SKELATOR Inks Deal With GATES OF HELL RECORDS; New Album ‘Cyber Metal’ Due In June

(Cover art illustration and design by Dordji Bowles and Ryan Rich)

Veteran west coast metallers SKELATOR has signed with Gates Of Hell Records for the release of their fifth studio album, “Cyber Metal”. The album is due June 14 in European territories and June 21 in North America.

Formed in 1998, SKELATOR has capably flown the flag of never-say-die true metal, harnessing Jason Conde-Houston’s stratospheric vocal range, dueling guitar harmonies and battle-tested rhythms. SKELATOR originally met Cruz Del Sur Music/Gates Of Hell owner Enrico Leccese in 2013, who relayed word that SLOUGH FEG leader Mike Scalzi suggested the label sign the band. Fast-forward six years and the two parties have joined forces for “Cyber Metal”.

“Creating ‘Cyber Metal’ was a long process for us, not just recording and writing, but finding the right lineup as well,” says Conde-Houston. “We started writing for the album in 2016 but had two incidents of needing to find a bass player to round out the lineup which effectively put a stop to the writing process. Luckily in 2017, we found Darin Wall and he brought the driving bass that we needed to solidify the lineup. His playing immediately locked in with Pat’s [Seick] ‘rock bomb’ drumming style and enabled Robbie [Houston] and Rob [Steinway] to focus in on delivering the guitar harmonies and heavy riffs and allowed us to shape the band’s sound into what we have always wanted. I can say without hesitation that this current lineup of the band is the most talented and cohesive that it has ever been.”

With the goal of making “Cyber Metal” their “most polished effort to date,” SKELATOR has assembled a batch of songs that deftly combine modern German power metal (GRAVE DIGGER, PRIMAL FEAR) as well as classic influences such as JUDAS PRIEST and RIOT. The result is an album with no shortage of screaming vocals, high-flying guitar solos, thunderous bass, gated drums and even extra doses of keyboards.

The album was recorded throughout 2018 between a variety of studios, including drums at Hangar 12 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and vocals with Matt Roach at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rest of the tracking was handled by the guitar duo of Houston and Steinway, who eventually put the finishing touches on the album this past December. “It was a long grueling process but it was well worth it because now we have the best sounding SKELATOR record to date,” says Conde-Houston.

Thematically, Conde-Houston says SKELATOR had one rule: No songs about swords, unless they are laser swords. “We touch on movies and comics that have inspired us since we were kids in the ‘80s. Songs like ‘Akira’, ‘Highlander’ and ‘Seven Scars’ are all obvious nerd-out lyrics based on decades of watching the same movies over and over. But the songs are still anthems and we still have at least one track about playing true metal.”

Now past the 20-year mark as a band, “Cyber Metal” finds SKELATOR at the top of their game with the same drive and passion as when they started. “The hard part about keeping a band together for 20 years is the fact that we are all getting older and have more and more responsibilities,” concludes Conde-Houston. “But the beauty of having this band for so long is that we have a great legacy of albums to share with the world, and we all enjoy what we do and have the drive to keep doing it. As hard as it was to create this new album, it is a joy to listen to. This is our most ambitious record and the catchiest as well. I think it will please SKELATOR fans new and old. Even if you are a ‘Give Me Metal Or Give Me Death’, purest you’ll be still be singing along to tracks like ‘Cast Iron’ or ‘Cyber Samurai’.”

 

“Cyber Metal” track listing:

  1. Cyber Samurai
  2. Cast Iron
  3. The Hammer
  4. Highlander
  5. Akira
  6. Erlkönig
  7. Seven Scars
  8. Psychic Silver Wheels

 

PULVER Streams ‘Kings Under The Sand’ Title Track on DEAF FOREVER

German metal throwbacks PULVER are now streaming “Kings Under The Sand”, the title track from their forthcoming first full-length, via Deaf Forever.

https://www.deaf-forever.de/songpremiere-pulver 

“Kings Under The Sand” was recorded in October of 2018 at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin, Germany, with producer Richard Behrens at the helm. The artwork was handled by Max Löffler. Featuring eight cuts of gritty, but classic metal, “Kings Under The Sand” capitalizes upon the promise PULVER showed on their 2018 debut self-titled EP. Right up the alley for fans of NWOBHM heroes TANK and German mainstays ACCEPT, PULVER relish in the glow of steely songwriting, oscillating between feverish gallops and grueling mid-tempo romps, all with a storyline about the “Phantom Hawk” alien warrior tribe that made its first appearance on the band’s self-titled EP!

PRE-ORDER: http://tinyurl.com/y5a3f5bx 

Kings Under the Sand track listing:

  1. Rising
  2. Phantom Hawk
  3. Blacksmith’s Lament
  4. Kings Under the Sand
  5. Qarah
  6. Warrior Caste
  7. Alpha Omega
  8. Curse of the Pharaoh

IRON GRIFFIN To Release ‘Curse Of The Sky’ In March: track streaming!

IRON GRIFFIN, the vintage metal project from MAUSOLEUM GATE drummer Oskari Räsänen, will release its first full-length, “Curse Of The Sky” on March 22 via Gates Of Hell Records.

LISTEN TO “REIGN OF THUNDER” on BANDCAMP!

 

The follow-up to the band’s 2017 self-titled EP, the instrumentation for “Curse Of The Sky” was recorded in July of 2018 at Räsänen’s rehearsal room in Kuopio, Finland. Vocals were tracked in Joensuu, while synthesizers were recorded in Helsinki. Like the self-titled EP, “Curse Of The Sky” finds Räsänen once again handling all instrumentation and recording the album himself. He is joined by a new face, female vocalist Maija Tiljander, who he discovered several years ago singing European power metal covers in a Finnish bar. Impressed, he took a mental note of Tiljander’s abilities and when it came time to work on “Curse Of The Sky”, he felt compelled to track the vocalist down.

“I found her through social media and straightly asked if she would be interested in an album project like this,” he says. “She responded, ‘Of course I am!’ Long story short, I did not know her before, I took a bus to Joensuu with my portable recording equipment and we had a pleasant demo session. I was really impressed with her abilities and sound and how greatly she adapted my ideas. Maija’s vocals give really unique twist to IRON GRIFFIN. This kind of metal is enchanted with powerful and high-pitched vocals is something really unique and cool.”

“Curse Of The Sky” traverses the familiar road of classic, proto-metal, with Rasanen’s savvy songwriting being the guide as he takes the listener through songs of fantasy and folk tales. Inspired by U.S. power metal and progressive folk/rock, Räsänen also looked toward doom metal for atmosphere and melancholy. “I tried to channel epic-ness in the instrumentation and especially in the vocals. I was highly influenced by the vocals in MAJESTIC RYTE, ENCHANTER on their ‘Defenders Of The Realm’ album and STORMBRINGER’s ‘Stealer Of Souls’. But on the other hand, folk bands like PENTANGLE, RENAISSANCE, MELLOW CANDLE, COMUS, MIDWINTER, CHIMERA, MORITA DOJI, HAKO YAMASAKI have all stuck so hard in my subconscious. If you’re aware of this kind of music, you might hear something similar and familiar in ‘Curse Of The Sky’.”

While he’s very much comfortable in a full band environment like MAUSOLEUM GATE, in IRON GRIFFIN, Räsänen admits that working alone does present its share of obstacles, especially when he wants to try new ideas out. But, through the process of elimination and sheer perseverance, Räsänen is often able to emerge with songs he can stand by, which is why he will continue to do all instrumentation himself.

“The best thing about doing music by yourself is that there are no boundaries, you can do whatever you want,” he says. “There is no one presenting bad opinions or shitty riffs, ha-ha! If you want to make even more over-the-top vocal melodies or anything weird and un-acceptable, you can just do it. No compromises have to be done. When working as a full band, it’s always about making compromises and struggling through what is good and what is not from everybody’s opinion. That is why making your own music in your own ways is really refreshing. At least for me it is. Still, the greatest motivation to make a full-length was to challenge myself and become better both in composing music and playing various instruments.”

 

“Curse Of The Sky” track listing:

1. Prelude
2. Reign of Thunder
3. Forgotten Steel
4. Lost Legion
5. Curse of the Sky
6. Dawn of Struggle
7. To the Path of Glory

TRAVELER To Release Self-Titled First Full-Length In February

Fresh off their split with Finland’s CORONARY, Canada’s TRAVELER will release their self-titled first full-length on February 22 via Gates Of Hell Records. Recorded at three different studios throughout 2018, “Traveler” will feature eight songs of up-tempo, classic metal, right up the alley for fans of vintage JUDAS PRIEST, MANILLA ROAD and RIOT.

According to guitarist and founding member Matt Ries, “Traveler” will certainly appeal to fans of their debut demo and split with CORONARY. The three songs from their demo have been re-recorded and given new life thanks to TRAVELER’s now-complete lineup, a first for the band. “To have this become a reality is amazing,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot about who you jam with and not settling for anything less than the best. I’ve also learned how much work comes behind taking the reins on everything, but it’s all worth it.”

TRAVELER, who are now rounded out by vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud (also of GATEKEEPER), second guitarist Toryin “Junior” Schadlich, bassist Dave Arnold and drummer Chad Vallier, tracked drums at AB Records, guitars at Ries’s home studio and vocals at Richhobo Studios. In all, their self-titled album shows just how far TRAVELER has come in the span of a year, with the re-recorded songs from the demo blending seamlessly with the band’s new compositions.

“The newest songs all vary differently from each other,” says Ries. “We feel this will make for a really interesting album. But, of course, the album has no shortage of dueling guitars and powerful vocals. And, after hearing the vocals laid out for the first time over these songs, I can safely say they all pound just as hard! The lyrical themes are mixed with real life experiences and total exaggerated scenarios. Ripping leads and harmonized guitars. Driving bass lines. Everything I love to hear when I throw on a record. So, if we share the same taste, you’ll be raising your fist.”

TRAVELER, who originally started as an outlet for ideas that weren’t suitable for Ries’s other bands GATEKRASHÖR and HROM, has enjoyed a year that has gone far beyond the guitarist’s expectations. Starting with the positive feedback from their split with CORONARY to the writing and creation of “Traveler”, TRAVELER has capably handled the whirlwind that was 2018 and now has their eye toward 2019.

“This year has been a really exciting experience,” says Ries. “It’s also been extremely challenging getting everything together. Our love for the music has kept us on the right track. However, the feedback from everyone has lit a fire under our asses to make the best possible record. I didn’t expect to be working under such a great label so soon. Again, all of this has been nothing but motivation to keep moving. Now that we are wrapping up the year, we are focused on making a great live show for everyone! We can’t wait to rock the stages for all of you. We have a lot of great plans in the works for shows and future projects. So, the way I see it, we’re just getting started”.

 

FEEL THE REIGN OF STARBREAKER!

BOOZE CONTROL To Release GATES OF HELL RECORDS Debut “Forgotten Lands” In February

German metallers BOOZE CONTROL have set a February 22 release date for their fourth full-length album and first for Gates Of Hell Records, “Forgotten Lands”. The album was recorded in October 2017 at Overlodge Recording Studio in Harz Mountains, Germany, with Martin Schnella handling engineering duties.

“Forgotten Lands” is the embodiment of a band now in full songwriting stride. BOOZE CONTROL’s engaging blend of NWOBHM-inspired classic metal shines through on the album’s ten cuts. “The two previous albums really helped us find and define our style as a band,” says vocalist/guitarist David Kuri. “We feel that we got it now, so ‘Forgotten Lands’ is less of a search and more of an arrival. This doesn’t mean that it’s boring now — on the contrary, it allowed us to be more confident when deliberately diverging from that style, so there is quite some experimenting going on on top of the solid heavy metal foundation we defined for ourselves.”

Kuri says BOOZE CONTROL (who are rounded out by second guitarist Jendrik Seiler, bassist Steffen Kurth and drummer Lauritz “The Lord” Jilge) often come up with songs during rehearsal where they swap riffs and ideas. Some of the songs on “Forgotten Lands” stem back to the band’s 2013 “Heavy Metal” and 2016 “The Lizard Rider” albums, but always go through the same process with Kuri and fellow guitarist Jendrik Seiler adding finishing touches. One element on “Forgotten Lands” is sure to stand out: BOOZE CONTROL has adopted a much more serious lyrical tone than their previous efforts.

‘Forgotten Lands’ mostly tells fictional stories inspired by books, movies, television, video games or scientific findings,” says Kuri. “The title song — a first for us — and ‘Slaying Mantis’ specifically give some context to the album artwork. ‘Playing With Fire’ is the only more ‘worldly’ song, in the sense that it is inspired by recent geopolitical events, though I wouldn’t call the song itself political and BOOZE CONTROL definitely isn’t. There are also a lot of small cross-references between the songs, some of which actually have a meaning while others just send you on a fun journey of interpreting the songs in a broader context.

“Thematically, we also work with the topics of discovery and arrival in the lyrics. The title song is about discovering the new, even after you have already made some headway. Songs like ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Slaying Mantis’ expand on that and hopefully convey that we are still trying to find new approaches to both music and life, while building on what we have already found.”

The “Forgotten Lands” cover art was created by Dimitar Nikolov (Keep It True, ROSS THE BOSS, STEELWING, SACRAL RAGE). Nikolov was asked to create the “Forgotten Lands” album cover due to the overwhelming response to the band’s previous two album covers, which he was also responsible for.

Dimitar is a great help in shaping the current identity of the band,” says Kuri. “I think the idea of depicting the confrontation with the giant Praying Mantis was there first, and then quickly sparked the idea of the album title. The title track wasn’t planned, but just so happened, and turned out to be a great opener. The artwork shows the same fighting woman as the last two albums, with two novelties: First, she’s going in close this time, not relying on ranged combat. Second, you can see her face for the first time. Both of these facts are highly metaphorical for the way that BOOZE CONTROL has developed.”

Next year, BOOZE CONTROL will celebrate ten years a band. Remarkably, they’ve been able to keep the same lineup, all the while, building a steady following across mainland Europe. “Forgotten Lands” may represent a new conceptual frontier for the band, but the same unbending, memorable metal is still in place, a lot of which has been forged through hard work the last ten years.

“There is a ton of things we have learned along the way,” finishes Kuri. “I think the most important one for me would be to talk to people as much as you can: other bands, promoters, bookers, and of course, your fans. Sharing experience and stories is not only great fun, but the best chance to grow you can get.”

PULVER Readies First Full-Length ‘Kings Under The Sand’

German classic metal hybrid PULVER has recently completed work on their first full-length album, “Kings Under The Sand”. Due in early 2019 via Gates Of Hell Records, the album was recorded at Berlin’s Big Snuff Studio with Richard Behrens serving as producer.

Guitarist Lukas Kunkel describes “Kings Under The Sand” as “more defined” than their debut self-titled 7-inch, which was released earlier this year. According to Kunkel, major influences come from traditional heavy metal, especially NWOBHM and hard rock. Under the direction of Behrens, “Kings Under The Sand” was recorded in analog, ensuring a crisp, classic metal sound. “The songwriting process was very similar to what it was like for the EP, but more targeted,” notes Kunkel. “Everybody was involved, throwing ideas around and working on the details until we were all happy with the songs. In doing so, we still always tried to keep an eye on the album in its entirety. Eventually, we fine-tuned a few things during the recording sessions at the studio.”

The album’s artwork is created by Max Löffler and will be a continuation of the “Phantom Hawk” creature that originally appeared on the band’s 7-inch. “The whole concept for the album revolves around the idea that ancient Egypt was enslaved by an alien warrior tribe known to man as the ‘Phantom Hawk,’” says vocalist David Fröhlich. “The creature on the cover of our 7-inch was a scout for an alien race, who came to earth to check if mankind would stand any chance to defend itself against the invasion. The scenes on the album cover will take place seven years later in an enslaved Egypt. While the aliens have invaded the planet, humans are preparing a counterstrike at their shelter underneath the sand. The songs on the album will tell the story around it while musically reflecting the particular theme.”

 

PULVER’s debut self-titled 7-inch was recorded by Heiner Kunkel at Dreiklang Audio in the band’s hometown of Aschaffenburg.

 

Related links:

Facebook.com/pulverheavymetal
Pulverheavymetal.bandcamp.com

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