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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sloth Herder/8.13.12 Room Recordings/2012 EP Review

  This  is  another  review  of  an  ep  from  Sloth  Herder  called  "8.13.12  Room  Recordings.

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  some  blast  beats  being  thrown  into  the  music  at  times  adding  more  grindcore  influences,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  is  coming  out  of  the  guitars.

  Rhythm  guitars range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  blackened  grindcore  riffs  that  utilize  some  sludge  influences  and  there  are  no  guitar  solos  or  leads  present  on  this  recording.

    Vocals  are  all  high  pitched  screams,  while  the  lyrics  cover  hateful  and  everyday  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  dark,  raw  and  primitive  sound  to  it.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  recording  from  Sloth  Herder.  RECOMMENDED


Sloth Herder/Sluggard/2012 EP Review

 Sloth  Herder  are  a  band  from  Maryland  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  sludge  mixed  with  grindcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2012  ep  "Sluggard".

  Drums  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  drumming  with  little  to  no  blast  beats  being  present  on  this  recording,  while  the  bass  playing  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  is  coming  out  of  the  guitars  and  at  times  they  have  a  very  powerful sound  to  them.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow,  mid  paced  to  fast  riffs  that  combine  black  metal,  sludge,  and  grindcore  together  to create  a  sound  of  their  own  and  there  are  no  guitar  solos  or  leads  present  on  this  recording.

  Vocals  are  all  high  pitched  screams  that  combine  black  metal,  grind  and  sludge  together,  while  the  lyrics  cover  hateful  and  everyday  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  dark,  heavy,  raw  and  primitive  sound  to  it.

  In  my  opinion  Sloth  Herder  are  a  very  great  sounding  hybrid  of  black  metal,  sludge  and  grindcore  and  if  you  are  a f an  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Blown"  and  "WB".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kalter/Spiritual Angel/Maple Metal Records/2012 CD Re-IssueReview

  Kalter  are  a band  from  Quebec  City,  Canada  that  plays  a  very  symphonic  form  of  melodic  black/death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2010  album  "Spiritual  Angel"  which  was  released  by  Maple  Metal  Records  in  2012.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  playing  with  not  much  in  the  way  of  fast  drumming  or  blast  beats,  while  the  keyboards  have  a  very  atmospheric  and  symphonic  sound  to  them  with  some  progressive  rock  elements,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very strong  and  powerful  sound  with  heavy  riffing  that  dominates  throughout  the  recording.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  riffs  that  combine  melodic  black  metal,  death  and  traditional  metal  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  and  progressive  sounding  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for the  acoustic  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  they  use  finger  picking  and  full  chords  to  add  another  dark  dimension  to  the  music.

  Vocals  range from  high  pitched  screams,  deep  growls  and  clean  singing  male  and  female  vocals,  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  themes,  as  for the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  In  my  opinion  Kalter  are  a  very  great  sounding  symphonic  melodic  black/death  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Darker  By  The  Day"  "From  Now  To  Eternity"  and  "Spiritual Angel".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ensiferum Interview

...answered by Sami:
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

We are currently on European tour and there are lots of gigs planned for this and next year. But we also plan to start working with new songs later this autumn.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous recordings?

I think Unsung Heroes is very natural step ahead from From Afar -album. We learned a lot from previous studio session and we were much wiser with arrangements on Unsung Heroes. We also wanted to push our boundries on the two key elements of our music: folk and metal.

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

All the lyrics are inspired by real life but of course I used a lots of time to find metaphoras that fit Ensiferum's medieval/fantasy -theme. But I rather not explain my lyrics too much because I want every listener to find their own meaning for those.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

Markus found the word Ensiferum from latin-finnish -dictionary when he was like 15 years old and he thought it would be perfect name for his new band. He was right.

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

Impossible to name just few shows over others because we have played hundreds of gret shows around the world. We love to play live and we are pretty energetic on stage but we also get a lot of extra boost from our fans who tend to be really crazy no matter where we go.

6. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?

We are currently on European tour and there are lots of plans to tour around the world even in some countries we havent ever played before.

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer album by fans of pagan and folk metal?

So far the feedback and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Of course it's impossible to please everyone but that's not even our goal. We compose to ourselves and if something sounds good to us, then we record it.

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

Who knows. We want to evolve and try all kind of new stuff. There is no point keep repeating yourself album after album so the next album will be again another step ahead.

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

It's impossible to name influences but of course many things affect how your new songs turn out. Most of the time when I'm home I'm just enjoying the silence but if someone recommends me some band I will always check them out.

10. How would you describe your views on Paganism?

As a band we don't have any political or religious agenda and I think we all have quite different views to the world. I really don't care in what people believe or don't believe as long they don't expect other people to live by their faith or harm others. Paganism in general would be too vast topic to be answered shortly.

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

I read a lot and few years ago I started to do astenga yoga to keep up in shape. I really like it because it's hard exercise and gets your thuoghts away from everyday problems.

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

Check out Unsung Heroes and see you on tour! Folk on!


Satya Sena Interview

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

JASON: "We're a bass-guitar and drum metal duo that touches on thrash metal, grindcore, death metal, and doom/stoner metal. We share a passion for stamping out apathy, we share a sense of personal responsibility to speak truth to illegitimate authority, and we share a common faith in the positive power of nonviolence. People talk about changing the world, but changing yourself is the true seed of revolution. We support each other in those efforts, and work to spread the word of nonviolent revolution and personal refinement to others." 

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

JASON: "It's definitely metal, riff based, but our influences are diverse so even though the music is loud and fast and heavy, harmonically and rhythmically we're stretching out a bit. Since it's a duo we both have a lot of air we can occupy without the music getting muddy. Some of our stuff is groove based, pretty straight forward. Other stuff is very complex: changing meters, fugue-like rhythmic interplay, but always with an epic, large-as-life intention (I don't like the phrase larger-than-life, nothing's larger than life). From the bass position, being the only harmonic and melodic element I sometimes think about a part in 2 or 3 voices to give the music some harmonic fullness. But we always strive for unity and groove no matter what. Music is physical first."

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

JASON: "Topics start either pretty general or very specific but always in the theaters of revolution and principled self refinement. The topic often ends up being the song title itself. END THE FED and VIGILANCE are good examples of that. Lyrically, with something like END THE FED, I work away from being too literal; the verses paint a mythology, or spirit, of banking cartels as systems with a conscience. RAIN was the first song we ever started working on and the intention of it became that of a prayer for water. POWERLUST lyrics are very personal for me; relationships, love, and heartbreak are no joke. There are revolutionary themes in songs like MUTINY, CULTURE SHAPER, or again END THE FED. Some themes touch on personal life refinement like in the song ESCAPIST. FIGHT OR FLIGHT follows a consciousness through birth, life, and the re-birth we call death. It's hard to talk about subject matter without getting into process. Writing lyrics is a sacred thing to me. It's where I can go to be alone without anyone else's rules or judgements. Sometimes I want the meaning to be clear, other times abstraction communicates the feeling best. Peijman and I agree on topics or themes, then I just reflect and write, working to make it as personal as I can. If I have to sing it again and again it better be something that sits deep in me, and it should be a little unnerving to expose. Otherwise I'm preaching or accusing or aping but never sharing; I'm interested in sharing. But everyone is free to have their own experience with the words." 

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

PEIJMAN: "Satya is a term in sanskrit which in short means truth.  But really it is referring to that truth which is eternal, and so beyond space and time.  The philosophy is that truth refers to that which is, and everything that does not exist or is temporal is termed untruth or evil.  Untruth only exists to the extent that we support it, so once we stop propping it up it will cease to exist and only truth will remain.  Violence and fear are two prime example of untruth.  Truth can been seen or related to as God.  The most important aspect of Satya as far as my understanding is that we are all one.  Sena means army in Hindi and the use of the word is inspired by the Shanti Sena.  Shanti Sena were an army of peaceful soldiers dedicated to nonviolence."

