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Halahkuh – Desecration



Halahkuh is a very confused band and its fans are even more confused. There’s Death Metal, there’s Thrash Metal and there’s a whole lot of music in between. All the songs are different and that can be a good thing but not really in an EP that’s about 15 minutes long. That said, it’s one of the best EPs to come out of India in recent times. There’s undeniable aggression, a blend of that and melodies which is rare and hasn’t been done often without rendering it overly melodic. It’s similar to Defleshed from Sweden when crossed with At The Gates, with modern touches and leads that are from another region altogether. It’s an eclectic mix if you will but superbly executed – when it’s done so viciously, it all melds together and hurls at you like a wave of brain-melting metal music. Put like that, it doesn’t matter what style or school you belong to, it’s just good, fast music, aggressive and melodic.

The recorded material doesn’t do justice to the band’s intensity which is one of its topmost qualities. The drum sound could be better considering it’s more dynamic and varied live, in all its natural scope whereas it’s programmed here. The leads are a bit of an anomaly in the context of music, belonging to a different style of music altogether, kind of bluesy and jazzy and not in a very classic sense, but that can only be perceived as hope for the band’s future material, wherein it could go on to concoct music standing out from all clichés while remaining sublime and vicious in execution.

The album ends sooner than you’d want it to, but there’s no filler material at all. It could learn more from the Swedish bands and continue to remain aggressive because any slower and it could be severely detrimental – it’s the aggression that’s keeping the band going, not breakdowns, not necessarily riffing, that and fearsome vocal approach compensating for music that’s certifiably melodic on paper. Whiplashing riffs, power and the right production could work wonders for this band, lest it leans towards the Deathcore style which it’s effectively eschewing arguably with its Swedish tones, for the most part anyway.

You’d be hard pressed to find any real faults with it apart from it being inconsistent and highly varied, but that can be a good thing as well. The band certainly has the chops and skills to pull it off but it’s on the verge of something special, if only it can capitalize on that, it would be a real force to be reckoned with. This is a smashing debut, even more powerful when played live.


Kunal Choksi


MANTAR – Death By Burning


Releases February 7 through Svart Records

Death By Burning, the debut effort from German duo MANTAR, is a journey through musical landscapes you’ve probably visited many times before. That is, if you’ve ever been subjected to the aural behemoth that is sludge, or any of its derivations. Although the press release for this record forebodes, “don’t call it sludge,” the music speaks for itself, and its mother tongue is sludge. Unfortunately, throughout the course of the album, this dynamic duo never quite figures out whether it should emphasize the punk influence of this storied genre, or stick with the slower-paced doom components that drag the album down (hint: they should focus on the former).

From the very first track, the beautifully titled “Spit,” Mantar draw immediate comparisons to Houdini-era MELVINS–a feather in any band’s cap. The band’s M.O. seems clear as day: combine choppy, fuzzed-out riffing with commanding drums, and throw in some raspy vocals for good measure. If only they stuck with this plan, Death By Burning would be that much better an album. For some reason however, they felt the need, from the second track on, to constantly add filler riffs that serve no greater purpose than killing time. The album’s second track, “Cult Witness,” is a primary offender in this regard, wherein a solid, rollicking riff is followed by a standard open-string riff that completely zaps the track of all momentum.

This pattern emerges again in “Swinging the Eclipse,” a song that begins as total (well-done) HIGH ON FIRE worship, before ultimately petering out and leaving the listener unfulfilled. The problem doesn’t directly lie in the guitar department, since there is certainly no shortage of quality riffs to be found on this album. Nor is it a drum problem, since the skins not only complement the riffing, but also manage to stand out in the process. No, it seems the songwriting is the elephant in the room, er… album. Since this is only the band’s second release, and first full-length album, some slack should probably be cut in this regard, but it seems as though Mantar could have used a strong hand in the editing bay to trim the fat that bloats this LP.

It’s hard to look at Death By Burning without seeing the lost potential. Songs that could have been great, too often get bogged down by lazy, unnecessary riffing, and in turn, the album loses a lot of steam. The parts of this LP that work (fast-paced ragers like “The Stoning”) are shamefully sandwiched in between parts that just sound like two dudes jamming in a basement–not an inherently bad thing, but not always the best recipe for great music. A solid debut, but by no means a fully-realized effort, Death By Burning may singe a little, but you probably aren’t looking at a trip to the hospital.


Mike Melvin wrote this review. He doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter though, so kindly direct all pejoratives to the comments section.

ABORTED To Embark On North American Headlining Tour


ABORTED have announced a string of Northeastern US dates to precede their upcoming album tour with KATAKLYSM. Set to take place this spring, support for the East Coast Extirpation dates instead will come from New York’s resident Suffoclones, PYREXIA, and probably 5 other local acts, given the propensity metal bookers have to turn every show into a festival of some sort. Aborted’s new album, The Necrotic Manifesto, is set for a spring release through Century Media, and the tour dates you can just as easily see in the above image have also been written below for your viewing pleasure.

3/27: Empire – Springfield, VA
3/28: Sounds Asylum – Middletown, NY
3/29: The Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
3/30: Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
3/31: Bogie’s – Albany, NY
4/1: Middle-East – Cambridge, MA
4/2: Palace Theater – Stafford Springs, CT

MASSACRE Announce New Full-Length ‘Back From Beyond’


Not ones to be outdone in the “bands that take decades between album releases” department, MASSACRE have announced the impending release of their first LP in over 18 years. Appropriately titled Back From Beyond, the new album finds the reactivated Florida death metallers back on comfortable ground (let’s forget 1996’s Promise, shall we?), though down one irreplaceable vocalist named Kam Lee. In his place, the band has recruited ex-DIABOLIC vocalist Edwin Webb who performed on Massacre’s 2012 EP. Set for release on April 1 through Century Media, Back From Beyond seems poised to be totally overshadowed by that whole AT THE GATES thing–and maybe get a few people excited as well.

