Friday, August 31, 2018

released today: Gnaw Their Tongues & Crowhurst

Gnaw Their Tongues & Crowhurst
Burning Ad Infinitum: A Collaboration
Crown and Throne Ltd.
31 August 2018
The art of making harsh and cacophonous noise comes to life as a nightmare collaboration. As the official information emphasizes, this is not a split but rather a collaboration of two minds, two very strange, extreme and experimental minds. It may not be a split, but it sort of does function in a duality. There are two tracks of unapologetic clanging clunking alien horror eerie weirdness of abstract noise art. The other two tracks are grating black metal industrial machine dissonance. Forget the dystopian future, the horrors of discordant jangling are here for your pleasures already.
[by MMB]

released today: Panzer Squad

Panzer Squad
Testimony Records
Panzer Squad assembles crust fury with primal thrash with raw black metal in order to construct their monster: a rumbling bass-guitar-heavy bestial thrashing defending the unholy zeal for old-style recording vibes of raucous street squatter punk extreme metal. Panzer Squad wants to show the grimy underbelly of homelessness, drugs, violence, unemployment, decay, degeneration, disgust and the brutality of the law of the jungle that mercilessly governs the streets and the nights of the class-divided planet Earth where the humans live their lives in fear and suspicion of each other in what they insist on calling civilization; the laws of the ruling class.
If a band were to have such an aim with its music, how could it be able to mold their loud rock and roll to speak their truth that they have chosen to illustrate? It is no hypothetical proposition for this German band. It is what they do through the spirit of d beat crust punk and barbarian extreme metal thrashing through every song like it is their last song ever, like their band is going to break up right now doing the last hurrah or like their equipment is going to fail them now. Long live rock and roll, indeed.
[by MMB]

released today: GABRIELS

Fist of the Seven Stars Act 2 (Hokuto Brothers)
Rockshots Records
31 August 2018
Fist of the North Star (Japanese: 北斗の拳) is a cartoon series set in a world after a nuclear war in which violence is the way of life. Gabriels in 2016 released an epic power metal album based on said cartoon series, and this is the 2018 follow-up. As soon as this metal opera starts, it is super catchy and very melodic. The guitars can be neoclassical in places, shredding in others, and sweet at all times. The keyboards are rather prominent in this music and they give vibes of majesty and progressive sounds. The music in general is midtempo; the songs can appear as if the entire track is one big chorus. For this reason, the drumming is a good keeper of time, and the recording has a nice bottom end that lets one know that the bass guitar is there, even though it is not very loud as a single instrument.
The most indispensable highlight of the album is the songs, of course. However, there are many other positives about the album. The keyboards are very nice. The melodic guitars are awesome. Finally, the singing is wonderful and fits the music perfectly. The singing is the most enjoyable element of the album, which is good because you have to have good singing in order to do a power metal opera. Mission accomplished, and then some.
[by MMB]

Thursday, August 30, 2018

North of South (review by MMB)

North of South
New Latitudes
Rockshots Records
28 August 2018
One can readily hear the enthusiasm that North of South has for music. The recording is a nightmare for the category-loving critics. If anything, the music is a sort of salad. It is melodic progressive, with catchy lines and little elements of Spain, the artist’s home country, such as Spanish guitar and some Spanish language parts, although the lyrics are in the vast majority in English. Sometimes the music sounds very rocking, very metal, sometimes a bit pop, or even like a form of hard rock smooth jazz. In other words, the music is a bit all over the place, although heavy metal is never too far away. The enthusiasm goes a long way towards making the recording interesting for those listeners looking for something eclectic, but still in the realm of melodic and progressive.
The area where the most improvement in the future will take place will be the singing. As it is now, it is a cool midrange voice that fits the music, but the projection of the voice is not as strong as it could be. The Spanish origin is notable in the voice and this is not something that needs to be change. It gives the music a personal character. What future recordings will show is Chechu Gómez (guitar, bass, keyboards, synths, drum programming and vocals) finding his voice as a singer, which is something that is a work in progress on this album. The singing does not have high screams and it has no growling. This is a good thing. It has a nice, pleasant midrange tone that appeals to more people looking to sing along to songs.
More experience, more albums, more practice, and more dedication to the singing will certainly result in better singing in the future. We look forward to hearing the future music of this project as it possibly turns towards bringing in more musicians to contribute real drums and other instruments and ideas.

Imperialist (review by MMB)

Transcending Obscurity Records
20 August 2018
Imperialist is a traditional-minded black metal band with a preference for a production that is current and allows the audience to hear the guitars, drums and vocals well. The guitars feature tremolo picking, used for speed and melody. The other side of the guitars is thrash-based riffing. The guitar work is modern and memorable. The drums do some blasting, but that is not the main thing going on. The drumming goes at a thrashing pace. It is a very likable style of pounding and the cymbal work is audible, too. The vocals are a deep black metal growl, a type of bark-shout that sounds good and strong with the style of the band.
The band seems devoid of any present-day religious or political issues per se because their theme appears to be space, astronomy and subjects related to the topic of the study of the universe. The song titles seem like they are chapters of a book or a documentary on astronomy; for example, “The Singularity,” “Splendor Beneath an Ancient Perma,” “Continuum,” and the like.
Listeners should be able to tell that the band has poured its heart into this album. The band holds in high regard the classics of black metal and these musicians have set for themselves both a high standard in the music and the production.
The song “Umbra Tempest” has a guitar solo, but unfortunately the band has not yet committed to making the solos an important part of all their songs. It would have been nice to have more solos and to have more devotion to the art of soloing in the songs with solos. This same song also has some moments in which the bass guitar is more audible, but overall the bass is either not as audible in the album as a whole because of the production or because of the style of playing of the bassist and the band.
In conclusion, the album is a strong entry for the band. They have an EP from 2015 and this is the debut album. Black metal fanatics looking for a professional-minded album might be very impressed with this American band from California.

Monstrosity (review by MMB)

The Passage of Existence
Metal Blade Records
7 September 2018
2018 finds Monstrosity in a good place, musically speaking. The name Monstrosity carries importance for cult death metal fanatics due to the Florida, U.S. act’s participation in the early 1990s death metal wave, starting with its 1990 demo and its tight, blasting 1992 debut album. This new album is a manifestation of the veteran band’s experience in songwriting and general knowledge of having been around for a long time, working on furthering the trajectory that began all those years ago. This new album features effective songwriting that works its way to the listener on the basis of an initial listen to let everyone know that it’s going to be memorable. The songs tend to march forward, galloping towards the chorus, toward the guitar solo, and then it’s on to the next one. It’s feel-good death metal; songs that virtually anyone into extreme metal can understand.
The vocals are fairly low and gruff, and are done well and mix well with the music. There is no annoying yelling, no trying-to-be-funny animal or caricature sounds, no weak attempts at singing; it is straightforward death vocals.
The sound of Monstrosity is more focused on memorable songs and having riffs that you can remember, and this objective is then set in a context of death metal heaviness: the guitar is mostly uptempo, although it is not all-out blazing all the time, with the drums also following this general idea, and the blasting is used in some places, but it is not the total blast attack of their days of the savage youthful brutality. Don’t get it confused, though: this is mosh-friendly, headbanging extreme metal through and through; a rather appealing album, and even more friendly to the ears than metalheads imagine when they think of the name Monstrosity.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Crawl (review by MMB)

label: Transcending Obscurity Records
release date: 20 August 2018
Sign up for 25 minutes of zombie death metal filled up to the neck in the mentality of the old school, something like a late 1980s rotting, leprous, buzzsaw platter of horror, gore and violence recorded in a boombox. There are some five bands called Crawl, two are American, one is French, two are Swedish. Out of the latter two, this is the Swedish one that is not defunct. Say it loud and proud, this is retro knuckle-dragging cave-dwelling, analog-loving death metal. The idea is probably that it should not sound any more polished than a demo made after 1987, or 1989 at most. The world ended in 1989 and death metal went all professional. Things went to hades in a handbasket when death metal musicians discovered computers and all that fancy technology that ruined the world ever since by trying to make death metal acceptable to the masses. Crawl will tell you how it is for them: pre-1989, zombies, horror movies, animal growling, angry punk drumming, HM-2 pedals and gore and disgustingness and hate-filled lyrics. Remember to tell your friends about Crawl and the brand: Old Death Metal Made in Sweden.

interview: Temperance

Temperance (Italy) in 2018 released Of Jupiter and Moons on Scarlet Records, an album that is a tour de force in melodic metal, intertwining their contrast of singing voices and highly memorable songs put together coming from a variety of different little angles. The songs are different from each other while retaining the melodic elements that is the identity of Temperance. Of Jupiter and Moons is their fourth studio album since they began at the very end of 2013. Temperance 2018 is: Alessia on vocals; Michele on vocals & piano; Marco on lead guitar & vocals; Luca on bass; Alfonso on drums.
Hi! Who is answering this interview?!
Hi, everybody! Michele speaking, thanks for your interest in Temperance!!!
Of Jupiter and Moons is fantastic! It is like a “greatest hits” album, hit after hit! Who is the band and album personnel? The variety of singing makes Temperance interesting as a sound. In a live concert, how many of you can sing?!
Well, thanks, we really tried to give our best in this album and is great to hear that you had this sensation of listening to “10 singles”, this is exactly what we wanted this album to sound like!!!
The “studio line-up” of Temperance is basically formed by the 5 of us: Alessia Scolletti and me, Michele Guaitoli, on the vocals, Marco Pastorino on the vocals and guitars, Luca Negro on the bass guitar and Alfonso Mocerino on the drums.
Of course, as most of the band does, we’ve had some guest musicians on the album: Luca Zanon took care of the Hammond parts, Simone Campete helped us with some keys sounds engineering, we’ve had a violinist playing all the strings sections - Giovanni Annandi - and some guest vocalist on a few choir parts: Marco Rosa, Mattia Martin and Caterina Piccolo.
The variety of singing is the unique point of our band, live me, Alessia and Marco split the lead vocals as you hear them on the album. Basically, that makes Temperance a band with three lead vocalists!
I have watched the video for Of Jupiter and Moons about a billion times! Do you have any more videos coming? Does it take long to make one?
Well, as we have recently announced on our social pages, yes - we have a new official videoclip coming on August 28th: it will support the upcoming tour!!! I believe it will be already out when this interview will be published but if not…guess the song hahaha
Believe it or not, but the “shooting” side is often very quick. It took two days only to shoot the “Of Jupiter and Moons” video and one day only to shoot the upcoming one. Generally speaking, in my life I never spent more than 3-4 days of shooting for a videoclip. The hard, and definitely longer part, is the video editing on which the video-maker works on: it can take weeks or months depending on the “difficulty” of the videoclip.
Is everyone in the band Italian and speaks Italian? Have you ever done any songs in Italian?
Yes, we’re all Italian even if we all come from different parts of Italy…and yes, there’s a song composed and recorded with the old line-up that is written in Italian: Maschere. I really think we’ll get back on it for some of the upcoming shows!!!
Does everyone live in the same city or do you all live in different parts of Italy? Is it true that everyone in the band is in various bands?
As anticipated before, we come from different parts of Italy: me and Alessia, we live in Udine (in the north-east of our nation), Marco comes from Varese, Luca from Alba (both in the north-west, but not that close) and Alfonso comes from Napoli…where Alessia is born…well…we’re a pretty interesting mix hhahaha.
About the “bands” question: Temperance is our main band of course, but as many musicians, we all have some additional projects. I play in a power metal band called “Kaledon”, Alessia is working on some new stuff in the hard rock panorama, Marco plays in a couple of progressive metal bands where he sings: Even Flow and Virtual Symmetry and together with Luca Negro they also have a metal project called “Light and Shade”. Alfonso plays as touring member for a lot of bands and plays as stable drummer in Starbynary. Luca and Alfonso also have a jazz project together: “The Country Jam.” Well, yes, we’re busy enough!
How important is Temperance as a priority for everyone? Do the other bands cause problems with scheduling albums and tours?
Temperance is our life. It’s our main job, our main passion and our main hobby. We’re always on the road: this year we played more than 50 shows and our goal is to increase the live activity even more! We mainly tour Europe, but in the background of the band there’s also a USA tour and a Japan tour, and we really are interested in heading back to those and even more countries. None of the other bands cause problems with the scheduling and at the same time Temperance doesn’t cause problems to the other band: it’s all a matter of personal organisation.
Have you ever played in the United States?! When are you coming to Seattle?
The tour in the USA has been made a couple of years ago with the old Temperance line-up! Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the party yet, but hey, we’re really working on it and I sincerely hope we’ll be back soon!
How are you going to decide which songs to play live? Do you have a personal favorite?
All the songs are great songs and I really think that when this happens with an album, the “mood of the day” makes the difference. Today I may need some epic/symphonic power metal with positive feelings and here it comes “The Last Hope in a World of Hopes”, tomorrow I may need some energy and vintage sound, and here it comes “The Art of Believing”. Yesterday I may have needed some softer and atmospheric sound, and here it came “Empires and Men”. By the way, as I said, I still can’t get enough of “The Last Hope in a World of Hopes”. The more I listen to this song the more I’m in love with it…so I’ve got a favorite one!!!
By the way, I like the keyboards on “The Art of Believing.” There is a little bit of a Deep Purple vibe in the keyboards at 2:21, a tiny bit of Deep Purple, like the Deep Purple album Perfect Strangers.
That’s the Hammond section that Luca Zanon recorded for us! We recorded a REAL HAMMOND in one of our album. This is a dream come true!!
Temperance has several albums now and has been active for some years. Have the European audiences responded well to your music? Are you able to make a living from touring with Temperance and other musical projects?
We always receive a great feedback, luckily. Through the years, mainly playing a lot live, Temperance both with the previous and new line-up has focused its strength in the live shows and that made the name of the band quickly grow in the scene. The band is young, this is the fifth year of “life”, so it’s not that much compared to many of the other bands on the scene. But we strongly believe that this is the way to grow: playing live and of course, playing good music (which we hope we compose ahhaha). That said, being a musician in 2018 doesn’t mean “only playing live”. We all are musicians devoted to music and our regular jobs are part of our “being” a musician. We all teach or work in the events promotion or we play as touring members for other bands. It is really hard to “live” with the band only, I think that today only HUGE names like Metallica or Iron Maiden can say “my job is being the guitarist of that band” only. But yes, we are musicians and we don’t have “other” jobs if this is what you meant.
What inspires you to make your music? Do you care what genre or category people use to describe your music? Is Temperance is getting bigger and bigger each time you tour?
Temperance is hope, joy of living, happiness, the strength you have inside put in music with a metal - but melodic - sound, based of harmonies and catchy lines…all powered up by a strong and fast drumming and a rich and classy bass playing.
About the other questions: no, we really don’t care about the genre ‘cause we believe that music is always evolving! Today we may sound more aggressive, tomorrow we may sound more melodic but when there is a flow coming from our minds and becoming music, there must be no boundaries to “tame” this flow. Here it happens that in the same album you can find a song like “Empires and Men” and another one like “Daruma’s Eyes”. I think this is also one of the points that effectively made Temperance grow through the years. We always take care of the “stats” of the band, and we’ve noticed that - for example - on Spotify the latest album is the most listened now. So yes, answering to your question we actually can say that album after album the band has grown, not only in Italy so I wouldn’t make a difference between the Italian audience and the European audience.
What are some places where people can hear the complete album? What type of merchandise do you have for your fans?
The album is almost everywhere: you can find it on Spotify, on Amazon Music, on Apple Music, on Youtube, you can purchase it in every musical store and even online on Ebay and in the various websites. We also have an official store on our website where there’s also some other merch from the band. We have t-shirts of different kinds, a brand new handmade pendant…and to be honest, the Temperance merch table is always evolving: my suggestion is to like our page on Facebook ( and follow us there to be always updated!
Do you have any news that I have not asked about?
Well, the only things I’d like to add is a big thanks for your interest in us first, we really appreciate…and the suggestion to follow the band on the road! Our show dates are always updated on our website and on our social pages: luckily we’re announcing new shows extremely often…so keep in touch!!!
No, seriously, when you are coming to the United States?! Oh, actually, just Seattle. When are you coming to Seattle?! (I don’t care if you don’t go to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or wherever!)
Ahahaha! I PROMISE we’ll try to get back to the USA as soon as possible!!!

New Video from Guitarist MIKE MILAN DEDIC

Mike Milan Dedic (Canada) has a new video which you can watch below. The video features the traits of his style of playing focused around songs. In this particular track you will hear the neoclassical foundation. The instrumental song is very melodic and it's also very ear-friendly. The guitar provides the melodies that make fans of serious guitar want to hear it repeated times. While we are at it, read the information below the video in order to find out more about supporting this artist.
Mike Milan Dedic - Launch (Re-launch)
Mike Milan Dedic is a guitarist from Toronto, Canada. His style is virtuoso shredder with a strong neoclassical base to his playing. Mike provides the following information about himself: He grew up in Toronto, Canada and he started playing when he was 12 years old. He claims that he taught himself completely how to play, but he does cite his love of guitarists like Uli Jon Roth, Randy Rhoads, Van Halen, Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen. You can hear some of his most recent music at the links below. This publication does not have an extended biography to share with you, but like already stated, at the links you can hear some recent neoclassical instrumentals. Mike also says that he has done the following discography: The Pleasure's Yours - 1987 - Axis Records; Fingerfood - 1995 - Marshmallow Records; Mike Milan Dedic - 2014. Finally, this publication, unfortunately, has never featured Mike before and does not have much information, but if you are a big fan of shredders and you would like to hear one that perhaps you have not heard before, these links would be a good starting point.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Images of Eden (review by MMB)

Images of Eden
label: Pavement Entertainment
release date: 17 August 2018
According to Metal Archives, the first Images of Eden album is from 2001, and it was a solo project in which Gordon Tittsworth sang, played guitar, bass and keyboards, with a session drummer. Now in 2018 this is the fourth album, and in the span of two decades a lot has changed. He has done several albums with other projects and bands while keeping Images of Eden going. In addition, Images of Eden nowadays is a band, not a solo project. In fact, the band has been doing some shows recently and seem to be planning more.
As to the new album, it is the work of mature musicians. The grey hair on some of the members is a good sign of the grown-up music of the album, with lyrics about problems of everyday life and spirituality. The album sounds good and shows that they made a great effort to give people a good, current recording. The audiences for the band may come from people who really love and are devoted to mature bands like Evergrey, Redemption, Queensrÿche, Dream Theater and the like, as long as the followers of those bands are on the lookout for new names to bring into big umbrella of those sounds.
The music is mostly midtempo and slower songs in which the singing is the centerpiece, and the guitars provide the chugging crunch and melodic hooks. Given that the voice is so central here, it is important to hear it for oneself and see how the tone of the voice affects the senses. Much care has been taken for the singing to be good on the recording. The style is a melodic crooning associated with this style, especially in the older stages of the age of the bands that play this style.
Overall, the album is a strong presentation of the powers of Images of Eden. It is certainly worth the time of the dedicated fans of the genre who should try to find the time to hear the complete album to let it sit a while in the mind and see what comes from spending time with this American band.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Rise and Fall of Rock and Roll in the 1950s (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 4)

The Rise and Fall of Rock and Roll in the 1950s (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 4)
PART 1: The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 1: The Rise of the Blues
PART 2: The Electric Blues, and Country Music (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 2)
PART 3: Rock and Roll in the 1940s (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 3)
Here is part 4 of the series The Blues and Heavy Metal.
The context of the 1950s
The Black struggle for equal rights in the 1950s intensifies. The symbol of the spirit of rebellion against racism is Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a Caucasian person. Parks’ gesture was part of an organized campaign against discrimination of which Martin Luther King, Jr. is the face.
The African-American struggle for equal rights is taking place in a world context. In the period after Second World War the colonies in Africa are waging various forms of struggles to become independent. The Chinese Revolution triumphs in 1949. Korea is fighting for independence. Vietnam is fighting for independence. The Cuban Revolution from 1956 until victory in 1959 brings down the Washington-backed Batista dictatorship.
There is a sense of hope and struggle amongst Black Americans and many Caucasians feel sympathetic to the just grievances of the fight for human rights for Blacks.
Rock and Roll
Rock and roll in the 1950s exists within the context of institutionalized racism and Jim Crow racial segregation, the second-class status of African-Americans in the United States instituted by law, force, violence, murder, lynching, custom, intimidation, police brutality, and so many other ways not only throughout the South, but in the country as a whole.
At the beginning of the 1950s the young beat of rock and roll is popular with African-American young people, and it is known at this time as “rhythm and blues.” The high energy and the irresistible beat of the music is appealing to a growing number of Caucasian youth, too, but given the social norms of this period, there is stigma for Caucasians to like music performed by Blacks.
As the story goes, a Caucasian record store owner in Cleveland, Ohio by the name of Leo Mintz notices that more and more Caucasian youth browse through the section of records by African-American rhythm and blues artists at his Record Rendezvous record store, even though at this time U.S. Caucasian youth are afraid to buy the “race records” of Black musicians.
Mintz befriends a Caucasian radio disc jockey named Alan Freed and talks to him about what he’s seeing at his record store. Mintz has a role in convincing Freed to begin playing these rhythm and blues records in 1951. Freed’s cool on-air personality and the combination of the exciting, youthful music makes his radio show a hit. Freed begins using the term “rock and roll” to describe the music that he’s playing on his show. His audience at first is made up of African-American youth, but his show becomes very popular with Caucasian teenagers, too.
Freed early on plays music like Varetta Dillard, whose style can be found on songs like “Easy, Easy Baby,” “Scorched,” and “That’s Why I Cry.” A song like “Scorched” is full of energy featuring a great singing voice. Another artist is The Dominoes (Bill Ward and His Dominoes): “Sixty Minute Man,” an upbeat, suggestive number; and Tiny Grimes and the Rockin’ Highlanders with “Blues Round Up,” a song that features quite a bit of guitar. Another example is the Paul Williams’ Hucklebuckers “Rockin’ Chair Blues” song, a lively, animated rock and roll tune.
Varetta Dillard - Scorched
Varetta Dillard - Easy, Easy Baby
The Dominoes: Sixty Minute Man
Tiny Grimes: Blues Round Up
Rockin' Chair Blues : Paul Williams' Hucklebuckers ( 1951 )
An interesting thing happens to rock and roll involving a Caucasian country musician and his band. Throughout the 1940s they have been working with some success as the Four Aces of Western Swing, and other names. This type of country music can often have a lively feel, but it is not rock and roll at all.
In the 1950s they take up the new name Bill Haley and His Comets and begin recording some rock and roll songs, marking a big shift in musical style now directed at teenagers.
In 1955 Haley and his band turn the American music world upside down with the song “Rock Around the Clock.” The genealogy of the song, as has been observed by knowledgeable people, is very interesting: the song verse is very similar to Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over” (1947), which itself is very similar to Charley “Father of the Delta Blues” Patton’s 1929 song “Going to Move to Alabama,” which itself is very similar to Jim Jackson’s 1927 song “Kansas City Blues.”
In any case, “Rock Around the Clock” is without a doubt a song that puts rock and roll in the mainstream in a big way. The song becomes a major international hit when it booms in the movie theaters in the 1955 movie Blackboard Jungle, a movie that warns about the danger that teenagers pose to society because young people, it says, have a tendency towards criminal activity. The song itself is fun, but it is one thing to hear it on the radio by yourself at home at a normal volume, and it’s an entirely different experience when you hear it on the big speakers at the movie theater with many other young people who have been watching a movie about themselves. With Haley and band as the gateway, the American Caucasian youth take to rock and roll like fish to water.
Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
With the success of Bill Haley and His Comets the businesspeople in the music industry are now smelling the money coming their way and their lust for more grows by leaps and bounds. It is said that the Sun Records bossman Sam Phillips, a Caucasian man who has been working with African-American artists, has been looking for a Caucasian artist that can perform this music with the original spirit of the Black performers so that he can make more money by selling it on a much bigger scale to Caucasians.
Soon he will find him: a 19-year-old young man.
In 1953 an unknown Caucasian truck driver begins recording songs at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee. One day in 1954 he records a cover of the African-American blues artist Arthur Crudup’ “That’s Alright, Mama” and immediately Memphis radio goes crazy for the song. From then on, Elvis mania spreads very quickly as Elvis goes on the road trying to but failing to satisfy the huge demand that there is for his music. The wheels of business are in motion and in January 1956 the debut album is released to madly incredible success.
The Caucasian youth go wild for rock and roll. It is impossible to overstate the importance of Elvis Presley. His music sells at an unthinkable rate, it is hit after hit. Haley was fun, but Elvis has a whole other level of cool due to his tremendous talent, his beautiful voice, his sexy dance moves, the newness of the music, his clothes, his hair, his way of talking, his gorgeous face, and his persona.
Another reason that Elvis is so cool is that he is very young, and millions of American, and British and European, post-World War II teenagers see him as one of their own. Bill Haley’s music is very nice, but he is 30 years in 1955, while Elvis is 20 years old in 1955, and Elvis most definitely does not look like a dad.
Bill Haley and Elvis Presley have opened flood gates. The rock and roll gold rush is on.
Elvis Presley.... Thats Alright (Mama)- First Release - 1954
Arthur Crudup - That's All Right (original version)
Rock and roll as international sensation is underway now with Bill Haley and His Comets, and Elvis Presley. In addition, the new sounds continue with Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ritchie Valens and others.
Some of these performers are totally wild. For instance, Little Richard was a complete maniac with his screaming voice and his way of playing piano. Jerry Lee Lewis seems to come unglued when he is performing. Chuck Berry plays guitar in an exciting way and moves with it all over the stage. Buddy Holly looks extremely young and besides the good tunes, just seems like he is one and the same with the young crowds. There is barely an age difference, if at all. All these rock stars have to be seen performing in order to be believed. Just the reaction by the fans has to be seen to be believed, too.
Little Richard Long Tall Sally - Tutti Frutti
Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode
Rock and roll has taken over American popular music, but the authorities are very upset and alarmed by rock and roll. From the beginning, the government, politicians, religious figures and other authorities speak out against Elvis and rock and roll. Elvis causes a major uproar and the outrage seems to be based on morality, that his dance moves are immoral and indecent, but the real reason is that he is a Caucasian young man playing “Black music” and there is nothing more disgusting to the racist than to see their “own race” accepting, welcoming and embracing the culture of a “different race.”
It is a most racist impulse that is motivating the authorities’ rejection of the so-called immorality of rock and roll.
The preachers and politicians are alarmed at how the Caucasian young people are reacting to what they see as “Black music” and they are scared that the Caucasian youth are acting like Black people. Some authorities use the vilest most racist language to describe rock and roll and what they see as the degeneration of Caucasian youth.
Rock and roll has gained popularity in the 1950s, but rock and roll will not go out of the 1950s with a bang. It goes out with a whimper.
In 1958 Elvis is drafted into the U.S. Army in order to take him out of public life. The media does a lot to bring down the career of Jerry Lee Lewis’ as it makes it a scandal that he marries a cousin who is 13 years old while he is 22 years old. Little Richard leaves rock and roll and becomes a minister after he has some supernatural experiences. By 1959 Chuck Berry is in legal trouble and eventually goes to jail. As if that were not enough, in 1959 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper all die in a plane crash, an event popularly known as “the day the music died.”
In addition, Alan Freed, the man called “the father of rock and roll,” is under federal investigation during what is known as the payola scandal. Essentially, Freed is found to be taking songwriting credit for some of the songs that he plays on the radio. His career is ruined by the government and it is said that he dies a broken man.
All good things come to an end. It’s no different for rock and roll. By the late 1950s rock and roll becomes a parody of itself and it begins to sound very coopted, not rebellious, and the popular songs sound funny and comical, like The Coasters’ “Charlie Brown” and its line “Why is everybody always picking on me?”
Rock and roll is now also softer, with more ballads, like Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulders”. In addition, rock and roll is coopted by people like Pat Boone, who specializes in taking Black artists’ songs and making them very tame, safe and Caucasian and this is all very much to the liking of the authorities, the corporations and the politicians. One listen to his version of the Little Richard song “Tutti Frutti” is enough to see that rock and roll is dead.
Or is it?
That is the subject of the next installment: the 1960s.
The Coasters "Charlie Brown"
Paul Anka - Put Your Head On My Shoulder (1959) HQ Audio
PAT BOONE on TV 1957 singing TUTTI FRUTTI little Richard

Saturday, August 18, 2018

interview: Morgengrau

Looking for a death metal album with songs that you can remember after the music stops? You don’t have to go look much further than the Texas, U.S. band Morgengrau and its 2018 album Blood Oracle, the follow-up to the 2013 debut Extrinsic Pathway. Check out this exchange with Erika (guitars, vocals) and don’t forget the links at the end of this interview.
Hi, who is answering this interview? Can you shed some light on the band, the process of putting Blood Oracle together and personnel involved in the recording?
This is Erika Morgengrau. Thanks for the opportunity to chat. The band is myself on guitar and vocals, Nick Norris on guitar, Jake Holmes on bass. Kevin Elrod played session drums.
The recording was done a bit piecemeal, as many bands must these days, due to schedules, costs and personal preference. We captured drums at Noisefarm Studios out in Paige, TX with engineer Gilles De Laval at the helm. Great guy, funny, kept us focused and we had some excellent “cranky old metalhead” heart to hearts during the process. Guitars and bass were tracked at Killertone Studios in Dripping Springs, TX. Studio owner Jason Frankhouser is a master of tone, so for me there was no other choice. Vocals were captured at home, in a closet. I produced, and we enlisted Harris Johns to mix and master. He produced Pestilence’s “Consuming Impulse” and Immolation’s “Dawn of Possession.” Those are seminal albums with a seminal sound, the foundations of modern death metal. How could we not want that pedigree for our album? Sophomore albums are very hard - you have to surpass expectations set by the first, but with the inevitable shifts and improvements to style which come while growing as a band, second albums sometimes come off as lost and unfocused. We’d brought our A-game to writing and staying stylistically focused, so we chose A-game support to complete the effort, all the way down to bringing in Nick Keller to do the art. We’re very pleased with how it all came out.
Is Blood Oracle a concept story? Is there a lyrical connection between Blood Oracle and 2013’s Extrinsic Pathway? How much of the external world in 2018 is in the lyrics?
“Blood Oracle" is a concept album that springs off tales started with “Grave of Lies” and “Antithetical” from “Extrinsic Pathway.” There are themes of hopelessness, struggle and the pain of waiting all throughout the album. We’ve all faced dark moments in our lives, struggled with indecision, and bargained for better outcomes, sometimes at great cost to ourselves, when we look back on things in hindsight. My hope is listeners will sense echoes of their own experience in the songs and lyrics, and resonate with them. Albums we can make our own stay with us forever. It is completely free of any references to the outside world: politics, state of the metal scene, environment, et cetera.
For people not familiar with Morgengrau, would you mind explaining your views on Morgengrau music and also the vocals? How do you do vocals (effects, mic cupping, intelligibility, etc.)?
We play death metal because we love it. We wanted to contribute positively to the genre. I can’t emphasize enough that to understand what we’re about means you need to listen to our music. Find a dark room, eliminate distractions. Spend time with the album, get out the headphones, just let it pull you along. Look at the cover art as you listen. Lose yourself.
You’ll find the whole album is a complete thought. Too many bands stitch riffs together with little regard for dynamics and flow. Sure, you can write a lot of songs that way, but are you writing memorable songs that catch on after just a few listens? I like music that breathes, that takes you on a path somewhere. I threw out many more riffs than I ended up using. The order of the songs and their tempos was important; the album needed to flow through each song and into the next in a way that felt natural. That’s why it took five years to write and record.
I knew the vocals, which you’ve zeroed in on, would make or break the songs. They had to be well done, honest, and natural. No mike cupping, no pitch shifting, just a dab of reverb and delay. Clear diction is important - unintelligible lyrics are difficult to connect with. The low tones in “Wolves of Thirteen” and “Incipit Bellum” are throat singing. I wanted to capture the esoteric magic present on albums like “Altars of Madness” and Deicide’s self-titled debut. Listeners needed to feel the emotion and be swept away by it. From the amount of positive feedback we’ve received, I’d say we were quite successful.
Continuing the above question, how does your philosophy apply to the instrumentation (guitars, drums, so on and so forth)?
Traditional, all the way. Six string guitars, a BC Rich V with Dimarzio Super Distortions and a custom Jackson King V with stock humbuckers. Nothing special, not even a Tube Screamer in the chain. Everything was amped through a Marshall 4080 and Harris did the rest. When you have Mr. Killertone doing captures and Harris mixing and EQing, you don’t need a raft of pedals to make it sound good. We love the warm, balanced tone on the album. It sounds good on every type of system - headphones, car, regular stereo… it’s perfect.
The drums are all real. Sure, we tweaked a few late strikes here and there but that’s nothing unusual. Kevin busted his ass laying down those tracks. He’s a tremendous talent. To make the bass stand out, I rewrote a lot of the lines right before recording to counterpoint the guitars. Bass tone is quite clean, very little distortion. Too many bands use super distorted bass playing the same riff as the guitar - what you get then is three guitars just sawing away and making a big muddy river of sound. Not only is it uncreative but it shows a lack of understanding of good songwriting and sonic field.
Would you care to offer your definition of success for Morgengrau?
Success is having people enjoy the album. That’s all I want. This was never about financial return. There is none, not when you’re bringing in the pros to help with the production. The best you can hope for is to keep the financial hemorrhage slightly under control. The payoff is producing something great that didn’t exist before. All of the above goals have been achieved. Worth every penny. We’re very happy with the support and distribution we get through Unspeakable Axe; having Eric to help us with “Blood Oracle” was a huge advantage over the DIY approach we used with “Extrinsic.”
How exhausting was the process of making the album? What are your thoughts about making more albums?
As far as next albums, I’m not sure. The process was very long and took a lot out of me. I don’t know how I could follow it up with something other than a continuation of the concept. That’s a tall order. I won’t say never, but at the moment, I feel like I’ve said what I needed to say and I’d rather invest my resources in other non-music endeavors for the near future.
Erika, you play guitars and do vocals, and have done different genres of vocals and singing with other projects and bands. How do you do it? Are you active in those other entities and do traditional, melodic singing, too? And you have written a novel?! How do you find the time?
As alluded to above, Morgengrau is on the shelf, especially since we don’t have a drummer for live appearances. I’m fine with that. I’m over playing the songs live. I found playing them very stressful. Singing live is fine. I’ve always got a classic hard rock or heavy metal cover band in play. Keeps my voice fresh. Right now, it’s Virgin Killers, doing Scorpions. I’ve done Iron Maiden and Dio cover bands in the past. It’s fun, same group of guys basically, we’re like a family after jamming together for over 13 years now.
I toy with the idea of doing a traditional style project where I can use my clean voice. There’s a lot of things I can do which people have never heard. Here’s something I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned in an interview - I can’t read music. AT ALL. I took 8 years of vocal training as a kid and, while I learned great technique and breath control, I just couldn’t sight read. It’s the strangest thing. To cover my deficiency, I learned to quickly to imitate the others in the choir so the teacher wouldn’t catch on. I believe that’s why I can sing in so many styles - I’m very good at imitating. I enjoy exploring the possibilities of voice. It’s a flexible and powerful tool, and no matter where you go, you have it with you to play with at any moment. It’s the perfect travel instrument.
In regards to time - yes, I like to be busy. My head is very noisy. I go through cycles - right now I’m in a “novel-writing, costume-making and cars” cycle. I have a bad tendency to start projects and not finish them. As I’ve aged, I’ve had to admit that focusing on a smaller number of things, doing them really well and finishing them is more important than having fifty little hobbies in play at a time. I’m always humming and listening to music, but writing songs isn’t very interesting to me right now.
How can fans of death metal give real, tangible support right now?
Get “Blood Oracle” in digital and CD from Unspeakable Axe’s Bandcamp. “Extrinsic” is available via the Morgengrau Bandcamp. Please buy a damn CD. I still have boxes and boxes! That’s it for merch - since we’re not playing live, shirts and patches are hard to move, so I’m holding on them. Depending on interest, we might do a vinyl later. Just buy a CD for now! Listen to the tunes, tell your friends if you like it, spread the word. Hail metal, hail death!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

NEWS: Today, August 14th, WEARY (by former members of Sacrament ov Impurity) Release Demo

WEARY is the new music by two former members of Sacrament ov Impurity (black metal). Weary is based in Mount Vernon, in the state of Washington, U.S.
This is a new recording and you can hear it in its entirety at the link below.

Rivers Of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name – Album Review by Matt Spall

[The following is a review by Matt Spall, a U.K.-based reviewer. He is active on Twitter and you can find the link to his Twitter account at the link below.]
Artist: Rivers Of Nihil
Album Title: Where Owls Know My Name
Label: Metal Blade Records
Date Of Release: 16 March 2018
I have been meaning to get around to reviewing this record for some time. I missed it completely when the promo was sent in advance of its release due to pressures with work and the fact that I was already behind with my reviews, having been faced with an extremely busy Spring release schedule. However, I knew that I had to come back to it at some point, because it is simply too good to miss out on the Man of Much Metal treatment, be that a good or a bad thing. I’ll let you decide.
Prior to this release, I knew literally nothing about Rivers Of Nihil. I like just about every non-core genre of metal, but it has to be something special for me to deliberately seek out new death metal bands as it isn’t at the top of my list of sub-genres. Having said that, if any of the Pennsylvanian band’s previous releases are anywhere near as good as this one, I’m surprised they passed me by for so long.
‘Where Owls Know My Name’ is the third full-length album from the American technical death metal band, having formed in 2009 and it is genuinely something to behold. I’m thinking that maybe some of my reticence to actually compose my review stems from the fact that, subconsciously, I find myself a little intimidated by this record. It is a beast, that’s for sure and it is hard to articulate the music satisfactorily in words.
What I think this record does so well, is it combines a complex, tightly-honed and uncompromising form of modern djent-inspired death metal, with something altogether more organic, inviting and esoteric. If the relentless bludgeoning of warp-speed blast beats and riffs can come across as slightly cold, these passages are interspersed with music that is much warmer, more tactile, more human. For my tastes, this is a magnetic combination.
What makes this album even more amazing is that these breaks in the extremity are almost entirely coloured by strong melodies and are then bathed in lush atmosphere. Clearly the Americans have been inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd and King Crimson in this regard, which is no bad thing. And then, they add in an element of strings and brass to further push the envelope. I’m not going to get into a debate here about my general apathy towards instruments like the trumpet or the saxophone because that’s a meaningless and fruitless discussion on this occasion. On ‘Where Owls Know My Name’, they sound perfectly at home and actually add something to the compositions that I like. Now there’s a turn up for the books.
You might be reading this thinking that it is all very well for Rivers of Nihil to merge the brutal with the beautiful, but it depends entirely on how these two seemingly disparate elements are fused. Well, on that score, let me assure you that there is minimal clumsiness or friction in this regard; there are times when the juxtaposition is quite stark, but that’s usually done deliberately by the band. Generally however, the transitions are undertaken with care and precision, meaning that the songs don’t sound clunky or contrived. In fact, there are times when you don’t even realise that the song has changed tack so dramatically.
In fact, as I listen more, I have realised that the dichotomy between all-out extremity and the quieter, more melodic passages are not quite as distinct as I first thought. Many of the brutal passages actually benefit from being underpinned by layers of atmospheric synths and inviting sounds. And, in some cases, they carry with them a certain groove or melody of their own – it’s not all chug, chug, growl here.
For example, ‘The Silent Life’ is carried away on a wonderfully groovy guitar riff from Brody Uttley and Jon Topore, whilst drummer Jared Klein batters his skins with alarming speed and precision. As the intensity drops away, it is replaced by soulful, bluesy guitar notes, complimented by a resonant saxophone which toys around the edges of jazz. Underneath, the bass of Adam Biggs dances playfully and exuberantly.
Then there’s ‘A Home’, which is actually just as melodic and enticing whilst attempting to blow your ears off. The opening lone guitar is dirty but instantly enjoyable but it isn’t long until the bludgeoning technicality begins and we’re swept up in something thoroughly bruising but incredibly epic-sounding. That said, there are some exquisite quieter passages that cleverly enlist the use of an acoustic guitar, intriguing tones and clean vocals.
And that’s another aspect of Rivers Of Nihil that I really like – the variety within the vocals on this record. Everything from ravaged screams, to guttural growls, to a deep clean timbre are deployed for maximum effect at various points within the album. For this, Jake Dieffenbach requires a lot of credit, even if bassist Biggs is also involved to assist behind the microphone.
There are great compositions throughout this record, from ‘Old Nothing’ where Klein engages his hyperdrive button to his drumkit, to ‘Terrestria III: Wither’, an theatrical, filmscore-esque instrumental that blends man-made electronic sounds with more authentic instrumentation to create something that is quite ethereal at points and heavy, uncomfortable and dystopian-sounding at others.
The ending section of ‘Hollow’, with a flamboyant and melodic lead guitar solo is fantastic, as is ‘Subtle Change (Including The Forest Of Transition)’, which lets go in carefree fashion and indulges in pure, all-out 70s prog-rock worship, complete with traditional keyboard effects, not to mention an extended wistful saxophone solo that straddles the quieter and heavier passages rather skilfully.
However, my favourite moments of ‘Where Owls Know My Name’ come towards the very end, courtesy of the title track and closer, ‘Capricorn/Agoratopia’.
The former begins with a demonstrably solemn, dark and broody Katatonia vibe before heading for more extreme sonic climes. However, the brutality plays more of a supporting role, allowing the sense of suffocating atmosphere and dark melody to take the lead. The short-lived layered vocals that appear at the 3:39 mark are extremely beguiling, as is the serene outro.
‘Capricorn/Agoratopia’ on the other hand, is a very different proposition, but is the perfect way to end such an impressive record. As with the title track, it starts off quietly, deliberately building the suspense and sense of anticipation, teasing us as it goes through the gears before finally pummelling the listener with a final bout or two of extremity. And then, at the five-minute point, everything goes quiet for a few seconds before the song returns with an epic, rousing and spine-tingling crescendo that I only wish lasted longer before closing gently and majestically. As powerful as the music is, it is only enhanced by the sense of hope and positivity that courses through it – it’s a heady conclusion to an intense album, one that has impressed me no end every time I listen to it. I might be a little early to say, but ‘Where Owls Know My Name’ will almost certainly claim a spot in my end-of-year ‘best of’ list. Indeed, from where I’m sitting right now, it has a fighting chance of being crowned my favourite death metal album of 2018.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.5

Tomorrow’s Eve – Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros – Album Review by Matt Spall

[The following is a review by Matt Spall, a U.K.-based reviewer. He is active on Twitter and you can find the link to his Twitter account at the link below.]
Artist: Tomorrow’s Eve
Album Title: Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros
Label: Baze Records
Date Of Release: 27 April 2018
Every now and again, I am prone to a bit of a faux-pas. I’m human after all, so it wouldn’t be right if my site was perfect, would it?! The big error on my part this time concerns the latest effort from Tomorrow’s Eve, the German progressive metal band that brought us the monstrously huge ‘Mirror Of Creation II – Genesis 2’ back in 2006.
Given that ‘Mirror Of Creation II – Genesis 2’ was so good and given that fans have waited 12 long years for a follow-up to the concept that featured on that record, you might be wondering why it took me so long to get around to reviewing it. The truth is, I don’t really know. Admittedly, I was beginning to fall behind the curve thanks to a huge influx of new releases and the commencement of a new career. But still, you’d have thought that I’d have made time to bring you my thoughts on this highly-anticipated new record, the first from the band in a decade. But, simply put, I screwed up. After my initial excitement and flurry of early listens, I somehow forgot about it and am only now putting pen to paper having realised my mistake.
What makes the error so much more difficult to fathom is the fact that I really liked what I heard back when I first got hold of a promo. In fact, there was one big thing that struck me from the beginning and which continues to make an impact on me: the heaviness of this record.
All too often, progressive metal has a tendency to err on the lighter side of heavy, where melodies and technicality threaten to dilute the raw power of a genre that, by its very nature, shouldn’t always be all sweetness and light. But Tomorrow’s Eve certainly redress the balance here, as this record is aggressive as hell. This is what I’d call ‘proper’ progressive metal, an amalgamation of strength, complexity and enough melody to keep things interesting.
The tone of the guitars is something that is rather intoxicating to me and makes this record easily the heaviest of the bands’ career to date. Rainer Grund’s performance offers a gratifying crunch that resonates and sends tingles up and down my spine time and again. Anyone who likes interesting riffs that deliver on the metal quota will no doubt lap this album up, just like I do.
However, it isn’t just the guitars that impress. The eleven tracks are boosted by the appearance of Mike LePond (Symphony X) on the bass, who is his usual professional and talented self, enhanced by a production that allows his pulsating, intricate bass work to be sufficiently heard within the mix. The drumming of Jon Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen, TNT, Labyrinth, Ark) is equally meaty and dextrous too, adding a commanding spine to the music. The ubiquitous keys are present and correct, Oliver Schwickert liberally dusting the tracks with various tones and textures to wonderful effect, creating depth and atmosphere in the process.
The final ingredient in this edifying recipe is vocalist Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta, Lalu), who brings the latest chapter in the ‘Mirror of Creation’ concept to life. Angry, contemplative, introspective, spiteful – he manages to capture them all and more in an assured and diverse performance throughout, perfect for breathing life into the involved and ambitious lyrical content within ‘Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros’. Not being the biggest fan of Mekong Delta, I must admit that I am always a little surprised by just how good Martin LeMar sounds within the Tomorrow’s Eve environs.
It is almost impossible to single out any of the eleven tracks on this record for specific praise because they are all very good compositions, with plenty going on within each of them, be it a big, hook-laden chorus, an expansive lead guitar solo, a monstrous riff, an engaging rhythm or an emotional vocal performance. Then there are the swathes of keys that soften a few of the rougher edges and provide plenty of rich atmosphere to the music. They never get in the way, but they are an integral ingredient within the Tomorrow’s Eve sound. Given that this album is around xx minutes in length, this consistency is hugely impressive; I expected a filler or two, but I have been proven wrong.
However, I realise that the previous paragraph could be viewed by many as a cop-out. As such, allow me to pick out a few specific highlights within ‘Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros’:
The aptly-named ‘Welcome To The Show’ opens the disc with a suitably grandiose, cinematic introduction, before a no-nonsense uncompromising riff takes over and lays down the gauntlet. From that point on, the song delivers a heady blend of crunching guitar work, atmospheric keys and a larger-than-life chorus that just gets stronger the more I listen to it. I repeat: this is properly heavy and expansive prog metal, underlined by the chugging, start-stop riff at the four-minute mark that is simply wonderful, transitioning smoothly into another cinematic segment. The track then ends in quieter, more subtle fashion, led by vocals and tinkling keys, further reinforcing the effortless variety that Tomorrow’s Eve manage to bring to the party.
You wanted heavy? Then allow me to introduce you to ‘Morpheus’, an epic bulldozer of a song full of roiling menace and dark lyricism, only to open up into another huge, all-encompassing chorus that captures the imagination and gets me singing along. I know I’ve mentioned the word ‘riff’ extensively thus far, but the riff that enters at the 4:18 point is something truly special, full of strength and a certain amount of headbang-worthy malevolence – it’s just so good!
‘Bread and Circuses’ ups the pace and gallops along for the most part in a similar vein to the most powerful of power metal, whilst also injecting a sense of theatre and variation within its five-minute length. ‘Imago’ by contrast is a chunky, meaty affair that shares a few similarities with Kamelot in terms of the sounds it explores and the atmosphere that it creates.
As you might have noticed, I’ve essentially referred to the first four songs on the album. But that’s no accident as I stand wholeheartedly by my statement that ‘Project Ikaros’ simply doesn’t contain any fillers and the standard remains extremely high throughout.
As such, I could go on. But instead, I’ll conclude at this point and instead invite all you progressive metal fans to let Tomorrow’s Eve into your life. If you like your music to be complex and challenging, whilst at the same time able to tell a story and then get your blood pumping with genuine crunch and heaviness, then this is the record for you. Honestly, this is a complete no-brainer and a reminder that intelligent music can still pack a real punch. As such, it comes with the highest possible recommendation from the Man of Much Metal.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.5

Sunday, August 12, 2018

interview: Artizan

The veteran melodic heavy metal band Artizan (Florida, U.S.) in 2018 has a new album called Demon Rider, their fourth full-length. The new work features a tightly-packed 33 minutes of classic-style hooks and melodies that are instantly successful, and a whole range of headbanging riffs, and songs with the beautiful singing for which Artizan is known. Here is an exchange that took place between this publication and drummer Ty Tammeus.
I have heard your new album Demon Rider a bunch of times now. Very nicely done! Another catchy work, for sure. I’m embarrassed to ask because I feel like I am supposed to know this, but are all the Artizan albums connected by a concept? All the artwork seems linked by a certain dystopian futuristic vibe? What happened to the main character, the young man on the cover of Curse of the Artizan and The Furthest Reaches? Did he die on the previous album?! He’s not on the cover anymore.
We have written one concept album so far The Furthest Reaches. Although all of the albums are not directly related, conceptually, you probably notice a theme in my writing. Since I write all of the lyrics, you will notice I that I write from a generally positive viewpoint, especially when it comes to all of us who are the dreamers. I have a fondness for these people. I think our music best relates to them. And maybe that’s you! I can tell you there is some plans for more concept albums, but I cannot reveal too much now. The Artizan character on the cover of The Furthest Reaches most certainly did not die. You will notice on the lyrics of the last song that he embarks on a journey into space – taken aboard the craft of ‘The Keepers’, who are the aliens that return to Earth after hearing the alarm set off by Mother Earth. His journey may just be beginning. The Artizan character is our mascot, and we will definitely see him again.
Who played on the album and who is in the band in 2018? I think that Jim Morris was the producer on the previous album. I like the sound of Artizan albums; you can hear everything well. Did you work with Jim Morris again? Do you record in Florida and the bands is based in Florida, right? In Jacksonville, home of the Jaguars?!
The band is the same as before except my bassist, Jon, was not able to do the recordings because they were having a baby. Jon has three sons now so his hands were quite full. I had met Joey Vera (Fates Warning) when we toured with them. I sent Joey the demos of the new album and he agreed to do the recordings. So he is a special guest on Demon Rider. I have always considered him one of the greatest bass players. So this is a really special performance for us. It sounds incredible. I have worked with Jim Morris since 1991. We have a long career together. We do record all of the albums with Jim, here in Florida. He has an incredible wealth of experience that he brings to our music, taking our songs to another level with his special touch. Yes, we are home of the Jacksonville Jaguars!
Has Artizan gone over to the dark side of The Force at this point?!!! “Demon Rider” sounds like an evil title and the first two songs have a very sinister imagery. “The Hangman” seems like the brother of the “Demon Rider.” Did the Demon Rider and The Hangman take over the dystopia? It seems like the guitars are emphasizing a bit more bite this time around. Does it seem to you that you have a bit more of a heavier sound or this is all by pure coincidence? Has the tuning of the guitars changed? Are you using different guitars from the past?
The songs “Demon Rider” and “The Hangman” are separate stories. Although they both seem dark, I think with the aggressiveness of the guitars, Demon Rider is a positive good over evil story, whereas The Hangman is about all of the bad things you do to people ultimately catching up with you. We did go into this album with a heavier, more aggressive attitude. This is a little more straight forward but still has slightly progressive elements woven in. I’m not exactly sure of the actual tuning of the guitars, but I do know that we only double tracked guitars this time instead of stacking four tracks like we had always done. It is a heavier final product!
Have you decided to make videos for any songs? My vote for the first video is “Soldiers of Light.” That song is a good illustration of the heavier side of the new album, paired up with the melodies of the chorus, it is a very catchy tune, but really the whole album is very good. Nowadays bands have to be active on media, otherwise people might forget. What is your plan for videos and lyric videos? You probably have plenty of band photos and some live footage that could be used in some way at least for lyric videos. Have you been streaming any songs from the album so far? If so, where?
We have released really cool lyric video for “The Hangman” which people are finding pretty amazing. It showcased the incredible artwork I had made for this song. It was created by the same artist who did the Demon Rider painting, Eliran Kantor. We will also be realizing a very nice lyric video for “Soldiers of Light,” which is personally, my favorite track on the new album. We are streaming the songs from Demon Rider on Spotify and I encourage the fans to search for Artizan there.
To me, the album is the first five songs and 33 minutes. To me, that is a good amount of time for this album. It leaves people wanting more. So, was it the record company’s idea to add extra tracks that are not new songs but alternate and live versions of old songs? Is there pressure to make albums that are 60 minutes long?!
That was exactly my intention: to have the album full of quality material – every song as important as the previous; quality over quantity, with no filler material. So your point to this is exactly what we were striving for. We like to make a limited edition of the album available to our core fans, so I chose this extra content of the live songs and the Harry Conklin bonus track.
For new people that are reading. This band has been around for 10 years now, right? In your own words, after doing this music for that long, and longer, if you count the roads traveled to get to Artizan, what motivates the music of Artizan and what is Artizan all about, musically speaking, the way that you see it? Why do you go through the work involved in making music?
This is a great question. There are many times when I was met with challenges that made me question continuing. I think most passionate, creative people encounter this. Ultimately, if you have a burning desire that motivates you to carry on, it won’t leave you alone, and you find some way to complete your vision. Our music is really about possibilities. If you have a vision; a concise dream, that won’t leave you alone, I believe if you simply do one thing every day, moving you forward to that dream, it is obtainable. We are about the dreamers and what we are capable of. Music touches everyone in some way most every day. I believe that music, but more specifically, creativity, is life. Without creativity a piece if me would simply stop living and thriving. But it is seriously hard work that takes dedication and sacrifices.
Can give some places for people to hear your previous albums? What merchandise do you have at the moment? Can you tell us about the Artizan Armada?
So yeah, definitely put us on your playlist on Spotify and iTunes. Make sure to go to and order the limited edition or standard CD, vinyl and the very limited new T-Shirts. And join the Artizan Armada, an exclusive fan club that gives you access to some free merchandise giveaways and early access to our new albums. We had many Armada members pre-order the new album and the limited edition is almost sold out! Join the Artizan Armada!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Eskhaton (review by MMB)

release date: June 20th, 2018
label: Lavadome Productions
While some people go around talking about how variety is the spice of life and how combining genres is cool and everybody’s happy crazy go lucky snappy in the brave new world of no-genre multi-genre hodgepodge, Eskhaton chooses a much more focused approach with a single-mindedness of purpose that is attractive and the sound to match the mission chosen.
Brutal religious practices, a state of war and conflict, violence as a way of life and humanity preying on humanity are the norm in this barbarian realm. Therefore, in this perspective, the music should be as heinous as the murderous methods employed by the ruling classes to oppress and humiliate throughout history.
In the alleyways and dark corners where this music lurks what matters is maximum aural frenetic intensity harnessed for the objective of high-speed chaotic songs that take sounds to the very edge allowed by the limits of having a human, mortal body. There’s no two ways about it: this will sound like a complete warp-speed blur on the first couple of listens. This band wants that. They need it. It is only after the mind grasps on to something—a whammy bar sound, a guitar lick, a riff, a drumming pattern, anything!—that you can hope to enter this otherwise impenetrable fortress.
Polishing up and sanitizing the recording to make it as clean as possible to achieve a computerized and robotized work is the antithesis of this album.
Cavernous growling.
Blasting overwhelming.
This barbaric bestial, this death metal!

interview: Parius

PARIUS is a young band making an effort to give their progressive music a bit of their own unique flavor, with various sides that make these Americans a headache for people who like to put music in neat genres. Parius is something like a bull in a china shop. That, or maybe, a crazy kid running around with a bunch of money in a big candy store and eating up as much sugar as possible. This publication’s questions were answered by Louis Thierry, the growler, screamer, vocalist in charge of the microphone for Parius, from Philadelphia. Their new album is called The Eldritch Realm.
Metal Bulletin Zine here. Good job on your second album The Eldritch Realm! How is life for Parius in 2018 in the city of the Super Bowl champions? The second album is all done, what is next for Parius for 2018 and 2019?
Hello, Metal Bulletin! Thank you very much, it was the product of a lot of hard work and time, and we couldn't be happier! The reception we're receiving is both overwhelming and very humbling. Winning the super bowl managed to tide us over until the album dropped. I think most of the trash from that night is almost cleaned up. Plans for the future include ramping up our show playing, working on getting more interesting merchandise for fans, and figuring out what our next project will be!
How much live work have you done in your area? Is it your plan to tour?
During our time as a band we've played a fair number of shows. Nothing too impressive, but we aren't new to playing live or anything. We've mainly played shows around the Philadelphia area. We venture outside of that occasionally, but not too often. We'd like to expand our reach to more of the East Coast. Anything farther than that will take some time. Touring is a dream, but for now it'll have to stay a dream. Most of our members have too many commitments to consistently tour, but some day down the line it could be a possibility. If the want is there.
How old are you all at this point? The picture in Metal Archives shows a teenage band.
Most of us are in our early twenties. Dan Silver, the drummer, is still a teenager at 19. Hah, yea, that picture is very old. I think we were all between the ages of 15-17 at that point. Maybe I should contact them and ask them to update it!
The first demo is from 2011 and the band began in 2011, right? What did you sound like back then?
Our first demo is indeed from 2011. It was called Demo-n. Very hilarious right? I thought so at the time at any rate. The band also formed sometime that year. We started completely from scratch. I'd say it was closer to The Black Dahlia-style death metal. We were all very into them at the time and it reflected heavily in our music.
Why were there were four years from the demo to the debut in 2015.
Saturnine was actually complete/mostly complete for a while before we released it. I went away to a different school for a while and it held up the completion of the record. aside from that we had just been playing shows and writing songs until we felt like we had enough material to record an album.
How were things going in 2015/16 after the album? How did people react to the album?
We would play shows around the area, but nothing too crazy. Reaction the Saturnine was lukewarm. I don't remember it well, but I don't think we knew how to effectively market the album. It was also and album made by mostly 16-18 year old kids and was largely derivative of bands we liked at the time. We finance all our work ourselves. Around 2016 Ryan, our guitarist, was working on Let There Be Light; our EP that came out in 2017.
Now here we are in 2018 with The Eldritch Realm. It’s quite the trippy album. Is there an overall horror story?
There is one overall story to the album! The Eldritch Realm started with me wanting to make a Twilight Zone-style story (hence the name). Since each episode is tied to a theme I wanted mine to be the idea of being caught in a circle and stuck on the day to day grind; finding it hard to break out.
The story follows a man with eternal life as he journeys to retrieve his mortal soul guided by the Black Moon, Lilith. He begins by contemplating the nature of his situation and sets off to see what lies beyond this realm and into the next; dealing with the answers he finds while being hindered by a cosmic force.
Have you always had in mind a genre-crossing type of music?
I think our first big genre-crossing was in “Another Kind of Reckoning” (2017) towards the end of the song we have a black metal inspired part. That helped us begin to really think about genre mixing. That and I try to listen to a diverse range of music, which is constantly giving me ideas to incorporate into our music. Ryan and I usually bounce some pretty crazy stuff off each other. I tend to go for the wackiest ideas. Not all of them are good, and not all of them make it through the band trial! But most of us are into prog metal and are every open to doing some wild stuff.
Has your vocalist always wanted to do different styles?
For one reason or another I really fell in love with metal vocals and all the other weird noises people can produce with their mouths. During the writing of The Eldritch Realm I was certainly wanting to experiment to create a lot of variety. I wanted some Dimmu Borgir spoken screaming/pitched speech. I wanted Devin Townsend style yelling. Southern-sounding yelling, trilled r's, choir singing, you name it. Not everything turned out as originally imagined. A lot of testing goes on in the studio. Many influences have inspired my vocals and sometimes Chris Kelly (our producer) and Ryan help me out. They help with harmonies and Chris is heavily featured at the end of “The Binding.”
What is the situation for the band nowadays? Do you have merch for your fans?
We're just working away on this release, expanding our live presence, and thinking ahead to our next project! We aren't currently signed to a label and don't have any plans to be right now. We want to concentrate on crafting our sound, and improving our live performance. We don't want to get tied up in contracts. We distribute our album on Bandcamp! We sell both digital and physical formats and stream anywhere streaming can be done! We are currently looking into making vinyls of the album.
Right now our merch is pretty bare bones, but we are working on getting some more quality goods out there. We have 2 types of t-shirts.
Is there anything else that you want to mention?
We'll be playing a few dates in late August/early September in the Philly/New York/Connecticut area, so keep your eyes peeled!
I wanted to thank Metal Bulletin for taking interest in the band and for taking the time to talk to us. Don't forget to pick up your copy of The Eldritch Realm from our Bandcamp. Happy listening!