Review: Opeth and The Sword at Stage AE Pittsburgh

While much of the music consumers out there are eating up corporate crap, there are still some true artists out there, in every genre, that are truly unique and influential.  The “metal” world has the almighty Opeth that has been blowing minds with their musical prowess since 1990 with their one consistent member: guitarist, and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt.  There is no true way to categorize Opeth as within one song your ears can be swayed to death metal, folk, jazz,blues, classical, and a myriad of other sub-genres.

It had been almost five years since Opeth came back to Pittsburgh (the last time at Stage AE as well) and they came with new material from Sorceress, their new album out today(Purchase, download and stream Sorceress now at, as well as pulling out some really old classic stuff {see set list below}.  The band is perfect live as they are tighter than a nun and harrowingly intense.  Akerfeldt is amazing to watch and listen to, his voice with great range- from guttural depth to high pitch- as well as his precise guitar mastery.  Of course, Fredrik Åkesson is no slouch and can shred, lay back, or thrash at the drop of a hat.  Sometimes one can forget what a layer that keyboards can make and truly Opeth would not sound right live without Joakim Svalberg.  Bass player Martín Méndez displayed frightening skill on his 5 string bass and was completely in tune with percussionist Martin “Axe” Axenrot who does not get enough credit for his prowess.

As pointed out, “Sorceress is an expression of how much Opeth can accomplish without the strictures of extreme metal”.  Rolling Stone needs to realize that it is not this 12th record that marks a recreation of the band, but that Opeth has been doing it all along.

Speaking of reinvention, The Sword was an excellent band to pair up with Opeth as openers.  While their style is much different than Opeth, they themselves have a way of sweeping through genres in their history.  Rising out of Austin in 2003, the band started out as a “doom” oriented stoner metal band.  What they have evolved into, especially after the last two records, is something that cannot be categorized.  Like their tour mates, they have great range, from doom metal to hard rock to influences of classic country.  Their latest, High Country and it’s just released acoustic Low Country, is a testament to how much they have evolved.

The band came out blazing and ripping with “Cloak of Feathers” from Apocryphon and then right into “Dream Thieves” from High Country.  The audience reacted to every song and was enthralled by the performance of  John D. Cronise who is the songwriting mastermind behind the majority of the band’s material.  Guitarist Kyle Shutt showed serious chops and soul, and  Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III were equally amazing.  The Sword is an excellent recording band, but they truly need to be witnessed live to fully appreciate how good they really are.

All photos 2016 AWeldingphoto

SABATON Prepares for Battle – U.S. Tour with Trivium and Huntress/Pittsburgh date 10/10 @StageAE

Introducing New Guitarist Tommy Johansson
New Album The Last Stand Out Now via Nuclear Blast

In just three weeks, Swedish metal favorites SABATON – recognized globally by fans for their unique brand of historical battle-themed metal – will return to the United States for the 2016 “Silence In The Snow” Fall Tour with headliners Trivium and fellow special guest Huntress. This is a can’t-miss line-up! The tour begins on September 15 in Columbus, OH and comes to a close on October 21 st in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Pick up your tickets via and see below for all current tour dates.
These dates will be the first time U.S. fans get to see SABATON performing with their new guitarist Tommy Johansson. The band issued a statement yesterday regarding the departure of their former guitarist Thobbe En glund and the addition of Johansson: “Thank you Thobbe, welcome Tommy! Our guitar player Thobbe did his final concert with us on last Saturday’s very emotional show at the SABATON OPEN AIR festival. Celebrating the release of our new album while saying goodbye to a great friend is lots of mixed feelings. But the future is bright since this was not nearly our last stand, from now on you will see Tommy Johansson playing guitars with SABATON and we all look forward to see you on the road!”
Johansson added:“For me to be a part of the SABATON family is a huge honor and I couldn’t be happier! The guys are awesome and among the nicest people you can meet. I’ve been following SABATON since 2005 when I saw them live for the first time and I have loved the band ever since, so when they asked me to join there was no hesitation. Although, they did ask me already back in 2012 but for many personal reasons it was not a good time for me to hit the road and give everything that was needed to the band. So I declined, but we have stayed in touch since then. I also want to say that Thobbe is a great guitarist and such a wonderful guy! My job is not to replace him, it’s to contribute to the band with my own style of guitar playing but of course also to keep his fans happy by playing his wonderful solos with pride. I look forward to meet you all on tour and to do what I love the most in life – to play heavy metal!”
Last Friday, August 19, SABATON released their latest album The Last Stand via Nuclear Blast. You can order your copy of the heavy metal masterpiece now in various physical formats, or digitally. For fans who want a little extra, don’t miss the “Tank Edition”.
More on

