Midnight – Rebirth By Blasphemy

In the last few years Midnight became a name to remember in the underground metal scene but after many successful tours the band has been steadily gaining even more attention so it’s the perfect time to release the new album “Rebirth By Blasphemy” which shows that mastermind Athenar chooses to do whatever he wants embracing a true rebirth. 

The album opens with “Fucking Speed And Darkness” and this title definitely foreshadows what you can expect to hear as Midnight fiercely unleash furious and extremely entertaining rhythmic patterns constantly fueled by the raw diabolical energy of the guitar riffs and the venomous screams. 

The title track is a blasphemous super catchy tune where the frantic vocals feel like a call to arms and the guitar riffs and killer leads keep on marching confidently with vibrant classic metal tonalities and dirty punk vibes. 

“Escape The Grave” has a rebellious attitude embedded in the ravenous rock power of the guitar work and the consequent irresistible groovy rhythmic galore that keeps the old school metal spirit alive. 

There’s a devilish flair running through “Rising Scum” as the sinister guitar tonalities lead to obscure riffage and somber melodic elements following a slower yet still spontaneously vicious rhythm. 

“Warning From The Reaper” relies on faster dynamics that amplify the primal energy of the vibrant guitar licks generating a consistent series of savage grooves while the vocals continue to channel pure rage. 

With a calmer intro “You Can Drag Me Through Fire” might sound a bit more polished allowing the melodic guitar work to really shine yet there is plenty of wrath and disgust to fuel the addictive guitar driven grooves and the hostile vocal delivery. 

While the music of Midnight is destined to thrive within a darkened realm their future looks brighter than ever and “Rebirth By Blasphemy” is filled with powerful ruthless hooks that are destined to get stuck in your head. 

King Diamond Live in Chicago

The legendary King Diamond is currently touring across North America in support of “The Institute”, the first studio album in twelve years which will be released in 2020. As expected King Diamond packed The Riviera in Chicago as his music legacy is still extremely strong and the new stage set inspired by the concept of the forthcoming album instantly created a nightmarish atmosphere. As the show started King Diamond appeared wheeled out on a stretcher and when he began to sing “The Candle” his signature falsetto vocals truly impressed the audience. The theatrical horror story reached the acme when King Diamond performed the ritualistic funeral of baby Abigail and the devoted fans absolutely loved the setlist which included the classic unforgettable tracks “Behind These Walls”, “Sleepless Nights” and “The Invisible Guests” plus they had the opportunity to hear for the first time the brand new song “Masquerade Of Madness” which will appear on the upcoming album “The Institution”. There is no doubt, the King is back in excellent shape bringing an insane asylum to deliver a creepy entertaining live experience. 

Midnight Live in Joliet

Cleveland blackened thrash punks Midnight are currently on a North American tour supporting Obituary and Abbath while waiting for the upcoming full-length “Rebirth By Blasphemy” set for an early 2020 release via Metal Blade Records. At The Forge in Joliet Midnight impressed the crowd with a thrilling performance full of unrestrained raw energy and a quite distinct sound, don’t miss this awesome tour!

Lizzy Borden Live in Chicago

Los Angeles based metal band Lizzy Borden came through Chicago and entertained fans with a truly theatrical performance, featuring both a classic heavy metal sound and a visual aspect of several amazing costume changes. Throughout the set fans were able to see a wide range of songs spanning from their first album “Love You to Pieces” in 1985 to their newest release in 2018, ” My Midnight Things.” This is the band’s first tour since 2014, and fans were certainly excited to see them once again.

Týr Live in Chicago

Renowned Faroese metal band Týr is making their way through North American following the release of their latest album, “Hel.” Fans in Chicago were able to see a spectacular performance by the whole band, with some truly enthralling vocal harmonies between frontman Heri Joensen and bassist Gunnar Thomsen. Their setlist featured songs from some of the band’s more recent albums, ending with fan favorite “Hold the Heathern Hammer High”.

Batushka – Hospodi

The mysterious Polish band Batushka quickly conquered attention and critical acclaim within the underground metal scene therefore since the announcement of the sophomore release “Hospodi” it has become clear that this would be one of the most anticipated albums of the year. As “Hospodi” triumphantly emerges from the depths of darkness its genesis is surrounded by a strong mysticism and inspired by Eastern Orthodox liturgical music but the major schism within the band and the consequent divided fanbase might unfortunately distract the listeners from fully comprehending the immersive essence of this album.

The monumental liturgy symbolized by “Dziewiatyj Czas” aims to conjure the album’s darkest essence through a loop of captivating melodies that will eventually evolve into a more aggressive instrumental core that certainly bears the mark of traditional black metal just like the deeply anguished growls while obviously the chanted vocals create an intense mystical aura.

“Wieczernia” still preserves the decadent mixture of abrasive blackened momentum and solemn transcendent atmosphere accompanied by Gregorian style chants but adds a generous dosage of groovy rock rhythmic dynamics that sound more accessible in the midst of faster menacing guitar riffs.

“Powieczerje” has the fervour of a spiritual experience building darkened aesthetics with an intense blend of mournful guitar melodies that can also sound quite catchy and multilayered arcane chants that naturally emphasize the expression of tormented emotions.

“Utrenia” feels more enigmatic with an overdose of occult atmospheric nuances enriched by the occasional blasts of blackened fury courtesy of merciless rhythmic twists and diabolical growls yet maintains a remarkable melodic essence that flourishes through the dramatic guitar progressions.

“Pierwyj Czas” will inevitably convey anguished feelings due to the faster and absolutely vicious rhythmic segments once again clearly inspired by old school black metal so what really makes a difference here is the sudden introspective momentum and the underlying semi religious atmospheres.

“Liturgiya” closes the arcane ceremony accentuating the funereal vibes with the doom laden weight of the imposing guitar riffs and the essential ominous chants that definitely sound like prayers for the dead lingering through the hypnotic slow burning melodies.

At this point it would make more sense to focus on the strong obscure force of “Hospodi” and put aside any drama or gossip surrounding Batushka because music always has a more important value as you will certainly notice listening carefully to this majestic new opus.


Cattle Decapitation Live in Joliet

Now in its 13th year as a tour, The Summer Slaughter Tour at The Forge in Joliet featured Cattle Decapitation triple co-headlining alongside Carnifex and The Faceless. Cattle Decapitation never fails to bring fans a ruthless, crushing performance, and this show was no exception. Fans were able to hear old favorites as well as new tracks from their highly anticipated album due in November, “Death Atlas.” “One Day Closer to the End of the World” and “Time’s Cruel Curtain” were two previews of what’s to come.


Arch / Matheos – Winter Ethereal

Progressive rock virtuosos John Arch and Jim Matheos, renowned for their work in Fates Warning, have joined forces under the Arch / Matheos banner to create a stylish immersive collection of songs on the sophomore album “Winter Ethereal”.

The monumental album opener “Vermillion Moons” truly holds a passionate soul that fully comes to life since the very beginning through smoldering guitar melodies that will continue to add melancholic aesthetics and emphasize the dazzling vocal delivery generating a stunning emotional whirlwind but there are also memorable heavier grooves carefully crafted by bold guitar riffs.

“Wanderlust” provides a fair dose of catchy energetic rhythmic patterns that certainly showcase the flawless musicianship further emphasized by the elegant polished guitar solos while the shimmering melodic waves evoke poignant feelings matched by the perfect high pitched vocals.

“Wrath Of The Universe” has a prominent heavier approach in fact the fiery guitar work provides loads of intense crunchy riffs following faster rhythmic segments supported by precise drumming and enriched by interesting fancy prog twists but also features some bright melodic guitar phrases amplified by Arch’s vibrant vocal harmonies.

On “Pitch Black Prism” the atmosphere becomes quite gloomy due to the dramatic vocal delivery and the refined bittersweet guitar melodies yet this is not a simple slow & sad track as the explosive rhythmic segments ensure solid bursts of energy often focusing on majestic prog metal acrobatics.

With a particularly intricate structure “Kindred Spirits” symbolizes the album’s music direction with the allure of flourishing melodic essence and an evident progressive metal grandeur that lead to diverse instrumental progressions as guitars naturally & skillfully shift from heavier riffage to profoundly contemplative moments without forgetting to add a generous dose of sophisticated shredding and certainly such contrasting aspects are well expressed also by the wide range of Arch’s vocal performance.

Considering that in the progressive rock/metal circles Arch and Matheos are known since many years for their exceptional talent “Winter Ethereal” certainly reflects all their skills offering a balanced blend of impeccable prog dynamics and emotionally driven melodic passages.

Allegaeon – Apoptosis

Despite several line up changes Allegaeon showcase a renewed intense creative force that generates the compelling nuances and crushing dynamics of the latest full length “Apoptosis”.

“Parthenogenesis” is more than just an instrumental album intro as it marks a fierce beginning that proves the band’s stellar musicianship ensuring a variegated sonic realm where technical guitar progressions create massive grooves and calmer acoustic moments evoke somber feelings.

On “Interphase // Meiosis” the whole instrumentation certainly emphasizes a profound darkness through the faster rhythmic segments, the belligerent guitar driven grooves and the hellish growls embellished by an irresistible shredding galore and loads of tasteful technical elements.

“Extremophiles (B)” can sound absolutely merciless as technical guitars and monumental bass lines confidently build vicious grooves channeling the band’s death metal roots with the clever addition of inventive prog style accents and brief melancholic phrases.

On “Tsunami and Submergence” the enchanting atmospheric arrangements, the classical inspired arpeggios and the heartfelt clean vocals intensify a melodic grandeur that will seamlessly embrace another round of stunning technical guitar leads and aggressive rhythmic patterns.

“Stellar Tidal Disruption” tends to put the spotlight on the technicality of the vibrant guitar progressions that constantly enrich the super fast thunderous rhythmic sections and render the whole song slightly more accessible especially with the luminous melodic textures of the guitar solos.

The title track symbolizes an ambitious grand finale as spellbinding melodic guitars and immersive atmospheres have the power to captivate the listeners while the winning combo of majestic technical guitar leads and punishing rhythmic blasts keep alive the extreme metal elements recurring throughout the whole album.

Listening attentively to “Apoptosis” you can perceive that Allegaeon focus on a stylish and eclectic songwriting approach that leads to impressively diverse soundscapes blending fascinating melodic sections and moments of sheer brutality.