Saturday, August 17, 2019

review: Dead Kosmonaut

Dead Kosmonaut
Rekviem
High Roller Records
20.09.2019
Well, this is weird. Really, just about the weirdest piece of information that you might hear all year. Unless you are already in the know, like probably some fans and musicians in Sweden are, because they have known the information for a while now (or some German fans who have seen the band live already), these Swedes might surprise quite a few people. The music is traditional progressive, with both a 1970s vibe of musical freedom and the classics of 1980s heavy metal, all kind of coexisting for the sound that is Dead Kosmonaut. You might feel like some segments remind you of Pink Floyd, while others might make you think of Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy.
That’s not the weird part.
The weird part is the singer. Notice that it says “singer,” not the more general “vocalist.” It was necessary to double and triple check this information about the identity of the singer. The promo information received by this publication says that the singer is none other than the infamous leather-spikes-bulletbelted maniac primarily known for being the outlandish screamer for the old-school extreme metal band Nifelheim (He has done other vocal work, all which has been screaming and raging like a lunatic of black/death/thrash metal). Yet only now we are finding out that he can sing and sing well? What kind of madness is this?! The music gives the guitar lots of room to breathe and work the melodies. Fans of bluesy, progressive melodic guitar should take special notice of this band. It is perhaps the biggest and most important selling point, given the quality of the guitar playing. Of course, then there’s the singing! Good stuff.
Anyway, this 24-minute EP will be of interest to those fans that want classic rock of the 1970s and classic metal of the 1980s in their contemporary prog. The EP is three songs of 4-5 minutes and a fourth one that lasts 10 minutes. All the songs have a feel of freedom, but the last song takes the grandiose freedom of the heavy metal progressive blues to another level. An enticing EP for the fans of oldie but goodie contemporary prog.
facebook.com/Dead-Kosmonaut-179075279238707

review: Picture

Picture
Wings
Pure Steel Records
August 16th, 2019
The overall sound of Picture is 1970s/1980-1981 heavy metal in which the classic rock of the giants/pioneers that came before them can be heard. They are Dutch band formed in the late 1970s and issued their debut self-titled album in 1980, followed it up with Heavy Metal Ears in 1981, and more albums for a total of seven full-lengths in the 1980s. Even though they have not been around as an active band for 40 years, they did form all those years ago and have been rocking, on and off, for a long time. This new album finds the elder statesmen of Dutch metal music in very good form. The production sounds good, the music is classic-rock heavy metal, the guitar work sounds good, the songs rock and the singing is appealing as the voice of an older gentleman who carries a tune very well in a lower-midrange voice, and without any irritating attempts to do impossible things like glass-shattering screams or trying to be contemporary (like growling and stuff).
To what extent do Dutch fans of traditional oldie but goodie heavy metal care about Picture? Unfortunately for the band, their previous album, according to Metal Archives, is from ten years ago! That’s way too much time to be gone. Whatever the reasons, here’s hoping they are able to be more active now and don’t let the fans forget that they know how to rock. The entire album sounds like every song is meant to be on it. Not having a studio album in ten years should mean that these ten songs are going rock, and they do. The whole work flows so well with some songs recalling bits and pieces of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and all those classic bands, a bit of that hard-blues rock, with plenty of 1980s-style shredding and melodic guitars, some rocking anthems, and some faster tunes, too.
Should American fans check into this band? All over in this country there are some stations that play classic rock from the 1970s, and some stadium metal like Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, and some hard rock in general. Well, that’s the general audience that would enjoy Picture. facebook.com/PictureTheOnlyPage