The Last Stand:
‘The Lost Battalion’ OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO:
‘Blood Of Bannockburn’ OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO:
See what press is saying about SABATON’s

The Last Stand:
“Most diverse SABATON war ever!ˮ– SPARK (CZ), David Havlena
“Everything SABATON stand for, compressed on 37 exciting minutes! The Last Stand goes straight forward without off-time, delivers hit after hit in the famous SABATON style, but still provides enough space for new sounds and surprises.ˮ – METAL HAMMER (D), Sebastian Kessler
“Best SABATON record so far. The Last Stand has a better sound, bombastic vocals and a future crowd favorite called ‘The Lost Battalion’.”– AARDSCHOK (NL), Michael van Rijswijk
SABATON US Tour Dates with Trivium & Huntress:
9/15 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
9/16 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
9/17 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium – off date – w/ Devin Townsend Project, Between The Buried and Me & Fallujah
9/19 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9/20 – Little Rock, AR @ The Metroplex
9/22 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
9/23 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
9/24 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
9/25 – San Bernardino, CA @ San Manuel Amphitheater – Knotfest
9/27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
9/29 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium/Underground
9/30 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
10/2 – Louisville, KY @ Champions Park – Louder Than Life
10/4 – Peoria, IL @ Limelight Eventplex
10/6 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
10/7 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
10/8 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
10/10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/11 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
10/13 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
10/15 – Binghamton, NY @ Magic City Music Hall
10/17 – Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm
10/18 – St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
10/19 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
10/21 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
Formed in Falun, Sweden in 1999, SABATON is best known for singing almost exclusively about historical wars and battles, a direction the band members decided to take on after watching the 1999 Academy Award-winning film Saving Private Ryan. The band thoroughly researches their topics to ensure the songs paint accurate and objective portraits of the historical event they’re singing about, which are narrated from an omniscient point-of-view or in first-person as a soldier caught in the line of fire.  Like their home country of Sweden,SABATON aims to remain politically neutral in their role as musical war historians.SABATON have reached their unshaken position as heavy metal’s AAA-torchbearer after releasing ingenious studio recordings and playing endless amount of unforgettable live shows.The Last Stand is another unquestionable and bulletproof evidence of SABATON‘s top class abilities and it will be followed by the band’s most gigantic world tour to date.
Visit SABATON online


New Album, Sorceress, Out September 30th On Moderbolaget Records/Nuclear Blast Entertainment
August 19, 2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Sweden’s musical alchemists, OPETH, will be releasing their bewitching, 12th studio album, Sorceress, on September 30th via the band’s imprint label Moderbolaget Records withNuclear Blast Entertainment. In celebration of the release the band has planned special shows at historic venues around the world in support of the record, including Radio City Music Hall in New York on October 1st, Wembley Arena in London on November 19th and the famed Sydney Opera House on February 6th, 2017. Purchase tickets for OPETH at Radio City Music Hall at
These memorable performances also celebrate the recent release of OPETH’s Deliverance & Damnation box set, featuring the band’s classic 2002 and 2003 records as one complete work as originally intended, and their just released record Lamentations – Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire that’s available now on DVD and 180 gram 3xLP from Music For Nations. Purchase the live record now at
OPETH will be performing music from their upcoming album, Sorceress, as well as fan favorite cuts from their celebrated catalog and will be closing the shows with a special set featuring material from Deliverance & Damnation.
“We’re getting pumped up for the coming ”Sorceress” world tour. We have 3 shows scheduled that are quite ”out of the ordinary” due to their legendary status and location. The SSE Wembley Arena in London/UK. Radio City Music Hall in New York/USA, and the famous Sydney Opera House/Australia. These three shows will be completely unique in terms of songs, spanning over 2 separate set lists. We’ll pull out songs from our back catalogue and mix it up with newer stuff during the first set. The 2nd set will consist of songs exclusively from the Deliverance/Damnation records, that was just celebrated with a re-release combo package by the newly revived Music For Nations label. So it’s a little bit of a celebration indeed! We’ll only play this set list 3 times on the whole world tour, so if you miss it, you’ll have missed it. Of course all other shows will be treated with the same amount of respect and we’ll chisel out a nice diverse set list spanning over our entire career for every single show during the tours. We very much hope to see you there!” – Mikael Åkerfeldt
Fans are invited to pre-order Sorceress now in a variety of formats and packages at the links below. Listen to their new song “Sorceress” now at
Pre-order Sorceress – Physical:
OPETH Store (US): (Exclusive Orange Vinyl Available)
OPETH Store (Euro): (Exclusive Silver Vinyl Available)
OPETH Store (Nordic):
Pre-order Sorceress – Digital:
OPETH North American Tour Dates:
Sep 24San Bernardino, CA – Ozzfest/Knotfest @ San Manuel Amphitheater
Sep 29 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
Sep 30 – Silver Spring, MD – Fillmore
Oct 1 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
Oct 2 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
Oct 4 – Montreal, QC – Metropolis
Oct 5 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
Oct 7 – Detroit, MI – Fillmore
Oct 8 – Akron, OH – Good Year Theater at East End
Oct 9 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theater
Oct 10 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave
Oct 12 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
Oct 13 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Oct 14 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
Oct 15 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Live
Oct 18 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
Oct 19 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater
Oct 21 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
Oct 22 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield
Oct 24 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
Oct 25 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theater
Oct 26 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum
For More Information:


August 18, 2016 — New Jersey metal titans FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY have announced another round of tour dates aptly called the “Enslave America 2016” tour. “We’re happy to get back out and do a headliner with some younger bands that are making moves,” says guitarist Pat Sheridan. “It’s been a good year so far, this tour will definitely add to that vibe.” Lorna Shore, No Zodiac and Face Your Maker have been tapped to support.

The band also just released a three way split with THY ART IS MURDER and THE ACACIA STRAIN via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Fit For An Autopsy included an all new track on that release titled “Flatlining” and covered the classic Nine Inch Nails song “The Perfect Drug.” Click here for more info.

Fit For An Autopsy – “Absolute Hope Absolute Hell” OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO
FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY released Absolute Hope Absolute Hell last year via Entertainment One (eOne) / Good Fight Music and garnered some serious praise. 

“The band yet again elevates what the genre should and could be.” New Noise Magazine 5/5

“Fit For An Autopsy returns with their third full-length album, and it’s a beast.” 8/10 OUTBURN

“Absolute Hope Absolute Hell kills harder than Casey Anthony’s babysitting, and if you don’t pick this album up, you probably don’t even like metal in the first place.” METALSUCKS 5/5

“Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is simply the result of a band creating solidly punishing music.” DECIBEL 7/10 

1. Absolute Hope Absolute Hell
2. Wither
3. Saltwound
4. Murder In The First
5. Storm Drains
6. Ghosts In The River
7. Mask Maker
8. Hollow Shell
9. Out To Sea
10. False Positive
11. Swing The Axe

Happily Ever After: Nightwish Soar Higher With New Concert Film

Beyond the pseudo-aggro thrash metal and grinding nu-metal, Finland’s Nightwish were a surging new sound when they hit the scene in 1997. Influenced by dark gothic atmosphere, classical and symphonic musicianship and the heaviness of thrash metal, Nightwish blew the doors down and brought an epic and majestic sound to metal, all capped off with the angelic vocals of a female lead singer. For the time, it was unprecedented to hear such elegance in a heavy metal outfit, but 17 years later, Nightwish have gained a tremendous following in their home country and continue to rise in popularity overseas as well. Despite lineup changes, the band is still the go-to group for their iconic “symphonic metal” sound. With a new lead singer on board, Nightwish rocked Wacken, Germany and documented their performance on the concert film, Showtime, Storytime. Though it has some minor production flaws and a slightly reserved tracklist, Showtime, Storytime is a fine demonstration of Nightwish’s persistent appeal, while also showing off the talents of two brand new members of the Nightwish family.

Showtime, Storytime marks the first production for the band that features new lead vocalist Floor Jansen, who replaced Anette Olzen in October 2013. Like past Nightwish singers, Jansen provides ascendant melodic and operatic force. Her incredible use of soprano continues the band’s defining vocal vibe of siren arias and heavenly pitch. Jansen’s stage presence is very powerful, especially for the concert being her first production as a full-time member of the band. Her performance of “She Is My Sin” varies the rhythm a bit as the tone lowers slightly, while the onslaught of “Romanticide” lets her pipes blast off into the stratosphere. Bassist Marco Hietala also provides backup vocals with a snarling shout. His furious battlecry at the conclusion of “Wish I Had an Angel” brings a slightly rugged aesthetic to the table, but his fantastic performance during “Ever Dream” echoes the late power metal icon Ronnie James Dio with lengthy sustenance and surprisingly expansive range. Worry not, long-time Nightwish fans: the band hasn’t lost their black magic, even with another new lead singer running the front lines.

