Thursday, October 31, 2013

what do you want?! more metal from Botswana!!: Skinflint

Skinflint (Botswana)
Here we are again, with another Skinflint album, “Dipoko,” coming to you from Botswana. Skinflint has one of the most special sounds that I have heard in years. If you like honest recordings, it’s possible that you will like it a lot, if you give it a chance. There is no sense that they are trying to deceive the listener into hearing a band that cannot play this music live. Rather, Skinflint sounds very much like a live band. As you will read in this interview, Skinflint has a whole philosophy about recording music. The listener can definitely hear the bass, the drums sound like real drums, and the guitar is intelligible, and the vocals sound only like Skinflint. Not polished high singing, not growling, yet very expressive. Skinflint is Sandra (drums), Raskebo (bass) and Juice (guitars/vocals)
Greetings, Skinflint! Big congratulations on your album "Dipoko"!! I really like the way the album sounds!! How do you get your sound?
Raskebo: Thank you! I am very pleased with the overall production, we used a 1960s Vox bass amp, JCM 900, and Premier Drums. The producer Ivo also has a lot of experience recording live music, and helped us to achieve the classic Metal sound. Juice: Thank you, we are glad to hear that you like DIPOKO! As for the clear sound, we recorded it "Live in the studio" and tried to preserve as much as possible the source sound coming directly from the amps and instruments. We didn’t use any pro-tools, modern technology, or studio tricks. We wanted an honest sound, as if you were sitting in the same room as the band. This to me, makes the music sound much more personal, as you can hear its real people playing!
Sandra: Thank you very much! We had a great experience recording and mixing the album, and we wanted to maintain the purity of each instrument as much as we could.
Shall we give a new name to Raskebo? Shall we name him Kebonye "Steve Harris" Nkloso?! Raskebo: Thank you, I will take that as a compliment. Steve Harris is my inspiration!
Alessandra Sbrana has now returned to her throne as Skinflint's drummer? She was the drummer from 2005 to 2007? and returned in 2012?
Raskebo: Yes, that is correct! Sandra: Yes, I have returned, the drums were calling my name!
Sandra, what were you doing between 2007 and 2012? Did you have family or job problems?
Sandra: I did not have any job or personal problems that held me from the band. I chose to further my education. Between 2007 and 2012 I attended university in Cape Town and acquired my Bachelors Degree in Architectural Studies. I then proceeded to work after i graduated.
Sandra, how old were you when you started playing drums? Did your parents support your drumming?
Sandra: I was 16-17 years old when i started learning how to play drums. I stopped playing for a few years while i was in University. It was a very difficult thing to do. As soon as I graduated from UCT though I got right back into my little drum room and started practicing once more. I played solo for two years until I rejoined Skinflint. I grew up in a musical family. My father was the lead guitarist and vocalist for Nosey Road band, and my uncle and aunt played bass and keyboards respectively. Thus Nosey Road Band (the founders of rock music in Botswana) inspired me to play music. I was always fascinated by the positive impact their music had on their audiences. I was also inspired by the pure enjoyment and energy that the band had on stage. I wanted to experience that. I attempted to learn how to play acoustic guitar when i was a teenager but I did not pursue it in depth. My parents were strangely encouraging towards my passion for drums! They bought me my first and current MAPEX drum set. They always supported my decisions regarding music. So they had no complaints about all the noise I made haha!
Sandra, what do you think about all the "modern" metal albums with sampled drum sounds? A lot of bands do not use the sound of their own drums, and instead use sample drum sounds (from a program/brand/studio) and the drummer's work is not actually what we hear. It sounds all "perfect," but it also sounds like plastic garbage. What do you think?
Sandra: I believe that the best Heavy Metal and Rock music encompass strength, individuality, creativity and originality. I think real music, that evokes strong emotional responses, comes from the core of our being. By using artificial sources and sample sounds, a musician does not physically connect with their instrument. In return the instrument does not connect with the musician. In the end the connection between the listener and the music is weak. It’s a long chain of events :) I think using triggers and sample sounds kills the authenticity and emotion of the music produced. It also raises questions about the musical talent of such bands. Plus, it’s so much more fun actually playing the drums!! Why would someone want to replace that experience?
Is what we hear on the album the sound of your real drums?! It sounds like it!
Sandra: Yes, all the percussion and drums on the album are played and recorded live, in our home based studio.
The two other people in the band have nicknames, but not you. Have you thought about a nickname for you? What do you think about Sandra "Fire" Sbrana?
Sandra: Yes, the boys have heavy nicknames! I have recently been called 'Hurricane Sandy' by one of our fans. I think i will let the fans and readers come up with nicknames for me :) I like Fire, it’s a pretty cool name! Maybe i should die my hair fire red to go along with it?!
So, what happened with Skinflint's previous drummer Mothusi Cool Mahuri (2007-2012)?
Juice: We are still friends with Mothusi Mahuri, and we parted ways due to different interests at the time. He is still passionate about music, and plays drums.
Juice, where do you get the idea of sounding real, like a live band of human beings, and not robots? What inspired your objective to sound this way? I wish you could convince more metal bands to record their music like you do.
Juice: I felt that there is no better way to express my discontent for mainstream popular culture, by embracing the old-school way of recording real music, rather than superficial computerised junk. The decision to record this way also strongly reflects my personality, as one who does not follow trends nor care the least bit about perfection. It is the imperfections, and human aspect of music... that gives it a soul I can relate to!
I saw the promo video of Juice and Fire for Nairobi Rock Fest in 2012. How was that experience for Skinflint? Was that your first time in Kenya? Did you get pictures?
Juice: Well, apart from the plane nearly crashing on take-off, due to a thunderstorm and the passengers piercing my eardrums with screams from deaths nethermost gates hopelessly grasping the air upon descent, I would say the experience was great. It was our first time performing in Kenya, and the fans were phenomenal. I would estimate the attendance must have peaked at around 300-400 people at the Nairobi Rock fest. Yes, we do have some pictures from the festival.... Oh, and "compliments to the pilot!!!!!" Sandra: Yes, we had a wonderful experience in Kenya, we are blessed to have been invited to perform there! The fans were very enthusiastic about our music and they were not afraid to show it.
What did you find about the metal scene in Kenya?
Juice: Some of the bands we played with, most of which had recorded material were Mortal Soul, Parking Lot Grass, Last Years tragedy, Rock of Ages and more! Sandra: There seemed to be quite a strong following of metal music in Kenya, I was happy that some radio stations were supporting metal music! They have radio shows that broadcast and promote both local and international heavy metal and rock bands, which is something that we struggle to achieve in Botswana.
Did metalheads in Kenya already know about Skinflint?
Juice: Most of the fans knew about us, and after the show we took some time to meet and greet them. I was happy to find that they, like me, are blessed with a morbid outlook of life and a peculiar sense of humor muhahahahaha
Sandra: Yes, we met a lot of amazing fans that have brought us continuous support and inspiration.
How was the material from your new album "Dipoko" received? And of course, you played your older material like "IKLWA" songs, too? What about songs from "Massive Destruction"? Juice: It is always challenging to play new songs for the first time live, as the audience will be unfamiliar with the material. But I was surprised by the reaction, and the response exceeded our expectations. Of course, we also played the hits from IKLWA and Gauna. We never played anything from Massive Destruction as we were focusing on IKLWA, GAUNA and DIPOKO!
On the album "Dipoko" at the beginning there is another drum instrument that we hear on the song "Blood Ox Ritual". What is that?
Juice: We used African percussions in the song “Blood Ox Ritual.” Skinflint's lyrics focus on African ancestral beliefs.
What is the case for Skinflint and traditional music from Botswana?
Juice: We grew up listening to different types of music from all over Africa, and are greatly inspired by our environments. Songs like “Blood Ox Ritual” and the intro riff to the song "Iron Pierced King" are very good examples of incorporating traditional African music with Metal. As for the lyrics, they are mostly in English. That is correct, my main focus is on African mythology and beliefs. For the writing of "DIPOKO" I took a story-telling, rather then a poetic approach. This is so, because in Botswana and many other African countries, storytelling is a very strong aspect of its culture, and superstition is still very strong in rural areas. We will continue to further expand on the genre, and incorporate more elements from local culture in future releases.
I have seen the video for the song "Mask of the Dead." What about for "The Warrior Dance"? That's a rocking song with good metal melodies.
Juice: Thank you! As of now we don't have any plans for a video of "The Warriors dance" as we have just completed a new video for the title track "DIPOKO" which you can watch on youtube or our website. The story stays true to the Tswana tradition, and idea of DIPOKO. We hope you enjoy it!
What about for "Lord of the Night"? I have not seen the lyrics for this song. Do you think it would easy to do a video based on the lyrics for that song? I have read the lyrics to "Blood Ox Ritual," "Iron Mamba," and "Mask of the Dead."
Raskebo: I like that song a lot, but it would be very difficult to shoot a video for!
What else are you planning to promote more of "Dipoko"?
Juice: We are currently doing online promotions, videos and shows to promote the album further. We are also planning to embark on a European tour in the near future!
By the way, what does "Dipoko" mean?
Juice: Dipoko is a spirit, that could not become a "Badimo" (ancestor) Due to a troubled and sordid existence.
Finally, for people reading this interview and interested in your music, what can they do to support your band?
Juice: They can check us out on where we also have a Skinflint store and downloads section. They can also join our mailing list for the latest news. Skinflint: Thank you for this opportunity, and we would also like to take this opportunity to send our gratitude to all the fans and readers out there for their support. Keep the fire burning \m/ THE END.

