“The Lost Episode” – Extreme Metal…exclusive short preview

From Sam Dunn, creator of Metal Evolution, and now Extreme Metal, “The Lost Episode:

Greetings Bangers…

It’s been a busy few weeks here at BangerHQ and I wanted to get you all in the loop regarding “The Lost Episode” – Extreme Metal.

Unfortunately, as you know, we are running a little bit behind schedule finishing the episode and we won’t be able to deliver it in time for Christmas. We’re very sorry for this, but the delay happened for one very good reason…

Thanks to your overwhelming support during our final campaign, we were able to film one last interview we weren’t able to do this summer due to conflicting schedules. Just days after the end of the campaign we packed our bags and flew to Newcastle, England, to meet with Mantas, and hear Venom’s story first hand. This last minute trip put us behind schedule, but we’re now back on track and working hard to get the episode done as soon as possible!

We also plan to post a short preview of the episode in a few days, however I wanted to send you guys a private link first, before anyone else gets to see it. The password is “Venom” – I hope you enjoy the clip and that it proves that getting the Mantas interview was well worth it.

Besides the Extreme Metal episode, we has a lot of killer stuff coming in 2014. It’s our 10th anniversary year at Banger (!) and it’s gonna be our busiest year yet. Hope you enjoy what’s coming down the pipeline.

Thank you again for supporting this project – it’s been an amazing experience documenting the story of Extreme Metal and we couldn’t have done it without you!


Sam \m/

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WATAIN signs worldwide deal with Century Media Records

Century Media Records is proud to welcome Swedish black metal extremists WATAIN to its worldwide family. Legitimately labeled as genre leaders, deservedly awarded with a Swedish Grammy, playing the world’s biggest stages and touring the globe constantly while reaching numerous top positions in the annual reader’s polls, WATAIN have worked hard and achieved a lot over the past years despite successfully ignoring any kind of conformity and concession to the metal mainstream. Unrivaled in their unwillingness to compromise and clear artistic vision, WATAIN are most befittingly described with the title of BATHORY’s third opus – “Blood Fire Death”, a fact they never fail to underline with their infamous live shows: The stench of rotting animal cadavers, the inferno of candelabras and torches, chalices of blood, darkness and death – WATAIN are a full scale attack on all sensory organs. In days of toothless, sterile, family-friendly metal they embody danger and dread and are rewarded with a maximum of support and appreciation.

WATAIN comments:
“We are writing this from a magical place of desolation and desert-like vastness, where wondrous things are at this very moment taking place. Things that will come to colour our world as well as yours in the strangest hues for many years to come. We are entering this new chapter of WATAIN with a will and confidence to make it the most diverse and rememberable so far. And with the things that we have in mind for the future, it looks like it will be just so. Just wait and see, f***ers! Loud and terrible shall the trumpets of Devils sound…”

“Century Media is massively excited to work with WATAIN. This band has it all: charisma, the firm will to conquer the world, and an authenticity you rarely find these days. Mixed with their creativity and musical impact – this band will make it to the top. They are a healthy slap in the face for any Metal Bourgeois. We are ready to kill for them!” says Antje Lange, General Manager Century Media Europe

“I am very proud and excited to welcome WATAIN to the Century Media family. There are few bands that remind me of when I first discovered metal as a teenager that could give me the same feeling of extreme release and evil such as SLAYER, VENOM and MERCYFUL FATE did. WATAIN is one of those rare bands and I look forward to being a part of their growing career and helping today’s future metalhead find their way!” adds Don Robertson, President Century Media USA.

Formed back in 1998, the first two albums Rabid Death’s Curse (2000) and Casus Luciferi (2003) established the band firmly within the underground scene whereas Sworn To The Dark (2007) and especially Lawless Darkness (2010) helped them conquer a wider audience making them one of the most talked about acts in recent years. Musically rooted in classic black metal inspired by the likes of VENOM, HELLHAMMER, BATHORY, MAYHEM, DISSECTION as well as the grandeur of old IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, RAINBOW, it is the larger-than-life aesthetics and total dedication to their art that elevates WATAIN beyond almost any other extreme metal band out there. WATAIN is satanic metal at its most frightening and fascinating.

After celebrating their 13th anniversary with the release of the DVD/double live album Opus Diaboli (2012) under the band’s own imprint His Master’s Noise, followed by an US tour with BEHEMOTH, THE DEVIL’S BLOOD and IN SOLITUDE earlier this year plus celebrated shows at Wacken and Bloodstock Open Air, 2013 will see the release of WATAIN’s much anticipated fifth studio album via His Master’s Noise in collaboration with Century Media Records. Beware!

WATAIN online:

CRYPTOPSY Launches New Song, “Boden”

Canada’s masters of brutality CRYPTOPSY will release their new devastating 2CD/digital download “best of” collection on November 19th in North America. Programmatically entitled The Best Of Us Bleed, this collection gathers 32 stunning songs in approximately 140 minutes of playing time, including 3 exclusive, newer studio songs, several rare live/demo/cover/bonus tracks as well as selected cuts from the first 6 studio albums by these technical death metal pioneers. The striking cover artwork of this compilation was designed by Toshihiro Egawa (SUICIDE SILENCE, KRISIUN, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, etc.) and the booklet contains extensive biographical liner notes by Adrien Begrand (Decibel Magazine).

The compilation’s opening track, “Boden”, is one of three unreleased studio tracks only available on this release.

A teaser video clip for the release has also been launched:

An entertaining “making of” feature, including samples of new music, for the animation of the artwork for the teaser clip can be viewed here:

Banger Films to Release Extended Cut of Gaahl Interview for the First Time

Continuing in their efforts to fund the production of the “LostEpisode” of the Metal Evolution series, Banger Films isoffering fans for the first time ever an extended cut of director Sam Dunn’s interview with Norwegian Black Metal singer Gaahl, past member of Gorgoroth. Gaahl’s interview has been cited as one of the most compelling and entertaining interviews Sam Dunn has ever conducted.

The video will be delivered digitally when the campaign wraps up in mid-December.

In 2004 Sam, Scot, and the Banger Films crew traveled to Bergen, Norway to interview him for their groundbreaking documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. According to Dunn, “as the crew started to set up cameras, lights, etc… Gaahl insisted that everyone move to the wine cellar where the room is lit only by candlelight.” What resulted is one of the most memorable interviews in the history of Metal documentaries

Banger Films have issued a call to arms to the global Metal community to help make the “Lost Episode” of the Metal Evolution series by means of a crowd funding campaign on IndieGoGo. For just $5.00 fans can pre-order the episode which will be delivered to them via secure e-mail link once the production is finished. There are other campaign perks available as well, such as the opportunity to have renowned artist Vince Locke design an exclusive custom tattoo and have Banger Films cover the ink costs. Alternatively, why not order a giant size “Metal Family Tree” poster? Yet another one-off only available as a campaign perk!

For more information and to find out how you can help make this episode happen visit www.indiegogo.com/ExtremeMetal.

Watch the 11 episodes of Metal Evolution here:
In Canada: http://www.muchmore.ca/metal-evolution/
In USA: http://www.vh1.com/shows/metal_evolution/series.jhtml

Evocation Guitarist Vesa Kenttäkumpu Answers PMM’s Burning Questions

One of the criticisms of Illusions of Grandeur among metal critics seems to be that your sound has changed on this effort and has been described as some to be “Amon Amarth meets Dark Tranquility”. How would you respond to these critics?

I´m honored because I love those bands. I think it is a natural way for Evocation to go, we are all from Sweden and Swedish death metal is quite similar to each other in a mystical way. And of course, all of us in those bands are the same age, so we have the same background and influences I think. The funny thing is when I write a song or a melody to Evocation, there always is a little bit of Finnish melancholy in it. I never think about how it sounds, I just write songs with a feeling I have. I think it is the same thing with Olli in Amon Amarth– he’s also Finnish like me, so maybe there is a connection to the roots somehow.

What type of influence did producer Robert Laghi have on the end product of Illusions of Grandeur?

Roberto supported us when we were recording and was kind of a mentor with tips about what we should think about in the recording session. He did not get involved in any kind of melodies on the album, just how to bring the melodies to the front. Roberto was also involved when Tomas did his vocals, and he was like a psychological mentor for him, supporting Tomas all the time and testing new kinds of grooves to the songs. And of course, he did the whole sound for the album with his beautiful mix, which I really love.

What are your favorite tracks from your catalog of songs to play live and why?

I think my favorite track is from our new album Illusions of Grandeur. The song’s name is “Divide and Conquer.” This song has everything; it has a groove, suitable melodies that the listener will remember, and it has a nice solo which I like very much. I love to do solos live because you have to be focused when you are playing it and that’s a challenge for me.

If you could tour with any three bands (existing or defunct), who would be on that “dream tour”?

A dream tour would be Entombed, Evocation and Edge of Sanity.

For the death metal uninitiated, what songs/artists would you recommend?

My favorite album that will always give me goose bumps is Entombed’s Left Hand Path. This album really has an epic sound, and it has melodies which are both very harmonious and brutal in a depressing kind of way. When I heard Left Hand Path for the first time, I said to myself, “I will start a band like this.” This album got me to do death metal, and I will never regret that.

What guitar gear setup are you using for this tour?

My setup is two guitars: Gibson Les Paul custom (black), ESP Eclipse (black and grey), which I always play on. The Gibson is for fun and for recording sessions at my home. The thing is that the guitar itself is very heavy on the shoulder, which is bad when you play a lot. The guitar gives you a twisted spine. The amp I use is an ENGL Savage 120, which is really good and it has a crispy nice sound. The cabinet I use is a Marshall 1969 with 25w greenback elements. And for my solos and lead stuff, I use an effect rack TC Electronics G-major, which is good to bring up the leads live.

Favorite thing and worst thing about touring in the U.S.?

I don’t know because I have never been to the US, so that’s a tricky one. 🙂 But we would love to come to the US for a tour. Let’s see what happens in the future.

Meshuggah Release Dimiurge Video

Swedish extreme-metal band Meshuggah have released a new video for the song “Dimiurge.”

“Meshuggah first attracted international attention with the 1995 release Destroy Erase Improve for its fusion of fast-tempo death metal, thrash metal and progressive metal with jazz fusion elements. Since its 2002 album Nothing, Meshuggah has used downtuned eight-string guitars. Meshuggah has become known for their innovative musical style, complex, polymetered song structures and polyrhythms. Meshuggah was labeled as one of the ten most important hard and heavy bands by Rolling Stone and as the most important band in metal by Alternative Press. Meshuggah has found little mainstream success as yet, but is a significant act in extreme underground music” (Wikipedia).

EVOCATION releases new album, ‘Illusions Of Grandeur,’ today

Swedish death metal overlords EVOCATION have released their fourth studio album, Illusions Of Grandeur, today in North America via Century Media Records! To purchase Illusions Of Grandeur, please visit iTunes for a digital copy or CM Distro for the album in various CD/LP formats.

If you still haven’t heard Illusions Of Grandeur, please head over to Decibel Magazine.com for the exclusive album stream.

Illusions Of Grandeur track-listing:
Illusions Of Grandeur
Well Of Despair
Divide And Conquer
Perception Of Reality
Metus Odium
I’ll Be Your Suicide
Crimson Skies
Into Submission
The Seven Faces Of God
Final Disclosure

Illusions Of Grandeur was recorded at IF Studios (IN FLAMES, THE HAUNTED, etc.) & Evocation Studios together with producer Roberto Laghi (IN FLAMES, etc.), and it features 10 tracks of supreme Swedish death metal, a perfect mélange of Stockholm rawness and Gothenburg epics. As a very special guest, Johan Hegg of AMON AMARTH laid down guest vocals on the song “Into Submission.”

EVOCATION is currently working on a new video for the track “Divide And Conquer.” Stay tuned for more details about this upcoming video coming soon.

THE AGONIST Teaser Trailer for New Video ‘Panophobia”

Extreme metallers THE AGONIST have posted a teaser trailer for their new video, “Panophobia.” Featuring behind-the-scenes and live footage from THE AGONIST’s performance at Heavy MTL 2012, the video for “Panophobia” was directed by Ben McKinnon of Five Knights Productions (www.fiveknightsproductions.com). Watch the teaser:

THE AGONIST will play a few shows in Asia this November in support of their recent release, Prisoners. If you still haven’t heard Prisoners, click here to listen to the track “Ideomotor.” The album is available for purchase at iTunes here.

Read on for a few reviews of THE AGONIST’s Prisoners:

“If you’re a fan of THE AGONIST, ‘Prisoners’ will not disappoint.” — LOUDWIRE.com

“THE AGONIST writes some crunchy, brutal songs that will have even the most jaded metalhead fist-pumping along.” — PURE GRAIN AUDIO.com

“‘Prisoners’ is, without a doubt, THE AGONIST’s most mature and focused work to date.” — THE NEW REVIEW.net

THE AGONIST live 2012:
Nov. 11–The Wall Live House–Taipei City, Taiwan
Nov. 13–O-EAST–Shibuya, Japan
Nov. 14–Club Quattro–Nagoya, Japan
Nov. 15–Big Cat–Osaka, Japan


Interview with Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral and Live Pix from Altar Bar

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Pure black metal hit Pittsburgh square in the jaw last night at the fitting setting of The Altar Bar. Click here for Pittsburgh Music Magazine’s interview with Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral:Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral Interview

If you missed last night’s set, you missed a true extreme metal lineup that Pittsburgh rarely witnesses. The inclusion of black metal legends Dark Funeral was like a demented and soiled evil cherry on top of the very blackened cake. PMM can’t thank Nikki at Century Media and Lord Ahriman himself for taking the time to talk to us and letting us in on the Dark Funeral future.

Swedish Black Metal legends DARK FUNERAL and Century Media Records signed a worldwide deal for the next 3 albums:

Guitarist and founding member Lord Ahriman comments: “Our bad luck with labels in the past has for sure been very frustrating. So it is with great pleasure to finally be able to turn the page, move on and start a new dark chapter in the DARK FUNERAL saga, as we join the great Century Media family. Century Media has more than enough proven to be a stable and highly professional label. And we are totally looking forward to this new cooperation, which I’m sure will prove to be very satisfying and successful for both parts. Hail the goat!”

Jens Prueter, Head Of A&R at Century Media Records Europe, comments: “I always respected DARK FUNERAL for their endurance and integrity. They’ve gone through some hard times, but never gave up and also never gave in to compromise on their musical and aesthetic vision. Almost 20 years after their formation it’s still the same powerhouse of unmerciful Black Metal and the new line-up is stronger and more focused than in the past. Thanks to Lord Ahriman and the whole band! Looking forward to their 20th anniversary in 2013 with a new album In The Sign Of The Horns!”

Founded back in 1993 in the depths of Sweden by Lord Ahriman and Blackmoon, DARK FUNERAL has proven to be one of the leaders of the second wave of black metal among other legends such as Marduk and Darkthrone.
While other black metal bands lost themselves through the late 90’s / early 00’s, DARK FUNERAL managed to remain faithful to its roots, be it musically, aesthetically and lyrically.
After 5 albums, hundreds of live rituals, the band leaded by Lord Ahriman and now featuring Nachtgarm on vocals is ready to embark on a new Satanic Crusade with Century Media Records.
Expect nothing but pure black metal the way it was meant to be.

Hopefully Dark Funeral will get back to us in Pittsburgh very soon…

Nachtgarm – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Zornheym – bass
Dominator – drums

All live photos property of Alan Welding and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

Interview with Ola of Grave Plus Live Pix from Altar Bar

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Click for Pittsburgh Music Magazine’s Interview with Ola of Grave:Ola Lindgren of Grave Interview

One of the longest-running Swedish death metal bands, GRAVE has createda sound and style which has been an inspiration on a number of the genre’s more promising younger outfits. Started as the band Corpse in 1986, they released loads of demos; before the group’s legendary 1991 debut.

Into the Grave, established GRAVE as one of death metal’s most brutal new hopefuls, a title the act cemented through a host of live performances across Europe and America.

1992’s You’ll Never See…,the band’s critically-acclaimed second release, showcased their growing musical talent with a cleaner, stronger
sound appealing to a wider audience while retaining the group’s trademark heaviness. Unfortunately, that effort would also mark the first album recording without bassist Jonas, who’d left GRAVE several months earlier as a result of his increasing dislike for the touring lifestyle. After unsuccessfully trying to fill the slot, the group made a collective decision to revert to their original three-man line-up, with guitarist Jorgen Sandstrom switching to bass.

In late 1993, GRAVE issued …And Here I Die…Satisfied, a limited edition EP featuring brand new, rare and remixed tracks encompassing the band’s entire recording history. Designed to mark the end of an era for the outfit, the EP set the stage for the release of the trio’s long-awaited third full-length offering.

Soulless, was recorded during the early part of 1994 at Stockholm’s Sunlight Studios (as were all of the group’s previous outings) with producer Tomas Skogsberg. Featuring a more mature and musical direction than was the case with GRAVE’s past efforts, Soulless pleased theband’s longtime followers while expanding the group’s appeal to non-die hard death metal audiences, a point the trio attributed to their “growth as musicians.

In 1996, GRAVE ventured back with another attack of their relentlessly brutal, yet catchy material in the shape of Hating Life Produced, once again, by Skogsberg at his Sunlight facility, the album marked the vocal debut of guitarist Ola Lindgren, who took over the singing department following the departure of Sandstrom. Proving that they haven’t softened their stance a bit or compromised their focus on writing songs that hit hard and leave a lasting impression, Hating Life will surely please anyone into music that’s equally treacherous and tuneful. Grave toured both the States and in Europe to support this album.

After the last tour the band had a loooooong break until 1999 when they decided to play together again. Rehearsals went pretty slow at first but after a while they got old bassplayer Jonas Torndal back in the band, this time to grab the second guitar. The bassjob went to an old friend of the band – Freddan Isaksson who´ve played with numerous Stockholm based bands, the most known to you would be Therion. The band played their first live gig in 5 years at the HardRock cafe´Stockholm. Following that gig rehearsals continued and in the spring of 2002 the new album “Back from the grave” was recorded at Sunlight studios in Stockholm. Released in September that same year the album featured a bonus disc with the 3 classic Grave demos from 1988-1989.

After touring with the likes of Immolation, Goatwhore and Crematorium through North America, a headlining European tour with The Forsaken and Disinter, then followed by a slot on the tour with Exodus, God Dethroned, Nuclear Assault and Agent Steel, it was time to set to work on the next album enitled “Fiendish Regression”. The sixth album in the history of GRAVE was recorded with Coercion-Member Pelle Ekegren on drums, adding a more vivid and relentless groove attack to the classic GRAVE song-structures. Two European tours followed:one headlining and one as part of “The Domination Tour”, alongside Cryptopsy and Aborted.

Back in Sweden, GRAVE entered Studio Soulless to record their newest malevolent creation “As Rapture Comes”. To cement the albums mix, the band returned to Peter Tägtgrens Abyss Studio (Dimmu Borgir, Immortal). The new album delivers the bands famous relentless death-groove in a well-elaborated combination with clearly increased aggressive bite and superior dynamics in their own songs. The album also includes a heavy cover version of Alice In Chains classic song “Them Bones”.

The 7:th Grave album “As Rapture Comes” was released by Century Media records in July 2006. Featuring everything between the brutality of “Into the grave” and the groove and heaviness of “Soulless” this one is certain to please anyone into true oldschool deathmetal.

The Enraptured Dvd was recorded in Poland Aug 2006 and features all 16 live tracks from that show. Bonus tracks are 2 songs filmed at Party-San festival 2004 and also the Soulless videoclip which actually is the only video that Grave has ever produced. It also includes interview, biography, discography and tons of photos. We really wanted to add a lot more bonus material from old gigs and tour rarities but unfotunately there were legal matters concerning the rights to that material which could not be solved in time for the release. However, we are already planning for another Dvd which definately will contain all of that stuff…

Current members
Ola Lindgren – guitars, vocals (1986–present)
Ronnie Bergerståhl – drums (2006–present)
Tobias Cristiansson – bass guitar (2010–present)
Mika Lagrén – guitar (2011-present)