If the likes of ‘Hell Awaits’, ‘Restless And Wild’, ‘Black Metal’ and ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ got you bouncing around the room with excitement the first time you heard them then ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ the Metal Blade debut album from Midnight is the “must hear” album of 2020 for you.

Long term Midnight fans will no doubt already be tutting at my reference to ‘Black Metal’ but across their impressive 17 year back catalogue there is no way of distancing the band’s sound from that primal guttural roar of Cronos and Co. They are the band I once dubbed as “being able to play Venom’s back catalogue better than Venom”, and I’m going to stick by that.

‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ then is Midnight possibly taking their first steps into “doing a Ghost” by moving away from the metal underground and into the more mainstream. Fear not though, as the title of opener ‘Fucking Speed And Darkness’ alludes Midnight main man Athenar isn’t about to be prancing about like the Pied Piper in its accompanying video any time soon. Nah, this is still very much “go for the throat” heavy metal music, it’s just this time around it really feels like Athenar has stepped up his game in the songwriting department and here all 10 tracks hit home with equal parts ferocity and finesse.

If I were to single out one thing that ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has throughout its 33 minute running time it is that there is a clear focus to deliver brutal yet memorable songs, and therein lies the secret of why for me Midnight stands head and shoulders above the rest of the black metal pack. There’s still some tongue in cheek stuff going on (Devil’s Excrement’ for example – which could very easily be a Trigger McPoopshute song) but essentially this is heads down no-nonsense heavy metal celebrating everything that is great about the genre in 2020. The likes of ‘Cursed Possessions’, ‘Escape From The Grave’ and ‘The Sounds Of Hell’ would and should be instant dancefloor fillers at any metal all-nighter – if such things still exist?

Granted ‘Rising Scum’ might sail a little close to Venom’s ‘Nightmare’ in terms of being the obvious track to be pulled as a potential single, but this comparison is not being made because of plagiarism, it’s being made simply because it’s also a song driven by a drumbeat set to raise the dead. Likewise, the opening few bars of album closer ‘You Drag Me Through Fire’ are primetime Priest yet the song soon catapults the listener back into the very depths of hell with just enough time left to polish your studded gauntlets before pressing the “Repeat” button on your death deck.

At the top of this review I mentioned a quartet of heavy metal records that loom large over the metal community to this day, ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has all the potential to be such an album for the generations to follow, you just need to decide if you want to buy the inverted cross CD or the limited coloured vinyl.

‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ is released Tomorrow get the date in your Necronomicon.

Buy ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ Here

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Author: Johnny Hayward

 

UK black-metal outfit Necronautical have announced details of their latest offering, new album ‘Apotheosis’, set for release on 30th August through world-renowned extreme metal label Candlelight Records. 
The album was recorded, mixed & mastered by British producer Chris Fielding (Winterfylleth, Witchsorrow, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard) at Skyhammer Studio.  Adorned by the foreboding artwork of David Thiérrée (Behemoth, Gorgoroth), ‘Apotheosis’ serves as a sonic epitaph to the human experiences of hope and faith. It details a melancholic journey through an empty and brutal existence, taking inspiration from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Chuck Palanuik and Neil Gaiman.
‘Nihil Sub Sole Novum’ is the first single to be shared from Apotheosis with the band adding,
“We feel that this song acts as a perfect microcosm for the direction of the album and of Necronautical itself: a relentless combination of punishing riffs and melancholic euphoria. The title translates as “nothing new under the sun”, directly challenging the conclusion of Ecclesiastes 1:9, and instead seeking to elevate the bleak and repetitive nature of life and humanity to the dais reserved for its gods. The song draws on the concepts of anamnesis and of a mythical pre-human golden age, and asks if such rediscovered knowledge can break the monotony of existence.” 
So without further ado –  

Pre-order the album – Here
Necronautical live dates:
 
11.07.2019 Outpost, Liverpool w/ The Infernal Sea, Burial, Ba’al
12.07.2019 Alberts, Nottingham w/ The Infernal Sea, Burial
13.07.2019 Scruffy Murphy’s, Birmingham w/ The Infernal Sea, Shadowflag, Wolvencrown, Crimson Throne
14.07.2019 Fulford Arms, York w/ The Infernal Sea, Ante-Inferno, Burial
25.07.2019 Beermageddon Festival, Bromsgrove, UK
11.10.2019 Rebellion, Manchester w/ Sojouner & Havukruunu

Its no secret that we don’t always listen to Glam punk or Rock n Roll or straight up punk. Sometimes we love to indulge in a more challenging form of music. Besides, I find the whole scene of Black Metal absolutely fascinating so, on days like this, it’s only fair to tip the hat and show some respect for those who made the records and have since passed on.  As a mark of respect, we’d like to spread a little love for Tomas Forsberg better known as Quorthorn,  Multi-instrumentalist and frontrunner of the metal subgenre known as Black Metal. Frontman and songwriter of the blackest of black metal bands none other than –  Bathory.

Tomas founded Bathory when he was just 17.  But prior to that, he began his musical journey playing in an Oi! band, before turning to the darker side of Metal.

