Archive for June, 2011

bloodbath-fathomlessSweden’s Bloodbath is an extreme metal supergroup that’s had a revolving lineup of the country’s elite death metal talent since forming in 1998. Previous members included vocalist Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain) and multi-instrumentalist Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Pan.Thy.Monium). Tägtgren was responsible for the gut-wrenching vocals of Bloodbath’s last full-length recording, the seminal Nightmares Made Flesh (2005). The Fathomless Mastery marks the return of the project’s original vocalist, Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt, who performed on the first release, 2002’s Resurrection Through Carnage. (He was also the vocalist on Katatonia’s Brave Murder Day and the Sounds of Decay EP) The current 2008 Bloodbath lineup is rounded out by guitarists Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström (Katatonia) and Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson (21 Lucifers), bassist Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) and drummer Martin “Axe” Axenrot (also of Opeth)..

The Fathomless Mastery follows the formula of the other two classic Bloodbath releases. The formula is simple: a devastating blend of old-school brutal death metal with an evil modernized twist, leaving nothing but carnage in the aftermath. (more…)

in-flames-sounds-of-a-playground-fadingDid anyone really think Swedish metal gods In Flames were going to make another Whoracle or The Jester Race? No, those days are gone. The albums are classics, and they’re not going anywhere. So grab them off the shelf, listen to them, enjoy them, and let’s move on. That’s what In Flames has done, and the evolution started with Clayman (2000), through the now-classic Reroute to Remain (2002), Come Clarity (2006) and A Sense of Purpose (2008). Each one of these is a standalone album, yet you can instantly tell that each is undeniably In Flames. In fact, the only album in the past decade that could be considered a “real” stylistic departure is Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004), which is still a great modern metal album. Sounds of a Playground Fading plays out like a greatest hits package of the post-Colony albums. (more…)

The Black Dahlia Murder prepare for a "Ritual"

The Black Dahlia Murder prepare for a “Ritual”

I knew little about The Black Dahlia Murder until 2007’s Noctural and 2009’s Deflorate, but after hearing those albums with their unpredictable nature and deadly combination of intricate playing and all-out evil, I started to get on board. I became a fan after seeing them on 2009’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festvial. It wasn’t long before that tour that guitarist Ryan Knight joined the band and seemed to have a huge impact on the writing and style, making the music more focused and cohesive without sacrificing extremity. (more…)

Rich Luzzi of Rev Theory

Rich Luzzi of Rev Theory

Walking in a ‘Wicked Wonderland’

One of the hardest working bands in hard rock, Rev Theory returned early this year with Justice, their third and best album to date. Boasting a raw, aggressive sound that matches the intensity of its live show, Justice is the product of a band that is hungry, that feels like it has something to prove, even after the success of its sophomore effort, Light It Up (2008). This year already has seen Rev Theory on a headlining tour, sharing a bill with Saliva, playing the main stage at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, and most recently, opening a few shows for the almighty Black Label Society. Outside The National in Richmond, Va., the last stop of the BLS tour, Rev Theory frontman Rich Luzzi sat down for a chat with Live Metal’s Greg Maki. (more…)

Sully Erna

Sully Erna

Good vibrations: Sully Erna and the mystery of music

Most know Sully Erna as the frontman of Godsmack, writer and singer of anger-fueled songs like “Whatever,” “Awake” and “Cryin’ Like a Bitch.” But there is another side to the Lawrence, Mass., native hinted at by “Voodoo” and “Serenity” but not fully explored until Avalon, his debut solo album released in September 2010. Incorporating a vast range of sounds, including piano, cello, hand drumming and another vocalist, Avalon takes the listener on a musical and spiritual journey. While on tour promoting the release, Sully called in to Live Metal’s Greg Maki to discuss Avalon, his understanding of the basic nature of music, Godsmack’s upcoming run on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, his future in music and more. (more…)

AE-khaosNot including 2009’s Root of All Evil (which featured re-recorded songs from the band’s first three albums), Khaos Legionsis Arch Enemy’s first new studio album since 2007’s Rise of the Tyrant and the band’s sixth album with vocalist Angela Gassow. With Rise of the Tyrant, the band opted for an even more extreme output, and the end results weren’t as stellar as previous releases—there was just so much going on for the sake of being extreme. The Root of All Evilrestored my love for the band, yet I wondered if they had lost the fire and magic they once had and if it would be restored in the future on an all-new release.

With Khaos Legions, guitarist Michael Amott and company have recaptured the fire. This is the Arch Enemy that recorded “Ravenous.” This is the Arch Enemy that recorded “Dead Eyes See No Future” and “We Will Rise.” They’ve answered my call and have stripped their sound back down, written a handful of soon-to-be live staples and fan favorites, further cementing Gassow as one of the most recognizable voices in metal, and all of this without compromising their heaviness or integrity. Khaos Legions sounds like the final chapter of the trilogy after Wages of Sin and Anthems of Rebellion. (more…)

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Photos by Greg Maki (more…)

Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society

Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society

Always bet on black:
Black Label Society live in Atlantic City

By Greg Maki

Live photos

Does any metal band today have as devoted a following as Black Label Society? Throughout the afternoon of Friday, June 3, 2011, fans wearing BLS T-shirts or vests wandered around the cavernous Showplace Casino, in which the House of Blues is located, and made their way up and down the Atlantic City boardwalk. (Others eyed them curiously, surely wondering what exactly Black Label Society is.) BLS founder/frontman/guitar god Zakk Wylde often talks about family, referring to his band’s supporters as “fams” rather than “fans.” And the “fams” clearly have taken the concept to heart; you could see old friends reuniting and new friendships forming. It all adds up to a concert atmosphere unlike any other. (more…)