MASSACRE 2014 Tour Dates:

May 2: Tilburg, Netherlands (Neurotic Deathfest)
May 3: Powys, UK (Rad Fest)
May 4: Leeds, UK (Kin Hell Fest)

My Experience on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise – Alonzo Mosely


Day 1. Monday Jan. 27th 2014: From my house in Orlando to Miami is basically a straight shot down I-95. It takes several hours, but it’s an easy drive. Once I navigated through the labyrinth that is downtown Miami and the Port of Miami I located my boat (Majesty Of The Seas) and was able to park and board with no hassle and no lines. When I got to my room and got squared away (peed) I spent the next couple of hours exploring the boat and talking to some of the people on board. There were people from many countries and every continent (except Antarctica, too bad GWAR wasn’t playing) but mostly Canadians and different kinds of Europeans. At one point another cruise ship came into port. As they passed we chanted “your boat sucks” at them. As the sun went down we started to pull away from the port of Miami. I’m pretty sure we sailed right over the spot where Dexter dumped his bodies.

So the way this cruise works is every band plays two sets during the voyage so that you can catch every band you want without worrying about overlapping sets. As we boarded we were handed the running order for the first night. I looked over the list and decided I’d catch Overkill, Obituary, Cynic and Finntroll.


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Probably more than any other band on the cruise I was super stoked to catch Overkill. In my opinion The Years of Decay and Horrorscope are two of the finest albums to be released during the original thrash metal era. They started their set with some newer material off The Electric Age and Ironbound. It was obvious from watching them that they are well rehearsed and professional. They tore through their set with an energy that disguised the fact that they’ve been playing some of these songs for almost 30 years. Towards the end of their set they hit Hello From the Gutter, In Union We Stand, Coma, Elimination, and finished with Fuck You. I’ll definitely catch their second set.


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Obituary’s set consisted mostly of songs off Slowly We Rot, The End Complete, and Cause Of Death. They did throw in some new material from an album they are currently working on. It was pretty awesome to catch one of the pioneers of true Florida death metal still getting after it. In true “Hey we’re from Florida” fashion they were selling camouflage hats with the Obituary logo (one of the best logos of all time by the way) in hunters orange. Also John Tardy was wearing a NASCAR shirt.


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Uh…lots of slow songs and clean vocals. Look, I get it. These guys are all accomplished musicians, and the things they’re doing with their guitars and drums are impressive from that perspective I guess, but boring is boring. Also the guitarist, vocalist Max Phelps picks weird. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an incredible guitarist, he just has a weird picking style. Remember the scene in Revenge Of The Nerds where Wormser designed a special javelin to go with Lamar’s limp wristed throwing style? Well, it’s the guitar equivalent of that. It probably shouldn’t have bothered me but it did. Hopefully their set will be more engaging when they swap bass players and return as Death.


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A friend of mine once told me that he didn’t like Finntroll because they sing about trolls. His contention was that if people who weren’t into metal heard about this they would think that all metal, and by extension people who listen to it, were stupid. Of course we all know that most metal lyrics are doctorate level dissertations on classic literature, fine art, ground breaking science, and profound ruminations regarding man’s place in the universe. In addition, when people see a huge group of us lined up outside a concert venue (or in this case a cruise ship) they automatically assume that there is a lecture by Stephen Hawking or Noam Chomsky going on inside. So, his argument has merit. Anyway, Finntroll was awesome, and not only do they sing about trolls, but they wear prosthetic troll ears while they do it.

Day 2. Tuesday Jan.28th 2014: I woke up without an alarm for the first time in a long time. It was awesome. Once I got myself out of bed and got some food I looked over the day’s running order. I decided today would be Terrorizer, D.R.I., Death Angel, Satyricon, Carcass, and Death. Since every band is playing twice I wasn’t worried about keeping a schedule.

There are three different stages on board. The first is a theatre with a nice big stage and great sound, about the size of a standard House of Blues, perhaps slightly larger. The second is a stage that has been erected on the pool deck. Great view, great sound, you can even stand on a deck behind the drummer, which is awesome. This provides a whole new perspective on the show, also it’s interesting to watch drummers who play to a click. For those of you not in the know this usually occurs when bands have pre-recorded keyboard parts (but no keyboard player) or some other sounds that have to play at a specific point in the song so everything has to be synched up, hence the click track. I spent all of Fear Factory’s first set just watching the drummer fidget with his laptop between songs. The third stage is in a small lounge area. This stage is sorta like a local club. It has a decent (but not great) PA, and the ceiling is real low so you can’t see anything unless you’re right up front. This is where I caught Terrorizer.


terrorizer (forgot my camera)

Luckily my press pass allows me down into the photo pit (the little area between the railing and the stage). Usually show organizers want you in and out of there as quickly as possible. I’ve been to other events where they limit photos to the first three songs. At the big stages here they limit the number of people in the photo pit to 10, so it’s necessary to keep it moving once you get your shots so that others can get in and get theirs. But at the small stage there usually aren’t that many people lined up to take pictures, so you can sorta sit there for a while. The guard railings even have little benches built into them. It’s a great place to catch a show. Oh and Terrorizer was pretty good. Kinda weird seeing Pete Sandoval playing something other than Morbid Angel though (and also kinda weird after I saw his wiener in the SMN Death Metal forum. As I was posting this i toyed with the notion of linking to it. I decided against it. If you’re that curious I’m sure you can find it).


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Again in the lounge area. Like Overkill I was really excited about seeing D.R.I. The first car I ever owned was a used, maroon 1986 Honda Civic hatchback. The first day that I owned it I stuck a tape (yeah a cassette tape, that’s what we had back then, fuck you) in the tape deck, and it became irretrievably stuck for months. It just wouldn’t eject. I tried knives, I tried screwdrivers, nothing worked. If I wanted to listen to something other than the crap ass radio I had to listen to this tape. It was D.R.I.’s Thrash Zone. Their set was awesome and I felt like I was 17 again when they played Beneath The Wheel. Again I watched this set from the photo pit. Best seat in the house if you can get it.


