Friday, July 31, 2009

Augury - Fragmentary Evidence


Augury's breakthrough debut album Concealed was so ferocious in its sound, that it could almost be described as unhuman. Appealing to extreme metal lovers all over Concealed was a solid technical death album, combining brutality with prog-leaning melodies. Now with their second album Fragmentary Evidence, Augury rains hell upon everything uninspiring and bland. And to keep themselves away from the dreadful pit filled with numerous monotonous sounding tech death bands that are rising alarmigly these days, Augury delves upon celestial themes to keep things alongwith their brutallly good music.

Additionally the overall tightness of the band since their previous work has increased, allowing them to push their abilities further and dig deeper to create complex yet perfect tracks. The music presented on this fine silver platter is amazing. Every single note appears to belong to the great whole, to the consistency of this album. Everything from Patrick's growls to Mathieu's killer riffs seem perfect. Moreover its the master skills of Dominic over the bass that gives he album a whole new technical dimension to place them upon. The basslines on Jupiter to Ignite and Oversee the Rebirth are some of the best you can come across in recent tech death albums.

Whereas tracks such as Simian Cattle and Orphans of Living, gives you a very strange fell but nevertheless the musicianship on these tracks are commendable. Besides theses vocally it goes from screams to death grunts and in Brownstone Landscapes bleak female vocals come around. But all these elements simply adds up to their terrific prowess and their music just wont allow you to nod in disapproval. Overall, the album is a curious, playful peak at the stars, a journey into the unknown, a metaphysical attempt to capture many different abstract feelings.

From Concealed to Fragmentary Evidence hasn't been a long journey but Augury have already started to prove themselves as the leaders of modern technical death scene. There's a certain indescribable appeal to the band that comes with them like no one else and yet not going ut of their way to be different. The album is so neat that it's likely to be the Traced in Air of this year but not recognised as such for years. Untill the next amazingly innovative sounding tech death album comes up amidst those many similar sounding mediocre bands, Augury's Fragmentary Evidence should keep you busy till then.

Most Brutal Moshpit Ever!


So you think these people are moshing? That too brutally?

Then check this video out. Probably the most brutal and dangerous moshpit ever, these metalheads can seriously give their peers moshing in Wacken a run for their balls!( Pun Intended!)

Zakk Wylde Goes On A Ranting Rampage About Ozzy

So Ozzy showed his lead guitarist Zakk Wylde the door, but our man here hasn't taken this too lightly. Staying relatively calm in the beginning about the news, Zakk finally explodes in the end, going on to say''You gonna fucking treat me like a dick? Fuck you.” while talking to a radio station about his expulsion.

Now if he has been expelled without getting contacted by Ozzy, then his frustration is totally understood. But with this recording now, there doesn't seem the slightest chance of Zakk going back to the band and guess he must be going back to his Black Label society days. And if things aren't worse already for Zakk, then have a say at this - Ozzy Osbourne is the godfather of Zakk's child!

Check out the conversation here.

Another reason to stay away from metalcore

djtroublemaker

Apparently the DJ in the above pic, DJ Troublemaker played a remix of Mastodong's Oblivion. Now thats' something disgraceful for a metal band, but if one's into mallcore stuff like that is bound to happen!

Head over to Metal Insider to listen to the remix and just try to headbang to it, if you can

Hail Of Bullets - Warsaw Rising EP

Its been just a year since Hail of Bullets came out with their debut album Of Frost and War, that they are back again with their latest piece of work Warsaw Rising EP. With Warsaw Rising, this Dutch death metal supergroup have delivered an EP in the same format favored by many established bands. Featuring two new tracks, a cover and three live recordings, Warsaw Rising is hardly an essential, but nevertheless it provides a solid headbanging experience amidst there terrific live prowesss.

With the guitarists from Thanatos, bassist from Houwitser, drummer from Gorefest and the indomitable Martin van Drunen (ex- Pestilence, Bolt Thrower) behind the mic; Hail of Bullets is completely in the likes of Autopsy and Bolt Thrower, churning out lofty war-themed death metal in the old school style. To be more precise, musically the band operates within mid-tempo confines, rolling out some major crunches on Warsaw Rising. However those looking forward to those moments of brilliance displayed in their debut album( in tracks like Ordered Eastward,Berlin) may be left disappointed on a high note.

Although Warsaw Rising features no such moment, their two new tracks Warsaw Rising and Liberators, both achieve par for Hail of Bullets' crater packed course. And eventhough both these tracks invokes the listener to headbanging and fist pumping action with their massive chug-along guitar tones, none of these tracks depict the fine majesty that characterises the band's finest tracks. On the other hand its the live recordings
Nachthexen, Red Wolves of Stalin and The Crucial Offensive; that most effectively brings out the true atmosphere of the band's music by singing about war, soldier and weapons.

In fact these live tracks convey the band's on-stage energy so accurately, that you might feel like rushing onto the stage and getting your ears explode to their sounds yourself. The high expectations that followed Hail of Bullets post-Of Frost and War were not exactly fulfilled in this EP. With just two new tracks, more things are left to be desired from the band. HoweverWarsaw Rising is definitely worth your time if you are eager for some new down-tuned and crushing death metal.

Fleshgod Apocalypse - Oracles

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Most people are of the view that Italy is a highly unlikely place for death metal bands to originate and such bands only come from Scandinivia, England or Germany.And though Ephel Duath and Lacuna Coil might have come from Italy, they can hardly be said to have played death metal. But in the end Fleshgod Apocalypse simply squashed that notion with their high quality brutal death metal interspersed with classical orchestral elements in their songs, which simply leaves the listener in a sense of awe making him to desire more from the album. Oracles is a promising debut and solid first attempt by the band at combining brutal death elements with finer aspects of classical music. And doing so they have clearly steered past the risk of sounding unmemorable and avoided the trap of sounding like other mediocre bands in the genre.

On Oracles, the band plays intricate yet brutal form of death metal that many of the established bands of this genre have perfected and Fleshgod Apocalypse are certainly as good as other well known bands like Hour of Penance, Ulcerate, Obsura. But what sets them apart from these bands is the inclusion of more neo-classically inspired structures which creates a strange sense of anticipation to kick in. The introduction of these classical elements may seem like a musical gimmick to create their own niche in the genre. But as you progress deeper into the album, you soon realize that the classical elements are more than just a gimmick. In addition to the piano pieces used in various interludes, the songs are structured in a classical aspect , progressing in complete steps before peaking. The rest of the bands sound revolve around standard technical death riffs which are consistently backed by solid rhythm section of death metal drumming of rapid fire double bass and blastbeats. However the bass falls short on audibility and is rarely headr in few choice moments.

