Thursday, April 9, 2020

review: Die Another Day

Die Another Day
Wild Fire
10 April 2020
DAD is new and contemporary metalcore from Canada. The EP highlights the hard/soft, harsh/melodic, scream/sing style of the band, the duality of the sound. It’s not about how heavy they throw down, and they clearly can take the grooves into extreme areas, but it’s how they bring it back to the melodies to create the contrast.
It is the work of a young band. Ambitious and eager to show the world what they are capable of doing, but nobody, including the musicians themselves, knows exactly what that is. They use the guitar for grooves and rhythm, but not really yet for melodies, which they currently create through singing and supplement with studio sounds, like background electronic/techo beats that are present, but are not pushed forward as the main thing in the music. These things add a sense of interesting playfulness with metalcore. Another example, the intro track is a techno/industrial beat, but it is only a hint of something, not a song. In all, it appears that the production team put an effort into adding spices to the metalcore mix, and it remains to be seen where it all goes: could a techno/dance big beat component be incorporated into the metalcore? Will the guitarists grow as players and develop a deeper interest in the art of the big riff, whether it’s Zep/Sabbath/Priest or Metallica/Slayer/Killswitch/Lamb or some other type of riffing?
Fans looking for the younger sounds and curious to hear what a new generation is doing with metalcore in 2020 may enjoy DAD’s interpretation of the style.
DIE ANOTHER DAY - Wild Fire (Official Lyric Video) Metalcore
facebook.com/dieanotherday.official1/

Monday, April 6, 2020

review: Lord Vigo

Lord Vigo
Danse De Noir
High Roller Records
10. April 2020
Lord Vigo is pre-1990-style cult, with peculiar singing that is similar in spirit to Messiah Marcolin-era Candlemass (or Jefferson Airplane, actually), which is to say a type of operatic shrieking voice. Fans into unique, cult, vintage and strange voices (examples: Mercyful Fate, Slough Feg, Brocas Helm, etc.) will be interested in hearing the details, contours, curves, shrieks, and howls, and the reverb on this voice. Oftentimes the singing is doubled. There is the main high voice and there are other higher, wilder screams, yells and other types of vocalizations accompanying the main voice for that special feeling of cult: a bit strange, even for metal. The album also has a bit of that creepy, dystopian, big-brother-is-watching-you vibe, too, but in a cinematic or literary kind of way, like a 1980s movie or something. It crosses the mind at times that this band sounds like The Cure’s singer has joined Candlemass. Robert Smith singing for Candlemass? Listen to this band’s quirky singing and maybe you might agree a little. Or, imagine Robert Smith singing like King Diamond singing like Messiah Marcolin-era Candlemass, and see if you can hear it, too.
The above is referring mostly to the singing. As to the music, it is very, very ear-friendly midtempo songs that are very intelligible and easy to get into. Speaking of which, maybe this is a perfect time for this band to be checked out by the U.S. fans that love all those super slow doom genres. This band is not doom in the stoner/sludge ways, but it is midtempo and nowadays it seems like a cousin of that contemporary doom, but way more melodic and catchy. People call this band epic doom metal, but to your friends into Bell Witch, Mournful Congregation, Un, and Evoken, this band sounds positively cheerful. For one thing, this band has moments of rocking out, in a midtempo, somber way that doom fans would celebrate (slowly).
The bass guitar is very audible and the band likes to smooth out the sound with background keyboards for that subtle and majestic comforting feeling. In addition, the band uses those background vocals that sound like a church choir chanting in the distance. There are plenty of guitar melodies going on all over the place, and the production is smooth.
Essentially, the album is of interest to fans to doom, especially the melodic and classic forms of doom. Fans of cult metal in general would be another demographic that could really enjoy this ride.
lordvigo.bandcamp.com/releases

Sunday, April 5, 2020

upcoming in April: Savage Annihilation

While the death metal band SAVAGE ANNIHILATION (2002; France) does not have a new album yet, they want fans to know they are still alive and blasting. They have an EP to keep people moshing until a new album is ready. The EP is called "Soumises à la procréation" and apparently the first four songs were recorded during their album "Quand s'abaisse la croix du blasphème," which was released back in 2017. Song number four is a reworking of Slayer riffs for a tribute, and the last two songs are a cover of Deicide and Helloween, respectively. As you can imagine, they have butchered the Helloween song big time and sounds almost unrecognizable from the version by the power metal band. The EP will be released by XenoCorp on the 10th of April. The official information says the following guests are on the recording: Max OTERO (MERCYLESS), Loïc TRIVETTE (KRONOS), Sybille COLIN-TOCQUAINE (WITCHES), Dum's (PLEASURE TO KILL) and Déhà (WE ALL DIE [Laughing]).
1.L'orgie des morts 03:55
2.Soumise à la procréation 04:36
3.Sous terre 04:21
4.When the Slayer Bangs His Head (a tribute to Heff Hanneman) 03:25
5.When Satan Rules His World (Deicide cover) 02:51
6.Savage (Helloween cover) 03:27
total time 22:35
SAVAGE ANNIHILATION "L'orgie des morts" [feat. Déhà]
facebook.com/SavageAnnihilation

Saturday, April 4, 2020

review: Dawn of Ouroboros

Dawn of Ouroboros
The Art of Morphology
Rain Without End Records
30 March 2020
Props to these peeps. Bubba, too many folks out there fronting trying to show off there IQ and they be like, “Wow, check us out. We smart and we wanna sound like it. We got high school diplomas, graduated and everything.” And that type of smarts bragging gets annoying real fast. Yeah, I hear y’all: Y’all graduated high school and you’ve never been in jail.
Your smarter than me. I got it, I got it. You don’t have to beat me over the head with it, ya know? What about the tunes, tho? Have you some good tunes? That’s what I like. A good beat. I don’t care about your IQ and smarts.
I’m rambling again. Sorry about that, folks. These good Americans play fast black metal and everything and stuff, and it’s definitely head bobbing beats for sure, but they know how to pack the sauce in the bottle, too. Black metal fans will like this, you know, the speed, the vocals, and everything, but wouldn’t the prog folks enjoy the creative side, too? And wouldn’t fans of melodies be down with the catchiness? I reckon they would. There are good melodies, in addition to the blasting speeds.
Apparently y’all be calling this stuff post-metal or something? I don’t know about that and all those purty fancy words y’all be using from the You Tube and the interwebs. Seriously, I don’t know who that is. Look it, Bubba. I don’t read. I don’t research anything. I just make it up as I go along. I’m too relaxed. I’m spending my time hanging out drinking with my friends at the restaurant down by the river, then we all go to the bars down the street and eat and drink some more, and then I chill some more eating shrimp and listening to good ole CCR, John Fogerty, Ghostblood, Swamp Nuts, Swamp Dweller, Swamp Witch, Swamp Squat, Kömmand, ZZ Top, and TLC because I don’t like no scrubs, either. Post-metal, you say? I’m sorry, I don’t know her.
All I know is this here DOO band is a good band and their artistic yet rocking melodic extreme metal is fun like a sonofagun. It’s not “sorry for party rocking” fun, but it is “sorry for making black metal too melodic for kvlt people” fun. I dig it.
A friend of mine wrote me this when I axed her opinion about this band, and I’m just gonna steal it from her: “Fans of contemporary melodic black metal are going to be very interested in this ambitious and catchy work. You will tell quickly that they seek intelligent compositions within the framework of extreme metal, but fortunately they keep their foot on the pedal for a lot of the time. The songs sound well-arranged with a progressive feel, but luckily they don’t come across as fanciful pretenders.”
You see?! That’s what my friend said and she writes a lot so she knows what words mean and stuff. But I just had to axe: “So what rating you given this one and why?” And she answered:
“Overall, considering the quality of the songwriting and how catchy it all is, and taking into account the quality of the musicianship, including the nice proggy parts, I’d give it at least an 8 out of 10 because it’s so good, but I’d probably say that it’s more like 8.5 or 9, actually. You can tell this is probably their first album and by that I mean that it shows lots of hard work, ambition and the great effort to make something that they will be proud of for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, considering that this is an independent release and that we might not see another album from them in years and years, if at all, then I think you can really appreciate the skill and hard work to make a serious and also catchy melodic extreme metal album.”
Yup, yup, that’s what she said, Bubba. I ain’t got nothing to add to those purty words about this album.
Anyway, it’s time to barbecue again and I need to fire up the grill. Plus, I’m fixing to watch the old Super Bowl when the Packers played the Steelers and I think some good barbecue is gonna go well with it. I don’t know who won that game because I went hunting that day. I caught me a big ole alligator that was hanging around my neck of woods down by swamp. Good meat, good meat. I ate alligator meat sandwiches for a month, and gave the neighbors some, too. I hope the Packers win because Aaron Rodgers is a baaaaaadddddd man!
I’m gonna blast this DOO music while I barbecue because my neighbors need to hear this rock and roll. I hope they get down with this rock and roll. It’s infectious. Real purty stuff. Drink up and git r dun!
dawnofouroboros.bandcamp.com

Friday, April 3, 2020

review: Invoker

Invoker
Towards the Pantheon of the Nameless
Einheit Produktionen
March 27th 2020
Invoker’s brand of classic-style European melodic extreme metal is quite friendly to the ear and you’ll get it immediately upon the first listen. It was totally unexpected that the music would have such a quick impact, but that’s what happened. One listen = comprehension = positive reaction. In reality, it does not happen that often that one album hits this fast, and in this case the first response has been proven correct after repeated listens to the album in its entirety. What is happening? Let’s go get it.
1.The vocals are low, gruff, pleasant to the ear, smooth, and flowing. Here and there, you might notice some bits that are different, like a few screams on the song “Devil’s Door,” but overall the cool growling style is by far and away the dominant vocals, making the album easy on the ears, vocally speaking.
2.The songs are catchy, and the production is contemporary, and everything seems a-ok. All good on those fronts, but it is the melodies of the guitar that show that the band’s own take and personality. The album is 37 minutes of lean, mean, rocking-machine melodic extreme metal goodness.
3.There is a very contemporary feel to the music. Melodic death metal might be the first impression that jumps out, but soon after that the melodic black metal details also start to come out of the bag in some places. The drumming style sometimes points to more black metal tendencies, an example of which is “Fall into the Void.”
The main thing about it all is the sheer catchiness of the music, not which genre it is. The genre for genre critics to worry about, but if you like melodic European extreme metal, songs that might get stuck in your mind for days, then check it out.
facebook.com/InvokerOfficial/

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

review: XIV Dark Centuries

XIV Dark Centuries
Waldvolk
Einheit Produktionen
February 28th, 2020
Given the quality of the newest work of the band (est. 1998), it is worthwhile not to let it go without commentary. The music is supposedly folk/pagan, but the tempo is headbanging and rocking in melodic black metal kind of ways; very memorable and easy to enjoy while being a quality album featuring German-language lyrics. The vocals are shrieked but are on the lower, gruffer ranges for a good, ear-friendly sound, and in spots there is some folk singing and a bit of other voices. The band does not fit the stereotype of pagan bands that often have long segments of non-song, experimental tangents, and that in general often are incapable of keeping their music song-focused, as if they just cannot have enough concentration and discipline to stay on point with their songs. This work is about 45 minutes and it’s 11 tracks, of which the longest is just under six minutes, and two others stay within the 5:30 mark, while the rest stay more along the lines of 3-4:30 or 3:-5:00. In other words, the band is very aware that the fans want songs. The people want good, rocking tunes and they will run towards bands that are able to write disciplined compositions that catch one’s attention without having to torture oneself listening for nine or ten minutes before a melody shows up. The guitar melodies stand out a lot and fans will be surprised by how good the melodies are. The winning, upbeat melodies will go a long way towards convincing the listeners. Listen to “Ich bin das Feuer” (“I am the Fire”) and see how long it is before you declare it your new favorite song. Or “Runibergun.” Or “Skogafulka.” Ridiculously good. A huge victory for the German group. Tremendous. Contagious.
xivdarkcenturies.bandcamp.com/album/waldvolk

review: Night

Night
7"
The Sign Records
3 April 2020
Alright, alright, alright you 1970s rockers, this is a Swedish group that lives in a time machine set for your favorite decade in a world where That 70’s Show is life. This is only two songs, friends. One problem is that you cannot relax for long because the record ends too quickly and then you have to get up again to walk to the record player and start the record again. I wish there was a way to solve this problem. Anyway, friends, just put this record next to your other records by Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston, Heart, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, Deep Purple, Foghat, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, REO Speedwagon, Uriah Heep, Beethoven, Ram Jam, AC/DC, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Styx and that stuff, that good stuff that rocks out, that your grandmother says is “real music” because she doesn’t like all the modern rock with dog barks, bear grunts, pig squeals and squirrel mechanical engineering. Again, it’s only two songs, but they will infect you very quickly, for sure. Your friends Eric, Jackie and Kelso are going to love it. Go Pack Go! Hello, Wisconsin!
facebook.com/nightbandofficial/

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

review: Stallion

Stallion
Slaves of Time
High Roller Records
February 28th, 2020
The Stallion rockers are so obsessed with classic-style speed metal, big riffs, shredding and screaming banshee vocals that you have to be quite cynical not to catch on to the headbanging songs. Listen once and you will be infected immediately with their speed metal virus. One main strength of the album is the German group’s dedication to making rocking songs no matter what. Anyway, what is speed metal? Well, you know how some Judas Priest albums begin with a fast song? This band takes that idea as its official declaration to this world and the next.
Fans of traditional heavy metal with high singing and uptempo tunes will find a refuge here. Of course, there is a 1980s vibe and it’s no accident, it’s their mission. The album has one power ballad, a softie called “Die with Me.” About the half mark the song picks up steam, and ends up rocking, even though you did need the lighter at the beginning. I guess you have to put the lighter away when the headbanging begins. At any rate, get your hair spray out, prepare those leg warmers and spandex tights for sexy time aerobics headbanging. Classic speed metal has mutated and is on the loose again.
stallion2013.bandcamp.com

Sunday, February 23, 2020

coming up February 28: XIV Dark Centuries

XIV Dark Centuries (Germany) is melodic extreme metal, and in this case, it's catchy, headbanging pagan metal, or melodic black metal (depending which category names you prefer). The band does have one song available for listening at this point and it's a very good indication of the complete album sounds like. Take it from this publication, if this genre is of interest to you at all, then this album will be very entertaining. Below is the official information.
XIV DARK CENTURIES: Waldvolk. Einheit Produktionen. February 28th, 2020. XIV Dark Centuries will release their new album „Waldvolk“ on February 28th 2020. This musical opus, connected to the deep forests of Thuringia, features seven new tracks as well as three already known songs, redone in a new sound design. After more than 20 years XIV Dark Centuries, one of Germany´s first Pagan Metal bands, remain true to themselves and their fans with their style. The focus is on melodic guitars, massive drums, an unmistakable voice and polished arrangements. „Waldvolk“ will made available as Digi-Pack CD, hand-numbered vinyl and as download. In addition there will be a limited edition of the CD in a special wooden box with a few extras. xivdarkcenturies.bandcamp.com/album/waldvolk

Thursday, February 20, 2020

interview: Verikalpa

The Finns take special care to create folk that is way more fun than people know and a lot more metal than you have a right to expect. After all, this is folk metal, right? It’s usually not that metal, it’s kind of cheeseball music and mosh pits don’t tend to form when folk music plays; it’s more like people in funny skirts grabbing each other by the arm and doing the Texas two-step macarena. Step aside for the Verikalpa boys; they play songs that even a Slayer crowd might like: fast, headbanging and lots of electric guitar. Were you expecting accordions, fiddles, harps, whistling, yodeling and furry boots? Accordions are cool and all, as Los Tigres del Norte are happy to show you, but these old boys like headbanging and thrashing around. This music is melodic black metal and folk metal joining together for plenty of fast songs, including blasting, and some medieval/folk vibes done through the keyboards for the righteous humppa feeling. Put it all together, and it is the recipe for a good time that lasts some 46 minutes with songs between 3:30 and 5:00 minutes, more or less. No big segments of silence, no spoken word stuff, no poetry readings, just tune after tune of headbanging folk melodic extreme metal. The lyrics are in Finnish; therefore, we can tell you exactly jack squat about they growl about. Anyway, the new 2020 album is called Tuoppitanssi and it follows the 2018 debut Taistelutahto. We conducted an interrogation and they responded by throwing beer at us. This is how it all went down.
We are enjoying your new 2020 album a lot! It’s fun, headbanging metal music. How is life in the city of Oulu’s snow storms?! Ever feel taking a break from your winter and take a vacation?!
Hey, what’s up, Seattle! Good to hear you’re enjoying the album! That’s what we were going for, headbanging while trying to balance the beer to your mouth at the same time! Oulu at the moment is like a shithole from a gothic novel: Dark, bleak, misty and rainy. Usually we get a lot of snow with tough minus degrees to freeze the hair out your ass, but now it’s plus degrees with constant rains. A short break on a beach in Southern Europe with a tight grip on a Pina Colada sounds very plausible!
Speaking of taking a break from the Finnish winter, what information do you have about touring in 2020?
Unfortunately, no tours outside of Finland are planned at the moment, we’re a young band (the band, not the old farts playing in it) so we have to start building up everything from the ground up, including promoters so we could get a tour set up. A few weeks in a tour-bus in USA with cold Pabst in our hands would be so nice!
Congratulations on the new album! It is very melodic and rocking, too, with a bit of black metal vibe. Can you tell us who are the members of the band in 2020? Besides guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, did you use any other instruments on the album?
Thanks a bunch! Verikalpa consists of these happy campers: Jani Ikonen (vocals), Jussi Heikkilä (guitar), Sami Ikonen (another guitar), Sami Knuutinen (bass), Jari Huttunen (drums) and Jussi Sauvola (keyboards). All of the lads played on the album except Jari since we were already heading to the studio when Jari joined the band so the drums were blasted to the harddrive by our ex-drummer Aleksi Heiskanen who also did some production work for the album! We didn’t use any actual folk instruments on the album so everything came from Jussi’s keyboards
The lyrics come from Finnish folklore, correct? Are they stories like Hansel and Gretel, but from a Finnish tradition/perspective?
We didn’t use any actual stories, just old myths about Finnish creatures, mostly trolls and elves. Not any fantasy/Tolkien stuff but a Finnish view of elves called Tonttu, mythical creatures that were worshipped and respected and were closely tied to Finnish traditions like the sauna. We also have some old folk saying that we built the songs around, “Mettäväinö” for example is an old hermit that lives in the woods gorging on mostly his own homemade spirits called pontikka. That shit’ll burn the color from your eyes!
The album artwork depicts a battle fought with beer, instead of swords. Is that right? Actually, it is dance, and not a fight, correct? Some bands like to think that they have a serious message about politics or religion, but your band is about beer and partying, right? Maybe you are a Finnish folk/extreme metal version of AC/DC or Motorhead?!
You’re absolutely right and fuck politics in general! Politics flood out from every channel and it’s always shit, we’re here to make people forget about all that stuff and have fun! Drinking beer and dancing knows no gender, color or creed! Being the Finnish folk/extreme metal version of Motorhead sound like a solid plan to me!
What are your plans for official videos, lyric videos and playthrough videos? What about things like sessions of live Q&A, questions and answers about the band and the new album?
We already released our first music video about the second song from the album “Talonväen Teuraat” and you can check it out on Youtube [watch the video below at the end of this interview] or streaming platforms like Spotify! Another video might be coming before the release so stay tuned on our Facebook page! A live Q&A with a few beers sounds like a blast, we’re open for offers who wants to listen to our drunk rambling!
It looks like your band used to be on Inverse Records (Finland), but now you are on Scarlet Records (Italy). How did you begin the business relation with the Italian label? Is this part of your masterplan to begin taking over Europe?
We actually contacted Scarlet Records when our drummer Jari recommended them, he had collaborated with Scarlet with his band Requiem back in the day and said they were tight! So we made a short promoletter, sent them the album so they could have a listen and they liked it and wanted to sign us to their label. We certainly hope that we’ll have a bigger presence in Europe and think we have a lot to offer to our beer drinking brothers and sisters across the globe in general!
Your music is very melodic. How much of your melodies come from Finnish traditional music? How much of your melodies are Finnish melodies, from folk, pop or other Finnish music? Is there such a thing as Finnish country music and do some of your melodies come from those other genres of music? Or, your melodies come from metal music and the decades of Finnish and folk metal music?
There certainly are some elements from traditional Finnish folk music that we combine with massive, heavy riffs and boombastic drums to make the mix that is the Verikalpa sound! Oh yes there is a strong folk/country scene here in Finland but it has a pretty different sound than what other countries offer, that’s the reason I think that Finnish folk metal is so celebrated around the globe, it has its own distinct sound. Even though we have some folk elements, we concentrate more on the metal side of things so some people think we’re quite hard to be classified as a folk metal band generally.
We keep hearing about political tensions between Europe and Russia. In your opinion, do you have any concerns about the future of Finland and peace in Finland?
War unfortunately seems to be an integral part of the human existence, there’s always violence going on. You have to try to keep a positive mindset about the future and try to be the best person one can be. Finland hasn’t seen wars in a long time and we most certainly would like to keep it so, we always try to be as neutral as we can be.
What can you report in terms of merch?
We’d like to print more shirts this time around! We only did one batch of shirts with the last album and they sold like hotcakes! We also try to keep things more fresh and offer more non-traditional merch, Verikalpa beercases would be the shit! Also bands seem to be making their own beers but they’re always some fancy IPA/APA shenanigans. If Verikalpa would make a beer we’d try to push the cost to a minimum so people can enjoy it in bulk, the cheapest shit money can buy!
This is a zine in the Seattle region. What would you like fans in the U.S. to know about your music? How do you feel about the tradition of Finnish bands that have come before your band and how you fit in that tradition?
Verikalpa combines groovy riffs with melodies that stay in your head for good, the combination is known to cause thirst for fizzy, golden and intoxicating beverages so listen when you’re not driving! We know that Finnish metal bands are well liked in the US of A and we’re very honored about that thank you guys! We’d like to think Verikalpa wouldn’t be an exception to that, the genre question is always so hard to answer since we’re not a traditional folk metal band and we’re not straight up groove metal either. I think troll/beer-metal summarizes us the best, twisted melodies and beer is a constant in our lyrics :D
Thanks for answering the interview!
Thanks for the interview, hope you have an awesome year!
VERIKALPA - Talonväen Teuraat (Official Video)
facebook.com/Verikalpa/

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

review: Odious Mortem

Odious Mortem
Synesthesia
Willowtip Records
January 17th, 2020
This blasting technical album is meant to be a comeback for the California-based outfit that has two previous albums under its name, but they have not had a new work, according to Metal Archives since 2007. Their 2003 demo and 2005 debut album were full of promise, but given that people do judge a book by its cover, those works, despite the good execution, painted the band into that corner where gore, horror, shock, and brutality are found. The band was not a low-intelligence musical execution, but you were forgiven for thinking that they were a teenage horror-movie zombie freak battalion due to their gore-like imagery/artwork and some of the lyrics. The 2007 album seemed like a better-presented work overall; despite some low IQ lyrics in some spots, the artwork was better and so were the lyrics, generally speaking. Even so, the package was lacking something.
Look at the new and improved Odious Mortem 2020 strut their stuff. They’re back in black and ready to deliver the technical metal attack. Now this is more like it. Whatever they were missing, they obviously have figured it out, because if you love fast, technical metal and you want it to be presented in an intelligent way, then open this door and walk through it.
For instance, the lyrics have improved tremendously. The lyrics seem like writing exercises from having read books or watched documentaries on genetics, existentialism, science or general matters along those lines. They are, you could say, lyrics that make people say, “What are these lyrics about?!” It’s not the usual metal lyrics about egomaniacal ramblings, movies, the news, cheap political statements about “the resistance” or whatever. It is true that you might think that Odious Mortem lyrics seem like a math teacher talking to a geneticist talking to a philosopher talking to a conspiracy theory nut at a cocktail party, or something! What does this mean?:
Timeless memories still breathing, imprisoned behind new eyes
Choking on stale air, stagnant poisoned state, shackled to the DNA
Or, this?
Glaring at the perilous infinite
Soon taken to the main room, forced to face absurdity
Distractions slowly retract then vanish, after being trapped and banished
You may not know exactly what they are growling about, but if you read the lyrics, you may reach your own conclusions, which is probably just fine with the band. Go do your own research on extraterrestrial genetics modification theories, and see what you come up with!
Another example is the artwork. Take a look at the cover. What do you see? The cover is not making a statement. It’s more like asking a question: What is your response to this artwork? Do you see chaos? The same could be said of the music. Do you hear noise, chaos and ugliness? Do you hear the music within the high-speed blistering noise?
Everyone has their preferences, so let’s end with two key questions. 1.Do you or do you not have a keen interest in blasting, technical extreme metal? 2.Does it matter to you whether it sounds like sampled drumming or like real drums?
The band prefers drums that sound real (but whether these actually are the real, live drums from the studio or if it’s just a different drumming program, that’s something that the band can answer). They have chosen a sound that is not clicky, and the result is a thicker, more robust drum sound. The difference between this drum sound and the clicky, soft, plastic-toy sound of lots of technical metal is obvious for fans of the genre. Online the band has posted a segment of raw footage of the drummer recording his parts for the album. In that video the drums do not as muscular as on the album. Therefore, it is not clear what is sampled on the album and what is not.
On the other hand, fans of technical metal should certainly find out for themselves if they notice the difference between this band and the überrobotic sound common in technical metal. This album is ridiculously fast and crazy and all that stuff. Odious Mortem 2020 is basically perfect for fans of fast, technical, brutal, headbanging death metal, especially if you are searching for a drum sound that seems more genuine than total drum programming/sampling.
odiousmortem.bandcamp.com