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Watching Death Angel puts into sharp perspective the idea that there are two types of bands in this world. Ones who engage with the audience and ones who stand there between songs like they just pooped their pants. Death Angel definitely engages and it makes a world of difference in crowd response and overall show enjoyment. I was never a huge Death Angel fan back in the day, but when they went to record with my buddy Jason Suecof at Audiohammer it kinda renewed my interest in them. They played a good mix of older and newer material and their energy made me glad that I caught their set (from the photo pit again, yay!!!)


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Satyricon was another band that I was really excited to see. Never saw them before, but have been a fan for years. As soon as they took the stage and launched into Now, Diabolical I knew I was in for a good set. I did notice that the drummer looked kinda weird and unfamiliar. Apparently Frost was denied entrance into the U.S. so the guy from Soilwork filled in. He did an incredible job with only two rehearsals. Satyricon is one of those bands that comes across way better live than they do on their recordings, especially their new stuff. Although I do have to say that about halfway through the set Satyr said “If any song reflects the direction of the new Satyricon, this is it.” Then they proceeded to play the slowest and most boring song they possibly could. They made up for it by finishing the set strong and ending with K.I.N.G. Unfortunately the photo pit was busy so I had to get my shots and get out, then watch the show like everyone else.


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Carcass is different from many of the bands on this cruise in that they have a current album out and this is part of the touring cycle for that album. Carcass is also different from other bands who get back together after a long hiatus in that they didn’t reform and get everybody’s hopes up only to put out a craptacular butthole of an album (I’m looking at you Morbid Angel). In fact, their new album Surgical Steel is quite good, and the songs they played off of it fit in very nicely with the rest of their set. Although their new stuff was impressive it was cool to hear songs off Necroticism and Heartwork, which they ended their set with. More music from my youth.


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OK I’m glad that everyone is playing two sets because I’d hate to judge them by their first. Yeah it was cool hearing all those old Death songs, but there were a couple of things that just weren’t right. First, either my ears have been hearing at the wrong speed for my whole life up until the beginning of their set or they were playing some things slow. Like really noticeably slow. Also, and I know this isn’t their fault, but the FOH sound engineer had the two guitars panned hard left and hard right. I fucking HATE it when sound guys do that shit live. You’re not mixing an album fuckface. Stage left guitar should not completely drop out when stage right guitar plays a solo. Just because you’re standing in the exact center of the room doesn’t mean everybody is. I’ll catch their second set the day after tomorrow and see what’s what.

Day 3. Wednesday Jan 29th, 2014

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Today we were docked in Costa Maya, Mexico for most of the day. I went to see the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, which was cool, but they don’t let you climb on them like I imagined. In fact, our tour guide Elizabeth, told us that anyone who tried to climb the ruins would be sacrificed. Clearly she knew her audience. As we were getting off our boat people on a different cruise were getting back aboard theirs. They all looked pretty horrified as we came streaming off our boat, one black shirt after another. It was about an hour bus ride from the port to the site of the ruins. Most of the way there was through rural farmland. I saw the skinniest cows I’ve ever seen. These were not beef cows. These were like baseball glove and leather jacket cows. As I was getting back on the boat I talked to a couple from Atlanta who spent their day drinking and riding ATVs, which sounded fucking awesome. Maybe I’ll do that if I ever get a chance to come back. The bands didn’t start until 5:30 today so there aren’t many sets that look like must see’s, except for Massacre. I’ll probably catch Obituary, Satyricon and Carcass again though.


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Massacre fucking killed! Most of the stuff they played was off their legendary album From Beyond. Their live set sounded just like the fuckin album and their new vocalist Ed Webb nailed every bit of it. I was super impressed. Growing up in Orlando Massacre and Death were literally local bands at one time, and they became my introduction to death metal. I clearly remember albums like From Beyond and Spiritual Healing bridging the gap for me between thrash metal and bands like Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Cannibal Corpse. They have a new album coming out soon called Back From Beyond. Can’t wait to hear it.

I caught Satyricon’s second set (I gotta admit it is kinda strange and funny to watch black metal being performed on a pool deck of a cruise ship) and after hearing it a second time that one song isn’t so terrible ON IT’S OWN MERITS. It is, however, a momentum killer and shouldn’t be in the middle of a live set, imo. Also, something needs to be said about this E-cigarette bullshit. This is some hard core douche baggery and it needs to be addressed. During Satyricon’s set (after I got some more pictures) I was standing behind some asshat sucking away on his E-cig. I don’t know what flavor he had but it smelled like he was smoking a cheap cigar filled with human hair while he was shitting his pants. If you’re going to smoke just smoke and quit being such a pussy about it. And stop pretending like it’s ok to do it wherever you want just because it isn’t a real cigarette. It still smells like donkey ass and it still bothers the shit out of everyone around you. And it makes you look gay, like jizz all over your face gay.

Let me also take a second here to talk about the food on this cruise. Every time anyone has ever told me about a cruise they went on the first thing they mention is how good the food is. This is for good reason. Not only is the food good, but it’s always available. And if you’re the kind of person who counts calories (which I am not) it doesn’t really matter how much you eat because you’re going to walk a mile a day just getting around on this ship. I’ve eaten better AND HEALTHIER on this cruise than I do in my regular life. I need to figure out a way to become a squillionaire so I can hire a private chef and eat like this all the time. Lottery seems like a sound investment.

Day 4. Thursday Jan. 30th, 2014: Today is the last day. We get to port early tomorrow morning. I’ve seen all the bands I wanted to see so today will be catching second sets of a few bands. I’ll definitely catch Death again to see whether or not their first set was a fluke. I’ll also catch Finntroll and Overkill again.

I’ve noticed that all the bigger, more well-known bands (Overkill, Obituary, Carcass, Satyricon, Death, etc…) play on either of the two big stages during the early evening and on into the night when it’s convenient to catch them. If you want to catch one of the smaller or more obscure bands you may have to venture into the lounge or stay up late (3 or 4 AM) or get up early. Speaking of early, every day on this cruise I’ve been woken up around 7 AM by a group of loud Germans talking, laughing, and running up and down the hallway. It’s the running that wakes me up. Are Germans just a naturally heavy footed people? Also, what are they doing up? If they’re just coming back to their rooms from a long night I suppose that’s understandable and forgivable. But if they just got up to start the day that is unacceptable because who the fuck gets up that early while on vacation?

