Seattle’s SKELATOR To Release ‘Blood Empire’ EP and Reissue ‘King Of Fear’ On Vinyl In September

Seattle’s SKELATOR will release the new “Blood Empire” EP and reissue their fourth studio album, “King Of Fear” on Sept 23 via Gates Of Hell Records — a double-dose of epic speed metal!

The “Blood Empire” EP was recorded in September and October 2021 at the band’s rehearsal studio and home studios. The album was mixed by guitarist Robbie Houston, with mastering by Collin Jordan of The Boiler Room Mastering. The cover art was created by Max Nazaryan.

Like so many of their contemporaries, SKELATOR’s 2020 plans — including a tour in support of their 2019 “Cyber Metal” album — were thwarted by the pandemic. It prompted the band to hunker down and focus on new material while also dealing with a lineup change.

“We had the framework of a song called ‘Vengeance’ which later became ‘The First Empire’,’ says guitarist Rob Steinway. “This song was our catalyst for the rest of the songs that appear on the EP. During the first bit of 2020, we parted ways with our bassist and had our friend Leona [Hayward] join. Most of 2020 and 2021 were spent working on songs remotely, exchanging files, and recording demos until restrictions in our area were eased and we were able to rehearse in person again and actually record. After completing the music for ‘The First Empire’, we began working on ‘Good Day To Die’ as our second song, which went through several revisions as well but was also the first songs that had completely written music and lyrics before we even played through the entire thing in person as a group. ‘Deeds Of Honor’ and ‘Bloodwine’ were written and finished at the same time.”

Steinway describes “Blood Empire” as “less futuristic” sounding than “Cyber Metal”; drawing influence from the epic heavy metal and thrash influenced sounds of SKELATOR’s early releases and also notes the production is less pristine. Vocalist Jason Conde-Houston notes that “Cyber Metal” was inspired by German power metal bands GAMMA RAY, GRAVE DIGGER and PRIMAL FEAR with sci-fi and ’80s movies, whereas “Blood Empire” tackles new lyrical themes.

“The EP is straight-up inspired by Klingon lore from the entire ‘Star Trek’ franchise,” he says. “It’s a bit more primitive in nature, but still with some very technical skills involved. I’d say that the two epic journeys will impress more than we have in the past.”

“King Of Fear” will be brought to life on vinyl — a long overdue happening considering the number of requests SKELATOR fielded from fans to have the album on this format. The album has also been purposely re-mastered for vinyl and will feature expanded cover art.

“‘King of Fear’ had only been released on CD and digital download — we desperately wanted to release it on vinyl, but we struggled to find anyone that was wanting to work with us on that,” says Steinway. “At the time of its original release, we weren’t officially on any label, just collaborating with Swords & Chains Records to get the CD distributed. Every show we played, people always ask if we had ‘King Of Fear’ on vinyl yet, along with requests from people to our social media pages. I think we all have personally said, ‘Sometime soon; we really want to release it on vinyl’ hundreds of times. We approached Gates Of Hell with the idea and they were receptive and helped us bring it to life. The art we had is great on CD, don’t get me wrong, but having a larger version will really be a treat and the detail will stick out a lot more.”

 

Outside of the release of “Blood Empire” and reissue of “King Of Fear”, SKELATOR is also planning on making a return to the live stage.

“It’s been two years and I think our fans deserve to hear some Heavy Metal Madness once again,” says Conde-Houston. “We already have song ideas for the next release so there is no stopping this train. We will continue to deliver new material to the masses as long as there is oxygen in our lungs.”

“Empire Of Blood” track listing:

 

  1. Deeds Of Honor
  2. Good Day To Die
  3. The First Empire
  4. Bloodwine

 

“King Of Fear” track listing:

 

  1. King Of Fear
  2. Stronger Than Steel
  3. Temple Of The Witch
  4. Sword Of The Dawn
  5. Raging Demon
  6. Curse Of The Black Hand
  7. Test The Metal
  8. Honor Is Life
  9. Necromancer
  10. Master of the Universe (BONUS TRACK)

Gates of Hell Records presents: “Iron & Hell Vol. 2” CD

Italy’s Gates of Hell Records has brought together four of the most promising names in epic speed/thrash metal for a compilation to be remembered! Sölicitör, Blood Sport, Thundersson and Serpent Rider all rise to the occasion for the glory of pure metal!

Gates of Hell Records has been prowling the underground since 2015 in search of new talent that plays metal the way it was supposed to be played: Fast, uncompromising and raw! On Iron & Hell Vol. 2, the label is giving ‘bangers a fresh dose of speed with two American and two Finnish bands that are sure to assault the senses and bang the head!

Sölicitör
“The future is fast. Keep it nasty, keep it mean.” Such are the words from Sölicitör frontwoman Amy Lee Carlson when encapsulating her band’s unrelenting, old-school thrash sound. The follow-up to their 2020 Spectral Devastation full-length, the All Debts on Death seven-inch is included on Iron & Hell Vol. 2. and features “Killer for Hire,” a classic Sölicitör speed-burner, complete with a fist-bumping chorus, while “Megalomaniac” ventures into new territory, including riffs that bring to mind legendary Norwegian black metallers Darkthrone, topped off by Carlson’s soaring vocals. Now assembling material for a new studio album, Carlson’s above quote couldn’t ring more true: Sölicitör will it bring fast, nasty and mean!

Blood Sport
Blood Sport formed in 2020 with one thing on their mind: There wasn’t enough speed metal in the scene. The members of Blood Sport took it upon themselves to change that with the Hot Blood and Cold Steel EP, which is featured on Iron & Hell Vol. 2. Self-described as the “hyperactive bastard child of Judas Priest and Venom,” Blood Sport also leans into Show No Mercy-era Slayer for inspiration. The Finns ably combine all three bands on Hot Blood & Cold Steel, boasting a vast array of fleet-of-foot riffing, rafter-reaching vocals and blazing drum work that effortlessly recaptures the glory that originated in the 1980s.

Thundersson
The one-man metal Finnish metal brigade, otherwise known as Thundersson, will be making his Gates of Hell Records debut on Iron & Hell Vol. 2! Included are “Hanged, Drawn & Quartered” and “Dream Logic,” two cuts that show off Thundersson’s penchant for vintage, melodic speed metal akin to classic Accept, Riot and Running Wild. Stocked with charging gallops, blazing guitar melodies and rousing choruses, Thundersson is assured to be one of the most talked-about names in Scandinavian metal in no time!

Serpent Rider
From the rain-soaked climes of Seattle, Washington, comes Serpent Rider. Formed in 2018, the band brings a fresh take to classic metal by employing epic, complex song arrangements and towering riffs. It makes sense since their name was taken from the Manilla Road song “The Ram,” where the legendary Mark Shelton sang, “Ride the serpent and make your stand.” The band’s inclusion on Iron & Hell Vol. 2 is the 2019 Pour Forth Surquidous demo. The two songs from the demo are laced with mysterious odes to occult metal giants of yesteryear with a forward-looking eye toward new, adventurous soundscapes with no limitations!

 

 

 

Iron & Hell Vol. 2 track listing:

 

  1. Sölicitör – Killer for Hire
  2. Sölicitör – Megalomaniac
  3. Blood Sport – Machine Gun
  4. Blood Sport – Sin Unto Death
  5. Blood Sport – Niterider
  6. Blood Sport – Steel System
  7. Blood Sport – Agitator
  8. Blood Sport – Blood Sports
  9. Thundersson – Hanged, Drawn & Quartered
  10. Thundersson – Dream Logic
  11. Serpent Rider – Portent of Doom
  12. Serpent Rider – Pour Forth Surquidous

NEKKROMANIAC Signs With GATES OF HELL RECORDS: ‘We Celebrate The Dark And Cruel Side Of The Old Metal!’

Gates Of Hell Records is proud to announce the signing of German blackened thrashers NEKKORMANIAC for the vinyl release of their 2021 “Plague Eater” full-length album. The LP will be issued on May 27, 2022.

 

PRE-ORDER LP HERE

NEKKROMANIAC’s creation dates back to 2008 when vocalist Akheron and guitarist Ægror launched PEREMPTOR, a thrash band that recorded a three-song demo. However, the group disbanded after lineup changes and differences regarding musical direction. The two men quickly teamed up friends Impiöus (bass) and Beheader (drums) in DIOXIN, which was then rebranded as NEKKROMANIAC to reflect a darker and more devastating sound. The band released the “Nekkrofukk” EP in 2015 and launched the Hell’s Crusade festival held in Pirmasens, Germany, establishing NEKKROMANIAC as a leading force in cult, underground Teutonic thrash.

“Plague Eater” eventually caught the eye of Gates Of Hell Records. The parties cemented the deal shortly after that.

Comments Ægror: “‘Plague Eater’ is the force that lingers in the abyss and pulls you down into the endless dark before you know it. Destined to eternal suffering. NEKKROMANIAC is DEATH. METAL.”

NEKKROMANIAC’s sound characterizes the no-holds-barred, blitzing, battering-ram sound unleashed by extreme metal innovators BATHORY, HELLHAMMER, POISON (Germany) and SODOM, who are the band’s primary influences. It’s a sound that is unforgiving and rooted in the 1980s — devoid of trends and posers.

“We’re sinking into the old, grim and dark,” says Ægror. “But we are all listening to individual spectrums of metal music and all these influences are very relevant when it comes to songwriting. We do have all different preferences. For example, Akheron’s main influence for vocals is MERCILESS from Sweden, who recorded the evilest sounding record of all time with ‘The Awakening’. You can go on with such comparisons forever and never come to an end. What you can say is that we all celebrate the dark and crude sounds of the old metal.”

“Plague Eater” track listing:

1. Plague Eater
2. Black Death
3. Napalm Funeral
4. Awaken The Depths
5. Pit And The Pendulum
6. Sacrifice
7. Bleed For The Master (A Tribute)
8. Tyrant’s Command

SÖLICITÖR – All Debts on Death: New 7” Available!

New 7-inch from one of North America’s most exciting new speed metal bands!

Hot off the heels of 2020’s no-holds-barred Spectral Devastation, Sölicitör returns with the stopgap All Debts on Death 7-inch that charts new territory while still offering first-pumping speed metal anthems!

ORDER HERE!

Shortly after the release of 2020’s Spectral Devastation, the members of Pacific Northwest speed metallers Sölicitör took a long, hard look at the process that went into the album’s creation. The band raced to finish Spectral Devastation with an eye toward their first-ever appearance at the legendary Keep it True festival in Germany and European dates that would follow, shows, that, unfortunately, were canceled due to the global pandemic. In doing so, Sölicitör felt they rushed some of the key elements of the album’s songwriting, even though the reaction to the songs was almost universally positive. Going into 2021, Sölicitör decided to push themselves to write songs that were more aggressive and formidable. Enter the searing two-song All Debts on Death 7-inch.

All Debts on Death was recorded in late February 2021 at Sentinel Studios with producer/engineer Detto, who has recently gained attention for his organic production jobs for death metal bands Cerebral Rot, Mortiferum and Oxygen Destroyer. Detto tracked the band on half-inch tape, then recorded the tape to a digital program where guitars and vocals were laid down, ensuring a full and heavy sound.

As a natural function of their collaboration with Detto, Sölicitör ventured into new territory regarding production values. The two songs are devoid of effects, albeit some minor reverb on the chorus on the vocals, although vocalist Amy Lee Carlson opted to completely forego doubled harmonies. The rhythm section of Damon Cleary-Erickson (bass) and Johan Waymire (drums) is much higher in the mix, further complementing the guitar duo of Matt Vogan and Pat Fry. However, the “less is more” approach for studio production doesn’t hinder the two songs. “Killer for Hire” is a classic Sölicitör speed-burner, complete with a fist-bumping chorus, while “Megalomaniac” ventures into new territory, including riffs that bring to mind legendary Norwegian black metallers Darkthrone, topped off by Carlson’s soaring vocals.

As positive signs gradually start to emerge from the pandemic, Sölicitör is chomping at the bit to return to the live stage. In the meantime, the band is slowly assembling the pieces for their next studio album — due sometime in 2022. Consider All Debts on Death a sign of what’s to come!

All Debts on Death track listing:

  1. Killer for Hire
  2. Megalomanic

Sölicitör lineup:

Amy Lee Carlson -Vocals

Patrick Fry – Guitar

Matt Vogan – Guitar

Damon Cleary-Erickson – Bass

Johann Waymire – Drums

Vancouver’s MAULE Sign With GATES OF HELL RECORDS

Gates Of Hell Records is proud to announce the signing of Vancouver, British Columbia traditional metallers MAULE. The label will release the band’s self-titled debut in December 2021.

Formed in 2017, MAULE released the “From Hell” demo in 2019. With the assistance of GATEKEEPER guitarist Jeff Blackwell, the band was put in touch with Gates Of Hell Records, who agreed to release their self-titled album.

The LP was recorded in February 2020 at Little Red Sounds Studio with producer/engineer Michael Kraushaar. MAULE previously worked with Mike on the “From Hell” demo, making him the obvious choice for the production. “He has a very hands-on approach when it comes to recording,” says Johnny. “We appreciated all the input that he gave us during pre-production that we carried on into the album. If we were going to do a full album, we wanted to do it properly. We took our time to make sure everything was 100 percent, and that we could fully utilize the production tools available to us. The sound of the album is cleaner, tighter, more refined than on our demo.”

MAULE, currently comprised of Jakob Wheel (vocals/rhythm guitar), Justin Walker (lead guitar), Johnny Maule (bass) and Eddie Riumin (drums), took on a streamlined songwriting process for their self-titled effort. (Daniel Gottardo played lead guitars on the album.) The result is an LP that more than capably flies the flag for classic, old-school metal.

“Inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient of times, so I’m used to writing on the fly,” says Johnny. “Either I’ll finish whole songs or have a few riffs that I can string together but have no direction with, in which case I’ll bring them to the band so we can work on them. Jakob and Daniel brought new riffs to the band immediately, so we collaborated on them from the start, and Eddie has always contributed some knowledge, or even riffs of his own.”

 

Like so many Canadian bands, MAULE has to bide their time until they can resume live show activity. In the interim, the band is doing its best to stay busy.

 

“While we wait to get back on stage, we’re busy writing and refining new material for our next album,” closes Johnny. “We like to take our album on the road in 2022, and get back into the studio as well.”

TRACKLIST:

  1. Evil Eye
  2. Ritual
  3. Summoner
  4. Maule
  5. Red Sonya
  6. Sword Woman
  7. Father Time
  8. March of the Dead
  9. We Ride

TENTATION release “Le Couvent” lyric video from upcoming album “Le Berceau Des Dieux”

For those who missed last Saturday’s Keep It True TV Episode X: “Le Couvent”, first single taken off Tentation’s upcoming full lenght album “Le Berceau Des Dieux”, is now on our youtube channel. Check it out!

“Le Berceau Des Dieux” will be out on Sept. 24th on CD, LP (strictly black vinyl), tape and digital on Gates of Hell Records.

A special edition of 200 vinyls will include poster, woven patch and signed band photo.

Soon more info about preorders!