Friday, January 17, 2020

review: Mindless Sinner

Mindless Sinner
Poltergeist
Pure Steel Records
January 17th, 2020
Mindless Sinner was a 1980s rocking heavy metal band in Sweden, at a time when young bands in the country were wild and crazy about the new heavy metal music taking the rock world by storm. Today, to the U.S. metal fans, this generation of bands is largely unknown and forgotten, mainly due to the fact that the younger crop of Swedish bands coming behind Mindless Sinner (and their contemporaries Nemesis, Europe, Heavy Load, 220 Volt, Torch, and a bunch of others) would take up extreme metal, and that particular trend would gain international prominence within the worldwide rise of death metal, leaving behind traditional heavy metal as untrendy, which often happens as young people tend to create false oppositions—in this case, traditional heavy metal versus death metal, and feel the need to declare one unfashionable and the other one as cool. That’s a shame because Mindless Sinner’s 1986 album Turn on the Power is such a fun, rocking album that you have to be a real anti-heavy metal stiff neck to not hear the tons of rocking going on.
Decades later Mindless Sinner has been active releasing new music and 2020 finds them doing well with their status as a cult band. The new album is a headbanging traditional heavy metal work with the classic-style riffs and the high singing that has been their brand. It’s a pleasure to report that they keep it rocking and have that great young-heavy-metal energy. It is even more exciting when you consider that these gentlemen are now grandfathers or old enough to be. Don’t expect a bunch of ballads, long slow introductions, tired songwriting and all that stuff. Expect rocking heavy metal for headbanging. If you did not know the ages of the band, you’d be hard-pressed not to think that these are bunch of rockers in their 20s who love Scorpions and Judas Priest, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which of course, actually, they once were. At any rate, the young energy of the album is contagious and the band should feel pretty proud for making such a good album. They have a little less hair (or, a lot less, in some cases) than they did in the 1980s when they were a bunch of handsome young men, but their hearts are still in heavy metal and the music sounds awesome, whether it’s 1986 or 2020.
facebook.com/mindlesssinnerofficial

review: Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra
Schöpfungswut
Soulseller Records
17 January 2020
Porta Nigra is black metal from Germany and they seem to have been around since 2010. This is their third album. Expect the traditional vocals (with a bit of variety in some places), guitar sound, speed and overall feel of black metal. Given this fact, there are at least two crucial points of interest for fans of serious, traditional extreme metal. First, the seriousness in the execution of their craft is very attractive. The tightness of the music and production is a great advantage for the listener. You can be confident that is not some loose-goose, tomfoolery job by people with nothing better to do than making loser’s metal music. This album sounds like it is made by people who are serious about their music as music (not as a “political” statement), hungry to prove themselves to themselves and to the knowledgeable audiences, and hungry to take their music to the highest level possible for them. This is all very good news because we do not have time for losers who don’t take their craft of being musicians as a life-long art. This band wants to be good at their instruments, and they are. In addition, the vocals are done very well. Harsh and extreme and all that, but the production makes it sound good to ears. This is professional-level musicianship and we are pleased about that.
The second point that we want to make here is the songwriting. The album is a good balance between the intensity and speed, on one hand, and finding ways to make the songs intelligible to the black metal audiences and to those lifer fans of extreme metal in general. For instance, throughout the album there are moments for the guitar melodies to come through, including places in which the soloing offers a substantial amount of memorable melodies, in ways that seem a bit surprising due to the catchiness therein. In January 2020 this album deserves for fans of headbanging black metal to investigate due to the overall quality and skill of the work in its entirety.
soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sch-pfungswut
facebook.com/PortaNigraBand

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

interview: DarkTribe

Fans of melodic metal with good singing and progressive vibes will need to check out what the French veterans have in 2020 with their new album Voici L’Homme. The quality and skill of the music speaks for itself. Here is an exchange with the band.
Greetings, DarkTribe! We are listening to your new 2020 album Voici L’Homme! In 2019 there were lots protests and political turmoil in the streets in France. How is your mental health during these unstable times in France?
Hi all, thank you to listening our album. It's a pleasure to hear that you like it! Life is good in France and you know, protesting is a true French game, we are Master of Protests!! Here you don't need to be afraid by that, French people hate change and that's why every political or other decisions bring turmoil in the streets. Our country is based on values that go back several centuries and it's very difficult for French people to understand a change.
How does everyone feel now that the album finally finished?! Your previous album is from 2015, so it has been a few years, maybe a bit longer than you would have liked.
We are a little bit tired because it was a very long adventure to release Voici l'Homme (4 years). Meanwhile, we are also excited to get feedback from our listeners. After The Modern Age we really wanted to release a new album in the two years that followed but, personal and especially family obligations blocked the composition process, that's life.
What are the plans for 2020?
We are preparing everything for 2020. What I can only tell you today is that we are going to visit several European countries like Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and, of course, France. You need to stay tuned.
Where—outside of Europe—has DarkTribe played live?
We played in Japan, it was a fantastic time, really. We hope to play in United States as soon as possible and South America, too. I don't know if we will try to play in Eastern Europe and maybe Russia for 2020, why not.
Can you help us to understand the artwork and the title? Is it Jesus walking on water?
The cover and the album concept is based on the overall picture of a prophet. It's not necessarily Jesus, and as you can check in our lyrics, you will never find his name, we call him Prophet. Yes, the story we tell is inspired by the New Testament but with a generic approach. We wanted to do this, not to rewrite history, but in order to allow to our listeners the possibility to bring their own way of thinking.
Voici l'Homme is «Ecce Homo». The expression lent to Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judae, when in Jerusalem he presented to the crowd Jesus of Nazareth.
What can you tell us about the first song “Prism of Memory”? Is it the oldest song?
“Prism of Memory” is our pure music style, like “Taiji” or “My Last Odyssey” on our first albums. It's not the oldest song, “Back in Light” is the oldest. “Prism of Memory” tells us the link between this Man and his mother, despite hatred and a certain death. Each song on the album will tell you a part of his/her story. As always Loïc sends us a general idea of a composition, very quickly I write lyrics and vocals, then step by step we build the song together.
Song number two is the title track. This song has a bit of French language in it. Would you explain why this is the title track, and its relation to the modern world?
There's something funny about this song. Two months before we entered in the recording sessions, the song “Voici l'Homme” did not exist. We hadn't decided on the title of the album yet. Loïc told us: «Guys, what do you think about this guitar riff? I don't know if it's good for the new album.»
Bruno, Julien and me were amazed. What a groove!!
I went back home, took my headphones, my recorder and after one hour of work, the verse and the chorus of “Voici l'Homme” were written. I found the title in stride and everyone loved it.
Singing in French was automatic, nothing had been prepared, it came like that.
The song talks about the difference between a father and his son, education, family link and also about this Prophet who wonders why life on Earth makes him suffer so much, why his father God doesn't help him.
It's hard to talk about the world and the link with our album. Each human lives the present day with his own desires, fears and strengths. You don't have to think about tomorrow but remember past mistakes to be better in your future.
We like the church bells in the song “Faith and Vision”! The prayer in the middle of the song adds to the sensation, also. Do you remember how you came up with the idea of adding church bells to this song?
Thank you so much! Songs are 95% ready when we go back to the studio but we always try to improve all songs until the last second of our recording session. The church bells are one of this last adding.
How much are you concerned with making sure that the second half of the album sounds as good as the first half? For this album, did you reject some songs that you felt were not as good as the others? In your opinion, which songs on this album were more frustrating to finish?
We attached great importance to the album being homogeneous from the first to the last minute. We abandoned three songs because their quality was not sufficient. In reality, we composed more than 20 songs before finding a balance, it's a very hard job to do. The most complicated songs were “The Hunger Theory” and “Symbolic Story”. We did not all agree with the structures, vocals, keyboard, duration, etc., but you need to make concessions, Darktribe is a great story of respect and friendship. Our music sounds what we like, what we are, with humility and honesty.
Why is the penultimate song called “The Hunger Theory”? What do you have in mind as the symbolic elements of the story, as you view it, and the social issues of today?
“The Hunger Theory” is a special song. We tried do to something different. We know that this song could divide our listeners. The main theme is the protection of our heritage, the prayer of unity between men, we are all the same and together we are stronger, so, why do we move away, we separate? Why do fairy tales make us dream and reality makes us cry? Through these questions the Prophet expresses himself.
I don't want to talk about problems in the world, my religion opinion or importance of Jesus/God, I'm a human being, that's all.
Did your band have any concerns about releasing an album with the themes of Voici L’Homme? Did your band worry that some people are going to judge and reject your band based on the cover?
We're not a religion band or members of those fucking sects, as I said, we are four men who played metal music, who love their family and friends, people who likes Darktribe know this. If you look further than the cover and the texts, you will see that Voici l'Homme is a criticism of our past and our present. We love the typical metal theme, too, but we prefer to leave that to musicians who choose this path.
How can people support your band?
World is connected, you can hear Darktribe everywhere, after the 17th of January you will find Voici l'Homme on major streaming platforms or by ordering it from your favorite music websites. Help us by buying it!! Support us and don't hesitate to contact us to get show tickets.
Thanks for answering! Take care.
Thank you so much, it's a real pleasure friend:) facebook.com/DarktribeOfficial

interview: FROGG

The technical extreme metal of FROGG is pretty new to the world. The high-paced music sounds perfect for hyperactivity and doing everything fast, but what is FROGG? Here are some answers by Sky Moon Clark, the commander-in-chief.
We are currently enjoying your recording A Reptilian Dystopia and trying to keep up with the high speed of the music. So, friends, who are you?
Sky: Glad to hear you’re enjoying the EP! This started essentially as a one-man project, where we’ve had various people contribute to it. The current members of FROGG are myself (lead vocals & guitars) and Emma Rae (background vocals & keyboards), though FROGG’s intention is to be a full band. For recording the EP I reached out to some friends; Anthony Barrone (drums) & Siebe Sol Sijpkens (bass) to lay down their parts for the EP, but I’m seeking permanent bandmates for this project.
Where are you based?
Sky: We’re located in Stamford, CT, which is luckily only 45 minutes outside of New York City. Connecticut has killer bands and venues, too, though, like Shadow of Intent putting on shows at Webster Underground in Hartford.
Was the music all played by Sky? With drum programming or sampled drumming, right?
Sky: I did 90% of the guitar work, with some snippets by Liam Zintz-Kunkel. The drums were done by Anthony Barrone, who wrote and learned the parts in about a month and then slammed them out in the studio in a day and a half. There’s some sampling going on with the snare hits and he recorded using a MIDI kick which was later edited, but the hand and footwork are all there and the guy absolutely killed it in the studio.
I think drums being sampled over and somewhat programmed has become the norm in a lot of metal music because it just pushes the sound to the next level. I’d imagine it only makes the recording engineer’s job easier when the drummer behind the kit can also legitimately play the parts tight like Anthony did.
How long have you been preparing this music before the release?
Sky: FROGG started in high school, that’s when I really started getting into playing this stuff. A lot of this EP stems from my first two years at Berklee College of Music. The initial ideas for “Ancient Rain,” “Ranidaphobia” and “DNA” were morphed over the last couple of years. “Nuclear Storm,” however, was a little more recent. I was tweaking the songs fooling around with arrangements and minor details all the way up until a week before we hit the studio.
Did Sky graduate from Berklee? How was that experience, particularly as a guitarist in technical, fast metal?
Sky: I did graduate from Berklee and learned a lot about music, and it was an incredible experience. What music meant to me evolved. I was forced to learn and play completely different styles, which only made me a stronger musician. I got to make connections with talented and ambitious peers, like Anthony Barrone. We would meet up and jam to some of The Faceless songs like The Ancient Covenant, and things like that would happen all the time at Berklee.
In hindsight though, if your only goal is to play technical death metal, I don’t think Berklee fully encompasses their “you can learn every style” philosophy as much as they should. The school needs to increase their metal staff if they want to attract more serious metal players. Granted, the metal staff they have is amazing, it just lacks variety and resources that other genres are granted at the school. Being a metalhead kind of felt like being a second-class citizen at times. Not to say I regret attending, even with the astronomical tuition cost the learning experience was incredible and I consider myself very lucky.
How many years has it taken to achieve this level of guitar skill? Did you think that technical extreme metal was ridiculous when you first heard it or did you love it immediately?!
Sky: Funnily enough, I didn’t enjoy technical death metal at first. I started playing guitar late in the game as a self-taught freshman in high school. I fell in love with Alexi Laiho’s riffing and soloing and that’s what really got me hooked. Laiho has a great, recognizable style and I would spend endless hours practicing to bring my playing to the next level. Once I developed more theory and experienced Necrophagist in the right mood, my mind shifted. I also drew inspiration from bands like Necrophagist, Obscura, Arsis, The Faceless and some heavier, lesser-known bands such as The Zenith Passage, Soreption, Virvum, Exocrine, they’ve all contributed to developing my ear.
I think people hear the word technical and get the wrong idea or feel overwhelmed. And the sad part is a lot of technical bands don’t pull off a great live show. My biggest fear with writing FROGG songs is falling too heavily into the whole “djent” scene and losing originality with my guitar playing. I don’t want my music’s potential to be entirely dependent on savvy studio engineering. Live raw talent is still my priority.
What type of place is a reptilian dystopia? For instance, what are the inspirations behind the lyrics of “Ancient Rain”?
Sky: A Reptilian Dystopia paints the world in a place where big corporations go haywire and everybody ends up paying the ultimate price. Ancient Rain is about the polar ice caps melting and coastal cities getting ravaged by violent storms carrying prehistoric pathogens killing us off by the masses.
Of course, “Nuclear Storm” as a title does make people imagine a dystopia. “DNA” has some catchy melodies for sure. That is the longest song on the EP. We did not know, so we looked it up and it turns out that “Ranidaphobia” is a fear of frogs. Put it all together: reptiles, dystopia, frogs. Thus, what are we looking at? A world of fantasies and fears? Are all the songs connected as part of a concept, including in future albums?
Sky: I like your line “world of fantasies and fears,” that pretty much sums it up.
The fantasy world of FROGG is one that is dominated by the world ending in post-apocalyptic fashion. It’s kind of tongue and cheek and points to how we, as a collective species have been slowly pushing the earth’s limits and even our own limits as humans, slowly contributing to our own end. I’d love to do a fully-fledged concept album down the road, and that’s a lot what the songs for the album I’m writing are looking to be like.
Some fans are not into technical metal because they say that it is just show-off speed. What would you say to fans that have not given technical metal a real chance?
Sky: It feels like this question is mainly pointing out a “technicality vs. musicality” argument. You know, I’m not too sure. I personally don't write songs for the sake of difficulty or using a specific technique, but rather to just express what I’m feeling. I can sing and play all of the songs on the EP close to what you’re hearing, and I plan on releasing a live playthrough of me doing so down the road.
My dad passed away suddenly three years ago, and that heavily influenced my writing. My own ambition and mentality have been that I’m ready to pull this all off on a live stage and put on a show.
I don’t really have much of an ego and I don’t want to make it sound like this music is a cakewalk for me, because playing this fast with the right feeling takes a crap ton of effort. Hearing that my music is “difficult” just feels a bit tired. I guess I’m sort of a guitar geek and it comes out in my writing. I don’t personally feel that the songs are that fast, and they definitely don’t come from a place where they’re written just to be “technical”. I’ve spent years of endless practice to be able to execute my ideas with flow. I feel that if you’re true to yourself as an artist, then there’s a deeper connection made between you and your craft. Right now, I’m young and I express myself often at a high speed.
What’s funny is that we ended up slowing down “Ancient Rain” and “Ranidaphobia” by about 15-25 BPM, because I wanted to be able to execute the songs close to perfect while screaming and to match the record. It also allowed for a few sections in the songs to shine in a nicer light.
How does the support help you to continue making music? Where can fans keep up with your activities?
Sky: Fans are everything to a musician, and FROGG’s fan base is still in its infancy. I’m hoping to swing that around by filling the final seats in the band and playing live shows. I’d also love to meet up with other bands and well, and just make friends. The album will be on Itunes, Spotify, and is available now for pre-order on our Bandcamp (froggofficial.bandcamp.com/). The best spot to stay up to date is our Instagram (Instagram.com/Froggband) and Facebook (Facebook.com/Froggband). Thanks for taking the time to chat, and thanks everyone for reading!
Keep it metal,
Sky Moon

