Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hegemone/Luminosity/2014 CD Review


  Hegemone  are  a  band  from  Poland  that  plays a  mixture  of  black  metal,  post  rock  and  sludge  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Luminosity".

  Distorted  sounding  experimental  music  sounds  start  off  the  album  and  after  a  minute  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  heavy  sludge  metal  direction  along  with  some  aggressive  vocals  that  also  bring  in  black  metal  screams  at  times  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Most  of  the  tracks a re  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  great amount  of  post  metal  style  melodies  and  there  are  also  some  saxophones on  some  of  the  tracks  that  also  gives  the  music  more  of  an  avant  garde  feeling  while  some  of  the  other  songs  are  heavily  influenced  by  shoegaze.

  As  the  album  progresses  the  music  speeds  up  a  bit  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  adds  in  blast  beats  and  tremolo  picking  which  also  displays  more  of  the  bands  black  metal  side  and  they  also  add  in  melodic  leads  and  solos  at  times  and  on  some  of  the  later  tracks  more  clean  playing  is  added  into  the  music  and  they  bring  a  progressive  feeling  to  the  album  along  with  some  clean  singing  vocals  that  bring  in  a  psychedelic  feeling  when t hey  are  utilized.

  Hegemone  plays  a  very  original  style  of  music  that  combines  the  more  melodic  side  of  black  metal  with  the  heaviness  of  sludge  and  a  good  amount  of  progressive,  post  rock  and  shoegaze  elements  to  create  some  very  interesting  sounding  music,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cove r dark,  melancholic  and  philosophical  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Hegemone  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  post  rock  and  sludge  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Hunt  Within"  and  "Nightingale".  8  out  of  10.   

Havenless Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Hi, and thank you very much for this interview!
We are a progressive death metal band strongly influenced by bands as Opeth, Ihsahn, Enslaved. Founded in Toulouse at the beginning of 2012 by the Composer-Singer-Guitar player Fred Blanchard. A few months later, our first EP “Architecture of plague” came out, we played some gigs in the southwest of France while working on our first album.

2.Recently you have released your first full length, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the ep you had released in 2012?
To us, this album is following the same line as our first EP recorded in 2012, even if songs are different, they are less experimental more intelligible for the audience. About the sound now, we have maintained a natural and human touch, but in a professional studio this time. We are all very satisfied of this!

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
The lyrics tell to the listener some mysterious and unnatural stories… even for us! ^^
Stories to be more specific could be considered like “Thrillers”, in wich victims and guilty are present. For example, the first four tracks in the album tell about two young boys who kill their mother because they are driven by a kind of supernatural ghost entity … but I’m not going to spoil anything, I prefer to let the curious read the booklet!


4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Havenless'?
As I said previously, in our stories, victims are present and their aggressors always achieve their goal . So these victims are helpless against this fantastic strength, without refuge… Havenless.
This is also a music title from a band I particularly appreciate: Enslaved

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?
Our best souvenir: I would like first to mention a live in Albi to celebrate 10 years of “Une nuit en enfer” with Necrocult, Trashnasty and Oldskull , the ambiance was perfect! The show in Montpellier with “Negura Bunget” and finally our live in Montblanc, at the “Garrigue fest” with our friends “Orob”!
I think we have been improving and we can’t wait to play our full album on stage next year!

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
We are now in the progress of organizing a tour in the north of France with “Orob” for February 2015. We will also participate in a maximum of concerts and competitions to promote best as possible our first new album!

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of progressive and extreme metal?
People liked our first EP, but we haven't really been able to export our music a lot ... that’s why we signed with the international label “Wormehole death”. Famous French webzines and magazines have supported us (such as Rock Hard, Metallian) but each reviews always ended with sentences like: “so excited to hear a complete album”!

8.What is going on with some of the other musical projects or bands these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Other projects of members in the band are not very active at the moment, exception for projects of our new bass player “Christine Lanusse” (Qantice, Hretghir, Brain Collapse)
Ben, our guitar player, plays with his cover band 70’s “Devik” on a regular basis & Fred (singer guitarist) project, Osuaire (old school death metal) is currently preparing an album.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We’ll just let the music evolve in our future songs certainly with more clean vocals. As it starts with our new songs of the future second album, the atmosphere is in the way to be more 70’s while remaining melodic death metal! And we are working to have our sound evolving also.

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?
The main musical genres, which our composer is inspired by are Swedish metal, progressive rock, Doom/death metal, heavy metal of course and nice bands of non-traditional black metal.
To cite some band names : Opeth, Ihsahn, Katatonia, Hypocrisy, Emperor, Enslaved, Bathory, Ereb Altor, Isole (best doom/death band ever!), Porcupine tree, Steven Wilson project, etc… they are to many.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
We don’t have a lot of non-musical interest…Just our drummer “Romain” wich is a Geek! Chris also likes photography.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We wish to thank you once again for your interest in our band and interest for our first album! I have no doubt that progressive melodic metal lovers will like it !
Rock’on !

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bloody Terror/Diaboli Celeritate/Metal Scrap Records/2014 CD Review


  Bloody  Terror  are  an  international  band  with  members  from  both  Ukraine  and  Russia  that  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Diaboli  Cereritate"  which  was  released  by  Metal  Scrap  Records.

  Acoustic  guitars  that  have  an  ethnic  feeling  to  them  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  heavy  riffing  and  an  atmospheric  sound  in  the  background  which  also  brings  symphonic  elements  to  the  bands  musical  style  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  added into  the  music  they  bring  in  even  more  of  a  melodic  edge  to  the  recording  and  there  is  also  a  good  amount  of  melody  in  the  riffing  as  well.

  Vocals  mix  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  deep  death  metal  growls  together  and  they  also  bring  in  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts  and  whispers  at  times  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  on  some  of  the  tracks  melodic  clean  singing  can  be  heard  at  times  and  they  bring  in  a  more  operatic  atmosphere  to  the  symphonic  elements  of  the  bands  musical  style.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  blast  beats  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  they  also  bring  in  operatic  female  vocals  at  times   and  as  the  album  progresses  you  can  hear  a  small  amount  of  progressive  rock  elements  and  folk  metal  being  added  into  the  synths.

  Bloody Terror  takes  a  90's  style  of  symphonic  black  metal  and  mixes  it  with  the  more  modern  melodic  death  metal  sound  to  update  this  genre  for  the  modern  day,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Bloody  Terror  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  and  symphonic  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  "Devil's  Speed"  "Magic  Of  the  Moon"  and  "Eternal-Life  Vampirism".  8  out  of  10.          

Azathoth Circle/The Replacement/Metal Scrap Records/2014 EP Review


  Azathoth  Circle  are  a  band  from  Ukraine  that  plays  a  very  dark  and  progressive  form  of  post  metal  that  also  brings  in elements  of  black  metal,  stoner, and  doom  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  ep  "The  Replacement"  which  was  released  by  Metal  Scrap  Records.

  Clan  playing  and  acoustic  guitars  starts off  the  ep  giving  the  music  more  of  a  progressive  and  post  rock  edge  along  with  some  melodic  clean  singing  female  vocals  a  few  seconds  later  and  after  a  couple  of  minutes  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  heavy  prog  metal  direction  along  with  a  good  mixture  of  black  metal  screams  and  death  metal  growls.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  added  into   the  music  they  give  the  ep  even  more  of  a  dark  and  melancholic  edge  and  the  drums  also  bring  in  a  few  seconds  of  blast  beats  and  the  songs  also  have  more  of  a  modern  metal  edge  to  them  and  on  the  second  track  you  can  hear  more  gothic,  doom  metal  and  Opeth  influences  being  added  into  the  bands  musical style  along  with  a  touch  of  mainstream  rock/metal  and  on  the  last  track  the  music  starts  bringing  in  more  of  a  stoner  metal  vibe.

  Azathoth  Circle  brings  in  a  variety  of  many  different  style  ranging  from  progressive  and  post  metal  and  adding  it  in  with  the  heaviness  of  stoner,  doom  and  black  metal  along  with  a  touch  of  mainstream  rock  to  create  their  own  style  of  dark  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the lyrics  cover  dark  and  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Azathoth  Circle  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  progressive,  post  and  dark  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Attack  Over  Again".  8  out  of  10.

  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thorr-Axe/Gates Of Winter/2014 CD Review


  Thorr-Axe  are  a  band  from  Indiana  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  stoner/doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Gates  Of  Winter".

  Winter  sounds  start  off  the  album  and  a  few  seconds  later  the  music  starts  to  get  more  heavy  and  you  can  hear  traces  of  black  metal  before  going  into  more  of  a  doom  metal  direction  while  they  also  keep  around  the  blackened  parts  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  a  couple  of  the  tracks  are  long  and  epic  in  length.

  After  the  first  track  the  music  starts  to  add  in  more  stoner  metal  influences  along  with  some  aggressive  screaming  vocals  and  after  awhile  element s of  punk  and  hardcore  can  be  heard  in  some  of  the  tracks  along  with  a  small  amount  of  death  metal  growls  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  At  times  you  can  hear  a  great  amount  of  sludge  in  the  bands  musical  style  and  most  of  the  tracks  stick  to  more  of  a  slow  or  mid  paced  direction  and  one  of  the  alter  tracks  also  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  melodic  guitar  solos  and  leads  which  also  leads  up  to  the  music  speeding  up  a  bit  and  bringing  in  a  few  seconds  of  blast  beats  on  a  few  songs  with  the  second  one  also adding  in  more  black  metal  elements  and  on  of  the  later  tracks  also  bring s in  a  small  amount  of  spoken  word  samples  and  psychedelic  sounds.  

  Thorr-Axe  plays  a  very  heavy  form  of  stoner/doom  metal  that  also  bring s in  a  heavy  amount  of  sludge  and  black  metal  influences  to  create  the  sound  that  is  presented  on  the  recording,  the  production  sound s very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  Norse  Paganism  and  Fantasy  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Thorr-Axe  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  stoner/doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album>  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Seer's  Vision"  "The  Forging  Ritual"  and  "Awakening".  8  out  of  10.

  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Unhathomed Of Abyss Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Unfathomed of Abyss is a studio project that utilizes extreme metal / black metal sounding musical phrases composed in a layered and constantly temporally evolving symphonic framework.


2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

It's fucking awesome. But, I'm really not an unbiased source of information on this.


3.This musical project has been around since 2001 but so far this is the first release, can you tell us a little bit more about the delay?

I started writing in 2001, and finished in 2012. Though some of the parts I even wrote in 2000, I had used them to do a concept study in rhythmic ideas tied to tonality that evolved, or echoed with slight changes introduced to repeated elements over time, rather than mindless repeating of parts verbatim for the entire piece. That study that I did on 2001 ended up being the proof of concept for the entire album, which is the final section of “The Malevolence of Existence's Continuation”. I had to insert some parts that mindlessly repeated verbatim though because constantly evolving parts with no opposite can create it’s own type of monotony as well. But in estimating / tallying up the actual time spent working on writing the album, if I omit all the time spent not working on the parts that went into the album (time spent writing other stuff that did not make it on the album, writing other music as an exercise or concept studies, time spent studying classical theory amongst whatever other random things life throws one's way), the writing would have consisted of about a years worth of weekends and evenings, it was just spread out over almost the entire time-frame. Although, it took me a lot longer to write parts at first, than it does now. Recording didn't take forever once I was done writing. Then I spent literally a year re-mixing it with mostly decade's old software and hardware. Most of the time was spent waiting for the geezerly Dell I have to process audio, usually around 10 – 20 minutes per track, multiple times for each song. I had like 20 – 30 mix downs to go through for each song because loading everything up all at once would freeze the software for sure, and occasionally crash the computer and forever corrupt audio files.



4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects that you explore with your music?

“To Unequal the Balance of the Cosmos” is about origins and evolution of life, and that life taking hold of the physics of it's own basis, and a cataclysm that follows when life manipulates it's basis.

“The figment Unadulated” is about the nonexistence, arbitraryness and invented bullshittery of things that exist only in the minds of people; religions, cultures, and really any group of people where the name of that group somehow lasts longer than the people that adopt those made up ways.

“Within The Glory of Other Lights” is about humanity and life in general's need to colonize areas away from Earth, as Earth will be consumed by the Sun eventually when it expands to be a red giant (it's circumference has been estimated by people a lot smarter than me to come to rest roughly along Earth's orbit in around 2 billion years or so, though in around 1 billion years, the increase [occurring right now] in the Sun's luminosity will heat Earth up to the point of being unfit for life). Mars is referred to in the lyrics, however the title suggests other stars besides the one that annoys us in the morning are a worthy goal as well.

“To Nothing” is about a life form that fails to overcome it's subordinance to existence, and then dissolves to existence itself, to molten rock, or vapor perhaps. It however maintains a chance at future evolution to self awareness again, as is true of any of the ingredients for life that may be wandering through the universe right now.

“Within the Void” is about the nonexistent dichotomy purveyed (to annoy people with any sense) by the fake fucks that inhabit Earth, those who pretend that ideas (actually, I'm just talking about traditions, cultural groups and religions) are somehow reality itself, and who purvey that anything observable, testable and otherwise physically real is somehow not real or not useful. So, it's about a habit of travesty that humanity perpetuates upon itself; a fleshy self destruct button.

The Malevolence of Existence's Continuation is about the transience of life, and it's subordinance to Earth.

The way the lyrics are written though, those meanings are hard to glean.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Unfathomed Of Abyss'?

It's a sort of slight of hand way of saying “life”. At least, I wouldn't expect much of it to exist in a universe that largely consists of a relative majority of emptiness.

6.With this musical project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with a full time band, or do you prefer to work solo?

I couldn't have written this as a collaboration with a band. Nor could I have learned to write this type of stuff if I was spending a lot of free-time practicing playing parts. I did work with two other people on this, and could not have finished it without their help. Kevin Talley did the drums, and Tom Kvålsvoll did the Mastering.

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

There hasn't been any label interest. I may be wrong, but I assume there has to be some sort of touring capability to entice a lot of labels. These days they seem to serve more of a promotional function (it's very easy to self release digitally and physically) as far as I can tell, and opening for some band with a big following that also kicks ass in a live performance is likely a better form of promotion than putting those same band's name in a “sounds similar to...” section of a website. But I'm on the fence about labels anyway.

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

Pretty good actually. It varies wildly though. I have received feedback indicating that the music is just right to people's tastes, and even that it is the type of thing some people look for. I have gotten feedback that indicates some people really expect a more linear and “repeated verbatim” based approach to something labeled with the word “symphonic”, I guess the same people might be seeing the “black metal” in the descriptions I use, and ignoring the “symphonic” part. I use those terms merely because they are the closest descriptive terms that people use to search for any music online. I do not believe that somehow, magically or as in some other type of woo woo type way that my music itself inhabits some mystical state of being by being called this or that. So, it is not this, that, or some other thing. It is what it is. I would call it “fluffy cupcakes” if search terms could be replaced by sounds playing in a person's brain. It would be a lot easier if Amazon could hear those sounds when I search for music to buy, otherwise I have to figure out how people are describing music, which can be bullshit.

9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

I'll be writing more brutally and varied, and more symphonically. There is some new material already written. I'm also interested in getting rid of the use of synthesized sounds as much as possible. So I've got a violin being shipped to me from halfway around the globe as I type this. It's not a far stretch, from guitar to violin. Assuming I can get to the point of being able to record what I write with it, then I'll have to find a viola, cello and double bass as well. All the synth parts were actually written with the real instruments in mind anyway.

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?

Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, old Metallica, Slayer, Mayhem, Arcturus, Emperor, Stravinskiy's The Rite of Spring, almost anything by Alan Hovhaness, Iannis Xenakis, and Vangelis. those are the best examples I can think of now. I prefer modern orchestral styles to classical / boroque, romantic etc eras, dissonant metal, or metal that uses multiple types of scales rather than music that solely relies on the typical overused, ripped of to the point of annoyance western scale. Nowadays I flip constantly between the nu-metal, hard rock, 90's hard / grunge rock, alternative and classical (not the opera one) channels on SiriusXm.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Architecture, stop-motion animation, computer generated visual effects software (Blender is the shit) surreal / fantasy / sci-fi visual artwork, designing things.

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

Just say no to trends.


Friday, November 21, 2014

NervoChaos 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?
(Edu) Yes, we’ve started early this year our tour promoting the new release and so far we’ve reached Europe and South America. This year we’ll do 100 gigs and our plan is to continue touring in support of our new album until late next year. Also, we’ve released a new music video and we’re featured in two tribute CDs, one from HEADHUNTER DC and the other from STOMACHAL CORROSION.

2.You have a new album coming out in December, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
(Edu) In Brazil the album was released in April but in the US and Europe it will be out in December. I believe it’s our best release up to date. The new album is an natural evolution of our music and now that we have a solid line-up for a couple of years (which is awesome) we’re very tight and also mature as a band and as musicians. It’s the most diverse album we’ve released and we could explore different music styles ranging from traditional Death Metal to Thrash Metal, Black Metal and even some Doom Metal and Hard Core elements.  Also, it’s the first time we had a producer working with us on the whole process. We’re very pleased with the new album and the response we’re getting is extremely positive.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
(Edu) We’ve always been a satanic/occult band but we do explore other topics as well. On the new album you can still find some satanic/anti-christian/occult themes but also topics about the harsh reality of our daily lives.

4.The band has been around for almost 20 years, what is it that keeps you motivated to create extreme metal after all of these years?
(Edu) I think when you do it for passion and not fashion it will last forever. We love what we do and we’re an underground band, so success for us is being active, touring and releasing albums. I think whatever you do in life, if you love it, if you have the passion it will last forever and there’s always motivation to continue with what you do.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'NervoChaos'?
(Edu) When we started the band we wanted a name that could be easily understood in English and Portuguese. Also, we wanted a name that was different from all the other bands that were around back then and a name that mixed both languages, Portuguese and English. The name also represents very well our music, our proposal and the city where we live in.

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?
(Edu) It’s hard to choose just one or two shows once we’ve been touring since the band started. We believe that a true band is a band that’s not afraid of touring or performing live, so we think our highlight are our live performances. Our stage performance has to sound better than our albums and I think we have an intense, in your face stage performance. We did several memorable gigs and we had the opportunity to share the stage with great acts.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
(Edu) We had our first US tour booked for this year but due to the visas we couldn’t fulfill it. It has been re-scheduled for March 2015 and we hope we can get our visas this time to tour the US for the first time in our career. We did 100 gigs this year in support of the new album and we’ll continue touring until the end of 2015.

8.Over the years how has the feedback been to your music by fans of underground metal?
(Edu) The more we tour, the more often we release material, the better is the feedback. Also, our fan base is growing worldwide and the sales are growing as well. I think that’s the best response we could have from it.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
(Edu) I hope our line-up keeps steady so we can continue with our musical evolution. We only do what we like as a band and we’re always trying to evolve but keeping true to our proposal. Our idea is to continue touring and releasing albums frequently. Every new album we release we always try to beat our previous release. We’ll continue doing extreme music without being attached to this or that music label.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
(Edu) We have a lot of different influences in our music, it ranges from Black Sabbath to Napalm Death or from Judas Priest to Cannibal Corpse. I could mention acts such as D.R.I., The Accused, R.D.P., old Sepultura, Death, Obituary, Benediction, Dismember, Incantation and many more to list. I still listen to the ‘classic’ albums from bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mercyful Fate, Dissection, Possessed, Dark Angel, Sadus and etc.  

11.How would you describe your views on Satanism and Occultism?
(Edu) I’m into the Left-hand Path, Chaosophy, Chaos-Gnostic Satanism and The Cult of Death. All this is highly mixture with the Brazilian culture (since the Guarani and Tupi Indians) and with the afro-brazilian religion such as Quimbanda and Macumba. Occultism is the knowledge of the paranormal and it’s not for everybody, it must be kept hidden.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
(Edu) I love history in general, but mainly old civilizations and wars. I’m a big movie fan, I’m also deep into video games, books and weed smoking. I love traveling around and also spending time with my son.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
(Edu) Thanks a lot for such an interesting interview and I hope we can tour the US soon. Keep up the good work and stay fuckin METAL! Visitwww.nervochaos.com.br and we you all on the road!
www.greyhazerecords.com

Astrum Malum Interview

Interview - ASTRUM MALUM
For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Astrum Malum was created in the autumn of 2014. The first songs were created quite fast since I had a very clear picture of how this project should sound like. The music is done completely with a single software, except for the guitars and vocals. This is how I plan to work in the future as well.

Recently you have released an Ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
 In my view, about half of the music is a combination of quite minimalistic “Neo Classical” sounds combined with electronic Ambient and Industrial sounds. The other half is a combination of Doom, Sludge and Black Metal. In the future I intend to include more Noise and electronics in general, as well as more Symphonic orchestral feelings.

What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
The themes of the Ep deal with the loops and mirror-houses of human consciousness, and on the other hand spiritual death. Very Alchemical and Buddhist actually, although most of the world’s spiritual systems deal with these same topics, ideally.

What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Astrum Malum'?
 The name in Latin means “Evil Star”, at least that’s how I’ve meant it, and is a symbol of basically two things: The human consciousness itself, and the cultures it produces. The project wants to fuse the ancient with the modern, and the destructiveness of Western culture and the spirituality of the East, on some levels.

 With this project you record all of the instruments while you have some help with the lyrics and vocals, are there any plans to hire a full time line up in the future?
 I have had so much bad experiences with working as a “band” with many people in the past, that with this project I try to handle things as much as possible on my own. I am however fortunate to have two individuals co-operating with me with on the Ep with the lyrics, the other one of these also speaking Latin. I hope this will continue in the future as well.

 Recently SisSixSix Music have released your Ep and another recording from one of your other projects. Are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
 Actually Astrum Malum is the only project I have that’s been released by SixSixSix Music. Steve has been very helpful, and has many years of experience in label-work. He’s a pro!

 On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to this musical project by fans of black metal?
 It’s hard to tell, since the Ep has been out for such little time, but there have been a few positive reviews at this point. This is the first interview I’m answering with Astrum Malum.

 What is going on with some of the other musical projects these days that you are involved with?
 I have been doing Black Metal -related music since the mid-nineties, and there have been a lot of small projects, but may main bands at the moment besides Astrum Malum are: Taatsi (creating Nature Mystical Black Metal), and Vinoristi (formerly known as TKNKNTJ, Punk-influenced impetuous Blackened Metal)

Where do you see yourself heading into musically during the future?
With Astrum Malum, I will continue along the paths begun with the Ep, releasing a full-length album in 2015.

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?
I listen to so many different styles of music, it would be a long answer to list all the things I love, but in the case of Astrum Malum I have (always) wanted to create feelings mixing Dead Can Dance with the Tron: Legacy OST by Daft Punk (if you know what I mean), mixed also of course with Sludgy Black Metal.

How would you describe your views on Satanism, Luciferianism, and Occultism?
The proper nouns Satan and Lucifer mean today in peoples mind quite the different things they originally stand for, but I have been fascinated by the characters in the works of for example Milton, Dante, Bulgakov and Goethe since a kid. I have also quite liked the sense of humour Anton LaVey had. There have been periods in my life when terms like “Luciferian” or “Satanist” have meant a lot to me, but now at the age of 34 these would not be my first choices of words describing myself.
I have been into Ritual Magick, studying different religions and spiritual systems etc. since my early teens, but these days my practice revolves mostly around Yoga, Meditation, and Kabbalah.

 What are some of your non musical interests?
Besides the above-mentioned activities, I am for example into reading psychology and neurology, psychedelic themes, lifting weights and training boxing, as well as raising my daughter.

Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Like I mentioned earlier, this was the first interview I’ve done with Astrum Malum, many thanks for that, and your support in general! The Ep “Nether Knot” is available from SixSixSix Music, and a full-length album will be released by an yet unnamed label in 2015!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Abstruse Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the release of the 2 albums?

I am currently working with the promotion of the albums and also dealing a live performance for them.

2.In July, you had released 2 albums, how would you describe the musical sound that is present on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The sound has more space as it is intended through the concept of the albums. This is
elaborated by using the binaural (3d) recording technique which gives the listener the perception of a three dimensional space surrounding him. It is more diverse than the previous works, many instruments, styles in a working whole, a ‘’gestalt’.


3.What was the decision behind releasing 2 albums instead of one?

I had many pieces that would not fit in a single work. Also each album works as a complement for the other. They are one work in essence.

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

The space within us and the void surrounding us or inversely the void within us and the space surrounding us. The different perspectives and philosophical views over life
that shape the mood and our intentions.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Abstruse'?

It means difficult to comprehend, inspired by the statement that truth is hard to grasp, it lies behind the curtains of our illusory world.


6.There are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?

Since 2007 it’s only me. No plans for the future, just wait and see.



7.The band was formed in 2002 but it took 5 years to release any material and it took till 2012 to release a full length, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?

Since 2010 , an album comes every two years. I think this is not a large gap for a solo project that has many demands of technical, structure-wise nature. In  the beginning things were more difficult and also demands from universities kept things hard .

Actually a demo was released in 2003 but we decided not to let it out.

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

No, the music is very underground for a label to release. They also seek for live concerts that are not doable right now. I prefer the DIY view for now.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal and experimental music?

There has been a lot of feedback from all over the world , such as U.S. , Germany
and it is always a nice surprise to see the albums featured on talks in forums by fans suggesting them to others.

10.What musically direction do you see yourself heading into during the future?

I can speak for the next album which will have a tribal feeling in it. The future is unknown…

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?

In the past, Mayhem, Thorns, Bolt Thrower,from the extreme metal scene, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Debussy from the 20th century classical, later Amon Tobin, Bong Ra from electronica. I am listening to a lot of different genres; one particular band that walks great on the crossover path is the Norwegian Manes.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

Reading, Writing, in specific a paper for a new musical system I am developing through the years, called the ‘rational system’

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

Thanks for the questions, people can check out the albums and download them for free in bandcamp , here is the link : http://abstruse.bandcamp.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mudbath/Corrado Zeller/Lost Pilgrims Records/2015 CD Review


  Mudbath  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  doom  and  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  album  "Corrado  Zeller"  which  will  be  released  in  2015  by  Lost  Pilgrims  Records.

  A  very  dark  drone  done  by  synths  starts  off  the  album  before  getting  more  distorted  and  after  a  minute  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  heavy  sludge/doom  metal  direction  and  the  music  starts  to  add  in  high  pitched  screams  that  are  very  heavily  black  metal  influenced  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  At  times  melodies  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  all  3  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  on  the  second  track  the  music  starts  to  speed  up  a  bit  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  black  metal  style  tremolo  picking  while  also  keeping  around  the  slower  parts  and  bringing  in  elements  of  hardcore and  when  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  bring  a  melodic  post  metal  feeling  to  the  recording.

   Mudbath  plays  a  very  slow,  dark  and  heavy  sludge/doom  metal  sound  that  also  brings  in  elements  of  black  metal,  hardcore  and  post  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sound s very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  depressive  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Mudbath  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  doom  and  hardcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Shrim  Alternative  Healing  Center".  8  out  of  10.        

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Astrum Malum/Nether Knot/SixSixSix Music/2014 EP Review


  Astrum  Malum  are  a  1  man  band  from  Finland  that  plays  a  mixture  of  neo-classical,  dark  ambient,  black  metal  and  sludge  and  this  is  a  review  of    2014  ep  "Nether  Knot"  which  was  released  by  SixSixSix  Music.

  A  very  symphonic  and  epic  neo-classical  sound  starts  off  the  ep  and  they  also  mix  it  in  with  heavy  guitars  and  grim  yet  deep  black  metal  growls  and  screams  and  the  programmed  beats  bring  in  a  militant  and  industrial  feeling  and  at  times  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording.

  At  times  you  can  hear  a  great  amount  of  melody  being  utilized  on  this  recording  along  with  the  slower  riffing  bringing  in  a  very  heavy  sludge/doom  metal  feeling  and  when  solos  are  utilized  they  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody,  talent  and  skill  and  on  the  last  track  there  is  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  aprts.

  Astrum  Malum  creates  a  very  original  sound  with  his  music  taking  a  symphonic  style  of  black  metal  which  he  mixes  in  with  the  slower  riffing  of  sludge/doom  metal  and  the  atmosphere  of  dark  ambient  and  neo-classical,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  while  the  lyrics  are  divided  into  a  3  song  concept  and  have  a  very  dark  subject  content  to  them.

  In  my  opinion  Astrum  Malum  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  symphonic  black  metal,  sludge,  dark  ambient  and  neo-classical  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  chekc  out  this  project.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Part  II".  8  out  10.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Abstruse/Outer Void-Inner Void/2014 Full Length Review


  This  is  a  review  of  another  album  from  Abstruse  which  was  released  the  same  day  as  the  previous  one  reviewed  and  also  continues  the  experimental  and  avant  garde  sound  of  the  previous  recording  while  still  retaining  some  black  metal  roots  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Outer  Void-Inner  Void".

  Dark  ambient  drones  and  atmospheric  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  acoustic  guitars  and  avant  garde  clean  singing  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  get  more  aggressive  at  times  as  the  album  progresses  and  the  distorted  parts  bring  in  elements  of  industrial  while  also  having  the  heaviness  of  metal  and  you  can  also  hear  a  small  amount  of  grim  voices  being  utilized  in  the  background  at  times.

  Guitars  at  times  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  solos  and  leads  that  demonstrate  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  and  just  like  with  the  previous  recording  most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length,  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  the  vocals  bring  in  a  black  metal  feeling  and  a  lot  of  the  music  brings  in  traces  of  early  1900's  musical  genres  while  they  never  forget  there  metal  roots.

  Dog  barking  sounds  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  some  elements  of  noise  music  and  with  each  track  the  album  gets  more  diverse  and  original  sounding  and  they  also  bring  in  more  of  a  metal  sound  on  this  recording  than  than  the  previous  one  reviewed  whilr  also  being  very  experimental  at  the  same  time.

  Abstrucs  creates  another  album  that  is  very  experimental  and  avant  garde  while  also  having  a  small  amount  of  black  metal  as  well  as  being  very  heavy  and  adding  an  industrial  influence  into  their  sound  to  create  a  very  original  sounding  recording,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  illusion  and  reality  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Abstruse  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  avant  garde,  experimental  and  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Inner  Void"  "Acid  Rain"  "Underground"  and  "Outer  Space".  8  out  of  10.   

Abstruse/Inner Space-Outer Void/2014 Full Length Review


  Abstruse  are  a  duo  form  Greece  that  plays  a  very  experimental  and  avant  garde  form  of  black  metal  with  elements  of  thrash  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  "inner  Space-Outer  Void".

  Dark  background  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  keyboards  and  clean  singing  vocals  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  use  spoken  word  parts  and  get  aggressive  at  times  and  there  are  also  some  heavy  guitars,  after  awhile  the  music  starts  to  speed  up  a  bit  and  you  can  hear  blast  beats  being  utilized  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  a  slight  thrash  feeling  on  some  of  the  later  tracks.

  The  music  can  be  very  heavy  and  avant  garde  both  at  the  same  time  as  well  as  adding  in  psychedelic  and  symphonic  elements  at  times  along  with  a  good  amount  of  technical  guitar  leads  and  a  small  amount  of  death  metal  growls  and  most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  you  can  hear  a  great  amount  of  ambient  sounds  in  the  bands  musical  style  and  when  acoustic  guitars  are  added  into  the  music  they  bring  in  a  heavy  weird  style  of  sound.

  At  times  you  can  hear  some  80's  style  death  rock  in  the  songs  along  with  small  amounts  of  whispers  being  brought  in  at  times  and  all  of  the  tracks  are  very  diverse  with  the  heavier  part s bringing   in  a  bit  of  the  90's  avant  garde  sound  that  some  of  the  bands  where  experimenting  with  in  these  days  and  they  also  bring  in  a  few  seconds  of  grim  screams  briefly  and  the  later  songs  go  for  more  of  an  un-commercialized  form  of  experimental  music

  Abstruse  creates  a  very  weird  style  of  music  with  their  sound  having  some  roots  in  avant  garde  black  metal  and  thrash  which  is  still  a part  of  their  sound  while  the  later  half  of  the  album  really  goes  for  a  very  experimental  direction,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  yet  powerful  while  the  lyrics  cover  Illusion  and  Reality  themes.

 In  my  opinion  Anstruse  are  a  very  great  sounding  experimental  act  that  have  their  roots  in  black  metal  and  if  you  are  a fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Outer  Void"  :Enchanting  The  Snake"  "Temple  Of  The  Android"  and  "Inner  Space".  8  out  of  10.         

Nervochaos/The Art Of Vengeance/Greyhaze Records/2014 CD Review


  Nervochaos  are  a  band  from  Brazil  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal, doom,  death,  thrash  and  hardcore  punk  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "The  Art  Of  Vengeance"  which  will  be  released  in  December  by  Greyhaze  Records.

   A  very  old  school  thrash  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  death  metal  growls  before  speeding  up  and  adding  in  hardcore  punk  style  shouts  and  the  music  sticks  mostly  to  a  mid  80's  to  early  90's  style  of  extreme  metal  along  with  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and  the  raw  energy  of  grindcore  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them..

  You  can  tell  the  band  is  heavily  influenced  by  the  Brazilian  thrash,  death  and  black  metal  bands  of the  80's  in  the  way  they  structure  there  songs  and  a  lot  of  their  fast  riffing  and  screams  bring  in  an  old  school  black  metal  feeling  while  the thrash  and  death  metal  elements  are  still  a  very  strong  part  of  the  bands  musical  style  and  at  time s they  also  add  in  small  amounts  of  melody  to  their  aggressive  sound.  

  When  the  music  slows  down  the  album  starts  showing  more  of  an  early  90's  doom/death  metal  feeling  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody  but  remain  true  to  an  old  school  style  of  death  metal,  one  some  of  the  later  tracks  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard  at  times.

  Nervochaos  go  back  to  the  mid  80's  and  early  90's  styles  of  death,  thrash,  black  and  doom  metal  and  combine  them  to  create   a  sound  of  their  own  along  with  the  energy  of  grindcore  and  punk,  the  production  sounds  very  old  school  yet  professional  at  the  same  times  while  the  lyrics  cover  Satanism,  Anti  Christian,  Dark  and  Violent  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Nervochaos  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  death,  thrash,  black  metal,  doom,  grind  and  punk  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Harvest"  "The  Devil's  Work"  "Blood  Ritual"  and  "The  Legacy  Is  Pain".  8  out  of  10.

    

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Frostbitten Kingdom Interview

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

The new album, "The Winter War Symphony" will be out in 25th of November via Wormholedeath. Therefore we have took care of some promotional stuff with the label and media. We are also planning a music video or two. Meanwhile some new material is also being written and naturally we rehearse our playing.

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

To put it short, it is epic death metal. Some people have compared it to early Wintersun. I think our work is more brutal, but I guess it is still a fair comparison. When we think about our older works, the new album is definitely more melodic than our previous ones. Everyone used to compare our music to Dissection earlier, but I haven't heard that once when it comes to the songs of the new album. So hopefully, we are also a bit more unique nowadays.

3.This was the first release to be put out in 4 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time frame?

Well, when "Infidel Angel" was published in 2010, the album release was followed by a lot of live shows. They kept coming till the spring of 2011, when we decided it is time to start work on new material. We had couple of line-up changes by then and the process of rehearsing and writing the new material took it's time. We finally recorded the new album, "The Winter War Symphony", in December 2012. Our previous label agreed to publish it, but after couple of delays of the release we ended up in the situation where the label was sold and the new owners were not interested in the album. By that time it was already late 2013 and we were naturally a bit pissed off. We lost a guitarist and a bass player around that time. The surviving members finally published the album as a promo in the spring of 2014, only to seek a label and send the work to medias. When Wormholedeath contacted us, we signed the deal they offered without a hesitation. So, long story short, it wasn't our easiest album to make.

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

The entire new album is loosely based on a novel called "Korpisotaa" by Finnish author Pentti Haanpää. The book tells about The Winter War, a war between Finland and Soviet Union during the beginning of World War II. The Winter War lasted from November 1939 till March of 1940 on one of the coldest winters of the century. We thought lyrical theme like that fitted perfectly to the music on our album, as the atmosphere is pretty cold.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Frostbitten Kingdom'?

We just took it from the Immortal's song "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms". We were huge fans of Immortal's music by then, like we still are. And naturally, we thought the name sounded so fucking cold, exactly like we tried to sound back then.

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?

You gotta come see yourself as soon as we are starting the live shows again. We have always tried to be energetic on stage, as we share the opinion that nowadays metal bands in general don't focus enough on performing. I think there is some decent live videos on Youtube, where you can get some kind of picture of the shows. It's hard to pick any favorite shows, as we have done this for pretty long. To pick one, it was awesome to open for Venom in Krakow, Poland a few years back. It is also always nice to play on our hometown, where we probably have our biggest support.

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

We have nothing scheduled by now. We will get back on that after we have completed our line-up, published the album and finished at least one music video.

8.WormHoleDeath Records are re-releasing the ep you had released earlier this year, do you feel this will help get your music out there more well known?

Actually we never released the album to anyone but medias and labels, so basically Wormholedeath are first to publish it to the listeners. Wormholedeath is highly professional label and we know they work hard to get us more attention. So sure, we hope that after they have published the album we will get some new listeners.

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

When it comes to reviews, basically each and everyone of them has been positive, when we talk about the new album. We naturally hope that metal fans will like it as much as the critics have. Those few metal fans - outside the labels and medias - who have already heard the album have liked it, as far as we are concerned.

10.Are any of the band members currently involved with any other musical projects or bands these days?

Our drummer Sami Vainio plays also for the Finnish death/sludge metal band called Concrete Icon. Their debut album "Perennial Anguish" was released last year. For the fans of the genre, we would strongly recommend checking that out.

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

Probably to more imaginative dimensions. More different kind of sounds, less repetition, more melodies and influences from other genres... maybe stuff like that. But you never know, we do not plan these things much. And the new material written after "The Winter War Symphony" is anyway pretty dark and heavy. So, we'll see when the next album comes out.

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?

When we first started, we tried to create an evil mix of Scandinavian black metal and Florida style death metal, even thou we have never thought ourselves as a black metal band. The death metal stuff has always been more present in our music, if we don't count the vocals. Nowadays we think our music is basically just epic death metal with small nuances of black metal, classical music and rock. If we must name our biggest influences, they might be Death, Dissection and Suffocation.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

We actually have really little of those.

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

Not really. Thanks for your interest and be sure to check out "The Winter War Symphony"!

Usnea 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?

The new album just came out today, which is really exciting. We have a record release show in the works for next month and we're working on Spring touring plans. Nothing final yet, but next year we're hoping to do some US as well as European touring to support the album.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new recording and also how does it differ from your previous split and full length?

I think our new album definitely is a progression from our last. Musically the same elements are there, but this album feels much more to me like a complete album whereas our first album was four songs that didn't all fit together as well since they were our first output as a band. The new album also shows some differing influences and ideas for us. Vocally we tried some different things: Joel's vocals are much deeper on this album and they came out amazing. And Justin has a few soft singing parts that really add an excellent contrast to the music. There are other things too: more death-doom style parts, things like that. As a band we are constantly evolving and trying out new ideas, so I expect each album will do will be a bit different. We also put out a split 7" this year with a shorter song for us and something that wouldn't have really fit with what's on this album, so it was the perfect spot for that song.

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

The name of the album, Random Cosmic Violence, comes from a Carl Sagan quote: “It is a characteristic conceit of our species to put human face on random cosmic violence.” We are not the creation of some benevolent being or divine inspiration. We are here because of a random series of events that occurred over millions of years. I think that idea is beautiful in its own way and that was what Carl Sagan was really good at conveying - the beautify of the natural universe and the chance that brought us here. In contrast, our society goes to war over dogma, kills over religious ideology, destroys the environment. So our lyrics explore some of those juxtapositions and I suppose we focus a bit on some of the negativity of the random human experiment. As as species what are our conceits, what insanity moves us to do certain things.

4.On the fb page you had some horror and science fiction authors along with a few philosophers listed as influences, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?

A lot of the ideas in science fiction shed some light on what it means to be human, what we could become given the best and worst of choices and circumstances. So I see a connection there between some science fiction and philosophy - they both can inform our perspective of what we are as a species.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Usnea'?

Usnea is the name of a lichen, which is actually pretty common up here in the northwest and is nicknamed "Old man's beard". We were trying to come up with a name for the band and coming up with all kinds of ideas. I was looking at lists of names of plant tinctures and I saw that and it just instantly fit. As far as I know, there aren't any other bands named Usnea so that's a plus. And the word has a sort of mysterious sound to it which fits out music well. And its local to our area with medicinal properties, so that's pretty cool as well.

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

I think my favorite show as a band so far was with Yob here in Portland. They are such an incredible band that we look up to that we were humbled to be able to share the stage with them. Also the nicest guys you will ever meet. Mike wore our shirt when they took the stage that night which was pretty incredible, he is such a caring dude, it's hard not to be awed and inspired by his presence and amazing music.

As for our stage performance, playing in a slow doom band is a bit funny. It's not the sort of thing where you're going wild, head banging like crazy, getting the crowd wound up. Live we really just try to project the music and the energy it brings - whether it's a meditative, introspective feeling or a sort of angry, cathartic feeling. Music is meant to make you feel, so that's what we try to convey; if the crowd felt the music, then we succeeded.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new release?

We have a record release show scheduled in Portland for December 13th, and we're going to follow that up with a tour this Spring. We'll announce more soon.

8.A few months back you had released a split with 'Ruins', how would you compare their musical style to yours?

Ruins are a great band and awesome dudes. Their music is pretty different than ours for sure but I think that makes the split interesting and I think what we do is very compatible with each other. Some of my favorite shows are those with a diverse lineup. No one wants to see a show with four funeral doom bands unless you're a total masochist. So I think it's rad to mix it up a bit, within reason of course.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of black metal, doom and sludge?

The feedback we've gotten has all been really positive and sometimes overwhelming. I'm curious to see the reaction to our new album since it should be hitting a few more ears than the last. And although we've sold a few dozen records overseas, shipping costs these days are prohibitive. So I'm stoked that more people overseas will get to hear our new album and get the vinyl. And we will be there ourselves in not too long, playing the songs, so that's exciting too.

10.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects or bands these days?

None of us are doing much else really. We all have little projects here and there but Usnea is definitely our focus.

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

I see Usnea heading down the same track we always have: constantly evolving, getting excited about new influences and ideas, etc. I don't see our sound changing much, but as I mentioned before, I think each album will be a little different than the last and I'm excited to see where this journey takes us. I really have no clue what will be the inspiration for our music several years down the road and that's pretty exciting.

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?

Some favorites of mine that have had a big influence are Yob and Neurosis. As a band we all like a great variety of music, but for this project are obviously focused on creating doom metal. In the context of that, we are free to pepper it with other ideas and create our own unique take on the genre.

13.How would you describe your views on Occultism?

The occult is a dark and weird entity and so it has an appeal and draw to non-mainstream folks and a strong foothold in metal for sure. At the very least, occult themes are an interest in the art that Justin does for the band, and because of our influences lyrically from horror and sci-fi a la Lovecraft and others, the occult finds it’s way in to our aesthetic that way. To be honest though, we are all skeptical critical thinkers and none of us really have any kind of spiritual connection to the occult or any religious thinking at all really.

14.What are some of your non musical interests?

When we're on tour we often play chess and this last tour we had some epic late night games of Carcassonne going.

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

Thanks for the interview!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hombre Malo/Persistent Murmur Of Words And Wrath/Disciplin Mdia/2014 CD Review


  Hombre  Malo  are  a  band  from  Norway  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge  and  hardcore  punk  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Persistent  Murmur  Of  Words  And  Wrath"  which  was  released  by  Disciplin  Media.

  A  very  dark  and  melodic  sludge  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  aggressive  vocals  a  few  seconds  later  that  also  use  some  rough  sounding  melodies  as  well  as  a  great  amount  of  high  pitched  screams  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  and  samples   being  utilized  at  times  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  the  solos  and  leads  bringing  in  a  more  melodic  side  of  noise  rock.

  You  can  hear  a  heavy  influence  from  post  hardcore  in  the  bands  musical  sound  along  with  the  heaviness  of  doom  metal  and  after  awhile  blast  beats  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  as  the  album  progresses  you  can  hear  more  of  a  black  metal  style  being  mixed  in  the  bands  musical  sound  as  well  as  a  great  amount  of  punk  rock  style  energy  and  the  band  also  uses  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  A  good  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  they  also  add  times  bring  in  the  rawness  of  crustcore  and  a  good  portion  of  the  music  has  a  90's  feeling  to  them  while  the  black  metal influence  updates  the  music  for  the  modern  day  and  every  track  has  a  sound  of  its  own  while  you  can  still  tell  that  it  is  the  same  band  playing  them  all.

  Hombre  Malo  plays  a  style  that  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  sludge,  punk  and  noise  rock  from t he  90's  era  while  also  mixing  it  in  with  the  energy  and  grimness  of  black  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  a  mixture  of  both  Norwegian  and  English  and  cover  dark  and  angry  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Hombre  Malo  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge  and  hardcore  punk  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Crosses  And  Marching  Feet"  "Reaching  the  Shore"  and  "Deathbed  Confession".  8  out  of  10.      

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Unfathomed Of Abyss/Arise Upon Oblivion/2014 CD Review


  Unfathomed  of  Abyss  are  a  1  man  band  from  Texas  that  plays  a  very  symphonic  and  avant  garde  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  self  released  2014  album  "Arise  Upon  Oblivion".

  A  very  dark,  heavy  and  symphonic  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  melodic  guitar  leads  and  blast  beats  which  are  utilized  a  great  amount  throughout  the  recording  and  you  can  also  hear  a  great  amount  of  keyboards  being  utilized  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  there  is  also  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  present  throughout  the  recording  and  most of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  When  vocals  are  added  into  the  music  they  are  in  a  very  grim  and  high  pitched  direction  of  black  metal  and  you  can  also  hear  death  metal  growls  being  added  into  the  music  at  times  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  very  symphonic  style  while  still  being  very  heavy  and  melodic  at  the  same  time  and  you  can  hear  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  in  the  way  the  instruments  are  performed.

  The  symphonic  black  metal  style  of  the  album  is  more  closer  to  the  mid  90's  era  of  the  genre  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  after  awhile  you  can  hear  some avant  garde  elements  being  added  into  the  music  but  done  in  a  more  heavier  fashion  and  at  times  you  can  hear  a  touch  of  funeral  doom  in  the  slower  sections  of  the  music  while  the  symphonic  elements  also  bring  in  influences  from  orchestra  and  classical  music.

  Unfathomed  Of  Abyss  creates  a  style  of  symphonic  and  avant  garde  black  metal  that  is  closer  to  the  90's  style  and  also  has  more  of  a  darker  and  heavier  edge  than  most  bands  of  this  genre,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  doom,  existence  and  oblivion  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Unfathomed  Of  Abyss  are  a  very  great  sounding  avant  garde,  symphonic  black  metal  project  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "To  Unequal  The  Balance  Of  the  Cosmos"  and  "Within  the  Void".  8  out  of  10.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saille Interview


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

Dennie: We took it easy for a while, so to speak. The recordings were quite heavy, since we (and especially Reinier) did almost everything ourselves and bad luck punched us in the face several times. So we only played 2 shows and focused on personal stuff for a couple of months. The only significant happening is that we made the sad decision not to go further with our bass player Didier. He was replaced by Kristof who's currently preparing with us for the release shows. But busier times are ahead, so nap time is over.

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

Dries: We'd describe our music and sound as epic black metal. We used symphonic and melodic black metal as "tags" in the past, but that just doesn't cover our sound completely. The songs and general sound on "Eldritch" differs quite a bit from the previous recordings. Guitars form the base of the songs this time, in stead of keyboards being the start of the composition process in the past. We think "Eldritch" is much more guitar-oriented and we're very pleased with that. Soundwise we also changed the working process, Klas Blomgren did a great job and mix & mastered this album almost perfectly.

3.The lyrics on your album cover a lot of Lovecraft and Mythology themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?

Dennie: I've been a passionate reader since I was a kid and horror has always been my favorite genre. Especially nihilistic “it is not going to be okay” sort of stories have stirred something in me since my teens. So I was immediately sold when I stumbled upon Lovecraft several years ago. The cold atmosphere, the grotesque descriptions, the destruction of our ethnocentric beliefs, … Simply brilliant. And of course it makes killer source material for lyrics, especially if the corresponding music has the same uneasy vibe that Lovecraft's stories often have. Same for mythology actually. I've been reading tales of classic mythology since my childhood and developed a great interest in Norse-Germanic mythology a small decade ago.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Saille'?

Dries: Saille is a letter in the old Irish "Ogham" alphabet. All letters in this alphabet are represented by a tree (Saille thus means willow) and were carved in rocks and trees. It was that combination, the willow tree and the carving in wood/stone, destruction with a purpose, that made us choose the band name. The general idea we want to bring with the songs and lyrics is exploration of the destructive powers everywhere. Spreading the beauty of destruction that's sometimes hidden.

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?

Reinier: I can fairly say playing both Graspop and Eindhoven Metal Meeting were awesome experiences for us. Playing gigs in the Netherlands are generally fantastic every time. In our tiny country we remember the Tongeren Metal Fest and a support show for Mayhem in the famous Ancienne Belgique in Brussels the most. And, to top it off, we did some great club shows in the UK in the past two years en we felt very welcome.

It's quite crowdy on stage with the six of us and we keep things going. We add extra musical ideas, to avoid playing exactly what has been recorded and we have some visual aspects, but it depends on the size of the stage. Every now and then we bring a guest musician too. Like I said, it's pretty busy on stage.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

Dennie: We're currently negotiating with a certain party about touring next year and you'll read all about that when it's official. When it comes to shows we have some great things planned. For starters we'll have a 3 show mini-tour in Belgium and Holland with our British friends in Winterfylleth. Next we'll be playing Eindhoven Metal Meeting again, which is the greatest indoor metal fest in the Netherlands with bands like At The Gates and Morbid Angel headlining this year. Several other shows are booked and even more are in the making, so people will have plenty of opportunities to watch us play.


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

Reinier: We do get a lot of feedback, now more than ever, which means we're spreading. Apparently we're getting more fans outside Europe, mainly in South-America, probably because the metal genre is sort of booming there finally. There's some work to be done in Eastern Europe and for instance in France and Spain, but we're working on that. All in all the response is fantastic and motivating and so far positive, for which we are grateful of course.

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

Reinier: Besides Kevin (drummer) none of us is really doing anything else on the side. Nothing big, that is. It's just too much hassle and not feasible to combine 2 bands at the moment and it gets in the way at some point. Eventually you get in trouble with schedules, dates and obligations and Saille doesn't cancel shows. I can understand the urge to do something else on a creative level, but we are a busy band and it's better to keep focused.

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

Dennie: Not an easy question, since we're a six-piece with quite different musical tastes from time to time. Personally I hope that we'll succeed in creating a darker, more atmospheric sound that sends shivers down your spine. I have several ideas, and I hope that I'll also be able to contribute music wise, instead of just lyrics and vocals. But let's focus on Eldritch first, shall we?

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

Reinier: Naturally, there are influences from all kinds of styles, without actually realising it, but I can't say we deliberately make use of influences.

The thing is we try our best to combine all our personal styles and taste with cool riffs and great orchestral stuff, without too much boundaries and that's already hard as it is. We all like different music and at some point we find overlaps, luckily... What we did for "Eldritch" was trying another formula for composing this time, by working the other way round: the first album Dries (keys) started with the orchestral layers, while for this album the guitar parts were ready before anything else.

While the others are more open to all styles of metal and some even to jazz (Dries), I'm enjoying this year's Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse and Calm Hatchery the most.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Dries: Every band member has his own personal interests of course. Dennie loves literature, Reinier is traveling the entire world, Kevin is racing his car and Jonathan, Kristof and myself are, amongst other interest, raising their children. We share the passion for science, knowledge, nature, but of course we're most of all loving music in all it's forms.

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

Reinier: I would like to invite everyone to come to shows, of course to ours, but to all shows in general. It's very important for bands to have an audience and it's just not the same to watch it afterwards on YouTube, you've got to be there. Without an audience there are less shows and that would be sad.

And finally, please check us out and listen to a song or 2. Buy the album if you like it, because it looks pretty awesome.

Thanks for the interview!