OLD MOTHER HELL: Compact Disc / Vinyl pre-order available!

 

There is nowhere to hide as a power trio. Musical shortcomings are easily exposed. Chinks in the sonic armor are painfully evident. The common utterance that “A band is only strong as its weakest member” couldn’t ring truer. Bands with a high number of members can easily mask its deficiencies – not power trios. Some of metal’s best three-man outfits —Destruction, Motörhead and Sodom — have the commonality that there is no weak links. The same applies for one of metal’s most exciting new power trios, Germany’s Old Mother Hell.

“Every single one of us is standing like a rock behind the band,” says guitarist/vocalist Bernd Wener. “I guess this is what makes us cohesive. No one is active in additional bands, everyone is a fan of the kind of music we play and there is nothing like a concept or otherwise ‘artificial’ thing about Old Mother Hell. In some ways, we are like three 16-year-olds meeting regularly in the rehearsal room and living for playing live. In addition to that, we have the advantage of years of experience being in bands. This all adds up to Old Mother Hell.”

Old Mother Hell was formed in 2015 from the ashes of another local thrash act, Hatchery, by Wener, bassist Ronald Senft and drummer Ruben André. The band recorded their self-titled debut album in May 2017 at Rama Studio Mannheim with producer/engineer Jens Siefert at the helm. The album’s six songs are smoldering, anthemic bodies of work, as Wener’s impassioned vocals and simple, yet powerful riffs work in perfect tandem with the Senft/André rhythm section. The end result is a striking balance between mountainous epic metal and a straightforward attack, with doom influences present, even as the band is playing pure, take-no-prisoners metal.

And to top it all off, Old Mother Hell did things the old-fashioned way: Hammering the songs out in their rehearsal room, then recording them at Rama Studio Mannheim with little overdubs.

“What really turned out to work best for us—and most of the debut songs were created this way— is to just jam in our rehearsal room and work on the songs from scratch, together as a band,” notes Wener. “I guess this will also be our way to go from now on. When we do that, I sometimes use imaginary vocals. Other times, we first write an instrumental basis from which we refine and add lyrics afterwards. There is no single songwriter in Old Mother Hell. Everyone gives input and is participating in the writing process.”

The band’s self-titled debut has already caught fire across Europe, with the album receiving “Demo Of The Month” and “Self-Produced Album Of The Month” in Rock Hard and Deaf Forever magazines, respectively. The positive reception couldn’t have come at a better time now that Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music is handling the album’s exclusive digital and vinyl release. But alas, the journey has just begun for Old Mother Hell, who, in their brief existence, has already exceeded their own expectations.

“We are more than thrilled and would not have believed to get all this positive feedback – even in our wildest dreams,” concludes Wener. “I said that a lot in the last months, but it still holds true: we are absolutely thankful for everyone involved in the album and for every piece of feedback we get from the metal fans out there. It really is a special time and we value it a lot.”

Old Mother Hell‘s debut album will be available on compact disc (jewel case), vinyl and digital on Feb 23, 2018.

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APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE to release “From Gold To Ash” on Feb 23, 2018

The doom bell tolls roughly every four years for Indiana’s Apostle Of Solitude. Formed in 2004 by former The Gates Of Slumber drummer Chuck Brown, the band followed their 2008 “Sincerest Misery” debut with “Last Sunrise” in 2010, then, in between two splits and a demo, released “Of Woe And Wounds” in 2014, which also served as their first album for Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music. Just in time, Apostle Of Solitude greets the legions of doom in early 2018 with their fourth studio album, “From Gold To Ash”.

Recorded in September 2017 at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Indiana with studio owner and engineer Mike Bridavsky, “From Gold To Ash” offers seven songs of ambitious and equally aching doom. Largely defined by the heartfelt and emotive vocals of Brown, “From Gold To Ash” covers a wide spectrum of doom, from thundering gallops, mid-tempo bashers to reflective, melodic romps. With songs as voluminous as this, it’s no surprise the songwriting process for Apostle Of Solitude (who are rounded out by guitarist Steve Janiak, bassist Mike Naish and drummer Corey Webb) is one of deliberation and utmost care.

“Some of the origins of these new songs started not long after the last record was released,” says Brown. “And yeah, it’s a pretty collaborative effort when we get to the final version of the song. Oftentimes, I will bring in a rough idea and arrangement of something and then we mess around with it together and try different arrangements, transitions, tempos, etc., and eventually settle on what it turns out to be collectively. Vocals are a bit different. Sometimes myself or Steve have things in mind that we want to do separately and sometimes we work on them together. Just varies from song to song.”

