The best glam metal band in the world today, Steel Panther, have debuted a brand new song!
Glory Hole is taken from the LA jokesters’ new album, All You Can Eat, due out early next year. Watch the guys give it its official debut in Brisbane last week below:
Catch the lads on the following dates this March:
Friday 14 Lincoln Engine Shed
Saturday 15 Wolverhampton Civic
Sunday 16 Manchester Apollo
Tuesday 18 O2 Academy Newcastle
Wednesday 19 Glasgow Barrowland
Thursday 20 O2 Academy Sheffield
Saturday 22 Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sunday 23 O2 Academy Bristol
Monday 24 Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday 26 O2 Academy Brixton
Tickets are on sale now, priced £18 regionally and £20 in London (subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee) and are available from www.livenation.co.uk or www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Kickass underground alt and metal label Undergroove have returned with a brand new signing!
Filthy Yorkshire rockers Servers mark the label’s first signing in over two years, and will release debut single Universes & Supernovas (The Ride) via iTunes on December 16.
With Undergroove having previously been responsible for exposing the likes of Exit_International, Black Spiders, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Minus The Bear, *shels, My Ruin and more, this is definitely something worth keeping an eye on.
I’m not going to apologize for liking Nightwish. I might be only a small handful of Decibel writers willing to endorse the garish symphonic strains of the Finnish band (hi, Jeff Treppel), but I remain steadfast. Besides, for all the emphasis on extreme metal, isn’t Nightwish’s use of operatic melodies extreme? I’d even say that Wishmaster took metal into territories of bombast that nobody had ever dared to try before, and if that isn’t extreme, I don’t know what is. I know, I know, extreme metal is an umbrella term for the “harsher”, “darker” strains of heavy metal. But still, hopefully you see my point.
For all Nightwish’s merits – yes, merits – they’ve developed quite a reputation as a severely dysfunctional band, thanks to a pair of very ugly public spats with singers. They brutally fired longtime frontwoman Tarja Turunen via open letter in 2005, and after a pair of albums, including 2011’s superb Imaginaerum, parted ways with her replacement Anette Olzon seven years later. Both singers brought unique dimensions to the band, Turunen with her powerful soprano voice, Olzon with her more personable pop-oriented style, but neither singer did very well when trying to cross over. Turunen sounded stiff when going for more rock-style singing, while Olzon absolutely bombed when attempting to replicate Turunen’s towring “Wishmaster”. As much success as Nightwish had, they could never have the best of both worlds, musically speaking.
That is, until they took on Floor Jansen. Hired as an emergency replacement for Olzon last year when the band was in the middle of a North American tour, the former After Forever singer not only proved to be a total team player – keyboardist and songwriter Tuomas Holopainen clearly has no patience for divas – but once she settled into her role, she has brought a level of flair to both sides of Nightwish’s music that audiences have never heard before. And what she brings to this band is on full display on Showtime, Storytime (Nuclear Blast), an unfortunately titled yet absolutely scintillating performance at Wacken Open Air this past August.
Jansen already built a stellar reputation for herself with After Forever, but she never had songs this good to work with before, and she throws herself into them with gusto, giving them new life in the process. Holopainen has a masterful ear for symphonic metal hooks, but is an unforgiving songwriter, demanding challenging range and enunciation skills from his singers, but Jansen rises to the occasion time and again. She tackles the operatic side of Nightwish on the epic “Ghost Love Score”, pulls off the insane modulation of “Ever Dream” and “She’s My Sin” with skill, and delivers the logorrheic lyrics for “Storytime” with charm. The ease with which she shifts from rock to operatic with Nightwish is stunning, and I’d even go as far as saying the band has never sounded better as a result.
For all its strengths, there are a couple minor gripes. Surely the producer could have muted the annoying smoke machine that whooshes intrusively on “Amaranthe”. And the documentary of the 2012 drama on the DVD, while fascinating, is very sloppily put together, and hilariously has zero mention nor video footage of Olzon (referred to as “the former singer”) at her request. Still, that’s hardly enough to ruin an otherwise sterling live document. We’ll see how this current incarnation of Nightwish works out, but as it looks right now, they have a real keeper in Jansen.
