Saturday, September 28, 2013

the grind of Transient (U.S.)

Transient (U.S.): “Transient” (Six Weeks Records)
The main thing that I do not like about this grind recording is that this is not three hours long. Instead, it is only about 20 minutes of excellent raging grind punk in 16 songs. I guess I have “to” be realistic “about” this and just accept that this is not three hours long.
The lunatic screaming made me growl along so much that the bus driver kicked me out of the bus. They thought that a 79-year-old grind freak senior citizen had lost all sanity. I had to walk home with my bad back and bad left eye. Dangit Transient! You see what you did!
Nobody wants to mosh with me because they think that they are going to hurt me. Hey, kids, guess what, munchkins, if I get hurt, that’s not a problem because that’s what hospitals are for! I can dial 911 just fine. Stop complaining, just get in the pit, you snotface wimp!
If you love grind, Transient has a huge bowl of sugar for you. Come get your sugar!
By the way, I would like angrier lyrics about capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism and everything else, too. C’mon, kids, you gotta get angry about this disgusting system. Transient….aaaarrrggggghh!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

the world of Darkestrah

Darkestrah (Germany[now]/Kyrgyzstan [early])
Darkestrah in 2013 propels its music into literary-historical and folk dimensions, framed within the band’s established sound of epic black metal, with dark symphonic overtones. “Manas,” the new album, focuses on the Kyrgyz national poem “The Epic of Manas,” considered amongst the longest verse works in the world. Musically, Darkestrah’s use of harsh and melodic vocals, and long songs makes for an aesthetically-pleasing listening experience. Deeply rooted in black metal, and committed to making creative songs-recordings, the band continues refining its art, as drummer Asbath expounds in this interview. --
Greetings, Darkestrah! I liked your previous EP "Khagan" and I think that "Manas" is a very strong follow-up. Is Darkestrah just three people or five? Is it true that Asbath (guitars) and Kriegtalith (vocals) have been on all Darkestrah recordings, since the album “Sary Oy” (2004)?
Greetings! Asbath here. Thank you for your interest in our music. Concerning the line-up, during “Manas” recording session Darkestrah was a three-piece band (Kriegtalith, Resurgemus and me) plus a session bass-player. Right now Darkestrah is a five-piece band. Ragnar (guitar) and Cerritus (bass and shaman drum) have joined us as session members directly after of the last album was finished, but right now they both are full-time band members. Me and Kriegtalith are the only constant members of Darkestrah, who have played on all records, except for one old demo tape. Concerning the songwriting. “Manas” and “Khagan” are for the most part the results of creative effort of Resurgemus and me. However, in the earlier days the role of main songwriter was often taken on by other band members.
The album is based on the epic poem "The Epic of Manas"? Are your lyrics in Kyrgyz? Did you use the poem itself for lyrics or did you write new verses for lyrics?
The lyrics of “Manas” and of “Khagan” are in Russian. Vlad Paranoid who wrote most of the lyrics on these albums is native Russian speaker. “Manas the Avanger” and “Manas-batyr” outline the plot of the poem whereas “Memory” and “Victory” are rather some kind of reflections on such topics as war, enemy yoke, loneliness of an exile and the bloody price of victory. All these topics have strong connections to “The Epic of Manas”. We also used some recordings of manaschi, professional reciters of the epic, who recite original verses in Kyrgyz.
Concerning the epic itself. For Kyrgyz people “Manas destani” is not only a key element of traditional culture, but also a kind of gospel of national pride. Both because it tells the story of proud warriors who liberate their lands from enemy occupation and because it is the largest epic poem in human history. There are Manas monuments in Kyrgyzstan, an airport, a military base and university are named after him. Maybe it is somehow too much promoted by official propaganda to the detriment of many other beautiful things in Kyrgyz culture, but still its role is not to be underestimated.
Towards the end of "Manas the Avenger" there is a spoken-word section. Is someone reciting "Manas Destani"?
The spoken parts are the recordings of manaschi I mentioned in my previous answer. Manaschi have an old tradition in Kyrgyz culture, the training starts in the early childhood, one has to learn the poem by heart, learn to use special intonations and the melodic style of reciting and to train the artistic skills, since mimicry and gesticulation also play an important role in manaschi performance.
By the way, does Kriegtalith do all the harsh and clean on "Manas"? Does she still play the temir-komuz?
Yes, Kriegtalith does all harsh and clean female vocals on “Manas”. We didn’t use temr-komuz on this album, but she sometimes plays it during our shows.
The song "Kyrgyzstan" is an ambient, folky number. Did you use acoustic guitars on this song? Yes, the main melody is played on acoustic guitar. We like to use acoustic guitars, and also use some other acoustic string instruments, like komuz or mandolin on almost every record. A cello, played by our friend and ex-member Sharthar, has also become our tradition.
Have you finished the epic poem as a project now or will there be an album called "Manas II"?
Since “Manas” is one really huge piece of poetry it would surely be possible to do ten albums based on it. It is somehow a tempting idea to do so, since we’ll be forever free of the pain of thinking out any new lyrical concepts, haha! But, well… Right now we are slowly starting to compose new material, the concept is still not clear, but it definitely won’t be “Manas II”.
How much touring are you willing to do?
How much touring? As much as possible! Right now we only do some occasional shows, but it would be really great to go on a real tour. This is also our main objective right now. The most important obstacles are activities apart from the band like work, studies and so on.
Would you say that your music promotes Kyrgyz nationalism? As you know, nationalism/patriotism are political tools that governments, corporations and religions use to deceive people into supporting wars, racism, exploitation and violence.
I strongly agree with your view on nationalism as a tool of decision and instigation. Darkestrah promotes no political values but cultural ones. From this standpoint we see our mission in presenting the reach and deep Middle Asian culture and history to the world.
Do you have views about politics in Kyrgyzstan? Do you follow the news there? Do you still have family there?
To Erlik with politics and the news! Kyrgyzstan had two regimes overthrown by revolution in the course of the last 22 years. And you know what? If the current one will suffer the same fate I won’t be surprised at all. Here in Germany if you watch or read the news about Kyrgyzstan you either see some crowd kicking some police ass, or some idiots snuffing someone because he is Uzbek, or at best some strange guy mumbling some half-esoteric, half-pseudo political rubbish in broken Russian. When Aitmatov was still there, one could at least see a cultivated intellectual and a deep writer representing our country in the EU but alas, he is dead. Personal ties are what matters. Some of our family members and a lot of our friends are still living in Kyrgyzstan or moved to some other countries and to stay in touch with them is what is important to us.
Kyrgyz people live in Kyrgyzstan, but also in China, Afghanistan and other places. Do you know if the Kyrgyz people in China and elsewhere speak a language that you (in Darkestrah) would understand?
Well… When we in Darkestrah speak with each other we use German or Russian. Right now Darkestrah are five people hailing from three different countries and having four different ancestries, none of the band members that joined us in Germany ever learned Kyrgyz language or set foot on Kyrgyz soil. As for the Kyrgyz language itself, it is generally the same everywhere, but as any rather archaic language it adopts some vocabulary from the surrounding languages, for example Kyrgyz people in Kyrgyzstan use some Russian words and I believe that in China they use some Chinese words. But there must be no striking difference.
Now, in 2013, what would you say that you have learned in your life's journey in metal music from your youth in Kyrgyzstan to now living in Germany? The idea of turning to someone’s cultural roots was always especially strong in black metal. That is why when we’ve got in touch with this kind of music the whole Kyrgyz thing came in somehow very naturally. There is also an aspect of maturity. We reflect more on what we are doing and why we are doing so. We’ve learned a lot about making music and about being a musician. Well, we are still learning, to tell the truth. With each step, each gig, each new song some new aspect becomes clearer to us.
What motivates you to make music? Do you feel an inspiration that tells you to keep making music? Do you hear riffs, vocal lines, drum patters in your mind that you feel that you need to record?
You know, this really happens from time to time. For example the roots of “Khagan” grow from an evening mediation in a local park when suddenly it became very clear what has to be done.
What else would you like us to know about the plans of Darkestrah for 2013 and 2014?
Thank you for the interesting questions! As I told you before, we have already started to compose some new stuff, but I don’t think that it will be recorded any time soon, we prefer to take our time and make the final output into something special. Also, our last show in Leipzig was filmed and recorded semi-professionally and at least a part of it will be published somehow, most likely through free streaming services as a kind of official bootleg, but since we are doing all the editing ourselves this could also take some time. Apart from it we are now looking for gigs and I strongly hope that we’ll hit some stage in the next moths, as I told you before the more the better. Best regards! Asbath. THE END.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crazy? You don't even know!: Felix Martin

Felix Martin: "The Scenic Album" (Prosthetic Rec.)
Prog fan, I’ll tell you what you want, what you really, really want. You are tired of people making a big deal about 7-string guitars. Seven strings? Eight strings? Nine strings? “Ooooooh, wow.” Whatever.
Prog fan, your complaints have been heard. Here’s what you really want: 14 strings. That’s right. Fourteen. Slam your body down and wind it all around.
Felix “the cat” Martin’s instrumental guitar zwreeplings take jazz prog rock metal to the places only you, the progster, can really explore.
So, for whom is the music? Mainly is for the musicians that recorded this. Their parents support this, too. Who else? Well, you! If you are still reading this, you must have some curiosity about this cat.
Other people that might like it include rocket scientists, jazz musicians, philosophers, time travelers, physicists, math professors/grad students, algebra/trigonometry practitioners, and a stunning 53.79% of people living in Portland, Oregon (but not Portland, Maine; “those people are jerks,” as you told me in your letter).
In big conclusion, Felix “the cat” Martin = fourteen strings. You = will like.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"black n roll" 2: Zud (U.S.)

Zud (U.S.): The Good, the Bad, and the Damned (self-release)
Hypothetically, this is how Zud became a band.
The bassist, drummer and vocalist—all Darkthrone maniacs—live in a small town and could not find a black metal guitarist. The only person they knew was that kid who always wears Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirts. He joined the band and he can play the black metal riffs, but he often forgets that he’s in a black metal band, and breaks out with hippy rock bluesy solos and melodies.
They decided not to kick him out (he’s the only game in town, remember?). Zud can necro black metal like any other cave black metal band, but they do the hippy rock sounds because, well, that’s just the way life sometimes is. It’s still lots of black metal, but with old rock/bluesy solos and segments. At “extreme” metal shows—when a band says, “Our next song is called…”—there’s sometimes a funny person who shouts “Free Bird!” and people laugh.
Well, Zud sounds capable of busting into that Lynyrd Skynyrd song, although, as you can imagine, it will be “necro-psychedelic” “Free Bird.”

"black n roll": Sarke (Norway)

“black ‘n’ roll”
Sarke (Norway): Aruagint (Indie Recordings)
Sarke is often known because the vocalist is Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. I had heard the music before, but this is my first time listening to a complete album by Sarke, which is the name of the founder of the band: Sarke is the drummer in the slow-ish, rock-ish black metal-ish band Khold, which, to me, makes some of the most boring “black metal” that I have ever heard in my 79 years of life.
How is Sarke’s music? Well, it all depends how look you at it. Sarke is this groovy midtempo rock with gremlin vocals. People who like it cite the “psychedelic” or “grooves” as the reason; and it is those things. Do you like post-rock “grooves”?
Speaking for myself, this is so boring—no speed, no rocking, no riffs, no melody, no intensity—that I cannot find the patience to make it to the end of the album. I have to stop it because it is boring me to tears. Please stop, Sarke.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the wackos are here: Orbweaver (U.S.)

Orbweaver (U.S.): “Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon” (Primitive Violence)
Cannibal Corpse was hanging out at a bar in the Twilight Zone, when Frank Zappa and his band joined the table, and they began to have a few drinks and chat. A few minutes later, Suffocation showed up with the people from Mr. Bungle, Primus and Faith No More. The conversations were now getting lively, but then Godzilla, Frankenstein and The Three Stooges showed up.
Next thing you know, it was 2 in the morning, and all these people and monsters were on stage getting downright stoopid weird and heavy, super heavy. Growling, screaming, yelling; the drums playing math jazz death metal blasting jamcity jamz jamz; and nobody knows what’s going on with guitar. Are they playing the guitar with a wrench? Are there 37 strings on that guitar? Or, is it one guitar, but 37 people/monsters simultaneously strumming, pulling and plucking the strings?
This band makes Morbid Angel’s “techno dance death metal” album sound like normal mainstream radio rock.
So, then, do you want it wild and wacky, heavy and brüühöötalz? Please, Orbweaver, don’t hurt them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

grunting zombie death metal Monday, part 2: Exhumer (Italy)

Exhumer (Italy): "Degraded by Sepsis” (Comatose)
Their previous recording was called “Bloodcurling Tool of Digestion.” Aaaaalrightee, then. Seeing that the village elders were not amused with the maximum nonstop hyper blasting putrefaction, Exhumer had a meeting and they decided on the next logical step in order to achieve mass appeal at a worldwide level, be on the radio and television, because they wanted to become millionaires playing death metal.
Here are the mass-appeal results. This album sees Exhumer tone down the disgusting sounds and go in a more melodic mainstream direction…in no way. “Degraded by Sepsis” finds Exhumer using exclusively microphone-cupping burped woof-woof vocals. As a bonus warranty for international success they instructed their drummer to blast here, blast there, blast everywhere, blast forever. The drummer followed the instructions to the letter: the drummer lives by the axiom that if you are not blasting, you should step down from the throne. How you will love how all the songs sound the same. Massive monolithic monotony winners run away with it all.
Exhumer is the perfect music for your own professional success in life and in business. At your next business meeting turn on the music of Exhumer in the background when you do your power point flashy laser business presentation. The audience will be hypnotized by the music. You will have “great success”…high five!
“How can I be like you?,” they will ask you. You tell them your motto: “If you are not into zombie death metal, then you will never amount to anything in life.” How true and wise. It’s the same exact thing that coach Vince Lombardi always stressed in the construction of a winning mentality.

grunting zombie death metal Monday: Ferocity (Denmark)

Ferocity (Denmark): "The Sovereign” (Deepsend Rec.)
In this pit of zombies called Ferocity, what takes precedence is the pyrotechnics of microphone-cupping, knuckledragging, blasting and slamming severe guttural death metal. Whistle along, tap your foot, snap your fingers or bounce off the walls, it’s all alright as long as you hear the blazing-breakdown zombie cookie monsters slobber all over their instruments with hammers and saws, because…that’s what they do….that’s what they do!
How these rabid rabbits of rapid racket rampage and throw in some melody (yes, zombie melody, ugh-argh!) in this whopping tofurky of heaviness, is beyond my low IQ comprehension. Yet, there is, amidst the blasting and slamming, quick fixes of melody shine through the empty eyes of the zombies.
Sweaty bodies, stinky bodies, sore necks and hurting bones will circle around until Ferocity plays the last song. It’s not a secret game: Ferocity has its goal set on blasting and slamming frenzy. The disgusting fugliness of death metal has been calling Ferocity to bring this message to you. Refuse not the fugly repugnant.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

dazed and confused by the blastattack: Crypt Infection (U.S.)

Crypt Infection (U.S.): "Haruspication” and advance tracks from the upcoming album this year
“Know your audience.”
This band does. “Crypt”… “Infection,” get it? “Infecting the Crypts” by Suffocation!
The band does not know it, but I have been intercepting all their private communications, and it turns out that Crypt Infection is working on an album for this year.
Meanwhile, their 2010 EP “Haruspication” (from the ancient Greek for, “Growl and blast 24/7, destroy instruments.”) is perfect for causing neck injuries. Six compositions of microphone-gurgling, drum attack, string destruction that make me do the Frank Mullen death metal blasting handquake! Crypt Infection is all about the bröötalz death. The guitar solos are performed at warpspeed arthritis level. If you listen closely, you will also notice something shocking: the songs are pretty catchy and there is even a little hint of melody hiding behind the cookie monster ferocity.
As I was telling you, I have stolen this band’s secret communications. In fact, let me tell you about the upcoming album. Crypt Infection in 2013 has become an even sicker band. The guitar work makes my hand nerves feel the pain just listening to this; and the vocals take microphone-eating to a more disgusting level of intensity. Nasty sounds. The melodies are showing up a bit more, but you need to get your ear close to the whirlwind of bröötalität to hear it. “Osteophagist,” for instance, is a hit with my trustworthy ghetto blaster boombox in the basement of my grandma’s house.
If these three songs are anything to go by, Crypt Infection is going to knock it out of the park. People into the crazy technical blasting death metal should be rolling up their sleeves and getting ready to jump into the moshpit. Watch out for those elbows headed your way. “Dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge!”

Monday, September 9, 2013

power metal: Destrose (Japan): "Destrose"

Destrose (Japan): ”Destrose” (Flyingcat Records)
With the headbanging power metal exciter of a first song called “Headless Goddess” the intentions of Destrose are clear. In case there is doubt, “Sword of Avenger” and “Skykiller” follow in similar fashion of uptempo rockers.
So far, so good; do they keep up the energy? “Destination” and “Romancer” answer in the affirmative big time; and really, the rest of the album continues in that style and tempo, sometimes ratcheting up the energy even more, although overall, it is an even, uptempo power metal approach throughout.
The audience into melodic power metal now has a new album to search: high singing; memorable guitar riffs and solos; energetic and/or double bass drumming; and songs that are easy to remember. 2013 sees Destrose—after years of demos and singles—publish the first full-length album. The long wait and hard effort have been worth it, as they have composed a work with no filler. All the songs are very enjoyable, fun and rocking. Air guitar time is here.
The audience for Destrose is people into melodic, upbeat bands like Sonata Arctica, Helloween, HammerFall and other similar bands. More specifically and importantly, on this album they are at that phase in their career where they are super excited to be rocking and they very much sound like it.
In short, highly recommended for power metallers into upbeat, happy, rocking melodies.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Watain (Sweden): “The Wild Hunt” (Century Media)

Watain (Sweden): “The Wild Hunt” (Century Media)
Are you willing to hear Watain go in any musical direction, including a ballad called “They Rode on,” which lasts almost nine minutes? It is Watain’s version of “Nothing Else Matters.” It is a ballad through and through.
If you absolutely insist that Watain be black metal, and you are sure that that is how you feel, then this is bad, bad news for you. Avoid, or you will be very, very angry; and you know how you get when you are angry. Nobody likes you.

Carcass (U.K.): "Surgical Steel” (Nuclear Blast)

Carcass (U.K.): "Surgical Steel” (Nuclear Blast)
Carcass 2013 is power/heavy metal-ish sugary melodies and solos; high-quality, very “modern” sound and professionalism; catchy songs with “groove” and some bursts of blasting energy. If you like the 1993 album “Heartwork,” this is for you.
In contrast, if you know the discography and you like ONLY the “death and grind Carcass”, and not the “Carcass lite” sound of “melodeath,” then stay far, far away from this.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Metal Bulletin Zine # 37

Here's Metal Bulletin Zine #37, in case you have not see it yet. This issue was completed last week.

"nature mystic black metal": Aethernaeum, interview part 2

Here is the final part of the interview with Aethernaeum. With this segment, we close the conversation posted a few days ago. Don't forget to read the first part! --
Is there an overall concept to the album? How is "Auf den Nebelfeldern" related to "Tanz der Sturmgeister," for instance?
Alexander Paul Blake: "There's no concept at all. 'Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter' was a concept album, but not this one. The songs stand for themselves, so I can't tell you anything about the relation of one song to the other. 'Auf den Nebelfeldern' is a very long and epic song with a great atmosphere, I think. I like the chorus lines a lot, which could be translated as 'Yearning for eternity / The premonition of what has once been / A human being in the heart of nature / all of a sudden sees everything clearly'. The lyrics are very cryptic and should be interpreted by every listener himself. 'Tanz der Sturmgeister', however is a rather straight song about the spirits in the sky, who create thunder, lightning and storm. We also created a video for this song with Rainer 'Zipp' Fränzen, which you can see here:"
For those of us who do not speak German, how do you describe the lyrics of your music? Some of the song titles mean "Dead Lights,"Dance of the Storm Ghost," "To Midwinter Night,” "The Hill People," correct?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Except from 'Dead Lights' the translations are correct. I guess you meant 'Sonnentor', which can be translated as 'Sungate'. Hm, it's hard for me to describe the lyrics. They are written as little poems, sometimes in a closed form, sometimes a bit more open. Sorry, but the question is a bit too general, so I can't answer it in detail, since I don't want to reveal the meaning of all the lyrics. I wrote some essays for the artbook version, to give curious people a chance to learn something about my ideas, but in the end I prefer if they read the lyrics themselves. In the artbook are also English translations."
Nature, the forest, night all seem to be central themes in Aethernaeum. How do you describe your perspective on the romanticism of your music?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Yes, but that's just one level. It's also about spirituality, journeys of the soul, finding a unity with everything that is, non-physical creatures etc. So in a way nature is like a door opener for something deeper. Alike the Romanticists I'm trying to transcend the general and am searching for a higher truth through art. The music accompanies my lifelong journey and is a bit like a diary, but not a concrete one. But nature in general is a very important inspiration, since in nature we can have those quiet and peaceful times, that are necessary to connect to our deeper self, soul or what ever you want to call it. If our music is able to open this door a bit as well, it would be a great compliment."
What do you, Alexander Paul Blake, look for in a song?
Alexander Paul Blake: "It should paint pictures in your mind and lead you to a place deep within yourself or connect you with nature. A good song is a song with strong emotions and when it moves something in you. But I also like some Power Metal bands and it's okay for me, when they have no deeper message – even though I guess some have! Music is a language of the soul and sometimes the band themselves even knows or understands, which kind of energies went into their music. So I don't judge other people's music as something inferior. It's all a question of taste and taste is very subjective. For me it's important, that our music sounds good when you listen to it first, but also gives you more to explore when you listen to it more often."
What sensations does having the cello add to your music? You have now added Markus Freitag to the lineup and the music sounds different, good with the cello. Are you thinking that you would like other instruments in the future?
Alexander Paul Blake: "We worked with the cello first for an acoustic cd of Eden Weint Im Grab. Markus joined the Eden Weint Im Grab line-up and since we both thought, the cello would also fit to Aethernaeum very well, he also became a part of this band, which is great. I know the story is not really worth a headline, but you know, what counts is the music, and not the people behind. That's also a reason, why I often emphasize that our biographies are not important, only the albums we make! But of course I agree to you, that the cello gives the music a wonderful extra colour and we will also keep it in the future. If there will be other non-Metal instruments beside I cannot say at the moment. Maybe as guests, but I think not in the permanent line-up."
Would you ever want to perform your music with a full orchestra?
Alexander Paul Blake: "I guess most of all bands would now loudly scream 'yes!', but to be honest, it's not a dream of mine, to perform the songs with a big orchestra. I'm satisfied to perform them with one cello, as we do. I don't think our songs are written for a huge orchestra. The huge guitar wall of sound leaves no space for an orchestra – and it would change the character of the music completely. So I better leave this option to other bands. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be an option, to work at least with some orchestra musicians in the studio in the future, when we have songs that demand for such elements." Do you Alexander Paul Blake sometimes feel like you were born in the wrong epoch? Listening to your music, and the themes that run through it, I sense that you do not feel connected to mainstream metal music.
Alexander Paul Blake: "No, I don't have the feeling to live in the wrong epoch. I believe in reincarnation and that every soul decides with a good reason for a life in a certain time. So I believe I'm exactly where I should be. And hey, in an epoch without technology I wouldn't be able to record albums – and making albums is one of my main tasks in this life. Every time has its pros and cons. We tend to see the cons of our time maybe a bit more, but we are not really objective and we have many great possibilities, we should appreciate, be it modern studio technique, medicine, computers, travelling possibilities or industry in general. It's important to use all technology with a certain reason and sometimes we don't do that. What I want to say is that we need more sense of responsibility and respect. If other bands regard Satanism or sex, drugs and rock'n'roll as something, which give them satisfaction and a good way of self expression I have nothing against it – although it's not my way."
Metal bands often like to glorify violence in their lyrics; however, your lyrics point to a different way of thinking.
Alexander Paul Blake: "Well, I don't write these kind of lyrics, but as long as the artists can express a certain kind of frustration or rebellion with it, which gives them an outlet, why not? Of course people should not take these kind of lyrics too serious. But the same goes for movies or computer games. And I also grew up with bands like Pantera or Slayer and like their music a lot. With Aethernaeum it's more like writing a romantic poem and an attempt to explore the depths of being. Maybe we have a more philosophic approach, maybe it's also due to the fact that I am not a human being with essential problems in life and that I went to university to study literature and sociology. I guess this is mirrored in my music. Where you come from, how you are raised, which is your environment … all this shapes an artist a lot, so I won't judge other people's lyrics, since I don't know about their backgrounds and I think a huge variety is something positive. And stories? Some of the lyrics are a bit like little stories, but I think this kind of storytelling we do more in Eden Weint Im Grab, the lyrics of Aethernaeum, however, are more cryptic and obscure."
Since nature is important to you, can you give your opinion about animal rights? Here in the U.S. most people think: “Animals have no worth and humans have a right to kill and eat any animal.” (with the exception of domestic pets, such dogs and cats). Cows, pigs, chickens and other animals have no dignity or worth. There's very little consideration for the pain, suffering and exploitation of animals. What is your own personal view on this topic?
Alexander Paul Blake: "That's also an important topic for me. I live vegan for about eight years now, since I want to produce less harm as possible. Of course it's not possible to live 100% vegan, since you can never completely avoid that you destroy other live indirect. But I guess, it would be a healthy, efficient and moral way to live for many people if they only knew more about it. But I'm not a preacher and respect the free will of everybody, even though many people don't respect the free will of animals. I think it needs a kind of spiritual maturity to respect animal's rights and to show empathy for them. But if you compare it with the generation of our parents and grandparents there's a change. I don't know about the US, but at least in Germany the numbers of vegetarians and vegans is rising all the time; and in a big city like Berlin it's very easy to live vegan. So even though I don't write about this issue in Aethernaeum (I did that with other bands already) it's definitely a topic we are aware of and I encourage people to read about it online themselves. There are many good pages about this way of living, which talk about the general prejudices. So, thank you for asking this question ;-)"
How do you see the connection between animal rights and the environment? If people do not respect animals, of course, they do not respect the environment, either. This is especially true of the corporations, no?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Yes, many people are too selfish and don't think about future generations enough. Unfortunately, money or profit is a higher value for them than the live of other people, future generations, animals or the environment, which I also regard as a living organism. That's a big pity. Mankind seems like a tumour on this planet. But I like to see this from the perspective of reincarnation. What if this planet is like a kindergarten for souls, in which they have to learn? And since only 'young' souls come to this planet in a material form, it seems like humanity as a whole doesn't learn anything, but the individual souls do. This is an helpful idea for me, which explains the disaster. Anyway, I don't have a solution for all the problems, and fortunately I'm not a politician but an artist. I think first of all we need to stop globalism and work in smaller units again, need a new and fairer money system, have to stop the influence of big corporations and banks and need stronger rules. And politicians, which really care about the people, would be a good thing as well ;-)"
What is the information for readers to support your music?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Thanx for your support and interesting questions. Those who are interested now, might check our official webpage at, unfortunately only in German so far. But you'll also find us at Facebook and there are some songs on Youtube. Of course we look forward to all kind of feedback and if you don't find the cds anywhere you can order them directly from our webshop or the label Einheit Produktionen. We also have a beautiful artbook with lots of nature pictures and essays about the songs and I hope they're worth every cent. Take care!" THE END. --

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"nature mystic black metal": Aethernaeum interview, part 1

Aethernaeum (Germany)
When you hear the music of Aethernaeum you will immediately notice the big-thinking high-quality music. As this zine has documented, Aethernaeum used to be called Alexander Paul Blake, which in 2012 had the wonderful album “Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter” (“Return to the Golden Age,” I believe). Now the new name is Aethernaeum, but the spirit of the music—Romaticism, spirituality, nature, folk music and black metal—continues as before, but more ambitious, and with good changes. The 2013 album is called “Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald” (“Wanderings through the Nebulous Forest,” [more or less, I think!]). This music works a very artistic and intellectual atmosphere, with long songs that cover various moods. When Aethernaeum was called Alexander Paul Blake it was a solo project, now it is a band, but this APB is the same person from the long-running dark, creative metal band Eden weint im Grab (“Eden weeps in its grave”). For now, begin your research with this interview.
Aethernaeum creates a great feeling of atmosphere of a different time and place, not of this present era! Can you explain the band dynamic of the Alexander Paul Blake and Aethernaeum albums?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Thank you for your nice words. I started the whole thing as a solo project under the moniker of Alexander Paul Blake, since I wanted to experiment with Black Metal – a kind of music, which has impressed my since my early youth – aside from my other band Eden Weint Im Grab. I wrote, recorded and mixed everything alone on the debut 'Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter', which was released in 2012. And yes, the drums were played on pads and the sounds were samples from real drums, since I didn't have a drummer at that time and wanted to do everything by myself. Some months after the release I decided to turn the solo project into a band and to name it Aethernaeum. I had also written the songs alone for the second album 'Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald' and recorded the demos alone. But afterwards some other musicians were involved, for example Markus Freitag on the cello, who is now also a part of the official line-up and the Eden Weint Im Grab drummer Zeus X. Machina, who played the drums as session musician. Not everyone of the line-up was involved in the recording because the final line-up established after the recordings were done, so guitars, keyboards, bass and vocals were done mainly by me. It's a kind of a transition album between the solo project and a band."
Why the name change in particular?
Alexander Paul Blake: "We changed the name because we had the feeling that a band named Alexander Paul Blake wouldn't work. Apart from that I wanted to have a name that could be accepted easier among the Black Metal people, since APB was a bit far off for some of them, and I also wanted to express the concept of the band with the name. It's a combination of 'Äther' (engl. ether) and Athenäum, a magazine from the period of German romanticism – so in a way we combine Romanticism and spirituality. As I said, I write the songs alone and I guess I'll always stay the main songwriter of the band, but in the future the other guys will be involved more in the arranging and recording of the songs. I have no problem to produce music completely alone. The big advantage is, that you don't need to make any compromises, don't need to explain or justify anything and can work rather quick. But within a band you can unite the strengths of five people's talents, which is also benefit for an album, as long as there's a clear vision, which everybody follows. I hope this will make our next record even stronger. Let's see. I'm curious, how things will develop."
Now that the album is finished, what are the band objectives in 2013/14? Alexander Paul Blake also has Eden weint im Grab, so this complicates things, correct? Or, maybe not? Eden weint im Grab has six releases since 2004, so APB is very busy.
Alexander Paul Blake: "Of course we want to play live. At the moment our booker tries to arrange some shows in Germany. Unfortunately, not in other countries so far. Actually four of us play in Eden Weint Im Grab as well, so that doesn't make things more complicated, as long as we don't play huge tours all over the globe with one of the bands. And we didn't get a chance to do this until now, since it's really hard to get good show offers as a small band. I'm very busy, that's true, but the reason is more that I need to earn my incomes with other things than recording and playing music, so everything needs to happen in the evening or the weekends, which is a pity sometimes. Concerning the perspectives, I hope for more gigs in 2014 of course and guess that we'll start songwriting in early 2014 for Aethernaeum again, when we've finished the next Eden Weint Im Grab album."
Aethernaeum is based in Berlin, correct? How is the city of Berlin for this creative, imaginative metal music that you play? Is there a good audience for it? (I don't know what is popular right now in Germany!)
Alexander Paul Blake: "I don't care about trends. I guess, Metalcore is still a big trend. And nature mystic Black Metal is definitely not a trend, but nevertheless the interest for our album seemed quite big, mainly in the underground. We have only played one debut gig at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig this year so far, so I cannot say anything about the audience in Berlin, but I think there are enough people who look forward to our shows. And I think Berlin is a good town for creative people in general. You have many clubs, musicians, labels, other bands and media here, which is a benefit. But we also have a huge competitive situation, since there are many bands, concerts and releases and sometimes it seems a bit too much. Anyway, nevertheless we love Berlin, that's the reason why we live here."