Saturday, November 10, 2018

western Washington state concert calendar, updated November 10, 2018

western Washington state concert calendar, updated November 10, 2018
November 12 Raven, others at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 12 As I Lay Dying, others at Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
November 13 Korpliklaani, Arkona, Siren’s Rain at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 13 Goatwhore, others at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
November 13 Dark Castle, Cult of Occult, Cloven, Old Iron at Black Lodge at Seattle, WA
November 14 Eyehategod, Cro-Mags, Philip H. Anselmo and The Ilegals, Child Bite, Theories at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 16 Ulthar, Hissing, Blood Atonement at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 16 Underoath at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
November 16 Noisem, Blame God, Bruceexcampbell, Gün, Pustulous at The Plaid Pig, Tacoma, WA
November 17 Neck of the Woods, Darkness Stole the Sky, others at McCoy’s Tavern, Olympia, WA
November 17 Opropos, Oxygen Destroyer, Overwrought at Make.Shift, Bellingham, WA
November 17 Headbang on the Harbor 2 at Raymond Theatre, Raymond, WA
November 18 Noisem, Blame God, World Peace, Impulse Noise at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 20 Behemoth, At the Gates, Wolves in the Throne Room at Showbox, Seattle, WA
November 21 Municipal Waste, High on Fire, Toxic Holocaust, Haunt at Showbox, Seattle, WA
November 21 Fister, Ilsa, Heiress, Foul at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 23 Skull Master, Renasentia, Devil Asylum at The Heavy Metal Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA
November 24 Blood and Thunder, Kill Closet, Massacre at the Opera, Darklight at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
November 25 Castle, Holy Grove at The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA
November 26 Uada, Dead in the Manger, others at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 26 Unearth, Fit for an Autopsy at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 27 Castle, Kings of Cavalier, Kömmand at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 28 Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Oceano, Slaughter to Prevail at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 29 Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Oceano, Slaughter to Prevail at Showbox, Seattle, WA
November 29 Noceur, others at Le Voyeur, Olympia, WA
November 30 Crowskull, Fallen Kings at The Royal Bear, Algona, WA
November 30 URDR, Deathbed Confessions, Noceur at Hi-Fidelity Lounge, Bremerton, WA
December 1 The Faceless, Rings of Saturn, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Vale of Pnath, Interloper at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 1 Sausage Slapper, Soul Shiver, Hated Neighbor, DTI & Ludivco at Getaway Tavern, Mountlake Terrace, WA
December 1 Wingfest 4: Odyssian, Casualty of God, Unhailoed, American Wrecking Company, Chaotic Shadows, Method 13, Maiden Voyage (Iron Maiden tribute) at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
December 3 Disease, others at house show, Seattle, WA
December 5 Yob, Thrones, Un at Neumos, Seattle, WA
December 7 Zepparella (Led Zeppelin tribute) at Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
December 7 Heartbreaker at Rocko’s, Everett, WA
December 7 Across 300 Seas, Morbid Fascination, Nihilist Nation at The Heavy Metal Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA
December 7 American Wrecking Company, Casualty of God, Cryptamnesia, Anchor Point at Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA
December 7 Morta Skuld, Petrification, Xoth, Aethereus, Dullahan, Kömmand at Highline, Seattle, WA
December 7&8 Hail Santa metal fest at The Highline, Seattle, WA
December 8 Harrah’s Void, Six Gun Quota, SWIL at The Heavy Metal Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA
December 8 Yob, others at The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA
December 8 Devastation in December: Infernal Legion, Oxygen Destroyer, Nocturnal Slaughter, Orator, Violent Hallucinations, Beyond Theory, Something with Teeth, Trojan Swamp Monster at Erebus, Kelso, WA
December 8 Judas Rising (Judas Priest tribute), others at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
December 8 Versus, Dead Crown, I Am Infamy, Designer Disguise, Vesuvian, No Home, Method 13 at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 9 Tengger Cavalry at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 12 Dilapidation, Noceur at The Valley, Tacoma, WA
December 14 Skelator, Weaponlord, Drägorhast at The Kraken, Seattle, WA
December 15 Dilapidation, Noceur at Black Zia Cantina, Burien, WA
December 18 Winds of Plague, The Zenith Passage, Entheos, others at Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 28 Zoso (Led Zeppelin tribute) at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
December 29 Bloodsoaked, Black Queen, Greyhawk at Highline, Seattle, WA
January 4 Chemical Annihilation, At the Seams, Trojan Swamp Monster at The Heavy Metal Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA
January 12 FÓRN, Worm Ouroboros, Isenordal, others at Substation, Seattle, WA
January 17 Ensiferum, Septicflesh at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
January 25 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie, WA
January 25 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
February 1 The Obsessed at Neumos, Seattle, WA
February 16 Keep Metal Alive Fest IV: Xoth, Witch Ripper, Gravewitch, Vile Effigy, Nocturnal Mayhem, others at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA
February 23 Soulfly, Kataklysm, Incite, Skinflint, others at Club Sur, Seattle, WA
March 22 Y&T at Club Sur, Seattle, WA
March 31 Uli Jon Roth at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
April 3 Fates Warning, Queensrÿche at Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
April 19 Washington Deathfest IV at Erebus, Kelso, WA
May 30-June 1 Northwest Terrorfest at Neumos/Highline/Barboza, Seattle, WA
June 9 Flotsam and Jetsam at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 2 Kamelot, Sonata Arctica, Battle Beast at Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
October 6 Delain, Amorphis, Anneke van Giersbergen at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
Metal Bulletin Zine
P.O. Box 1339
Lake Stevens WA 98258 USA

Thursday, November 1, 2018

interview: Lost Tribes of the Moon

Earlier this year the Wisconsin, U.S. band Lost Tribes of the Moon issued its self-titled, independent debut album, which came out on September 18th, 2018. You could say that they are a doom band, and that is factually accurate, but this band focuses on interesting compositions and they are very serious about the music that it is worthwhile to look into this as much more than a curiosity. The album is organized as follows:
1.Intro / The Rise and Fall of Midian 03:34
2.Wych Elm 10:09
3.Revenant 08:06
4.Ka-tet 01:36
5.Lost Tribes of the Moon 13:22
6.Outro / In Search of a New Midian 01:27
total time 38:14
As you can see, the songs are on the longer side of the spectrum. The music varies in mood, as the band rejects the monotonous slow one-dimensional approach so popular in doom in 2018 and recent years. The guitar work offers good riffs and melodies that are attractive to the ear; and in case it matters to you, the guitar tone is not stoner/sludge/drone, but more in line with classic Candlemass, Trouble or 1980s Black Sabbath, more or less, but updated, heavier for 2018. In other words, there is a heavy metal heritage at work, even though the music is firmly rooted in super duper doom heaviness. The guitar melodies sometimes point towards that bluesy style of classic doom, and the melancholic vibes are an important part of the music, too. Expect the band to surprise you by picking up the tempo to a nice, steady doom headbanging pace. Another crucial element to be mentioned is the fact the Wisconsin band prefers to have melodic, traditional, strong heavy metal singing that features a powerful set of lungs that carry a tune big time. You can try to sing along, of course, but you might find that you are embarrassing yourself by trying to keep up, but that is ok because you are alone anyway so there’s no one there to judge you. This is between Lost Tribes of the Moon and you, and no one else. Anyway, find out for yourself about the band in this interview. The band is Jeremiah Messner (drums), Jon Liedtke (guitars), Janine Rhode (vocals), and Ben Wright (bass).
Greetings! Who is answering this interview?
Jon: guitar
Janine - singer
The debut album is a good, quality recording. This is an independent album, right? It was recorded at Howl Street Recordings. Is this a studio in Milwaukee, and how did you manage to make it sound so good?
Janine - Howl Street is in Milwaukee and is our friend Shane Hochstettler. He’s a great engineer, a great drummer, and a great guy. Shane’s great to work with in that you can bounce ideas off him and he’ll have ideas of his own and it’s fine to try stuff to see how it sounds. He’s very relaxed and easy to work with on that front but he also is aware of time constraints and how to set everything up and keep things moving at a good clip. We paid for it ourselves.
Jon is also a great “master-planner” and he had the intro and outro mapped out with many different instruments. I ad libbed my violin and vocal parts in an hour or two, mostly after everything had been done already so I did have an idea of what was already there and what might stand out or blend in musically. So between Jon and Shane I think we were able to layer things really nicely.
Jon – Most of us have worked with Shane in our previous bands and he is the best person to work with around here for all the aforementioned reasons and more. He has had lots of experience working with heavy metal bands of all different genres but also has recorded a lot of music that isn't at all metal related. We value that almost as equally, because there's elements to our music (particularly the supplemental tracks on our album) that don't sound like metal, which makes it ideal to have someone behind the controls who understands music in multiple genres and not just within metal itself. It helps that we can call him a friend, because he allows for us to feel very comfortable while working with him. He has an excellent balance of professionalism and personable approach.
How long was the album in the making? Did it take a long time to find the right singer?
Jon: I started writing the music for what became the material for our debut album in late 2015. Once I had the compositions ready to share with a group, I started seeking out proper bandmates. By the time we became a live unit, we went though a couple of drummers until we got Jeremiah, our current drummer. Jacob who was the original bassist and recorded on the album, was around from the beginning of the process and left after the album to focus on his personal life. We had another singer originally, for whom we only did one show with. She didn't work out too well, and left shortly thereafter. We had a gig that we did as an instrumental 3 piece while still figuring out our future and after the show I realized that if we were going to continue with this material, that I needed to find someone who could do the music justice, or just abandon the material and try to move on in a different direction. I knew Janine from a couple bands she had been in around town, and I always really admired her range and powerful vocals. To me, she was the perfect fit. Coincidentally, she came to the show that night and while I didn't necessarily look at it as a “sign” I didn't hesitate to ask her right then and there to join the band. She really added a lot more focus and attention to the vocals for this band, and upgraded it from it's previous version. She stepped in pretty quickly and completely rewrote 2 of our 3 songs' lyrics and performed 2 big shows with us only after being in the band for 2 months! We recorded the music a little ahead of Janine just to get it out of the way and give her time to work up final versions of her lyrics and vocal patterns. From the time we started recording til the time we finished mixing and mastering was about 6 months so it really wasn't too long considering the time it took to secure a proper lineup and work up the material. It was all worth the wait though because we are pleased with how the album turned out.
Janine: I joined the band after the first singer left. I knew Jon from around and knew that he was a killer guitar player and nice guy. One night I wandered into our “home base” bar, Frank’s, to see a band. Jon came up and asked if I wanted to be in the band and I immediately said yes. So that was it, no auditions or demos or whatever. The songs and lyrics were already written, bur my singing style was very different from what she had done. For the title track, I mostly left what she had in place.
Are there plans to get a label involved with this album at this point? Would there be an advantage in getting a label involved?
Janine - No plans yet, but sure, that would be awesome to get label support, but we’re not psychos about it [laughs]. All of us know different people whose obsession to “make it” has made them more of a cautionary tale than anything. We do our music because we love it and people seem to like listening to us and we all have lives, families, careers, and interests outside of the band. That’s not to say we don’t give it our all on stage or even at practice, but we’re rooted in reality. And that’s actually a good place to be working from, in my opinion. We’re all mature enough to read the fine print and wait for something that will work for everyone and not allow what we do to be compromised.
Jon – As Janine said, we are realistic about our goals and expectations. We do however dream big, as any serious band should do, but fortunately most of us have been around the band merry go round more than once or twice before and thanks to those experiences (both good and bad) we are mature enough to not jump at the first sign of any label support unless it's something that makes sense and will benefit our goals. Proper label support is something we aspire to have and we know in order for that to happen, we need to establish our name. We figured that putting the album out ourselves and promoting it in our various grassroots forms would be a good way to start as opposed to recording an album and shopping it around until someone agreed to put it out. We probably wouldn't be doing this interview right now if we went that route! Speaking of which, we are currently working with Clawhammer PR to help promote our debut album past our own abilities. I've worked with them in the past, and they do great work helping a band get their name out to reviewers and various forms of press.
Speaking of the future, this is not a studio project, right? What are your plans for the rest of 2018 and for 2019?
Jon: We are all pretty heavily involved in this band as our main musical focus, and we've been making a conscious effort to get our name out there and make people aware that we exist. Our plans for the next year is to promote our debut album as best as possible and get out and away more from our hometown and play in some cities we have yet to visit. We've shared the stage already with a lot of awesome bands and it would be nice to go play with them in their own neck of the woods. It is also our goal to work together with this current lineup and develop the next bulk of compositions.
How would you describe the inspiration behind Lost Tribes of the Moon? What type of emotional connection might your music offer to people reading this interview?
Jon – My inspiration for this band musically was to take a sound that for lack of a better description had a doom rooted style but to mix it up with various other forms of metal from classic late 70's and early 80's stuff as well as some black metal and then add more progressive style song structures and formats. Theme wise, the band was initially inspired by the Nightbreed comic book series based on the movie and concept by Clive Barker. We're all big comic book fans, and to me it seemed to serve as a good theme to start with songs based on mythological creatures and dark tales. It seemed to fit the sound of the music quite well to me. I think the music we have currently represents feelings of loss as well as gain but at a cost along with a sense of wanderlust and deep-rooted feelings of uncertainty and wonder.
What can you tell us about the lyrics on the album? Lost Tribes of the Moon certainly sounds like a cool title, but is there an overall concept at work on the album? Are the lyrics the work of several people or just one person in the band?
Janine – The songs were written when I joined. I had a very different singing style than the last singer so I wanted to write them how I sang naturally. I also didn’t like the idea of just using what was there already. The title track I left alone save some additions and edits, but on the other songs, those lyrics are all me. Lost Tribes of the Moon is actually from the Nightbreed comic series. The very general overarching theme that we work with is from the Nightbreed universe. We were actually lucky enough to get artwork from Martin Mercer who worked on that series. However, I like to put layers of different meanings in each song. Being a big ol nerdy Maiden fan, I gravitate towards historical and mythological themes.
Jon: While The Nightbreed theme served as a main inspiration and catalyst for the themes of this band, we don't feel it necessary to stick to just that, rather to open the window further into other themes of mythology and dark tales. Janine has really helped stretch our lyrical universe since joining the band and helped add more layers to our themes.
How much live work has the band done in Milwaukee at this point?
Jon: We've been playing out as a live band since Sept. of 2017, but we've played 15 shows already in that time, so we do like to get out and play. We've all been in a number of bands in the past, but I started writing the material for this group in late 2015, and after some lineup changes, was able to achieve the lineup that currently exists, which I believe is the best suited one to progress and move forward as a unit. A few shows have already been out of town and moving forward we will make that our primary focus for playing out.
How did your singer discover that she could sing?
Janine – In grade school they lined everyone up and told us we had to pick a music class to be in – choir, band, or orchestra. I tried to get into choir since that’s what my friends were doing but the teacher told me I couldn’t sing because I’d never had a choir class before and I got put into orchestra. I did alright playing violin and actually got a scholarship to music school but the competitiveness of that scene was a real bummer to me and I got more involved in sculpture and visual arts. Meanwhile, I grew up singing along to the radio and my parent’s record collection. It’s just something I always did. Later on I jammed with a handful of people but nothing that ever made it out of the basement. I used to do karaoke with some friends in the basement of a VFW hall and I realized “I don’t suck at this”. I didn’t have any luck finding any heavier bands to play with and needed a part time job during school so I joined a 70’s cover band and did Heart, Joplin, Carole King, Pat Benetar, that sort of thing. After that, I started being able to find bands that I could work with and here we are.
Your guitarist Jon Liedtke has several music degrees? Could you tell us about what music Jon has studied? Is Jon currently involved a bunch of other music projects?
Jon: I took private lessons when I was younger and learned scale shapes and chords and how to play solos. When I was 14 I got a subscription to Guitar World Magazine and it helped me learn a lot of different guitar skills from some of my favorite guitarists. I started off when I was younger progressing through more extreme forms of heavy metal and playing in various types of metal bands.. Later on I took a 90 degree turn and got really into blues and old rock, especially prog rock and psychedelic. I've also always had an interest and involvement in experimental/noise music as a different way to exercise my musical brain. In my later 20's I went to college for music, and it really helped me fill the gaps of things I didn't understand or care to know, and it opened up a lot of newer avenues to approach music. I studied a lot of jazz and classical and learned a lot of new methods. Lost Tribes Of The Moon is my main musical priority. Even though I've played in a lot of metal bands over the years, I was never able to start my own and create a sound from scratch. I wanted to do a band like this, because I felt like it allowed for me to use a wide range of influences and writing techniques. In prior bands, I sometimes was only able to use certain specific types of influences and writing methods because that's what suited best, but in this band I can use more palettes of style than any band I've ever been. It took a lot of work to get the band to this point and I realize how lucky and grateful I am to have gotten this far and to have this amount of talent in our lineup, I don't want to take that for granted. I'm pretty excited for new material, because it will be approached at as a group effort from earlier stages in the writing process.
Now that the album is finished, what does it feel like to finally have it all done? Do you worry about whether enough people will get to hear it? If you could tell a new listener some words of advice or preparation for listening to Lost Tribes of the Moon, what would you tell them?
Jon: There was definitely a feeling of relief when we finished putting the album together, because even though it's our debut album, I've been with this process since I started writing the material 3 years ago, and it felt like a very important end to the first chapter in this band. I think it also set the tables for an exciting start to the next chapter for us. I think we've made some good decisions on getting the word out about the album so far, so I know if we keep doing what we're doing, and continue to play out more, that we will get our name out there and hopefully the music will do the talking for us. If I were to give any advice to a new listener, I would tell them that this music may sound like a lot of things that might sound familiar to you if you've ever dabbled in late 70's and early 80's metal, but there is also some black metal and progressive influences in the mix. Our music is a culmination of influences that go beyond those sounds as well so expect to hear a doom style sound of metal but upon intent listening the layers of multiple influences will unfold to show our uniqueness.
How can fans support your music?
Jon: We currently have our debut album out now on CD and digital download. You can listen to our music for free on our Bandcamp page, and if you like what you hear, you can purchase a digital download or CD from there. Here's the link.
Thank you for your time!
Jon: Thank you, it was fun answering your well-thought questions!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

interview: William Wallace

The independent band William Wallace (U.S.) is impressive from the first listen to the 2018 debut album How Gods Are Made, an enthusiastic sound that seems to put together a multi-genre approach within the framework of thrashing, progressive music that features guitars and melodies prominently. This publication presented the band with some questions about the album, and the band’s history, and they were generous and professional with their answers and took it upon themselves to give an informative interview.
Greetings, William Wallace. Where is the base of operations for the band? It seems like you all might be in California. If so, can you tell us about how things are for your band in the local scenes? The world has many ideas about California: Hollywood, earthquakes, Lakers, rock music, beaches, so on and so forth. How are things for you there?
Jordan: Greetings, Metal Bulletin Zine. You are correct. The band is out of California. Modesto and Riverbank to be exact. Modesto has over 200k people, and Riverbank is just under 25k. The metal scene has improved a lot over the years, and we are proud to be part of the metal community. The metal scene here has always been tight knit, lots of support from everyone involved. Everyone knows each other, and always has positive things to say. It isn’t out of the norm to play a show and see members of other bands that just wanted to come out and support his fellow musicians.
Brandon: Yeah, the local music scene may not be the biggest in the state, but it has always supported its local artists. Especially now as William Wallace makes their return to the stage.
Aaron: California is just where I happen to live. I was born here. My friends and family are here. Don’t make it to Hollywood that often, and I haven’t felt an earthquake in a long time. But I can get to the beach within a couple of hours. Same with the mountains, so I like it.
What is the real life like for William Wallace metal music in California?!
Jordan: I think we are fortunate to be in California. People get so involved here. A ton of great metal acts have originated and thrived here. It’s very inspiring. Some of them as close as an hour away. We are 6 hours north of L.A. and 2 hours east of San Francisco, and that is great for playing shows to cities with over a million people in them at one time.
Joel: I like California. I think we have some problems politically, but I won’t get into that. I think the only negative is the population of this state is massive. I sometimes wonder if we lived in a smaller state that maybe we would be easily discovered, instead of having to compete with all the great musicians and bands here. But other than that, it’s great here.
Metal bands have names like Zombie, Zombie Killer, Zombie Killer Apocalypse, Zombie Killer Apocalypse Cult. Is one of you named William Wallace? Please tell us about the name of the band and how it came about?
Jordan: That would be cool if one of us was named William Wallace! (laughs) We were hanging out one day and began throwing names around. There was something about William Wallace that stood out. Something we all agreed was different from the typical metal band name and decided this was the name we would go forward with.
Joel: Without turning this into a history lesson, William Wallace was a Scottish rebel that fought in the first war of Scottish Independence, against King Edward I. William Wallace made a name for himself, but you would most commonly know him from the Mel Gibson movie, Braveheart. For me personally, the band name is more of that attitude, or way of life. I won’t be a slave to what some people feel metal MUST be. I don’t wear black every day, have tattoos, long hair, piercings, or anything that is a stereotype when it comes to metal music. I won’t follow the common layout for what a metal band is “supposed” to be.
When did William Wallace actually begin? How long have you all been playing music? Do you remember what inspired you to pick up an instrument?
Joel: William Wallace started with my brother Jordan and me. We had been writing and playing music for years, but we finally reached out so some friends and were able to form a band. In April of 2009 we officially became William Wallace and started playing shows. I was inspired to play music first by my father. He had always been playing acoustic guitar and singing to me since I was a baby. I always loved the sound of his fingers sliding across those strings. After that it was guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman and many more. Now that I think about it, my step-brother started playing guitar around 13 or 14. I remember thinking that I could be better than he was. So, I quietly and quickly learned as much stuff on my own until I felt I was better (laughs).
Jordan: I have been playing guitar for around 14 years. I was inspired by my family and favorite bands. I grew up watching my pops and big brother Joel play. I was quickly drawn to it and have been hooked ever since. Joel was my mentor when it came to learning guitar. He showed me a lot of bands during those early years that were pivotal in finding my own playing style. Megadeth, Metallica, Dream Theater, Trivium, and Iron Maiden just to name a few, but the list goes on and on.
Brandon: Playing music was just a way of life for me as a child. I took to vocals when I was 13 after my first local hardcore show. I was amazed by the way the vocalists were able to share their lyrics with their vocal dynamics. As a young writer it seemed like the best way to share my own lyrics.
Josh: When I was 8 my dad bought a drum set to learn how to play as a hobby. I started messing with them and he got lessons for both of us for a month. I didn't like the lessons, but I kept playing on my own. I started practicing more seriously when I got into my first band, Silo, at age 13 for a talent show. I picked up a guitar around this time as well. Then I was in a band named Chaos AD for a couple years with an older friend who got me into metal. I was hooked on playing thrash metal from then on and got into a band with Aaron Wheeler named Descend at age 16. Descend played all over the central valley and the Bay Area for a while, and versions of it jammed for at least 12 years. We played with some awesome bands during that time, including Forbidden, Dragonlord, Skinlab, HMP, Rebel's Mother, Kranial Damage, Better Left Unsaid, Makeshift Grey, The Venting Machine, and Stigmurder. After Descend I joined Decimate the Opposition and even got Aaron to jam in it as well for a short while. After two versions of DTO playing some kick ass shows over a few years, we disbanded on good terms and we all joined other projects later. And that's what got me to William Wallace, dragging Aaron out of "retirement" to play with me again. The kit I play is still made up of parts from my dad's original kit. I have a need to play metal. I always feel better and more positive after every jam session, as I am naturally negative, pessimistic, and misanthropic. I really believe jamming in metal bands and writing music has kept me healthy, physically and mentally, over the years. Some play music in hopes of making money or getting famous, but I play purely for the music and self-fulfillment. I could give a f*** about what people want to hear, and I always try to play music I enjoy listening to or at the very least, enjoy playing. A funny note; Aaron has played every combination of guitar, bass, and lead vocals in bands we've been in together. Just bass, just guitar, vocals and bass, lead vocals and guitar, just lead vocals, etc.
Aaron: I’ve had a guitar since I was in junior high. I didn’t try to be in a band until freshman year of high school. We learned part of Metallica’s “Unforgiven” and that was the end of it. After that some other friends and I started a band called Proficy (prophecy spelled wrong on purpose because the logo made a symmetrical symbol). We did all of two songs and had a few riffs we jammed on. After that I was in Descend. That was the first serious band I was in. Many songs were created, many shows were played, and all of it was f****** bad ass. Egos and other unfortunate things broke that apart. I played a little with Decimate the Opposition but couldn’t get into it. Now I’m playing with William Wallace and I’m really liking the music again. Musically I range from traditional stuff like Metallica and Megadeth to heavier bands like Amon Amarth and Slayer. A couple songs here and there from newer bands but not much. I’ve always loved music and being a part of a band. Creating with friends is an awesome experience.
Who are the members of the band now in 2018 and who is answering this interview? Is this the same personnel that recorded your album How Gods Are Made?
Brandon: The lineup has The Brothers Soto (Joel & Jordan) on guitars and vocals, Josh Ruloph on drums, Aaron Wheeler on bass and vocals, and me as the front man. I am the most recent addition to the band. I have been the frontman for 3 months. We are all here answering the questions together. No. Josh, Aaron and I did not work on the album. That was all Joel and Jordan’s work. Though I was not part of the creation of How Gods Are Made, I can say I am happy to be part of the live performance of the album and look forward to creating future William Wallace album.
Jordan: When we recorded the album, William Wallace was just Joel and me.
Joel: Yeah, Jordan and I wrote everything and have had it on ice for a while. When it came time to record we did all the guitars, bass, and vocals. We had a close friend, Erick Rodríguez do the drums for us, and he also provided the narration. Another close friend, Bret Morgan, offered up his home recording studio. Along with recording and mixing the album, he stepped in and provided lows and high vocals.
Jordan: Yes, Brett and Erick were instrumental in the making of this album. Without them, it would’ve taken a hell of a lot longer for How Gods Are Made to come out or get made at all. We couldn’t have done this without them, and we are eternally grateful.
William Wallace is new to me, and probably new to most people reading this interview. In your own words, now that you have completed the album, what emotions would you say that your music embodies? People are looking to connect with music in some way. What type of connection do you think that people may find in your music?
Joel: I’m hoping the music comes off as having a wide range of emotions. If you follow along with the story by reading the lyrics, you can better understand what is going on and what our Hero is thinking. He’s really going on this epic journey and things are going his way one minute, then the next he’s in the heat of battle, and it’s up and down for him. We really tried to show that in our music.
Jordan: Exactly. In Chapter IV: Ashes of the Tyrant, our Hero and his men are in a battle with the Tyrant and his forces. Joel had this vision of the fight happening and swords clashing everywhere so brought some broadswords into the studio and recorded the sounds of the blades striking each other. When you listen to that song you hear all these swords clashing and we want that to convey onto the listener the fact that this is the heat of battle, everyone is going all out, and everything is on the line.
Joel: Yeah, that was a fun day. As far as what type of connection people find, I really want everyone to come away from the story having been entertained. I think of the album as an audio book told through music. You have narration, songs bleeding into the next, and I want everyone to come away wishing it never ended. Like a good book you’re reading. If it’s good, you just don’t want it to end. Once it has, you don’t know what to do next. Having the lyrics are going to be a very important part as a listener. If you don’t have them, of course you can enjoy the music and flow of things. But if you want the full effect we are aiming for, you must have the story. Everyone that gets a physical copy will have the lyric booklet. If you get How Gods Are Made digitally, you won’t. We are urging everyone that purchases HGAM digitally to reach out to us. Email us, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter and request a copy of the lyrics. We will send a PDF copy of the lyric booklet to everyone that gets a copy and wants to follow the story.
Jordan: We would like to have the lyrics on some online sites for everyone to get also, so we are working on that.
How long did you work on the album? Is it your debut? I have been impressed with the skills in the instrumentation, the guitar work, the ambition that you show in making an album with a bit of an epic or concept vibe. Have you been cooking up this album for several years?
Joel: Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes, this is our debut. We worked on this album for a good number of years. Jordan and I were finally able to get everything recorded and produced the way we wanted. I had the story concept in my head for over a decade now, but never sat down to write it all out. I finally finished it up and we got to recording and had a blast along the way.
Jordan: You can say we’ve been cooking it up for years. The music has been written for a while, and like Joel said before, we just needed the story written out and to get the vocal patterns done. We were only guitarists before, we always had a front man to sing. When we decided we just had to record the album with just the two of us, we stepped up and got the singing done. That was a whole different beast, since we never had the duty of putting lyrics to music. Once we went into the vocal booth it surprisingly came easily. The songs were ripe for vocal parts, and everything fell into place.
There is variety in the vocal styles used. How many people do vocals?
Joel: I would say there is variety for sure. Jordan did fry vocals and cleans. I did clean vocals, but mine are higher where Jordan has more bass in his voice. Brett did lows and highs. So that’s 5 different vocal styles?
Brandon: When we perform live, I handle all the highs, lows and frys. Jordan and Joel both do their clean vocals, and Aaron steps up to do backing vocals as well as lead the charge with highs on a chapter or two.
There is growling and singing, some death metal vibes, some metalcore feels, some progressive elements and plenty of thrashing riffs. Did you use acoustic guitars on the album, too? (like on Chapter V: Solace in Sadness).
Jordan: Yes, we did. We have three chapters that are acoustic only instrumentals and were written solely by Joel. That recording process was tedious, but we’re very pleased with the outcome. I did my share of lead guitar work on those chapters and I am pleasantly surprised with how well they turned out. Overall, we had a lot of fun recording, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio for the next album.
Joel: The music in these acoustic chapters go well with the flow of the story. In Chapter II: Calm Before the Storm, our Hero is sailing into a massive sea storm, and it’s still calm weather, and he is calm of mind. But in the next chapter that changes very quickly. Then on Chapter V: Solace in Sadness, he is finally able to grieve over the loss of his wife, son, villagers and men. These are all calm parts of the story where the Hero is given a moment to breathe and reflect. But it never lasts long. Since these are intended to be calm parts of the story, it didn’t make sense to me to have distorted guitars and shredding guitar solos to convey that emotion.
Would you mind giving us insight into your thinking about the composition of your music? How did you envision that the album was going to sound?
Joel: For composition, Jordan and I arranged everything the way we felt flowed the best. Nothing was forced or planned out. We would come up with a riff and work off that. A lot of the parts were just asking to be written since they felt so good together. I really didn’t have any idea how it would sound on the album. I knew how the parts sounded when we played the songs live and knew there was potential for them to sound crisper, and cleaner than at practice or live. I also had no idea about the vocals and how those would sound. I knew I wanted to harmonize some parts and sing some parts, but when Jordan and Brett would record their vocals, I wouldn’t listen. I wanted to be surprised by their first pass through. They blew me away with the stuff they created. Really awesome vocal parts I was not expecting. When I finally was listening to the finished project, it was better than I imagined. I am very happy with the way it turned out, and really hope people enjoy the journey we take them on.
What is the concept story and who wrote it? Is it inspired by a movie or a book?
Joel: I had thought up the story a long time ago, but never put it to paper. Just never had the time. I talked about it with Jordan and he wrote some lyrics for our old demo we recorded. Once we decided to make the album, I finally wrote everything down. The reason the songs are called chapters is because they are literally that. Each song is a chapter from the overall story. I think of it as an audio book with guitar solos (laughs). I believe I was inspired by all sorts of things; movies, comics, mythology. I used to watch older movies with my dad, stuff like Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans. I was always interested in Gods and mythology, and that comes through in How Gods Are Made.
Jordan: Without giving too much away, the story is about a nameless Hero that is returning home from battle. He and his men just want to get home, get back to regular life. As they approach, they see the smoldering ash of their families, homes and crops. The Hero knows the evil Tyrant from across the sea is the monster who did this. Even though there is a massive sea storm in the way, the Hero and his men set sail straight into it. Along the way they battle sea creatures rising from the depths, the Tyrant, a battle with the Octobeast, and possibly a trip to the underworld? *wink* The title really tells it all. How Gods Are Made. The Gods from mythology aren’t really made. They’re born that way or have always been that way. But how is a God made?
Brandon: Get yourself a copy of the album and find out!
When is the album available and how can people hear it and get it?
Joel: The album officially released on Oct. 26th. You can purchase it digitally from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play Music and other online sites. If you prefer a physical copy, you can email us @ and tell us you want a physical copy. We can get shipping info and use PayPal to carry out that transaction. Of course, we will have copies available at all shows we are booked on. As far as hearing it, we have released a single on YouTube and SoundCloud and are planning on releasing one or two more as the year progresses.
What type of merchandise do you have?
Brandon: Right now, we have the album and shirts. We are in the process of getting more shirts designed and made, so be on the lookout for those. If you want to support the music, buy the album, listen to it and share it with everyone you know that enjoys metal. Word of mouth is just as good as advertising, maybe better. We already are working towards the next album, and the success of How Gods Are Made will propel us to create better recordings on the upcoming one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

interview: Dracena (part 4: conclusion)

This is an interview with Dracena, extreme metal from Sweden that began in 1994. The interview has been done in segments. The person answering the interview is Mia, who is the creative force behind Dracena. The objective is to do an extensive interview that covers the past and present of Dracena, whose most recent work is called Cursed to the Night (2017).
The previous parts of the interview are found below, and after that, is the new segment. This is the conclusion of the interview.
Things seem to be going well for Dracena in the 1990s. Three demos: 1997, 1999 and 2001. Yet the debut full-length album Infernal Damnation does not come out until 2006? In addition, now it is just you, Mia, and a session drummer, correct? There were about five years of silence. Did you think about ending Dracena when all the members were gone?
There has never been any plans to end Dracena, not even after the split with the other members. Since we already had released three demos I kept on writing material with the plan to finally record a full-length. For a while I had a few new members on the way, but I later decided to go on my own with the recording and release the album independently. Infernal Damnation was recorded in 2004 but wasn’t released until 2006 as it took some time for me to get everything in order with finances, the sound mixing, the cover and layouts, and to find a place to press the album as well as learning all the technicalities with file formats etc for the CD-master, booklet and so on.
I set up my own home studio and learned to program drums and record all string instruments on my computer. This is the first time I actually practised how to play the bass which was a fun experience. Mojjo came back as session drummer and we used two different studios for this recording, Hellbound Studios for all the instruments and Brutaliator Studios for the vocals. Beside the Infernal Damnation album we also recorded a WASP cover, Animal – F*** like a Beast, which was released in 2004 by Codiac Records (DK) on a WASP tribute album, Shock Rock Hellions. All the guitar solos were played by Chris Loud.
Do you remember if there was a moment when you decided that Dracena would continue? Did you think about a project like Bathory in which it was essentially a solo project by Quorthon?
I can’t say that I have ever had any conscious thoughts about ending the band at all, even if there’s been idle periods those are mostly because I have been busy with my job and haven’t had the time to be creative. This is also one of the main reasons to why I am the only member of the band - it would have been unfair to engage other full-time members when I can’t give my full attention to Dracena, Being the only member gives me the freedom to chose when I feel like putting together the next album and it works just fine for me to have my session musicians whenever it’s necessary… and it’s kinda cool to be a female version of Quorthon.
Then album Infernal Damnation was released in 2006. That was more than 10 years since the beginning of the band. Looking back on it, how frustrating was it that it took more ten years to release a proper album? When you were doing the demos, were there record companies interested in releasing your music?
Sure, it was frustrating to have to wait for so long before the release of our debut album as Dracena had worked so hard for many years. We wrote and recorded demos, played live and promoted the band all the time in zines and everywhere we went. After each release we sent out promo packages to labels, press and gig organisers, making Dracena a well-known name in the underground scene.
We did receive offers from labels but none of them appealed to us. I guess we were pretty picky and we always tried to negotiate the terms a bit too much which mostly cooled off the interest from the label. Perhaps if we had been signed early in the days the Dracena career would have developed different, but we didn’t want to sign just any contract in desperation to get our recorded work out to the audience.
So what happened after the album was released? At that point, were you frustrated and decided to take a break from music?
After the release of Infernal Damnation I decided that I needed a better-paid job to be able to support myself to record and release my music. For the next 4-5 years I worked hard with extremely long working days and I also worked on weekends and holidays. Meanwhile, I didn’t have a lot of time to write or to be creative although I kept writing material which I recorded at home and I also made a few attempts to put together another full length, but I wasn’t satisfied enough with the tracks to book a professional studio.
Yet in 2014 Dracena returned with the EP Ravenous Bloodlust. What motivated you to resurrect Dracena?
In 2012 things finally slowed down at work and I had so much material that I decided it was about time to sit down and try to re-write the best of the best of my new riffs and record at least one decent mini CD. So I slaughtered all my darlings and in another 5-6 months I had re-written 4 really great tracks which I felt would make an awesome mini album. After I had finished the material all I needed was to find a good studio and a good session drummer. One evening while I was thinking about a possible drummer an old friend of mine (who just happens to be a drummer) popped up on the chat with a link to his latest recording. I asked if he was interested in doing the session drums for my album, which he accepted.
The choice of studio was easy as I am very pleased with the sound of our second demo, Demonic Women and therefore I booked a few days at Andy La Rocque’s Sonic Train Studios.
In 2017 there was the album Cursed to the Night. How do you feel at this point about making music and having Dracena be a solo project? Do you enjoy being able to do whatever you want and not having to deal with “band meetings” and band drama and discussions? You get to be your own boss!
I am quite content about being the only member in the band, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to, and I have no obligations to anyone but myself. But there are a lot of advantages to be working with a group of people and share a unique dynamic and the fusion of different minds. If the constellation is of a positive nature it will lead to the band’s progression and evolution, adding all the small details and variations to the music which takes it to a higher level.
Is it stressful, though? Having to do so much by yourself?! If you want something done, you basically have to do it yourself?
Yes, I write all the instrumental and lyrical material, create the album concept with layout and graphical designs, handle the website and social media as well as having a full-time job - and beside that there’s all the usual things that needs to be taken care of in life. While I am having an active album ongoing I estimate it takes 1,5-2 years from start until the album is released and then another 6 months for the usual aftermath with interviews and so on. It can be stressful occasionally to find all the time necessary to keep things moving and meeting the deadlines with studios, photo sessions, interviews, correspondence, etc. Racing toward a studio deadline and feeling the material isn’t good enough or finished is horrible, knowing that if I don’t have everything ready at the booked date it could be a huge delay before I am able to get another date to record the missing parts, but it will also be expensive to have to pay for more days of recording.
Has Dracena played live recently? How do you feel about that? Have there been offers to play live? What would have to happen in order for Dracena to play live?
The last show we played was in 2014 in Münster Germany. After the release of Ravenous Bloodlust we supported some friend’s (Savagery (DE)), album release party. I do love to play live, but there’s a lot of time and work to rehearse for a live show as I play both the guitar and do the vocals as well. To prepare to play live is time consuming and since there is no steady line-up right now I chose not to play any single events. Another aspect is also the cost to play - travel, vehicles, hotels, food and so on for the whole band. As a support band there is not much payment from the ticket sales and if the merchandise don’t sell every show will be expensive for the band.
We’ve had offers for gigs but mostly “pay to play-gigs” to join a bigger band as support. At the time it was too much money for me to pay but I would definitely invest in a show or tour if I had the musicians and we were well prepared and if it would benefit Dracena in the future.
What is next for Dracena? Do you have more music that you would like to record? Do you know when there will be new music?
I already have 4-5 “skeleton” tracks which I am rehearsing and working with, although right now I am considering myself to be in-between-albums-idle and I don’t feel any pressure to start working actively on another release for some time.
In 2017 there was Cursed to the Night. It is now 2018, almost 2019. Has there been enough of a good response to the album that you think that you would like to make another one?
There’s been a great response to Cursed to the Night, but even if it hadn’t been I would still keep writing new riffs and when I feel that I have enough new material, I’ll probably start sketching on the next album.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

interview: A Forest of Stars

In the year 2018 there is a new grandiose work by A Forest of Stars: Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes, a most interesting epic album. Perhaps it is wise to point out that the music is meant for those listeners that are willing to explore a band (U.K.) with a big imagination in the creation of progressive extreme metal, with a substantial foundation in black metal. Expect an adventure on this, their fifth, work! This interview is answered by multiple members of the band, as you shall see below.
How is Leeds (or the part of England where you operate) for your music? Metal Archives says that you have been active since 2007. Things must be going fine for you, to keep be at it after all these years.
Curse: We hail from various locations in West Yorkshire, many of which evoke Blake’s dark Satanic mills. My own home is in Bradford, a place that has been referenced indirectly in a number of songs. A place with an interesting heritage that has fallen on hard times. In regard to our persistence as a band, we do it because we love it. It is of the utmost importance to us. We’ve seen some success, though little in the way of fame or fortune. That said, we never expected or even desired such!
Kettleburner: I think that we were encouraged by a fertile and friendly live music scene here in the early-mid 2000s (or 1880s using our timeframe), all very low key, but very creative and with a real “do it yourself” kind of attitude. We definitely got to cut our teeth in other bands for a few years. The band itself wasn’t really influenced by a local scene, not in the musical sense anyway – probably the biggest influence of the location is the fact that the industrial revolution made its mark on our landscape in a big way that is still absolutely unmissable today. We do only play locally once in a while, but it’s a great place to play when we do.
Is the membership information from Metal Archives correct?
Mr. T.S. Kettleburner: bass (2007-2011), vocals, guitars (2007-2011, 2013-present)
The Gentleman: drums (2007-2008), keyboards, pianoforte, percussion (2007-present)
Mister Curse: vocals (2007-present)
Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts: vocals, violin, flute (2007-present)
Mr. John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop: drums, percussion (2009-present)
Mr. Titus Lungbutter: bass (2011-present)
Mr. William Wight-Barrow: guitars (2014-present)
Curse: Your information is correct in regards to the members of the band. Those of us answering questions will use this section as a roll call of sorts. Our current lineup is a solid and stable one, a family unit first and foremost.
Given that the new album is more than an hour of music, would it be perhaps a concept album? The way the album flows, it feels very unified.
Curse: This particular record is not specifically a concept album, though common themes do persist throughout. ‘A Shadowplay for Yesterdays’ is our only so-called intentional concept album so far, though there may very well be others in the future. I cannot comment musically, but lyrically there are certainly threads throughout Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes that could suggest a common theme or concept, though this is more due to obsessions and trains of thought at the times of writing than to a specific intent. Kettleburner: In terms of the music, conceptually we wanted to invoke a lot of older atmospheres but try and bring some more of the tighter arrangements we’ve learnt along the way. I’ve always wanted to create an album of extremes – of both tension and release – and feel like we achieved this.
The album feels very creative, very ambitious. But you do play live and you play with everyone live, correct? It seems like you do have the personnel to make your music come life on the stage.
Kettleburner: Yes. Many hands make light(er) work. I think that we have got quite adept over the years at translating our recordings – which are very much a product of layering and building songs in the studio – into something that works in a live setting. In some cases I prefer how the song turns out live to how we recorded it. It’s always a fun challenge either way and there are only ever a small number of songs that we haven’t managed to make work live.
I am wondering, though, with this many people in the band, how much of a headache is it to make the different schedules work for your band to play shows, especially outside of your region?
Curse: We do indeed play live as frequently as is possible, though as you suggest, it is not always easy to marry our schedules outside of the band to our desires for performing. Most of us work full time or have other commitments that we must ensure are met appropriately before we can apply ourselves to getting out on the road. Oftentimes our best intentions are thwarted by outside influence, though I expect this is a common problem for most bands.
Kettleburner: Absolutely! There’s a lot more in terms of logistics as well than there is with a 4-piece band. But we love what we do and have a very strong sense of kinship - the band feels like a family in itself. That really makes any amount of hard work seem trivial. That said, I don’t think we’re built for long tours – we generally completely crumble physically after about 9-10 dates! I applaud bands who manage to make staying on the road work for them. There’s a lot of stamina and sacrifice involved in doing that.
Your previous album is called Beware the Sword You Cannot See and it is from 2015. It also has tremendous reviews on Metal Archives and it seems like those reviews are thoughtful; the reviewers have listened seriously to your music. That brings to mind a question, however. Exactly how long have you been working on the new album Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes?
Curse: For various reasons we took a year’s break from band activities (through choice) which delayed things somewhat. It is true that the record was a labour of love for us all, but we are all very proud of it and feel that it represents us well in the given period of time in which it was created. We are already looking towards the next record and are inspired, so perhaps the wait will be shorter next time.
Kettleburner: We began writing some parts of the new album before Beware The Sword You Cannot See was released in fact. We went on to write this album slowly over the course of about 18 months, which was really quite enjoyable. It was William Wight-Barrow’s first time writing with us as well, so that added a really good dynamic and lots of positive ideas. However, the recording itself was actually quite stressful this time around, but only because we have held ourselves up to a much higher standard in terms of performance and production quality that we have before. Some guitar parts got re-tracked three times before they were right!
For A Forest of Stars, how does money, selling and buying, and merchandise intersect with the making of the art? Do you spend your own money making the recordings?
Curse: It is true that what we do, we do for the creativity of it and our own desire to make music for ourselves. We are lucky to have a label in Prophecy that understands that art must be art first and foremost. It is true that there have been occasions that we have funneled our own money into the band for various reasons, but when it comes to sink or swim, we bloody well swim!
Connected to the above question, does your band sell enough merchandise for you to not lose tons of money from recording albums? If fans are reading this interview and they like your music, and they want to support your band, what can they do?
Curse: We tend to teeter on the edge between profit and loss. We’ve never made any money to speak of from the band, though as I mentioned previously, our hearts and souls are utterly invested in what we do, so money, whilst being a necessary evil is tertiary. In answer to your question, we do have merchandise, some of which is available directly from the band via our recently cobbled together online shop and from Prophecy themselves. Any sales help us to pay for logistical inputs to touring.
Do you have invitations to play in Europe so far?
Curse: We have played many gigs in Europe in the past and at present are trying to work towards another tour. Time will only tell!
Kettleburner: More shall be announced next year on this front. We had planned to play in Germany, Netherlands, France and Belgium at the end of this year, but there were a few issues that stopped that from happening. We all love playing in Europe… there are so many great people, bands, promoters, venues and strong beers in places like the Netherlands, for example.
Has your band ever played in the United States?
Kettleburner: I think that playing in the United States would be incredible, but it would be difficult undertaking and not something we would want to promise will ever happen... but never say never.
The older British musicians had a fascination with bringing their rock and roll to the U.S.
Kettleburner: Oh, it was definitely seen as a rite of passage for a British band’s success, wasn’t it?
Have any of you ever been to the United States?
Curse: We have not yet had the opportunity to play in the United States, though I’m sure we’d all like to have the opportunity. We like to try to play anywhere there is interest in what we do. Personally, I have never visited the U.S. though once again, who knows what the future may hold? Up to now I don’t think there have been many opportunities for us to get over there – with seven of us it would be a very expensive proposition and would require careful planning (not to mention selling organs on the black market to finance it!)
Is there a place where people can hear the full album now?
Kettleburner: The full album Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes can be streamed on Prophecy’s Bandcamp page. The physical releases of our albums are adorned with lyrics and as much imagery as possible, so to distract you from our horrible racket. There will be no music video this time around, but the music and a lot of the associated imagery and concepts help serve it in the same way I think.
What else do you have for people who want to learn more about the band and the new album? Will you be making the lyrics available?
Curse: Our apologies for the delay in answering this interview – unfortunately it arrived at an extremely busy time for us in so-called real life, so by the time you read these answers, the album should be readily listenable online. We do have a Bandcamp site for those wishing to tread the digital path.
Kettleburner: The lyrics are in the physical prints of the albums. There’s much to get your teeth into… I would say to anyone who ever wants to find out anything about us just to get in contact via email. There were some videos put up on YouTube that go into the making the model city that we photographed for the main artwork for the album.
Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
Curse: Thank you for your considered questions and my apologies for the brevity of my answers – time is, as ever, the ever-present enemy! Kettleburner: Cheers!
Thank you for your time!

Friday, October 19, 2018

interview: Solium Fatalis

What the future holds nobody seems to know for sure, although it might be not the happiest if you check in with the American death metal band Solium Fatalis. Their new 2018 album is prophetically named Genetically Engineered to Enslave. What death metal is in 2018 is perhaps perfectly exemplified by the sound of Solium Fatalis. Disturbing. Dystopian. Solium Fatalis is new to this publication, and for this reason it is about time to find out more about this New England band.
This is your fourth album in seven years?!
Four albums in five years is the actual number. Jeff Demarco, our bassist and vocalist and I have been in the band since the beginning in 2012. Ryan Beevers the other guitarist joined in 2015 after we released Undying Season and Jeff Saltzman the drummer has been around 2 years now.
You formed in 2012 and then in 2013 there was the self-titled debut. Did your band not go through the stage of recording demos and finding the sound?
I wrote the first album in two weeks and Dirk and Loic did drums and bass as a favor. At that point I was 33 years old. I had a professional work ethic and a very good idea of how to make metal so we established the sound of the band after that album in a very unconventional way. Since my previous bands had done the ‘demo and do shows’ route and it hadn’t gotten me anywhere.
On Facebook you mention your multiple tours. Is this a touring band?
We all have normal jobs and no we don’t tour regularly but it’s been based on opportunity and less so on capability. But we certainly have done a couple tours.
What is driving your band to be making albums at this pace? I have been listening to the album and it is a serious production.
It has far less to do with finances than you think and more to with ingenuity and work ethic. We all know how to engineer ourselves in the studio and have jobs we work at and careers that we bust our asses doing to pay for the equipment we use and record with. Effective operating systems and a little bit of learning go a long way. There is no money in this business and it’s all for the love and we love this music and that’s why we do it. And thank you for the compliment on the production that’s Christian Donaldson work at his studio The Gird in Montreal and he’s a bad ass.
You are in New Hampshire. How is your fan base there?
We are 45 mins from Boston so geographically we have no issues with fans not coming to shows or opportunities to play them. But our NH faithful sure as hell show up to our shows and it’s awesome and they rule.
Is there a concept that connects all the lyrics on the album? Have you always had lyrics dealing with futuristic themes like artificial intelligence?
There is a loose concept, yes. All our albums are themed that way but no one seems to read lyrics anymore so they’ll never know. It’s not just about AI it’s about so much more, I also enjoy interpretive art so it means what you want it to mean.
I was looking at art work of the covers of the four albums and they all have a very dark, cosmic or mechanical vibes. How much input have you had in discussions with the artist(s) about what you want?
The last three albums are the same artist Pierre-Alain D. At 3mmi and the first album was Septicflesh frontman Seth Siro Anton who’s done work for Exodus, Paradise Lost, and a whole slew of killer bands. We have brief discussions but it’s usually me saying I like single figure art and here’s the music and they have made their interpretation.
Is the art work computer generated art or is it a painting done by hand?
I believe it was computer stuff mixed with his own hand drawings. He has a bit of a process and method, I’m sure.
Metal Archives says that you are on Wicked Music Records. Is that true?
We are NOT on Wicked Music. Everyone keeps printing that statement and it’s inaccurate. We are on our own label “Disfigured Records”. Yes, self-financed because why beg someone and be an ass kissing sycophant when you can rule your own world and tell everyone to fuck themselves? Better to rule in hell...
Did you work with a producer on this album?
We’re the producer. We handle all creative direction. We do this ourselves and no outside sources tell us how to write or alter our sound. We like it that way.
I see that you have several guests on the album.
We have guest vocalists Matt McGachy from Cryptopsy and Haydee Irizarry from Carnivora on the song “A Gathering of Storms” who have been friends for while and Phil Tougas from First Fragment on the song “Fiery the Angels Fell” with a guest solo who’s work we’ve admired for such long time.
What motivated you to pick up instruments and play extreme metal?
I always loved heavy music since I was a kid. I can’t speak for the band but my early influences are all over the place from Exodus to Morbid Angel, to movie sound tracks and Prince and Hank Williams Jr. all music has something to offer creatively if you know where to look.
How do you see the future of your music?
We will destroy, pillage and annihilate everywhere we play and keep making music as long as we have people who want to hear it!
What plans for shows are there?
We are playing a few shows our schedules are snug often times so we make what we can out of it. October 12th at the Stone Church in Brattleboro Vermont we are recording our CD release show for a live DVD and CD release so people should come be a part of immortality with us. What type of merchandise do you have? Where to hear your albums? CDs, shirts, patches, clothing.... the usual fare. All of it is available through our Bandcamp. All are albums are available on Bandcamp, Itunes and Google music.
What else would you like mention that I have not asked about?
We just wanna thank everyone for listening and checking us out! Our new album is “Genetically Engineered to Enslave” right now on our Bandcamp page.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

interview: Sage

For fans of traditional singing and very memorable songs, the way that Sage works with traditional, power, symphonic and epic heavy metal should be of interest. They hail from Croatia, in Central-Southeastern Europe. In 2018 they have an impressive debut album of eleven songs and some 55 minutes of music, called Anno Domini 1573, which is an important year in the history of the region, as explained in this interview with the band’s talented singer Davor Bušljeta.The band is Marko Karačić on bass, Branimir Habek and Enio Vučeta on guitars, Andrej Božić on keyboards, Davor Bušljeta on vocals, and Goran Mikulek on drums.
How are you?! Where in Croatia are you and how is life in general in your city?
We are doing quite alright with our day to day life. We are located in the capital city Zagreb. While living here is tolerable, for we have such great politicians that are trying their best, if you know what we mean.
And how is life for your music? Do you have a good metal scene for bands like Sage?
Yeah, we have lots of great metal bands and the metal scene itself is not too shabby, yet it has seen better days. The problem lies in the mainstream media for most of the music is mainstream and for the rest of us that do not play popular music it's pretty hard to get some airtime.
Croatia did very well during the football world cup in 2018 in Russia. Did you watch it?
Of course, if Croatians do anything properly it’s watching the game with a couple of friends and beers by the small screen.
How many recordings has Sage made? How long has the band been active? Were you all in previous bands in Croatia?
We have been active since October 2013 and since then we have released eleven songs and music videos for our debut album. Enio was famous as the frontman and guitarist of Legija (1985-2004), while Marko is currently playing with Prljavo Kazalište that has great popularity in Croatia for the last 30 years and was also playing with Shark Island and many other musicians, while the rest of the band members had several bands in the past and played locally.
What type of jobs do you all have?
We split the day to day band jobs and there is no manager, and we all do different jobs like fireworks, director in a bank, salesman, IT specialist.
The title Anno Domini 1573 seems like an epic title for the album. Where did you record the album? Was it recorded in studios in Croatia?
It was recorded in the studio of Janko Mlinarić Truli with the help of our producer Fedor Boić and sound engineer Franjo Valentić, while it was mixed at Morrisound studio in Florida by the famous drummer Casey Grillo.
The album sounds good and it has catchy songs. Is the album a concept album about the year 1573?
It is about an event that happened, to be precise the Peasants Revolt against the noble man that were oppressing the common man as we are experiencing something similar in the present; therefore, we decided to make the album with that type of a storyline.
Were your people fighting for independence or freedom in 1573?
The peasants had their final fight with the noble man at Stubica a place near Zagreb the city we live in. Back then the feudal lords had a system with high taxes and they were a greedy bunch that never knew to stop milking the cow, for they would take as much as possible from the peasant which then had to make it through the harsh winter.
Do you have any songs in Croatian?
We have made songs only in English so we could present our Croatian history to a wider audience, and our lyrics do describe the situation back in the day.
Did your parents grow up during the 1990s wars in your region? Did any of you grow up during that time?
We all have experienced the war during the 1990s, some more, some less. The war itself took five long years and even most of our family members experienced war at first hand, unfortunately.
Is life more peaceful in Croatia nowadays?
There is peace as in there is nobody shooting, yet there is no peace in the economic and political sense.
Do you think that the future will be peaceful in your region?
We sincerely hope that there will be no war here again, as we also hope for the rest of the world that are experiencing what we have will come to an end as soon as possible.
Where can people can hear the album? Do you have merchandise?
Currently you can listen to our songs on our YouTube channel, or our website, or you can buy a digital version as it was released during September by Rockshots Records. We currently have cd and a cd dvd deluxe version also guitar picks and T-shirts, and we hope that people will visit our gigs as we tour.
Do you have invitations to play in Europe so far? Do you plans to play shows? What news do you have about shows and tours?
We have recently played in Trieste, Italy, and we are currently dealing with booking agencies for the summer tour in Europe, all will be officially released on our Facebook page in due time.
What is your favorite food that is not from Croatia? Is German, Italian or Greek food popular in Croatia?
Croatian cuisine is specific for it is a mix of Italian, Turkish, French, Greek and lots of other cultures, yet we do have vege, Mexican, Chinese restaurants; people prefer Croatian cuisine.
Have you visited the United States? What did you think?
Some of us have visited the U.S.; good food, good women, what’s not to like?!! Some of us have relatives in the States.
It is cool how the last song “Heaven Open Your Gates” begins. Is that a Croatian Catholic song? It is a very nice end to the album.
The beginning of “Heaven Open Your Gates” is a sample made by Fedor Boić, yet the end is sung by the band and several girls from a quire called Medley Teatar, it is an old song usually sung at funerals and we have recorded it in loving memory to a dear friend of ours as also it is a song for the fallen hero of the Peasants Revolt, Matija Gubec
Good job on the album. Last words?
Thank you for the opportunity for presenting our work to the people in the U.S., we hope we will see you one day live at a gig.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

read online Metal Bulletin Zine number 154

The friends at Fuglymaniacs have posted online issue number 154 of Metal Bulletin Zine. This number has an interview with PARIUS, ARTIZAN, MORGENGRAU, and TEMPERANCE.
In addition, this issue has: Images of Eden, Siege of Power, Infera Bruo, Downpour, Satan, Axe Steeler

Thursday, October 4, 2018

releasing this week: Behemoth

Behemoth: I Loved You at Your Darkest
Metal Blade Records; 5 October 2018
Musically, Behemoth has found a comfortable balance between extreme metal and allowing the music to breathe. Decades of experience (the first demo is from 1992) has taught them to simplify the music (less crowded vocals, less effects; songs sound less busy than ever before) and develop the melodies a lot more and embellish the symphonic elements to fill out the background. The music is black metal, it is extreme metal, while sounding the most friendly to the ear than ever. It is a very nice achievement. All that touring has taught them a lot about what works and what doesn’t. They are no longer trying to be the fastest, most frenetic band in the world. It is quite an experience to hear Behemoth taking in the lessons in songwriting. This is their most mature album and their most accessible.
Some people have observed that the band’s ever more theatrical shock rock imagery and sexism (clothed as lyrical antireligious rebellion) is gimmicky. Of course, rock and roll was built on the capitalist marketing strategy of shocking people, so this is not exclusive to Behemoth. If you accept that Behemoth keeps changing musically, and you can get past the occult imagery, then it is very likely that this might be seen as the band’s best, most enjoyable, listenable and melodic album. The album is done very, very well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Overwrought comes to Everett this Thursday

Overwrought is melodic extreme metal from the state of Washington. The name is relatively new to this publication. Apparently, the band formed in 2016. Earlier this year they made their first recording available and it is simply called Demo 2018. Said recording is three songs. The first song is called “Blinded by Time” (6:01). It begins calmly only to kick up the tempo to a good headbanging pace. It is not blasting speed, but rather a melodic black metal uptempo rocking feel. “Vigil” (6:56) demonstrates quite a bit of a dark melodic vibe that is the sound of the band. A good sense of the song is a midtempo, steady rocking pace, which then gives way to some blasting and the classic-style melodic black metal is then present in full view. Very promising. The recording closes with “Wander” (6:32). This last song feels like the band keeps the midtempo energy going longer, and the black metal vocals and the drums have quite a bit of room to shine, and then at the end the songs goes considerably slower and the melodic guitar work comes to the forefront. The song communicates a statement of purpose: this is Overwrought. Overall, the recording will leave you wondering how much further they can go in working, developing and improving this good beginning for them.