Ok it’s raining and kinda gross outside, so all shows on the pool deck have been moved inside until further notice. I wish I had known this before I slathered all this sunblock on. The weather is causing the ocean to be a little more rough and wavy, so the boat is moving around quite a bit. If this had happened on the first day I might have been in trouble, but by now I have my sea legs.

DEATH (second set) This set was WAY better than the first. The issue with the speed was no longer present. Everything was being played at album speed. The guitars were still panned hard left and right, which is gay and stupid, but I’ve already covered that. I got around this by catching the whole set from the photo pit. Down there you get the stage sound, a little bit of FOH sound, and some monitor sound. So I was able to hear everything fine. First let me say how impressive it was just to watch Steve DiGiorgio play his 6 string fretless bass. I mean, how do you even know where the notes are? Incredible. Also, they played Lack Of Comprehension during this set, which they didn’t in their last set. It was fucking awesome and in my estimation they totally redeemed themselves from their first set, which wasn’t totally their fault anyway. Both sets had an intermission where they showed a cool video montage of Chuck Schuldiner over the years, from the very first Death demos all the way through Sound Of Perseverance. It was moving without being too sad, and it reminded everyone where these songs came from in the first place.


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They weren’t on my ‘to do’ list for the day, but I found myself with a few minutes to spare so I caught a little of their set. The only thing that really stood out to me was their intro music. They use the same music that the Chicago Bulls used back in the day when they were introducing their line-up. At any second I expected a smooth baritone voice come over the PA and yell “And at the other guard, from North Carolina, number 23, Michaeeeeeeeeelllllll Jooooooorrrdddaaaaaaaaaannnnnn!!!!!!”

As the evening wears on and the last few sets are about to be played I would like to point out that I haven’t seen even one altercation nor heard a cross word spoken the entire time I was here. Even the security guys are cool. This event really fosters a sense of community. So, as a community I think there are a few things we should address. First is the “rapist beards”. Guys, come on. They’re horrendous looking, and I think deep down you know it. And when I say rapist beard I mean that in a “Deliverance” way, not in a “I swear it was consensual” way. Second is wearing corpse paint at shows. Unless you are in a black metal band that is PERFORMING THAT NIGHT and corpse paint is part of your gimmick, AND you intend to wash it off IMMEDIATELY after your performance, don’t do it. You don’t look cool at all. In fact you look like someone that a drunk with a rapist beard might try to take advantage of in the bathroom. Third is men wearing kilts, with or without the Hammer of Thor and/or a drinking horn hanging from your belt. This looks even less cool than a guy with a rapist beard wearing corpse paint AND there’s the added possibility that we might see your gross balls.

As the final night of this cruise winds down let me just say that I had an amazing and incredibly fun time. 70,000 Tons Of Metal is my first cruise experience, and after this I can’t imagine going on any other cruise. It was everything I hoped it would be and then some. Everything on this cruise was absolutely first class and the 70,000 Tons organizers did an incredible job putting this all together. I honestly can’t say enough good things about my time on board. If you’ve ever thought about spending your vacation aboard 70,000 Tons I wholeheartedly urge you to do so next year. If you’ve never considered it you should start now because it’s a hell of a fun time. Many of the people that I met on this cruise were here for their second, third, or even fourth year in a row. I understand why. Once you experience an event like this, you’ll want to come back again and again. I know I do. This was my account of 12 out of the 41 bands that were on this cruise. There was certainly enough variety in the bands to appeal to a wide range of metal fans.

Just caught Overkill’s second set. Remember what I said about certain bands being more engaging than others, well Overkill are in en elite category. Bobby Blitz is downright eloquent up there. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my night and my time here. It’s just after 3 AM. I have to be up in a few hours to get off the boat. Hopefully I can get a few winks in before the Germans come.

By Alonzo Mosely aka Slippery Jim, the other half of the legendary Crotchduster. Alonzo also plays guitar for the undeniably badass DESTRUCTONOMICON

OBSCENE EXTREME Australia 2014 Tickets Available


Spanning 3 days and featuring over 20 bands spread across 3 different venues, the 2014 iteration of OBSCENE EXTREME FESTIVAL Australia is poised to be one of the sickest displays of the year. Set to take place March 7 through 9 at The Reverence Hotel, Corner Hotel, and Bendigo Hotel in Melbourne, OEF Australia will feature such bands as CRIPPLE BASTARDS, DOOM (UK), and JIG-AI. As usual, the festival will combine local favorites as well as rare import bands that only make the trek for the festival circuit, and tickets can now be purchased at the official website. Time to throw a few shrimp on the barbie, and spend a couple thousand dollars in airfare in the name of goregrind.

CRIPPLE BASTARDS Preview New Track “Nemico A Terra”


With the release of their latest album only a few weeks away, Italian maniacs, CRIPPLE BASTARDS, thought it only appropriate to release another new track for your listening (dis)pleasure. The new LP, titled Nero In Metastasi, is due out on Relapse Records February 18, but you can grind early (and for free) with the embedded preview track. “Nemico A Terra” apparently translates to “Enemy Down,” but it’s not like you’d be able to understand anything else Giulio says in the track, anyway. Look for the official SMN review of Nero In Metastasi soon.

WARFATHER Offer Up Debut Album Via Stream


WARFATHER, Steve Tucker’s much talked-about follow-up to MORBID ANGEL, released its debut album, Orchestrating the Apocalypse, last week. In honor of this not-so-momentous event, the band is streaming the entire album. Let’s just say “Ageless Merciless” is no “Ageless, Still I Am,” and leave it at that. Actually, in case that reference is too obtuse (which really, it shouldn’t be), just don’t listen to it–plain and simple. For those of you who enjoy self-torture however, head on over to Revolver to hear Warfather’s debut in all its embarrassing glory. Or just spin Illud Divinum Insanus again. It’s like a lesser of two evils thing.

