Introducing: Yellow Creatures

“It’s a strange and exotic creature and I hope over the years we can make some strange, exotic and unpredictable music.” Guitarist and vocalist Marc Bird is talking about the origins of the strange title that describes his band. Yellow Creatures have only just stepped onto the fringes of Newcastle’s music community, never mind the UK’s, but already the quartet have picked up their fair share of support…

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Review: Altar of Plagues – ‘Teethed Glory and Injury’

When Altar of Plagues emerged with first full-length album ‘White Tomb’ back in 2009, they were lazily touted as either ‘Ireland’s answer to Wolves In The Throne Room’ or oversimplified as ‘post-black metal’. Even when the band landed with second masterpiece ‘Mammal’ in 2011, the comparisons to the US band were still drawn out and the post-black tag stuck. In reality, there was little justification to do that. Altar of Plagues might have worked from a black metal framework and thrived from the ugly adversity of the style to bring their themes of urban oppression to life, but there was something else going on: the band were subtly shifting into further experimental textures upon that immortal second record.

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Obituary: Jeff Hanneman

Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died this week at the age of 49, will be remembered as one of the pioneering greats of metal music. His contribution to metal has stretched beyond that of most musicians because of his trailblazing work in thrash metal, creating a unique style of blistering riffage and an uncompromising assortment of powerful, war-torn lyrics. Without a doubt, Hanneman’s legacy will continue to inspire and captivate generations down the line for years to come.

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Review: Àrsaidh – ‘Roots’

When Askival mastermind Andy Marshall announced that the Scottish band was no more in 2009, the news was received with equal bewilderment and sadness amongst fans. The one-man project released first album ‘Eternity’ earlier that year, showing great potential and especially catching the ear of black metal fans who simply prefer an escape into the beautiful wilderness of a dark British woodland space. A promising project ceased to exist…

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Review: Acolyte – ‘Alta’

Acolyte have been sitting on ‘Alta’ for a few years now, waiting for the right record deal to materialise so they can unleash their follow-up to excellent 2011 EP ‘Leng’. The Manchester band signed to Mordgrimm earlier in the year and have finally released this long-awaited debut album. The five-piece have made a gigantic, colossal beast of a record with mega lashings of groove and weighty yet smooth progressive transitions; from bouts of bouncing rocky verses with massive hooks to barbaric, blackened stampedes, Acolyte do it all with equal intelligence and charisma throughout ‘Alta’.

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Review: Rosaceae – ‘Transcending into the Cold’

Newcastle-based Rosaceae have offered a number of releases as free downloads over the last few years; one EP and three demos to be precise. Each time, the one-man black metal act – created by Liam McGeorge – has moved forward with some great musical developments and showed increasing potential. ‘Transcending Into The Cold’ is yet another free download from the talented North East musician, though this time it’s a much more substantial occasion because ‘Transcending Into The Cold’ is Rosaceae’s debut full-length album.

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Interview with Paul Ortiz of Chimp Spanner

Things are changing for Chimp Spanner. Three years ago, the one-time home-based project of multi-instrumentalist Paul Ortiz caught Basick Records’ attention and so began a transitory period for the talented musician. After ‘At the Dream’s Edge’ was reissued by the UK-based label, Chimp Spanner gave us another bout of astonishing technical metal with last year’s ‘All Roads Lead Here’ EP before Ortiz took his ambitions from his insular home-based studio to the stage. Last year marked Chimp Spanner’s first step onto US soil. Me and SoundShock’s Jason Hicks interviewed Ortiz in North Wales – the afternoon before his dazzling performance alongside bandmates Boris Le Gal and Jim Hughes at this year’s Hammerfest Festival.

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