Video: Music Review 003 – Arx Atrata – Spiritus in Terra

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Here is a new video review for the excellent album Spiritus in Terra by England’s Arx Atrata. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.

Video: News Bit 003 – Altar of Betelgeuze, Augurium, Crypt Rot, and more

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Here is the second episode of the Crown of Viserys News Bit. In it I talk about some of the upcoming albums in April as well as the upcoming shows from Crown of Viserys that happen in April.

If you’re liking what you see with the news bit, let me know, and if you are in a band that would like to be featured in the news bit, also let me know.

Live Music Review: Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

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Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

When: March 31, 2017
Where: Starlite Room

For the first time in Edmonton’s metal history, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun have graced one of our stages, and for the not-enough time Viathyn have done so as well. For those that do not know the bands, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun are both Finnish bands while Viathyn come from Calgary. Amorphis are a melodic death/hard rock amalgamation that was born in the death and doom scene. Swallow the Sun are a doom band with melodic tendencies. Viathyn are a progressive power metal band that have essentially come out of retirement for only two shows, which were the Edmonton and Calgary dates for this Amorphis tour.

The night got a bit of an early start and I think I missed the first song and some of the second, or just part of the first song from Viathyn. It was great to finally see this band live, as they are a band I’ve known and enjoyed since their first album The Peregrine Way. It’s been a very long time since the release of that album (2010), and it’s follow-up Cynosure (2014), so I honestly could not tell you what songs they played because it’s been so long since I’ve listened to those albums; probably 2015 was the last time I listened to them.

The energy this quartet brings to a stage is palpable, which is why it’s sad that they are still essentially on hiatus. The quality of the songs themselves is incredible, with tons of shredding solos and amazing vocals. They are definitely for fans of Opeth, Leprous, newer Arcturus, and, well, Amorphis.

Swallow the Sun were my personal favourite for the night, before the show, and stayed that way after. What can I say, they are a doom band after all! The dynamics of this band are unreal, taking you from the deepest darkness to the brightest lights, and back down again, filling you with so many emotions. Musically, vocally, everything about this band is emotive and perfectly doom. If you’re a fan of Novembers Doom, Novembre, My Dying Bride, or October Tide, and you haven’t checked out Swallow the Sun, you should do so as soon as you can.

Amorphis, oh Amorphis. This was a band not born from the death/doom scene from the 90’s, but one of the bands that gave birth to it! And they were going to be playing, for the first time, in Edmonton. I was really excited. But I was also worried. They have, after all, gone less of a doom direction on their newest albums, going for a more straight forward melodic death sound like Dark Tranquillity or mid-era In Flames. How would this iconic Finnish band play in a city they’ve never been in before? They did indeed play songs from their newer melodic death focused albums, and played them fucking amazingly; “Sacrifice” being one such example. The thing that kind of jarred me was that they seem to have rearranged their old and classic material, which was played sparingly, into sounding more like their modern releases. This is exactly what I was worried would happen, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed. I was hoping Amorphis would play a mixture of their catalogue, but without having to homogenize their old material to fit with their new material. I will say that this is the only sour note in my opinion. The performance that Amorphis gave was beyond excellent, and the Starlite Room carried their sound perfectly. I stood in several locations during the set to take photos, and everywhere I moved the band was perfectly balanced, from front to back, and the band themselves were playing their asses off to make sure that this was a night to remember for everyone involved. Now if only my photos had turned out.

In all, March 31, 2017 was an excellent night, the first night of an excellent weekend for me.

Swallow the Sun

Posted by Crown of Viserys on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

News: Gloomed Debut Initial Offering Demo

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Gloomed - Initial Offering

From San Diego, California comes Gloomed, the new three-piece that features Wayne Sarantopoulos (ex-Ghoulgotha, Father Befouled, Encoffination, Decrepitaph, a million more…). Gloomed is not the death metal mastery you may somewhat expect, but rather a traditional doom band in the vein of Pentagram, Saint Vitus, and Black Sabbath. And they are amazing, as evidenced on their first demo, cleverly titled Initial Offering.

From Wayne, via Facebook:

I’d like to formally announce the release of the first demo by my new main band, Gloomed. […] It’s three songs in about 33 minutes. Recorded on March 5th, 2017 at Trench Studios and mixed by Patrick Bruss.

This is some Traditional Doom that I’ve wanted to play for a long time and I finally found the chance to do it. It’s traditional in some ways and a bit strange in some other ways. This is also the first time I’ve gotten to do something with all clean vocals (I’m not singing) and somewhat of a more standard guitar tuning.

[…]

Also, we’re looking for a drummer in the San Diego area. I played drums AND guitar on this demo, but I’m looking to go back to just playing guitar and having the ability to play shows. If you know someone interested, pass along this link to them.

One more thing: Since I know it will be asked, Ghoulgotha is no more. Our drummer Charlie Koryn moved away last summer, and he was just as much a part of the sound of the band as my oddball riffing style, so I decided to end it on a high note rather than try to find another drummer that wouldn’t sound the same and change the whole dynamic of the band. Ghoulgotha wasn’t a band you could do long distance or without 100% commitment, so I decided to move on.

[…]

Needless to say, I’m pretty hooked on this band. Demo of the year contender? I’d say so. Have a listen and tell me your thoughts on it.

Video: Music Review 002 – Casket Huffer – Gospels of Scum

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Here is a new video review for the upcoming vinyl re-release of Gospels of Scum by Casket Huffer. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.

Music Review: Norselaw – Serpent in the Circling Sea

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Norselaw - Serpent in the Circling Sea

Genre: Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Fucking Metal
Label: Independent

Man, who would have thought that buying an album based entirely on pity would yield such positive results? Allow me to explain:

Norselaw himself apparently had a dispute with his then employer that ended with his (in my opinion, wrongful) termination. Having only recently lost my job due to similar but completely different circumstances, I decide to toss my fellow warrior a bone and bought one of his albums. He suggested Serpent in the Circling Sea as it would play to my tastes… how this metal marauder knew such a thing is still a mystery to me, but goddamn, was he ever right!

Serpent in the Circling Sea features a plethora of headbanging highlights from beginning to end. Norselaw’s mastery of the art of the shred, for one. Where on Earth did this guy learn to wield a guitar in such a manner? My guess is he transferred whatever skills he learned as an axe swinging viking from hundreds of years ago to his new modern day “axe”. Or at the very least, he’s The Doof Warrior from Mad Max… hmmm…

Up next on the docket, we have the vocals. Let’s get the clean vocals out of the way; they’re rough. Not bad by a long shot, but they could definitely use some refining. As for his bellowing, fuck man, if he shouted at me to, “Get out of the way,” in that tone, I’d be in the next state over before he could finish his command. Motherfucker is scary.

Have I mention lyrical content yet? Norselaw pulls his imagery from everyday political strife (“fat blue line guarded by swiiiiine!”), to Conan The Barbarian to H.P. fucking Lovecraft. And speaking of Lovecraft, “Fungi From Yuggoth” is one of the best tracks on the album, not only due to the ever-presence of the Old Ones, but because of Jamie Lannister’s energetic drumming. Guy lets his fucking hair down and says, “fuck your ability to ever hear anything ever again!” and proceeds to rupture the eardrums of anyone within range in a berserk barrage of percussive power!

If you walk away from this review and can only manage to remember one thing, make it this: Norselaw is law. These guys fucking rule!

Video: News Bit 002 – Ordoxe, Royal Thunder, Casket Huffer, and More

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Here is the second episode of the Crown of Viserys News Bit. In it I talk about some of the upcoming albums in April as well as the upcoming shows from Crown of Viserys that happen in April.

If you’re liking what you see with the news bit, let me know, and if you are in a band that would like to be featured in the news bit, also let me know.