Since his days as frontman of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond has come to be regarded as one of heavy metal's truest innovators. Metal operas such as Abigail and Them and, more recently, Abigail II: The Revenge and The Puppet Master, established him as a master storyteller, songwriter and lyricist. On each album he and his band, currently consisting of guitarists Andy La Rocque and Mike Wead, bassist Hal Patino and drummer Matt Thompson, strive to do something a bit different. On Give Me Your Soul... Please they construct a story incorporating the occult, murder mysteries, nightmares and lyrics reflecting Diamond's experiences with the unknown, set to a soundtrack reflecting classic Mercyful Fate.
The tale of the album is about a brother and sister who are brutally murdered by their father and become spirits. The brother is wrongly judged a suicide and condemned to hell. To ensure her brother's journey to heaven, the sister plans to steal an innocent soul. “I feel this is our strongest album,” Diamond said of the making of Give Me Your Soul... Please, which again features the talents of vocalist Livia Zita. "It’s very theatrical, especially from a technical point of view. The instruments and arrangements can be heard so clearly, from the demonic voices and backing vocals to the cellos and harpsichord." Recently, Diamond toured the U.S. with Kreator, Leaves' Eyes and Cellador and hosted an online chat on covenworldwide.org. A King Diamond fan convention was held in Krakow, Poland on June 29.
Los Angeles' resident glam/horror shocker Lizzy Borden may not have had the recognition reached by Alice Cooper, Kiss or Marilyn Manson, but he did become one of Metal Blade's most respected performers spawning the underground classic Love You Pieces when most L.A. bands stayed on the safe side of the fence. Originally released back in 1989, another classic known as Master Of Disguise was reissued March 6, so fans can experience the axe-wielding manic Borden was in his heyday. In addition to cuts like "Master Of Disguise," "Love Is A Crime" and "Vampires Kiss," the CD comes with a bonus DVD, The Making Of "Master Of Disguise." The trailer can be viewed at Metal Blade's official site.
The German progressive-metallers Symphorce released their sixth full length Become Death March 6. Produced by Dennis Ward and mastered by Achim Köhler who worked with the band on Phorceful Ahead and Twice Second, this is predicted to be the band's essential listening experience. On June 9, Symphorce appeared at the Rage Against Racism festival in Duisburg, Germany. Other bands appearing at this festival were Blood Red Angel, Defectdead, Absence, Dark Age, Lords Of Decadence, Black Messiah, Power & Osyris. Become Death can be previewed at symphorce.net.
Cannibal Corpse have been the center of controversy since their 1990 debut, Eaten Back To Life. Defining American death metal, the band invented a brutal sound with graphic lyrics that inspired countless bands, alarmed politicians and resulted in millions of album sales with little airplay. To this day, their album Butchered At Birth is banned in Germany. In 1996 Vile, their first album featuring former Monstrosity vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, became the first death metal album to break into the Billboard charts. This classic recording has been re-released with a bonus DVD featuring performances from San Francisco's Berkeley Square in 1997. "Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead," "Devoured By Vermin" and "Hammer Smashed Face" are here alongside other classics. Vile was reissued March 6.
Former Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes is considered by many to personify death itself, both as the frontman of his previous band and the current frontman of Six Feet Under. Released on April 17, Six Feet Under's new album Commandment was written, composed and recorded entirely in the studio. Put together in only twelve days, the tracks on Commandment was recorded and mixed at St. Petersburg, Florida's Mana Recording. The vocal tracks were done at The Hit Factory in Miami, with longtime friend Chris Carroll engineering. Barnes produced the album with the steady SFU lineup of guitarist Steve Swanson, bassist Terry Butler and drummer Greg Gall working as hard on the songs as he.
Barnes describes their work on new tracks like "Doomsday," "The Edge Of The Hatchet," "As The Blade Turns" and "Thou Shall Kill" among the others as a tremendous journey. "...That's always a daunting undertaking, just being able to start writing at the drop of a hat. It took us a couple of days to really find our zone and what we wanted to start off doing. I think we accomplished it. We worked real hard."
Reflecting more deeply on matters of mortality and the morality we choose
for ourselves versus the morality others would force on us helped inspire
Barnes from a lyrical standpoint.
This is why one could consider Commandment a spiritual journey for Barnes, and ultimately about life. "We're given a great gift by whatever to be here and I think there is a reason behind things," he was quoted. "I don't know what that is and that is one of those things that drives me as a writer; that thought, my own human existence and others and the ills of society and the way people treat each other... I think going back and thinking about things in the past is really healthy for your energy form. I do cherish life. It's a beautiful thing to be alive. I think the time period that I've lived from the late '60s to this century has been a pretty interesting point in time." Catch SFU's promotional clip for "Ghosts of the Undead."
Swedish death metallers Vomitory began recording their current album Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize early in 2006. A new relationship with producer/engineer Rikard Löfgren began after the band amiably ended their long haul with Henrik Larsson, producer of Redemption, Revelation Nausea and Blood Rapture. This choice was made after Vomitory parted company with guitarist Ulf Dalegren (replaced by Peter Östlund of the Swedish thrash metal band, The Law). Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize is said by Metal Blade to have the band's finest production and most brutal songwriting to date. The album was released May 1 and Vomitory had their first U.S. performance at the 2007 Maryland Deathfest that month.
Arizona's Job For A Cowboy, whom Metal Blade says is a fast rising band known for intense material, explosive live shows and visionary lyrics, released their debut CD Genesis on May 15. Last summer Job For A Cowboy played a few dates on the Sounds of the Underground Tour, appeared on the 2006 Steers & Beers Tour with Misery Index and Cattle Decapitation and appeared on the 2006 Saints and Sinners festival with Unearth and Killswitch Engage. Some UK dates followed before work on their debut CD. Genesis was recorded at Phoenix's Blue Light Audio Media, produced by Cory Spotts and mixed by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Entombed, Opeth). Metal Hammer, Total Guitar and Revolver are buzzing.
The Red Chord's new full length Prey For Eyes, scheduled for release this July 24, was recorded at Trax East studio with Eric Rachel (The Black Dahlia Murder, Atreyu) producing. While touring with name underground acts like Gwar and Hatebreed and appearing at the Ozzfest and Sounds Of The Underground festivals, Clients established them as unique and innovative. Considered by The Red Chord as an evolution from Clients, Prey For Eyes has guest appearances from Converge's Nate Newton (“Tread on the Necks of Kings,” “Responsibles”) and Job For A Cowboy's Jonny Davy (“Pray for Eyes” and “Prevailed”). The cover art is by Paul Romano (Mastodon, Chiodos, Through The Eyes of The Dead).
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