Also out this week:
Caïna, Earth Inferno (Church Of Fuck): A longtime admirer of Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s project Caïna, I was disappointed when he announced in 2011 that he was quitting making music under that moniker. Well, in this business you never say never, and sure enough, two years later the project is back up and running. The album Litanies of Abjection came out earlier this year, but this new five-track is much more interesting, as Curtis-Brignell ditches the experimentation for the most part and focuses strictly on raw black metal. Expertly written – despite the lo-fi feel the dynamics here are tremendous – with a keen ear for both melody and atonality, it’s an effectively savage return to early form. If his forthcoming 2014 album is as exceptional as “Death Posture”, look out. Stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
Derogatory, Above All Else (FDA Rekotz): This California foursome wears its 1990s Florida death metal influence on its sleeve. Almost slavishly so, as it could benefit from more of a Swedish groove, but that sound is replicated capably enough, right down to the bone-dry tone. It’s not until “To Escape What is Now”, however, that the band steps outside the box a little, as that song’s more progressive direction is by far the most interesting thing on the album. Hopefully that’ll be a stepping stone towards more adventurous things than mimicking Morbid Angel.
Groan, Ride The Snake (Superhot): The press release bills this English band as “doom ‘n’ roll”, which I suppose is true to an extent, but what I hear most on this EP is Anvil. Heavy, oddly catchy, and relentlessly goofy, where part of you cringes and another part of you gets a kick out of it.
Kimi Kärki, The Bone Of My Bones (Svart): What a strange album. The Finnish singer-songwriter goes from painfully obvious Leonard Cohen worship to a Johnny Cash homage, and then lifts the vocal melody from Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”, all the while singing lyrics that veer from metal bombast to dream-inspired surrealism. It’s not bad by any stretch, but any metal fan wanting to get into acoustic music is better off listening to actual Leonard Cohen albums instead. I suggest Songs From a Room.
Mastodon, Live At Brixton (Warner Brothers): Live recordings of Mastodon shows can be dodgy affairs. The more melodic and streamlined their albums get, it seems the less able they are to fully replicate the cleanly sung vocals live. However, this digital-only release, recorded in early 2012, is fairly solid. Sure, the singing still struggles at times to keep up with the foursome’s impeccable musicianship, but it’s not distractingly bad. That’s something. And besides, these 24 songs otherwise scorch.
Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies, Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (Van): With apologies to Greil Marcus, what is this shit? It’s nice to see Selim Lemouchi quickly shed The Devil’s Blood, which split up in ugly fashion early this year, and focus on making new music, but oh my, is this new album ever an ungodly mess of sloppy, meandering psychedelic rock. While Lemouchi’s a talented guy – “The Deep Dark Waters” is the one keeper on this five-track album – his lack of focus is severe, his self-indulgence unbearable. Coupled with the disastrously bad final Devil’s Blood album earlier this year, it feels like he’s losing the plot, and quickly.
Slaughterday, Nightmare Vortex (FDA Rekotz): Contrary to Derogatory’s record, this one is straight-ahead Swedish death metal worship, and this German band does it very well: thick, thick grooves, simple thrashy tempos and slow funereal churning, and plenty of room for melodies to rise to the surface amidst all the brute force. Explosive, catchy, and very fun.
Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy
Over the next ten days, we’re taking you through our Top 50 albums of the year, as voted for by our esteemed panel of writers and staff members. Here’s numbers 45-41.
45. HIM - Tears On Tape
It has been a turbulent few years for the Finns. Leading into the recording of Tears On Tape, Ville Valo was battling some personal demons and drummer Mika Karppinen had to undergo physical therapy and take an extended sabbatical due to serious nerve damage to his hands and arms. The result was a typically candid and emotionally raw offering that was by some margin HIM’s strongest album in years, and a suitably melancholic soundtrack to some dark times for the band.
44. Bleed From Within - Uprising
We knew the Scottish ragers had the potential to create something decent, but we certainly weren’t prepared for this. Boasting the kind of metallic grooves and building-leveling riffs that Lamb Of God would be proud of, Uprising is a masterclass in crafting arena-ready anthems for metal fans that want a bit more from their no-nonsense metal bands. The likes of Colony and the album’s immense title track are some of the very best songs of 2013, and you can’t help but suspect that there’s more to come.
43. Argus - Beyond The Martyrs
Sometimes, only full-throttle, no-dicking-about, swords-and-shields-at-the-ready heavy metal majesty will do, and Argus delivered that and much more with their third full-length. Doom-infused NWOBHM riffing coupled with Maiden-esque melodies and more call-to-arms lyrical lines then you can shake a Game Of Thrones DVD at, this was a thunderous piece of work that eclipsed plenty of recent offerings from some of metal’s greats.
