Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Breakdown: Arkayic Revolt, Nekrofeist, and Massive Assault

These Canadian beasts have been hammering out melodic thrash since 2008. Drawing influences from all over the thrash map, from Testament to Kreator to Pantera, the songs Arkayic Revolt construct are heavy, fast, passionate, and completely well-rounded.

Songs such as Blood Will Follow Blood and Tread the Blade are scorching monsters that could absolutely be contenders as modern thrash classics. For lessons in killer riffage, check out the insanity of Maniacal Infestation.

Their new song Innocence Has Died is a catchy melodic metal number that sounds like Arkayic Revolt's take on Ritual-era Testament. Stunningly well done.

Check out their tunes and if you like them, give them a Like here.

These Australian metal heads jam out with some thrash-influenced groove metal. With a set of clear, yet aggressive, vocals and straight-forward hard rock riffing, I could imagine some of their tunes (such as Choke and Destroyed) played on metal/rock radio. That is not a "tr00 metal" dig on the band as it is a testament to Nekrofeist's ability to construct some well-written metal tunes.

Songs such as Government Ruins brings the thrash influence to the forefront, jamming killer galloping guitar work mixed with grooving Trouble-esque riffs. This song crushes!

Listen below and then keep up with Nekrofeist here.

Holy crap! You want HEAVY as HELL death METAL? Of course! From the Netherlands, Massive Assault takes the shell of early Swedish death metal and injects a heaviness into it that is frighteningly bad-ass.

When listening to their songs, the influences are undeniable, and although many great bands have followed suit in this sound, Massive Assault are definitely their own animal and are far from tired-sounding. This is world-leveling death metal, churned out with a full fist-swing of blood-drawing conviction. That's right.

If you have any love for what old-school death metal is all about, freakin' listen to Massive Assault now! Below is a giant list of songs to dive right into...

...and then, you know, check them out on Facebook. Yeah!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Skeletor ROCKS!

All has been quiet on the NWOTM Blog front for the past few days. Believe me that it's not from a lack of material because I have a plethora of bands in which I need to offer up a bit o' blog space.

In fact, I smell another purge post coming.

Well, to make it up for the lack of write-ups, here is a killer band who says you can download their album for FREE!

Yes, that is completely bad-ass. Don't get all gushy.

So we travel to the Netherlands and meet up with the mighty SKELETOR! Sure they probably aren't the first nor the last band to covet the moniker, but it's really a non-issue until all the world's Skeletors participate in a giant Battle of the Bands. Losers have to change their names to SKELETOR UK or STELEKOR or something….ummmm…

Let's stay focused here. This SKELETOR hit me with a batch of surprising metal gut-punchers. Why surprising? Well, hell, it's a mix of their band name with the added silliness of their digital album cover showing a cheesy closeup shot of He-Man getting punched by the band name's fist.*

So, what I thought was going to be a quick slam into some possibly horrible pizza thrash turned out to be a collection of hard-hitting deathrash tunes layered in groove and technical prowess.

I found myself emerged in their album, never finding tedious moments to quicken my "song skip" impulse. These nine songs are well-written with a killer vocalist who knows how to harness the dynamics of the music.

The musical aggression displayed on the band's self-titled release stems from old Swedish death, enhancing it with the crispness of tight, technical thrash mixed with bold grooves. The riffs are killer, all brought to life in the highs-and-lows of feverish speed and mid-tempo punch.

I love it!

Skeletor is offering up their 2010 release as a "Name Your Price" album over on their Bandcamp page.

Check out the music below and then hit them up on their Facebook or MySpace page.

*As most of you know, I am NOT against goofy stuff in my metal. In fact, it was the silly cover to Skeletor's album that made me check it out. I was simply taken aback by the type of metal based on the art. Don't judge a book by its cover, right? Yep!

Also, let me note that a quick online search didn't turn up many bands named Skeletor (!!). There were German and US Skeletor bands, but both have split. Force Skeletor out of Tokyo changed their name and Von Skeletor out of California have split. I guess SKELETOR out of the Netherlands did win the Battle of the Bands after all!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

No Weekend Breakdown post, but that's okay because OSTGTKU ROCKS!

Sorry, I don't have the time for a full-blown Weekend Breakdown post, but I am going to at least share one killer band that recently caught my ear.

Check out Pennsylvania's aptly named OH SHIT THEY'RE GOING TO KILL US. These guys specialize in speedy riff-laden crossover bringing to mind a mix of Gama Bomb and Violentor with a kick of traditional metal to make the tunes that much more epic! If you're a thrash fan (and I have a sneaking suspicion that a couple of you are), OSTGTKU has something for everyone, and that "something" will kick your teeth down your throat…in a good way.

As far as OSTGTKU's history, I am in the dark a bit. What I do know is they have a couple full length albums out and have recently released a new EP titled Combat Shock. I plan on doing a bit more research and getting my hands on everything these guys have released (musically, that is). I love this stuff!

Here are a bunch of band links for you. Now check out the goodies below and please try not to break something.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

THRASHLINE: Bits of thrash news with Tantara, Powered By Death, Elm Street, and MORE!

Word has finally got out that our favorite Norwegian thrashers TANTARA have inked a deal with Indie Recordings, the label who picked up the pieces after the band's falling out with their previous label Ultimhate.

As a taste, Tantara will release a 7-inch vinyl single featuring the songs Based on Evil and Court Injustice.

Unfortunately, there isn't a release date for the full length album Based on Evil, but be assured that it will come out sometime later this year. If it doesn't, I say we should call a mass listening party over at the 'Tara practice place (and if this happens, someone please pick up my round trip ticket from Kansas City. Also, let's hope the Tantara fellas have some food).

In other Tantara news, the band started up their own online forum! Go join the Tantara Community and talk some THRASH!

Meanwhile, jam to an earlier version of Court Injustice!

According to LEGIONARY drumming main man Frank D'Erasmo, he began a side project called Path of Tyranny and so far had four songs written. Well, it seems that the project is no more and D'Erasmo will instead release the new demo tunes under the Legionary name. The demo will be called (of course) Path of Tyranny. D'Erasmo said they will likely be included on the second Legionary full-length album.

That mean Legionary is four songs into the next album ALREADY? Bring it on!

As a fun side-note, Legionary have a few 8-Bit versions of their songs out and about. Take a listen and yearn for some old-school Nintendo play.

Nevada's AVENGER OF BLOOD are kicking ass in the studio as we speak! They are in the process of knocking out a three song EP titled Spawn of Evil, and have plans to shoot a video for one of the tunes.

They are talking about booking shows with their revamped line-up toward the end of August, but, as they say, "Nothing is set in stone yet."

ZOMBIE FIGHTER have released yet another song off their upcoming album Run For Your Life titled Unleash the Wolves. Give it a listen. Or don't. I'm not your dad. (Actually, I am…listen to it!)

In another excellent move by the thrash powerhouse label EBM RECORDS, they added Quebec's own POWERED BY DEATH to the Thrash Is Back series of albums.

If you haven't heard of these Canadian metal men, go check out the Global Thrash Assault Blog for a sweet little review about Powered By Death.

A little bonus here: They have four songs available as a FREE download. Listen below, and then snag the tunes!

Oh, and by the way -- if you are the one or two metal fans who have not yet heard of EBM Records, by all means go check them out and their ENTIRE freakin' ROSTER of thrash bands! They are like a treasure chest for thrash fans.

Australian thrashers ELM STREET are in the process of shredding Europe as you read this, and the fun will continue in July when they team up with NWOTM legends Warbringer and Gama Bomb! AHHHHH, bad-ASS!! The tour dates are:

17.07.2012 - London, UK - Barfly
18.07.2012 - York, UK - Duchess
19.07.2012 - Edinburgh, UK - Bannermans
20.07.2012 - Cork, UK - An Cruiscin Lan
21.07.2012 - Belfast, IRL - Limelight (w/ Gama Bomb)
22.07.2012 - Dublin, IRL - The Pint (w/Gama Bomb)
23.07.2012 - Newport, UK - Meze Lounge

Go if you can. I'll be here in the US on my pitty-pot...watching the following Elm Street stream.

Virginia's POSSESSOR will release their debut album City Built With Skulls on May 23rd through Slaney Records. I know I posted their album cover before, but it is so bad-ass, that I am going to do it again.

Total freakin' METAL! \m/

Speaking of cool album covers, I pimped the new one from TESTAMENT on the Facebook page a couple days ago. Man, this cover art makes me want to hear the new album so BAD. ARGH! Testament, pleeeeease release a new song to keep us satisfied until Dark Roots of Earth finally hits the stores on July 27th (such a LONG wait)!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weekend Breakdown featuring Exorbitance, Siberian Meat Grinder, and Wyruz!

Hey, it's the weekend! Let's start cranking up some killer thrash (death and crossover) bands that have recently caught my feeble-spanned attention.

The New York and Jersey areas have always housed great metal, and with bands like The Donner Party, Legionary, and even the legendary Overkill, I can't get enough!

Well the endless stream of harsh Northeastern metal continues to flow with EXORBITANCE, a band full of sickly-tight musicians who hammer out swirling melodic death metal. Can death metal be…beautiful? Oh, crap, I scared you off. Come back.

What I mean is that there are parts between the chunky, atmospheric guitar work and venomous vocals that wrap around songs so haunting and well-constructed. Yeah, it's bad-ass. The mix of thunderous anger and symphonic power contained within each song brings an aura of gravitas that could bring a tear to your eye.

Uh, that is, if you're a total puss. No tears here, though. METAL!

If you're a fan of melodic death metal, give Exorbitance a few minutes of your time, and if you like 'em, give them…well, MORE minutes of your time.

Check them out below and then hit them up here and here.

Let's jump over to Russia for some explosive crossover! SIBERIAN MEAT GRINDER wield the weapons of hardcore punk and metal in their album Hail to the Tsar to obliterate with sonic barbs of pure aggression.

These guys aren't just another Municipal Waste or S.O.D. knock off. Yes, they are grounded with the roots of pure hardcore, but when S.M.G. whip out some left field jam riffs like in the song Chainsaw in the Dark and Laughing in Your Face, and use it to slam-worthy perfection, they succeed in building a sound all their own - and it's a sound that is freakin' exciting to listen to.

DAMN, Chainsaw in the Dark is absolutely KILLER. I'm telling' you.

Even the opening to the song Still in the Game is unconventional, and although it heads into a typical (yet bad-ass) blistering hardcore verse, when the all-out gang vocals kick into the chorus, the jubilant intensity makes you want to scream along with them.

So the good news is that Siberian Meat Grinder rocks. The even BETTER news is that they are offering their album as a free download! Dude, go download S.M.G.'s Hail to the Tsar here.

My God, I love this band!

For more traditional slant to the thrash genre, Norwegian metallers WYRUZ deliver the goods. These guys began as a band playing Metallica, Slayer, and Death covers, which to this day are apparent as influences in their songwriting. You can hear the aforementioned bands weaving throughout each of the songs on Wyruz's album Fire at Will.

Songs such as Dead World incorporate those influences very successfully. The song Eyes of Your Killer brandishes some fantastic rolling riffage, reminding me of some of the best aspects of EVILE's own handiwork.

Vocalist Vegar Larsen is clearly versed in old-school Hetfieldian, and uses that particular styling (with a mix of some death metal vocals) to each song's advantage.

Yes, I am doing a lot of comparing here, but I can't help it. Wyruz was obviously going for a specific sound, and for all intents and purposes, they achieved their goal. Is Fire at Will completely original? No, but it's still damn good thrash metal.

Check out the tune below and then meet with them on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: Bio-Cancer - Ear Piercing Thrash

Ear Piercing Thrash
Athens Thrash Attack

It's been one helluva wait for Greece's own BIO-CANCER to release their debut album Ear Piercing Thrash. As a big fan of their demo work, I have been waiting with a watery mouth to sink my teeth into the new and updated material.

At one time it appeared the album would make its way out via EBM Records, but for whatever reason the deal must have fallen through, sticking Ear Piercing Thrash back on the shelf for a while longer. That sucked.

Now, through the Athens Thrash Attack label, fans of pure riff-laden extreme thrash can rejoice. If you read what I have previously written about Bio-Cancer (some of which might be repeated here), you know I am rejoicing as well!

Personally, as a thrash fan, I'm looking for something that rocks. That's it. If a band can write a killer song, I don't care if it's cut from a tried-and-true formula utilized by the thrash masters of yore. Since I have heard crappy thrash tunes that attempted to rip off the old classics, it stands to reason that it takes a certain amount of talent to write a good song, even if they are cloning their influences.

So although every band injects their influences in song creations, Bio-Cancer not being the exception, I can honestly say that these guys have forged a sound that is completely their own.

Much of this can be attributed to the way each song successfully uses strong riff repetition with catchy hooks and powerful dynamics. Yes, they take a riff and ride it to death, but (again) the way they ride the riff is what counts, and it's also what makes them stand out.

In lieu of the consistent e-string chugging used by almost every thrash band in existence, Bio-Cancer employs cyclical sharp and frantic riffs that sound like blistering fast versions of Sabbath's or Clutch's bluesy (yet ballsy) guitar work. However, the Bio guys skip any semblance of bluesy emotion as they take the riff hook, stick a piece of bloody meat on it and throw it the middle of a school of piranha. This is the riff they ride to death, over the hills and valleys of speedy aggression and mid-tempo stomp.

Add in a dusting of Maiden-esque harmonies and you have an idea of how Bio-Cancer completely crushes!

Vocalist Lefteris uses a raspy, blood-gurgling grind style that works well with Bio-Cancer's frenzied music, combining to create a signature thrash metal style that is both easily recognizable and devastatingly powerful.

 Ear Piercing Thrash rocks. End of story.

- r. lawrence blake

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brazil's NERVOSA kicks ass, signs with Napalm Records

A big congratulations to the all-female thrash group NERVOSA on their new deal with Napalm Records!

If you haven't heard these Brazilian thrashers yet, take the time and check out their vid for their song Master Betrayer. It is pure thrash savagery, full of non-stop aggression which seems to be a staple for many kick-ass Brazilian thrash bands (Deathraiser, Violator, Woslom, Bonebreaker, etc.).

The album is scheduled to come out sometime later this year, and I can't wait to hear it!

If you dig their sounds, give 'em a like on Facebook.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: Legionary - Arcane Divisions

Arcane Divisions

Since I found out about Legionary last summer, I have been keeping my eye on these NewYork forgers of storming death metal.

As I mentioned before, those into early Florida death metal and late 80s thrash will find much to embrace with Legionary's music.

With their debut album Arcane Divisions, my opinion has not changed a bit. The band has created a death metal album packed with diverse influences, tightly executed and well produced.

Along with the blast beats and mind-tempo chugging, the listener is treated to passages of stellar arrangements of melodic epic freaking METAL.

These melodic matchings with the more brutal elements add the much needed dynamics to keep the music moving, interesting, and…well, HUGE. In fact, much of the riffing and solos found in songs such as Questions Left Unanswered, Absolute Supremacy, and Embracing Trauma would feel at home on a competently played and thoroughly bad-ass power metal album.

So Legionary is a Power Deathrash band? Sure, whatever, but (now former) vocalist Tim Rocheny keeps the sound on Arcane Divisions strictly in the grave. Rocheny may not be a power metal vocalist, but that doesn't mean he lacks power. So-called "Cookie Monster" vocalists might be a dime a dozen to some metal fans, but like any other vocalists - be it pop, blues, thrash, or country - there are those who perform poorly and Rocheny is not one of them. His vocal styling did Legionary's music justice.

I have to give props to drummer Frank D'Erasmo. Not only is he a sure-fire machine on the kit, he is also the head songwriter. Thankfully he found a team of players who could communicate what he meticulously pieced together for the debut album. If this is his passion, let's hope that passion burns for a long time to come.

To keep up with Legionary, check them out on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things I dug up: Justice-era Metallica mags!

So the other day I was rummaging through boxes of my old geek crap (Dungeons & Dragons, comics, old cassettes, etc.), and I came across a couple of old-school metal goodies.

First, I found my 1989 copy of Rip Magazine's photo special of Metallica. This came out just as the Damaged Justice tour was winding down. Since I had just seen them that past summer in Denver, Colorado, I was ALL ABOUT METALLICA. So, of course, I picked this mag up as soon as it hit the newsstands.

Here is the cool front cover, showing the twisted hills and valleys of moisture damage.

 Here is the inside cover spread, showcasing Metallica Zorlac skateboards! Nice!

A couple of cool photos from the mag. Hey, this pic is backwards! Sorry about that.

The back cover to the magazine featured an ad for the band SKELETON! At the time, the dudes in SKELETON were thinking, "Man, our album ad is on the back of a METALLICA magazine! This is just what we need to get noticed and make it to the big time! Hell-O Billboard top 10!"

Seriously, I need to look these guys up online to see if they were any good. Skeleton, huh? Hmmm.

Now, here's my dorky face, all full of smiles, holding my Damaged Justice Tour Program (or programme?). I found this in a different box that houses my Marvel Super Heroes tabletop rpg. I don't know why it was in there except that back in 1989, Metallica were super heroes to me.

Wow, I remember this concert as if were 23 years ago. Anyway, this program is stuffed with pics of the tour, including a lengthy write-up of the band, worthy of what Metallica had become at that time.

What was great about this tour was that thrash had hit the big time. I was from a small Kansas town, and NObody listened to thrash, man. I'm sure more than a few of you out there can relate.

I remember before the concert started, they were making announcements over the PA for upcoming shows. They mentioned that D.R.I. was coming to Denver and the crowd cheered. I was in heaven. I was in the middle of a sold-out thrash concert that cheered when an underground crossover band was mentioned. I don't know if that sounds like a big deal to most of you, but back then we were witnessing thrash metal clawing its way up, and to be in the presence of so many metal brothers and sisters who loved and understood that same thing was completely bad-ass.

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