Dead End – Reborn from the Ancient Grave Review

Dead End - Reborn from the Ancient GraveThe immense advertising campaign inadvertently carried out by certain English street signs notwithstanding, Dead End is a strange and largely uninspiring name for a death-doom band. A name like Paradise Lost brings to mind Milton’s epic poem about the Fall of Man, Katatonia suggests an inescapable numbness, and My Dying Bride evokes a mental horror show. Dead End, on the other hand, brings to mind seeing a sign that means I have to make a three-point turn before I reach the end of the road I’m driving on. I don’t exactly enjoy three-point turns, but they certainly don’t fill me with dread. But we shouldn’t kick a band to the curb just because of a somewhat lacking name. Instead, we should drive towards the curb, turn towards the opposite curb, and drive back towards the Dead End and give Reborn from the Ancient Grave a fair shot.   

When the words “Dutch” and “death-doom” are put together, the mind  immediately jumps to the legendary Asphyx, and for good reason; they’re the most recognizable voice of this style coming from the Netherlands. Dead End represents a different side of the same coin, trying to merge the pulverizing nature of Asphyx with the melancholic moodiness of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. As on The Rack, a variety of tempos are used but everything is kept in the gloom of doom. The leads tend to follow in the Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride vein of highly personal misery but occasionally veer into an Eric Daniels style of sinister yet slightly sorrowful melodies. Vocally, Bryan Boorsma sounds a good bit like Nick Holmes on The Plague Within, but clean vocals don’t make an appearance in any of the songs here.

Album centerpiece “Mea Culpa” sees Dead End in solid form, finding the sweet spot between My Dying Bride and Asphyx by being at once punishing and personal with memorable riffs to back up the melancholy. “Dead End (Reborn)” is a great introduction to Dead End in 2016, and its energetic unhappiness is executed well in the vein of Paradise Lost’s faster newer material with the requisite catchy, weepy leads included. While the growled count-in is nothing short of ridiculous, “Another Weakness” is plodding and crushing with a noticeable Finnish influence and has some of the best overall riffing on Reborn from the Ancient Grave. It also refrains from using the Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride leads that reliably pepper the majority of the record, which when combined with the quality of riffing on display makes for one of the standout tracks.

Dead End 2016

It’s easy to like what Dead End is doing here, but it’s hard to do more than like it. This is serviceable death-doom, not often more and rarely less. It’s catchy, well-executed, and is the ideal combination of heavy and sad. The problem is, there’s just nothing to elevate Reborn from the Ancient Grave above the level of good at any point. Perhaps it’s the perpetual reminders of the legendary bands mentioned above, or perhaps it’s odd songwriting oversights like “Nails of the Martyr” having growling over a delicate section that sounds like it should have clean vocals or none at all sandwiched between some solid riffs with a whiff of Bolt Thrower. No matter the cause, I found myself contented instead of truly impressed with the music here. This is a stable, reliable, and fairly enjoyable slab of death-doom without frills or nonsense. It’s analogous to a decent, reliable beer that’s not too filling, not too hoppy, not too alcoholic, not too expensive, and not too special; it’s what you reach for when you just want to enjoy something without trying too hard within certain given parameters.

Dead End chose to apply an excess of polish to Reborn from the Ancient Grave, and in turn the record comes across as sounding rather plastic and leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Bass is not as massive as it sounds like it should be, and the drums are well-played but utterly bland in sound; the production here can be adequately described as modern in the pejorative sense. Nonetheless, lacking production doesn’t negate the satisfactory music found here. My dozen or so listens to this record yielded contentment, enjoyment, and an overall decent time, no more and no less. I’d be fine with hearing it again, but I’d be just as fine listening to a different death-doom record instead. There are plenty of good moments throughout Reborn from the Ancient Grave, but there are no compelling reasons to listen to this over any other decent death-doom album. There are no compelling reasons to avoid this either, so I can recommend this in a reserved way, but nothing more; on the upside, nothing less either.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Vic Records
Websites: facebook.com/deadend
Releases Worldwide: September 16th, 2016

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LARS ULRICH Isn't Bothered By 'Ludicrous' Online Criticism Of METALLICA's Music

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke to the New York Post about the response to the band’s new single, “Hardwired”. The song is the first taste of METALLICA‘s tenth studio album, “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, which is due in November.

Lars said: “The response in the inner circle to our album has been very positive, beyond what we expected. But 2016 is like the Wild West in music. What happens when you put out an album is anyone’s guess. We have access to all information, and the iPhone 7 will get it to us faster than last week’s iPhone. But the downside is that everyone’s got an attention span of about nine seconds, and then it’s on to the next thing. So who knows how this album will connect?”

Ulrich went on to say that he is not bothered by incessant online criticism of METALLICA‘s every move. “Occasionally, for comic relief, I’ll scroll down to see what ludicrous thing someone has written,” he said. “Someone will say, ‘Those guys were better when they were fucked up,’ or, ‘Those guys haven’t been any good since before they started.’ It’s fine. It doesn’t make an impact.”

Unlike Lars, METALLICA‘s Kirk Hammett recently told Minneapolis radio station 93X that he is completely staying away from reading comments online about “Hardwired”. The guitarist explained: “As soon as I go on to my computer and turn it on, and think to myself, ‘Should I read what other people are saying?’ or ‘Should I read some comments [on whatever web site]?’ I instantly say to myself, ‘Don’t go there,’ because I’ll just get, first, angry, then frustrated, then confused, and then wanna just write it all off as just fucking useless bullshit, and why did I even waste my time.”

Hammett added that the reaction he has gotten has been largely positive so far, saying: “I kind of feel the excitement. I can kind of feel the energy in the air. I mean, we all kind of are picking up on it. I’m getting a tremendous amount of texts from friends, saying, ‘Great song. Wonderful song.’ I know there’s a great buzz out there, and I’m totally, totally thankful that the song is so well received.”

“Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” will be released on November 18 on double CD, vinyl and digital download.

METALLICA will begin touring in support of the record in January 2017.

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STRYPER To Go On 'Hiatus' Following 'To Hell With The Devil' 30th-Anniversary Tour

Veteran rockers STRYPER have announced plans to “take a hiatus” following the completion of their tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of their multi-platinum album “To Hell With The Devil”.

Says the band in a statement: “As many of you know, we are preparing a tour to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of ‘To Hell With The Devil’. Although we’re extremely excited about this tour, our band and ministry is facing a crossroads for a variety of reasons, including some personal matters affecting our bassist, Tim Gaines, that have affected the unity of our band.

“As a result, upon the conclusion of this tour, we have decided to take a hiatus to allow each band member to think and pray about the direction of the band going forward.

“We believe the right thing to do is to be open with all of you so we can continue on with integrity and put to rest any false rumors and accusations. We also believe we must honor our commitments in moving forward with the tour.

“The name STRYPER is very important to us. What (and who) it represents is even more important. We take what we do very seriously as a band and ministry and we believe it’s our duty to take this hiatus based on our faith, so we can move forward in the right way.

“We do appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

“God Bless you all.”

In a recent interview with The Swerve Magazine , STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet was asked how it has been working with the same guys in the band for most of the group’s three-decade-plus-long career. He responded: “Well, I mean, I’ll be honest. I’m not going to lie to anybody. It’s not easy. We have our issues. There are four strong personalities in this band. I’m the most boisterous. I’m the guy that talks a lot and people hear from the most, but I think if you heard from the other three guys, you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Everybody has opinions, and we’re not on the same page many times. We don’t see eye to eye. We have our arguments and our times of frustrations with one another.”

He continued: “We made a pact to stay together. When we decide that we shouldn’t stay together, that’s when STRYPER will end, because I don’t want to continue on without Robert [Sweet, drums], or without Tim [Gaines, bass], or without Oz [Fox, guitar]. I think that it’s important that the four of us stay together, or it’s not STRYPER. At that point in time, if we’re not getting along we need to call it quits, and not replace each other.

“I hate it when bands start replacing their band members. You know what? It degrades the band and the brand. It’s not fair to fans.

“I understand in a situation where, let’s say, somebody passes away, and the other three or four guys want to continue, and they had the blessing of that person. That’s a different situation, but what I’m referring to is all the bickering. You’ve got four guys in the band, and they don’t get along, so they all go off and do their own version of that band. I mean, I just think that’s a joke, a complete joke.”

The “To Hell With The Devil” 30th-anniversary tour is scheduled to kick off on September 29 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Released by Enigma Records on October 24, 1986, the Grammy-nominated “To Hell With The Devil” is the band’s third studio album and the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status.

STRYPER‘s latest album, “Fallen”, entered The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 43 with first-week sales of just over 10,000 units — nearly all from pure album sales. The set follows the No. 35-peaking “No More Hell To Pay”, which was released in 2013.

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LAMB OF GOD Frontman: 'I Don't Even Know How FACEBOOK Works'

In a brand new interview with Northern Star , LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe was asked how he keeps himself grounded and not let social media distort his view of the world. He responded: “For me, I don’t have a Facebook account, and as you get bigger and bigger and more and more people start coming to see your band, there is always the ego monster that can creep in if you don’t watch it.

“I think, fortuitously for myself and my band, we were all already in our 30s when we really started gaining some traction as a band. I think we would not have handled it as well had we been younger in our 20s. But we were already firmly grounded as who we were as people.

“I used to have a Twitter [account] where all I would do is wind up arguing with my fans, because it felt like some of them — not all of them; I had a lovely relationship with most of them, but, ah, I didn’t like the weird anonymous unaccountability that people had. The way they acted sometimes on Twitter and I am assuming that’s the same on Facebook.

“I don’t even know how Facebook works. I’ve never looked at Facebook, thank goodness.”

He continued: “For me and social media right now, I really only have an Instagram and I shoot photos and I use it as a tool to share art. I am not putting photos of my lunch or you won’t see selfies. If there is a picture of me, it is a self-portrait that I took for a reason, normally for an interview or something. I try put up pictures that have some artistic merit to them and write with them and try and drive some sort of narrative that might encourage people to think about what they are seeing and maybe think about how they view art and the world. I don’t put pictures of me up in scenic places. To me, that just reeks of arrogance. Like, ‘Look, here we are in Rome at the Parthenon’ — this beautiful ancient thing — ‘I better insert myself into it.’ That seems narcissistic. Why wouldn’t you just take a picture of where you are and enjoy the environment. The only time I take selfies is I will take them and send goofy pictures to my wife. But she’s the only one that sees them. Me making a funny face at her, that’s what they are good for.

“A friend of mine, Bubble, he’s in ALL THAT REMAINS, he talks about social media accounts like Instagram: ‘I think of it as a person’s house. If you walked into someone’s house and all you saw was thousands of pictures of them that they had taken of themselves, you would think, ‘What a fucking insufferable asshole!” One or two pictures are okay if it is artistic, but it’s not. It is a virtual temple to self.

“For me, with a camera and photography, and even with a freakin’ iPhone, I’m much more interested in capturing the world around me rather than trying to interject myself into it. There’s enough pictures of me already. [Laughs]”

LAMB OF GOD is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, “VII: Sturm Und Drang”, which was released in July 2015 via Epic in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Entertainment in all territories outside of North America.

http://www.blabbermouth.net/

Will Reunited MISFITS Make New Music? GLENN DANZIG Doesn't Know

Glenn Danzig has told The New York Times that there are no plans for the reunited MISFITS to make new music after completing a two-show reunion run at this year’s Riot Fest. “If there’s going to be another MISFITS record, I’d probably have to write the stuff,” he said. “And I’ve got a full plate, so I don’t know.”

Danzig also explained his decision to reunite with the MISFITS after 33 years, saying: “Jerry [Only, MISFITS bassist] and I had solved and resolved all our differences. And I’ve seen a lot of musicians dying too young recently, like [David] Bowie and Prince. That just got in my head. People had been trying to get us to reunite for a long time, anyway. I said that if we’re going to do it, we might as well do it now while we’re all in really good shape. It’s not easy to be in terrible shape or be a drug addict and perform, you know?”

He added: “Not a lot of people got to see the original MISFITS. Maybe the legends have grown over all these years. And now they got to see it.”

The original MISFITS band broke up in 1983, and Only brought forth a new version of the MISFITS in 1995. Various members have come and gone, but Only, along with BLACK FLAG‘s Dez Cadena, has kept some form of the MISFITS in the recording studio and on the road for most of the last two decades.

After the original MISFITS disbanded, Danzig went on to form SAMHAIN and then the eponymous DANZIG. Several albums of reissued and previously unreleased material were issued after the group’s dissolution, and their music became influential to punk rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock music of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Glenn didn’t rule out more dates after the Riot Fest shows, telling Rolling Stone: “We’ll see how it goes. It may lead to some other work, but who knows how it’s going to turn out? I mean, I don’t think it’s going to be a disaster; I think it’s going to be incredible.”

misfitsriotfestposter2016bigger

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Solution .45 – Nightmares in the Waking State – Part II Review

Last year Christian Alvestam (ex-Scar Symmetry, Torchbearer) and his Solution .45 project dropped the first installment of a double album that went by the name of Nightmares in the Waking State – Part I. As expected, it was grounded in the same metalcore-tinged melo-death Alvestam’s been associated with throughout his music career. It had a few strong highlights but as a whole it was nothing earth-shaking. Almost a year later he’s back with the second installment of his double creature feature, but should you care? Well yes, since this is a much more consistent, enjoyable ride with an unexpectedly ambitious prog side; at times almost sounding like a Dan Swanö melo-death project rather than the usual regurgitated Soilwork or Scar Symmetry fluff. Since it’s so much better than Part I, does that make it the Use Your Illusion II of melo-death? Was that title already taken by Disc II of Songs From the North? I can’t keep this stuff straight anymore because math is hard.

Numerology woes aside, Nightmares in the Waking State – Part II continues the central story started in Part I, but since I didn’t get lyrics with the promo, I have no idea what it’s all about, though a good guess would be nightmares. Plot ignorance won’t get in the way of enjoying the music however, which feels a lot more inspired and adventurous overall. After a pompous, powerweenie  intro, “The Faint Pulse of Life” comes at you like a rampaging beast with heavy, vaguely core-ish riffs battering away as Alvestam provides some very Mikael Stanne-like death rasps. The change up comes at chorus time where he remains in death mode rather than opting for his usual soaring cleans, yet it’s still very memorable and catchy. Nicely played, that. Follow up “Mind Mutation” also throws some curveballs into the basic Solution .45 template by incorporating power metal guitar and keyboard wankery that would fit in on a Kamelot opus. Alvestam’s singing makes it’s first appearance and it’s solid as always and a nice shift from the gruntage.

Built on Sand ” is another odd duck, adopting a herky-jerky prog style that feels like something you’d get on a Witherscape album. It’s all over the place but somehow manages to connect on the first spin and Alvestam outdoes himself with his harsh-to-clean vocal switcheroos. The frantic and jangled riff-work is interesting, the solos are beautiful and the song feels like a big leap forward for Solution .45. Other highlights include the melodic sappiness of “Inescapable Dream” that sticks to you like cotton candy in August; the strange sojourn into Within Temptation goth-symphonics on “What Turns the Wheels” and the slightly sadboy “Heavy Lies the Crown.”

solution-45_2016

All the songs are good and several are actually quite great. That’s in stark contrast to the Part I which felt filler heavy. So Impressed was I with this album, that I started to second guess my reaction to Part I and went back to give it a another try. Sadly, my opinion stands. Alvestam seriously back-loaded Part II with the top-shelf material. This is like moving “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry” from Use Your Illusion I and over to II, but I digress.

Alvestam delivers one of his best performances, showcasing just how well he can sing when he puts his mind to it. He’s one of the most versatile vocalists in metal and that’s why it took 2 dudes to replace him when he left Scar Symmetry. Both his melodic singing and death roars are in peak condition and he goes extra brootal at times for added impact. As good as he is, I was most impressed with the guitar pyrotechnics of Jani Stefanovic and Patrik Gardberg. This batch of tunes feels less tightly structured, giving them greater freedom to explore the musical sandbox and try new things. Their impressive noodling and oddball prog ideas offset the more straightforward melo-death moments and make for a much more unpredictable and rewarding listen.

I didn’t have great expectations for this but ended up really enjoying it. I’ll likely take the best parts of Part I and move them over to Part II for one kick ass playlist, and I’m left to wonder why Alvestam didn’t do something similar when he was writing and recording these platters. Regardless, Part II is definitely a big step up and one of the best things he’s done since leaving Scar Symmetry. Well worth hearing.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AMF Records
Websites: solution45.comfacebook.com/solution.45.official
Releases Worldwide: August 29th, 2016

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GEOFF TATE To Perform Acoustically And Tell Stories On European Tour

Former QUEENSRŸCHE and current OPERATION: MINDCRIME singer Geoff Tate will embark on a European tour consisting of very special nights of storytelling and acoustic songs spanning his 35-year career. He will play tracks from 17 different albums, including material from QUEENSRŸCHE‘s “Rage For Order”, “Empire” and “Operation:Mindcrime”, as well as songs from the new OPERATION: MINDCRIME album, “Resurrection”. He will be backed by a six-piece, all-acoustic band in an up-close-and-personal, intimate setting.

Here are the first confirmed dates, with more to be announced soon:

Dec. 08 – D-Ingolstadt – Eventhalle Westpark
Dec. 10 – ITA-BorgoPriolo –
Dec. 15 – D-Bochum – Matrix
Dec. 17 – NED-Zoetermeer – Boerderij
Dec. 18 – NED-Eindhoven – Dynamo
Dec. 19 – UK-London – O2 Academy Islington
Dec. 20 – UK-Norwich – Waterfront
Dec. 21 – UK-Glasgow – Cat House
Dec. 22 – IE-Dublin – Voodoo
Dec. 23 – NI-Belfast – Empire
Dec. 26 – D-Burgrieden – Riffelhof
Dec. 27 – D-Muenchen – Backstage
Dec. 28 – D-Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
Dec. 29 – D-Mannheim – 7er
Jan. 03 – D-Aschaffenburg – Colos Saal
Jan. 04 – NED-Heerlen – Parkstad Limburg Theater

In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where Tate sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being fired in 2012. Original QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton (guitar), Scott Rockenfield (drums) and Eddie Jackson (bass) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Operation: Mindcrime II” in their entirety live.

Frontiers Music Srl will release “Resurrection”, the new album from OPERATION: MINDCRIME, on September 23.

Even though Tate is planning to continue making music and touring for the foreseeable future, he says that he is looking forward to his retirement years and spending more time with his family. “I have kind of already lived my dream quite often, almost every day,” he told AntiHero Magazine . “I get to write music, which I love. I get to perform, which I love. I get to travel, which I love. I get to meet interesting people and have wonderful conversations with people. I get to go to amazing restaurants, and visit historical sites. I am pretty blessed, and I feel very fortunate. I think that I would like to just keep continuing on doing those things for the rest of my life, really.”

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