January started the year out with a lot of promise, with new releases from Indian, Alcest, and Periphery gaining quite a bit of attention around these parts. However, what floored us the most in the first four weeks of 2014 was the first-ever proper release from Chicago newcomers Warforged. Essence of the Land is an odyssey exploring death metal, black metal, and progressive metal influences that stunned a large number of the staff group. Opeth comes to mind with the band’s dynamic use of keyboards and acoustic guitars as cinematic gateways between stretches of technical riffing and powerfully melodic brutality, or perhaps Between the Buried and Me’s penchant for epic-length songwriting and weaving a larger picture over multiple tracks.
Essence Of The Land tells the twisted tale of a dread-inducing and brooding swamp and the unknown horrors that lie beneath its surface, making it one of those surprising death metal albums where the lyrics actually add a lot of atmosphere and weight to music. So much so, in fact, that the video accompaniment that provides visuals for ¾ of the EP contains the lyrics throughout, alongside footage of the band tearing through earth-shattering riffs.
At the heart of it, Warforged’s sound presents an assortment of progressive death metal influences that still manages to sound fresh and exciting, despite dredging the very bottom of the swampy sludge they strive to recreate. And honestly, what better way to start a new year than with a new band that are reinvigorating even one of the most well-trodden of sounds?
We spoke with the entirety of Warforged to not only get a look into the creation of one of 2014′s best releases, but to get a glimpse at what’s in store for the band’s future.
01. Oblivion Part I: The Chant Of Tyrants
02. Black Veils Of Justice
03. Between Suns of Light
04. Binary Souls
06. Canon in D Minor
08. Reigns in Fire
09. Cancer in Wraiths
11. Oblivion Part II: Infinite Descent
Technical death metal is, admittedly, a rather demanding genre to be a part of. Even when disregarding the usual musical tropes such as song structure, melody, and memorability, the sheer instrumental virtuosity required makes for enough of a filter to wade off most aspiring musicians. Naturally, the real difficulty lies in not disregarding said tropes, rather incorporating them tastefully into the music while staying true to the foundations; but when even the “bad” bands that comprise the genre have to be, in a way, masters of their craft, it’s evident why very few actually reach the plateau of near-universal recognition and praise. Enter Oblivion, a Bay Area-based supergroup of sorts that, while still in their infancy as a band, have a good deal of mileage within their individual careers. Sporting members such as All Shall Perish founding member Ben Orum on bass, and music professor/award-winning composer Nick Vasallo on vocals, Oblivion certainly possess enough potential to join the pantheon of tech-death heavyweights even on their first release. But, does Called to Rise really see this potential come to fruition?
Death metal titans Nile are currently on tour across North America in support of their latest record At The Gates Of Sethu, and they’re pulling double duty the whole way through by playing two full sets featuring songs spanning the group’s entire career. Nile are taking along no regular support across this tour either, instead opting exclusively for local openers. Regular contributor Maclyn Bean attended the Philadelphia stop of the tour on March 7th to photograph the show, which you can see below.
Legendary Egyptian-themed death metallers Nile have released a video for the opening track of their latest album At the Gates of Sethu, titled ‘Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame’. The video has a theme of ritual sacrifice interspersed with performance shots of the band. It does a good job of highlighting the grisly, dirty aspect of Nile’s music. It’s probably their best video yet. The song is also one of the best songs of the album, so definitely check this video out! Also of note is that the song was written without time signatures, the band just rolled with the recording and thus measures constantly spill over, which makes this a very hard track to perform! Yet another reason for why Nile are awesome, as if anyone needed any more reasons.
Hailing from Detroit, Konkeror are a no-frills death metal band. They self-released their album so it was a bit under the radar, but their blend of death metal that is influenced by Nile, Behemoth and older Morbid Angel is definitely impressive for a new band. Their production is top notch; and their riffing and drumming are tight, fast and bludgeoningly heavy. The occasionally middle-eastern influenced songwriting definitely evokes their influences heavily, but their sound is original enough to be recognizable. There is something distinctly oldschool about Konkeror, the drumming doesn’t resort to having fills at the end of every measure like a lot of modern death metal bands tend to, instead it’s usually a constant assault of blast beating. This might be odd for some newer listeners, but most old school death metal fans prefer this. At other times, the riffing is very modern in the sense of newer Behemoth, and the band’s juxtaposition of these styles in a way that alienates fans of neither makes them worth attention. An incredibly solid debut with great songwriting, The Abysmal Horizons should put Konkeror on the map with other big names of death metal.
Bloodstock is by far the best festival in the UK. Every year has an better line-up than the last and the atmosphere is so friendly and down to earth, that it’s hard to not return each and every time. However, this year it just didn’t work out for me and with a line up including Nile, Behemoth, Machine Head, Deicide and Alice Cooper, by the time August rolled around, I just had to resign myself to waiting for those bands to come around another time.
But thankfully this cloud had a silver lining, in the form of a live-stream of the main stage that would be showing nearly all the bands over the weekend. So while I didn’t get to camp in a puddle or drink way too much and do terrible karaoke to Pantera songs, I still managed to catch quite a few bands through the stream and, naturally, it wasn’t long before they ended up on YouTube. So here’s a collection of performances, more after the jump!
Music cruises seem to be the big thing coming up in the metal festival world. I’ve even been super excited about Barge To Hell this year, which includes bands such as At The Gates, Soilwork, and Enslaved. I’ll be all up on that this December. However, if you can’t make it on The Barge, it’s sister cruise 70,000 Tons of Metal (which takes off January 28th), might be a good bet. They’ve just announced the first wave of bands for the cruise, and it is as follows:
DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER
SUBWAY TO SALLY
I’ve only ever heard of half those bands, but it still looks like it’s going to be a good one. More will be announced in the coming months! For more information, visit the 70,000 Tons of Metal website.
01. Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame
02. The Fiends Who Come To Steal The Magick Of The Deceased
03. The Inevitable Degradation Of Flesh
04. When My Wrath Is Done
05. Slaves Of Xul
06. The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu
07. Natural Liberation Of Fear Through The Ritual Deception Of Death
08. Ethno-Musicologial Cannibalisms
09. Tribunal Of The Dead
10. Supreme Humanism Of Megalomania
11. The Chaining Of The Iniquitous
[Nuclear Blast Records]
What can be said about Nile that hasn’t already been said before? The Ancient Egyptian historians, some of the fastest musicians in the game right now, and some of the most memorable songs to come out of the death metal scene since all the classic Cannibal Corpse records of the early ‘90s. They really don’t have one bad record; just records from the early stages before they began evolving and making progress. Their last record Those Whom The Gods Detest was one of the best death metal releases to come out of 2009, beating out Cannibal Corpse, Obscura, and even Suffocation in terms of overall brutality and technicality. After such a monumental success, can their new album live up to the hype? Sadly, it can not.
Nile are one of my favorite death metal bands. They have a no-bullshit attitude while sticking to their concept of Egyptian mythology, and they’re all crazy good at their instruments. Well, they’re releasing a new album soon, titled At The Gate of Sethu, and they’ve released a new song! Are you ready? It’s called ‘The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased’, and you can check it out below.
At first, this song might be off-putting to some Nile fans, especially if they’re more familiar with the newer work of the band. However, the production, the disgusting (in a good way) vocals, the riffing, all of these are very reminiscent of the first two albums of Nile. Furthermore, I can hear elements from every single Nile album in this song. If you’re a longtime Nile fan I’d wager that you’d love this song. I do, and I’m excited for the new album, which will be out on Nuclear Blast on July 3rd. You can see the full track listing after the jump.