Lifesick | Metal Blade Records

Simon Shoshan: Vocals

Nicolai Lindegaard: Guitar

Nikolai Lund: Guitar

Jeppe Riis Frausing: Bass

Jeppe Løwe: Drums

Formed in Fredericia, Denmark in 2015, Lifesick create brutal and brutally honest songs with lyrics inspired by the turbulent nature of life. Musically influenced by Swedish death metal, Lifesick‘s authentic and explosive mixture of crushing tones and modern breakdowns create an uncompromising sound and vision.

Vocalist/lyricist Simon Shoshan (aka Simon Sorrow) doesn’t shy away from personal topics, including depression and mental illness, and his forthrightness resonates with fans. Shoshan mines personal experiences, but says, “as soon as we enter the studio I will change small details and make them less about my personal experiences and into a more open story for the listener’s interpretation. I always hope people can find themselves in the words and either heal or destroy themselves while listening.”

The band’s Metal Blade debut, the three-song EP Love and Other Lies, is the follow-up to Lifesick‘s critically acclaimed 2022 Misanthropy LP, a record the press praised as an “an absolute barnburner, practically overflowing with buzzsaw riffs, blistering blast beats, bludgeoning breakdowns and brutish, barking vocals.” The three new tracks “Every Unpleasant Emotion,” “Rude Awakening” and “Reverse Birth“-produced by Jacob Bredahl at Dead Rat Studio in Aarhus, Denmark, mixed by Jacob Bredahl and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, further Misanthropy‘s brutality.

One of the trio of tunes, however, shows a different side of Lifesick‘s heaviness. “We always try to do new things. So our acoustic song, ‘Every Unpleasant Emotion,’ with clean vocals, is very new to us, but something we always wanted to try,” says guitarist Nicolai Lindegaard.

I listen to a lot of old American folk and country from pre-World War II; there’s just something real about music from that time,” adds Shoshan. “So for it to fit into the Lifesick universe, we tweaked it with some darker tones and layers. Some have said it could be a theme song for a true crime series.”

It’s a cool departure but perfect fit with the Lifesick universe. “Our new songs are everything we feel worked the best from Misanthropy guitar riff-wise. Misanthropy had more ‘technical’ musicality, but ultimately, we feel that’s not our direction,” says Lindegaard. “We want to keep things simple, and focus on the mosh parts.”

Two guests join the band on the EP. Lifesick are huge fans of Mark Whelan from American death metallers Fuming Mouth, and he contributed to “Rude Awakening.” And Nails‘ Todd Jones rarely does vocal features, so Lifesick was honored he dug “Reverse Birth” and appears on the song. “We are all very inspired by him; his way of making things sound so aggressive and that “to the bone” simplicity is something we lean toward when writing songs,” the band explains. “We have always wanted to have him on a Lifesick song.”

Every Unpleasant Emotion,” “Rude Awakening” and “Reverse Birth” each have an accompanying video created to tell a cohesive story, yet also to stand alone. “Lyrically, I tried to make three very different songs,” says Shoshan. “In that way it offers our fans everything they wanted from a Lifesick record. I have dealt with a lot of darkness, death and heartache, and it’s been hitting me hard. The best way for me to work with these emotions is putting them on paper.”

The conceptual “Every Unpleasant Emotion” video sees the literal death of love, with lyrics about guiding a killer’s hand. Consequences hit hard in “Rude Awakening,” along with a intimate live set in June 2023, while “Reverse Birth” shows footage from the band’s savage show at 2022′s Copenhell Festival before cutting away for a shocking conclusion to the three-song storyline. The band creates and directs their own videos, the Love and Other Lies videos done in conjunction with Maksim Ruhljadiev, who filmed and edited all three.

LIfesick have played more than 200 shows, among them numerous European tours and festivals, including Impericon’s “Never Say Die tour” and Copenhell. They haven’t yet played the U.S., however, Spotify streams for “Suicide Spell,” “Buying Time” and “Dies Irae” show that the lineup has many fans in the States. The quintet are excited to further Misanthropy‘s momentum with these Love and Other Lies. “With this EP we are excited stay on the wave we’re on right now,” the band says. That wave will see Lifesick continue to play ever bigger festivals and gigs while writing for their next full-length album, to be recorded in 2024. Lifesick continue to bring the darkness to light.

Siege Of Power | Metal Blade Records

Chris Reifert: Vocals (Autopsy, Violation Wound, Abscess, Painted Doll)

Paul Baayens: Guitar (Asphyx, ex-Hail of Bullets, Thanatos)

Theo van Eekelen: Bass (ex-Hail of Bullets, ex-Houwitser, ex-Grand Supreme Blood Court)

Bob Bagchus: Drums (ex-Asphyx, Soulburn, ex-Grand Supreme Blood Court)

When SIEGE OF POWER released their debut album “Warning Blast” in 2018, it was a jamming affair by four friends in the studio and nothing too serious. This time it’s different and business is for real!

We still like the debut a lot but after a few years we started talking about doing another album and then we realized we had to be more serious. So we started writing 11 songs – all killers, no fillers!“, comments drummer Bob Bagchus.

Most song ideas came from guitarist Paul Baayens who is continously writing riffs and then the band built the songs around these. “We didn’t really rehearse, but booked a studio to see what we could come up with. Most of our inspriations on this album came from old school bands like Venom, Bathory, Slayer and even Black Sabbath. Combined with our own personal style we have for decades, of course.

This Is Tomorrow” is a tad darker than “Warning Blast” and that’s not all. Chris Reifert’s vocals are a lot more diverse giving each song it’s own identity. It’s a straight forward, rough metal album with good, old 80s vibes and reflects the dark times we are living in these days.

The album was recorded at Toneshed studios and mixed/mastered by Erwin Hermsen. The stunning artwork was created by Robert Toderico.

SIEGE OF POWER started in 2013 -under the moniker FIRST CLASS ELITE- as a project without any expectations. Shortly after releasing a split album it was left for dead, buried and almost forgotten until the rotten corpse was exhumed in 2017. This resulted in 19 no-nonsense extreme metal tracks mixed with several doomdozers and the debut album “Warning Blast“.

Entheos | Metal Blade Records

Chaney Crabb: Vocals

Navene Koperweis: Drums / Guitar

Pushing progressive death metal in ever more imaginative directions, Entheos continue to stand apart from the pack. Incorporating elements drawn from myriad genres – including death metal, groove, grunge, electronica, slam, gothic rock, jazz, prog and more – they have evolved with every release, and now they return with the follow up to 2017′s landmark Dark Future, the diverse and exhilarating Time Will Take Us All. “We knew when we started writing that we really wanted to make something darker and heavier that was still uniquely Entheos, and we knew that we wanted to make a record that really came from our hearts and captured where we want to take this band,” explains vocalist Chaney Crabb. “The new album also has a strong ‘trippy’ vibe, not in a generic sense but meaning when you are done listening to it you feel like you’ve gone on a journey,” adds multi-instrumentalist Navene Koperweis. “I’ve always loved albums that gave me that feeling. I can’t say we set out to have the experience, it just sort of happened and that’s something I’m proud of.”

Having stripped down to a two-piece in 2020, this has helped to streamline the band and allow the core members to make the music they want to with no compromise, which is clearly to their betterment. Koperweis – who takes the role of drummer in the band’s live lineup – has long written most of the guitar parts, so it was not a radically different writing process, but allowed him the freedom of complete control. “I tell people this album is more of everything that we do, except this time it’s deeper in all directions,” says Koperweis. “We’re no longer dipping our toe in the pool on certain aspects, when we decide to go somewhere, we fucking go there.” Relying less on synths and electronic production than on previous releases, a lot of the more atmospheric elements are contributed by guitar, and there is even an acoustic guitar for the first time on an Entheos record. Crabb has also pushed herself harder than ever before, interested in consistently practicing to find new pitches and timbres in her voice, and she has most certainly extended the range of her screaming. Using pitched screaming to add melodic lines in many places, this is also the first Entheos record on which she has sung. “Singing has always been something that I’ve intended on adding to our band, I was just never willing to force it into parts that I didn’t feel like it fit into. On this album I really felt as though a lot of the material was musically calling for a more melodic vocal, so that’s where I took it. I’m really excited and proud to begin to venture into that territory and apply all areas of my voice to the music that we make.” The result of their efforts is an album that is affectively a single – though widely varying – piece of music. “It contains callbacks to itself throughout the album and references to past albums as well, both lyrically and musically. We wrote the album as a journey, and it’s intended to be listened to all at once.”

When it came to penning the lyrics, Crabb knew that she was going to write about her own “experience as a human” and approach the album based on the lingering awareness many people have, that there is so much world out there and there are so many different experiences to have – but there is so little time. However, this idea really hit home in August 2021 when she got into an accident on her electric scooter on the day she started tracking vocals. “I do not remember how I fell, but when I woke up I was really badly hurt. Gravel was embedded in my lower lip and had severed the inside of my chin from my face, my upper lip was completely split open to the point that my teeth were visible, my nasal septum bone was split in two and my nose was completely bent to one side – I ended up with 100 stitches in my face and was unable to do vocals for three months. I lost all abilities to move my nose and lips for those months, and to this day I still haven’t regained complete control.” Because of this accident she found herself in a strange place mentally, juggling between feeling truly happy and grateful for every second that she was alive and got to spend with the people who she loved, but also feeling completely depressed, because of all of the uncertainty surrounding her injuries. “It was hard to open my mouth, eating and talking were chores – let alone trying to sing or scream. I had no idea if I would be able to continue on as a vocalist or if my face would ever feel or look the same as before the accident. I returned to writing the album’s lyrics a few weeks after the accident with a refreshed point of view on what I’d begun writing. The album took form as a journey from the depths of depression into gratitude, but ultimately as an examination of our time and how precious it is. The time that we spend working toward goals when we don’t know the true outcome of them or if they’ll be important to us in the future. The time that we spend battling inner demons and being consumed by negative thoughts or depression and by our own vices. The time that we spend with the people that we love. The time that we spend focused on things that absolutely do not matter. The time that slips away as we feel life passing us by – and the time that we have left in this life. Time Will Take Us All is our human commonality, and it felt like the perfect name for this musical journey.” This resulted in songs such as “Absolute Zero”, which is about the battle between mental darkness and lightness, when darkness begins to take over; “In Purgatory”, which references the state of temporary misery that getting in the accident put her in and more broadly the unknowing of whether an individual will come out of a situation for the better or for the worse, and “Oblivion”, which discusses the state of being stuck in the day-to-day of life and the lack of awareness that comes along with it.

With Koperweis handling production duties and Mark Lewis (Whitechapel, The Black Dahlia Murder) mixing the record, all of the drums were tracked by Zack Ohren at Castle Ultimate, and Koperweis tracked guitars and vocals. They also recruited former member Evan Brewer to supply the bass. “Evan’s bass playing is a big part of what makes Entheos sound like Entheos, and it was important to us to have him on the record. He added bass lines after everything had been tracked and brought a lot of character and texture to what was already there,” Koperweis says. Though committed to their status as a two-piece, the band does have a live lineup with Brian James (ex-Fallujah) and Robert Brown (ex-Slaughter to Prevail) providing guitar, maintaining their reputation for being a killer live band. Having delivered the best record of their career they are also in a very good place mentally, but they do not get ahead of themselves. “I like to take it one day at a time,” says Crabb. “Music is a great passion of ours and we will continue writing, recording and playing live for as long as we have the ability to do so. All of the other things that come along with that will be experienced as they come.”

The Zenith Passage | Metal Blade Records

Derek Rydquist: Vocals

Justin McKinney: Guitar

Christopher Beattie: Guitar

Brandon Giffin: Bass

While far too many progressive and technical death metal bands are happy to walk the same path and stick to a tried-and-true sound, on their second full-length The Zenith Passage forge new and exhilarating territory. From start to finish, Datalysium is driven by imagination, and played by artists who have full command of their instruments, creating something that stands out of any pack while maintaining what made them such a riveting proposition in the first place. When asked to describe the record, the band do so vividly: “Imagine if Necrophagist and Meshuggah were married, and Cynic and Extol got married, then years later they went to a swingers party to spice up their relationships, which then became a regular thing. From this, they all had a kid together, no one knows who the biological father is, but that’s cool because they’re co-parenting. That kid then grows up, idolizing David Lynch, Ridley Scott and film noir. He then goes to film school for a couple of years, but drops out because he’d rather play synth music, but ends up broke and homeless. Then Datalysium would be that kid.

With an overhauled lineup that sees original guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Justin McKinney joined by guitarist Christopher Beattie (Dreamer), vocalist Derek Rydquist (ex-The Faceless, John Frum) and bassist Brandon Giffin (ex-The Faceless, Cynic), everyone brings something special to Datalysium. The skillset of Giffin and Rydquist in particular have helped catapult The Zenith Passage‘s sound into “such a cool, new territory“, while Beattie brings the technical prowess and elegance the band were looking for in a guitarist. Together, they worked to push disparate influences more to the forefront of their sound. “There’s always been things that were subtly done on previous releases, like jazz fusion passages, dissonant black metal, synth and orchestral elements, as well as singing. What we haven’t done before is put those influences and ideas more upfront in the songwriting and production. Singing has become a pretty prominent part of some of these songs, as well as synth orchestration and really eerie, dissonant, pissed off black metal influence.” The result is the perfect marriage of technical head-fuckery, atmosphere, melody, and shifting dynamics, constantly demanding the listener’s undivided attention. From opener “The Axiom Of Error” with its stop-start attack to the agitated, richly textured and unstoppable “Synaptic Depravation” or the dramatic, lush and epic closing title track, they are relentlessly creative and insistently push their sound in interesting, engrossing directions.

Though it is not a concept album per se, there are a couple of concepts that run through the lyrics of the record, and “ultimately we explore some concerning impacts of technology on humanity, and how its progression can breed fear and loneliness, which in turn can be used for control and obsoletion.” The title relates directly to this, for “as technology progresses, we become more deeply ingrained in it. This is inevitable and we are all participating. Datalysium is a term we made up for where we feel people are being promised their lives will end, in the splendor of some digitized immortality. A place we are willingly building for humanity as we continue to invent ourselves out of relevance and usefulness.” Such themes are perfectly married to the combination of mechanical rhythms and locked in riffing and spiraling keyboard parts, giving the feeling often that you are listening to the work of a machine that is capable of creating human emotion.

The album was recorded between McKinney’s home studio and Rydquist’s apartment, with some vocals tracked at Flatline Audio with Dave Otero (Cattle Decapitation, WAKE), who also mixed the album. McKinney handled the tracking, while they brought in Ryan Williams (The Black Dahlia Murder, John Frum) to produce some of the bass and vocals. Having been friends with Williams for years, it felt natural to have him be a part of the recording process, while Otero also contributed profoundly. A longtime friend of McKinney, this is the first time they have actually collaborated on a record. “Dave is the kind of dude that just gets it, when going for the sound or idea we have in mind, even bringing an idea to light that we never even thought to do and collaborating and expanding on these ideas further. We were expecting some really epic stuff from Dave, but the end result of that has proved to be way more than those expectations.”

Accomplished as it is, Datalysium is in fact one of two records The Zenith Passage have been working on. Initially, it was supposed to be the latter release, but they decided to switch the order of release and dedicate more time to the following record, which has “a symphonic, cinematic, darker type of vibe.” With plans to tour Datalysium in the mean time, the band are in a great place, all the members are close and eager to keep pushing ahead after a long time away. They are also confident that they offer something that most bands are not doing, trying to think outside of the box and both “pushing the envelope of the genre while also paying homage to the past in certain moments. We’re bringing in genres of music that typically aren’t a huge part of metal, ranging from film scores to atmospheric dark synth, jazz fusion to the sound of an idling motorcycle. We’re doing all of this while attempting to tell a harmonic and lyrical story that keeps the listener engaged and wondering what could happen next.”

Death Ray Vision | Metal Blade Records

Keith Bennett: Vocals

Chris Rosati: Guitar / Vocals

Pete Cortese: Guitar

Mike D’Antonio: Bass

Colin Conway: Drums

Birthed at the juncture where hardcore and punk meet metal, Death Ray Vision hit their stride with the soon to be classic third full-length, No Mercy From Electric Eyes. “Every record we get a little more experimental, flirting with different styles and feels, and we want to keep expanding on that,” says guitarist and founding member Pete Cortese. “My favorite element of this band is the creative freedom, not being painted into a corner, and I like to think at the end everything still sounds like us.” This very much stands true on No Mercy From Electric Eyes, which holds onto the core DRV sound while pushing in new directions, creating their most immersive release to date.

Commencing writing in late 2018 following a tour with Killswitch Engage – who share bassist Mike D’Antonio with DRV – the band had a lot of creative momentum still burning following that year’s Negative Mental Attitude. It may have taken some time to realize the record due to the members’ other commitments, but the results demonstrate that they are playing at the top of their game. “We’re a lot more cohesive as a band after playing together for so many years, and we’ve gotten better at songwriting and collaborating to bring out the best in everyone’s ideas,” says Cortese. They are also taking more chances, such as on “Armageddon Is The Answer” with its bouncing, swinging grooves and chunky yet haunting climactic passages.

A further new dimension affecting the sound is the addition of vocalist Keith Bennett to the band’s ranks, who the existing members knew would be the perfect fit from his time with notable acts Wrecking Crew, Panzerbastard (both of whom shared the stage with Cortese and D’Antonio’s other band Overcast) and Ramallah. “Keith brings a whole lot of piss and vinegar, with a side of street cred. He brought a new sense of enthusiasm and excitement and got us even more fired up to make a great record,” says Cortese. Guitarist Chris Rosati adds, “creatively speaking, Keith is a force of nature. His ability to get inside a new song and quickly come up with vocals and lyrics is really something to witness.”

Lyrically, No Mercy From Electric Eyes is a more politically charged record than their previous releases – “it’s more pissed off, and anyone paying attention to the state of the world can understand why,” says Cortese – but it’s also deeply personal for Bennett. “Every word I’m singing is from the heart,” says the vocalist. “I should have been dead a few years ago, I’m here for a reason. These lyrics are a direct line to how I feel, how I live, what I see.” They cover a lot of ground across the record’s twelve tracks, with “From The Rafters” a condemnation of police brutality, particularly how it is disproportionately biased towards people of color, while “Behead the King” is about the helplessness you feel watching the world burn around you and being powerless to do anything about it. Emotive closer “End Me” is “basically a suicide note combined with a farewell letter that could be meant for either a very specific person or booze and drugs,” says Bennett. “Both came close to destroying me. Neither did.

When it came to tracking, drummer Colin Conway laid down his parts at Mad Oak studio with long time associate Benny Grotto, while everything else was recorded, engineered and produced by Rosati at his home studio, Mass Metal Studios. “The sessions couldn’t have gone better,” says Rosati. “Recording sessions are definitely more laidback when you’re not paying for limited time in a studio. Still, we definitely kept to a tight schedule and deadline, but overall, everything felt fun and casual, which I think fostered a super-creative environment.” While all members pushed themselves to deliver their best performances, it was a particularly poignant process for Bennett. “This was the hardest that I have ever worked on making a record. Chris pushed me to go beyond anything I thought I was capable of. I’m coming from a very different world: raw, DIY and ugly. Chris helped me be more confident about melody and cleaner singing. It opened up so much more emotion and honesty in my delivery and I’m grateful for him.” The record also features a guest spot from original DRV vocalist Brian Fair, who laid down a verse on “Broken Hands Of God.” “Brian showed up ready to wage war on that microphone – the dude nailed everything in less than 20 minutes!” Rosati enthuses.

The record is wrapped up with a title drawn from the lyrics of one of the tracks – Cortese pointing out that it makes perfect sense given their band name – and vivid artwork courtesy of D’Antonio, which according to the bassist stems from the idea “of ‘being under the thumb of an ethereal overlord’. The fear of knowing the ‘master’ is watching your every move, from a short distance away. In this world, only obedience is accepted and absolutely no mercy is given to those who fail.” Having poured so much of their hearts and souls into No Mercy From Electric Eyes, the band hope to play the songs live as much as possible, and have aspirations of touring outside of the US for the first time, but at the end of the day they are proud of what they have achieved and believe they are worth giving a damn about, because they give a damn about everything they do. “We made a great record that doesn’t sound like many contemporary metal bands,” says Cortese. “It’s heavy as fuck without having to rely on drop Z tuning, and it’s a great balance of aggressive and melodic without sounding contrived.