death metal

I like to think of myself as being somewhat well-versed on metal and its history. But there are limits to anyone's capacity for knowledge, and when it comes to metal, mine is a mile wide and an inch deep. Only getting into heavy music after the glory days of the first wave bands was long over, my knowledge of the seminal roots of metal will never be as complete as someone who lived through those times, nor have I put in the effort to come closer.

I’m going out on a limb, here. “Relentless, Reckless Forever” is one of the best fifty albums ever. EVER. And I know I’m going out on a limb by saying that because I know that the other two gentlemen who write about music for this site, whose opinions I very much respect, both heartily disagree with me. But that’s the way I feel, and that was my mindset as I encountered “Halo of Blood.”

Immolation is a death metal band from Yonkers, New York that knows its niche. Steeped in the rules and regulations of American death metal, Immolation is straight ahead, no frills death complete with biting riffs and ugly, guttural vocals.

Nine consecutive weeks on tour with only two days off. For those doing the math, that adds up to sixty-one shows in sixty-three days. That’s the type of grueling tour schedule we’re talking about. It’s nearly unprecedented to put together a calendar like that, because who would believe it could be done? Even the most mundane of desk jobs requires more than two days off in a two-month span.

To say that Arsis has had a long, convoluted career path is a wild, reckless understatement. Birthed in California, the band’s career lineup cycle has more twists and turns than your standard daytime soap opera plot. So it’s a testament to the hearty will of frontman James Malone that this new album “Unwelcome” even exists. Arsis continues to try and persevere in the chokes underground universe of technical death metal.

Following years of tumult and unrest, with multiple rotating cast members, Arsis has settled into a groove for the release of the upcoming record "Unwelcome." For the first time, band leader James Malone feels like he has a lineup he can count on and an album that he can really use to launch the band into the fray. We sat down with James to talk about his band, his music, and the conventions of genre labels.

It was less than a year ago that Six Feet Under revealed a revamped lineup to the world, unleashing “Undead” onto a death metal world that wasn't expecting Chris Barnes to make relevant music ever again. The band had been through some stagnant years, and the “Graveyard Classics” series of cover albums had destroyed much of their credibility with serious listeners, so the fact that “Undead” was able to resurrect the band's image was an act still a few steps short of a miracle.

If someone someday constructed a Mount Rushmore of Swedish death metal, there's a very good chance that Peter Tägtgren would be a candidate for inclusion. Revolutionary in his early days and a mainstay in the worldwide genre now, Tägtgren is just about ready to drop "End of Disclosure" on the world, the newest album from his primary band Hypocrisy. That's only the beginning of the musical year for Tägtgren, however, as he's also about to hit the road for a tour and somehow found time to work on the new Children of Bodom record. We were honored that the man himself found a few minutes to spare to talk with us about all of these things and more.

Over the last few years, as the remaining remnants of melodic death metal withered on the vine, the genre as a whole began to suffer. It wasn't that the turn of the millennium strain of melodic death metal was a cultural touchstone that needed to be saved, but what replaced it didn't account for the very reason it ever existed. Melodic death metal was the bridge between those people who listen to music simply to be pounded by the loudest mash of noise possible, and those who can appreciate heavier sounds but still need to have a conventional song to wrap them in.