Florida’s THE ABSENCE came onto the scene in 2005 with their crushing, Erik Rutan-produced Metal Blade Records debut, “From Your Grave.” The album and its two follow-ups, 2007’s “Riders of the Plague” and 2010’s “Enemy Unbound,” showcased the perfect mixture of heart-wrenching melodies and skull-pounding aggression, truly making them one of the premiere bands of the melodic death metal scene. THE ABSENCE further ensconced their reputation via several tours supporting some of the biggest names in metal, including Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Goatwhore, Kataklysm, Destruction and Entombed.
And then they seemingly disappeared.
Despite some setbacks in personnel coupled with a desire by some band members to explore new terrain recording/performing with additional groups or working in related fields producing or handling live sound/tour managing for others, THE ABSENCE was merely put on hold until the time was right to return. Last year, the regrouped outfit of singer Jamie Stewart, drummer Jeramie Kling (Infernaeon, Necromancing The Stone) and bassist Mike Leon (Soulfly, ex-Havok, ex-Arsis), along with the addition of celebrated guitar duo Joey Concepcion (Jasta, Armageddon) and Taylor Nordberg (Soilwork, Ribspreader), teased fans with the facemelting “Septic Testament.” The reaction was phenomenal and motivated the band to continue writing and recording their epic return, and be absent from the scene no more.
THE ABSENCE's new album, “A Gift For The Obsessed,” further proves why All Music Guide called the group “the greatest Swedish melodic death metal band ever to emerge from Florida.” Mixed at Sweden's Panic Room (Watain, Scar Symmetry) and mastered at the country's Ghost Ward Studios (Katatonia, Opeth), and featuring a striking layout by HKB Design (Sepultura), the album deftly mixes melodic death and thrash with incendiary guitar playing, pyrotechnic drumming and a sense of renewed hunger. Over its 10 blistering tracks – including a cover of Suicidal Tendencies' “You Can't Bring Me Down” featuring guest vocals by Soilwork / The Night Flight Orchestra front man Bjorn “Speed” Strid – the group not only shows no signs of rust whatsoever, but also sounds more potent than ever.
THE ABSENCE is now managed by the legendary Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula and his partner Marsha, who founded Megaforce Records (which helped to launch the careers of Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and other seminal acts), for CraZed Management.
Fresh from a successful tour of the western U.S., the Northern California-based death metal/core quartet APOTHESARY – praised by No Clean Singing for their “impressive, hard-charging melodic death metal with a shitload of technical flair and enough pummeling brutality to leave bruises” – has finished recording their sophomore full-length. Titled “Accept Loss Forever,” the album, described by the band as an “ode to suffering,” will be issued by M-Theory Audio on July 7. More details about the release will surface in the coming weeks.
Taking advantage of a break in the busy touring schedule of his other band Hatchet, guitarist Clayton Cagle and his APOTHESARY bandmates – guitarist/vocalist Jared Eandi, drummer Greg O'Neill and bassist Brittany Shankle – spent much of April on the road in support of their acclaimed 2016 EP “Sensory Overload.” Hailed by MetalSucks as a “fine blend of death metal and thrash,” the release was previously supported by a tour that saw the group play alongside the likes of Psycroptic, Motograter, Soil and American Head Charge.
That was all just a precursor for “Accept Loss Forever,” which Cagle describes as an emotional and cathartic album that painstakingly captures the group's evolution, musically and personally. “'Accept Loss Forever' is the true definition of 'coming of age,' as some of its material dates back to 2012 – when our average age was just 17 – and spans over half the life of the band,” he explains. “That makes these songs special, because they're the most accurate representation of our growth both as a band and as human beings. Every significant moment of our transition from adolescence to adulthood has a place on this record, and I don't know where I would be right now if I didn't have this outlet to help put life in perspective. It is my hope that the music on this record helps someone else in the same way it helped me, and the rest of APOTHESARY, to write. We can't thank the M-Theory team more for believing in us enough to make this release a reality.”
APOTHESARY self-released their first album, 2011's “A Harsh Reality,” while its members were still in high school. During summer breaks, the group embarked on DIY-booked tours to spread their name by playing shows with the likes of Killswitch Engage, Dark Tranquillity, Fear Factory, Dying Fetus, Helloween, Suffocation and Warbringer. The band has subsequently released two EPs, “They All Carry Ghosts” and “Sensory Overload,” that showcased new and old-school death metal influences blending to concoct something simultaneously brutal, melodic and adventurous.
APOTHESARY will next perform live on May 27, when they will headline the seventh annual Metalfest of Middletown in Northern California. Later this summer, the group will share the stage with M-Theory label mates Helsott and Sicocis at Hollywood's legendary Viper Room.
Avenger of Blood moved operations from San Jose, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to better suit the band personally and professionally. The band found a strong following of fans and the onslaught continued as the band went on to play the 1st installment of Minneapolis Mayhem and various other shows proving to new fans that Avenger of Blood was a force to be reckoned with.
