Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frosthelm (U.S.): The Northwinds Rend Flesh

Frosthelm (U.S.): The Northwinds Rend Flesh
On this 4-song EP, Frosthelm positively shines and is outstanding. The songs are about 3 minutes long, and are lean, action-packed firecrackers; less than 12 minutes total time.
The details: Frosthelm plays huge, hot thrashing riffs (think Immortal/Slayer), spices up the songs with licks, tremolo picking and a bit of melody in the soloing, like on the title track. “Goblindriver” (2:35) has immense, sharp thrash riffs, a quick shot of melody, blasting and brain-twisting black metal vocals. Speaking of throat destruction, “Reaping the Seeds of Corruption” uses both death and black metal vocals, but the black metal moments deserve special mention for being some of the most evil Donald Duck gremlin vocals.
Awesome little EP; how are they going to top this?! What an opportunity for them to prove this was no fluke!

Holy Grail (U.S.): Ride the Void (Prosthetic Records)

Holy Grail (U.S.): Ride the Void  (Prosthetic Records)
Finally! Holy guacamole, Holy Grail, I have been reading about this band for a while, that they have a single out, that a new album was on the way, blah, blah….But where is it?
And here it is, and it is much, much better than my expectations. I expected a solid, rocking heavy metal album, and instead got an 11-song album (with 2 brief intro/interludes), with the heart of a lion. Holy Grail is traditional heavy metal. The riffs march forward, like magnets for metalheads, song-centered drumming with an extra punch of energy, and heavy-metal-to-the-bone choruses that take exactly one listen to land and make contact.
Some interesting details: the band uses the occasional growled part. That, along with the heavier guitar tone, suggests that the band has listened to some heavier music, and has incorporated a bit of that heaviness. In turn, this contrasts very nicely with the melodic guitar soloing and harmonies. 

Nominon (Sweden): The Cleansing (Deathgasm Records)

Nominon (Sweden): The Cleansing (Deathgasm Records)
In the world of the martial arts of metal, Nominon have been steadily working towards a black belt in death metal, since their 1993 demo. Is this band the champions of rotten death metal in Sweden?
Nominon keeps making slight changes to their putrid death metal, and now on “The Cleansing” they have tightened up the bolts and screws, and can take on all maggot-infested death metal lunatics everywhere.
What a nasty little ditty this is, I tell you. The drumming is ridiculously blasting, the guitars just pile riff after riff of carpel-tunnel-inducing speed. If you think about the riffs too much you might get arthritis. The vocalist follows the furious pace and manages to make everything more rotten.
As Nominon has reached master-level craftsmanship in death metal, they have opted to bring an ever-so-balanced amount of memorability in the songs. This decision has been a good one because Nominon has become a force in death metal.
Entombed was great, but that was a long time ago. Dismember is gone. Death metal moves on regardless. Here we are, 2013. Nominon is a bad, bad band. Little old Nominon has become a beast. Sweden already knows. The coffins are ready.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Circle II Circle (U.S.): Seasons Will Fall (earMUSIC)

Circle II Circle (U.S.): Seasons Will Fall  (earMUSIC)
I did not like this album at first, and I wrote a review draft:
“Circle II Circle lacks not talent nor quality production. What I do not like is the absence of the metal fire. They’re an able bunch, with the former Savatage vocalist Zak Stevens. For me, what doesn’t work is the laid-back, elevator metal. The drummer (drum machine?) sounds like he plays these songs with one hand, and eats a sandwich at the same time with his other hand. The pace is just slow and midtempo.”
Then, I changed my mind. I adjusted to the slower pace after several listens. Therefore, if you listen to a lot of fast metal, just remember to switch your brain to a slower mode. The album is mellow, in the style of contemporary adult metal, and offends no one at the office (or at church). This is a bunch of middle-aged metal dudes that sound like a metal version of Journey, Matchbox 20, Boston, Heart or Rush.
Great, wonderful, excellent music, and not only for the suit-and-tie, office-worker and parent-with-three-children in you; and if you are below 25 years of age, just be patient and give it time.
I feel so “grown up.” I actually listened to this enough times to understand it. Am I an adult now? I gotta go listen to Nominon now.

Bane (Serbia): The Acausal Fire (Abyss Records)

Bane   (Serbia): The Acausal Fire          (Abyss Records)
Zine’s new issue is almost done; time running out, so, to the point: it would seem, that Bane loves the album “Storm of the Light’s Bane” by Dissection. Is Bane a baby Dissection? Oh, and how! Bane’s metal of death succeeds at warp speed blasting, and huge riffs that lift sleepy heads out of stupor and into motion. The strong dose of spiraling riffs, that re-work and rewind, frame songs as intense, as they are memorable and melodic. The blazing speed does allow the listener to see what Bane does, even hearing the acoustic or clean guitar parts, the guitar layers. One listen, bam!, hooked, for Dissection fanatics.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Offending (France): Age of Perversion (Deepsend Records)

Offending  (France): Age of Perversion  (Deepsend Records)
With such a skill arsenal in their chosen art form, and the meticulous execution of the compositions that comprise “Age of Perversion, Offending can certainly carve for themselves a niche with the audience that appreciates quality and dexterous death metal of the brutal and technical variety.
Ultimately, though, it’s about the songs, and Offending keeps the standard high. Moreover, although blasting speed and technicality are part of the equation, it’s done in a balanced way. In a word, even I, with no musical skill, can enter and understand the fortress of death metal that is Offending.
As everyone knows, Nile is the gold standard of death metal, but it’s good to remember that there are seriously good bands that will give Nile a run for their money. After having heard this album more than a few times, it’s patently clear that Offending doesn’t only have a few good songs, the complete album plays at a high level of death metal.
It’s not easy playing technical/brutal music and making it memorable, but Offending makes sure to bring in a tasteful guitar solo, a tremolo lick, a catchy riff or an otherwise semi-melodic part into the songs. This is a huge strength.
Offending needs more death metal fanatics to check them out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Obscenity (Germany): Atrophied in Anguish (Apostasy Records)

Obscenity (Germany): Atrophied in Anguish  (Apostasy Records)
Obscenity is the kind of death metal band that simply succeeds at everything they do on the album. The songs have a tight coherence, and are compact (often last 3 minutes and 30 seconds, more or less), waste no time, and for that reason, they grab the ears quickly.
There are ten songs, and each of them functions within a frame of memorable intensity, frequent use of blasting and generally energetic drumming, riffs that are clear and can be remembered, good soloing (with restrained and well-placed moments of melody). Obscenity has classic-style death metal riffs, while some tremolo picking adds to the distinctiveness of the songs.
In short, the album is very impressive and delightful, worth listening to many times over, and to come back to later.
Obscenity has some 8 full-length albums, going to back to the 1992 debut. However, “Atrophied in Anguish” is an excellent place to start! The quality of the songwriting is undeniable, the sound quality is solid and the overall effort shows that Obscenity deserves to be heard.
Here’s a band that is not that well-known in the U.S., but once you hear the album, you might wonder why. Can’t get tired or bored with these songs, if you like death metal, I think. At the same time, Obscenity has made something that stands out in quality. It’s not the speed and brutality, which are also present here plenty, it’s the knack for making it all sound so good. Don’t be fooled by the name of the band, they are way better than the immature gore music you might think they play.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ara'Kus interview

Ara’Kus  (U.S.)
Ara’Kus is a heavy metal opera, theater, with actors and a story to tell, with heavy metal music.
When I went to see the production in November 2012, I was impressed with their dedication and work. Not knowing about Ara’Kus until shortly before the performance itself, it was a bit of a shock to learn that Ara’Kus it based out of western Washington state, right in my neck of the woods. If you are curious about the “heavy metal opera,” then do yourself a favor and take the time search out Ara’Kus. I’m certainly glad I did.  Randy (guitars and vocals) and Jeremiah (vocals and guitars) reveal their heavy metal opera.
I recently saw your performance in Everett, Washington. I had listened to the album “Aeterno Elementum“ and had watched a bit of the video footage. However, Ara’kus really is a theatrical performance better experienced live. Where have you staged your production? I ask because I just found out about you very recently before the show
Randy:  First, we're glad you found us! We're always glad to have new fans.
         Since we made the change from bar band to theatrical production we've only played in Everett and Seattle. The Historic Everett Theatre has kind of become a home base for us, and we played at the Broadway Performance Hall about a year ago for the first time. We'd love to expand our geographic area, but even going as far as Portland is really hard considering the size of our set, the number of people we have, and the amount of equipment it takes to do the show. 
Jeremiah:  Our last two performances at the Broadway Performance Hall and the Historic Everett Theatre were groundbreaking for us.  Believe it or not, three years ago we started with nothing except some music and a rough concept and not a clue how to get this thing off the ground.  We made a lot of mistakes, nearly bankrupt ourselves and had a few nervous breakdowns, but ultimately we made something great.  I think the show we just finished up at the Historic Everett marks the pinnacle of our achievements thus far.  Everything came together in a huge way.  I was proud of our previous shows, but they don't come close to comparing to where we're at now. 

The performance I watched had the theater pretty full, it seemed. How have you been able to get that many people in Everett? People of all ages, kids and elderly included.
Jeremiah:  Our first performance of Aeterno Elementum was on July 31st, 2010. We were shocked by the response we got from that show. We put quite a bit of effort into advertising and managed to get about 300 people up to Everett to come see us for the one night we were performing. Since then, we've increased our audience slightly with each performance. For this most recent show we made a huge marketing push using everything that we'd learned from the past years and from some of the amazing professionals who've joined us. We started our advertising campaign around six months prior to the show and hit everything from local conventions to social networking and mailing lists.  You saw the results for yourself in the theater. You're right, it was pretty packed.  I think the lesson is, if you want people to show up to your event, market the hell out of it. Also, you need to have an event worth going to.
Randy: You are very right about the diversity of our fans. We do of course have the teenagers and the goth crowd that you'd normally expect at rock shows, but then you have people like my parents and their friends in the sixties and seventies show up and love it. You have people dressed to the nines, people in their work clothes, casual and everything else. A lot of people come in some sort of period costume, which is always cool. I think if I were to try to pin point the kind of person that enjoys the Ara'Kus experience I would say that the main common trait is that it appeals to people who are open-minded.

What would it take to make this a year-round event? How have you been able to get this many actors to do this? This is no half-hearted performance, but rather a well-organized experience that flows well on the stage. Who are the actors and artists? Is playing Broadway in New York a dream of yours?!
Jeremiah: That's a pretty complicated question. If you're talking about making Aeterno Elementum a year round event, you're looking at an initial startup in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. To start, we'd need a full time cast that was making their livelihood doing this.  Currently everyone in the cast and crew is a volunteer. We all believe in this project and love doing it, but no matter how much we would like to devote everything to it, we have to eat as well.
As far as our cast and crew, we've hand recruited them from all over the Northwest and they come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. Some are professional performers, musicians or techs, others very talented amateurs. All of them are amazing people that make this show what it is, and make it an incredible experience to be a part of. 
I definitely wouldn't turn down a chance to play on Broadway.  One step at a time, though.
Randy:  The members of the group come from all over. We've recruited friends and friends of friends. We've done auditions and tryouts, we've picked a few people up by chance, and several of them were fans that said they wanted to help. Organizing a group like this is certainly a challenge and I'd say that biggest boon to that has been finding the right people to do the right job and then letting them make it happen. On the first show it was just a few of us trying to handle everything and it was overwhelming. These days we've got more and more people working with their strengths.
  We like to do some kind of show every three to four months, and while we do want to expand our geographic area, as pointed out earlier, the logistics of distance shows is more than we can do right now. But we are working on it. New York? I'm not big on playing Broadway, I'd rather play at the Met!

About the album and band. You recorded the album in 2010, correct? Do you have planned other music? I realize that recording music is a thankless task because of illegal downloading. Can you please explain a little about the members of the band? Originally, whose idea was this? 
Randy:  We did put a version of Aeterno Elementum out in 2010, yes, but we have done a complete re-recording of that album to bring it up to date with what we do in the theatre so it has four new songs, some other extended items, the addition of the choir, and updated production. It was looking like we would be able to have it out for the last shows, but we ran in to some unfortunate snags in the production so it looks like it'll probably be ready for the shows we've got in February.
Jeremiah:  As for the topic of piracy and illegal downloading, it's not something that really has us concerned. If people are downloading your album for free, chances are they wouldn't be spending money on it anyway. I think most people want to support artists they really like, particularly ones that aren't on a major label. Sure, I'd love to get paid for my art, but I would rather get my music into people's hands so they can listen to it and spread the word, and possibly come to a show. Keeping a tight rein on your music just means that a lot of potential fans aren't hearing it.
We've already got a story for the next show/album mostly fleshed out and scripted. I'm working on composing the music now and I'd say it's about a third completed. You'll be able to hear some of these new pieces at our Laser Dome show in February. The new music is very much in the symphonic metal vein and we're hoping to incorporate a larger string section, in addition to keeping and expanding our operatic and choral offerings.
I founded Ara'Kus in 2001 as 5 piece metal band.  I'm currently the only original member, though Jeremy and Randy and Rachel have been in for quite a few years now too and are pretty integral.  Randy had the initial suggestion that we break out of the typical bar scene, which we'd never really fit into anyway, and try to do something that didn't involve dependence on booking agents, club owners or record labels, something where we had full control of our performance and our success or failure was ours alone.  With that freedom, the natural theatrical inclination of the band drove us towards a bigger and bigger production, until before long we were putting on a full fledged opera. 
As far as our musicians go, they're all pretty much world class, in my opinion.  Some of our music is very complicated, and so our standards are very high.  Aside from that, just like everyone in our crew, they're amazing people and I consider them part of my extended family.

Also, what other productions do you have planned? Do you have other operas that you have performed or planning?
Jeremiah:  We have an entirely new show in the works that we'll be staging at some point in the future. I can't give any actual dates right now, but it will be completely original and a separate work from Aeterno Elementum in all ways, though it will most definitely still be in the category of heavy metal opera. We'll send out more details on that when it gets a little closer.
We may be doing Aeterno Elementum again in 2013, but we have yet to determine a date and location. Initial discussions are leaning towards Seattle.
Our biggest upcoming event is a performance at the Seattle Center Laser Dome on February 19th, which we've dubbed 'Laser Ara'Kus Live'. In essence, this will be the band and chorus performing a selection of songs from Aeterno Elementum and some yet unheard pieces from the new show while the laser artists create a visual tapestry above us, helping to tell the story. You can probably bet on some surprise guests and unexpected theatrical elements as well.
We'll also be performing as a featured artist at the Seattle based horror convention, Crypticon 2013, which is happening on May 24th - 26th ( 

It occurs to me that all the women in the play are only victims of murder and violence. Why are there no women with speaking parts? You do have a witch, but that’s a stereotypical role, correct? The opera could use more women’s participation, since in the world of your opera that you have created, there are, in fact, many women, but they are all silenced. Have you noticed this problem?
Randy:  I find this question very interesting. We have been asked many times about the religious and anti-religious aspects of our production, but this is the first time that the subject of sexism has been brought to my attention. Let me assure you that the question does not offend me. I am, however, concerned because if you have thought these things, then other people probably have as well.
            I'll start with the speaking roles question. There was a time that the demoness did have a speech, but it just didn't really work well. Her character seems to work better, at least in my opinion, without speaking. She doesn't need to tell us what she is, she shows us, and I think that both Asraiya Deyo and Carrole Johnson, the two women who have filled the role, have done an excellent job of this. When she had a speech it seemed that it diminished the mystery and the power of the character.
The story is narrated from the perspective of the priest and the four generals of the conquering armies. It is pretty common for these to be male roles. There certainly is no reason that there could not be a female general, but when you audition for a character to be a general, you don't typically get any females to try out for it. And if the role of priest were made in to that of a priestess it would throw the balance out of the interaction with the demoness. In fact, when the story was originally conceived, long before it was made into a stage production the demoness was male and we changed it because we felt that a female in this role would be more powerful and effective.
              Another way of looking at this is to look at the actual band. Vivian Lee, our lead soprano is, in many ways, the voice of the demoness. Plus Lauren “Razz” Palumbi, our violinist, takes a very front role, right up with the guitarists and vocalists, while John Perlic, our cellist remains static in the back throughout the show.
          As for the violence, yes, all of the women are killed, but, so are all of the men. That one is pretty across the board. In the song Conquered, the final scene, there are women fighting along side and against the men. Women kill men, men kill women. Everybody dies.
        At the end of the show there are only two people left alive. One male, one female, one elderly, one child, one destroyed, one innocent. Absolute yin and yang.
Jeremiah:  I want to assure you that there was no purposeful sexist agenda or intent on our part.  As with Randy, this is the first time I've heard a reference to that subject.  About half our cast and crew is comprised of very strong, artistic women. The co-lead character, The Demoness, is probably the most iconic, powerful, awe inspiring and prominent figure in the whole show. It was a very intentional decision to not have her speak. We tried it once and it dramatically diminished the mystery and allure to her character. We have only 6 speaking roles in the whole show, the Priest, the four generals and the Arch Bishop, and you are correct, none of those roles are women.  The presence or lack of dialogue does not make the character more or less important to the story as a whole, however. Dialogue is very minimal in this show, with the exception of the Priest, who serves as narrator.

How can people support Ara’kus?
Jeremiah:  The first and best way you can support Ara'Kus (short of coming to the shows) is to come over to our FaceBook page and participate there ( Our FaceBook admin, Mistress Von Gearmaster, loves conversing with new fans, as do the members of the cast and crew. We'll be putting up some new merchandise items soon, including CD's and t-shirts, so keep an eye on both the FaceBook page and our website at The other thing you can do is help us to spread the word! Talk to you friends about these shows and the music. We're completely local and self funded, so we're entirely dependent on fans support to help us continue doing what we do.
Randy:  And if you can't come see us because you live outside of the Seattle area then do this for me, go support one of your local artists, because no matter where you are there are some great bands there. THE END.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cadaver (China) interview

Cadaver  (China)
To-the-point brutal death metal is what Cadaver delivers! For those times when you want the music to get you going, that’s when Cadaver sounds on.
In this interview, Jason (guitars) explains the origins of their heavy sound, their interpretation of brutal death metal, and several other happenings in their camp.  Obviously, they are doing more than a few things right. In addition, they have some pretty cool plans coming up, as Jason reveals.
Hello, Jason! How are you? I heard Cadaver’s demo and I wanted to find out more. What’s going on at the present?
Hey, first of all, thank you for approaching us for the interview!  Currently, we are tracking guitars, bass and vocals (drum parts have been completed) for our self-produced EP which is scheduled to complete by around February or March 2013.  Over the past few months we were featured on an online radio show that focuses on the underground music scene of Hong Kong, played at a metal festival locally, and featured on overseas web radio shows.  And as for band merchandise, we are collaborating with a local illustrator (Tam Kwok Lun Illustrations) for band shirts, and the first design has been released and sold out, so a new design should be on its way out soon.

What kind of challenges and opportunities does Cadaver as a metal band confront in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a small city, and also one of the densest cities in the world.  In my opinion, this poses two contrasting issues.  First is that, we are not able to play as often as we would like to as Hong Kong is small enough for everyone who is into metal to attend a metal show, it wouldn't make sense for someone to turn up to see us, or any other band, say once a month.  Unlike, say US, or EU, where cities are spanned out further apart, it makes sense for the bands to travel around for the audience, therefore more show opportunities.  On the contrary, because Hong Kong is such a dense city, a band can promote themselves rather quickly.  With social mediums like Facebook and YouTube, news can spread very quickly.

Did Tak (bass) and Wai (guitars) start Cadaver in 2003? But Jason (guitars) and Sham (vocals) joined in 2009? Does Cadaver have demos from 2003-2005? Were Jason and Sham in other death metal bands in 2003? And your drummer Wil joined the band in 2011?
Yes, Tak and Wai, are the only founding members left in the band now.  They started the band back in 2003.  I joined the band in late 2009, and at that time Tak’s brother Ming, also a founding member, was on bass and vocals.  The four of us did a local metal festival in mid 2011 and Ming left the band shortly after that.  By the end of the year Sean Sham and Wil Ho joined the band. There weren't any recorded demos between 2003-2005, but there is a DVD of the 2005 Cadaver playing at another local metal festival. 
Sham, Wil and myself were in various bands before Cadaver and I can say that we are all putting in the most effort into this band compared to our previous ones. 

Do Wai and Jason write the songs together? Does Sham play instruments or only vocals? What type of collaboration is there in the band? Is Will present when the songs are written?
Wai and myself write the majority of the music.  Wai tends to write together with Wil, whereas I like to write the majority of a song and present it to the band.  When the music is more or less confirmed we sit down with Wil to work out drum parts, fine-tune the song tempo and arrangement.  We will then record a very rough live version of the song and give it to Sham to write the lyrics, and at the same time Tak will work on the bass parts.  We try to have all five members present at all writing sessions to throw in or out any ideas.  We respect each other's opinion, so if one person says that something doesn't sound right to him, we throw that away.

Are your lyrics and vocals in Cantonese? On Metal Archives, it seems like your demo has three songs in Cantonese and two songs in English? 
Out of the five completed demos, two of them are in English, and the rest are in Mandarin.  “Manslaughter” and “Moment of Massacre” were being written during the time Wil and Sham joined.  At that time we hadn’t decided Mandarin lyrics was the way to go for us so these two songs were done in English.  For the up-coming EP we will have “Moment of Massacre” recorded in Mandarin to match the rest of the songs.  So when we wrote as a group of five, we decided to stick to Mandarin as it is easier for us to express ourselves in our mother language.  We also think that Mandarin sounds more brutal because of the language’s tone and pronunciation, and that each syllable is one Chinese character gives that uniqueness compared to a set of English lyrics. 
The Mandarin songs are mainly about the existence and value of life.  We try to pick a topic of value and metaphorize it into an issue that is commonly experienced in life.  For example, we have a song titled “Poh Yung” (roughly translates to Emerge from a Pupa), we used the image of an ancient Chinese torture to metaphorize the renewal of a man that was once in greater pain than the torture itself.  Normally, we throw ideas around within ourselves and when we decide on one particular theme, we will let Sham write the lyrics on his own.

Some people have described your music as New York-style brutal death metal, like Suffocation, Incantation, Mortician, Immolation and Cannibal Corpse. What attracted you to playing this type of music?  
These are certainly bands that we look up to.  Personally, it is the technicality and the sonic power of this style of music that really makes me obsessed.  What really fascinates me, as a guitar player, is that a guitar can be used to play the most brutal riffs, or the tenderest melodies.  This really made me want to explore the vastness of guitar based music and the deeper I dug the more extreme the bands I discovered.  My taste of metal developed quite gradually.  We all had our days listening to Metallica, then you would discover Pantera, Slayer, then came Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation.  I remember the first time I heard “Hammer Smashed Face” I was like, what the fuck is this, but in a good way.  Cannibal Corpse really made me dig deeper and deeper into the roam of extreme and death metal.
We don’t limit ourselves to the genre of metal or music in general that we listen to, what sounds good is good!  Within the band, we spin all types of music: Pop, electronic, core, metal, jazz, fusion, whatever you show us, we will listen to it and enjoy it.  There are some bands that inspire and influence Cadaver’s music and to name a few, Pantera, Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Gojira, Defeated Sanity, Spawn of Possession and Suffocation.

Do you think that in the future it’s possible for Cadaver to be a successful band by touring China, playing death metal?  
We certainly hope to get successful enough to tour!  We have plans to do some shows in China to accompany our EP release in 2013.  We also aim to travel to Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and hopefully Korean and Japan.  We have heard very good feedbacks from the bands that have played in China, so it makes sense for us to tour China as our first tour. 

What do you think about the idea of touring Europe, South America or the U.S.? Maybe that is possible in the future?
Doesn’t every band dream about touring Europe and America?  We will definitely grab that opportunity if it comes up.  But first things first, we feel it is important at this point to produce an EP or album as a medium to present ourselves and show our dedication in what we do.

What is the best way to contact you?
The quickest and easiest way is to connect with us via our Facebook.  We also have a YouTube channel where we upload footage of any writing or recording progress.  And you can download all of our demo recordings for free on our Soundcloud.  Once again, thank you for your approach and it has been a pleasure doing this interview!
Jason THE END.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Void Moon: interview

Void Moon  (Sweden)
Reading reviews of Void Moon on Blabbermouth [calls the band “sloppy” and “messy”] and on Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles [says the band’s problem is “rawness” and the non-“modern” production], makes me wonder if they listened to the album hurriedly to write the review. I like to give albums proper listens, be it 4 or 6 or however many, until I think I get it, and then decide how to approach the review.
Void Moon is a doom metal that plays midtempo and slow songs, with clean vocals, in the traditional doom metal sense, with a non-clicky production. Their album “On the Blackest of Nights” is melodic, melancholic honest-to-goodness doom metal. “Sloppy”? No way! “Sloppy” makes me think of some crust punk garage black death metal recordings (many of which are awesome!).
I find Void Moon’s album to be fun, in a doom-miserable way, and well done and I have certainly enjoyed it. As with most doom, it does take a few listens to understand the vibe, but it’s a rewarding experience.
Maybe it’s time you checked them out yourself, starting with this interview, answered by Peter (bass).
Hello, what’s up with Void Moon, now that you have released such a good album, what are your plans for world conquest?!
Hello! We are really pleased with the album and the great response we’ve gotten! At the moment we are actually rehearsing and writing new stuff, but we are also preparing for a few gigs during 2013 (nothing official yet). Our plan is to play live as much as possible to promote the band and our Doom!

According to Metal Archives, some of you have played in death or thrash bands, like Indemnity. Was it strange to get used to playing midtempo/slow? Was it difficult to convince Jonas Gustavsson to sing in a clear voice?
We have all played in a lot of different bands, heavy, thrash, black, death, doom. Haha, I think especially Thomas (drums) needed some time to adjust to the tempos. He is a very skilled drummer and he loves to play fast, but he also understands that sometimes for the good of the songs he has to play slow and simple. I think we have managed a pretty good mix on the album, there are some intense drum patterns as well as some really simple ones.
  As for Jonas’s clean singing, he has mostly sung in a clean voice before so there wasn’t an issue really. His main focus is melodies and I’m impressed how he changed some songs just by adding a little melody to some passages.

Question for Thomas Hedlund and Peter Svensson, your rhythm section. Void Moon made me think about the fact that I can hear the bass, and also that drummer is not playing at lightning speed. Is there more freedom to play this way?
We have started rehearsing more or less all songs just by playing bass and drums. After we set a foundation we added guitars, harmonies and vocals. I, for one, am very pleased with playing a bit slower which gives me a bit more room to add some bass lines. Since I was in charge of recording I was very keen on getting the bass up front as well as the drums. A lot of new doom records have extremely high guitars and bass and drums are very low. I think it should sound like a real band playing.

Void Moon sometimes does not do guitar solos, and I have noticed that Void Moon has found another method of doing things: You do slow, simple melodies that are very memorable. Have I discovered the secret ingredient of Void Moon?! Tell us about that wonderful melody on “Cyclops” at about 1:30-2:00. Who came up with that melody, both Jonas and Erika? It is such a good melancholic melody. “Among the Dying” is depressively good song. At about 1:12-1:35 there it is again, the Void Moon secret ingredient for melancholic melody of doom. I notice that Erika is also in Cult of the Fox, a traditional heavy metal band?
Yes, I think you stumbled in on our secret! Just don’t tell anybody! Since the band started without a lead guitarist we developed a solo-less sound I think (there are a few solos though). Doing short melodies is often more effective than a solo.
  I can’t remember who came up with the idea in “Cyclops,” but at first it was only one guitar playing. When both Jonas and Erika rehearsed it they both played that part with some variations. It sounded great and we worked how the melodies should fit together and then we kept it! Erika is, besides a good lead guitarist, excellent when it comes to melodies and harmonies.
  Yes, both Erika and I play in Cult of the Fox. You can hear a lot of her melodies on the coming COTF-record (out in early 2013).

For you to play doom metal, what are the bands that convinced Void Moon to go for it and play doom? Do you like New Wave of British Heavy Metal doom bands like Witchfinder General or Pagan Altar? What about lesser-known Swedish bands like Stillborn from the 90s? I imagine you will be asked a million times about Candlemass.
The sound of Void Moon actually came from the songs I was putting together in the beginning of the band (I’m a lazy player so I play slow). We didn’t have a fixed agenda, it is just how it happened. We couldn’t name the band until we had a few songs to know what band name would fit the music! I’m a huge fan of Pagan Altar and it was great to be able to be on the same festival as they last year at Malta Doom Metal Festival. I really enjoy Witchfinder General as well, all the classic stuff! One of my favorite NWBHM-bands is Satanic Rites, but they are not so much doom. Great that you mention Stillborn! We have actually been discussing cover songs and one candidate is “I, the Stillborn” from “Necrospirituals” (album)!
  We do not mind being compared to Candlemass, it is just a great honour that people think of them when they hear our music. They have influenced us both directly (like what would Leif do?) and indirectly growing up with their music.

Have you considered that the legends of doom metal (Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Trouble, etc.) are now old/soon retiring, and that at some point here in the next 10-15 years, a band like Void Moon can actually be one of the top bands of traditional doom metal? Your time is coming!
Yeah, that would be great! Not that they are retiring, but to get Void Moon up in the league of legends (of course, we know that we never can match those bands really, but it’s a very nice dream!). Hopefully, by that time we have put out a couple of albums and made a good name for us in the world of metal! Our goal now is just to put out music and play as many shows as possible!

How can people get in contact with you and your music and shirts? Maybe Void Moon fans can start a petition to get your band to play Wacken or Sweden Rock?
Thanks for the great interview! You can find all our merchandise (T-shirts, patches, cds and 7’) at our website or just e-mail us at We also have facebook and myspace. All tracks from the album are available at youtube, channel “mournblade666”. We hope that the word gets around so we can play at lot of gigs in the future. For us it doesn’t matter if it’s Wacken or the local pub, anywhere people want a dose of Epic Doom Metal we’ll be there!!!! THE END.--