The combinatin of technical death influence with classical elements, mainly orchestral piano elements are best noted in As Tyrants Fall and Embodied Deception. With the latter featuring rapid piano run abruptly intervened by guitar riffs and brief spurts of audible bass work. Inspite of their all out classical approach to the album, there are moments of total sonic destruction with majestic overtones, like in Requiem in SJ Minore. Similar parts appear on other tracks as well, in the rest of the album, but most remarkable of them all is the title track. With a nearly two minute piano piece towards the end of the album, the track clearly speaks for everything the album had to say for itself. That being said the bulk of the material is still absolutely breathtaking, in both savagery and complexity and likely as good as anything you will ever hear.

Although the vocal delivery was getting monotonous towards the end, Fleshgod Apocalypse have marked a promising beginning with Oracles. Striking a nice balance between death and classical pieces, Fleshgod Apocalypse have shown that the combination of these two elements can strike a perfect chord.
With enough variety to keep them interested for the full 40 minutes, as well as containing enough nuances and memorable parts to warrant decent replay value.

Destroyer 666 - Defiance

Six years after Terror Abraxas, black metallers from down under Destroyer 666 are back with a bang with their new album Defiance.The album is quite an accomplishment for the band, a defining slab of black metal that somewhat maintains the quality of previous records, not as good as some of their heralded material, but still packs a cruel punch to the gonads of Christianity.The epic feel of 2000’s Phoenix Rising and the urgency of the rousing 2002’s Cold Steel For an Iron Age are present but do not dominate, Defiance is a record to push on with their attack rather than reminisce about past glories.

Destroyer 666’s music has historically been best described as nihilistic, even to the point they’ve even been accused of conjuring up white supremacy issues in the past. However, Defiance somehow comes off far less shocking than any of Destroyer 666’s previous efforts and honestly, it is all to the good this time. Although the sounds of the album are gritty and raw, it's a lot more polished than the average black metal band due to the thrash and death influences the band have garnered. With Warslut's bellowing rasps and the random breakaway tempos set at vengeance’s pace—largely the album focuses more on finding proper grooves and dark melody to make it Destroyer 666’s most mature recording to date.

Agreed there's nothing mature to a guy named Warslut, but the way the band builds around Human All Too Human only shows the band's resolve to grow more artistic instead remaining downright dirty. Also the elegiac A Sermon To Dead is so epically structured, that Warslut's belching in those trancy doom tempo clearly depicts the band's biggest improvement till date.Having curtain-call guitar solos abound on this album courtesy of Shrapnel is even more exciting than the focused aggression of Weapons of Conquest or the alacrity assisting the snidely I Am Not Deceived.

There are countless moments on Defiance that remind you why you loved Destroyer 666 in the first place. Whether it be the delectable lead lines and squealing solos, or the sudden switch to groovy moshing thrash, the metallers of Oz have triumphed again. Defiance is also a testament to the power to overcome band problems in the interim between this and the last album that led Destroyer 666 to A Stand Defiant.

Novembers Doom - Into Night’s Requiem Infernal


Novembers Doom have been on the pinnacle of doom/death genre since 1995. After staying along so long, one would believe they would lose their spark and go dull. With some bands this may be the case, but with Novembers Doom its not. Novembers Doom knows it’s savvier to work outside-the-box numbers into their bludgeoning death metal infrastructure instead of dedicating whole albums to said risk. With Into Night’s Requiem Infernal, they satisfy both the headbanger’s ravenous lust as well as their own voraciousness for dark sensuality.

Musically Novembers Doom is slow-burning, gloomy, riff-driven and heavy as hell. And the eye-catching part of their new album is the vocals. Paul Kuhr's fairly deep growls with a twinge of soaring clean vocals make the atmosphere so gloomy that may make you want to cry. Cleans are mostly used in the choruses with depressing lyrics which gives a very epic feel to the album. However the Sasha Horn's work behind the drums are forgettable but even then it manages to blend in with other elements that make up the band's sound. Also the intelligent guitar work of Vito and Lawrence utilizing heavily distorted sounds amidst those clean rites passage ensure that the album dodges the dreadful draggy sound that many bands in the genre fall prey to.

The title track is one of the densest songs Novembers Doom has yet penned and it doesn’t cease from there. Empathy’s Greed, The Harlot’s Lie and the stamping Lazarus Regret will provoke rhythmic noggin nods with sinewy riffs, alt-psych tucks and raging vocals from mastermind Paul Kuhr. And when they want to go a bit offbeat,they succeed admirably with the sensual quietude of The Fifth Day of March. And similarly they end the albumwith When Desperation Fills the Void, which wails into a crowning snarl in a taciturn manner.

The depth and the variety on Into Night's Requiem Infernal is worth checking out. It is heavy, but still manages to offer more than just speed and distortion. Barring few lyrical hiccups , as it tends to get tedious and weak drumming, Novembers Doom latest release is their magnum opus or whatever else you may want to call it.

Candlemass - Death Magic Doom

In the doom metal word today, Candlemass might be king. It is true, doom metal is a bit of a dying breed, but if one band has the ability to change that, Candlemass would be the one. This album is not as much tradition doom/epic doom as their past releases – they have incorporated a lot more elements of standard heavy metal. And this is most definitely not a bad thing. Through the simple addition of more heavy metal styles their music gained so much more power.Since Robert Lowe stepped in at vocals, it seems, the band has taken a bit heavier sound. It’s unclear whether this is because of Lowe, or because Leif Edling has decided to simply write heavier music. The only problem is that with the heavier writing, they have forgone some of the more doom sounds, and the music has a less dramatically depressed sound. But one thing is clear for sure and that is this album is the beginning of a new era for Candlemass.

King Of The Grey Islands showed great promise for the new lineup of the band, but something was lacking. The songs were solid, the production was heavy, and Lowe delivered a great performance behind the mic. All of the elements were there, but the album still seemed to lack the spark that would make it a classic. Hearing Death Magic Doom, the first album written specifically for Lowe makes it clear what was wrong before.Death Magic Doom does not suffer from any of these problems. As soon as the first riff sets in, it is clear that this is a band rejuvenated by the new blood Lowe brings. The production is massive, as a thundering riff pounds out a tempo faster than anything Candlemass has ever tried before. In fact Lowe towers over the wall of sound, his vocals more powerful than even the darkest doom.

