Metal Update – 2 September 2018

Hi everyone, it’s me again, trying hard to keep up-to-date with all the news in the world of rock and metal.

I’ve not been told that these posts are annoying/worthless/rubbish/boring (delete as appropriate), so I plan to keep chugging along for the time being. And so, here are four more tidbits that I consider to be very tasty indeed. Read on…

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Haken
‘Vector’
InsideOut
Date of Release: 26 October 2018

NEW MUSIC FROM HAKEN!! Sorry for shouting, but I am a little bit excited by this news. As you all know, I’ve been an ambassador for the UK-based progressive rock/metal band since the very beginning, or close to it. Every album they release is different in terms of their style, as the xtet are not content with standing still or repeating themselves. Mind you, when you have an abundance of talent from every corner like Haken have, it’d be strange if they didn’t strive for new sounds and embrace different influences. The world is most definitely their oyster, as the old saying goes.

The big question I have is this: ‘as much as I love everything that Haken have ever done, will this new record beat the high-water mark that ‘Visions’ is for me?’ ‘Affinity’ pushed things close, but maybe ‘Vector’ will achieve the almost-impossible.

This new track, entitled ‘The Good Doctor’, is quite something to behold – at once classic Haken but with a different vibe that is taking time to decipher. However, it feels heavier, a little more ‘pop-like’ in the chorus which is insanely catchy and altogether a really strong, snappy composition, with a few throw-backs to ‘Affinity’ with the 80s electronic drum sounds principally. It certainly whets the appetite and I really look forward to hearing the entire album, hopefully before too long.

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Witherfall
‘A Prelude To Sorrow’
Century Media Records
Date of Release: 2 November 2018

To quote my review of the debut release, ‘Nocturnes and Requiems’:

“It remains to be seen what the future holds for the remaining three members of Witherfall but I sincerely hope that ‘Nocturnes And Requiems’ is not a one-off because it is just too damn good and newly-converted fans (myself included), simply need more of this kind of music in our lives. To deny us this would be a huge travesty.”

As it turns out, the band have survived tragedy with the untimely death of their drummer, Adam Sagan. Not only that, but their debut album, upon which their sticksman performed drew universal praise and brought them to the attention of Century Media Records. It means that we now have what I had hoped for – a sophomore release.

Strong melodies, heaviness led by strong riffs courtesy of Iced Earth guitarist Jake Dreyer and mature songwriting were the hallmarks of the impressive debut that drew comparisons from the likes of Nevermore and Symphony X. It’ll be interesting to see if Witherfall continue on a similar path or if it demonstrates greater originality. What I can say is that it’ll be a concept disc, based around the death of their drummer and friend and written ‘in the witching hour under the influence of wine and sorrow.’ So, it’ll be deeply emotional, that’s for sure.

Appearance of Nothing
‘TBC’
Date of Release: TBC

Finally, after an endless supply of teaser images and snippets of news, we have some new music to listen to from the band I’d consider to be the best prog metal act from Switzerland. Yes, I know it’s not hard given the paucity of competition, but these guys are the real deal and are seriously good – trust me.

What I wasn’t expecting was for Appearance of Nothing to deliver a new song that features a guest vocalist in the form of Anna Murphy of Cellar Darling (ex-Eluveitie). It makes me wonder whether or not ‘Storm’ is a track typical of the album in its entirety. Regardless, I do like what I hear. I think it’ll take a little time to digest fully, and I’m hoping the sound quality is more to do with the streaming on the Internet and not representative of the final product. But nevertheless, the chops that I like from this band are present, as are the abundant synths and plenty of melody to keep me interested. It certainly bodes well and I hope to get my teeth stuck into the full record so that I can bring you my thoughts as soon as possible – maybe bring a new fans to the cause if it meets my expectations.

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Bloodbath
‘The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn’
Peaceville Records
Date of Release: 26 October 2018

I can now bring you some confirmed news about one of my favourite death metal bands currently in operation: Bloodbath. The new record is entitled ‘The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn’ and will be with us at the end of October. The band teased us with the possibility of changes in the line-up and have now confirmed the news as follows:

“There’s an extra nasty layer on The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn. This time, among the usual chainsaw riffs and blasts, the darkness is also reflected in the addition of new guitarist Joakim Karlsson of Swedish black metal plague Craft. It’s a step forward that’s only given the band’s already fearsome fangs extra rabid bite.

He’s not the only extra face getting covered in gore. Track 2 “Bloodicide” – quite literally meaning ‘The Killing Of Blood’ – features a full house of British death metal guest stars, with Carcass’ Jeff Walker, Bolt Thrower/Memoriam UK singer Karl Willetts and Cancer Official Band’s John Walker all lending their larynxes to the madness.”

I feared that the cryptic information suggested a change in the core of the band, but that’s not the case happily. It means that Bloodbath still boasts a line-up comprised of Jonas Renkse, Nick Holmes, Anders Nyström and Martin Axenrot. Whilst death metal isn’t my absolute favourite genre of metal, I can tell you I’m massively excited about this release. I am ready for the blood and gore!

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