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

JASON: "Some of my favorite shows were from our first tour this last July. Seattle at Highline where we played with Australian heavy masters Whitehorse, The Body, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, and Golgothan Sunrise. And Eugene, OR, on the same trip, where we played a house show for a birthday for our friend Robin from Rye Wolves. There was a colossal amount of energy in that room. Deadfest in Oakland this August was also great, saw a ton of bands in a very short amount of time. 

We always face each other on stage, and sometimes set up on the floor in front of the stage. It feels good to break that barrier between performer and audience. When we're on stage we set up sideways facing in. When we're on the floor I face out from the stage and Peijman faces the stage. We like it best when people are all around us, up close sweating and screaming in our faces. As far as our stage performance…from where I stand it's about as powerful an experience as I've ever had, totally cathartic and energizing." 

6. Can you tell us a little bit more about this brief tour that you have planned?

JASON: "We want to spread word as much as we can and build on what we accomplish, so this trip is a little longer than our first one, and covers a wider area. We're looking forward to seeing new faces and making new friends. We also use tour as a chance to engage people on social justice topics and to spread word of spiritual and social revolution. We conduct interviews, visit significant sites, and generally work to positively influence others toward taking deeper, healthier responsibility for their futures and lives. We also look forward to learning, always. This isn't about partying on the road. It's about laying ground work for the eventual and inevitable setting up of better systems of self governance. As I tell people: we don't need leaders, we need to be leaders.

7. Currently you are unsigned are you looking for a label and if so what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the band?

JASON: "We are not looking for a label. We did do some initial shopping around of DIVERSITY OF TACTICS, VOL. I, INTROSPECTION and got some respectful and polite responses, and also no responses. Our friends at Vandals and Thieves Records are going to put out a cassette of DIVERSITY. Beyond that we'll self release digitally and on vinyl. But we are certainly open to consider any offers that present themselves." 

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

JASON: "Well, since we're a very new band, the worldwide response has been primarily from close friends or other bands we've communicated with concerning a possible European tour in 2013. Some folks in Australia via Whitehorse, people like ZenTwo who painted the image that's on our album cover. Those responses have been very enthusiastic and encouraging. We'll be bringing our message outside the US very soon."

9. Are there any other musical projects besides this band or is this a full time line up?

JASON: "It's full time. But we make 2/3 of a trio called Electric Bardo with sarodist Ben Kunin. That group hasn't played in quite a while. We basically played North Indian classical music in an amplified rock context. There is a recording available online, engineered by our good friend The Norman Conquest. I'm a graduate of Mills College music department with an MA in composition and an MFA in performance and literature (which at Mills means free improvisation). And I'm a bassist…next to drummers probably the most in-demand musicians around. So I spent quite a few years saying yes to everything and playing in as many projects as I could manage. Now I focus primarily on Satya Sena, but I also play with Jack O' The Clock, which is a near 180 degrees away from Satya Sena, except for technical complexity and emphasis on songwriting. I also take improvisation gigs from time to time and I compose music for modern dance choreographers. I need diversity, but Satya Sena is definitely leading full time, no question. It has to in order to be what it is." 

10. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

JASON: "We have about 14 or so songs completed. The DIVERSITY OF TACTICS series material will come from this body of work so much is already decided, for a little while. As for future direction, who knows? I think as long as we continue to push ourselves personally we'll push ourselves musically, and it will always be heavy, it will always groove, it will always challenge. Music is a field. What ever is thought of is fair game, it just comes down to intention. It may be slower or faster or more dense or less, but it will always be Satya Sena. I look forward to discovering what the future sounds like as much as anyone."

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

JASON: "We're obviously influenced primarily by metal. In that sense, my musical foundations start with the thrash metal movement (Metallica, Slayer et al), death metal (Death, Obituary), but here's the can of worms! I have to cap it. So many bands. Stylistically, I'll listen to anything. I read through Bach cello suites to keep my chops up, or improvise along with whatever comes on my Ali Akbar Khan station on Pandora. But the primary influences on me are always the musicians I play with. Peijman, my bandmates in Jack O' The Clock, The Atomic Bomb Audition, powerdove, Ben Kunin, all these people have shaped my playing. Teachers like Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell, Joelle Léandre, a single meeting with Muhal Richard Abrams, these people broke me open. A dear friend of mine from Germany, pianist Johanna Borchert, had a huge impact on me. Bay Area bands Dimesland, Wild Hunt, Shock Diamond, The Girlfriend Experience, Minot, Crypt Keeper, Jackal Fleece, on and on it goes. Other Bay Area favorites of mine are Zeina Nasr and Stefan Smith in Fezant, Chuck Johnson, Omid Zoufonoun, Jordan Glenn's Wiener Kids, Ryan Tallman (Fights Monsters), Dominique Leone, Ava Mendoza, Karl Evangelista, Stratic, Ellen Fullman, Phillip Greenlief's PG13…influence is everywhere."

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

JASON: "Reading. Writing, poetry and otherwise. I like to paint, though I don't get to it very often. I love sitting quietly outdoors and just letting my mind daydream. I've always preferred that to almost any other activity. I like to hike into the wilderness and stay for days at a time. I like community and conversation, so when we can have friends over for dinner that's a real treat. I also have an obsession with stones, rocks. If I get the right feel from one, or if someone special to me gives me one, I have to bring it home with me, so there are rocks of various sizes laying around the apartment. 

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

JASON: "Thank you for giving us a chance to speak. There is a lot to discuss these days, and even more to do. Everyone should stop paying the federal income tax immediately and instead donate those funds to any number of social institutions that should be getting it to begin with; schools, libraries, health centers. The government gave away its power to coin money to a private bank and the citizenry gets stuck paying the interest. That's what federal income tax is, paying the interest on fiat money that's worthless. People continue to pay it because they don't want to suffer the consequences of the IRS. But what's a fine or even a jail sentence next to standing up for Truth and higher principles? Dust. Less than dust. Consequences are there no matter what. Obama talks about the audacity of hope? Forget hope. Have the audacity of action. Have the audacity to refuse participation in systems and practices that are intended to make very few wealthy and very many struggle. Take your life back. Who gave private bankers the right to control resources and the economy? No one. They took it. Take it back. Nonviolently. It's the easiest thing in the world to do to just stop. Turn your energies away from violence and force toward constructive, healthy institutions. They can't jail us all."

Viter/Dzherelo/Casus Belli Musica/2012 CD Re-Issue Review

  Viter  are  a  band  from  Ukraine  that  has  had  their  current  album  reviewed  in  this  zine  recently  with  their  musical  style  on  this  recording  being  atmospheric  folk  metal  with  black  metal  elements  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2010  album  "Dzherelo"  which  was  released  by  Casus  Belli  Musica.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  drumming  with  not  much  in  the  way  of  fast  playing  or  blast  beats  as  well  as  a  brief  use  of  tribal  style  drumming,  while  the  keyboards  and  folk  instruments  bring  a  very  dark,  atmospheric,  epic  and  medieval  pagan  sound  to  the  music,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  is  coming  out  of  the  guitars  and  at  times  they h ave  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  folk  metal  riffs  that  also  include  some  dark  sounding  pagan  melodies   and  a  good  amount  of  black  metal  influences  being  thrown  into  the  riffing  as  well as  some  soft  and  clean  playing,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  atmospheric  pagan/folk  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads.

  Vocals  are  all  clean  singing  folk/pagan  metal  vocals,  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Ukrainian  and  cover  Slavic  Paganism  and  Folklore,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  In  my  opinion  this  was  a  great  recording  from  Viter  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  atmospheric  folk  metal  with  a  black  metal  edge,  you  should  check out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Krov  Tikae"  and  "Vydrizh".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

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