Saturday, May 30, 2015

Batsheva/I Am The Whore Of Babylon/2015 EP Review


  Batsheva  are  a  band  from  Pennsylvania  that has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  with  a  symphonic  and  melodic  take  on  black  and  doom  metal  but  also  experiments  with  ambient  and  noise  on  the  new  recording  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2015 ep  "I  Am  The  Whore  Of  Babylon".

  A  very  heavy  and  blasphemous  black/death  metal  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  a  few  blast  beats  and  a  mixture  of  growls  and  high  pitched  screams  and  the  doom  metal  influence  starts  kicking  in  during  the  slower  riff  along  with  some  atmospheric  sounds  and  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  briefly  they  bring  in  a  more  modern  and  melodic  style  of  black  metal  and  the  song  also  brings  in  both  slow  and  fast  parts  and  on  the  later  tracks  the music  goes  for  more  of  an  instrumental  and  ambient  noise  direction  that  also  uses  a  great  amount  of  harsh  power  electronics  and  they  also  mix  in  the  black  metal  style  and  screams  into  their  approach  to  noise  which  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  ritualistic  feeling.

  Batsheva  keeps  the  black  and doom  metal  elements  of  previous  recordings  and  also  mixes  in  noise  and  ambient  to  create  a  very  dark,  ritualistic  and  occult  sounding  ep,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  occultism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Batsheva  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of t he  more  evil  styles  of  black  metal,  doom,  death  and  noise,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "I  Am  The  Whore  Of   Babylon"  and  "To  The  Worms".  8  out  of  10. 

Aeveron/VVD: Destination Annihilation/Battlegod Productions/2015 CD Review


  Aeveron  are a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "VVD:  Destination  Annihilation"  which  was  released  by  Battlegod  Productions.

 A  very  heavy  and  melodic  Swedish  influenced  death  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some growling  vocals  a  few  seconds  later  and  the  solos  and  leads  also  use  a  great  amount  of  melody  and  you  can  also  hear  clean  singing  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  there  music  also  brings  in  symphonic  sounds  at  times.  

  A  touch  of  modern  metal  can  be  heard  in  some  parts  of  the  songs  and  the  band  also  brings  in  a  touch  of  gothic,  melodic  doom/death  metal  at  times  and  the  high  pitched screams  add  the  more  black  metal  side  onto  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats being  utilized  at  times  and  the  clean  parts  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  progressive  feeling  and  some  of  the  heavier  riffs  also  bring  in  a  touch  of  thrash  at  times  and  they  also  bring  in  an  instrumental  track  before  returning  back  to  vocals  and  a  more  heavy  style  on  the  later  songs.

  Aeveron  plays  a  very  melodic  musical  style  that  goes  back  to  the  90's  days  of  Swedish  black  and  death  metal  but  done  with  a  more  modern take  on  those  genres,  the  production  sounds  very  professional while  the  lyrics  cover  Ancient  battles  and  Inner  Struggles.

  In  my  opinion  Aeveron  are a  very  great  sounding  melodic 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  "Never  Led  Astray"  "The  Plague"  "Shedding  No  Tears"  and  "A  New  Dawn".  8  out  of  10. 
  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Admidst The Withering 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?

Serge Farinas: Well, John and I have retreated back to our usual hermetical sun and people-shunning ways, haha. We’ve been making a pretty concerted effort to quickly write a follow-up album. We have the basic structure for four songs and ideas in various stages of development for many others. The asshat (John) wants another hour long album, so I guess we’ll have our hands full! Other than that, we’ve been trying to get the word out about our recent album. We’ve been working with Melissa of FullBlast!PR who has been great.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is represented on the recording and also how does it differ from the album you had released 10 years ago?

Serge Farinas: The original album was a pale reflection of our potential. We were too poor and plagued by other problems to release something better. “The Dying of the Light” represents the music much closer to how we had envisioned it. I would describe the music as influenced by symphonic black and doom metal, though I’d say we are not really wedded to those categories. At least I don’t think that we sound like we are trying to be contained by them. The lyrics deal with some pretty depressing topics, such as mortality and the smoldering of love that has faded but never completely dies (arguably more depressing than the death of love).

3.The band has been around since 2000 and so far there has only been two albums, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?

Serge Farinas: Well…long story short we’ve had a pretty rocky and unusual history. We were all really good friends (the core band also included Jason Cartee and Cliff Widener) but internal tensions finally ripped the band up some time in 2004. There was a load of problems we were dealing with such as poverty, relationship problems, jobs and especially my being a depressed asshole (still sorry!!). John and I went on to work on other projects but finally we became close friends again and decided to revive ATW in about 2011. We started to revamp the old stuff and set aside ideas for a follow-up. ATW is truly an undead abomination! We can’t kill it and it’s not for lack of trying, haha.

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

Serge Farinas: I’ll leave this to the lyrical asshat.

John Hembree: Ha! Well, on “The Dying of the Light” there was a wide range of topics. We threw in some anti war topics, insanity, sexually deviant behavior, betrayal, murder, lust, lost love, examples of organized religion being jackasses and as Serge said earlier a song about how although love never truly dies it weakens to the point that it is a smoldering “dying light” that can’t hold back the darkness of life but burns just strong enough to cause pain… Explaining that last song to my wife was interesting lol.

On the next album I’m not completely sure though. So far there is a little bit of attack on religion again as well as a song that has become my favorite named “Icarus”. The original myth of Icarus was written as a cautionary tale that pretty much served as warning to not to be too ambitious. I am planning to instead write this story (lyrically) where it gives honor to explorers, scientists and the like who have been willing to risk their careers, names and even their lives in the name of discovery. This next album is bound to be as eclectic in topics as the first though so there is little more I can tell you.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Amidst The Withering'?

Serge Farinas: John came up with it. It reflected our pretty negative views of society and humanity at the time. John meant for it to be open ended enough to encompass all the ways in which society and nature is being destroyed around us. To me it conjures up the feelings of despondency and alienation of being an individual witnessing all this self-destruction.

6.Currently 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?

Serge Farinas: That’s a good question. We are pretty happy as is and I’m sure no one else would want to put up with our shit, haha.

John Hembree: That’s Serge’s nice way of saying that we are too controlling to let someone else have a say in the writing of the music. We like having exclusive say in what the music sounds like because we are assholes like that lol…

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

John Hembree:The best gig I can remember  was at a place called "The Hangnail." The place was tiny and built more like a hallway than a venue but we and the other bands had a great turnout and though the people were packed in there like clowns it was a really receptive, energetic and friendly crowd. It was a very intimate show and I felt more like the crowd was with us making music than observing us. That was a great day. During that time I was the drummer and a pretty energetic one at that. All of us were really into the music and so I think we gave a pretty powerful performance back then.

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

Serge Farinas: If ATW ever became popular enough (and don’t ask me to define enough) we’d consider having a full band and touring but right now we feel our efforts are best spent writing the best music we can. It’s just incredibly uneconomical financially and time-wise to tour and we definitely need jobs to finance this musical addiction.

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

Serge Farinas: We are pretty self-contained and we like the independence. If we are approached I suppose I’d consider the offer based on what the terms are, but I’m pretty skeptical of what labels can offer most bands these days.

John Hembree: Same here. About the only thing that a record label could offer us now is a larger marketing budget but even then they would just take all the money from our CD sales so the trade off would probably be our independence for more publicity and yet no additional money. I’m not sure if that would be worth it.

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

Serge Farinas: So far the feedback has been really encouraging. We’ve received a number of great reviews and the public has been very positive. Even the worst criticism we received (by some jaded blackmetal head) contained lots of compliments. We don’t do music for the adulation but I’ll admit it’s nice to hear!

John Hembree: Please send all your compliments to me and all complaints to Serge Farinas.

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

Serge Farinas: That’s a good question! And I don’t know. ATW has always been an experiment of sorts and we don’t feel completely committed to any one category. I’m pretty sure it will remain dark and “symphonic” in some way and that we’ll prioritize melody and good song writing over outright brutality. So far the new stuff we are working on is pushing a bit more on making the heavy parts heavier and gloomy parts doomier. As for what topics we’ll cover? We are still working on that.

12.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?

Serge Farinas:  I have fairly broad tastes in music. Some of the bands we have been into since the beginning that have influenced us are My Dying Bride, Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child and Type O Negative. I’ve recently been listening to a fair amount of Swallow the Sun, Ovid’s Withering (no relation!), Agalloch and Septic Flesh. I also listen to orchestral music for inspiration. There’s so much good music out there by very talented people!

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Serge Farinas: I love reading and like to cover such topics as science (especially ecology), politics and history. I’m fairly fanatical about trying to understand the world. I also like to get outdoors when I can and recently got into archery.

John Hembree: I’m also a science nerd with a huge interest in future technologies. Other than that I read a lot, debate, cook, watch movies and play too many video games.

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

Serge Farinas: I’d like to say thank you to this zine for giving us this interview! I’d also like to thank anyone who has even given the least shit about us. Even with so many things competing for your attention you gave us a little bit of your time. Whether you loved or hated us, we feel honored for the chance you gave us.

John Hembree: All I can say is thank you to all of the people who have been so receptive and positive about our music. It really does help fuel an already intense passion for music.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Ethereal/Opus Aethereum/Candlelight Records/2015 CD Review


  Ethereal  are  a  band  from  the  United  Kingdom  that  plays  a  very  symphonic  form  of  black  metal  with  some  elements  of  death  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Opus  Aethereum"  which was released  by  Candlelight  Records.

  A  very  epic  and  symphonic  sound  starts  off  the  album  and  after  a  minute  and  a  half  the  music  gets  a  lot  more  heavier  and  adds  in  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  as  well  as  speeding  up  and  adding  in  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and  they  also  mix  the  heavy  and  symphonic  parts  together  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Death  metal  growls  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  a  great  portion  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  the  solos  and  leads  bring  more  of  a  melodic  sound  to  the  songs  when  they  are  utilized.

  Spoken word  parts  can  be  heard  briefly  in  some  of  the  tracks  and  some  of  the  slower  riffs  add  elements  of  doom  metal  onto  the  recording  and  the  riffs  also  use  a  decent  amount  of  melody  and  the  songs  also  go  for  more  of  an  aggressive  style  of  symphonic  black  metal  and  also  bring  in  touches  of  brutal  blackened  death  metal  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  bring  in  a  little  bit  of  clean  parts  that  are  overshadowed  by  the heavier  side  of  the  bands  musical  style.

  Ethereal  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  symphonic and  melodic  and  also  mixes  in  elements  of  death  and  doom  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Darkness,  Hatred  and  Satanism  themes.

  In   my  opinion  Ethereal  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  and  symphonic  black  metal  band  with  elements  of  death  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Nomicon"  "Psalm  Of  The  Deceiver"  and  "Waking  Death".  8  out  of  10. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Varang Nord/Fire Of The North/2014 EP Review


  Varang  Nord  are  a  band  from  Latvia  that  plays  a  mixture  of  folk,  viking  and  melodic  black/death  metal  and  this  is a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  ep  "Fire  Of  The  North".

  A  very  hard  and  heavy  viking  metal  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  synths  being  mixed  in  at  times  which  adds  more  of  a  folk  atmosphere to  the  music  and  when  vocals  are  added  into  the  music  they  are  deep  death  metal growls  and  after  awhile  more  elements  of  folk  are  added  into  the  music.

  As  the  ep  progresses  the  songs  start  bringing  in a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  a  small  amount of  blast  beats  and  clean  singing  viking/folk  metal  vocals  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  some  of  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  touch  of  Swedish  style  melodic  black/death  metal  and  they close  the  ep  with  an  instrumental  track.  

  Varang  Nord  plays  a  musical  style  that  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  melodic  death  metal  but  also  brings  in  a  heavy  does  of  viking  and  folk  metal  along  with  a  touch  of  black  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording while  the  lyrics  cover  Paganism  themes.   

  In  my  opinion  Varang  Nord  are  a  very  great  sounding  viking/folk  metal  band  with  a  touch  of melodic  black/death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "As  Men  Poured  Ale"  and  "Fires  Of  the  North".  8  out  of  10. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Karma Vioens/Skin Of Existence/Roar! Rock Of Angels Records/2015 CD Review


  Karma  Violens  are  a band  from  Greece  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black,  melodic death,  thrash  metal  and  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album "Skin  Of  Existence"  which  was  released  by  Roar! Rock  Of  Angels  Records.

  A  very  dark,  hard  and  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sounding  very  powerful  as  well  as  a  small  amount  of  noises  which  starts  going  into  more  of  a  heavy  direction  which  shows  death  metal  growls  and  black  metal  influences  being  added  onto  the  recording.

  Once  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  the  band  also  brings  in  elements  of  metalcore  into  their  musical  style  as  well  as  using  some  black  metal  screams  at  times  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  the  solos  and  leads  the  band  uses  are  very  melodic  and  some  of  the  faster  riffs  bring  thrash  influences  into  the  songs.

  Karma  Violens  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black  metal, melodic and brutal death  metal  and  mixes  it  with  hardcore  and  thrash  to  create  an  album  that  is  very  heavy  and  diverse,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  world,  creation  and  nature  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Karma  Violens  are  a  very  decent  sounding  mixture  of  black,  melodic  death,  thrash  metal  and  hardcore  and  if you  are  a fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Bloodbath"  "Floating  In  Sadness"  "About  my  Creator"  and  "Dead  Man's  Story". 7/5  out  of  10.      

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Magik Way/Curve Sternum/Sad Sun Music/2015 CD Review


  The  Magik  Way  are  a  band  from  Italy  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  the  musical  style  moves  away  from  the  avant  garde  black  metal  style  of  previous  recordings  to focus  more  on  an  experimental  and  avant  garde style  of  ritualistic  occult  music  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  'Curve  Sternum"  which  will  be  released  on  May  11th  by Sad  Sun  Music.

  Clock  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  acoustic  guitars  a  few  seconds  later  and  after  awhile  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  some  of  the  songs  and  when  synths  are  utilized  they  give  the  recording  more  of  a  gothic  feeling  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound to  them.

  As  the  album  progresses the  music  starts  getting  more  experimental,  avant  garde  and ritualistic  sounding  while  also  adding  in  clean  yet  semi  distorted  guitars  at  times  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  good  amount  of  melodic  vocals  and  chants  and  none  of  the  songs  have  the  heaviness  or extreme  metal  elements  of  previous  recordings  but  you  can  hear  some  grim  elements  in  the  vocals  at  times that  are  very  close  to  black  metal.. 

  The  Magik  Way  moves  away  from  the  black  metal  sound  of  previous  recordings  to create  an  album  that  is  more  in  ritualistic,  avant  garde  and  experimental direction  along  with  a  touch  of  neo  folk,  the  production  sound s very  professional  while the  lyrics  are  written  in  Italian  and  cover  Quabilistic,  Occult  and  Esoteric  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  The  Magik  Way  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  ritualistic  occult  music,  you should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "La  Mano  Raccolglie"  "Yod-He-Vau-He"  and  "In  Alto  Come  In  Basso".  8  out  of  10.