Friday, June 28, 2013

Agathodaimon/In Darkness/Massacre Records/2013 CD Review


  Agathodaimon  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  with  a  musical  style  I  would  describe  as  being  gothic,  symphonic  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "In  Darkness"  which  was  released  by  Massacre  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  a  good  amount  of  blast  beats  being  thrown  into  the  music,  while  the  keyboards  bring  a  very  dark,  atmospheric,  gothic  and  symphonic  sound  to  the  music,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  the  riffing  that  are  coming  out  of  the  guitars  and  at  times  they  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  melodic  black  metal  riffs  that  also  utilize  a  great  amount  of  gothic  influences  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the   lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  gothic/black  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  use  full  chords  and  finger  picking  to  enhance  the  dark  atmosphere  of  the  music.

  Vocals  range  from  grim  sounding  black  metal  screams  to  clean  singing  gothic  vocals  as  well  as  some  spoken  word  parts  and  deep  death  metal  growls,  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy,  dark  and  professional  sound  to  it  and  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording  along  with  a  couple  of  the  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Agathodaimon  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "In  Darkness  We  Shall  Be  Reborn"  "Favourite  Sin"  and  "Dusk  Of  An  Infinite  Shade  (Amurg)".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.    

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nordheim/Refill/Maple Metal Records/2013 CD Review



  Nordheim  are  a  band  from  Montreal,  Quebec,  Canada  that  plays  a  mixture  of  folk  and  melodic  black/death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Refill"  which  was  released  by  Maple  Metal  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  utilized  at  times,  while  the  keyboards  bring  a  very  dark,  atmospheric,  symphonic  and  medieval  sound  to  the  recording,  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  black  and  death  metal  with  folk  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  pagan  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  which  are  only  utilized  briefly  use  finger  picking  and  full  chords  to  enhance  the  folk music  elements  of  the  album.

  Vocals  range  from  high  pitched  black  metal s creams  to  clean  singing  pagan  vocals  as  well  as  some  back  up  shouts  and  a  brief  use  of  deep  death  metal  growls,  while  the  lyrics  cover  Paganism,  Fantasy  and  Drinking  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  to  it.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  album  from  Nordheim  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Ov  Frost  And  Ice"  "Get  Drunk  Or  Die  Tryin'"  "The  Grief"  and  "as  Shadows  Pass  By".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rituals/Self Titled/ Alerta Antifascista Records/2012 CD Review


  Rituals  are  a b and  from  Phoenix,  Arizona  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  doom,  sludge  and  post  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2012  album  which  was  released  by  Alerta  Antifascista  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  playing  with  no  fast  drumming  or  blast  beats  being  present on  this  recording,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  are  coming  out  of  the  guitars.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  riffs  that  combine  black  metal,  doom,  sludge  and  post  metal  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own  along  with  some  soft  and  clean  playing  being  utilized  at  times,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  dark  sounding  post  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads.

  Vocals  range  from  deep  doom/death  metal  growls  to  high  pitched  black  metal/sludge  screams,  while  the  lyrics  cover  the  writing  of  Elizabeth  Kubbler-Ross,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  dark  sound  with  most  of  the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Rituals  are  a  very  great  sounding  hybrid  of  black  metal,  doom,  sludge  and  post  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Kubbler-Ross  Model"  and  "Takotsubo  Cardiomyopathy". RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moss Of Moonlight Interview


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

Jenn: Moss of Moonlight began as a story.  Cavan and I wanted to tell this tale about a bunch of Pacific Northwesterners going rogue and making the bioregional Republic of Cascadia—a concept that became our first album, SEED (released last year).  Listeners of black and folk metal (and music fans in general) met it with eager ears.  Most recently, we've been working on a ritualistic EP called Winterwheel.  It's set to be released in just a couple days—June 21, actually!

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

Cavan: Despite my resentment for genre labeling, I suppose Moss of Moonlight can be described as a merging of black metal and neo-folk. Black metal has become a receptacle for bands without a specific genre, so we would probably get thrown in, too. Genres aside, Moss of Moonlight has a sometimes boisterous, sometimes untamed sound, yet it's welcoming, too. Essentially, we're striving to be the mouth and percussive heart of the earth.  Listening to Moss of Moonlight is like standing naked in the rain, knee-deep in the mud and moss of the Hoh Rainforest.

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

Jenn: Story, earth, Cascadia and Paganism, always.  But while SEED focused more on our Cascadian core (the bioregion's bloody, epic tale of rebellion), our forthcoming album Winterwheel was a step off our usual path.  We recreate and expand upon the rituals, songs, and rites of times past, with a focus on our Anglo Saxon ancestors—their gods, tales, and existential understanding.  The album itself is meant to be a cyclic ritual in all ways—rhythmic motifs, narrative cycles, the huge recurring soundscapes; even the song titles are reminiscent of the nature of sacrifice and reception.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?

Jenn: There's a couple different explanations.  First, of course, moss grows endlessly and everywhere in the Pacific Northwest, and both of us feel an affinity for its soggy, shaggy green.  To take the name's meaning a bit deeper, mosses are also known as epiphytes, plants that live a non-parasitic existence attached to other plants, all the while feeding upon air and rain.  So, a moss that feeds on moonlight is an epiphyte of ephemera, an epiphyte that feeds upon the every-dying, everlasting moon—an epiphyte that feeds on the raw power of life.

With all this in mind, Moss of Moonlight is symbolic of our attachment to the earth—deep, gentle (and, on occasion, violent), and beyond explanation.  Something only music can express, I suppose—ha!

5. Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?

Cavan: Being a duo has certainly had its benefits for Moss of Moonlight. Jenn and I are able to creatively play off of one another and really hone the underlying concepts behind the music without too much outside interference. In a world that incessantly promotes so much inattentive corporate-driven thought, it can be difficult to think independently from the bloated sheep herd that is society. Being the duo that we are, it allows us to sort of become hermits together (when writing music) and develop music in a calmer setting. With that said, having more band members has its advantages too, and we hope expand our rank in the next couple of years.

6. Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?

Cavan: Our reasons for expansion are for the purpose of playing shows in the future. Our music has huge potential for powerful shows, and we would very much like to experience that kind of atmosphere and share it with our fans.

7. Currently the band is signed to Cascadian Alliance, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Cavan: Cascadian Alliance is our small independent label. It houses all of the music projects we’re involved in--Cerridwen, Gundabad, Moss of Moonlight. The overall purpose behind it is to assist in the conception and contribution to the ideological identity of our beautiful home region, Cascadia.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and folk metal?

Jenn: Very, very receptive.  Not only are people loving the music, but they're connecting to it on a gut-level, which is exactly what we're hoping for, as we're trying to craft songs that do more than make your ears happy.  Thus far, we've been lucky to hear—constantly—from people so deeply in thrall to this weird thing we call our music.  So in short—fans of black and folk metal seem to like the songs quite well.

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

Cavan: It is our intention to forge a seasonal counterpart to Winterwheel and bring this Heathen offering around full swing. I’ve already begun the writing process for a second EP to accompany the first and we’re hoping to get in the studio within the upcoming months. Following that, we’ll probably go back to exploring our Cascadian focal point.

Jenn: To play off of what Cavan said above, and basically just be a tease, we actually know the title of the full length that will follow the second EP.  But we're not saying what. ; )

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

Cavan: There are a lot of bands that go above and beyond in epic quality, like Myrkgrav and Agalloch, but I also venture off into folkier bands too, like The moon and the night spirit, Omnia, and Stellamara. My influences change with the seasons and can certainly be found in metal and neo-folk alike. Lately, the new Amorphis and Wardruna albums have been ensnaring me with so much might!

Jenn: Yes, yes, yes, (etc) to all that Cavan said.  As for what I'm listening to these days…I love the raw, emotional honesty of Pain of Salvation's new albums, and I've been listening to Swallow the Sun pretty intensely.  I also just discovered Dalriada, so that's quickly becoming an obsession.

11.How would you describe your views on Paganism?

Cavan: Well, it is through Paganism that we as humans are able to rekindle our relation with the earth and our past roots. There is a serious disconnect between modern society and where we come from, and where we get our food, our energy. Paganism attempts to understand the source and process of providing ourselves with that energy and in turn, life. It is true that we have lost many of the old ways and truths to time, however it’s important to recognize that we Pagans have a duty to fill this recent aeon of forgotten knowledge, and build upon what remnants are left. Moss of Moonlight does exactly that. It taps into other realms, otherworlds, and expands upon those remains.

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

Cavan: There are many interests outside of music to which we tend to incorporate into Moss of Moonlight in some way or other. I like hiking the mountains and photographing nature, and usually some of the resulting images get used for promotional pics and album art. In this upcoming album, Winterwheel, I was able to apply my interests and studies in linguistics through the use of the Anglo-Saxon language.

Jenn: Cavan's too modest to say so, but he's actually (right this very moment) studying to get his Masters in linguistics.  So these 'studies' he speaks of are actually quite serious. : )

I, too, love being essentially any place I can't hear or see cities, or cars.  I'm also a devoted cyclist; except for extreme long distances that have to be covered quickly, I travel by bike, even in the deep of winter.  (My bike, by the way, is named Asfaloth.  The Tolkien fans reading this will understand. : )  Besides that, I'm a published writer—mostly poetry at the moment, but sometimes I write books about enraged earth goddesses and existentially confused aliens.  I also get paid to make people sandwiches.

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

Jenn:  We'll be releasing a music video for the EP in a couple of months, and—as Cavan mentioned earlier—will be entering the studio to work on the follow up to Winterwheel.  Find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MossofMoonlight), where we'll be sharing all the necessary details.

Also, I suppose a thank you is in order—so thank you!  Truly, thanks for taking the time to ask us these questions.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Moss Of Moonlight/Winterwheel/Cascadian Alliance/2013 CD Review


  Moss  Of  Moonlight  are  a b and  from  Washington  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Winterwheel"  which  was  released  by  Cascadian  Alliance.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  drumming  with  some  percussion  work  being  used  at  times,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs   that  follow  the  riffing  that  are  coming  out  of  the  guitars,  as  for  the  synths  and  flutes  when  they  are  utilized  bring  a  very  dark, atmospheric  and  medieval  sound  to  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  riffs  that  combine  melodic  black  metal  with  folk  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  pagan/folk  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  acoustic  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  use  finger  picking  and  full  chords  to  enhance  the  folk  elements  of  the  recording.

  Vocals  range  from  blackened  metal  growls  and  screams  along  with  a  good  amount  of  clean  singing  and  some  spoken  word  parts,  while  the  lyrics  cover  Anglo  Saxon  Paganism,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  to  it  with  the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Moss  Of  Moonlight  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  folk  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Gaet"  and  "Catte".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.    

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Toad/Endless Night/Comfort Pain Records/2012 EP Review


  Toad  are  a  band  from  Arizona  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge  and  death  'n'  roll  and this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  ep  "Endless  Night"  which  was  released  by  Comfort  Pain  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  playing  with  no  fast  drumming  or  blast  beats  being  present on  this  recording,  while  the  synths  which  are  only  used  briefly  are  very  dark,  psychedelic  and  atmospheric  sounding,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very  strong  and  powerful  sound  with  heavy  riffing  that  dominates  throughout  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  riffs  that  combine  melodic  black  metal,  sludge  and  death  'n'  roll  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own  along  with  a  brief  use  of  clean  playing,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  death  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads.

  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  sounding  old  school  black/death  metal  screams  and  growls  along  with  a  brief  use  of  clean  singing,  while  the  lyrics  cover darkness  and  horror  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  some  of t he  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Toad  are  a  very  great  sounding  hybrid  of  melodic  black  metal,  sludge  and  death  'n'  roll  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Taste  Of  The  Grave"  and  "Boundaries  Of  Flesh".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Amon Amarth/Deceiver Of The Gods/Metal Blade Records/2013 CD Review


  Amon  Amarth  are  a  band  from  Sweden  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  with  the  new  recording  staying  in  the  direction  of  melodic  viking/black/death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Deceiver  Of  The  Gods"  which  was  released  by  Metal  Blade  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  thrown  into  the  music,  while  the  bass  playing  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  death  and  black  metal  together  along  with  some  thrash,  doom  and  traditional  metal  influences  being  thrown  into  the  riffing  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own  as  well  as  a  brief  use  of  clean  playing,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  death  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads.

  Vocals  are  mostly deep  death  metal  growls  with  some  high  pitched  screams  being  used  at  times  as  well  as  a  brief  spoken  word  part  as  well  as  a  small  amount  of  clean  singing,  while  the  lyrics  cover  Asataru  and  Northern  Paganism  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  to  it  with  the  last  song  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Amon  Amarth  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "As  Loke  Falls"  "Under  Siege"  "We  Shall  Destroy"  and  "Warriors  Of  The  North".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.