interview: Rat King

This January 2020 the Washington State, U.S.-based band Rat King issues its second album Vicious Humanity. If before they were considered a sort of sludge doom band, people are going to find a different animal, so to speak, this time around. Let’s get some details on the changes.
The new album changes the preconceived notions about your band. What has happened that the band has taken some new turns towards fast, headbanging extreme metal?
(Ricky). Hello, thank you for taking the time to talk about our album. I think there are 2 reasons our sound has evolved into what it is. 1.The addition of our new drummer (Carlos Delgado). Our first practice with him we ended up playing all the Sepultura songs we could, and it felt great playing fast! And I think we bonded on that. So it was just a natural step forward. 2.The music was just getting more and more aggressive and fast. The song title ideas we were coming up with just demanded it, I think.
Another change: you now have some Spanish lyrics (“Matanza,” “Borratanico,” “Chaleco de billetes,” “Soledad,” and “Chanchito”). Living in the Seattle area, how was the process of arriving at doing some Spanish in your music?
(Ricardo). Again, I think this started with Carlos being in the band. At practice, we speak Spanish and English to each other. Song titles in Spanish started popping up and we just embraced it! The only song that is all Spanish is “Soledad.” Once I wrote the first verse in Spanish it just went that way. We’ve never done this before and it fell amazing to scream in Spanish! It gives us “rock en español” vibe, but obviously metal and much more aggressive, so that’s definitely something we would like to expand on. We weren’t worried at all about screaming in Spanish, Seattle is a pretty diverse place, and people seem to have taking a liking to that aspect of the band. It’s just natural to us.
Who is in the band in 2020? Does everyone speak Spanish? Did anyone of you grew up listening to rock and metal music in Spanish? Mexico and Argentina have had scenes for decades and decades, but nowadays Central America has quite a few scenes, too.
(Ricardo).The band is: Ricardo Racines (guitars, vocals); Daniel Racines (bass, vocals); and Carlos Delgado (drums) and we all speak Spanish. Daniel and I are brothers. Rat king was formed by us and our former drummer Tyler when we met after moving to Seattle from Arizona. Growing up Daniel and I listened to some rock in Spanish, Soda Stereo (Argentina), Sal y Mileto (Ecuador) and metal in Spanish for sure. ANIMAL (Argentina), Brujería (Mexico, USA) Rata Blanca (Argentina), Criminal (Chile), Transmetal (Mexico), to name a few. I’ve seen the rise of metal bands in Central America, and bands touring there as well. Latest one I remember was Noisem going to Guatemala. I thought that was great! Hopefully we can get down there. Carlos parents are from Nicaragua.
Your 2016 album Garbage Island’s dirty, grey, marine album artwork gave the impression of environment concerns. Now in 2020 in the artwork there seems to be the theme of a big, angry octopus bringing death. Where is your head for lyrics at this point in the history of the band?
(Ricardo).We didn’t have many lyrics on Garbage Island, I think because Daniel and I had just started screaming and finding our own voices. Our lyrics on Vicious Inhumanity are about frustration with the current state of the world and what we are witnessing. Poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, suffering, greed, racial hatred, and there are so many things that come with that frustration, like pain, sadness, solitude and I think that’s another reason why the music evolved to this unhinged visceral release. I know my vocals aren’t the greatest, but the emotion is priority number one for me. That release is something I treasure now.
Do your lyrics take sides between the twin parties of capitalism, the Democrats and Republicans?
(Ricardo). We don’t really go into politics, and the different parties, and which is better or worse. Honestly it seems all the same to me. It’s a game they play. Our lyrics deal more with personal struggles, and relating to the suffering that we see around us.
What is Within The Mind Records? How many bands area there in WTMR? What are the advantages and disadvantages of WTMR?
(Ricardo). Within the Mind Records was formed by Daniel and I in 2012. At first it was an outlet to release projects that we were involved in. that slowly changed to us releasing music by friends and people we’ve met along the way. For 2020 besides the Rat King release, we will be releasing the debut album by Seattle Metal band Izthmi, which we are really excited about. It’s amazing! We usually do a few releases a year, if we are capable of doing it. It’s just Daniel and I so it’s a small DIY thing, nothing more than putting music out that we love. We’re not paying the rent with this. The advantages of it are being able to control every aspect of our music, from artwork to recording, promotion, etc. The disadvantages would be the financial part of it, and probably the contacts and experience that more established labels have. But we’ve been working with PR people that we like and have helped us spread the word.
Rat King is now sometimes speeding up to blast beats and also doing more melodies. Exploration seems to be on your agenda, like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in the 1970s, going all over the place, from folk, blues, psychedelia, heavy rock, classical and more. How do you feel about categories and genres at this point?
(Ricardo). I personally love when bands experiment and go on a trajectory and evolve. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t know if we’ll go on a path as diverse as Led Zepellin, or Black Sabbath. I think for now at least the music will stay aggressive, with different styles of metal seeping in. Between the 3 of us we listen to a wide variety of music, but right now the energy that I feel and love in these songs is the most important thing for me.
Will there be shows in the West Coast, other parts of the U.S., and outside of the U.S.?
(Ricardo). For now we are planning a string of dates in February with Izthmi. Just PNW dates that we’ll announce soon. We’re also working on a West Coast tour in the spring with our brothers in Rhine, another Seattle band which Carlos plays drums for as well. We’d love to play outside of The United States and it’s something we’re gonna work on. Hopefully with the release of this album we can get some interest in having us play in other countries. That would be a dream come true.
Thanks for answering the interview!
(Ricardo). Thanks so much for listening to our album and doing this interview. We really appreciate it. We can’t wait for people to hear the new album.
Ratkingband.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/ratkingseattle
Instagram. @rat_king_seattle
For physical copies: Withinthemindrecords.bigcartel.com

Monday, January 13, 2020

interview: Wormhole

Guitar magician Sanil Kunar took a break from the hustle and bustle of their new album The Weakest Among Us to give readers more insight into the workings of the machine. Sanil also says that they have “lots of playthroughs to come” so it’ll be fun to see as the death metal band continues to roll them out in 2020.
Greetings, friends in Wormhole! Are you going to be taking the new music on the road throughout 2020? Do you plan to make your way to the West Coast in 2020 (Seattle?!)?
Yes! We just played in Seattle in 2019 as part of the Tech Trek tour along with Archspire, Inferi, and Virvum, and it was incredible. The crowd in Seattle is always one of my favorites. As for 2020, I can’t give too much information, but we will definitely be on the road a lot and back on the West Coast.
Your band used to a project spread out between the U.S., South Africa and Scotland, but everyone now is in the U.S., right?
That is correct, the entirety of Wormhole now lives in the United States. The band started between my brother Sanjay and I in 2015, we put out our first album Genesis in 2016. Since it was just the two of us, we had programmed the drums and done bass ourselves, and had our pal Duncan Bentley from Vulvodynia handle most of the vocals. Since we planned on touring in 2018, we needed to get a live line-up together, which eventually became the line-up for The Weakest Among Us. We still did not have a bassist until this year, so bass on the new record was written and recorded by our favorite bassist and person Alex Weber (Exist, Defeated Sanity (live)). Going forward the names of these amazing people and musicians that now make up Wormhole are Anshuman Goswami (vocals), Matt Tillett (drums), and Basil Chiasson (bass).
It’s cool that we hear the bass lines rather clearly in such fast, intense music. How would you explain the good results in allowing the bass guitar such room on the album?
There was a lot of time trying to get the bass in there just right. We knew from the beginning that we wanted it to be audible even before we had gotten the bass tracks from Alex. Once we heard what he was bringing to the table there was no question that it needed to be audible.
We all see the bass as an integral part of the sound, no question. For me, the coolest music comes from different instruments or voices comes together to make something bigger than what any individual instrument could create, and the bass guitar is a big part of that. Like, you could give me a sandwich that is just two pieces of bread and pork and I would probably enjoy it, but I would also much rather have a sandwich that only had little bit of meat, a little bit of lettuce, etc.
Speaking of production, where was the album recorded? How many guitars, in general, would you say that there are on the songs?
The vocals and guitars were recorded at me and Sanjay’s place. Recording did not take too much time, but we had a big delay between recording the drums and the vocals that set us back some time. The drums were also recorded in-house, in the same room in our drummer Matt’s house that we practice. We just took the computer and set it up there. Alex Weber also recorded the bass guitar in his home, and just sent us the tracks when he had finished. Matt and Ansh had recorded drums for their band Noisays just a few months before, so we knew more or less what to expect.
For guitars on the album, there are only ever two guitars playing, and then of course 3 during the solos. Sanjay and I are big into counterpoint in death metal and techdeth and we wanted to incorporate that into the Wormhole sound in a clever way, so sometimes the left and right guitars will “split up” and play their own things for a bit. Two guitars and a bass really isn’t that many different voices in the grand scheme of things, so we wanted get the most out of them.
The artwork looks like it is right out of a scary sci-fi movie with evil aliens that have to come to enslave the human race, and the situation is not looking too good for the humans! Do you provide guidelines to the artist?
We went to Lordigan Pedro Sana for the artwork on both Wormhole albums, and we were definitely more picky this time around. We had given him a sketch of what we wanted, which was just a little guy standing up to a big monster, as well as what kind of color scheme we wanted. There were some clichés we wanted to follow and some clichés we wanted to break. We like slam monsters so we needed a slam monster, and we wanted a lot of color – but not necessarily vibrant. We were going for grim. There were a couple weeks where we were sending the art back and forth asking for little changes here and there, but that stuff is important to us. One person may only see a few of those details, but the collective will see all of them.
What inspires such crazy titles like “Wave Quake Generator Plasma Artillery Cannon” or “Quad MB”? The song “rA9/myth” makes us think that we are going to need our calculators to do some equations while banging our heads!
The lyrics for the songs are connected, some more obviously or loosely than others. It was tough coming up with titles for some of the songs, as dumb as that might sound. Every piece of the album works together to make the final product, and the song titles are part of that to me. The song titles and artwork together create a vibe or atmosphere for the album, it is what the audience sees even before listening. The music and cover art for The Weakest Among Us is slammy, spacey sci-fi, and maybe a little unconventional sometimes, so the song titles needed to reflect that. Hence names you just mentioned.
Finally, thank you for remembering to make the album a reasonable duration time of just under the 30-minute mark. At that duration, with eight tracks, it is so much better to really dig in and get into what the band is doing on the album.
We noticed that most of our favorite albums were on the shorter side, mostly because of exactly what you just said. For a slam and techdeth especially, the music is either so intense or so dense that after a while it can be a little draining. We want the audience to finish the album and feel very satisfied like they heard the whole story, but still want to hear more.
laceratedenemyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/wormhole-the-weakest-among-us
facebook.com/wormholemetal/
instagram.com/wormholeslam/

Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday night right now: Excuse All the Blood

Listen to the live broadcast right now, Friday night:
radiofreeamerica.com/station/kaos
Excuse All the Blood is a metal music show from the state of Washington, U.S. The show features black metal, heavy metal, death metal and other metal genres, too. The show is on Friday nights, but it is also available any time here: www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/seamus-o-reilly
Friday night, 10pm to 1am Pacific Time (Seattle), listen to Excuse All the Blood metal music, out of Olympia, Washington state, U.S.
www.kaosradio.org
www.twitter.com/EATBRadio?lang=en

Thursday, December 26, 2019

in case you missed it: Overthrust 2019

Fans of old-style death metal should find their primal urge to hear something brutal and catchy satisfied with this 2019 EP called Suicide Torment. Rocking out for more than ten years at this point, Overthrust (Botswana) has an album to their credit, a couple of splits, and this 2019 EP. The main characteristic about their death metal is the straightforward delivery of songs that fans of the old school will recognize immediately as candy to their ears.
overthrust3.bandcamp.com/album/suicide-torment-2

in case you missed it: Angel Witch 2019

Angel Witch first formed in the middle of the 1970s in the United Kingdom and made some headway by the end of said decade and they topped it off with the highly regarded self-titled debut full album in 1980. As fans of classic-style heavy metal know, Angel Witch is a cult band that is respected and it’s not too difficult to find people online who will not stop singing the praises to this band and the debut album.
In 2019 they issued Angel of Light and the album continues in the tradition of the band. Equipped with a better production than all those years ago, the music is melodic and hard-rocking as is the style of the band. Die-hard fans of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and of cult, classic-style traditional heavy metal should be pretty happy with the contemporary Angel Witch.
angelwitch.bandcamp.com/album/angel-of-light

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

interview: Austin Pattison, drummer for Ex Nihilo; former drummer for Opropos

interview: Austin Pattison, drummer for Ex Nihilo; former drummer for Opropos
Hey, Austin, how was 2019 and what music do you have planned for 2020?
2019 was a pretty solid year, musically. Despite dissolving the band near the tail end of the year, Opropos killed out a few good shows but even before then, things started to slow down and become stagnant for reasons I did not wish to continue trying to push through. Eli and I in Ex Nihilo became increasingly restless after releasing Ego Ex Nihil at the beginning of the year and just could not stop ourselves from bringing on more projects. For almost a year now, I have been working with a dear friend of Ex Nihilo – Josh Fitzner of Peanutbutterfly & Jellyfish Film Productions – on a music video for one of the tracks from Ego Ex Nihil. Eli even got shot into the video when he visited during the summer of 2019!
As for music already recorded… Yes! Ex Nihilo has just recently signed on with a label based out of the UK called Black Spark Records. Eli and I recorded two tracks this year titled ‘Total Waste ov Humanity’ and ‘Funeral Beneath the Cold Moon’ which will be released through BSR on cassette titled ‘Praeludium’ – Which will be two tracks on the upcoming album (Hoping to release BY 2021) titled ‘Enantiodromia’
In how many entities are you active?
As stated above – Opropos, who was set to become Visceral Descent, was dissolved. Whether or not the other lads will continue as VD is not anything I have info on.
Besides Ex Nihilo, Keanu F (vocalist from Opropos) and I are working on a two-piece project titled ‘Hewa’. It is a beautiful project Keanu approached me about mid-2019. It’s all songs about the oppression of his native Hawaiian people and the stuff Keanu is writing on guitar is wildly crushing and groovy at the same time!
Besides sitting in for Done to Death as their interim drummer, an idea for a DSBM band has started to fester inside my head but it is something I am going to take a good amount of time to bring to the surface. Not only because I want things arranged perfectly, but because I am also learning bass for it and hope to front a band for once instead of be behind everyone on the drums!
The Ex Nihilo album Ego Ex Nihil was released in 2019. Who are the members of Ex Nihilo and how did this project begin? Where were the different parts of the music recorded?
Ex Nihilo consists of Eli and I. Eli writes all the music and primarily all the lyrics. Eli records at home in North Carolina and emails me his ideas – I’ve hardly ever turned them down so he just slaps a click track over them and I download them to my phone and spend some time coming up with what I want to do on the drums. Two tracks from Ego Ex Nihil were recorded somewhat decently through an interface and using microphones, but my computer was going through some PSU problems and would shut down randomly in the middle of recording. It became frustrating, so I bought a decent field recorder and recorded the drums best I could through that. I would then line the drum tracks up to the demo click that Eli sent me, isolate just drums, then shoot them over. Eli mixes and masters everything back on his end. As for the two new tracks on ‘Praeludium’, Keanu F recorded my drums for me under the name of Dirt Eater Productions. Everything else was done as per usual on Eli’s end.
What is the future of Ex Nihilo?
As far as Eli and I are concerned – Ex Nihilo will continue on for as long as we live. We would absolutely love to take our music on the road some day. We were very inspired by Sacrament ov Impurity/Weary with how full of a sound they could reach as a two piece, and we feel determined to be able to do the same. I’m even in constant contact with Sam of Weary and he’s been a very big help and supporter on what Ex Nihilo has been doing this year!
What is going on with Opropos at this point?
Opropos is finished. Starting in 2017, Opropos was simply just Calvin Burns reaching back out to me years after a failed high school death metal band never came to be. He writes some pretty fucking crazy death metal widdly widdlys on the guitar, and I told him I was primarily just looking to play black metal. We combined our efforts and came up with some pretty cool stuff in my opinion, finding a good balance between black and death. Keanu was next to join in, one audition as the vocalist and we were both sold on him instantly. We went through a few bassists, Gadge Becraft being the first. Then, Liam Hughes joined and he brought some vile fuckin’ blackened riffs and for the first bit we all just piled our ideas together. I wrote some lyrics – ‘Fate ov the Faithful’ and ‘Opropos’. Keanu then took over on that part and changed the game, putting a lot more thought into the themes. For the most part, we started out just as any other edgy metal band – Satan and anarchy – But Keanu really started putting some deeper meaning into the words he wrote. In the end, we were pretty heavy into the death side of things, which I actually came to like because it pushed me to become a more solid and versatile drummer outside of the trve and slow blast beasts. Opropos lasted about two years, and I was the drummer the whole time!
Why did Opropos come to an end?
From my point of view, Opropos dissolved because of scheduling and priorities. I have always been a very ambitious person, always wanting to write music with serious people that had kindred dreams of creating a life with music. Things seemed to go well for a time, then it felt like just an immediate severance. We couldn’t keep a bassist, and then it felt Liam and Calvin were putting a lot more thought and effort into any new project that they could start up. Despite telling them that I would be at my drums every night of the week ready to go, it felt like Opropos was in the back of others’ minds. One day a message shot across the group chat saying we all need to take things more seriously and blah blah blah and I said aloud to myself upon reading it “Nope, fuck this. This is exactly what I’ve been complaining about and they’re acting like I haven’t been trying.”
What other instruments, besides drums, do you play? What instruments interests you, besides drums?
HA! Anything besides drums? Nope. But, as stated I am hoping to pick up bass for a new band I want to start. But no other instrument has really made sense to me besides drums. I played keyboard in the beginning of high school marching band, but even then I never learned how to read the music. I would have someone show me what keys to hit and learn by muscle memory.
I used to write some of the most insufferable electronic music in my free time by sampling stupid shit and titling them after the nicknames and inside jokes of my friends. The tracks have never, and will never, be released because they are such (purposely made) trash!
At what age did you begin playing drums? How were you introduced to the drums?
Now, you ask my mother and I apparently told her at a young age that I didn’t want to upset my father - a bassist/guitarist – but I wanted to play drums. However, it wasn’t until 7th grade just after turning 12 that my dad came to me and said “You need an elective class. Orchestra, choir, or band?”
I had already tried my hand at stringed instruments growing up and could never understand how to play them, and I had no interest in singing. So, just before school started, my father bought me my first snare drum, which was a vintage 1970s Ludwig… I regret selling. Now, 11 years later I am still at it! I had enthusiasm since the beginning, but kit drumming didn’t become the main focus of my percussive career until about 2012/2013. I didn’t actually play live for the first time until 2015, and even then it wasn’t an extreme metal band. It took a few years until I started playing the type of music that I wanted to.
Did you like any drummers in particular? What music did you like when you were a child; then in middle/high school? What kind of music was popular amongst high school kids back then?
It took up in to high school before I found my true musical identity. Growing up, my mother and father always listened to heavier music. My father showed me the ways of Rush, Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dio – You know, the usual stuff!
My mom was always into heavier rock, but not a lot of it is anything that stuck. I distinctly remember my very first album I ever owned was American Idiot by Green Day. I listened to that album until I became absolutely sick of it.
Fast forward through the bullshit music phases of middle school and we land in high school. I always had a bad habit of finding one artist I really liked and listening to them and just them day after day, never branching out. Then, a friend I met online showed me Volbeat. At the time, their most recent album was ‘Beyond Hell/Above Heaven’ and on it was the song ‘Evelyn’ featuring Barney of Napalm Death doing guttural vocals. This song surprised me as it starts with a rather heavier death inspired riff and that first “OOOOH!” that is belched out had me wanting more instantly. From Volbeat, I went into the only other heavy band I remember hearing about growing up – Lamb of God. I listened to those two bands back to back for a few years, with some of my own discoveries trickling in. It wasn’t until my best friend’s cousin popped in Wolves in the Throne Room’s ‘Black Cascade’ album that I was introduced to black metal (elitists need not say a FUCKIN’ thing!). Then, my next exposure was when my sister visited home and put a blank CD in my computer after hearing I liked WITTR. Computer loads it up and that striking opening riff to Transilvanian Hunger started to play. At first, it didn’t make sense to me. I skipped through the album. It all sounded the same. I took it out, but kept it with my music for years. As time went by, I got more into different heavier and more abrasive black and death metal bands. Then, one day I popped Transilvanian Hunger back in and it hit me like a fuckin’ wave and it made immediate sense. I had found home within it.
As for the music, my friends and classmates listened to, it was 2010-2014. I could give a shit about their music. My friends hated what I got into but I never asked them to care. There were a few metalheads at my school, but they listened to extreme stuff that didn’t come to me for a few more years.
As for drummers I liked, of course Neil Peart from Rush was brought to my attention when my dad shared their music with me. But Chris Adler was my first definitive inspiration in drumming around the same time I was finding the crazy lads like Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy, Inferno of Behemoth, Fotis Benardo and Krimh of Septicflesh. Now, I still dig them all but I can’t stop myself from being constantly floored by the performances of Darkside on all the Mgla albums he has performed on. I feel I have began to emulate him in an unhealthy way.
In your own time, do you listen to a lot of music? Is there any genres or bands that you find fun to listen to nowadays?
I am always listening to music, as much as possible. When it comes to leaving the comfort of extreme metal, I like my shit weird and different. I got into some rap, but for the most part the way the beats resonated with me just never really kept me. I still go back to cringey bands like Mindless Self Indulgence because their music actually pops off and can be fun as fuck to sing along to when you’re in a weird mood. Other than that, some electronic stuff like Daft Punk, Pendulum, and Alex Clare will come on. I am also shamelessly into – what I assume is – the French equivalent to the Jonas Brothers. When in high school French class, I discovered the BB Brunes and if I don’t understand what the hell they’re saying and like what they play, I’ll always find time to listen!
What are some personal goals of yours for 2020? Some people plan to get a new job, become a world-famous puppeteer, take up the tuba, or finally begin training to be a professional cage fighter whose hands are legally considered “lethal weapons.” What are your 2020 life-changing goals?!
I keep telling myself, 2020 is the year of self-sustain. I will cook more for myself and become the absolute best me inside and out. I am already getting way back into working out. Running, lifting, and drumming every day if I can help it. No excuses!
I will spend my money more wisely. I will finally get out of this town for the first time in years and take a few well-deserved vacations.
I’ve never seen myself becoming rich, but I will be successful in the choices I make. Ex Nihilo WILL play live for the first time (and many more times than that), because Eli will be moving back the summer of 2020! We have an ambitious idea for a tour, as well. It will take time to plan out logistics, but even if it doesn’t work out we can just shoot down the west coast with another band for two weeks or so and spread our sound to whoever will listen.
I’m also going to finally buy a kayak and be out on the water as much as I can because that’s been something I’ve wanted to do forever. As much as I hate inner Bellingham these days, the natural areas around me never cease to amaze me. 2020 will be the perfect foundation for what my future holds with music. I do not hope it, I know it!
exnihilocult.bandcamp.com/releases