Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brief Blasts...

Two brief reviews of albums that have already been reviewed by other writers at Live 4 Metal...

Hail Of Bullets

"...Of Frost and War"

(Metal Blade Records)

Talk about a project greater than the sum of its parts! Although Dutch bands Gorefest, Thanatos, Asphyx, and so forth are well respected, each is sort of below my radar and, although I own albums from each of those bands, they rarely get a listen from me. Well, members of those bands got together after a drinking binge in 2006 to form an old school death metal project that now emerges as Hail Of Bullets with their debut full-length "...Of Frost And War" on Metal Blade Records.

This is old school death metal in the vein of early Death and Bolt Thrower, in particular, at its absolute finest with all of the trademarks of the genre. Huge riffs, mid-paced tempos, and a thematic concentration upon World War II's Eastern front are used to create a death metal assault that comes across as a well-produced cross between "Scream Bloody Gore" and "War Master". This is very highly recommended and you can read Live 4 Metal's review by Metal Mark here.


"Hammer Battalion"


Sunlight Studios- era Swedish death metal has stormed back with a vengeance in 2008 with stellar releases by Dismember, the new album from Grave, and even Entombed. Add to that list "Hammer Battalion" from Unleashed, a lean, mean follow-up to the excellent "Midvinterblot".

There aren't any surprises here on "Hammer Battalion", which is straight ahead Swedish death metal with considerable polish. An excellent album from a veteran band that shows no sign of slowing down. An invigorating release comparable to Dismember's recent self titled full-length. Apparently, Unleashed will be the main support for Obituary's upcoming U.S. tour this fall. You can read Live 4 Metal's review of the album by Chris Davison here.

Sorry, songs removed.

For your consideration as the general election approaches...

Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit

Rest in peace...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paganfest USA Review!!!

Paganfest USA Review

Bands: Ensiferum, Turisas, Tyr, Eluveitie, and Suidakra

Venue: The Vault, Long Beach, California.

Date: May 10th, 2008.

Oh, yes! You had better believe that I was up for this one! Frankly, it’s rare that we get European bands a bit off the usual genre radar showing up here in L.A., and all of high quality to boot. I skipped the May 8th show of the Paganfest at the HOB WH simply because the tour was hitting Long Beach on a Saturday, and even closer to my house than my usual haunts on the Sunset Strip.

The Vault was packed from the get go as German melodic death metal band Suidakra took the stage. Playing a short set of about 25 minutes or so, Suidakra put on a good performance, but, frankly, were outclassed by the other acts on the bill. Also, the guitars were somewhat buried in the mix (this would later be corrected), but I enjoyed their set and they were well received by the crowd.

Literally only about ten minutes later, the eight members of Eluveitie take the stage and launch into their set immediately. Eluveitie has been making considerable waves with “Slania”, only their second full-length, and the popularity of this band all the way on the West Coast was evident as the place just went nuts. Eluveitie was notable immediately for their high enthusiasm as the brothers Kirder, the pipes, the mandolin, the hurdy-gurdy, you name it, were all on display as Eluveitie roared through a 45 minute set that elicited a huge response, and plenty of sing along, from the crowd. Wow!

Once again almost immediately, Tyr takes the stage (members were crossing over with Eluveitie for this tour). I’m not terribly familiar with Tyr, and I found their set to be rather plodding and boring, especially after the unbridled enthusiasm of Eluveitie. Although the band was well received, the crowd’s response to Tyr was much more muted, although the last two songs of their short set were better. Strangely enough, Tyr was on stage for only about half of the time of Eluveitie.

Finnish giants Turisas were on next. Decked out in animal skins and warpaint, Turisas blew everyone away with a high energy set complete with a very prominent violin and accordion. The amount of dancing that went on, not just in the pit, was astonishing as everyone at the Vault was literally jumping for joy. A great long set, and I was especially pleased to see Turisas, and all of the bands, get a huge response from us here all the way out in California.

Anticipation was high for Ensiferum, who were firing on all cylinders with their Celtic brand of thrash metal. Once again, even though the time was around midnight, the Vault did not slow down for a moment as the pit that opened up encompassed, at times, almost the entire crowd. Ensiferum simply did not let up for one moment during their hour long set.

Finally, it was all over and I dragged my ass home. Probably the only disappointment of the evening was the fact that Moonsorrow was not included on the bill. I spotted a number of Moonsorrow shirts in the crowd, and people around me expressed their disappointment, as well. However, the in-between band house music was Moonsorrow, so perhaps the tour organizers may have been aware of our disappointment.

Special thanks to Dave Brenner!

The t-shirt haul...

The usual crap...






The video...



Tyr (check out the crowd)

Turisas (also check out the crowd)

More Turisas...


More Enisferum...

Upcoming campaigns...

Anaal Nathrakh is doing an L.A. show!


I have seats about 100 feet from the stage...


Some items of interest...