth, with a Maiden mid-section, than anything else. Novembers Fall’s production, sound, delivery and riffs are completely professional and the band sounds as rehearsed as anyone else out there. The band surely will get a recording deal and issue the songs Question Of Eternity, Angst Im Wald and Coral Island on its debut album. Visit the band at www.novermbersfall.com or e-mail them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. - Anna Tergel
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