“From Gold To Ash” starts with the savage and gritty guitar chugs of “Overlord”, and gradually starts to take shape with the Sabbath thunder-clap of “Ruination Be Thy Name”, a cut that features some of Brown’s most elaborate singing to date. After the soft peddles found on interlude “Autumn Moon”, the slow-crawl guitar harmonies of “Keeping The Lighthouse” and dominating lurch of “My Heart Is Leaving Here” find Apostle Of Solitude playing at near-funeral doom tempos. The sorrow continues with “Monochrome (Discontent)” and “Grey Farewell”, where Brown unfurls soulful, yet melancholic vocal lines, which, according to the singer, was a point of emphasis during songwriting sessions.

“There was definitely a concerted effort to have ample vocal harmonies throughout the songs,” he notes. “We’re all big fans of artists that capitalize on the depth it adds to music when using vocal harmonies. For the most part, what we attempt to do from song-to-song or album-to-album is just improve upon something that we did prior and stay creative and not be too afraid to try something new and most importantly, be content that we worked hard and were genuine in doing so.”

Upon the release of “From Gold To Ash”, Apostle Of Solitude plan on hitting the road in the United States and Europe.

“From Gold To Ash” will be released on Compact Disc, Gatefold LP, Limited Gatefold LP and Digital by Cruz Del Sur Music on Feb 23,2018.

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SACRED LEATHER to release “Ultimate Force” on Feb 23, 2018

“Since the incarnation of Sacred Leather, it has been this band’s mission to return the true essence of heavy metal to the masses.” – Dee Wrathchild, vocals

While time travel is merely a figment of the imagination, Sacred Leather’s brand of steely, raucous and pure metal straight out of 1983, is not. Brandishing leather and chains, rafter-reaching vocals and scorching solos, Sacred Leather represent heavy metal in its truest form on their first full-length album and debut Cruz Del Sur Music release, “Ultimate Force”.

The product of five metal banshees from the midwestern portion of the United States, Sacred Leather has spent the better part of their existence fine-tuning their live presentation while releasing a series of singles and splits in preparation for “Ultimate Force”. Written over the course of two years, “Ultimate Force” was recorded during the fall of 2017 at Earth Analog Studios in Tolono, Illinois, with additional sessions taking place at Beware Sounds and Clandestine Arts Recording in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mixing and mastering was handled by Sacred Leather lead guitarist Carloff Blitz at Clandestine Arts Recording shortly thereafter.

The result is a fierce blend of classic and thrash metal, fully capable of unleashing an all-out blitz (“Ultimate Force”, “Master Is Calling”), dealing mid-tempo bashers (“Watcher”, “Power Thrust”) and perhaps best of all, offering an epic, towering ballad in the form of “Dream Searcher”, which, according to lead vocalist Dee Wrathchild, is the most ambitious track on the record. “It’s centered around the theme of heartbreak. A man has lost his love and is only able to be reunited with her in his dreams. He is poised to suffer eternally in reality, but in the realm of sleep, he is able to revisit her.”

“The lyrical themes touch on everything from lust and love to life and death, as well as otherworldly/dystopian landscapes,” continues Wrathchild. “In its true form, heavy metal has always served as an escape from reality, whether it transports you to a fantasy world or a reprieve from everyday struggles – it’s very powerful. We feel that we’ve created a record that does exactly that for the listener.”

The album’s cover—created by bassist Magnus Legrand—features a panther navigating through a post-apocalyptic landscape. “This has always been a staple in Sacred Leather’s imagery: Iconography that provides a juxtaposition of alpha masculinity and stealthy feminine finesse,” notes Wrathchild. “The concept that Magnus created for the artwork of ‘Ultimate Force’ is meant to reference the idea of strength gained through adversity and it serves as a visual backdrop for the listening experience.”

Heavy metal with this kind of conviction is not to be taken lightly. On “Ultimate Force”, Sacred Leather brings the hammer and anvil, the silver and steel, magic and might, providing one of the most convincing representations of metal to be heard in 2018. “Heavy metal represents individualism in the face of conformity and an escape from reality,” concludes Wrathchild. “You can crank it up, bang your head, and you will always have thousands of brothers and sisters in heavy metal that connect with what they are hearing as much as you do. It’s timeless. It’s power. It’s the ‘Ultimate Force’.”

“Ultimate Force” will be released by Cruz Del Sur Music on compact disc, vinyl, limited vinyl and digital on Feb 23, 2018.

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