The album kicks off with the uptempo If I Ever Die, that's packed with hooks and really memorable riffs. That segues into the more traditional and aptly named Hammer Of Doom, which is slow and alternates crushing riffs with lighter moments. Demon of the Deep turns another doom song on its head, ending with a melodic section that sounds as hard rock as doom metal. Likewise, Dead Angel bounces along with a chorus that is the closest doom metal will ever come to pop, while My Funeral Dreams is able to fuse all of these elements into a five-minute blueprint of everything Candlemass can be if they want to.

Death Magic Doom surpasses the Messiah reunion record and harkens to the era of the first three albums. An impressive release, all the more so with new vocalist Robert Lowe. Its simply marvellous how he fits right in the riffs instead of on top of them, whether the tune's mid-paced or slow. Candlemass has been around for a long time and has released some of the definitive and pioneering albums in the doom metal genre, so expectations are always high for any new release. Death Magic Doom lives up to those lofty expectations.

Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

Just the mere mention of the name Anaal Nathrakh is enough to make you run for cover as the fearsome Brit duo load, lock and take aim once again with brand spanking new album In the Constellation of the Black Widow. Paving the way for a new extreme that gravitates far beyond the usual metal clichés, this new album smashes down yet more boundaries serving up a raw as shit plate of insanely brutal black, death and grind that is by far the most distinguished and complete sounding Anaal Nathrakh album to date.

Expansion is the word that can best describe how In the Constellation of the Black Widow differs from their previous releases, still able to make listeners ears fold in on themselves while including healthy doses of well-placed melody that even with VITRIOL’s maniac screams remain wholly digestible. Both him and Mick Kenney ( have hardly deviated from the course initially plotted on their 2001 debut, The Codex Necro. However, they have gradually added new layers of rigid extremity that are somehow digestible amidst the massive sonic boom that is struck from the get-go. Seriously, who wouldn’t run for cover once the strands of the title track and go-for-broke “More of Fire Than Blood” take aim and open fire?

After a brief intro, the opening track In The Constellation Of The Black Widow launches like a punch to the gut, vaulting out of the gate at lightning speed with frenetic drums and a wall of extremity. Throat ripping screams and growls are tempered by brief melodic vocals. The melodic vocals get more of a showcase on songs like More Of Fire Than Blood, which has plenty of intensity, but also eases up from time to time.Terror In The Mind Of God blends majestic black metal atmosphere with misanthropic guitars and a amazingly catchy melody while The Lucifer Effect has some downright groovy moments amongst the brutality. The closing track Blood Eagles Carved On The Back Of Innocents brings things to a crushing close with distorted vocals and nonstop blast beats.

After all this massive heart-stopping effort from these guys, the only thing that leaves you disappointed is the lack of any surprise element in the album. Still, if you're looking for music that's guaranteed to scare the shit out of your neighbors or need an appropriate soundtrack for that nuclear war the news media keeps hinting at in the not too distant future, this class act have raised the bar well beyond the reach of practically every extreme metal outfit in existence.

Gutslit & Pulmonary Fibrosis - Contorted Mutation Split

In the two thrashing years they've been around, Bombay's Gutslit have come up as one of the best grind outfit in the domestic metal scene. And Contorted Mutation their debut split CD on Cataleptic Remains Productions(Europe) alongside French grinders Pulmonary Fibrosis stands as a solid proof of that. With each vocalist Nikhil's, guitarist Dynell, bassist Gurdip and drummer Abhishek's mind tuned to brutality, the deadly growls amidst heavily distorted riffs and blastbeats at a high speed tempo create a perfect setup to raise hell in the listener's atmosphere. And eventhough Pulmonary Fibrosis play a similar role in the beginning of the disc, its the bad sound quality of their tracks that fails to create the virulent environ which Gutslit succeed in doing in their half of the CD.

As mentioned Pulmonary Fibrosis starts the brutal assault with Rancid Corpophagous Blists which in its unrelenting blastbeats and spine-chilling growls of Adrien create the perfect gore atmosphere. The carnage carries on to the next two tracks as well with regular on-mike vomits by Guyome, who also happens to be the drummer. And finally things end on a bloody note with grinding sounds of Rectal Spinal Boiling Slaughter, leaving the listener in a macabre state of mind.

However Gutslit starts on a different note compared to their French counterparts, with its intro carrying chaotic screams and noises, sounding similar to that of a victim getting slaughtered by a psychopath. In fact every track in their segment start with such gruesome narration of an unspeakable act of crime, that one may start to think as though the devil himself is behind all this. But this wicked act only adds up to the brilliant savage mood their side of the disc creates. Right from Boiling in Bile to Eviscerating The Stillborn and the Catherine Wheel, Abhishek blasts through the tracks amidst those vile, distorted riffs minus any fancy pickings or wild solos that would make Six Feet Under appear as guitar heroes. Moreover a word of appreciation must be given to Nikhil for his extremely wide ranging vocal capabilities, which only adds another layer to their music.

Overall its a brilliant effort by both the bands, though Gutslit overshadows its peer. The production is also pretty muffled up with the sound quality ending up on a good side for Gutslit only and not for Fibrosis. Contorted Mutation is sheer brutality and carnage right from the start and a must for every grind lover's collection. And if things stay in the right track for Gutslit, who knows maybe they could be the next big thing in the metal scene in a shortwhile

Gorod - Process Of A New Decline

France has been putting out some great death metal for some time. Gojira has risen far past my expectations, but upon discovering Bordeaux’s Gorod, my outlook on Europe’s impact on tech death changed immediately. Their prior albums Nuerotripsicks and Leading Vision are incredible, but the sheer immense of the new material simply shatters its previous achievements. The States has always dominated technical death scene with Atheist and Cynic, and now with such bands as Arsis, Dying Fetus, Decrepit Birth and Sickening Horror. But now, Gorod and Germany’s Necrophagist help prove that the other hemisphere can hack it too.