GRIDLINK – Longhena


Releases February 19 through Handshake, Inc.

From the shimmering introductory chords to vocalist Jon Chang’s final screech, Longhena is proof that grindcore is living and breathing long after many fans may have turned their backs on the genre. For the uninitiated, strap yourselves in and prepare for pure sonic torment in the best way possible, and for the fans, raise your glasses. It’s spastic, technical, fast and ferocious, but most importantly, it’s good. Sure, there are fast bands, and brutal bands–bands whose bread and butter consists of making the metronome weep–but few are genuinely good, and Gridlink holds this distinct honor.

Gridlink, the spiritual successor to Chang’s previous groundbreaking band Discordance Axis, has finally achieved grindcore nirvana through the muse of bullet-hell shooter video games, and will easily top year-end best lists. Much like the video games that prove to be one of Chang’s lyrical muses, Gridlink definitely has a steep learning curve. Songs that may seem to blend together at first reward the listener through repeated plays. Whether guitarist Takafumi Matsubara (Hayaino Daisuki) is performing high-speed tremolo runs through the upper register, or looping his own riffing upon itself to a confusing degree (“Island Sun”), his guitar-work challenges the listener to keep up. And for a genre as over saturated and self-imposing as grindcore, that’s no small feat.

With only 45 minutes of material spread across six years of releases, Gridlink hardly holds the record for most prolific output, but they’re 45 of the most replayable minutes grind fans will likely ever have, so all’s not lost. In fact, where other bands seem to excel at churning out countless forgettable releases in rapid succession, in opposition, Gridlink’s conservative approach has seemed to work wonders for their back catalog. Outspoken front-man Jon Chang has gone on record saying he wanted to make the record Napalm Death would have made after From Enslavement to Obliteration, had they not gone the Morrisound route, but I’m not sure old Napalm could have made Longhena.

“Look to Winward,” the album’s closer and strongest track, highlights axe-man Takafumi’s trademark bee swarm tremolo riffing before swerving into a whiplash-inducing hammer-on/pull-off run halfway through that sets the stage for Longhena‘s close. Namely, a subtle yet substantial string arrangement that closes the final chapter of the Gridlink saga, and with it, all hope for grind to come. For Gridlink, self-actualization has been achieved, and while we have to applaud them for leaving on the highest note possible, that doesn’t make it sting any less.


Mike Melvin wrote this review. He doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter though, so kindly direct all pejoratives to the comments section.

AT THE GATES To Unleash First New Album In 19 Years This Fall


Some 19 years after releasing their classic Slaughter of the Soul, Swedish melodeath legends AT THE GATES have announced a new album. The new LP, the band’s fifth in 22 years, is titled At War With Reality, and is coming to a Century Media distributor near you fall 2014. Apparently Lindberg and co. could no longer sit idly by while countless bands shamelessly aped their identity, or they just like writing music. Either way, whether you wanted it or not, you now have a new At The Gates album to look forward to. In 2014. Let that sink in a bit… You can watch the oh-so cryptic teaser video below, but since you already know what it’s teasing, what’s the point, really?

Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Skeletonwitch – Saturday Jan. 25th, Tampa FL


I left my house in Orlando just after 5:00 PM. Doors at The Ritz were at 7. Skeletonwitch took the stage at 8. This gave me just enough time to make the drive to Tampa, find a place to park, stand in the will call line, get my ticket and get inside. As I merged onto Interstate 4 heading from Orlando to Tampa I set my iPod to play my ‘various artists’ folder. Now I have the most impressive and greatest various artists folder on the planet, no doubt about it. It’s 130 songs with no more than 3 songs by any one artist. It is arranged alphabetically BY SONG TITLE, not by artist. This adds to the feeling of randomness and heightens one’s sense of “I wonder what song is next.” Anyhow, the drive was smooth, traffic was minimal, and I arrived in Ybor City and found a place to park just as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cindi Lauper was playing. Naturally I listened to the end of the song before I got out of the car.

Once I got inside I found a great place to watch the show and it was just a short wait before Skeletonwitch started. Let me just say that they owned the place as soon as they walked on stage. They played several songs from their new album Serpents Unleashed (read my review of it here) a few off Beyond The Permafrost, and one or two from other albums. It was a great set. If you’ve never seen them before I recommend you do. Good live band and their vocalist Chance Garnette is a good performer.

Next up was Enslaved. I was super excited to see them because I’ve been a fan for a long time and hadn’t had the opportunity to see them before now. It seemed from the crowd reaction that perhaps not everybody there was familiar with Enslaved. Also, some of the subtleties of their music, especially the newer stuff, may have been lost in a live setting. However, by the end of their set they completely won over the crowd. Their songs are so long that they only played a six song set, but I got to hear RUUN, Allfoor Odinn, and Isa, so that was awesome.

Of course Amon Amarth was headlining. I have seen them many times since they released With Oden On Our Side, and each time they put on a good, professional looking and sounding show. This time was no different. They played all the songs from their past albums that people would want to hear and a few off their newest album Deceiver Of The Gods (read my review of it here.) Of course they ended with Pursuit Of Vikings. The one thing i did notice right away was the guitar sound. On Deceiver Of The Gods the guitar has a sharper tone than on past albums, more of a thrash metal sound. It seems like they carried this over into their live performance as well. The guitar sound was sharp whereas in the past I’ve seen them and the guitar sounded muddy because they tune down like 45 steps or whatever.

Overall it was a good show and I recommend you go if and when it comes to your city. As I was driving home I settled in behind a State Trooper and followed him as the small amount of traffic quickly cleared from his path. He eventually got off at the Haines City exit. I like to think that he went to Perkins and met a beautiful young waitress who will become the love of his life. Now, some of you may wonder why I went to see this show in Tampa when there is an Orlando date on the 27th. Two reasons, one is that Skeletonwitch isn’t allowed to play that date because the Orlando House of Blues is on Disney property and they have a fit every time a metal show is booked there and they kick at least one band off the bill. This happens all the time. Not only is it annoying but it is unnecessary and totally avoidable. There are several other venues in Orlando that could host a show of this size. The other reason I’m not going to the Orlando show is that I’ll be on the motherfucking 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise!!!

Show reviewed by Alonzo Mosely aka Slippery Jim, the other half of the legendary Crotchduster. Alonzo also plays guitar for the undeniably badass DESTRUCTONOMICON

Demonic Resurrection announce new guitar player

Indian metal veterans Demonic Resurrection, who recently parted ways with long time guitarist Daniel Kenneth Rego have announced his replacement. Axeman Nishith Hegde, known for his work with Albatross and Reptilian Death has now joined the band. An official announcement was made via the bands facebook page along with a clip of Nishith playing solos from the bands last album ‘The Return To Darkness’ that released in 2010 on Candlelight Records.

Watch the video clip –

At the farewell concert held at Blue Frog on 19th Jan, Hegde joined the band mid-way through their set on stage for the rest of the set trading off solos with Daniel while Demonstealer took over just vocals.

Website – (more…)

NIGHTBRINGER Plot European Tour (And One US Date)


The occult black metal outfit, NIGHTBRINGER, has announced their plan to take over Europe with an extensive tour this April. Dubbed the “Disciples of the Void” tour, support will be handled by fellow ne’er-do-wells PSEUDOGOD, SARGEIST, and IRKALLIAN ORACLE. Oh yeah, they’re also going to venture far out of their comfort zones to perform a single North American date in their home state of Colorado beforehand. The full list of dates is below, or you can just check out the fancy embedded image. Look at it shine!

3/1/14 Denver, CO @ The Hi-Dive
3/14/14 : Speyer, DE @ Grey Mass Festival
3/15/14 : Speyer, DE @ Grey Mass Festival
3/17/14: Erfurt, DE @ From Hell
3/18/14 : Switzerland -TBA
3/19/14: Torino. IT @ White Lion’s Club
3/20/14: Saint Etienne, FR @ La Cle d’Voute
3/21/14 : Roeselaere, BE @ Zaal Diezie
3/22/14: Paris, FR @ Glazart
3/23/14: Arnhem, NL @ Willemeen

Cognizance – Inquisition


Cognizance from UK is playing blistering Technical Death Metal with melodic strains that falls right between Neuraxis and Necrophagist. That isn’t the best way to describe it because the band is using aggression and its own flair to concoct music that’s keeping it extreme while remaining scorching, heady and seething. It has an unstoppable momentum which is what keeps it fluid, coherent and so damn easy to listen to and repeat all the same all over again. Bands deviating too much from the laid path are difficult to grasp and this one is sticking to its guns, however flamboyant and hot.

The album gets over in just under 15 minutes but seems longer than that, that’s because there’s a lot of music crammed in there but the beauty is how streamlined it all sounds, nothing jarring or overly fancy. This isn’t like Rings of Saturn, it’s relatively straightforward and has a motive of its own, nothing off the beaten path which is what forms the band’s shortcoming too – it’s rather predictable and easy to get used to despite the histrionics.

Having said that, this is an impressive debut, the kind most bands would hope for. It’s already vying for a place among the genre’s current greats, featuring the drumming of Alex Rudinger of The Faceless too. It’s quickly making a worthy name for itself and hope the next album is ambitious and more experimental, everything else is already top notch.

Kunal Choksi

Hiss from the Moat – Misanthropy


Hiss from the Moat is one of the modern bands playing a scintillating mix of Black/Death Metal, in that it’s more Death Metal than Black Metal but there’s this edge which allows more room for ambience and atmosphere. Right off the bat, it’s reminiscent of Lykathea Aflame, the controlled yet overwhelming blasting done by none other than James Payne of Hour of Penance. Now Italy is quickly becoming a centre for killer Death Metal and this band is no exception – it’s doing everything right, fusing Behemoth-ian riffing and atmosphere into music plain brutal and relentless. More than Behemoth, it’s comparable to Hate circa ‘Awakening of the Liar’ and latter Decapitated stuff. It’s certainly got this Polish sheen to the music, competence of the Italian bands and confidence of superstars.

What’s remarkable is the effortless ease with which it’s creating music that’s actually different from any other band today. Detrimentum tried something ambitious and pulled it off back in the day with ‘Embracing this Deformity’ and I’ve already mentioned Lykathea Aflame and the Polish influences. That’s what this band is all about. Anything else is humbug. There’s nothing in the music to suggest otherwise. This is epic blackened Death Metal. Plain and simple. The songs are rather linear and there aren’t really any breakdowns to warrant any other classification. It’s just blasting and Behemoth-ian riffing, sometimes also reminiscent of the Hate Eternal style of music. But this is linear like I said, it’s punctuating it with lots of pace changes, atmospheric elements but it’s remaining on track like a bullet train, breaking limits but staying on its track of blasphemous mayhem.

Certainly it’s not like your average Blasphemy or Incantation clone, nor does it touch the extremity of the raucous mid-period Belphegor, but you’ve got to acknowledge this different kind of Black/Death Metal where all the modern elements are used to create something outstanding. It’s blistering, epic and thunderous. It’s Behemoth around the time of ‘Satanica’ where it was trying to meld influences of both styles, only this is fast-forwarded, bending space and time, so to speak. I can’t stress enough on the Hate and Lykathea Aflame comparisons as they remain standouts for what they’re doing with the sound, taking it forward in their own way, at least around the time of the aforementioned releases and the latter with its debut album.

Released on CD by Lacerated Enemy Records, there’s certainly more than meets the eye. Underneath the straightforward cover art, there’s a vision, a purpose. I see this band expanding more upon its vicious template laid down in concrete, threatening to shake the foundations of the narrow confines of this style of Death Metal music. Leave it to Italy to add speed, technicality and an air of supremacy in everything.