Monday, October 28, 2013

the last and final Motorhead album? has just reviewed the new album by Motorhead
Motorhead (U.K.): "Aftershock”
(reviewed by J. from Fuglymaniacs)
Lemmy & Motorhead - After being kicked out of Hawkwind, due to an addiction to amphetamines, Lemmy decided to start a good honest rock band who played everything louder than anyone else. This band was Motörhead, and they have been playing rock ‘n’ roll for over 35 years. That was your introduction to Motorhead in case you have been living under a rock or a young kid just discovering Motorhead.
In that case WELCOME, Aftershock is another solid album by this line-up, together since the early 90's if I recall correctly. Phil Campbell pulls the riffs & shredding. Mikkey Dee does the excellent drumming. If you're NEW to Motorhead do yourself a favor and get a copy of Ace of Spades, Rock and Roll, Bomber, etc. This album is for the old timers that appreciate Lemmy and his craft because we know he might not be around much longer. Rock and roll, whisky, loose women and touring will catch up with you eventually.
Nothing new here just good old rock and roll. Great new songs like ‘Long Women Blues’ are among the best, and towards the end Motörhead sound more aggressive and even louder. ‘Queen of the Damned’ is a short and powerful rocker and ‘Keep your Powder Dry’ is one of the best heavy rockers that Motörhead have released this side of the 90s. Lemmy might be getting old and his moles might be getting bigger, but this metal God is far from retiring. His whiskey and nicotine soaked voice sounds more or less the same now as it did thirty years ago. He is still going strong and Aftershock is testament to that fact. Whilst there might be nothing on the album that truly stands out amongst the masses of work that is Motörhead. Lemmy is more than certainly going to die in the saddle. Pick up your copy at a store near you. Enjoy! It's Motorhead you bastard!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

double the metal strength from Botswana: Stane; Wrust

Stane (Botswana): "Human Error”
Stane is a band to like right away on the first listen. Their death metal has the priority of making a song work, and not overkilling it with unnecessary elements. The songs stay within three and five minutes, more or less. This type of death metal has thrash and heavy metal sensibilities in it, so that, in a way, it is not too complex because headbanging metal is a main objective, while also making the songs relatively easy to get into and remember, and follow. Stane is mostly interested in stomping metal, with a bit of melody mixed in. The truth is that Stane is not only easily enjoyable, it sounds like fun, like daring the listener to stay still. In short, for good-time riffing death metal, a bit of heavy metal, call on Stane.
Wrust (Botswana): "Intellectual Metamorphosis”
Wrust shares some similarities with the previous band Stane because Wrust plays a hybrid of death metal with heavy metal. Clearly, Wrust is concerned with songwriting and not with categories. Sometimes it’s heavier, sometimes more melodic, but it’s just done with attention to detail. Wrust has a particular way of maximizing the efficiency of a song, that gets riffs and melodies working very well, and have room to breathe and for headbanging; a rocking, uptempo quality.
In short, I highly recommend checking out these two bands from Botswana. Their sense for songwriting is something that explorers in metal will find pleasing. Or, to be more specific, I definitely find Wrust and Stane to be fun, memorable and with an awesome vibe.
Remember to get in contact with these bands, too. They will get a kick out of knowing that you are listening from your own particular location on this blue planet.
a Wrust devotee responds to the music

Thursday, October 24, 2013

the doom that is arising in Brazil: Mortarium

Mortarium (Brazil)
Mortarium reports that they are working on their debut album, so in anticipation of the album, here’s a bit about their 2012 two-song recording “The Awakening of the Spirit.”
Mortarium sounds like they are finding their way towards bringing together traditional doom, with death and gothic. In other words, there is room that Mortarium is giving itself in order to explore the parameters of doom now and in the future.
I recommend this recording in particular to doomsters who are interested in hearing new bands, bands that are paying their dues, learning their craft along the way. Mortarium is at the beginning phases of what will hopefully be a long tenure in metal.
You can tell Mortarium has the potential to make great doom. The guitars can down tune doom ably, the vocals are melodic and growl, and the pace is plodding and massive.
For those of us who want to hear bands’ demo and early recordings, I think Mortarium will prove an interesting doom band to be on the look out for. These two songs are available for free download, just to get an idea of what's to be.

the metal of Allison (Chile)

Allison (Chile)
Allison has new an EP on the way, according to the band; but in the meantime they have songs to download for free on ReverbNation. For example, “The End of the Fears” shows off the band’s thrashing energy, with snarl vocal approach, loud bass and drums, and in your-face-metal attitude and sound that values a direct approach. This particular song is closer to thrash than anything else. “Serpent of the Lies” is also a thrashy number. Nevertheless, it would be a bit too narrow to call Allison a thrash band because they do changes in rhythm and melodic solos and that puts them in a bigger category. Allison represents a great energy and vibe, and the sound quality is also a-ok. Give Allison a listen and send them greetings to Santiago, Chile.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

from Bavaria with black metal: Sadistic Sacrament

Sadistic Sacrament (Germany): "Inhuman Baptism”
The secrets of Sadistic Sacrament are there to be found by the black metal explorers. The four songs on this EP will interest based on the execution. It is necro enough, though still clear to hear. This is, it seems, the band’s first recording, but the personality of the band and the songwriting all point towards the potentialities of black metal by Sadistic Sacrament. Beware, however, it is not just potential, but rather the reality of the four songs now. There must be a reason why to keep coming back to these songs. The music on here has a bit of something extra, a quality special. Maybe it is the excitement of a band oblivious to all and playing what it wants to play. It also helps that the songs are easy to remember.
Sadistic Sacrament has issued a challenge to the black metal listener. It is the type of challenge that only fools would decline: check out this EP on Bandcamp for free. The one thing I would ask you to do is to contact the band and send them greetings. Bands like this should know that, yes, here we are, into the black metal. Wonderfully impressive EP the band has done.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

casting a spell leather and hell: Imperial (El Salvador)

