LUCIDREAMS from Bangalore, India have been around for a seriously long time. There’s a lot of passion in the music and a heady beat to go with it, and we’re glad to put out their latest and indeed much-awaited album, ‘Ballox’.
Transcending Obscurity India (sub-label) owner Kunal Choksi states, “I’m happy to put out the long-running Bangalore-based heavy metal band’s much-awaited album, ‘Ballox’. It holds a nostalgic charm and has its own individual flavour as well. Though originally supposed to be out on the now defunct distribution sub-label, this has been upgraded to the Transcending Obscurity India sub-label and will see a release in March. A slew of wonderful packages have been designed for this one, setting a new standard hopefully for the bands here.”
Narayan from LUCIDREAMS says,”It’s awesome to finally put LUCIDREAMS‘ music out on a CD, considering the band’s been around for more than two decades. It’s even more special to partner with Kunal and Transcending Obscurity, considering everything the label stands for, both locally and internationally. We look forward to an exciting future together.”
Jayanth adds, “This release is extremely special and we’d like to dedicate this to our brother Suraj Dutt. A band that has seen over 20 musicians, Suraj made a massive impact, musically and personally. It’s an honour to see the release out and to work with Kunal from Transcending Obscurity India on this.”
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When you think of Norway, chances are that the metal bands that come to mind are on the extreme side of the spectrum. Certainly much of the metal from that country over the past two decades has skewed towards black metal and similar styles, but there are some talented acts that channel melodic heavy metal if you dig a bit deeper. One of these is Ghost Avenue, formerly known as Ghost. Formed in 2002, the group has been offering their own take on melodic heavy metal and hard rock across two full length albums, and now they’re ready to release album number three via Pitch Black Records. Titled ‘Impact’, this is a sci-fi concept album that features powerful, soaring vocal lines courtesy of singer Kim Sandvik and catchy guitar leads. With the album set to come out this Friday, February 3rd, we’re excited to offer you an exclusive first listen of the entire release alongside an interview with the band.
In October Agatus released their third album ‘The Eternalist, their first full length in nearly fourteen years. The interim period saw two limited EP released in 2011 and 2012, with the title track of 2012’s ‘Gilgamesh’ finding its way onto ‘The Eternalist’. While earlier incarnations of the band explored elements of black metal that were reminiscent of some of their other Greek counterparts, over the years Agatus has gravitated towards heavy metal and progressive rock to create a sound that’s epic in scale yet warm and inviting at all the right moments. Traces of black metal remain, but this is a very different effort when compared to the group’s back catalog and it finds them reaching new heights. ‘The Eternalist’ draws you in with bombastic riffing that has traces of early progressive rock and traditional heavy metal wrapped in a black metal esthetic, revealing more nuances with each listen.
Follow flight through his recent experience at this trendy Portland theater with one of melodeath's most celebrated acts. What did they play? Have they still got the magic? Find out here. Supporting acts include Swallow The Sun, Enforcer, Starkill, Increate, and Von Doom.
As many modern metal bands are striving to play it technical and make metal more intricate and complicated, bands like Colombia’s Witchtrap are proudly waving the old school flag. Having released 3 full lengths and a series of EP’s and splits, Witchtrap’s music has some not so subtle nods to the old guards like Venom, Motorhead, Sodom etc. The band’s most recent full length effort ‘Trap the Witch‘ originally came out last year through the band’s very own Dirty Sounds Records. This album is now being given a wider release courtesy of Hells Headbangers who will be releasing CD, Vinyl and Tape formats of the album on the 11th of November.
Impressed by the denim and leather based old school metal attack, we talked to the band’s drummer Witchhammer about the band’s history and the metal scene in their native land of Colombia. Also, we have ‘Trap the Witch’ streaming in it’s entirety below! So put on your battle jackets, crack open a beer and get lost in the old school charm of Witchtrap.
When you think of hard rock and rock ‘n roll, France probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind. But Berserkers, who have been around since 2009 and recently released their new full length ‘Lock & Load’, are looking to change that. On this newest album they’ve done their best to merge the worlds of old and new, taking classic keyboard and guitar driven rock and adding some modern flairs alongside just a hint of metal. It caught my attention with hook after hook, accented by the soaring vocals of Julien “Julius” Logeais. Today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the band’s new music video for the song The Foolish Man, so you can hear for yourself just how well these guys have these rock hooks down. Check out the video below, along with an interview with Berserkers where they talk about all the work that went into this material.
Here at Transcending Obscurity a lot of our coverage tends to skew towards the extreme metal side, with a lot of focus going on quality black metal, death metal, sludge, and doom. But there’s plenty of great music out there that falls into heavy metal, power metal, and progressive metal territory. With that in mind, we asked some of our writers to come up with what they felt were some of the better bands and albums to come from those genres in recent memory, keeping hybrids that sometimes run back towards the extreme side as an option. All of the material below is definitely worth spending some time with, no matter which of these three genres your tastes fall towards. Check them out and let us know if you agree with our highlights! -Chris Dahlberg
Starting with their debut, Iron Maiden wrote heavy metal and hard rock songs. However, ‘Somewhere in Time’ lay the groundwork for the synth-pop-rock of ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.’ Through this commercial transition they enlarged their fan base as glam metal faded into grunge, and created a corporate brand.
Iron Maiden use the ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ template to create albums. The latest version is ‘Book of Souls,’ which is devoid of the memorable riffs, narrative lyrics, and choruses that made Iron Maiden legendary. Instead, Iron Maiden forces a balance between their signature sound and progressive rock through meandering riffs, left over ideas, modest new riffs, and pop notes updated from 1988 for the 2016 Top 40. Equally bad is Bruce Dickenson whose once powerful voice is now a desperate wail dating to ‘The Final Frontier.’
When I saw Iron Maiden a few months ago on the ‘Book of Souls’ tour in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bruce said, “We made this album because we don’t want to be the world’s largest traveling karaoke band.” He is a liar. Iron Maiden is a corporation selling their brand via beer, video games, soccer jersey’s, Limited Edition apparel for each USA professional sport, and they tour in a jumbo jet. Even Eddie, the once frightening mascot, is mainstream as Sofia the First. Furthermore, Iron Maiden will tour again focusing on older albums in a cash grabbing karaoke tour properly branded to seem nostalgic.
An edited version of ‘Book of Souls’ to 45 – 50 minutes may be listenable, but not classic. Yet, in an era of gratuitous corporate greed sanctioned by the obsequious masses they remain the pinnacle of heavy metal success based on ‘Book of Souls’ sales. Unfortunately, corporate branding supersedes musical artistry otherwise fans would realize how far the irons have fallen.