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Howl: Howl

At barely 15 minutes, it’s an all-too brief preview, but that’s all it takes to instantly establish Howl as a band to watch for in late-’09 and 2010.

Birds of Prey: The Hellpreacher

Erik Larson (Alabama Thunderpussy), Bo Leslie (The Last Van Zant), Summer Welch (Baroness), Ben Hogg (Beaten Back To Pure) and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste) come together to create concept album, The Hellpreacher.

Antigama: Warning

Although this is the fifth full length album from this polish death metal/ grindcore band, this is their first CD I have had the opportunity to listen to and I have to say it’s a killer.

Voivod: Infini

What a gift Denis D’Amour has left us. When the guitarist affectionately known as “Piggy” was diagnosed with cancer, he could have easily rested on his laurels, with every reason to be immensely proud of the 20-odd years of music he created as a member of Voivod. Instead, he dove straight into his art during his final months, writing songs, arranging music with his bandmates, and recording guitar tracks in a burst of creativity that we could only wish to experience when we’re healthy.

Minsk: With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone

Interwoven through all of Minsk’s albums are underlying themes of survival, perseverance and a triumph over physical, societal and /or personal challenges, but instead of a Rollins-style “DIY or you’re a pussy” self-help ethos, Minsk provides an introspective narrative that investigates the feelings of frustration, loss, and perhaps finally, redemption.

Obscura: Cosmogenesis

Munich, Germany’s tech metal mastermind Steffen Kummerer returns in 2009 with his band Obscura’s sophomore album Cosmogenisis. With a few member changes and additional set backs now behind him, he now comes adorned with former members of Necrophagist and ex -Pesitlence bass extraordinaire Jeroen Paul Thesseling.

Word Association Fun With… AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED

Agoraphobic Nosebleed has just released their crowning achievement, the stunningly song-oriented ginormous musical fuck-stick that is Agorapocalypse and as the press cycle dictates, it’s time for them to do interviews promoting said record. We could ask about their packaging the CD in old-school longboxes, what took so fucking long and how a band that doesn’t have a drummer managed to place a drum solo in “Question of Integrity.”