Like many people around the world Friday afternoon into the night, I was glued to my computer as the news came trickling out from Paris on the widespread and coordinated terrorist attacks that led to the death of 129 people, the vast majority of which were fans and staff at the Bataclan music venue seeing an Eagles of Death Metal show. Watching, hearing, and reading about it in real-time was the kind of horrifying event that just leaves you with the sensation of a bottomless pit in your stomach. It renders you feeling helpless, depressed, nauseated, angry, and a whole other mixture of complicated emotions. As details surrounding the attacks — of how they were carried out, by whom, and what, if anything, can really even be done to prevent such things from happening again in the future — are slowly uncovered and probed, for now we find ourselves in a state of mourning, particularly as more people became aware of another (and far less-covered) gruesome attack in the Lebanese capital of Beirut just the day prior to the Paris attacks.
Naturally we all want to feel like we’re contributing in some way to show our support in solidarity with the people directly and indirectly affected by these attacks. That’s why simple gestures like Facebook’s French flag avatar option spread so widely so quickly. Likewise, the music community has seen an enormous outpouring of support for the EoDM family, who lost one of their own in merch manager Nick Alexander. In the past couple of days though there’s been an unfortunate trend taking shape. A string of international touring bands are now canceling upcoming concerts in Paris, including U2 (who were supposed to be filming an HBO special), Foo Fighters, Motorhead, and Deftones (who were slated to play a 3-day residency at the Bataclan and some of whom were in attendance at the EoDM show). And, quite frankly, it’s a damn shame, especially when these kinds of shows are what are exactly needed at a time like this.
In case you haven’t been following, Singled Out is our new weekly column to round-up all of the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. We’ve got an awful lot of new music to cover this week from all over the place, so let’s forego the whole introductory setup today and just get to it. Let’s get singled out!
Metalhead is the tale of Hera, a young Icelandic woman who witnesses the tragic death of her beloved older brother at a young age. Set in the early 90’s, the film focuses on Hera as well as her parents; simple dairy farmers in a remote area of the country. A poignant scene early on in the movie has the young Hera burning all of her childish clothes in a tribute to her rock’n’roll loving brother, donning his leather jacket and guitar before attempting to skip town. Cut to a much older Hera, still adorned in the leathers and a Motorhead shirt and still on the farm. This young adult is a recluse, tending to the cows with her headphones blaring Judas Priest. The “black sheep” cliché isn’t overplayed here, even with the constant visual reminders that she is clearly a wolf among said sheep.
Venom might be the single most influential extreme metal band in existence. Their first two albums, Welcome to Hell and Black Metal, almost single-handedly defined the straightforward and blistering sound of the genre named after their sophomore effort, and they are still cited today as an important factor in the sound of modern extreme metal by an enormous legion of bands, over 35 years after they first came together. The sheer fact that they’re still around three-and-a-half decades later is an astonishing feat, let alone the fact that they’re releasing new music. And now, with their newest record, From the Very Depths, they aim to create their greatest album yet. Do they succeed?
The world is a big place and it contains an insane amount of music. Even when narrowing things down to “just” metal, the sheer variety and volume of releases is staggering. The internet is one of the main tools of a would be explorer of this rich world. And so, through the magic of the world wide web, we bring you The Erkonauts. Immediately after the connection was formed, we rejoiced. While I Did Something Bad includes well known names in the scene, for example one Ales Campanelli from Sybreed, it presents a fresh and youthful approach to many elements in the genre. Blending industrial, heavy metal and many progressive passages, it’s simply an album that has a spring in its step, a certain joie de vivre which is infectious. In short, it will put a smile on your face and isn’t that one of the most important roles of music?
2013 has seen large growths in the, quite frankly, already sweaty regions of punk n’ roll, progressive metal and retro blues rock. Naturally, this has made me a very jolly fellow. You might be able to spot a few of the more impressive additions in my all-singing, all-dancing end of year list. Happy xmas to one and all!
Hey everyone, guess what! The new Amon Amarth will be about Vikings! What a witty and observant person I am!
