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Album ReviewReviews

Meshuggah – Immutable

Review by Mitch Charlton

The lords of the polyrhythm are back with their ninth studio album Immutable and even after 30 years, Meshuggah is still killing it and showing the world they can write some incredible music. Straight off the bat, from the opening track Broken Cog, you know you’ve put on a Meshuggah album, it's their sound, their riff style, you know it’s going to be good, and you know you’ll get what you want out of it.

This album blends amazingly, the song progression from track 1 to track 13, over 60-Minutes of riffing, flows like a river, Immutable is incredibly well written and produced, which you’ve come to expect from this band. This is the kind of album you should have on and listen to in its entirety. Whether the album lyrically is conceptual or not, I am unsure, but the music definitely sounds like it is or at least produced in a way to be cinematic or soundtrack-esque and even has a 9:30 minute instrumental, They Move Below, about halfway through the album. This song breaks up and revitalizes the album, flow, its starts slow and builds all over again to then bring you into Kaleidoscope which brings it straight back into the single string chugginess. On my first play-through of the album, I put it on and just listened without really taking note of a track change and then realised I was halfway through the album, it's just ebbs and flows in the right places.

One thing I have always loved about this band, regardless of what they are playing, you are always able to find the beat and headband along. These songs aren’t riddled with changing riffs, crazy interludes, or bridges, they are generally a couple of different riffs per song and then fleshed out with some lead work here and there. It really gives you time to enjoy the riff and get into the flow of the song, sometimes I find in prog metal that bands try and cram as many riffs into a song as they can and you get “Oh that’s a killer riff….. and it's gone” you don’t find that with Immutable.

The three singles released from this album, The Abysmal Eye, Lighting the Shortening Fuse and I Am The Thirst will give you a slight taster of the album, pretty good choices from Immutable to show off. The Abysmal Eye has a film clip that is visually stimulating as there is a ton of imagery flowing across the screen, vast deserts and of course, eyes everywhere. My favourite track off the album is Ligature Marks, this is ridiculously heavy and ambient. The repeating rhythm just hypnotizes you into head banging, you can’t help it.

Hearing this album, you can hear how Meshuggah have really paved the way for Modern Metal and their influence on the scene, whether the current bands are conscious of it or not. They are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their craft and this album just further cements that in. I hope that by the time they get to tour this and even get to Australia, they are all fit and fighting, the drummer, and goddamn WHAT a drummer, Tomas Haake has been suffering from a skin condition that has caused issues playing but you wouldn’t even notice from listening to this. Meshuggah are unstoppable and Immutable.

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Album ReviewReviews

The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

Review by Mitch Charlton

For me, Watain are the epitome of Black Metal, they are pure aggression, ambient, and moody but above all else, there has always been conviction in their music. You know they believe in what they write about. I enjoy music a lot more if a band can make me as a listener, believe that they believe or stand behind what they are writing about, and with Watain, there is no second-guessing. You know they mean business.

Watain are back with The Agony & Ecstasy of.. their 7th studio album and this is a punch in the face or the petrol on the fire that the Black Metal world needs. This album is aggressive and intense, just as their fans expect, and throughout their endeavor to create brutal and threatening music, there is no clarity lost in their sound. Everything is crystal clear but, on each listen, I find more layering in the music, little guitar or bass melodies like in the doom-laden We Remain, there is always more to find and take from their music. Where the music may slow down in pace, it makes up for in mood or atmosphere, it never feels or sounds less intense regardless of what they are playing.

The two singles released for this album are The Howling and Serimosa, good choices that show off the two moods of the album. The Howling reminds me of Lawless Darkness sort of riffing, a good Black N Roll vibe, whereas Serimosa has a more ambient reverb sound, and the Bassline and Kick pattern really drives home that rhythm at the heart of the song. This album has made incredible use of reverb, the drums sound massive! It is a classic Watain sound, I’ve always enjoyed how their drums sound on an album. The mixing of the guitar and bass is a classic Black Metal sound with the use of tremolo guitars and colder sounding bass holding it all together and providing you ample chance to get into a Black N Roll mood to headbang along from start to finish.

My personal favourites off this album are We Remain and Septentrion. These two stood out just for the epic sounds the tracks provide. We remain is a slower doomier piece featuring guest vocals from Farida Lemouchi, who is the voice of The Devil’s Blood, a band that influences Watain, also another band that practices what they preach, definitely check them out! It reminded me of how They Rode On fit into Wild Hunt, it has a completely different sound to other tracks, a complete darkened affair. Where it lacks the pace and ferocity of other tracks on this album, the intensity and atmosphere are kept evident. Septentrion, the album ender brings it home amazingly, this epic track should be played loud for you to fully immerse yourself in the music. I hope this one makes the live set; it would be incredible on the stage.

Watain live shows are just as dangerous as their music sounds, not in a physical sense but from the gigs that I’ve been to see them, they do incredibly well at proving their conviction and message in their music, it’s animalistic, the feeling they provoke in the audience. The Agony and Ecstasy of.. is quite a fitting name given that these guys most likely went through both of these stages whilst writing this album and they will bring this energy to their live performance and the crowd will have the same feelings. With an already incredible catalogue of material, this album only adds fuel to the fire!

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FeaturedNews

SABATON Release Their Monumental Tenth Studio Album The War To End All Wars

SABATON Release Their Monumental Tenth Studio Album The War To End All Wars + New Video and Single ‘Race To The Sea’ Out Now

“It’s a work of art…”BRAVE WORDS

“…a masterclass in war history. ‘Soldier of Heaven’ delivers on the musical front on top of the historical one.”
METAL SUCKS

“The War to End All Wars shows the best of both worlds: it is faithful to the classic Sabaton sound, yet it also manages to surprise even an old fan. One of their strongest works to this day!”INFERNO MAGAZINE

“Epic choirs, wonderful guitar soli and excellent drumming make this album to another milestone on the Swedes’ path.”POWERMETAL.DE

Today, the eagerly awaited new studio album from Swedish war chroniclers SABATON finally sees the day of the light: “The War To End All Wars” is out NOW. Highly praised by international media, the tenth masterpiece of the Swedish metal force is determined to shake the world in its foundations, introducing a new era in the band’s remarkable career.

Stream the album: https://music.sabaton.net/TheWarToEndAllWars
Order your physical copy: https://sabat.one/TWTEAWAlbum

Australian Physical: HERE

The band states:
“With our last album, The Great War, we found that we had only scratched the surface in terms of the powerful stories of courage and bravery and also the horrors that took place during the first World War. Fans would contact us and tell us these amazing stories from World War One that none of us had ever heard of before. Incredible, human tales like the British and German soldiers who put down their weapons on Christmas Eve in 1914 to share a moment of peace and reconciliation, right there on the battlefield; or the brave soldiers who fought in the White War, some 12,000 feet up in the Alps, who froze to death and whose bodies remain under the snow to this day. These are magnificent stories about everyday people who were willing to give their lives for something that was bigger than themselves. Marrying these true tales to loud, bruising, bone tingling heavy metal? Adding a second chapter to one the most frightening and liberating times in history? Why wouldn’t we make this album?”

To celebrate the release, SABATON releases a video for their fourth single ‘Race To The Sea’. ‘Race To The Sea’ is a song about the decision from Albert of Belgium during WW1 to flood the last part of Belgium and with the help of water prevent all of Belgium to fall into German hands.

‘Race To The Sea’ is the fourth single of the tenth masterpiece of SABATON, The War To End All Wars, that is released today, March 4th, 2022 via Nuclear Blast Records. Once again, SABATON will dive deep into the atrocities, miracles and happenings around WWI and take the listener to an emotional and exciting ride of 11 tracks. ‘Race To The Sea’ was preceded by the highly praised ‘Christmas Truce’, the massive hit ‘Soldier Of Heaven’ and overly popular ‘The Unkillable Soldier’.

SABATON is a five-piece heavy metal band from Falun, Sweden. Since the band’s formation in 1999, SABATON has achieved quadruple Platinum sales and performed colossal concerts in over fifty countries.

The band’s ninth studio album, The Great War, released on July 19, 2019, is a musically rich concept album capturing the sinister atmosphere of World War I – thus continuing the band’s trademark style of telling unforgettable stories from merciless battlefields all over the planet.

SABATON, signed to the world’s biggest heavy metal label, Nuclear Blast Records, played “The Great Tour” at major European festivals, and throughout North America, and Eastern Europe in support of The Great War.

SABATON has put the “COVID downtime” to good use, writing, recording, and releasing a variety of stand-alone singles and music videos. The band played its first post-pandemic date on July 9, performing in front of 40,000 fans when they headlined the Exit Festival in Serbia.

As you might guess… There’s no end in sight for this unstoppable war machine anytime soon!

