Archive for July, 2015

Released in 1993 by Earache/Columbia Records
Best Songs: Heartwork, Burried Dreams, Death Certificate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpbpOgUybBM

Interesting Facts: Carcass was originally named Disattack and was formed by guitarist Bill Steer together with drummer Ken Owen in 1985 and a year later, vocalist Sanjiv and bassist Jeff Walker joined. At about the same time, Bill Steer joined Napalm Death and recorded the second side of what became Napalm Death’s first album, Scum. Moreover Jeff Walker also designed the cover art forScum. Disattack then changed its name to Carcass. Michael Ammott became the second lead guitarist during the recordings of the band’s second album.

Carcass are regarded as pioneers of the grindcore genre with their early releases but also became one of the pioneers of melodic death metal with Heartwork, their 4th album, which has been described as the band’s breakthrough album and “mid-period masterpiece”. Heartwork was considered a radical change by many fans, which eliminated Steer’s deeper vocals and the clinically gory lyrics. Steer handled all rhythm guitar duties, due to Amott losing his passport in India (thus making him unable to return to England in time to record).

The sculpture depicted in the cover art, “Life Support 1993”, was designed by H.R. Giger, and is an update of a sculpture he created in the late 1960s. The video for the song “Heartwork” features a real-life interpretation of the sculpture, including a human welded as a part of it.

After the release of Heartwork, Carcass signed a worldwide deal with Columbia Records, who hoped for commercial success, even suggesting that Jeff Walker learn how to sing. Michael Amott left the band after the recording of the album before founding Spiritual Beggars and later Arch Enemy.

The band is mentioned on the Friends episode “The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress” when a character mentions that her husband wants Carcass to play at their wedding.
On the Elementary episode “Bella”, the Carcass song “Captive Bolt Pistol” is played on a mixtape that supposedly also contains a computer virus.

Carcass-Heartwork

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Released in 2002 by Nuclear Blast Records
Best Songs: Follow the Hollow, As We Speak, Black Star Deceiver, Soilworker’s Song of the Damned
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl9ZfEkaqAs

Interesting Facts: Soilwork was formed in late 1995 by the Swedish Björn Strid and Peter Wichers, originally under the name Inferior Breed, the band changed their name in late 1996 to Soilwork (meaning “working from the ground up”).

Soilwork entered the studio in late 2001 to record the follow-up to the successful ‘A Predator’s Portrait’, with Devin Townsend and Fredrik Nordström. Natural Born Chaos was released in early 2002, to much acclaim as well. It was voted the number one album by BW and BK magazine in 2002. This is the first album with current keyboardist Sven Karlsson.

Soilwork toured throughout Europe to support the album and for the first time throughout the United States, first with Hypocrisy, Chimaira, Unearth and Killswitch Engage during the summer, then alongside label mates In Flames during the fall.

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Released in 2014 by Century Media Records
Best Songs: At War with Reality, The Book of Sand, Death and the Labyrinth, Eater of Gods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoJYZITMZAI

Interesting Facts: At War with Reality is the band’s first album since Slaughter of the Soul (1995), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career. It is a concept album based on the literary genre of magic realism.

On January 21, 2014, At the Gates released a video on YouTube showing a distorted video with lines of text on it, followed by text saying “2014”, possibly hinting toward possible lyrics for an upcoming album. On January 27, the band revealed on Facebook via a new cover photo and profile picture, that their confirmed fifth record would be titled, At War with Reality and would be released in the fall of 2014 through Century Media.

Reviews for At War with Reality have been mostly positive. Blabbermouth.net called it “probably the most anticipated metal album” of 2014. He finished his review by saying that “At the Gates make mincemeat out of this album and efficiently plot most of their songs to wrap in far less time than their acolytes. The average song on At War with Reality clocks in between two-and-a-half and four minutes, yet all feel like far more has transcended. That’s something special. Inadvertently and unfairly credited for the ascension of metalcore, At the Gates releases a demonstrative comeback album that’s simply metal, forget the ‘core-rellations.”

At War with Reality was At the Gates’ first album to chart in multiple countries. The album peaked at number three on the Swedish chart Sverigetopplistan, and reached number 53 on the Billboard 200.

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Released in 2014 by Century Media Records
Best Songs: Shadows of the Dying Sun, While We Sleep, Revelation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORxMdOZpKM8

Interesting Facts: Insomnium is a melodic death metal band from Joensuu, Finland. The sound and lyrical themes of their music portray darkness, sorrow, loss, pain, and nature. ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ is their sixth studio album and their first with new guitarist Markus Vanhala after previous long-time guitarist Ville Vänni departed in 2011.

The first single from the album was ‘Ephemeral’, followed by a lyric video for ‘Revelation’, a music video and single for ‘While We Sleep’ and a single for ‘Black Heart Rebellion’.

‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ was one of Metalised’s top albums of 2014 at #8
https://metalised.net/category/best-metal-albums-of-2014/

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Released in 2004 by Nuclear Blast
Best Songs: Beyond the Dark Sun, Battle Against Time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhGUu6NVXvk

Interesting Facts: Wintersun was a project eight years in the making. Frontman, Jari Mäenpää, began writing the music for Wintersun in 1995, before joining folk metal band Ensiferum in 1996 as lead singer and guitarist. In 1997, Mäenpää served in the Finnish military as part of his national defense duty, during which he contracted tuberculosis. The diagnosis was late, and Mäenpää required surgery to remove part of his lung, hospitalizing him for months. The song “Beautiful Death” would later be inspired by this event.

While Mäenpää planned to perform and record each instrument for the first album himself, he still required a drummer. In 2003, Mäenpää hired Kai Hahto as a session drummer and after sending newly recorded demos to Nuclear Blast, was offered a record deal. After returning from Ensiferum’s Iron recording sessions, Mäenpää began arranging the compositions of the future Wintersun tracks. Despite intending to keep Wintersun as a side project, a scheduling conflict between booked studio time for Wintersun and a tour promoting Iron forced Mäenpää to request time off from the band, which resulted in him being forced to leave Ensiferum.

The vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards on Wintersun were performed solely by Mäenpää, who was already adept at recording multi-instrumental songs, having grown up with 8- and 16-track equipment. Mäenpää chose the name “Wintersun” from a list a friend had produced, later explaining, “Winter reflects the cold and stormy side of the album and also the Finnish melancholy and magic. Sun is related to the ‘universe, space and stars’-feel of the album, which is also strongly connected to the lyrics.”

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Released in 1996 by Nuclear Blast
Best Songs: Moonshield, Dead Eternity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVSnQlvv5Xk

Interesting Facts: The Jester Race is considered a classic album of the Gothenburg style of Melodic Death Metal, along with At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul and Dark Tranquility’s The Gallery, exhibiting the dual guitar leads, growled vocals and acoustic sections typical of the genre.

Jesper Strömblad formed In Flames to write music that combined the melodic guitar style of Iron Maiden with the brutality of death metal, something which Jesper stated he had never heard any band do. In writing songs, Jesper also decided to make use of keyboards, something which was (at the time) uncommon in death metal. Despite their sometimes heavy use of keyboards in their music, they still refuse to recruit a full-time keyboardist.

In early albums such as The Jester Race, In Flames employ two harmonized lead guitars playing over a rhythm guitar. However, since the band only has two guitar players, they found it hard to reproduce those songs during live performances and ever since Reroute to Remain they have focused on writing songs with the intention of playing them live.

When In Flames were recording The Jester Race, they came up with an idea to create a mascot for In Flames. The result was the Jester Head. This symbol made its first appearance in the cover artwork of The Jester Race and ever since, the Jester has been featured in various forms somewhere on every studio album that In Flames has released, either as a song title or on the album artwork.

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Released in 2008 by Nuclear Blast Records
Best Songs: Morphogenesis, Holographic Universe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TenMNABebFA

Interesting Facts: Upon its release, the science-themed Holographic Universe was considered Scar Symmetry’s most commercially focused album, with critics drawing comparisons with progressive bands including Dream Theater. Allmusic comments that the band “appears more serious than ever about contrasting super melodic choruses, guitar harmonies, and even intermittent synths, against aesthetic evil twins like furious death metal growls, aggressive riffing, and torrential drumming”. The album is rumoured to be loosely based on Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe.

Following the release, despite an outpouring of good reviews and press for the album as well as the success of the single for “Morphogenesis”, Scar Symmetry did not embark on tours. The band released a statement on September 11, 2008 announcing that they had fired vocalist Christian Älvestam, due to touring conflicts, creative and personal differences. On October 6, they announced the replacements for Christian Älvestam: they would continue with two singers, Roberth Karlsson (growls and backing clean vocals) and Lars Palmqvist (clean vocals and backing growls) and the band finally began touring in support of the new album in December after six months.

The Three Dimensional Shadow” was the first Scar Symmetry song to feature the use of an 8 string guitar. A thirteenth track, “Disintergrate the Hourglass”, was written for the album, but was removed when the final track list was made.

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