Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sabhankra/Seers Memoir/Haarbn Productions/2014 CD Review


  Sabhankra  are  a  band  from  Turkey  that  plays  an  epic  and  melodic  mixture  of  black,  death  and  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of t heir  2014  album  "Seers  Memoir"  which  was  released  by  Hairbn  Productions.

  Atmospheric sounds  start  off  the  album  and  a  few  seconds  later  heavy  guitars  start  to  mix  in  and  the  synths  also  bring  in  a  progressive  feeling  at  times  and  after  a  couple  of  minutes  grim  and  deep  vocals  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  after  the  intro  melodic  guitar  leads  which  are  also  a  huge  part  of  most  of  the  tracks  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  some  elements  of  thrash  and  melodic  death  metal  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  There  are  a  great  amount  of  fast  playing  and  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  present  throughout  the   recording  along  with  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  a  few  tracks  that  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  as  the  album  progresses  clean  singing  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections of  the  recording  along  with  the  guitar  leads  adding  in  folk  elements  into  their  melodic  sound  and  the  synths  also  make  a  return  on  some  of  the  later  songs  giving  the  album  more  of  an  epic  feeling  while  towards  the end  one  of  the  tracks  brings  in  acoustic  guitars.  

  Sabbankra  plays  a  style  that  mixes  the  melodic  sides  of  black  and  death  metal  together  which  they  also  mix  in  with  thrash  and  folk  influences  along  with  some  epic  synths  to  create  a  sound  of their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  epic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Sabbankra  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  and  epic  mixture  of  black,  death  and  folk  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Against  The  False  Gods"  "Dancing  With  Death"  and  "A  Star  to  Shine".  8  out  of  10.

 

 

  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frosthelm/The Endless Winter/Black Work (Alkemy Brothers)/2015 CD Review


  Frosthelm  are  a  band  from  North  Dakota  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  thrash  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "The  Endless Winter"  which  will  be  release d in  March  by  Black  Work  (Alkemy  brothers).

  Classical  guitar  playing  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  stringed  instruments  in  the  background  and  after  a  minute  the  music  starts  going  into  more  of  a  dark,  heavy  and  melodic  musical  direction  along  with  a  heavy  does  of  thrash  metal  elements  and  after  the  intro  spoken  word  samples  are  added  in  at  times  along  with  the  music  getting  a  lot  faster  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  all  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Blast  beats  and  high  pitched  screams  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  and  the  music  has  a  very  heavy  and  melodic  Swedish  black  metal  feeling  to  it  while  the  band  never  forgets  their  thrash  roots  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  the  music  at  times  also  brings  in  the  brutality  of  death  metal  and  the  solos  and  leads  also  bring  in  a  very  melodic,  extreme  and  old  school  metal  sound  to  the   recording  along  with  some  sections  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing.

 Frosthelm  remain  true  to  the  melodic  black  metal  sound  of  previous  recordings  while  also  mixing  in  even  more  thrash  elements  this  time  around  along  with  a  touch  of  death  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  winter  and  fantasy  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  form  Frosthelm  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  melodic  black  metal  and  thrash,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Storm  Of  teeth"  "Beneath  Dead  Horizons"  "Endless  Winter"  and  "The  Dragon".  8  out  of  10.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Primitive Man/Home Is Where The Hatred Is/Relapse Records/2015 EP Review


  Primitive  Man  are  a  band  from  Colorado  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  blackened  form  of  doom/sludge  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  ep  "Home  Is  Where  The  hatred  Is"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Relapse  Records.

    A  very  distorted  reverb  sound  starts  off  the  ep  before  adding  in  heavy  guitar  and  bass  riffs  which  eventually  takes  the  music  into  more  of  a  sludge/doom  metal  direction  along  with  some  blackened  death  metal  growls  and  screams  and  on  some  parts  of  the   recording  the  music  does  speed  up  at  times  and  also  brings  in  a  good  amount  of  blast  beats.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  along  with  some  of  the  riffs  bringing  melodies  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  an d  in  some  of  the  faster  sections  you  can  hear  elements  of  grindcore  and  crust  influencing  their  musical  style  while  the  main  focus remains  more  on  a  slow  black/sludge/doom  metal  direction.

  Primitive  Man  creates  4  very  dark  and  heavy  sounding  blackened  doom/sludge  metal  songs  on  this  recording  and  also  remain  true  to  the  sound  they  established  on  their  last  release,  the production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  violent,  hateful  and  negative  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding   recording  from  Primitive  Man  and if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Loathe"  and  "Bag  Man".  8  out  of  10.           

Ensiferum/One Man Army/Metal Blade Records/2015 CD Review


  Ensiferum  are  a  band  from  Finland  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  melodic  form  of  pagan/fol  metal  with  elements  of  melodic  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "One  Man  Army"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Metal  Blade  Records.

  A  very  medieval  folk  music  sound  starts  off  the  album  giving  the  recording  a  feeling  of  a  fantasy  movie  soundtrack  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  a  very  fast  and  melodic  pagan/black  metal  direction  along  with  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and  high  pitched  screams  and  you  can  also  hear  a  great  amount  of  melody  in  the  music.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  spoken  word  parts  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the recording  as  well  as  good  back  up  gang  shouts,  symphonic,  folk  and  heavy  parts  mix  together  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  along  with  some  choirs,  viking  singing  and  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  all  in  a  very  melodic  musical  direction  and  folk  instruments  can  be  heard  throughout  the  recording  along  with  some  acoustic  guitar  work  being  added  into  some  of  the  songs  and  as  the  album  progresses  elements  of  thrash  metal  can  be  heard  at  times  and  there  are  also  a  couple  of  tracks  that  are  very long  and  epic  in  length.  while  death  metal  growls  and  female  vocals  are  finally  introduced  to  the  music  on  a  couple  of  later  songs  and  they  close  the  album  4  bonus  tracks  one  of  them  including  among  them  a  cover  of  the  Rawhide  theme  and  Barathrum's  "War  Metal".

  Ensiferum  creates  another  pagan/folk  metal  album  that  brings  in  the  heaviness  of  black  and  death  metal  while  also  having  enough  melody  and  epic  elements  that  would  also  appeal  to  a  power  metal  fan,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Nordic,  Germanic  and  Finnish  Paganism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Ensiferum  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Heathen  Horde"  "Warrior  Without  A  War"  "My  Ancestors  Blood"  and  "War  Metal".  8/5  out  of  10.  

Barishi/Endless Howl/2015 EP Review


  Barishi  are  a  band  from  Vermont  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  melodic  and  progressive  mixture  of  hardcore,  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2015  ep  "Howl".

  A  very  heavy  and  brutal  style  of  prog  metal  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  high  pitched  screams  that  combine  hardcore  and  black  metal  together  and  after  awhile  the  music  starts  incorporating  more  melody  along  with  some  technical  elements  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  good  mixture  of  both  clean  and  heavy  parts.

