VIBRATIONS OF DOOM
Ah, hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to another issue. Sad to say we didn't make the
Milwaulkee Metalfest as we had planned, but from what I heard from everyone it
was a big disaster. So maybe the Metal Gods kept us away for a reason. Anyway,
let's do get on with it shall we?
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
We are going to try and hold a CD giveaway contest with this next issue coming
up, details will be posted on the front page of the web site when we get all
You all know what to do with this address, right?
And remember, you can't spell CRAP without R.A.P.!
16 VOLT "Supercoolnothing V2.0" (Dark City) SCORE: 37/100
Man was this ever disappointing! 16 Volt, for those not in the know, released
at least 3 or 4 records with Re-Constriction Records, and was seemingly
inactive for a time. While I was never a big fan of the band, their overall
heavy industrial sound always had some fascination for me. The culprit this
time around is the vocal work, which can be heavy as hell, but it seems
vocalist Eric Powell (who, incidentally and not totally surprisingly) is the
only original member left. One listen may betray why. This entire effort sounds
like 16 Volt is trying to appeal to the commercialized masses, with alternative
sung choruses and words throughout the disc, and his singing efforts are very
grating on the nerves. Just listen to 'I Fail Truth' or 'Keep Sleeping' if you
need more proof. He'll do some pretty harsh screams and the instrumentation
will be the heavy guitar work, but it doesn't keep that heavy industrial feel.
'Everyday Everything' had darker singing vocals that worked, and I did somewhat
enjoy 'Don't Pray' even if they butchered the ending. The first track that
really punishes is 'The Enemy,' and it's heaviness and brutality all the way
through. Eric's screaming vocals really push the heavier side of things well,
and if you listen to 'Dead Weight,' the vocals take on a rather punkish, snotty
tone that you'll hear only on this track. One of the worst tunes here is 'Low,'
which REALLY shows the band trying to do the alternative/industrial crossover;
this is probably their radio hit. There is a second CD of "remixes," and a few
demo tracks. I use the term "remix" loosely because half of these don't enhance
the originals anyway, and one has the nerve to throw a stupid rapper in there.
If this is sold as a 2 CD set, then the score drops even lower. A few songs
here really kick ass, and for a 12 song album, that's not nearly enough. If
they'd stick to the heavier formula, this would work surprisingly well, however
I don't even see mainstream alternative fans being able to deal with the bad
Contact: Dark City Music.
Web site: http://www.darkcitymusic.com
AGALLOCH "The Mantle" (The End) SCORE: 100/100
Man, I thought I would have a hard time deciding between the newest Moonsorrow
and the latest Immortal for best black metal band of the year, this one ranks
right up there with them, and is a definite highlight this issue! If this disc
doesn't garner a Metal Maniacs best of 2002, I don't know what will. Black
metal's boundaries are being pushed further and further these days, and
masterfully so! Utilizing some of the most mellow and atmospheric sounds the
genre can muster, each song is crafted with a nice mixture of harmonic singing
vocals and the black metal "shrieks" that sound like near whispers and makes
the atmospheric sounds work all that much better. 'A Celebration For The Death
Of Man' starts things off rather nicely, utilizing acoustic guitars, synths
and some rather symphonic passageways, before going into 'In The Shadow Of Our
Pale Companion,' proving that even though the instrumentation is quite
different from most of what you hear in black metal, they haven't abandoned
black metal's roots vocal wise, though on this record you will hear a lot more
black vocal work than we heard on their EP. Even the instrumentals here are
fantastic, 'Odal' is one I get lost in quite frequently, and I have to say the
deer antler percussion on 'The Lodge' was quite innovative, especially with the
echo effects they produced. 'You Were But A Ghost In My Arms' sounded like it
could have been recorded for the "Pale Folklore" album, and 'And The Great Cold
Death Of The Earth' had some amazing vocal singing melodies. There's not a dull
spot on this album, even the 12 minute plus track 'In The Shadow...' which will
remind listeners instantly of some of the guitar work of "Dark Side Of The
Moon" from Pink Floyd. A stunning masterpiece all the way around, one we all
knew Agalloch was capable of delivering.
