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  I want to introduce to you Athena, the Crowgrrl!

*The Viking horde known as Amon Amarth have their long ships once again targeting North American shores. Still touring on the strength of their excellent “Jomsviking” album (Metal Blade), they are bringing special guests Goatwhore this time around. Starting April 30th, the trek also features select appearances by Amon Amarth at some of the nation's premier music festivals: "Welcome to Rockville", "Carolina Rebellion", "Dark Lord Day", "Northern Invasion", and "Rock on the Range".

Hailing from Sweden, Amon Amarth are: vocalist Johan Hegg, bassist Ted Lundstrom, guitarists Johan Soderberg and Olavi Mikkonen, and Jocke Wallgren kicking the skins.


Amon Amarth comments: "United States! We return to your lands this Spring and we will raid and plunder your little cities as we please. For the first time we will be sailing our longships towards the curious native celebrations called 'The Loudest Month' (Welcome To Rockville, Northern Invasion, Carolina Rebellion & Rock On The Range) where we will sack and burn them to the ground and feast on the spoils. Our good friends in the almighty Goatwhore will be joining us on this voyage on all headline shows. You have been warned."

Goatwhore's Ben Falgoust (vocals) adds: "We are looking forward to hitting the road with Amon Amarth and playing some raw as fuck metal for you people. Show up with your anger and let's make some chaos happen. I know you all need to vent some issues. Let's do it together and crush the opposition. I also hope by the end of this tour I can try to be as cool as Joe Grindo from Theories."

See below for all dates!

Amon Amarth tour dates
w/ Goatwhore
Apr. 30 - Jacksonville, FL - Welcome to Rockville *
May 1 - Pensacola, FL - Vinyl
May 2 - Baton Rouge, LA - Varsity Theatre
May 4 - Memphis, TN - New Daisy Theatre
May 5 - Charlotte, NC - Carolina Rebellion *
May 6 - Richmond, VA - The National
May 8 - Philadelphia, PA - TLA
May 9 - New Haven, CT - College Street Music Hall
May 10 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
May 12 - Grand Rapids, MI - 20 Monroe Live
May 13 - Chicago, IL - Dark Lord Day *
May 14 - Somerset, WI - Northern Invasion *
May 16 - Wichita, KS - The Cotillion
May 17 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theatre
May 19 - Columbia, MO - The Blue Note
May 20 - Louisville, KY - Mercury Ballroom
May 21 - Columbus, OH - Rock on the Range *
*=Amon Amarth only

As the band's first concept record in their storied career, Jomsviking tells a tragic, original tale of conflict and revenge, backed by the Swedes' trademark melodic, anthemic metal - which was produced and mixed once again by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Testament, Accept). For their efforts, Amon Amarth landed on the global charts this past year (including a #11 spot on the USA Current Album Billboard Chart!). To purchase and preview Jomsviking, please visit


*Uninvited to a celebration of the Olympian deities, Eris – Goddess of Chaos – throws a golden apple into the gathering inscribed with the word “Callisti”. “To The Fairest”. The conflict which ensued among the party-goers ultimately resulted in The Trojan War. This type of calculated, controlled chaos is also evident in the Black Metal/Thrash mesh of Ravencult’s music. This Greek band’s third album (first for Metal Blade Records) – “Force of Profanation” is as powerful as one of Zeus’ own thunderbolts! The album is chock full of stellar musicianship – solid foundations, razor-sharp guitars, and awesome vocals.

Check out the song “Beneath The Relics of Old” at:


Hailing from the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens, Ravencult are: vocalist Alex, guitarist Stef, bassist Kostas, and drummer JV. The band’s inception was in 2001, and they released a series of demos before their first official album in 2007 – “Temples of Torment”. Their sophomore “Morbid Blood” followed in 2011. The band signed with Metal Blade in 2015, resulting in the excellent “Force of Profanation”.

The intense “Tormenter of Flesh” starts things off with the power of a jackhammer. The victorious “In Macabre Triumph” takes no prisoners! The fantastic “Beneath the Relics of Old” – recommended by Metal Blade – is permeated with the pure thunder and glory of the Olympian deities themselves.


The raw “Merciless Reprisal” is pure aural carnage that evokes images of the Titans. “Into Depths” conjures the power of Poseidon’s mighty trident, causing tidal waves and earthquakes.

“Doom Oracle” brings its prophecies of destruction from the depths of Hades instead of Delphi. “Altar of Impurity” reminds me of Athena’s rage when she found Medusa and Poseidon engaging in carnal activities in Her temple, and the venomous curse that ensued. The Saturnian “Temple of the Void” immerses us in the constellations set in the darkness of infinite space.

The Crowgrrl highly recommends this album! I love it!

Callisti. Hail Eris. All Hail Discordia.


*Melodic Power Metallers Firewind draw upon their illustrious Greek ancestry for their new album “Immortals” – all the pageantry, power, and spirit of Alexander the Great, the Trojan War, and, of course, Sparta’s stand of 300 brave souls standing strong against the advance of the vast Persian army. In fact, “Immortals” is a concept album, a tribute to King Leonidas making his heroic stand with his 300 Spartans.




“This is our first concept album,” Firewind’s Gus G. explains. “It has to do with ancient Greek history, more specifically the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis in 480 BC during the second Persian invasion of Greece. In Thermopylae, the vastly outnumbered Greeks hold off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear guard was annihilated by one of history’s most famous last stands.”

Even the album’s cover art by Gustavo Sazes celebrates this heroic spirit of the triumph of the ancient Greek warriors. The Goddess Athena Herself would be proud!

It had been 5 years since Firewind had released their “Few Against Many”. Although fans had been awaiting a new release with baited breath since that time, guitar virtuoso Gus G had toured as part of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne’s band, and released two solo albums of his own.


“The songs were written in a much slower pace this time,” Gus G explains, “it’s the longest break we ever took between albums. So we took our time writing this and concentrated on keeping ideas that were really strong.”

The aforementioned Gus G. is joined by vocalist Henning Basse, bassist Petros Christos, keyboardist Bob Katsionis, and drummer Jo Nunez. Not surprisingly, besides the inspirational vocals and strong foundations, Gus G.’s lead guitar work was phenomenal! The music on this album grabs you by the heart, and refuses to let go for a nanosecond!

The incendiary “Hands of Time” starts things off with quite the adrenaline rush! An indisputable line is drawn in the sand with “We Defy”. The “Ode to Leonidas” starts with a ballad narrated by the Spartan king before exploding into fiercely defending Greek shores from the Persian scourge. “Back on the Throne” is a regal procession forcing forces loyal to a disposed ruler to fight to bring him back to his rightful place – this evokes stories such as that of Odysseus or Jason and the Argonauts.

There is no surrender in the virtuous “Live and Die By The Sword” – admirable bravery! The epic “War of Ages” is seriously triumphant! The ballad “Lady of 1000 Sorrows” showcases the tragedy felt by the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and other women close to those fearless warriors – who would rather have their loved ones come home safely instead of their selfless sacrifice for their country and people. This is just as true today as it was during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece.

The instrumental title track “Immortals” is as regal as the Olympian Deities. I love the bravado in “Warriors and Saints”, which celebrates the defenders of the common people. The exultant “Rise From The Ashes” is like the fabled Phoenix. The bonus track “Visions of Tomorrow” is inbued with a tenacity prepared for whatever the future might bring, but is full of hope.

Excellent album! It immediately got placed in my personal Heavy Rotation stack!!!

*I was absolutely delighted with Khaos Dei’s new “Opus II: Catechism” (Osmose Productions)! The musicianship is excellent throughout – a pure celebration of Satanic majesty. This is Black Metal at its finest!

Hailing from France, Khaos Dei are: guitarist/vocalist Nacht, bassist Kha-Lash, and drummer Damien. This is their second album – and I’m seriously going to backtrack to check out their first album, “Tell Them Lucifer Was Here”.

The instrumental “Prelude” builds power until erupting into an imperial style march. Great musicianship permeates “A L’Enfant Du Diable” – an unholy celebration indeed! The atmospheric instrumental “Au Fond” is gorgeous! It invokes visuals of fog whisping through a graveyard. The fantastic “Le Noyau Du Chaos” is darkly majestic with clean & fierce vocals – I love it!!!

“Ou Vous Tomberez” is pure ferocity that segues to Victorious. You can certainly feel the demonic presence in the instrumental “Dans Nos Abimes (Melek Tha). The ominous “Sous La Banniere Noire” is inescapably chilling!

“Une Armee Entiere” insures solidarity by pure strength. The instrumental “Pret A Servir” is beautifully enchanting. The awesome “La Ou Les Mots Ne Parlent” is darkly beautiful. The album wraps up with the regal “Allegeance.

I probably would have loved this album even more if I could’ve understood the lyrics – but alas, I don’t speak French. But music being the universal language that it is, you can feel every bit of emotion in the music. This one is definitely going into my personal Heavy Rotation stack!

*I’ve been a lifelong fan of Edgar Allan Poe – arguably the father of the Horror genre. His epic poem “The Raven” has always been my absolute favorite of his classic works. The minute I saw the press release about this new spoken word adaptation in my in-box, I jumped on it.

This version is on 7” vinyl, and is limited to a scarce 200 copies on clear wax, and 100 copies on transparent red. It’s only available to the label’s subscription series. A true collector’s edition indeed! I highly recommend that you grab a copy!!!

The musical backdrop was indeed haunting, setting the perfect mood. The vocal performance was indeed intense, full of the emotion the poem evokes.

Spoken Arts label Cadabra Records announced a new liaison with reader Anthony D.P. Mann and musician Maurizio Guarini of the band Goblin. “The Raven” is the first of two collaborations between the label and the aforementioned pair.

Narrator Anthony D.P. Mann is a Canadian based filmmaker and actor with five feature films and a lifetime of stage and radio to his credit. In roles ranging from Count Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera to Ebenezer Scrooge, his love for the classics is evident in his work.

Composer Maurizio Guarini - a core member of the band Goblin – has released dozens of albums since the ‘Seventies, including soundtracks for classics like Suspiria, the European release of Dawn of the Dead, and much more.

Guarini comments, “This was the first time I was involved with something like this. I mean, it’s not a movie where you basically work on visuals. It’s not a stand-alone studio project. Working with the spoken word lets the music play a stronger role. Visuals are just on the imagination of the listener, so a different approach was needed.”

The truly gruesome cover art was handled by renowned Horror author artist Sam Heimer.

However, this is a “Cliff Notes” version of the classic poem, skipping over a LOT of the verses – mostly those opining the untimely death of “the lost Lenore”. Luckily it did highlight the interactions between the narrator and the ebony-feathered title character.

*Finland’s The 69 Eyes’ eleventh album “Universal Monsters” (Nuclear Blast) is superb! The band’s signature “Goth ‘n’ Roll” sound permeates throughout, with frontman Jyrki 69’s sultry vocals set against the backdrop of fantastic musicianship from his bandmates.

“We sound as fresh as ever,” Jyrki commented, “the music goes itself and takes us into undiscovered paths and soundscapes. How the album grew into what it has become just surprised us and you can really hear the creativity blooming there. And it still sounds like nobody else but The 69 Eyes.”

The first video and single from the album is for the song “Jet Fighter Plane”. Check it out:

Besides the aforementioned Jyrki, these “Helsinki Vampires” are: guitarists Bazie and Timo, bassist Archzie, and drummer Jussi 69. Honorary member producer Johnny Lee Michaels also does keyboards, backing vocals, and arrangements.

The album starts with “Dolce Vita”, which cries out for a better world. “Jet Fighter Plane” grips an icy fist around your heart in its demand for peace. I adore the ebony “Blackbird Pie” as it hails the powers of Darkness! It’s hard to resist Vampiric seduction in the catchy “Lady Darkness”.

We’re faced with yet another femme fatale in the dangerous “Miss Pastis”. The cosmic “Shallow Graves” has us caught in a rat race and getting nowhere. The somber “Jerusalem” searches for faith and redemption.

The fallen angels “Stiv & Johnny” are attempting to reject emotional involvement. “Never” reminds us that Love is the strongest force of all and can overcome all adversities. The profound, dreamy “Blue” shows a love that is as deep as the ocean. The decadent “Rock’n’Roll Junkie” shines a spotlight on the classic, stereotypical groupie.

With a title like “Universal Monsters”, I was half-expecting a Shout Out to those classic movies in the vein of their “Lost Boys” or “Brandon Lee”, and was a little disappointed that this was not the case. Regardless, I still love this album.

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Creature Feature © D. Dyszel 2017

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