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Tentacles of Influence Album Review

Written By Lindon Faynes AKA AUselessPileofFlesh

Let the tentacles of influence envelope you – It scored 88% out of 100

When it comes to brutal death metal & grindcore, Czechia owns the playing ground. Yes Poland, Sweden & Germany are top contenders HOWEVER it cannot be overstated how high quality and quantity the Czech scene truly is. With festivals like Obscene Extreme, Thirst For Grind, Groove & Stinky, Metalgate Czech Death etc and bands like Alienation Mental, Melancholy Pessimism, Jig-Ai, Lykathea Aflame etc Czechia has cemented itself the home base for extreme metal and punk. 

Needful Things are a 20+ years veteran status grind band with a 15 split & 3 full length album discography. The band’s chosen style is fast-paced metallic grind with a hefty death metal groove. Picture post-Earache era Napalm Death, “Murderer” era Rotten Sound and the entire Nasum catalogue. This style of grindcore is great because even at its most unoriginal form, will still provide an aesthetically pleasing sound. It’s that freight-train, “no holds barred/stop for no bitch” adrenaline pumping grind that gets your fist pumping and your legs running in a circular fashion. The riffs are a solid take on death metal forward grind and the aforementioned death metal grooves which still contain a frantic persona due to the incredibly adequate and supersonic drumming. Songs like the album title, “Constricted” & “Fallen Into Darkness” flow together effortlessly compiling of aggressive 2000’s era grindcore riffs that both punch and grab you, no time for powerviolence/hardcore/sludge metal breakdowns or brutal slams, just fast tremolo and chorded riffs, with the intro of “Party of Killers…” having the slowest groove on the entire album. Once again I have to commend the drummer for his technique and skill, the drums are very much so the spine for all present songs. 

One thing that definitely requires highlighting is the recording & production. It sits perfectly within the boundaries of a crisp, clear yet bass heavy production with all instruments shining brightly, yet still sounds organic and like an actual live band. You could tell me that the album was recorded live or layered and I would believe it. This gives the listeners an easy-to-digest production whilst also giving of an authentic feel. I would put this album as having one of the better productions in the grind genre, it’s that good! Now former vocalist Tomas has a pretty rambunctious vocabulary. His style alternates between the echoed screams (not unlike JR of Pig Destroyer) and your more typical death bellows which, whilst don’t go too deep or guttural, are a fit for the unrelenting barrage of blasting discourse. Of course the lyrics take swings at despotic dictatorships and (dis)organised religion which I’m all for, despite no lines really catching my fancy (PD’s “the chameleon is my favourite animal” is one to remember). 

Grindcore is a genre not too well known for being overtly original, this applies to Needful Things who are very much in the same vein of their influences, as both debut “Dead Point” and the more recent “Deception” are in a similar key, however I will say “Tentacles of Influence” takes this sound and perfects it, with genuine song-writing and top-notch production to boot. I don’t consider this to be a landmark album but it is a personal favourite for what the genre can offer. 

https://youtu.be/NpZpehCekHk?si=XoCsk5GNM8aHRKuM

Track Listing:
1.Intro – Tentacles of Influence
2.Constricted
3.Fallen In Darkness
4.Deprogrammed
5.Predator
6.Worshipper Of God
7.Money In God´s Hands
8.Collateral Existence
9.Narrator
10.Corrupted
11.Decision Points
12.Party For Killers / Massive Killing
13.End Of Your Life
14.Remains Of Life
15.DNA Freak Number
16.One Day Hero
17.Mask Of Arrogance
18.Firewall
19.The Mass

Best tracks: 
First 3 opening tracks, “Worshipper of God”, “Party of Killers…” & “One Day Hero”.

Needful Things Online

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“Unleashing the Sorcery: A Journey through Bruce Dickinson’s Mandrake Project”

Written By Sebastian Melmoth

In the vast landscape of heavy metal, there have been bands that have left an indelible mark such as as Iron Maiden. Emerging in the late 1970s, Iron Maiden quickly rose to prominence with their electrifying blend of galloping riffs, operatic vocals, and intricate storytelling. Led by the iconic Bruce Dickinson, the band became synonymous with the New Wave of the British Heavy Metal movement, captivating audiences around the world with their unparalleled energy and stage presence.

As Iron Maiden conquered arenas and cemented their status as metal legends, Bruce Dickinson’s soaring vocals and charismatic persona became the heart and soul of the band. Yet, amidst the thunderous applause and adoration of millions, Bruce embarked on a personal journey—one that would ultimately lead him to explore new musical horizons beyond the confines of Iron Maiden.

Driven by an insatiable hunger for creative expression, Bruce ventured into the realm of solo projects, each a testament to his boundless talent and artistic vision. And thus, the Mandrake Project was born—a bold exploration of sound and storytelling that pushes the boundaries of what metal can be.

Rooted in the legacy of Iron Maiden yet unafraid to chart its own course, the Mandrake Project represents the culmination of Bruce Dickinson’s musical evolution—a testament to his unwavering dedication to the craft and his relentless pursuit of musical innovation. So join us as we embark on this epic journey, where the spirit of Iron Maiden lives on, and Bruce Dickinson continues to push the boundaries of metal and beyond.

Step into the electrifying world of Bruce’s latest musical expedition, “The Mandrake Project,” where each track is a journey through the depths of metal mastery and experimentation.

Dive headfirst into the abyss with the haunting opener, “Afterglow of Ragnarok,” a metal symphony that will send shivers down your spine. From there, buckle up for the wild ride through “Many Doors to Hell,” a hard-rock anthem that channels the spirit of legends like Deep Purple and Iron Maiden.

But hold on tight as the tempo shifts with “Rain on the Graves,” a theatrical masterpiece inspired by the immortal words of William Blake. Witness Bruce’s vocal acrobatics as he effortlessly transitions from rap to operatic delivery, leaving you spellbound.

As the album unfolds, each track unveils a new layer of Bruce’s musical evolution. From the haunting melodies of “Resurrection Men” to the Middle Eastern-infused “Fingers in the Wounds,” prepare to be captivated at every turn.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, Bruce delivers the gut-wrenching “Eternity HAS Failed,” a poignant reminder of his indomitable spirit in the face of adversity.

But it’s not all darkness and despair. Get ready to headbang with “Mistress of Mercy,” a high-octane anthem that will leave you craving more. And as the final notes of “Sonata (Immortal Beloved)” fade into the night, you’ll be left breathless, yearning for just one more ride on this aural rollercoaster.

The beauty of Bruce’s bold experimentation in a world saturated with imitation, “The Mandrake Project” stands as a beacon of creativity and innovation.

Strap on your protective head gear because Bruce isn’t just here to show us how it’s done—he’s here to redefine the very essence of metal itself. And at 65 years young, there’s no stopping him now.

Dickinson offered: “So, everybody, everybody on the planet who’s been going, ‘Oh my god. What’s this solo thing gonna be all about when it finally happens?’ Well, it’s finally happening. It’s called The Mandrake Project, and’ of course, it’s music. But, it’s also much, much, more. More than that, I’m not gonna reveal for now, ’cause it will become self-explanatory and self-evident as we go through and reveal more layers of the onion for you all.”

He continued: “We’ve been working on this since 2014, when it wasn’t called The Mandrake Project. And it’s had time to grow and mature. And, oh my God, has it ever. I think you will be really, really excited. And, I hope you love everything that we’ve created for you.”

“The Mandrake Project” track listing:

01. Afterglow Of Ragnarok (05:45)
02. Many Doors To Hell (04:48)
03. Rain On The Graves (05:05)
04. Resurrection Men (06:24)
05. Fingers In The Wounds (03:39)
06. Eternity Has Failed (06:59)
07. Mistress Of Mercy (05:08)
08. Face In The Mirror (04:08)
09. Shadow Of The Gods (07:02)
10. Sonata (Immortal Beloved) (09:51)

The Mandrake Project will be Dickinson‘s seventh solo album and his first since Tyranny Of Souls in 2005.

The Mandrake Project 2024 Tour Dates

15 April – The Observatory, Santa Ana, USA
18 April – Diana Theater, Guadalajara, MEXICO
20 April – Pepsi Theatre, Mexico City, MEXICO
24 April – Live Curitiba, Curitiba, BRAZIL
25 April – Pepsi On Stage, Porto Alegre, BRAZIL
27 April – Opera Hall, Brasilia, BRAZIL
28 April – Arena Hall, Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL
30 April – Qualistage, Rio De Janeiro, BRAZIL

2 May – Quinta Linda, Ribeirao Preto, BRAZIL
4 May – Vibra, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
16 May – The Halls, Wolverhampton, UK
18 May – Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, UK
19 May – O2 Academy, Manchester, UK
21 May – Arena, Swansea, UK
23 May – Rock City, Nottingham, UK
24 May – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, UK
26 May – L’Olympia, Paris, FRANCE
28 May – 013, Tilburg, HOLLAND
29 May – De Oosterport, Groningen, HOLLAND

1 June – Barba Negra, Budapest, HUNGARY
3 June – Arenale Romane, Bucharest, ROMANIA
6 June – Mystic Festival, Gdansk, POLAND *
5-8 June – Sweden Rock Festival, Solvesborg, SWEDEN *
9 June – Rockefeller, Oslo, NORWAY
11 June – Grona Lund, Stockholm, SWEDEN
13 June – House Of Culture, Helsinki, FINLAND
14 June – Noblessner Foundry, Tallinn, ESTONIA
16 June – Huxleys Neue Welt, Berlin, GERMANY
17 June – Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, GERMANY
19 – 22 June – Copenhell, Copenhagen, DENMARK *
21 June – Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, BELGIUM *
22 June – Summerside Festival, Grenchen, SWITZERLAND *
24 June – Zeltfestival Rhein-Neckar, Mannheim, GERMANY *
25 June – Circus Krone, Munich, GERMANY
26 – 29 June – Resurrection Festival, Galicia, SPAIN *
27 – 30 June – Hellfest, Clisson, FRANCE *
30 June – Rockhal, Esch-Sur-Alzette, LUXEMBOURG

3-6 July – Rockharz Open Air, Ballenstedt, GERMANY *
5 July – Ippodrome Delle Capannelle, Rock In Roma, Rome, ITALY *
6 July – Bassano Del Grappa, Metal Park, Vincenza, ITALY *
9 July – Palladium, Koln, GERMANY
11 – 14 July – Masters Of Rock Festival, Vizovice, Czech Republic *+
13 July – Hala, Zagreb, CROATIA
16 July – Kolodrum Arena, Sofia, BULGARIA
19 July – Kucukciftlik Park, Istanbul, TURKEY
21 July – Release, Athens, GREECE *

* – festival performance

Get links for tickets at TheMandrakeProject.com

Released By: BGM
Release Date: March 1st, 2024
Genre: Hard Rock / Metal
Band Members:
Bruce Dickinson / Vocals
Roy Z / Guitars
Dave Moreno / Drums
Mistheria / Keyboards

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Chaos Horrific: Cannibal Corpse’s Brutal Return to the Death Metal Throne Album Review

Photo by Alex Morgan

CANNIBAL CORPSE:
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Erik Rutan – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums


Cannibal Corpse, a revered name in death metal, unleashes their sixteenth studio album, “Chaos Horrific,” via Metal Blade Records. This band needs no introduction, but what about their latest offering? Well, it’s exactly what you’d expect from these veterans of brutality.

“Chaos Horrific” delivers the classic Cannibal Corpse experience, with unrelenting speed, brutality, and the unmistakable growls of George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher. The album kicks off with the thunderous “Overlords of Violence,” setting the tone for a fast-paced, riff-packed onslaught that rarely lets up. Clocking in at a tight 39 minutes, it’s refreshingly concise in an era of overstuffed albums.

Erik Rutan’s influence on guitar, alongside Rob Barrett, injects new life into the band’s sound. The solos add melodic nuance to the chaos, as seen in tracks like “Frenzied Feeding” and “Summoned for Sacrifice.” There are moments of monotony, but the album finishes strong with “Pestilential Rictus” and “Drain You Empty.”

The production packs a punch, although the mastering is a bit loud, but death metal is supposed to be experienced loud. George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s vocals remain a force to be reckoned with, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz provides a rock-solid foundation.

“Chaos Horrific” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a testament to Cannibal Corpse’s consistency and vitality. For long-time fans, it’s a solid addition to their discography, while newcomers will find it a brutal introduction to the band’s world.

Vince Locke’s gruesome artwork perfectly complements the carnage within. When Cannibal Corpse releases an album, you know you’re in for a blood-soaked ride. “Chaos Horrific” lives up to the legacy, proving that these death metal pioneers still reign supreme. Don’t miss their upcoming tour with The True Mayhem, where these songs are bound to ignite mosh pits and headbanging galore. “Chaos Horrific” is out now, so prepare for a relentless onslaught of death metal fury.

Chaos Horrific track listing:
1. Overlords Of Violence
2. Frenzied Feeding
3. Summoned For Sacrifice
4. Blood Blind
5. Vengeful Invasion
6. Chaos Horrific
7. Fracture And Refracture
8. Pitchfork Impalement
9. Pestilential Rictus
10. Drain You Empty

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Coinciding with the release of Chaos Horrific, CANNIBAL CORPSE will embark on a month-long North American co-headlining tour with Mayhem. The journey begins September 22nd in Nashville, Tennessee and runs through October 21st in Louisville, Kentucky. Support will be provided by special guests, Gorguts and Blood Incantation! See all confirmed dates below.

CANNIBAL CORPSE w/ Mayhem, Gorguts, Blood Incantation:
9/22/2023 Marathon Music Hall – Nashville, TN
9/23/2023 The Fillmore – Charlotte, NC
9/24/2023 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, TN
9/26/2023 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
9/27/2023 Rebel – Toronto, ON
9/28/2023 L’Olympia – Montreal, QC
9/29/2023 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
9/30/2023 Brooklyn Steel – Brooklyn, NY
10/02/2023 The Royal Oak – Detroit, MI
10/03/2023 Hard Rock Live – Gary, IN
10/04/2023 The Fillmore – Minneapolis, MN
10/06/2023 Mission Ballroom – Denver, CO
10/07/2023 The Depot – Lake City, UT
10/09/2023 Temple Theatre – Tacoma, WA
10/10/2023 Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
10/11/2023 Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
10/13/2023 The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
10/14/2023 SOMA – San Diego, CA
10/17/2023 The Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, TX
10/18/2023 The Factory – Dallas, TX
10/20/2023 The Eastern – Atlanta, GA
10/21/2023 Paristown Hall – Louisville, KY

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Unearthing the Depths: Metal Lair Reviews Crowbar’s Zero And Below

CROWBAR:
Kirk Windstein – vocals/guitar
Matt Brunson – guitar
Shane Wesley – bass
Tommy Buckley – drums

CROWBAR’s enduring presence in the world of music spans an impressive 32 years. They have steadfastly remained true to their unique identity. A synonym for suffering, the essence of Southern desolation, and masters of delivering guitar riffs imbued with a fierce bite. Across their extensive discography of 11 previous albums, their auricular signature has remained unwavering. It’s a deliberate fusion of languor, though never excessively, and a profound, melancholic density.

With “Zero And Below,” the band ushers bassist Shane Wesley into their ranks. Kurt Windstein’s gritty vocals, which have become an emblem of their raw sound, continue to stand out amidst a backdrop of downtuned riffs and thundering drums. They waste no time, launching into a high-octane rhythmic onslaught with “The Fear That Binds You,” immediately plunging listeners into the depths of despair. A sentiment further solidified in tracks like “Her Evil Is Sacred.” The tempo drags at a sluggish pace, the weighty guitars oozing like molasses throughout, imposing a crushing gravity on the senses.

Denial of Truth” slows the cadence considerably, tempering some of the aggression while retaining an ever-present sense of impending doom. “Chemical Godz” introduces a pervasive, bluesy groove, accentuated by the prominence of the bass, and its accompanying video delves into the harrowing consequences of addiction.

Bleeding from Every Hole” stands out as a track where the bass guitar takes center stage, providing a pulsating foundation. “Confess To Nothing” and “Her Evil is Sacred” maintain a slow pummeling pace, paradoxically radiating an enduring energy.

Denial Of The Truth” exudes a ’90s nostalgia, harkening back to the band’s early days of the bands inception. The album culminates with its title track, where Kirk Windstein’s raspy vocals traverse through a shimmering fog of sludge, perfectly encapsulating the melancholy, regret, and profound sense of loss that eternally haunts humanity, perhaps more poignant now than ever before. In these weighty times, the demand for heavy music remains, and CROWBAR consistently asserts their place among the heaviest of them all.

Zero And Below is available on CD, LP, cassette, and digitally. Preview and purchase the record at THIS LOCATION.

Track listing:

01. The Fear That Binds You
02. Her Evil Is Sacred
03. Confess To Nothing
04. Chemical Godz
05. Denial Of The Truth
06. Bleeding From Every Hole
07. It’s Always Worth The Gain
08. Crush Negativity
09. Reanimating A Lie
10. Zero And Below

CROWBAR w/ Primitive Man:
9/07/2023 Downtown Music Hall – Fort Walton Beach, FL
9/08/2023 Conduit – Orlando, FL
9/09/2023 The Orpheum – Tampa, FL
9/10/2023 Gramps – Miami, FL
w/ Primitive Man, Bodybox:
9/12/2023 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
9/13/2023 New Brookland Tavern – Columbia, SC
9/14/2023 Asheville Music Hall – Asheville, NC
9/15/2023 The Camel – Richmond, VA
9/17/2023 Broken Goblet – Bensalem, PA
9/19/2023 Dingbatz – Clifton, NJ
9/20/2023 Song & Dance – Syracuse, NY
9/21/2023 Palladium – Worcester, MA
9/22/2023 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY
9/23/2023 Angel City Music Hall – Manchester, NH
9/24/2023 Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
9/26/2023 Crafthouse – Pittsburgh, PA
9/27/2023 Hobart Art Theater – Hobart, IN
9/28/2023 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/29/2023 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
9/30/2023 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI
10/01/2023 Wildwood – Iowa City, IA w/ Venom Inc #
10/02/2023 Red Flag – St Louis, MO
10/04/2023 Cobra – Nashville, TN
10/05/2023 George’s Majestic – Fayetteville, AR
# = No Support

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“Take Me Back To Eden: A Serene Journey Through The Dreamscapes” Album Review

PHOTO CREDIT: SLEEP TOKENS FACEBOOK

It was a sleepless night, and I found myself wandering through the otherwordly soundscapes crafted by Sleep Token on their latest album, “Take Me Back To To Eden.” As the notes gently reached my ears, I was whisked away into a tranquil realm where emotions melded with melodies, and time lost its grip on me.

From the very beginning, Sleep Token’s genre bending style of alternative rock and progressive metal had me transfixed. The album is a musical kaleidoscope that creates an eidos of mesmerizing vocals, atmospheric guitars, and roaring synths. Its a sonic landscape that is both captivating and introspective.

The opening song, “Chokehold,” embodies the quintessential essence of their eerie, emotionally charged, and melodically captivating metal style. The track serves as a testament to the band’s undeniable talent, showcasing a fusion of colossal, rhythmic riffs and pulsating grooves.

Front and center is the captivating, enigmatic, frontman, Vessel, whose croon possesses a vocal gift that can only be described as angelic. Each note he delivers is infused with raw emotion, drawing listeners into a world of pure enchantment.

To complement the journey, the accompanying animated video takes us on a visually stunning and unsettling ride. We find ourselves engrossed in a dark realm, where a formidable arachnid creature, adorned in imposing armor, wields an imposing axe high above its head. Emerging from the shadows, this strange and ominous beastie exudes an aura of mystery and intrigue, further deepening the song’s enigmatic atmosphere.

Prepare to be enthralled by the artistry of Sleep Token’s “The Summoning.” This progressive metal gem effortlessly surpasses all expectations set by their previous surprise hit, “Chokehold,” striking a harmonious balance between brutality and melody.

In this masterpiece, Sleep Token showcases their unparalleled ability to seamlessly blend disparate elements. The result is a delightful fusion of heaviness and funkiness, where neither aspect overshadows the other. The cohesion of the track is nothing short of impressive, a magnum opus that flawlessly intertwines various musical dimensions.

The Summoning” elevates every element to extraordinary levels, taking the listener on an exhilarating journey. From the devastatingly powerful instrumentals in the intro and breakdown to the irresistibly groovy outro, Sleep Token demonstrates their musical prowess. Vessel’s vocal performance mastery shines brilliantly, marking a new pinnacle in his career.

“Take Me Back To Eden,” exudes an exquisite sense of sophistication, thanks in no small part to the artful inclusion of piano throughout the record. The gentle interplay of piano with the supple vocals and tender guitars in tracks like “Aqua Regia” elevates the musical experience to a whole new level, infusing it with a touch of refinement.

The talented ensemble of Sleep Token venture into diverse musical territories, masterfully blending elements of harsh vocals in “Ascensionism,” blackgaze in “Vore,” and metalcore in “Rain.” Remarkably, despite the wide array of styles, the album maintains an impressive cohesiveness that ties it all together seamlessly.

One of the stand out moments of the album for me is the song “The Apparition.” With its ghostly atmospheric rendition. It serves as a brief respite amidst the captivating chaos of the surrounding tracks. Its in these serene moments that Sleep Token showcases their ability to balance intensity with tranquility, evoking a sense of emotional catharsis.

The album’s closing track, “Euclid,” showcases versatility, driving the song towards a breathtakingly beautiful climax. Meanwhile, the incorporation of sweet acoustic guitar melodies in “Are You Really Ok?” adds an celestial quality, causing the song to soar with a resonant allure.

Take Me Back To Eden” stands as a remarkable body of work, skillfully uniting various genres under the Sleep Token banner. The band’s ability to navigate through this melody mosaic with finesse and precision is truly commendable, creating an album that leaves a lasting impact on listeners.

Lyrically, Sleep Token explores themes of vulnerability, loss, and self-discovery, inviting listeners to dive deep into their own retrospection. The enigmatic nature of the band adds an extra layer of intrigue, leaving room for interpretation and personal connection.

“Return To Eden” offers a refreshing take on the bands signature sound, exhibiting a refined and evolved musicality that takes listeners on a captivating odyssey.

While “Return To Eden” is an immersive and captivating album, it may not be everyones cup of tea. Its themes tropospheric and often melancholic nature requires a certain mood and mindset to fully appreciate. However for those willing to embark on this sonic pilgrimage, prepare to be jolted from the depths of your musical slumber. This melodic symphony will surge through your veins, injecting life into your dormant senses.

TRACKLIST

01. CHOKEHOLD
02. THE SUMMONING
03. GRANITE
04. AQUA REGIA
05. VORE
06. ASCENSIONISM
07. ARE YOU REALLY OKAY?
08. THE APPARITION
09. DYWTYLM
10. RAIN
11. TAKE ME BACK TO EDEN
12. EUCLID