The band became famous for mixing cinematic and soaring female-fronted vocals with the heaviness of thrash and power metal. 17 years later and lineup changes across the board, Nightwish are still able to deliver some of the most atmospheric heavy metal tracks you’ll find. Many of the more ambient moments during the concert come from Jansen’s excellent vocals and the haunting synths of keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. Like a church choir, Holopainen’s keyboards add resonance and atmosphere to the grinding guitars and pounding drums. Guitarist Emppu Vuorinen doesn’t demonstrate many intricate solos, but shares some nice virtuosity on “Nemo” and “Romanticide.” Another highlight is the work of newly inducted band member Troy Donockley, who offers incredible sounds on the folk woodwind instrument, the uillean pipes. His stellar performance on the instrumental “Last of the Wilds” is something spectral and otherworldly, but still natural and apropos for the band’s signature sound. Showtime, Storytime keeps the fans happy with the same awesome sound the band has been showing for years, but it also acts as a great demo reel of sorts for new members Jansen and Donockley, who have the potential to push the band to even greater heights in the future.

The concert itself digs into the band’s discography a respectable amount, but doesn’t go further back than the band’s 2000 album, Wishmaster. That might disappoint the long-time fans, but the selected tracks are definitely varied enough to keep viewers interested. Opener “Dark Chest of Wonders” is as energized as it is elegant, two qualities that have always made Nightwish stand out in their genre, while the superb “Ever Dream” darkens the tone further. The cinematic experience of Nightwish is alive in Showtime, Storytime, with haunting lighting illuminating the band and creeping into the roaring crowd. The cinematography, however, suffers a bit too much from abrupt camera cuts, especially in the first half. For a band so infused with elegance and majesty, the very brief shots stick out more than they would for the show of, say, a punk or alternative band. In addition to the concert film, Showtime, Storytime also features a two-hour documentary about Jansen adjusting to performing with Nightwish at live shows and eventually becoming the official lead singer. It’s a nice inclusion and that story of moving from replacement to full-timer is something that few bands have demonstrated publicly. The transition is a moment so overlooked to an audience, so seeing the awkwardness steadily dissipate for Jansen is enlightening whether you like Nightwish or not.

Showtime, Storytime may not be the perfect concert film for the long-running symphonic metal band due to its slightly reserved song selections and rather awkward cinematography, but the excellent introduction to Jansen and Donockley is definitely a sign of good things to come. If you’ve been listening to Nightwish since their inception and are curious to see how they sound with Jansen on board, rest assured that the band’s signature tone is not lost in the slightest. As a group that pioneered the symphonic metal genre, it’s remarkable that Nightwish’s music still sounds fantastic, especially with the roar of a crowd brewing in the background. Showtime, Storytime is a solid representation of the band and thanks to their lively stage presence and ambient gothic tone, it will likely make some new fans as well as satisfying older ones.

Stick to Tradition: Satyricon’s Black Metal Motions

Oslo’s Satyricon are one of the survivors of the Norwegian black metal scene. Countless tragedies in other bands have notoriously marked the genre as a dangerous mechanism in metal, but Satyricon have always remained a pure entity, grounded by musical integrity and civility. With only a vocalist as an original member and a long-time drummer picking up the slack, Satyricon have returned for their first new studio album since 2008’s The Age of Nero. The band’s self-titled album is a decent return, but it doesn’t live up to the band’s past works and almost sounds drained, even before the halfway mark hits.

With the two main members of Satyricon taking control, their self-titled album is, conceptually, a condensed project. Lead singer Sigurd Wongraven (otherwise known as Satyr) follows the black metal book with a razor-sharp growl to his vocals; it’s aggressive, but not guttural, making the vocals much more bearable than those of their peers. However, the lack of percussive shouts does detract from the rhythmic nature of the vocal style, while the lack of melody makes it near impossible to consider it “singing.” Satyr’s vocals are nothing to write home about, but by black metal tradition, they are far from problematic.

But what drives Satyricon’s latest album so far is the drumming proficiency of Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad (otherwise known as Frost). His suffocatingly intense fills thunderously roar in the background, while double-bass pedals rumble alongside Satyr’s vocals in songs like “Tro og Kraft.” Regardless of the tempo or the mood of the song, Frost is constantly pushing his speed and rhythmic prowess into aggressive territory. It’s odd considering the steadier beats from Frost appear at the most bizarre times; he slows down the pace rather inconsistently throughout the album, but negates this minor issue with undeniably fast rhythms. Like a lightning storm in the distance, the quakes from Frost’s drumming shake the very essence of the album.

But aside from Frost’s riotous drumming and Satyr’s snarling growls, Satyricon don’t do much to break their traditions of black metal. The guitars are tuned to a looming tone, but you won’t find many virtuosity infused solos or captivating soundscapes on Satyricon. The melody is very under-utilized, almost to the point where Frost’s rhythms are the only thing moving the band into new territory. Even the most elementary of doom or black metal band is able to use melody to imply a darker tone, but Satyricon, despite being veterans in their genre, keep this album flat and uninteresting. The brief moments of tempo shifting and tone experimentation like the thrashy “Walker Upon the Wind” or the siren psalms of “Phoenix” are buried under a cacophonous template moving entirely by Satyr’s snarls and Frost’s snare barrages. Clear as day: Satyricon are going through the motions with their self-titled album.

“The Infinity of Time and Space” is an oddity on Satyricon, with the band going through a number of musical shifts over the course of eight minutes. You’ll hear shrieking sounds from Satyr, some frequent tempo changes and an overall sense of epicness and broadened approach. While it’s not exciting from start to finish, “The Infinity of Time and Space” is a captivating track that demonstrates narrative and compositional complexity: there’s a progression here that is tragically absent from the rest of the album. One other unique track is “Nekrohaven” where the band lets loose their growing emphasis on hard rock influences. “Nekrohaven” doesn’t have obscure rhythms or doomy, downtuned instruments; at moments, it almost sounds radio-friendly. Despite the commercial appeal, “Nekrohaven” is shockingly different from the rest of the songs on Satyricon, making it a surprising star track.

Satyricon is not going to wow anyone, even if you’re a dedicated fan of Norwegian black metal. The band hasn’t diluted their sound to the bone, but they haven’t spiced it up either. The short bursts of creativity like the choral voices of “Phoenix” is only realized after the first four trudging tracks, with the other highlights being buried and overly condensed by the album’s conclusion. Black metal isn’t what it used to be, and while Satyricon’s attempts to keep their sound current and focused are appreciated, their efforts are ultimately left for naught. Satyricon is an album that feels soulless and too straightforward to recommend. If you’re a long-time fan of the band, the album is okay, a mild effort from a band synonymous with the genre. But anyone else, even metal fans will find the album to be uninteresting and far too dull to sit through the entire 52 minutes.

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THERION Signs Licensing Deal With End of the Light Records

THERION are busy making final preparations to celebrate their 25th anniversary of the band by releasing their new album Les Fleurs du Mal and embarking on a 25th anniversary tour. The band has signed a licensing deal with End of the Light Records to release the album in The United States, Canada and Mexico. It will be released in North America on November 13th.

THERION will introduce the new album to the world during their “Flowers Of Evil” 25th anniversary tour.

The album Les Fleurs du Mal is a part of an art project that Christofer Johnsson has been thinking about for some time:

“The time was never right for it, but in celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary, I thought now will finally be the right time for it,” Christofer Johnsson explains.

There are still many details that are unknown about this mystical art project, and so far only the album title Les Fleurs du Mal can be officially announced. The album title refers to Charles Baudelaire’s (French author and poet 1821 – 1867) famous poem collection “Flowers of Evil” (Les Fleurs du Mal in French) that caused such an upset of emotions in France that the author was brought to court and got fined for “insulting the public” with six of the poems, that remained forbidden in France until 1949 when the ban was finally lifted. The spirit of the project is a tribute to Baudelaire, and is imbued into both music and artwork. The album was recorded at Adulruna studio, located in a separate building next to Johnsson’s decadent “Villa Adulruna” where the band lived together while recording.

Christofer continued about the project: “The project was seen as too controversial for THERION’s record label, Nuclear Blast, by the final results, so I asked if it was possible to buy back the master tapes of the record and release it on my own label. And after some negotiations, my wish was granted. But THERION is of course is still signed to Nuclear Blast Records for future releases,” Christofer clarifies.

By having full control of the release now, Christofer has decided to do everything his own way, and starts by releasing the album to the loyal fans first that come to the concerts in Europe during THERION’s 25th Anniversary “Flowers of Evil” tour.

Christofer went on to explain: “This is the beginning of a new period that will last for a number of years, where the band will focus on doing certain projects performed by THERION rather than releasing regular albums. In the planning after the art project is a rock opera that is scheduled to take several years to complete.”

Now during THERION’s “Flowers of Evil Tour” and the band’s 25th anniversary the audience can expect a breathtaking performance which combines all the elements which have been the key to THERION’s success throughout the years.

For more Information Visit: