NEW MUSIC FRIDAY – New Rock and Metal Releases 6-21-24

Who has the best cover this week?Continue reading

PREVIEW: New Music Friday – New Rock and Metal Releases 6-21-24

Who has the best cover this week?Continue reading

Sarke (Darkthrone) Announce a New Album

Sarke – the pioneering Norwegian metal act, featuring vocals by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto – have just announced the release of their new album, Endo Feight. The 8th full-length from the band, it set for release on June 21st 2024, on LP, CD and digital formats, via Soulseller Records. Keep reading below for more.
Continue reading

Watain, At The Gates, Satyricon Confirmed For Blastfest 2015

blastfest 2015 poster

Blastfest will be held 18-21st February 2015 in Bergen, Norway and in case you missed this lineup announcement, here it is again:

At The Gates
Blood Red Throne
Dark Funeral
Dark Tranquility
Dead To This World
Den Saakaldte
Destroyer 666
Hecate Enthroned
Impaled Nazarene
Naer Mataron
Orange Goblin
Paradise Lost
Purple Hill Witch
Rotting Christ
The Sickening
The 3rd Attempt
+ more yet to be announced.

Blastfest on Facebook
Blastfest on Twitter

Blastfest 2015 Adds Four more Bands

Blastfest 2014 Poster


Norways Blastfest is expanding to a four-day festival with over 60 bands due to perform. The festival, located in Bergen will run from the 18th to the 21st February and will feature performances from the likes of At The Gates, Paradise Lost and Primordial.

Press Release:
Blastfest Is Expanding!

Blastfest has accepted the challenge and has delivered! It is official, Blastfest will be even bigger! With very positive results and excitement of a recent poll, the Bergen, Norway festival have decided 3 days of metal madness wasn’t enough and have expanded the festival into a 4 day event with a total of 60 bands! That’s 4 days, 4 venues, and 60 bands! Yes. 60 BANDS! The festival is now running from Wednesday February 18th to Saturday February 21st.

And that’s not just the only announcement the festival will make today because just like the recent state of updates the festival are keeping form and have just confirmed another 4 bands to the already exploding poster! So without further adieu, we are pleased to report the addition of true Norwegian black metal veterans Gehenna, British symphonic black metallers Hecate Enthroned, Norwegian death metal titans Blood Red Throne and death thrashers Wyruz!

All of our grenade prayers have been answered; the word became flesh! It’s with a shivering voice of the utmost excitement that Blastfest welcome Norwegian black metallersGehenna to the lineup of 2015! These purveyors of the dark arts have long been regarded as one of the most important acts to come out of the Norwegian black metal scene in the 90’s. It’s therefore with great delight that the festival welcome them back to Bergen for their first ever Blastfest performance.

Hecate Enthroned
Hecate Enthroned
Back in the 90’s a band made its way to the forefront of the symphonic black metal scene alongside bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, receiving praise for their ability to be both extreme in their expression as well as incorporating symphonic elements. We are of course talking about UK act Hecate Enthroned. As of today the band is still going strong, if not turning towards an ever heavier expression with their now death metal-infused take on the black arts. Blastfest are very pleased to have them cross the North Sea to perform live in Bergen for the very first time ever, as part of the festival!

Blood Red Throne
Blood Red Throne
If you were asked to name a Norwegian death metal band, chances are that the first name to enter into your mind would be that of Blood Red Throne. Ever since the release of their first four-track demo back in 2000, they have been a household name in death metal circles. It’s therefore with great pride that Blastfest welcome the ravenous war machine, the primitive killing machine that is Blood Red Throne into the fold. Be prepared for blood spatter and arterial lust!

Some say Blastfest needed to add more thrash metal to the lineup, so they have decided to include prime death/thrash act Wyruz! These guys have been going strong for over a decade now, and are dead set on destroying everything at Blastfest 2015.

Alfahanne | Asphyx | At The Gates | Baptism | Blood Red Throne | Bolzer | Borknagar | Byfrost | Craft | Crib45 | Cryptopsy | Dark Funeral | Dark Tranquility | Dead To This World | Decapitated | Demilich | Den Saakaldte | Djevelkult | Destroyer 666 | Destruction | Endstille | Esoteric | Finntroll | Gehenna | Hecate Enthroned | Impaled Nazarene | Melechesh | Moonsorrow | Morgoth | Paradise Lost | Primordial | Rotting Christ | Samael | Sarke | Sarkom | Satan | Saturnus | The Sickening | Tortorum | Tsjuder | Vallenfyre | Wyruz + more yet to be announced.

Blastfest will be held 18-21st February 2015 in Bergen, Norway.

4 Days | 4 Venues | 60 Bands | Exhibitions | Clinics | Stand Up Comedy | Tattoo Convention | Theme DJ’s

Tickets on sale now:
Blastfest On Facebook

Maryland Deathfest: Day 3 -Live at Ram’s Head Live & Edison Sound Stage, Baltimore, MD

MDF 2014  




Ramen is truly some food of the god. I subsisted on all of Friday and most of Saturday with the aid of four of these magick squares. Only a dollar each at —you guessed it— Dollar Tree. Stock up for the apocalypse on that shit.


Ramen unfortunately couldn’t help Diocletian’s very evil brand of blackened death be more than an okay attempt at the sound of canned hell. Dark, swirling riffs and blasts ringing from bottomless pits is cool, but variety is severely lacking. Entrails, however, came to save my life —or end it, rather?— with their sticky, sweet old school Swedish Death Metal, complete with a logo that looks suspiciously like Entombed’s.

Machetazo-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


Spain’s Machetazo brought yet more evil to the fore with their wicked gore/death inflected grind, en Español. Hearkening to bands like Regurgitate and fellow countrymen Hæmorrhage, they seem uninterested in being unique (and with Grind, that’s quite a feat), just brutal, and they’ve certainly succeeded in that regard.


God Macabre-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest 


God Macabre, yet another group of old school Swedish Death heroes long forgotten, made their first appearance in the U.S. here, and probably was in the top three bands most likely given to old ladies if they asked fest-goers what “concert” they were heading to. With only one full length to their name, ‘The Winterlong’, you could probably guess the setlist, plus a cover of a Carnage song. Forget which one, but it was damn near heartwarming when vocalist Per Boder smiled in delight when the crowd reacted positively to the name of their fellow deathheads. “I guess they’re not so underrated after all.” You bet’cher ass, bud.


Nocturnus AD-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


When one thinks of progressive death metal, Florida’s Nocturnus (A.D.) should ideally be what comes to mind alongside acts like Pestilence, Atheist, and Death, though admittedly I hadn’t heard of them until I saw their name on the line-up. Playing their seminal album The Key in full, Nocturnus prove that synths don’t necessarily have to end up sounding cheesy when used alongside brutal music.



Vocalist/drummer Mike Browning (ex-Morbid Angel) seemed to be having loads of fun blasting and growling simultaqneously for such uplifting tunes as ‘Standing In Blood’, ‘Lake Of Fire’, and even a special cover of ‘Chapel Of Ghouls’, how rad’s that shit, homie? I think they even played a Death cover, but I could just have been imagining it. isn’t helping my case.

Tankard-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


The original Speed Metal Drunks (who’s Municipal Waste?) in Germany’s Tankard were clearly not hammered enough; they could still play their instruments. The crowd was one-upping the fuck out of them, however, with a beer-soaked circlepit despite the blazing sun cooking them through. Songs about zombies, and beer. Party. It’s fun stuff, though not the absolute greatest that thrash, has to offer, nor is it the best that humour has to offer, but these krazy Krauts won’t fail to get a chuckle or headbang out of you.


 Dropdead-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


Finally taking my non-drunk self to the Soundstage to catch DropDead for my third or fourth helping this Gregorian year, I first caught Sweden’s d-beat heroes in Victims. They play a version of the genre that reminds me of Martyrdöd, with more melody than is normally allowed, and less ear-fucking distortion, though weren’t quite as captivating as I would hope. Had they played it straight Swedish and aped Anti-Cimex or even Finnish contemporaries (all Scandinavians are the same, right?) in Riistetyt and Kieltolaki, I dare say they’d be more what I was seeking. DropDead, however, are consistent in their delivery, combining crust punk, powerviolence, and d-beat cooked the right way; raw and still bloody.


Between socio-political and generally ‘wake-the-fuck-up’ rants came short but intense bursts of distilled punk fury, very rarely going below speeds safe to drive on the highway. The setlist seems to have changed, as they are including more new material that, while less speedy than the material of old, still has its fangs, yellowed with age but reddened with new blood as they press on. There was a special guest appearance, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to even mention it, though I will mention that they played a cover of Siege’s ‘Drop Dead’, and as an extra spiffy bonus, a cover of ‘It’s Not What It Seems To Be’ by fastcore/powerviolence legends Lärm. Sweeeet.


With Nocturno Culto finally bringing his drunk ass to America only to not play in Darkthrone was a disappointment to many, but I suppose Sarke is the next best thing. Who knows, maybe FenrizRed Planet will stop by to play material from Engangsgrill in a few years.

Sarke-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest



At least the crowd hungry to hear one song, any song by Darkthrone got their wish, sorta, since Sarke played a ‘cover’ of ‘Too Old, Too Cold’. Clearly the case since Nocturno is never seen without a leather jacket. A weird mix of black-ish metal, normal-ish heavy metal, death rock, and whatever else Nocturno deems the right thing to do these days, it was interesting, but c’mon. Darkthrone. Not gonna stop saying it ‘til it happens.


True Norwegian Viking Death Metal warriors in Unleashed were something. Among my main draws to the fest this year, it’d be wrong to say I was disappointed, but underwhelmed is the word I’ll go with since their set was noticeably lacking in the glorious potential they are capable of.


 Unleashed-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


Having a staggering 11 full-lengths of Nordic praise, and my having only heard 5 or 6 of them in full (not counting the …Revenge demo), I knew there were gonna naturally be some songs I wouldn’t know well enough to fistpump to. However, the lack of ‘In Victory Or Defeat’, ‘Warriors Of Midgard’, and prime material from As Yggdrasil Trembles was distressing. To add to the discomfort, they stretched out some songs by at least two or three minutes (‘Death Metal Victory’ count: 8+), thus cheating themselves and the audience out of more songs. It sucks that happened, but at least Johnny Hedlund brought out a Viking drinking horn, and the predictable happened. My diagnosis: they were drunk. To Asgaard, their brains flew.


Next up were Dark Angel, who’ve probably got more riffs in a single song than an entire Bolt Thrower album (or two), arrived to show us that indeed, time does not heal, because Thrash is a lifelong disease.


 Dark Angel-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest

Now recovered from a spine injury that left him unable to move, much less sing, Ron Rineheart is now back in action, and the L.A. Caffeine Machine is back to brewing. With speeds equal to or greater than that of even the fastest cuts on Sepultura’s Arise, it’s a wonder how Dark Angel never got up to the Big 4 instead of Megadeth, who stopped being thrash after Killing Is My Business. Oops. They’re as virile and potent as 14-year old sperm after all these years.


Following U.S. fast with U.K. fury were Extinction Of Mankind, who, while not a founding band in crust (having formed in ’92), are as important as acts like Deviated Instinct and Hellbastard when assigning blame to old British guys spreading this filth. Their particular style is that popularised by acts like Misery; slow-churned Thrash infused riffs, barked vocals, and a steady beat to break down the walls of establishment. Naturally, the scent of unwashed dreads is the only perfume to adequately accompany such sounds, what with their LP Baptised In Shit, and all. I saw them again in someone’s basement a few days later, maybe I’ll review that too. Maybe.


I took a little nap during L.A.’s Excrutiating Terror, who weren’t all that painful, nor scary, to be honest. It was decent grindcore, though not too much of a racket, so I caught a few Zs before heading over to catch the real death metal bastards in Asphyx, because what the fuck is a Schirenc? I’d have liked to have caught ‘Shrunken And Mummified Bitch’ live, but The Church Of Pungent Stench would be a much more sensible name, aye? Or even Pungent Stench A.D., in keeping with what seems to be an MDF tradition? Whatever.

 Schirenc-Hillarie Jason-Concert Photography-Maryland Deathfest


So, The Netherlands’ Asphyx, fronted by one of the few aside from  John Tardy who can audibly sneer while growling, Martin van Drunen belted out classics like ‘M.S. Bismarck’ and newer ballistics in ‘Deathhammer’ with equal ease and aggression, and the band are no slobs either.


Come to think of it, Hail of Bullets should play next year. Just a thought.


[slideshow_deploy id=’6657′]


Maryland Deathfest on Facebook




Ghost Cult #16 is here!

Ghost Cult 16 front cover largeHuzzah! Ghost Cult Magazine Issue #16 is out now! Featuring our interview with Cynic discussing their new album, philosophy, the creative process, Chuck Schuldiner’s legacy and more! Plus other featured interviews with Skeletonwitch, Red Fang, Morbid Angel, Stolen Babies, In Solitude, Howl, Music Author Neil Daniels, Throne of Katarsis, ,Valkyrie, Sarke, concert promoter Willem Van Maele of TMR Promotions; Lamb of God As The Palaces Burn film, the NAMM Show recap, Sunn O)))) & Ulver EP, Stone Sour, Alcest, Amon Amarth, Long Distance Calling, Chimaira and tons more metal! Check it out!

A Darker Place – Thomas Bergli of Sarke

sarke band 2

Originally envisioned as a one man project, and brought to life by a team of who’s who names in black metal, (Nocturno Culto, Steinar Gundersen, Cyrus, Sarke, Asgeir Mickelson, Anders Hunstad) Sarke formed in 2009. After a series of increasingly impressive album, the band has delivered their magnum opus in Aruagint (Metal Blade/Indie Recordings). Ghost Cult scribe Caitlin Smith caught up with mastermind Thomas Bergli, a.k.a.Sarke himself, to discuss the new album, the evolution of the group into a full band and much more.


You’ve got a very different sound. Can you take us through some of the inspirations on the album?

We do our own thing always. That’s why its difficult to compare us to other bands. I am inspired by a lot of bands from black,death,speed and doom metal to rock. I am also inspired by paintings and dark lyrics.


What is the meaning behind the name Aruagint?

Aruagint is a self-made word and for me it means a pathway, door, gate into a darker place.


sarke album cover


Are there any lyrical themes running through this album?

No, its a different story to each text. In the lyrics we deal with dark fantasy, horror, crazy people and fiction.


The cover art is really minimalistic, but at the same time haunting. Can you tell us a little about it?

All covers we have are very basic. Pure and raw. I like the new cover and layout. Asgeir deals with all the layout and he found a creative soul that has done the drawing for this album.


Did you have a set idea musically for this album or is it something that evolved naturally between all the band members?

We all make the songs by ourselves. For this new album, I did eight and Asgeir one. Asgeir has been in total control over his own songs. My idea was to go back to the first album again, but also to keep the best from the second album. Try to keep the Sarke style, but also to evolve and be better in everything.


You say that Aruagint is recorded in an ‘old fashioned way.’ Can you tell us a little about this?

We use a lot of old guitars, amps, boxes from the 70s and even the 60s. We don’t copy riffs or use trigger on the drums and stuff like that. I want the sound and feeling like you are at a Sarke rehearsal. For me if things are to perfect it can be a bit boring. Maybe hard for some people to understand that, but that’s the way I feel.

sarke band 

Sarke also started out as a one-man project. Why did you decide to bring other members in on the project? We have had two albums and you have started playing live shows since then. What made you change your mind?

My first idea was just to record a solo album. The album did well and both people and the record company was asking for live shows. I agreed and had to put a live line-up together. After some shows the record company wanted me to release a new album. I didn’t want a new solo album, so I used my live line-up to be a band, so we could record the new album as a band. That also worked out good, so now we have a third album out.


So many members of the band have been in pioneering bands previously, and you have obviously tried to create something different with this album. Some people say that the metal scene has never been more stagnant. What is your opinion on this?

I always have my own vision how I want the music to sound. I never try to copy the sound of other bands. With Sarke we always do our own thing and own sound. It’s not many bands that sounds like Sarke. I don’t know if the scene has stagnated or not, I don’t follow the scene that much to have an opinion.


Sarke on Facebook

Caitlin Smith