Kunal Choksi


CRETIN Begin Recording New Album


The delightfully demented grindcore troupe, CRETIN, have officially begun recording their hotly-anticipated followup to Freakery. It’s been eight years since the band released the aforementioned LP, but as bassist Matt Widener (LIBERTEER) puts it, “with Freakery you grinded like it was ’89, now you’ll grind like it’s, uh, ’91?” Sounds good to us. Slated for a fall release through Relapse Records, this as-yet untitled sophomore album will be sure to prompt more than a few Google searches when it drops. Given their track record for lyrical subject matter though, we’d probably advise against feeding those urges–some things are just better left to the imagination.

TesseracT, Intronaut, Cloudkicker announce North American Tour‏


TesseracT will once again be returning to North America. It will be TesseracT’s third tour supporting their critically acclaimed Altered State album.  Former touring partners, Intronaut, who will be coming fresh off a tour of their own with Between The Buried and Me and Deafheaven will be direct support. To make these events even more special, instrumentalists, DIY prog artist, Cloudkicker, will be touring for the first time ever with the members of Intronaut as his backing band.

TesseracT, Intronaut, Cloudkicker
3/29 Springfield, VA @ Empire (Tesseract only)
3/30 Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall (Tesseract only)
4/1 Atlanta, GA @ The Drunken Unicorn
4/2 Jacksonville, FL @ Brewster’s Rock Bar
4/3 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
4/5 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
4/6 Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog Bar
4/7 Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
4/10 Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
4/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Roxy
4/13 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/14 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
4/15 Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
4/16 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
4/18 Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop
4/19 Calgary, AB @ Republik
4/22 Billings, MY @ The Railyard
4/23 Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theatre
4/25 Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre
4/23 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom
4/28 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
4/29 Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
4/30 New York, NY @ The Gramercy

BATTLECROSS To Hit The Road This March With Protest The Hero


BATTLECROSS will be joining Canada’s Protest The Hero as direct support on the band’s spring US tour, set to commence March 1st in Buffalo. Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 24th.

BATTLECROSS w/ Protest the Hero, The Safety Fire, Intervals, Night Verses
3/01/2014 Waiting Room – Buffalo, NY
3/02/2014 Bogarts – Cincinnati, OH
3/03/2014 The Stache at The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
3/04/2014 Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
3/05/2014 The Garage – Burnsville, MN
3/07/2014 The Eagles Hall – Milwaukee, WI
3/08/2014 Mojoe’s – Joliet, IL
3/09/2014 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
3/10/2014 Aggie Theatre – Ft. Collins, CO
3/11/2014 Mesa Theatre & Club – Grand Junction, CO
3/12/2014 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
3/14/2014 The Hop – Spokane, WA
3/15/2014 Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
3/16/2014 Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
3/17/2014 Assembly – Sacramento, CA
3/18/2014 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
3/19/2014 191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
3/21/2014 Jake’s Backroom – Lubbock, TX
3/22/2014 Red 7 – Austin, TX
3/23/2014 Juanita’s – Little Rock, AR
3/24/2014 The Varsity Theatre – Baton Rouge, LA
3/26/2014 State Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL
3/27/2014 Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
3/28/2014 Jack Rabbits – Jacksonville, FL
3/29/2014 Ziggys By The Sea – Wilmington, NC
3/30/2014 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC
4/01/2014 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
4/02/2014 The Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
4/03/2014 Webster Theater – Hartford, CT
4/04/2014 Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
4/05/2014 The Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA
4/06/2014 Revolution – Amityville, NY

Gaped – The Murderous Inception


Gaped is one of the best Brutal Death Metal releases I’ve heard recently. Now pay close attention – it’s not an out-and-out album of that genre or sub-genre, it’s actually similar to those balls-out Rogga Johansson bands with heaviness to the max, pummeling to dust and riffastic to the limit. Between the lines, it’s also Swedish-sounding, which is rather remarkable considering this band is from Australia of all places, and it’s also making a mark in this style of late with bands like Disentombed and Excruciate.

It’s just as riffy as say early Cannibal Corpse, although this sounds different. The point being, brutality is just another logical progression of the Death Metal style and that is evidently possible, with leads and all, Swedish touches, hints of melodies even. It’s reminiscent of early Hypocrisy too, the first two albums in particular, also Grave and Sinister offshoots namely Supreme Pain and Houwitser. It’s the Death Metal with riffing intact instead of silly slams and breakdowns, so to speak. This is the music that stands out and the Swedish touch only gives it an added dimension, untouched by most of the US-influenced bands these days.

This is just an EP but what a satisfying one it is – it doesn’t give you the impression of repeating itself, such well-placed and well-thought are the songs, that even after multiple listens, you keep enjoying them. There’s even the unmistakable Cannibal Corpse cover of Stripped, Raped and Strangled. This band has immense clout much like the German ones but this one has added dynamics and scope to make it stand out from all its peers. Clearly, this is an outstanding release – it’s Death Metal of the future, for what it’s worth.


Kunal Choksi


SCOTT IAN: Legendary ANTHRAX Guitarist, Author, and TV Personality Officially Announces “Speaking Words” Tour, North American Leg


At this point, it’s no surprise to anyone that legendary heavy metal musician, author, and television personality SCOTT IAN has a lot to say. After decades-worth of international touring with Anthrax, bumping elbows with illustrious (and sometimes ridiculous) characters all over the media spectrum, and undergoing general “you won?t believe this” experiences – SCOTT IAN certainly has some hilarious and surprisingly personal stories to share. Following the resounding success of the UK leg of his “Speaking Words” tour, Scott is picking up the mic again for a 15-city North American leg, kicking off in Chicago, IL on February 20th.

An official “Speaking Words” tour teaser, featuring professional footage from his upcoming “Speaking Words: Live in Glasgow” DVD (pre-order coming soon) can be seen below.

Currently Confirmed SCOTT IAN “Speaking Words” Dates
2/20 – Chicago, IL @ Mayne Stage
2/21 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
2/22 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
2/24 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
2/25 – Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo Club
2/26 – Kingston, ON @ The Mansion
2/27 – Ottowa, ON @ Ritual
3/01 – Baltimore, MD @ The Ramshead Live: Power Plant Live
3/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
3/04 – Boston, MA @ Hard Rock Cafe
3/05 – New York, NY @ BB Kings
3/06 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
3/07 – West Warwick, RI @ Manchester 65
3/08 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall



PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT are pleased to unveil a new paean of punishment in the form of their latest lyric video for “Glorify Through Cyanide.” The newest taste of terror, which centers itself on American cult leader Jim Jones, comes off the band’s soon-to-be-released From Crotch To Crown opus. Their first full-length proper since 2008’s mauling Descendants Of Depravity.

From Crotch To Crown will be released via Willowtip Records on February 4, 2014.



Slayer will take a break from writing and recording their next album to hit the road on May 9 for a handful of dates intended to pummel devotees with a night of moshing and frenetic thrash-punk-metal.  Joining Slayer as Special Guests for these shows are Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus, marking the first time Slayer and Suicidal have toured together since the 1990 European “Clash of the Titans” tour.  Gary Holt, who continues to fill in for Slayer’s fallen guitarist Jeff Hanneman, will do double-duty as guitarist in his primary band, Exodus.

The dates will culminate for all three bands at the May 17 “Rock on The Range” rock festival in Columbus, OH, where they will share the stage with Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock  some other crappy bands.

Confirmed dates
9   The Great Salt Air, Salt Lake City, UT
10   Fillmore, Denver, CO
11   Shrine, Billings, MT
13   Uptown Theatre, Kansas City, MO
15   The Pageant, St Louis, MO
16   Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
17   Rock on the Range, Columbus, OH

BENIGHTED Premier New Track‏, “Collection of Dead Portraits”


BENIGHTED have released another new track from their forthcoming album, ‘Carnivore Sublime‘. The track, titled “Collection of Dead Portraits” is streaming below. ‘Carnivore Sublime’ has been set for a North American release on February 18th. The album art was designed by ABORTED vocalist Sven de Caluwé.


2/27  Annecy (FR) Le Brise Glace
2/28  Lyon (FR) Transbordeur
3/1 Toulon (FR) Le Vox
3/2 Perpignan (FR) Le Crockmore
3/4 Toulouse (FR) Connexion Live
3/6 Bordeaux (FR) Le Bootleg
3/7 Limoges (FR) CCM John Lennon
3/8 Bourges (FR) Le Nadir
3/9 Nantes (FR) Le Ferrailleur
3/10 Poitiers (FR) Le Confort Moderne
3/11 Eragny (FR) Covent Garden
3/12 Paris (FR) Le Divan du Monde
3/13 Colmar (FR) Le Grillen
3/14 Rombas (FR) Espace Culturel
3/15 Dommarien (FR) La Niche

NEW ENGLAND METAL AND HARDCORE FEST Welcomes The Metal Alliance Tour; Initial Day-To-Day Lineups Announced – More Bands To Be Confirmed!


The NEW ENGLAND METAL & HARDCORE FESTIVAL is pleased to officially welcome The Metal Alliance Tour to its already punishing three-day assault. The illustrious tour package will make a stop in Worcester on Saturday April 18th and features headliners Behemoth, alongside their Metal Blade labelmates Goatwhore, with additional support from 1349, Inquisition, and Black Crown Initiate.

Featuring two stages, the now legendary NEW ENGLAND METAL & HARDCORE FESTIVAL continues to drive dozens of bands and thousands of fans to the iconic Worcester Palladium. Celebrating its sixteenth anniversary, this year’s edition will take place on April 17th, 18th, and 19th. Initial day-to-day lineups are officially posted with more bands to be confirmed in the coming weeks. (Note this is NOT the official running order).

Thursday – April 17, 2014
All That Remains
Bleeding Through
Broken Hope
Cop Problem
Kublai Khan
Obey The Brave
Rivers of Nihil
Years Since The Storm
Young and In The Way

Friday – April 18, 2014
Bent Life
Black Crown Initiate
Born Low
Colin Of Arabia
Cruel Hand
Fire and Ice
Fit For An Autopsy
I Declare War
Suburban Scum
The Acacia Strain
The Mongoloids
Thy Art Is Murder
Within The Ruins

Saturday – April 19, 2014
All Out War
Alpha & Omega
Gift Giver
Harm’s Way
Iced Earth
King Nine
Loyal To The Grave
Reign Supreme
Scars of Tomorrow
The Last Ten Seconds of Life
Those Who Fear
Twitching Tongues
Will To Die

IHATE: Chris Barnes Launches Vicious New Death Metal Project


Six Feet Under founding throat/death metal icon, Chris Barnes, is pleased to bring fans his latest work of sonic deviance in the form of the fittingly christened, IHATE. A venture inadvertently launched between Barnes and multi-instrumentalist/fellow horror enthusiast Bob Taggett, their as-yet-untitled debut promises to deliver eight violent tracks of raw, unrepentant, death metal brutality and lyrical depravity.

Says Barnes of the project’s formation, “Early last year I got a message via Facebook from someone named Bob and Bob said to me, as a lot of people do, ‘I have some songs and I’d like you to sing on them. Can I send you a song so you could check it out?’ I get a lot of these requests and didn’t think too much of it, but since I was just fresh back from a tour and a little bored, I decided to entertain the idea of listening to a song from Bob. After receiving an email with the first track that was attached to a video which more or less mapped out a murder storyline, I thought it was really different, and definitely creepy visually. And there was something very primitive and energetic to the attack of the music. It was very driven. I could feel it instantly. I knew this wasn’t a joke and wasn’t done half-assed. The music I was listening to was aggressive as a knife carving chunks of flesh off a body. Putting the music to a video caught my attention, immediately, as to Bob’s focus. I found it all really interesting. I have almost always worked from a storyline in my head for my lyrical inspiration and my own imagination, but never have started from the standpoint of lyrically scoring a storyline already laid out on video first, like scoring a film. That seemed really exciting to me as a writer as well as a vocalist. I emailed Bob back and told him I would love to be involved with making this album with him. So one thing led to another and we began writing and recording. We are very close to finishing the album and have enlisted the good people at Pledge Music to help us reach out to all of the fans who we hope will help us make this album a reality.”

Check out the track “Seeing Red” below. Is it worse than the new Warfather? Perhaps.

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