  Blackened  death  metal  growls  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  while  some  of  the  heavier  parts  also  bring  in  more  of  a  modern  prog  metal  style  along  with  blast  beats  being  added  in  some  of  the  faster sections  of  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Barishi  continue  their  extreme  progressive  metal  mixture  of  previous  recordings  taking  the  hardcore,  prog,  technical,  melodic  black  and  death  metal  genres  combining  them  as  well  creating  something  very  original.  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark,  real  life  and  philosophical  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Barishi  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  hardcore,  prog,  melodic  black  and  death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Smoke  From  The  Earth"  and  "Snakeboat".  8  out  of  10.    

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ur Draugr/The Wretched Ascetic/2015 EP Review


  Ur  Draugr  are  a  band  from  Australia  that  plays  a  melodic  and  progressive  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2015  ep  "The  Wretched  Ascetic".

  Acoustic  guitar  playing  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  a  great  amount  of  finger  picking  that  also  gives  the  music  a  progressive  feeling  and  after  awhile  more  full  chords  are  used  along  with  a  mixture  of  death  metal  growls  and  black  metal  screams  that  also  takes  the  music  into  more  of  a  dark  and  heavier  direction.

   Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  in  both  of  the  guitar  riffs  and  leads  along  with  the  later  mentioned  adding  in  technical  elements  at  times  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  good  mixture  of  both  acoustic  and  heavy  parts  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  songs  also  stick  to  more  of  a  slow  to  mid  paced  direction  while  there  are  fast  parts  that  also bring  in  blast  beats.

  Ur  Draugr  plays  a  style  of  black/death  metal  that  is  very  dark,  melodic  and  progressive  sounding  along  with  all  of  the  band  members  displaying  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  as  musicians,  the  production  sound s very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  metaphysical  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Ur  Draugr  are  a  very  great  sounding  progressive  and melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "The  Wretched  Ascetic".  8  out  of  10.

    

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mudbath Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Marco (bass, effects): We recorded Corrado Zeller between December 2013 and March 2014. We liked the way Red Desert Orgy (our first EP) sounded, so we decided to stick with local hero Mathieu Croux (Verdun, Goodbye Diana, etc.) for recording and mixing. Collin Jordan (Bongripper, Nachtmystium, Cough, etc.) took care of the mastering over the summer. During that time, our guitarist Flo designed the vinyl artwork (under his moniker The Shivering Goat) with the help of Sanair, a local artist who also worked on the artwork for Red Desert Orgy. After the summer we got in touch with a few labels - we're now glad to be in good hands with Lost Pilgrims Records, Grains of Sand Records and Désordre Ordonné.

Luke (drums, vocals): We've been concentrating on getting the album released for most of the year but we've also been setting a lot of plans in motion for 2015, which'll hopefully be a pretty busy year for us. We also played a small handful of local gigs with some bands we like that were coming through the area this year.

2. You have a new album coming out in 2015, 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?
Marco: It's not really the same band any more! After our singer Félix left the band in 2013, Flo, Mika (guitars) and Luke decided to handle vocal duties, and the result is even more harsh and aggressive than before. Musically speaking, the stoner blues influences have almost completed subsided to make room for a darker, deeper, more violent and deranged atmosphere. We basically just followed our collective instinct and made the music we felt like making at the time. The ritualistic doom/drone parts, the fist-to-the-mouth hardcore forays, the synths and effects... all of that wasn't to be found on the EP because there was a concern for staying within certain boundaries at the time. For Corrado Zeller, we didn't set ourselves any guidelines and just let it come together naturally. A healthy amount of substance abuse came in handy as well.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
Luke: We wrote a bunch of lyrics and recorded them but decided not to include them with the album because we don't want to 'pollute' the music with any kind of message. There are a lot of bands out there all saying the same shit and we're just not interested in being a part of that. It's all about the music.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Mudbath'?
Marco: We wanted something evocative and straight-to-the-point, and Cleveland Steamer was already taken.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years?
Marco: In 2012 we played at a place called La Ferme de Mauriac, a community farm deep in the hills in France. It was pretty incredible. They had a grindcore goat there, running around the room and stage during the gigs and attacking fucking German Shepherd dogs. There was also this guy on acid that thought we were terrorists or something – the guy was scared shitless, I though he was going to attack us while screaming the US national anthem. Last but not least, the riot grrrl-like band that we were playing with that night kindly offered, right in front of their kids, for us all to fuck them in the ass. Other than that the gig was OK, even if one of the girls from the other band grabbed a mic and started rapping over Smells Like Teen Cunt.

Luke: The last gig we played on our tour last year near Frankfurt, Germany was a weird experience too. We arrived at the venue, set up the gear and did the soundcheck, and literally no one turned up. The local act played their set in the hopes that a few people might walk in but no one did. The promoter offered for us not to play and still get the gas money, and we were tired and annoyed and had a lot of driving to get home so we nearly took the offer, but in the end we just figured “our gear's set up, there's four guys here who just played a whole gig in front of no one but us – fuck it, let's just play”. The other band grabbed a couch and sat on it in the middle of the room and we gave it everything we had left. My mic broke within the first 5 minutes so I was just screaming into thin air for the rest of the show. What was looking to be a really shitty night suddenly ended up being one of the most exhilarating and intense live experiences we've ever had.

Flo: For me it has to the last time we played at KTS, a really cool squat in Freiburg, Germany, with our buddies Haut&Court from Strasbourg. After the show people went home and we got completely wasted and jammed for an hour or two on the stage with Haut&Court, with everyone switching instruments. Then they left too and we just played drunk black metal by ourselves non-stop for two hours. I remember doing a really long blast-beat and thinking to myself “dude you're so good at this” haha. Then we went down to the basement, where they had practice rooms. There were two random guys playing there and we just started playing psychedelic blues stoner rock-ish stuff with them, and Marco, who usually never goes near the mic, was yelling into it for over an hour. Basically we started playing around 11 pm and didn't stop until 5 am. Definitely my favorite show. And the next day Luke puked for hours on end and then drove us to Strasbourg.

Mika: Same as Flo, that was insane. I think the balloons they had everywhere made us feel like kids again all of a sudden.

6. Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Marco: We're going to be touring through France, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia from Jan 23rd to 31st, with the final gig being the release party for Corrado Zeller in Montpellier, where Lost Pilgrims Records is based. We'll also certainly play as much as possible everywhere we can in France in 2015 before another Euro tour at the end of the year.

7. The new album is coming out on Lost Pilgrims Records, are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
Marco: Yes, we are. Geraud from List Pilgrims has always given us a hand one way or another since we started out, and it's a real pleasure for us to work together with him on the release of our first LP.
Grains of Sand Records (Russia) and Désordre Ordonné (Canada) are also working with us to bring Corrado Zeller to their respective geographical areas. We're stoked that people are interested in our music thousands of miles away from where we live, especially people that work with many bands we all love.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black, sludge and doom metal?
Marco: We were pleasantly surprised by how well our first EP, Red Desert Orgy, was received, and Corrado Zeller seems to be following in its steps. But you know, there are also bands that get poor reviews but tear shit up on stage. We basically just want our music to help us tour as much as possible and to not cost us too much so we can still afford to buy drugs with our overdrafts.