42. Wilson - Full Blast Fuckery
The album name alone is worth getting some kind of mention when it comes to 2013 retrospective pieces, but the music itself is as good a party soundtrack as you could hope to hear this year. Smashing together chunky hardcore riffs a la Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die with hook-riddled rock ‘n’ roll and the occasional smidgen of heavy metal bastardry, this is one of the best debuts of 2013 and stands firmly in the If-You-Don’t-Like-This-Album-You-Are-A-Massive-Wanker camp. Listen to Wilson.
41. Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise
If you like your music sprinkled with doses of psychedelia and heedy occult undertones, there’s rarely been a better time to be a metal fan, and few voices stand out from the pack like that of Jex Thoth. Alongside her supremely talented, eponymous band, she has crafted an absolute stunner of an opus in Blood Moon Rise, all fuzzy, distorted tones and sultry, mystickal aura.
Come back tomorrow for albums 40-36!
There is a lot to be said for unpredictability in heavy music, not least on the arena circuit where too many successful bands seem content to merely deliver the expected to predominantly mainstream audiences. But somehow, that need for surprise and shock goes out the window when it comes to a band as seminal and imperious as Black Sabbath. In fact, is it even possible to watch this legendary band in action and not enjoy it? As long as Tony Iommi turns up and plays those riffs, you would have to be either deeply cynical or a fairly major bell-end not to be swept away in a hurricane of euphoria.
Even in the somewhat impersonal confines of the O2 Arena, the power and pertinence of those immortal songs can hardly fail to raise the spirits, and given how effective this latest Sabbath comeback has been – okay, so 13 ain’t no Master Of Reality, but it still rules – there is enough excitement in the air tonight to ensure that everyone from ageing diehards to astute newbies are about to experience something monumental and momentous.
It certainly helps that, unusually in the arena gig world, Sabbath have picked an appropriate and worthy support act. Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats may be unfamiliar to most people here, but they grab their moment in the spotlight with eight hands: they look fantastic, all suave suits and hirsute charisma, and sound even better, slamming and grooving their way through Poison Apple and Valley Of The Dolls and eliciting a warm and enthusiastic response.
But tonight is all about the band that started it all. Age may be threatening to derail the Sabbath freight train, but from the sirens and proto-doom riff avalanche of War Pigs onwards, this show provides ample evidence that 40 wild years have had a negligible effect on the magical chemistry between Ozzy, Geezer and Tony. It wouldn’t be a Sabbath show without an Ozzy-centric glitch, of course, and the Double O does take a couple of songs to find the right key to sing in – in his defence, very clearly as a result of in-ear monitor problems – but once he clicks into gear this turns into a grandiloquent but gritty lap of honour. We get thunderous versions of Into The Void, Black Sabbath, Snowblind, N.I.B., Iron Man, Children Of The Grave and Dirty Women, plus three songs from 13 – End Of The Beginning, God Is Dead? and Age Of Reason – all of which more than earn their right to be heard alongside such venerated classics.
Most importantly, though, Tony Iommi is on amazing form; his partnership with Geezer Butler sparking and fizzing with energy and every one of those pulverising riffs erupting from the giant PA stacks with majestic force. Ozzy sings his heart out and gleefully plays the fool, drummer Tommy Clufetos pulls off the neat trick of performing a drum solo that doesn’t bore everyone to tears and even an all-too-brief encore of Paranoid zings with joyous freshness and verve. We may not have many more opportunities to watch Black Sabbath in the flesh, but tonight was a celebratory and heartening display of self-belief and eternal class that suggests that there is plenty of fuel left in the veterans’ tank for now.
Black Sabbath London O2 Setlist
Into the Void
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Age of Reason
Behind the Wall of Sleep
End of the Beginning
Fairies Wear Boots
God Is Dead?
Children of the Grave
(Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)
Over the next ten days, we’ll be taking you through our Top 50 albums of the year, as voted for by our esteemed panel of writers and staff members. Here’s numbers 50-46…
50. Bruce Soord And Jonas Renkse - Wisdom Of Crowds
When a member of acclaimed UK proggers The Pineapple Thief gets together with the frontman of Katatonia, you can pretty much guarantee that amazing things are going to occur. As it happens, Wisdom Of Crowds‘s gorgeous, affecting blend of spacious prog, ambient electronic flourishes and raw emotion was a surefire hit and another example of music that doesn’t have to be layered with blastbeats and gutteral screams to feel, well, heavy.