review: Overt Enemy

Overt Enemy
Possession
August 9th, 2019
By day they are mild mannered Texan Americans who will tip their hats to you and say, “Howdy,” and “How y’all doing?,” and show you Southern hospitality in a most awesome way as the great people of Texas tend to do, but by night they are a thrash band who want you in the pit, sweaty and sore. They have another identity besides being Overt Enemy because they are a Slayer tribute band, too. This EP is 23 minutes, four originals and a cover of Slayer’s horror-movie themed “At Dawn They Sleep” from the 1980s. Overt Enemy is a thrasher’s band. Fans of traditional thrash who like to keep up with new and DIY bands fighting and elbowing their way to people’s attention will be the most obvious demographic. Of course, for Slayer fans the similarities between the two vocalists and overall style of the band may also be a point of interest. The drumming stays on message and the guitars stay on uptempo and fast riffs throughout, without meandering into other styles nor looking over the fence at other genres. It’s songs for getting a physical reaction out of thrash fans, essentially. The band had an EP in 2018 and this is their second. They are as enthusiastic about thrash as ever. It’s early in the game, let’s see where future Overt Enemy recordings go after this one in the thrash zone.
overtenemy.bandcamp.com

review: Atlas Pain

Atlas Pain
Tales of a Pathfinder
Scarlet Records
19 April 2019
The introduction to the album is very inviting and wholly fits the purpose it is supposed to have. The mood of anticipation is awesome, the opera house introduction, along with the clapping, and the speaking voice, which sounds like a bombastic circus master hyping up, it’s all good stuff. Then the first song opens and it is a most memorable first song, about as perfect for fans to raise fists, bang heads, play air or real guitar, and growl along as there is in 2019. This first song, “The Moving Empire,” reveals the band’s classy and fancy mix of European-style melodic extreme metal with fast, uptempo riffs, sometimes sounding like melodic death metal, sometimes like power metal, filled with symphonic keyboards featuring a great abundance of melodies, and a classy, well-done growl (that is similar to black metal) to top off the band’s style. Atlas Pain is shameless in its quest to create the perfect melodic extreme metal album. The listener may feel like this is something along the lines of epic symphonic folk power extreme metal. They prefer to keep the music uptempo of various speeds. There is speed, but there is lots of variety to capture the feel of grandiose songs. At the same time, the album is generally uptempo, and not a slow, nor a midtempo work.
Here are some interesting details to observe. The band does not do the growl/sing thing, although in places they have male choruses that are a clear voice, somewhere in the low-midrange spectrum. The black metal-style growl is rather gorgeous, and when it is backed up by said melodic male choruses (which, of course, are reminiscent of a church choir or a symphony, which is sort of the same idea, anyway) it’s so fun. Towards the end of “The Great Run,” they show a hint of techno dance music by allowing a very brief segment that completely isolates the techno dance vibe, a fun jest for the fans. Europeans just can’t help themselves; it seems that even the most metal Europeans cannot quit their addiction to techno. “Kia Kaha” may remind you of epic folk metal from Finland (you know who!). The mellow outro, while not bad, is a bit too quiet, the volume is too low. It seems to be missing that special effort that it took to put the intro together. Overall, the band has worked hard to give the audience the sensation of stories about time travel and the adventures of going to various times and places in history and mythology, and put it all to songs that fans of can understand as their own musical language in terms of “story metal.”
atlaspain.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-a-pathfinder

review: Repent

Repent
Condemned to Fail
High Roller Records
August 16th, 2019
Love-it-all zealous fanatics of thrash can make a bee line for the mosh pit instigated by Repent. The German band began in 1992 and this is their fourth album, five years since the third one. The album is fueled by a wide variety of the same basic emotion of ire, irritation, frustration, fury, anger, wrath, indignation and everything else that would be shoved into this boiling blender of exasperation. As an album dedicated to translating a racket into a rendezvous at the pit, it pushes all the buttons necessary for ignition. The drumming is fast, but stays at a pace to keep people moshing. Never too fast for the pit, never too slow to cool down, this workout in friendly violent fun does not end until the album itself ends. The guitars seem obsessed with getting people off their seats and start a pit at the show or at the office or in the halls of the local grocery store or wherever the moshers find themselves hooked up to this matrix of thrashorama.
Do you know who doesn’t want fancy and happy melodies to be part of this experience? Repent, that’s who. The riffs are packed with a thick, relentless beat that pauses only between songs. There is an angry groove to it all to help people distinguish what is happening, but this never even attempts to make things safe, comfortable and acceptable for casual fans. The album is something that true thrash fanatical raging maniacs—you know, that dude at every show, that dude wearing that old Slayer shirt who begins bumping into people because he wants, he needs, that pit to get going already—will take an interest in. The band sometimes gets negative reviews because they are “only” a thrash band and are not very melodic, because they play thrash like it is their religion. If someone wants a sugary type of thrash, then, yes, avoid Repent, but a person wants on-point, meat-and-potatoes thrash that does not try to be all things to people, then check out this back-to-basics, fundamentalist thrash with the stubborn attitude of the early days of the genre, but with a contemporary, brutal chunky sound, and very abrasive, throaty vocals. The band is not melodic and they are proud of it; they offer a small olive branch to fans by way of the shredding solos, but that’s about it. Fans of unmelodic and mosh pit thrash should consider the work of this veteran act dedicated to giving it to you raw, pure and angry in the basic, anti-fancy way.
facebook.com/Repentthrash

