Death metal gigs, a quartet of brand new albums and Video Nasties news, Getintothis’ Nedim Hassan brings us the cutting edge on the metal world.
It’s amazing how the weeks pass by.
No sooner had we finished carving pentagrams into our pumpkins, when, before we knew it, November had crept up on us and delivered more treats than any of our neighbours on Halloween night.
Having said that, maybe we need to tone down our attempts to emulate King Diamond when we go trick or treating.
In any case, it has been such a busy time that we have enlisted the help of new writers Emily Clark and Harriet Hitie to help us keep pace with everything that has been rocking our world.
Before we run through our litany of devilishly heavy delights, however, we couldn’t go without reflecting once again on the recent Liverpool metal music conference.
We were genuinely thrilled to be a part of an event that shed light on music cultures and issues that are all too often ignored or marginalized.
The motto for this column over the last year or so has always been simple – support your scene.
The contributions of the audience and the participants at the conference illustrated that, despite the lively debates and differences of opinion, there are a great many people out there who care passionately about doing just that.
While we are on the subject, the recent Skelethal gig at Outpost was a reminder that the Merseyside death metal live music scene is alive and well (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms).
There was certainly no shoegazing that night.
On display were bands that got straight to the point and were not too precious about doing so.
Manchester’s Aggressive Perfector were a case in point: “Merseyside, we bring peace, love and nuclear fucking holocaust” vocalist Dan Shaw declared before launching into a riotous version of Turbo Evil.
Despite their name, the speed metal trio were no mere Slayer acolytes.
Sure, they channelled the primal NWOBHM inspired spirit of the Show No Mercy era and vocalist Dan even gave us his best Tom Araya scream on Vengeful One, but their music was more ragged and punk-fuelled.
It was also, crucially, delivered with a combination of malice and mischief.
The guys may play “Satan’s heavy metal” and on songs like the excellent Into the Nightmare they recognised that this world is closer to hell than ever, but that didn’t stop them enjoying every minute.
In Temple Abyss were, in contrast, a more serious proposition.
Although another trio, the oppressive guitar sound they generated belied their number. Savagely fast guitar riffing with a surprisingly resonant tone adorned longer songs that conjured a foreboding atmosphere.
Blackened, harsh and icy vocals served to furnish numbers such as Dungeon Wolf and the pulverizing Sacrificed to the Moon with a sense of dread.
This feeling was amplified by the fog of dry ice that almost seemed to wrap itself around their dense slabs of sonic fury.
Headliners Skelethal, perhaps inspired by the acts preceding them, were in no mood to mess around.
Murky and menacing, their brand of old school death metal with elements of cosmic horror was a dream combo for the Outpost faithful.
Combining intense ferociously paced twin guitar riffing with moments of slowed-down doomier hooks on crackers such as Glimpse of the Great Purpose enabled the French quartet to induce some enthusiastic slam dancing in amongst the flurry of head banging that dominated the crowd’s activities.
Losing ourselves in Skelethal’s frenetic set, which seemed to unfold at breakneck speed, it was all too soon when they bid us adieu.
Roll on the next night of death metal mayhem.
The old school still ruled.
Staying with death metal, we were thrilled to learn that the legendary Carcass have released a brand-new song which is taken from their forthcoming seventh studio album, with the release date being in 2020 on Nuclear Blast.
This album will be a follow up on Carcass’ acclaimed comeback album, Surgical Steel in 2013 which sold around 8,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release alone and hit No. 41 on the Billboard top 200 chart.
Their new song Under the Scalpel Blade will be available to Decibel magazine subscribers only, via their flexi disc series and to get the track you will need to have an active deluxe Decibel subscription.
Carcass will also perform Under the Scalpel Blade live when headlining the closing night of this year’s Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles at the Observatory – 13-14 December 2019.
Meanwhile, Video Nasties celebrated their favourite holiday in style by dropping their debut album release date on Halloween night.
The group’s unique form of sludge, melodeath and black’n’roll was first unleashed with their debut single on Halloween 2017. Two years later the band celebrated this anniversary with the news that their debut album, Dominion, will be released via one of the UK’s finest metal labels, APF Records in March 2020.
To add to the occasion, the band’s continuing love affair with horror films (and especially those by John Carpenter), was shown on their newly designed poster to promote the album, “There’s something in the fog… Video Nasties presents ‘DOMINION”.
Moving onto tour news, Alice in Chains fans will be excited to hear that guitarist and co-vocalist William DuVall will be heading to Liverpool next year as part of a wider UK tour. He will also be taking to the stage in Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham, London and Dublin.
DuVall will be performing an intimate acoustic set to showcase his debut album, One Alone, which was released at the beginning of last month.
The gig will take place on March 29 2020, in Arts Club. Tickets went on sale in October but are yet to sell out, so snap them up while you can.
On the more immediate horizon are several UK tour dates for rising Liverpool sensations, Loathe. They will play a number of dates in early December in support of New Yorkers Stray from the Path and Devil Wears Prada, including a sold out gig at Manchester’s Rebellion Rock Bar on December 5.
We are also just days away from Ashen Reach’s launch show for new single Tear It Down. The Liverpool-based hard rockers will headline the event which will take place on November 23 at Alchemy Bar, Runcorn, alongside local starlets Inhabit, Riptide and NESH.
After all the excitement on the live front, we just have a little time to wax lyrical about the latest albums that have been blasting from our mobile devices and stereo systems.
Dawn Ray’d: Behold Sedition Plainsong
As the country becomes ever more politically polarised, Dawn Ray’d’s second album is very much mood music for the times.
Forty five minutes of incandescent rage over issues that include social injustice and climate change; Behold Sedition Plainsong still manages to be reflective, poetic and poignant. This is because of the way that the band skilfully melds traditional folk interludes alongside abrasive and icy black metal guitar riffing.
There are many highlights here, but the combo of the haunting folk track, A Stone’s Throw, followed by Soon Will Be The Age Of Lessons Learnt is absolutely devastating; with the latter track featuring exquisite violin melodies overlaid onto powerfully distorted guitar rhythms.
Alcest: Spiritual Instinct
Nuclear Blast Records
Call it blackgaze, call it whatever you want, Alcest’s unique vision has arguably reached its apotheosis on Spiritual Instinct.
This sublime record gets better with every listen. From opener Les Jardins De Minuit onwards, this is a captivating and immersive piece of work.
The album conjures a brooding and sometimes trance-like atmosphere on tracks like the stunning Sapphire. Such songs often threaten an all-out black metal aural assault before being restrained and evolving into something altogether more delicate, powerful and ultimately more rewarding.
Violation Wound: Dying to Live, Living to Die
Chris Reifert describes this album as the sonic equivalent of having the back of your head smashed repeatedly with a brick, “until you pass out or learn to like it.” On the evidence of Dying to Live, Living to Die, the latter option is more than applicable.
Reifert (long time Autopsy front man) is in his element here as his caustic delivery adds venom to a ferocious mix of punk tracks.
Short sharp slabs of hate-fuelled songs are in swift supply here, with scorchers like Dead Flags, Exorcism of Ignorance and the catchy Guns! Guns! Guns! compelling the listener to lose their minds and snap their necks (as if we needed any encouragement).
Nile: Vile Nilotic Rites
Nuclear Blast Records
The first album without long-time guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade, Vile Nilotic Rites is the sound of a rejuvenated Nile.
New guitarist Brian Kingsland contributes to an absolutely gargantuan sounding modern death metal masterpiece.
Blazing speed is the order of the day on frenetic numbers like opener Long Shadows of Dread.
Yet it is during slower and more atmospheric tracks deeper within the album, such as Where is the Wrathful Sky, We are Cursed and the imperious The Imperishable Stars are Sickened, where this album hits hardest.
Right, we’re off to immerse ourselves once again in the magnificence that is Alcest‘s new album. Until next time, support your scene (if you know what’s good for you).