Monday, November 27, 2017

interview with Arallu

Arallu is extreme metal from Israel. The music began in the late 1990s and in 2017 they released their sixth full-length work titled Six. One quarter genius, three quarters raving lunacy, Arallu is the work of veterans of what some people call “Middle Eastern black metal.” Remember three things: (1) the album is quality; (2) the music is chaotic but within the chaos there are melodies; (3) the music is extreme metal, with a huge dose of black metal, joined to the traditional melodies/music of the homeland and region of these Israelis.
Hello! How is life for your band in Israel? Is metal alive and well in your city and in Israel in general?
Hello METAL BULLETIN and thank you for this interview. I’m Butchered, the main member of Arallu. We have Salem our pioneers of death metal bands from the 80ss. We have Orphaned Land that play all around the world and it's really great to see, but our metal scene is really small, not too many people comes to the shows and not really many good bands, unfortunately.
Was there something interesting in metal music happening in Israel that you decided to form a band? Who is answering this interview and what instruments do you play?
I’m Butchered the main member of the band. For the 2 first albums The War on the Wailing Wall from 1999 and Satanic War in Jerusalem from 2002 I played and recorded all instruments except the sessions drummer. Today I’m the main idea behind Arallu but I play only the bass guitar. Arallu was founded in Jerusalem in the middle of the conflict between the religions around the old city of Jerusalem in the 90s. When you live as the terror is surrounding you and you grow up in this endless conflict, if you want or not, it inspires you whatever you do.
Our music influenced by band like Venom, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Deicide and many others. Middle Eastern music is my childhood home music. My father was listening to this music since I was a child. The combination between the European sound and the Middle Eastern sound is not easy to do. When I started listen to the European black metal bands of the 90s, I really liked the idea of the local folk music inside the raw sound of the black metal. I thought to myself: "I can't play like that. I can’t write music like that. I can feel the cold and the mountains coming out from the speakers! If I will try to sound like that no one will listen to my music. I can’t make it sound like that. BUT if I will bring a special sound and guitar riffs with special instruments combined with them,” and that’s what happened.
What big bands have played shows in Israel? How many times have you seen the Israeli band Orphaned Land live?!
Like I said, the metal scene is really small, local bands bring for the top 100 people for the shows. Of course, when Metallica or GnR coming 40,000 people are coming to see them, but it’s different. Metallica and Helloween are not that extreme, when you compare to the extreme bands like Arallu. Nile for example brought 140 people here. Kreator, 500 people. It’s really not much.
Arallu is black metal, and extreme metal in general, that incorporates traditional sounds from your part of the world. In addition to the usual metal music instruments, what traditional instruments from your country did you use on the album?
Our special instrument in "SIX" is the saz. Last album "GENIEWAR" it was sitar and before in "DESERT BATTLES" it was kanun. We don't want to repeat ourselves, we try to bring a different side of the Middle Eastern music every album. Not every part of every song you can add the saz or darbuka or sitar like in the previous album of the band. It takes hours to add these instruments in the right way and right place, but we will do it and work hard for that to bring a new sound to the global metal scene. Not everyone understands what we're playing. Like you can the reviews are good, and when you play risky music you know that can happen. We are not going with the main stream of black metal music, and that's ok with us. We're looking to bring something unique to global metal scene of today
In the past you have had albums with titles like, The War on the Wailing Wall and also Satanic War in Jerusalem. Your latest one is simply called Six. What changes have taken place in your lyrics, compared to the past? Did you have problems in Israel because you called your album Satanic War in Jerusalem?
Absolutely not! The War on the Wailing Wall and Satanic War in Jerusalem are albums from 2000. It’s 17 years ago when I start Arallu until today I have a clear message. The full concept of Arallu is around the ultimate war over the Middle East because we living it. So I believe it's coming naturally even if we will try to ignore it. Arallu is NOT a political band. Arallu is a radical band in the music and the lyric. We do not hate anyone or anybody because of his skin color or his religion. Our lyrics are clear! We rise against what is offensive and hurting us. Us as human beings, us as individuals. The people in Israel don’t know what good life is. We are busy with worrying about personal and national security.
Our lyrics are straight in your face, against the religions and what they represent and of course the people behind them. Our lyrics talks about all those things. From the wars of the ancient times as kings tried to rule Jerusalem, to the wars of today as ISIS are trying to destroy and kill anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious views. This album is the mirror of the human race, hypocrisy of the governments all around the world including Israel, and the unwillingness and fear to fight against the extreme religion leaders. Arallu is the horn of the situation in the Middle East and specially the horn of the wars all around the years in Jerusalem.
We don't look for paper news headlines. We play and live black metal from the 90s. I saw so many death and blood over my life, so I'm really not afraid of Islamic groups because of my music. I remember the bus exploding next to me around the streets of Jerusalem when I was on my way to school. We saw every day the hatred comes through the TV news. I was 16 years old and the extreme black metal concept around Europe comes to my life mixed with bloodshed around Jerusalem is what brought Arallu band to life.
It’s more than a decade that Arallu screaming about the global terror. Satanic War in Jerusalem our second album from 2002, talking about the situation in Jerusalem that spread to the world. I wrote this album in 2001 when the Islamic terror attack everywhere in Israel and especially in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, Satanic War in Jerusalem became a self-fulfilling prophecy and today we all know it. The War on the Wailing Wall our debut album from 1999, was the mixed between our day life and extreme black metal against religions.
How much Hebrew do you use in your songs? Are your songs mostly in English? Is Six a concept album? How does living in Israel affect your lyrics?
In Six I wrote only one song in Hebrew - “Philosophers”. There are phrases here and there like in “Adonay” but most of the lyrics are in English.
"SIX" like the other albums of the band is talking about the situation around the Middle East as it crawls to Europe and the US, and some personal issues we deal with our everyday life, in the lyrics. The song "Adonay" is talking about a simple man from Jerusalem killed by terrorist attack and left behind him a huge world of people who loved him, but actually this song was talking about the last days of my grandfather who really suffered before he died a few months ago. He was my model and I really admired him.
The song "Possessed by Sleep" is about the murder of a little girl named Hilell Yafe Ariel while she was sleeping and the terrorist killed her in bed. When you live around Jerusalem and you have 3 children all you're thinking about is how to keep them safe in this horrible world. From the other aspect we have the song "Soulless Soldier" which is about a soldier in the army service who fights the wars around Israel and when he killed a terrorist who tried to kill soldiers the government put him to trail for that. It’s absurd.
When I’m writing my music and my lyrics I'm not looking for some victories. I mean, I'm looking for something fresh, something that no one touched before. Because our music is a mix with extreme black metal music and Arabian/Middle Eastern music it's very hard to understand it in the first listening. Usually people who like extreme black metal don’t like the Middle Eastern parts and vice versa, when we wrote this album we knew its risky and we know it from the debut album from 1999, but Arallu always looks to bring something different to the global metal scene and we doing it in small steps.
Tell us about the song “The Universe Secrets.” What is that yell at the beginning of the song? Is that a typical yell found in traditional songs in Israel?
Mmmmmmm really interesting question. I believe you will not found this yell in any metal song in the all entire world, actually. It's a happiness yell of a traditional Middle Eastern party. The opening part of the song with the drums beat and the darbuka is like a Middle Eastern traditional song and that’s why we have this yell there. It's like I said, we looking to bring really unique parts around our songs. I don’t believe we will do this again for the future. We will look for something else.
“Victims of Despair” has a traditional melody at the beginning. “Adonay” has a strong element of traditional percussion. Are those percussion patterns something you have grown up listening to in Israeli songs your whole life?
Yes, exactly. If you will listen to the song "From the Desert to the Ice" from our previous album "GENIEWAR" or the song "DESERT BATTLES" from the album, you will find the same ideas with different instruments and different acts. All the music of Arallu is around the Middle Eastern music with black metal basic.
What do you think of the melodies of bands like AlNamrood and Melechesh and Nile?
Yeah, of course. Musically, Arallu belongs to the stream of the bands you mentioned. We are all thinking the same but act differently with our instruments.
What can you tell me about “Oiled Machine of Hate”?
The idea behind this song is to present the power of the religions hatred. How can it be is from 3,000 years ago until today people kill in the name of religions? The human race developed so many things - technology and curing illness that was killing millions only 200 years ago, but from the other side we are so primitive. Killing in the name of religion. It’s obscurity. This song was written is to open your mind to think about that and let you understand the situation.
Has Arallu played many shows outside of Israel? Where do you find that you have the most receptive audiences to your style of music?
We played around Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia. I think it was a shock for a lot of people from our style and our sounds. Metalheads not accustomed for the sound we bring and it's so great to see the feedbacks.
Thank you for answering the questions. Do you have any news that you would like to share? If a person wants to support your band, what is a direct way of supporting your band?
If you would have asked about dreams in one of your questions, so touring USA would definitely be a dream come true. For everyone interested in supporting us and buying our stuff, the best way is through our Bandcamp.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Matt Spall reviews Cradle of Filth

[Matt Spall is a man of sophisticated taste in music, and as you can read from his reviews, he loves to write detailed reviews about bands that often are in the field of progressive music. Yet, he has his guilty pleasures. In some cases, he reveals that he was once a young music fan excited about a band from his own neighborhood, if you will, in England. What are the chances that Matt would love an extreme metal band from his hometown area? Well, Matt and Cradle of Filth have a shared history, and this is the newest chapter in the ongoing affair between an intellectual music writer and a band known for, shall we say, questionable tastes, manners and music. --MMB]
Artist: Cradle Of Filth
Album Title: Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of Release: 22 September 2017
My first Cradle of Filth review for my website was for the eleventh studio release, ‘Hammer Of The Witches’, released in 2015 by Suffolk’s finest extreme metal export. Unconstrained by the shackles of word limits, I was able to delve into my personal history with the band and go into some detail about why this band remains an important part of my life. If you missed that review and wish to read my personal story, you can check that review out here.
Suffice to say that they made an indelible impression on the psyche of a wide-eyed teenager, who was getting into more extreme forms of metal around the time of the release of ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace’ and ‘Cruelty And The Beast’. And it helped too that this band were so local to me, residing in a location more used to tractors and fields than the unholy noises that Cradle of Filth so deftly created.
Cradle Of Filth have been around for the better part of three decades, nearly as long as I have been alive. It hasn’t always been plain sailing and success for the band, what with the frequent line-up changes meaning that the only original member left standing is the irrepressible vocalist Dani Filth. For better or worse, Dani has always been the driving force behind Cradle Of Filth so there has never really been the fear that the band would ever fold or go off in radically different directions. Nevertheless, it is never helpful to have to keep introducing new members into the fold as undoubtedly the chemistry is affected each and every time. And without doubt, some of the previous eleven records suffered, culminating in material that I didn’t find as satisfying as that of their earlier days.
In light of this, it is very pleasant to be able to report that ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’ features the very same line-up that delivered the surprisingly excellent ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ a couple of years ago, the album that reignited the excitement that I felt in the beginning. And the benefits of a stable line-up don’t take long to be realised, for this is yet another step up in quality and another indication that perhaps some of the magic that was present in their halcyon early years is well and truly making a comeback.
I’d actually take my comments a little further and say that Dani, alongside guitarists Richard Shaw and Ashok, keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft, bassist Daniel Firth and drummer Martin Skaroupka have delivered their best record for 20 years with ‘Cryptoriana…’
As the album title suggests, ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay ’ is heavily embedded in the world of Victorian Gothic horror and the tone is cleverly set by the opener, entitled ‘Exquisite Torments Await’. Unlike many Cradle Of Filth albums before it, this two-minute introduction is no mere instrumental. It might start with the disconcerting and creepy soundtrack of a horror film but before long, things turn heavy with a lumbering riff, blastbeats and the immediately recognisable shriek of Dani Filth. Lush keys and choral vocals give the brief track a sense of the grandiose before ‘Heartbreak And Séance’ takes over.
The minute I heard this song, I knew that this could be a very special record indeed. It contains everything I like about Cradle Of Filth. Fast riffs, uncompromising heaviness, over-the-top dramatic cinematic pomposity and the most memorable of lush, all-encompassing melodies, the kind of beautiful indulgence that they always effortlessly inject within their own distinctive brand of blackened Gothic extreme metal when firing on all cylinders. I must have listened to this track about ten times before I heard the remainder of the album but instead of getting old or boring, I like it more now than I did at the beginning. Noticeable right from the outset is the guitar solo that is both melodic and expressive, something that I welcome with open arms. And, whilst Cradle of Filth have never been shy with their use of keyboards and synths, Lindsay Schoolcraft really comes to the fore here with a perfectly-balanced use of sounds and textures that bathe the track with lashings of atmosphere.
‘Achingly Beautiful’ follows and another thing hits me as I listen and absorb the album further. Cradle of Filth have always explored songs of a more epic length but on ‘Cryptoriana…’, the compositions weave and dart around more than ever, twisting and writhing with vim and vigour as they make their way through the dark fog-drenched streets of a bygone era. The result is that there is simply more variety and drama within each individual track, heightening the overall impact greatly. I’m not suggesting for one second that this is a progressive metal album, but occasionally, the songwriting hints at it just a touch as witnessed within this particular track.
Lightning-fast staccato riffs, a frantic rhythmic backbone and an unhinged, wailing and gnashing lead solo; they are all parted expertly by understated yet theatrical keys and choral vocals, only to be replaced themselves by a thunderous, sedate riff that makes a huge impression.
The introduction of ‘Wester Vespertine’, with its atmospheric keys initially and then its urgent black metal riffing immediately takes me back nearly a quarter of a decade to the ‘Dusk…’ days. The female spoken word section and the synth drenched melodic Gothic savagery of the returning black metal riff then continue my journey into the past. However, the riff that follows is sculpted more from the realm of thrash, whilst Dani’s vocals do little to minimise the similarities. This composition is sheer extravagance, culminating in the kind of grandiose, galloping crescendo that brings a smile to my face and turns a great song into a sensational one. Without doubt, this is a highlight within an album of highlights.
In and amongst all of the other influences within ‘The Seductiveness of Decay’, the importance of Iron Maiden on Dani and Co. is arguably the most pronounced, thanks to the twin guitar harmonies and galloping melodies that surface frequently. However, it is so well done that the track becomes addictive and a lot of fun, despite the sinister overtones that loom large elsewhere in the song.
Ex-Leaves Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine makes an appearance within ‘Vengeful Spirit’ and in so doing, adds another welcome ingredient to an already rich and rewarding listening experience. The track itself is a little softer-feeling around the edges, more retrained perhaps but retains the sophistication shown elsewhere on this album.
‘You Will know The Lion By His Claw’ features more classic Cradle of Filth melodies, juxtaposed against some of the most of the most extreme material on ‘Cryptoriana…’, led from the outset by a lengthy, agonised shriek from Dani, supported by rich synths and fast-paced black metal riff. The melodies are slightly more subtle but no less impactful, accented as they are in the chorus by some pronounced choral vocals. Again this song goes in all directions within its seven minute length but it retains an almost exclusively high tempo, culminating in some impossibly fast drumming from Martin Skaroupka near the death.
The album is completed by a cover of Annihilator’s ‘Alison Hell’ but not before ‘Death And The Maiden’ brings to a close the original material in powerful fashion. The symphonic introduction is pure decadence, full-on film score territory. I like the fact that this song also deliberately slows things down a touch and delivers a muscular punch to end proceedings. The ubiquitous blast beats remain present but feature more sparingly, allowing chunkier riffing instead to pair up with the flamboyant Gothic overtones. Lead guitar solos are present too, capping off what has become a new and very welcome staple ingredient of Cradle’s sound on ‘Cryptoriana…’
If ‘Hammer of the Witches’ was a welcome return to form, then ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’ is the sound of a band building on a new-found belief and a rich vein of creativity to deliver, without doubt, one of the best records of their career.
The Score of Much Metal: 9.75

Matt Spall reviews Jag Panzer

[The long-running U.S. heavy metal act Jag Panzer has existed for decades, with splits and reunions of all sorts in the process. Now in 2017 they returned. So what did our friend Matt Spall think of the new music? Surely he knows this band, right? -MMB]
Artist: Jag Panzer
Album Title: The Deviant Chord
Label: Steamhammer / SPV
Date Of Release: 29 September 2017
Jag Panzer and I have had a turbulent relationship. Many regard them as a heavy metal institution, pointing towards the likes of their debut, ‘Ample Destruction’, as examples of the very best that US power metal has to offer the world. Admittedly, I came to the band late, via their fifth album ‘Thane To The Throne’ at the turn of the Millennium but they never really ignited my enthusiasm beyond a nod of appreciation. If memory serves, I actually traded in the aforementioned record soon after because it failed to hold my interest and I ultimately felt rather disappointed by it. I realise that this record represented a slight departure for the band, so I did check out other albums. Unfortunately, they did little to change my opinion.
I can already hear the sounds of knives being sharpened by those who consider the content of the previous paragraph as blasphemy. Regardless, I have to speak as I find and I can’t possibly like every band, can I?
However, in an effort to prove myself wrong, I accepted the invitation from Steamhammer/SPV and downloaded the promo for ‘The Deviant Chord’, the tenth full-length release from Jag Panzer. I’ll admit that curiosity also played a part because very little had been heard from the Colorado-based quintet since the release of their last album, ‘The Scourge Of The Light’ way back in 2011. Line-up issues and a near break-up apparently ensued but all of that seems to have been put aside, with ‘The Deviant Chord’ the result that many long-term fans had craved.
Even better news for the Jag Panzer faithful is that the clientele has remained largely undamaged. It means that the Jag Panzer of 2017 is comprised of vocalist Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin, guitarist/keyboardist Mark Briody, bassist John Tetley and drummer Rikard Stjernquist alongside returning lead guitarist Joey Tafolla.
So the stage is set for a triumphant return to the world of power metal for Jag Panzer and for me to finally take the band to my heart, yes? Well, after several spins, I must admit that the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. For existing fans, I have no doubt that the vast majority will lap up every last minute of ‘The Deviant Chord’ and revel in their return. For me though, it’s unfortunately a case of ‘as you were’ for the most part.
I have tried, I really have, but Jag Panzer just seem to be one of those bands that don’t click with me. I can see the attraction of course but it’s in a kind of detached way, as if I’m listening to the record through a pane of glass, whilst everyone else is in the recording studio rocking out with the band.
To offer something more constructive, I’d say that part of the problem is that there are a lack of killer choruses or strong melodies to capture my imagination. The album ends and aside from the Maiden-esque galloping bombast of ‘Far Beyond All Fear’ or the folk-tinged Celtic-infused ‘Foggy Dew’, I can’t remember much of what I’ve heard in the preceding 45 minutes or so. There are plenty of powerful riffs and there’s no denying the metal credentials of the band but again, they don’t grab me by the throat and slam me against the wall.
I don’t wish to sound overly harsh but I can’t shake the feeling that everything feels a little run-of-the-mill and distinctly ordinary. I certainly wish there was more variety overall, particularly in terms of the speed of the songs; once the initial fervour of the opening couple of cuts has passed, the vast majority of the remaining eight tracks feel comfortable remaining at a mid-tempo with little variation either side.
Again, not even some exuberant lead guitar work from virtuoso Tafolla can save the day as his solos are but a brief flurry of excitement in an otherwise unremarkable landscape. Likewise, the vocals of ‘Tyrant’ are passionately and powerfully delivered but for some reason, I’m not enamoured with his delivery.
I want to make it clear that I am not saying that ‘The Deviant Chord’ is a bad record because clearly it isn’t and I’d be being churlish for suggesting otherwise. It is professionally put together and the members of the band clearly believe in what they are doing. The thing is, I have been thoroughly spoilt over the last year or so with some truly excellent power metal emerging from many new corners of the scene and I think that Jag Panzer for all their strengths are suffering as a result. Whilst they had their problems to deal with, the world moved on and it has moved on apace. Jag Panzer therefore needed to blow me out of the water with ‘The Deviant Chord’ but instead they have simply splashed me a little. Oh well, as I said before, I can’t like them all.
The Score Of Much Metal: 6.5

Friday, November 10, 2017

the tech-death of Arkaik

The California act has been in business for a long time, since 2004. With time they have improved their brand of music, and on this, their fifth album, you will find that, sure, yes, they are very much a tech band from head to toe, back to front, forwards and backwards, but they have made an effort to add other things to their sound so that it is not an exercise in total technical metal for technical musicians. The music is still very much in the realm of technical-progressive extreme metal with growling, but there are breaks and pauses that add some melody, some slower segments and quieter interludes that give a moment to catch up a bit on the craziness. There is still not a whole lot of melody, and there is no change in genre going on at all, but Arkaik is undoubtedly working on making its art more specific to Arkaik.
If blasting progressive/technical extreme metal is a genre that you support, and you have not heard the band's latest album called Nemethia, listen to the full album at the first link below.
Biography (not updated): Arkaik's debut album, “Reflections Within Dissonance”, displayed a unique marriage of superior craftsmanship and a forward-thinking promise rarely seen in a band this young. Their sophomore album, “Metamorphignition” builds on their progressive and adventurous predilections and aims to transcend the boundaries of “technical Death Metal” even as it revels in the sub-genre's wanton brutality. The band's founder Jared Christianson (vocals) has pooled an immensely talented core of musicians around the band in its over ten years of progression, including emerging drum phenom Alex Bent (who has already done session work for Decrepit Birth/Rings Of Saturn/Battlecross), bassist Ivan Mungia (Deeds of Flesh), and lead/rhythm guitarists Miguel Esparza and Greg Paulson. Having already toured North America supporting Black Dahlia Murder in 2011, and Cannibal Corpse in 2012, they have been touring ever since creating their own enthusiastic fanbase and pushing the genre forward. Now Arkaik has released another crushing onslaught in the form of their newest full-length release "Lucid Dawn" in late 2015, their third Unique Leader Record release to date. Looking forward with ever increasing determination the band continues to seek out new boundaries of extremity and creativity – and then annihilate them.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Nairobi Metal Festival is this Saturday!

The Nairobi Metal Fest 2017 takes place this Saturday with the following bands: Last Year's Tragedy (metal from Kenya), Slander (hardcore punk from Italy), In Other Climes (metal hardcore from France), Vale of Amonition (doom dark metal from Uganda), and Irony Destroyed (metalcore from Kenya).
Here is some previous information/announcements about the bands:
In the next days we are going to introduce you to all the bands who are performing at #nairobimetalfest. Let’s start with IN OTHER CLIMES from France. IN OTHER CLIMES is a metal hardcore band formed in 2004 by 5 members sharing the same goal: show to the world how they use their bestial energy to make each show a true party messiah. Being one of the most active French band, and known for their video clips, the steamroller IN OTHER CLIMES, gained a strong international fan base through the years, giving them the opportunity to tour all accross the globe (USA, Brazil, Japan, Cuba, China, SE Asia, Europe...). No matter the kind of music you listen, when the show starts, a true blast of hate and revolt comes to minds and hearts, changing the crowd and band in a one voice screaming: „One life, one change, no fucking regrets“
The second international band to introduce is Vale of Amonition from Uganda. Founded in 2009. The band's name means the same as "Valley of Ammunition" and is a home to things of a tragic persuasion. A sanctuary for warmakers, a province for mages, an abode for ancient tribal lords and their possibly doomed descendants and a whole world of creatures divine and devious. Musically influenced by Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate but rather than remain rigid, their aim from the beginning has always been to evolve as much as they can within the heavy metal context. Therefore, "progressive" is a term of significance for them and tells of their collective spirit as musicians. Doom is their ultimate governor and the principle by which they play. We are looking forward to their first gig in Nairobi.
The next band to announce on the line up hailing from the dark creative forces of Nairobi. Irony Destroyed was formed in 2012 by Nelson “Ecclesiastes” Musyoka with three other previous members. They played and practiced some covers and recorded two tracks namely, “Think Twice, if Possible Thrice” and, “Sun as a Home” in 2013. In 2014, Nelson found the guitarist, Lenny Kiano and thus became in charge of the band and recruiting new members when Nelson left to study. Lenny and his newly formed band made their debut appearance at the March from the Underground event hosted by LYT and since then they have always been a crowd favorite in the Kenyan Metal scene. Earlier this year (10th April) they released their EP album entitled "Strife To Legacy" which was well received in the African metal scene. You can expect a heavy performance!
It’s now time to introduce a new band in town. After they sent us a demo with some raw material we couldn’t hesitate to let them warm up the festival. Here’s a little statement from Straight Line Connection what to expect: 'Formed in 2017 by 3 of us, Gun, Param and Maina. It was always my dream to have a rock band and after getting straight line connected to Param, the Drummer we just totally gelled. Param and I started off jamming on acoustic covers at his place till the third jam session when he said he wants to drum some. He got on the drums, I picked up the electric and started playing Scream which I had written a few months before. There was instant chemistry and we said screw the acoustic covers. We never looked back after that. After jamming a couple months we connected with Maina our bassist who added to and completed our songs. Our influences are Tool, RATM, ‪Animals as Leaders‬, ‪Metallica‬, ‪Megadeth‬, GnR, ‪Lamb of God‬, ‪System of a Down‬, ‪Alice in Chains‬, STP and many more. We are working on our album at the moment which will be released early to mid 2018. It will be a cauldron of energy, emotion, timelessness and we hope. The Nairobi Metal Festival will be our first major gig and we thank you and greatly look forward to it.'
Nairobi Metal Festival 2017 has 3 international bands on the line up. Slander is a young Metalpunk hardcore band hailing from Venice, Italy. If you thought that Venice, California was the only Venice that needs to be mentioned when you talk about hardcore music, now you should cope with the franticly growing scene of the original Venice City (Venezia, Italy) as well. In the last decade it delivered a bunch of renewed underground acts and has consolidated an unbelievably strong base, thanks to the cult "Venezia Hardcore Festival" that brings together thousands of HC maniacs from all over Europe. Since the beginning, back in 2014, this band has kept a strong DIY attitude and working ethic, selfproducing their own records & videos, artworks, setting up their own tours and booking local shows for dozens of bands with their own collectives (Trivel collective, Venice Hardcore Crew). They immediately started a relentless touring activity around Italy and Europe, building a solid reputation among promoters and fans with their intense and crazy live sets, alongside some of the most important punk and hardcore acts and becoming one of the most followed bands in their own country. During the last 3 years Slander has collected over 200 shows, supporting bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Descendents, Terror, Defeater, NOFX, Iron Reagan, Agnostic Front, Expire, Bane,Trash Talk just to name a few. The band is currently promoting their latest record "Bad Weather" counting multiple sold out shows around Italy and Europe, Kenya is up next! Get ready!
Last but definitely not least to announce is Last Year’s Tragedy from Nairobi. LYT ripped the belly of Kenya’s invisible metal beast and bore through to become one of the most prodigious bands in Kenya. From a group of University pals to the cutthroat thrashers known today, the group was fundamental in the setup of the Kenya Rock Scene. And then... they were gone. Or so it seemed. They return with brand new, throat grabbing, eyes-rolled-to-the-back-of-the-head music from their imminent album, Amongst Lions. With nothing but love through heartbreak, faith through despair, mallets through obstacles and fists through fear in their music, the band is set to grip you where it burns sweetly. Get ready.
After we announced all the bands the last couple of days it’s now time to mention another highlight on this festival, Dj Tumz. Popularly known by his alias ‘The Rock Doctor’. DJ Tumz has been a huge influence in the growth of rock and metal music popularity in East Africa and beyond over the last couple of years. If you have been listening to his show on Capital FM or have been to the previous „This is Africa“ festivals at the Alchemist you know what‘s up. DJ who knows how to make the crowd move. Here’s a few words from him: „I started DJing rock music exclusively in 2006. The reason was I had been introduced to and liked the music but I couldn't get it anywhere at the moment. By then I was a student at Makerere University in Uganda. That's why I decided to play Rock/Metal exclusively. I decided that other people should experience how it makes me feel. For me it is an escape to a magical place which I don't know where it is, but I know how I feel when I'm there. It's an honour to be part of this great platform bringing talented individuals for a great show! Metal especially is really misunderstood in Kenya. Hope we demestify the perceptions people have and show how powerful music is..after all music is universal“

Have you joined the power metal crusade of Cryonic Temple yet?

Power metal fans,
If you have heard the 2017 album by Cryonic Temple (Sweden) called Into the Glorious Battle, then you probably already know that it is a strong entry into the year's power metal albums category. Apparently, there are no official videos for the album. Therefore, if you are a power metal fan, and you have not heard the album, then below you can hear some tracks from the album. Of course, if you really like the music, find a way to give tangible support to the band. Below is the review of the album from months ago, in case you have not seen it.
Cryonic Temple - Flying over the Snowy Fields
Cryonic Temple - Mighty Eagle
Cryonic Temple - This War Is Useless (Eulogy)
Cryonic Temple
Into The Glorious Battle
Scarlet Records
Release: 21 April 2017
Cryonic Temple returns with a statement album after years of studio silence. Metal Archives shows that their previous album is from 2008. They began in 1996 and had four albums released before this new one, which is an affirmation of power metal. The loyalists of traditional metal music melodic forms will consider this work by the Swedes as a great example of the genre in 2017. Their objective is to remind their supporters that the band is very much alive, contrary to how it may have seemed for a while, due to the personnel changes over the years.
There are 13 songs that illustrate the main ideas of glorious power metal, beginning with speedfest numbers with thrash-level velocities and uptempo rockers contagious from start to end, forwards and backwards, right side up and upside down. These Swedes have no shame, no shame at all; they want to take over the world right this minute and they seek to convince anyone within striking distance. They take the listener from the highest of highs to the agony and melancholy of the power ballads (three of them, including the closing track as an epic conclusion to the album) that will make you take out your lighter and wave your arms side to side. War, victory, defeat, death, solitude, fury, consolation, joy and desperation, it's all in this tour de force of an album.
The new album shows the band as a major exponent of European power metal. The sound on this album incorporates keyboards as a strong background component that smoothes out the music and adds a permanent element of melody. The guitar work delivers everything expected in this field: fast riffs, uptempo rhythms, fast solos and catchy melodies. In addition, there are some bluesy elements during the power ballads, amongst other places. Everything you want in power metal guitar is present. The bass guitar is not very audible, but "Prepare for War" certainly shows the bass guitar. The drums do not sound like real drums due to the clean production. You can't hear much in the way of cymbal work and the double bass is clicky, as it tends to be in so much of modern metal genres, unfortunately.
The singing is done very well and appropriately for the genre in the sense that it is melodic with both (1) a massive appeal potential and (2) without all the annoying things associated with singing. (1) The singing is very friendly to the ear, in a way that is pop and good for radio, not just for heavy metal audiences. Anyone who hears the power ballad "The War Is Useless" will find the singing to be pleasant and perfect for singing along. (2) The singing is a type of midrange vocal style, but with enough of an upper range to be totally in the territory of melody. There are no forced and out-of-place shrill high notes that some people dislike about traditional metal singing.
Trivia. The band shows some quick flashes of homage to heavy metal and to 80s pop. These include vocal phrases like "steel meets steel," quick keyboards phrasings that recall the power metal renaissance in the 90s, like HammerFall and Edguy. Some of the keyboards parts recall 80s pop, of course, as is usual with power metal. In certain spots, they might be channeling Europe or Cutting Crew. They also could be invoking a bit of Gun n Roses’ “November Rain” in the aforementioned power ballad “The War Is Useless.”
The work is a rebirth for the band. They took their time with this album and the results speak for themselves. Power metal supporters will do themselves a great favor to hear this album in its totality. It should not take more than a few listens to begin understanding that is a strong return for the band in all the songs.
Go here to hear a new song now before the album is out.
review by MMB

Is NECRYTIS a band that refuses to let the people hear the music?

Necrytis is a traditional heavy metal band with high singing and rocking and shredding riffs and they have their debut album now, which was released back in September 2017, called Countersighns. The band is comprised of Shane Wacaster on drums and vocals, Mark Sobus on bass, and guitarist Toby Knapp, a guitarist with a cult following due to his music with different metal genres and entities/bands, some defunct and many that are ongoing now.
I think that fans of traditional heavy metal, especially those that want some shredding and that want a vocalist who actually sings (not scream, not tough-guy talk-sing), might be a demographic for the band. The album should be interesting for people into that type of sound.
So what's the problem with this band?! Nothing, except that you might not be able to hear their music! Neither the Pure Steel Publishing site nor the band's Facebook page seems to have a song for you to hear.
Maybe some of the fans should mention this matter to them. --MMB
OFFICIAL: Through Pure Steel Publishing the newly founded NECRYTIS release their debut album 'COUNTERSIGhNS'. But if you think these guys are youngsters, you are completely wrong. With Toby Knapp on board, there's an old veteran of the US American Heavy/Power Metal scene, becoming well known in the Underground with Onward in the early 2000s. Now he's also active in acts such as Where Evil Follows and the Black Metal band Waxen. Joining NECRYTIS with ex-Pandemonium and current Sue's Idol drummer, he harkened back to the epic bombastic works of the faded Onward. Elaborate guitar leads, melodic structures with big Maiden and Priest influences as well as an expressive singer in the tradition of Michael Grant (R.I.P.), this is great stuff for every US Metal fan. Mastered by Jens Bogren, 'COUNTERSIGhNS' has a powerful yet warm production. Melodic Power/Heavy Metal that couldn't be better.
OFFICIAL: The brainchild of drummer and lyrical visionary Shane Wacaster, Necrytis is the metallic result of both careful preparation and synchronicity.
Wacaster had recently finished work on the second album from his critically acclaimed band Sue's Idol in 2016 when new ideas for something even better began to take root. Left on his own and without collaborative partners, Shane started rapidly receiving lyrics, drum beats and vocal melodies almost as if he was taking dictation from another realm. With no band in place he fiercely documented and recorded all the musical information he seemed to be ‘receiving’ and when a full album's worth of material presented itself intact, almost by otherworldly guidance, Wacaster began the search for musicians to help him realize his vision.
Enter bassist Mark Sobus, who worked with Wacaster's drum beats and vocal melodies. Sobus pinpointed the proper keys Wacaster was singing in to find his driving root note oriented bass riffs and he locked in tightly with the bombastic drum tracks that were provided him. Now a carefully prepared template and foundation of what would be Necrytis's debut album "COUNTERSIGhNS" was in place. Soaring vocal melodies, intelligent lyrics, pounding basslines and a double bass drum onslaught now awaited the addition of a guitarist. The two members initially had a guitarist in the fold but things did not go as planned and for a brief moment the future of this masterful vision was in question.
Enter Shane Wacaster's high school heavy-metal bandmate from 1987, founder of the legendary band Onward, guitarist Toby Knapp. Wacaster had heard through a mutual friend that Knapp wouldn't be available because of a grueling year of recording three albums back to back. Indeed, when Knapp was presented with the idea of adding a fourth album to his year he was reportedly “concerned" he wouldn't have any inspiration nor anything left to contribute. Plus, how could an album be written and recorded in reverse by traditional standards? Drums first, then vocals, followed by bass and finally guitar? Very unorthodox to say the least.
The muse that guides the hands of musicians sealed their fate when Knapp heard the foundation Wacaster and Sobus had recorded. Knapp immediately went to work with no hesitation and completed all guitar tracks from scratch using cues from drums, basslines and vocal melodies to help him breathe fiery guitar riffing into the music- which pleasantly recalled Onward's debut album "Evermoving". Notably, this is the first album Knapp has recorded with an actual human drummer since Onward's "Reawaken". Who better than the musician he started with in a garage thirty years ago? Synchronicity continued to guide the album into the hands of one of Germany's leading Heavy Metal labels: Pure Steel Records.
Very special finishing touches were added to sound and packaging via the incredible mastering of Jens Bogren who has worked with what amounts to a "who's who" of the greatest metal bands in the industry and the breathtaking art and graphics of the legendary JP Fournier. If Necrytis's "COUNTERSIGhNS" is a ‘sign’ of things to come, we are in for a long and exciting journey with Power Metal's newest and most electrifying power trio!
1. Praetorian X 05:14
2. Palace of Agony 03:53
3. Nova Meridian 03:51
4. Sentry's Scream 05:42
5. God as Electric 04:44
6. My Asylum 05:01
7. Dawn's Aurora 03:27
8. Daemon Angelus 05:12
9. In Ascent 04:21
10. Countersighns 04:44
total time: 46:09

Monday, November 6, 2017

interview with Kömmand

The black thrash band Kömmand took time out of their busy schedule to confront this inquisition questionnaire interrogation (mostly written in Metalenglisch). Their debut album is from 2017 and it is called Nekrö Kömmandö Attack! because nekro is a way of viewing the world and playing music. Live it at the first link below and you too can rise to the rank of a kömmander of metal and of your life. Kömmander Z speaks.
Hällo! Metal Bulletin zine wants to interrogate the Kömmand krüe about your metal konspiracies. The debut was released in 2017, but when did the konzept für the blackthrash originally begin? Why the blackthrash in partikular? What motivates the Kömmand körps to dedikate so much devotion to this style of nekrometal?

I started writing Kömmand riffs in November of 2013. A lot changed for me in 2013 - the drummer of Skinwalker moved to Oregon, I got kicked out of Strychnine, my woman left me and I completed university. I had no feeling for the future, and a void in my output. Being fully marinated in BLACK METAL for years, my music vocabulary was stunted at the level of the cold, fast and hateful. But for me, the best parts of 2nd wave BM were always the D-beat sections and ROCK oriented songwriting. This, as well as the GREATS of yesteryear, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Destruction, Kreator, etc., are pure candy. I thought, “why wade through the fog of atmosphere to get to my candy riff?” Why not start a project of ALL candy riffs? Something I wouldn’t get bored of listening to in 1-2 months?
Before, during and after these moments, my listening preferences have trended toward the ancient and the riff oriented. CARNAGE and EXHUMER are also steeped in metal lore. We live, breath, drink, and self-destruct for ANCIENT FAST METAL. And we were quite frankly, tired of the shit, safe, eyeliner, multiple-adjective and diaper-metal bands out there.

Who are the members of the band now? One time I saw a post online of the kriminal aktivities of each bandmember für bands, podkasts, zines und other such things. Kann you please give us that information again here now so that we kann share it mit the fans?
Hiuhiuhiu, but of course! As I say, metal is everything for us. Carnage (4-string Krüshfukk) has been displacing neck-cartilage around Seattle for over 15 years with Nekro Morphosis and Process of Erosion, as well as booking shows at the 2 Bit Saloon (RIP) for years, and now booking Metal Mondays at the Substation. Exhumer (Ritualistikk Blackcircle Nekropounding) is one of the most dedicated people for the WAR-EFFORT I know! Until recently he played with Isenordal, he books various shows around Seattle and writes The Sentinel d.i.y. magazine. In addition to Kömmand, I play in Skinwalker and Wende, and record Zett’s Unsilent Storms Radio Podcast to soundcloud twice a month. Yesseah! Self-promotion is as ‘murican as baseball and wealth inequality!

Who rekorded which instruments on the album? Was it a projekt at that point? Does everyone in the band see eye to eye on what the band sound should be? By the way, what is the musical und band bakkground of the three kömmanders?

Well, according to your fine publikation, “They hate each other and can barely talk to each other to make songs together”, HIUHIUHIU!!!!! We’re all united in what Kömmand should sound like. We each have our preferences, but we only honör the OLD WAYS with Kömmand. On the album, I recorded drums, guitars, and vocals, in that order. The band has been playing shows since summer 2014, but never with a stable lineup, so during the summer of 2016, I did the drums out of necessity as Exhumer hadn’t enlisted yet. Carnage recorded bass and handled the mixing and mastering work using his NEKRÖ-DRENCHED audio knowledge. And our musical and band backgrounds were amplified in the above question - we are true metal freaks!
In order to rekord blackthrash korrektly what is necessary for Kömmand? Where do you find the right studios? What type of guitar do you need? What is the preferred ekuipment necessary? How is the bass supposed to sound? What about drums? Should the drums be only the real sound from the aktual drums when the hand and foot hit the instrument?

The way to record blackthrash korrektly is the way to record ALL music correctly: HONESTLY. No studio bullshit, not bells and whistles, every barnacle on the hull left INTACT!!!! Guitars, amplifiers, drums, studios - - almost completely irrelevant. Sound like you sound, and put in the work to sound good, and you’ll be fine. Play with feeling EMPHASIZED, and for FUKK-SAKES, make your instruments sound like themselves!!! Drums must sound like drums, not typewriters or consistent, sterile snooze-fest clicks. NO!!!!!! Guitars, Bass, Vocals shouldn’t sound like anything but YOUR band. Don’t trick things up on the album! This is one of the best things about the best albums - the UNIQUENESS of the sound on that album. No other album sounds like Paranoid. No other album sounds like first Bathory. No other album sounds like Transilvanian Hunger, etc. 
I recorded my drums, in one take per song, excepting for Plague Doctor and Hailstorms 100-Proof, at a godsdamned COUNTRY music studio. The guitars and bass were recorded in a basement. The vocals in a bedroom. It doesn’t matter. The feeling will seep out of any location, if it’s present at all.
Related to the above kuestion, is it not diffikult to rekord drums in fast, extreme metal, especially if it is blasting drums? In your opinion, how does a band avoid cheating in drums und still have a good, professional drum sound if it is blasting metal? Is it or is it not possible? Kann you think of any examples of fast drumming in extreme metal that you know has real drums with no cheating?

In Skinwalker, the drummer Blacksmith would remove the resonant head on his kick drum, and tune the beater head so it was slightly floppy. It was one of those with the fancy foam ring. Then he’d place the mic inside the shell near the Point Of Mallet ATTACK! That’ll do the trick. I’m no studio wizard or a drummer really, all I can say is… imperfect and organic > sterile and immaculate mechanization. 
As to the last queztion… even though he was a shameless perpetrator of “typewriter metal” in the mid-late 90s, Hellhammer’s performance on De Mysteriis in near flawless. It’s a shame Attila took a shit for vocals. Or just listen to Repulsion’s Horrified and Death Strike’s Fuckin’ Death demo for drums. You could do a lot worse than that.
In your opinion, where kann I find the best examples of the blackthrash guitar playing if I am studying this sound? Is it found in Destruction's early works? What about the early Celtic Frost albums? Nocturnal Breed? Nifelheim? What bands started the wildfire of Kömmand? Who does the hammer-ons a lot? Who does the tremolo a lot?
Just listen to 80s DARK THRASH. It will lead the way. Early “Teutonic”-thrash, Bathory, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer, Brazilian dark-80s-thrash, Italian dark-80s-thrash, Czech dark-80s-thrash, Slaughter Lord, Sabbat, Tormentor… But obviously, they would’ve never called their style “blackthrash”. Infernö/Aura Noir carried the torch in the dark days for the style… And currently… German blackthrash, Italian blackthrash, Brazilian blackthrash, Australian blackthrash, Sweden too - so much has changed! Hiu. Kolbotn bands are absolutely KILLING it. And Amerika is cultivating some great bands, especially on the coasts. Hail NORTHWEST THRASH CONTINGENT!!!!
Does the reaktion to your muzik enkourage Kömmand to kontinue? What did you expekkt the Seattle metalheads to think about your sound? Has the reaktion been what you expekted? Do you find that other metal bands are open-minded to sharing the stage with the nekrometal blackthrash of the kömmanders of the Kömmand köllektive?
Well I was crafting snotty, atonal BLACKTHRASH riffs before anyone cared about Kömmand, and I’ll continue after they’ve perhaps drunk their fill so to speak. But really, people are sloshing their brains about to our diddies, so we couldn’t be happier. Maybe it’s a kick in seat for people exhausted by SLOW-MUSIC MOPIES and Adjective-Adjective-Adjective-Metal curio-troupes. Who’s to say. We play loud, fast and snotty and that’s all there is to it. We’ve gotten on with most everyone, and most everyone has been congenial with us. It’s not rocket-science. Go to shows, support artists you value, and enjoy your terrestrial-span ‘cause the grave awaits us all.
Thanks for playing in Everett! It was great to hear the muzik live. What is next for the Kömmand konsortium now that you have an album done? Is it a good indikation of the band that you have already shown us what you mean by nekrometal right here in the state of Washington by rekording an album und you have written your name into the book of heavy metal.

As of drünkenly responding to your Prrrrrompts, I have four songues written, with whisperings of more on the way, so there should be another album forthwith. It’d be good to take our ÜGLYTHINGS on road soon too. Maybe even looking across wide waters? Can’t say, but it’ll be a real hööt.
Kömmander Z likes to do the Celtic Frost exklamation vociferations. However, I want more of those. I am wondering if you are thinking of adding to your repertoire more vociferations like sounds of vomit, gagging, choking, screaming, high yells, and phrases like "thrash!," "here we go again," "kömmand!," "attakk!," “This is nekrö ugh!," "ugh ugh wargh ugh!," und other things like that. Would you konsider putting in more of those? Maybe add one that goes “ugh ugh nekrö argh!”
I think I snuck in a “Thrash!” somewhere on the album, Yes? In any case, a “Pure Black Speed” is nestled lovingly in there, forsooth. No promises on any future interjections. They’re done IN THE MOMENT and any planning may result in proprietary payments to TOM G. All the vocals on the album were done in one take, straight through. Unchained melodies! The ‘ughs’ and the like will make a return though… happy hunting!
Does the Kömmander Z speak Norwegian? I think you know why I ask! The last song on the album seems to be in Norwegian. 

Indeed it is, though I’m sure quite poorly. I don’t speak Norwegian, though I’m trying to learn. I en sneglefårt! For faen! I took a holiday to Norway in the summer of 2015 and I was on the whole quite taken with the place. Bergen especially is a magical city - very much like the PNW really. So the song desribes things I experienced: drinking Syv Fjell beer at the Garage, a CAT that sleeps in a precious stone shoppe, sticks carved with mundane rune messages - an old-Norse “Letter that Johnny Walker Read”! Priceless! So I had to attempt writing in Norwegian - for the city.
Recently, there have been many important events taking place in the world. The end of the world is koming, I am told, und I do not have a plan. I have been listening to Nocturnal Breed’s Aggressor album. That’s the extent of my plan. Should I be doing something else to prepare for the end of the world? I recently threw a television set from the balkony of a hotel but that did not go well for me. Who do you think kould help me to pay my bail? Do you have the number of a good lawyer that kould help me?
A fine album for the apokalypse! End of the world? Grow your own food and get a big weapon? Oh, and the best lawyer in the world is Mr. Dontgetcaughtdoingit. He’s got me out of many a bind! And as this is the last Kuezztion… I say thanks for the interview… Hail Carnage and Exhumer, hail the skullshakers, the patchhorde, NWTC, the breweries, Insomniac and Blacksmith, and all music that doesn’t suck eggs! Wipe yer assholes!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hail to England, Hail to GRIMGOTTS: the new album is arrived

The sword-wielding, shield-making power metal dragons of the northern snowlands known as Grimgotts have now set the firebreathing upon the universe with the debut full-length album called Lions of the Sea. Grimgotts plays power metal because denim, dragons and leather brought them together. Come, power metal loyalists, and listen to this savage poetry. Go the first link and welcome to the freak show.
OFFICIAL: Grimgotts is a London-based power metal band in the vein of Power Quest, Edguy and Twilight Force. The band formed in 2015 and so far has released 3 EPs of original material, one cover single and this month will be releasing the debut album, "Lions of the Sea". The first single off of movie debut album, "Calm Before the Storm" has just been released.
You can hear and download all of Grimgotts' music on our bandcamp page for free. We have decided to keep all of our music as "name your price" so far in order to encourage as many people as possible to listen!
We also have music out on iTunes and plan to release the new album digitally.
In 2016, Stormspell records produced 500 copies on CD of our first two EPs combined, "Here be Dragonlords" and "Extenditus Playus". These can be purchased online.
The philosophy of this band is to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously, as you might be able to tell with EP titles like "Part man, part beast, part dragon". Our music is synth/ keyboardy power metal with shredding guitars and a vocalist who isn't afraid to hold back!
Look out for our new album "Lions of the Sea" which will be released this month.

Seattle and Washington concert calendar, updated November 4, 2017

Friends in the state of Washington,
Is there a metal music show in your area that is not listed in this calendar? Does your local metal band have a show coming up and is not listed here? Is your band's name spelled incorrectly? Are the dates wrong? If you have information about shows/updates/cancellations, please get in contact with Metal Bulletin Zine.
Seattle and Washington concert calendar, updated November 4, 2017
November 5 Systematic Death, Capitalist Casualties, Deathraid, Hideous Creep, Repudiate at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 7 Children of Bodom, Carach Angren, Lost Society, Uncured at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 7 Allegaeon, Ne Obliviscaris, A Sense of Gravity, A Flourishing Scourge, Vesuvian at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 9 Suicide Silence, Upon a Burning Body, Slaughter to Prevail, Prison at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 9 Rhine, Rat King, Ghostblood, Hexengeist at The Kraken, Seattle, WA
November 10 Second Sting (Scorpions tribute) at Tulalip Casino, Marysville, WA
November 11 Children of Bodom, Carach Angren, Lost Society, Uncured at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 11 Trojan Swamp Monster, Dilapidation, Effluvia and Oxygen Destroyer at Erebus, Kelso, WA
November 12 Within The Ruins, Aversions Crown, Currents at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 13 Suicide Silence, Upon A Burning Body, Slaughter To Prevail, Prison at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 14 Origin, Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge, The Kennedy Veil at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 15 Gwar, Ghoul, U.S. Bastards at Showbox Sodo, Seattle, WA
November 17 Cannibal Corpse, Power Trip, Gatecreeper at Neumos, Seattle, WA
November 17 Washington Deathfest at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA: The Charleston (Monsters Brawl Main Stage) 6pm: Embryonic Devourment, Violent Hallucinations, Progenitor, Whythre, Ghostblood, Nihilist Nation, Ashen Pyre, Oxygen Destroyer. High Fidelity lounge (The Chaos stage 2) 4pm: Monsters Among Gods, Abiosis, Inside Defiance, Prey The Hunter, Noceur
November 17 Walking Corpse Syndrome at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 18 Blistered Earth (Metallica tribute) at Jackson St. Bar, Spokane, WA
November 18 Boycott the Baptist at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA
November 18 Xenopsy, Kill Closet, Walking Corpse Syndrome, Darklight at Tony V's Garage, Everett, WA
November 21 Crowbar, Tombs – Incite, Tricounty Terror, Sausage Slapper at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 24 Arch Enemy, Trivium, While She Sleeps, Fit For An Autopsy at Showbox Sodo, Seattle, WA
November 25 Castle, Kömmand, Blame the Wizards, Severhead, Barbarian Wasteland at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
November 25 Monsters among Gods, Born without Blood, The War Within, Karma's Playbook at Darrell's Tavern, Shoreline, WA
November 26 Castle at The Shakedown, Seattle, WA
November 27 Belphegor, Cryptopsy, Hate at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
December 1 Bell Witch, Monarch, Usnea, Isenordal at Highline, Seattle, WA
December 1 Zepparella (Led Zeppelin tribute) at Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
December 2 Drawn and Quartered, Effluvia, Nekro Drunkz at The Valley, Tacoma, WA
December 2 Ghoul, The Plot Sickens, Crud Guns, Misuse of Power, Kömmand at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 2 Oxygen Destroyer, Violent Hallucinations, Grim Ritual, Battle Axe Massacre, Thonis, Transcribing the Necronomicon at McCoy's, Olympia, WA
December 3 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute) at the Manette @ Bremerton, WA
December 4 Ghost Ship Octavius, American Wrecking Company, Avoid the Void, Omnisight at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
December 7 Weltesser, Body Void, Isenordal, LB! at Highline, Seattle, WA
December 8 Darkest Hour, Warbringer, Exmortus, ReEvolution at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
December 8 Heartbreaker Led Zeppelin Tribute at Rocko's Fireside, Everett, WA
December 8 Witch Mountain at High Dive, Seattle, WA
December 9 Jesus Wears Armani, Massacre at the Opera, Chamber 6, Method 13, Odyssian, Born without Blood, Children of Seraph, As Pillars Fall, Blood and Thunder, After the Fallout, Prey the Hunter, Anthrocene, Bleed the Stone at at Tony V's, Everett, WA
December 15 Accused AD, Demon Hammer, Hallucinator, The Devils Of Loudun, Oxygen Destroyer at Highline, Seattle, WA
December 16 All That Remains, Alter Bridge at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
December 16 Phobia, Xoth, Vitriol, The Great Sorcerer, Nosretep, EnVenom at Highline, Seattle, WA
December 16 Second Sting (Scorpions tribute), Dr. Crüe at The Lime, Kirkland, WA
December 20 Putrid Temple at Mercury, Seattle, WA
December 22 Black Bone Exorcism, Thou Shall Kill, others at Substation, Seattle, WA
December 29 Zoso - The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
December 29 Queensryche at Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie, WA
January 1 Monsters among Gods, Rue the Day, Chronic Trigger, Daughters of Nyx at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
January 5 Fates Warning at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
January 6 Infernal Coil, Theories, Wake of Humanity at Black Lodge, Seattle, WA
January 19 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute), Elephant Gun Riot at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
February 13 Kreator, Sabaton at Showbox, Seattle, WA
February 17 Anthrax, Killswitch Engage at at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
February 19 Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod at Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
March 1 Queensryche in Spokane, WA
March 6 Wolves in the Throne Room, Myrkhur, Khemmis at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
March 7 Machine Head at Showbox, Seattle, WA
Msrch 9 and 10 Northwest Metal Fest at El Corazón/Funhouse, Seattle, WA: Skelator, Substratum, others
March 19 Udo Dirkschneider, Zero Down, Children of Seraph at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
March 22 Michael Schenker at Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
April 6 Nightwish at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
April 15 Uli Jon Roth, Killian Mahaffey at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
April 15 Judas Priest, Saxon, Black Star Riders at ShoWare Center, Kent, WA
June 10 HammerFall, Flotsam and Jetsam, Skelator at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
Metal Bulletin Zine
P.O. Box 1339
Lake Stevens WA 98258 USA

the interview with Large Marge is here!

Large Marge is a grind band that is relatively new to this publication. They have been playing shows in the Seattle region, and they have a 24-track monstrosity called Truck Stop Hauntings. Before you read this interview, which was answered by both members of the band Abe and Jerald, there are three things to mention: 1. Large Marge is a grind and chaos is what you will get; 2. This music is bonkers; 3. Relax, friend, Large Marge will help you.
Thanks to both crazies Jerald and Abe for doing this interview. --MMB.
You lads have another band called Dilapidation and it’s death doom. So when did Large Marge begin and why did you feel the need to do it?
Abe: Started Large Marge back in 2009 or so. I was bored and had yet to start a grind project.
Jerald: Large Marge is an idea that Abe has had for a long time. He had someone else in mind to do the vocals but nothing ever came of it so he asked if I would be interested in giving it a shot. I had been wanting to try doing vocals for a project for a while so I jumped at the chance.
Large Marge is in some ways the opposite end of Dilapidation: the speed and brevity of the songs is a contrast, for instance. How do you view Dilapidation and Large Marge?
Abe: They are just parts of music I like to play. I have never really considered myself one for any particular style so I just play what sounds fun and then make bands if I can that play the same thing.
Jerald: Abe and I both have several projects we work on at various times and we view them all as entirely separate entities. I would have to say that the biggest contrast between the two is that everything we do in Dilapidation is much more thought-out and deliberate where as the approach we take with Large Marge is a lot more spontaneous. We can take time away from focusing on Large Marge and jump right back into it with no problems but Dilapidation requires much more effort to maintain.
Why do you prefer a nonhuman drummer? Can a human drummer do all the crazy stuff you imagine?
Abe: I just write. I have no preference to human vs machine. I will say that with a machine I do not have to worry about skill levels or endurance. I used it initially because drummers are a pain to find that are of the skill level I need and then it just became part of the sound so I quit caring about a live drummer.
Jerald: Abe creates the core musical concepts in the band so he would have more insight to the reasoning behind the programmed drums but I know there is a major Agoraphobic Nosebleed influence (that goes for both of us). He definitely likes to take advantage of the fact that a computer can accomplish inhuman things and I believe he has mentioned wanting to take that idea even further. It opens up a lot of creative possibilities. When people find out that I am a drummer, they sometimes ask why I don't just play drums in Large Marge but if we did that, it would be an entirely different band.
How do you know when a track is finished? Do you write the songs in the spur of the moment?
Abe: I actually spend quite a bit of time writing the songs, but I do not use a guitar to do it (trade secret on how I do it). Every song is pretty deliberate. I have a general outline and then go back and fine tune things, but always with a skeletal idea in place before starting.
Jerald: Our approach to making music is different from any other project I have ever been a part of. We never work on songs together in person. Abe writes all of the music, programs the drums and records the guitar. He sends the instrument tracks to me and I listen to them and write lyrics. Finally, I record my vocals and we compile the songs into a release. I never know what the music is going to sound like until Abe sends me the tracks and he never knows what my vocals sound like or what my lyrics are until he hears the finished product. We only meet up to practice for a show.
Do any of you like the old grind bands like Repulsion and Napalm Death? What about the newer grind bands, which ones do you like? Is grind a genre that you play, but that you don't follow very closely or you do follow it very closely?
Abe: I like a bit of old grind. Pig Destroyer and Anal Cunt especially. I really do not know many new bands. I have tried a few out but they all lack something. Not sure how to describe it.
Definitely something I play more so than follow. Most bands are not doing anything really interesting with it anymore, save for a couple here and there. A lot of bands I have heard in recent years are Anal Cunt style wannabes that also claim to hate Anal Cunt and just do the lofi noise hipster shit that all sounds the same. Been to several shows like that and could honestly not decipher when one band finished and a new one began.
Jerald: I don't listen to much of the grind that has come out in recent years. As with any genre, we have our variations in taste but the grind bands we both appreciate most seem to be Napalm Death, Siege, Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Assück and Anal Cunt.
I can't speak for Abe but I wouldn't say I follow grind closer than any other genre. I don't listen to it as much as I used to when I was first getting into it but it's still a style of music that I have a deep appreciation for. I can't speak too much on the musicianship of any current bands as I am the kind of person who is more likely to dig through old recordings rather try to keep up on new releases.
Grind bands are often vocal about their left and/or liberal opinions. Large Marge seems unwilling to join the radical left, liberal, white-guilt politics and ideology. What do you think?
Abe: I personally do not use any of my bands to promote any sort of ideology. I also do not write the lyrics. That I leave to Jerald.
Jerald: We've never been interested in using our music as a political vehicle. As I said, we like to stay busy with various musical projects and if we wanted to write music that makes a statement, we could do that but Large Marge isn't the place. We like to have a wide range of subject matter in our music. It's more fun that way. Songs in Large Marge cover a lot of different ground from sleep deprivation to the daily grind of going to work to Slavic folklore just to give a few examples. As the lyricist, I'd say that I prefer to take a more personal approach to this band where as politics is a much more all-encompassing concept.
Will you be bringing elements like electronics and other experimental sounds to create as much noise and chaos as possible?
Abe: We already have to some degree. Considering the concept and nonspecific direction I have taken with Large Marge, nothing is really off the table.
Jerald: Our new album, Truck Stop Hauntings, features some noise tracks in it. I've had a passion for making ambient/noise music since high school and it's something I wanted to include in the band early on and Abe was very receptive when I brought it up to him. We've even started incorporating them into our live set.
What is next for Large Marge? Is the Seattle area crowd treating you well or are they mostly confused with Large Marge?!
Abe: I do not know. I really do not pay attention to anything but cigarettes and when to come in when the drums cut out.
Jerald: We're just gonna keep doing what we're doing: writing, recording and playing shows. We may eventually do some out of town shows here and there but there are currently no plans for anything like that. We really love doing Large Marge but it's one of several projects that we are each involved in and Dilapidation is definitely our highest priority. As far as the Seattle crowds, we're always pretty unsure about the reaction we will get from any audience but so far, people seem pretty accepting. All of the shows we have played so far have been pretty low-key and we tend to play on a lot of mixed bills so I have no idea what the local grindcore fanatics would think of us. They would probably just think we're dorks.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thy Worshiper

by MMB
Thy Worshiper
release date: May 25th, 2016
label: Arachnophobia Records
1.Gorzkie żale 08:30
2.Wila 04:47
3.Marzanna 06:07
4.Halny 06:43
5.Post Coitum 02:25
6.Wschody 10:46
total time 39:18
Disc 2
1.Zioła 07:21
2.Słońce 05:08
3.Grzyby 06:30
4.Dziady 11:01
5.Żywot 02:16
6.Anielski orszak 08:12
total time 40:28
The gills of this band are unbelievable. Every time I listened to the album it felt like a journey into Thy Worshiper’s methods of madness. For some reason, I realized that I did not know how long the album is. I had been listening without paying attention to the playing time. Then I looked. One hour and 20 minutes. Well, no wonder it feels like a journey.
Thy Worshiper is fiercely peculiar in its delivery of the avantgarde. As far as I can tell, this is the way that Thy Worshiper has done things since the debut album in 1996. Perhaps this way of making music seems to the band like normal, but this is anything but routine. While it is accurate that the music is not experimental in the sense of improvised noise making, and there is a clear foundation in extreme metal in general, Thy Worshiper is still music for diehard adventurous souls. To top it all, this must be the band’s magnum opus, its grandest and proudest achievement.
My personal impression is that there is a big percussion-centered vibe to the album, a pagan-tribal feel, and when you add that to the vocals (desperate, ghostly, gothic, funeral singing, contrasted with growling), the music is something like pagan avantgarde, without necessarily being able to provide a dictionary definition of what exactly the terms pagan avantgarde mean.
In my opinion, the band has crafted a far-reaching work. Therefore, be confident that they have the knowledge to do this type of music. If they have spent lots of energy making such an album, it’s only fair to underline that the listener has to commit to Thy Worshiper. It is not likely that there will be a hit song that will jump out. It’s not casual metal, but after a few listens the songs will make more sense, and that’s when it’s easier to hear the melodies, and the overall atmosphere of the album. The extreme metal and the avantgarde, the strange and the heavy, and the left-field melodies, are not easy listening when Thy Worshiper puts it all together, but I find that the disparate pieces become a full picture with repeated listens. If the band has done all this hard work to make the album an adventure, as opposed to delivering a formulaic album, then it stands to reason that it takes effort and patience to absorb the music.
I am surprised at how enjoyable and melodic it sounds once one is more familiar with the songs.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

the classic-style heavy rock of High Spirits from Chicago

I'll give it to you straight: High Spirits is an American band whose sound is 50% Thin Lizzy and 50% New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or something like what used to be called heavy rock, which is another term for young heavy metal in the 1970s, right before the term became an orthodoxy. The band calls it "high energy rock," and it's heavy metal, but again, it's the young metal when the genre was wide open and the younger musicians were lean and hungry and wanted to prove themselves because their ancestors--Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, so on and so forth--had set the standards very high. High Spirits is uptempo, rocking music, big on melodies, and filled with a certain optimism and the vibe of fun metal. The songs get to the point quick and they do their thing, and then it's over, and the next song arrives, and it's just as catchy as the previous one. Trivia: If you ever read Metal Maniacs, you may be interested to know that the former Metal Maniacs writer Chris "Professor" Black founded this band. Listen to the complete EP at the first link below. Warning: This music might make you play air guitar and bang your head. --MMB
High Spirits
Release date: September 8th, 2017
1.Escape 04:01
2.Stagefright 03:27
3.Feels Like Rock and Roll 02:20
4.Lonely Nights 04:14
total time 14:02
Biography (not updated): The world is waiting… It’s ready now… So are you ready?
HIGH SPIRITS wants to know! Because the band is more than ready to share with you its exhilarating new album “Motivator” set for release on 16th September 2016 via High Roller Records. Here’s one album you definitely should judge by the cover: “Motivator” is fast, colorful, uplifting, and going far! It also marks the 500th release in the High Roller Records catalog (HRR500), a sure indication that the band and label alike are proud of their hard work and shared success to date.
When asked about High Spirits’ popularity, founder Chris once joked, “I don’t know! I expected this to be a ‘demos-were-better’ band!” It’s true that the self-titled 2009 demos collection may have caused a minor sensation, originally self-released as a plain white-label LP and sold at the first High Spirits show, which was in August of 2009. A European vinyl release via High Roller Records followed a few months later, and the white-label version is of course a nice rarity nowadays. Occasional Hometown shows in Chicago plus DIY tours of the USA in 2010 and again in 2011 turned out to be a lot of fun indeed, and meanwhile the first studio album was underway.
The album was titled “Another Night”, and upon its August 2011 release, the response quickly built to a rousing cheer. High Spirits and High Roller had a fantastic surprise: everyone seemed to love this album! It felt really good! By 2012, demand was “high” to see the band live in Europe. In May of 2012, High Spirits made its European debut at Rock Hard Festival, followed by two exclusive club gigs in Germany and then Muskelrock Festival in Sweden. By 2013, the band’s word-of-mouth fanbase was growing rapidly. High Roller met the demand with successive pressings of “Another Night” LPs, and the band delivered another run of European gigs, culminating in the long-awaited finale at Keep It True Festival. High Spirits then capped 2013 with an explosive hometown show and began work on the follow-up studio album.
Released in April of 2014, “You Are Here” was a sharper batch of songs compared to the debut. It showcased the more commercial side of High Spirits’ songwriting and also incorporated the raw energy of its live show to a greater extent. Response from the press and the record-buying public was enthusiastic, and the band’s audience continued to grow. Airplay on National Public Radio (NPR) in the USA was once again a fantastic surprise: although High Spirits remained fully rooted in the DIY practices of the independent music world, its appeal (and recognition) had officially extended beyond those borders.
During 2014 and 2015, the band undertook its most intense touring schedule to date, visiting unexplored parts of Europe, Canada, and the USA, as well as returning to places where support was already strong. In 2015 alone, the band performed at seven festivals in six countries! It was an exciting year that left the band feeling very grateful and also wondering what new adventures the future would bring. Songwriting for a third album had begun as early as May of 2014, and with intermittent studio sessions between tours, High Spirits had a finished album in hand at the beginning of 2016.
“Motivator” features High Spirits at its highest-energy, fully-powered best. It’s an upbeat, athletic record, incorporating all of the band’s characteristic musical dynamics and pushing them to the limit. The sound design is authentic, organic, yet richly detailed. And when it comes to the lyrics, the listener will no doubt notice that the album is nearly autobiographical, inspired by the band’s experiences in recent years and offering a potent dose of motivation (of course) for the days, nights, and years to come. High Spirits has never sounded so accessible yet so removed from the norms of modern-day rock music.
“Motivator” will be preceded in August by the single “Take Me Home”, which the band describes as “one of the more atmospheric cuts”, followed by the full album release on 16th September. High Spirits then will be back on tour in October, driven by what just might be their liveliest batch of songs yet, happily headed wherever the road (and skies) take them next.
Are you on board? ‘Cause here we go!