Imperial (El Salvador): "The Excelsus Majesty of Blackness” (2010) and “Beyond the Blaze” (2011)
Reportedly, Imperial’s new album is on its way soon. In the meantime, the band’s previous recordings are available for free from their Facebook page. The charm of Imperial feeds upon the necro melodic with the keyboards. It is the kind of songs that the black metal totalist will recognize and welcome immediately. The shrieking, the lo-fi atmosphere, the tremolo and melody and the generally furious pace make the album readily enjoyable, with no reservations. Imperial manifests the black metal style that inspires them, and now let your ears be the witness.
By the way of contrast, the “Beyond the Blaze” 3-song demo heralds a shift towards keyboardless, necroer black metal, ratcheting up the pressure in terms of energy and delivery. This is a noticeable but ultimately small change because Imperial is fast and necro, regardless of the keyboards. Imperial plays black metal and having keyboards or not does not make or break the sound.
Both recordings offer strong points, except that “Beyond the Blaze” pushes the speed and viciousness to higher levels. Imperial knows black metal. Get to know Imperial, this black metal asks for no material reward, only to travel to the covered recesses of the psyche of the metal explorer.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

the heavy metal of Blackdome (Brazil)

Blackdome (Brazil): “Higher” (self-release)
A high voice that wails, a thrashy heavy/power guitar sound, shredding solos, galloping rhythms, high-energy, Stratovarius/DreamTheater-with-a-thrash-feel is the strategy of Blackdome.
Blackdome laughs not at heavy metal tradition, Blackdome embraces the legacy. These five songs stay in headbanging territory, but on the last, self-titled song the band shows the prog side more, but has not yet gone 100% prog. In the future, I hope they don’t lose the rocking heavy metal side, given that this current heavy/prog balance works.
Best of all, Blackdome has the music available for free at SoundCloud. If you like traditional heavy metal and you want to hear a new band, Blackdome is a place to begin. I wonder if Blackdome’s singer is as good live as on this recording. The singing certainly sounds good on this EP.

the death metal of Master

Master: "The Witchhunt” (FDA Rekotz)
As many old folks keep reminding us, Master is a foundational band in the history of death metal, present at the formative years of the genre in the 80s. In contrast to other old death metal bands, however, Master is not mentioned as much in the history of the style, although plenty of bands have been quick to point out that Master is part of their musical heritage, and correctly so.
Master is nothing if not reliable. Master would hate to disappoint. Master plays old-style death metal and that’s how things are going to stay. Like Motorhead, Slayer and Overkill, Master focuses on album after album of no-nonsense music. “The Witchhunt” finds Master possibly heavier, within the context of traditional, headbanging death metal. As usual, the lyrics urge critical, anti-capitalist thinking.
Master’s music does not sound “tiny” and “compact.” The drums do not sound like thousands of bands that are using the same drum samples. The double bass is not clicky and thin, it sounds solid and thick, and the difference is very noticeable. Instead of sounding like a keyboard going fast, the double bass drum sounds heavy. I don’t know if it is the real drums or sampled sounds, however.
As always, recommended for those into death metal in the old style.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

straight out of Kentucky: Abominant

Abominant (U.S.): "Onward to Annihilation (Deathgasm Records)
Abominant’s first recording is called “Promo ’94.” Their debut “Unspeakable Horrors” is from 1996, and ever since then, every year or sometimes every two years, Abominant has a new album or EP, and this one “Onward to Annihilation” is their 2013 album, their tenth. 2013 marks 20 years of Abominant.
Twenty years, 10 albums. Here is Abominant, just trucking away at their death metal. Fast, blasting, intense and headbanging are always a given with Abominant, but that is not really the most interesting thing about them, even though those elements are awesome. Instead, consider the guitar work. Abominant is no chugging death metal; it is this black/death/thrash/heavy metal whirlwind in which Abominant creates a veritable rifforama, and nerve-twisting guitar soloing. Abominant is the type of death metal that incorporates other genres of metal very smoothly. More metalheads should give this music a listen because it takes knowledge and vision to be fast, blasting, heavy while re-tooling the death metal framework, and have room for so much other heavy metal music, not just death metal.
Abominant has often demonstrated, sometimes hinted at their heavy metal roots, although not everyone would notice given the overwhelming barrage of brutality and speed inherent in Abominant. Well, Abominant is letting the cat out of the bag and it is called “Hold Your Ground.” This song is NOT death metal, but rather a traditional, fast, street heavy metal track. When I heard this song, I fell out of my rocking chair and broke my hip because it was that shocking. I had no idea Abominant can play traditional heavy metal.
I’m currently recovering from my injury. The doctor says that I’m recovering just fine, for a 79 year-old senior citizen.
Now, it’s official. Abominant can do it all: blasting death metal; a bit of thrash and black metal; and now heavy metal. I had no idea!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

black metal from Slovenia: Cvinger

Cvinger (Slovenia)
Fugly old black metal, fast and sinister is the calling card of Cvinger. “Monastery of the Fallen” is the name of the EP. Upon hearing the conviction of the music, I was curious as to happenings in the Cvinger camp in Slovenia. Check out what the band has to say. Lucerus (vocals, bass), Bagot (guitars), and Krieg Maschine (drums) responded to the questions.
Greetings, Cvinger! How is life for a black metal band in Domžale and Koper, Slovenia?!
Lucerus & Bagot: Hello. We are great, working and stuff. Slovenia have very varied metal music scene. We have a lot of new age melodic death metal and thrash metal, well a little of everything. For us life as a black metal band is great except for the distance difference between Domžale and Koper. But we have our own peace to write and create music. We rehearse in Domžale and if I am not mistaken we are the only Black metal band in Dom¾ale.
Cvinger began in 2012. Now you have your EP "Monastery of the Fallen." What can you tell us about it?
Bagot: We record it ourselves at Truga Studio. That is our rehearsal place and also my studio. We recorded drums and guitar playing the same time in the same place to mention the live feeling, then we over record the guitars, bass and vocals. We used metronome but we didn't really focus on it. We tried to keep it as dry and raw as possible. Too much studio perfection can suck the life out of music and I think we really managed to keep the life in it.
What do you think about the production?
Bagot: With this genre is hard to keep the balance between unclear sounding production and over processed sound. I think we really got this raw and still clear production that really fits the music. Next time production will definitely be different, but I really don't know until we start recording. All I can say is that we will try to keep it as raw as possible.
What can tell us about the drums on the recording?
Bagot: We didn't use triggers while recording, but in the mixing process we had to add some toms and kick. We tried to avoid it but on the end we had to add some software drums to bring out kick and toms.
You have chanting on the EP. It is a bit like blasphemous chanting. Where did you get the idea?
Lucerus: All the chants are mine. Idea of chanting comes form a previous project I and Bagot had, which we later abandon when we started with Cvigner. It sounded blasphemous and that sound remained in my minds while writing lyrics for Cvinger. I believe that chanting and mooning can make a special atmosphere in the song and can bring the listener to all the dark places we have been.
Do you have an overall concept of the type of albums you want to make, with an atmosphere? Bagot: Yes, the EP have overall concept. It is all about medieval atmosphere. But not the folk/ pagan kind. But pure dark medieval times, crucifixions, plague, war… Lyrics and songs aren't directly connected to each other but when you listen to it from begging to end it feels like one story, one journey.
Lucerus: All I want in our music is to be dark, blasphemous, evil, atmospheric, and that the lyrics have a philosophy that some people possibly find it destructive or they are shocked by it. But I am writing it for me and for my pleasure. And if all this things are combined in the songs I don't care how will the whole album look like or how it sounds. I must be satisfied wit it.
The song "Monastery of the Fallen," like all your lyrics, has blasphemous ideas. What is the role of the church in Slovenia?
Lucerus: Years ago was the role of the church much bigger then now, you have to understand that we had communism in our country and the only institution who helped people in Yugoslavia was the church and with helping people churches power got bigger and bigger. Similar happened in Poland. Now everything has changed. Young people do not seek god any more church can't help them neither can the corrupt government which still has a lot of red fucks in it. I could say that In thy kingdom's shadow is a political song, it talks about the church and the government in Slovenia. And yes, I can say that a lot of people are religious in Slovenia, but they believe in god just when they need him.
Which is more powerful in Slovenia, the church or the government? I have read that Slovenia has been affected a lot by the economic crisis in Europe and also that some people in Slovenia (maybe a lot of people) are not satisfied with the state of the economy.
Bagot: Definitely government, but we have corrupted government, that why the crises. I think no one is satisfied in Slovenia exempt politics. More and more Slovenians are migrating out of the country because there are no jobs and even if you have a fulltime job you practically can't afford your own place to live and cover living costs. The church is no better. Recently came out that Slovenian catholic church has taken so many loans that they are bankrupt. I think there is nothing more to say.
Why do you think that it is easier to write against religion, than to write about politics/government/socioeconomics?
Bagot: I don't like to mix politics with the music, they do too much damage on their own. We write songs about medieval times and back then religion had much bigger affect on people. Religion was used for all unexplained and that gives special vibe to write about. Nowadays people still die because of religion beliefs, but I think religions power is slowly vanishing in the dark.
In your lyrics you use some sexist words. Would you say that you are a sexist band? Black metal is often very homophobic. Aren't sexism and homophobia actually very Christian ideas? Lucerus: I write about what I think, what I see and what I feel. I don't care what kind of words or phrases I use. Some people can say I am sexist, but I think I am a person who has a lot of black humor and who thinks with his own head. Homophobia and sexism is not just Christian idea is also Jewish and Muslim, it is the same religion, well they came from the same core. In think if you are against Christian ideas you are also against Jewish and Muslim. But are you against these religions and their believes, or are you also against the people who share these believes and you hate them for it? Any one who hates people because of their believes, religious or not, and he does not make a research about it is an idiot. And he doesn't understand nothing especial what is metal or black metal about. In this times if you want to be heard and rebellious you must be radical, because we live in a shitty place where people are numb.
In the U.S. there are some black metal bands that are attracted to fascism. Slovenia suffered under Italian and German fascism in the 20th century. Are there such bands in Slovenia, fascist black metal bands?
Lucerus: Bagot and I come from a town where Skinhead organization is very strong and a lot of my primary school friends are in this organization. But let me tell you this organizations has nothing in common with nazism they are just a bunch a racist mobsters who believe they are better than others. We have some NSBM bands, but I think that nobody is taking them seriously. These guys do not know anything about nazism or its ideology these people don't understand that 90% of them would be probably killed just because they are not Teutons, if nazis would be running things around here.
Like I sad before, do your research and then walk the walk. But on the other hand I also understand that Slovenia is very wired nation. Open minded for some things and also very narrow minded for others. We have been fucked by everyone, by Italians, Germans, and later by Yugoslavia. Would you be normal if that happened to you? I don't think so.
How much playing live concerts have you done this year? There is certainly enough interest in black metal in Europe for a band to tour a lot, it seems.
Bagot: Yes, I think Europe is black metal capital. We didn't done any gigs jet, we stared playing in December 2012 and the whole time we were concentrating on the EP. In Slovenia we don't have black metal gigs during the summer only festivals. I and Krieg Maschina are moving to Australia in November so I think the first gigs will be there. When we record full length album we will defiantly done some touring, too.
Lucerus: We will start with gigs in the end of the year 2013 and next year we will probably have some rituals on some EU festivals. And if we have a chance we will come to states, too. We will see.
How long has Bagot been playing guitars? How many guitars did he use on the recording of "Monastery of the Fallen"? Does he also play acoustic guitar?
Bagot: I am playing guitar for 8-9 years. My biggest inspiration were definitely Morbid angel. I was playing mostly death metal before Cvinger. I and Lucerus were actually working on death metal EP, but we couldn't find the drummer. Slovenia is very small it is hard to find the missing band member that fits the band and most of the time you have to be satisfied with what you have but: Then I met Krieg Maschine and we just jam and jam. We didn't decide to play black metal but black metal was what was coming out of us. I and Lucerus were always in Medieval stuff, no meter black or death metal the atmosphere would be the same. I used only one guitar well two if we count acoustic guitar. Lately I play a lot of acoustic guitar. I also play bass guitar and drums.
Lucerus has a strong black metal vocal style. Has Lucerus been doing vocals for a long time? How long has he been playing bass? Does he play guitar, too?
Lucerus: I have been singing since i can remember. I studied singing for two years and a half and then started to learn how to scream and growl. I had been in bands for 12 years trying to make my own style of vocals and a lot of ideas for my singing i got from classical music. I am huge fan of classical music. I don't see myself as a good bass player, i am playing it for 4 years now. i think that i am a good vocalist and i can make a lot of great stuff with my voice and my singing technics.
What is Krieg Maschine's philosophy about drums? What does he think about all those metal albums that come out today with the plastic, clicky drum sound?
Kireg Maschine: I need to drum to release all the rage, anger, people bullshit, hatred out of me, witch on the other hand makes my drums heavy, fast and powerful. Drums are essential to my life and are keeping me sane. I think today’s plastic, clicked drums are lifeless, so is the "perfect" production. Personally I don't like it.
Will the songs from "Monastery of the Fallen" be used for the full-length album? Or, will you use new songs only?
Lucerus: We are already writing new material for the full-length album some cover art is also being done an there is a lot of stuff going on in the Cvinger camp. We will not use the songs from our EP Monastery of Fallen I believe we have enough ideas for new songs. Every album or EP we make is chapter for itself and it shouldn't be mixed together with old stuff.
Are you looking for a label to distribute your music?
Lucerus: We are always looking for ways to share our music with people on the net or with labels or distributors. We are already talking with some of them. But we will see what future holds for us.
Bagot: I can add that we have this two month deal with Abyss records but only for promotion. And we are also shooting a music video, which should come out in October or November.
What does Cvinger mean? How can black metal supporters get in contact?!
Bagot: Cvinger is old Slovenian word and doesn't have direct translation. But in the past word was used for cemetery wall where they buried people who committed suicide. During the Turkish invasion the word was used for first defensive wall. All black metal fans can support and get in touch with us via our Official website, Facebook or bandcamp. Any support is welcome. Lucerus & Bagot & Krieg Maschine. Thanks for the interview and supporting new bands and stuff. Bye. THE END.

the sounds of perseverance: Sorrows Path (Greece)

Sorrows Path (Greece): “The Rough Path of Nihilism” (Rock It Up Records)
How’s this for a happy band name and even bleaker album title? Happy days are not here again, Jack! Sorrows Path presents an interesting dilemma for the minds that like to categorize metal music: Sorrows Path is way too progressive for doom and certainly too despondent for prog metal. How about if we split the difference: prog doom metal? Sorrows Path sounds a little bit like Messiah Marcolin singing for Dream Theater. Not quite, you know, but it’s that sort of combination that might appear odd at first, but quickly works once you hear it.
The story of Sorrows Path is an earful and should be interesting to anyone having a hard time forming/keeping a metal band. The band formed in 1993, but this is actually their first full-length album, and it comes after some demos in the 1990s, the death a founder of the band, mandatory military service, near-dear accidents, and a series of “normal” band problems, like lineup changes.
So, their debut is released about 20 years after the band is formed. And you thought that you were having difficulties in your musical endeavors?
The album itself is brainiac, intellectual metal music for the thinking person. It is melodic, but Sorrows Path does not pander to the audience by making songs that sound like other popular songs that you have heard a million times before. The singing is melodic and melancholic at the same time, with a certain sadness inherent in the tone. There’s a bit of symphonic edge to the music, and the guitars have a tendency to sound proggy, but it’s very balanced, enhancing the doom. Nice solo work, too.
Sorrows Path: prog and doom, and perseverance, indeed.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

the thrash zone! thrashing bands, shredding riffs

Time to let the riffs loose and begin the shredding and scream. Here are some bands that have been melting down the speakers of my cassette tape player.
Crusher (Ukraine): “Endless Torment” (Metal Scrap Rec)
Crusher is a thrash band that embraces the label, that gets to the business of thrashing. Play fast, shred, unleash the solos, and for thrash’s sake, make it raw, nothing too polished.
The way that Crusher uses its high energy to play these songs made me like it instantly. Thrash from the gutter, played with lots of anti-system social critique discontent style. They sound like they have been listening to lots of Nuclear Assault, Overkill, DRI, Kreator, Hirax, … you get the picture. (They cover Slayer’s “Jesus Saves).
This does NOT sound like a bunch of demo songs recorded in a garage. It’s good stuff, if you like lots of thrash, you are going to dig this. Crusher is impressive and surprisingly good.
Nervosa (Brazil): “2012” (Demo)
Nervosa is reportedly working on their debut album for this year. In the meantime, in case you have not heard these thrashers, let’s go back just a bit to their demo that started this band.
Nervosa’s vocals are more like black metal snarl scream growl (not punk/hardcore talk-shout style), which gives the sound a real strong point for different audiences to get into. These two songs show Nervosa wasting no time in getting the moshpit going.
Thrashers should be especially interested in Nervosa because this band makes the music that you enjoy. I hope the debut album is ready soon!
Nuclear Winter (Bangladesh): “Warborne Assault” (Wartorn Records)
What is happening in Bangladesh thrash? Nuclear Winter, that’s what. Just like the high energy and fury of Crusher, Nuclear Winter cuts down on the nonsense and go for their number one philosophy: make thrash to bang your head and to mosh.
This is the way to do it. Nuclear Winter will make you play air guitar and start a pit in your living room. Also like Crusher, Nuclear Winter is no garage-quality band wasting your time. Nuclear Winter is ready for prime time thrashing now. You don’t have to wait. The time is now.
Šmiercieslaŭ (Belarus): “Dark Tide of Destruction/Calling on Darkness” (Possession Prod.) The other bands in this thrash review section play traditional thrash, the kind that is relatively big among metal listeners even today, not just in the 80s. Šmiercieslaŭ, on the other hand, plays a tight, dark speedy thrash along the lines of black/thrash or deathrash, like a faster, angrier version of old Kreator and Sodom, with a bit of the viciousness of early Bathory. Nonstop high-speed thrashing.
Witchrite (Poland): “Witchrite 2013” (Demo)
Witchrite quickly convinced me that thrashers should give them a chance. Besides the fact that the sound quality is solid (you can hear the bass guitar very clearly), the vibe of the band is something that thrashers would like, I think. Witchrite can let loose with the high-speed whiplashing riffs and drumming and broken-glass screaming, but they also balance things out with some uptempo moments.
Just as exciting, you can hear the complete demo at Bandcamp and get it for free. You can contact the band at: If you want to hear a band that sounds real and has some cool thrash tunes, with a bit of growled vocals, then you can’t go wrong. Contact this band and tell them you like what they’re doing with their thrash.

Friday, October 11, 2013

black metal from Switzerland: Summum Silentium

Summum Silentium (Switzerland)
What is happening with black metal in Switzerland? Well, for one, Summum Silentium has the debut album “Klartraum” ready. Summum Silentium is at that exciting point in which they want to play black metal, and are not having an identity crisis about their music. Instead, the band concentrates on making their best songs, with their take on black metal, while remembering to add melody to the speed and fury. The quality of the recording is a balance between the grim sound and making the music listenable.
Metal Bulletin Zine sent some 357 questions to the band, and they answered all of them. This interview right here is a rather good presentation of Summum Silentium: Flurin (bass), Mischa Horn (vocals), Waltýr (guitars), Jakoból (drums), and Apophis (guitars).
-- Greetings, Summum Silentium! The combination of fast songs with a bit of melody is a good combination for sure! How is life for a black metal band in Switzerland?! It appears you all do not live in the same city or town, but rather in three different ones.
Apophis: First of all, it’s nice to hear that you like our music. Thanks for looking into our album.
We’re actually doing quite well. Since our new album has been released, things are going great. There are new listeners from all over the world, even from Nepal or Indonesia. In Switzerland there is actually just a small group of people listening to black metal. Genres like death or thrash metal are much more popular within the scene nowadays. Yes, you’re right that we’re not living very close. Two of us live in the same village, but Waltýr and Mischa are living about 2 hours away from our band room. So for us it’s probably more difficult to practise every week than for other bands. Often Jakoból and Apophis do some really basic records of the new songs and send them to Waltýr and Mischa, so they can listen to it at home and practise there. Unfortunately on this way we can’t practise so much together as a band and I think at the moment you can see that on our gigs that we still have a lack of routine. But we hope to develop in this point in the future.
Can you explain how the idea of forming a black metal band started? What happened in 2006 that you said, "I want to form a black metal band!”
It appears that only Apophis remains from the original time when Summum Silentium was formed? Apophis: In 2006 I was 15 years old. I started listening to metal some years before and at this time I found some new music, called black metal. Dimmu Borgir, Old man’s Child, Dark Funeral, Darkthrone, Burzum and Nargaroth were the first bands I’ve been listening to. At this time I also started playing the guitar and with two friends of mine I began to play something you could call symphonic black metal. We were playing that kind of music for some years, wrote songs and had several gigs. But actually it was always predictable that this would have no future. Our keyboarder didn’t really listen to black metal at all and our drummer preferred the raw kind of black metal like Marduk, Endstille or Mayhem.
So in 2009 our keyboarder decided to leave and so there was left a musically conflict between me and our old drummer. But as good friends we decided to make a compromise and to do both. I think that’s also the beginning of Summum Silentium playing metal all through the different kinds of black metal, as you said a “combination of fast songs with a bit of melody”. However in 2010 he left the band. I was left as the only member for some months. I thought of ending up with that band but then my good friend Jakoból asked to play the drums. That encouraged me to continue and soon we found a second guitar and a bass player. Andi "Apophis" Huber plays guitar, but he also used to do vocals until 2011, when Mischa Horn took over the vocals as a new member. Why the change? Did Apophis grow tired of playing guitar and doing vocals at the same time in concerts?
Apophis: You’re absolutely right. That was one very important reason. For 5 years I’ve been doing vocals because there was no one else who wanted to do it. Also on our demo songs on youtube it’s me singing. In 2011 it was me who told the others that I’d like to concentrate on my guitar playing. Besides I’ve never really liked my voice so much. So I was really happy when Mischa sent us some songs of his old band as an audition and we all were fascinated about his awesome and unique voice.
You released the album by yourselves. Why is that?
Apophis: For us it was normal that if we wanted to record an album we had to do it by ourselves. In my opinion you first have to produce something before any record company should take care of you. We’ve never even thought about asking a record company for help. Now I guess we wouldn’t say no to a good deal with a record company. But we actually like the freedom we have right now. Nobody is telling us about any concepts for our album or how our music could be “better”.
Another reason to produce it by ourselves was that a good friend of us is doing a really great job with recording and he never had recorded black metal so far, so he was looking forward recording us. For the mastering we sent the songs to a professional studio mixer in Zurich.
Can you explain the concept behind the title of the album: "Klartraum"? "klar" (clear) and "Traum" (dream)? I can only read a bit of basic German, so I am ignorant and cannot translate very well. How are all the songs connected conceptually?
Apophis: Klartraum means a state of dreaming where you can actually influence what you’re dreaming. So your body is in conflict between having control of itself and being led by fantasy. The lyrics of “das Licht” are describing a very extreme case of that state. The two songs “Zwielicht eines Traumes” and “Das Licht” correspond to the title “Klartraum” but honestly there isn’t really a concept in our album like all our songs would fit to the word “Klartraum”.
But these two songs are the newest and that’s why we took this name. “Der Kalte Tod”, “Rache” and “Vorbereitung der Schlacht” are more about (as you said correctly) death, hate and revenge on Christianity and humanity. These songs express our misanthropic stance to the world and to life in general. “Rache” is the only song that contains also a religious topic. It complains about how Christianity worked during medieval and about stupid ideologies and explanations of Christianity and other religions.
Are these songs all older songs that Apophis had written a long time ago?
Apophis: No, not all songs are from the early days of Summum Silentium. “Vorbereitung der Schlacht”, “Der Kalte Tod” and “Rache” are old songs on which battlegrim still played the drums. There were several other songs from the old times but these 3 songs plus 2 other songs (demo versions are on youtube) that we’re still about to change a bit are left from the past. Guitars and lyrics of all songs are made by myself so far. Until 2011 Battlegrim played the drums. Nowadays it’s Jakoból and me writing the songs. I still do lyrics and guitars, but he actually takes more influence with the drums. I think you can hear that the new songs (“Zwielicht eines Traumes” and “Das Licht”) are much more complex than the older ones.
The song "Das Licht" ("The Light") is almost 10 minutes long! Yet, it has different emotions in it, with variety. Did you use acoustic guitars on it or just clean electric guitar sounds? Do you remember how this song was created? And how do you describe the lyrics to this song? By the way, the guitar melodies/solo towards the end of the song, along with the speed, are a very good ending to this song!
Apophis: The song writing didn’t really take so long. It’s like a medley of a bunch of ideas I’ve had in the past. There was a long time where we hadn’t produced any new songs. So there were so many riffs in my head, I only had to combine them and “das Licht” was done. That clean part is actually done with both, acoustic and electric guitar sounds. We’ve been thinking about that for a long time and couldn’t decide between acoustic and electric so finally the only solution was to take both ;)
The lyrics of “das Licht” tell about a guy who’s in coma but he’s actually able to notice people around him and most of all he’s able to feel pain but cannot tell anybody because there is his body preventing this. As I said before he’s in an extreme state of a “Klartraum”. I like to think about the despair and the pain in that situation. In general I like thinking of desperate and helpless situations. So that’s what relates the song with “Zwielicht eines Traumes”, “Vorbereitung der Schlacht” and “Der Kalte Tod”. Thank you for the feedback about the melody at the end. I think this is one of the typical characteristics of Summum Silentium. Fast drum parts combined with that kind of melodies. You’ll find these parts in almost every song of us.
Have you played "Vorbereitung des Schlacht" live yet? How was it live? What do you mean by "Preparation of the Battle"? In what sense would say is it a "battle" here?
Apophis: Yes, we’ve even played it live really often. It’s always the last song of our set list because of its fast and melodious ending. I think people like it because there are several parts where you can bang your head very well. Here it means a battle against religious people. As I wrote the lyrics I thought about the final days of humanity as we know it nowadays. It’s a frightening and cruel act to destroy everything and everybody believing in any god just to show those ignorant people that there is nothing that protects them. It also describes the rise of a new kind of human being. Enlighten and independent from anything above us.
Are you pleased with the drum sound?
Jakoból: Actually, I’m quite pleased by the sound of the drums. In my opinion it fits very well to the rest of the instruments which are recorded pretty well too. But I know what you mean. I also like that raw sound for example of the old Darkthrone. But there are far too many bands playing like that. So we decided not to follow this trend. Cuz I think if you have the possibilities to record a nice drum sound, why not do it?
In books and on the internet, there is this image of Swiss people are being at least bilingual and multicultural. In the case of you all, is it true that you speak German (Swiss German) and either French or Italian? And now, do the Swiss learn English in school? But for the music of Summum Silentium only the German language will be used in the future?
Apophis: Yes, it’s true that in Switzerland there are spoken 4 languages. Within the band we speak the two languages Swiss German and a bit of French. Of course we also learn English at school and I think we’re speaking it more fluently than French. German is like our second mother language because TV and all commercials are in German (Swiss German isn’t a written language). As I started writing lyrics I’ve done it in English. But after a while I recognised that in German I could express myself even better than in English. So I could give much more feelings to the lyrics in German. There is one song left from the old days called “Enter the Darkness” which I would like to play live again but we have to change some parts in it. Besides, the German language has become more popular in black metal nowadays. Bands like Agrypnie, Nocte Obducta or Todtgelichter are doing great lyrics in German. Those bands influenced me a lot in my decision to write German lyrics.
I know you hate this question, but here it is! What is black metal to you?
Apophis: I knew there would be this question.. (laughs) I think I could write a book about what black metal means for me. But I’ll try to do it in some sentences. Black metal for me is a way of thinking. But not like there is a song or a book where you can read into this thinking. It’s inside you or not. There are people who like to think about dark things, despair. They ask themselves about their own existence and the existence of god. Sooner or later those people, including me, will find that magical music called black metal. I love exploring and expressing these thoughts inside me with Summum Silentium. Black Metal is like a platform for all those people thinking as we do. We as Summum Silentium concentrate in our songs more on the topics of despair, hate and darkness.
But for me, as I said, Black Metal includes also asking about things that in our society are treated as totally normal, like religions. Black Metal means for me to watch behind this deception. There are people who open their eyes and watch behind all this. They see that big lie befouling our world and they refuse to follow these ideas. And like Erik from Watain said: “Once I opened my eyes, there is no reason to close them again”. I think that’s important for the way of life of Black Metal. Not to bow you to those stupid constructs but to doubt everything all the time. In my opinion life feels so much better with opened eyes. For people who don’t do that, life must be so hard. Because you never attribute things on yourself. If things are good you thank god for giving you a nice life and you can blame the devil for making your life bad and search help by god. But actually you’re not doing any progress like that. We are alone here and no higher force cares about us. For the quality of our life we’re solely responsible. You have to improve if things are not good, but you can be proud of you when life is good and there is nobody you have to thank.
There are no political ideas in our music. For us, music is definitely the wrong place to put in political messages. But we know that in black metal there are many bands hiding political propaganda in their lyrics. Our music, especially our new music sounds more and more depressive and dark. In opposition to songs like “Vorbereitung der Schlacht”, “Rache” or “Der Kalte Tod” our new songs are technically a bit more difficult and the riffs are more atmospheric and less brutal.
Some black metal bands think they are "rebelling" against the society's ideas. For example, lots of black metal bands have lyrics against Christianity. Yet, lots of black metal bands are also very patriotic/nationalistic; very "macho," which means sexism and homophobia; also hatred of Jewish people. BUT all those ideas are very Christian: hating gay people, thinking that men are "superior" to women, that Jewish people are "evil"? It seems that that type of "rebelling" is actually an affirmation of old, conservative Christian values!
I totally agree with what you said. I’ve also thought about that controversy for myself. Like Faust of Emperor killing a gay guy or that whole nationalism thing that tries to creep in Black Metal. We’re neither homophobic nor nationalists. Like I said before, Black Metal is asking about the whole thing. Not Jews or Muslims, but the whole construct of religions. All of us are Atheists so it wouldn’t make sense to judge more about one religion than about others.
Has there been a lack of maturity and intelligence in this regard for some of black metal bands? And where do you think that the tendency to see racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism as expressions in black metal come from? Is it that some young men feel isolated, powerless, socially awkward, social misfits, "losers"?
I think the problem is that Black Metal is a very aggressive kind of music. So unfortunately there are many people having no idea about anything Black Metal stands for. The only thing they can see in the music is aggression and it makes sense for them to put in nationalism, as an aggressive construct, as well. They don’t see that nationalism is a theory full of mistakes and false beliefs and neither do they care.
They’re angry because their life sucks and they need to find a scapegoat. Not better as Religions, blaming the evil for failure and thank god for success. It’s sad what beliefs like these made out of Black Metal. Also homophobia is the same kind of stupid view. Christianity said it was forbidden to get together as a homosexual couple. So first of all why should I support a Christian rule? And what problem is it to be homosexual?
Last one. How can people stay in contact with you?
The most current place to get news from us is our Summum Silentium facebook page. If you’d like to read our biography you can do that on our website Unfortunately there are no t-shirts yet because there is not enough money for that at the moment. But it’s certainly the next step we want to take. THE END.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

