Thursday, October 30, 2014
Gomorrah (U.S.): To the Depths For a young band that began in 2012, this recording suggests that they have been dedicated to their metal mission a lot. One would expect a lesser-quality recording, and less clarity in the direction of the songwriting. Really, you would be wrong on both counts. It’s definitely a very promising and headbanging six-song work. The following is meant as a compliment, and not as an insult at all: Gomorrah really, really sounds like the thrash of 1990-1994 is perhaps what they like the most: more specifically: Sepultura, Megadeth and Pantera. Gomorrah means to get you moving and they have written songs that will work well live, taking a cue, perhaps from the above bands’ ability to write hits. The recording sounds good to the ear, the guitars sound upfront, as are the vocals, and the drums sound very modern, not as hard-hitting as their influences (those old bands had bigger budgets and the studios had people that knew how to record real drums), but still very solid and acceptable. Do you know what Gomorrah sounds like, to these ears? They sound like the guitar solos are inspired by Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace,” but like the hooks/riffs are 60% in the spirit of Sepultura’s “Arise” and 30% percent the chunky of Pantera’s “Cowboys” and “Vulgar Display” (the other 10% could be Slayer, perhaps). The vocals are a hybrid of “Arise” with “Vulgar Displays” yelled screams. The band is full of metal energy and raw enthusiasm that you would have to be deaf not to notice that they love metal. Essentially, this is one heck of a beginning for Gomorrah, a band based in Ohio, a place that seems to have some young bands’ names popping up all over the world of unsigned metal bands. You already know that a band like Sepultura stopped playing thrash years and years and years ago, and you already know that those old bands just don’t have that headbanging-song vibe they once did; but if you are not 100 years old and/or you are not cynical, you know that there are many young metal bands that actually sound very excited to be playing metal. That’s Gomorrah, and it shows big time. Keep it up, Gomorrah. Slowly but surely people are noticing. www.gomorrahmetal.bandcamp.com/album/to-the-depths www.facebook.com/metalgomorrah Gomorrah - Chapel Of Stilled Voices
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Hod (U.S.): Book of the Worm (Arctic Music Group) Given that Hod’s last studio album “Serpent” is from 2009, and that it wasn’t always clear that this new one would ever be published, I can tell you that this material sounds carefully crafted and ready for scrutiny. Hod works with riffs that the listener into this style will notice for the quality and effort. You see, the Texas metal veterans are old-minded, experienced when it comes to their black/thrash/death metal. To me, Hod takes Possessed’s spirit of “Seven Churches” and the ire of Thornspawn, for a sound between black/thrash/death, war metal and black metal. Speaking of Possessed, Hod’s first track “When the Ghouls Feed” channels the classic Possessed trait of song intro buildup (as found on “Burning in Hell” or “Holy Hell), but Hod extends the beginning chaos moments, and then unleashes the storm. The band has undoubtedly listened to “Seven Churches” about a million times (notice the guitar tone); add to that the fact that the guitarist Carl Snyder recorded with black metallers Thornspawn from 1997 to 2007 (according to Metal Archives) and you hear Thornspawn’s toxic mix of war and black metal (like “Blood of the Holy, Taint Thy Steel” or “Wrath of War”). The best thing about Hod is the attention to the songwriting. The band’s lyrics and image would lead you to believe that they are low-life alcoholic unemployed stupid-dangerous hobos on probation, in other words, talentless hacks and worthless trainhopping squatter bums, but the Hod-men are devoted to their field. There is no way that the guitars or songs could be this way without an obsession for detail. You don’t just get up in the morning and “write” these songs drunk and watching television, like some sort of one-note core or groove knuckledragging homeboywalkrespect “metal.” Listen to Hod and compare the riffs, general guitar work, vocals and songs with your favorite 2014 albums so far and you’ll notice that Hod has many qualities that reveal a metal intelligence that is hidden behind the band’s image. Let’s not kid around, Hod is skillful metal that comes from years of serious knowledge and a high IQ in metal. www.facebook.com/pages/Hod/118127951554999
BRAIN DAMAGE (ex-Vendetta) (Germany): Born to Lose … Live to Win (2014) Brain Damage (Germany): Born to Lose … Live to Win Brain Damage is the brainchild of former vocalist/ guitarist of 80s thrashers Vendetta (Germany) (on Noise Records) Michael “Micky” Werner. While Vendetta did not reach the level of Kreator, Sodom and Destruction, the two albums “Go and Live … Stay and Die” (1987) and “Brain Damage” (1988) are albums that I listen to on a regular basis, and hold in high regard, and would recommend to anyone into 80s thrash. Vendetta is still active today, but without the main figures of Micky and Daxx (also vocals/guitars), and only the bass player from the old days, Heiner, today’s Vendetta is a different band in sound and vibe, as people have pointed out already. In my opinion, this band here Brain Damage carries on very well the values of old Vendetta: thrash that does not forsake melody; social criticism; a similar songwriting style; and the familiar vocals. I have been listening to the album a lot and find a good quality recording with memorable songs. Actually, I find the album to be very good, to be honest. I did not know what to expect, as I don’t know what Micky has been doing. Metal Archives does not list a bunch of activity between 1990, when he left Vendetta, and 2014, when the album was released. It does appear that Brain Damage is something that Micky had been working on for years on his own, and he plays everything on the album, except for the drums. The band started out as a solo project, the band is unsigned and the album is self-produced. I was able to find the album on Amazon and got it there, as it is very reasonably priced. I’m certainly glad that I got the album. Brain Damage is relatively varied between thrash and a bit more melodic metal, and it shows a serious effort to have good guitar work. This better not be the last thing we hear from Brain Damage! Those into traditional heavy metal and thrash should give this album a chance. It’s about 40 minutes, eight songs; quality, not quantity; no filler. Contact: email@example.com www.facebook.com/braindamagemetal www.brain-damage.eu
quick reaction to: the new single by Psycroptic: Echoes To Come (Release: 4 November 2014 on Prosthetic Records)
Metal Bulletin Zine quick reaction to: Psycroptic: Echoes To Come Prosthetic: Release: 4 November 2014 Many times today I have been listening to the new single "Echoes to Come." It's actually a great idea to have the single out first because Psycroptic pushes the limits of humanly possible speed and complexity and this single represents an interesting direction for the band, and gives us mortal humans a chance to understand the music more, before the whole album drops and leaves us all brain-melted. Psycroptic is technical/brutal death metal and this new song delivers that. What has me a bit surprised is how the riffs are more memorable. The years and years of experience have made the band better songwriters, I would say. Also, the vocals are bonkers as ever. Growling, throat-scratching screaming, the feeling of chaos in your ears, and something else: a bit of more melodic vocals worked into the tornado of screams. Basically, Psycroptic refuses to stand still, and we are all soon going to find out! www.facebook.com/psycroptic www.prostheticrecords.com
Deus Otiosus (Denmark): Rise (Deepsend Records) Deus Otiosus is a band that Matt Harvey from death metal old-timers Exhumed would appreciate. A couple of months ago Matt published some thoughts after he read the book “Extremity Retained.” Matt’s main point, you could say, was that death metal used to be primal, and it was that way before bands began to act as if they had to show that they were skilled musicians, and not just zombie-gore-horror untalented morons. Before the big change happened, the musicians did not care if people considered them a bunch of worthless commercially unviable two-chord grunting hacks. As the years went by —perhaps due to the pressure exerted by the rising thrash of the time and its move towards the progressive, the technical, and the epic, and also the money-making success of thrash— death metal musicians started to flaunt their skills. Deus Otiosus plays death metal as if they do not care if someone considers them a gang of unemployed, criminal low-lifers making worthless music that will never be financially successful. This band knows that. They are not going to pay the mortgage with this music. If anything, it is the opposite: this band has probably been a money and time-sucking entity for them. When a band does not care if people think that they are stupid, they write a song and give it the title: “Don’t **** with Dead.” That’s Deus Otiosus. Basically, one way of explaining Deus Otiosus is that they like the sound and vibe of a band like Master, Autopsy, old Bolt Thrower, so on and so forth. Upfront, traditional sound of guitars, bass, drums and vocals; Deus Otiosus makes sure that the songs are not too busy, and they incorporate some “brutality,” but with this production, one can still hear the riffs because this is the contrary of the clicky production of “modern death metal.” The main idea is: early death metal 1983-1987, and death metal 1988-1991 (there is some Suffocation/Deicide riffing and ”brutality” in the vocals). Or, call it “simple death metal” or “just death metal” or “the original death metal,” that would be fine, too. At the end of the day, we are talking about a death metal album for those devoted to the more traditional, rawer, uglier style of death metal; and it is death metal, without the necessity of any qualifying adjective because this sound is what people meant when they said death metal in the first place. www.facebook.com/deusotiosus.dk www.deus-otiosus.com www.facebook.com/DeepsendRecords www.deepsend.com Deus Otiosus - "Iron Rule" (Rise) Deus Otiosus - "In Harm's Way" LIVE