All the problems with modern technical death metal are pretty much eschewed and forgotten about on here, and replaced with a hungry, bloodthirsty and insanely complex template that resembles something like a truck slamming into you at 100 mph. There is not a wasted note on this album, and leaving exaggeration aside - every second of Process Of A New Decline is spent thoroughly on mind-blowingly technical riff/lead layering executed by Mathieu and Arnaud with a furious, blistering intensity that will singe your eyebrows off within the first couple of songs. And they never let up, through eleven songs and fifty minutes of winding, twisted insanity, of completely relentless mathematical fury. Most death metal albums get tiring around that point, but not Gorod; these guys know what they're doing. They have more focus, anger and intelligence in one guitar string than some bands have in their entire arsenal.

The guitars beautifully harmonize in Disavow your Gods, playing off into each other into the song's end. And when the playlist reaches Programmers of Decline, the track barrels through the gates firing on all cylinders with a careening tempo that will leaved you pumped up like you just drank a bucketloads of Red Bull.And thats not the end toof their unimaginable possession of envying bundles of musical skills as evident on Rebirth of Senses where they successfully pull off a slow burner brilliantly. The band is always doing something to constantly enthrall the listener ,providing a lively, ear-pleasing jolt to the senses. Even on the more melodic notes, calculated Watershed would leave you dazzled as it ends.

Process Of A New Decline plays as a soundtrack to the merciless hacking and total destruction of a mainframe computer database, a mechanical and impartial Armageddon upon the whims of humanity's technological follies. Nobody ever thought technical death could sound this good after Cynic. And this clearly seems to be their very purpose of staying in the scene - never do Gorod stop sounding like they have a mission to accomplish. Gorod have created a serious ass-kicking beast here, and if this is what they can do now, I shudder at how powerful they might grow in a few more years.

Suffocation - Blood Oath

If it was the sheer brutality of Effigy of Forgotten that
got Suffocation recognised as the brutal death pioneers,
then Breeding The Spawn only cemented that fact.
And when questions were raised on their musicianship as they returned to the scene after a 11 year hiatus, Souls To Deny promptly answered them with its trademark unrelenting sounds. So where does Blood Oath stand against all this one may ask? And the reply to that would be that Blood Oath is still a very Suffocation album, like a giant trodding down a brute path crushing everything in its way.

Blood Oath is everything about metal that can possibly be extreme. Mullen's growls and screams are top notch and so are the monstrous yet technical riffs from Terrance and Marchais. But more surprisingly its Derek's sick bassline that gets along perfectly with Mike Smith's maniacal drumming in a superb precise manner. And yet somewhere down the line one starts feeling that things start to get repetitive inspite of the numerous tempo shifts they come up with. But this doesn't deny the listener the brutal headbangaing experience Suffocation have always provided in all their other works, and listening to it will catapult you into the vicious atmosphere they create in the album.

The album wastes no time, kicking off with the title track, and the onslaught of chug chug guitars and double-bass drums blast out of the speakers and quickly Frank Mullen's guttural roar takes hold and doesn't let go untill and unless you have started headbanging furiously to its beats. And the grinding sonic assault continues into the album, although its best depicted in Dismal Dreams.There’s plenty of other decent mosh moments throughout the album, such as portions of Cataclysmic Purification and Undeserving, but the masterpiece of this record can be found on Provoking The Disturbed. Right from the onset, this song is beating your face into the pavement, and it manages to keep it up at regular intervals throughout the track. By the time you hear the bass solo, you know it’s time to either don body armor or vacate the premises.

Overall Blood Oath is a well done slab of death metal from Suffocation. Although the first two tracks feels like a composite of the rest of the album, no where down the line you feel like lifting your head from the maniacal headbanging you would be indulging in listening to the album. And with this Suffocation have delivered another dose of brutality in Blood Oath.

Devourment - Unleash The Carnivore


Far too many people complain that brutal death bands are no different from death metal bands, and all they do is blast and thrash along to the sounds of unreasonable growls and squeals from the vocalist. Some even go on to think that the sound rather resembles gurgles! What they don't seem to get is that that's the entire point of being a brutal death outfit at a first place. After all brutal death is a very primordial genre that doesn’t revolve around the most technical riffs or the gentle melodies one can come with. In fact all it demands is to create compositions which upon listening would compel us to brutal, mindless, chest thumping behavior comparable to that of cavemen and neandrathals, which is otherwise unexplainable to others not into it.

Devourment's Unleash The Carnivore is one such album that follows all those unwritten rules of creating a true brutal death album. The album brings a new lease of life to the band after their somewhat disappointing previous work Butcher The Weak. They succeed at taking the abstracts of death metal out of the comfortable mind and violently throwing them into a primal and nasty environment. There is nothing to illuminate on regarding the riffs, percussion, or gutturals (although Mike Majewski and un-jailed Ruben Rosas deliver truly destructive vocal performances), but that is the point. There is not much to distract from the streamlined agenda of churning brutal slamming sounds these eight tracks propagate.

Right from the track Unleash The Carnivore to Fed To The Pigs, the unrelenting environment the album creates is very clearly visible. Just listening to the tracks provokes you to let out an extremely visceral physical response, implying the purposeful use of the brutality by the band. Deflesh The Abducted carries the signature growling grooves amidst the constant hi-hat rolls, making it a very phenomenal piece of composition. The gorifying frenzy of the blastbeats with deadly riffs continues on till the abominable Over Her Dead Body, where it takes a rather weird diversion although a likeable one. The breakdown in the song has almost no transition yet feels totally natural and the spastic parts are oddly effective despite seeming random to the ears. And yet the album ends on a vicious manner, marking the return of brutal form that is Devourment.

Unleash The Carnivore is not meant for that bunch of metalcore fans who are always sticking their point of brutal death being the most pointless genre into their butt. Right from the word go, Devourment’s latest offering is a dream come true for all those brutal death fans, who pray for that golden album amidst all that mediocre works other bands come up with in the name of brutal death. It’s insanely heavy amidst all those brutal gurgles and growls, surpassing its entire previous works in every regards. And if things still don’t stand brutal enough then the artwork by the legendary Dan Seagrave is sure to drive the point to your brain.

Drudkh - Microcosmos

When I first hit the play button, I was getting myself ready to headbang to the crushing blastbeats one comes to expect from a black metal band. But what followed next was a totally new experience, after all the music emerging out of the speakers was very much tinged in folk melodies amidst black metal sound. Thats when I realised that Drudkh had struck a very inspiring balance between aggressive, textured guitar work and organic melodies, along with tighter songwriting. Microcosmos is one of those very select albums where incorporating folk melodies to metal hasn't resulted in a queasy lame sound unlike other mediocre outfits. Although the sound of this album is nowhere close to its previous seminal work Blood In Our Wells, Drudkh retains a certain appeal to its latest work Microcosmos that forces you to lend your ears to it.