9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Marco: Something honest and brutal, whether it's sludge, doom, black metal, hardcore or full on r&b.

Flo: We don't want to set ourselves any boundaries for the future, although I hope our music will always be recognizable as our own. We're inevitably influenced by all kinds of bands but I think there's a certain color to our riffs. That's how it feels when we compose anyway. All I can say at this point is it looks like the next album will contain more notes than Corrado Zeller.

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?
Marco: There aren't many bands that we all agree on in Mudbath. There are a few bands we all really enjoy such as And So I Watch You From Afar, but we can't really count them as influences on our music. Mika, for example, is more influenced by Rob Crow's work than any doom album.

Mika: On a day-to-day basis I tend to listen to music that's nothing like what we play, partly so it doesn't influence me when I'm writing music for Mudbath. I really like Rob Crow and the plethora of bands and projects he's involved with - Other Men, Thingy, Goblin Cock, Physics, Heavy Vegetables, and more. His melodies, harmonies and mathematical construction really give off a unique atmosphere. I always go for atmosphere over riffs. Boards of Canada's The Campfire Headphase, Bongripper's Miserable or Code Orange's I Am King are a few albums I find absolutely breathtaking, without forgetting my earlier influences such as Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard, or even Nobuo Uematsu's piano work on the Final Fantasy series. That's what inspires me and that's what I want to explore with Mudbath – atmospheres.

Luke: I guess we all bring our own influences to the music. One band that definitely influenced me is Monarch!, an awesome French drone doom band you should definitely check out if you haven't already. The distilled hatred and filth of Kickback has always been a great influence for me too, as has the sheer intensity and honesty of The Chariot.
At the moment some of the records I'm playing constantly are the new Blut Aus Nord, Mayhem, Swans and Run The Jewels albums, Baptists'
Bushcraft, Abbe May's Design Desire, Julie Christmas' solo album, an old album by Blonde Redhead, Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele, the new EP from Igorrr and Ruby My Dear, as well as Poisse, the first EP from Fange, a stupidly heavy new band from Rennes, France.
Flo: Of course we're influenced by a lot of slow, dirty, and/or psychedelic doom bands, mainly Bongripper, Cough, Thou, YOB, Earth... But unlike Red Desert Orgy, that sounded very stoner/sludge, Corrado Zeller sounds a lot more oppressive and violent. Rorcal's Vilagvege and Oathbreaker's Eros|Anteros undoubtedly influenced me towards this new direction. Before we started the recording sessions we went on a retreat to an isolated house in the mountains, where Luke introduced us to Mare, a unique and brilliant Canadian band that just recorded one EP 10 years ago. We were pretty high all the time there and I'm sure that listening to that band helped shape our approach to some final arrangements on the album. Rob Crow, Grails and Mono don't really have much to do with Mudbath but they've definitely been big influences for me.
Recently I've been listening to the most recent albums by YOB, Earth, Impure Wilhelmina and Code Orange quite a bit, but also a lot of psych rock like Myrrors, The Wytches, Witch, etc. Just in the last few days I've been listening to the latest EP from Selenites like crazy.

11. What are some of your non musical interests?
Marco: Answering interviews.
Luke: In the words of a great American poet: “Money, cash, hoes”.
Flo: Hanging around with my bitch, driving her to the kebab joint - the easy life.
Mika: Fishing. But nobody knows that. And I don't like fish.

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

Marco: Thanks for your interest and thanks to the people who are reading this. Corrado Zeller is already streaming in full on our Bandcamp and will be available on vinyl on Jan 31st. It's going to be heavy as a really heavy thing.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Solefald/World Metal, Kosmopolis Sud/Indie Recordings/2015 CD Review


  Solefald  are  a  band  from  Norway  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  avant  garde  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "World  Metal,  Kosmopolis  Sud"  which  was  released  by  Indie  Recordings.

  Keyboards  and  programmed  beats  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  clean  singing  vocals  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  that  are  done  in  a  grim  fashion  and  a  few  seconds  later  heavy  guitars  are  added  onto  the  recording  which  also  leads  up  to  some  black  metal  screams  and  elements  of  electronic  music.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  a  good  portion  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  at  times  tribal  beats  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  some  of  the  tracks  also  bringing  in small  amounts  of  acoustic  and  classical  guitars.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  add  more  of  a  melodic  sound  to  the  songs  they  are  utilized  on  and  some  of  the  tracks  also b ring in  a  small  amount  of  death  metal  growls  and  there  are  a  lot  of  world  music  elements  being  utilized  throughout  the  recording  and  the  album  sticks  to  mostly  a  slow  to  mid  paced  musical  direction  while  also  still  being  very  diverse  all  at  the  same  time  and  one  of  the  tracks  also  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats.

  Solefald  creates  an  album  that  is  very  diverse  taking  the  avant  garde  black  metal  sound  of  early  releases  and  expanding  on  it  by  adding  in  a  variety  of  many  different  electronic  and  world  music  elements  to  make  their  musical  style  sound  more  up  to  date  in  2015,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Social  Commentary/Satire,  Stream  of  Consciosness  and  Mythology.

 In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Solefald  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Germanic  Entity"  "Future  Universal  histories"  and  "Oslo  Melancholy".  8  out  of  10.

 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Batsheva Interview

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

Batsheva calls for vengeance against those who stand in the way of enlightenment in the name of that which they spuriously deem "holy" or "sacred," who seek to enforce upon society outdated, conformist attitudes beyond which the greatest of us have long since evolved. The project represents my own frustrations, dashed expectations, and, finally, desire to bring about change by exposing the lies and illusions we are too often fed. To wake even one Sleeper from his or her slumber is a victory.

This is what makes Batsheva "the Unholy, the Destroyer, and the Highest." Through this project, I seek to fight false truths, destroy illusions, and rouse those who Sleep into the Awakened State for which we all are destined. The experience Batsheva provides is ultimately an experience of growth rather than decay. The project is itself, in some respects, is the Dark Night of the Soul: that which purifies without benefit of -- indeed, in direct defiance of -- Pauline Christian tyranny.

2. In December you had released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

Melodic black metal seems most fitting in that the record, while by all means brutal, hard-hitting, and ultimately uncompromising, also seeks to temper these dark and ugly elements with that which is beautiful. The album incorporates elements from a number of other genres as well, particularly symphonic black and funeral doom, which I used to create a dark and epic atmosphere beyond what could be done with guitar, bass, and drums alone.

Worth noting about the self-titled is that the guitar parts were recorded with only an acoustic guitar, since, due to lack of funds, I was unable to procure an electric guitar for the recording. So far, listeners have assured me that they're unable to tell any difference.

3. Your lyrics cover some occult topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this subject?

The occult has always been of interest to me. I believe that that which is mystical and obscure, when sought, may reveal to us a number of common truths and, ultimately, an all-encompassing reality that we tend to overlook in so-called "everyday" life. The average person living out his or her life day to day is most likely unaware of the truth beneath the illusion -- a truth that is beautiful, substantial, and wholly eternal, unlike the petty things with which people typically concern themselves. Even I am not above getting caught up in the fleeting concerns of daily life, which is why my reflections on mystical truths have become so important to me; they put me in touch with something far greater than mere flesh and blood.

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

In the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament, Batsheva, or Bathsheba, was a woman who, while bathing one day, was spied by the supposedly godly King David from his palace rooftop and thereafter became an object of his lust. David had Batsheva brought to him, and he impregnated her, then arranged the death of her husband, Uriah, in order to take her for himself as his wife. My self-titled project envisions a new mythos in which Batsheva, through a demonic ritual involving the sacrifice of the child David sired on her, becomes a goddess of revenge enacting her righteous wrath upon such "godly" men as King David who, throughout history, have wrought suffering upon the innocent through their boundless arrogance and greed.

5. With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with any other musicians or are you planning on keeping this musical project solo?

While I wouldn't wish to compromise my creative control over Batsheva, I am always interested in working with other musicians who are willing help me make my ideas concerning the project come to life, whether that's in the studio or on the stage. Regarding other potential projects, I do enjoy collaborating, depending on the specific project and available collaborators. I have worked with many musicians throughout my life, and I must say that not all of them have been capable of keeping up with me in terms of creativity and ambition. Those who were able proved to be extraordinary collaborators, and I am always interested in meeting and working with extraordinary people.

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

I have not yet contacted any labels, nor have any expressed interest thus far. That said, I would consider signing if it would be to Batsheva's benefit and if the label in question would respect my creative control. I have no interest in a label that would limit the project in any way, shape, or form.

I have aspirations to start a label of my own, for my music as well as releases by other bands and projects I respect. Currently, however, my financial resources are limited. So, until my circumstances change, Batsheva will remain an independent project.

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

As an unknown artist making his first foray into metal, I wasn't sure what kind of reaction to expect, but the reception has been almost entirely positive. I can't speak for black and/or doom metal fans in particular, but I would imagine that much of this positive feedback has come from such individuals.

8. Are you also involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?

Most of my other projects are on hiatus for the time being, primarily because, enjoyable and diverting as they were for me, they were imperfect avenues for what I wanted to express to the world. While everyone has darkness within, I am among the few who actively explore their inner shadows, and I wanted to create music that would adequately express this important aspect of myself. I do have some new musical projects in the works that pull from that same place, though the method I use to engage with my own darkness is slightly different in each of them.

Cult of Ecstasy is one of these projects. It's a sister project to Batsheva in that it also utilizes black metal elements, but, instead of being more straightforward with its influences like Batsheva, it takes the black metal elements and spins them on their head. It's deeply personal, perhaps to the point of excess. That's a common enough narrative these days with modern black metal, especially in the U.S., but I hope to dash expectations with that particular project. I've already tracked a few songs for it. So far, it's interesting.

I also plan on working on some dark and noisy electronic songs and perhaps even a few unconventional remixes under my own name, Nephandus. Despite my disillusionment with many aspects of modern life, one thing I in no way decry is the advent of electronic music, even considering the proliferation of mainstream bastardizations of once-original innovations such as house or dubstep. I think, with the right cultivation, electronic music can reflect upon inner darkness and the bleak nihilism of humanity in the same way metal often does. I have a history in electronic music production, so this project should prove exciting.

There are more projects I'd love to elaborate on, but I'm reluctant to talk about them too early. But you will certainly see more involvement on my part in metal and the darker side of music.

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

Well, currently an EP for Batsheva is in the works, and I'm also looking at the possibility of a split release or two in 2015. I have thoughts about the next full-length record, but nothing is concrete as yet. I can say that what material I have written and recorded for the EP so far is a little grimier and dirtier, but it's still very much black metal and very much Batsheva. I don't have plans to drastically alter the sound of the project. Batsheva has a particular identity, and, while identities may change and grow over time, I don't see this project changing in a manner or to a degree that would be jarring or uncharacteristic of what it is.

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?

Early on in the writing and recording of Batsheva's debut record, I'm certain that Emperor was an influence, since their record In the Nightside Eclipse is, in my opinion, one of the seminal works of the black metal genre. Funeral doom band Ahab was also enjoying heavy rotation on my playlist at the time. Too, despite its reputation as one of the more overrated releases of 2014, I was really enjoying Behemoth's The Satanist while working on the self-titled. Of course I listened to many other artists during the month and a half I spent recording Batsheva, but those are a few that I believe stand out as influences.

Right now, I'm greatly enjoying raw black metal band Unrest's debut Isolation and have been for quite some time. Terra Deep and Hyperborean Skies put out a split last year that was phenomenal and has remained on my musical rotation. I've also been enjoying Napalm Raid, Oathbreaker, A Pregnant Light, The Secret, and Black Sabbath, as well as a variety of non-metal artists. I've also been listening to my own music quite a bit. After all, why would I create something that I wouldn't enjoy myself?

11. What are some of your non musical interests?

I'm interested in religious rituals, practices, and beliefs, even if much of it is hideously backwards or even outright hogwash. Having been raised Roman Catholic, I find Catholicism's somber aesthetic appealing, though I'm also often disgusted or bewildered by the church's views and practices. I think that mingled fascination and revulsion results in an obsession with Catholicism in particular. For example, their ideas of the afterlife are of course no more than myth, most of which is based in a very selective idea of who is "good" and who is "evil," but Catholic death rites and and how they treat the remains of their dead -- especially saints -- are endlessly fascinating to me. All the Saints You Should Know is a blog I commonly read. Elizabeth, the woman who runs the blog, has such a deep and legitimate interest in the subject; if there's anyone who can convince you of the beauty of the Catholic death, it's her.

Beyond that, I'm always interested in existential and ethical philosophy, leftist politics, fantasy and science fiction literature, postmodernism, shit films and good television, and role-playing games, both atop the table and on the console. I could go on to elaborate on my love of all things "cat," but that could turn into too much of a tangent.

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

I'd like to thank those who have supported, listened to and enjoyed, or even given fleeting attention to Batsheva. I'd also like to thank the friends, family, and loved ones who encouraged me and dared me to challenge myself and challenge the world with my music. Black metal often places emphasis on the exaltation of the self, and rightly so in a world where we are perpetually put upon by sick institutions that demand that we conform and become yet another number in their filthy ranks. But it would be insincere of me to claim that I am spiteful toward all of humanity. While I am no stranger to my own darkness, neither am I a stranger to my own light and the light of those who make my journey possible. Thank you all.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Keeper Interview

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

 We're Keeper, a doom band from Fresno, CA. We started in roughly August of 2014. It is a two piece band in writing and in the studio and four piece live. We equally write and play guitar and do vocals, while Penny Keats records drums and Jacob records bass. That's pretty much all there is to it.

 2.So far you have released a demo and have a split coming out in a month, how would you describe the musical sound that is present on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

 When we were writing 'MMXIV' we really weren't certain where the band was going to end up, sonically. When the idea for the band very first came into fruition we were going to go for a very straight forward, percussive doom sound. I.E. a Black Sheep Wall/Love Sex Machine type of thing. We started writing the demo with that in mind. Although along the way we started adding other influences. Melodic chords, some Monarch-esque melancholy melodies, and of course all of the 'blackened' aspects. The demo was written piece by piece so a lot of little ideas snuck in there.

 '777' for us picks up where the demo left off. We sort of morphed all the little bits and pieces of 'MMXIV' into an,  I would say, much more solid track. One of the biggest differences is that we really started to focus on taking advantage of having two guitar players, making sure we weren't  just both playing the same heavy riff the whole time.


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

 Personal flaws, mainly how they effect and interfere with daily life. Largely the negative impact they have on relationships. The way life could have been, in an alternate reality/alter ego situation.  Pretty consistently, substance abuse. Paranoia, mortality, so on and so fourth.

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

 The full, actual name that we started with is, "Keeper: Of God and Birth." It's just about social and mental obstacles in life. Things that 'Keep' you or are your 'Keeper.' Say, substance abuse again for example. Mental disorders, negative people in your life. Whatever it may be, anything that is keeping you from being anywhere, anyway you want to be. Whatever you may be stuck on that is acting as your 'Keeper'

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

 Well, the band has only played two shows haha. Both of them were with bands we are really really into. The first was with Full of Hell (My favorite grind/hardcore band) and the second was The Body. I'm not really sure how to answer the latter half haha. But there is a lot of head-banging.

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

 Live is a little tricky for us at the moment. With live members, work, and other commitments. There has definitely been serious talk of touring though. So keep a look out for that, eventually.

 7.You are a part of an upcoming split with 'Sea bastard', what are your thoughts on the other band that have participated on this release?

 The coolest thing about them to us is the fact that they even thought to hit us up about it. We just posted a 'looking for splits' Post on facebook. Probably within the first month of us having the demo out, and they wrote us and were down. They've taken care of getting the ball rolling and stuff on the vinyl too which is super awesome. We're really appreciative of them for choosing to do a split with us.

 8.The split is going to be released through a variety of many different labels, can you tell us a little bit more about them?

 They're all rad and really supportive guys. We all came into contact from the original post that got us and Sea Bastard together. I think initially Medusa Crush told Dry Cough about us and they told Sea Bastard and we all came into contact. Black Reaper is Sea Bastrards label I'm pretty sure. Medusa Crush is just getting started, but has taken a huge foot hold on the promo for this split, I'm really impressed. Dry Cough has kept in touch with us since the beginning and is always showing support. All the labels are putting a lot of work into the split. Which is crazy to us! We just got started and we're being spoiled.  If you guys are reading this, thank you all so so much. It's great to see all this teamwork going on between these labels and people.

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

 Staggering actually. The internet is a crazy thing. We've gotten really flattering reviews and comments from people and blogs all over the world. Interestingly enough it actually seems like we ship more stuff over seas than we do here in the US haha. I have no complaints about that. It's an awesome feeling to know someone on the other side of the world supports the work we're doing. Especially enough to pay for a CD, or donate on our free download, even take the time to 'like' our Facebook. I'm amazed by how generous and close the doom and blackened community is around the world. They seek out new music to get into and really get into it, buying a tape or just telling a friend, doing what they can to keep it alive.

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

 Yeah, Keeper is far from our first band. We are both in another band called, Tiger Lily (not the pop punk one) and a little side project called Favorite Child. Jacob is pretty active in his band PlasticBag FaceMask and solo project Skull Incision. Our other live members have some really cool bands too. Fiend, Grow, Choke Slam, and I'm sure a few others I am not thinking of at the moment.

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

 We're going to work on it this year for sure. It was actually going to be our last project, but we went with an EP instead. I really have no idea when to expect it though, which is a bummer.

 We really want to head in a more blackened/melodic direction. To be more specific, more sad and 'pretty'. This doesn't mean we're going to stop being a doom band though. Our songs will still all be 60-90bpm haha. We have an EP coming out later this spring that really illustrates what I'm talking about.  The EP will be the big milestone for that sonic direction. With the number of splits we are doing and plan on doing though we will have lots of outlets for variety and experimentation. As the next few releases of ours come out you will see what we mean. They all sound a bit different. With major, conceptual, Keeper-only releases though, we want to continue with the aforementioned sound.

 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?

 We throw around all sorts of stuff when writing material, but names that tend to come up a lot are: Monarch, Thou, and Love Sex Machine. More recently handfuls of black metal stuff. Specifically So Hideous or even more specifically Deafheaven's Sunbather played at 33RPM (See YouTube for that one). I (Penny Keats) am not listening to a lot these days to be honest. A lot of hip hop and RnB, but I try to keep up on some of the new heavy stuff that comes out. The new Full of Hell album has been on heavy rotation. I know it's not new but I listen the Bone Dance S/T a lot. I (Jacob) am always listening to new things and getting new albums from bands I see live or the Internet. Right now I'm really loving So Hideous as we mentioned, Young and In the Way, and Monarch is real big for me right now. I'm currently in a very dark and heavy musical place.

 13.Does Occultism play any role in your music?

 None at all. We actually make a point to avoid it.  There are several religious references in the lyrics, but none for any of those reasons.

 14.What are some of your non musical interests?

 Jacob is a very active recording engineer. He has done the recording and mixing for all of our stuff. He has gotten really good over the past couple years. He has done the recording for a huge chunk of the bands in our local scene. I sometimes like to think I'm a photographer and like to play a lot of tabletop games. We also just joined a bowling league.

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

 I know it's corny but thank you to everyone who has helped us out so far. The support and work people have been putting into us has been shocking. In the best way possible. Thanks to all the labels who we've worked with so far. Grimoire Cassette Cvlture, Crown and Throne, Black Plague, Dry Cough, Medusa Crush, Black Reaper. They're not technically a label but CVLT Nation, they've always had our back. It rules.  If you've ever made a donation for the free download of the demo, double thank you. That stuff is wild. Special shout out to our friend Nyle Whitworth. Aaron of Lumbar, Rob of Most Precious Blood, the list goes on. So if we forgot you it's not because we dont love you.

Myrkgrav Interview



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

I just released the new single a few weeks back and so far the feedback has been good. Making Vonde auer a single was a bit of an impulse move, as I was wanting to showcase something off the upcoming full-length that I can never seem to finish. Breaking it down into smaller pieces that are easier to handle seems to be the way to go. In other words, I am working on the second full-length record, and as of right now only three songs need vocals, two of which also lack lyrics and vocal arrangements right now. I’ve always found writing vocal arrangements to be the most challenging part of songwriting.

2.Recently you have released a single, 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?

I would simply describe it as genuine folk metal, seeing as how the song incorporates traditional folk instruments as well as melodies inspired by Norwegian folk music – all while maintaining a strong metal fundament. Seeing as how Myrkgrav is now a well-established project with an 11 year-long history, it’s a little difficult to draw parallels to the sound of other bands, but it does at least fall somewhere between “traditional” folk metal bands like Vintersorg, Månegarm etc. and more contemporary folk bands like Fejd. On the first Myrkgrav album these true folk parts were less prevalent; in other words Myrkgrav has evolved more towards its own flavor of folk music – though the metal roots will of course always be there.

3.While you have released plenty of single's, ep's and have been a part of a split over the years there has only been one full length album, can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Following the release of the debut album (Trollskau, skrømt og kølabrenning), there was a lot of drama surrounding the record label I was on. In the end they failed me and all the other artists miserably – to such an extent that there are somewhere north of 1700 copies of the Trollskau album hidden away in some basement in Germany – that I became quite frustrated with the whole music scene. By that time I’d already written most of the songs for a second album, but I had a hard time finding inspiration to finish it when I knew that there would be no way to get the record out since I was tied down to a record label that had sole rights to release new Myrkgrav material until 2012. At the same time I was struggling personally with anxiety and depression, which certainly did not aid in making a new Myrkgrav album a reality. It’s only after I became better and moved away from the unhealthy place I was in back in Norway that working with music became possible again – though far from as easy or “natural” as it had once been.

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

The one thing that has been consistent with Myrkgrav over the years is the lyrical and visual theme: folklore and local history from the forest areas around Ringerike, Hole, Lommedalen, Sørkedalen from the 16th, 17th, 18th and early 19th century. It is a rich material do draw from, ranging from the morbid to the lighthearted and funny. I usually go with whatever fits the atmosphere of any given song, where for example Vonde auer instrumentally is both upbeat and melancholic at the same time; so are the lyrics. History is full of interesting gems that deserves a second chance to be admired by the people of today.

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

Concerning the name Myrkgrav, it’s actually a bit of an “oh god why…” subject for me. It was in fact not me who chose the name of the project, it came from a third party as a suggestion and the 16 year-old über-Black Metal kid me thought it sounded cool, meaning “dark grave”. In later years I have pondered time and time again to change it into something else, but I am saving the name I have in mind for a different project that may or may not see the light of day. That name is also based on folklore from my homelands.

6.While this is mostly a solo project you do use some session musicians, have you ever thought of turning this project into a full time band?

I’ve definitely been thinking about it now that I live in a typical student city with a lot of young musicians, but I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that a lot of Myrkgrav material is difficult to recreate live due to the number of different instruments and musicians with very distinctive sound signatures I’ve had accompany the project over the years. The Hardanger fiddle is for instance very prominent in the new material, and I would either have to sample it as playback live or get someone from back in Norway to join the project – which is very difficult in its own right since talented Hardanger fiddle players are few and far between and usually have very little interest in metal music. A lot of the Myrkgrav vocals are also based on harmonies and choirs, which would require all other musicians to be able to sing well in addition to play their instruments well – and I honestly think that’s very hard to come by unless you pay professional, educated musicians to do it on a full-time basis. I am not willing to sacrifice key ingredients to Myrkgrav’s sound just to be able to play live, so I’ve put the idea of making the project a full band on the back burner, for now.

7.A couple of years back you had moved from Norway To Finland, can you tell us a little bit more about this move?

At the time I was living in a very unhealthy environment in Norway, completely removed from all my friends, acquaintances and possibilities of pursuing my interests. I had originally intended to move to Trondheim in Norway to study Nordic literature, but I passed on that opportunity when I met a young Finnish woman who was to become my significant other. Since I had nothing other than beautiful scenery holding me back, I quit my boring desk job, packed all my shit and moved to the outskirts of Vaasa in Finland.

It was a very rough first year, adapting to a new culture and social etiquette as well as coming to terms with the fact that all my official papers of having done good work and such back home in Norway did not count for squat. It was a very bureaucratic process that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, and it did indeed change me as a person.

After I’d gotten my bearings straight in Finland, I applied to Åbo Akademi university to study folkloristics and ethnology – and although it’s indeed been challenging to take up university studies as an adult, it was definitely the right choice for me. The subjects and teachings of academia have opened up my eyes as well as opened doors for me I would never otherwise have thought to look through, and I’ll hopefully become a Master of Folkloristics in a few years – fuelled with lots and lots of inspiration to use it both professionally as well as musically.

8.According to the Metal Archives page you stand on all anti racist positions, can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Unfortunately the folk/Viking/pagan metal scene is riddled with a lot of strong ideological ideas. I just did not want anyone to think I am a part of that with Myrkgrav. Don’t get me wrong, as a cultural researcher I know that everyone is free to keep whatever ideology they want, but some of those are more destructive and aggressive/hostile than others and I prefer to keep my distance from such political agendas both on a personal and professional level. Cultural differences will most likely always be a thing, and as long as you recognize that as a fact instead of thinking one culture is more “right” than another, you’re good to go. It’s actually rather sad that I’ve had to spell it out, the fact that I’m not a racist or such – when I personally think that should be the default assumption. It’s such a hostile world out there.

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

I would venture as far as to say that in today’s music world, traditional labels are becoming irrelevant and redundant due to their lack of effort to get with the times. The possibilities you have as an independent artist are in danger of vanishing as soon as you sign with a label that doesn’t truly look out for the best interest of their artists. Today it’s so easy to get your music out there via the Internet, crowdsourcing etc. that a record label is mostly just needed for production of physical product as well as promotion. Personally I’m not convinced anyone really knows what type of physical product they will want in 10 years right now, so I’m holding out until that becomes more clear. There have been numerous record labels interested in signing Myrkgrav, but I feel like the only common factor with all of them is that I have to sacrifice way too much of what is my part in the whole project versus what I get back for it. The result is of course what is available to fans today: smaller releases in digital format that don’t reach beyond the most devoted fans, although with the new single I did in fact hire Metal Message to do some PR work to get the word out there that new stuff from Myrkgrav is being released.

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

It’s funny, because almost everyone I’ve spoken to that knows Myrkgrav’s music from various releases can’t wrap their mind around why Myrkgrav is still considered a “small” project – they think it’s worthy of being up there with major names like Falkenbach, Moonsorrow, Vintersorg, Týr and the likes. Overall I’d say the feedback I get for each release is positive, although there will always be those who don’t like the direction something is going. With Vonde auer for instance, some have said they thought there weren’t enough screaming vocals – while personally I think more clean vocals allow for a more complex diversity in the band’s sound. Like the saying goes, there’s one in every crowd… Any feedback is good feedback though. The worst part is when you here nothing and there’s this void between you and the listeners, which makes it difficult to see why you should keep releasing anything instead of just recording everything for your own ears only. Luckily there are some die hard fans who are quite vocal about what they thought of the latest they heard, which always makes it interesting to put new stuff out there. I’m pretty surprised Myrkgrav is as popular as it is, seeing as how I’m just some average joe who knows nothing about music theory and still manages to compose what generally seems to be labeled as quality tunes.

11.Are you involved with any other musical projects or bands these days?

Not really. Between my studies and other hobbies there isn’t much leisure time, and I only really work with Myrkgrav once in a blue moon. It may seem odd, but I don’t consider myself much of a musician at all really, and don’t think I’d do all that well in a band. I’m an average guitarist and singer at best, and I thrive much better in a studio situation where I have as much time as I want to do everything exactly the way I want.

12.When can we expect new music and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

Honestly, I don’t know about the first part, and as a musician I am probably going to revert back to being a hobbyist. I’m no longer an enthusiastic teenager that lives and breeds music – although my hobbies and interests are much the same as they have always been. I guess I’ve just lost that childlike sense of wonder in what I can do with music, and I’m happy to just jam around or write the occasional tune that doesn’t necessarily fit into any given genre or project. Making a job of your hobbies always seemed like the worst imaginable idea – which I had to learn the hard way, so I’m happy to keep music a much smaller part of my life and be grateful for the joys it brings; rather than stressing out about it and being miserable. The next Myrkgrav album is almost finished though, so I’ll at least finish that with pride and joy before I “retire”!

13.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?

It might come as a bit of a surprise, but I don’t listen much to music at all. There are a couple of bands I try to keep up with, like Dunderbeist and Fejd, but in general listening to music doesn’t influence me or inspire me anymore than say, reading the newspaper. Music doesn’t bother me or anything, it’s just not that big a part of my life. I cherish tranquility and silence more.

14.How would you describe your views on Paganism?

I don’t really have any views on paganism, other than the fact that I am sure contemporary Pagans are probably very happy to be allowed to believe and act out what they believe – and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Freedom of speech and acts is completely fundamental as long as it does not directly or indirectly harm someone else. I know this sounds like political correct bullshit, but I am just not that into beliefs and ideologies in general. I’m just another child of today, living the individualistic lifestyle that has been so common since the beginning of the 1990s.

15.What are some of your non musical interests?

I skateboard, and I’m heavily into fashion. Back when I was a teenager (before metal corrupted me ;)), I was an avid skateboarder. Somewhere along the way I just stopped, and I’ve been living a very sedentary lifestyle since then. Mostly I started skating again because when you start getting older, it becomes really noticeable if you don’t stay active that you’re not doing your body any favors, but when I started relearning old tricks and such I remembered what kind a pure, unadulterated joy it is to finally land something you’ve been practicing for months. As for fashion and menswear, I don’t think that needs any further explanation other than the fact that I am somewhat vain and like to give an outward presentation of what I feel like on the inside – sharp and well executed, but based on organic matter from the earth itself. Lots of wool, earth tones and warm layers is where it’s at!

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

I would simply like to thank you and your readers for your time and note the fact that Myrkgrav is where it’s at because a teenager had a dream – and went for it.

First Dawn Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, cna you tell us a little bit about the band?
- First Dawn is a project initiated in 2012. The recording of the Final epoch album started in the summer of 2013 and was finished year later in the fall of 2014. Right now First Dawn exists purely as a studio project so no live shows have been played or planned for the future.


2.In October you had released your first album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
- In Final Epoch we tried to create a mix of synth soundscape with aggressive metal guitar riffing and drumming. First songs were slower paced ones like the Devastation and evolved from there  to maybe more traditional metal songs like Pilgrimage.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
-The lyrics basically take place post apocalypse/scifi scenery where remnants of humans leave their ruined earth behind and head To the stars with hope of starting with a clean slate. Underlying theme which also repeats throughout the record is a pessimistic view where nothing is never learned from the past mistakes. The shame of the Devastation caused by the protagonist at the beginning of the story is forgotten in few thousand years and after that it's business as usual :)

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'First Dawn'?
-The name First Dawn was proposed in one of our band get-togethers. Sounded cool so we used that.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
-First Dawn hasn't played any live shows.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
-There are no plans for playing live with this band. However, we don't want to rule anything out. If something very special or interesting comes up we will definitely consider it.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
-We have not ruled anything out, but we are not looking for a label very actively.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic black metal?
-The feedback has been mostly positive. The music for the Final epoch album was made and recorded because we felt these songs were good and deserve to be put out somehow. It has been extremely nice to see that lots of people have liked our music.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
-No new First dawn songs have yet been completed, but hopefully during this year I'll find time to put stuff together for the next FD release. My vision is, at least right now, that the music will be something like Devastation and To the stars (in Final Epoch), further combined with electrical synth based music and orchestral influences.

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?
-Band and records form many different genres had an influence on Final epoch album. There is obviously lots of metal bands. Finnish bands like Moonsorrow, Swallow the sun and Alghazanth as well as melodic black metal bands like Emperor and Darkspace, to name a few. Also, influences from from movie soundtracks like Blade runner and Terminator had a huge effect on the Final epoch sound.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
-Well, movies, books and figuring out the world. I'm a fan of scifi and post apocalypse stuff in general, which reflects also strongly in Final epoch lyrics.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
-Thanks for everyone who have taken time to listen our music. If you like it, spread the word and check out our Facebook.

Myrkgrav/Vonde Auer/2014 Single Review



  Myrkgrav  are  a  1  man  band  originally from  Norway  but  now  resides  in  Finland  and  plays  a  blackened  from  of  viking  and  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  self  released  2014  single  "Vonde  Auer".

  A  very  hard  and  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  single  along  with  some  clean  singing  viking  metal  vocals  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  bring  in  more  of  a  melodic  folk  metal  sound  to  the  single  and  spoken  word  parts  are  also  heard  briefly  along  with  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  In  the  faster  sections  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  while  the  guitar  riffing  also  brings  in  a  a  great  amount  of  melody  at  times  and  when  folk  instruments  are  added  onto  the  recording  they  add  in  more  of  a  medieval  and  pagan  atmosphere  in  the  parts  where  they  are  utilized  which  also  leads  up  to  a  brief use  of  black  metal  screams  and  the  second  track  is  more  of  a  shorter,  instrumental  and  acoustic  version  of  the  first  song.

  Myrkgrav  plays  a  very  melodic  style  of  viking  and  folk  metal  that  also  brings  in  a  touch  of  black  metal  to  create  his  own  sound,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the lyrics  are  written  in  Norwegian  and  cover  Paganism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Myrkgrav  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  viking/folk  metal  project  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  single.  8  out  of  10.

      

Aethyr/Corpus/Cimmerian Shade Recordings/2015 CD Review

 
   Aethyr  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  plays  a  blackened  and  occult  mixture  of  funeral  doom  metal,  sludge,  ambient  and  drone  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Corpus"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Cimmerian  Shade  Recordings.

  A  very  dark  and  melodic  drone  sound  starts  off  the  album  before  going  into  more  of  a  doom  metal  direction  along  with  some  grim  black  metal  screams  and  deep  death  metal  growls  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  bring  in  a  very  depressive  feeling  to  the  music  while  also  bringing  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody  and  most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  At  times  the  music  speeds  up  a  bit  and  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  on  the later  tracks  the  band  starts  adding  in  more  elements  of  stoner  and  sludge  into  the  slower  doom  metal  riffing  while  some  of  the  alter  songs  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  synths  which  also  brings  in  more  of  a  funeral  doom  and  dark  ambient  atmosphere  to  the  recording  when  they  are  utilized  and  the  album  also  gets  more  diverse  with  each  track  along  with  one  of  the  songs  going  for  more  of  a  ritualistic  drone  sound  and  also  bringing  in  some  spoken  word  samples

  Aethyr  combine  a  variety  of  many  different  genres  together  from  black  metal,  funeral  doom,  sludge,  drone,  stoner  and  ambient  to  create  an  album  that  is  very  dark,  heavy,  and  ritualistic  sounding  while  also  being  very  original  at  the  same  time,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  Occultism  and  Esoteric  Disciplines.

   In  my  opinion  Aethyr  are  a  very  great  sounding  occult  mixture  of  black  metal,  funeral  doom,  sludge,  stoner,  drone  and  ambient  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Sanctus  Satanicus"  "The Gnostic  Mass"  and  "Templum".  8  out  of  10.

    .

Friday, January 9, 2015

Malphas/The Conjuring/2015 EP Review


  Malphas  are  a  band  from  Pennsylvania  that  plays  a  melodic  and  symphonic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  relased 2015  ep  which  will  be  released  in  February.

  A  very  dark  70's  style  prog  rock  synth  starts  off  the  ep  and  after  a  few  seconds  the  music  starts  getting  a  lot  more  heavy  and  symphonic  as  well  as  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  which  leads  up  to  some  brutal  blast  beats,  fast  riffing  and  grim  black  metal  screams  and  the  solos  and  leads  also bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melodies,  talent  and  skill  to  the  recording.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  you  can  also  hear  some  death  metal  growls  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  show  the  guitars  adding  in  elements  of  thrash  and  power  metal  while  some  of  the  clean  parts have  a  jazz  influence  to  them.

  Malphas  plays  a  style  of  symphonic  black/death  metal  that  is  very  melodic  and  also  displays  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  as  musicians  throughout  all  5  of  the  tracks,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  are  a  concept  based  around  the  39th  Goetic  demon  Malphas  who  serves  as  the  grand  president  and  general  of  hell;  commanding  40  legions  of  demons  and  appearing  before  conjuror's in  the  form  of  a  crow.

  In  my  opinion  Malphas  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  "The Conjuring"  and  "Heaven's  Fall".  8  out  of  10.      

    

Monday, January 5, 2015

Abstracter/Wound Empire/Sentient Ruin Labratories/2015 CD Review


  Abstracter  are  a  band  from  Oakland,  California  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  crust,  noise  and  psychedelic  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Wound  Empire"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Sentient  Ruin  Labratories.

  A  very  dark,  distorted  and  atmospheric  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  a  great  amount  of  reverb  and  distortion  before  getting  a  little  bit  more  louder  and  you  can  hear  some  grim  black  metal  vocals  being  added  into  the  music  after  awhile  along  with  some  deep  growls  which  also  takes  the  music  into  a  more  heavy  sludge  metal  direction.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  songs  also  mix  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody  with  the  heavier  parts  and  all  of  the  songs  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length,  as  the  album  progresses  clean  playing  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  more  elements  of  drone,  noise  and  psychedelic  being  added  into  some  of  the  tracks  and  on  the  last  song  a  small  amount  of  melodic  clean  singing  vocals  are  added  into  the  music.

  Abstracter  plays  a  very  slow  and  heavy  form  of  music  that  mixes  black  metal,  doom  and  sludge  together  while  also  adding  in  elements  of  drone  and  psychedelia  to  make  their  music  sound  a  lot  more  experimental,  the production  sounds  very  dark  yet  powerful  at  the  same  time  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  metaphysical  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Abstracter  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  black  metal.  sludge,  doom,  noise  and  psychedelia,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lightless"  and  "Cruciform".  8  out  of  10.     

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Keeper/Sea Bastard/Medusa Crush/Dry Cough/Tadpole Records/Black Reaper Records/2015 Split Album Review


  This  is  a  review  of  a  split  album  between  California's  Keeper  and  the  United  Kingdom's  Sea  Bastard  which  will  be  released  in  February  of  2015  as  a  joint  effort  between  Medusa  Crush,  Dry  Cough,  Tadpole  Records  and  Black  Reaper  Records  and  we  will  start  of  the  review  with  Keeper  a  band  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge  and  doom.

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  starts  off  their  side  of  the  split  along  with  some  melodies  being  used  at  times  and  after  a  minute  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  are  added  into  the  music  and  they  mix  in  with  the  doom  and  sludge  style  that  are  coming  out  of  the  guitars  and  their  song  is  14  minutes  in  length  as  well  as  always  sticking  to  a  very  slow  and  heavy  pace  and  when  the  song  gets  closer  to  then  end  it  brings  in  a  brief  guitar  lead,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while the  lyrics  cover  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Keeper  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  doom  and  sludge  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band  and  their  side  of  the  split.

  Next  up  is  Sea  bastard  a  band  that  plays  a  mixture  of  crust,  sludge  and  doom  metal.

  Their  side  of  the  split  starts  off  with  a  very  distorted  and  powerful  sounding  bass  guitar  which  leads  up  to  a  more  heavy,  slow  and  melodic  doom  metal  sound  and  after  awhile  deep  grim  growling  vocals  are  added  into  the  music  and  the  song  is  20  minutes  in  length  and  halfway  through  the  song  high  pitched  sludge  screams  are  added  into  the  track  and  the  song  also  sticks  to  a  very  slow  and  heavy  direction  from  beginning  to  end  along  with  a  brief  guitar  lead,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  yet  heavy  and  powerful  at  the  same  time  while  the  lyrics  cover  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Sea  Bastard  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  crust,  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.

  In  conclusion  I  feel  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  split  and  I  would  recommend  it  to  all  fans  of  black  metal,  crust,  sludge  and  doom  metal.  8  out  of  10.