Music Review: Tarja – From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)

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Tarja - From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Coldwave, Goth
Label: earMUSIC

My first thought on seeing this promo in my inbox was to delete it. But, my curiosity got the better of me, unfortunately, and so I opened the email. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Christmas albums, with Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra getting a lot of spins every December.

But man, this is fucking garbage. Yes, Tarja is incredibly talented. And yes, she is singing some of these songs in a style I particularly enjoy. Some of these songs remind me of stuff that would have come off of the Projekt Records label, and Projekt is one of the best labels ever for coldwave and goth. But there has always been something about Tarja I’ve never really liked; even her Nightwish albums are mostly garbage. Once Annette got into the band they really took off, as if Tarja was an elastic band holding the band back from flying at full speed. Once she left, the elastic snapped, and the biplane Nightwish were went into full jet mode.

There’s some high points, such as interesting production choices on these classics of the Christmas season, but ultimately it’s just a Christmas album for Hot Topic goths who can’t stop watching Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s slower moving, which does add an interesting atmosphere to the songs, especially the ones that are traditionally faster, such as “Deck the Halls” and “Feliz Navidad”. But ultimately, this is a complete waste of studio recording hours. The new song, “Together” is completely immemorable, and was one of the main reasons I wanted to check this album out. It’s something that you’d hear on an easy rock station, geared towards suburban soccer moms with black nail polish.

As a less important aside, I am also very disappointed in the cover art for this album. Yes, Christmas is cold. A lot of the music on this album is coldly produced and cold sounding. Tarja, however, is a gorgeous woman on top of her talent, and having this much Photoshop work to her face is just brutal. Whoever did the art is a jackass and should go back to horribly disfiguring women for fashion magazines and leave the airbrushing of musicians to qualified people.

In all, don’t bother wasting your time with this, unless you’re streaming it for free on YouTube or Bandcamp. And definitely don’t play this at a Christmas party, unless your guests are all fourteen years old and have a crush on Jack Skellington.

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News: Wacken Metal Battles Return to Canada for 2018

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Wacken Metal Battle 2018

Crowning one Canadian champion from 2013 to 2016 to play Wacken Open Air, the world’s largest metal festival in Wacken, Germany, Wacken Metal Battle Canada returns for its fifth edition after a one year hiatus in 2017. The 2018 edition will be hosted in multiple cities across the country from Vancouver to Montreal and host over a hundred bands to see only one play the prestigious festival and join previous winners, Hamilton’s Profaner (2016), Oshawa’s Vesperia (2015), Montreal’s Mutank (2014 winners) and Toronto’s Crimson Shadows (2013) whom have had the honour of playing in front of thousands.

WMBC organizer JJ Tartaglia comments:

We’re all very excited about the 2018 Metal Battle. After the pause from last year, we expect a good batch of quality submissions from across the country, both from existing bands that have been honing their craft, and from new bands that have emerged during the break. We’ve also made some tweaks to the round structure which will include a Western Final and Eastern Final leading up to the grand finale in Toronto. So it will be more of a hockey playoff style, which I think will work out better, with the Final being technically on neutral ground.

Submissions for the 2018 battles will open on November 7th, 2017 and close on December 29th, 2017 at 11:59pm EST.

Bands interested in participating can apply HERE.

Bands and battle rounds to be announced in January 2018.

Participating Areas & Cities:
Toronto, ON
Hamilton, ON
Ottawa, ON
Montreal, QC
Quebec City, QC
Winnipeg, MB
Saskatoon, SK
Edmonton, AB
Calgary, AB
Vancouver, BC / Lower Mainland
Vancouver Island, BC
BC – Interior

Wacken Metal Battle Canada is part of an international competition where over a hundred band’s from across the country battle each other for one to be selected and join over 20 other countries for an international battle of the bands at the world’s largest outdoor metal festival Wacken Open Air, which has been taking place in Wacken , Germany for the last 27 years. Find more information at their Official Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

News: Swedish Black Metal Legends Domgård Announce Third Album “Ödelagt”

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Domgård - Ödelagt

Legendary Swedish black metal group Domgård are set to release their highly anticipated third album Ödelagt on Carnal Records. Five long years since the release of sophomore album Myrkviðr, the Gothenburg band has returned with 12 tracks of fierce black metal in the finest Swedish tradition with a thematic focus on the dark and enlightening aspects of Germanic mythology, magic and custom. Listen to the title track below:

Domgård was founded in 1997 by Vindkall, Orm & Trollheim. The following years Ulv joined as a drummer and Illbrand as a vocalist. Some unofficial rehearsal demos were recorded. In 2000 three of four members were imprisoned for several years. Four years later Vindkall and Ulv recorded the demo Blodskald before Vindkall continued on his own until 2008 when the drummer Hrimner and the bass player Hraegelmir (Panphage) joined. In 2009 Domgård recorded five tracks for a split with Cursed 13 which was released on the winter solstice the same year. The following year Heljarmadr (Cursed 13, Grá, Dark Funeral) joined the trio and contributed on two full length albums, I Nifelhels Skygd (2010) and Myrkviðr (2012). Askr joined as the new bass player in 2013 and Mardröm as a second guitarist in 2014.

Ödelagt Tracklisting:
1. Niþanvarþa
2. Svartdjupets Lockelse
3. Töckenhöljt
4. I Geirröds Hall
5. Aldar Røkkr
6. Kynjagaldr
7. Ödelagt
8. Lögr Óðreris – Urblodets Trollmakt
9. Grottkvinnans Hemlighet
10. Sejdmannens Förbannelse
11. Förgånget
12. Ødhe Vi

Domgård -Promo

News: The 3rd Attempt Announce Sophomore Album “Egocidal Path”

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The Third Attempt - Egocidal Path

Leaving a long-established, and very successful, band in order to scratch the creative itch and get out of a rut is always a gamble, but it’s a gamble that veteran musicians and former Carpathian Forest guitarists Tchort and BloodPervertor had no qualms in taking, and, with the second album from The 3rd Attempt, they have proved that they were right to do so.

Titled Egocidal Path, and set for release on Dark Essence Records on December 1st, The 3rd Attempt‘s sophomore offering not only builds on the foundation laid by its predecessor, it also leaves it far behind. There’s still thrash, there’s still black’n’roll, and there’s no doubting the presence of that black betal vibe. But there’s a whole lot more besides, because Egocidal Path exudes the confidence that comes from a band whose members have gelled and know that they have succeeded in creating something loud, energetic and brash, intermingled with subtle touches that surprise. It has a variety that keeps it fresh and interesting, and showcases the undoubted skills and experience of each and every one of its members.

Talking about the album, Tchort had this to say:

“With Egocidal Path we take a huge leap towards the true sound and identity of The 3rd Attempt. While our debut album, Born in Thorns, represented the Carpathian Forest era of our song writing, Egocidal Path is a newly written album that is more aggressive, tighter and in-your-face. It also showcases the fantastic drumming skills of Tybalt (Fortid, Den Saakaldte) and the vocal range and creativity of Ødemark, allowing the listener to slip into his personal universe of wrath, ego, human spite and the glory of suicide.

“Let us accompany you on the path to Hell!”

With artwork by the Brazilian artist Rafael Tavares, Egocidal Path will be available in CD, Digital and LP formats.

Egocidal Path Tracklisting:
1. Blood, Dope and Black N Roll
2. Into the Light
3. Reflections About Knives
4. Egocide
5. I’ll Do It Now
6. The Diciples
7. Black Metal Alchemist
8. The Oath

News: Akhenaten Announce New Album, “Golden Serpent God”

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Akhenaten - Golden Serpent God

Mesopotamian (via Colorado) blackened death metal duo Akhenaten have announced their new album, Golden Serpent God. The amazing artwork was handled by Tony Koehl, and a single and release date will be revealed soon. Golden Serpent God is the follow-up to 2015’s Incantations Through the Gates of Irkalla.

Golden Serpent God Tracklisting:
1. Amulets of Smoke and Fire
2. Dragon of the Primordial Sea
3. Throne of Shamash
4. Through the Stargate
5. Erishkigal: Kingdom of Death
6. Pazuzu: Harbinger of Darkness
7. Akashic Field: Enter Arcana Catacombs
8. God of Creation (Ft. Brian Palmer)
9. Sweat of the Sun
10. Apophis: The Serpent of Rebirth
11. Golden Serpent God

Music Review: Trasig – Sør​-​Afrikasessions

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Trasig - Sør​-​Afrikasessions

Genre: Minimalist Black Metal
Label: Independent

Starting with a thunderous drum under pretty keys and chanting, Trasig‘s newest album Sør​-​Afrikasessions brings to mind a lot of influences. Among these is the obvious, black metal from Norway, as well as atmospheric music, ambient soundtracks, and the exotic world that is South Africa.

“Wait, what?” you might be thinking. “South Africa?” Yes, it’s true. Anfinn Halland, the sole member of Trasig, is currently based in South Africa, despite being from Trondheim originally. The change of location is clearly an influence, infusing the cold music with a warmth and richness that can’t be explained any other way.

Sør​-​Afrikasessions continues where the last album left off, an atmospheric and minimalist black metal, but it still has it’s own identity. Barely a year has gone past since the release of Jammer og nød, but clearly in that year Anfinn has become a better composer, writing music that is even more engaging and catchy. The album has a lot of instrumental parts, using the vocals as highlighter rather than a pen.

I would definitely recommend fans of minimalist black metal to check out Trasig’s newest album, which at the time I write this, is only a day old.

News: Immortal Bird Embarks on First Euro Tour with Moshpig

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Blackened death grind unit Immortal Bird will bring their surly odes overseas for a European live takeover later this month. Set to begin October 21st and level fifteen cities through November 4th, the journey marks the band’s first time ever performing in European territory. The band will be joined by French grindcore maniacs Moshpig. See all confirmed dates below.

“It’s our first time touring Europe,” says vocalist Rae Amitay. “We’re going out with a super intense and fun French grindcore band, Moshpig, hitting four countries in two weeks, and a couple of the highlights will be the Damnation Prefest in Leeds and Bilbao Deathfest in Spain with Sete Star Sept, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Internal Suffering, and a bunch more. Very stoked to get out of the US for a minute!”

Immortal Bird continues to tour in support of their critically-adored Empress/Abscess full-length, released in 2016 via a collaborative effort with Broken Limbs Recordings (vinyl/cassette) and the band’s own Manatee Rampage Recordings (CD/digital).

Empress/Abscess was tracked by Pete Grossmann (Weekend Nachos, Harms Way, Dead In The Dirt) at Bricktop Recording in Chicago, Illinois and mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice, Nader Sadek, Atheist, Origin etc.) at Menegroth, The Thousand Caves in Queens, New York,and continues to traumatize the ears of fans and critics globally.

Bilbao Deathfest 2017

Immortal Bird with Moshpig:
10/21/2017 Excalibur – Reims, FR
10/22/2017 Riveter – Nancy, FR
10/23/2017 Epplehaus – Tübingen, DE
10/24/2017 La Comedia – Montreuil, FR
10/25/2017 Le Dock – Grenoble, FR
10/26/2017 Les Pavillons Sauvages – Toulouse, FR
10/27/2017 Bilbao Deathfest – Bilbao, ES
10/28/2017 La Scene Michelet – Nantes, FR
10/29/2017 O’Flaherty’s Pub – Lorient, FR
10/30/2017 Bar Live – Roubaix, FR
10/31/2017 The Dev – London, UK
11/01/2017 The Alma Inn – Bolton, UK
11/02/2017 Trillians Rockbar – Newcastle, UK
11/03/2017 Damnation Prefest – Leeds, UK
11/04/2017 The Golden Fleece – Nottingham, UK