Monday, April 22, 2013

The Unconscious Mind Interview


1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
1- We're a black/death metal band, or like many say, “blackened death metal”. We come from the South Shore of Montreal, and the band started officially in 2007. TUM is truly a band of old friends, we've all known each other for about 9 years. We started the band to have a good time and to provide a good time to other people. That goal remains, but with a more focused and professional approach.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
2- A maelstrom of black and death metal with a touch of symphony.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
3- Our new album Where Philosophers Fall is essentially the concept of the free thinking philosopher who devotes his life to truth and knowledge for humanity but at the end of the line becomes unhappy, solitary and insane. Think of certain great ancient philosophers that ended up in mental asylums (Frederich Nietzsche). Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
4- The Unconscious Mind is the source of creation and of dementia. No one really knows how this mysterious part of the brain works. It's also a metaphor about the unconsciousness of humanity as desired by the media, commercial radio and modern society that tries to model our spirit right under our noses. We say that dreams are the language of the unconscious, which is one of the symbolic aspects of our songs. It happens often that I write a song during the night after waking up from a dream and I ask myself where these ideas come from that I did not have the night before. The unconscious is an inner power that we must harness.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
5- We particularly loved our Montreal show at Le National with The Agonist. We were called upon the day before to replace a band, and it was a big gig on the Domination tour. There were 500 or 600 people there, we weren't on the flyer and more than half of the people had never heard of us. We still got an amazing crowd reaction and our singer even ordered a wall of death. Le National is probably the best venue we've played at.

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
6- We have 4 shows in Quebec in June: Montreal, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Saint-Hyacinthe. We also intend to expand to the rest of Canada in cities like Toronto and Ottawa.

7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the music?
7- We just signed with CDN Records for our physical copies and duplication.


8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death metal?
8- Very well up to now, but I must say that we just recently started a PR campaign and our physical album is not even out, but I think reviews will start coming in soon thanks to Ricburn Media and CDN Records. We are really proud of the album and we've worked hard for many years to put out something of quality and we hope to get good feedback.


9. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?
9- I (Simon Cléroux, guitars) also play in the technical death metal band Derelict. We have 2 albums out and are currently working on a third, as well as going through a competition to play on the Heavy MTL festival which will conclude at the end of May. I also have an instrumental solo project that should see the light of day in 2013 or 2014.

10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
10- Our next album will be more collaborative and the writing will be done as a band and not just by one member like on Where Philosophers Fall where it was our keyboardist (Micheal Racine) and I. We want to keep pushing the emotional side for the next one and continue in a more positive direction. Perhaps less technical as well but with added effectiveness.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
11- Personally, I was very inspired by Old Mans Child for the technical and melancholic riffs, as well as by other black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir and Immortal. But I've also always liked the clean and efficient production of modern death metal bands like Decapitated and Meshuggah who probably inspire that modern side of our sound.

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
12- Well, drinking beer and seeing people that we love, living it up and being happy. Although we all have jobs or are in school, music remains a constant priority in our lives.

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
13- A huge thank you to all of you who support us in this adventure, thanks to you we can do this. We hope to see you at our official launch at Foufounes Électriques in Montreal!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Forlorn Path Interview



1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Yuriy: The album only came out two months ago, so we're working on getting it out there. So far we've seen a lot of great responses and reviews, which is excellent. I'm already having ideas for future material now and then. But the album was a major endeavor that took a lot of energy, and we're taking some time to take care of things outside of the band right now.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album?
Yuriy: Black/Doom? Blackened doom? That's how most people seem to describe it, and I'd agree with that. It's a dark album, depressing in a way, but hopeful at the same time. It's meant to be a kind of journey through different emotions, ranging from sadness to despair to hope. Most of the reviews have been pretty spot on in describing the sound, actually, except they do a much better job than I could.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
Yuriy: Most of them deal with personal loss, grief - as well as the state of the world as a whole. So, as I said - pretty depressing. But I think there's beauty in that, too.
Dave: My biggest lyrical contribution was for "What Lies Beyond". I got the idea for it from an episode of "The Universe" that was talking about "The Death of the Universe" and the 'deep freeze' theory. The lyrics were heavily inspired by that show and theory.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band's name?
Yuriy: 
It has to do with many concepts...I don't want to get too into this, but one important part of it is the idea of being true to yourself.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Dave: We had a very....peculiar....stage presence with the configuration of our old lineup. Keyboards were in the middle along with the bass and they were flanked by the two guitars. That's definitely not something you see every day in metal!
Yuriy: For future performances, I'd like to make sure we create a proper atmosphere. Lighting, incense...it needs to all fit together to create an experience for the people at the show. I want it to be something special, especially since we don't get to play often these days.

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
Yuriy: 
I'd really like to, but right now our lives are so unstable that it would be difficult to organize. However, once things calm down a bit, if there's enough of a demand, it's definitely possible. Hell, even if there's only five people in an entire city that would come out to see us, it would still be worth it.

7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the music?
Yuriy: Well, it would certainly be nice to be signed to something like Profound Lore or Peaceville, but whether we'll be fortunate enough for that to happen remains to be seen. I don't really think about that stuff too much - I just want to keep writing music, and hopefully some people somewhere are able to connect with it. That's all that matters.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of underground metal?
Dave: The bits and pieces that we've been hearing are very positive! It has been absolutely thrilling to hear positive feedback on the CD from so many different people and places.
Yuriy: Yeah, it's a great feeling waking up and seeing that someone over in Germany or Poland or Italy had really enjoyed the album. It's really rewarding to be able to connect with people from all over the world through our music.

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Yuriy: It took us quite a bit of time to find our sound, but I think Man's Last Portrait is a good example of where the band is going, musically. To be honest, I like it far more than our demos, and it also draws more on the influences closest to my heart; the ones I always end up coming back to. Of course, the next release won't be exactly the same - I'd like to incorporate new elements and give people something really unique. But it will still be dark, and likely quite melodic. One thing I can say for sure is I'd like to devote ample time to the songwriting process, and record in an environment that will really get us the perfect sound for the music. It may take quite a bit of time, but I guarantee it will be worth the wait.

10. Are there any other musical projects besides this band or is this a full time line up?
Dave: We're pretty busy in our lives outside of Forlorn Path; I am working on becoming a history teacher and Yuriy is working on a computer science degree, and we both have jobs outside of school as well, so we're always doing stuff!
Yuriy: That sums it up. Absolutely no time for other projects right now. I barely even have time to make it out to a local show anymore. I'm just looking forward to being done with this degree so that I can have time to devote to music again.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Dave: I grew up on New Wave of British Heavy Metal and honestly didn't really get into black/doom metal until I met Yuriy in college. I'll listen to choral music one day and punk rock the next; I'm one of those people. My most recent obsession was dubstep, but I think I'm finally getting out of that phase now...
Yuriy: A lot of people have been noticing influences like Agalloch and Swallow the Sun in our music, and that's definitely accurate. I've been listening to them for many years. A few other doom metal bands - I've been listening to Woods of Ypres quite a bit lately. A lot of quiet stuff, too - Tenhi, Ulver, various classical/new age pianists and such.

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Dave: I'm really into politics/current events, follow science news pretty closely, love video games and doing stuff outside.
Yuriy: Hiking, reading, and red wine. Mostly low key stuff. I play videogames on the rare occasion something I would enjoy comes out. The Witcher was great.

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Live long and prosper.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Burial Vault/Incedium/Apostasy Records/2013 CD Review


  Burial Vault  are  a  band  from  that  plays  a   mixture  of  brutal  death  and  melodic  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Incedium"  which  was  released  by  Apostasy  Records.

  Drums  range  from s low,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  that  give  the  music  a  black  metal  feeling,  while  the  synths  which  are  only  briefly  give  the  music  a  dark  and  atmospheric  sound,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very   strong  and  powerful  sound  with  heavy  and  progressive  sounding  riffing  that  dominates  throughout  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  riffs  that  combine  technical  and  brutal  death  metal  with  melodic  black  metal  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  are very  technical  and  melodic  sounding  death/black  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  they  use  finger  picking  and  full  chords  to  add  some  progressive  moments  to  the  recording.

  Vocals  range  from  deep  death  metal  growls  to  grim  sounding  and  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  along  with  some  clean  singing  and  spoken  word  samples,  while  the  lyrics  are  divided  into  4  different  parts  and  cover  the  metamorphosis  of  a  human  in  an  inconvenient  future,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  where you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording  along  with  some  of  the  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.  

  In  my  opinion  Burial  Vault  are  a  very  great  sounding  of  death  and  melodic death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "A  Blind  Follower  And  A  Watchful  Hound"  "Fatal  Accident"  "Moment  Of  Truth"  and  "Catharsis".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Gukurahundi Interview


1.Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?

LN- Basically we are an underground band that wants to bring a fresh new take on blackened death metal. We explore the ethereal and horrors of the world and just enjoy writing and producing songs. Right now we are just a studio project and try to experiment with different sounds and aspects of the music we enjoy playing.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

LN- We use a lot of black metal key structures and use the whole ambience feel of the genre, but we do it in a melodic way and definitely utilize groove death metal into our songs as well. At times the music can get that thrashy black metal vibe and we even throw in some blues and rock elements. I try not to limit myself in what music will come out and basically the band is always experimenting in sound, trying to evolve and progress.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

LN- I usually come up with a title that represents the feeling or mood of the music and Pete will approach it with his own style and view on the songs. I hope to incorporate more African themes to the songs in the future but it all depends on the the music itself.

PC- Usually Lawrence will give me the name of the song along with the track so from the get go so I will have a rough understanding of what he's feeling in the music and how to approach the lyrics. For this band I mainly try to write lyrics that straddle the line between fantasy and reality. I attempt to visualize the scenario presented in the music and capture what I see down to the most grotesque detail. 

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

LN- Its the name given to a genocide which happened In Zimbabwe during the 80s. It portrays the ruthlessness of Africa and the aftermath of colonialism. The bands name is very personal to me as I grew up in Zimbabwe and have been witness to some pretty horrendous acts.

5. Currently the band members are in 2 different states, how do you organize the recording process?

LN- (Laughs) Yeah at times it can be a little difficult but we manage. Of course we would both rather be living in the same state a tleast but other commitments in our lives have made it tough. So far things have been rather smooth and everything has worked out. Maybe in the future as the band grows we could work in person and with other musicians.


PC- You would think communication would be difficult, especially with the 3 hour time difference but we are pretty good about working things out and being patient. For example, the song 'Dethroned' was probably our best test of team work, the song went through at least 3 different evolutions before both sides were completely happy.. in the end I think the results have been pretty amazing. 

6. The new release came out of Manicidic Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support they have given you so

LN- Right now the band is in its early stages of development and being with a large label wouldn't really be the best thing. Manicidic is perfect for where we are right now and Pete has done well in promoting and organizing releases for the band.

PC- I've owned and operated the label since its inception in 2005. 'An Apparition In Nocturnal Splendor' is the 30th release to date. Being a part-time label run by only myself, signing and committing to more than 2 or 3 projects at a time is difficult both financially and emotionally. I like to think that a small roster comprised of friends and personal projects can never fail. 

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been so  far by fans of melodic black and death metal?

LN- Better than what i thought actually. We have received alot of positive remarks from the material that we have released so far and the support has been much appreciated by both Pete and I. We dont know what the future holds but right now it does like promising

PC- So far so good! Of the reviews, comments and blurbs I've read so far every one of them has been positive. I'm astounded how many downloads our links have generated in just about 2 weeks of being live. Hopefully more will follow. 

8. Are there any other musical projects besides this band?

LN- Well right now I have alot of other commitments in my life and its even difficult to find time for Gukurahundi but as things slow down I want to focus on the band more. I do have another project I am working on but things are still in the early stages of development.

PC- I'm forever staying busy with music. I'm currently finishing up an EP to be released this summer with a grindcore band named Danny Tanner, also currently recording an EP with an OSDM/thrash band named Psionics to be released in the Fall as well as recording a demo with an international technical death metal band named Arcain. 

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

LN- Once the release of the EP is done we will begin writing for the full length. We already have a couple of songs done and the direction is more ambient in a way. Right now the band could be taken in any direction and we will just have to see what happens musically. I do, however, know that the next album will be more progressive and a lot darker.

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

LN- I basically listen to anything really. It all depends on if I feel a connection to the music. My major influences are Decapitated, Arch Enemy, Cult of Luna, Naglfar, Akercocke, Behemoth and Opeth because that is the stuff I grew up on but I do like to incorporate more obscure music into my style. Lately I have been jamming out to Goatwhore, Abigail Williams, and The Atlas Moth. I recently became a fan of Ghost, I think they bring something unique and fresh to the world of metal.

PC- I'm a huge music nerd, I have a collection of almost 4000 cds. I was raised on NJ hardcore and old school death metal. Recently, I've been stuck on obscure death metal albums and demos from 1989-1994 (Autopsy, Asphyx, Depravity, etc) and 90's black metal (Ulver, Dark Funeral, Abazagorath, etc). I love the resurgence of OSDM happening recently, bands like Horrendous, Vorum, Disma and Krypts have released some very punishing material as of late.  

11. Does Occultism play any role in your music?

LN- I think that they do. I am not religious but I connect to the darkness and mysticism of this world. To me its all about the energy we feel and how we interact with it. There is alot of torment and despair in the world of late and black metal is the perfect channel for its release. I am not trying to invoke or praise anything in my music, only trying to create a musical representation of my thoughts and feelings.

PC- Occultism is honestly a big part in most of the music and bands I've been apart of. Not necessarily from any kind of religious stand point but more so in the general themes, beliefs and the thought provoking in which they cause. I like to think that there is so much in which we have yet to understand, thoughts like that drive me study and write about what they could be. 

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

LN- Family and Music are basically my main interests. If i get spare time I enjoy hiking and just being out in the natural world. The geeky side of me is into physics and spiritualism. Nothing too exciting really (laughs)

PC- Beer, Wine and Spirits. I'm a certified WSET and Cicerone. Booze pays my bills hahaha. 

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

LN- Would like to thank everyone for the amazing support for the EP release. We hope you all enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it \m/
PC- I hope your readers like the EP, thanks for doing this. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mayak Interview


1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
We are a 4 piece hailing from Bielefeld/Germany founded in spring 2012. Jonas (Bass), André (Drums) and me (Mark/Vocals) already knew each other from a project we’ve had before. That project found its end after 2 or 3 months of sludgy rock’n’roll but some time later there was this new band called Mayak with Philipp playing guitars and Jonas having moved to bass – but they didn’t have a shouter, so they asked me to fill that spot. It’s my first shouting experience, I used to play bass and guitar in other bands before. After some time it worked pretty well so, yeah, here we are!

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
That’s a hard one. Everyone of us has many different preferences. Philipp is more that grunge/stoner guy, André and Jonas did more crust stuff in the past and I’m the metalhead somehow, haha. So I think our music is a mixture of mainly metal and hardcore but with many influences like stoner rock, sludge, punk and so on. We mix black metal blastbeats with offbeats and switch from stonerriffage to punkish singalong parts. Just listen to it, I’m not that good in analyzing music (is there a need for that anyway?). Our sound is very raw and loud.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Most of the lyrics are reflecting my view on different things like politics, lifestyles, the fucked up world we live in, life in general… but we even have lyrics about meth smoking swamp monsters trying to kill your family. We all think it’s very important to be not too serious. Sometimes. At least.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
Originally Mayak is a Russian nuclear facility complex that’s part of the Russian nuclear weapon program but it’s also the Russian word for light tower. As you might suggest, nothing of that has a meaning for us. We just like that name. It sounds cool, and its order of letters is pretty nice for a logo, haha.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
 Playing live is the reason we do this. All of us played in other bands before or still are members of other bands (Ruins, Hyena, Samara, Playbot, to mention a few) so it’s not a new thing to us. I think our liveshows are pretty energetic and headbangable. We try to carry that energy to the people that visit our concerts. Until now, we shared stages with more like locally known bands but this thursday we’re going to support Victor Griffins (Pentagram) new band In Graved. It’s an honour for us sharing stage with such a doom/stoner legend like him!

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
Touring for a longer time is not possible these days because most of us are hard working people. But we’re planning a larger tour this autumn and until then, the weekend trips are working pretty well for us. We’re playing anywhere for food, booze and a place to sleep. It’s all about the good times for us.

7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so, what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the music?
The first EP was a DIY-release, available on CD, tape and digital on our homepage. We hope to record our first full length release this winter. We haven’t done that many considerations about a label until now, but if you read this and you have one, just contact us! Personally a large part of bands I love are on Deathwish, Southern Lord and Relapse but I think this is wishful thinking. Yet.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your recording by fans of extreme and underground music?
Feedback after seeing us live or listening to our EP has always been positive. People from places we’ve never been send us messages telling they really dig our music or buy our tapes and shirts. These might be the pros of social media nowadays. We’re deeply grateful for everyone checking out our stuff.

9. Are there any other musical projects besides this band or is this a full time line up?
Jonas is swinging the axe in a crustcore band called Ruins (check them out, pretty dark stuff) but like I said before, most of us have full time jobs or study, so it’s a little bit too early to speak of a full time project. Of course we would like to be something like that someday!

10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
The more recent songs are more thrashy than our first EP.  There’s more doublebass drumming, faster guitars and more blastbeats. But there still are some more positive vibes like in songs like “Another Day Will Rise” and “Cut The Ropes”.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Like I said before, we all have slightly different musical preferences and backgrounds but we all like stuff like Kvelertak, Kyuss, Doomriders, Deadbird, Overthrow, Entombed and Thou just to mention a few more famous names.

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Nothing worth mentioning (sports, etc) – most of our interests are music related. Making music, listening to music, going to shows… Jonas is also hosting shows in our hometown.
13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Yeah, thanks to the visitors for reading this and checking us out onfacebook.com/iheartmayak or mayakband.de. You can download our first EP for free! Thanks to you for the interview and for supporting us!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mayak/Demo 12/2012 Review


  Mayak  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  doom  stoner,  hardcore  and  sludge  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2012  demo.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  utilized  at  times,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  strong  and  powerful  sound  with  heavy  riffing  that  dominates  throughout  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  riffs  that  combine  black  metal,  hardcore,  stoner  and  sludge  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  which  are  only  used  briefly  are  very  old  school  sounding  hardcore  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  they  are  only  used  on  the  last  song  and  they  use  finger  picking,  full  chords  and  guitar  slides  to  add  more  variety  to  the  recording  as  well  as  some  blues  rock  sounding h armonicas.

  Vocals  range  from  high  pitched  black  metal  screams,  deep  death  metal  growls  and  hardcore  style  shouting,  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  hateful  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  dark  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording  with  the  last  song  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Mayak  are  a  very  great  sounding  hybrid  of  black  metal,  hardcore, s toner  and  sludge  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Cut  The  Ropes"  and  "Dead  Man  Telling  Tales".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Gukurahundi/An Apparition In Nocturnal Splendor/Manicidic Records/2013 EP Review


  Gukurahundi  are  a  band  with  members  from  both  California  and  New  Jersey  with  a  musical  style that  mixes  melodic  black  metal  with  atmospheric  elements,  death  metal,  and  rock  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  ep  "An  Apparition  In  Nocturnal  Splendor"  which  was  released  by  Manicidic  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  utilized  at  times,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  strong  and  powerful tone  with  heavy  riffing  that  dominates  throughout  the  recording,  as  for  the  pianos  they  are  only  used  briefly and  they  bring  a  dark  and  atmospheric  sound  to  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  riffs  that  combine  melodic  black  metal,  death  metal  and  rock  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  black/death  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  they  are  only used  briefly  and  they  use  finger  picking  to  add  more  originality  to  the  music.

  Vocals  range  from  high  pitched  black  metal  screams,  deep  death  metal  growls  and  whispers,  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness,  anarchy  and  anti  christian  themes,  as  for  the  production  it h as  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  dark  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  In  my  opinion  Gukurahundi  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  black/death metal  band  and if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Dethroned"  and  "The  Carcass  Of  Christ".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Obscurity Interview



1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Well, the new album “Obscurity” hit stores now half a year ago and so we have some busy times at the moment. The hard work creating the album gives away to the fun part in terms of going out on the roads for live-activities, having interviews and all that stuff. Especially our very successful European tour in October/November 2012 with Kampfar, Helrunar and Velnias was a big blast. We just came back from a festival gig (Ragnarök 2013) in Germany which was as exciting as it can be. We pick out concerts and festivals very carefully just to be able to provide fans the best shows we can offer. Meaning things are going pretty well for us and we are looking forward to the things coming in the future.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?

Well, we already said even in the very early days (15 years ago), we play Battle Metal. That´s exactly the style of the new album “Obscurity”. One can say it´s a mix of Death/Black/Viking Metal with pagan and martial lyrics. The music doesn´t differ that much from the previous two albums. Of course we have some shifts, but you always get a true Obscurity album when you buy one. We always try to put in new elements, speaking of lyrical style and so on. It´s a good mix of our very own music style with fresh, new elements and great sound. We remain true to our sound and push it forward to a higher level. Nevertheless the album got some originals to offer. If you need some good Battle Metal to get you a kick in the butt or that gives you the power to kick butts, well, then Obscurity is the first choice, hehe.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?

As we try to tell tales with our lyrics rather than put just some catchy phrases together, you will learn some things about the Christian church as an institution (In nomine patris), you´ll get a sing-along anthem called “Obscurity” (yeah, after fifteen years we dared to sing about ourselves and our army of fans). There´s a tale about the ancient germans and their path (Germanenblut), you can listen to the fearless warscream of some northmen which will invade your shores with their longships (Strandhogg).  Another song is about a warrior who walks the path of life alone, fights against the struggles life can offer, it is also an homage to Quorthon, the Bathory mastermind (Ensamvarg). You can dive into the times of the four eschatological disasters which are the prelude to the doom of the gods in northern mythology (Blutmondzeit, Jörmungandr, Weltenbrand and Fimbulwinter). These four songs are a mini-concept and if you are into the northern mythology you will like it. Then again we have a true sing-along anthem, a martial no-retreat-order/death-or-glory march (Kein Rückzug). The last song comes as a surprise since it features softer, darker sounds, yet without lacking heaviness and gloomas. It deals with a warrior´s final journey to Valhalla (So endet meine Zeit).

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

One cannot really put us into a very special or even single metal genre like just Black Metal or just Death Metal or just Thrash Metal or just Pagan Metal and so forth. We offer our very own style with a lot of different genre elements. We never intended to stick just to one genre because all members of Obscurity have their own favorites and tastes and we thought that would be too boring to us and the listeners. We believe in that right on from the beginning and as our music is not precisely definable but rather a bit of twilight between a couple of genres, we have chosen the name Obscurity. And now fifteen years later, things attested that we were right so many years ago.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

We had quite a bunch of shows which are unforgettable experiences to us. I just want to name a few here. At the Ultima Ratio festival in 2008 we had the first slot to play at 12.00 am which isn´t always a good slot but at that day over 3.500 fans screamed out loud for us for about 15 minutes before we entered the stage. I still have a video with the sound of the audience. All three Ragnarök festival shows are very special. In 2010 and 2013 we set up shows with pyrotechnics and such stuff. We almost set the whole Ragnarök festival on fire… but the audience went totally crazy and that released incredible power to us on stage. In 2010 we entered the stage at around 2:30 in the night. Normally there are only few people still in front of the stage but at that day it seemed that almost everyone was waiting for us. So what followed was a very, very intense party for us and the fans. Furthermore is our European Tour in 2013 a memorable experience in our lives.  It is really a tour to remember.

We are very lucky to have some special shows and encounters during our career and we are grateful for those experiences we will never forget. We have to thank our fans for having such blasts again and again. Thank you wherever you are, guys!

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?

We have scheduled some selected festivals and headliner-shows for 2013 but another tour so quick after the one in 2012 isn´t planned yet. Of course we are talking about a tour and have some stuff in mind but it´s nothing settled yet.

7. Currently the band is signed to TrollZorn Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support they have given you so far?

In 2007 we considered if we want to continue our work with Massacre Records. The Massacre guys did a good job for us but we felt that we maybe will have to move in a different direction. At that time we met Kai and Stefan from Trollzorn at a festival. They had a merchandise booth there (they have also a mailorder site) and saw our performance. After the show they came to us and wanted a couple of shirts and such stuff for their mailorder business. We kept in touch and a couple of months and conversations later they asked if we were interested in working them. That´s one of the famous lucky incidents you need in life. We became partners in crime, friends and have a successful and pleasant cooperation since those days.

They always supported us very bravely. We don´t have any restrictions and can do whatever we want, because TrollZorn knows that we always give the best and same goes for them.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to the new album by fans of Viking Metal?

So far we got a lot of excellent reviews and recognition from both the magazines and fans from around the world. It still astonishes us, as we never thought that a band with German lyrics would even hit the attention of people from Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Ghana for example. Ok, there´s Rammstein with German lyrics but we aren´t Rammstein, hehe. Anyways, again we can be grateful to have dedicated supporters all around the world. This is extremely exciting and we wish to visit all those guys with a cool live-performance. Unfortunately that is not possible.

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

Hmmm, in the same direction as it´s heading since a couple of years now. We don´t have to change things radically just for the sake of seeming progressive. We like the music and the way we create our stuff. We still have great fun on our path and people enjoy our work more and more. There´s no need of big changes. Of course we wanna have evolution or better improvement to our music, as we add different new elements to our sound, music and lyrics, but I think if you will buy an Obscurity album in the future, you will always know what you get. Pure Obscurity! Iron Maiden doesn´t invent themselves for over twenty years now. If you buy their albums you may be disappointed until a certain point but you must admit it´s still Iron Maiden. Yeah, yeah, I know we aren´t Iron Maiden and I don´t really want to compare us with those heroes of Heavy Metal, but the principle is the same.

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Actually we never had any strong ideals which influenced our music. We are five guys with different metal styles. There are intersections in tastes, but those really didn´t find their way into our music. Let´s say there are some bands which we adore and we try to bring the same power on stage like them.

There are a couple of bands which are still prominent in our music systems. Bands like Unleashed, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Anthrax, Maiden, Slayer, Primordial, Enslaved, Bathory, Immortal and so on. We are a bit older now and we definitely listen to new bands, as well, but we are kind of old-school buddies.

11. How would you describe your views on Paganism?

Ahh, that´s a hard question because it´s always hard to give a proper answer which covers this vast topic. It is not only about being dismissive against the Christian church or other religions and to wear kiddy T-shirts with the print “Odin not Jesus”. If you have troubles with world religions, that´s ok for me, as long as you respect people with different cultures and religious background. None can prove you are right and blame you for that, but you can´t prove it either. You need to have a strong faith in yourself and your way to interact socially with other persons. All the rest about old gods, the old mythologies and so on are well-known and I think you don´t need me to explain that for the seemed like hundred´s time.

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

Some of us are very deep into history, like myself. We are very busy with our jobs, our families and kids, we watch a lot of movies, travelling around to learn more of foreign cultures and people, I love Star Wars and the rest of us loves beer. That´s it, hehe!

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Thank you for having Obscurity on this interview. It´s an honor and I hope we can arrange a live show anytime in your neighborhood, hehe. I hope the readers didn´t fell asleep already and you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.
Remain true to yourself and Metal on!
Thanks a lot!
Ziu/Obscurity

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oprich Interview


Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Now we prepare our material for recording of an Internet single. It will include 2 songs. The single will be titled as "Winds’ Heady Mead" by name of one of our songs. In our previous albums we’ve already dealt with the topic concerning the Upper Volgian settlements of free men – a special phenomenon which can be compared to Vikings of Northern Europe or Cossacks of the Southern borders of Russia. Extensive and sparsely populated lands of Northern Russia – from Baltic to Transurals area – were a part of the state of Lord Novgorod the Great in the Middle Ages era. For development of these lands, and often for predatory attacks against adjacent lands the teams consisting of military youth were created in Novgorod and the cities within its power. Participants of such teams were called as ushkuiniks – according to the name of a river rowing and sailing craft – an ushkui. However, ushkuis could sail in the sea as well. The Swedish city Sigtuna, for example, still remembers a shattering campaign of the Novgorod groups. In the 14th century ushkuiniks had raided along the Norwegian coast, having ruined some regions. It was made as retaliation. Tatar aggressors also got hard lines from ushkuiniks, although they subdued Russia in the 13th century – but they could not overpower Northern Russian outlaws. The Tatar cities across the Central Volga went through devastating attacks of ushkuiniks more than once. Russian northerners, being skillful in prompt and impudent attacks, took the cities by storm ruthlessly suppressing any resistance. They quickly embarked the taken loot and left upstream the Volga, leaving the glowing fires as a revenge for humiliation from the Tatar sovereignty. Territorial coverage of the campaigns of ushkuiniks was really great – from the Central Volga to Northern suburbs of the continent, from Scandinavia to Western Siberia.
Campaigns of ushkuiniks often began from the Upper Volga (from the Sheksna River’s inflow to the Volga), so it’s namely our lands - as Rybinsk city is located in a junction of these two Russian rivers, and OPRICH comes from Rybinsk. I needed such a long introduction because I tried to bring narration about the essence of our nearest plans. Our single "Winds’ Heady Mead" will be dedicated to ushkuiniks, their campaigns, their daring and luck, and also to the topic what is life on the Volga. It is the deep breadth, slow current, this fresh wind and cries of seagulls, the shine of the sun on waves, this feeling of freedom – all of this is the Volga. We will try to enclose such feelings and impressions to our new songs. Stylistically the single’s material will move away from traditional pagan metal in a way and will move towards hardcore – however with all Russian ethic flavour.

How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
I do not know what our listeners will think, but as for as us the sound of our new album can be described as more various – than ever before! ( We applied new folk instruments and we used them in arrangements more widely. Guitar sound changed as well. Besides distortion effects we used the drive effects – as real rockers of the 70’s (. So, if everything goes further in this way, sometimes we will play the real blues from the bank of the Volga (.

What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
The album "Birdless Heavens" is a conceptual work about Winter. About Northern, Russian winter. The first song, "Valedictory Hymn", parts with Summer, green leaves, and tender heat of the Sun. Summer raises a farewell bowl, giving way to Fall with its chilling wind, dark rough waves of the Volga, rains and fogs that creep among fir-trees. But Autumn will also not be late –the first ice holds down pools here, and fallen leaves become covered with hoarfrost. Also there comes the special time – "The First Wintry Touches". The first snow buries the earth. The twilight, a silent beast, is creeping up. And here comes Hiems – with blizzards and snow, holding everything down with frost. Time stands still in shining ice silence. "This Light And Joyous Death" is a song about a fierce, ruthless triumph of white ice space without spots of life. "Beldam-Snowstorm" follows, and it is about how the beldam-snowstorm pursues a traveler, trying to carry him away in the vortex embraces, whirl him in a blizzard round dance and lull among soft snow for eternal rest. But the traveler managed to take cover in the warmth of a house, and the blizzard hits against the walls, groaning and being angry with relentless senile rage. The fifth song, "The Sit’-River", is about a fight between Russian warriors and Tatars, that took place on the outcome of winter of 1238 in the woods of Zavolzhye. Forces were unequal, and the Russian hosts lay down on the snow fields for Russian Land and their knjaz’ (prince). On this tragic note the album turns in the way, where in the middle of low blizzard clouds, between cold and death, a thin, but persistent beam of hope shines. "Guslar the Prophetic" (gusla player), with his singing, recovers the recollection of bright haying meadows, magic singing of nightingales in ravines and groves – and this ringing of gusla strings becomes the spring thaw, and beams of the spring sun make their way through clouds as hot blades. And now, a playful breeze smells of forthcoming high water, and old ice of the Volga, at any moment, will crack under the pressure of melt water. "Soon, Very Soon!" the Volga will become free of its ice armor, and the boats of the northern teams will rush for a new campaign! This campaign shall be, when "Winds’ Heady Mead" makes sail towards the warrior’s good fortune.

What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
The word "oprich" is of Old Russian origin, and nowadays it is not used in colloquial speech. Those people, who are familiar well with history of Russia, may know about Oprichnina – a special phenomenon during the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. However the sense of our name is not connected in any way with this era, and the words "oprich" and "oprichnina" are just paronymous ones. The word "oprich" means something special, isolated, separated from a general series, opposed to something. As it happens often with ancient words, the sense of the word "oprich" is rather wide, and it depends on particular application. It is both opposition, denial, isolation, and “on the contrary”, “from the outside”, “against”. Generally, by means of such name, we let you know that we came to music with our specific aims, and we will reach them by our own means.

What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
All of our last concerts were the best! ( We did not play alive for two and a half year because of different reasons, and in autumn of 2011 we decided to break off this vicious circle and return on the stage. The trip to the Moscow big festival “Volh Pagan Fest 1” began for us from a serious car accident, in which the car was broken completely, but miraculously nobody suffered – bruises and abrasions are not counted. Having got into other car, we reached Moscow, but with some delay. We played with big enthusiasm – because after the accident we could not have any fear of returning to the stage! At all! (
Then we played a concert in a small town Danilov. It is a real Russian province – not high houses of the 18 – 19th centuries, ancient churches, a lot of trees. Concerts in such towns are a rarity; therefore the audience met the groups with special enthusiasm and sincerity. In general, friendliness, openness and sincerity are specific features of Russian province, and it’s a very pleasant feature.
After that we played in our city Rybinsk. There all people together, all people are friends. And the atmosphere was the most benevolent. So, if you want to sing your songs about the Volga, the most correct pastime is to perform them on the bank of the Volga (
The next trip to Moscow, this time to “Volh Pagan Fest 3” with Romanians of Negura Bunget as headliners, stayed in our memory due to the pleasant and cheerful atmosphere of the travel, as the concert itself gathered very little audience – either owe to insufficient advertizing, or because there were much other metal gigs that day in Moscow. But in any way we had good memories.
This time performance in the center of light industry, the city of Ivanovo, which is also called as "Russian Manchester", took place in a packed house and had good support of audience. Praiseworthy organization, new friends and excellent groups – it is all about the concert in Ivanovo.
The last one in the list of the visited cities is Cherepovets – the steel industry capital of the Russian North. There was all – a picturesque road among snow-covered coniferous forests, a beautiful city on the bank of the Sheksna river, old friends, and high quality performance. Leaving the stage after such concerts, you never know what prevails – pleasant tiredness owe to well-done work or desire to continue. There is a video of this performance, it includes our almost whole set list of that evening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ88zcfLZpY

Do you have any touring plans for the future?
Literally saying, the presentation of our recently released album "Birdless Heavens" will take place next week. It will be in our hometown Rybinsk. We don’t have any other plans for now, but we are open for any concert offers. However, the main task for us now is work on a single.

On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your new album by fans of folk metal?
The album has been just released, and at the moment we don’t have many responses. The first reviews mention a variety of our material and its originality. In general the feedback is positive; however I cannot say that our album is praised only. Someone needs more growling, someone wants more fun – generally it’s a matter of taste. As usual we are compared to Arkona – probably, from the present moment it will be the destiny of all Russian groups ( In one of reviews on our previous album a German author called our group as VolgaJugend – the youth of the Volga. We liked this expression, and now we use it. Well, and in an Italian review we were called as “Soviet folk metal” ( So we look forward for reviews! (

What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
It is hard to say right now. Our creativity is free, and it’s difficult to predict where our inspiration will bring us next time, so we don’t make plans for the distant future. I can tell you one thing: we will use more hardcore groovy riffs, and we will bring our national component of our music nearer to authentic folk. It seems to us that such direction is right, and it is possible to develop it for a long time.

What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
All of us have different musical preferences, and they influenced each of us in its own way. However if we speak about any collective musical taste which allows us composing music in this, but not different way, then Russian music, first of all traditional, influenced us strongly in a large extent. Secondly, probably, music of Russian composers, because their influence on any Russian musician is so strongly, that it is impossible to avoid or ignore.
Certainly, all of us listen to metal. All kinds of metal – from heavy to grindcore. Interesting representatives may be found in any style, however now the quantity of music in the world is so great that we have to spend a lot of efforts and time for identification and selection of the best music for ourselves. Personally I prefer Russian and Slavonic folk music – especially those authentic recordings which were gathered by ethnographic expeditions during the time of existence of the tradition which has not been interrupted by TV and mass culture. Also I love old school hardcore.

How would you describe your views on Paganism?
If we talk about ancient Paganism – Paganism that existed before x-tianity era – then it is necessary to study it. Study laboriously, carefully, applying scientific methods, collecting knowledge little by little. It is not necessary to idealize it – we need it in the way it was, instead of such we would like to see. If we talk about new, revived Paganism, then we should understand that it is a radically different phenomenon, because it was recovered in absolutely other time. At present Pagan world-view becomes topical for many reasons: the crash of x-tianity and spiritual emptiness which appeared on its place; the eternal call of the archetypes of our ancestors; a dangerous ecological situation when it is impossible to treat the Nature as a storeroom for human needs anymore – as it was during the era of the triumph of x-tian ideas. Also we may add another reason: globalization tries to destroy our memory of ancestors – the memory that knocks at our hearts more persistently. And of course we should not forget about the amazing spirit of the Universe calling the Human of the New Era into its spaciousness!

Outside of music what are some of your interests?
OPRICH is not just a group of musicians gathering from time to time for solution of creative problems. We are friends. We celebrate holidays together (including Pagan ones), birthdays, and weddings. All of us are from one city, not so big if we measure from a Russian point of view – the population of Rybinsk is 240.000 people. Therefore our interests besides music not only coincide in many respects, but they are embodied together as well. Outdoor activities, travelling, sport, militarized games, studying of history and many other things are those occupations, which are both rest and entertainments for us. As for me, that absolutely short time that remains after working and playing music I spend for photography, design, sport, and firing a pistol. I read a lot of really different books, but in any way they concern history, sociology, political science.

Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
I think it’s time to see us at concerts! (

Forlorn Path/Man's Last Portrait/2013 CD Review



  Forlorn  Path  are  a  band  from  New  Jersey  that  plays  an  atmospheric  and  progressive  combination of  black,  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2013  album  "Man's  Last  Portrait".

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  present  on  this  recording,  while  the  keyboards  bring  a  very  dark,  atmospheric,  ambient  and  progressive  sound  to  the  recording  along  with  some  elements  of  noise,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  are  coming  out  of  the  guitars.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  riffs  that  combine  melodic  and  symphonic black  metal  with  doom  and  death  metal  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own  while  also  adding  in  influences  from  progressive  music,  folk,  noise  and  jazz  to  bring  in  more  original  elements,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  black/doom  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for t he  acoustic  guitars  they  use  finger  picking  and  full  chords  to  add  more  dark,  folk,  jazz  and  progressive  elements  to  the  recording.

  Vocals  range  from  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  to  deep  growls  along  with  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts  and  samples,  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark,  poetic,  and  metaphysical  themes,  as  for t he  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  dark,  heavy  and  professional  sound  for  being  a  self  released  recording  with  some  of   the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Forlorn  Path  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  and  progressive  hybrid  of  melodic  black,  doom  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Empire  Of  Decadence"  "Masquerade"  "Ghosts"  and  "Relics".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.