Tag Archives: Album cover

H.E.A.T line up new album

Friday 22nd September 2017 sees the UK release of the long awaited new studio album Into The Great Unknown from Swedish rock band H.E.A.T via earMUSIC.

After eighteen months of songwriting with returning guitarist Dave Dalone (aka Sky Davis), the band headed off to Thailand with Swedish Grammy award-winning producer Tobias Lindell to record the album.  With ten songs ready, H.E.A.T entered Karma Sound studios in the outskirts of Bangkok to record what would become the fifth studio album.

Into The Great Unknown is the follow-up to 2014’s Tearing Down The Walls.

“During the making of this album, I think we all felt a little bit like astronauts going off to space for the first time,” says guitarist Dave Dalone (aka Sky Davis). “We set out on a journey not knowing what we would come back with, or if we’d even make it back. Somewhere along the way, the pieces began to fall into place. There’s just no point in doing the same album over and over again just because it works. When it all comes down to it, you want to make the songs shine to their full potential. If that includes bending the rules of the genre or crossing paths into unknown territory, so be it.”

“The title Into The Great Unknown suits the album for many reasons,” says drummer Crash. “The plan, to focus entirely on the song writing and to not do a live show until the new album is out, was a new thing for us.  We had never done anything like it, how do you ‘not’ play live for two years?  We had been doing live shows since we were kids.  Another leap into the great unknown is the music itself, with no limits and elements never before seen in H.E.A.T. Eric Rivers disappeared into the great unknown and former guitarist Dave Dalone (aka Sky Davis) came back from it. The album cover is once again created by Russian artist Vitaly S. Alexius, and is inspired by the mystical space, the greatest unknown known to man.”

WINTERSUN UNVEIL ALBUM ARTWORK

Last week, the Finnish epic melodic death metallers Wintersun announced that their crowdfunding campaign will start on March 1st, allowing fans to secure their ‘Forest Package’  (which includes their upcoming studio album The Forest Seasons) directly from the band. With the collected amount, front man Jari Mäenpää plans to build his own studio that would finally allow him to record his long-awaited album Time II. Today, Wintersun unveil the cover artwork of their third album ‘The Forest Seasons’.

Jari Mäenpää states:

“We’re proud to show you guys our NEW 3rd full length album cover! The album cover was made in collaboration by Gyula Havancsák and Jari Mäenpää. It illustrates THE AWAKENING of a mystical forest where the seasons are merging together.
By the way, this preview is just 1280 x 720 resolution. Wait till you see it in 5K! 😉
Enjoy guys! This album is sick and minds will be blown! Our INDIEGOGO crowdfunding campaign will start on March 1st where you can order the new album DIRECTLY from us with the highest quality!
Thank you!”

– Jari, Jukka, Kai, Teemu

Here is the artwork, what do you guys think?

Here is the track list of The Forest Seasons:
1. Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring) 14:40
Part I The Dark Slumber
Part II The Awakening
2. The Forest That Weeps (Summer) 12:18
3. Eternal Darkness (Autumn) 14:08
Part I Haunting Darkness
Part II The Call of the Dark Dream
Part III Beyond the Infinite Universe
Part IV Death
4. Loneliness (Winter) 12:54

In the meantime you can witness the band’s return to the stage at the following festivals:

Catton Hall – Bloodstock Open Air Festival
Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock Festival
Helsinki – Tuska Open Air
Vagos – Vagos Metal Fest
Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze
Zvolenská Slatina – More Than Fest

If you haven’t heard Wintersun before, here’s a little taster, in the shape of Beyond The Dark Sun, from their eponymous 2004 album.

Sonata Arctica Announce New Album for October

Only two years after the release of Pariah’s Child plus a massive world tour, the Finnish melodic metal quintet Sonata Arctica are already back for more – their ninth album, cunningly entitled The Ninth Hour will see the light of day on 7th October.

“The studio work for the new record started seriously in mid-April 2016 in several home studios around Finland,” singer Tony Kakko explains. “But the main recording and mixing took place at the Studio57 in Alaveteli, Finland. It functions as a kind of centre point and all work finally ends up there. We aimed to create another melodic, beautiful, surprising Sonata Arctica album… Did it turn out that way? I surely think so. But maybe I should leave that for you to decide!
 
