Monday, May 22, 2017

Burial Ground-Pain For Pleasure

Independent/Self-Release
2017

Burial Ground is a one-man metal from Russia. The main man in charge of everything goes by the name AlexFromBeyond (Dead Zone, From Beyond, Mass Hypnosis) and this three-track demo is simply the latest in a long list of demos that have been released since 2015. That was the year that this blackened speed metal/thrash project got off the ground. If I'm counting correctly "Pain For Pleasure" would be demo number ten! Toss in the single "Hellraisers" and a compilation entitled "Sounds of Evil" (both from 2016) and you have the complete discography for Russia's Burial Ground. That is a shit ton of work in the past two years!!  Obviously I can't vouch for all of those releases, but here's the wild part friends: "Pain For Pleasure" is fine as fuck!! I mean sure, it is a little strange how this Russian metal band sounds almost German. That's kind of odd, but it's must certainly not a deal-breaker! If anything it's just an observation. Otherwise, "Pain For Pleasure" is a blackened take on wicked speed metal/thrash from the guy pictured below. If that phrase sounds good to you (the whole blackened speed/thrash metal part) then stop what you are doing and mosh your way on over to this one-man band. For more information on Burial Ground there is also this Facebook page.




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Free Metal Monday: Cellar Door-Pictures Of Home

Self-Release/Independent
2013

In late March of 2013 Swedish punk/hardcore band Cellar Door put out this free EP. It could very well be the only recording that lyrically-deep outfit put out. As there is very little information about the group or "Pictures Of Home" it is hard to see where this four-track fits into the grand theme of things. I say all of this with a bit of sadness in my heart because I would love to learn more about this particular Cellar Door. Seeing as there are so many different groups that have laid claim to this moniker it's a real mess. Proper credit should be given to this Swedish act when it comes to this gem. For metal fans this one carries itself along nicely with hard-tinged guitars. Thing is it is the lyrics that other the real punch! They are largely poetic and they make "Pictures Of Home" all the more poignant. If anyone has any more information on this hardcore group please get in touch with me. .

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Riffocity-Under A Mourning Sky

Soman Records
2017

Formed in late 2003, Riffocity is a thrash metal band from Greece that is fronted by Thomas Trabouras (ex-Blood Covered, ex-Flames). Last year the group self-released their debut EP, "Disciples of the Storm". The fifty minute plus "Under a Mourning Sky" is Riffocity's first full-length recording. It was sent to me by guitarist/vocalist and band founder Dimitris Kalaitzidis (ex-War Device). Mixed and mastered by Bob Katsionis at Sound Symmetry Studio, "Under A Mourning Sky" opens up in the best way possible thanks to the riff-heavy "Hail Thy Father"! This six minute slammer drives home the significance of the group's moniker. Riffocity is not only a cool name for a hard-edge thrash act like this, but it also provides a keen insight into the motivation of this Greek outfit. Even though the next number, "Arnis Oblvion", opens by way of peaceful keys it eventually twist and turns itself about. Ultimately it brings out the heavy and it makes you realize that this band means business! Armed to the teeth with explosive thrash metal riffs, guitarists Dimitris Kalaitzidis & George Lezkidis lay down solos that are sure to brutalize your speakers. With a seriously-heavy and hard as a rock band like this one it's just one long thrash jam and that's a good thing. If there is any fault to be found with Riffocity's debut album then it is indeed minor. Some might argue for more variety in place of the huge mountains of riffs, but to me that is hardly a problem. At the end of the day I am awarding this (riff-infused) thrash attack album a solid A.

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Free Metal Monday: Godam-Fear Is Weapon-Demo

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Godam is a (crust-ridden) power violence band from Indonesia. This five track demo looks as if it is the group's debut and it includes a cover of Mayhem's "Pure Fucking Armageddon". There are occasional moments when "Fear Is Weapon" borders on hardcore metal, but overall this free demo is ugly and extreme. Naturally those qualities make it all the more essential! 

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Coffin Hunters-Coffin Lord

Self-Release/Independent
2017


Formed in early July of 2016 and comprised of Eric (vox), Sean (guitars), Brian (bass), and Jorge (drums), Sonoma County, California's Coffin Hunters have blown me away with their debut EP! It is entitled "Coffin Lord" and at 19 or so minutes in length Coffin Hunters' first studio recording finds me wondering how long it will take before some label comes in and swoops this young band up as their next big thing!! Opening up with the N.W.O.B.H.M. meets rogue garage metal rocker "Petrol God", "Coffin Lord" expertly combines elements of classic heavy metal, doom metal, proto-metal, and eighties metal (see note below). Over the course of the EP's four numbers you will discover a band that is capable of completely rewiring your previously held views on what heavy metal is and what it all means. When the Black Sabbath meets (solo) Dio title track (which just so happens to clock in at over nine minutes!) closes this EP out it is all but a guarantee that you will not only hit play again, but that you'll find yourself with a gaping mouth and the pondering question as to where has this metal band been all your life! As a fan of heavy metal I couldn't be happier about this group if I tried. I love everything about this band's sound and style. I am completely blown away by this recording! That's my reaction as somewhat who loves the genre first and foremost. I've always lived by that code (fan first and writer second).  All of which makes me ashamed of this next part. I would never want to be someone to jump on the bandwagon at the very last second, but based upon this group's EP here...well, this is a winning lottery ticket just waiting to be cashed. If I wasn't a single father of two that is baring making ends meet I would throw every dollar that I had behind this group! With the right marketing behind them and the proper support system in place we could easily be looking at the next big thing in metal. It kills me to say that I see dollar signs in front of this four-piece, but man alive, Coffin Hunters are on FIRE! The group's debut was just released this month and it is free to download on CD Baby. If it was me though I would buy it on CD at four dollars. As far as straight-up heavy metal at it's finest goes, "Coffin Lord" is like the "No Life 'Til Leather" of this generation. That's a bold statement I realize, but I hear new metal bands all the time and this California band just screams "SUCCESS"! I've said it before and I will say it again. If I had one wish in life (obviously other than a better life for my kids) it would be to have my own record label for when I stumble across acts like this. As it stands now I am just going to be happy that I heard this band before a million others. And when they do get signed I do hope that it is by a label that believes in them as much as I do. 


*By "eighties" metal I mean more than just the U.S. metal scene of yesterday. In Coffin Hunters I hear traces of what was happening worldwide during those glory days! It's not just in the U.S. and Europe, but everywhere that young people were picking up guitars and reinventing heavy metal as this vibrant new movement. On the band's debut I pick up on (vintage) Swedish heavy metal as much as I do the first wave of post-N.W.O.B.H.M. British metal groups. There's so much to discover about this branch of the group's sound. When you're looking at just this area it seems endless. Imagine how epic it is when these sounds merge successful with traditional heavy metal and vintage doom. It is unreal. I am super stoked about this band and what they will sound like as they grow and evolve. Wow....


You can find Coffin Hunter's online by heading here.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Interview with Running Death's Simon Bihlmayer


Running Death is a powerful thrash metal band from Germany. Last week I covered the group's new album which is entitled "DressAge". Now it is my extreme pleasure to present this follow-up interview that I conducted with guitarist/vocalist Simon Bihlmayer. To read my review of "DressAge" just click on the following link.

Andy-It's been a longtime since we last talked. How are things for you guys?

Simon-Hi Andy! Thank you that we are able to make this interview with you! Now it`s an exciting time for us because of the feedback of our new album! Thank you very much for your review! It made us proud to read that! Apart from this all is perfect! We have fun to play music, we love it to hang out together! A really great feeling in this line up!

Andy-Your new album is something else Simon! Was this a group project or do you have one or two main songwriters?

Simon-Most of the songs Jakob (the drummer) and I wrote together. I came with a guitar riff, Jakob made a beat to it. Then we thought how the song could go on. We jammed till we found it out! Then sometimes Jakob would send me voices (lalalala) via handy, and than we had a good refrain for a song! Sometimes it was so easy and then some songs we got more grey hairs! We are a good team. We have been writing songs together for 12 or 13 years now and the most important thing is we want to create the same music! It`s hard if the two main-songwriters have different aims in the music! But it's not always 100 %  just the two of us.
For example Dani contributed to song "Beneath the Surface" and our ex-bass player Max wrote a riff for "Heroes of the Hour"! Our new bass player Andrej joined the band when the songwriting process for "DressAge" was nearly over. But we will write new songs again and he has amazing ideas! I`m really looking forward to write the next album with all four of us involved!


Andy-What was the recording process like? Are you all pros at this by now or do you learn something new every time you set foot in a new studio?

Simon-I say to you, Jakob is a Pro! He nailed the drums in a day and a half! That includes building the drum set up and then taking it down! Every time we learn new things and after every production we hear things that we could use to make things better next time. That`s normal I think. But it was good! We practiced a lot before we entered the studio and our producer Sebastian Moser (Grotesque Studios) did an amazing job! So, with all of that in place we couldn't make many mistakes! 

Andy-Well, I don't hear any mistakes on your new release! "DressAge" is a interesting album title. Is there a story behind that?

Simon-That`s easy to answer! Look at the cover artwork and you will see what we mean!  I wrote that title  because I wanted the reader to have a look at the cover. Sorry!

Andy-That's cool. I get it. Have you played any of the album's new songs live? If so what has the reaction been like?

Simon-Yes. One time we played "Courageous Minds" and "Heroes of the Hour" and the people liked what they heard! The next gigs that we play at we are very excited about the feedback of the crowd! I think some people will love it, and for some it is too melodic. Because many people just want to hear uffdauffdauffda and shouts.

Andy-Yes, I can see that. No matter what you can't please everyone.  Are you planning any kind of tour for this album?

Simon-We will play some gigs this year, but not really a tour. It`s hard to organize that for a band which is not as well known like we are. Maybe we can get support-slots of a tour? Unfortunately we don`t shit money!

Andy-That's a problem that I share with you Simon! LOL! Where will our readers be able to buy the release?

Simon-Ooh, good question Andy! Normally at Amazon, different online shops and record stores. We have distribution nearly all around the globe. Please, buy directly from us if you can! We see 0% of all other sells! You can write us via Facebook or you can send a email to me (sbihlmayer@gmail.com). You can also buy it on our Bandcamp page (link)! We made a Limited Edition (300 pieces) version with tray card and a poster and we normally are the cheapest provider!

Andy-That's for letting our readers know about the situation. What would to you like to say to all of your fans Simon?

Simon-Everyone who listens to Running Death has the best taste in music which is possible to have :-)
It is awesome for us that you listen to it! And don't be shy about contacting us! We like it very much to hear which song is the one you like the most and how the heavy-metal scene in your area is doing. Maybe there is a chance to find a gig there for us? 

Andy-Thanks for your time Simon. Where can our readers find out more about Running Death and do you have any final words?

Simon-Thank you Andy! At Facebook you can see about our live activities and read other news (link)
You can stream or buy our music at bandcamp. Also, over on YouTube there is a video for our song "Courageous Minds". It is one of the songs from our new album "DressAge".

 Andy-Awesome!



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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Henry Metal-Wizard Vs. Demon


Self-Release/Independent
2017

Henry Metal is a California-based metal project that was just formed this year. The five-track EP, "Wizard vs. Demon" is the second release from this mysterious band in as many months. It follows the full-length album "So It Hath Begun" and clocks in at around 20 minutes. Influences seemingly range from Megadeth and Metallica to any number of hair metal bands and (weirdly enough folks) that all works on this short release. Where Henry Metal drops the ball is the song lyrics. On a scale of 1 to 10 this EP's lyrics barely pulls itself up over a 4. And to be honest I'm being extremely generous with that grade! It's harsh I realize, but "Wizard vs. Demon" reads as if it was written by a teenage drama club member with an over-inflated ego! Said lyrics suck the life right out of this EP which is a real tragic affair! Whoever Henry Metal is (whether it is one person of a couple of people) they would be better suited bringing in a proper songwriter. Seeing how strong the band's actual music is, "Wizard vs. Demon" could have been a great argument for why the NWOTHM scene is better than every. I wish that had been the case, but as it stands now this EP gets a C rating.     

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8kids-Denen die wir waren

Napalm Records
2017


Falling somewhere between (heavy rock-infused) post-hardcore and emotional metal, Germany's 8kids (
Jonas Jakob, Hans Koch, and Emma McLellan) will release their full-length debut later this month. The outstanding album is entitled "Denen die wir waren" and it comes along some four years or so after this group first got together. Effectively sung in the band's native language, "Denen die wir waren" is a hook-heavy release that translates to The Ones We Used To Be. It features angst-ridden lead vocals courtesy of guitarist Jonas Jakob and finds the three members of 8kids cleverly adding small does of (80's and early 90's) alternative rock & heavy metal into the mix. Emma McLellan's rock-steady drumming goes a long way towards the ultimate success of this little experiment. Even though the album is in German it loses none of it's effectiveness. The urgent nature of Jonas Jakob voice cuts right through the language barrier and makes you think about how close this band is to being a punk rock outfit. Given it's pressing vibe, savvy guitar riffs, and Emma McLellan's smashing job on the drums, 8kids' first album is a worthwhile listen no matter where you dwell!

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Knifer-Knifer

Rogues Realm Records
2017

Formed sometime back in 2016 and self-described as "Medium voltage rock'n'roll",  Brisbane, Australia's Knifer is lead by a front-man known only as FC and comprised of musicians that have ties to the doom metal band Zodiac. The four song demo "Knifer" is this band's studio debut and at the end of the working day it gets my ultimate stamp of approval!  Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christopher Brownbill at Underground Audio, "Knifer" is the righteous and reckless sound of a (Motörhead-infused) down & dirty speed metal/rock band that likes to drink, party and rock the F**K out! Naturally that is right up my alley! Chances are pretty good that others will feel the same way (especially if loud & proud heavy metal and/or heavy rock is your preferred drug of choice!). Song titles include "The Bottle", "Conspiracy of Silence", "The Snake", and "Satisfaction". To purchase a digital download of this demo simply click on this link. If you would like buy a cassette copy of "Knifer" be sure to head over here. At only $6 a tape, "Knifer" is a real  steal of a deal! If you ask me it also makes for the perfect graduation gift for any high school kid that sees Lemmy as their god! Off hand I know of at least three kids that fit that definition. While there you might as well order a cassette copy of "Source". Of course that is just a suggestion from one heavy metal fan to another....

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Free Metal Monday: Metalocalypstick - Metal Queens Vol. 1



Metalocalypstick is a not for profit organization that was formed to support woman in heavy metal, punk, and hardcore. On July 1st and July 2nd the organization will present the 2nd annual Metalocalypstick Fest. It's purpose is to celebrate women in metal. Naturally that is something that I can get behind. The well-assembled  "Metal Queens Vol. 1" has been released in anticipation of the metallic festival and (genre-wise) it covers a lot of ground. It is a name your own price digital download and there are some real treats to be discovered as you make your way through the fifteen tracks. For more information of this recommend festival (and the amazing people who are responsible for it!) be sure to check out this Facebook page.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Waves of Decay-Cycloptic

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Waves of Decay is a Belgian metal band that is made up of ex-members of Horny Moses, Hope Erodes, Inferior, Last Star Down, and Razor Fate. The five-piece is lead by Stijn 'Stekke' Kustermans and "Cycloptic" serves as the group's first studio release. It is a heavy & hard EP that clocks in at about 24 minutes in length and you can download the recording on CD Baby and iTunes. In addition to the industrial metal-tinged title track, Waves of Decay's creative debut includes "Destiny", "Craving for Misery", "As I Walk", and "The Hurricane". Backing up vocalist Stijn Kustermans is Arun Rao (guitars & keyboards), Jim Metal (guitars), Jelle Sterckx (bass), and Ben Gyles (drums). Besides having some industrial metal elements, "Cycloptic" features material with thrash metal, melodic death metal, and heavy metal leanings. Harsh and clean vocals are present and the EP is well-produced. Founded in January of this year, Waves of Decay has a sound that is bound to appeal to a lot of different folks. This is another new band that has the potential to make a huge splash in scene. You can find out more about these guys by checking out the group's Facebook page.


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Friday, May 12, 2017

Open Burn Interview

Open Burn is a up-and-coming heavy/power metal band that has been active since 2015. The group is compromised of Eric W. Johns (vocals), Dell Hull (guitars), Glen Cook (bass), and drummer Jerry Hartman. On April 25th I covered the band's (highly-recommended!) debut EP (link) and now it is my pleasure to present this follow-up interview. I would like to thank the members of Open Burn for taking time out of their busy schedules to sit and talk with us today.

Andy-Open Burn is a new band with some familiar faces. Would you mind telling us how it all came about?

Jerry-Dell, Eric and I all hooked up at a outdoor Bar-B-Q. We were drinking and enjoying some live music when we tossed the idea around of jamming together. The rest is the outcome of that evening.

Glen-The other guys hooked up and had written most of what is on the EP before I joined in to record.

Andy- How did you get hooked up with vocalist Eric Johns?

Glen-Eric and I had been in a band together for several years when he happened to meet up with Dell and Jerry and started what was to become Open Burn.

Jerry-Eric has been a part of the local music seen here in the Cincinnati area for a long time and we run around with a lot of the same friends. We all had time and decided it was a good idea to get together and write some tunes.

Andy-Your debut EP came out in late January. How has the response been from everyone?

Glen-So far the response has been very positive. Lethal fans have been supportive and it seems a lot of other people like the music as well.Jerry: For me it's been very well received. New and old fans, friends and family all enjoy the new material.

Dell-Yes, it has been pretty well received so far and we have really only had a very limited reach to this point. Like Glen and Jerry said, not only are we getting a good response from Lethal fans but we also seem to be gaining new fans as well, particularly in Europe.

Andy-The CD version of your new EP is all sold out. Do you have any plans to print up more copies of it?

Dell-That is actually in the works. For now we are doing another reprint of the same disc format but are considering a few options for having the CD reprinted on a wider scale with jewel case, an additional booklet, lyrics, etc.. If that happens we will discontinue the original disc once they are all sold. Unfortunately there was an issue with the printers on the reprint or it would have already been on sale by now.

Andy-Has Open Burn played out at all since forming?

Glen-We had planned to play some shows this spring but life sets the agenda so that has not happened yet. We are looking forward to hitting the stage soon.

Dell-Hopefully soon! We are mainly focusing on writing new material and getting our debut EP out there but we would love to play live as soon.

Andy-When you do play live will you be performing only original compositions or will you throw in a cover or two?

Glen-I've never been very interested in playing cover tunes but I'm not opposed to reworking a cool song. Mostly I would rather make original music.

Dell-I agree. I feel like playing a cover song is almost like repainting someone else’s artwork but I’m not opposed to it as long as it’s done in our personal styles. We have done a couple in the past but they were really done as filler.

Jerry-I do enjoy playing our original music more than covers. That being said I do like playing all kinds of music including cover tunes. When you get to see Open Burn live I would expect to hear our originals but you never know, we could always throw in something surprising.

Eric-I don't mind playing a cover if we can make it our own. I guess it boils down to finding a song we could all agree on.

Andy-What are your influences? Individually and band-wise?

Glen-I find inspiration everywhere but from a bass player perspective it would be Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath).

Dell-Like Glen said, influences can come from anywhere. Whether it’s something you like or something you don’t like it’s still influencing you. My personal favorites have always been The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden, as the top 3.

Eric-When I was young and just starting out, my influences were all of the all time great metal singers: Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, to name a few. My first favorite singer, though, was Roger Daltrey. I still listen to the Who's "Next" album all the time. As I got older, I discovered lots of other kinds of music and lots of other great singers. There's a lot more to singing than hitting the high notes and the power notes. Ultimately, it's all about telling a story that people can relate to and feel.

Jerry-I've always enjoyed a wide variety of music and still do. The bands that really made me want to play music are the standards for metal in my opinion. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden.


Andy-You have a full-length album in the works right?

Glen-We are working on new material. Initially we wanted to round out a good set of music to play live but of course a new recording is the ultimate goal. Whether that is a full-length album I suppose depends on the circumstances. Trying to self-produce a full-length album is very time consuming and fatiguing. If we have a lot of support to do that it's worth the burden but left to our own devices we may just record another EP to get new music out quicker.

Andy-Do you have any new song titles that you would like to share?

Eric-There are two songs that are pretty much finished. The first is called "Seven Orchids". I got the idea from reading about the rituals used to canonize Saints (most of which were martyred) in the middle ages. The second is called "Dissection Lullaby". The title was inspired by my 9th grade biology class. The teacher would play classical music anytime the students were assigned to dissect animals. She claimed it was calming and helped students focus on the assignment. It just thought it was odd to hear Brahmn's Lullaby while I'm cutting apart some poor unfortunate creature and smelling formaldehyde.

Andy-Where can our readers find out more about your band?

Dell-We try to keep our Facebook page up to date first but you can also check our pages on bandcamp, Reverbnation, CD Baby or our YouTube channel.


Andy-How are you guys able to find time for both projects?

Glen-Lethal has not been very active so there are no timing conflicts between the bands. Mostly for me it is just finding enough time between family and work to make music in general.

Dell-It hasn’t been an issue so far.

Jerry-For me whenever I can get together with either band I do what I can to make it happen. All these guys are my friends, family and brothers in music.

Andy-I'd like to thank you for stopping by and talking with us. Any last thoughts?

Glen-It's been good chatting with you Andy. We appreciate this opportunity to share some thoughts and provide a little insight into our band.

Dell-Anytime Andy. We really appreciate your support. Stay tuned, there’s more on the way!

Jerry-As always I'd like to thank everyone for checking out our new tunes and for all your support. Cheers!

Andy-It was my pleasure!

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