Bathory was, for the most part, a studio band releasing four albums and often cited as the fathers of Black Metal or at least Scandinavian Black Metal. (of course, Venom were the first we know that) Thomas Börje Forsberg was born on the 17th of February 1966 and sadly passed away at home on this very day in 2004 as a result of a congenital heart defect. In his short life, he managed to release 16 Bathory albums and three solo albums under the name Quorthon. He was known as ‘Ace’ early on after Ace Frehley from Kiss maybe he wasn’t so dark after all and only when he turned to the dark side did he change his name to something altogether eviler.

Managing to remain in the underground Bathroy were more in keeping with the origins of Black Metal and Venoms more NWOBHM than the breakneck blast beats and throat gargling abominations that followed from the bands that took the scene to the extremes.  Bathory will always be known as one of the forefathers and groundbreakers.  So RPM would like to say Rest In Peace Thomas and shine on you crazy diamond.

Also on this very day in 1993 the artist formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson changed his name to Symbol! Now had he been a black metal artist he could have come up with some unreadable abomination for a symbol – lucky for us it was like a squiggle with a circle and an anchor like line.  These pop stars eh?  Nutters one and all

 

Also on this very day, The Sex Pistols reached a level of notoriety when they played a live show on a boat travelling up the Thames as part of the Queen’s silver jubilee celebrations.

 

When the news initially broke earlier this year regarding this Limited Edition vinyl-only box set that brings together remastered editions of the four studio LPs and a double live album recorded by the original line up of Black Metal gods Venom, I was immediately intrigued.

Add into the mix a further double LP of previously unreleased demos, an exclusive shaped picture disc of ‘Bloodlust’, and a veritable cornucopia of memorabilia that includes amongst other things a stunning 40 page ‘History Of Venom’ hardback book along with (if you pre-ordered it from the band themselves) a 12×12 art print signed by Cronos himself, and before I could yell “C’MAAAAAAAAAAAN TURN IT UP’, I had bought a copy.

I actually received mine at the start of May well ahead of the official release date of May 31st but I wanted to really get to grips with this mammoth set before giving you my verdict simply because with a retail price of £150 this is never going to be an impulse purchase.

As I’ve mentioned the ‘History’ book already let’s begin with a little bit of my own history and how I first heard Venom. It was early 1983 and a close friend (who remains so to this very day) who first introduced me to ‘Black Metal’, oddly via a mate of his who had bought said LP (complete with poster) and as he thought it was shit, he had given it away. It wasn’t really like any of the other metal bands we were listening to at the time other than those noisy bastards Motorhead and Tank, in fact, it reminded me more of the relentless racket created by the UK82 punk bands my other school mates were listening to at the time like G.B.H and Discharge. I have to admit I wasn’t exactly an immediate fan but I did have a copy of ‘Black Metal’ taped for me (there’s a gag in there that I won’t need to explain to old school fans) so it did make numerous appearance on my Walkman over the summer of that year but it wasn’t until June 1984 when I just happened to buy a ticket on the door for the awe-inspiring Seventh Date Of Hell show at Hammersmith Odeon that I fully got what Venom were really all about.  

Picking up the “remastered from the original tapes” splatter and swirl LPs contained in this lavish box set (they all come with reproduction sleeves and inners) I actually begin my aural assault with ‘At War With Satan’ because that was the Venom record I first purchased for myself (on picture disc) at that legendary Seventh Date gig, and here pressed on heavyweight clear splatter vinyl it sounds absolutely magnificent. Okay, the gatefold doesn’t have the gold leaf cover of the original pressing or the original merch/poster inserts but that’s probably just me being a little bit too pernickety as otherwise this is stonking stuff.

I then go back to the band’s beginnings, with ‘Welcome to Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ played back to back, and here the rumbling bottom end that bursts out the speakers is enough to wake the dead, or at the very least the neighbours. Both LPs come in embossed sleeves (and include replicas of the posters and lyric inners – here reproduced on the inner bags) and are again pressed on splatter vinyl, sounding as raw as they did back at the dawn of the eighties and equally just as ground-breaking.  The only small niggle I have here is my copy of ‘Black Metal’ came with nasty click on the run-in groove to side one, again I may be being over critical here but with the hefty price tag attached to this set I would expect nothing short of perfection.

Which is something I do get with the 74 tracks on offer here that’s for sure, with perhaps the real highlight for me being the chance to rediscover 1985’s (at the time) critically panned ‘Possessed’ LP. A record that has never sounded better than it does here, and coming as it does pressed upon splatter vinyl complete with the original inner bag and a huge poster it’s never looked as good either.

Moving on to ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ from 1986 and this double live LP for me has never really cut it, largely because some bright spark decided to leave silences between the tracks, so its not really like listening to a live album at all, and why would I want to listen to the band live just as they were falling apart at the seams when I could simply slip in my almost worn out VHS of The Seventh Date of Hell? The soundtrack of which I have always felt would have been a much better alternative as their official live album. Here ‘Nachtmusik’ is lovingly restored in a gatefold sleeve complete with the inner bags, so I’m sure I’ll get to play it more this time around.

With many Venom fans probably looking to buy this box set just for the 15 track ‘Sons Of Satan’ double LP I have to admit that if this were a standalone release I wouldn’t have been happy paying a top price for it. However, as a piece of Venom history contained within such an absorbing time capsule commemorating the band’s 40th anniversary it actually works well. Initially transporting us right back to 1979 via some very boomy cassette recordings of the band’s first line up complete with singer Christ, this is a world away from the Venom that would ultimately change heavy metal forever. However, by the time we get to the 1980 Impulse Studios demos that make up sides 2 and 3 of ‘Sons Of Satan’ the more recognisable “organised chaos” of the classic Venom sound is all but a few bottles of Jack Daniels away and waiting to take on the world. Something Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon were more than ready to do by the time they released the original ‘Bloodlust’/’In Nomine Satanas’ 7” single back in 1982 and thankfully it is included here as a shaped picture disc exclusive to this box set.

Whilst immersing myself in the satanic sounds of this box set I found the aforementioned ‘History Of Venom’ book to be the perfect accompanying piece, formed as it is from quotes from all the band members as well as being crammed with some of the cheesiest band photographs ever taken. This book for me is where this box set truly adds a bit of (black) magic to the mystery of Venom, as does the memory jogging reproduction tour programme.

Wrapping up the memorabilia part of this set you also get a huge Seven Dates Of Hell poster along with a Venom’s Legions back patch and if like me you order it from the band’s official store (linked below) you also get a very frameable art print signed by Count Cronos himself.

So, is it worth the £150 then I hear you cry?

Well, if you don’t already have these seminal albums on vinyl it most certainly is a must buy. If however you are a hardcore Venom collector and have these albums already a bazillion time over you’ll probably have done what I did and already have this box set filed away in your collection, in which case, “what the hell are you doing reading this review?” Ha!

‘In Nomine Satanas – 40 Years In Sodom’ will take a lot to top in the box set stakes that’s for sure and it once again proves that the devil really does still have all the very best tunes.

 

signed by Cronos Copy Here

Buy Here

Double CD best of book edition Here

Author: Johnny Hayward

FINALLY!!! THE DAY HAS ARRIVED AND HERE IT IS …....

 

DARKTHRONE – OLD STAR
order Here

 

New studio album out today on Peaceville
The Norwegian black metal legends mark their return with a sublime new slab of relentless riffing in the true spirit of the underground.

 

“more metal than ever” Fenriz
The legendary Norwegian longstanding partnership of Fenriz and Ted “Nocturno Culto” Skjellum, return with their first studio album since 2016’s hugely popular ‘Arctic Thunder’, in the shape of ‘Old Star’. With a mastery and endless dedication to the art of the riff, the Norwegian legends cut through 6 new epic tracks, taking in the best of the old school of heavy & extreme metal plus a large dose of doom-laden riffing, & channeling it through the grime of the underground.
Fenriz enthuses «Old star – again we are here with THE RIFFS! A while after our previous ARCTIC THUNDER album it became apparent that we would continue in that same style, BLACK OLD HEAVY METAL with slow thrash, classic doom, and slow death metal.
As many have focussed on the 70s sound over the last 20 years, the mix on our new album has ended up being more 80s than ever. The songs are more metal than ever! Ted’s songs have a lot of black metal in them, faster and slower but also doomier parts and recurring parts. My songs are more linear written, it’s an ancient 80s underground trick, with breaks, all slow heavy or slow thrash, classic doom or slow death.»
He continues “All in all it is our most 80s album so far and our most metal one to date with drum sound typical for the 80s USA/German market and damned lyrics, which are all written by me. We feel that ‘OLD STAR’ is the big brother of ARCTIC THUNDER. More solid and with even better riffs.”
‘Old Star’ was recorded at the band’s Necrohell 2 Studios, with engineering and production duties carried out by vocalist/guitarist Nocturno Culto, complemented with a perfectly organic mix courtesy of Sanford Parker (Voivod) at Hypercube Studios, & mastered once more by Jack Control at Enormous Door. The stellar cover artistry comes courtesy of Chadwick St John, titled “The Shepherd of the Deep”.
Over the course of 30 years, Norway’s Darkthrone has become a staple of the global black metal genre, forging a legacy as one of the most renowned and influential bands in its illustrious & often infamous history. In the formative years following their 1987 inception, Darkthrone initially started with a strong concoction of thrash & then death/doom metal experimentation, with broader musical influences spanning from the 60s to the 80s, before the debut album Soulside Journey was unleashed in 1991. Never ones to follow convention or stand still even then, the band soon embraced a much darker, more primitive form of expression with the now iconic second album A Blaze in the Northern Sky, & the rest became history.
OLD STAR will be released on the following formats with each featuring handwritten lyrics in the booklet or insert:
CD
Ltd Edition 7” vinyl box set – Old Star is presented on 3 coloured 7” (black, white, clear vinyl) 
Black 180g vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g purple vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g green vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g orange vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g red vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g gold vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 180g white vinyl LP
Cassette
Digital album
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