In March 2005, the debut album "Complete Annihilation" was released on now defunct JCM Records, and received excellent reviews worldwide. The album was recorded at Maurotone Studios in Las Vegas between the end of 2004 and into February 2005. Following the release of the album, Avenger of Blood played Northwest Deathfest 2, Minneapolis Mayhem 2, Millennium Music Conference 8, Monsters of Metal and more. Avenger of Blood continued to show fans that they were one of the best Thrash bands around.
After returning from a few shows in the Bay Area, the band went back to Minneapolis to perform at Minneapolis Mayhem 3 and Avenger of Blood went on to record two new songs for the "Speed Kills...Again" compilation CD, which was released on Heavy Artillery Records in May 2007. This recording showed progression and maturity, giving a preview of the things that were to come. Avenger of Blood was signed to Heavy Artillery Records and recorded their second full-length release at Sound Vision Production Studios, and "Death Brigade", was released worldwide on CD and Vinyl in January 2008.
In 2008, a few line-up changes occurred when both Eric Greaney and Shawn Loureiro exited the group for various reasons. New members were brought in to finalize the new lineup. Avenger of Blood managed to get a new song written and recorded for the Relapse Records "Speed N' Spikes 7" series Vol 5 entitled "Hell Patrol".
Shortly after the release of the split 7" with Witchaven, Avenger of Blood was put on hold because a break was definitely needed due to unreliable members and their drama as well as the band being very unhappy with the song and the direction the band was headed.
After a 3 year break, the band reformed and was able to record "Spawn of Evil" that was released for free over the internet. Shows were played featuring a leather, spikes and blood performance.
A new album was recorded with Ryan Butler (Exhumed, Nightrage, Landmine Marathon) at Arcane Audio in AZ, entitled On Slaying Grounds.
Following his departure as longtime vocalist for Chicago doom legends TROUBLE in 2008, Eric Wagner promptly removed himself from the spotlight and began intently writing new material of a more personal nature. Those writing sessions would yield the musical inspiration for BLACKFINGER. Described adamantly as a “band” and not a “project”, BLACKFINGER began to take shape as a unit in 2009, with Wagner recruiting hometown friends Rico Bianchi and Doug Hakes on guitars, Ben Smith on bass, and Larry Piatz on drums. Over the course of the next four years, the group would meticulously craft and commit eleven tracks to tape. These tracks, with their many peaks and valleys of heaviness and melancholy, along with Wagner’s signature vocals, would ultimately become the self titled debut album. “Blackfinger” will mark the singer’s first recorded output since TROUBLE’s 2007 release “Simple Mind Condition”.
Between 2010 and 2012, BLACKFINGER would find themselves playing a handful of high profile hometown shows in the Chicago area to great acclaim, and the band would tease the crowds further with their release of the band’s “All The Leaves Are Brown” single. Add two epic appearances at Milwaukee’s Days Of The Doomed Fest I & II in 2011 and 2012, and interest in BLACKFINGER quickly became a major buzz in the doom metal scene and beyond.
In August of 2013, fans of Eric and BLACKFINGER were put on notice that it would not be much longer before the debut record would be unleashed. BLACKFINGER signed a worldwide deal with Germany’s The Church Within Records, and a January 2014 release date was set.
The release of Blackfinger was met with praise from fans and critics alike, and it did not take long for the band to hit the road. Kicking things off with a triumphant return to Milwaukee’s Days Of The Doomed Fest in June of 2014, Blackfinger would head east on an eight date tour playing to the thunderous applause of fans from Cleveland to Brooklyn. After one final date in Eric’s hometown of Chicago, the amps would go silent in the Blackfinger camp, but it would not be silent forever…
Over the next few years, Eric remained consistently busy with The Skull, releasing “For Those Which Are Asleep”, touring Europe, and taking on a lengthy US tour with fellow doom pioneers Saint Vitus. Ever the creative lyricist, Eric continued to work on material for the sophomore Blackfinger album in his down time- material that would have a slightly darker tone than before.
With the decision to relocate to the Pittsburgh area in 2015, it only made sense to revamp the Blackfinger line up. This move would see Eric team up with another stalwart of the doom scene, guitarist Terry Weston of Dream Death and Penance. Together with Matthew Tuite on second guitar, Matthew Cross on bass, and drummer David Snyder, Blackfinger would begin fine tuning the music that would be featured on the next album.
The spring of 2017 would see Blackfinger enter the studio to record “When Colors Fade Away”, a powerful collection of songs that would pick up where the debut album left off, but take the listener even further down the path less travelled. Sonic landscapes of endless peaks and valleys, “When Colors Fade Away” will satiate the most ardent of doom fans, yet appeal to those beyond with its exquisite craftsmanship and beautiful storytelling.
With the recent signing to M-Theory Audio, the new label recently launched by Marco Barbieri, former president of Century Media Records, Blackfinger is poised to release the massive “When Colors Fade Away” this summer, with live dates forthcoming. The story of Blackfinger continues…
Los Angeles has always been a breeding ground for some of the finest traditional heavy metal and in recent years a new, young generation of bands have taken their ‘80s influences and created some new, exciting and original music. BLADE KILLER is and should be one of the groups noted for leading this true revolution of classic metal, as evidenced by the promise and reception of their 2014 self-titled EP and countless shows around the Southern California area.
“We’re excited to announce that Blade Killer has joined forces with M-Theory Audio to release our upcoming full-length album,” states bassist Kelsey Wilson. “There is much to look forward to on the horizon and we couldn’t be more stoked to have the support of M-Theory Audio and all of you!”
“Blade Killer is another band I’ve been eyeing for some time and wanted to bring to the label. I loved the EP and feel their potential and commitment to metal is unparalleled,” explains M-Theory founder Marco Barbieri. “I’m pleased to publicly announce the signing and look forward to hearing the group’s new recordings.”
Currently Blade Killer are diligently finishing up recording 9 new songs to be released early next year but will be embarking on a string of west coast shows next month supporting BAT (with Ryan Waste and Nick Poulos (both of Municipal Waste) and (ex-D.R.I.) drummer Felix Griffin), including an L.A. show which features the return of old-school thrash metal band Evil Dead.
In 2011 with an arsenal of new songs the band headed to Trident Studios with producer Juan Urteaga (Testament, Machine Head, Sadus) and laid down their greatest achievement with the full-length recording of their self-titled Blessed Curse debut album. True metal performed with integrity highlighting the band’s distinct take on their metal influences and capturing the past, present and future of Blessed Curse. Packaged with a killer original artwork piece from Marc Sasso (Dio, Halford, Cage), Blessed Curse are ready to take it to the next level and have partnered with Cyclone Empire Records to make that next leap possible.
This story begins in the fall of 2001 with guitarist/vocalist Tyler Satterlee and drummer Derek Bean in Colfax, California. The two school friends wanted to play music they felt in their hearts and quickly went on to cover many metal classics from bands such as Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath under the brand name Atrosity. The two finally settled as a three-piece with the addition of the four-string neck-wrecker Patrick Hamby in 2002. Now secured with a solid line-up, the guys continued to cover their favorite metal songs and began gigging locally wherever they could by playing the area’s live music clubs, high school rallies, and battle of the bands.
After a couple years of continuing to cut their teeth in the local music trenches, Atrosity recorded their debut demo in early 2005. This 5-song EP, appropriately titled “Fuck Everything”, quickly sold through the first 100 copies in a day or two all over the local area as Atrosity quickly established themselves as the true, young thrash metal band in the Northern California area. 2005 also cemented the young band’s reputation further as they opened for thrash metal legends Kreator and Overkill in their area.
In 2006, Atrostiy was forced to undergo a name change due to their being an established death metal band from Germany using the proper English spelling of Atrocity. Quickly deciding on the ultra heavy alternate name of Devastator, the band continued the metal mayhem as the now revamped headbanging force needed a release with the new name to get the word out to all the ravenous followers, as well as potential new fans they would set out to convert. Devastator recorded a 5-song EP, titled “Crush and Kill”, which was recorded completely live in the studio in two days. Released on Friday, October 13th, “Crush and Kill” quickly lived up and passed its predecessor to further spread the band’s name and reputation. Devastator spent most of 2007 playing up and down California with bands such as Merciless Death, Hatchet, Warbringer, Fueled by Fire, Ghoul, Dekapitator and Avenger of Blood, as well as with national touring acts such as Kreator (twice), Sodom, Three Inches of Blood, Napalm Death, Overkill (twice), Hirax, and Dragonlord.
In the fall of 2007, Devastator once again headed off to the studio, this time in Petaluma, CA, to record their follow-up EP, “Slaughtered Like Pigs”, with the help of Slave Productions. With the new recording Devastator joined their Bay Area brothers-in-arms Hatchet on a west coast tour blazing a path of destruction. Pushing ever forward, Devastator spent 2008 touring all over the west coast doing random dates alongside notable names like M.O.D., Heathen and Agent Steel, in addition to signing a publishing agreement with Salem Rose Music.
In 2009, Devastator geared up to record their next demo recording, the far more professional “Burn the Beast” EP, recorded, mixed and mastered in a week by Juan Urteaga (Testament, Machine Head, Sadus) at Trident Studios. “Burn the Beast” received rave press reviews and metal radio airplay across the country and to build upon the momentum the band embarked on a full US tour that summer, dubbed the “Slaughtering the Masses” alongside LA’s Rattlehead spreading their music and making friends in over 40 cities.
Upon returning home the band realized they had learned a lot from the experience and pulled back making themselves inactive despite a few one-off stints in 2010 from the aggressive live show routine and began making general improvements to their sound, musicianship, vocals and new material. Aiming to join the big leagues Devastator felt the need for a another new name that was more unique and original and dubbed themselves Blessed Curse – because being in a band is both a blessing and a curse.
Since the completion of their self-titled debut, recorded by Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios with cover art by Marc Sasso (Dio, Halford, Adrenaline Mob), the band have returned to the live front assaulting audiences with their intense barrage of metal mayhem and sharing stages all over the west coast with bands like Death Angel, Destruction, Warbringer, D.R.I., Evil Dead, Hatchet, Bonded By Blood, Exmortus, Witchaven with a US tour in the summer of 2012 with Sacrificial Slaughter. Upon its completion drummer Derek Bean opted to go to college and put the brakes on the band once again.
2016 has brought a new era to the band, bringing in new member Dan Keenan on bass, and working on new material and playing local area shows again. The band took their 5 best tracks to Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios resulting in the Beware of the Night EP, out March 31, 2017. Cover art was done by Brian Lewis at Stone Design (DevilDriver, Zakk Wylde, Cultural Warfare).
Hailing out of Oakland, California, Cultural Warfare is comprised of five seasoned musicians with common goals - Vocalist Jacques Serrano, Guitarist Billy Garoutte, Guitarist Kevin Doughty, Bassist Pete Aguilar, and Drummer Bones Padilla. Together they create music that stays true to the classic Bay Area sound of its time while creating a modern twist in the music to create a melodic yet aggressive sound within the unit. With all five members having long standing roots in the Bay Area, back to the golden age of Thrash metal, Cultural Warfare understands the rich history and lineage of all the classic bands that paved the way for all heavy bands for the modern age. With that said, the band have created a sound of their own while flying the flag of music that inspired them along the way. Juan Urteaga, of Trident Studios, has also played a huge role in the band's sound, while co-producing the 2017 EP, Future Kill.The unit came to call Trident Studios its new home and continues to work with Juan Urteaga, a true professional at his craft. Juan has produced many of the heavy Bay Area bands such as Exodus, Skinlab, Testament, Machine Head, Vicious Rumors, and a long list of others. Cultural Warfare is proud to be a part of the infamous Bay Area Music Scene.
Producer/guitarist Paul Crook (Anthrax, Sebastian Bach, Meat Loaf) and executive producer John Madera have announced the formation of DevilStar, an all-star hard rock and heavy metal group billed as the world's first interactive band. The first release under the DevilStar moniker will be a cover of the Judas Priest classic “Beyond The Realms Of Death,” which will be available on streaming and digital platforms on June 1.
DevilStar's rendition of “Beyond The Realms Of Death” will feature performances by three Priest alumni – guitarist K.K. Downing, vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens and drummer Les Binks – in addition to Crook and bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning). The song, which marks Downing's first collaboration with Binks (who co-wrote the song with Rob Halford) since 1979, was chosen to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the group's iconic album Stained Class.
Subsequent DevilStar single releases – which will be a mix of covers and original material – will feature other notable hard rock/metal names, with Crook handling production and mixing in addition to playing guitar. While several tracks have already been recorded for release in the coming months, fans are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to propose potential “dream team” lineups and/or suggest cover songs to tackle in the future.
Crook first rose to prominence as lead guitarist of thrash pioneers Anthrax in the mid-1990s, when he performed on and toured in support of the group's albums Stomp 442 and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, the latter of which he also co-produced. In 1999, Crook began a five-year stint as lead guitarist for former Skid Row front man Sebastian Bach. In 2004, he was personally chosen and trained by Queen guitarist Brian May to handle his guitar parts for their musical production of We Will Rock You, which performed for a year on the Las Vegas strip at the Paris Casino Hotel. For the last 15 years, he has served as lead guitarist of Meat Loaf's Neverland Express. In that time, he has performed on four Meat Loaf studio albums and three live albums/DVDs, including Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose and Bat Out Of Hell: Live With The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He also produced Meat Loaf's two most recent studio albums, Hell In A Handbasket and Braver Than We Are.
Still, Crook – who over the years has also collaborated with artists ranging from Glenn Hughes to M.O.D. – remains a hard rock and heavy metal fan at heart, and DevilStar will now serve as a supercharged vehicle through which he'll exorcise his heavier musical demons.
Empyrean Throne is a Clandestine Order of chaos gnostic Black Metal practitioners, an endeavor stoked in the fires of inspiration and forged with the hammer of hard experience. While indisputably an American band, the initial spark was in fact ignited by two travelers in Scandinavia, from where it journeyed south and westward to the sweltering heat of Lake Forest, California, where in 2011, the first manifestation of the band that would eventually become Empyrean Throne was founded.
Empyrean Throne’s very first recorded music took the form of the ravenous “Demonseed” EP in 2013, with a sound described by OC Weekly as “a vicious mix of raw black metal and traditional death metal” coupled with the haunting strains of a real, organic cello choir. With the spoils reaped from this first offering; coupled with favorable reviews from MetalBite.com, The Kosher Metal Blog, and MetalAssualt.com, the Order of Empyrean Throne was still hardly content to stand still, as still so much lay in wait on the road ahead.
Empyrean Throne’s unreleased first full-length album, “Chaosborne”, is a testament to this new unfolding, lurching deeper into the infernal depths of Blackened Death Metal and higher unto the celestial realm of orchestral concert music. Produced and engineered by Mick Kenney (Anaal Nathrakh), “Chaosborne” tells the story of a naïve Templar knight in medieval Europe and his subsequent enlightenment and decent into the realm of Chaos, the album offers eleven titanic hymns to unbecoming marked by the searing heat of the Black Flame of illumination.
Empyrean Throne have been privileged to fly their banners and leave their mark on the live front alongside many of the esteemed acts in extreme music, including Overkill, Nile, Kataklysm, Aborted, Cattle Decapitation and many others. The Order has also carved its sphere of influence from the sweat and grime of the road, with two west coast tours under their belts and an appearance at Central Oregon Metalfest in 2016. Apart from the band's live campaign; Empyrean Throne has birthed a smattering of off-album singles, which include a vast rendition of the Behemoth classic “Ov Fire and the Void”.
In January of 2017, Empyrean Throne forged a partnership with New York based Extreme Management Group alongside a roster of acclaimed bands such as Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, Cryptopsy, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Disgorge, Atheist, Rings of Saturn, Internal Bleeding and many others. With the consecration of this new alliance complete, Empyrean Throne have been quite occupied indeed building their team and preparing the ground for “Chaosborne”, and for whatever may lie beyond…
The Sacramento-based quintet GRAVESHADOW – who deftly mixes symphonic/gothic metal with elements of doom, thrash and epic progressive power metal – have built a steady following in the Western United States in recent years through regional tours and performances alongside the likes of Arkona, Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica, Marty Friedman, Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam and Anvil. After self-releasing an EP in 2014, the group signed with Belgium's Mausoleum Records for the release of their debut full-length, 2015's acclaimed Nocturnal Resurrection, praised by Metal Temple as an “epic melody of steel with a fusion of what we all love in metal.”
In 2017, the group signed with M-Theory Audio and continued to tour aggressively while also working on their second album, Ambition's Price. Packed with crushing guitars, beautiful keyboard melodies, thundering bass, earth-shattering drums and powerful vocals that range from operatic highs to unearthly growls, the album's music creates a rich and dynamic atmosphere that is ripe for storytelling. Whether it is a tale of personal struggle or of fantastical creatures, the listener is sure to find themselves immersed in a world apart.
Produced and mixed by Armand John Anthony (Night Demon, The Fucking Wrath, Gygax), and mastered by Colin Davis at Imperial Mastering (Deeds of Flesh, Decrepit Birth, Origin), “Ambition's Price” features stunning cover artwork by Serbian fantasy graphic designer Dusan Markovic (Jag Panzer, Mystic Prophecy, Seven Kingdoms). Highlights include the stunning “Hero Of Time” (which features a guest solo by Anthony), the epic three-part “Call of the Frostwolves” and the powerful “Doorway To Heaven.”
GRAVESHADOW – managed by Jeff Keller for The Artery Foundation (Destruction, Arsis, Sirenia) - is poised and ready to leave a lasting impact within the metal community. With an electrifying stage show and a sound as large as the Dragons of Westeros, they are as talented as they are unforgettable.
UK Blackened Death Metal Horde HECATE ENTHRONED Signs With M-Theory Audio
Performing at MetalDays Festival July 23; London showcase performance to take place Sept. 15
The North West, UK-based blackened death metal sextet HECATE ENTHRONED – whose “brutal epic scornful metal” has earned extensive acclaim over the past two decades – have signed a worldwide recording contract with the American label M-Theory Audio. The group plans to release a new album – their sixth full-length, and first in five years – in January. More information about the recording will be revealed in the coming months.
Originally co-founded in Wales by guitarist Nigel Dennan in the mid-1990s, HECATE ENTHRONED is dedicated to delivering their own brand of evil metal with little regard to politics or the trends of popular demand. The group's 1997 debut full-length, the Andy Sneap-produced “The Slaughter Of Innocence, A Requiem For The Mighty” (Blackend Records), was a seminal release in the then-burgeoning orchestral black metal movement. Since then, several full-lengths and EPs and numerous live performances have firmly established the band as one of extreme metal's most important voices, a sentiment that the group's forthcoming album will surely reinforce.
"It is with a great amount of pride that we announce this deal with M-Theory Audio,” says longtime bassist Dylan Hughes. “We feel M-Theory is the right label to take the band on to where we want to be, and we have total confidence in them to handle the new album as it deserves to be. Marco' s reputation and character is second to none, and we look forward to working and developing together. Along with Extreme Management Group, we have a great team behind us and can honestly say that this marks a new era for HECATE ENTHRONED. We would like to thank all our fans for their patience during these months of uncertainty around the new album but be assured – the wait will be worth it."
HECATE ENTHRONED will next perform live at the MetalDays festival in Slovenia on July 23 alongside the likes of Behemoth, Skeletonwitch and Carpathian Forest. The group has also announced a September 15 headlining show at London's Black Heart. Advance tickets are on sale now for just £8. Additional tour dates will be announced in the near future.
Trans-continental black/death metal outfit HISS FROM THE MOAT
Signs With M-Theory Audio
Second full-length album planned for early 2019 release
HISS FROM THE MOAT – the Italian/US black/death metal band founded by acclaimed drummer James Payne (Vital Remains, Hour of Penance) – has signed with M-Theory Audio. The group is currently recording its second full-length album at Milan's SPVN Studio for a planned early 2019 release. Sound/studio engineer Stefano Orkid Santi, who previously worked as live engineer for bands such as Origin, Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, and produced the last Cripple Bastards album, is tracking all the instruments in his studio. Mixing and mastering will happen at Studio Fredman in Sweden.
US-based Payne formed HISS FROM THE MOAT with two Italian friends - bassist/vocalist Carlo Cremascoli and guitarist Giacomo Poli - when he was just 18 years old. In 2009, the group self-released their debut EP, "The Carved Flesh Message," which they supported by performing alongside the likes of Psycroptic, Skeletonwitch and The Black Dahlia Murder.
Four years later, HISS FROM THE MOAT released their debut full-length, “Misanthropy,” via Lacerated Enemy/Nuclear Blast. The band's intense use of both extremes of death and black metal produced an album that stood alongside the delivery of acts such as Behemoth and Belphegor.
Following the release of the album, HISS FROM THE MOAT embarked on an extensive tour across Russia, Europe and Asia, delivering an intense and visually engaging performance backed by the blackened intensity of the band's new material. During this period, drummer James Payne left the legendary death metal act Vital Remains – a group he joined following a two-year stint with Italian death metal powerhouse Hour of Penance – to focus full-time on HISS FROM THE MOAT, and the band extended from a three to four-piece act with the addition of Max Cirelli (guitar/vocals).
Over the past two years, the band has toured extensively worldwide while writing their sophomore album. Working between the U.S. and Italy, HISS FROM THE MOAT aim to unleash another sonic onslaught that captures the band’s range of death and black metal inspiration while creating a unique and intense presence in the world of extreme music.
"Last year, Andrew Knudsen from Empyrean Throne gave me a list of bands they would like to tour with, and HISS FROM THE MOAT's name was the only unknown to me. Unfamiliar with the band, I checked them out and quickly became a fan of their debut album 'Misanthropy,'" explains M-Theory Audio president Marco Barbieri. "Earlier this year, I was pleasantly surprised to find their manager Greg Shaw shopping the band. Immediately we expressed our interest in working together, and I feel fortunate we were able to work out a deal and begin our collaboration with this young and promising extreme band."
Adds Payne, "We are super-excited to sign a worldwide deal with M-Theory for the release of our new album! We've been looking for the right people to help us spread our music, and we're confident that working with a person like Marco, who has an extraordinary background with labels like Century Media and Metal Blade, will be the perfect fit for us. The album is almost ready, as we've tracked all the instruments and are working on the final steps towards mixing and mastering. We can't wait to share all the new material with everybody and start this path surrounded by all these amazing people that we're working with."
More information on HISS FROM THE MOAT's new album will be revealed in the coming months.
'Face-Melting Shred' Quartet IMMORTAL GUARDIAN Signs With M-Theory Audio
Debut Full-Length Album Due Late Summer
The Texas-based “super metal” quartet IMMORTAL GUARDIAN – whose founding member, Gabriel Guardian, has earned extensive notoriety for his ability to shred on guitar and keyboard simultaneously – has signed with M-Theory Audio.
Hailing from the same state as guitar greats Dimebag Darrell and Stevie Ray Vaughan, IMMORTAL GUARDIAN proudly fly the flag of musical innovation and virtuosity for the Lone Star State. Over the past few years, the group has released two acclaimed EPs, “Revolution Part I” (produced by Roy Z of Halford/Bruce Dickinson fame) and “Super Metal: Edition Z,” that showcased a full-frontal metal assault of anthemic melodies, technical rhythms, furious shred and high-flying vocals by Brazilian singer Carlos Zema (Outworld).
In support of their EPs, the group has made jaws drop on stages in not only their home state – where they've performed alongside some of the biggest names in metal, including Judas Priest, Dragonforce, Kamelot, Symphony X, Sonata Arctica, Slayer, Metal Church, Soilwork and Steve Vai – but also abroad in countries such as Brazil and Russia, and during high-profile performances at ESPN's X Games, South By Southwest and the Fun Fun Fun Fest. Live footage shot during the band's SXSW showcase last month can be viewed at this location.
In addition, Gabriel Guardian has developed an extensive following on YouTube, where his unique dual-instrument covers of classics by the likes of Iron Maiden, Pantera and Guns N' Roses have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. His virtuosity was also recently showcased on the MTV program “Amazingness” (watch a clip here). This summer, Gabriel will tour North America extensively as a guest member of video game metal icons PowerGlove. The tour includes a stop at Austin's Come and Take It Live in August, where IMMORTAL GUARDIAN will also perform.
“At NAMM a couple years back, I met Gabriel and his manager Brett through the Exmortus and Havok guys. I was immediately caught off-guard by someone who could shred on two instruments at once and have eyed IMMORTAL GUARDIAN ever since,” explains label founder Marco Barbieri. “With M-Theory Audio in place and the band finalizing a new record the time is now and I’m pleased to make the announcement and work with such gifted musicians and join their creative team to spread the word.”
“I’m very happy to announce IMMORTAL GUARDIAN's signing with M-Theory Audio and the start of our next epic chapter,” Gabriel says. “Marco Barbieri and his team have been accumulating a serious roster, and with a track record like his, we are definitely honored to be joining the family. Looking forward to all the good times ahead!”
From 2005 to 2008, there wasn't a harder-working metal band on the planet than Canada's INTO ETERNITY. The group – whose extreme progressive metal built on the pioneering work of such forward-thinking acts as Death, Cynic and Opeth – toured seemingly nonstop in support of their acclaimed Century Media albums “Buried In Oblivion” (2004) and “The Scattering Of Ashes” (2006), performing alongside the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Dark Tranquillity, The Haunted, Kataklysm and Hate Eternal. The band also joined the epic lineup of Megadeth, Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy and Overkill on the 2006 edition of Dave Mustaine's Gigantour.
In 2008, the group released their fifth record, the concept album “The Incurable Tragedy” – which paid tribute to the lives of founding guitarist Tim Roth's father and two best friends, who all died from cancer within a 15-month period – and prepared for another busy touring cycle, which began with a vengeance on that year's Summer Slaughter Canada (where the band played alongside Necrophagist, Dying Fetus, Veil of Maya, Whitechapel and others). From there, the group hit the road in support of Iced Earth, after which they planned to take a short break to recover from nearly four years of nonstop touring.
Soon Tim Roth returned home to Regina, Saskatchewan, however, he became a first-time father, and it quickly became clear that it wouldn't be possible to continue to tour as aggressively. The group still performed periodically in subsequent months, even traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan in the spring of 2009, but as the band considered their next moves after the end of the “Incurable Tragedy” touring cycle, vocalist Stu Block was asked to join Iced Earth. At first, he planned to perform double-duty, and in 2011, INTO ETERNITY recorded two digital singles featuring Block.
It quickly became apparent, though, that Block's Iced Earth touring commitments would keep him on the road indefinitely, so in 2012, Roth recruited the Edmonton-based singer Amanda Kiernan (The Order of Chaos) to become INTO ETERNITY's new vocalist. The group subsequently began demoing material for a new album, “The Sirens,” which they would record gradually over the next two years. By 2015, the album was finished, but the group's plans to release the record through a European label fell through, causing the band to once again reconsider its future.
Earlier this year, INTO ETERNITY – who always continued to perform live periodically in their native Canada – announced plans to self-release the long-awaited album, which features guest appearances by Block, Cam Dixon (ex-Annihilator) and Glen Drover (ex-Megadeth). After reconnecting with former Century Media president Marco Barbieri, however, the group decided to join the roster of Barbieri's new independent label, M-Theory Audio.
“The Sirens” sees INTO ETERNITY firing on all cylinders, with Kiernan's fierce vocals and Roth's trademark guitar heroics and vocal harmonies backed by longtime bassist Troy Bleich and newer recruits Bryan James Newbury (drums) and Matt Cuthberston (guitars, also of Untimely Demise). The album was co-produced, mixed and mastered by former guitarist Justin Bender, while longtime artist Mattias Noren (Evergrey, Epica, Kamelot) designed the cover and layout.
As proven by the reaction to the release of first single “The Fringes Of Psychosis,” “The Sirens” marks a welcome return by one of the genre's most creative – and most missed – voices.
For those in the know Southern California’s Novareign have been steadily and surely building a buzz and reputation for themselves in recent years. The group has become a fixture with energy-abounding live shows filled with nonstop shredding guitar interplay and powerful traditional metal vocals. Honing their attack and lineup the band are now ready to take it internationally with their debut full-length and M-Theory Audio is pleased to bring another amazing and promising young band to the greater masses.
“I’ve long been intrigued by the talent and potential of this band,” explains M-Theory Audio founder Marco Barbieri. “Coming to know them through their guitarist Balmore Lemus (an early member of Exmortus and touring guitarist for Warbringer), I’ve watched this young band’s development. Upon starting M-Theory Audio I knew that Novareign was a band I wanted to have on the label’s roster. They exemplify the vision I had for the label – young, extremely talented, down-to-earth and in it for the right reasons with a good look and intense live show.”
Metal Assault defined Novareign as “nothing short of supremely impressive, [they] appear to have all the ingredients to carry the torch for years to come.” Influenced by bands like Iron Maiden and Dream Theater to Dragonforce and Angra, this is the new age of Progressive Power Metal telling stories in musical literature speaking to a generation influenced by epic, fantasy tales, comic books and video games.
“We are ecstatic to be working with Marco Barbieri and everyone in the M-Theory Audio family. With as much history and experience in the music industry as Marco has, not to mention the impact he has made in the ever growing metal community, we knew that he was someone we could learn and grow with as a band,” states Balmore. “Novareign has always been a band that has had our nose to the ground and is constantly and relentlessly working to better ourselves, the performance, the music, and everything else that entails creating what we hold near and dear to our hearts. After spending quite some time talking with Marco and M-Theory Audio about the work ethic we try to uphold, as well as what it is we would want from a partnership with a label, we decided that they were the right choice for us to help us on our journey. We look forward to releasing some awesome tunes with a label that has the same mentality and work ethic as we do.”
Praised this year by Rolling Stone magazine as “One of the Top 10 bands you need to know” for their “debaucherous, flamboyant flair,” SANTA CRUZ is a Finnish modern hard rock band formed with the mutual aspiration of playing their rear ends off and kicking people’s derrieres. Inspired initially by the likes of Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses, the young group developed a strong buzz through stupefying live shows and two well-received albums on Spinefarm Records where they took their throwback hard rock sound and combined it with elements of modern rock, punk and metal, put it in their own special blender, then iced the mix with blinding energetic performances and a healthy dash of bad attitude!
