Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Darkestrah (Kyrgyzstan/Germany): Khagan

Darkestrah (Kyrgyzstan/Germany): Khagan (Osmose)
“Saga of Temudgin” (9:28): Raw, atmospheric, symphonic black metal with high shriek vocals and upfront keyboard landscapes rock out for several minutes. Then there’s a soft/mellow transition. Then symphonic black metal returns at an uptempo (not blasting) speed, that is, until the blasting shows up again. By now, it seems like the song has turned into a fast black metal semi-instrumental number, with a strong symphonic element. This song has some “clear” vocals, but it sounds like an evil monk chanting from the middle of the woods. Good stuff.
“Onon River” (2:58): A simple acoustic, instrumental piece for the total time of duration that is, more than anything, a transition to the next track.
“Khagan” (10:55): This has also several minutes of fast black metal and quiet/mellow transition to midtempo black metal. This type of song, of course, has several moods within it, from heavier, grim moments, to stretches of total speed, and other things in between.
Darkestrah requires patience for the changes in mood and speeds. Not for the casual listener of black metal, since, one would think, the demands of the music weed out those who want instant gratification. The dedicated listener will understand better after repeated listens.

Monday, March 26, 2012 new issue, number 29 of Metal Bulletin zine is available to read now as a PDF new issue, number 29 of Metal Bulletin zine is available to read now as a PDF

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tarvas (Finland)

Tarvas (Finland)These folk metal upstarts were around 16-18 years old, with their EP “Kostoretki,” a very memorable recording.
Now they around 18-20, and they have “Rajan taa” to offer. Still folk-based, but in a more metal direction, more guitar-driven, more headbanging music, Tarvas continues.
It’s somewhat pointless to get too much into categories, though. Tarvas is making some good music and you probably don’t know them, and that’s the problem!
Here’s a little info on Tarvas to get you started.
Otto (guitars, vocals) and Iiro (drums) responded from somewhere in the middle of frozen Finland.
Hello, Tarvas!! What is going on in the city of Jyväskylä for your band? How is your city or town?
It's been quite quiet here for us in Jyväskylä for the past few months. Tarvas has been on a break since our last gig in October, and we are currently looking for a new lead guitarist and writing new songs. The line up has changed a few times: we've had three different bassists and the lead guitarist left because he wasn't interested in playing folk based metal anymore. But there has always been the three founding members: Otto (voc/guit), Jere (synth) and Iiro (drums).

I really like your E.P. “Kostoretki”!! It is very good!! That was your second recording, correct?! How old are you guys? On the Metal Archives picture it looks you are 9-10 or maybe 12.
Yes, Kostoretki was our second recording, but we don't see the first one as a release since we never made CD-copies of it. And we re-recorded the songs for Kostoretki. And the first demo is pure crap.
Currently we are 18-20 years old. The picture is, umm, oldish. In the picture we were something like 15-16... But let's not talk about that infamous photo.
We started Tarvas in the winter of 2009, so we were about 15 back then.

Is this your first band? I hope Tarvas continues for a long time! I We all had some experiences about playing in a group before, but Tarvas is the first actual real thing we've played in. And we hope that we'll continue for a long time as well!

What are the lyrics to your songs, like “Punaisen Auringon Laulu”? I do not speak any Finnish!!
We all write lyrics for our songs. The lyrics are usually metaphorical, and are often influenced by Finnish and scandic mytology and traditions. The themes come from our own lives, or whatever happens to be on the writers mind at the time. Punaisen Auringon Laulu, for example, is about nightmares.

Tell us about the instruments you use. You use, of course, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Do you use accordions?
In Kostoretki we used jaw harp, melodica, some whistles and a beer bottle (listen to the beginning of Pullo). But most of the odd sounds that can be heard in our records come from the keyboards. We don't use accordions.

What has happened since you recorded “Rajan taa”?
Since we recorded Rajan Taa, in Cygnaeus studio in Jyväskylä, we've done a few gigs and rehearsed some new material. We haven't had too many gigs, though.

Is there one person that writes these songs? You’ve probably heard people say that Tarvas is a “baby Moonsorrow”?
All of us have written songs. Some songs are completed at the rehearsal place, some have been completed alone by whoever had an idea for it. And yes, we've heard us being called "baby Moonsorrow"... Not too much though. We all like the band very much, and it is a compliment to be compared to them. So it really doesn't bother us that much. We think that we also have our own sound, and that we don't rip it all off from somebody else.

Do you think this could be a career for you? What does your mom think about you pursuing a career in music?
We of course hope, that we could make a career out of music, but we don't want to get our hopes too high. We'll do our best and see how far we can get with it. Long tours sound like a lot of fun, it's every rocker’s dream! Our families have been supportive to us throughout the history of Tarvas.

How can they hear your music and get copies? What is your telephone number, so that people can call you in the middle of the night, and scream “Tarvas rules, man!!”?
The best way to contact us is to send us e-mail to, or to like our facebook page at Our music can be heard in facebook and, and in various other places in the internet.
If you would like to buy our stuff - send mail and we'll ship 'em to you where ever you are! We live in central Finland and if you would like to meet us, just look for us and you may find us... that's not a promise though. ;)

Finally, does “Tarvas” mean “Freezing cold forest” in Finnish? Or Maybe “Tarvas” means, “Please help me, the winter is depressing me”?
The word "Tarvas" translates to "Five metalheads who want to get laid".... seriously, it is old Finnish. The word is not being used anymore, but it means something like moose, elk, or ox. An animal with horns. That's why there's horns in our logo. We're so horny. *badum thss*
Thanks for having interest for our band! THE END.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Zwavelstorm (Belgium)

Zwavelstorm (Belgium): Verdwijn
Frozen dead true tremolo raw black metal recorded perfectly for a very human performance from within a cave or coffin.
The drums sound like drums, the guitars sound like real guitars and the vocalist does not sound perfect, just tortured.
Having heard it more than a few times, at this point, to these ears, this sounds good and horrendous, in a positive sense, vocals included.
Don’t get the wrong impression, though. It’s not total-blasting black metal, and the rawness works well for the slower moments of melancholy, melody…in a raw context.
For those that like metal to be raw and not robotized!

Haiduk (Canada); Influence (Poland)

Haiduk (Canada): Plagueswept
Although Haiduk is firmly based in the black/death zone, this is different in several good ways.
1. It’s all about the riffs and the hooks. Nice combination of rhythm and melodic hooks and other goodies for a fun listen where you can hear the different guitars working.
Just know that this is not a fancy recording, and it sounds good recorded this way.

2. The mellow/melodic moments stand out for Haiduk and it’s a promising aspect, to keep things heavy, while adding some twisted melodies.
This is a self-release and it sounds pretty raw, though this music works well in this case, actually. Apparently, this is the work of one person. A young metal genius? Don’t know, but a hard-working musician, for sure. Impressive.

Influence (Poland): Where Does Your Way Lead To?
Four songs, about 15 minutes.
Considering that this is the band’s first recording, this has a very professional sound, vibe and delivery.
Don’t know much about them and their previous bands, but Influence’s first recording shows a band that has largely arrived at their sound: the straightforward, immediate impact of thrash, with the heaviness and vocals of death metal, within, say, a Vader-Pantera framework.

Having heard this recording some 7 times, I still do not remember many hooks from it, although it’s tight and aggressive, with grooves. Those thrash/mosh heavy parts are essentially the “money riff” for Influence: not complicated, and to the point.
Good job. More attention to the “money riff” will work well in the future, methinks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blaspherian (Texas)

Blaspherian (U.S.): Infernal Warriors of Death (Deathgasm)
Just how much heaviness is possible in death metal is what Blaspherian want to find out.
These guitars are tuned to the “thunderstorm” setting, and if they were any heavier, this band might go ahead and bite the bullet and stop using guitars altogether, and just use nothing but bass guitars.
The guitars play one super-heavy-duty thick riff and squeeze everything they can from it.
The vocals are way, way beyond incomprehensible and I’m pretty sure the rest of the band has no idea what growler is saying…maybe he doesn’t know either…he’s just growling as low as it gets ... total death metal.
They have lyrics about being “Sworn to Death and Evil” and “Infernal Warriors of Death,” so the imagery is crafted to fit the massive downtuned chaos.
Of course, this band loves Bolt Thrower and Incantation…that’s the ticket right there.
Some people think death metal is a matter of life and death.
To Blaspherian death metal is more serious than that.

Azterion (Costa Rica)

Azterion (Costa Rica): Destructural (Negativity Records)
Azterion is mostly concerned with making an overwhelming racket. Noisy stuff.
After a few listens, it still sounds noisy. The total brutality of low, guttural, incomprehensible vocals, and a swirling mess of a guitar wall of terror just abuse the ears. There is a technical/progressive side to the band, but the massive noise makes it difficult to hear that really well.
It’s not sing-along music and it’s not even growl-along music. If you try to bang your head, you might find that it’s difficult to keep up. You’ll be banging your head, and then, they switch the rhythm and you’ll stop and say, “What? What just happened?!”
Plus, they have a sense of humor. They end the recording with a mellow piano piece and the last minute is the sweetest guitar solo!
I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.

Godhate (Sweden)

Godhate (Sweden): Equal in the Eyes of Death (Metal Age)
Fans of Behemoth, Vader, Hate and that particular style of death metal, would be the audience for Godhate.
Fast, blasting, gruff vocals and on the constant “brutality” and “death metal attack” mode, for sure.
The lyrics live up to the name of the band and embody the standard points of this style of death metal.
This band want you to form a massive mosh pit wherever they go or whenever you hear the music, whether in your room and on the bus.
Get those other bus riders moshing!
Obviously, you have to like a lot of death metal to like this band. If you consider yourself real “picky,” then move on, there’s nothing to see here. Uptight people need not apply.
Godhate does a good job of bringing the heaviness, blasting and brutality. What else is there to say? C’mon, this is death metal, not classical music we’re talking about.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arum (Brazil)

Arum (Brazil): Occult Cataclysm- The New Era Rises (Negativity Records)
Don’t let the bullet belts, spikes, corpse paint, and angry-funny faces fool you:
Arum is a talented bunch, despite their image to the contrary.

Hold on, there, …
Is that an acoustic guitar I hear on “The Age of Shadows”?!

Ah, yeah, that’s an acoustic guitar!
The jig is up!
Arum actually has real talent, they can play those guitars all day and all night until the bats wake up and come out to play.
“Lord of Ancient Forest”…yeah, it’s grim, sure…but check out those ridiculously good guitar melodies.
You know what? That’s all you need to know, really. Arum’s music is raw and appropriately ugly…once you get past the ugly part, you will find some beautiful melodies.
Remember: don’t let the ugly fool you, beauty is under the ugly. This is an oldie, but still sounds good.

Vrani Volosa (Bulgaria)

Vrani Volosa (Bulgaria)
A creative and musically ambitious band like Vrani Volosa makes a certain type of metal in which you can hear the black metal base swirling in prog/folk, but it sounds better than that description: it’s definitely memorable and just done very well.
“Pink Floyd goes metal”? Maybe. Regardless, it’s a wonderful album.
High quality, too, of course: “Heresy/Epec”: an album that’s over an hour of music.
The professional guitar twister by the name of Hristo gives an insight into Vrani Volosa.

I have enjoyed your album “Heresy” for the high quality of the songs. It seems like you have found a great equilibrium between metal, melody and the atmosphere. How old are these songs? When was your previous album made?
Hello, Mauricio!!! Really great pleasure talking to ya, mate! Well, the early ideas for the “Heresy” album go back to the beginning of 2005 when I started thinking about the follower of our first album “Where The Heart Burns.” At that time we split with our former vocalist Atanas and I was really confused what was going on with the band and I actually decided to change a little bit the musical direction of Vrani Volosa.
Our first album was recorded at the end of 2003 and middle 2004 and was released on a digipack cd by Corvus Records. I think our music at that time was inspired by bands like Bathory, Enslaved and Primordial spiced with some elements in the veins of Pink Floyd, I think we can name it ambient black metal. Most of the songs are very long with repeating melancholic atmospheric themes and we used screaming vocals at that time. So it was kind of difficult process to explore the new musical vision of Vrani Volosa in terms of a second album. The composing started in 2005 and ended in 2007 when we actually started recording sessions for “Heresy”, we got about 30 songs and we had to choose 10-11 tracks that had to stay inside the record. I think the half of the tracks we used were composed in 2005-2006 and the other half in 2007.

How long were you in the studio recording? Where do you record? I like the quality of the sound. It is not too “modern” and “technical” and “computerized,” that’s good.
- Well, we spent about 2 years recording music, not all the time of course, in Set Nitro Studio in our home town Burgas. We had really productive sessions in 2007 and beginning of 2008, then there were problems with the computers in the studio, we lost some recorded material, so we had to wait a while all the technical stuff to be solved and of course we re-recorded the lost material, the mixing also took us a lot of time. I’m not pissed off about delaying our album, I remember those times with so much good, we didn’t feel any pressure, we didn’t have deadlines, so I think “Heresy” is an album of band’s joy of making music, we feel it as a statement and we wanted to finish it some day, to see it released on a cd and of course we were curious about the reactions of the fans.
But we really didn’t want to hurry up! Yeah, the sound is straight in the face, it’s not polished, the guitars sound exactly as we want them to sound in the rehearsal room, breathing and pumping. We used a couple of tube amps, because we wanted to hear the dynamics of playing the guitar, you know, the right hand bombing like hell and few minutes later caressing the strings. I like mostly the sounding of the old bands exactly because of their rough and natural sounding!!!

I do not know too much about your band. How did you arrive at your sound of a metallic combination of Pink Floyd, Rush and black metal?
Hey, Mauricio, I fucking adore these bands you mentioned!!! Well done, hehehe! I don’t know, I just love listening to good old music, I am a fan and I always wanted to make good music for my band, too. It’s so much easier to create if you don’t think of the product, if you don’t think how journalists will name your style. It’s just music. And our music has roots. We all in the band listen to vintage rock music and heavy metal next to the extreme styles, so I think we naturally reached ours now and I think that our future will be even more colorful and varied!
You asked me about mixture of ambient and extreme parts in our songs. If you play any of Metallica and Iron Maiden LPs you can find such moments, varieties, changes of tempos. I think it’s coming from the vintage music as it was not that radio-orientated, but theatrical and dramatic, trying to capture and spread different feelings in the same song. As fans we are coming from that time, so we are strongly influenced by those classic rock and heavy metal records!

What is the history of the song “Sun”? It’s such a fun song! What about your most Pink Floyd-like song, “We Are Not Alone in Our Universe”?
Ok! “Sun” is about preparing for a battle, it’s the sun that you see probably for the last time in your life before you meet your enemies and it’s so purifying, beautiful, squeezing, giving so much strength and belief for good for your families and friends! The first four lines spoken are taken from our classic Peyo Yavorov’s “Exiles” and I strongly recommend you, Mauricio, to read this poem (I know it’s translated into Italian already!)!!! This song is inspired by the feeling to fight for what you love till the last breath, but also it’s a farewell with the beauty of everything you loved, sacrificing your life for it!!!
“We Are Not Alone” is a different story. The concept deals with the pantheon of our age-old culture (the greatness in so many aspects as military success, science for that time!), state and there is a dialogue between the old spirits that remember those times and the nowadays Bulgarians that obviously lost connection with their predecessors. I think this dialogue can be held in most of the countries in Europe, can’t they?! I love the music in “We Are Not Alone” - it’s gloomy, dark, epic, and the grand finale is smashing my face and tears my heart. I wrote the finale introduction when my grandmother was at my place, winter time, we talked a lot about the roots of our family, relevants, etc. I was with my guitar jamming all the time. She died a couple of months later and what she left behind is that tiny melody that twists people attending to our gigs.

You are based in Burgas, Bulgaria, correct? How is the metal scene for you in Bulgaria? Do you play concerts frequently?
Yes, correct! Burgas was the Mecca of metal in Bulgaria! So many bands we had, a jungle of underground metal. I was a teenager when I was attending underground gigs in my home town, to see bands like Necromancer, Biophobia, Diabolism. It was cool, no worries about anything, just metal! I miss those times! Nowadays is cool too, we have a lot of amazing underground metal bands, active, playing in clubs, pubs e.t.c.
You must check out The Revenge Project, Dark Inversion, Shambless, Uhumanity, Dimholt, the new Demonism is awesome too!!! We played a lot last two years, we managed to make a small European tour (at last!!!) and I hope that we can play as much as we can in the near future!

Does your bass player Alex play guitar to write songs, too? He used to be in the death metal band Act of Grotesque?
Yes, Alexander was one of the main songwriters in Act of Grotesque. But he left a couple of years ago, he is a happy father of a son right now and he is deeply concentrated in what we do together in Vrani Volosa. I love to jam with this guy. He’s awesome blues-player and a total High On fire-maniac.

Is Hristo Krasimirov the main songwriter? He is a founding member of the band. What was he doing before 2003?
Yes, all ideas come from my head, for bad and for good. I feel purified when making music and it’s so since day one of Vrani Volosa. That’s the band of my life, it’s everything I wanted to do musically, and it also gives me freedom to be an artist, to share what I feel with my friends and with my music.
Back in the day I used to play with a couple of bands, amongst all of them I can mention Korozy, where I took bass duties for a short period of time. Korozy was big back then in 2001, 2002, we hoped we’d tour Russia, but they took me to the navy and we were forced to go to the army by law and so I quit Korozy and after finishing all my duties to the army, I was free to open my heart with a new musical experience, which I later named Vrani Volosa!

Do you have songs in Bulgarian or only songs in English? What do you think about recording music in Bulgarian?
I think that lyrics should come naturally, so I use every single good idea. I have my own notebook, always a pen with me too and I always write my ideas in this notebook! For me personally it’s not easy to write lyrics at all, I should be in the right mood for it, and most of the time I don’t feel inspired, but sometimes there are events that fire the spark and after a couple of hours spent in writing I find some good lines that could be the lyric of a song! So was the case with “Sun” which is one of the most popular Vrani Volosa-songs and probably because it’s written in Bulgarian. People recognize it on gigs and sing along with the band, which makes me tremble every time! Also “Where The Heart burns” is in Bulgarian and one of my best lyrics! People in Bulgaria love the message in our Bulgarian lyrics and fans in Europe find these songs exotic in a way! It’s strange hehehe!

Do you use the acoustic guitar in all your songs? “All to Ash” certainly has the acoustic guitar, right? By the way, do your band usually just have guitar, bass, vocals and drums?
In “All To Ash” I used a 12-string acoustic guitar, also in the intro of “Sun” I used the same guitar. In the other songs we have electric guitars plugged into tube amps and cabinets and that’s why the whole record is so warm sounding! But I definitely would use an acoustic guitar in our next record too!!! Yes, we use that classic rock n roll scheme having two electric guitars, bass, drums and vocals! Pure energy for me!

Where are the cities and countries where you have found that people show most interest in Vrani Volosa? Have you played in any festivals?
-I love all the places we’ve visited so far! But one of the best gigs we’ve ever had was in a very small town in Serbia, called Apatin (the famous Serbian beer Jelen is brewed there). We played in a small motorcycle club, it was full with maniacs that sang along and had really good time!
Yeah, we played several festivals, the biggest was Spirit Of Burgas 2010 on the Black Sea shore, and the most interesting so far, Fimbul Festival in Furth, Germany. I love German festivals, they are so well organized, you don’t have to think a lot of anything, you just have to find the beer!!!! Heheheheheh!

How can people contact you? What are your future plans?
You can find me in facebook, I answer all fans’ letters, my name is Hristo Krasssimirov. There is also a band page in Facebook, too. I’m not a fan of band web sites, so we don’t have one. In Facebook and MySpace we have a real contact with our fans and that’s a lot more important to me!!!
Our future plans are to tour more in Europe, we have some plans already. Also we have tons of new Vrani-songs that wait to be recorded, so I hope that in 2013 we’ll have a new Vrani Volosa-album!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lords of the Trident

Lords of the Trident (U.S.)
Speaking of Lords for the Trident (Wisconsin), Cannibal Corpse posted on Twitter, “Thy music shall destroy our ears! The crown is thine, Lords!”
The Lords’ next-door neighbor, Manowar, has repeatedly complained to the local authorities, “This band just won’t stop playing that loud metal music at night, when we are trying to rest! It’s too much! This much metal is just ridiculous.”
Judas Priest has declared, “These blokes really ought to stop being so metal. This is just giving everyone else a bad reputation for being less metal, isn’t it?”
Dream Evil left them a message: “Stop it!! You’re too much for the Book of Heavy Metal.”
Suffocation said on Facebook: “Too metal for us.”

Microphone annihilator and leather pants wearer Fang Von Wrathenstein took a break from riding his dragon and thusly he spake to the minions’ questions.
What is your assessment of your two recorded crusades (“Death or Sandwich” and “Chains on Fire”) of sword and axe-swinging metal? What about live demonstrations of your skills in the Middle Kingdom of Wisconsin?
I’d be tempted to say “so far, so good”, but we know that there will ALWAYS be more battles to fight and unworthy mortals to slay! We feel our albums have been getting better and better as time goes on...”Death or Sandwich” was like an earthquake, “Chains on Fire” was like an atomic bomb...I’m fairly sure the next album we’re working on (with the current working title of “Unite”) will be akin to a global thermonuclear war. We’ve set ourselves a limit of the number of tracks on the album - 10 - although we have MUCH more material than that. So this album will only be filled with the best of the best. And so far, all of the songs that have gotten the green light for this album are catchy as hell. They call songs that get stuck in your head “earworms”. Well, this album will be like some sort of horrible worm colony, where the worms have added lasers to their bodies to infiltrate even the most well-fortified ear.
In terms of our battles in and around Wisconsin, it’s obvious at this point that we are the unchallenged rulers of metal in the Midwest (just as the prophesy foretold). Tales of our battles have traveled far and wide, as have we! Our last gold-plated touring RV broke down after a missile attack, so we’re currently searching for a new means of conveyance, and in the meantime we’re focusing mostly on completing songs for this upcoming album. But we’ve been able to generate quite the horde of minions in and around lower Wisconsin. Madison is so well-fortified by our knights, other metal bands keep quite a wide breadth on their way through. Unless, of course, they’re invited to do battle with us!

Is your legendary anthem “Legions of Hypocrisy” about the “metalcore” scene? How will the Lords execute the emo core breakdown renegades: guillotine, impalement or high-cholesterol hamburgers?
No, unfortunately, but I do like that interpretation! I can’t tell you the number of terrible metalcore bands we’ve had to slay (in front of their own “fans”, even!). And believe it or not, we’ve used all of the execution methods you’ve already outlined, and more! I find the best way to take care of a metalcore band is to rig the stage with a spike pit beforehand. Eventually the crab-core jumping during the breakdowns will loosen the already loose stage floor, and they will fall to their deaths, a la “Mortal Kombat”.

In your aural attack known as “Face of the Enemy” you speak of being persecuted. Then, later on, you composed another tune about “The Enforcer” who lays down the law. Please tell the stories of these two songs and how paranoia is a warrior’s best friend.
The lyrics and story behind “Face of the Enemy” is an interesting one. We were sitting in our practice space, jamming on this new song (which would become “Face of the Enemy”), and Asian Metal liked it SO MUCH, he said “QUICK! Fang! Grab something and read it for the lyrics!” We’ll normally do this when we’re SO excited about a song that we don’t take the time to write out lyrics - we just grab whatever’s available. So I reached over to my computer desk and grabbed the instruction booklet for the 1995 PC game “Angel Devoid: Face of the Enemy” and started reading/singing. I had picked up the game at a goodwill store for $0.15. Now, for you younger readers, back in the day, instruction booklets for video games were HUGE, and normally came with a little mini-novella of the story’s back plot. This one was no exception. The thing I was reading fit SO well, that I decided to ready the whole thing and turn it into lyrics. And thus, Face of the Enemy was born. Go check it out on YouTube!
In terms of The Enforcer, that song is about the slow crawl of souls from purgatory up into heaven. We always envisioned that any souls we sent to the afterlife would have to win one final battle with an enforcer, if you will, before entering in the afterlife. To show their worthiness and all that. So the song was built behind that idea. We’ll test the souls in this life...the ones who aren’t able to stand up to our sonic face melting will have to face THE ENFORCER!

Is the restaurant Medieval Times a place that you frequent in your crusades of pillaging in the Middle Kingdom of Wisconsin and the Frozen Realm of Illinois?
MY GOD that place gives me nostalgia. Reminds me of the good old days when men were men, and horses were cars, and women were also quite manly for some reason. Eating with your hands, watching bloodshed (even if it’s staged)...ah, that brings me back! If I had my way, every chain restaurant would be like that. Imagine Chuck E. Cheese with tiny sets of armor for the kids! And tiny deadly weapons for them to learn the essential skills of combat. I hate to use the word...but...HOW CUTE!

On YouTube there are videos of Lords of the Trident, but in these videos there is not nearly enough fire. Why is no one’s guitar on fire? Shouldn’t a warrior’s microphone be on fire the whole time he conquers the audience?
We can’t give ALL of our surprises away in our videos! Of COURSE we have guitars and microphones that light on fire in our live shows. But hey, if we showed that off ALL the time, there’d be no element of danger to our shows! People would come all slicked up with fire-retardant gel from head to toe, and there’d be no accidental lighting of people on fire. Now how fun would that be? You’ll have to come out to one of our shows to see the real thing. And don’t ruin it by wearing wet towels. We want you nice and dry for our Yeah, that’s
Also, I’ll have you know, we DO have a video that has fire in EVERY SINGLE SHOT - the music video for “Chains on Fire”. We shot it in an active volcano, so we couldn’t avoid getting fire in there. Lost a lot of good cameramen during that shoot.

In a way three-way fight between Zeus, Satan and Fang Von Wrathenstein, who would be wearing the most leather? Who has the most powerful chariots? Whose horses would fly the fastest across the sky?
Zeus: Nice guy, really into that “electricity” thing. Has a nice fast chariot, but tends to ride it with one hand on the e-brake, so what I’m saying is he’s kind of flinchy, and I wouldn’t want to be his passenger even on a good day of driving. No leather on that guy, just a toga, and TRUST ME - you don’t want to catch him in a gust of wind. Ewww. Zeus, we don’t need to see that again.
Satan: THAT guy knows how to throw a party. Doesn’t really have a chariot, and honestly, usually just wears a nice business suit rather than leather, so I’d go with me winning each of those categories. Two things Satan has me beat on - lawyers, and wine and cheese tastings. You wouldn’t think so, but the devil is a wine SNOB! Makes a lot of sense if you really think about it.
So I’d say I’d probably win on the leather and chariots...possibly even the flying fastest across the sky thing. But I prefer to do it on ground, in a nice Jaguar with spikes and chainsaws on the side. Now THAT’S riding in style.

In the Middle Kingdom of Wisconsin there have been marches by teachers, students and workers fighting for justice. Don’t you think it is time Lords of the Trident joined forces with those masses and show them how to get medieval on the usurpers in the government? What say you, oh Lords?! To the fight!! Raise your swords!!
Every good king knows that his kingdom is built upon the backs of his peasants. You have to be NICE to the people before you slay them - it’s just common sense. But overall, we tend to stay out of the politics of the day. I let my sword do the talking. But I will tell you than many of our strongest knights are affiliated with higher education (after all, a knight has to has brains AND brawn), and are none-too-happy with our current situation. And hey, if they use their precisely-honed battle skills to cause a revolt, well, good on them!

You have lyrics about battles, and other epic things. However, it would be truly epic to write lyrics about brushing your teeth or doing the laundry. There is so much room for fantasy and myth in such topics! The ladies love powerful songs about bodily cleanliness and good personal hygiene!
As anyone in the band will tell you, I am probably the cleanest barbarian you’ll ever meet. If I don’t get a shower after a show, it’s bad news. And I will say that most of my best lyric and song ideas come to me while I’m in the nirvana of a nice, hot, shower. Perhaps I’ll be writing a nice contemplative song about that some day. Or maybe “The Ballad of Folding a Fitted Sheet”. That’s almost harder that facing an ogre in hand-to-hand combat!

Is it true that your next album will be titled: “The Knights Who Say Ni”?! Tell the stories of the holy hand grenade of Antioch!
Actually, the original title was “Knights who say ecky-ecky-ecky-patung-zupow-zwaaaza”, but apparently that’s far too long of a title for iTunes tagging. And who can accurately put that into google? Imagine the misspellings.

By the way, Lords, what does your future hold in this year of 2012? How can the peasants and serfs of Washington State, where I reside, experience your aural attacks of metal unbound? Must we travel to the Middle Kingdom of Wisconsin to witness the metal?
Well, by the end of the year (or hopefully, by the end of the summer) we should be done with our new album, and we’ll be planning our release tour! I understand that many people out there have an issue making the long and arduous journey all the way to the Middle Kingdom, so in the meantime, they may enjoy the metal (through their most stalwart speakers, of course) by going to the most METAL domain on the planet:
Our albums are available through iTunes and, and you can even listen to the whole album for free on our bandcamp site! If you enjoy your metal in the visual format, you can check out our MANY videos on, along with our official music videos. We also sell a full-length concert DVD on our main site if you’d rather see the full experience. Just make sure you fortify your computer before visiting these sites...we’ve heard of weaker monitors melting during playback. THE END.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tormented, Wormrot, Wykked Wytch

Tormented (Sweden): Rotten Death (Listenable)
Name your band Tormented. Name your album “Rotten Death.” Then name your songs, “Drowning in Decaying Flesh,” “Vengeance from Beyond the Grave,” “Blood of the Undead,” Tomb of Corpses,” so and so forth.
Now, record your music to make it sound like it was recorded in a coffin. What do you get?
The result is classic-style death metal, based on the brutality of the grotesque and macabre.
And not a problem to be found anywhere on the whole album: not a single thing to complain about.
Tormented’s music has a way of sounding enjoyable because of the overall feel: there is a genuine attraction to classic death metal; the riffs (despite the horror/graveyard image) are memorable and easy to get into; there are effective guitar solos here. The guitar tone is total death metal buzzsaw and fits the sound very well.
Combine the above elements with very appropriate drumming that is played with feeling for rhythm, and real, genuine death metal growl, and you have death metal that will quickly win you over. When the music stops, in your head you will hear the growling, riffs and drumming. It’s that effective.
Tormented is all about death metal in the classic style. This is not fancy and tech-savy. It’s raw death metal. Now, this is how it’s done!

Wormrot (Singapore): Dirge (Earache)
SONGS: 25 songs; many are between 30 seconds and 1 minute; total running time is some 18 minutes.
LYRICS: bloody cheeky monkey/smartass topics, with titles like “All Go No Emo” and “Semiconscious Godsize Dumbass.”
CREATIVITY: it’s all grind speed and energy.
TALENT: raging, screaming, growling, blasting.
SOUND/PRODUCTION: a tight, loud production; clear, grind sound quality; raw, not too computerized; very appropriate.

Grind insanity for a short period of time and then it’s gone.
Wormrot are a special skills team of grind: they identify their objective and pursue that objective with quick determination. They get it done quickly and then they leave.
Wonderful. Don’t overstay your welcome. Know when to stop.
Twenty-five songs, 18 minutes: good idea.

Wykked Wytch (U.S.): The Ultimate Deception (Goomba)
SONGS: 8 songs, plus a 1 minute time-eater interlude; 1 cover of “Fade to Black”; total running time is about 46 minutes.
LYRICS: beasts, serpents, decapitation, destroying, animals, etc. Typical “metal” lyrics.
CREATIVITY: probably the soloing or melodies in the songs is the most particular element to the band.
TALENT: fast playing, growling, some clean singing; heavy/typical thrash/modern riffing; the guitar work is the most unique; the growling/screeching is alright (“grim” and “scary”), as is the drumming.
SOUND/PRODUCTION: “modern”: loud, upfront, relying mostly on the loudness to make an impact; can’t hear the bass; just screaming, chugging riffs and drumming.

Loud, screaming obnoxious metal. The most melodic song here, of course, is their “black metal” version of “Fade to Black.”
Overall, the band does a good job of the “modern” thrash/black/death combination. To these ears, while the upfront sound is fine and expected, it’s in the area of coming up with more unique/distinctive guitar riffs for songs as a whole that could be very beneficial. That component would catch listeners’ attention more. So far, this is fine for headbanging, but when the music stops playing, it does not stay with the listener too much. What is your next move, Wykked Witch?!

Caliber 666, Feral, Funerus, Inner Fear, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Satanist

Caliber 666 (Sweden): Blood Fueled Chaos (Ibex Moon)
Caliber 666 owns up to the label “Swedish death metal” with gusto.
The guitar tone is straight from the Dismember Book of the Art of Guitar Sound. This band has read that book a lot! Some 42 minutes of music and 10 songs.

Speed. This operates at three different speeds. One is a midpaced, double-bass, doom-ish parts that are meant to be as heavy and dark as can be. In these moments, the band adds some hooks, so that’s it is not boring.
Their fast speed is based on the Incantation Book of Tight, Fast Drumming (when Incantation plays fast). Their third speed is an uptempo style that is conducive to headbanging: not too fast, not too slow, just right for getting a sore neck.

If Dismember and Incantation could write some songs together, they might sound something like this: faster, tighter than Dismember, doomier than Dismember, and maybe as fast as the fast elements of Incantation, but with more hooks, licks than Incantation during the slower parts, so that the “death doom” parts are a bit more spicy or moody.

Caliber 666 is death metal from top to bottom. The growling is definitely low and gruff, and it makes you growl along with them. They want to keep it low, for sure. If Caliber 666 manages to keep it together for more albums, they will get on the radar of the people that like classic death metal.

Feral (Sweden): Dragged to the Altar (Ibex Moon)
Feral sure loves their “death ‘n’ roll.”
Feral focuses on big, downtuned riffs that function on heaviness and simplicity, to achieve their goal of “groove” in every song. Likewise, the drumming is loose and concentrated on a beat, and stays focused on the beat, and not on speed, technicality or double bass attack.
In this sound, the bass guitar is easy to locate: it is the audible low-end that goes with drumming, to create the feeling of heavy, steady rhythm.
The vocals are low, gruff and relatively easy to understand.
The guitar solos have a—as you would have guessed—a rock n roll vibe.
It is not a surprise that Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” comes up in reference to Feral.
In a way, that might be an immediately positive or negative point for approaching Feral, depending on your tastes. So, if you wanna get your death ‘n’ roll groove on, you know what to do.

Funerus (U.S.): Reduced to Sludge (Ibex Moon)
Funerus goes for, basically, some of the heaviest death metal sounds that they can make with the format of guitar, bass, drums and low growling.
The riffs are often some of the fattest, thickest to be heard in this style. Simplicity and slowness are major factors in the Funerus game plan.
In a way, this is the opposite of fast and technical death metal: the speed is used sparingly, the vocals do not try to be weird and schizophrenic yelling and burping. This is just low growling that does not deviate from the objective of keeping things super heavy.
The guitar player in Funerus is the John McEntee from Incantation, so this shares central components of the style of death metal with doom passages.
Well, about the melody? There is none. This is monolithic, monotonous, just like the doctor ordered. It is fugly, fugly music for heaviness, brutality and simplicity. This does sound like sludge, so we can’t say that we didn’t know!

Inner Fear (Czech Republic): First Born Fear
To contrast the energy of black metal with the mood of gothic metal is the objective of Inner Fear.
To do that, they have utilized several main foundations, amongst which are:
1.A black metal vocalist and a gothic metal vocalist. During the moments of clean singing, of course, the feel of the band is melodic, catchy, while during the black metal vocals it’s angrier.
2.Speedy, fast, blasting moments in the context of a symphonic atmosphere, for a lush black/gothic sound.
3.Sharp guitar riffs for the speed, melodic guitar solos, that work in conjunction with keyboards for some different shades of the band’s sound, speeds and moods.
Inner Fear’s album is available for free from the band at the site below or simply go to Facebook.
Inner Fear takes Dimmu Borgir to its logical conclusion? Maybe. But this has a younger energy to it and the gothic moments are more present throughout. www.

Knights of the Fallen Empire (U.S.): The Awakening - Chapter 1
1. This album of traditional heavy metal is a bit more than 50 minutes long and there are 9 full songs.
2. The overall feel of the band tells you that this band has worked hard at the compositions.
3. They have a production that is appropriate for their sound. The band themselves will probably be the first to tell you that this album does not have the big-budget production.
4. If you support bands that ignore all trends and just stick to playing heavy metal with no nonsense, then this band is worthy of checking out.
5. A friend of mine heard this and did not like the vocals. However, if you like traditional, old school heavy metal and you like to support the “little” bands, you could at least check out the band and hear for yourself and decide.

Satanist (U.S.): Sadomasochrist (Negativity Records)
Yup, that’ll do it, for sure. That’s a name, alright.
The lyrics of this band might make King Diamond blush and say, “Now, now, there, chap, you’re getting carried away, aren’t you?”
The music, to make it easy, is black metal. That really doesn’t mean that much though. For one thing, the vocals, while grim and angry and all that, are easy to understand. Enunciation is important to Satanist!
The guitar is several things at once: dissonant, anti-melodic, then catchy and memorable. There is a variety of other background sounds added for atmosphere, too. Sometimes the music sounds deceptively simple.
However, the real surprise may be the musicality of the band, including some ear-candy moments. Check out “Eliphas Levi” for an example.
Hot diggidy dog, Satanist has some nice tunes!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

interview with Landmine Marathon

Landmine Marathon (U.S.)
“Gallows,” their fourth album, continues the mission:
Landmine Marathon plays death metal.
Not “technical funky free-form death metal,” not “melodic death metal with clean vocals and a bit of hip hop” and not “death metal with a country twist and pinch of swing.”
No. Just death metal.
This band probably loves Bolt Thrower and Dismember a lot, who knows.
Some 29 minutes of raging death metal growling and in-your-face riffing and drum attack: 8 songs in which Grace Perry growls and screams like crazy.
For some stupid reason, people keep complaining about things this band does not do. Somehow, some people have gotten it in their heads that they should give “advice” to the band: That they should be more melodic, that should not be so “noisy” or that they should include more “variety” into their music.
Well, go listen to bands that do then! What the hell is wrong with people?!
Landmine Marathon plays death metal.
Put this music on and bang your head and growl along or air-drum or air-guitar along.
Metal Bulletin zine inquired and Ryan Butler (guitars) responded.
Congratulations on such a rocking album!! I have been enjoying it. What have y’all been doing? touring, making videos, interviews, street fighting, meditation?!
Haha, thanks! Since the record came out, we did a US/Canadian tour with Warbringer, Lazarus A.D. and Diamond Plate. After the tour, we had to deal with the daunting task of finding a new drummer, as Andy left the band.
After a month or two of searching and auditions, we decided to work with Raul Varela (Impaled, Ghoul, Morbosidad, etc.) and we just played our first show with him Monday night! The show went very well and we are all really excited to be working with him.

What level of success does Landmine Marathon have at this point? Are you able to tour and come out of the tour NOT owing money ? You have been at it since 2004, correct?
Landmine has been a band since the tail end of 2004 and I joined in September of 2006. We're generally at a nice break even point and usually come out of a tour not owing too much money, which is awesome. We all find ways to pay our bills and spend a decent amount of time on the road.

I have noticed that some people keep complaining about how your band is not melodic or “catchy.” Do these people think that you are part of the same trend as Trivium, Bullet for My Valentine and those bands on that magazine Revolver? Is there a misunderstanding there?
I don't know. I see this stuff a lot and it makes me laugh. I think part of it may be that we tend to get a lot of mainstream press and that's what most the kids involved with those mags/blogs/messageboards are exposed to. I, however was raised on a steady diet of Crust/Death Metal/Punk and actual metal and Landmine sounds exactly how I want it to sound. On the other end, we get crusty kids often saying that we sound too clean and polished. Can't win either way.

Did you use to be a hardcore band or something?!! Maybe you have gone on tour with those bands that have those “I-just-got-out-bed” haircuts?!
Um, not that kind of hardcore. No. I spent a lot of time in Grind bands, hardcore bands, and DM bands etc. I've done time in the likes of Unruh, Wellington, North Side Kings, Structure of Lies etc. But, no, my hair has never had the "windswept" look. I'm influenced by Disrupt and Entombed, not Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada. In fact, there's not really much music in the last 15 years that has even had an influence on anything I write.

You show some different skills on the longer track “Knife from my Sleeve”! Death metal, plus some really heavy moments of “death doom,” then uptempo speeds, a really nice guitar solo, and blasting!! Is that guitar solo your tribute to Entombed’s doom/guitar solo moment in the song “Left Hand Path”?!
We always try and have some Bolt Thrower parts in there, as early on the band was heavily influenced by them. We've come a long way and gotten a little crustier, but we try and keep some of that majestic doom feel they're notorious for. “Left Hand Path” pretty much plays through my head continuously on a daily basis. Man, every interview seems to be about our influences lately! haha. At least you get it.

Are the drums that we hear the real drums that were recorded or are they “enhanced” or “replaced” with a computer program? Metal drums in the 80s and early 90s seem to sound better? Do you decide on your drum sound or someone else, like a producer?
Well, I've produced everything Landmine has ever done. “Wounded” [the 2006 debut] has no sound replacement whatsoever. Just some automation. The kicks on “Gallows” are sound replaced with samples of real drums, but there's not really any Beat Detective work. What he played is what he played. The snare has a sample of Andy's actual snare blended in with his snare mic, but the mic is there. It just helps keep the dynamics steady for blasts, etc. Works better than compression/automation and is sometimes a little quicker and less intrusive than doing full automation. We're not going fully raw, but do like to keep a nod to the old school with our production. There was a lot of sound replacement going on in the 80's that people don't realize.

On your songs, have you done any looping [cut and paste] of the guitars, or are you actually playing the guitars all the way through the songs? Does Grace actually do the chorus every time or is that looped to “save” time and money?
There's no guitar looping unless we had to fix a mistake that we missed. Grace pretty much sang everything, but there were some times where she couldn't sing anymore where we may have pasted a line from a chorus. She spends about three hours on each song. So, it's the real deal.

“Cloaked in Red” is an example of the different vocals that Landmine Marathon uses: a higher, semi-black metal scream (the beginning of the song); and a lower growl (starting at about the 1 minute mark). Is that all Grace? By the way, I like the drum roll that Andy does in this song. The guitar “solo” is really short. Why?
That's actually the only song we wrote before we wrote the record and it was written for a split that never happened. Supposed to just be a short crusty rager. We weren't going to put a solo originally and decided to later.

“Morbidity” closes the album with a midtempo and uptempo pace, with some (maybe?) Bolt Thrower-inspired hooks! I feel like on this song, the double bass sounds weaker, more in the background. Have you noticed this? At any rate, it’s good album closer, before I go back to “Three Snake Leaves” and start it up again!
Hmmm. Should be the same levels on every song! I'd have to open up the sessions and look! I may have automated it down a hair due to there being so much double bass, but I don't think I did. This song is on our list of ones to learn and try live.

Thanks for the interview!!! THE END.