Archive for July, 2008

equil3During the last decade, there has been a rising force in extreme metal, unknown to many. Tapping influences from ancient heritage, mythology and folklore, and combining them with symphonic elements, galloping rhythms and a wide spectrum of musical instruments, a newer crop of bands such as Primordial (Ireland, 1993), Ensiferum (Finland, 1995), Finntroll (Finland, 1997), Turisas (Finland, 1997), Eluveitie (Switzerland, 2002) and Korpiklaani (Finland, 2003) have blazed a fiery trail for the future of extreme metal. The sub-genre has been dubbed pagan or Viking metal by it’s loyal followers, and has even led to the successful Paganfest tour and Pagan Fire, a CD compilation from Nuclear Blast showcasing the strongest of these pagan-warriors.

Enter Equilibrium. Hailing from Bavaria, Germany, the band was put together to play only one show at a church in 2001 (How ironic is that?), but after a great response and a grassroots campaign led by their fans, the band marched on and has released their second album and first for Nuclear Blast, Sagas (review). Though there are many parts of the disc that will have the listener imagining a Viking longship crashing through icy waters on its way to pillage and conquer a foreign land, the epic metal of Equilibrium goes deeper than that. As he explains in this interview with Live-Metal.net’s Jeff Maki, lead vocalist Helge Stang prefers the term “world metal” over Viking, folk, pagan or anything else. Stang gives us in-depth background on the new album, the formation of the band, and above all else, why Equilibrium is about to party down Bavarian style. So raise your drinking horns along with ’em! What else would you expect from a band that hails from the land of Oktoberfest? (more…)

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Photos by Greg Maki (more…)

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Photos by Greg Maki (more…)

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Photos by Greg Maki (more…)

ADM-total-brutalWho knew that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fronted a metal band? Yes, it’s true, the Terminator himself is the vocalist of Austrian Death Machine and his Mr. Universe physique graces the album’s cover in all of Arnold’s ’80 action film glory. Look at the song titles–“Get to the Choppa,” “Come With Me If You Want to Live,” “If It Bleeds We Can Kill It”–this is Ahhnold, and his album is called Total Brutal! (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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Does the world really need another rock band of the Hinder/Three Doors Down/Nickelback variety? The answer, of course, is no. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another. (more…)

Vince Neil of Motley Crüe

Vince Neil of Motley Crüe

Review by Greg Maki
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As Mötley Crüe bassist/band leader Nikki Sixx told it from the stage, headlining its own festival has been the band’s dream for more than 20 years. The overall results of that dream becoming reality were a little mixed, but that’s mostly because more bands equal less Crüe.

The original “bad boys of rock”—Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, drummer Tommy Lee and vocalist Vince Neil—have pared their show down to 90 minutes from the two-and-a-half-hour spectacle of their “Carnival of Sins” and “Red, White & Crüe” tours of 2005. That should be a crime for a band with a catalog full of anthems and a new album (Saints of Los Angeles) that is its best work in nearly two decades. Only two new songs—the title track, on which the singers from the other four bands joined Neil, and “Mutherfucker of the Year”—found their way into the set list, and they seemed a natural fit with the classic tunes so many of us have come to know by heart, whether we’re Crüe Heads or not. (more…)

whitechapel-exileIt’s good for bands to have shout-along choruses, charismatic frontmen, elaborate stageshows, synchronized headbanging and all the other cliches that come with heavy metal. But sometimes it’s equally as entertaining to have a band just outright kicks your fucking ass. And that’s Whitechapel. (more…)

Sagas“Epic Bavarian Polka?” That’s how the press release describes Germany’s Equilibrium, a band I was first introduced to on Nuclear Blast’s viking and folk metal compilation, Pagan Fire. As bizarre as that may sound, the description fits well. Equilibrium have embraced their heritage and roots of Bavaria (the largest state of present day Germany and home of Oktoberfest) and have created a symphonic folk metal masterpiece. (more…)

scarsymmetry-holographicHolographic Universe, Scar Symmetry’s follow up to Pitch Black Progress, is a more melodic and accessible album. The core of the band’s sound—industrial-melodic death metal—remains intact, yet this slightly new direction may have helped lead to the departure of their vocalist, Christian Alvestam. The band announced in 2008 that they will now tour and record with two new vocalists, Roberth Karlsson (growls) and Lars Palmqvist (clean vocals).

After hearing Pitch Black Progress, I immediately made Soilwork comparisons and now it’s even more evident with the increased use of clean, melodic vocals. It’s most similar to Soilwork’s phenomenal album Natural Born Chaos (listen to “Morphogenesis,” “Quantumleaper” and “Ghost Prototype I – Measurement of Thought”).  (more…)

REVIEW: Swallow the Sun – ‘Hope’

Posted: July 8, 2008 by Jeffrey Maki in Reviews
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swallow_the_sun_hopeI thought Funeral was a depressing band, but they have nothing on Finland’s Swallow the Sun. The title of the album,Hope, is perhaps apropos; there seems to be very little of it in the world of Swallow the Sun. The problem is this band left me doomed out. Hope is an exhausting experience, and I’m not sure whether the claustrophobic vibes I got from it were good or bad. (more…)