More info:
www.sabaton.net
www.facebook.com/sabaton
www.instagram.com/sabaton
www.nuclearblast.de/sabaton
www.twitter.com/sabaton
www.youtube.com/c/Sabaton

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FeaturedNews

BLEED FROM WITHIN Announce New Album SHRINE + Drop New Single/Video ‘Levitate’

BLEED FROM WITHIN Announce New Album SHRINE + Drop New Single/Video 'Levitate'

“Rise above oneself and grasp the world…” – Archimedes

Scottish fire-brands BLEED FROM WITHIN is embarking on the most extraordinary year of their career. Ascending above a multitude of challenges that the past few years have spewed up, the band is elated to reveal the foremost details of their new studio album. The record, auspiciously named 'Shrine', will be released on June 3rd, 2022. Available for pre-order now.

Launching proceedings is soaring new track 'Levitate', accompanied by a stunning video. An erudite masterclass in modern metal, 'Levitate' affirms BLEED FROM WITHIN's infinite talent – asserting their importance in modern heavy music, laying the pathway to echelons anew.

BLEED FROM WITHIN stated,
“’Shrine’ is the sonic embodiment of the dedication to our craft, representing everything that we’ve been through to stand where we are today. By far our most challenging album to complete, ‘Shrine’ is a testament to our resilience. It is clear recognition of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far, but also a taste of our potential as we continue this journey.

As we fought through the writing process, we were continually fueled by society's darkest moments. The lies. The inequality. The violence. We just couldn’t comprehend it. Ultimately, ‘Shrine’ was our outlet for the anger that we felt as we bore witness to the chaos. It listened as lockdowns tested our resolve, and gave us a reason to get out of our beds in the morning.

We are never finished. We are in a constant state of self-improvement as the band continues, so up until this point, we can honestly say that ‘Shrine’ is truly our finest work. It is everything we’ve ever wanted to accomplish as a band, and it has inspired us beyond belief. We start this campaign knowing that this is our greatest accomplishment, our proudest moment, and soon to be our biggest album. For all those that continue to support us, this is for you. This is ‘Shrine’.”

Watch the video for 'Levitate': https://youtu.be/BGKS3mW2XPM
Pre-order Shrine + stream 'Levitate': https://bfan.link/BleedFromWithin-levitate.ema

Local Physical Pre-order coming soon

Vinyl will be released on October 14th 2022.

Shrine was recorded at Real World Studios and at BLEED FROM WITHIN's HQ, UK. The record was self-produced. Mixing was handled by Adam 'Nolly' Getgood and Sebastian Sendon, with engineering handled by Adam 'Nolly' Getgood and Bleed From Within. The'Shrine'artwork was created by David Provan, with layout by Simon Atkinson.

Shrinetracklist:
01 I Am Damnation
02 Sovereign
03 Levitate
04 Flesh And Stone
05 Invisible Enemy
06 Skye
07 Stand Down
08 Death Defined
09 Shapeshifter
10 Temple Of Lunacy
11 Killing Time
12 Paradise

BLEED FROM WITHIN have been to hell and back, but they are no strangers to enduring hardship. When a global pandemic threatened to shut down their plans, the Glaswegians collectively raised five middle fingers and pressed on. It’s no surprise that this unstoppable riff machine continues to crush forward at such a frantic pace – there's no putting the breaks on the heaviest band to ever emerge from Scotland.

The band’s reputation as one of the most formidable forces in modern metal has earned them tour slots with Megadeth, Lamb Of God, Testament and Heaven Shall Burn, to name just a few. 2021 saw them dominate the UK live scene; selling out their largest ever headline tour in November, capturing hearts on Bullet For My Valentine’s arena tour, slay a Lamb Of God Livestream support slot, alongside (literally) blazing performances at Download Festival and Bloodstock Festival.

‘Shrine’ has taken the most graft to put together of any record in their catalogue, challenging their self-perception on both personal and technical levels – the culmination of two years hard work that embodies their artistic might. Armed with the learnings of evolving their sound over the last decade without ever losing sight of their DIY roots, this is BLEED FROM WITHIN at their very best. There’s no denying the band’s inevitable next steps are world domination, with 'Shrine' a turning point moment.

BLEED FROM WITHIN are:
Scott Kennedy – Vocals
Craig Gowans – Guitar
Steven Jones – Guitar
David Provan – Bass
Ali Richardson – Drums

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Album ReviewReviews

Sabaton – The Great War

Review by Casper

Sabaton has produced a plethora of celebrated songs in their own unique fashion focussed primarily around the history of warfare and is hosts of notable protagonists, but evidently, the band has chosen their 20th anniversary year to deliver their very finest collection in The Great War.

It always seemed inevitable that Sabaton would eventually tackle an entire time period or conflict for a concept album and, as Joakim Brodén explained to me recently, the subject such as The Battle of Passchendaele in The Price of a Mile and Cliffs of Gallipoli eleven years ago for their 2008 offering The Art of War.

Listen in to Joakim explaining more here

Despite the band’s history of successfully melding heavy metal music and factual historical events and our lofty expectations for this concept collection, Sabaton has managed to achieve new levels of brilliance with this heaving behemoth of an album, worthy of the august title, The Great War.

The collection itself is available for pre-order in three formats, namely Standard Edition consisting of the songs in sequence, The Soundtrack Edition sans vocals and lyrics altogether and The Historical Edition.

The Historical Edition complete with short narrations is the pick of the three for me although it makes perfect sense to buy all three in their box set, The Great Box edition.   The narrations afford this album an additional dimension of appeal for the Sabaton faithful and history buffs alike.  To supplement the brilliant lyrics that Sabaton have always managed to create, bursting with historical accuracies and period terminology, the narrations bless us with more historical context to supplement the individual songs already vast appeal.

The first track has narrator giving an account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria being assassinated on June 28, 1914, beginning the chain of events culminating into WWI.  It is narrated so very well that the additional appeal is immediately evident and as The Future Of Warfare unfolds the realisation arrives that melodically, historically, musically and lyrically, Sabaton have tackled The Great War with a truly great collection.  Nothing short of a masterwork.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom brilliantly summarises the period and circumstances surrounding Thomas Edward Lawrence who through exploits becoming the stuff of legend, became known as Lawrence of Arabia.  This track again is demonstrative of Sabaton’s ability to match such legendary subject matter with suitably soaring musical accompaniment. 

Sabaton continues their bewilderingly brilliant ability to keep history alive through thoroughly magnificent metal music and 82nd All The Way describes the very beginnings of the 82nd Division.  The ‘All American’ division which remains to this day as the 82nd Airborne and the heroics of one its most distinguished servicemen and recipient of the Medal of Honor, Sgt Alvin Cullum York. 

Besides the magnificent accompanying music, it is brilliant to hear ‘Death From Above’, represented in the lyrics…a more contemporary motto for the 82nd which accompanies their older moniker All The Way represented in the title.  Again Sabaton has the detail and factual accounts so well represented in their songs. 

Attack Of The Dead Men musically and lyrically describes what must stand as one of the most horrific sights of The Great War in events during the attack at Osowiec Fortress in 1915.  Blinded, blodied, gasping and staggering from the chlorine gas bombardment were the remnants of the Russian 226th Infantry Regiment.  The German troops watched in horror as those who should have already been dead, continued what mast have been their sole remaining purpose with what life was left in continuing their attack.  German troops apparently panicked and retreated from the Attack Of The Dead Men.   Although far from a celebration of the horrors of warfare, Sabaton manage to provide such amazing music to this tale as the troops, and the gas seem to march relentlessly thought the music.  As is the case with The Red Baron in that musically Sabaton have injected all the urgency and fury one presumes of a dogfight between any of the Aces, let alone against Manfred von Richthofen. 

Fields Of Verdun has already been released to resounding acclaim and was presumably released as a single because it sets the scene of the entire collection to utter perfection. The longest battle in history lasting over 300 days and claiming an average of 70,000 lives every month.  Sitting as track nine in sequence on the album this provides the collection with an additional dimension of sombre reflection.

In Flanders Fields afford a special reverence and honour to complete this musical account of WW1.  A simple choral version of the song derived from the famous John McCrae poem that is widely regarded as the most solemn account of the war to end all wars.

All considered, the mastery of Sabaton, the magnificent production work of Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios, the mastering by Maor Appelbaum and the brilliant artwork by Peter Sallaí represents the tried and tested cast of Sabaton success, but their work on The Great War takes all of that to a whole new level.

As is the case with a genuine masterwork, I fail to feel that my words do any justice in representing the magnitude and sheer brilliance that has been achieved by Sabaton in this collection.  All the angst of warfare written into every drum beat, bass blast, soaring guitar solo, and every vocal utterance.  The temptation to describe the events represented measured with the urgency to pay homage to the blisteringly brilliant music that accompanies the superb lyrics is a struggle indeed.  But so much more awaits you on this incredible album.  Musically, vocally, lyrically and historically, l can only offer a humble reflection that you must, simply must own this monumentally superb album. 

Sabaton will release The Great war, via Nuclear Blast Records. 

PRE-ORDER The Great War HERE

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