Friday, December 31, 2010

Book of Sand (Minnesota, U.S.)

Book of Sand (Minnesota, U.S.)
The album How Beautiful to Walk Free (HBTWF) presents raw, minimalist black metal with its own peculiar vibe through lo-fi, raging sounds. The creativity of the music is the most appealing aspect: if you enjoy raw, personal raw black metal with a certain tinge of the x factor. As you will read here, there’s a certain type of left thinking that drives Book of Sand. Should be interesting, especially if you are tired of macho posturing, homophobic ignorance.
This interview gives a bit more information about the music and Daniel, who answers the questions here.
How have people reacted to How Beautiful…? How to get a copy?
I've received some positive and some negative reactions, but mostly apathy. Aquarius Records in San Francisco has some copies left, or people can contact me to get a copy. I have a myspace page, and I give an email address. I've also put it up as a pay-what-you-want download. A lot of people seem to have pirated it; I don't mind, but it'd be nice of them to give me a few dollars for my work.

Are the lyrics available?
For now, I'm not going to publish lyrics. I make my beliefs and subject matter clear: opposition to hierarchy and oppression, in all forms. So, most of my lyrics revolve around veganism, anti-fascism/anti-racism, radical feminism, anarchism, etc. I also support voluntary human extinction, and some of my tracks deal with this. A few of my tracks are about non-political topics, but I'd prefer to keep those private. Rather than make my lyrics public, I would like to encourage anyone interested in the ideas to do a little research. These are problems too complex to be usefully addressed in a five minute black metal song, and I have no illusion that I'm a brilliant political thinker.

Who are the people playing the instruments?
On the first album I played guitars, bass and did the vocals. I was fortunate that a friend was willing to record the drum parts. I'm not a drummer and I don't like, for my own work, the perfectly precise drum machine sound. HBTWF had only guitar, bass, and drums, but used many layers for each track. Some of the songs have 12+ different guitar parts. For the material I'm working on now I'm adding other instruments: cello, nylon-string guitar, toy piano, flutes, unusual percussion...I play all the instruments except for drum kit.

Is a band like Immortal or Marduk too polished for your black metal?
I don't mind a more polished production if the music is engaging, which I don't find to be the case for Immortal or Marduk. I think polished and raw approaches can both be appropriate. For Blut Aus Nord or Sigh the clean, bombastic sound makes sense; for Dead Raven Choir or Bone Awl the totally blown out and harsh sound is great. HBTWF had a very raw production intentionally, and some of my new material will have a clearer sound. The sound of the recording should be chosen to fit the musical material, not to fit some nostalgic idea of authenticity.
I'm a reasonably competent audio engineer, and so I do my own recording. It doesn't take much money nowadays to get the equipment to make a decent sounding album, and I have so many layers to record for each song that studio time would be prohibitively expensive.

Tell us about “hidegen fújnak a szelek.” Is English your native language?
“Hidegen Fújnak a Szelek” is a well-known Hungarian folk song, and the title means "cold winds are blowing." The song is about a yearning to be free; I heard a recording that I thought was very nice, and I wanted to do a version. Some Eastern European folk songs have such strange and wonderful harmonies. English is my native and, unfortunately, only language. For my recording of Hidegen Fújnak a Szelek, I learned the lyrics phonetically.

“When We Are Gone, the World Will Be Awash with Light” is a 13-minute-plus song. What is it that you envisioned for this song?
To make the track as complex as I wanted, I needed the time to let the ideas develop. The first half is based around the permutations of a tone row and a separate rhythmic row, and the second half applies a simple procedure to a short melody. As with most of my music, I wanted the song to be a peek into a strange, unfamiliar world with its own alien logic.
Lyrically, the song is about human extinction. It took maybe a week, doing a few passes each day, to record. In my opinion, it's the best track on the album.

“No Flags” is your expression of disgust with imperialist nationalism?!
“No Flags” is in opposition to ethnonationalist pride, particularly regarding cultures of European origin. Expressing pride in one's standing as a member of a socially dominant group necessarily entails marginalizing minorities and oppressed peoples. This is, of course, an inextricable part of imperialism and all the atrocities that follow.
There is no white pride without racism, and there is no national pride without xenophobia. Unfortunately, America has so much of both.

Is “Destruction, Not Reformation” a statement of your music’s “anarchist, feminist, vegan, anti-racist and anti-nationalist” views?
Destruction, Not Reformation is in response to the idea of "reforming" the meat industry, the government, the wage system, gender roles, etc. If a system is based upon oppression, no significant reform is possible.

Is “No Excuses for Fascist Sympathy” a new song? Is “extreme metal” to some people, something linked to fascism, to the “true,” “cult,” macho, homophobic, sexist, racist, nationalist image?
“No Excuses for Fascist Sympathy” is from my second album, which I hope will be released sometime later this year. Fascist-fetishism seems to be a common element in extreme music, generally, in America and Europe–not just black metal, but also power electronics, avant-folk, industrial, so on.
Black metal frequently caters to white, disaffected young men who feel powerless and want to feel powerful. I think both fascism and satanism/occultism speak to this desire. The lure of satanism is that one could become a strong and powerful individual through the rejection of one's community, and the lure of fascism is that one could become part of a strong and powerful community through the rejection of one's individuality. Opposite approaches, but the same urge. To me, both are idiotic and suicidal.

The above song is not on this album, so will it be in your next one?
Yes, that song will be on my next release. I'm also working on a split with Seth Ryan (power electronics), an ep of adaptations of folk songs, and the beginnings of a third full-length. I'd like to do some more splits in the near future. Working quickly seems best to me, right now, and I plan to be productive this next year.
Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview! THE END.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Exile (Jordan)

Exile (Jordan)
With their four-song recording called Dead Thrashers Rising the band Exile are furthering their metal campaign in the Middle East. As Nader (vocals/guitars) describes here, it takes dedication to walk this path in particular.
“Ignorant Is What You Are” is a very bang-bang total thrashing number: it’s all about putting the right energy to work. Next, “Dead Thrashers Rising” speeds up a bit, sounding mean, with more intense drumming. This song goes for power. Wait, “Killing Storm” is another scorcher! Guitar solo, energetic drumming, catchy, and just what the doctor of moshing orders. Next, “Living Hell” is the last one: also an uptempo, street-metal energy number.
The sound quality on here is certainly adequate for this style of music. Now thrashers, hear this band; they are doing their best to win people over. Who argue with that?!
Hello! How long have you existed as a band?!
Hi, first of all we'd like to thank you for this interview and for your hard work :)
We, Exile formed back in 2008 when I (Nader) and Hassan started to think about playing thrash covers, but we never did that hehehe because I already had a couple of songs ready to be played as a band so we met Tayyem (the drummer ) and the band was formed :)
As for the recording, we recorded half of the songs in Tayyem's basement and the other half in his balcony, and we have a friend who knows about sound editing and stuff, so he recorded the songs, his name is Ala'a Hamdan (Symphoqueen Productions). It was hard because we used simple equipment; however, we gained a lot of experience and we hope to make a better quality in the next album that we are working on.

How did “Ignorant Is What You Are” originate?
Well, I used to watch T.V., and I realized that everything is a lie from the news to the cartoons hehe, really!!!! And what inspired me the most were the news and the silly American series and shows that flow on your screen at home everyday (I prefer not to mention names).

Is “Dead Thrashers Rising” your metal declaration? What of “Killing Storm” and “Living Hell”!!
Heheheh.... actually it’s a funny story, you know when you live in a normal society you will see many different personalities, but here in Jordan, 99% of the society are the same... uffff. So when I was at class in college, I can’t remember what happened exactly, but what I remember that I was mad at the idea that I am kinda strange among my classmates and they were looking at me like I was a barbarian or a caveman. So I started to write the lyrics hehehehehehehe, and no.... I don’t see metal like that, metal music is something that I can’t describe, it gives you strength, and makes you think about what's going on around you, in short words, it makes you free :)
“Killing Storm,” it’s about a part of the war in Gaza (Palestine), when Israeli Army attacked Gaza with phosphorus bombs which are internationally illegal.
“About Living Hell.” It's about pollution in general in the whole world and how we get out of control because of the massive destructive industries and how it ruined our lives and the generations after.

How long has Tayyem been drumming? And Hassan, bass? Does Nader write the songs with Tayyem and Hassan?
Tayyem has been playing drums for 5 years now. He is a skillful drummer, and he's doing very well in the band. Hassan has been playing bass for three years now, but he left the band due to his work in Kuwait, and we found a good replacement (Ibrahim) who fits the band greatly. Well, mainly I write and make the riffs, but when we are in the rehearsal room we compose the songs together as a band. Everyone has his own influences and his own touch, and we all know that Exile's songs have to be fast, aggressive and thrash :)

Are all your lyrics in English. Will you ever have lyrics in Arabic?
Yes, of course they are all in English, because metal music is a global culture, and we want our songs to be heard and spread, and I don’t think we will make a song in Arabic, I never thought about that, but I don’t think so.

How is the metal scene in Amman and in Jordan in general?
I feel sad when someone asks me this question, the metal scene is FUCKED UP in Jordan, there is no live shows because it is prohibited by the government, they still think that metal music is a devilish, outer and weird music. So we rarely play live shows (once a year if we were lucky!!), as for Exile, we have never played a gig in Jordan!!

What are some other metal bands in Amman and Jordan?
As I mentioned above there are no shows :- ( ; and here in Jordan there are bands, most of them they call themselves bands, but actually they are not, and a few bands are really good such as Dragonrider (heavy/power) and Tyrant Throne (death metal).

What do your parents think of your music?
Well, they don’t consider it music they think it’s all about screaming and devil worshiping because we live in a reserved closed (in his own way) society that have their own culture and traditions, they don't accept anything bizarre.

Were there metal bands in the 1990s in Jordan? in the 1980s?
There were a band called Mega Power in the 80's and Virgin Killer and X in the 90's.

What are your goals for the long term?
Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa we will not stop!! We will keep thrashing your asses out, fast speed aggressive old school riffs songs will never die! Back to sanity hehehehe, well I hope that we will continue. In fact, we are working on a full-length album, contains 9 tracks, 4 songs are all ready done and five left :). We don’t know what the future holds. All I can say that we will stay true and metal;
and we'd like to thank you again for this interview and your interest, and we thank all our fans and who support us. Cheers and beers.
Exile THE END.

R.C.E. [Rotten Cadaveric Execration] (Brazil)

R.C.E. [Rotten Cadaveric Execration] (Brazil)
What is RCE?
Answer: Of the fastest possible human-made drumming, with a drummer that is a total spazzoid monster; ridiculous zombie vocals and the guitar sound for a rude awakening; short songs, total energy, single-purpose, blast! 1, 2, 3, go!
It’s impossible not to like this! The sound quality is solid and the tunes are perfect for when you check yourself into the institution where the evil people wear the white coats and force you to take medication that you know you don’t need because you are doing alright and it’s everyone else that needs help, not you.
RCE, there is an institution for you!
“Execrate” is the name of one of their recordings. They have also done a split album, but that’s what this interview is about anyway. And look out for crazy Brazilians playing grind: they will be revenged!
RCE is: Renato (drummering), Diego (guitarring) and the grind freak named Caio (growlering and screamering). This Caio fellow is the low-life answering these stupid questions.

I have been listening to your disgustingly gross music and you sickos need some therapy. What more degenerate grind will you be vomiting?
What's up! It's a pleasure to answer this interview for the Metal Bulletin! Ha ha! We need therapy! Well, for the rest of 2010 we have a couple of plans, maybe another split and we intent to release a live recording, too!

What if you screamed “woof, ugh, aaargh!” for every song and not say any real lyrics?
Actually, someone has asked me to SPEAK the lyrics of the songs once, but that simply goes against the idea behind the band which is being the most gruesome and sick thing we can manage to. Many bands do not use lyrics in their songs, and that's ok with me, but I have some ideas and concepts and like to write about those. Maybe when I run out of inspiration I'll just growl senseless noises, which would also be fine with us. We actually have a couple of lyricless songs. “Cock Splatter Roach Fuck,” “SxExPxExTx” and “Extreme Cancerous Manifestations” are just screams, squeals and grunts!

Where does a grind band like yourselves record your music?
We recorded both the demo and our side of the split with the same guy. His name is Sidinei and he is an old timer in metal and the underground scene and also works as a sound engineer for local concerts and a couple of recordings. We found out about him when my former band, Escarnium, recorded it's demo there. I thought the quality of it was damn fine and we decided to tag with him. I think the result was great! we did it all in just one day. Recording and mixing. Starting early in the morning and after litters of black coffee we had it done by the end of the day. We recorded the demo in November and the split was similar, but in the end of December.

What is “Demented Violent Reprisal”?
Funny you should ask. This is my favorite song and it was written by Diego. The lyrics are a story apart. I was inspired to write it when an experience I had with LSD went terribly wrong because of a whore decided she wouldn’t give me peace. So the lyrics are about me fantasizing brutally killing her while under the effects of the hallucinogen.

What’s “Extreme Cancerous Manifestations”?! It’s 23 seconds!
That song is one of my favorites. It starts out with a shout that punched me in the face when I first heard the final mix. After that is just a few seconds of relentless violence. No lyrics, straight forward drumming and simple riffing! Grind as fuck!

“Among Dead Bodies I Lay” is your “epic” song of 2 minutes and 36 seconds. Is this one of your more recent, longer songs?
Actually, quite the contrary, it was the first song ever written by the band! but it was written by a former member along with “Trauma Induced Amputation,” less influenced by grindcore and with a more noticeable death metal/slam approach. All the songs after he left the band have some extra grind and a pinch of slam!

What do you think about writing a song that is ten minutes of nothing but blasting grind, like your song “Moans, Retch and Disgust,” BUT for ten minutes, as a plan to kill your drummer?! Then it wouldn’t be murder, it’d art. Genius!
I think Renato would simply implode, although, the one concert we played lasted exactly 21 minutes with no breaks! He was dripping with sweat but he resisted! hahaha! I don't think that we would ever write any song much longer than the ones we have already, we like our stuff simple and short, (and now I quote Dave Rotten from mighty Avulsed when referring to their song Sick, Sick Sex) "no guitar solos, no melody, only brutal shit!" and I think brutal is fast and it comes without notice and goes the same way!

Do you foresee that in the future you would do different style of lyrics, like Nasum or Napalm Death?
Well, I'm neither saying we will change the concept of the band, nor denying the possibility. Who knows what might happen to us in the future. Of course, Nasum and Napalm Death are great influences to us, lyricwise and songwise too, but there are many people in Brazil and abroad talking about the shit that's going on: the financial crisis, the economic breakdown of European countries, the injustices in Brazil and throughout South America, political and religious corruption...I don't thing they need three more assholes like us to spread the news! But if the ones who listen to our shit do not know about what's going on in this shithole, then I won't be the one to give the bad news! they wouldn't understand the political contents of the lyrics I'd sing anyway! hahahahaha!

What is the cover for the Execrate ep? Is that a real picture of a cadaver?
Well, in fact I do not know, since the artwork was made by Nestor, Escarnium's drummer and designer. What I wanted was something simple, nothing TOO graphic, no guts, no bodily fluids... just a rotting dead body abandoned, execrated. I do not want to shock people with a picture, but with our music! And what I think when I see that image, is that someone who does not know the band, will listen to it unaware of what's to come... and hopefully be blasted away by our shit!

Did Brazil get eliminated from the soccer world cup because they wore blue instead of yellow jerseys in the game against Holland?
Some people have talked about a curse surrounding the blue or secondary shirt, because apparently some of the favorites to the championship have been eliminated while wearing it... Of course this is just a joke, and everybody in Brazil knew we would not get the title, cause the selection of players was shitty, the tactics were shitty and the once great Brazilian soccer selection was playing poor, uninspired, boring and lazy matches. So we deserved to be disqualified! hopefully the administration of the team will learn to hire good coaches that actually trains the team to ATTACK and DEFEND! That's a worthy lesson!

What is your favorite Brazilian movie for the year 2010?
Since I have been living in the US for a while now, I haven't heard about any Brazilian movies made in 2010. Of course, some were made, but we don't get to know about them in the US, unless they are of great impact and somewhat successful. I don't have a 2010 favorite, in fact the kind of movie I like, is rarely made in Brazil. I like movies from the European continent, intelligent dramas and tragicomedies. Not much into action movies, disgusted by chick flicks and teenage romances (death to Twilight!)... Since I study psychology and my schedule is tight (at least when I'm in Brazil), I don't have much time to watch blockbusters, so I stick to movies with real dialogs that actually have some meaning and can be used in my studies and assignments.

What are your plans for the rest of 2010 and 2011? Caio, how has your experience of living in the U.S. for some months in 2010?
As said before, we have a 3-way split planed with Into the Corpse and PNH from São Paulo, hopefully that will be ready this year, and maybe a live recording, since I'm a fan of raw, unmixed bootlegs! As for 2011, we just might record another demo/ep or maybe even something bigger, depending of what comes to us, so we will remain promoting our stuff (our EP can be downloaded in our MySpace profile), playing gigs and recording whenever we can afford it. Well, living in Houston surely influenced me. I got to actually see some nice bands that I heard about when I was in Brazil. Some big bands and some underground, old school, one-two-three grindcore and punk shit, it made me appreciate even more this shit that I'm knee deep in! Thanks for the interest in our stuff and the opportunity to talk about it! that's true underground thinking! Cheers from Salvador/Houston! THE END.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wan (Sweden)

Wan (Sweden)
Their album Wolves of the North is black metal allegiance: vocals entrenched in grimness, razor guitar tone and austerity of sound.
It’s red corpsepaint, spikes, bulletbelts, tattooes and winter obsessions. And lots of wolves.
Wan’s is no acolyte praxis, either. In more than 35 minutes of music, the album blasts the tank division black metal frequently, so there’s plenty of speed; there are variations within the overall structures, some midpaced moments where riffs go for more than speed, such as mood, a certain feel, giving the song (and listener) some room to absorb; there are some moments of memorability, as opposed to sounding like one big blur.
The wolves of the north are: Aganaroth (guitars), Isengrim (bass), and Tsjud (vocals), who answers the questions here.

Hello, what is going on with Wolves of the North?
Hello! Well, our album was released a couple months ago so we’re doing our best to promote it in every possible way. We hope and believe that black metalers all over the world will enjoy our filthy tunes.

Do you all three live in Eskilstuna? Is there a scene?
Only Isengrim lives in Eskilstuna now. However, we’ve all lived there once upon a time and I will most likely return soon. The city is rather dead when it comes to live possibilities and radio time and such things. But the scene is quite big anyway. We hang out with a bunch of friends that are involved in bands such as Tyrant, The Black, Arcana, Shining, Crypt of Kerberos, and more...

Aganaroth, are you the only person who plays guitar in Wan?
Well, I’ll have to speak on behalf of Aganaroth here. He’s the only one who plays guitar in Wan. We want to keep all things old school and therefore we reject the thought of twin guitars. We all go way back as friends and band mates. In Wan it’s Aganaroth and Isengrim who compose all the music. Personally I just contribute with suggestions, ideas and smart remarks.
Aganaroth have earlier been involved in Exanthema, Tears of Grief and today also have Inside Scars, Sapfhier and Angellust besides Wan. Isengrim have been involved in Exanthema, Tears of Grief, Atra Filia and today have Misery MMIX, Fornborg and The True Badours besides Wan. I have been in Ara Sepulcri, Satans Penguins, Atra Filia and today have The True Badours on the side. I also write lyrics for the last one mentioned, Fornborg, Inside Scars and guest lyrics for some other bands every now and then.

Do you remember how the music for “Rise of the Antichrist” was written? What is the story behind “13 Sons of the Devil”? And “Wargoat”?! !
Musically all songs on the album were spontaneously written and composed as we recorded the shit in the studio. "13 sons of the Devil" was originally called just "Sons of the Devil" but since it actually was the 13th song we made Aganaroth suggested we’d change the title. "Wargoat" is simply a song of praise to Baphomet.

Are lyrics written before the music?! Do you drink when you write?
I write all the lyrics and they are all written before the music is made. At very few occasions there will be a minor change to make the words fit to the music. But generally Aganaroth and Isengrim manage to create riffs that just fit my words like a condom! I write lyrics whenever the inspiration strikes and the words starts bubbling in my head. This can be on the subway, in the sofa, in the forest, at work, on the crapper or basically anywhere. I never write when I drink. That always ends up with some really shitty words. Besides, when I drink I like to enjoy it with friends.

You have lyrics in Swedish and English. Can you say what the following song titles mean? “Med Stormsteg Mot Döden,” “Hädanfärd,” and “Ulvhäll”? Is aggression and antireligion the main feelings? Do your lyrics avoid political positions?I
You’re quite right. The overall expression in our music and lyrics is about aggression, hate, antichristianity and death. I fucking detest politics as well as every politician so that´s a subject that never will be brought into Wan. "Med stormsteg mot döden" means ‘by leaps and bounds towards death’ and of course it’s the christians I’m singing about. "Hädanfärd" means ‘passing/demise’ and "Ulvhäll" is more or less impossible to translate so I just say that it includes wolves. Some other of our swedish titles translates into ‘dead christian man’ and ‘cravings of the rage’.

Did you use a drum machine? A
Yes, we used drum machine on the album. Every living bastard have an opinion about that, and so do we, so keep your opinion to yourselves and fuck off!! We use it for the convenience since we don’t have a breathing drummer. Of course, this is not our optimal choice and on our next release I assure you all that it will be real drums recorded. Our old (very old! haha..) friend Immansuetus (previously in Loss, Mental Crypt, Xul) is intended for the job. And we actually recorded a Shining cover recently, on which we recorded live drums. This masterpiece will appear on a future Shining tribute album that will be released by Avantgarde Music.

For the record, what does WAN mean? What is Abyss Records?
I’m surprised that so much people ask what our band name means? It’s just a regular word in the English language and it means pale/gloomy, which fits perfectly to our concept, our minds and our appearance. Abyss Records is an American label located in Indianapolis and the label have been around for quite a few years and possesses a handful of hard releases from great bands.

Do you go to the Vilsta naturreservat? What is it like in the winter?
How do you know about Vilsta?? In fact, a young woman was murdered there not long ago. Regardless it’s a nice forest area and we go out there occasionally and make a camp fire, drink beer and enjoy ourselves in the darkened landscapes.

Stay in contact!
Thanks a lot for giving a fuck about Wan! I suggest that whoever read this go buy our album and get their minds raped by our devastating old school metal! Cheers!! THE END.

Setherial (Sweden)

Setherial (Sweden): Ekpyrosis (Regain Records)
Their plan of action is:
1. Maintain the grim black metal vocals necro, raw and painful.
2. Maintain the guitar tone, sound and style as traditional black metal.
3. Maintain the overall sound of the band in the black metal totality.
4. Now that the foundation has been established, use that base for songs in different directions, moods and speeds, without such rules as, “All the songs have to be 100 percent blasting all the time,” “There will be no guitar solos,” “There will be no melody,” etc.

The first listen will give the feeling that more than a few spings are necessary to figure out the twists and turns. Basically, the first listen shows this is black metal with the values of raw/necro but with an upfront production. Later on, the songs will make more sense.
Firebreathing necro black metal with a good sound, prog, technical, guitar solos, tremolo riffing like there’s no tomorrow, blasting, throat-killing vocals, catchiness, headbangingness; midpaced and frenzied and ridiculously aggressive, fist-in-the-air, air guitar moments, and a little of bit of melody: it’s all here. All the songs are strong and there is never anything like filler moments; any one of these eight songs (some 44 minutes of music) is an example of this album. Just don’t expect a one-dimensional work in which each song sounds the same as the previous one because they are trying to prove how “fast” they are or how “true” they are or whatever. They know what they are doing and do it well: good songwriting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

High on Fire (U.S.): Snakes for the Divine

High on Fire (U.S.): Snakes for the Divine (E1 Music)“Snakes for the Divine,” “Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter,” “Frost Hammer,” “Fire, Flood & Plague,” and “Ghost Neck” all have an energetic, rocking, (frequent) double-bass drumming and big-heavy 70s iommisque riffing, accompanied by a whiskey-throat kilmisteresque vocal vibe. The overall sound is raucous enough for the metal crowds and traditional enough for the heavy/hard rock people. They have a pretty good groove, hence easy to get into, but also have enough mosh/banging moments.
“Bastard Sumarai,” on the other hand, sounds quite a bit doomier, where the 70s sabbathesque riffs and the slower feel contrast with the tempo of the other songs, for the most part. “The Path” is a short, 80-second interlude.
“How Dark We Pray” is a midtempo rumble, with some active, double-bass drumming in some segments. There’s a nice, melodic guitar solo that complements this piece pretty well. During the solo, you hear the simplicity of the band’s sound: the bass guitar and drums work their magic audibly while the solo is on.
The sum: two songs are a bit more midtempo, one is a very brief track and the rest are uptempo, combining a motorheadish feel/speed/vocals with a 70s sabbathy guitar sound. In general, this is more groove than, say, melody/shredding; more uptempo than doom; more meat/potatoes than flashy musicianship; more old school metal/rock/stoner than really aggressive/fast metal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grave (Sweden): Burial Ground

Grave (Sweden): Burial Ground (Regain Records)“Liberation” (3:41) with its upfront (but not blasting; Grave is not a blasting band) illustrates the traditional death metal sound where heaviness matters. “Semblance in Black” (4:22) concentrates, after an uptempo start, on a midpaced doom feel, with substantially slowed down buzzsaw riffs. “Dismembered Mind” (6:11) shows that doom aspect, and some melody, then the energy level picks up for the “old school death metal brutality.” With “Ridden with Belief” (4:20), it’s clear it’s the midpaced, simple, guttural heaviness that’s Grave’s focus. Then, they speed up to the simple, to-the-point sound. “Conquerer” (4:46): Grave’s “brutality” is very moshable, and coincidentally, sounds perfect for the “breakdown-brutality” people who love heaviness with a groove. This song is total midpaced heaviness. “Outcast” (3:41) brings up the pace back up, and the buzzsaw guitar tone crackles with heaviness and the vocals remain total low-gruff. There is no attempt to vary the guttural vocals for one second. “Sexual Mutilation” (4:04) shows a similar aggressive-uptempo energy as “Outcast” and “Bloodtrail” (4:05) has some guitar solo work that stands out. “Burial Ground” (7:30) is a total doom death exercise, where the riff goes slow, the drums go slow (with faster-paced double bass), the growling takes its time with the enunciation of the words. Slow motion are the sounds of this track.
Unpolished, just loaded down with death, and often, slow death that’s all about the heaviness of Grave.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Omnihility (Oregon, U.S.): Omnihility

Omnihility (Oregon, U.S.): Omnihility
Omnihility is all about playing brutal death metal in the physically and mentally strenuous style: as fast as possible, blasting blast-blast in hyperactive frenzy; letting the riffs fly/swerve/dive/cut/turn and stream/zoom/rotate/slide/re-direct in rapid succession with no pauses in the action. Plus, a rather good production, too.
When Omnihility hits the ground, it is the “brutal, technical death metal” avalanche that takes over. Just how fast can this band play? How many riffs can they pack into the song? This band is finding out exactly that!
Omnihility has no time for slow songs, nor taking it easy and letting the music “breathe” or giving the listener time “digest” or anything like that. No. Not here. Come this way for the speed, the blast, the guttural growl and the technical.
This is not the door for melody, slow, melancholy or things like that.
What a lovely display of musical muscle and brain stress. Those longing for faster speeds, more technicality, and just more spazzoid death metal blasting will like this. It is 23 minutes, six songs of nonstop fun.
Omnihility originates from Oregon, with that Topeka, Kansas musical spirit running in their veins.

Ravenclaw (Slovakia): Welcome to the Ravenland

Ravenclaw (Slovakia): Welcome to the Ravenland
Ravenclaw is a classy, elegant even, heavy/power metal band with lots of neoclassical guitar work, and melodic, high traditional metal singing.
For those into high singing and who want to hear a band who have trained in the art of melodic metal, with some songs that are uptempo, midtempo, ballads, etc. The vocals are melodic, not sounding angry, aggressive or violent. Actually, this style has a kinship with André Matos’ vocal personality or HammerFall. Those are just two examples of the singing references, not an overall sound/musical similarity.
Examples of the Ravenclaw sounds:
Track five: “Dragon’s River” (3:33): This is a piano-and-vocals ballad about waters, mental peace, etc. Definitely for those into piano ballads.
Track number six: “Patron Saint” (3:15): After such a ballad, it’s only expected that these leather-jacket-wearers step up the energy to uptempo heavy metal thunder style. And that’s what they do. Imagine, basically, the opposite of the ballad they just played before.
Number 11, “Don’t Be My Enemy” (3:37): This song has a “medieval”/folky melody; another ballad for friendship and big hugs all around.

Some of the other songs give a further framework from which to approach Ravenclaw: “Brother Sun” is a sort of folky heavy metal midtempo track; “Light from You” is a catchy, very melodic heavy metal song, midpaced, and made for sing-alongs. “Power Slaves” is one of the heavier songs, with a bit more crunch and double-bass drumming and very high, air raid siren vocals, and keyboards. “Into the Night” also has a substantial crunch going on and a very melodic chorus.

Rienaus (Finland): Beneath the Black Wings

Rienaus (Finland): Beneath the Black Wings
Though Rienaus is now a band, this recording is a one-man cave-recorded super-necro over-raw black metal. It’s the type of recording that one has to really turn up the volume to hear what’s going on.
Some will think this is total garbage by a 16-year kid processing black metal through a meatgrinder for your unlistening displeasure-irritation.
Such a view is completely understandable.
But some people love this! It’s total tremolo triumphalism.
It appears that Mavrofos, the human being behind this, is currently 17 years old and working on a second album, with a band.
At any rate, “Celebrate the Dawn of a New Age” is raw black metal chaos with a good attitude and feel. “Exaltation” is vocal torture, doomy black metal. It’s “no-fun” black metal. “Beneath the Black Wings” is eight minutes of more chaos and noise. “Enemy of Christ” is exactly what the name says: antagonistic black metal expression of revenge and anger, and things like that. OK, there are another two songs and this is more than 44 minutes of cave black metal that will be liked by the ardent. If you want a good production, stay very far away from this.

Until Extinction (Missouri, U.S.): Lament

Until Extinction (Missouri, U.S.): Lament
After a short keyboard/atmosphere/gothic intro, “Putrefaction” rolls into town and in those five minutes and 24 seconds this band displays all their wares and wherewithal: speedy gothic black metal riffing/drumming, keyboards; slow brief moments with very low, guttural growling, then picking up the speed to a more black/death tempo with a few different types of growling. Then about the two-minute mark the angry/yelled/core vocals come in and the midpace sets in; now, more keyboards, at the three-minute mark, melodic guitar soloing and background keyboards; closer to the four-minute mark, come in the high, soprano-style vocals; as the five-minute mark nears the speed picks up to the blasting level and here it sounds like “symphonic black metal.”
That’s just in one song. Can you say, “bragging”?!
Some don’t like bands that move from style to style that way, within a song. Others do like bands like this one because they don’t want every song to be similar.
Now, Until Extinction does not mix as many styles as the above song in every track. Most songs have a combination of two or three styles, not seven or nine.
However, there are certain sounds that anchor the band’s perspective: one is the melodic/thrashy guitar riffing (in the Gothenburg style); another element is the gothic/atmospheric/melancholic/keyboard and the combination of growling and high vocals; in addition, the angry/yell/core vocals are pretty dominant. For example, the very low, guttural, incomprehensible vocals are used sparingly.
The sound quality is good, overall, and sounds pretty professional. One would think the band should be content with this recording, as it shows their abilities. Guess this is a self-release, but the sound quality is good, not garage-like. For those into bands exploring different styles.

Mormânt De Snagov (Finland): Rise from the Void

Mormânt De Snagov (Finland): Rise from the Void
Black metal raw, minimalistic attack, with decent sound quality, actually: they like that old time black metal. Do you?
1. “Antagonism” (4:46): A yelling and raging beginning. Of course, they have to set the pace. Good start.
2. “The Serpent Undead” (4:32): Another good assault; those drums sound mighty fine. Mostly speed. They are keeping it up with the right attitude.
3. “Secluded Sleeper” (4:33): That shrieking is inspired by classic black metal vocal torture. Doing it right. This song is part speed, part midpaced rage, part minimalistic melody.
4. “Nefarious Apostle” (5:06): Starts out as total black metal. At about the two-minute mark: slow guitar work until about the three-minute point, where the speed returns and stays until the end. A bit different.
5. “Inquisition” (2:52): Short and filthy, filthy.
6. “Rise of the Sardonic Lord” (5:19): This one is a slow track, with a doom-black metal atmosphere; the shrieking fills out the spaces between those slow guitar notes. It’s a pretty big change compared to the other songs.
7. “Severe Escape” (4:42): A return to the dominant uptempo black metal. A good one, for sure.
8. “Mentor Forever Dead” (5:56): A midpaced exploration into those other moods that the band is working into their sound; there is midpaced black metal raw guitar repeated for effect; this one takes a few listens to understand better.

Of Raven and Ruins (Texas, U.S.): Bound to Prophecy

Of Raven and Ruins (Texas, U.S.): Bound to ProphecyOf Raven and Ruins is clear, crisp guitar melodies, often with a neoclassical feel. They apply the same approach to the prevalent use of keyboards. In addition, they use growling with the melo-thrashy guitar work. The result is something like a meeting point of Gothenburg and symphonic/neoclassical, with a few hints of other little things, such as gothic and melancholic sounds, for example.
What they have in mind is making songs that are catchy.
Sometimes it’s a thrashier moment combined with a bit more uptempo pace; or, mellower midpace with a more symphonic feel. The vocals are growled. “Atrophy of the Unavailing” has guttural and some higher, shriek vocals, within a speedy/uptempo melo-thrash main rhythm; some tremolo riffs are used; guitar harmonies, too; the keyboards while present, play only a supporting role.
“Dance of Disdain” is midpaced, tremolo-riffs/melo-thrash riffs with more upfront symphonic keyboards.
While different in some ways, both songs are good examples of the main aesthetics at work here for this album, not just these songs.
This band is aiming for a polished clean production, and even though this is a self-release, it’s not a recording with demo sound, but a rather good quality recording. They probably want a big, bombastic sound, but on here they kind of already are in that territory, even if they don’t have the big budget yet.

Jormundgand (Sweden): Satanic Attack

Jormundgand (Sweden): Satanic Attack
The titles of their four-song demo: “Occult Sacrifice,” “Black Winds of Death,” “Satanic Attack,” and “By the Grace of Death” speak of the pentagramist crossinverting fire.
Tobias and Erika are the 666-ers who give their music that certain feeling: basically, they want to be as good as advertised: pounding drums, fast and sharp guitar riffs, vocals consumed by revenge.
“Occult Sacrifice” is a short keyboard intro for “Black Winds of Death” (8:39), a black/death metal assault on the senses, with good riffs and a good vibe in general. It has lots of headbanging moments. Solid work here, with good guitar riffs and hooks. The song is a bit long, but they do well keeping it interesting. It’s all good here.
The song “Satanic Attack” (6:06) is a straight-up headbanging number with the title chanted repeatedly to deliver the knock out. This song will go over really well live because it will have the maniacs growling along “Satanic Attack” over and over in unison, fists in the air, heads banging, horns up. You likes!
“By the Grace of Death” is a near three-minute outtro of guitars/whispering and keyboards. The end.
The sound quality is definitely listenable, despite being a demo. We would not hesitate to play this loud in the car with the windows down. Good job with your filthy noise, Tobias and Erika.

Martriden; Ana Kefr; Black Reign

Martriden (Montana, U.S.): Encounter the Monolith
Forty-five minutes of tripping metal. A big part of the sound is inspired by black metal and prog, and a penchant for long songs and exploration. These six songs in general have smooth transitions from faster parts, to proggy parts and the mellower/space metal elements.
This music requires patience and repeated listens: “Heywood R. Floyd” (8:42) makes it difficult to remember all the parts, since the mental traveling within the song is too much to understand in one listen. Definitely for the studious.
Who writes this music? Is it total metal nerds weeding out those with short attention spans or the simple-minded? Is it absent-minded musicians who pay no attention to time?
Who knows, but at least the following is clear: there are long segments without vocals; lots of proggy moments and black metal shriek style vocals.
“Death and Configuration” is more than ten minutes of mellow guitar work, keyboard/space moments, proggy segments, etc. It’s an instrumental song in which the band enjoy the twists and turns they have created for themselves.
But this band does have some easier songs. The title song (6:32) is a bit more straightforward, sort of “black metal/prog,” for this band. And actually, “Human Error?” (4:32) is an even more “normal” song with those shriek-growl vocals and proggy heavy parts. There are keyboards in the background of this song, for that big landscape feel. The band themselves likes to use astronomy pictures and images, which to them, we guess, is how they hear their own music: in terms of other worlds and other ways to write songs.
Listeners into long songs, proggy bands with a metal edge should have in this band a serious adventure that they need to investigate. If you like bands that think big-idea music. Good sound quality, too.

Ana Kefr (U.S.): Volume 1 (Dinky)
Ana Kefr goes for an eclectic, contemporary, hard/chuggy sound with chugga/breakdown/mosh guitar for the angry/growl/“brutal” and screamo sections; they have clean vocals, of the current rock/core sound; for melody they utilize some of those twin-guitar harmonies or melodic sounds. As if that weren’t enough, they also have keyboardy moments, like interludes, for mood.
Ana Kefr could also be described a salad mix of current rock sounds: they vary within each song and throughout the album. The transitions between songs are not too smooth, but they seem to be working that abrupt feel to their advantage, making it their thing. From the chugging/breakdown “brutal” parts to the mellow interludes, it’s what they do. It could give you some pleasure or a headache, it depends on your taste or masochistic tendencies.

Black Reign (Canada): Demo 2009; Demo 2007
The 2007 demo is pretty unintelligible. It sounds like a band recording something for themselves and their friends. It sounds like a thrash band doing their thing, but it’s difficult to hear what’s going.
The 2009 demo is a more growled, heavier, faster band. The sound quality is poor on these recordings.
Leave it at this: this is supposed to be fast and loud, energetic and “brutal.” However, what is not clear is how well these songs would sound with the correct sound quality. As it is, there is fast drumming, fast riffs, growling, shrieking: a band having fun attacking their instruments and probably annoying the neighbors.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Venomous Supremacy (Texas, U.S.)

Venomous Supremacy (Texas, U.S.)
In 2010 in Houston, Texas, Venomous Supremacy brings their metal for people to mosh and goat-fight until everyone is injured. They have a demo called Articles of Defilement that showcases its easily recognizable total death heaviness.
According to José (guitar/backing vocals), they are not nearly satisfied. This demo is just the beginning and they are already on the path to a debut album. And judging by the demo’s “brutal death metal” harsh guitar fight, the Houston metal moshing crowd will be going straight to the emergency room in a stretcher.

Hi! When and where was Articles of Defilement recorded and is it available? Will you have your debut out this year?
What’s going man, I'm José Vidal (lead guitar/backing vocals); the demo was recorded in Katy, Tx with Alen (Lano Productions). He has recorded my bass player Nick’s other band Vacillation (melodic death metal), and I thought his work with them was pretty professional and tight so I went to him. Yes, we are currently writing new material, four new tracks are in the already in the oven. The album will be recorded when all material is finalized, which Duane Timlin (ex-Dying Fetus, ex-Divine Empire) will be apart of.

Y’all emerged at 2009’s end and in 2010 have been active (shows, recording, more songs on myspace, etc). What’s driving all this activity?
It’s all about extreme metal, that’s what we enjoy and that’s what you’re going to receive from us. Nick also plays bass for local Houston, Tx band Vacillation, although they haven't been active as of late. Besides that, we were in a modern death metal project named "Engraved," but it didn't work out the end due to uncommitted members so I started Venomous Supremacy. We finally have a steady line-up of focused musicians, so we are able to put our music out and do this to the fullest extent and put our staple in the Texas local scene and beyond: getting more extreme in all of our regions.

What do you have in mind with the lyrics of “Removal of the Flesh”? And where did you get the lyrical ideas?
"Removal of the Flesh" is am abominable, forceful, and ominous lyrical themed song. I created all the lyrics for the songs on our demo; I tend to write a lot, I approach sort of a poetic method and put all the lyrical themes together in sync with the music. I recorded all guitar tracks on the recordings: leads, rhythms, solos, etc.

At 2:55 of “Transcending Divinity,” from 2:55 to 5:18, you do slow-heavy sounds, where Matt (vocals) sounds in pain. Do these slower parts, become the clarion call for moshers?
Actually, those vocal parts you’re talking about was done by me. It’s the black metal influenced part, me and Nick both rejoice in these type of style of playing and feeling. We are not afraid to play slow or anything like that. We try to give the listener something different, something with power. That’s a great thing about it: interbreeding heavy brutal death metal with black metal and our organic, calculated, musical nightmares! As far as moshing goes, they can do whatever they want at any part of the song as long as it goes down.

What kind of support are you getting from your parents?
I'm getting great support from my mother, we have a close relationship. She'll support as long as I'm working hard on the subject. The other guys have a good mutual understanding with their people, but there not always fond of the live appearances ha ha!!

Who wrote the lyrics to “Prophetic Inversion”? Is it Matt and/or José? What type of collaboration do you currently have?
Yea, I came up with all the lyrics with Matt and reviewed them with him. Next, we arrange the vocal parts together into the song. Nick and I usually compose all the music together before anything else. He picks up extremely fast, we both have a lot of ideas menacing our minds. We try to play as parallel as possible, being that’s it, only us two playing guitar.

Have you decided if you want two guitar players live?
We have been searching for a rhythm guitarist since the beginning, but no one has yet to put enough time to move forward with us. So, if it remains like that, we'll just stick to this current set-up.

Artistic creation’s no easy task, moving beyond imitation/tribute or beyond profanity and shock value. As you fight your way forward, what are you aiming for?
What we are aiming for is to be recognized by the scene and for them to know we are here, and here to stay. We are a young band, but full of fresh conception with influence from all types of extreme metal. Musically, the style of playing is only going to get darker, faster, and reaching new levels of complexity to our theory. The lyrics are focused on dark revelations, will power, abhorrence, strong and obscure anti religious views. We are focused individuals looking to infect the scene.

What else should we know?!
The full length album "The Divine Principle Of Ruin" tentative release date is scheduled for fall, but might be pushed further till early 2011 depending on how quickly all the new material is mastered. Duane Timlin drummer will be handling session drums for the album. A new song should be posted by the end of May, a preview of what’s to come. Support The abomination that is Venomous Supremacy. THE END.

War Master (Texas, U.S.)

War Master (Texas, U.S.)
The War Master “Demo 2009” three-song tape is traditional death with a heavy-crunch guitar tone; and deep, guttural growling that resonates with the no-nonsense metal crowds of Texas, such as in the band’s April tour of the state.
War Master is: Daniel (vocals); Neal and Ben (guitars); Tom (bass) and Stephen (drums). They now have a 7” recording as they prepare to make their debut. Will 2010 be the year of War Master?

What’s shaking in your neck of the Texas woods?
Hey, Mauricio! Not much man, just work and WAR MASTER and more work! Thanks for sending these questions!

What’s the latest information on your upcoming debut?
Yes, we just finished with the release of the Thrones of Tyranny 7" single which is now available and now we are working on the full length at the moment. We are about half way through the writing process; we are taking our time to make sure it’s what we want. We are shooting to record sometime in the summer possibly late summer. As far as a release date, hopefully by December. The name of the Lp right now is "Pyramid of the Necropolis" It’s subject to change. I guess it's a working title, but more than likely that is what it will be called. Expect CRUSHING DEATH METAL!!!!

How was your Texas tour? Was it positive or did you lose your shirt?! Any more tours?!
The tour was fucking AMAZING!!! The crowd response was excellent and we all had a great time!! San Antonio especially raged pretty hard!!! Not sure I understand your second question though. As far as any other tours, after the release of the album were going to let it sink into people's heads for a couple of months then by around this time next year I would like to do a full Texas tour and then tour the West coast. By the time we are done with that it should be time to do some stuff in Europe hopefully.

How are your guitarists channeling the power of the buzzsaw? How do you understand the idea of “heavy riff”/“heaviness”?
Ha! Ha! Ha! Man, I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask Ben and Neal that question! I'm definitely not a gear head or a musician. I guess, the "channeling of the power of the buzzsaw" as you say would have something to do with the kind of pedals they use and the tuning of their guitars, which I think we tune to B. Not sure, you'll have to ask them, not my department. Understanding the idea of a "heavy riff" or "heaviness"?? Well, that is what we are striving for I think, to crush some fucking skulls!!

Bands don’t make much money from the sales of the releases. So, from what is it that you get a little money?
I don't know, we did pretty well on our tour. We made enough money to finance the recording for the LP. I mean, yeah, your band gets money from both merch sales and sometimes from the door, it just depends.

War Master is oldschool! Weren’t y’all in diapers in the 80s?!!!
Well, the rest of the guys were either in diapers or not even born yet. I just turned 35 this month. So I would be the only one in the band to remember metal in the 80's.

Are the lyrics for the song “Thrones of Tyranny” from an event or from general observations? Will you publish your lyrics?
The lyrics to "Thrones of Tyranny" mainly come from general observations and not a specific event. The "Thrones of Tyranny" lyrics are in the 7" release and will also be released on a re-release of the 2009 tape.

If I’m 15-18 years old, in a band, and some man says he has connections for my band to “make it”; that I just need to pay hundreds/thousands of dollars to play shows, record with a “famous producer,” etc. What I should know?!
Well, first of all, I think when you go into something like creating a band to be involved in the scene you don’t go into it to "make it". I think most of the major record companies are bullshit and I would personally like to stay on a D.I.Y. level for as long as I can. That would be my recommendation to anybody is just to stay true to yourself and rely on a network of friends and fans and not the weasels in suits! It has work for us so far!

Do Neal and Ben write songs together, and with Tom present, bringing the “Tom-ness” to the chapel of War Master?
Yes, Neal, Ben and Tom all help in the song writing duties. So yes Tom would be present. In fact, Tom does a lot of writing. Both Tom and Ben wrote Chapel and War Plague. So Tom always brings his " Tom-ness" as you say, to the chapel of War Master.

When will you allow Stephen to use more cowbell in your songs?! He has repeatedly told you, “Fellows, I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!”
Wow! hahahha! Gee, Mauricio, that's a silly question! First of all, we have never nor will we ever have a cowbell in our songs, we are not Guns N roses! So I don’t know who told you that but it’s incorrect.

Into what other lawless battles and chaotic realms will you be crusading-worldeating during 2010 and 2011?!
Well, expect more heavy DEATH METAL in the old tradition. The new LP later this year more shows more heaviness!!!! Thanks again for the interview. THE END.

Züül (Illinois, U.S.): Out of Time

Züül (Illinois, U.S.): Out of Time (Planet Metal)
Züül plays uptempo, rocking, gritty street heavy metal.
It appears that this band has a bit of an unusual attitude about their traditional, no-nonsense rocking music:
1. Unlike the vast majority of heavy metal bands, Züül has opted to do no midtempo or slow songs, nor anything like a ballad, certainly no “power ballads.” It’s all uptempo all the time.
2. Then there is the fact that the band sounds like nothing that this zine has heard this year. They seem oblivious to pleasing any expectations of sounding “contemporary” or “keeping up with the times.” There is no thrash, growling, blastbeats, nor any emo, core, breakdowns; no keyboards or no “brutality,” nor anything like that.

Of the nine songs, try the first song “Out of Time,” or the last one “Return to Yagi” or the middle track “Warhammer,” or the second one “Warriors” or the penultimate track “Ride Ride” or the antepenultimate song “Darkness on the Ice”—it’s all rocking heavy metal, no midtempo and no ballads.
How’s that for a concept?

The sound shows no attempts to be supermelodic with keyboards or ear-candy sounds, no fancy-slick studio trickery, no funny-effects: it’s just human beings plugging in their instruments and rocking.
The vocals are not air raid siren, but a midrange tone that does not steal the thunder of the other instruments, but rather fits in. That’s a bit different, too.
By the way, this is no demo-sounding stuff, either. It’s a good, solid-sound full album.
Someone in this band likes the second wave of heavy metal of the late 70s-early 80s?!

Ritos (Brazil)

Ritos (Brazil)
Raw black metal is Ritos’ medium to chronicle the “Pagan Tales” of indigenous-themed songs. Relatos Pagãos carries raw black metal into concepts of history about Brazil and its historically ignored indigenous cultures.
Of course, Ritos is classic-black-metal influenced: blasting, speedy drumming; THAT guitar tone; and those vocals, it’s all here. It won’t take but a moment of their music to hear that. However, there is another side to Ritos, which is what bassist Incredulous and her cohorts in Ritos explicate here.
Hello! What’s the latest with Ritos from Aracaju, Brazil?!
Hello, Mauricio! We would like to thank for the opportunity to participate in this edition! We are currently working on spreading the demo Relatos Pagãos and the compilation Manifesto Negro - A Arte do Black Metal, where we are participating with more than seven Brazilian bands.

Is Aracaju a big city? Is there a good scene? What kind of jobs do you have? Tell us about Aracaju.
Aracaju is the capital of Sergipe, the smallest state in northeastern Brazil. It is a small city, compared to the other from Brazil, but as the city with better quality of life in the region. The metal scene is small here. We have a few shows, few bands, especially in business, few spaces for events open to metal concerts. Currently, we are all just students.
We're not doing shows for a while. Currently we have few spaces for concerts and this is one reason for the shortage of concerts here. Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus [drums] is a member of the [black metal band] Litany Ater. Into Black Metal, we can cite Ad Aeternum, Imperious Symphonic Noise, Mahanvhantara, among others.

Incredulous, tell us about yourself!
I play bass for nearly two years and had a greater identification with the instrument when I attended a black metal project called “Desdenha do Norte”. I appreciate the weight and fill the bottom gives the music. I joined Ritos in 2009. For nearly six years I hear metal and think one of the first bands that I enjoyed was Obituary.

Who writes the lyrics for Ritos? Did the same person write the lyrics for the songs “Yará” and “Guariní Caá”?
We work together through the music at home and then move into the studio. It is a very good experience! I very much appreciate the sound and the lyrics reflect the feeling of everyone in the band: exalt the pride of our ancestors.
Yeah, who wrote the lyrics of the demo "Relatos Pagãos" was Guarini Una [guitar], but Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus also had involvement of the composition. He also participated in the final review of the letters, along with Incredulus.

Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus, what is your view on your music?
I like to hear many things like heavy metal, black, thrash, death, a bit of doom, punk, grind, crossover and love blastbeats, but Ritos I seek other influences such as Indian music, African-Brazilian and folk to put them in my compositions that, going forward, mingle more and more extreme metal with these other types of music. Guarini Una generally brings the melodies. Sometimes I give a suggestion and then I imagine the battery and when we go to the studio put the ideas into practice.

Guarini Una, have you taken guitar lessons?
Initially I had guitar lessons, but just enough for some chords and gradually I discovered metal. I was at home studying the riffs and melodies of metal, but I intend to return to study at a music school to diversify my work.

Guarini Una, did you form this band? Are you and Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus friends from school?
Yes, I was the founder of the band, along with Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus and former vocalist Chaos Verin. Although Aeternus Actus Ater Corpus and I studying at the same school, we are not just friends, we are brothers. I do not have a band in particular that made me play Black Metal, but the fact that the strand of metal which had greater identification.

Are you history students? Do you speak any indigenous languages? Why are the lyrics not available with the cd?
We do not make school history, but we all like a lot of history and we are always researching various topics, especially those addressed in Ritos. We don’t speak indigenous languages, but tried to learn more those dialects, because the letters have small parts in Tupi [indigenous language]. The lyrics are not available on CD for financial reasons, because it would increase the cost of reproduction of copies, but all are available on the internet.

Where is the forest that you have pictured on the album?
On the cover we used an image of the Amazon forest; in the background we also believe it is the same forest, but we can’t say for sure. The only certainty is that it is Brazilian.

In school, do Brazilian students learn English and Spanish?
Yes, English and Spanish are taught in Brazilian schools, along with the other disciplines. We have knowledge of languages, but very little. We know the basic things to deal with the day-to-day. If the Brazilians want to deepen the knowledge in these languages, we need to look for specific courses.

What are your future plans for Ritos in 2010 and 2011?
We will continue to release the demo Relatos Pagãos. We are making new music and lyrics for the next material that will be more focused (sonically and lyrically), in Brazilian cultural roots. The material has no release date. THE END.

death metal guitarist Susan Gerl (Holland)

Susan Gerl (Holland)
Death metal guitarist Susan Gerl has executed axes for squads God Dethroned, Murder Syndicate, Cliteater, Desensitised and Catafalque. Considering that, recently this zine caught up with her, and as it turns out, there is a new flame on the horizon. In the meantime, here’s death metal to investigate!
Also, here is a list of the albums in which she has participated.

Band history
1994 – 2001 Catafalque
2001 – 2008 Desensitised
2007- 2008 Cliteater
2008 – 2010 God Dethroned
2008 – present Murder Syndicate
Catafalque - Your final ride (demo 1995)
Desensitised - Thriving on carnage (MCD 2001)
Desensitised - Bought Beauty (split CD 2003)
Desensitised - Virus of violence (CD 2006)
Cliteater - Scream bloody clit (CD 2008)
Murder Syndicate - Rage and Retribution (unreleased yet)
Hello, how are you? What are the plans for Murder Syndicate’s Rage and Retribution? Do you play only death?
Hi, Mauricio. Life over here is good and calm at the moment. The band I’m playing in at the moment is called Murder Syndicate. Wilbert (former singer of Desensitised) and I formed Murder Syndicate in March 2008 and recorded our debut CD Rage and Retribution in September of that same year.
However, when we recorded the CD we knew that our drummer Herman wouldn’t stay, so after the recordings our line-up wasn’t complete anymore which consequently put the whole band on hold.
In December 2008 I joined God Dethroned and my fellow Murder Syndicate bandmates understood perfectly well that that band was to be my priority. So in 2009 I focused full-time on God Dethroned, but when that came to an involuntary end early 2010 I recently met up with the Murder Syndicate guys again and we came to the conclusion that simply none of us were motivated enough to continue this band, because we had all done different things in the meantime. However, we are all 100% positive about the CD we recorded that we are promoting it again now and try to have it released soon, which is not an easy thing to do, especially these days, but we’re looking into more different possibilities at the moment.
I personally can’t imagine my life without (making) music so I started a new project a week ago J. I can’t really say that much about it yet, since it’s simply too early for that right now. At home I don‘t only play or listen to death metal. I also love Satriani’s music for example and practise music like that or try to play a bit of acoustic guitar (which I’m still rubbish at, ha ha!)

When did you begin playing guitar? How did that happen?
I started playing the guitar in ’93. My main reason for wanting to play the guitar was that I loved metal so much and wanted to be able to do the same as I saw all these other guitarists doing. Especially Carcass and Bill Steer have always been a huge influence to me. At school there was this group of metalheads I became friends with and of course me and my sister always went to gigs together (still do). One morning she told me that she had discovered a metal radio show the night before and I should have a listen. I did and was hooked to metal ever since.

Do you also do vocals, play bass and/or drums?
That’s a nice question, because I don’t think that many people know that I also used to do vocals when we just started our first bands. I did additional vocals and guitars in Catafalque and Desensitised. In Catafalque together with our bassist and in Desensitised together with our singer. I also play a little bit of bass guitar every now and then, but definitely prefer playing the guitar. And of course, I always try to become a better guitarist.

What guitar equipment do you use?
I have used pretty much the same equipment for the last decade: Boss pedals (Metalzone, Delay, Noise surpressor, tuner), a Bad Horsie wah pedal and my modified Marshall head and ENGL cab. I have 7 guitars: three 7-strings, three 6-strings and one acoustic.

Are you currently working at a day job? What do you do?
Yep, I am. I teach English at a secondary school for higher education.

What type of lyrics do you like? Cliteater had typical gore, horror/shock value lyrics. What are your own ideas?
I have written most of the lyrics for both Desensitised and Murder Syndicate. I usually write about everyday life situations, things I see around me or things that bother me.
Ha ha, the Cliteater lyrics are all meant tongue in cheek and therefore should not be taken too seriously. The line–up the band had when I played with them was really cool. These guys were very nice and kind and not sexist at all. This whole porn concept just fits the band well and is obviously liked by a certain group of people, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

What else do you have going on in 2010 and 2011?
I have a number of things in the works, but can’t really say much about them yet since these are all brand new ideas, but this year will be a year of redirecting my goals which will hopefully be realised in 2011J. THE END.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Infinitum Obscure; Liktjern; Rotting Christ; Skogen

Infinitum Obscure (Mexico): Sub Atras Caelis
Metal occultism—in the sense of certain guitar/drum patterns (not necessarily referring just to the lyrical methods) is a particular metal strand informed by its own perspective/tradition—is a real entity, as Infinitum Obscure amply shows on this album.
Quite a classy approach, this one takes, with the mighty metal of death guitar tone/sound/heritage, and with the drumming, too. This guitar tone is one of the bravest: with this guitar tone, you can hear what the band is playing because it is upfront and clear. Therefore, devoid of trickery or deceit, you can decipher the guitar and hear how the band has organized each song, from one riff to the next, and the one following that, until the song ends.
The first impression will be black/death metal, with the sounds of “darkness” and the “underground” tradition. It does have those things.
But listen closely and these guitar riffs, licks and solos will practically reach out and grab you ear. What is the result? Metal that sounds meticulously constructed down to the last detail, but which appears unusually smooth, fluid and with a particular elegance of style and harmonious.
These riffs are an open invitation to bang your head. Or, if like some people, your neck has health problems, you can at least nod along in metal agreement throughout the whole cd: the sounds of the metal of death have a very specific tradition, but they are also, pound for pound, some of the most talented of metal guitar work.
About the vocals: the vocals are closer, possibly, to black metal, but this is NOT shrieked/raspy vocals, but a thicker/heavier/deeper growl. In other words, its appeal is for both death and black metal.
The drum work is done so well and correct and smoothly, that it doesn’t distract from the song. It’s not about showing off or doing strange beats or things like that. Rather, the drumming is like very organized, but big-idea drumming. Check out the track “Messenger of Chaos, I” (from this album and available on myspace, too) and hear for yourself a great example of the type of guitar tone and sounds, the proficient drumming, the vocals, the swirling guitar work and the general atmosphere that has been created. Some would say, it is the “cold darkness” of this band that stands out.
OK, well, fine. One more thing: the whole album is at that level of quality. The above example song is no fluke and it is representative.

Liktjern (Norway): Kulde, Pest & Død
Necrogrim black metal with the corpsepaint, chains, spikes, hatchets, bullet belts, leather, inverted crosses, skulls and every kind of obscurantism you can imagine.
These vocals are tortured by the black metal insight; the guitar sound is no friend of the studio or your ears!
The four songs waste no time on experimentation or any funny business for that matter. Chaotic, sloppy black metal pounding along to tremolo riffs.
An abrasive sound that they go for in this recording, which has demo-quality sound. Avoid if you require good production.
“Kirkebrann” (4:57) is no friend of certain buildings but friendly to fire and pyromaniacs. The speed is not blasting or super speedy, though it is a nice headbanging/uptempo pace and those tremolo riffs wind their way in trance-repetition mode: it pretty much sounds like it’s the same chord for the whole song.
There are three other songs and they are demonstrations in how to make music that sounds like the vocalist is taking his vocal chords to the limit. And he likes it! And he’s not the only one that likes.
The band declares that what they have in mind is called “true Norwegian black metal” and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
It is fugly, fugly metal.

Rotting Christ (Greece): Aealo (Season of Mist)
“Eon Aenaos” (3:59): A chunky chug-chug upbeat rhythm drives this, as well as an ear-candy melody (even pop-ish melodies); the growling is deep; uptempo song meant to be for headbanging; the result is something like a “rocking” upbeat, heavy-melodic goth track.
“Demonon Vrosis” (4:56): Midtempo goth-growl melodic, with a bluesy-melancholic guitar solo done in a very clear guitar tone, as are just about all the guitar melodies.
“Noctis Era” (4:49): Midtempo melodic goth-growl song; the energy level seems to have settled into a comfortable middle-of-the-road “rocking” along vibe; this is enhanced with background sounds that are kind of symphonic (but not too loud; it’s not upfront); of course, then there are those melodies played at a clear, high range.
“dub-sag-ta-ke” (2:59): Uptempo, harder “rocking” speedy track with some gang-shouting chanting and some high-clear singing. It goes by quickly
“Fire Death and Fear” (4:34): Another uptempo/midtempo track with some background “world-music” sounds (chanting, etc.); the track is part heavy, part light, but not in separate sections; rather, they run together and mix: “goth-growl” music? There is some “weirdness” or “experimentation” going on, but that’s taking place throughout the whole album
“Nekron Iahes” (1:08): Nothing but chanting something that sounds like the word “hey” being stretched out, as in “hhhheeeeyyyyyy heyyyyyyyyyyy” (don’t know exactly what the word could be) chanted in high voices and then it’s over; is this joke, genius or just plain annoying?!
There are other songs, of course. These are some examples from the first half of the album.

Hopefully that conveys the idea of what’s going on here. To some, this band is very hip or ahead of its time or adventurous or something like that. Whatever the word would be for people who are a pretty weird bunch but still use some, even substantial, metal elements. Maybe this is considered totally normal in some circles; or just normal goth metal. Don’t know.
This is the kind of album that some people will say that it opens their perspective to experimenting and things like that. The band obviously knows what they are doing.
On the other hand, if you are interested in words like “true” anything or “pure” this or you are “anti” this or “against” this or that “false” thing or whatever, you may want to stay away as far as possible because this band, this Rotting Christ, will make you angry or you’ll start ranting and raving. Save yourself the stress attack.

By the way, “Orders from the Dead” (Diamanda Galas cover) (8:57) is a spoken-word track, with some background music. It’s some sort of poem read aloud or something similar. Don’t know who they are covering. There is no singing or growling, but some person talking, sounding like a mystic or prophet or something like that (don’t know, really) declaring facts or observations. Some will understand and like; others might not; you decide.

Skogen (Sweden): Vittra (Frostscald/Hexenhammer)
How can Skogen be diverse elements and then bring them all together into cohesiveness?
Skogen is traditional, raw: tremolo riffs and those black metal vocals. Skogen is a prog metal band that has taken their prog to the lands of black metal; their songs often are eight or nine minutes long, where they work it out and bring it to fruition. Skogen is a folk/forest/atmospheric band that incorporated black metal into their craft; there are acoustic passages, and such other characteristic, important components. Skogen also uses some very clear and shiny guitar melancholies and even a bit of clean vocals for atmosphere. Of course, they do NOT use those clean vocals a lot and it’s not a formula; it’s a tiny bit, for background feeling, in a few places.
The album as a totality shows that they have done a lot with raw black metal, giving their music other angles, edges, sounds. This is big-idea, ambitious music and they sound as if they are making music only for themselves (there are only two people involved) and with no major goal of pleasing anyone else. The fact that other people like it, that’s a bonus. (Svensson and Nilsson play all instruments; drums are not listed, which may mean it’s a drum machine; the overall sound quality is good, though; maybe next time use a real drummer)
Something adventurous, different, but still very much for metal people, especially those into more ambitious music.
Here’s where you can listen:

Ensemble of Silence; Hellsteed; Immolation

Ensemble of Silence (Malaysia ): Dark Moon Rising
1. “A Force to Kill” (5:09): For the most part, on here, it is a thrashy guitar sound with semi-growl vocals that takes precedence. Quite a few influences come across, such as that style of melodic-thrashy guitar playing: sounds like a band still working out its musical direction.
2. “Dark Moon Rising” (5:14): Despite the scream/growl vocals, there is quite a bit of that guitar sound described above that pretty much dominates. The band goes for some slower, more melodic moments.
3. “Kiss of the Whisper” (4:47): Once again, the guitar work is the centerpiece. For the main guitar rhythm parts, it is a thrashy style, but there’s a decidedly melodic-metal guitar sound for other parts, like some licks, solos, etc.

Ensemble of Silence is closer to that more successful and commercially viable sound that some Swedish bands have made popular, and which has become very popular amongst U.S. rock bands that play “hard rock” or “metal.” This band sounds like a metal band, but definitely different from the majority of the bands reviewed in this zine.
This is their demo and it’s hindered by the sound quality, but their musical style comes across relatively intact. Having no knowledge of the metal scene in Malaysia, it is difficult to judge, so, if interested, check them out, if you don’t mind that melodic/twin-harmony thrashy guitar sound and would like to hear this band’s take on it.

Hellsteed (U.K.): Bastion of Cruelty
Hellsteed should be pleased with the sound quality on here. For example, the bass is very easy to discern and it’s heavy with a rumble. These three songs are a good representation of their seriousness of purpose.
1. “Bastion of Cruelty” (6:19): The vocals have a definite clenched-teeth black/death metal anger, but with pretty good enunciation. The song is uptempo, but this is not blasting death metal. The result is a song that utilizes its own sound to attract, where the band has to show what it is made of, without resorting to just playing fast: let the guitar convince or dissuade the listener, hear the riffs and see if you like.
2. “Behind Me a City Burns” (5:47): A more straightforward song, easier to remember simply because it emphasizes the uptempo speed. Is Hellsteed “progressive brutality”? Maybe “cold, prog brutality”? Part of the time the guitar riffs lean in the direction of dissonant sounds that underline non-melodic licks. Then they bust out with some headbanging moments. The two worlds coexist and thrive.
3. “Alone We All Die” (5:14): Begins with mellow guitar leading to uptempo, rumbly track with compact riffs that build a frame to a memorable verse, “Life has no reason, no bigger picture, in isolation, alone we all die.” It’s a good way to end the song with such an upbeat guitar part, raising the question as to what else this band is capable of.
So far, it’s got serious songs somewhere between brutality and prog metal. The growling will give the impression of a death metal band, but it’s really not just that, for the musical objective is a combination of several origins. Hellsteed doesn’t sound like anyone in particular. Few bands have the bass this upfront. Despite the framework of black/death metal, Hellsteed’s guitar work has some different elements (could be prog) in it that’s a bit hard to place. There is an integrity to the sound, and professionalism. It doesn’t sound like a bunch of people just recording stuff in their garage. This is not to say that it sounds like a big-budget production, but it’s pretty solid.

Immolation (US): Majesty and Decay (Nuclear Blast)
Of the ten songs on this album (plus an intro and an interlude), it would be acceptable to write reviews for each composition. However, instead, consider these four random examples of the work delivered, and from there, extract the necessary conclusions, since each of these songs is representative of the level of artistic expression at which Immolation functions.
7. “A Glorious Epoch” (4:39): From 0:00 to 1:43 this is hovering doom; the speed and major contortions begin at 1:43 and from there it’s riff upon massive riff building a monolith that twists and turns upon itself. Riffs and licks fly about the place, giving the impression that only repeated listens will clarify just what is happening here.
5. “Divine Code” (3:40): Interspersed with compact sections of speed and blasting, this is an exemplary praxis of that big-riff heaviness that’s key to the Immolation sound. It is framed with several of those contorted tempo changes. The two guitar solos are different, both of them short: one is crisp, crystal clear and fluid, while the other one is circular, simpler. This song does have lyrics and vocals, but the song sounds a bit like an instrumental, though obviously it is not.
12. “The Comfort of Cowards” (5:52): Mr. Dolan’s vocals are very low and gruff, but his enunciation is clear enough that some of what he’s growling can be understood when he’s not growling very fast. When growling slower, he sounds like a diabolical character-monster in a movie. Look at how long this one lasts. As you can imagine by now, it’s fairly representative of the more complex side of Immolation.
10. “The Rapture of Ghosts” (5:21): It sounds like there are at least three guitars very audibly swirling into a bundle of plodding heaviness, with a fast double bass drum balancing the weight. Mr. Dolan’s vocals are pretty deep and there are some crisp guitar licks that appear and disappear, like sparks. Plus, towards the end there is a guitar melody worked and reworked until the song’s finality.

These ten songs all display a serious effort to engage the composition at its multifaceted focus. Those that enjoy guitar work that is challenging and non-linear will find much to explore. Notice, for example, how Immolation actually uses what are called “traditional black metal riffs” (but with a thick/heavy sound) in some places and yet this hardly ever gets mentioned because supposedly Immolation is considered “pure death metal.” Or check out the “melodies” and how Immolation utilizes them, trespassing limits, yet doing it in an intelligent way, the opposite of ear-candy sounds or sounds that pander to the audience’s nostalgia (re-hashing other band’s melodies). As if this weren’t enough, take a few listens to those dissonant, riffs-working-against-each-other-in-harmony elements that impel to the listener to return to the songs: how is it that these riffs work together when they sound like they are colliding against each other?
This album is about feeling and vibe, heaviness and a twisted way of writing songs. This requires more than a couple of listens to understand, but this is not a new situation with Immolation. Of course, this has bursts of speed and blasting, but simplicity and linear songs are not Immolation’s main features: massive riffs, dissonant riffs, quality licks and solos, deep vocals, well-placed speed, capable drumming with carefully done technical elements and lyrics contemplative of the band’s perceived state of the planet.
This is the band whose music will give you hand cramps when you play along on your guitar to what captain Vigna is playing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Crypt (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Crypt (Bosnia and Herzegovina): Controlling the Madness
1. “Fresh Cadaverous Flesh” (4:23): This demo is low-guttural death: basic and cozy, jackhammer-drumming-driven growl music. With this band, the drummer sounds like the heartmachine of the band: such dominant drumming just anchors the whole proceedings. There certainly is a Mike Smith school of drumming going on. Not too shabby, Crypt!
2. “Maggots” (5:09): this song’s lyrics are actually not jackass gore-zombie lyrics, but about mental domination. With a title like that it’s easy to observe, “Not another band with the lyrics about zombies, worms and excrement.” But it’s not. However, it is true that the other lyrics are still very much into the gore, but maybe in the future they can find a way out of this cliché, as they did with this song.
3. “Throne of Insanity” (5:09): Crypt flexes their fast, blasting and uptempo, and occasionally midpaced, musical muscles to get what they want by way of a “brutal death metal” sound. There are a couple of brief guitar solos, and this track goes straight for a pounding-drum attitude.
4. “Tomb of Abomination” (5:56): They use a little of that groove/mosh/crunch. Sure, the band is still honing their sound.
It’s a demo with easy-to-enjoy songs by a band clearly developing their sound. Crypt is very a meat-and-potatoes death metal band and they are not pretending something else besides loud, blasting, growling music for the moshing crazies. It is “sick death metal” that motivates them.

Burning Thy Symbols (Germany)

Burning Thy Symbols (Germany): Superior E.P. (Mountain King Records)
1. “Superior” (5:57): No introductions, just black metal storms from the start: raw, speedy and blasting traditional-torch black metal of raspy-throat-shrieked vocals. Due to the shriek and overall noise, it’s a bit difficult to notice the gem: this song has several twists that take the tempo in nonlinear directions. It’s raw metal, but it’s not two-chord music. If it were, maybe it would not be easy to do a six-minute song? Do they mean to sound this raw or is it simply a lack of resources?
2. “Lords of Chaos” (6:05): Here the band displays a raw-tremolo-melodic edge, but then with those total-shriek vocals, how this vocalist can raise a noisy jamboree all by his corpsepainted self! Of course, he gets help from the rest of the band. Again, this is not repetitive-riff black metal, raging on the same riff for one song. For instance, by the middle of this song, there quite a bit of road that has been traveled, pretty far from the beginning’s riffs.
3. “Burning Thy Symbols” (6:17): I’m starting to think that the vocalist MS is a raging sado-masochist: he loves to torture his own throat. Yes! And wouldn’t you know it, at 3:10-4:00 these crazies show a little guitar-catchiness, before another round of rage.
4. “The Slaughter of God’s Child” (5:07): Plenty left in the tank. Nice part with some tapping, at 1:50-3:23, gives it a rocking vibe, but of course those shriek-vocals are screaming over the tapping. This whole part lasts a little while and the song is better for it.
5. “Invoke the Emperor” (7:10): This one starts out like another we-play-black-metal-and-that’s-that track. Fine. Bring it! But this song has an unexpected twist: they bust out with some clean singing at 1:55-2:23, then until 2:53, there is simple but very effective solo, and all of this is followed by a return of the grimness and chaos. Later on, those same clean-vocals lyrics appear to be done in the shriek style, giving it a different angle.
With this last song a clearer picture emerges: raging black metal, but they have a constant tendency to change the patterns within a song, so it’s not a one-trick pony. Final answer: yes, it’s raw and shrieked, but not one-dimensional. Speculation: expect more ambitious undertakings in the future.
Cynics might say that this is just typical angry-Donald-Duck-vocals black metal, but there is more to it than just shrieking and blasting.