Tag Archives: Compact Disc

Walpyrgus release video for Dead Girls

US hard rock/heavy metal warriors Walpyrgus have released the video for Dead Girls, the second single off the band’s forthcoming  album Walpyrgus Nights.

The video is based on the original art created by Scott Waldrop (Twisted Tower Dire) for the comic book that accompanies the vinyl edition of the album. The glossy-papered, 56-page comic book depicts the lyrics of the album and is intended as a bonus for the vinyl release.  Due to a print surplus, the comic book can also be purchased  together with the CD, but only while ordering directly from Cruz Del Sur Music webstore.

Featuring an all-star cast of Heavy Metal veterans, North Carolina’s Walpyrgus will release their full-length debut album June 9 on Cruz Del Sur Music. The album will be released on compact disc, vinyl  and digital formats.  

Walpyrgus Nights represents the full realization of the potential of this dangerous meeting of Metal minds. Hook after hook, cascading guitar harmonies, anthemic soaring vocals, and epic unexpected twists and turns abound on this eight-song opus. It is a genuinely inspired, wild, fun ride through the annals of classic Hard Rock and early Metal with a distinct personality. The album, which features the artwork of Gustavo Sazes (Morbid Angel, Arch Enemy, Firewind), was recorded in a variety of locations over the course of two intense years under the guidance of Tom Phillips, mixed by longtime collaborator Kevin “131” Gutierrez (Raven, Deceased, Believer) and mastered by Bill Wolf (Raven, While Heaven Wept).

So when the when the stars are right and you’re alone, take a journey, lock the world tight and prepare yourself for the tales of demons, spectres and witches rising on Walpyrgus Nights!

Italian Psychonauts Nibiru to re-release debut album

Italian psychonauts Nibiru to re-release debut album Caosgon

Argonauta Records are thrilled to announce they will be releasing an extended edition of the 2013 debut album by Italian psychonauts Nibiru.

Caosgon is considered to be a milestone in the Ritual Sludge scene, having been praised by awesome reviews and by massive positive feedback all across the board.

Now, the album will benefit from something of a facelift, including completely new artwork, new master and a bonus track from the original recording sessions, which was previously unreleased.

Caosgon – 2017 Edition will be released as CD/DD on July 7th, 2017.

TRACK LISTING:
1) Invokation I: the Acid skull
2) Smashanam, the Crematorium Ground of Kali
3) Aster Argos
4) Invokation IV: Heru , Khentan , Maati
5) Umbra Venefica
6) Invokation III : L.S.D

Ellefson signs Pitch Black Process

Turkish Metallers Pitch Black Process have signed with David Ellefson‘s EMP Underground/EMP Label Group.

The new album Derin will be released digitally on 3rd December, via EMP Underground in most of the world, Atlantis Yapım/EMP Label Group in Turkey and on Ellefson Music Productions/SPV in Europe. Their new video Halil İbrahim Sofrası featuring Necati Karadayı, can be viewed here:

David Ellefson: “We signed this Turkish metal band after playing with Megadeth in Istanbul this summer. We are thrilled to be able to sign another gifted international artist and do our part to support the GLOBAL Metal community!

The album was recorded at Dugout Studios Uppsala, Sweden – produced by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Soilwork, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth) and Pitch Black Process. Mixed by Daniel Bergstrand and mastered by George Nerantzis (Abbath, Dark Funeral, Nightrage) at Dugout Studios.

NEGURĂ BUNGET present first track from new album

Transylvanian Black Metal titans Negura Bunget have revealed the first track to be taken from their upcoming album, ZI. The album will be released via Prophecy Productions on September 30.  The video for the opening trackTul-ni-ca-rind, is right here:

Speaking of the track, frontman, Negru, comments:

Tul-ni-ca-rind is a song about sending a message between places, between worlds and different states of conscience. It all springs from a traditional Romanian instrument called a tulnic, which is still being used in the traditional communities as a signalling tool, but also quite a lot at funeral ceremonies.   We developed the song as a kind of language between natural and spiritual dimension, between ceremonies, rituals and silence, based on traditional funeral ceremonies and the complex relationship between the living and the dead.  Most of our songs can hardly be explained, and this one is no exception.  Although it starts from some concrete elements, it goes a lot further into unknown and mystery, where death is not the end, but merely a transition into another dimension.”

The new album, Zi (Romanian for for ‘Day’ or ‘Say’), is the second part of the band’s Transylvanian Trilogy, continuing their exploration of their native Transylvanian culture.  As with their previous material, the band merge Black Metal with traditional folk instruments.