the lords of the rings metal: Atlantean Kodex (Germany)

Atlantean Kodex (Germany): “The White Goddess” (20 Buck Spin)
How much do you enjoy concept albums of traditional, melodic heavy metal? Do you like albums with spoken samples, interludes and long songs? (4 songs over 10 minutes; 1 song over 8 minutes; plus intros, instrumentals; it all amounts to about an hour). Atlantean Kodex plays exclusively midtempo (no fast, galloping) songs of enormously melodic traditional heavy metal.
Does Atlantean Kodex appear pretentious, pompous and self-important? Oh, do they ever!
This is not “street” metal. This is heavy metal for movies like “Lord of the Rings.” Atlantean Kodex is the kind of band that talks about kings, queens, gods, armies, fire, so on and so forth. Sweet guitar melodies, show-off solos and a singer that seeks to be the next Ronnie James Dio or Rob Halford or Michael Kiske. Lots of vocal layering, with choruses like a church of knights chanting the songs of battles and dragons.
You like pompous? You have got to hear Atlantean Kodex. There are some people writing long reviews praising everything about the album and calling it the best album of 2013. Maybe you agree. Not trying to rain on people’s parade, but it is strange how this band keeps all the songs at that mid tempo. If you like Bathory’s “Hammerheart” and “Twilight of the Gods” albums, then you know what to expect. Of course, if you dislike those Bathory albums because you think they are just too boring, then you also know what to expect.
Also, not to keep pouring cold water on this, but the drum sound is substandard. It sounds like the drummer is hitting on pillows, and not drums. I have listened to this album at a very loud volume with headphones on, and the drum sound is problematic. What happened to the drums here?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

the wasteland of Ulcerate

Ulcerate (New Zealand): "Vermis” (Relapse Records)
Ulcerate is a difficult listen because it is a smelly wasteland of sounds in which, in a way, you will hear what you want to hear. The super slow parts can appear as sludge-drone-industrial-postrock atmospheric clouds of slime, while the blasting parts are marked by super low guttural growling as found in severely gruff death metal. Growling and drums dominate the sound in crucial ways, and the guitar work is not riffs, but rather rhythms and drone-like, monolithic chords. It is experiments in monstrous sounds.
How curious about the smelly wasteland are you?

melodic metal: Dimicandum (Ukraine)

Dimicandum (Ukraine): "The Legacy of Gaia” (Metal Scrap)
You are one lucky person today. Your not-so-good day is about to get better. With Dimicandum in your music library, things are about to get joyous and happy. Listeners into modern melodic heavy/power metal and big choruses should look into Dimicandum today. The longer you wait, the more you will regret it. Tons of fun. Tons.
What’s fun about this album? The guitar melodies, the singing and the catchy songs. There are eight songs on here. No filler, just hit after hit. And by “hit,” I mean, it is a hit song in the basement of my grandma’s house, where I live.
Starting with the first song, “The Legacy of Gaia,” things just get better and sooner than you realize, the album is over with “When the Sun Burns Out.” What is a person to do? Have to play it again.
Avoid this album if you hate melody and fun

Goregast (Germany)

Goregast (Germany): "Covered in Skin” (FDA Rekotz)
The release before this two-song EP was called “Deshechos humanos,” which is Early Middle High German (Frühneuhochdeutsch [Fnhd.]) for “we hate your band, we play old stinking death metal.”
This EP is a funeral announcement for their new album that will be ready in 2014, which the oracle told me that the band is thinking of calling, “Enfermos mentales, huestes chacales,” which means “Embrace with joy the heralds of ancient cave death.”
Cranky-pants old school death metallers into Autopsy and also Autopsy, here’s a little something-something for you. Say hello to this little friend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

the doctor will operate now: Surgeon (U.S.)

Surgeon (U.S.)
In reference to Surgeon’s album “Chemical Reign,” the previous issue of the zine pointed out, amongst other things:
“Metal brainiacs, geeks and intellectuals that delve into and demand musicality and talent, take this review as your invitation to your new research subject: Surgeon. When put under the microscope, Surgeon reveals a practically impeccable equilibrium between skill, songwriting and memorability.
The songs tend to stay around the 4-5 minute mark, more or less. Singer Sean Bolton, drummer Ruston Grosse and guitarist Lydia Giordano construct these compact songs with somewhat thrash-ish energy, although Surgeon is definitely traditional prog heavy metal band, more than anything else. The songs are memorable overall, but nothing super melodic or pop-ish, because Surgeon doesn't play that game of pandering to the audience that wants ‘easy songs.’ It does take time for the "proggy" to sound "musical," but it is not very difficult to understand for the willing listener.”
Fortunately, here’s an interview with Sean (vocals/bass) and Lydia (guitars) to take us into the laboratory of Surgeon. --
"Chemical Reign" is the type of album that is progressive, but still melodic/memorable for those of us who are not brainiacs and/or musicians. Can you tell us what has been happening with Surgeon?
Sean and Lydia: Thank you glad you like the album! We had two cd release parties one at private venue called Garage Mahal which is a motorcycle/ construction workshop owned by our good friends they built a stage and played an amazing light show during our set. We filmed the whole event you can check it out on YouTube. Our official release party was at Johnny Brenda’s but the day of the show their water main broke so we panicked calling every venue we knew to move the party elsewhere- Kung Fu Necktie ended up coming through and we shared the stage with amazing bands such as Swarm of arrows Ominous Black and Skeleton hands. We have been promoting the album as much as possible ever since, we just put a new t-shirt for sale on our site and we just completed a tour of New England. We had a blast. We met a lot of new fans and amazing bands along the way. Right now we are working on another tour in Nov where we plan to hit the southern states Aside from that we are working on our next album.
How is the city of Philadelphia for a progressive metal?
Sean: Philly is a great town for artists. The rent is cheap and there are a lot of other artists to pal around with. And you're right we are stubborn. But there is nothing that fulfills us the way music does. We've had some great response to the new record so far and we intend on pushing it as far as we can.
Your drummer Ruston Grosse did not play on your debut "Angry Guest," correct? Who is he?
Sean: Ruston was a friend before we ever even played together. We actually live in the same area and share a lot of common friends. Before we played together Ruston would come out to shows all the time. In this way philly really is a great place to be a musician. I can't speak for all of PA because the 2 entities are quite different (phila and the rest of PA) How expensive is it for Surgeon to make an album?
Sean: Well you've got to be smart about how you spend your money really. This business has changed so much since we first started out its mind blowing. Luckily for us there are a lot of people out there who truly understand how tough it can be to make a record and to survive as a band. We are forever indebted to people like this. Without them we couldn't survive. We try to only work with those people really. So far its worked out pretty well.
"The Creeple" begins the album in a mellow, mysterious for about a minute before the music kicks in. What's are the sounds in that first minute? Between "The Creeple" and "Watching You" the albums begins in a strong way. When I listen to "Watching You," I imagine the singer pointing to the audience with his index finger. Does he do this?! Like "watching you, yes, you right there!" So, who exactly is "watching"?
Sean: The sound in the beginning of the album is actually us marching in the studio mixed with a bunch of other sounds like fog horns etc. We thought the feel of the song resembled a war march so we wanted to recreate that in the studio. Some of the intermediate sounds Ill have to chalk up to Kevin’s studio magic because I don't really know what they really are, but I love them. When I play watching you live I do sometimes point at the crowd. I like to give people a show you know. As far as what it’s about it is about surveillance and paranoia and its effect on the people.
Is there an overall concept or theme for the album?
Sean: Some of the themes are similar, they are both about dominating figures. In Chemical Reign’s case the idea of chemicals and how they affect us and our lives subversively is one of the reigning themes. But really my writing takes a lot of twists and turns on both records so its hard to really put them under one umbrella.
Surgeon used to be a hard rock band? What happened to bring out the metal?! Sean: The new album is definitely heavier, and more mature. It’s funny, I talk to my friends that I used to be in bands with when we were younger and, we were in punk and hard rock bands. They are now playing more acoustic and soft rock, while the older I get the more intense and heavy my tastes get. Hard to explain why tastes change in certain ways really.
How long has Lydia been playing guitar? Lydia's soloing stands out for its flowing melodies. I wonder where the inspiration for that type of soloing comes from?
Lydia: I have been playing for about 16 years, however I grew up playing classical violin and cello before I picked up the guitar. My father is a jazz guitarist and I grew up listening to him play. When I started listening to rock and metal (mostly older stuff Sabbath, Maiden and from the 90s Soundgarden and Alice in Chains also), I looked up to many guitarists for different reasons and was inspired by a broad spectrum of music—classic metal, heavy metal, thrash, prog rock, grunge, and some punk.
Have you guys ever heard of the band Twisted into Form and the album "Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer"? Do you by any chance notice similarities in the singing of Sean Bolton and that band's singer Leif Knashaug?
Sean: I hadn’t heard of them before but I do like what I hear now. I could see how you could hear that.
In this day and age, with the growling and screaming, how some people even discover that they can sing?
Sean: I’ve actually always been a melodic singer. I really have come to appreciate the low growls and screaming in modern metal though. The combination can be quite nice. Anciients is a band I’ve been listening to recently that I think tastefully combines both.
Are all of you pleased with the drum sound on the album? It's a pretty standard sound on modern metal albums. But for those of us who are old, this current drum sound that many bands use seems very clicky.
Sean: We are all actually pretty happy with the sound of the record. I remember going back and forth about this kind of sound disagreement with a friend of mine who was a drummer at the time. I loved the plastic drum head sound of the uncoated heads and he liked the more coated classic drum head sound that the coated heads bring. It really just boils down to what flavor you like I suppose.
What is your cell phone number so that I can call you at 3 am to get a drum or guitar lesson?!
Sean: You can keep up with us at all of our annoying social media Instagram @surgeonband and our site has links to everything so if you want to cut out the middle man that’s your best bet. THE END.

dooming the universe: Acacia (Sweden)

Acacia (Sweden): “Tills döden skiljer oss åt” (Art of Propaganda)
Do you support bands that make epic atmospheric, melancholic doom? Do you enjoy bands that make music as if they have no interest at all in short, easy songs because they do not seem to care to play the games of the music business, of appealing to a “wide” audience?
Acacia sounds like they do not pander to the masses, metal or otherwise. It’s music for a select audience, initiated in a specific tradition of doom. Of the five songs, only the first one is six and a half minutes, and functions as a sort of introduction. The other four songs are 11:52, 17:08, 11:50 and 14:06. The lyrics are in Swedish (I presume). If I could summarize the style of Acacia, I would say that it is melancholic, melodic doom with both traditional singing and growling, spiced up with forays into blasting black metal. A lot goes on in a song, yet it flows smoothly.
There several ear-catching elements, too. For example, the keyboards on this album sound nothing like the typical metal keyboards. It is piano, and it’s not “happy,” but rather morose-melancholic playing by Seiya Ogino. Another example is the singing of Moa Thorén, who has a really pleasant voice, and is a highlight of the album. A third case is that the guitars continually have a black metal vibe, so it is not slow chugging/plucking away, but rather riffy, memorable guitar work.
In short, very highly recommended for doomsters into melancholic doom. Acacia’s album has its own special vibe and is a rich mix of sounds that go together coherently.

play fast or play faster: Scalpel (U.S.)

Scalpel (U.S.): “Sorrow and Skin” (Sevared Records)
Scalpel disdains talk of playing “slow, with feeling.” Forget slow. Their attitude is: play fast, blast, get tendonitis playing these riffs, chug like there’s no tomorrow and go for broke on the completely indecipherable super low growling. The dexterity and stamina involved in this technical, blasting monstrosity has plenty of catchy parts, but this music sounds like a magically toxic garbage disposal. But if you listen carefully, you will hear melodies... at high speeds.
Recommended for listeners into…you know it!...classic Suffocation and Cryptosy and anything überbröötalz. What songs do I remember? I remember a huge blasting blur. Songs? What songs? It’s not music to sing along to. This is technical death metal and the objective is high speed and lots of heaviness.
Scalpel makes Suffocation sound melodic and slow. What will the kids think of next? Gosh, when we are referring to Suffocation as melodic, I think you know that the crazies have been let out of their cages.

technical death Serocs (Mexico)

Serocs (Mexico): "The Next” (Comatose)
The album is just slightly over 30 minutes, and I think I know why. I think that the studio where they were rehearsing overheated and melted down. What on earth is the guitarist doing?! The bassist is stretching those strings like all he has is thumbs for death metal jazz. As for the drummer, is he an octopus?!
The guitarist zig zags boiling hot. Watch out! A hot potato just landed on your bare toes. I think the band only did 30 minutes because if they did more their drummer would vaporize. Is Serocs forming math equations with these songs? Are they figuring out the formulas for time travel?
Got technical death metal?