49. Monster Magnet - Last Patrol
From astro-acoustic balladry to typically boisterous stoner rock anthems, Monster Magnet’s ninth studio outing was both a refreshing glance to the side yet reassuringly familiar, never straying too far from the NJ icons’ long-refined blueprint yet still throwing in the odd welcome surprise or two. Almost a quarter-century into their career, Dave et al still have the capacity to reassert themselves as absolute Dons of haze-clad riffery.
48. The Defiled - Daggers
One of the UK’s most promising new bands came up trumps in spectacular style for their sophomore album, with their knack for penning a catchy tune or six given the space to run riot. Boasting more than a couple of the year’s very best songs (Sleeper is still melting our speakers on a weekly basis), it was a ferocious statement of intent that has established the Londoner’s as one of our loudest, most unique young voices. Watch this space…
47. Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark
With the occult rock revolution in full flow, few could doubt that Blood Ceremony were one of the scene’s most genuine, affecting faces, and with The Eldritch Dark, they once again underlined the most important magickal credential of all: great music. Sabbath-heavy riffs and hellaciously deceptive hooks, all tied around the unstoppable vocals of Alia O’Brien, that this was a surefire sign that the movement has plenty left in the tank yet.
Satan - Life Sentence
Coming a not-so-swift 26 years after their last release, 1987′s suitably-monikered Suspended Sentence, Satan’s newie was certainly a long time coming. And oh goodness, was it worth the wait. A bolt straight out of the NWOBHM’s glorious heydey, this was all galloping melodies, ripping riffage and enough fist-pumping moments to make Manowar look like My Dying Bride. A sensational return and a serious shout for best straight-up heavy metal album of 2013.
Come back tomorrow for albums 45-41!
Nine Inch Nails have posted an entire gig online to view in all its glory!
Watch the video – which was filmed at LA’s Staples Center in November – below:
Catch Trent and the boys on the following dates:
May 18 Birmingham LG Arena
May 20 Glasgow Hydro
May 21 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
May 23 London O2 Arena
May 24 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
May 25 Manchester Phones 4U Arena
Support comes from Cold Cave.
Graveborne have clearly studied at least 75% of the albums in our Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time Special Issue. Also, they are from Finland. That should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect when you click the Soundcloud link below. Still, it’s really, really good black metal, the sort that has enough filth to scare your parents/pets but enough melody to keep things from getting monotonous. They hail from appropriately chilly climes, that’s definitely corpse paint, and the first track on here is called “Burn the City of God.” All good things. The track that we are exclusively premiering is called “Tiesi Päähän,” and I’m assuming that that means “BWARRRGGGGH” in Suomi. It comes from their sophomore release, Through the Window of the Night. Go get your Satan on.
***Through the Window of the Night comes out on Séance records on January 20th. Preorder it here (free shipping! Free patch!) and follow them on Facebook.
Black metal fans, hear us now! Searing and soaring British black metallers Winterfylleth have teamed up with shadowy, cult Ukrainian act – and the source of some of the most beautiful riffs ever to have come out of the movement – Drudkh to produce a glorious, history-mining split 12-inch EP, and we have an exclusive Winterfylleth track to preview.
Released via Season Of Mist subsidiary Underground Activists on January 17, Thousand Of Moons Ago/The Gates features three tracks from Drudkh paying homage to three bands deep at the heart of their East European heritage – Hefeystos, Unclean and Sacrilegium – while Winterfylleth cover the track The Gates from Drudkh leader Roman Saenko’s former, yet more kvlt band, Hate Forest, and it’s probably the most necro thing the Mancunians have ever done. Check out the track below and hear for yourself!
Check out Winterfylleth’s Facebook page here
Journey ye to Drudkh’s Facebook page here
And pre-order the EP here!
More info has been released on new Lamb Of God doc As The Palaces Burn, including its worldwide distribution partners.
The film will be distributed worldwide by Specticast, who were also behind Led Zeppelin’s epic recent DVD feature, Celebration Day. Filming took place in Colombia, Venezuela, Israel, India and the United States before Randy Blythe’s trial in Prague forced a somewhat drastic refocus, resulting in much of the film being dedicated to the trial and its imminent fallout.
The documentary was shot by acclaimed director Don Argott, who has also produced excellent features on the likes of Pentagram and the real-life “School Of Rock”.
Have a look at the trailer for As The Palaces Burn below…
As The Palaces Burn will be released in theatres around the world in February.