ZI Track Listing
1. Tul-ni-ca-rind
2. Gradina Stelelor
3. Brazda Da Foc
4. Baciu Mosneag
5. Stanciu Gruiul
6. Marea Cea Mare

ZI is available to pre-order as Digipak CD, gatefold LP and Artbook 2CD/DVD from the Prophecy Productions store

Kai Hansen announces solo album release

Gamma Ray and former Helloween guitarist, Kai Hansen has released a new single, entitled Born Free to act as a taster for his debut solo album, XXX – Three Decades In Metal

The album is due for release on 16th September through earMUSIC in a variety of formats, including single CD, Special Edition double CD, double vinyl LP and digital.

Here’s the aforementioned video:

The album and video were made at Chameleon Studios in Hamburg.  The recording line-up featured Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar, Alex Dietz (guitar player of Heaven Shall Burn) on bass, Eike Freese on guitar and Carcass‘ Daniel Wilding on the drums.

Wyrd Ways Rock Show CCCXXX

With the unveiling, in the last show, of The Wyrd Ways Rock Show’s Album of 2015, it’s time to start looking forward again (at least for the most part, anyway!). That means new music from Anthrax, Rob Zombie, Bull Riff Stampede and Amon Amarth as well as the unveiling of an interview with a band who played the New Blood Stage at last year’s Bloodstock Festival.

So, all told, that’s a little over two hours of quality music. Who says I don’t look after you lucky people?

If you decide to support the making of the show by becoming a Member, you get the show at a higher bitrate and therefore better quality. For details about how to become a Member as well as the latest in Rock and Metal news and reviews, head over to www.wyrdwaysrs.com.
Amon Amarth – First Kill
Bull Riff Stampede – Enraging The Beast
Machine Head – Game Over
Covered: Emerson Lake & Palmer – Nutrocker
Rainbow – Stargazer
Lords Of Black – Lords Of Black
Record Of The Week: Anthrax – Evil Twin
Ricky Warwick – When Patsy Cline Was Crazy
The New Roses – Heads Or Tails
Knock Out Kaine – Cruel Britannia
Shock Of The New: King Leviathan – Wormwood
Shock Of The New: King Leviathan Interview
Shock Of The New: King Leviathan – The Shrine
Asylum City Zoo – Bait The Hook
Van Halst – The End
Record Of The Week: Anthrax – Breathing Lightning
Human Fortress – Thieves Of The Night
Stone Broken – Fall Back Down
Record Of The Week: Anthrax – For All Kings
Beholder – Frozen Steps Of Utoya
Rob Zombie – Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A UFO

Dream Theater, The London Palladium, 19th February 2016

Dream Theater

Ushers with waistcoats and bow-ties telling people to put their cameras away, pictures of Bradley Walsh on the walls, champagne popsicles on sale in the foyer, and little pairs of binoculars to see the stage better.  Suffice to say, the legendary Palladium theatre in London’s West End is not your typical Metal concert venue.  Then again, Dream Theater have never been your typical Metal band.

Such a special venue is required in order to reflect the ambition of what Dream Theater are attempting here.  Their new album, The Astonishing, is their most ambitious project ever and trying to perform its thirty-four tracks, lasting 130 minutes, live in their entirety is no small undertaking.  The album has divided opinion and most people here tonight would have bought their tickets before they’d heard it, so there is certainly a sense of scepticism in the air.  So, has the band bitten off more than they can chew?

Well first of all, this is a very visual show, with banners on stage depicting the flags of the Great Northern Empire of the Americas and the Ravenskill Rebel Militia (the two opposing sides featured in their dystopian sci-fi tale) and large screens depicting the story throughout.   Similar to when they toured their previous concept album, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory, these animated sequences are invaluable in helping fans decipher and follow the story, and thus people who had not quite been able to “get” the complex album just by listening to it will hopefully understand it a bit better now.  Being such a highly conceptual project, the story and music go hand in hand, and so this live setting is the perfect way to fully appreciate it.

Another great contributing factor to tonight’s success is the Palladium’s brilliant acoustics; this is not the first time that this 100 year-old hall has had to withstand such loud volumes.  From the opening discordant sounds of the NOMACS (the flying robots who create electronic music in the story, and who look truly imposing on the 20ft high screens) to the closing triumphant crescendo of the album’s title track, every note is loud and powerful, yet clear.  A criticism some have levelled at The Astonishing is the dominance of keyboards and acoustic instrumentation at the expense of guitars and drums, but this is much less of a concern in this live setting.  Every band member is firing on all cylinders, with the live mix being much more balanced than what can be heard on the record; guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Mangini are not happy to just sit back and play a minor role, so their presence is strongly felt.  Essentially, any of the fans in attendance who didn’t think The Astonishing was a heavy enough album should be more satisfied with its live interpretation.

I do have some small points of criticism to make though.  Dream Theater, as expected, have clearly rehearsed the music to death and I can’t fault their performance from a technical standpoint whatsoever.  I was particularly impressed with James LaBrie’s vocal performance, as it was hard enough singing all the different characters’ voices on record, so the fact he managed to replicate it all live without his voice faltering is, well, astonishing; he showed a level of vocal stamina many singers half his age would envy.  However, while Dream Theater are arguably the most pre-eminent live rock musicians of their generation, they are not the most theatrical or animated live act.  Put bluntly, as good as the music sounds and as effective as the screens and banners are, Dream Theater’s performance of The Astonishing does not rival Pink Floyd’s The Wall or Genesis’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in terms of Prog Rock theatricality.

Maybe this is just because it’s only the second night of the tour; perhaps they’re concentrating on playing the music correctly for now and will add more elements to the stage show later?  Or maybe the budget’s not high enough to do anything else?  If it was up to me though, there’d be a lot more going on onstage; sets, props, actors to play the different characters, pyrotechnics, and costumes for Johns Petrucci and Myung to break the monotony of their usual “any colour so long as its black” stage attire. Hopefully, they’ll add some of these elements if they tour the album again in future, or maybe I’d just be better off going to see Kiss or Rammstein live instead…

In summary, any concerns that Dream Theater would be unable to play The Astonishing live have been firmly put to bed by this performance; quite simply, the album sounds better live than on record, and the visual aids on stage and screen do a decent job of telling the story. It’s perhaps not quite as theatrical a performance as some people (i.e. me) would have preferred, but that’s not why people go to see Dream Theater live anyway. These are thoroughly professional live musicians at the top of their game and anyone who was previously unsold on The Astonishing as an album should now hopefully realise what a triumph it is.

Verdict: 9/10

Bloodstock adds three bands to the Sophie Lancaster Stage line-up

Buy your Bloodstock ticket by clicking on the image.
                           Buy your Bloodstock ticket by clicking on the image.

News has just reached Wyrd Ways HQ that three more bands have been announced for this year’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.  Click on the image above if you haven’t got your tickets yet.  It’s looking like it’s going to be another good one.

Headlining the welcome party on the Sophie Lancaster stage on Thursday night, will be Phil Campbell‘s All-Starr Band.  The legendary Motörhead guitarslinger will also be officially opening the newly christened Lemmy’s Bar with the first drink at 5pm.  This will be their second appearance at the festival, following their appearance on the Jagermeister Stage back in 2013.

If you’re on Instagram, go follow Phil’s brand new page (@phil_campbells_all_starr_band).

Also on the bill are British extremists The King Is Blind, following their Bloodstock debut in 2014 and release of their debut album, Our Father last month.  Frontman Stephen Tovey tells us:

“The Bloodstock crowd welcomed us with open arms and raised fists on our last visit, so on the back of Our Father, we’re primed and champing at the bit to bring a savage and energetic set of the heaviest metal to Catton Hall this August.  You bring the beers, the horns and the headbanging, we’ll bring the riffs and the truly crushing metal.”

Homegrown doomsters, Witchsorrow also join the bill. Says frontman Necroskull;

“It gives us no small amount of pleasure to once again rain doom down upon BLOODSTOCK. It is an incredibly special place for us, and we are incredibly proud to stand alongside Twisted Sister, Venom, Slayer, and Paradise Lost in bringing heavy metal madness to Catton Park. Doom forever. Forever doomed.”  

Their album, No Light, Only Fire, is available through Bandcamp or Amazon and needs your immediate attention.

Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman

Queensryche - Condition Human

Century Media

Review by Rick Ossian

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Ever since the Queensrÿche bust-up in April 2012 (following a backstage altercation before a show in Sao Paulo), there has been a LOT of internet hate for former Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate (he of Operation: Mindcrime).  He was replaced with former Crimson Glory vocalist Todd LaTorre.  A temporary court injunction allowed both parties to use the name of the band, but in 2014 a settlement was reached with members Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson winning the rights to use the name.  In the interim, of course, the Tate camp released their universally panned Frequency Unknown (2013), and the others released an eponymous debut, if you will, two months later.  Both outfits toured, and both survived.  Having recently listened to and reviewed the Tate camp’s latest (Operation: Mindcrime’s debut, The Key), I have to say I’m inclined to agree with the judge.  These bands are two separate entities, granted – but only one has the right to say that they are actually Queensrÿche.  In this case, the majority ruled.  In my humble opinion, the release that we are currently dealing with is the better of the two.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Chris DeGarmo left in 1997. His most current replacement is one Parker Lundgren, who is, along with Michael Wilton, a guitarist in the band.  Bass man Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield, of course, remain in the engine room, and the aforementioned Mr. LaTorre is the man with the pipes.  One devastatingly accurate pair of pipes, it should be noted, particularly if he was making an attempt to sound like Geoff Tate.  He is a dead ringer vocally for their former singer, and more power to him if he is able to pull that off, because of course there will be many punters who have no idea that the singer is another bloke.

queensrycheconditionhumangroupshot

Arrow of Time, the lead-off track, is a hard-charging rocker in the vein of just about any other Queensrÿche album that you may care to mention.  Critics will probably immediately note the similarity between the voices.  Anyone who can’t hear it may as well hang it up. If we were doing a comparison/contrast study (which DOES sometimes happen), I think we would find that they compare favourably.  As with most of the tracks herein, there are at least a pair or so of lead guitar bits on this salvo.  Save for the ballad Just Us and the title track, all or most of the tunes are also radio-friendly in length.  The way FM programming is going nowadays, if you’re not pop or country or classic rock, there are few formats willing to take a risk on new material, but with such vocal/guitar heavy treats, who knows?  A bit of airplay may indeed be in order…

Guardian finds Mr. La Torre once again emulating the man he ousted from the fold, but that may not be entirely to his disadvantage.  As I mentioned before, when one does a festival, it DOES somewhat behoove you to sound like the band that you’re in!  Guardian is another feet-first rocker with plenty of guitar work and engine room pyrotechnics.  Punters may also note that there are the occasional vocal FX inserted, reminding us once again of our heroes of old.  The phrase ‘revolution calling‘ is repeated at key points of this track – what’s THAT about?

Hellfire reminds us that Messrs. Wilton and Lundgren are NOT just background fodder.  Their work comes to the fore with astonishing regularity throughout this recording.  Plus, if you listen closely, you can hear LaTorre doing his skybound vocal impressions consistently.  The guitar figure at the end of this track is also interesteing, as is the guitar work as a whole on this entire recording.

Toxic Remedy also features some very pretty guitar work, and some chugging riffs to boot.  The vocals are positively haunting, and the rhythms are absolutely infectious.  There is more energy here as well, and the potential to be actual heavy metal and/or hard rock, depending on which term(s) you prefer.  I submit to you that the two CAN be interchangeable, but with HM you are more likely to hear screaming, pounding, hammering and more extreme musical moments overall.

Selfish Lives contains a ghostly guitar intro, vocal FX and some fairly standard riffing.  Again, the main vocal is a dead ringer for the voice of the original pipe-master, but as mentioned before, you kind of NEED to do that to a certain extent to retain any kind of credibility.  After all, without a killer set of pipes, how would you perform Queen of the Reich?  Let alone a veritable slew of others.  I submit to you that is can be a good thing to emulate your forebears.  There are times on this recording where one would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Eye9 features a beautiful bass intro, compliments of Mr. Jackson.  Nice job, Eddie!  There are more vocal FX on board here, as well as some nice riffing on the main refrain.  Lyrically, “lost in the labyrinth of life/stuck in the middle of the two” struck me as somewhat prophetic, and it stood out.  Good writing and phrasing seem to be the order of the day with most of the tracks.

Bulletproof contains a faint keyboard intro, and more cool lyrics; “the cleanse of surrender has freed me/no longer a victim of change”.  I also really dug the instrumental cacophony at the close, and the lead guitar work was remarkable.

Hourglass is bluesy but still very good, and sounds great, sonically speaking, overall.  There is some beautiful acoustic strumming at the ending.  There is also some serious riffing and some nice lead guitar work.

The six-minute ballad-style piece, Just Us, actually sort of shimmers a bit, which we can stand if it doesn’t occur too often, right?  The vocals are top-notch, and there is some excellent acoustic strumming.  There are also several brilliant guitar bits electrically.  At the 3-minute mark, one can hear both players integrating lead (solos).  Instrumental breakdowns abound, which is par for the course.

All There Was is another interesting piece with some sweet riffing and some excellent guitar work at the intro.  The engine room is on board with this bit, as well.  I particularly enjoy a good tune when the bass guitar and the drums come to the fore.  This is another high-energy tune with an excellent fading out of sorts at the end.

The Aftermath is apparently an interlude of sorts that sets up the title track, which is also, appropriately, our closer.  Condition Human is an absolute behemoth, and at 7:45, is the longest track by far on this set.  The intro is a bit shimmery and strumming acoustics again, but if you can get past that, you can hear the majesty of this track for yourself.  Another haunting tune, and just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, too!  This is a very powerful piece, and actually enters Riff City mode (2:25).  There is a chugging, energetic tempo here, and we are headed somewhere, even lyrically; “Shake the species overtime/moralities collapse”, hollers LaTorre, and once again we also hear some vocal FX, which we should probably come to expect now, at least with this particular band.  Whenever we hear echo or whispering in conjunction with vocals, many of us think Queensrÿche almost immediately!  An excellent track, and a very good recording overall.

****/5

Elfie Goes To Bloodstock – Day 2

After a disastrous night’s sleep in Midgard (note to self: next year, camp in Hel!), Friday kicked off with some gloriously depraved Death Metal from Bristol-based Mortishead.  Given that it was stupid o’clock in the morning, they managed to whip up a fairly respectable circle pit.  Although it only really kicked off properly when the bassist got fed up with the lacklustre crowd response and jumped off the stage to create a pit himself!

From that point on, the New Blood Stage tent was very messy indeed!

After that rousing wake-up, I headed off to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to watch Silas.

Silas are an excellent Metalcore band and once again I find myself wondering where the industry bigwigs have been looking for all these great new bands they claim don’t exist.  Clearly they haven’t tried looking at Bloodstock.  Anyway, Silas threw out an energetic and fast-paced set and are definitely remaining on my “bands to keep an eye on” list.

Following Silas, I took advantage of the rather nicely laid out market area and went and picked up three patches for my battle jacket, including a very nice vintage Motörhead  one and… joy of joys… a long sleeve Korpiklaani shirt actually in my size!!

Death Metal legends, Belphegor... a bit dull?
Death Metal legends, Belphegor… a bit dull?                                   Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

Anyway… I’d heard good things about Belphegor, but after five minutes of their set, I was just bored, so I headed back over to the New Blood Stage to watch the mighty Mutagenocide rip BOA a new one.  The band turned up in my Top 10 albums of 2014, so watching them play to a respectably-sized crowd at the same time as Belphegor was fantastic.

They did a damned fine job of it, too.

Over on the Ronnie James Dio Main Stage, Overkill were next up for me, and were a pleasant surprise.  On a bill where the day’s highlight was Sabaton, they had fantastic crowd interaction which, mixed with some good tracks, means that Overkill have been added to my (very long!) list of bands I need to listen to more.

SLR_8878_Overkill
Overkill – The Gaffer’s little boy, David, loved them!                     Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

 

Once Overkill were done, it was time for the main event as far as I was concerned: Sabaton.

The Swedes jumped straight onto my favourite bands list back in 2014 when I accidentally saw them while trying to see Týr.  As promised, Joakim and the lads had brought a tank(!!) with them, and from the opening bars of their intro tape, fellow Swedes, Europe‘s, The Final Countdown, to the confetti cannons firing blue and yellow confetti (to a chant of “I-ke-a!  I-ke-a!”, much to Joakim’s amusement) finale, Sabaton gave a headlining performance.  They were funny, they worked the crowd and every note was on point.

Ikea! Erm... Sabaton!
Ikea! Erm… Sabaton!                                                                                   Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

Sadly, they were followed by Trivium, who put on a show completely unworthy of a mainstage headline slot.  Now, before you class me as a “hater”, I LIKE Trivium a lot.  The last time I saw them at the Manchester Academy with Killswitch Engage, I loved them (here’s the evidence!), but after three songs, I was so bored, I wandered off and went to bed in a vain attempt to get a decent night’s sleep in before Saturday…

Trivium... oh dear. But then again, apparently Suzi did leave before they got their technical problems sorted out - Ed.
Trivium… oh dear. But then again, apparently Suzi did leave before they got their technical problems sorted out – The Gaffer.                                        Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal