Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lagrima Interview

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

Tarek Yazbek: Currently we are preparing to record our second full album, which also going to be a concept album based on ancient Middle Eastern mythology.

We are also recruiting new members to the band so we can have a complete line up for live shows.

2. For those who have not heard the music can you tell us about your musical sound?

Tarek Yazbek: Well, our musical style is a mixture of many metal styles combined into one unique fresh sound. That should make people who like different metal genre get interest in our music. We also include in our sound lots of classical guitar influences, even classical music compositions in our intros adding even more diversity and interest to our music.

3. On your first album you had lyrics written about The Punic Wars, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in ancient history?

Tarek Yazbek: My Interest in ancient history started at an early age when I was still school. It just got me hooked in, just the idea about ancient civilization, their culture and religion was very intriguing for me. Also it tell us how things became the way they are now. It is also an original subject to use on metal albums as themes and lyrics, which can give more depth to your music.

4. I have read that you have a new album in the works that is going to be based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, how would you describe your interests in Mythology?

Tarek Yazbek: Mythology is what the ancients had left for us to tell how they viewed the world around them from a religious point of view, a way put in Symbolism. Even some Mythologies are Historical facts that got exaggerated by time, or where symbolized to be taught to the next generations. If you compare the religious texts to the mythological Texts you will be surprised how much similarities you will find, but the meanings have changed, although the symbolic factors are left the same. All these factors have pulled me closer and closer to the mythologies of this region.

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

Tarek Yazbek; currently we are only 2 members in the band, but we are recruiting new members so we can do live shows hopefully.

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

Tarek Yazbek: not at the current time, and not sure about the future since it’s hard to get a band from the middle east to play in Europe. But all options are open.

7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

Tarek Yazbek: We actually got 1 label interested, but things didn’t work out because they wanted us pay tons of money and they also will get some decent payment from sales. It was just ridiculous offer. For the next album we will try to check out some labels and we’ll see what would happen. Hopefully something would work out, because a label can get you the exposure you need.

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

Tarek Yazbek: Well we got a lot of positive feedback and reviews, but you can’t satisfy everybody as you know. We hope with this second release we can reach more people and open more eyes on our music.

9. What can we expect musically once the new album is released?

Tarek Yazbek: The new album will be more mature than previous one with better production and quality. Musically we are still going on in the same direction but of course its not gonna be a carbon copy of the first album and it will have its own flavor with the Lagrima signature. Also the band vocalist “Bilal Al-Aghar” has contributed very effectively on the music of the album adding his own touch to the band’s sound. I guess this album will leave a big effect on the fans and will get us new fans as well.

10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Tarek Yazbek: I personally had a lot of bands and music styles that influenced the way I write music, especially in the death/black realm. For example bands like At the Gates, Hypocrisy, Dark Tranquility, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Death, Old Man’s Child ect… to name some. Nowadays there are bands like Kalmah and Opeth which are new influence for me and I try to learn from them. Also am interested in finding and listening to underground metal bands, and lots of them have some great music to offer but didn’t have the chance to get the attention they really deserve.

Other than metal, I really enjoy classic guitar music and I even play that type of music which I try to include in the band’s music to give it that unique touch to makes us a little different than the other band’s out there.

11. What are some of your non musical interests?

Tarek Yazbek: Music and sports are my two major hobbies in life and travelling also. I used to play a lot of soccer in the past but because of work and smoking I haven’t been able enjoy this sport any more, but I still do some body building to keep fit. As for travelling I go like once a year to a different country each time with the wife and enjoy our vacation and just relax.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Tarek Yazbek: Well finally I like to thank you for this opportunity and wonderful interview, hope the fans would enjoy it. As I mentioned earlier we have a new album that we will release, most probably at the end of this year, hope it will have a positive impact on metal fans around the world.





 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Everdying Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
I sure can! Basically, when I first got into metal and got into a band I had always wanted to write stuff that was a cross between In Flames and God Dethroned. Keep in mind that this was back around 1999-2000 or so, when those bands were at their prime. These days I definitely lean more towards the heavier/brutal end of that but still try to retain the melodicism. I'd also like to take this time to point out that yes, I'm playing an 8 string guitar tuned down a half step and NO, there is and will NEVER be any djent or core related anything. I'm trying to break the stereotype I guess. I think my official bio sums it up pretty nicely: Imagine, if you will, an orgy comprised of pre-'Clayman' In Flames, God Dethroned, Dark Tranquillity, and Hypocrisy while Opeth, Dissection, and Mithotyn are jerking off in the corner; everdying is the resulting 8 stringed bastard child.
2.In March you had released a new ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new recording and also how does it differ from the release you had put out 5 years ago?
I'd say that everything all around is better! Really though, I've upgraded almost all of my gear since then and didn't want as much of a raw sound as I had before. When I recorded December's Rainy Day in 2009 it was exactly how I had wanted it, and now looking back on it I wish that I had done some things differently but I think anyone who has ever released an album before can say the same thing! Musically, The Journey Ahead is a bit more varied in style, from melodic death to black metal to the brutal death gurgle vocals in the middle of I Will End You. Basically, I had decided that going solo would also mean that I get to not confine myself to one genre and just write whatever I feel like and put that out for everyone to hear. Initially I was a bit worried that people might think it was all over the place, but I've gotten a lot of positive feedback so I'm just going to keep on keepin' on! Funny thing though, all of the songs on They Journey Ahead were actually written prior to me recording December's Rainy Day. That's what happens when you've got a side project for so long that you never planned to end up being a main thing.
3.This project has been around since 2002 but so far has only had 2 releases, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap?
Yeah, Everdying had always been a side project of mine after the first melodic death band I was in broke up. I was part of Cardiac Arrest for a while, then D.O.T.A.C., then back to Cardiac Arrest briefly and then I finally settled in with Rellik for a number of years until our drummer quit and we decided to break up in 2007. After that I went to recording school in Arizona, moved back here to Downers Grove, got a studio setup in my apartment and started recording December's Rainy Day in 2009. I also spent time trying to get Rellik going again, but some shit happened and I quit, and then they broke up. I ended up taking a year or two off from doing metal and starting playing my acoustic guitar all the time, and then a couple years ago my friends in Withering Soul contacted me about joining them as the second guitarist so I thought it would be a good way to start to get back into the scene. Eventually though after about a year, I realized that while I love that band and love those guys that it just really wasn't what I wanted to be doing musically as they're more of a gothic-themed symphonic black metal band. At that point I had gotten an Axe Fx II and an 8 string guitar and decided that the time was right to head out on my own and make Everdying a full time thing, for the first time after 11 years. I really wish I had done this a lot sooner, but it just wasn't my time yet I suppose!
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Everdying'?
It's taken directly from the In Flames song off of the Subterranean EP. Honestly it's very tough to come up with a name for a band, even 12 years ago when there were waaaaaay less bands around. I just went through my CDs and started looking at song titles of bands that I loved and In Flames was one of my favorites and that song was one of my favorites also! Good melodic death with acoustic interludes, that pretty much sums up how I've wanted this band to be.
6.So far you have recorded everything solos with this project, are you open to working with other musicians on this project?
I'd like to say that I am, but I am absolutely not actively looking for other members right now. If there ever are any musicians added to the lineup in the future, they will be the absolute perfect match to what I want to do. I've wasted way too much time being in bands with people who weren't on the same page and I'd rather just be the only one who is held accountable for everything. If I fuck something up, it's no one's fault but my own and I'm the only one to rely on. Also, it's a lot cheaper! I mean, I can wake up and roll out of bed and practice my live set if I want to. I recorded and mixed the entire The Journey Ahead EP sitting cross-legged on my bed, no joke. It's just so much easier for me this way and right now I honestly can't imagine having to deal with anyone else being a part of it, especially after doing it on my own for so long.
7.On the new ep you had an In Flames cover, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?
Well, my first band Eve's Bringer used to cover Episode 666 and that was a lot of fun but there's always been something about Worlds Within the Margin that I just loved! I had always been back and forth on doing a cover of it for years, even if it was just for myself and not to be on an actual release but then I just decided to go for it and then it happened. I'm still not sure if I'll ever play it live, although I probably will at some point at least once. There are so many songs that I've wanted to cover in all of the bands that I've been in and now I have the chance to do it so don't be surprised if you see me doing more in the future! Don't worry though, I won't pull a Children of Bodom and do shitty covers of everything under the sun. Most of mine will be done live I think. I keep going back and forth on doing a cover of Everdying actually, so maybe that'll happen someday too.
8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I'm not actively looking for a label right now. I do have The Journey Ahead being distributed by a netlabel called Stillborn Twins Records, and Steve is a really cool guy who is trying to get the other bands on there more exposure so you guys should go check his site out! https://archive.org/details/stillborntwinsrecords
As far as a label in the traditional sense, I have not received any interest. Unless someone comes along with a really good deal I would rather just keep doing what I'm doing, on my own terms. All of my music will be offered as a free download with the option to pay if you choose to, as well as having physical copies for sale. The way labels are going nowadays I think a lot of bands could do most of the things on their own if they know what they're doing. Yeah it would be nice to have expanded promotion and maybe do some awesome tours but I'm still working up to that so if it happens, it happens.
9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see yourself heading into musically during the future?
Probably sometime next year for a full length, although that may change and I might end up doing another EP. It all depends what kinds of songs I get written and how long it's taking. It seems that nowadays people need shit faster or else they lose interest and forget about you and the EP route might be the best way to go for me I think. I do have about 5 songs finished for whatever I release next, as well as 3 for something that will be announced sometime in the next few months. I've probably got another 2 or 3 starts to songs, and I just found a bunch of old riffs on a hard drive that might end up finally turning into something too. Musically I think I'm heading towards heavier with better solos. Having the 8 string has definitely had an effect on how I'm writing now, there's just so much freedom with it it's crazy! In the past I hadn't ever really tried to write a lot of solos that were set in stone and that's something I've definitely been working on. I'd usually have some parts that were and then have some other parts that I'd improvise, but you know those guys that just move their right hand real fast and their left hand real fast and don't take the time to be accurate about what they're playing? Yeah that used to be me, but not anymore.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
All of the bands listed in my bio, obviously. Apart from that though I'd say Allegaeon has been a big influence lately. I first heard them a couple years ago and I was amazed at what they were doing with 7 strings, and then 8 strings on top of that. That band directly influenced my Ibanez rg8 purchase. I don't think that I really sound anything like them, they're all way better musicians but they got me into 8 string stuff and then I evolved from there. Their new one Elements of the Infinite is absolutely killer, anything Devin Townsend has ever released is just about perfect, Alice In Chains have pretty heavy rotation, I dunno I deliver pizza so I listen to a lot of shit all the time. Let's see, the new Wretched is pretty badass, the new Son of Aurelius is really good too, Alterbeast put out a pretty good one, I just found out about King of Asgard and they're the missing link between Mithotyn and Falconer, the new Inferi is fucking awesome, I listened to some Pennywise the other day, the new Gorgasm is pretty sick. I got down on some Assemblage 23 and Bella Morte the other day too, I listen to a pretty good variety of stuff I think. Also, Oingo Boingo.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
I taught myself how to screen print when I tried to make some patches on my own, and that led to me making all of the shirts and patches that I sell, I wish I could do it more but I also like just doing it for myself. Mainly because if I fuck stuff up because I'm still learning I don't lose too much money and no one is pissed at me haha. I got really into building guitar pedals a couple years ago before I got my Axe Fx, basically just building stuff that I'd use for my rig. I started with some kits and then eventually got into etching my own circuit boards and shit, it's a lot of fun. I'd really love to get into building guitars and general woodworking really, I've wanted to do that for years but it's just more money than I have right now so that one will probably be on the backburner for a while. Shit wait those are all mostly musical interests aren't they? I'm really big into DIY-ing anything I possibly can. I also love Back to the Future. All of them. All of the time. Oh and your mom. All of you reading this. Your mom. Unless I'm related to you, because no. Does growing a beard count? I did the Whiskerino thing a few years ago and that was a blast, shaving sucks and I appreciate a good beard.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Yeah social media can go fuck itself, go to www.everdyingofficial.com and sign up for the email list! Also, Kanye West is the biggest piece of shit ever to exist and every single time I play I Will End You live it's dedicated to his worthless fuckin ass. Also I’m sorry for my tendency to ramble. My music is NOT the same way hahaha.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lagrima/Hannibal Ad Portas/2012 Full Length Review


  Lagrima  are  a   band  from  Lebanon  that  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  along  with  some  elements  of  neo  classical  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  self  released  2012  album  "Hannibal  Ad  Portas".

  Atmospheric  and  epic  sounding  synths  start  off  the  album  and  they  bring  a  classical  music  flavor  to  the  recording  and  after  the  intro  classical  guitars  are  added  into  the  music  which  leads  up  to  a  fast  and  melodic  black  metal  direction  along  with  blast  beats  and  high  pitched  screams  and  after  awhile  solos  and  leads  become  a  huge  part  of  the  musical  sound  on  the  album.

    A  good  portion  of  the  songs  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  after  awhile  death  metal  growls  and  a  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  solos  that  utilize  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  and  acoustic  guitars  also finding  their  way  into  the  heavier  tracks  which  also  gives  the  music  a  more  progressive  feeling.

  Elements  of  thrash  metal  can  be  heard  in  the  guitar  riffing  at  times  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  as  well  as  the  leads  incorporating  some  traces  of  traditional  metal  and  as  the  album  progresses  clean  singing  vocals  can  be  heard  at  times  while  the  main  focus  is  on  the  black  metal  vocals  which  also  get  very  grim  and  depressive  on  some  of  the  tracks  and  towards  the  end  of  the  recording  you  can  also  hear  a  mixture  of  instrumental  acoustic  and  heavy  vocal  songs  along  with  some  elements  of  Middle  Eastern  music  bring  added into  the  guitar  riffing.

  Lagrima  creates  a  very  original  sound  to  his  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  which  also  sees  him  adding  in  elements  of  thrash,  classical  and  Middle  Eastern  music  along  with  some  solos  that  display  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  are  a  concept  album  based on  the  Carthiginen  general  Hannibal  Barca  and  his  war  with  the  Romans  which  where  historically  known  as  the  Punic  Wars  or  more  accurately  The  Second  Punic  War.

  In  my  opinion  Lagrima  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  neo  classical  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Serenade  Upon  Mount  Aryx"  "Arise  And  Arrest  the  Destiny  Of  Rome"  and  "A  Final  Fight".  8/5  out  of  10.        

Everdying/The Journey Ahead/2014 EP Review


  this  is  another  review  of  an  ep  from  Illinois's  1  man  band  Everdying  which  continues  his  melodic  and  brutal  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  with  the  recording  being  self  released  in  2014  and  called  "The  Journey  Ahead".

  Distorted  noises  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  dark  and  melodic  death  metal  direction  along  with  growls  and  black  metal  screams  and  a  few  seconds  later  the  music  starts  getting  faster  and  adding  in  blast  beats  as  well  as  bringing  in  a  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  as  well  as  bringing  in  clean  playing.

  The  solos  and  leads  are  in  a  very  melodic  musical  direction  and  the  following  track  sees  nature  sounds  and  acoustic  guitars  being  added  into  the  music  along with  the  song  being  all  instrumental  and  the  following  track  starts  off  with  spoken  word  samples  before  going  into  a  brutal  blackened  death  metal  direction  on  one  of  the  tracks  and  returning  back  to  a  more  melodic  direction  on  the  following  songs and  they  also  bring  back  the  acoustic  guitars  in  certain  sections  of  the  tracks  as  well  as  giving  the  music  a  more  progressive  feeling  and  the  demo  closes  with  a  cover  of  In  Flames's  "Worlds  Within  The  Margin".  

  Everdying  has  a  more  diverse  and  brutal  sound  on  this  recording  while  also  remaining  true  to  his  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  for  being  a  self  released   recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Everdying  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  melodic  black  and  death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "I  Will  End  You"  and  "The  Journey  Ahead".  8  out  of  10.

Everdying/December's Rainy Day/2009 EP Review


  Everdying  are  a  band  from  Illinois  that  plays  a  melodic  and  brutal  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2009  ep  "December's  Rainy  Day".

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  melodic  black  metal  sound  starts  off  the  ep  and  a  few  seconds  later  blast  beats  and  death  metal  growls  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  some  black  metal  screams  being  mixed  in  a  few  minutes  later  along  with  some  melodic  guitar  leads  and  on  the  following  track  acoustic  guitars  are  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  giving  the  ep  a  more  progressive  feeling.

  After  the  acoustic  instrumental  the  band  go  into  a  more  melodic  90's  style  Swedish  death  metal  sound  while  also  using  some  blast  beats  along  with  a  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  they also  keep  around  the  acoustic  guitars  in  certain  sections  as  well  as  using  them  on  the  following  songs  and  the  following  track  sees  more  elements  of  black  metal  along  with  the  blast  beats  getting  more  brutal  while  death  metal  is  still  a  huge  part  of  the  bands  musical  sound  and  they  bring  this  mixture  on  the  later t racks  as  well.

   Everdying  create  a  very  interesting  sound  taking  the  melodic  styles  of  black  and  death  metal  from  Sweden  and  adding  in  a  touch  of  American  brutality  to  create  their  own  musical  style,  the  production  has  a  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Everdying  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  and  brutal  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "December"  and  "Lunar  Aura".  8  out  of  10.  

  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Achren Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

After the recording, we did a Scottish tour then spent most of the winter writing; there’s a great residential studio in the hills we started going to which meant we could work towards mild insanity in isolation and jam 24hrs a day.  Since the release, we did a UK tour last month, with the last gig so far being Beermageddon next month;  we might do a couple more dates after that but then it’s back to writing for the next album.  We’ve hit a bit of a creative spell recently so we’re looking to build on that and get everything down while it’s still fresh.

2.Recently you have released a new ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The White Death EP is somewhat majestic and mournful as the sound goes; it’s still rooted in that death/black/thrash style but there’s a certain fatalistic melody going on which seemed to connect it to the whole “most kills” sniper concept.  Terrible but necessary death. Compared to the last album, the songs have a lot more “breathing space”; whereas before we would cut right in and bash the hell out of it, there’s more dynamic flavour in the new EP.  The musical ideas take time to progress and there are more variations as a result.

3.You label your music as 'blood metal' can you tell us a little bit about the tag?

That originally came about because we didn’t fit into either the death or black metal categories; it’s a reference to the iron in our blood and relates to metal in our hearts through that.

4.Your lyrics cover death, war and torture, can you tell us a little bit about your interest in those topics?

A lot of it is based on the idea of triumphant misery.  Gorification and revelment in the undesirable yet ultimately inevitable.  Our interest in the subject is entirely recreational.

5.One of your songs was about the Finnish, are the band members interested in Finnish Mythology?

We all fell in love with Finland when we first went there; it’s probably the most heavy metal country in the world, and it has a lot of parallels with Scotland in terms of the darkness and depression, the alcoholism and the rivalry with larger neighbours.  I became obsessed with Finland for a while, with its history and people;  I learnt the language and watched documentaries about their creation mythology and their wars, and really Suomen Susi was my tribute to Finland and their people.  The more you learn about them the more you find they are an incredible people, and so distinct from the rest of Europe.  The melody actually came to me in a dream, and in the lyrics I ran through some of my experiences there and the wisdom of some good friends I made there, as well as touching on the historical content of the winter war.

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Achren'?

“Achren” is the old Celtic otherworld; it’s a parallel world where the “others” live- the Sidhe.  It made sense for me to take something from Brythonic (Welsh) Celtic, because although Scotland is associated with the Goidelic (Irish) Celtic people, the lowlands were really Welsh blooded.  I read up on a lot of history and mythology and between that connection and the whole idea of being part of another world seems to fit where we as a band are.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

For me Metalcamp in Slovenia was a special one, mainly because it was the biggest stage we’d played on up to that point, and the crowd was something we’d never really experienced before.  In general our shows involve a lot of sweat and fury.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Next up for us is Beermageddon in August in the English midlands.  After that we’re pretty much into hibernation til the next album out, although there might be the odd special show in the meantime but nothing confirmed as yet.

9.Your releases have came out on Ceol Dorchas Productions, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Ceol Dorchas is my vehicle to release our music;  there isn’t much in the way of music industry for metal in Scotland so this was the best option for us in terms of control and promotion. In a lot of ways, the industry has changed and it can be a good option to keep control of the release process and split off the other parts of band "management"; it's worked out well for us so far.

10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death?

So far it’s been confined to Europe mainly, but it’s been really good.  We have some real hardcore supporters in Scotland here and down South, plus Germany and Finland- the countries made of heavy metal.

11.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects?

Creatively Scott has his own dark ambient project to give him an outlet for that side.  Myself and John don’t in a writing sense but we do a fair bit of session stuff for various bands; we both played in an Argentinian folk metal band called Skiltron last year; John works in a music shop here so he always ends up doing bass or guitar work for some local celebrity at some point and I’m just back from playing a show with Destroyer 666. I’ve also done some bagpiping for a few bands, metal and otherwise, over the years.  I love playing with other musicians because you’re never done learning and it’s the only way to do it but in a creative sense Achren is the king.

12.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Well, we should have the next album recorded by the end of the year.  How long it takes after that is anyone’s guess as usual but we’re definitely planning to get back out on tour as much as possible next year.

13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Right now I’m listening to Nachtmystium’s Assassins.  That’s probably about as recent as it gets;  to be honest I think a lot of new metal is way too overproduced- every album has the same drum sound, everything is note perfect.  I’m not interested in that- you need some kind of raw edge to express the personal style of the musicians across.  Too many bands right now sound like their record label or producer.

14.What are some of your non musical interests?

Stereotypical stuff really- motorbikes and engineering.  Nothing better than some kind of machine designed to  travel fast as hell.

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

  Fuck it hard.  Always.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Wolves Of Avalon/Boudicca's Last Stand/SixSixSix Music/2014 CD Review

   The  Wolves  Of  Avalon  are  a  band  from  the  United  Kingdom  that  plays  a  pagan  form  of  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Boudicca's  Last  Stand"  which  was  released  by  SixSixSix  Music.

  A  Celtic  folk  music  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  flutes,  violins,  and  acoustic  guitars  and  after  a  minute  spoken  word  parts  are  added  into  the  music  and  the  album  also  starts  getting  more  heavy  and  melodic  and  the  vocals  also  sound  very  aggressive  while  also  having  a  melodic  tone  to  them  at  times.

  Keyboards  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  along  with  some  clean  singing  female  and  male  vocals  and  the  heavier  parts  bring  in  the  pagan  sound  and  after  awhile  death  metal  growls  start  popping  in  at  times  and  the  guitar  leads  are  very  melodic  sounding  and  as  the  album  progresses  the  aggressive  vocals  start  bringing  in  more  elements  of  black  metal.

  Their  is  a  good  mixture  of  both  heavy  pagan  metal  and  soft  folk  music  parts  throughout  the  recording  and  the  music  also  alternates  between  slow  and  mid  paced  sections,  a  good  amount  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  you  have  Thurios  from  Drudkh/Astrofaes  and  Hildr  Valkyrie  from  Folkearth  doing  some  quest  vocals  on  some  of  the  songs  and  there  is  also  a  good  usage  of  mandolins,  cellos  and  accordion's  being  used  throughout  the  recording  an d they  make  the  music  have  a  more  medieval  pagan  feeling  and  they  close  the  album  with  a  cover  of  Enslaved's  "Essence"  which  also  has  a  quest  vocals  by  Miria  of  Sigh.

  The  Wolves  Of  Avalon  creates  a  very  interesting  style  of  pagan  metal  that  takes  the  heaviness  of  black  and  death  metal  and  mixes  it  with  Celtic  folk  music  and   the  combination  sounds  very  great  and  epic  sounding,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Celtic  Pagan  and  Boudicca  a  queen  who  took  a  stand  against  Rome  after  the  great  druid  sanctuary  of  Ynys  Mon  was  ruthlessly  destroyed.

  In  my  opinion  The  Wolves  Of  Avalon  are  a  very  great  sounding  pagan/folk  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Sky  Goddess"  "Bonded  by  Blood  And  Sword"  "Iceni  Queen  Unfurl'd  In  A  Tempest  Of  Crows"  and  "Cold  As  Mouldering  Clay".  8/5  out  of  10  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Achren/The White Death/Ceol Dorcgas Productions/2014 EP Review


  Achren  are  a  band  from  Scotland  that  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black,  death  and  thrash  metal  which  they  call  blood  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  ep  "The  White  Death"  which  was  released  by  Ceol  Dorcagas  Productions.

  A  very  melodic  and  old  school  melodic  black/death  metal  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  blast  beats,  powerful  bass  lines  and  a  good  amount  of  thrash  elements  before  adding  in  some  black  metal  screams  and  death  metal  growls  and  the  music  also  alternates  between  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  There  are  a  great  amount  of  melodic  and  guitar  solos  throughout  the  ep  and  the  fast  parts  have  a  Swedish  black/death  metal  feeling  to  them  and  on  the  second  track  they  start  out  with  some  slower  riffing  before  going  into  a  more  mid  paced  direction  and  they  add  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  as  well  as  an  epic  feeling  to  the  last  track.

  Achren  creates  a  very  catchy  and  melodic  mixture  of  black,  death  and  thrash  metal  with  their  musical  which  is  very  heavily  influence  by  the  old  school  Swedish  style,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  death,  war  and  torture  along  with  one  the  songs  covering  Finnish  Mythology.

  In  my  opinion  Achren  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  mixture  of  black,  death,  and  thrash  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Suomen  Susi(The  Finnish  Wolf".  8  out  of  10.    

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bjarm Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Hello, we are “Bjarm” from Severodvinsk, the north of Russia. The band was founded in 2009 by Egor Vorobiev, Oleg Ivanov and Alexey Miroshin. Andrew White and Anastasia Angie joined us later.

2.Recently you have released your first full length album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new recording and also how does it differ from the demo you had released in 2010?
It’s hard to say, most likely the new album is a mix of several genres. The sound is now more diverse, the emphasis is on keyboards. Guitars are purposely taken away into the background, they mainly add volume. The demo was a bit simplier and more even.

3.This is the first release that has been released by the band since 2010, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time period?
We had several concerts for supporting our demo album. Also we were making the new material. After that we were recording Imminence and shooting video clip. Moreover we had photo shoot that time. The recording needed more time than we expected mostly due to the lack of experience. But as we believe, we succeeded in making Imminence.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
As for the lyrics, the new album continues the tradition of demo-forerunner and evolves the theme of the fatalism’s grave philosophy. It’s told here about the price of life and will, immortality and omniscience. The basis consists of ancient Scandinavian myths which were rethought religiously.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Bjarm'?
When we were thinking about the band's name, there were a lot of versions. Were looking for a short and memorable name. It turned out to be not so easy. After long-time discussions we have chosen “Bjarm”. "Bjarmia" was the name of our region at the Viking Age. "Bjarm" is a native of this territory.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Probably the first one was the best. We were preparing for it very thoroughly. That was the first live show for most of us. We were worried a lot but everything was great. In fact we try to make every live show better than the previous one.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Yes, we planned European tour this summer, but unfortunately we could not go there due to technical reasons. We are going to have several live shows in Russia this autumn. But we are not sure about them yet. Follow the band's news.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of symphonic black metal and death metal?
Reaction of the foreign listeners is very positive. But in Russia this genre is not very popular, that’s why we found more good opinions abroad. Of course there are some shortcomings in our album, we will take it into consideration in our following releases.

9.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?
Andrey Vait sings and plays guitar in one more project. The rest of band members have no other musical projects.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Good question! We want to create high quality music and convey it to the huge number of people. We suppose every musician wants to do the same thing.
Hope we can do it soon.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
At the first time Dimmu Borgir, Graveworm, Amon Amarth, Septic Flesh, etc. had a strong influence on us. But there are no preferences now. All band members listen to different musical genres.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Egor is occupied with video editing and graphics. Anastasia's hobbies are roller skating and foreign languages. Alexey likes cycling and travelling.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks to everyone who supports Bjarm, hope to see you at our concerts soon!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nothgard Interview


1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the old album?

First of all we’ve had some changes concerning the line up. We’re now playing with three guitars as Skaahl from Wolfchant joined the band in 2012. We were also playing a lot of shows in Europe and took our time to write and prepare for the new album which was some intense and hard work.

2. In September you will release a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from from the previous full length and demo you had released in the past?

There is definitely a big difference between „Warhorns Of Midgard“ and „Age of Pandora“.Soundwise, „Age of Pandora“ sounds way fresher, clearer and more powerful, but not just because of the three guitars. We have tried out a lot of stuff during the songwriting process and only took the best ideas which are hearable on the new album. The songs are more technical, include lot’s of powerful orchestral/symphonic elements and feel faster. Also we went more in the direction of epic melodic death metal on the new record.

3.Your lyrics cover some Pagan topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your views on Paganism?

As we´ve changed our musical style into Epic Melodic Death Metal, the new lyrics don´t include much concerning paganism. But there are topics which a influenced by nature and spiritual issues.

4.The band was originally known as Nordavind, what was the decision behind the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Nothgard'?

We’ve changed the band name into Nothgard as Nordavind was unfortunately already used several times by other bands. The name Nothgard refers to the word „nothgarde“, which also means striking out for a counter attack in sword combat.

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

That’s a tough question. We’ve had some great shows in England where we’ve had fans singing along to every song, knowing all the lyrics and partying hard during the show. Shows in the Czech Republik are also always fun as the people are always having a big party. We also love playing festivals, where we get the chance to perform our songs to people that may have never heard about Nothgard before. The show we’ve had a few weeks ago at the „Runen der Nacht Festival“ has also been a blast!
In general it’s always a pleasure and a lot of fun for us, and that’s what we’re showing on stage during our shows. You can see that we enjoy being together on stage.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

Yes! We are going to have a tour in September in Spain, which will be called „Black Clouds Over Iberia“. We also have plans for another tour, but right now we can’t tell you any information's about that ;)

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been so far to the newer music by reviewers of extreme metal?

Until now we haven’t received much feedback from reviewers, because the promotion has just begun, but what we have got by now was really good. For example, we received a very positive album preview in the German metal magazine „Legacy“ and in general a lot of positive feedback from the few other people who have heard the new stuff.

8.What is going on with the other musical projects these days that some of the band members are involved with?

Dom R. Crey has just joined Equilibrium and is currently playing some big shows with them. He is also a member of Wolfchant. Same goes for Vik S. and Skaahl. Wolfchant is currently recording their new album which will definitely be another killer release.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We definitely want to develop our self's and become more technical in the future. But right now, we’re very happy with the current music style and want to stick to it.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on 'Nothgard'?

There are several bands, which have had an influence on the music style, especially because they affected the guitar, bass and drum style, which our members have now and which are hearable in the music or rather songwriting. To mention some of those bands, there’s for example Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy but also Hard Rock, Folk and classical stuff.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

It depends. Most of our spare time we use to develop our skills on our instruments. Otherwise we like hanging around with friends, partying, listening to music, visit concerts. Also all of our members are busy with studying and working.. Random stuff ;)

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

We want to thank EVERYONE out there who supports us and visits our shows. If you are interested in listening something new, fresh and powerful, you should definitely check out our new album „AGE OF PANDORA“, which will be released on the 12th of September 2014. We keep you updated on our social medias like facebook and also our official homepage. For those who can’t wait until September, we will release some snippets of the new stuff over the next weeks.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nothgard/Age Of Pandora/Trollzorn Records/2014 CD Review


  Nothgard  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  mixture  of  melodic  black,  death  and  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Age  Of  Pandora"  which  was  released  by  Trollzorn  Records.

  Epic  sounding  synths  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  nature  sound s which  gives  the  music  a  feeling  of  a  fantasy  movie  soundtrack  and  after  awhile  spoken  word  samples  can  be  heard  briefly  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  a  more  heavy  and  melodic  black/death  metal  direction  along  with  some  growls,  screams  and  blast  beats.

  Synths  are  still  mixed  in  with  the  heavier  side  of  the  bands  musical  sound  and  they  bring  the  folk  metal  elements  to  the  music,  clean  singing  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  they  have  a  pagan  metal  feeling  to  them  while  the  guitar  solos  and  leads  that  the band  use  are  a  lot  more  closer  to  traditional  and  power  metal.

  After  awhile  the  synths  bring  in  more  of  a  symphonic  side  to  the  bands  musical  style  which  they  also  mix  in  with  their  black  metal  influences  at  times  while  also  going  for  a  more  prog  style  of  synth  playing  on  some  of  the  later  songs  and  they  also b ring  in  a  brief  use  of  horror  movie  samples  on  one  of  the  tracks  and  throughout  the  recording  the  band  also  uses  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  last  track  sees  the  band  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  acoustic  gutiars.

  Nothgard  create  some  very  interesting  music  that  combines  black,  melodic  death,  pagan,  symphonic  and  folk  metal  with  a  touch  of  prog  and  the  song s are  very  catchy  and  display  a  lot  of  talented  and  skilled  guitar  solos,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  paganism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Nothgard  are  a  very  great  sounding  epic  mixture  of  black,  melodic  death,  pagan,  and  folk  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Of  Light  And  Shadow"  "Black  Witch  Venture"  "Wings  Of  Dawn"  and  "No  One  Holds  the  Crown".  8  out  of  10.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bastion Interview


Answer: Dmitry (vocals, horns), Ivan (drums), Yuri (vocals, bass), Alexander (keyboards, accordion)

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Dmitry: After the release of the album several concerts in Moscow were played to support it. We also recorded a new song "Sumetskaya" based on an old Russian folk tune for a fight, and made live video for this song. We are going to present them in the near future. At the moment, we took a long pause to determine the further development of the concept and vector group.

2.Recently you have released a new album can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Ivan: we approached more responsibly to the record of a new album with a sound concept of music and visual album design. The first album is good in his own, but due to lack of experience, many errors were made during the recording process we tried to avoid on the new album. Music is fundamentally different, which is understandable since there were important changes in the band: in fact, composers were changed. New members added the diversity of folk instruments.

Alexander: and technically the group does not stand still. We wanted to play harder and more varied, while retaining the folk component, which is eventually happened. Besides lyrics also undergone a change in the direction of greater linearity and stiffness corresponding to modern realities. Everybody went all out and that is happened - the best at the moment that our group can offer.

3.In the beginning the band played in a more power metal direction, what was the decision behind going into a more heavier and darker direction?

Yuri: It was a natural desire of participants, which just went from the inside. Times change - changing ourselves. Events around us getting tougher and we react to them through our songs. Besides striving to give people a boost to opposition negative factors around us, and more hard music contributes a much better motivation!
Alexander: Probably heavy hammer of the current sound is better able to reach the minds and destroy the gate of indifference inhabitant than the previous chaotic whistling in the air power metal sword.

4.While there where a few demos released in the early 2000's the band waited until 2011 to put out their first album, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?

Ivan: As often happens - the young guys get together, with the idea to play a definite music, creativity abounds, but the case itself, which for some then becomes a matter of life, not yet filled with that sense and awareness that appear later with experience. Parties are formed around, people come and go and everything is fun. In such circumstances demo are being written, creating something which happens naturally, and the recording quality in mind - this is not working as recording full-length album. And then serious changes begin, time shows - what is the most important for someone. In our case, the whole complex of these problems is the reason of a temporary abyss. In fact, the tracks presented on "Dawn of Svarog" were written by different people of the first casts started recording the album some, already finished the others. In any case, the first release - it's important theme for us - we summed up the first step of forming a "Bastion" and paid tribute to the first participants who have at one time a huge contribution to the team.

5.The lyrics cover Slavic Paganism themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

Yuri: Actually it is not only about paganism. For us paganism - is primarily one of the pages in the history of our nation, undeservedly forgotten and rejected by modernity.
Alexander: This topic is, unfortunately, almost no coverage in the official history, though an integral and a very large part of it. This is done on purpose, because the modern religious system which promotes slavery, humility and non-countering to all the negative that we have now is beneficial to the state. While Slavic paganism promotes freedom and harmony with the environment, which is lacking in modern humanity.
Ivan: All this talks and debates about the validity of certain beliefs already pretty bored. I personally absolutely non-religious person. Paganism for me is a way of learning about the world, do not allow limitations. As a creative person, I want to breathe and absorb everything that gives us around the world - with its light and dark sides. Everything is subject to a single space, and feel one with it - that is my spiritual path. Everything else - the profanity and fictions of people wanting to subdue the crowd. If we talk about the topic of paganism in the works "Bastion", it gives us a basis for a deeper dive into a folk soul, not yet tainted by foreign elements, true love for our fatherland and unbreakable bond with her.

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Bastion'?
Ivan: It's actually quite banal. Title was invented in the beginning and did not change. And then it was important to pick up a resounding suitable word for executable  music (power metal). Looked everywhere, thought, discuss different options were ... until at one point in a dictionary, it has caught the eye of "Bastion". We decided that it is well suited for it and stopped. Surprisingly, until now, given all the changes in our sound and style - it does not lose relevance. "Bastion" as used to stand, despite all external attacks, and will stand on its promise and carry listeners.

Yuri: "Bastion" is a serf fortification. That's you will not pass by our group so easily and not overcome hurriedly. In addition, as it is a defensive structure, as we stand on guard for our traditions and history.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Dmitry: For me, the best concerts were in Minsk (Belarus) in 2011, the same year in St. Petersburg, together with Skyforger and the presentation of the new album in Moscow in February 2014. Our performance was described once the publication Casus Belli Zine as "Krasnoznamensk’s ruffians " (we are from a town called Krasnoznamensk). This definition accurately describes our behavior on stage: unbridled energy and conduct, which gets all the spectators and puts in a slam and mosh. We behave on stage completely uncharacteristic of typical pagan metallers. It is worth a look!

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Dmitry: No plans for performances, because, frankly, no one is calling us to play)). And especially not arranges tours. Promote our own music as we can.

9.The new album was released on Der Schwarze Tod, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Ivan: Der Schwarz Tod - this label of Nebokray’s (Небокрай) vocalist, whose participants are also some people from "Bastion." Our first release, by the way, also came out with the help of this label. At this stage, we are completely satisfied with the cooperation with them, label does not stand still, builds momentum, increasing the number of released versions, well, then we all communicate closely, so we do everything together (for details on the release and distribution of Der Schwarz Tod you can learn here - https://www.facebook.com/DerSchwarzeTod).

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of underground, extreme, pagan and folk metal?
Dmitry: At the international level only positive feedback there are. And ordinary listeners and music critics have praised our effort and work.

http://www.metalhead.it/?p=27511 (7.5 \ 10 from Italy)
http://nocturnemagazine.net/recenzije/1704/- #. Uxn8cND. (8 \ 10 from Serbia)
5 \ 5 from Dark City magazine (leading magazine about heavy music in Russia)

11.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?

Dmitry: Guitarist Konstantin involved in the group Lepta (Лепъта) and has recently been helping our friends from the group Krada (Krada). Ivan and Yuri are permanent band members Nebokraj, just as I wrote Flute for Nebokraj on a new mini-album. Personally, I'm studying ancient Russian traditional music and have a project under this "Kudeyar» (Кудеяр).

Ivan: Just trying to help our friends and colleagues on the stage - this notorious group Temnozor, Krada Moscow, there was collaboration with a group of Wolf Cross and other groups.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Yuri: First of all of course it is the traditional Russian folk music and our folklore in general. Then folk metal and black metal. Not without modern alternatives (hardcore, rapcore). I always like listening to The Exploited and Oi, RAC, melodic death, pagan metal.
Ivan: I've been listening to different music at different stages of my life, so that all affected little. Recently returned to the nu-metal and alternative - Limp Bizkit, Korn, Soulfly ... Before this was mostly hardcore. Quoted old Black Sabbath - the greatest band of all time! At one time the strongest influence was the Norwegian black metal - in the face of all known, the brightest of its representatives. If we talk about the lighter characters, the Iron Maiden - always on my top list! Guys from Manowar - just to display .. always appreciated the music drive and some wildness or atmospherics and some detachment. Here it all and entwined.
Alexander: Everything, classic rock, pumping heavy music, all that helps to push, tug, squat and run.
Dmitry: First, there was punk rock, then grew up on classic heavy metal, then symphonic black metal, nu-metal, alternative, hard core. Now I listen to any good music, be it pop, elektro, rap or metal. I generally like music as itself and no matter what style it is. Among the groups in my track sheet are always 3 Doors Down, Limp Bizkit, Chimaira, Nickelback, Drowning Pool, Hatebreed, Deftones, Dry Kill Logic, Creed, Devildriver, Deadlock, Lamb of God. Lately listening downtempo, melodic drum'n'bass, embient, and of course the Russian ethnographic folklore.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Ivan: Besides music, are actively engaged in sport - gym, martial arts, boxing, football. Participate in mass jogging and other sports promotions aimed at the proper development of young people. Interested in car and motorcycle industry. Course literature - both classical art and popular science, mostly historical. Just interested in the issues of doing business in the Russian complex realities. Besides all this, everyone has a basic work, half of a group have family with young children - so do not have to miss.
Alexander: HLS (healthy lifestyle): rocking, girls, bike, skiing. J
Yuri: I think the consensus is said rocking. With regard to myself, rocking, history of his native country, its peoples, politics. About family and parenting does not say that because even though it takes the lion's share of the time, it can not be called hobby. This is the fucking life!)
Dmitry: each participant involved in sports, as possible participate in public life. I love an active lifestyle, cars and motorcycles, guns, outdoor recreation, longer hikes, literature, in general, all that fills life with colors and what you feel truly alive.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Ivan: Thank you for your interesting questions and interest in our creativity! Do not forget your roots, fully develop, get better every day and then do not have to complain about the negativity around - create your own reality!

Yuri: Keep yourself healthy, get exercise and learn the history of your country. All that you need to raise a healthy generation. Be patriots of your fatherland.

Alexander: Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth!

Dmitry: Thank you for showing interest in us and really interesting questions. Salute Portugal from Russia. Listen to our music and watch the news on the official pages: