This world goes crazy. Read of what happened to Rotting Christ in Georgia. Here's the original text from their label:
"ROTTING CHRIST have been arrested in the Eastern European state of Georgia on spurious grounds involving charges of terrorism allegedly based on the band's name.
ROTTING CHRIST frontman Sakis Tolis relates the events in his own words: "We arrived in Georgia's capital Tbilisi very early in the morning of Thursday, 12th of April. After the regular document check at the border, my brother and I were stopped by the police on our way out from the airport. After some minutes, we were ordered to follow police to another area of the airport under the pretence of further questioning before entering the country. Instead, we had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were lead into a prison cell. When we were demanding to be told the reason for this arrest, we were simply told this information would be 'confidential'. Our lawyers informed us later that we are on a list of unwanted persons of national security that branded us as Satanists and therefore suspects of terrorism.
Without previous warning and no official reason, we found ourselves in jail, locked into a small and rather dirty cell and without being permitted any contact to the outside world or legal representation or our embassy for 12 hours. Conditions were bad and no further information provided during this time.
Luckily, only the names 'Tolis' were on the list and the other two band members started to work with the local promoter to extract us from prison and commence legal procedures. It took strong efforts and a complicated procedure to find a solution. Due to the hard work of the local promoter, who involved legal experts, journalists, and activists in Georgia, we were finally released. We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in this process. In the end, we were even able to perform our show and it turned out to be a fantastic night. We would also like to thank all our Georgian metal brothers for their overwhelming support!"
ROTTING CHRIST were allowed to leave the country towards Armenia without any further complications."
On further news, ROTTING CHRIST have updated their festival schedule for this summer. Please find a list of confirmed appearances below.
21 Apr 18 Burgas (BG) Youth Cultural Center
04 May 18 Velenje (SI) Metal Days Warm Up show
05 May 18 Izegem (BE) Headbangers Ball Festival
11 May 18 Kopervik (NO) Karmøygeddon Festival 2018
13 May 18 London (UK) Incineration Festival
27 May 18 Langres (FR) Outch! Festival
02 Jun 18 Duisburg (DE) Rage Against Racism
07 Jun 18 Sölvesborg (SE) Sweden Rock
16 Jun 18 ?ervený Kostelec (CZ) Metal Gate festival
14 Jul 18 Anyksciai (LT) Devil Stone Festival
17 Aug 18 Borre (NO) Midgardsblot Festival (exact date tbc)
18 Nov 18 Bucharest (RO) Metal Gates
(*/10) Chaostar is an outfit, hailing from Greece. The band is the brainchild of Septicflesh guitarist Christos Antoniou who founded Chaostar in 1998. The band was meant to be a side project since the main effort and time went into Septicflesh. Over time the project turned into a band that released so far four longplayer that were as genius and distracting.
Chaostar is differs quite a lot from the main band. The quartet is far more experimenting with sound, getting far deeper into classic music. Screaming guitars and furious solos aren’t what you should expect of “The Undivided Light”. The album, as well as the earlier releases, is orchestral and experimental, all framed by a classic approach that includes some rocking elements.
The guitarist is an academy trained composer who finished his study of classic music with honours and distinction. Antoniou contributes with these skills to a certain extend to Septicflesh songs but Chaostar gives him a far wider playing field for new sounds.
To pick out a few songs of this unconventional album is a mission impossible. The album needs to be seen as a holistic piece of music, featuring intensive and expressionist music. The four musicians stretch the boarders and built their songs on orchestral arrangements and Androniki Skoula’s mezzo-soprano. String instruments and horns are no strangers to Chaostar, enriching songs like the 10 minutes masterpiece “Silent Yard”. Also the heavy drumming, that’s part of this tune shows the width of Chaostar’s sound.
“The Undivided Light” is a counter project to mainstream. This music has nothing to do with cheesy melodies and catchy choruses. This longplayer is a distinctive one that leads to irritation and euphoria. You have to be open-minded though since this album takes time and attention. “The Undivided Light” is no musical fast-food, being served on a 43 minutes car right. It’s a tasteful composition that unveils its beauty step by step.
(*/10) (Since the album is far beyond standard there's no rating)
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Classic Ambient Rock
Release Date EU: March 23rd, 2018
Christos Antoniou: trigger, synth, orchestration
Androniki Skoula: vocals, lyrics
Charalampos Paritsis: electric violin
Nikolaos Velentzas: drums, percussion
Kiara Konstantinou: cello
Vahan Galstyan: duduk
Stella Valasi: santur
George Emmanuel and Greg Eleutheriou: guitars on "Ying and Yang"
Nikolaos Velentzas: guitars on "Blutbad"
Margarita Stadler: girl's voice on "Blutbad"
(8/10) Metal horde Deströyer 666 worked on a new and evil EP entitled "Call of the Wild". As the earlier releases also this 4-track disc doesn't contain any compromises nor it features songs that are heading for the mainstream. "Call of the Wild" is a brutal mini-disc that combines thrash-, black- and traditional metal in an excellent way.
"Violence is Golden" is the starting point of this 20 minutes journey through raw and harsh metal. The songs is a true anthem, enriched by melodic leads that remind of the NWoBHM. "Violence is Golden" could become, also based on the excellent chorus, an excellent live song with the potential to turn any venue into a madhouse.
"Stone by Stone" is faster compared to the opener and convinces by its mercilessness before the title track takes you on a next wild ride. The final track on this EP is also the longest one. "Trialed by Fire" is a seven minutes tune that begins gloomy and acoustic. Slowly and step by step the song evolves to a hellish masterpiece that's heavy, brutal and melodic - all in one. Changes between loud and calm characterize a devilish Deströyer 666 hymn that was first published on the 2003 release "Terror Abraxas".
All done right with this EP that perfectly bridges the waiting time until the new album crawls out of hell.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date EU: February 23rd, 2018
(8/10) Finnish doom death outfit Hooded Menace is ready with their fifth album entitled “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed”. As with the earlier longplayers also the new one combines slo-mo riffs with deep growls. It has been the early Candlemass albums that where an inspiration to the five guys. That‘s where the slow and powerful riffs have their home, embedded into a sound that also shows some parallels with the early days of Paradise Lost. More than once I had to think of „Gothic“ while listening to “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed”.
Hooded Menace newest strike includes six songs, all wistful metal anthems in deep minor. Dark Finnish winter days for sure had an impact on the album that includes a lot but for sure excludes light, brightness and ease to a full extend.
Harsh riffs dominate the scene, a fact that‘s already obvious with the opener ”Sempiternal Grotesqueries”. Spread over more than 10 minutes Hooded Menace celebrates pitch black doom metal in an excellent fashion. The album features 6 songs of which five are epical doom hymns while the closer „Black Moss“ feels more like a two minutes outro.
The magic with this longplayer is the fact that Hooded Menace creates these extremely long tracks in a way that still keeps the level of suspense up high. What easily could end up in a boring flow of riffs is actually the opposite on “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed”. The five Finns added enough twists and breaks to their sound which makes “Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed” to pleasureful journey into sinister darkness.
Fans of Candlemass and Paradise Lost should check out Hooded Menace. You will love it.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Doom Death Metal
Release Date EU: January 26th, 2018
(9/10) The new year starts gloomy. Portuguese doom master Sinistro release their newest strike „Sangue Cassia“, an album I was very much looking forward to after having seen the band on stage, being the opening act on the latest Paradise Lost tour. It was sweeping to see their show and I guess the guys could score far more than just some new fans on that tour.
Like with the predecessor also the new record is mainly kept in slo-mo. „Cosmos Controle“ kicks it off. Hefty riffs are the solid foundation of a song that comes with more than just a sinister approach. This tune is a somber cornerstone of the album. To also break things up, the five piece from Lisbon added a calmer middle section with Patricia Andrade‘s vocals in the forefront. It‘s this mixture of loud and calm that adds a lot to this song - and the longplayer in its entirety.
Sinistro isn‘t a band that keeps it short and spot-on. The opener is an eleven minutes tune that‘s followed by „Lotus“, getting close to eight minutes of essential melancholy. A dramatic beginning slowly evolves to a low-paced metal monster with an immense level of intensity.
Compared to these two epic masterpieces it is „Petalas“ that comes as a short and atmospheric number. „Vento Sul“ finishes the first half of the album and if you still wait for some light-hearted tunes from sunny Portugal you have to stop reading here and now. „Abismo“ continues in darkness, being a next heavy tune with a lot of riff-power included. Again it’s the interaction of harsh guitars and almost fragile vocals that creates the magic with this album. Sinistro kept another epic smasher till the end. „Cravo Carne“ takes you on a 10 minutes trip through wistfulness and melancholia, leaving the listener with a strong need for light and life.
“Sangue Cassia“ is the first highlight of a new year in rock. These guys know how to add emotions and intensity to their expressive music. The album fits perfect into the winter grayness and is for sure not done for sun worshipers.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Dark Metal
Release Date EU: January 5th, 2018
(8/10) Greek metal enthusiasts Septicflesh are, step by step, soaring to one of the important players in the field of bombastic death metal. The quartet that started in 1990, with a short hiatus a few years ago, can look back on a solid amount of longplayers of which "Codex Omega" is number ten in the band's discography. The new record follows the exquisite "Titan" release from 2014 and continues a journey that restarted in 2007.
Their newest longplayer underlines the band's dvelopement in an excellent fashion. Septicflesh lifted their orchestral metal to a next level that embraces the classic components as being a natural part of the entire sound construct. While some other bands add this component to sometimes even compensate for deficits in songwriting, it’s the Athens-based extreme metalists that uses it as a natural part of their music. It’s impossible to dissect the harsh death metal vibe from a symphonic expression, with both representing the strength of Septicflesh and their newest creative output “Codex Omega”. To achieve such a level demands a lot of experience, which the band has. But it’s also guitarist Christos Antomiou’s classic schooling that enables the quartet to take a wider approach when it comes to their compositions.
"Dante's Inferno" the first song you get served with this longplayer. After a calmer start the tune turns into an dark metal ride with a cinematic expression, mainly coming from the orchestral elements.
Furthermore staccato riff ("Third Testament"), blastbeats and atmospheric soundscapes are interacting in a constant way on an album that also includes some clean vocal parts here and there ("Dark Art" and "Our Church").
Septicflesh's newest release raises the bar in a sense of the band evolving their sound to a next level. This disc is a mature album with an excellent sound that has one small point of critic. "Codex Omega" could have had a few more edges which would have added even more vitality to musical sophistication.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Death Metal
(9/10) Black metal can be more than uninspired blastbeats, hoarsely screams and panda bear make-up. German extreme metal band Der Weg Einer Freiheit shows this in an impressive way, not only with their previous releases, but also, and even more, with the newest longplayer “Finisterre”.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit is the brainchild of Nikita Kamprad and Tobias Jaschinsky, the latter leaving the band in 2012. Since then it is Kamprad who pushes things forward. “Finisterre” is the fourth album the band releases and it’s the most mature to date.
In total it’s five songs that made it on this impressive release. What feels, based on the amount of songs, more like an EP is a full-length record with 45 running time. As with the previous releases also the newest output focusses on epical songs with a length of 5 to 13 minutes. This demands a bigger amount of variation and thrill that needs to be weaved into these masterpieces - and it is. The band manages this challenge very well, combining a lot of musical finesse with a dark and wistful vibe that includes many different nuances.
The album begins in a narrative fashion. Some spoken words, reflecting on the depep of human beings, introduces the listener to a first gloomy and fast back metal anthem. No doubt, Der Weg Der Freiheit makes use of blastbeats, but they add a certain portion of melody to the mix, which makes them comparable with Swedish black metal. This isn’t new, but Kamprad and Co. fine-tune things on the new album with evolving the progressive elements in their music. What also keeps the level of suspense high are the various intros for some of the songs as well as breaks that are coming back regularly. Especially the extremely long tunes like “Ein letzter Tanz” and "Finisterre" are excellent representatives for this. In these tracks the band combines harsh Scandinavian black metal, complexity and an poetic approach, giving black metal a slightly different dimension.
Last but not least I have to mention the superb production, done by the bandleader himself, while it was Philipp Welsing who signed being responsible for the mastering. The result is an intense sound experience that emphasizes the emotional depth that’s included in each of the five songs. The coldness and wistfulness comes across very well and also the complexity gets enough attention by a nuanced mix.
“Finisterre” is the bands best album up till now. It’s a poignantly one that catches your mind, body and soul. Check out if you’re ready for it.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date EU: August 25th, 2017
(7/10) Dutch metal outfit Carach Angren got quite some media attention last Christmas when the guys planned a show on Christmas Eve. This brought the Christian Party on the agenda with their ambition of not allowing the show. So awareness about the band in their home country is guaranteed and now we have to see what the new album does for strengthening their position in Dutch metal.
“Dance and Love Amongst the Rotten” is the new album that comes with nine songs. As with the predecessors also their news output is a conceptual one which gives also the newest longplayer a narrative storytelling appeal that reminds of the great days of King Diamonds “Abigail” and Them”. A piano-based intro called “Opening” starts and it immediately transfers you into a gloomy world full of grief and sadness, announcing misery.
The next eight tracks address what the intro announces. Carach Angren takes the listener on a journey though evil and darkness. If it’s less the story you’re interested in, it's the music that might grab your attention. The Limburg-based band plays black metal that comes with a dominant bombastic approach which gives the sound a certain dynamic. Pitch black metal section with furious guitars interact with classic moments including violins enriching songs like “Blood Queen”. The peak of staginess is coming in the middle of the album with “Song for the Dead”. This cinematic tune is kept in a slower pace and includes a lot of symphonic elements which makes it sound like an expressionistic soundtrack.
“Dance and Laugh with the Rotten” is a kind of mixed bag for me. First of all and without any doubt the longplayer is a well-crafted piece of music with quite some highlight. On the other hand it doesn’t lead to too many a jaw-dropping moment. Each of the songs itself is created with great musicianship but I was not sure on what to focus – story or music. Anyhow, the longplayer offers 41 minutes of entertaining metal that’s well-produced and comes with a proper production. The rest is up to each and everyone individually.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Horror Metal
Release Date EU: June 16th, 2017
Was it the Icelandic football team last year gaining many people's sympathy by their unusual and straightforward team approach, it is Icelandic rock music that adds quality to this years summer. Sólstafir recently released their new album "Berdreyminn" which stands for another cornerstone in post rock, coming with a deepened intensity you can't escape from. The quartet is on tour in June this year playing some of the bigger festivals plus a few club shows. One of the latter took place in De Helling, Utrecht on a hot and sunny June night and it felt like the Icelanders bringing a fresh breeze to Holland, even though the temperature in the venue also reached sauna level rather quickly.
Rotterdam-based alternative metal outfit Gold kicked off this event, as they also did a couple of days earlier in Breda. The sextet entered the stage for their home-game show and instead of starting directly into their set, everybody stood still, listening to a two minutes intro from tape. This was an unusual beginning since you could assume that you want to use every minute of a support slot for playing your songs. These came to surface after the prelude faded away in the room. A guitar riff broke the silence, making some girls jump in the front row. Gold played a 45 minutes set of post-rock songs. The base for Gold’s music are heavy riffs and a grooving rhythm section. Three guitars enabled the band to create a massive wall of sound with almost everybody on stage headbanging throughout the entire set. These guys are really committed to what they are doing. A counter part to this robust riff orgy was the expressional 'dance' of singer Milena. Almost esoteric moves have been out of context, not really getting in line with the rest of the massive performance. The same goes also for the hypnotic vocal lines with a melancholic Weltschmerz embedded that started to get annoying the further the set went on. This was my perception but I also have to say that I heard quite some people being impressed by the show. At the end I must say that the guys know and love what they are doing and if you like it or not stays on an individual level. However, it would be good to let lose of the cookie cutter approach and add more twists to the songs. This could make things far more exciting.
After a warm applause slowly disappeared, followed by a quick re-arrangement of the scenery, it was shooting stars Sólstafir who started a 100 minutes journey through post rock in an Icelandic ambience. The latest records of the quartet have jaw-dropping good ones, showcasing a band that combines emotional depth with mighty rock and metal sounds. These songs include everything, from vulnerable moments to heavy riff infernos. All this together lead to a spectacular show that didn't use any gimmicks or effects. The music, together with a simple but effective light show, was enough to make this performance to one of the best ones I have seen this year.
Sólstafir fans witnessed a show that was built on a well-chosen setlist, covering mainly songs from the last two albums, enriched by classic like "Goddess of the Age". The ten minutes masterpiece was the phenomenal closer, introduced as the last song, but fortunately a very long one. Sólstafir hit bulls-eye that night. Their songs are magic and so is their show.
One thing was annoying though and it has nothing to do with the band(s). For me it's still not understandable why people constantly have to talk during a concert. If you want to chat with your friends, fine - do this at the bar. Especially during the calmer parts of Sólstafir's set, these chatterboxes have been a real distraction, leading to a moment when frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason introduced the sad background of "Necrologue" with people in the crowd still keeping on talking. Fortunately, as a matter of heart, he clearly states that these people should shut-up now, an announcement that was very much welcomed by the real fans. Later on it was the sound engineer who did the same to some other 'fans' and hopefully people understand that a concert is about music and no communication platform or chat room.
Anyhow, with these short moments a distraction it was an awesome Sólstafir show. These four guys are perfectionistas being capable to transfer the entire finesse of their records live on stage. Sólstafir gigs are emotional, heavy, mighty, fragile, powerful, refreshing, melancholic and hopeful. The quartet uses the entire spectrum of sounds, giving you the shivers - Icelandic magic that splashes over to the European mainland. I'm looking already forward to see the guys again. Horns up.
Location: De Helling, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Date: June 17th, 2017
Greek metal masters Septicflesh will release their next album "Codex Omega" on September 1, via Season Of Mist. The longplayer will come with a 10-songs-tracklist, looking like this:
The first new song, "Dante's Inferno", was revealed as a 360o video, giving a first idea of what to expect in later summer this year.
(10/10) Unfortunately I never made to Iceland. This place seems to be one of the most exciting ones with an impressive landscape of glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs. Almost like planet earth unveiling it’s full inside beauty, the island is a mystic place. Why do I mention all this? Solstafir calls Iceland their homebase and what the guys release on their sixth album “Berdreyminn” could be the soundtrack for a documentary of this beautiful Northern island.
Eight songs offer a very impressive journey through atmospheric rock music. The four guys create a lot of excitement by playing around with almost fragile moments that within a second turn into harsh hymns with heavy guitars and intense vocals. In case you never heard something from the quartet you only need to listen to the opener “Silfur – Refur”. This track includes all you can expect from the band. The gloomy beginning of this tune almost reminds a bit of a western movie before the song builds up slowly to a mighty piece of music that rolls on and on. Ibjörn Tryggvason’s vocals make things even more intense since he strengthens the emotional depth of the track very much. But be careful; listening to this tune means becoming hooked on Solstafir’s sound. This music casts a spell over you and you can't let loose anymore.
No worries, there are seven more songs, to satisfy your demands, all between seven and eight minutes, revealing the beauty of rock music. Solstafir doesn’t write songs. These guys create touching acoustic moments that reach your heart and soul. Closing the while listening to anthems like “Dyrafjordur” are “Naros” immediately start the mental cinema –it feels like a flight across Iceland, an experience that’s filled with impressive moments and views. “Berdreyminn” is bringing this moving moment right into your living room.
The eight songs are for sure no musical fast food. These tunes, even though showing their beauty from the first time listening to them, need time and focus. There are so many details weaved in that the joy of listening to “Berdreyminn” remains an endless pleasure.
Solstafir’s previous longplayer “Otta” was already a great album that gets overtrumped by their new one. Regardless what genre of rock or metal belongs to your favorites – if you like great music you have to listen to this mind-blowing release. It’s hard to see an album in 2017 that was or will be better than this one. It’s a masterpiece.
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Atmospheric Metal
Release Date EU: May 26th, 2017