Friday, August 16, 2019

review: Gallows Pole

Gallows Pole
This Is Rock
Pure Rock Records
30th August 2019
Gallows Pole is a long-standing heavy rock band from Austria. Metal Archives shows that they originally formed in 1973 (maybe they took their name from the 1970 Led Zeppelin song?) and have had periods of inactivity. They have a bunch of albums, and this is the 2019 version of the band. Reliable for a style reminiscent of the heavy rock of the middle and late 1980s, with a guitar tone in the same general area as stadium rock/metal bands of that time. The music is midtempo as a general rule, very friendly to the ear, especially for fans of radio rock that would like that clearer guitar style that is not super overdriven and extremely distorted. The listener hears what is happening on the guitar and things never go crazy and fast, just a comfortable, chill heavy rock pace. The same is true for the drumming. The band prefers simple, direct rhythms that go big on the beat, persistently on the beat, always on the beat, and never goes into crazy, show-off fills or drum solos. Of course, the songs are traditional with the structure of verses and choruses. The singing is melodic, and without screaming type of singing, but rather midrange male voices. There seems to be a couple of male voices or tones. In addition, on this album the band has female vocals, and now Gallows Pole has a cool, new dimension to the songs. It would be good for them to keep this combination of singing continuing on future albums.
This music in the U.S. would be appreciated by the older fans of rock, all those classic rock bands. Gallows Pole sounds like 1980s heavy rock, but in the riffs and other things, listeners will notice a bit of 1970s. For instance, on the song “You Got Me” they have handclapping, or in the song “Daylight,” particularly the beginning, sounds reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” with a contemporary sound. Another instance is the song “Point of No Return” which has a main riff a bit reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Megalomania” at 3:20 when the older song’s cowbell signals the change of tempo. A perspective to understand Gallows Pole would be to consider the way some New Wave British Heavy Metal bands sound today, especially the ones that have slowed down their heavy metal to a midtempo-style of heavy rock in which the classic rock that inspired them is now manifesting a lot more. facebook.com/GALLOWS-POLE-174803492598152

review: Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage
Atonement
Metal Blade Records
16 August 2019
The continued success of the band rests on the intelligent decisions that they have made in the two decades of activity, in addition to their hard work and a will to succeed and do what it takes to persevere. After some 20 years as a band, and now eight studio albums, they continue finding ways to make creative works in their niche. Characterized by very catchy thrashy guitar work in 2019, the album is full of fun, uptempo and cheerful melodies. The other side of the guitar coin is the chugging heaviness that encourages movement from the audience, whether live in concert or not. The guitar work and its efficiency is one of the most attractive points. They have a very clear plan to ensure that every song gives the listener chugging heaviness and melodies simultaneously. The approach is to write concise songs that do not overstay their welcome. The vocals at all times go back and forth between extreme and singing. The extreme end consists of screaming and growling, and the singing fits the more melodic segments. This style of dual vocals is a big reason why the band has experienced success and they are not about to do something crazy by destroying what got them this far in this first place.
Given the no-nonsense style of songwriting, in 2019 there are some particular things that will be interesting to fans of the extreme/melodic combination. “Unleashed,” the first song, is a midtempo track that goes for some deep chugging while allowing the melodic singing to take the big chunk of the time. That is followed by “The Signal Fire” a fist-raising headbanging tune that throws down as hard as the band can. “I Am Broken Too” is probably the album’s most melodic and ear-friendly song. The fans are going to demand this one in concert. People might not leave the venue unless the band plays it. It’s that type of song. Another thing to notice is that they showcase the melodic singing quite a bit on the album, and the production team finds ways to develop and to push the songs towards melody as much possible and maybe do it more than ever, as a way to keep things interesting and fresh for the band themselves. Twenty years in, and one of the most important bands in shaping the sound of post-2000 U.S. popular melodic extreme metal remains very faithful and reliable. The years have made them consummate experts at the style that they had a hand in raising to the level of success that it has.
facebook.com/killswitchengage

review: Superterrestrial

Superterrestrial
The Void That Exists
16 August 2019
The music is do-it-yourself black metal with driving guitars. The recording features a contemporary drum sound that could be drum programming or it could be sound replacement technology. The vocals are in the very traditional screechy style. The one element that adds a bit of a different side is the use of keyboards. It doesn’t seem to be used a whole lot in the songs and if it is, then it is not very audible, generally speaking. However, it is used sparsely in some slower segments of the songs, for some atmospheric moments. Overall, the songs should be interesting to die-hard fans of DIY black metal projects that usually are ignored by the metal press, big, medium or tiny. The songs have a good energy as black metal and the people behind this project show knowledge of what they are doing. This is not experimental music, and is easily recognizable as black metal.
One last point of attention for the devoted black metal fanatic to consider is the vocals. In addition to being very screechy, they are not very audible and are kept very low in the sound mix. At times they seem barely audible at all. Thus, there are two issues for the fans to weigh. The first is the style of the vocals and whether it is appealing or not. The second one is the low volume of the vocals and whether this is acceptable or not. greenflaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-void-that-exists

Thursday, August 15, 2019

review: Sophist

Sophist
Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto
16 August 2019
With this Canadian duo it is difficult to tell whether they are simply full of hatred for their own existence and bodies, whether they hate themselves for being height challenged or for being overweight; or whether they are full of hatred for the human race as they know it in their lives and work, as nurses, waiters, social workers, pet detectives, grasshopper communication network managers, Canadians, or something similar. What is not difficult to tell is that their hatred of themselves and/or the human species/Canadians has been translated into the most unpleasant and hideous cacophony of drum-programmed blasting growling uproar.
While during the day at work at the factory, they might enjoy lots of beautiful melodies of all-Canadian legendary icons like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Avril Lavigne, PSY, BTS, Ricky Martin, Olga Teresa Tañón Ortíz, or the national treasure that is Cèlīnê Dïõn, in their free time while they record their music in the bedroom at grandma’s house they prefer to get down and dirty with the extreme sounds of animal-like monster screams, growls and yells, and the wondrous simplicity of playing one or two chords really, really fast over and over again until they strike the right balance between the blasting chaotic tumult of ugliness, on one hand, and the blasting chaotic tumult of ugliness, on the other. Exquisite DIY homemade hideousness. sophistmetal.bandcamp.com

review: Phobia

Phobia
Generation Coward
Willowtip Records
August 9th, 2019
California’s Phobia was formed in 1990 and ever since then they have been finding ways to turn their obnoxious racket more toxic. They have kept up a regular schedule of releases (EPs, splits, albums) without generally allowing more than a couple of years going by. This is 2019’s entry into their infamous-illustrious discography. When listening to this 16-minute EP it is recommended to let it play continuously as one unit of blasting speed, with brief pauses in between. Don’t bother with questions about individual songs. The band’s wise decision to keep the pauses super brief between songs means that it flows well as one big exercise in blasting, growling mosh pit catharsis. Maybe do not drive while listening to this EP, just in case you end up trying to keep up with the band. The American band’s angry punk lyrics have not changed, only the music has gotten tighter and more professional, which at this point sounds as metal (sharp) as it gets, but in this EP they have not abandoned the punk ethic of short, direct songs (no guitar solos) ranting about some thing or other. They are an old grind band, and as such they are as angry about the politicians as they are against people/other punks that Phobia considers “PC fascists,” and internet warriors, and all of which is expressed in lyrics or through television show obscene excerpts in between some tracks. Phobia 2019 is still not suitable for sensitive people, and most other humans, but the grind freaks should be smiling wide with this EP.
phobia.bandcamp.com/album/generation-coward

