We promise (really promise!) that this will be the last lookback-at-2014 thing we post. Except maybe a podcast (and that’s a big maybe). Whatever. We’re launching yet another of our splendid genre columns today, this time with one of our long-time death metal aficionados, Rob McAuslan, taking a quick look back at the biggest things that happened (or in one case, learned about what’s coming) in the wonderfully fluffy world of death metal.
At The Gates
At the Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. A major progenitor of the Gothenburg metal music scene, the band was formed in 1990 by singer Tomas Lindberg along with former members of the Swedish pioneering death metal band Grotesque. Although initially active from 1990–1996, the band reformed in 2007 for a reunion tour that lasted from April to September, 2008. In 2011, they reformed once again and have continued to perform since then. Read more on Last.fm
At The Gates on Thrash Hits
December 19th, 2014
By now you’ve read the one list that really matters – the Thrash Hits Top 10 Albums of 2014 – but now we’re giving you the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the minds that created it. Here are the unedited, unspoiled and unsullied opinions that we crunched together to distill our Top 10. We asked our contributors to tell us what their personal Top 10 records of the last 12 months were, and to justify their top choice to us.
November 13th, 2014
There’s no way around it – At The Gates releasing their first new material in over 18 years was a big deal. We sent Pete Long along to find out from Tomas Lindberg, the band’s frontman, just why it took so long.
When Tomas Lindberg talks about the “One thousand, two thousand people” waiting for At War With Reality, it seems he might be selling himself a little short. It’s not that he’s unaware of the affection that Slaughter of the Soul is held in, it’s just that nobody in At The Gates is the type of guy to spend too much time thinking about the album’s legacy. Considering the effects that the level of expectation could have had on them, it’s probably just as well.
September 29th, 2014
At The Gates
At War With Reality
27 October 2014
by Pete Long
It is very hard to escape the influence of Slaughter of the Soul. At The Gates’ classic still stands as the consensus pinnacle of the melodeath genre, and remains a touchstone of much of modern metal. So it’s probably best to establish from the off that At War with Reality – arguably the most anticipated comeback album since Carcass’ Surgical Steel – is not a clone of its predecessor.
November 27th, 2012
It’s Day 2 of our retrospective across the 25 years of Earache Records, and today we’re charging through the mid-1990s with records from Brutal Truth, Sleep, Fudge Tunnel, Pitchshifter and At The Gates. Today we’ve even grabbed some expert opinions from some of the people who were working at the label at the time of the release, as well as some of the musicians who’ve felt the influence of these records right down to their riff-soaked bones.
August 20th, 2012
With Bloodstock Open Air 2012 now over, Hugh Platt and Tom Dare have reconvened in the studio to look back at the highs and lows of Thrash Hits’ Bloodstock experience this year – talking about our high and lows, the winners and losers, and just what Tom was doing with a Hairy Helmet and an Old Growler on the Friday night.
We also took time out to see what nonsense MegaDave has been spouting this week, to discuss Peter Dolving’s revelations about what really went on with his split from The Haunted earlier this year, as well as a check-up on the situation with Baroness, who suffered a truly awful bus crash last week. Get well soon, guys.
We still want your feedback on this one, so please take a moment to send us your thoughts via email, by posting a comment down below, or by bellowing at us over Facebook or Twitter. And for Satan’s sake, go and subscribe to our podcast over on iTunes.
August 27th, 2011
Is there anything better than a Thrash Hits Festival Splash Page? Yeah, loads of things but you won’t find the best online festival coverage on any of them. You’ll find that right here. All our work from Bloodstock Open 2011 is going be linked to from this page (eventually), so give it a bookmark or just don’t close it, because it’s all you’re going to need. Interviews, photos, setlists, rumours, and who knows? – maybe even some tiny reviews – it’s all here. [Read more →]
August 21st, 2008
Bloodstock is the perfect excuse to roll around in a field listening to heavy metal and swilling paper cups of crap lager. Hugh Platt reports from the fattest, ugliest and most ridiculous festival in the UK.
“It’s a European-style festival, only in the UK,” is how Vicky Gregory, one of the Directors of Bloodstock, describes the event to Thrash Hits .com.
Compared to the bloated corporate sheen of Download, the heavy-as-we-want-it-to-be attitude of Bloodstock is a welcome addition to the metal calendar.
Growing from an indoor one-dayer of just 700 people back in 2001, the festival now spans three days and over 8500 people rolled up to throw the horns. And we were there to soak it all up.
There is nothing, nothing, more irritating at a festival than that handful people who wave flags around in front of the stage. But when on Sunday almost the entire Main Stage was almost blotted out by dozens of skull and crossbones, our interest was piqued. Responsible for this sea of flags was Alestorm, Scotland’s only true pirate metal band. With their tongues so firmly in cheek they’ll probably develop a speak impediment, the Perthshire gang soon had the entire crowd roaring “Hey, hey! I want more wenches! Hey, hey, more wenches and mead!” Sentiments that we at Thrash Hits .com can only endorse.
Biggest amount of bells and whistles
Dimmu Borgir might’ve had enough flames to roast Satan’s cockles, and Nightwish may have used up the UK’s entire supply of dry ice for their closing set, but when it came to OTT stage gear, Swiss folk-metallers Eluveitie win the prize. With eight members playing everything from tin whistles and bagpipes to even a hurdy gurdy (google it), the celtic-folk metallers were almost like indie-types Arcade Fire. Well, if Arcade Fire played big fuck-off guitars and stuffed their songs with liberal amounts of death metal vocals that is.
Biggest scene of carnage
After scorching the main stage on the final day with an unholy firestorm of thrash’d –up death metal, French Canadians Kataklysm brought the backstage to a messy end when a drinking competition escalated into something altogether more rough’n’tumble. Like their uncompromising metal roar, Kataklysm don’t mess about.
Biggest success in the face of adversity
Both Ted Maul and Ravens Creed jostle for this one, with both bands’ performances on the Scuzz Stage blighted by early technical problems. Ravens Creed soon settled into a gut-punching groove, with man-mountain Ben Ward bellowing like a wounded bear. Ted Maul, for whom it was the last show with current drummer Matt ‘Cave Gnome’ George, gave their departing sticksmith a whirlwind of chaotic noise as a send-off. But it is antipodean extremists The Berzerker who take the crown, by managing to blow the PA with only their second song.
With the media obsession with all things new, sometimes we forget just how good the back catalogues many of the weekend’s established acts are. Iced Earth’s vocalist Matt Barlow’s voice was as high as the waistband of his trousers, and Jon Schaffer demonstrated why his vision for his band is so strong, with riff after riff of ferocious metal. Overkill’s hour of punked’up thrash, led by the svelte and sneering Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth, was every bit as entertaining as you expect legends to be.
Band of the weekend
There was nothing at Bloodstock to touch At The Gates (pictured, above). The roar of disappointment that met vocalist Tomas Lindberg’s onstage announcement that this would be the last ever UK show for the reformed At The Gates said it all. With a set featuring classics like ‘Under A Serpent Sun’, ‘World of Lies’, and ‘Raped By The Light Of Christ’, At The Gates found a fitting place in Bloodstock to host their sole UK outing.
August 13th, 2008
It’s almost the end of the summer and the UK’s only proper metal festival is upon us again. Hugh Platt looks at the Bloodstock Open Air lineup and picks his top tips for the coming weekend’s musical mayhem.
BLOODSTOCK – even just written down, the word looks like it want to punch you in the face.
The UK’s premier independent metal festival, Bloodstock is bigger than it’s ever been – come Friday up to 10,000 horn-throwing, fist-pumping, head-banging metallers are going to cram into a field near Derby to rock the fuck out.
Click here to see the stage times for Bloodstock Open Air.
In addition seeing us embarrass ourselves with some Slayer on the Heavy Metal Karaoke, Thrash Hits .com has come up with a hit list of what else not to miss this coming weekend.
Soulfly – Main Stage, Friday 6.25pm
Anyone who thinks that Max Cavalera’s mob are ‘too mainstream for Bloodstock’ clearly hasn’t heard the last two Soulfly records. The nu-metal guff has been all but torn off, leaving bloody stumps of frenetic thrash. Expect carnage.
At The Gates – Main Stage, Sunday 8:20pm
You can’t really overstate how influential the melodic death metal sound pioneered by At The Gates (pictured, above) has been. By the time they split in 1996, their seminal Slaughter of The Soul album had become essential listening for everyone from The Black Dahlia Murder to Killswitch Engage. And with half the band returning to their day-jobs as The Haunted later this year, this may well be the last ever chance to see them play live in the UK – need any further reasons?
Opeth – Main Stage, Friday 10:00pm
It’s not always about who can play loudest; Opeth play the long-game. What better way to end the first day with some 10 minute-long songs of progressive death metal?
The Defiled – Scuzz Stage, Saturday 3:15pm
With so many unsigned metal bands being metalcore chancers, or braindead noiseniks covering up a lack of talent with an excess of volume, bands like The Defiled should be savoured. They’ll leave you battered and bloodied with a huge fucking groove of crunching riffs and sucker-punches of sinister electronics.
Nightwish – Main Stage, Sunday 10:00pm
It’s not all huge bearded men growling curses into microphones at Bloodstock – Nightwish (pictured, above) are bringing their operatic goth stylings to close the Main Stage on the final day. Armed with a bucket full of pyro, and more points to prove than an imaginary porcupine, Nightwish are worth a look just to see if they can pull it off.
Napalm Death – Main Stage, Saturday 5:30pm
If you need a convincing that Napalm Death are worth your time at Bloodstock, then you don’t like heavy music. There isn’t a band on the entire bill that doesn’t owe something to Napalm. You owe the grindcore progenitors your attention.
The Berzerker – Scuzz Stage, Saturday 7:45pm
Unmasked and unchained, The Berzerker have left their label, and have ditched the masks that saw them unfairly dismissed by death metal elitists. Sounding like the mind of a serial killer discharged through blast beats and guttural growls, The Berzerker live is a jackhammer of rage rammed through your ears.
Ted Maul – Scuzz Stage, Sunday 4:45pm
Casting a middle-finger the size of Nelson’s Column at genre conventions, Ted Maul (pictured, above) are as off-kilter as the Chris Morris character they’re named after. The only predictable thing about their Sunday afternoon set is that it is going to slay.
Ravens Creed – Scuzz Stage, Sunday 4:00pm
If all ‘supergroups’ were this good, it wouldn’t be a dirty word. Formed from the guts of Iron Monkey, the pedigree of Ravens Creed is completed with members of Orange Goblin and Sabbat. What does that mean? It means they’ve got enough thunder to give a Chieftain tank a panic attack, that’s what.
Necrosadistic Goat Torture – Scuzz Stage, Sunday 3:15pm
Does it matter what they sound like? They’re called Necrosadistic Goat Torture, for (anti)Christ’s sake!
Click here to see the stage times for Bloodstock Open Air.
Bloodstock Open Air Festival takes place at Catton Hall, Derbyshire on 15-17 August 2008