The album starts on a very gentle note with a short folk instrumental piece that succeeds in creating a sense of aura around the album which succeeds in pulling into the very plaintive atmosphere it creates. And needless to say the album also ends on the same note, with a similar instrumental piece for the prologue. And also not to forget the four tracks in between, are combinations of aggressive riffing and threnodial melodies, along with the added delicateness that is Drudkh. 'Distant Cries Of the Cranes' is a song laden with variations throughout that includes the bass line leading the way in a deconstructed interluding end; which clearly makes you feel the melancholic atmosphere it presents.

And this melancholy continues into 'Decadence' and 'Ars Poetica' with a touch of debility although 'Ars Poetica' gives a very cracker-barrel feel. 'Everything Unsaid Before' once again exemplifies the band's exceptionally tight songwriting interwining with its textured leads without any minor glitch. Not a single moment listening to the album makes you think that Microcosmos is slipping into the mundane of musical conveyance, whether its the sorrowful 'Decadence' or the unrelenting nature of ' Everything Unsaid Before'. In fact it would also be a very harrowing experience to choose the best song from the album. Although the signature drone sound of the band is slightly diminished in the album, the tranquil and hypnotic feel that has come to define Drudkh's music still reckons here with a hammering force.

Microcosm is heavy in every sense of the word. In both style and substance, the album recalls struggles of an almost universal order (hence the title), pushing the individual to purge their self-concern in light of higher and more mysterious powers. Seen in light of their previous work, Microcosmos encapsulates the best aesthetic touches Drudkh has developed over the years, condensing folkloric atmosphere, climatic guitar solos and passionate vocals into a poetic whole.

Amorphis - Skyforger


When Amorphis’ opening song on Silent Waters began with a roar and continued by displaying the best of the band’s prog and metal sides, it set the tone for an album that ended up being near flawless. So, when SkyforgerFar From the Sun, failing miserably, and it seemed that the band were poised to repeat those mistakes. Fortunately, a complete run-through of Skyforger alleviated concerns of another Far From the Sun fiasco, but initial listens can be deceiving.

Preliminary listens confirmed that the band was trying their hand at a more prog-oriented album, but it also appeared that they had pulled it off. It seemed that they had learned from their past mistakes and had retained the strong melodies, death growls and stylish keyboard accompaniment of the past but had integrated those elements into prog rock structures that pushed the clean vocals and choruses to the forefront. This blend of strong guitar melodies and catchy choruses resulted in an album that’s instantly appealing and enjoyable. Due to this outcome, it didn’t seem to matter that the death growls had been relegated mostly to a support role or that heavier sections were few. Unfortunately, the immediate nature of the songs and the focus on moderately paced prog also results in a quick decline in replay value that will ultimately be the album’s undoing.

After a handful of listens a lot of negative elements that might not originally be apparent start to become more evident. The main problem is that the choruses are very similar to each other due to the limited vocal range of Tomi Joutsen and the similar tempo that almost every song utilizes. Also, the guitar melodies that initially seemed to be so strong start to feel redundant and in some cases recycled. This recycling of melodies is no more apparent than on “Sky is Mine” which is almost a direct copy of the faster section on “Under a Soil and Black Stone” from Eclipse. These repetitive elements weigh heavily on the album as a whole and cause the songs to blend together into one giant mid-paced rock song. The underlying riffs that often sound generic and bland, as if they were only an afterthought, only worsen this monotonous experience.

The only thing that saves this album from being a complete disappointment is the strength of the band’s song writing skills. So, while these songs will ultimately be seen as redundant, they’re still enjoyable enough to listen to once in a great while. It just seems that the band can’t pull off the prog rock album that they’ve now tried for twice. Both attempts have seen the band develop a tunnel vision that forces the songs to conform to a very limited set of ideas that ultimately creates a very dull, repetitive album. While this attempt is better than Far From the Sun due to its instantly catchy songs, it’s a weak hook that loses its edge fast. Unfortunately, as enjoyable as this album is initially, within a few weeks of having it there is absolutely no incentive to replay this instead of delving into the band’s back catalog. started with a simple piano melody before segueing into laid-back prog, it caused a little concern.

Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes Of God


Goatwhore is probably the coolest name a metal band can think of and that too when they call themselves a blackened-death metal band, you really cant help but ask yourself if they really sound as good as their name or is it really worth my time listening to them. And one listen out of their songs is all you need to tell yourself that Ben Falgoust and Co are not a bunch of metal poseurs and they deserve to be stamped with the KVLT tag. Coming from New Orleans, a place not too familiar with metal, Goatwhore pulls all string together, to once again put together an album which stays true to the basics of metal and provides a very headbangable experience to the listener.

Goatwhore is one classy band that genuinely love metal and don't just want to play it. And it is their this attitude that has made them a forefront in their genre since their start in 1997 and kept them going ever since without any major fallout.Keeping things just as dark and evil as ever before, Goatwhore have added to their collection of blackened death metal albums Carving Out the Eyes of God in their forth studio release.Carving out the Eyes of God is nefariously black and sadistically thrashing in a way that is uniquely Goatwhore, perhaps more so than any previous album, which is saying a lot considering the greatness achieved right from the start.Many bands take years to get their signature sound and once they do get that ,they move on to an altogether new dimension as seen with 1349's The Revelation Of The Black Flames . This is quite a disturbing trend that has led many bands to their downfall.But what Goatwhore have done in Carving Out The Eyes Of God is remarkable in the sense that they have build up the entire album around their signature speed and heaviness of Sammy Duet and Ben's throat wrenching screams that first got people talking about them.

Right from track one “Apocalyptic Havoc”, guitarist Sammy Duet shows his abilities to play the speed and heaviness that got people listening to Goatwhore. Sammy’s technicality has been increased with each album allowing him to make each song different from the last. It is a compact track , with thrashing fist to the face feeling.The band's trademark grab-you-by-throat riff/rhythm moments are heard with even more intensity this time around. Listening to the hard left turns on "The All-Destroying" one gets reminiscent about the latter featuring an introductory riff straight from the book of vintage MOTÖRHEAD.The beginning of ''Carving Out The Eyes of God'' starts off encompassing a more death metal sound, with the brutal blast beats and vehement vocals. Throughout the song we have slower more melodic sounding interludes between the relentless savageries, which give you a refreshing break.

The next song on the album "Shadow of a Rising Knife", we’re thrust back into a faster pace again, with the vocals, guitars and drums all following suit. ''Provoking the Ritual of Death'' and ''In Legions,I am Wars of Wrath'' again seem to go back and embody this slower measure,yet keeping things black and diabolic. ''Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless'',''This Passing into the Power of Demons'' and ''Razor Flesh Devoured'' brings things back to a grinding,spine crunching pace that gives the album a more heavy and thunderous atmosphere - an affectionate and sincere tribute to the old school that has so vividly influenced them, with enough twists thrown in along the way to call the material their own. Album closer "To Mourn and Forever Wander through Forgotten Doorways" offers another twist with its eerie atmospherics that begin with a chilling bass line introduction and vocals from Falgoust that are spoken for the duration. Probably the most sinister and invigorating track of the album, it clearly suggest that Goatwhore are on the threshold of stepping into something even more spectacular.

The fact that the same lineup has remained unchanged since 2006's "A Haunting Curse" has contributed to the tightness of the effort. It is also the band's second production under Erik Rutan's demanding yet productive glare.These two elements have done wonders for the act's unbelievably aggressive attack and overall sound. Simmons' drumming alone must be heard to be believed; his blasts will cause irregular heartbeats, while his rhythmic shifts may very well knock the earth off its axis when the album is played at maximum volume.That Goatwhore has brought its game is not surprising. That the band has done so while reaching new heights of sonic decimation is what's so damn impressive. "Carving out the Eyes of God" is pure fucking metal; as pure as it gets.

Obituary - Darkest Day

For year after year Obituary have churned out riffs and beats like there is no tomorrow.It clearly seemed like these guys want to bring out their best in every production albums before their own obituary features in the newspaper columns. And things did seem to head that way, till Allen West's fateful departure left behind a very consequential void in the band in 2005. But the resilience the band showed after Ralph Santolla's arrival, has clearly led them back to their resurgence. And this impact has been very visible from their last album ''Xecutioners Return'' to their latest platter ''Darkest Day''.

Certainly you cant deny that Ralph Santolla's is due for a major slice of credit for powering Obituary's resurgence in their second homecoming.After all he is the same guy who has made our ears bleed with his endless swift leads and smacking licks playing alongside another death metal biggie- Deicide. The way he has meshed in with the efforts of Frank Watkins or Trevor Peres is absolutely commendable and if you dont raise up the horns to this guy ,then you are probably deserve a hard smack on your face with knuckle brass.Although Darkest Day has also shown impalpable undertones of classic rock and heavy metal that, it takes time to realise that these are the kind of subtle tints that make the album more enjoyable or rather more headbangable.

Across its first six tracks,Darkest Day appears to be on a par with its predecessor. "List of Dead" is a sensational opener, its aggression pronounced tenfold thanks to some obscenely effective drumming courtesy of Donald Tardy.To a misguided listener it might sound more like a bad production piece , but it turns out to be a subtle joke to misguide the listener. "Blood to Give" is Obituary doing a surprisingly successful impersonation of Black Sabbath, the disc's sometimes absurdly sludgy production giving the song's driving riffage additional bite. "Outside My Head" follows suit, its grinding pace proving once again that death metal can be devastating without the need to resort to constant blasting. But it's the gripping title track that will really make you sit up and take notice. Doom-laden and as deliberately measured in its build-up as it is generous in its pay-off, it boasts as much atmosphere and bad intentions as any of the Florida quartet's most timeless classics. Big riffs abound of th Ektic FrostVariety on '' Payback'' could be Trevor's best riff action sice The End Complete..Santolla and Peres come together in" Fields of Pain'' to show both the lighting fast shredding and the pure raw heaviness of death metal to create something new but familiar to Obituary.

After such an impressive start, only few would be able to keep the momentum going, and unfortunately Obituary show increasing signs of treading water as the clock ticks on.''See Me Now'' is more of a patchwork quilt of all the past Obituary songs at its best.The stunning fashion in which the album ends with 'Truth Be Told'', simly firms your stance that Obituary are considered the pioneers of death metal for no shit reason.Outside of Morbid Angel and Deicide, no Floridian death metal band has been as consistent and relevant. There’s lots of gas left in this tank…the possibilities for new, but not really new riffage must be coming out of the woodwork. Darkest Day most certainly has more variety and staying power than 2005’s Frozen In Time and 2007’s Xecutioner’s Return. Keep it coming, Obituary.

Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave


If a person was to ever point at a band deemed as an extreme metal institution,then doubtlessly it has to be Napalm Death. With outstanding albums like Scum,FromEnslavement to Obliteration, Harmony Corruption and Enemy of the Music Business,the band has every right to rest on their laurels and record a giveaway album, at which no one will complain. But Barney and his troopers are not your average indijoes who rest on their past accomplishments, and father toddlers.But insted they are mighty beings who bring us another epic of colossal proportions in form of their 14th studio production'' Time Waits For No Slave''.

27 years of grindcore ultra-violence, 27 years of being one of the hardest working, hardest touring bands on this miserable planet, Napalm Death's conviction, energy and belief in outspoken yet extreme music is far from being watered down. With their new album “Time Waits For No Slave” the legendary grinders return stronger than ever! Napalm Death have been on a roll with their last few albums, and this release is no exception. All the trademark NAPALM qualities are included -Barney’s barking, Mitch’s high pitched squeals,Shane’s ferocious bass attack, Danny’s immaculate drumming, and of course the political lyrics that actually make you think with your brain, instead of being just a mindless metal clone.

''Strong Arm” punishes the listener immediately and the classic Barney/Mitch Harris dual vocal combo infiltrates your audio senses. The chaos of all the instruments mesh together perfectly, as ”Diktat” exemplifies the word “extreme.” Unlike any Mortician release, Napalm’s songwriting ability proves that their songs are not just a wall of noise with no thought put into it. The band sometimes writes extremely simple but catchy riffs, such as with “On the Brink of Extinction,” but the simplicity is enjoyable and sticks in your head. A few parts ofTime Waits for No Slave are reminiscent of the underrated Diatribes album, especially on tracks such as “Procrastination on the Empty Vessel.”

Time Waits for No Slave is relentless, and the title track is an absolute standout track, with memorable breakdowns and grind riffs that grind purists will drool over. “Downbeat Clique” provides an instant classic headbanging riff, and only solidifies the great entity known as Napalm death. The new Napalm sound is perfectly illustrated on “Fallacy Dominion,” as Danny’s grinding compliments the vocals and slower discordant riffs. “De-evolution Ad Nauseum” continues to pummel your skull until this 50 minute grind filled album comes to a deafening halt, and all is silent.

If anything was going to betray Napalm's two-and-a-half decade existence, it would be the return of their much maligned experimental flair, which is well accounted for on tracks like "On the Brink of Extinction" and "Fallacy Dominion". This time round however, they're employed with the sort of confident pugnacity that makes each tracksound even more brutal.This is still one of the top albums of 2009, and is definitely still EXTREME music and not for the faint-hearted.

1349 - Revelations Of The Black Flames

The blitzkrieg that was 2005’s “Hellfire” was something of a wake-up call for the suffocated black metal scene, welding together lightning fast tempos and almost Mayhem-ic sense of atmosphere to truly spellbinding effect.Anything with Frost behind the drums seems to reflect the extent of the Norwegian's raw pace and vast experience in the field, but what stands out on the new 1349 album is the influence of the sludgier side of co-mixer Tom Gabriel Fischer.Cutting to the point this album- Revelations of the Black Flame is not the 1349 that you may be accustomed to. Lurching uncomfortably between sub death-metal and ambient styles this makes for an excruciating listening non-experience.

The new direction yields interesting moments, but the end result is uneven. There seems to be a conscious effort to move away from what made 1349 one of the best bands in second wave of Norwegian black metal.Black metal acts known for a certain sound can change direction. The best example of this is Satyricon. On “Now, Diabolical,” frontman Satyr introduced a new style detractors claimed was perilously close to arena rock. Perhaps the biggest issue of Revelations is that 1349 doesn’t sound like the same band. The band plays bracing black metal in the classic Norwegian template and does it better than most contemporaries. Does this mean they can’t experiment and change their style? Of course not. But it’s hard to find 1349 here outside of a few tracks like. “Maggot Fetus, Teeth of Thorns,” which is uncompromising and fast as hell.

To put it plainly, Revelations of the Black Flame is a terrible album. Only half of it is music, and only half of that is good. It didn't take long for me to wish for the 1349 of old. It may have been bland but it wasn't....it wasn't this. Much of the album is marred by pointless, meandering tracks such as “Misanthropy” – a track that begins with a piano riff before descending into a blur of incoherent guitar chords and random piano plinking – and “Horns”, which is 3 minutes of wind noises and little else. Even when the band threatens to play an actual song the listener is often left sitting through minutes of throwaway “ambience” to get there “Invocation” fills three of its first six minutes with pointless yelping and wind noises and “Serpentine Sibilance” plods around aimlessly for three minutes before wasting its final sixty seconds on a nonsequitur, punk-infused mess.That being said, neither track is particularly enticing, they're just welcome alternatives to what follows: an unnecessary Pink Floyd cover (Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun), three and a half more minutes of disposable “ambiance” (this time in the form of crackles and droning guitars) and “At the Gate...”, 7 minutes of buzzing, whispering and the occasional bout of half-assed Root plagiarism. “Maggot Fetus…Teeth Like Thorns” and “Uncreation” are the album's undisputed highlights, the former carrying a heavy retro-thrash influence and the latter a sprawling, mid-paced 7 minute track that surprisingly employs little to no synthesized throwaways.

Clearly the first 10 minutes might make you seriously considering the option of downing somehard liquor before proceeding on with the album. With Tom Fischer, 1349 totally let go of their massive blitzkrieg on which they have build their stance upon. Focusing more on ambience has clearly led off to to a different a rather unwanted direction. After this all you can hope is to keep your finger gods and pray to your demon that they dont come out with another parody like this in their next album.

Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone


4 years had passed since Slipknot's last album Vol3: The Subliminal Verses,with hardly any press release, people had almost given up hope that another Slipknot album was to come. People had started going back to Lordi and GWAR days, where they could get as much blows on the head you could get listening to some brutal music from veiled but very vile musicians! By now they were convinced that Slipknot might have decided to hang up their grotesque mutated masks in their living hall! But no, all hope had still not gone for bang in 2008 lands Slipknot's 4th studio production All Hope Is Gone ! With their latest album Slipknot has once again declare an all out brutal sonic assault on the listeners' ears keeping their infamous wicked mutilated veils on.

Extremely hard to categorize, Slipknot continues to foray deeper into the metal territory much unlike its 1st album where it started off with playing nu-metal tracks. But this is clearly a good sign as soon one begins to notice that the frantic abrasive riffs with Paul Gray's brutal bass assaults' are as good as any mainstream metal band. Insanely heavy and as ugly as as the sickest of sins, All Hope is Gone is stuffed to the gills with gruesome churning riffs maliciously interweaving with bowel churning vocals of wicked intents.

Put simply, All Hope Is Gones 12 songs pursue all the different ways in which life sucks. Instead of delving into specifics, Slipknot, led by frontman Corey Taylor, prefer an all-encompassing lyrical gloom that perhaps feels more universal but can also come across as lazy. The album kicks off in ominous, epic fashion with ".execute." Taylor sounds possessed as he spews apocalyptic rhetoric about the failure of government, religion and the human race. It's creepy, and it takes hold like a silent killer in the dead of night.The real fun begins on "Gematria." It's one of the band's fiercest songs to date. Stretching past the six-minute mark, Jim Root and Mick Thomson's sharp thrash riffs cut through a din of Joey Jordison's propulsive double bass drumming. Jordison's work behind the kit has become even more calculated and violent. Time changes abound, and his drums fuel this rollercoaster.
You may have already heard the first single from the album, “Psychosocial,” which is at it's best during the intro with it's chugging guitars and pinch harmonics. While the track does have radio appeal, there are tracks on All Hope Is Gone that do take the band’s sound to a much more aggressive level.Of course the other heavy tracks declare all-out war on the world. "This Cold Black," "Wherein Lies Continue" and "Vendetta" are diverse, snaky and unpredictable sonic powder kegs primed to blow. Each one showcases different facets of Slipknot's aural psychosis. Beginning with some polyrhythmic riff-and-drum bludgeoning, "Butcher's Hook" stands out. It highlights the band's mastery of the loud-soft switch. Another song to do that is the first single "Psychosocial"—which becomes a bouncy and brutal romp. The title track, and album closer, "All Hope Is Gone" functions as Slipknot's 2008 mission statement. From the black metal breakdowns to Root and Thomson's fret-burning solos, it's pure metal mastery.
"Sulfur" simmers with a Satanically catchy chorus with Taylor oscillating like a guillotine between a guttural, piercing growl and gorgeously hypnotic melodies. "Dead Memories" brandishes all of Slipknot's best elements. One of the album's creepiest moments comes in the middle of that song. The guitar riffs break into a clean acoustic melody seamlessly in true Zeppelin style. Taylor's voice takes over, and it's eerily powerful.
Slipknot still surprises on the slower fare. Much like "Prosthetics," "Gently," "Purity" and "Danger – Keep Away," "Gehenna" takes the listener into the heart of darkness—the heart of Iowa. It's a long, slow burner that employs a pained, ethereal chorus a la Alice In Chains. The song traverses an entire spectrum of emotions, and it sees all nine members venturing into the dark. The album's one acoustic track, "Snuff" is especially poignant. The song spins a tale of love lost that anyone whose experienced relationship woes can relate to. As the acoustic rhythms resound, Taylor's vivid lyrics resonate.
Given the fact that so many of the tracks on the album are filled with menacing guitars and vocal growls, you might expect Slipknot to have a little venom in their lyrics. While All Hope Is Gone does features lyrics you do follow that line of thinking, you’ll also find that the band focuses it's anger on not just abstract ideas. The title track points it's finger at the Bush administration with lyrics like, “Fifty seconds, a hundred murders; The Bill of Rights is a bill of sale; What will you do when the war is over? What will you do when your systems fail?” But this is more than just a political album, and apparently Taylor stated in an interview that All Hope Is Gone was a good avenue for “bitching about what’s wrong in life.”
Clearly at the end of the album you would have realised one thing for sure- expect the unexpected.Given the fact that Slipknot’s 4th album marked a few different milestones , it’s perhaps not shocking that the end result would mark a musical change in direction as well. They take things to the next level in terms of both aggression and balladry. It’s definitely a trip to hear Slipknot go from the melodic, laid-back “Snuff” to double bass extravaganza that is “All Hope Is Gone.” The band certainly explored various extremes on the new album, and they deserve credit for not maintaining the status quo.And by the time the album ends the listeners were firm into believing all hopes had not gone with Slipknot's lattest fare.

Workshop - Khuni Murga


Now this album is not meant for the faint hearted, or you might end up getting a heart attack from the amount of laughing you would have done reaching up to the album's end. Yes, this is what you get when four talented goatish musicians in a very wanton mood decide to record their songs on masturbation and jerk offs and so on in to their debut album. To all those who thought 'Bhenchod Sutta' or Devang Patel's pee-pee gimmicks are the coolest and most laughable song ever,then shove a stick up your ass for Workshop's Khooni Murga is here to drive them out.Workshop 's debut album Khooni Murga strikes the perfect chord though in a very randy way right from the word go ,which immediately sums up to the listeners choice!

Workshop opens up a whole new- untouched genre of Indian metal scene- comedy metal which till now might have considered a bit too lewd by others!('Cause people know that it aint funny if it aint randy)!With The Demonstealer (Sahil Makhija-vocals,rhythm guitar- of Demonic Resurrection,Reptillian Death), The Rijunator (Riju Dasgupta-bass,- ofOld Monks), The Hamzoid (Hamza Kazi-drums- of Eggless Love Cakes) and The Rajbot (Rajarshi Bhattacharya-lead guitar), Workshop cleverly steers the listener to a whole new level of metal music.

Khooni Murga starts of with 'She Folked Up My Jazz' a hard rock piece about a jazz musician getting dumped by his folk loving girlfriend!Aa good start to the album, the opening track marks the beginning of more roller-coaster tracks to come down the play list.'Pudhe Sarka' (marathi for 'aage khisakh') is a blazing thrash metal track acknowledging the unfortunate commuter's dilemna on a BEST bus due to no chnage!'I Came' the next song is one song that every male listener will relate to as it beholds the glorifying moments of the the 1st time a boy masturbated! With cheeky lyrics like 'Here I am with a loaded gun,it's pointed at you baby here I cum', you are sure to drop dead rolling on the floor laughing!Best of all it ends with 'and I'm all out of sperm'.

'Chati ke Saath Panga' is a song which makes a very somber attempt on dark humour- much about a certain daaku Kamala Devi who uses her agonizingly long breasts to torment people.The song sounds funny only due to its comical lyricls and vocal melody or else you would be forgiven for mistaking it to be a black metal track.'Garba Gandu' is about a Gujju looking hopefully to find a 'bangable' chick on a Garba night. Hamza's ratta-ta-ta-ta snare that sounds like dandiya drumming marks the pinnacle moment of the song giving it a very Meshuggah feel!Next up is the very funky recipe 'How to Make a Demonic Omelet' With crushing riffs, it 'instructs' you to make an omelet when you are in a very demonic mood.Next one, one of my fav,'Kothai Doro Cho' pokes at a Bong who feels urge to deposit what cannot be digested at a social gathering, and is running around looking for a place to do so. The deadly E-major barrage makes the track sound somewhat like a Gojira track

'Bunty aur mallika Sherawat' is more of a Bunty aur Babli spoof with our beloved hero getting swayed over by Mallika Sherawat's boobs.Cookie Monster', a pop-punk ballad about fighting a losing battle against sleep while chatting with a female e-pal/pussy hopeful. It has the distinction of being called 'cool' by none other than metal's master of innovation, Mathias Eklundh of Freak Kitchen & Soilwork.Khooni Murga finally ends with the death metal sounding title track, providing this hillarious journey of listening to the album a well suited end.

Workshop-the latest achiever of KVLT status, clearly seems like a band that has taken upon themself the oath to deliver the most offensively funny songs they can come across even if it means peppering the album with zillions of cliched metaphors for penis or breasts or what-so-ever other perverted digs they may come up with.With each member harmoniuosly integrating in every inch possible, horns must raised in the the most upright manner to honour them with the distinction they so well deserve for producing the most funniest songs in metal in the coolest style possible!