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

review: Crypt Sermon

Crypt Sermon
The Ruins of Fading Light
Dark Descent Records
release: 13 September 2019
Crypt Sermon has spent lots of time in an effort to give to the customer serious quality in the hope that audiences will discern the difference. What the Pennsylvania, U.S. band does (if we ignore for now discussions about genres, styles and biographies) is to use two indispensable devices for the production of tremendously melancholic melodies that have the objective of affecting listeners in emotional ways. The first tool utilized for their purpose is the guitar. Throughout each of the seven songs (out of ten tracks), one can detect the meticulous attention paid in the crafting of guitar melodies that evoke a sense of contemplation, dejection, wonder, soul searching, doubt, and other emotions along those lines, but all the while keeping the guitar, as already mentioned, melodic and joyful in its own way. The second skill in question is the singing. This matter is more difficult, given that more people are capable of playing guitar well than they are able to sing well and channel melancholy into the voice. This singing fits the music very well; it has the tone of a soul beaten down by the failures in life, but not weak and frail, rather resolute in the quest of living.
Crypt Sermon is traditional, classic-style polished epic doom metal, following the gold standard of the genre, namely, 1980s Candlemass (Sweden), who established the hallmarks of melancholy, elegance, grace, melody and uniquely soul-dolorous singing, with a sense of religiosities working as inspiration for the spirit of the music. Crypt Sermon seeks to continue and expand on that gold standard. The American band’s album is highly memorable and will have to be a priority for the fans of the style to keep on their lists for purchase consideration.
Crypt Sermon seems strange for various reasons. In addition to being on the label Dark Descent Records, a U.S.-American company known primarily for growling extreme music, often very old-school-minded death metal, where 1990s-loving death metal bands come to find a home, the personnel of Crypt Sermon seems to come from death, black and thrash bands. Put it all together and what do you get? Not the expected product, for sure.
In order to do the review it was necessary to read the lyrics because they have a song called “Christ Is Dead” and another track called “Enslave the Heathens.” The first one seems like it would be the typical amateur gimmicky anti-Christian nonsense; the type that yell and scream about committing blasphemy and deicide without saying anything much besides trying to get attention by regurgitating the so-called rebellious anti-religious tropes. Surprisingly, the lyrics are not that, although clearly the title is still gimmicky and very “metal.” The other track also has a gimmicky title in “Enslave the Heathens,” but it is an instrumental short piece; no lyrics. Fortunately, the band does not do the usual faux whining about how Christians doing “one thousand years of oppression” against the supposedly awesome life of the human-sacrificing, kidnapping, town-burning, slave-taking, robbing Vikings, before Christians arrived to the lay the foundations for the supposed modern living hell of theocratic oppression that is Sweden or Norway or Western Europe, or the USA. In actuality, Crypt Sermon has thoughtful lyrics that allow the readers to make up their own minds because listeners, thankfully, are not passive fools. While not as elegant and graceful as the lyrics of Candlemass’ “Samarithan” or “Mourners Lament,” the American band’s lyrics show effort and a desire to have good expression, which is only going to be better on future albums.
The riffs are doom but not super slow. The sound is friendly to the ear. The singing is smooth and also pleasing to the ear. There are a few tiny traces of anger in the singing in some places, a somewhat angry scream here, a hint of a growl there. Luckily, they make sure keep the singing melodic all the way throughout, maintaining the elegance and melancholy of the music intact. All in all, this album side steps any major missteps that could have happened. If we are talking about polished melancholic traditional doom with singing, this album in 2019 would have to be in the top tier.
facebook.com/CryptSermon

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Massacre At The Opera in Everett, WA on August 10th

Massacre At The Opera, Burn Through Life, Bleed The Stone, Method13
Saturday, August 10, 2019 at Tony Vs Garage
1716 Hewitt Ave, Everett, Washington 98201
facebook.com/events/335108340506223/

Saturday, August 3, 2019

doom in Everett, WA state on Friday, August 9th, 2019

Barbarian Wasteland (CD Release, SwampheavY, Grim Earth
Doors 8 pm Show 9 pm $10 cover 21+ only
Tony Vs Garage; 1716 Hewitt Ave, Everett, Washington 98201
facebook.com/events/385317715461152/

read online 184 of Metal Bulletin Zine

Metal Bulletin Zine number 184: Faithsedge, The Neptune Power Federation, Comrades, Come Back from the Dead
scribd.com/document/420697140/Metal-Bulletin-Zine-184

read online number 183 of Metal Bulletin Zine

Metal Bulletin Zine number 183: Sinheresy, Striker, Hellscream, Eternal Storm
scribd.com/document/420696770/Metal-Bulletin-Zine-183

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

review: Sacrilege

Sacrilege
The Court of the Insane
Pure Underground Records
2nd August 2019
Metal Archives registers no less than eight bands named Sacrilege (It could be worse; there are 11 bands named Sacrifice, and even worse, there are 20 bands named Tormentor). In addition, this Sacrilege, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal one, is not the other British band (punk; then thrash; then melodic doom) that the older generation may remember from the three studio albums in the 1980s because, according to Metal Archives, this NWOBHM band had only three demos in the 1980s. Then there was silence the 1990s and the 2000s.
This is now their seventh album. Talk about late bloomers! The albums began arriving in 2011 and this is the one for 2019. Maybe the musicians’ kids grew up and moved out of the house, and now the guys have discovered that they are able to keep making music. Can you imagine what it is like to be called a NWOBHM band and to have three demos from the 1980s? There are actually hundreds of those bands that recorded only a demo or a single, if that. Can you also imagine going through decades of thinking about one day resurrecting the band?
That’s what must have happened at some point in 2011 when the music started rolling down the pipeline. They are elderly British gentlemen that were inspired by the greats of the 1970s and early 1980s, and that’s what they play. The riffs are in the style of classic heavy metal and hard rock, and thinking of the music as an updated or current version of 1980 heavy metal is not far from the mark. The main thing is to have rocking songs and in the familiar format of verses and choruses, and with melodies and solos. The riffs are big and catchy, with a certain foundation of the year 1980 (think: Sabbath, Priest, Scorpions) and the new sounds that inspired youth to form bands. The vocals are gritty (DIY or street metal; not polished and layered) and the lyrics a bit on the angry side, like someone who watches the news and reacts to politicians, preachers, crime, etc. In short, fans of the NWOBHM and oldie heavy metal in general have another album to pick up this summer.
facebook.com/Sacrilegerock/

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

interview: Orator (Washington State)

On the 28th of July, 2019 Orator played at the Mirkwood Public House in Arlington, Washington State, U.S. They are technical extreme metal. Online they have an impressive album called Kallipolis (2018) with lyrics and artwork that shows a philosophical approach. Metal Archives says that they used to be called Stealth Force Mutilation and in 2017 they apparently had a two-song demo with gore-and-violence lyrics, including with profanities. Obviously, they have chosen to change gears towards a more intelligent approach to the lyrics to go along with the skillful playing. We inquired about the concept of the band. Isaac, who plays one of the guitars and does the main growling, says, “The name Orator, we settled on that because it’s not very pigeonholing as far as lyrical matter. If we named ourselves something violent, then we’d probably have to have something very violent as subject matter. Orator all it means is a public speaker. A public speaker could be a storyteller. I feel it’s the opposite of pigeonholing. It’s also very tied to the subject matter of our release Kallipolis.” Will the concept continue on future albums? Matt (guitars and backing vocals) adds, “The new one will probably be a concept in its own way. We wanted that flexibility. It won’t focus on philosophy and the Greeks. It’s in the process of being built.” Isaac continues, “We have the skeletal structure, but we haven’t had the time to flesh it out.” Isaac explains that they have been busy doing things like selling tickets to open for Fleshgod Apocalypse. “As soon as that finished I had to set up the tour that we’re about to go on. I managed to do that, but it doesn’t leave much room to be creative. If I were to tie it (the new ideas for an album) to the whole concept of Orator. It’s a public speaker …” Matt completes the thought, “from a pulpit or a soapbox who has something to say. We do have something to say. The lyrics are very deliberate. They’re posted online and we want people to check them out. The next one will have more current issues. Everyone will be able to identify it. The next one might end up taking us extra to do it, but it’s going to set the bar” in terms of what they seek with their art.
Earlier in the conversation Matt explained Isaac and himself had recently graduated from college, and he also explained that the other band members are about the same age. We ask what makes a young band take the road of music that is difficult to play due to the technicality and blazing speed? What made the members of Orator go for this challenging music? Matt says, “Our interests are different, but in some respects it’s similar. We both like Fleshgod Apocalypse. Behemoth is near and dear to my heart. When I first heard Behemoth I didn’t like it, I wasn’t ready for it. Early on I was into metalcore. I liked Darkest Hour. I loved the riffs and melodies. Amon Amarth, you know, stuff like that. You can’t go wrong with that, but I also like to go fast!” About the desire to go for the technical, fast guitar, Matt continues, “I don’t know that I can blame it on a single band.” For instance, he says, “I heard Man Must Die and for some reason those riffs hit the spot. It clicked mentally. Music theory was always kind of interesting to me. ‘This sounds really cool. Why does it sound really cool?’ That pulled me into that. Musicians that are playing that fast.”
For Isaac it was “Suffocation. I really enjoyed Despise the Sun and Souls to Deny, the comeback album. I spent a lot of time in mosh pits when I was younger. I went to one show and my friend pulled me into the pit and I’ve never looked back. It’s so extremely cathartic. I can’t get enough being in a pit when a band that I’ve connected with is playing. It’s therapeutic.” How did he go from the pit to technical guitar playing? “It started with a frustration with some of the bands I was listening to or being exposed to. I just started writing music that would invoke the same feeling (the pit) in anyone else. I wanted to be a vehicle for anyone else to experience that.” Matt agrees, “If we’re on stage and we see people in a pit. That’s it. That’s all we want.” Isaac remembers, “For the Fleshgod Apocalypse show, there were 10 or 15 people who were pitting. That was one of the most gratifying experiences that has come from this so far. People really enjoying themselves.”
In order to play Orator music you have to be obsessed with being a good musician and knowing your instrument and what you want to do with it. For some of the material for the show on this night, Isaac says that he was rushing trying to be ready and do it right. He felt that he was not ready and he had to keep practicing. He recalls being “Terrified. We had to perform these songs in front of these people and if I couldn’t do it, then what are we going to do? Not play them? We had told people that we were going to perform our album from start to finish, we can’t back out.”
They didn’t back out. A good time was had by the people watching the swirling riffs fly in every direction. They will bring their music on the road. Orator begins touring on August 2nd in Bend, Oregon, and it goes until the 11th of August. Check their Facebook page for all the relevant information. Friends in the town of Bend, Oregon, it is time to rock and roll.
oratorseattle.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/oratorseattle/

Gallows Hymn (Washington State)

Here are some pictures of the Bellingham, Washington State band Gallows Hymn. They played in Arlington on the 28th of July, 2019. They are pagan extreme metal with lots of melodic passages and very percussive drumming and they call themselves "progressive folk metal." Fans of Viking- and pagan-themed bands would be correct to consider this band one of their own. The night in Arlington they showed that melody and atmosphere are very important to the music. The melodies might recall epic metal, but they might also have a bit of 1970s progressive rock and even a bit of psychedelic rock, too, depending on the knowledge of the listener. At any rate, they pleased the people watching in Arlington. One particular thing this observer noticed was the awesome cymbal work on the part of the drummer. From the looks of it, the drummer has thought about how to be creative with the drums and finding beats that enhance the songs. On this particular night the vocals were not cutting through the sound very well. Regardless, the screamer performed with abandon and confidence, and the rest of band turned in good work, too. They announced that they have an album coming up. Check the band out and make sure to hand those bags of cash over to them so that their plan to conquer can begin now. Today, Arlington, tomorrow, the world.
facebook.com/gallowshymnband/
gallowshymn.bandcamp.com/releases