To be honest, I sort of dread whenever Amon Amarth release anything that isn’t new music because it suddenly brings out the worst in some people, as though I’d be spending my time with the band admiring their beautifully complex album art and being in complete awe of their extremely intellectual and mind-bending subject matter. Yeah, no. I’m in it for masterfully crafted catchy melodeath and more anthemic choruses than you can shake a drinking horn at.
T’is that beautiful time of year again. A season of good will, understanding and compassion towards your fellow man — a time for giving, loving and appreciating. The cold may have rolled in and the trees may have shed their once vibrant foliage, but the world finds solace in the love and company of others. It’s a time to reflect on the memories of the year and plan ahead for the next.
But most of all it’s a time to listen brutal fucking metal and drink a fuck tonne of Advocaat, because 2012 was full of great releases and now’s your chance to catch on releases you may have missed or may have never even heard of. My first draft of this list was composed of 30 albums, which then shot up to 37 when I realised that I had forgotten to include EPs. Everything from new bands that came out of nowhere to blow my mind (We Are Knuckle Dragger, Bloodshot Dawn, Oddland, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo etc) to the old guard continuing their brilliant legacy (Gojira, Aborted, Napalm Death, Deftones etc) all unfortunately fell by the wayside in the ruthless culling exercise that produced this list. And I regret cutting every single one of them, but alas, if I was talk about every album this year that was great, I’d probably lose your attention pretty quickly. Who am I kidding? You’ve most likely already skipped on to the list and you’re not even reading this bit. I could write anything I want here and no one would notice. Anything at all.
High On Fire
De Vermis Mysteriis
01. Serums Of Liao
02. Bloody Knuckle
03. Fertile Green
04. Madness Of An Architect
06. Spiritual Rites
07. King Of Days
08. De Vermis Mysteriis
09. Romulus And Remus
I swear, by Matt Pike’s sweaty shirtless body, that High On Fire get better with every album. Whilst there’s nothing that glaringly new about their sound, you’d be hard pushed to argue that it wasn’t at least distinct and over the course of six studio albums the band has refined their mix of high octane riffs, pummeling percussion and Motorhead sensibilities to a sharpened point. De Vermis Mysteriis sees the band attempting to top their incredibly well received Snakes For The Divine with a concept album about Jesus’ time travelling twin brother Liao who goes on to to learn about the destructive influence his brother had on mankind before jumping off the deep end and getting involved in witch burning and baby sacrifice. Yeah.
Fun fact: 2008’s Gigantour was my first real metal show. My dad took me and a friend of mine to Louisville, KY to see Megadeth, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Job For A Cowboy, and High on Fire. That show was pretty awesome, and it set in motion my concert-going and have made a dedicated effort to see at least one show a year since then (travel is hard on the wallet).
It’s good to know that Gigantour is still going on! This year’s lineup consists of the yearly headliner Megadeth alongside Motorhead, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil. Tonight the tour’s hitting Glen’s Falls, New York. Don’t miss it!
Here are the remaining dates on Gigantour 2012:
Feb. 01 – Glens Falls, NY – Glens Falls Civic Center
Feb. 02 – Quebec City, QC – Colisee Pepsi Arena
Feb. 03 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Feb. 05 – Kingston, ON – K-Rock Centre
Feb. 07 – Oshawa, ON – General Motors Centre
Feb. 08 – Hamilton, ON – Copps Coliseum
Feb. 09 – Auburn Hills, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
Feb. 10 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
Feb. 12 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom
Feb. 14 – St. Paul, MN – Myth
Feb. 16 – Saskatoon, SK – Prairieland
Feb. 17 – Edmonton, AB – Shaw Conference Centre
Feb. 18 – Calgary, AB – Big 4 Building
Feb. 20 – Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Ent & Sports Centre
Feb. 21 – Kent, WA – Showare Center
Feb. 23 – San Jose, CA – Events Center
Feb. 24 – Universal City, CA – Gibson Amphitheatre
Feb. 25 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre
Feb. 26 – Albuquerque, NM – Tingley Coliseum
Feb. 28 – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium