Mortuary Drape Studio Update

 
Hello and good morning! Who wants some good news?

How about this: the Italian blackened death metal band Mortuary Drape is nearly finished working on their new album — their first since 2004, and (if my math is correct) their fifth overall in a career that spans all the way back to the late 1980s!

Did you know Mortuary Drape was working on a new album? If not, then you do now! Throughout the month of October, they were updating their website with studio reports about how things were progressing — and it appears that the recording phase has been completed for pretty much everything except the vocals.

If you aren’t excited about the idea of getting some new material from these guys soon, then you probably just haven’t heard them yet. Try this on for size. Then take a peek below, where I’ve assembled a selection of photos from their various updates over the past few weeks — and keep your eyes right here, because I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve learned any more details about the upcoming album!

 
Continue reading

Some Shocking News About Krampus’ Drummer

(NOTE: this photo is apparently now outdated)

 
The mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, for all its over-the-top ridiculous storylines and dialogue, nevertheless must have been extensively researched prior to being written and produced.  So often do touring and recording artists encounter similarly ludicrous situations (or similarly terrible luck) resembling the fictional band from that film, that “a Spinal Tap moment” has basically entered our lexicon as a widely-understood descriptive term for such an event.  In fact, I’ve heard that many longtime music industry veterans don’t even see the movie as a comedy, because so much of it rings just a little too true-to-life.

Having said all that, I’d like to share a bit of news with you, which honestly can only be accurately described as “a Spinal Tap moment.”

Northern Italian modern folk metal octet Krampus recently found themselves temporarily reduced to a septet, as they are currently finalizing the process of replacing their drummer.

Effective immediately, the band announced, former drummer Carlo is no longer a part of the band, due to the fact that he has been struck by lightning.
 
Continue reading

Coming Soon: Krampus Reveal Title, Artwork, Release Date for Debut Full-length!

image

 
Well, good morning!  I’m still half-asleep, or perhaps even less-than-half, but this little piece of news grabbed my attention anyway…

Italian folk-metal band Krampus, whom we’ve discussed in terms of their two EPs from 2011 (here and here), have been working on putting together their first LP.  Today they’ve unveiled the cover art (see above) as well as tracklist for the upcoming album!

Survival of the Fittest, which seems aptly named when you consider their typical subject matter of the eventual reassertion of nature’s dominance over humans and their technology, will be available on CD and digital download through NoiseArt Records on 24 August 2012.

Continue reading

Happy May Day! (Review of Krampus – Shadows of Our Times)

KrampusShadows of Our Times (Self-released, 31 March 2011)

Happy May Day! Also, happy International Workers’ Day, for those readers lucky enough to live someplace that celebrates that holiday — I hope you’re enjoying your day off work as much as I am not enjoying my day not off work. Which is to say, quite a lot. But there’s nothing to prevent me from imagining I’m someplace else; I do it pretty much any other day, anyway!

Now, to be honest, as an American I really don’t know anything about May Day celebrations except for what I’ve seen in movies, so basically I am picturing a bunch of people in old-fashioned clothes, dancing in a circle with a bunch of ribbons tied to a pole, while playing some folk songs. There’s lots of flowers and happy shit all around, and people are celebrating springtime and nature and generally acting like a bunch of hippies. Actually, that sounds pretty fucking lame.

So naturally, in my imagined celebration, I need to make some serious modifications. First of all, any hints of happiness and dancing has got to go. That would just make me more depressed, and frankly, I’d be better off just being here at work, totally miserable. No thanks. We can swap out the folk music for some folk metal, and instead of the springtime celebration of nature… well, I don’t mind the pro-nature sentiments, but I need everyone to be all pissed-off about it, like they’re ready to smash someone’s face in.

Then it hit me — some really angry folk metal that’s rooted in pagan celebrations and violently pro-environment while being equally anti-humanity, that sounds awfully familiar. Time to break out some Krampus!

Continue reading

In Case You Missed It: Krampus – Kronos’ Heritage

image

KrampusKronos’ Heritage (Self-released, 24 August 2011)

Good afternoon, readers.  So how is your day going so far?  Mine’s almost over, but still it seems to be dragging on far too long.  I could sure use a break, and I’d be willing to bet you feel the same.  I’ve decided to take a  folk-metal break, care to join me?

Amazingly, just a few short years ago I had no idea that there existed such a thing as folk metal.  I’ve been a long-time fan of the orchestral and symphonic stuff that sometimes gets incorporated into black or power metal, and any other music that brings together unexpected juxtapositions of style or instrumentation, but for whatever reason, I’d just never really been exposed to the folkier stuff.  Once I did discover it, though, I instantly was knocked off my feet, and ever since then I just can’t get enough.

Today I’m taking a quick look back at the EP Kronos’ Heritage, released last summer by the Udinesi octet Krampus.  Just a quick look, though, because the EP is only three songs, clocking in around twelve minutes.  Following that, I’ll also be glancing ahead, because right now this troop of Italians is busy laboring on their forthcoming debut release for  Noise Art Records, which is due out late this year.

The Krampus, as I understand it, is a scary monster with goat-like features, somewhat like a satyr, which originally came from the pagan folklore of the pre-Christian Alpine lands, but nowadays is thought of as the Christmas demon, serving as a counterpart to Saint Nicholas in many central European countries, and coming around to deal with the naughty children who don’t deserve any gifts.  Similarly, the band that shares its name with this creature seems to be intent on punishing those who have misbehaved, except in a metaphoric sense: here, the “children” represent all of mankind, and the “misdeeds” for which we are to be reprimanded involve polluting and destroying the planet on which we live.

 

Continue reading

Out Today: Mondrian Oak – Aeon

Mondrian OakAeon (27 February 2012, Eibon Records)

Okay, stop right there. Before you read another word (and before I write any more) we need to get one thing out of the way immediately. Do you have a short attention span? Do people often refer to you as impatient? Has your mind already begun wandering away from this post, two or three sentences ago? If you answered “yes” to any of these (or if you didn’t answer at all because you lost track of the questions), there’s a chance this might not be for you. You may prefer to do some reading elsewhere this evening, and come back to visit me tomorrow. I’ll miss you, but I can understand.

For those who are still here, though, I’ve got quite a special treat in store for you tonight. Mondrian Oak, the instrumental post-metal (heavy emphasis on the “post”) quartet from Ancona, Italy, have put together their second album, called Aeon, and it’s available on CD right now from Aural Music‘s sub-label Eibon Records. It’s pretty fucking incredible, and you’ll have the opportunity to hear the whole thing before you go buy it.

Continue reading

The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Amorphead

Hello, and welcome to another installment of the “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week feature, which is a profile of a band I’ve discovered on the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website.  As always, you’ll find a huge variety of material here; each week you’ll have the opportunity to listen to a few songs from a different band you might never have heard before.  My hope is, you might find something you really dig, and then when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since the beginning.

Today’s featured artist is Amorphead, who describe themselves as “melodic death and groove metal,” from Catanzaro, Italy.  Since forming in 2007, the band has toured all over Europe, “meeting the approval of the public,” and they have had two releases so far: an EP entitled Psychotic in mid-2009, followed by Chaos Expression which emerged on 3 March 2011.  The two songs we’ll talk about today were taken from that second EP.

Continue reading

The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Golah

Hello, and welcome to a brand new feature here on Valley of Steel! As you may have gathered from the title, this is intended to turn into a weekly profile of a little-known unsigned band for you to check out. As you might expect, the material here will be of varying quality, but in every case you’ll have the opportunity to listen to whatever music the band has available at this point in their career; my hope is, maybe you’ll find something you really dig, which you might not have heard otherwise. Then, when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since their first demo recording or whatever.

Now, about the rest of the title, in case you weren’t aware, “Signmeto” is a division of the Roadrunner Records website, where unsigned bands get the chance to upload their recordings for other users to hear and rate, as well as (hopefully) to catch the ear of a label representative (hence, “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records”). I don’t know if anyone who uses that website has ever gotten a record deal out of it, so I don’t have any idea how useful it is from that perspective. However, as a music fan, it can be a good resource for seeking out new things to listen to, and perhaps in that way it can be good for the bands as well. That is, maybe they won’t be picked up by Roadrunner, but maybe putting their songs out there will help attract some sort of attention anyway, and get a little bit of publicity for themselves. That’s how I intend to use it, at least; I’ll be digging through the Signmeto archives for some hidden gems, and then sharing them with you, dear reader.

Continue reading