The band already released the record’s infectious first single, “River Phoenix,” earlier this summer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIC4svlnGUc), but Friday Sept 15th brings the next digital single release with “Young Blood Rising”; a promo video will follow soon in the coming weeks. Both tracks come from the group’s forthcoming slab Bad Blood Rising, to be released Nov. 10th on CD, limited-edition colored vinyl and via digital outlets. Pre-order now at www.m-theoryaudio.com/store The band has a European tour set for Nov – Dec, with plans to return to the States in the new year
After an attention-grabbing EP five years ago, SANTA CRUZ signed to Spinefarm Records and in 2013 released their full-length debut, Screaming For Adrenaline. The album was released to rave reviews and cracked the Finnish Top 40. It saw the sound of SANTA CRUZ truly take flight, assaulting the ears with an explosion of pure adrenaline and attitude in the form of honest rock n' roll and virtuoso musicianship. That same year, the band signed an international booking deal with TKO Agency (Motörhead, Anthrax) and in addition to the complete conquest of Finnish stages big and small, SANTA CRUZ subsequently played their first three British tours, as well as first visits to Germany and Belgium supporting their heroes Skid Row.
In between all the touring, SANTA CRUZ somehow also found a way to squeeze in the recording of their eponymous second album, which debuted at #3 on the Finnish charts upon its release in 2015 and featured “We Are the Ones To Fall” – the most aired song of the year on the Finnish nationwide station Radio Rock. The band also appeared in a Mercedes-Benz commercial and on the AXS-TV show Breaking Bands. After additional extensive touring around the world (including three jaunts to America, where they performed with Amaranthe, I Prevail and Sebastian Bach, as well as before thousands at the Rock On The Range festival in 2015), the group now returns with their raucous third LP Bad Blood Rising. Be prepared for this “Young Blood Rising”.
Latin. Definition: "dagger man", contract killer, assassin
The imagery in the band's name alone can perfectly summarize the type of music they create: murderous, bloodthirsty, ultra-violent black metal.
Formed in March of 2014 by guitarist Argyris and cofounder/bassist Carnage, the goal from the very inception of Sicarius' origins was to draw influence and pay homage to classic, black metal bands like Bathory, Emperor and Rotting Christ, and to inject modern high-velocity methods to deliver bludgeoning and savage music.
Rounded out with guitarist Merihim, precision battery by Brandon Zackey (Chemical Warfare, ex - Nocturnal Symphonies) and vocals by the enigmatic K. Karcass (None Of The Living Remain) Sicarius is a black metal tour de force who have begun a campaign of violent supremacy throughout Southern California, with no signs of stopping for anyone.
You are condemned to the Void!
Sicocis (psychosis) is an award-winning melodic metal act from Las Vegas NV (USA) that blends elements of progressive, power and thrash with symphonic melodies and conceptual themes, with a strong emphasis on engaging live performances designed to be remembered wherever we play in the world.
In 2011, we found ourselves left wanting for dramatic theatrical elements and grandiose sounds that didn’t seem to be available in our home country, and as a result Sicocis was born so that what we could not acquire, we could create. Within months, our debut EP, “Revelations End” was released.
Almost immediately, the band drew attention and praise from area promoters and concert-goers, winning awards from Figgzillamusic.com and Hails and Horns magazine, as well as the Diablos’ $10,000 Rock the Roof Battle within our founding year, continuing with securing Vegas Rocks Music Awards’ “Best Metal” award in 2013.
Charging forward, Sicocis has continued to push into new cities, sharing stage with international acts and influences including Kamelot, Shadows Fall, Dragonforce, Devin Townsend, Tesseract, Insomnium, Unearth, Dark Tranquillity, Amaranthe, and many more, all the while spreading our sound throughout the Southwestern USA region.
As there is truly no rest for the wicked, in 2017 Sicocis looks forward to the release and distribution of the new full-length album, “Requiem of the World”, a dynamic experience which represents and highlights the facets of Sicocis’ evolving sound. The album’s first single, “We Shall Rise” and “Beyond the Quantum Waves”, have been featured in several publications, including ProgPower USA compilations and Blabbermouth.net.
Papsmear were one of the early, leading thrash metal bands of the '80s. Hailing from Las Vegas, the band released some seminal recordings, which garnered them rave reviews in the metal press, a spot on the New Renaissance's Speed Metal Hell compilation and shows with DRI, Dark Angel, COC, Hirax, MDC, Sacred Reich and more. Despite an offer from Metal Blade Records the band wound up falling apart with vocalist Tony Costanza ultimately moving to the SF Bay Area and becoming one of the founding members of Machine Head before going on to play drums with Crisis, Crowbar and more. This CD/DVD collection, Music to Kill By, collects their Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and Lunch with the PMRC demos along with a DVD of live shows and pays homage to the band and will show how vital and cutting-edge they were and should be enjoyed by both old and new fans of thrash metal.