Blood and Thunder

1 Aug 2011 // 10:00 PM

Born Again, Again

Critically panned 28 years ago, Black Sabbath's bizarre 11th album, Born Again, has gone on to earn a cult following of its own.

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To Hell and Back: An Interview With Andy Sneap of Hell

Obscure New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Hell has made the unlikeliest of comebacks thanks to its biggest fan, who just so happens to be one of the most famous metal producers in the world.

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Once More Unto the Breach: What Do People See in Sabaton?

Sabaton's strange combination of metal style (power), subject matter (depictions of real war events), image (everyone clad in snow camouflage), and stage presence (goofily jumping around like they're Kiss without make-up), was just too much to bear.

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Ruling the Ruins: Doro Pesch and Warlock Revisited

Warlock was never a musically innovative band, but thanks to legendary singer Doro Pesch, their impact on metal history is indelible.

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Something 2 Grind 2: An Interview with Graf Orlock

Constructed around loads of ingeniously-timed movie samples, Graf Orlock's music is some of the most fun grindcore you'll ever hear, psychotic and chaotic yet insidiously catchy, but the first impression is always unforgettable, thanks to their artwork.

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All or Nothing! Back to the ‘80s With Cauldron

Got a craving for some classic heavy metal? Canadian trio Cauldron evokes the classic sounds and aesthetic of the '80s better than anyone today.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2010

In the end, the metal world honored the memory of Ronnie James Dio in the coolest possible way: by making this the best year for new music the genre has seen in a very long time.

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The Weight of Darkness: Inside Agalloch’s Marrow of the Spirit

Agalloch has always created grand, sweeping sonic landscapes over the course of their career. Three members of the Portland, Oregon band take us deep inside their most ambitious album to date.

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Return of the Teutonic Terrors

German greats Accept have done the the unthinkable, successfully replacing one of the most inimitable frontmen in the metal world.

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24 Aug 2010 // 10:00 PM

Doggamn!

How do you follow up the best metal album of 2009? By putting out one of the best Americana albums of 2010, of course.

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Forever Meddling: An Interview with Blake Judd of Nachtmystium

The leader of Nachtmystium and Twilight finds himself at a creative peak with the release of two major new albums that give the finger to genre purists.

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Cathedral: Keep ‘em Guessing

Instead of carrying on with the same old doom metal, Cathedral mastermind Lee Dorrian decided to pull out all the stops. The result is a lavish double album that will befuddle some and enthrall many.

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Ceasuri Rele: The “Dark Times” of Negură Bunget

After an acrimonious split, Romania's Negură Bunget has returned with a revamped line-up and a slew of new material, only to face questions about the band's credibility from fans and ex-members alike.

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Alice Cooper: Portrait of the Artist as a Burnt-Out Old Man

There was a time when Alice Cooper was critically savaged, virtually ignored by mainstream audiences, and declared passé by us kids. Fortunately, that time quickly passed.

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The Life Aquatic With Ihsahn

The former Emperor frontman feels liberated, having completed a superb new solo album while coming to terms with the ever-looming shadow of his old band.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2009

It seems every year I say it, but this year it's truer than ever: this was one hell of a year for metal. If you think the Mastodon record is good (which it is) just wait 'til you hear this list’s top three.

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Dimensional Walls Getting Thinner: The Collective Minds of Krallice

What started out a back-to-basics project has turned into one of the coolest, most forward-thinking American metal bands of this decade.

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Castle Walls of Blood and Bone: An Interview with Converge

With four landmark albums this decade alone, Converge has saved its best work for last. Vocalist Jacob Bannon talks with PopMatters about his music, his art, and his insanely talented band.

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12 Aug 2009 // 10:00 PM

Where Strides the Behemoth

Begrand talks with Darski of Behemoth, one of the most visually imposing and sonically punishing bands in all of metal, on the eve of the release of their new CD, Evangelion.

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28 Jul 2009 // 10:00 PM

Def and Twisted

A band of pretty youngsters from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and a homely bunch of New York club scene veterans. Rock on.

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Goatwhore: Crazed Endurance

One listen to Sammy Duet's masterful riffing is enough to send the most fussy metal aficionado into paroxysms of headbanging ecstasy.

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The Bleak, Beautiful Art of Amesoeurs

“I always felt close to Baudelaire's poetry,” says Neige, “at the same time extremely romantic, sour and decadent. A meeting between horror and sublime.”

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Brick Anchors in Wet Sand: Redefining Sludge with Kylesa

There’ve been heady times for this band that’s accustomed to scraping by as an underground fave, but Kylesa remain well-grounded and looking ahead to what’s next.

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Rise of the Jötunn: In Flames in the 1990s

Four early and crucial albums by Swedish metal greats In Flames get reissued as part of Nuclear Blast's "Reloaded" series. There's no better time than the present to see what all the fuss is about.

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10 Feb 2009 // 9:00 PM

Compelled to Slay

"It's definitely going to get a lot weirder." Cannibal Corpse drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz talks about playing to a click track, the changing tastes of musicians, and staying relevant after 20 years.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2008

It was a stellar year for metal, and an eclectic year, too: Norwegian prog-metal, goth-infused death metal, Swedish thrash, black metal, and stoner rock all make the list.

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Tearing Down the Pillars

Enslaved's Ivar Bjørnson talks about the influence of Voivod and Pink Floyd, creative deconstruction and reinvention, and achieving that "futuristic yet retro sound".

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Wetnurse: Not Just Weaned on Metal

Wetnurse's Curran Reynolds talks about growing up in the isolated Maine woods, recording with NYC mainstay Martin Bisi, and how his band expresses "love as well as angst".

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15 Sep 2008 // 11:00 PM

Workingman’s Death

All That Remains' Phil Labonte talks about exercising restraint in creativity, recording the band's new album, 'Overcome', and not taking metal too seriously.

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17 Aug 2008 // 11:00 PM

Triumph Over Tragedy

Into Eternity's Tim Roth talks about the tragic year that informed his band's new album, life in the Candadian prairies, and what it means to be a "hybrid band".

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Julie Christmas: All Treadmill, No Fishnets

Julie Christmas, lead singer for Brooklyn's Made Out of Babies, talks about the "venemous" combination of screaming and restrained singing, ambiguous lyric-writing, and the making of the band's latest album, The Ruiner.

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21 May 2008 // 11:00 PM

New Testament Versus Old

It's a hard road, as a fella named John Osbourne once sang, but the respect that Testament has gained over more than two decades of personal and creative ups and downs is well earned.

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Into the Void: John Darnielle on Sabbath, Extreme Metal, and Indie Rock

Begrand dives into metal fandom with the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle, who discusses the Mighty Riff, the uneasy relationship between indie and metal camps, and the life experiences behind his new book on Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.

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Shining in its Evil Splendor

PopMatters' Adrien Begrand talks with Tomas Haake about Meshuggah's State of obZen.

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Just Let Go: An Interview with Jarboe

J2 is what happens when artists like Jarboe and Justin Broadrick meet halfway, then feed off each other.

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16 Dec 2007 // 10:00 PM

In Through the Outré Door

At the beginning of 2007 as the metal albums started pouring in, it quickly became abundantly clear that two record labels were going to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

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Business is Still Good: Inside Megadeth’s Warchest

With 11 studio albums behind them, including the very good United Abominations this past summer, Megadeth's sound has become so ubiquitous that it's easy to forget just how unique they sounded when they started making waves in the metal scene more than two decades ago.

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Sun and Air: An Interview with Anneke van Giersbergen and Krystoffer “Garm” Rygg

Van Giersbergen and Rygg's core audiences remain on the metal side, proof that no matter how diverse your music becomes, your old metal fans will still stubbornly cling to you like barnacles to a creaky hull.

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10 Sep 2007 // 10:42 PM

Many Happy Returns

A little personal, not to mention disturbingly vivid, is par for the course for Today is the Day's music, but when Steve Austin's music is as strong and eclectic as this stack of five discs is, we’ll take anything he’s willing to toss our way.

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Bruce Willis, Genghis Khan, and Ravioli: Inside the Red Chord’s Prey for Eyes

Do metalheads dream of Kanye West? Guy Kozowyk, vocalist for deathcore standout, the Red Chord, vividly regales PopMatters with lengthy tales about how the many ideas that dominate the band's latest album came to fruition.

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18 Jun 2007 // 11:00 PM

Everything Is Permitted

"People have sent me college term papers that they've written about my stuff, which I think is funny because I didn't graduate from college. I guess I must be doing something right if people are connecting to it." Begrand talks with Pig Destroyer's JR Hayes about writing and recording the band's new album, Phantom Limb.

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Dreams, Nightmares, and Sonata Arctica

'We are not too old yet to renew ourselves; we can use our imaginations.' Begrand talks with Sonata Arctica's Tony Kakko about eclecticism, dreams, Queen, wolves, and his band's ambitious new album, Unia.

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Out of Shadows, Shining Ever-Bright

After catching the reunited '80s-era, Ronnie James Dio-helmed Black Sabbath on tour in Canada, Begrand looks back on an oft-neglected period in the metal titans' career.

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Fight or Flight: The Dichotomy of Manowar

True metal believers or a mousse-abusing joke? Begrand explores how Manowar, one of the most polarizing and contradictory metal bands of all time, can simultaneously flaunt Spinal Tap-isms and ignite a crowd of 30,000 screaming fans.

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5 Feb 2007 // 9:00 PM

Welcome to Helluary

Begrand finds refuge from a taxing winter in some of the best metal releases of the still-young year, including a highly twisted album from his neck of the Canadian prairies.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2006

Begrand and Blood and Thunder look back on a metal-icious 2006: its creative resurgences, its tinges of sludge, its Japanese doom-ridden drones, and its ever-reliable Scandinavians.

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Open Wide, the Gates of Hell

The enigmatic Danes in Mercyful Fate took such a straight-faced, deadly serious approach to its satanic themes that we were unsure whether it was all a big piss-take, or if they really meant it.

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Blind Guardian’s Twisted Myths

For Hansi Kürsch, lead singer of Germany's Blind Guardian, there's no Justin Hawkins flash, no DragonForce pub chants, no hipster-pandering irony. If he's going to sing about faeries and orcs, he's going to do so and mean every damned outlandish lyric.

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6 Sep 2006 // 10:00 PM

Notes from Underground

Begrand hits the traveling metal show Sounds of the Underground for nine hours of mayhem, moshing, and merch. And though this town's put the kibosh on mosh, there's plenty of familiar sights and sounds, from Metallica wannabes to papier-mâché phalluses.

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14 Aug 2006 // 10:00 PM

Postmortem

Hallelujah, it's raining blood! The Unholy Alliance Tour, a veritable distillation of the current state of contemporary metal on wheels, descends upon Western Canada and finally ends Begrand's 22-year wait to witness Slayer in the flesh.

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12 Jul 2006 // 10:00 PM

Complex Simplicity

Voivod vocalist Denis 'Snake' Belanger speaks candidly about the new Canadian Prime Minister, today's subordinate youth, and the 'emotional dimension' involved in creating a new album built around the guitar tracks of his deceased friend and bandmate, Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour.

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The Great Beast Resurrected

The long, strange trip of seminal metal band Celtic Frost is unexpectedly outfitted with a new plot twist: a new record that redefines a career over 20 years after it began.

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16 Apr 2006 // 10:00 PM

The Time to Kill Is Now!

The least poetic of metal bands, Cannibal Corpse has gone to disturbing lengths to make gruesomeness its cold, calculated calling card.

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15 Mar 2006 // 10:00 PM

The Queen Isn’t Dead

Fearing an embarrassing failure on the scale of the Star Wars prequels, Begrand braves Queensryche's new sequel to its 20-year-old masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime.

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14 Feb 2006 // 10:00 PM

The Profits of Doom

A once-uncool and admittedly limiting metal subgenre is poised to become the Next Big Thing in loud music -- that is, if the metal community lets it guard down long enough to accept it.

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26 Jan 2006 // 10:00 PM

Sweet Relief

What if you could have the majestic intensity of metal music without the overblown male bravado? One Dutch band's frontwoman sheds some light on goth-tinged rock and single-handedly alters the dimensions of doom.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2005

From metalcore to hardcore, guttural growls to soaring falsettos, and unabashedly sludgetastic to downright operatic, the cream of this year's metal crop is as eclectic as it is provocative.

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27 Nov 2005 // 10:00 PM

Forever Undying

Metal's major players are getting more powerful as they get older. Their refusal to soften in accordance with their maturity proves but one thing: when it comes to metal, age ain't nothing but a number.

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13 Oct 2005 // 10:00 PM

Regeneration

At long last, indie kids and mainstream critics no longer have to listen to their metal music in clandestine shame. Metal's in the midst of an artistic renaissance, and, as Begrand explains, it's a headbanger's ball out there.

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//Mixed media
//Blogs

Ten Great Criterion Titles: What to Watch and Why

// Short Ends and Leader

"As the Criterion Collection's ever-growing roster shows, there are simply too many great pictures out on home video to know what to do with.

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