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Holy Shire (Italy): Midgard (Bakerteam Records) It appears that some U.S. reviewers listened to Holy Shire in a hurried way because the reviewer already had made up his mind that, oh, no, it’s “another power metal band from Italy,” and so the review was just a preconceived negative knee-jerk reaction that some people have, from decades of bands like Pantera, Megadeth and Slayer, and death metal bands and others, making sexist and homophobic insults towards metal is not thug and macho posturing). However, the critique against Holy Shire is rather ridiculous; that the music is too melodic or not “heavy enough” or “not fast enough” or something or other. For instance, we don’t see many people criticizing Slayer or Megadeth for having a vocalist that in his latter days cannot sing a single note to save his life (if he ever could!), and doesn’t even scream very well nowadays? So, it’s alright not to have talent and just bark like a tired and out-of-shape dog, but if you have talent and can actually sing, that is “not metal enough”? Is it that the inferior, mediocre people (and their “fans” with an inferiority complex or other types of insecurities) with no talent really resent the ones with ability and natural gifts? Is that some sort of desire for equality in art: I have no talent, but if you have talent, I will ridicule you in an effort to convince the stupid, resentful people amongst the masses that talent is bad? For some reviewers in the U.S. (and other places, for sure, too), the animosity towards Holy Shire is due to something that is not being stated because it is politically incorrect in 2014 to come out and say it, but it is no big mystery what it is. There is something about Holy Shire that really bothers some metallers, and you can tell that the complaints really have to do with two main things, or more accurately, with two people in Holy Shire. Some reviewers just do not like to see Holy Shire and similar bands; they can’t stand the sight of Holy Shire, and they are not going to give the band a chance, and that’s that, because this music disturbs the lens through which those people see metal as some sort of personal identity affirmation therapy. Yes, you like Pantera and by liking Pantera you are a “real metal fan” (or, you are most definitely a “man” and “not gay” or whatever it is.). First of all, Holy Shire is, in fact, a metal band, not a pop or a rock band. Yes, the band is melodic metal, with two vocalists—one voice is operatic and the other one is midrange-upper range, with some grit in places. This last-mentioned voice is simply typical, traditional, melodic metal singing that forms the fundamental voice of Holy Shire, while the operatic voice weaves in and out, adds various textures, sometimes upfront, sometimes in the background, sometimes in a more lateral way, sometimes more atmospheric. Second, Holy Shire is not a ballad band. Uptempo, rocking songs form a substantial portion of the band’s sound, while some slower moments are utilized in a very measured way. Third, the listener that gives the album the deserved attention will discover quickly that Holy Shire keeps up the uptempo energy throughout the album, which is why it is patently false to claim that Holy Shire is some sort of mellow, mellow, slow band. Fourth, the heart of the band’s sound is Euro power metal and melodic songs. It is catchy, rather happy melodic, with a tendency towards the symphonic; and Holy Shire is shameless, shamelessly good because they hit all the required moods and moments so well, which just shows that this enterprise aims to please. This is the band’s debut full-length, but they have been around since about 2010, according to Metal Archives. Holy Shire supporters in Italy most likely have heard some of the songs in their earlier versions, but here the band presents them in their most perfected form. If you really enjoy melodic metal, give Holy Shire a few listens. The album is impressive and creative, and it is a fun listen. Depending on the commercial success of the band, and the kind of pressures they will experience, it will be interesting to see how they manage to maintain their style and musical balance such as on this album. A case in point is the first video made for the album. The video is for one of the most mellow, if not the most mellow song, “Winter Is Coming,” which is not the most representative of the album, suggesting that they may already be under the pressure to produce hits, and possibly more ballads in the future. It would be unfortunate if the band abandons the metal sound in favor of greener pastures. We’ll have to wait and see if they turn into something else entirely with the passage of time. www.facebook.com/HOLYSHiRE www.reverbnation.com/holyshire HOLY SHIRE - 'Winter Is Coming' official video Greensleeves HOLY SHiRE
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
DARK BLASPHEMER "depressive black metal' from Argentina free recordingnarcotic of depression www.darkblasphemer.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/DarkBlasphemer
CRONICAS DEL MERCENARIO power/prog metal from Argentina (in Spanish) the language is quality metal www.facebook.com/pages/CRONICAS-DEL-MERCENARIO/187594337967267?sk=app_2405167945
90s-style "melodic death metal" from Argentina (in Spanish) COSECHA LAGRIMAS free 2013 full-length album www.facebook.com/cosechalagrimas/app_204974879526524
technical is as technical does some people don't understand it, but if you want to try Pillory is a good place to see if you can keep up the elders are crying that this is too much playing the young ones are jumping up and down because this is their thing this is Pillory: "Is this your bag, baby?" Pillory "Evolutionary Miscarriage" Teaser - 2014 www.uniqueleader.com www.facebook.com/UniqueLeaderRecords www.twitter.com/UniqueLeaderRec www.youtube.com/uniqueleaderrecords
Have you heard this band yet? Let's say if you like DRI and bands like that, you will probably like this band from Finland. Foreseen - Death Injection www.facebook.com/Foreseen www.foreseen.bandcamp.com www.foreseen.bigcartel.com www.20buckspin.com
Septicfleash (Greece): Titan (Prosthetic Records) Epic heaviness is the motor force of Septicflesh’s “symphonic death metal.” The band has posted videos of the making of this album, in those videos they show the classical musicians that helped on this album creating lush and grandiose metal written for hypothetical movies of ancient wars, heroes and villains. Septicflesh has watched movies like “300,” “Troy,” “Lord of the Rings” and similar films and it’s evident that the band would relish the opportunity to write the music for epic movies of wars. Of course, bands like Rhapsody of Fire and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody seem to have the same idea with their epic symphonic power metal, but Septicflesh is “epic symphonic death metal,” not exactly a sound and style that many bands do. If you think that it would be interesting to hear a sort of “opposite” of Rhapsody music, Septicflesh is undeniably a good choice. Perhaps “opposite” is not the correct word because it is a heavier version of Rhapsody, so in that sense it is similar. Either way you look at it, the album sounds unique and interesting. I do not have all of the Septicflesh catalogue, although I think both “Revolution DNA” and “Sumerian Daemons” in their own way are very good albums. It’s just that on this new one the band really sounds like they wanted to go all out for a massive and majestic work. Only time will tell how supporters of the band eventually rate this album amongst the other titles, but I think it is top of the line. www.septicflesh.com www.facebook.com/septicfleshband SEPTICFLESH - "Burn" Official Track Stream
AlNamrood (Saudi Arabia) AlNamrood’s first recording, according to Metal Archives, is from 2008. Ever since then AlNamrood has been releasing its black metal, and in 2014 the band has another album, about which Metal Bulletin Zine sent some questions. -- How’s life for your band in 2014 in Saudi Arabia? Generally, life is limited in the country especially for metal music. In fact, the all the support that the band receive is from overseas, whereas, we didn’t receive any support from local bands. Moreover, our decided to keep project strictly private, we don’t want many local people know about it, it can get us in real troubles. So regardless of what city we are in, nobody really knows AlNamrood. The first AlNamrood recording was the EP from 2008. How many years before 2008 had you been playing? We’ve been playing music since 2006, as mentioned we had no connection with any other musician, we self-learned and self-produced our music. All the instruments were bought online, we learned playing through online tutorial videos, so yeah, the internet was a big favor to us. Metal musicians in Saudi Arabia buy instruments online, but when the instruments arrive to your house, do the authorities not say anything? It’s possible, we get our instrument delivered to pick up point NOT to our houses, then get it to our home discreetly, it’s possible if people noticed that might report us to religious police. We don’t know about the local scene as we are not connected with them, but for us, we faced problems with authority, some of us managed to get bailed eventually. Is it a problem for metal bands to have websites? [I have read about a rock band called The Accolade, from Jeddah and they are three women; I have heard the songs on Facebook, too.] Technically, no, however, if the website became known among people and everybody is talking about it, then the government could possibly arrest in the claim of “making a bad influence on Islamic culture.” The internet in Saudi Arabia is monitored and lots of websites are concerned, these are typically: other religious websites (non-Islamic) political, pornography, some forums, philosophy, astrology, etc. In regard of band, Accolade we are not sure if they exist, but definitely no one can play live shows, arrest can happen immediately, unless if they do it strictly private without authority awareness, however, they are some cases that the police broke into some private compounds. It is well known that the social media are monitored in Saudi Arabia, they are several known cases that people got arrested through Facebook because of sharing their opinion about religion or politics. And some metal band got disbanded due to governmental threat to arrest if they don’t shut down their account. The only way to manage this repressing is to be completely anonymous, having nicknames, fake addresses, and never publish any photos or lyrics that can be used a prosecution. Typically, punishment can be radical to those who oppose the Islamic regime, it can vary from prison time, 100 lashes to public execution (beheading). About the album. For the first song, "Estahalat Al Harb," how do you create the main melody: keyboards? We use some physical instruments, such as oud and Durbaka and the others are composed through Middle Eastern keyboard that have realistic Arabian instruments. The keyboard is equipped with variety of Middle Eastern instruments choices, quarter tune settings, effects, Arabian scale guide, etc. The song “Estahalat Al Harbâ” focal instrument and lead melody was Kanoon (or Qanoon) we use kanoon a lot in our music. What types of drums did you use on "Heen Yadhar Al Ghsaq"? It was Darbuka. This is the main traditional percussion we use in addition to drums. Do you use other string instruments besides guitar? We play Oud, the other stringed instruments are played through keyboard. I wonder if you would explain a little about the themes and matters that you explore with your lyrics? The band focal theme is tyrannical historical themes, we illustrates the era where injustice and religions were taking control over Arabian people’s life, in addition to glorifying tyrannical leaders and kings, bloodshed battles in the name of religion and tribal conflicts to devour each other’s, ideologies of deities (and sometime people) worship and dark matters. Mainly we try to bring the darkest real-event or literature from the Arabian history, however, we also emphasized on the ignorance era and believe in super natural power or myth of that took over, where it opposed the development of art and science in the area, in fact this is still happening in modern day but through different methodologies. The band name refers to the ancient Babylon king who defied deity, his name is King Nimrod (pronounced in Arabic as AlNamrood). I'm curious, what do you think about the Egyptian/Arabian/Middle Eastern melodies of Nile? We highly adore the work of Nile in addition to Melechesh as well. Nile sounds like ancient Egyptian BC culture, not precisely Arabian, I would call It Middle Eastern, they use selective instruments that has dark tune. We read their lyrics carefully, they did an excellent job embodying the pharos literature. They music is way dark, tyrannical descriptive and evil, it’s fitting their brutal concept demonstrably. We wish we could share the stage with Nile one day. Thank you for your time!!! Cheers for your support, we appreciate it. Takes us away from all life commitments and routine. www.alnamrood.com www.facebook.com/alnamroodofficial THE END. Al-Namrood - Bat Al Tha ar Nar Muheja (Official Music Video) 2014
Warrant (Germany): Metal Bridge (Pure Steel Records) Warrant returns from the tombs of oblivion to deliver what the Warrant followers want: unapologetic, upfront, fist-in-the-air thrashy metal, which is exactly what Warrant was known for with the 1985 album “The Enforcer.” It took decades for the return, but Warrant’s screamer-singer Jörg Juraschek (the only remaining member from the old days) just could not stay away from Warrant any longer. In 2014 Warrant sounds tailor-made for Destruction and Exodus headbangers. The vocals are quirky in that Schmier-Zetro way, and the thrashing is tapped to anthem levels. At the same time, Mr. Juraschek carries a bit more melody in his voice than just screaming like crazy. On top of that, this album sounds like veterans and pros at the metal life: thrashing, shredding metal that concentrates on headbanging songs. It’s like this: you know that the metal music industry is full of fakers and trends, what’s cool, what’s not, what to wear, what not to wear, fashions and fame-seekers. You know this. Mr. Juraschek knows this, but if you enjoy cult bands of the 80s-style heavy metal and thrash, made for today, then this band has read your mind. Recommended for those into traditional-conservative heavy metal and thrash, especially if you love cult metal that never dies. www.facebook.com/warrant.germany www.warrant-germany.de www.puresteel-records.com WARRANT - "Asylum" - Lyric Video (PURE STEEL RECORDS)
Monday, October 27, 2014
If you look up what people are saying about UnKured, you will discover a particularly positive perspective about the sound of the band. It is not just this zine that has noticed why UnKured sounds good. In 2013 UnKured had the EP “As Reality Melts” and this is what Metal Bulletin Zine observed about it. -- There’s something about UnKured that makes the music very likable. It could be just my own imagination, but UnKured sounds like a critique of “modern metal” so infested with chugga-chugga, hardcore-diseased, lazy-guitar low-string knuckledragging plucking that passes for “riffs” and that stupid “macho man” angry-guy-down-street yelling-style vocals, not to mention the hipster or shopping-mall radio aggro/angry-rock posturing. So, how is UnKured a critique? The shredding, for one thing. This band has worked on creating real riffs in the thrashing way, worked up with some blasting and old-style thrash/death Terrible-Certainty-era-Kreator-like vocals, within a bass-and-guitar friendly context. UnKured is into doing these cool guitar solos that show that they have spent time practicing the guitar. Hey, I notice these things! Into shredding thrash/death? Do you have an interest in a band from Cincinnati, Ohio that’s been at it stubbornly for several years? -- Now in 2014 they have a new album called “Mutated Earth” and it continues the trajectory of the EP of constructing structures that highlight quality and tradition. It’s thrash, but it’s not linear, easy retro thrash; it’s death metal but not chugga-chugga or clicky “modern death metal”; it’s a bit technical/prog but still very much headbanging, too. As the bassist Ben Stanton explains, their biggest influence is Death, and after listening to UnKured’s music you can hear the band taking inspiration from the difficult balance between memorable, quality riffs and complexity that characterizes the fundamentals of Death’s “Human,” “Individual Thought Patterns,” “Symbolic,” for instance. UnKured is a name that we will be hearing more in the future if they follow their stubborn path. -- I have been listening to how your new album "Mutated Earth" stands out and sounds fresh in 2014. UnKured’s previous EP already showed the band’s rebellion against forms of “modern metal” by emphasizing riff-oriented, shredding, classic-style thrash/death with an honesty that allows the listener to hear all the instruments. Out of curiosity, do you play the songs all the way through in the studio? How much sampled-sound drumming is there on the album? Autotune and error-fixing on the vocals? Does your vocalist do every chorus each time? BEN: We recorded mostly piece by piece due to tempo changes and also because we just finished writing the songs right before we got into the studio. So that's just how that had to be done. The snare and double kicks are somewhat sampled for consistency's sake. Of course, Adam did all drums in 2 days, 8 hours one day and the next was around 12 or 14 hours so hits are going to be slightly inconsistent after playing that long and that hard. I will say Adam can certainly play the songs live superbly, so weren't too concerned about that. I think there may have been one or two instances of looped vocals. I wasn't there for vocals, so I'm honestly not sure. No auto tune, though he may have put a little reverb on here and there, but it’s pretty much how he sounds live.
It is very common in metal for bands not to use the actual sound of the drums, and instead use a sound completely robotized, perfected and sanitized. In your opinion, why do metal bands do that? BEN:I think every band is different. Some bands want a super triggered clicky perfect sound, some want raw recording and some just want it to sound good. I think we fall under just wanting it to sound good. I think metal bands feel they have to have very high standards and also very odd double standards. Like if a record sounds perfect it sounds " too perfect," "it sounds fake" stuff like that; and if it sounds not perfect, "it sounds like garbage" "production," so really there is no winning in recording, you just should do what makes you happy. It’s your band, not some random jerk behind a screen in Idaho. [Leave the people of Idaho alone, Ben! UnKured will play Idaho one day, and it will be glorious!!—ed.] If a band does not use the sound of the drums that were recorded, and instead uses a bunch of sampled drums, shouldn’t they just admit that it is drum programming? BEN: I don't know, I mean, for us we have always been about the live performance. We write for songs to sound crushing live. If the drummer can do it live, but wants to get whatever sound he wants in the studio more power to them. Now if that the drummer can’t play the songs so you have to program drums, then, yeah, you should say the drums are programmed, and also find a new drummer. I hope UnKured is never successful. You know why? Success is the worst thing that happens to metal musicians. Shredders get lazy, skilled drummers become “groove” drummers and riff writers start talking about how "less is more.” Have you noticed that? I get the feeling that UnKured actually rehearses together in the same room? Am I wrong? BEN: Not at all, yes, we do rehearse together. I think by success you mean money, money isn't bad for a band but too much of anything is bad for anyone, so it’s really a balance. Chugging and groove is fun, but you just don't want to do it too much, like I said it’s a balance. People like sludge, gimmicks, core and angry-man shouting and guitar chugging. Wouldn't UnKured lose its way if you actually started touring with bigger bands and becoming "friends" with those bands?
BEN: Not at all. I mean people ask me if I like their set sometimes at shows and I'm like, “not really man, sorry.” I'm an honest dude, and we're all honest with ourselves especially with our sound. We have learned from bands before us. And the lesson we have learned is don't write garbage music. Write cool stuff and you will have at least some type of success. Us touring with other bands would do nothing, but get us closer to where we want to be. We don’t have too many outside influences as of right now. We just write what we enjoy. Is core, hardcore, deathcore, and chugga-chugga metal, is that people with mediocre talent, but who have an extraordinary desire to be rock stars?
BEN: Well, I like some true hardcore like cro-mags, madball, those bands are cool. Deathcore is really dead or dying off, as far as I can tell. There are good players in every genre even the ones I don’t like, so I can't say they are all terrible players. Generally deathcore is pretty awful, though. As far as egos and ability, you're going to have that in just about any genre or subgenre. Is UnKured something like a band with a ferocious desire to be creative, but a band that lacks the ambition to be trendy in order to make it? Plenty of ability and stubborn as hell, but bad businessmen? BEN: Well, I think you are 100% correct up until the horrible businessmen part. At least I hope, haha. I don’t think being bad at business is good. I think it’s important to cover yourself and not get ripped off. Everyone thinks business is about making money and for some it is, but for us we just want to survive and play music. So really being good at business definitely isn’t bad, because if you aren’t good someone can make a quick buck off of you and that’s never cool. "As Reality Melts" is an EP from 2013. Then, your new album "Mutated Earth" in 2014. You have a release every year since 2010. In 2011 you had three different recordings? How do you manage to be so productive? BEN: I actually feel that you saying that UnKured has been productive is a bit ironic, seeing as we always feel like we aren't doing anywhere near enough. We just try our best at this whole thing. We try to put out the very best we can possibly make and hope people enjoy it. Where do you get the inspiration to be good musicians and to dedicate time to your instruments? It seems like lots of band are on Twitter and Facebook all day long. How do those bands even have time to rehearse?
BEN: Well, we wouldn't be able to play like the bands we listened to, which was old school death metal and old and new thrash bands. We got our chops up and practiced a big, big ton. As far as social networking goes, that kind of stuff only means so much. You can have 7000 likes on Facebook, but not bring 20 people to a show, so obviously that stuff doesn’t matter too much.
Is your vocalist and guitar player Cody Knarr a guitar nerd? Does he like early Coroner? To me, UnKured sounds like Terrible Certainty-era Kreator-vocals jamming with classic, technical thrash-era Coroner, together with Human/Individual Thought Patterns/Symbolic-era Death. BEN: I wouldn't call him a guitar nerd as much as I would call him just very creative, and yes, he is a big Coroner fan haha. Death is our favorite band, every member in this band has Death as our number one, so Chuck is a huge influence. We make it a point to differ ourselves because this is no time to be unoriginal. We always get told we sound like Death. Personally, I don’t think we do that much aside from Cody's vocals. It is a compliment I'm definitely willing to take haha. Thanks for learning to play your instruments for real and for bothering to spend time on the songwriting. I appreciate the arthritis-inducing work that you do for metal. If I were to meet you, I would buy y’all huge, tall glasses of apple juice or orange juice or almond milk because you deserve it. Or, the drink of your choice, of course. Cheers! BEN:You can get us some Yoohoos. We all enjoy our chocolate milk haha! www.facebook.com/pages/UnKured-Band/127769993918598 www.unkured2.bandcamp.com UnKured - As Reality Melts... 2013 (EP) UnKured - Before Us, Heaven Trembles (Music Video) Unkured - Mutated Earth (ALBUM PROMO)
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Brood of Hatred (Tunisia): Skinless Agony Perhaps taking their name from the Suffocation song “Brood of Hatred” from the album “Pierced from Within” (1995), these Tunisians show that sometimes it does not matter whence you band originates. With a bit of expertise, if you want to play “technical-prog death metal,” anything is possible. Brood of Hatred has the blasting and heaviness, as expected. That’s not all they do, though. An important reason for which I have kept coming back to the music is the band’s skill and consistency in adding melody. It’s not cheap, clichéd, sweet melody, either. Brood of Hatred appears as a monolith of cold, unapproachable technicality, but when you listen closely, the smooth prog side starts to show up, and that’s where the bits of melody surface. If you like technical-prog growl metal or if you want to hear how these Tunisians do the metal ways, put your thinking helmet on and give this album a listen. www.broodofhatred.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/BroodOfHatred.Official Brood Of Hatred - Skinless Agony
Grabnebelfürsten (Germany): Pro-Depressiva The sound quality of this black metal appeals to the ear because of the clarity of the sound, in a more traditional way; you can hear the bass guitar; it’s not a demo-like recording, but neither a robotized one. As a result, you can hear very well that the songs are memorable for having real riffs and for attention to the songwriting, with a bit of a melodic-prog feel. The band has recordings that reach back to 1998, but this is the first time that I hear this German-language band. I find the album to have an individual quality, the songs are solid, headbanging and enjoyable. As stated previously, the band is easy on the ears for its balance of the elements in the right place. Investigate if you want to hear melodic/prog–ish black metal with a relatively clear production and songs that are easy to remember, in this genre. www.grabgewalt.de Grabnebelfürsten - Mantelmann [Pro-Depressiva] 2013
Friday, October 24, 2014
New music from Harmony featuring the Daniel Heiman [ex. Lost Horizon, Heed] on vocals is out.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Danish metal band ARTILLERY on tour now in Canada and the U.S., that includes you, Seattle and Spokane
Denmark thrash metal veterans, ARTILLERY, will kick off their first ever North American tour tomorrow, October 23rd. Joined by Onslaught and Striker, the trek will commence at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York and weave its way through thirty cities before coming to a close at The Whisky in Hollywood, California on November 26th. ARTILLERY North American Thrash Invasion w/ Onslaught, Striker 10/23/2014 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY 10/24/2014 Middle East Club - Cambridge, MA 10/25/2014 The Brighton Bar - Long Branch, NJ 10/26/2014 The Wreck Room - Peterborough, NH 10/28/2014 Reggie's - Chicago, IL 10/29/2014 The Headquarters - Indianapolis, IN 10/30/2014 The Foundry - Lakewood, OH 10/31/2014 The Alrosa Villa - Columbus, OH 11/01/2014 The Bug Jar - Rochester, NY 11/02/2014 Championship Bar - Trenton, NJ 11/03/2014 Empire - Springfield, VA 11/04/2014 Webster Underground - Hartford, CT 11/05/2014 Bogie's - Albany, NY 11/06/2014 La Salle Multi - Quebec City, QC 11/07/2014 Hard Luck - Toronto, ON 11/08/2014 Mavericks - Ottawa, ON 11/09/2014 Le Petit Campus - Montreal, QC 11/11/2014 Mansion - Kingston, ON 11/12/2014 The Token - Lounge Detroit, MI 11/13/2014 The Metal Grill - Cudahy, WI 11/15/2014 Zoo Caberet - Winnipeg, MB 11/16/2014 Palomino's - Calgary, AB 11/17/2014 The Pawn Shop - Edmonton, AB 11/18/2014 Red Room - Vancouver, BC 11/19/2014 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA 11/20/2014 The Hop - Spokane, WA 11/21/2014 The V-Lounge - Victoria, BC 11/22/2014 Tonic Lounge - Portland, OR 11/23/2014 The DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA 11/24/2014 Orange County Music Hall - Anaheim, CA 11/25/2014 Club Red - Mesa, AZ 11/26/2014 The Whiskey Theater - Hollywood, CA www.artillery.dk/?page_id=1718
Void Wraith On September 6th black metal Void Wraith played the Highline in Seattle. Metal Archives does not yet have much information, but you can hear and download (free/name your price) the music. Listen to this raw, necro black metal: www.voidwraith666.bandcamp.com/releases
Xoth Xoth has released the “Hostile Terraforming” EP. Seattle’s Metal Shop interviewed them recently, too. The EP is worth looking into if you have an interest in black metal from Washington. It’s a free name-your-price release. Xoth is along the lines of traditional black/thrashing metal, and not the “Cascadian” kind. www.facebook.com/beholdxoth www.xoth.bandcamp.com/releases
Cerridwen This symphonic band on its Facebook page says that they are putting together the final masters of the EP “Aconitum.” There’s not much information to impart at the moment, but the song “Lanaera” is on YouTube. Not sure if that’s a demo version or not, but it gives a good idea of the style of the band. www.facebook.com/CerridwenMusic
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Cloven Hoof, part 4 of the interview: on punk, Priest, Van Halen, Montrose, and of course, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
interview with NWOBHM band CLOVEN HOOF Cloven Hoof (U.K.) After this brief intro, below is the new part of the interview! Cloven Hoof—the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band—here in this interview provides a wonderful explanation about the current state of the band. They have a new album in 2014 called “Resist or Serve.” If you support traditional heavy metal and its aesthetics, or if you are crazy about the madness, chaos and glory of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I highly recommend putting Cloven Hoof’s 2014 album on your list, if you have not done so yet. The band is definitely rocking in 2014, as you will gather from this interview. Secondly, this interview is really good because bassist Lee Payne went all out and truly answered the questions presented to him. I imagine that he spent hours answering the questions. His effort to answer the questions is very, very professional. Lee explains lots about heavy metal in the 70s as he lived it and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as he experienced it. In addition, given the nature of the written word, Lee’s explanations are multi-dimensional, with nuances that give much fuller elucidations on metal music, instead of just making inaccurate generalizations (like we often hear that “Sabbath invented metal music.”). Thanks to Lee for this wonderful interview. Read it and get ready to learn much about Cloven Hoof and metal, including information that is often omitted in discussions about metal music. www.clovenhoof.net www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979 www.hrrecords.de What did you think about punk in the late 70s? Were you at all interested in those songs and bands? Different metal people say different things on this issue, but I wonder how you felt about it. Personally, I think the punk thing gave the music industry a big kick up the ass, which was highly commendable. The movement brought attention to young people having something to say with music. The songs were short and energetic, so it left the way open to banish over long self indulgent crap that some bands were turning out. Above all the rebellious spirit was the best thing about punk and the working-class attitude, I loved that. They rattled the establishment and put two fingers up to the upper class snobs so for that I am in agreement. However, apart from the Sex Pistols, who were funny and The Clash and The Stranglers, I thought most the bands were musically useless. Motorhead had a lot of punk fans, but there were big fights at their gigs with the metal kids. The punks had the shit kicked out of them lol! The New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement gathered momentum at the tail end of punk so that was a great thing. People liked the excitement of punk, but needed better musicianship and songs with more imagination and substance: enter a new generation of metal masters! The problem of the oversimplification of the history of metal Do you at all recall anybody in your circle of friends taking notice of the first Van Halen album in 1978 and that type of guitar work? Did you personally like UFO and Dio-era Rainbow? What about Scorpions? Metal people often simplify things and make it appear as if Sabbath "invented" metal and forget to put things in context and end up dismissing Zeppelin and Purple. But the modern guitar tone in metal comes more from Priest, Scorpions and UFO, than the slow blues/garage rock of early 70s Sabbath. Is it correct to omit Eddie Van Halen (or UFO!) when discussing classic metal guitar work, in your opinion? So, that first Van Halen meant nothing to young metal musicians who dreamed of being the next guitar hero? We know that Van Halen soon became something else, but I'm talking about 1978, in that moment, not the silly glam image of the 80s videos. I was into Van Halen from day one. I heard Allan Freeman a great Rock DJ play “Running with the Devil” on his Friday show on BBC Radio One. I was blown away so when they supported Black Sabbath on the “Never Say Die” tour I got to see them before they made it really big. I was eager to see how he played that tapping technique that revolutionised metal lead playing. As usual, I was down the front studying closely. Eddie was amazing and like Uli Jon Roth, had all the techniques, forced harmonics, whammy bar squeals and a killer guitar sound. I remember him playing some kind of Strat and having a white Les Paul supporting Sabbath at Birmingham Odeon on that tour, something he is not seen with too often. I loved UFO with Schenker. I saw them three or four times during the “Obsession” tour and I saw the Scorpions debut in England, too. I had the honour of spending three weeks with Michael on tour a few years back, we got on like a house on fire. Rainbow with Dio was my favourite band ever and Ronnie will always be my favourite singer and Ritchie my alltime favourite guitarist. Your observations, Mo, are spot on Purple and Zep are just as important as Sabs in the development of metal. Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash really pioneered the twin guitar attack, too. Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Jethro Tull and Kiss made a huge contribution, too. All these bands are still a constant source of inspiration and their music is timeless. Certainly there would be no Iron Maiden without Priest. Rob Halford said Cloven Hoof is a bit Priest, and a bit Lizzy and then there's Rush and it's epic and “jeez you must have an original sound because I can't place what you are?” Nowadays they call us pioneers of power metal, whatever that is lol! I thought we were New Wave Of British Heavy Metal! Maybe our sound has refined and mutated over the years, but the essence remains the same. You can always tell its Cloven Hoof no matter who the vocalist is. I suppose it is my writing that defines us, a bit like Steve Harris does with Maiden. We both approach songs with lead bass guitar as a foundation. Priest benefitted big time from the buzz around the younger metal bands because they already had the business structures to take advantage of the situation. Whereas a younger band like yourselves was simply trying to get started and get noticed. Saxon and Maiden also had been around in the 70s for years before they became famous. Do you agree with this assessment? Would you mind commenting on it? LEE: I personally know Rob Halford well and he was a big help to us getting started and I toured with Saxon so I can give you a bit of an insight. It was tough for Priest until they got David Hemming, an ex road manager for Black Sabbath who got them a deal with CBS label. David also persuaded Rob to adopt the leather look on stage because he was already frequenting clubs that favoured that image. CBS were the biggest label in the world so they had big machinery behind them. Priest went from strength to strength, deservedly so and eventually ended up getting Bill Curbishley management. Bill also managed The Who and Robert Plant and he now has our singer Joe on his books. Bill had the publishing on our “Dominator” (1988) album when it was released also. After Priest David Hemmings managed us, but tragically died in the middle of a deal with CBS for Cloven Hoof. This caused a lot of legal trouble for us because many people claimed they had a piece of the band based on David's negotiations. It was a nightmare, but we are free of those ties now, thank goodness. Biff told me he used to play bass before being a singer and it was very tough getting a deal in the old days. He was from Barnsley, a tough Yorkshire town and they had to fight for years until Geoff Barton championed a new metal movement in the face of punk rock. It opened the doors to a host of new bands including Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Without Sounds and Kerrang’s support it would have been almost impossible breaking through. We had to do it the hard way because by the time Cloven Hoof were ready to gig the bubble had burst and the British music media were very anti anything resembling true metal. It is sadly true to this day the British media and music papers suck!!!! They never support British talent and are only there to promote pop and TV fashion trends. In a way I am very proud of being a cult band without hype or artifice of any kind. We are the real deal and the fans respect us for never selling out and sticking to our guns. Even now there are offers for us to sign to a big label and become more commercial with Joe in the band. He has the looks that make the girls go wild and a killer voice. But I have told them Cloven Hoof are a metal band and always will be no matter how much they offer, they can stick their money where the sun don't shine. We belong on the High Roller Record label because they care about metal and nothing else. Some call me crazy to do that, but the music and the fans are all that matters. Money is not our god and the corporate labels can go fuck themselves. We will NEVER surrender and will always keep it true! But I believe that is what is fantastic about true metal fans, they make their own minds up and are not mindless sheep. They know what is good and what's not, they are the most loyal and intelligent free thinking people in the world and I am proud to play for them. Without the fans Cloven Hoof are nothing and I will always push myself to be worthy of their love and respect. Other bands have a safety net or a cushion whilst on a major label. They have lots of money and security, so do not care if they release a good album or not. We have no safety net and every song has to count. I try to give the fans quality and make every track have its own sound and identity. They are like little self-contained movies that tell a story. The reviews for “Resist or Serve” have been incredible and we have got nothing but 9 and 8.5 out of 10 right across the board. Some very intelligent writers have given us 5 out of 5, too, which has filled us with pride I can tell you. It is so good to get this kind of reaction because it makes all the hard work worth it. Out of curiosity, did you ever listen to the Montrose debut back in the 70s. I have read the certain members of Maiden really liked that album from 1973. Nowadays, that album is almost completely forgotten by metal documentaries and musicians, yet it is a rocking, high energy heavy metal album. I guess the image of the party rock Sammy Hagar has made people dismiss that early Montrose, but it's a surprisingly metal album. The Montrose album was incredible I loved it the first moment I heard it. Ronnie was years ahead of his time, too, because he had a great guitar sound and superb technique. I was disappointed with the “Paper Money” album, but the “Montrose” album is a classic. Space Station No 5, Make it Last, Bad Motor Scooter, Rock the Nation are all cool as hell tracks. It is criminally underrated, as you say it is high energy and a truly great metal album. Ok, I will stop here. If I were rich, I would travel to the U.K. and interview you in person with a camera! I know it takes time to answer these questions. I appreciate you taking the time to read them and answer them. LEE: If you ever do come to England, Mo, you will have to stay at my place, you are very welcome. Thank you for your kind words they are very much appreciated. Take care tell the fans in Washington, we hope to see them next year! Keep playing that metal LOUD! THE END Cloven Hoof - Brimstone and Fire (Resist or Serve 2014) Cloven Hoof - Deliverance (Resist Or Serve 2014) Here is some earlier Cloven Hoof. Cloven Hoof - Astral Rider - A Sultan's Ransom (1989) Cloven Hoof - Nova Battlestar
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Some describe the sound of Vanhelgd as: "pure death, played with relentless and nuanced savagery. VANHELGD’s natural skill for crafting monumental songs suggests early At The Gates, Entombed, Dismember and Asphyx, yet on a more modernized standard alongside Miasmal, Morbus Chron and at times, even with the epic ebb of Watain." Hear for yourself www.facebook.com/vanhelgd
interview with NWOBHM band CLOVEN HOOF Cloven Hoof (U.K.) After this brief intro, below is the new part of the interview! Cloven Hoof—the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band—here in this interview provides a wonderful explanation about the current state of the band. They have a new album in 2014 called “Resist or Serve.” If you support traditional heavy metal and its aesthetics, or if you are crazy about the madness, chaos and glory of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I highly recommend putting Cloven Hoof’s 2014 album on your list, if you have not done so yet. The band is definitely rocking in 2014, as you will gather from this interview. Secondly, this interview is really good because bassist Lee Payne went all out and truly answered the questions presented to him. I imagine that he spent hours answering the questions. His effort to answer the questions is very, very professional. Lee explains lots about heavy metal in the 70s as he lived it and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as he experienced it. In addition, given the nature of the written word, Lee’s explanations are multi-dimensional, with nuances that give much fuller elucidations on metal music, instead of just making inaccurate generalizations (like we often hear that “Sabbath invented metal music.”). Thanks to Lee for this wonderful interview. Read it and get ready to learn much about Cloven Hoof and metal, including information that is often omitted in discussions about metal music. www.clovenhoof.net www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979 www.hrrecords.de On growing up a metal music fanatic in the 1970s What are some of your earliest memories with rock music that had an impact on you? You were born in 1960. Were you at all interested in rock at the age of 12, let's say? That would be 1972, a very productive period for so many U.K. rock bands. LEE: Well, as a kid I was very rebellious due to the fact my parents moved around England a lot as publicans. They once owned hotels in Cornwall and Weymouth, but in the end we always ended up back in the West Midlands, that is where my true roots are. Through all this moving about I was always getting into fights being the new kid in town and I was pretty good at it, too! To this day I am still a bit of a loner who likes to be creative and use his imagination, I never run with the pack and am very strong minded. I am totally driven and dedicated. I very much like to make my own mind up about things and Cloven Hoof is my life's work so I care passionately about the band. Music is my life and I will always put it first, no matter what. I was twelve years old when I first heard “Machine Head” by Deep Purple and I was an immediate fan. I then got into “Vol. 4” and “Paranoid” by Sabbath, then “four symbols” by Led Zep. 1972 was a very good year for me and I spent all my time listening to music. The band Cream were great, too, and I loved Alice Cooper. By 1975 I was something of an expert concerning all things metal. The first live show I saw was Rainbow at Birmingham Odeon in 1975, then the “Technical Ecstasy” tour with Black Sabbath in 1976, I think it was. Over the years I saw hundreds of metal bands, but I always go back to the same old favourites. But being so young, does it mean, then, that to you, the old pioneer bands were simply not as relevant to you? Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin would have been in decline by the time you were in your late teens. LEE: Hey, thanks for the compliment my friend, but I am older than I look lol. All those bands were right in my teens and I was lucky enough to see them all live. I was awestruck by these epic groups and I was a dedicated fan of them to the point of obsession. I saw Zeppelin at Knebworth and fought my way through 200,000 people to get at the boards down the front. I stood knee deep in mud for 16 hours and had bottles, bike frames and beer cans thrown at my head, but I loved every minute of it! So imagine how cool it was years later having Robert Plant taking my music into radio stations for me. Wow, it was such an honour and a privilege I can tell you. (The biggest perk in this business is you get to meet all your heroes!) By the way, let's say in 1975, if you remember, did you have any sort of notion of something called heavy rock or heavy metal, or to you, Sabbath and the Who, Zeppelin and the Stones were just all rock music. Do you remembering making any distinctions? Was it around 1978 and 1979 that you were feeling as part of something called heavy metal? LEE: Stones and Who were more of a rock act so were not aggressive or loud enough to capture my imagination. Zeppelin had inflections of blues roots, but they were dark, magical and heavy. However, “Whole Lotta Love” and the “Immigrant Song” are definitely all out true metal tracks. Jethro Tull was a folk and metal crossover band, but I loved them. They were technical and almost medieval sounding at times. I was very aware what parameters these bands were expanding and I admired them breaking new ground. I hate safe albums that is why Hoof has a huge band width and I try to keep it varied and musically interesting. Someone called us a thinking man’s metal band, I like that a lot! When I was at school I had just bought “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Tyranny and Mutation” by The Blue Oyster Cult. Some kid saw me with the albums and said, “So you like heavy metal music?” That was in 1973 so the term was used in England back then for sure. What are your earliest memories of the idea of heavy metal as a distinct genre? I think I have read that one of the members of Holocaust says that the first time he became aware of heavy metal as such was with a Scorpions album, that apparently was labeled “heavy metal.” Of course, those old Scorpion albums from 1975-1979 sound metal in the way that late 70s Priest sounds metal, different from the older blues/rock/garage rock of Sabbath. However, some people seem to want to dismiss old Scorpions simply because the band went mellow in the late 80s. LEE: Steppenwolf used the term in “Born to Be Wild” I like smoke and lightning heavy metal thunder. Racin' with the wind and the feelin' that I'm under Maybe that is where Heavy Metal got it's moniker from? Before then it was known as progressive rock. I got into music because of “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. I heard that song and it hit like a bolt of lightning and I knew I just had to learn how to play that song! I learned it on guitar then switched to bass because I wanted to play with Ritchie Blackmore one day lol! I wrote the song “Northwind to Valhalla” on the new album as my humble tribute to the great man and the memory of Ronnie James Dio. God rest him! Metal certainly has evolved a lot over the years and it will continue to do so. The Kinks had riff based songs in the 1960s and no one mentions them. “All The Day And All of The Night” is a heavy distorted guitar riff and “You Really Got Me” is a prime example of this technique also. So who knows who really has the honour of being the first metal riff maker? It's open to conjecture, I'm just glad it caught on! END of part 3. There is one final part of the interview coming up! Hear two songs from the 2014 album by Cloven Hoof. Cloven Hoof - Brimstone and Fire (Resist or Serve 2014) Cloven Hoof - Deliverance (Resist Or Serve 2014)
interview with NWOBHM band CLOVEN HOOF Cloven Hoof (U.K.) Cloven Hoof—the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band—here in this interview provides a wonderful explanation about the current state of the band. They have a new album in 2014 called “Resist or Serve.” If you support traditional heavy metal and its aesthetics, or if you are crazy about the madness, chaos and glory of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I highly recommend putting Cloven Hoof’s 2014 album on your list, if you have not done so yet. The band is definitely rocking in 2014, as you will gather from this interview. Secondly, this interview is really good because bassist Lee Payne went all out and truly answered the questions presented to him. I imagine that he spent hours answering the questions. His effort to answer the questions is very, very professional. Lee explains lots about heavy metal in the 70s as he lived it and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as he experienced it. In addition, given the nature of the written word, Lee’s explanations are multi-dimensional, with nuances that give much fuller elucidations on metal music, instead of just making inaccurate generalizations (like we often hear that “Sabbath invented metal music.”). Thanks to Lee for this wonderful interview. Read it and get ready to learn much about Cloven Hoof and metal, including information that is often omitted in discussions about metal music. www.clovenhoof.net www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979 www.hrrecords.de -- -- On the history of Cloven Hoof Cloven Hoof is founded in 1979. Would you mind going back in time to that year and how the band came about, as you remember it? From watching documentaries on metal music and reading interviews with bands talking about the period, we get the impression of 1979 as a sort of big bang explosion of modern metal music as we know it today. Yet, I wonder what it was like for you personally? What was happening in your life that motivated you to form a band? LEE: Wow, 1979 was it really all that time ago? A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, but I remember it still. It was a fantastic time for me growing up in England at a very exciting time in metal history. Metal kids really did rule the streets in those days and denim and leather armies were everywhere. Everyone would go anywhere to see a live metal band and with the British music media supporting it was an inspiring time. Geoff Barton, who later formed Kerrang magazine, was the most important writer at the time. He worked for a music paper called Sounds and all the metal kids bought it. Even before we had a singer I sent a tape to him asking what he thought of the music. He loved the fledgling Cloven Hoof sound and when we eventually got a singer I went down to London and got interviewed by him. It was very prestigious and we got respect even from day one thanks to Geoff. He tipped us for success in his ‘Breaking through in 82' article along with Motley Crew and Venom. I was influenced by bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Rush. I used to spend every penny I had buying albums and watching live shows. Looking back, I suppose it was serving a musical apprenticeship because I was in the front row intensely studying the guitar and bass players. I was determined to study the chords and musical progressions of those metal gods. One day I vowed to try and make music that moved other people like the songs from my heroes had moved me. If I could do that, then I had touched the sun and my life would mean something. Cloven Hoof is the only band I have ever been in until recently when I was helping singer Joe out in his solo project. Even then it is just until he sorts out suitable replacements. The Hoof always comes first! So, then, in 1979, you have a band. Now what happened? Did you all feel in competition with other bands? Did your band feel isolated from what happening or were you all very much playing concerts around town and the region and making friends with other bands? I didn't feel in competition with other bands because I didn't care about what anyone else was doing. I just cared about Cloven Hoof and how far we could take it. I guess you are isolated and in a bubble because you need to have single-minded focus and not to be too influenced by other people. You have to have your own sound and identity, that was our strength. I was friends with Brian Tatler from Diamond Head and I liked what they were doing a lot. It was funny because we tried to poach each other, he wanted me to join him and I tried to get him to be in Cloven Hoof lol! We are a West Midlands band from the heart of England and there is an inherent aggressive sound to our style Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin have all sprung up from the same area as Cloven Hoof and we all have a dark edge that is unmistakeable. It is true to say this band could not have come from anywhere else. Maybe life is hard in the concrete and glass industrial heartland. Bands from this area seem to sing about the harsh and depressing things in life. However, I like fantasy worlds more than harsh reality as subject matter, maybe it's a form of escape. JRR Tolkien lived in Birmingham when he was a young man, so we are in good company. Cloven Hoof was originally formed in Wolverhampton, the heart of the West Midlands, England in 1979. The group went through various line up changes until spring 1982 when the band line up consisted of myself, bass guitar, David Potter, vocals, Steve Rounds, lead guitar and Kevin Poutney drums. The first demo tape we did together was given the thumbs up from no lesser stars than Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) who took a copy of the tape into national Radio One and Rob Halford (Judas Priest) who got it played on a radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. The station was bombarded with heavy metal callers who wanted to know more about the band. Soon afterwards the group were taken under the wing of ex Judas Priest manager David Hemmings. The Opening Ritual a four-track mini album was released in July of 1982 and the EP stayed in the Sounds and Kerrang heavy metal charts for six weeks peaking at number 18. Articles in Kerrang and Noise magazine followed by Geoff Barton tipping the band for the top in his prestigious "Breaking through in 82 feature" and play list. The image adopted by ourselves during this period was worth noting as there were 4 band members, I came up with a concept featuring the names Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Outlandish stage costumes were donned and heavy Kiss-style makeup and masks. We wanted to be the band we always wanted to see and hear...total senses overkill. In a lot of ways I think we were ahead of our time because our vision of combining image and music were perfectly suited to the multi media sci-fi games market and remember we were doing the masks thing years before Slipknot and all the others. I suppose we must have influenced many bands in presenting themselves in a hard rocking theatrical way. We dropped this concept when the image was getting too much attention. It's the songs that matter most!!! Metal Archives says that your demo is from 1982. Are there any recordings from 1979 or 1980? Why did it take so long for your first EP to come out in 1982? Did you personally feel very frustrated that you were taking so long to get the recording done? Were you sensing that it was time to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak? It was very frustrating trying to find the right singer at the time. We didn't get Dave Potter until 1981 and before then we had made demos with various inadequate vocalists. Our music was years ahead of its time so getting the right musicians was very problematic. Most guitarists were too blues influenced at the time and they had no idea of the palm muting techniques so important in playing metal. Cloven Hoof had multi time changes and played fast and loud, so we had to get great players. That was why it took us quite a while to take off really. Also, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I wanted to be well rehearsed before unveiling the band to an awaiting metal public. There are some old demos still in my possession and one day High Roller Records will release them, no doubt. THE END of part 2. The next segment will go back into the 70s and the heavy metal of that time.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Valdrin is a new band to Metal Bulletin Zine. The echoes of Emperor pepper the music of Valdrin, a band that seems fearless to mix black metal with prog elements. You can hear a track from album below. Valdrin is from Ohio, U.S. VALDRIN: Beyond the Forest 1. A Drain in the River (intro) 03:30 2. Beyond the Forest 10:23 3. Rusalka Succubus 05:14 4. Serpent Willow 02:43 5. Impaled Visions Breed Within the Vines 05:53 6. Calling to the Canidae Horde 04:55 7. Through the Catacombs 07:07 8. Come Forth 04:11 9. Darkness as Black as Evil 06:51 10. Battles in the Mdieval Sky 04:20 11. In the Vortex of Time / Relinquish Flesh 05:05 12. Forgotten Souls 06:11 TOTAL TIME 01:06:23 www.facebook.com/valdrinausadjur
Fuglymaniacs has available for reading and downloading the latest issue of Metal Bulletin Zine, number 46. among the bands covered this time are: Grabnebelfürsten (Germany) Brood of Hatred (Tunisia) Septicflesh (Greece) AlNamrood (Saudi Arabia) Brain Damage (Germany) Hod (U.S.) www.fuglymaniacs.com
The crazies into Incantation and Imprecation and in general the heaviest death metal in the world will be glad to hear this band from Oregon, U.S. For those who are keeping track of metal in Oregon, you might like to know that Tim Call is the drummer/vocalist in this band, according to Metal Archives. That just about means that Mr. Call is in about 50 projects and bands, and people are starting to wonder whether Mr. Call is taking over Oregon. Hear a track below and get ready for the massive death metal of the caves of Oregon. Sempiternal Dusk: Sempiternal Dusk (Dark Descent Records) 1. Moon Beneath Hook Cross 14:58 2. Streams of Night 09:14 3. Upon the Gallows at Perihelion 12:16 4. Seclusion of the Bereaved 08:26 5. Urn of Dawn 01:42 TOTAL TIME 46:36 https://www.facebook.com/SempiternalDusk www.darkdescentrecords.com
Sunday, October 19, 2014
interview with NWOBHM band CLOVEN HOOF Cloven Hoof (U.K.) Cloven Hoof—the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band—here in this interview provides a wonderful explanation about the current state of the band. They have a new album in 2014 called “Resist or Serve.” If you support traditional heavy metal and its aesthetics, or if you are crazy about the madness, chaos and glory of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I highly recommend putting Cloven Hoof’s 2014 album on your list, if you have not done so yet. The band is definitely rocking in 2014, as you will gather from this interview. Secondly, this interview is really good because bassist Lee Payne went all out and truly answered the questions presented to him. I imagine that he spent hours answering the questions. His effort to answer the questions is very, very professional. Lee explains lots about heavy metal in the 70s as he lived it and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as he experienced it. In addition, given the nature of the written word, Lee’s explanations are multi-dimensional, with nuances that give much fuller elucidations on metal music, instead of just making inaccurate generalizations (like we often hear that “Sabbath invented metal music.”). Thanks to Lee for this wonderful interview. Read it and get ready to learn much about Cloven Hoof and metal, including information that is often omitted in discussions about metal music. www.clovenhoof.net www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979 www.hrrecords.de -- -- Lee, so what is Cloven Hoof doing in 2014? This summer of 2014 the band's new album was released "Resist or Serve." What type of activities is the band doing in 2014 and plans for 2015? How you would describe 2014 for Cloven Hoof? After all, it is an incredible amount of work putting an album together, lots of frustration, hard work, obstacles, inconveniences, but also fun in the creative process. LEE: “Resist or Serve”is an album I am immensely proud of. I wanted to get back to our roots and capture the magic and energy level of our “Opening Ritual” EP (1982) and the debut album (“Cloven Hoof” 1984). It has an air of brooding menace and is very dark and aggressive sounding. That in part is thanks to the fantastic Patrick Engel whose production is masterful. He really understands totally what Cloven Hoof is all about. Every song has its own character and story line, Patrick brought out all the intricate dynamics perfectly. He is such a genius! We did all the pre-production recording at Jailhouse Rocks!, a studio in our home town of Wolverhampton. We sent the files to be mixed, mastered and produced by the greatest metal producer of them all... Patrick Engel. I don’t know where to begin to praise him highly enough. Patrick has such amazing ears and his attention to detail is phenomenal. He is the real deal and a great authority on all things metal. He really did us justice and got the very best out of our performances. The playing is without doubt the best we have ever produced. At our core I feel are very much a N.W.O.B.H.M band, but there is much more to us than that. Because we play complex song structures sometimes then the prog metal guys dig us. I think we are an important group because we are the link between Rush and Judas Priest. Cloven Hoof's music is a broad church and we have a large bandwidth. Sometimes we are speed metal, at others we are epic and melodic. There are always multi-time changes and lyrics that tell a story like in a movie. It is hard to analyse your music because everyone has their own perception and personal interpretation of it. That's what makes music so interesting don't you think? After all the trials and tribulations you have to go through in a band with a 30-year history you have to really love what you are doing. It is true to say I enjoy being in Cloven Hoof more today then ever. I really appreciate the fans sticking with us all these years and our audiences are getting younger every day. That is the test of good music, if it can stand the test of time then that is how you can judge its worth. We are bigger now than ever so Cloven Hoof must be doing something right! The hardest part about being in a band is getting the right musicians because the chemistry must be perfect. Everyone has to be great musicians because the songs are challenging to play, but you need all the other qualities too. A band has to have dedicated team players who get on like a family. Sometimes it feels like you are gladiators going into the arena and it is your little band of people against the world. When you take the stage everyone is all on the same side united in metal brotherhood and the feeling can be a magical experience. We have had terrible contractual problems in the past. We have had to deal with rip-off managers and agents too numerous to mention. In the end, it boils down to your belief in your music and the genre. You just have to have an iron will and the heart of a fighter. Your audience will find you in the end if you stick around long enough. 2014 has been a fantastic year with us playing Sweden Rock festival with Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, it was a dream come true. France was incredible too and the audiences went wild. “Resist or Serve” has sold so well that just a few months after release I have had to start work writing the follow-up album. Joe, the singer, has been offered a part in the multi- million selling War of the Worlds musical by Jeff Wayne himself for the rest of the year, that is proof how far the band have come. We just have to be collectively careful of our own success and keep our feet on the ground. You are working on a new album already?! Yes, absolutely! Demand for the band has exceeded all expectations. I am writing at a truly prolific rate at the moment because I feel so inspired by the huge steps forward we have taken these past few years. The songs are flowing easily and our sound is now well defined. It is powerful and epic with anthemic choruses, but there is a certain darkness to it these days. I guess this maybe due to the return to our occult-driven roots. I am fascinated with this subject matter again and the nightmares I get dwelling on the supernatural, inspires me a lot in my writing. Lee, would you mind telling us about the line up for the band? We know that you are a founding member from the band's beginning in 1979, but as you can imagine, we don't necessarily know where the other band members came from musically. For instance, who is Joe Whelan? He's been singing in the band since 2012, correct? LEE: The present band have been playing together since late 2011 when Joe joined as lead guitarist after being highly recommended by Mick Brookes at One Way Music, musical instrument shop in Wolverhampton situated in the heart of the industrial West Midlands, England. Mick recorded the first Cloven Hoof demo back in 1979 and he has been a good friend of mine and the band ever since. Joe had visited the store and was on the look out for a new band to join. He mentioned to Mr. Brookes that he had seen an article that Cloven Hoof were searching for a new lead guitarist. He wanted a chance to audition for the band, but he did not know them personally. Mick phoned me up immediately and told him to forget auditioning anyone else, he had found the perfect man for the job who was truly world class. I got in touch with Joe and on meeting him instantly knew that Mick was right! This would be a good time to introduce the new personnel: Joe is above all things a born star! He has talent in abundance. He sings and plays guitar like a virtuoso, not only this, but he writes great songs and has the image of an Adonis. The girls love him with all the muscles and stuff. He has opened up a huge new female fan base for the band. That can’t be bad, can it? It is great seeing more girls at our shows. On the flip side of this, Joe is very humble, loyal and a down-to-earth family man. Guitarist Chris is a perfectionist blessed with an upbeat 'can do' attitude. He is the type of person who never makes mistakes, even at rehearsals because he practices relentlessly. Intelligent and articulate Chris is very calm and level headed. Mr. Coss is a keep fit fanatic and enjoys rock climbing, wind surfing and mountain biking. Chris plays mean lead guitar on occasions, too. Mr. Coss is the cool surfer dude of the band with a strong sense of style and inner calm. At 18 years of age, drummer Jake is somewhat of a musical prodigy. His incredible techniques were refined by playing in orchestras and jazz bands for 10 years. His love is for hard rock and Jake’s phenomenal double bass drums can be heard to devastating effect on the latest material. His jazz experience helps him pick up on complex time changes instantly and the band benefit enormously from this. Mature beyond his years, Mr. Oseland is totally dedicated to his art and is the quiet member of the group. Jake will undoubtedly become one of the finest rock drummers in the world, I have no doubt about it. We have a new boy in our ranks, lead guitarist Luke Hatton. Like Chris, Luke was highly recommended to us by Simon Lees (ex-Budgie). Luke is a guitar virtuoso who has built up his relentless skills through years of practice and gigging. In contrast to his intense musical conquests, he’s a very laid back guy who is always up for a good laugh and you’ll never see him without a cup of tea near by. (the guys in Saxon are the same, Biff drinks tea by the bucket load. Did you know he started off as a bass player? He told me that once when we supported them, not a lot of people know that! lol) THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW, but we’ll stop here for now. I hope you go out and find out about Cloven Hoof in 2014. More of the interview is coming!