After a North American tour with their friends from Nightwish plus many headline shows around the globe, the band was once again able to take a look at the entire world as it is at the moment – on the edge of a possible armageddon. This spirit is reflected in the new artwork of The Ninth Hour:
 
The artwork of our ninth studio album The Ninth Hour depicts a future utopian landscape. Nature and human technologies are balanced. In the middle we have an hour glass contraption with a knob for us to meddle with. The right-hand side cup represents the nature side with no humans left, on the left we have the human dystopia after we have destroyed nature. The idea I had was, that turning the knob will tilt the hour glass in one direction or another, and the other cup will slowly empty and that future will be erased. Biblically we are expected to repent and sacrifice on The Ninth Hour…to dive right back to a more mundane reality, it’s a fact that we are currently living in critical, historical times. Our decisions will define the future. Not only ours as a race, but the future of this entire planet. We need to make sacrifices and in many cases we will repent our already made choices.

Right after the summer festival season and the release of their anticipated record, the band will embark on a European tour together with their label mates Twilight Force to present the new songs to their fans.

Equilibrium Announce New Album and Festival Appearances

Equilibrium - Armageddon
German Epic Metal pioneers, Equilibrium, will set aflame a brand new bonfire this summer with their fifth studio album.  Guitarist, composer and lyricist René Berthiaume spent almost two years working on this new opus called Armageddon. The result is rather dark, yet still contains the bombast and folk elements of the previous records.

This time, the album was recorded, mixed and produced by René himself and was mastered by Maor Appelbaum (Los Angeles). The cover artwork was again created by Skadi Rosehurst.

René states:

“Once more, Skadi created a wonderful piece of art, which captures the more darker atmosphere of Armageddon perfectly. As on the album, you can discover a lot of details in the artwork as well.  Skadi’s style – traditionally drawn motifs become one overall picture digitally – fits marvelously to our music.  Again and again, it’s an exciting feeling if the music becomes even more concrete and livelier by the artwork.”

Armageddon will be released on August 12th, 2016 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Stay tuned for more details!

EQUILIBRIUM live:
24.06.16  Germany: Nummijärvi – Nummirock
13.07.16  Hungary: Dunaujvaros – Rockmaraton Festival
14.07.16 Germany: Balingen – Bang Your Head!!! Festival
15.07.16 Germany: Neukirchen-Vluyn – Dong Open Air
05.08.16 Germany: Wacken – Wacken Open Air
11.08.16  Spain: Villena – Leyendas Del Rock
12.08.16 Germany: SchlotheimParty.San Open Air
17.08.16 Germany: Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze
20.08.16  Sweden: Falun – Sabaton Open Air

Chaos Frame – Paths to Exile

chaosframealbumcover

Nightmare Records

Review by Rick Ossian

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Chaos Frame comes to us via the windswept prairie of the midwestern United States; St. Paul, Minnesota, to be more precise.  They have dubbed themselves ‘regressive‘ metal, which may seem contradictory to most, but to me it makes perfect sense.  After all, everyone else in their ‘genre’ seems to be satisfied with being referred to as ‘progressive‘ metal.  Well, either would seem appropriate in today’s genre-happy mixed up musical world.  Perhaps by being regressive CF are just making light of the whole situation. Who’s to say?  Let us move on to the important stuff, shall we?

Chaos Frame are about as regressive as it gets, and they have one powerful message to give to us.  Vocally, they have a sonic powerhouse in the shape of one Dave Brown.  Dave not only lets rip vocally somewhere in the sky next to the kings of the falsetto – he also brings it home and back down to the ground when the music calls for it.  Most of the time he is in the stratosphere, but then isn’t where a regressive metal vocalist should be?

chaosframegroupshot

Instrumentally, we have two duelling guitars that scream and wail, oftentimes in unison, though perhaps slightly disjointed.  Many times they both go off in search of the ultimate shred together, one taking a lead while the other rests/riffs, then swapping spots at the drop of a hat.  The guitarists in question are Matt Hodson and Andy Xiong.  Ably backing this dynamic duo are Aaron Lott on the bass guitar and Steve Bergquist on the drums.

Our first track up is Painful Lessons.  It opens with a lead jam, then some vocal effects.  This is very proggy, but let’s not forget that we’re trying to be regressive.  Just whose leg do these chaps think they’re pulling, anyway?  I smell PROG.  Energy – check.  Urgency – check.  Wicked vocal hooks – check.  Then, at about a minute in, the main riff/jam kicks in.  When the vocals return, Dave exhibits his range in the way that only he can – sky one moment, then grounded the next.  The lead guitar work seems to be part of the ultimate refrain, which is refreshing.  We do get brief bursts here and there, but nobody seems to be leaning on the shredding – also refreshing!  This is a powerful tune, and a good choice for an opener.  There is even a little lead at the end!

The title track, Paths to Exile, is up next.  This one is a real barn-burner, but a long epic to boot.  The intro is a thrashy double-thumping slam to your senses, and I’m digging the main riff with the sky vocals mixed in.  This is great stuff, with the energy just barely in check again.  I think one of the reasons I’m liking these guys so much is that, at the risk of sounding like so many others, they pour some extra passion into the mix and come up roses!  They could be Dream Theater, they could be Pagan’s Mind – they could even pose as my beloved Symphony X – but they are, instead, a big pile of heaping Chaos Frame – and that should be enough for all of us.  Vocally, Dave exhibits controlled righteous anger – but only just – he sounds like he could be threatening to let rip (literally) at any moment!  There are several guitar solos here, but as before they can be brutally brief.  Short but sweet, as we Americans are so fond of uttering.  The first is mixed with a sort of instrumental breakdown with HEAVY double-bass drum usage (4:15).  Then their is another (4:53).  Then, at about 5:50, there is a longer, shreddier, if you will, one that’s laid down very nicely.  At six-and-a-half minutes in we get an all-out jam, then another solo at 6:50.  The shift to the refrain at the close seems a bit disconnected, as the lyrics let on.  This track is nothing short of brilliant.  Small wonder it is the title tune!

Derceto must be some sort of prog-monster/demon, or something, as is evidenced by the mix of Cookie Monster vocal FX with the straight vocals – something, by the way, that I would NOT recommend.  Perhaps it is just me, but as I’ve mentioned before, I like to hear my vocalists actually SING, thank you very much.  I realize that I waffle considerably on this particular issue, and today I happen to be on the side of the fence wherein the straight singers reside…no offense to the growlies, of course!  The triumphant keys on here make me wonder if there is, indeed, a keyboard player – after all, there are only guitars, bass and drums listed as the main source of instrumentation.  Perhaps there is a bit of keyboard thrown in here and there…only the CF blokes know for sure!  This is thrashy prog, and the above-mentioned growls are indeed well done, but the straight vocals are better, in my opinion.   There is also the obligatory guitar solo at about three-and-a-half minutes in, but instead of remaining a mere shredding exercise it goes into vista-sky style (sorta bluesy).  The vocals at four minutes in remind us of Dave’s inimitable powers, and he throws in a scream at the outro, to remind us – as if we needed it!

Terra Firma also features a thrashy/proggy intro with heavy riffing and busy double-bass drumming.  Then things are airy, then power riffing with vocals.  There are several shifts here, and that is just within the first minute or so.  There is a shreddy lead solo at 3:40, and an instrumental breakdown of sorts at four-and-a-half minutes in.  Vocally, World Trade and TNT came to mind whilst I was listening.

Paper Sun features yet another heavy-as-fuck opener riff, with the killer vocal imprint all over the proceedings AGAIN – doesn’t Dave get tired of kicking ass?  It also includes a sort of keys solo at 4:20 that morphs into a saxophone, somehow – either that or these old ears are playing tricks on me.  There is a nice little shredding also at 4:40.  Lyrically, I was briefly captured aurally by this couplet: “Since you’ve been gone/ I wander the roads where you left me“.  Profound, right?  Romantic, no?  Perhaps.

Giantkiller is another lengthy, epic-y production with a classic prog-rock opening.  Everything is here again, by the way – the urgency, the energy, the brilliant, powerfully sky-rocketing vocals.  This bloke is obviously of hero status, as well.  Just check the lyrics if you don’t believe me: “For justice and the helpless/He’s the man who walks among the giants“.  At the 3:45 mark there is an instrumental breakdown that shifts slightly into a brief lead guitar bit, then there are more prophetic lyrics: “The only way to win the war/Straight down into the planet’s core“.  By the way, the drums are again very busy on this particular tune, and we get another couple of lead pieces as well.  Some shredding (4:15), plus riffage, and at 5 minutes in, more shredding that leads to traveling bluesy/rocky leads and riffs, then a lovely instrumental breakdown from around 6:45 to the close.  Absolutely brilliant.

Doomed starts out a bit doom and gloom (hence the name, right?), almost reminding one of Sabbath-esque riffing.  There is some seriously shredding riffage here again, and some wicked cool powerful vocals as well.  At 2:40 we hear yet another breakdown/shift of sorts (with vocals), an instrumental version at three-and-a-half minutes in, then a shred-fest with both guitars at the 4:20 mark.  How appropo!

At long last we arrive at the closer.  It has been a considerably long journey.  I would not deem our proceedings arduous, however.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this ride.  It seems only fitting that this, our last number, is the longest of the batch.  At almost 8 minutes, in length, one would be tempted to dub The World Has Two Faces as an epic.  It IS very tempting, because it is nothing if not an epic, musical journey.  We start out with keys/guitars PLUS drums and bass doing the heaviness-and-airiness at the same time thing…not sure how on earth they do that, but CF do it WELL!  The main riffing that comes in about 1:45-2:00 is heavy as fuck (again), and the doom factor creeps back in at about 3:20.  Busy drums – did I mention that?  At three-and-a-half minutes in there is a nice lead guitar bit.  At 3:50 they falter only slightly with some chanting/whoa oh oh’s (I like the 60’s/70’s as much as anyone, but I’m not sure this is the place for that).  It is repeated again at the 7-minute mark, oddly enough,.  At 4:20 there is something you don’t get to hear often in prog metal – we get spatial FX – guitar riffs moving from speaker to speaker – and if I can detect it on a little ol’ PC, just imagine how groovy it will sound on your stereos!  Both guitars positively shred at the 5 minute mark. Some proggy keys are happening at 5:20, and some nice vocals plus riffs at the 6-minute mark. There is an instrumental breakdown (broken record, Rick!) at 6:45.  Let’s see, does that about wrap it up?  Indeed it does!

Upon consideration of adding this piece to your listening library, do not focus strictly on what I have written.  It may indeed influence you to go out and purchase it instantly!  I have already decided to purchase my own copy to support these deserving blokes.  However, I think you should hear some first!  So, go to YouTube, punters!  Go to Facebook!  Go to your record store!  Just go, I tell you! Hear Chaos Frame, they will make you want to stand up and rock!

*****/5

 

Battle Beast Unleash Third Trailer from New Album

Battle Beast are about to release their third, upcoming new record Unholy Saviour on January 12th via Nuclear Blast.  The band have revealed their third album trailer with some details about the new record, like challenges, development and…. well, watch it yourself here:

In case you missed them, here’s the first two:

The band was recently shooting a video clip for the glorious new hymn Madness, along with producer Ville Lipiainen (Nightwish, Hypocrisy and more) and some special guests. Watch the result here:

The track listing for Unholy Saviour will be as follows:

  1. Lionheart
  2. Unholy Savior
  3. I Want The World….And Everything In It
  4. Madness
  5. Sea Of Dreams
  6. Speed And Danger
  7. Touch In The Night
  8. The Black Swordsman
  9. Hero’s Quest
  10. Far Far Away
  11. Angel Cry

You can expect to hear more than the occasional song from this one on The Wyrd Ways Rock Show when it comes out.

Battle Beast will embark on a European tour with Swedish label mates and metal heroes Sabaton, who did not only invite the band to play at their very own Sabaton Open Air, but also feature a cover version of Battle Beast’s Out Of Control as a bonus track on their current charting success Heroes.

Ex-Evile guitarist Ol Drake mixing solo album with James Murphy

Former Evile lead guitarist Ol Drake is currently mixing his debut solo album with producer and former Death/Obituary/Testament guitarist James Murphy.

The six-string shredder has been working on his first album of extreme instrumental music, which was recorded in the guitarist’s home studio and is due to be released in 2015 under the title Old Rake.

Take a look at the album’s cover art, created by 5fingerz, right here:

oldrake_albumcover

Ol Drake comments:

“Finally, I can reveal the artwork I’ve had for the 14 months I’ve spent finding my feet, laughing at the artwork, writing and recording this album.  Fans took to calling me Old Rake instead of ‘Ol Drake’ and it kind of stuck, so I thought I’d honour their hugely creative moving of one letter by calling this solo debut Old Rake by Ol Drake and creating a logo (by Chris Gunnz) for the Ol Drake album saying Old Rake; confusing, no?  Thought not.

I’m honoured to have the great James Murphy mixing the album.  Since I was a teenager I’ve been a fan of James’ playing in Testament, Obituary and Death, so having worked with him on this has had the 16-year old in me shouting strange noises at me in my head.  You shan’t be disappointed!  Especially if you’re a guitarist.

“The album was produced by myself and James.  It has been recorded in my home studio, ‘StudiOliveR’ in Huddersbottom (I moved from Huddersfield to Ramsbottom in Bury amidst recording it) and it is now in the capable hands of Mr James Murphy; he’s currently mixing it to shred-y perfection.

In the album art, I wanted to show me raking lots of people up with a rake, because that seemed to make sense at the time.  It doesn’t now but it’s still funny.  I didn’t want a stock picture of me holding a guitar as if to say ‘Hey guys, I’m here holding a guitar and this is my album’.  I hope you enjoy it, and your support on its release will be hugely appreciated.”

Listen to a demo version of one of the tracks due to be featured on the album, Spaceship Janitor, below:

Savage Messiah banned by Freemasons over photo-shoot

UK Metal band Savage Messiah attempted to hire the UK Freemason headquarters for an upcoming photo-shoot but were banned from entering the United Grand Lodge in London after the society considered the metal band’s name “offensive” citing: “There are concerns over the group’s name and we have to be conscious of our members.”

The Fateful Dark, to be released March 10th 2014, is their third album and thematically covers some of the rituals and controversy surrounding the secret society of Freemasonry.

Cross of Babylon, the third track makes reference to a highly secretive Masonic ritual called The Red Cross of Babylon, whilst the eye-catching album artwork depicts themes of greed, power and corruption alongside Masonic iconography.

Frontman Dave Silver said:
Once more the dubiously hypocritical nature of religious groups has reared its head. We’ve been denied access to a building due to our apparently “offensive” name. I’m assuming that the word “Savage” is the root of the consternation in question. This I find amusing from a group of people that adhere to a book that promotes Slavery, Genocide and celebrates a single human sacrifice as if it had any baring what so ever in the eradication of “sin” or whatever that is supposed to be. If the band was called “arse-fucked Messiah” I might understand their concern, however the very nature of the biblical myths is based on the most savage of human behaviours. Ironically most Christian churches depict the effigy of a brutal murder, the most violent of image of a man strung up, maimed, humiliated and sacrificed, yet us long haired, peace loving, free-thinking heavy metal louts are too “Savage” to enter a building…such is the way of the world!

GRAND MAGUS post second album commentary for ‘Triumph and Power’

Swedish riff lords GRAND MAGUS have posted the second in a series of track-by-track videos describing the creative process that went into making their upcoming album Triumph And Power. Watch the second album commentary, here:

Watch the first album commentary, here:

If you want to listen to the title track (with lyrics, so you can sing along if you like!) take a look at this:

Triumph And Power is set to be released on the 3rd of February 2014 via Nuclear Blast.

The band commented about the album: “Triumph And Power has been completed. It’s a metal triumph of Viking power!!! Once again we worked with Nico Elgstrand as producer, a tradition that started with Hammer Of The North back in 2010. This is our strongest album yet, it has the northern feel, it has the power and the melody that has become our mark of excellence. Fans of true metal will take this album to their hearts. To top everything off, we have the striking and epic artwork of Anthony Roberts. The album cover perfectly captures the work on this album and GRAND MAGUS as a band. Stay true!”

More on Triumph And Power (which you can expect to hear tracks from as soon as they reach Wyrd Ways Rock Show HQ):

Studio update, part 1:

Studio update, part 2:

Studio update, part 3:

Watch main man JB discuss the new album on YouTube, here:

LEGION OF THE DAMNED reveal cover artwork for “Ravenous Plague”

Legion Of The Damned

 

LEGION OF THE DAMNED finally reveal the album cover of their upcoming new album, “Ravenous Plague” set to be released in the UK on the 23rd of December 2013.

The cover was painted by mastermind Wes Bensecoter (Kreator).

Stay tuned for more details about this upcoming Thrash Metal masterpiece.

LEGION OF THE DAMNED – Official Website https://www.facebook.com/LOTDOfficial