Contact: The End Records, 331 Rio Grande #58, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 USA
Web site: http://www.theendrecords.com
AXENSTAR "Perpetual Twilight" (Arise) SCORE: 89/100
Ya know, I really like this stuff. Arise Records deals mostly with melodic
styeld power metal, at least from what I have heard so far. Axenstar is one of
many bands who I have been totally unfamiliar with yet totally impressed by.
The songs are catchy and heavy, with great singing vocals done by Magnus
Eriksson, who also plays keyboards on this disc. Opener 'All I Could Ever Be'
starts right out of the gate with fast instrumentation, and some of the hardest
hitting percussion for power metal of this caliber. The vocal work is so
energetic and catchy, I must say these guys are good song writers. 'The Cross
We Bear' is another kick ass power metal tune, and once again they highlight
what I really enjoy about this style of music: catchy choruses, fantastic
vocals, and synths + guitars that rock! 'King Of Tragedy' slows things down a
bit, seeing the synth work get some highlight time, and the choruses are more
melodic, but still a good tune. Same can be said for 'Scars,' which for some
reason reminds me of Burning Point. 'Enchantment' and 'New Revelations' were
the two weakest cuts on here, and I can't say they're terrible, but they just
don't give me that spark that I hear when listening to the other choice cuts.
I think the culprit on these tracks are choruses that don't really catch my
ear, and the song structures are mostly the same throughout. The instrumental
'Secrets Revealed' was somewhat nice, with the acoustic instrumentation and
slow pace overall, but I would really have preferred another song with vocals.
'Confess Thy Sins' brings the speed and tempo back up to fast, utilizing some
ripping guitar work, before 'Perpetual Twilight' closes things out in vicious
fashion, complete with an amazing guitar solo, an acoustic melody, and a
dramatic and emotional ending. Not a perfect CD, but definitely one I won't
mind cranking up again and again.
Contact: Arise Records.
Web site: http://www.arisemetal.com
CENTINEX "Diabolical Desolation" (Candlelight) SCORE: 77/100
I really agonized over the final score of this CD for quite some time. The last
thing I heard from them was "Hellbrigade" which was reviewed in issue #27, and
it dawned on me that they were just starting to incorporate touches of melody
via the Gothenberg sound into their dark and twisted mass of death metal with
black metal vocalizations. One thing I praised Centinex on in that issue was
the fact that they knew how to kill with speed and power while not letting the
melodic influences get in the way. Well, here, a few tracks take a "melodic
beating," so to speak, and it really bogs down tracks like 'Forthcoming Terror'
and 'Spawned To Destroy.' The vocals, as always, are in top form, but here it's
the instrumentation that is highly suspect, as the melodic guitar work sounds
rather strange when it's forced through a high speed strainer. The chorus work
on the CD is the most susceptible to the downfall of melody. That being said,
though, there are still some killer tracks on this disc. The slower
instrumentation, when presented, is probably the most dark, evil and vicious
this band has ever done. Check the evil slow riffings on 'A War Symphony' and
when they slow down the choruses on my favorite track here 'Soulcrusher.' Don't
get me wrong, I'm not striking them down totally for the melody, in fact, one
of the best lead solos on the record, which occurs on 'Spawned To Destroy,' is
probably their most melodic passage. The guitar work is still tight and crisp,
and there's no denying they are masters at fast vicious instrumentation,
something that I do not always take to. A few points here and there were
dropped on songs I enjoyed in parts, sometimes a track gets off to a rough
start and then crushes halfway through, like 'Total Misanthropia' and opener
'Demonic Warlust.' Despite all this, you'd still find quite a bit to rage
through, though I wish they'd incorporate the melodic touches a bit better.
Contact: Candlelight Records.
Web site: http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
DREAM EVIL "Dragonslayer" (Century Media) SCORE: 95/100
Are you really that surprised to see a score like this on Century Media? The
label KNOWS accessible metal, and even though they seem to ignore a lot of what
is done through their overseas counterparts, I guess they only work with
quality artists. This is the brainchild of one Frederik Nordstrom, and the only
reason I'm namedropping is because he spent so many years producing albums by
great metal artists like Hammerfall, In Flames, Spiritual Beggars, Soilwork,
Opeth, and the list goes on and on. So with many years of this under his belt,
this would be the person I'd be most interested in hearing ideas about what a
good metal band sounds like. Enlisted in his ranks are two key members who have
actually worked with Hammerfall, Niklas on vocals (he did session backup work
with Hammerfall) and Peter Stalfors on bass; his claim to fame was helping
compose a song or two on Hammerfall's debut. Anyway, the vocals are great, this
guy has amazing vocal work that can be melodic and dominant at the same time.
'Chasing The Dragon' is a tune that starts the album off perfectly, anthemic
and catchy as hell, showcasing what is a trademark for this band in the multi
vocal chorus work. 'Save Us' shows us a VERY heavy side of Dream Evil, the
guitar work here pounds at your skull and is made even more dynamic with the
thunderous drum work and almost hardcore shouted multi vocal works in the pre
choruses. 'H.M.J.,' or Heavy Metal Jesus (I guess it was abbreviated for
"Sensitive" American audiences) is a fast rockin' tune in it's own right, as I
stated the choruses really drive home the heaviness and the melodies at the
same time. 'The 7th Day' reminds me of something Saxon would have written, and
'The Chosen Ones' is the great acoustic song that turns heavy, and has a great
medieval feel to it. Only two problems: 'In Flames You Burn' wasn't as strong
as the rest of the material, though by no means a terrible track, though the
"ballad" 'Losing You' HAS to go. It's not the 80's anymore, dudes, metal does
NOT have to include a radio hit or a ballad. The vocals are in good form and
there is a bit of a heaviness, but it seems out of place. However, don't let
that stop you from hearing a damn near masterpiece of classic and updated
true to form heavy metal!
Contact: Century Media.
EXAMINATION OF THE... "Lady In The Radiator" (Hawthorne Street) SCORE: 14/100
Man oh man was this ever BAD! It started out innocently enough, the drums were
interesting to me as they were slightly echoed and distorted at the same time.
Then the noise comes out, fast and wierd guitar work, and then that voice! A
dull, yelling type of throat work, qierd and ecletic at the same time, just
like the entire CD. I guess it's supposed to be some kind of technical hardcore
or something, though I did note some decent Voivod styled technical riffing in
a few spots. 'We Are, In Fact, So Ripe' started out awful as well, with the
hardcore/death metal styled vocals, and crazy instrumentation. They manage to
throw in a few more technical riffs but those don't stay long. 'Lelani Ulalume
Part 2,' same thing, onyl they do make use of a slow drum and guitar passage
that, once again, reminded me of something off of Voivod's "Killing Technology"
but once again goes mostly unlistenable. 'The Bloke, The Opium Breather'
further degenerates with more horrid yelling/screaming/whatever, and even more
whacked out instrumentation. Thankfully this was only a 5 song CD, and somewhat
short at that. Final track is some stupid radio static or electronic distortion
noises over some chick reading some really arty and BAD poetry. Oh, and there's
some piano notes thrown in there too, rather haphazardly too I might add. An
utter waste of CD space... And what kinda name for a band is THAT!??!
Contact: Hawthorne Street Records, P.O. Box 805353 Chicago, IL 60680 USA
Web site: http://www.hawthornestreetrecords.com
FIREWIND "Between Heaven And Hell" (Leviathan) SCORE: 99/100
"Fire...wind...raging!" The lines to the song 'Firewind Raging' best describes
how to sum up this entire album. It's very surprising to see the way the
vocalist performs these songs, his delivery starts out very rough and heavy,
almost like a Manilla Road but much better, and yet when you hear a slower
tune like 'Who Am I,' you're swearing this has to be a different vocalist.
VERY noteworthy of this release is the masterful guitar shredding of Gus G.,
who you may also know is doing the Dream Evil side project reviewed above. This
guy does NOT know how to put together a bad release! Vocalist Stephen hails
from right here in the Atlanta area, and of course Gus resides in Greece, so
like Onward you have a meeting of international minds. This is such a fantastic
piece, heavy hitters like 'Between Heaven And Hell' and 'Warrior' start this
disc off with an explosion, and the instrumentation is very hard and very
heavy, coupled with the awesome deep range of Stephen. 'World Of Conflict'
proceeds to start showing the more melodic side of Firewind, with some very
intricate melodic high end leads, and a chorus that sounds like it could have
been written by Manowar! 'Fire' of course is filled with soaring guitar work
and lead vocals that just drive the power of this project so much higher, it
has to be heard to be believed! 'Pictured Life' is a cover song that absolutely
rocks, not sure who did it but it mentions Schenker, that's McAuley Schenker,
who I am familiar with, and I think it may be a more mainstream rock tune, but
here the vocal work really makes it sound harder than I bet it is. 'Destination
Forever' was one of their speedier tunes, overall this disc is amazing. Well,
that is except for the somewhat ballad styled 'Who Am I,' which would have been
fine as a more melodic piece with acoustic riffs, but they had to take the
chorus lines and have Stephen delivery a lower and heavier tone, which makes
for a strange combination indeed. Songs here are top notch, and I'm sad to say
that this may indeed be the surprise sleeper hit of the year, hopefully notice
of this record will increase tenfold, as this is supreme power metal with class
all the way! Produced by David T. Chastain, someone who you all should
recognize as a definite guitar wizard.
Contact: Leviathan Records, P.O. Box 75, Tyrone, GA 30290 USA
Web site: http://www.leviathanrecords.com
FORGOTTEN TOMB "Songs To Leave" (Selbstmord) SCORE: 92/100
From the first slow, dirgy and haunting acoustic guitar notes, I knew this was
going to be something vastly different from the usual black metal fare I get
from small labels like this. This band reminds me so much of one of my alltime
favorite bands Shape Of Despair, in many ways. First off, there is the fact
that this is a 5 song affair, with lengthy songs dipping into the 7 and 9
minute range very easily. The lyrics are quite depressive and somewhat suicidal,
after all Forgotten Tomb is the self proclaimed "Suicide Squadron Of South
Europe." Where this group differs from Shape Of Despair is that the music is
truly more torturous, and there are no female vocals, violins, flutes or clean
sung vocals, just guitars, insane tortured vocals, bass and drums. There are
occasional keyboards floating around, but very seldom, most notably to create
dirgey bell sounds on the opener 'Entombed By Winter.' The opener is quite a
haunting piece of work, very slow and doomy, and those vocals are electronically
enhanced to create an even more torturous mood, it all works extremely well.
This CD isn't the typical review for me either, by track two, 'Solitude Ways,'
I'm surprised to hear variations of the black/doom metal theme. The guitar work
gets faster and I was actually surprised to hear some more emotional and melodic
guitar work emanating here, as was I surprised to hear some atypical fast
instrumentation on 'Steal My Corpse.' The guitar work throughout is definitely
a highlight, although it will take some getting used to hearing the higher end
guitar work coupled with those shrieks. The songs as I said are quite long,
a little too long on 'Steal My Corpse' where I thought the instrumentation could
have been a bit more varied. Closer track 'Disheartenment' slows things back
down yet again, and the power metal styled guitar work, which is still slow
and almost doomy in nature, comes pretty damn close to clashing with the
tortured shrieks, but all works well, and makes for a different and diverse
outing. They even do the "two song styles per track" on 'Steal My Corpse;'
you think the song is over but they switch gears and play different structures.
Not quite as big a hit as Shape Of Despair, but real damn close, and definitely
worth a listen.
Contact: Selbstmord Services.
Web site: http://www.selbstmord.nu
FREEDOM CALL "Eternity" (SPV/Steamhammer) SCORE:97/100
I really dig this band. Classy, melodic power metal that has instrumentation on
such a grand scale. Lots of multivocal singing work, especially on the
choruses, which are always catchy and dynamic. 'Metal Invasion' starts things
off in fine form, utilizing some of the best multivocal choruses I've yet to
hear in a power metal band. Some criticize this band by saying their sound is
too "happy," though those people are definitely close minded. 'Flying High'
continues the tradition, and most of the songs here you'll find are typically
quite fast in the instrumentation department, with a vocalist who has quite a
melodic range. Thunderous percussion is also a standard as well, and 'Ages Of
Power' definitely provides the power, starting the track off with some dark
synths, putting to rest the theory that Freedom Call is nothing but happy
music. The slower tracks show F.C.'s diversity as well, 'Flame In The Night'
being a good example, showcasing good vocal diversity. I didn't care much for
the last track 'Turn Back Time,' which was more ballad like than the rest,
though they did manage to bring out some good vocal work in spots. I also
didn't think they should have done a few lines of 'Ages Of Power' in a death
metal style, it really sounded cheap and almost ruined the song as a whole.
Sorry, but death metal vocals do not belong ANYWHERE in Freedom Call! I always
loved the medieval type synths in this style of music, just check out the horn
sounds in 'Land Of Light' and 'The Eyes Of The World.' They have the warrior
attitude as well, and overall I really enjoyed the followup to their last
album, which we reviewed as well. Great stuff!
Web site: http://www.spv.de
GROUND:XERO "Millenium Of Pain" (Sounds Of Chaos) SCORE: 91/100
One of the best recording efforts I have heard from someone in their basement,
this CD has class written all over it. The guys in the band live only 10 miles
from me, and if I have my way about it you will be hearing MUCH more about this
band. I have been termed their "active manager," and will be promoting and
working this band to record labels as much as possible. Anyway, onto the CD:
Forget whatever you think you know about death and black metal genres, as these
guys do it all. There's the guttural and fast Mortician meets Obituary track
'R.U.1.2.69.,' which is not one of my favorite tracks, but damn those guttural
vocals mix with the black metal ones so well, and the slower guitar riffs are
just the most evil I've heard in awhile! The best metal tribute to September
11th I have heard this year is 'Sacrificed In Blood,' which starts off with
melancholic acoustic guitars, and some amazingly emotional singing vocals! Then
just when you're feeling rather melancholic, vicious blackened shrieks come out
of Sean's scarred throat and add a kick in the ass to this! Diversity like you
wouldn't believe! This has Crematory, Soilwork, and keyboard oriented
viciousness like Emperor or Vesperian Sorrow written all over it. 'Cursed In
Denial' is another very well done track, more singing vocals that carry emotion
and soar, only to have blackened viciousness pummel you over the edge! Emotion
and brutality mix here so well. I didn't care for 'W.I.P.,' and yes, it IS a
work in progress that, according to Sean, is the band's attempt at doing an
industrial/metal/noize song (like Merzbow and Namanax), and though I wouldn't
listen to it on a regular basis, it's more song oriented than the usual noize
genre. 'Complicated' is a bit too straight forward really, but there aren't a
whole lot of bad points. There's also the title track, and 'Impale The System'
that are faster, more black metal oriented pieces, and then 'Fatal Horizon'
which is a somewhat doom metal meets black metal piece. Horrific vocal work
helps to convey a TRUE horror atmosphere where the aliens in the story are hell
bent on killing us. Some of the lyrics took some getting used to, Sean prefers
to write about emotional issues on some tracks rather than the usual standard
gore & occult lyrics. Everything about this screams record deal, especially if
you want something that is altogether different, from the vocal approach,
lyrics, all the way to the keyboard passages which set a perfect mood and tone
for however they're used. Count on this band having a record deal SOON,
especially if I have anything to say about it!
Contact: Sounds Of Chaos, 1856 Riverside Pkwy #5142, Lawrenceville, GA 3043 USA
Web site: http://www.groundxeroempire.com
HERMANO "Only A Suggestion" (Tee Pee) SCORE: 42/100
This is supposed to be a record featuring John Garcia, and you all know where
he came from. (Kyuss in case you don't know). So obviously this thing is a
priority release for fans into desert/stoner rock and Kyuss in particular, but
this CD falls far short of being a keeper. First off, the main problem lies in
Garcia's vocal delivery. It sounds like he's trying to get more melodic and
higher pitched in his voice but just comes off sounding whiny at worst
('Alone Jeffe') and slightly annoying when he's not putting more lung power
into his delivery (as on opener 'The Bottle.') However, total fault can't be
placed on the vocalist, as a few of the songs just don't have the
instrumentation to keep things interesting for long. The best tracks on here
are ones that go for a bit of a faster and heavier delivery, like 'Manager's
Special' and '5 To 5.' The heavier vocal delivery works best for John, which
you can hear on 'Senor Moreno's Plan.' There are a few wasted tracks here, like
the "song" 'Senor Moreno's Introduction,' it's all vocal samples and wierd
sounds, which is totally useless on a CD with only 8 songs. The chorus lines
are rather weak as well, the last song 'Nick's Yea' could have been a lot better
if the overrepetitive chorus lines hadn't been so awful sounding, and the
yelling vocal style not overdone. There's only about 3 or 4 tracks I can sit
through comfortably, and a couple of those I could care less if I never heard
again. Being a first time collaboration, I hope things would improve drastically
for the second effort, though I won't go out of my way to track it down. Some
good ideas, but the overall result sounds like too many cooks that spoil the
Contact: Tee Pee Records, P.O. Box 20307, New York, NY 10009-9991 USA
Web site: http://www.teepeerecords.com
HOCICO "Signos De Aberracion" (Metropolis) SCORE: 70/100
This is the first electronic/industrial band I've ever heard to come out of
Mexico. Harsh and heavy sonicscapes that instantly bring to mind the likes of
:Wumpscutt:, Front Line Assembly and Evil's Toy, along with some wicked
distorted vocal work and some domineering synth work. The band, really, is a
lot better than this score would reflect, because out of the 11 tracks present,
5 are instrumental pieces that seemingly go nowhere. Except for, that is, the
opener track 'Pandemonium,' which has nice piano instrumentation, dark synths
and a dominant, striking presence. The percussion is especially hard hitting,
and clubs that have the balls to play darker edged industrial tunes will have a
field day with quite a few songs here. 'Instincts Of Perversion' is the first
vocal track here, and it sets the tone for what good Hocico songs sound like.
The vocal work gets to be quite distorted and sick, even to the point of being
yelled or shouted like on 'Untold Blasphemies.' 'Forgotten Tears' was one of my
favorite tracks, especially since it comes right off the bat as explosive and
extremely catchy, especially with the synth work which is very dominant and
higher ended, and this track would definitely be their club hit. 'Twisted
Lines' definitely reminds me of late greats Evil's Toy, especially the unusual
mix of dark electro and melodic synth passages coupled with such dark vocal
work. The only vocal track I had a problem with was 'Bloodshed,' as the synths
were quite warped sounding in spots, and being a faster tune it didn't seem to
be written especially well, though there's still good stuff in it. There are
far too many instrumentals that go nowhere, and it doesn't quite get the score
of a keeper, even though I'd be more than happy to play it quite a bit for 6
good tracks. However, I do have to take in consideration the fact that if I had
bought it, it would come up a bit short, and that's what the rest of you will
have to decide. Hopefully enough of the vocal songs will help you do that.
Contact: Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105 USA
Web site: http://www.metropolis-records.com
HOLY MOSES "Disorder Of The Order" (Century Media EUROPE) SCORE: 66/100
Another disc that the U.S. office isn't working, and my thinking is that they
are more fixated on female screamer Angela Gossow who fronts Arch Enemy. It is
indeed a sad thing when you consider that Holy Moses has had a female growler
since the release of their first album "Queen Of Siam" in 1986, and they are
still unknown over here in the States, even over 15 years later. After listening
to this CD, I can somewhat understand Century Media U.S.'s reluctance to work
this record, but it is still a shame. Sabina's vocals here are pretty vicious,
but at the same time it's obvious that her German accented English is quite
thick, and it makes tracks like 'Break The Evil,' 'Blood Bond' and 'Hell On
Earth' hard to sit through; in fact, if you didn't know the song names, it would
be hard to figure out what she's saying on the choruses. The instrumentation on
many, if not most, of the tracks is quite intense, ripping thrash metal work
reminiscent of the 80's from which this group spawned. The main problem that
crops up on this CD is the faster instrumentation which the vocals are forced
to keep up with. 'Break The Evil' immediately springs to mind, the results of
the overt speed being a rather messy one, and it really brings this disc down
quite a bit. Tracks like '1,000 Lies' and 'I Bleed' work very well for this
disc, in part because they are not as blatantly fast as the rest, and it gives
Sabina's vicious vocal work a chance to breathe and linger so the immediate
effects can be heard. Speed for speed's sake is not the best policy here, and
though I cite the faster vocal work as being a problem, a tune like 'Princess
Of Hell' shows that the instrumentation slash song structure is also at times
the culprit. Sabina's best vocal work comes on slashers like 'Heaven Vs. Hell'
and 'I Bleed,' where her vocal delivery borders on true death metal with slight
blackened overtones, and if she would work this sound a bit better, I think the
results might have gone down a whole lot smoother. The worst tune penned here
has to be the title track, sounding like a nu-metal release with silly guitar
work and a goofy spoken word intro. Vocal problems aside, there is some good
material on this disc, but it's not quite a recommended keeper, one thinks that
some polishing was in order before this was released. Shame about the lack of a
U.S. presence though.
Contact: Century Media EUROPE.
HUMAN FORTRESS "Lord Of Earth And Heavens Heir" (Limb) SCORE: 33/100
Just because it's power metal doesn't mean it's any good. And this band's most
continual annoyance is a singer that really grates my nerves. 'The Dragon's
Lair' started things out on a somewhat interesting note, and at this guy's
best, his higher pitched yell works pretty well, despite the fact that he
doesn't care to utilize that very often. His rougher edge isn't too bad either,
but mostly what we have is inconsistency. And it doesn't help that the song
structures fail to bring anything up a notch musically either. 'Under Black Age
Toil' starts the downward spiral, though for a few split seconds he does his
best Dio impersonation. There is, to be honest, some nice synth work at times,
and a few multivocal passages, hell even the guitar work isn't overtly
terrible, but overall these songs just don't cut it. 'Divine Astronomy' shows
things trying to bring out a heavier atmosphere, especially guitar wise, but
it never goes anywhere, and of course the vocals don't help. There's an
instrumental which, short as it is, is totally useless, and two ballad like
pieces in 'Forgive & Forget' and 'Little Flame,' the former song sadly showing
some of the singer's best work for a crappy ballad, the latter clocking in at
over 7 minutes and being that much more unbearable, even with the rather nice
instrumentation that pops in at times. Check out the title track even, some
really annoying vocal work throughout, especially the choruses which, to me,
don't even have a spark of life to them. It's mostly in the vocals where the
fault lies, but much more here needs tuning before this band will become even
remotely interesting for me.
Contact: Limb Music.
INCARRION "Into The Exposed Abyss" (United Guttural) SCORE: 26/10
Despite all that I have heard from United Guttural (the name alone somewhat
gives you an idea of the type of music they cater to), I was excited to see a
new release from the South Carolina natives that I remember seeing (and
enjoying) when they played down in my hometown of Savannah many years ago. This
is sadly nowhere near enjoyable. To be fair and give credit, they are tight
musicians, and they can go from insane speeds to extreme slowness (like on
'The Darkest City') at the blink of an eye. Those vocals, however, HAVE to go.
No lyric sheet was provided, making things rather maddening, and their dual
vocal effects didn't work well at all, especially since besides a guttural,
dull growl, there are a few shrieks or screams if you will that really grate
the nerves. I bet these guys dig Cryptopsy a lot, because the extremely
disjointed style and "let's include 100,000 riff changes a minute" clearly show
they have a liking for this type of death metal. And to be honest yet again, I
did find myself enjoying a few riff structures here and there, but overall
there is so much going on in the space of one song it's very difficult to lock
down anything enjoyable beyond the space of 10 or 20 seconds a song. A big
break was given on 'Encapsulated In Ice,' where it's just instrumentation and
no vocals, but they couldn't keep things interesting. The cover artwork itself
was rather bland and unoriginal, and overall this is a project that just
shouldn't have happened. Nice idea I suppose, but when you realize that
Incarrion has been in existence at least 5 or 6 years longer than current South
Carolina kings Nile, you can sorta understand why. Really a shame to have to
give a score like this. Oh, and did I mention the production was uneven and
overtly distorted? I guess they like Mortician too.
Contact: United Guttural, P.O. Box 752, Grayslake, IL 60030 USA
Web site: http://www.unitedguttural.com
LIMBONIC ART "The Ultimate Death Worship" (Nocturnal Art) SCORE: 88/100
I rather enjoyed their last full length in "Ad Noctum: Dynasty Of Death,"
though some of the songs seemed a bit drawn out in length, especially when you
consider this is one black metal band that definitely has a penchant for long
songs. 'Towards The Oblivion Of Dreams' itself clocks in at well over 10
minutes! On this new effort, however, the song structures are varied
significantly, making this a bit more enjoyable of a ride, though I did like
the last album. What you will find here is a band doing the old school type of
black metal with keyboards that are mostly in the background, and utilized for
a very dark and somewhat horrific effect. The opening title track is pretty
much an indication of what you'll hear throughout the disc: a short,
synthesized intro, followed by some fast and ripping black metal, followed up
with vicious vocal work from Daemon. There's a spoken sample at the beginning
of 'Suicide Commando,' which is actually a clip from a live electrocution of a
prison inmate; you'll hear some surprising melodic high end guitar riffs and
synths, but the instrumentation and vocals crush for the most part. There's two
"intros" so to speak in this album, and one of my biggest complaints, since
this is only an 8 song affair, though the "intros" aren't bad. 'Last Rite For
The Silent Darkstar' sounds like something you'd hear out of Poltergeist, and
'Purgatorial Agony' was a little strange with the spoken vocal delivery.
There's definitely a lot going on with each song, much fast paced black metal
viciousness, though the first few songs take a few minutes before they really
kick in. Slower thrashy guitar parts on 'Towards The Oblivion Of Dreams' and
'Funeral Of Death' make for an interesting listen, and overall this is one
brutal piece of black metal, somewhat standout from bands doing the "cosmic
void" and "outer space" themes but still remaining close to the "True" sound of
Contact: Nocturnal Art Productions.
Web site: http://www.nocturnalart.com
LYCIA "Tripping Back Into The Broken Days" (Projekt) SCORE: 89/10
Here's a label I haven't received much from in the past. However, they have
definitely got a good corner on the Darkwave music market, and this release
showcases one of the best darkwave artists in the genre (at least that I've
heard, and my knowledge is limited). All you will find here is acoustic
guitars, ambient/atmospheric synths, and vocals. NO percussion, no techno
oriented passages, no heavy guitar work. The formula is amazingly simple
sounding, until you give repeated spins. This stuff is blindingly beautiful on
one hand, but on the other you can hear some gloom, desolation, and bleak
landscapes not only in the lyrics, but in the compositions as well. It's one of
the things I love about music, the ability to have conflicting and contrasting
styles within one song but somehow it all blends well together (see: the whole
Gothenberg sound, and harsh black metal laced with lush keys and female vox).
'Broken Days' starts things off rather well, and the best way to describe one
track is the best way to describe all, save for a few instances. They take
turns on tracks alternating between one male and one female singer, though when
you get into the CD on a deeper level, sometimes the female vocals seem too
"beautiful" to convey the emotions of the music to perfection, however the same
cannot be said of the male vocalist, who is etherial, enchanting, and at the
same time quite emotional and dark. I could describe the sound of this thing
all day, however the lower points come in because sometimes a 12 song
extravaganze is difficult to take in all in one sitting. 'Give Up The Ghost'
gives a different take on the music, with the instrumentation taking on a
rather spooky and eerie quality, though the female vocals at times don't hold
up throughout the track. 'Vacant Winter Day' also carries the eternal gloom
theme quite well, and I bet many Norweigan bands would really dig this track.
As it stands, I could go on and on with details, but once you listen to 4
tracks, it's all made clear. I believe it takes a special kind of mood to enjoy
this, though I have yet to find deep fault with the music. And for what it is,
it's amazingly consistent though as I said it may be hard to digest at one
sitting going through all 12 tracks. The artwork is incredible as well,
conveying both beauty and sadness as well, it has to be seen to be believed!
Contact: Projekt Records, P.O. Box 9140, Long Island City, NY 11103 USA
Web site: http://www.projekt.com
MIRROR OF DECEPTION "Mirrorsoil" (Iron Glory) SCORE: 53/10
Man oh man do I love doom metal. It's a genre that has a cult following in it's
own right, but you don't really hear a lot of bands doing it these days. Mirror
Of Deception seems to hail from the land of Germany, and it starts off well
enough, lead singer doing his best Ozzy emulation, and thus 'Asylum' gets
underway. Nice melodic guitar riffs can be found all throughout this disc, and
it's a shame the whole album isn't consistent enough to warrant a better score.
It really upsets me because you can definitely hear such potential within the
band to be better than they are, but first and foremost they should lose that
lower toned singer! 'Veil Of Lead' starts things on the downward spiral, and
though the higher pitched singer does a fair job, the lower toned vocalist
really drags this down (there are two singers in the band). Further butchery is
added to 'Dreams Of Misery,' you have both vocal styles going but they are
singing different lyrics at the same time! What mastermind thought up that
idea? 'Weiss' was the one track that reminded me so much of U.K. doomsters
Solstice, and was one of the other few standout tracks. Even though on this
song the lyrics are in German, the vocals on this track just soar consistently
and of course they are of higher tone, the atmosphere is a lot better than on
most. The one song that the lower toned vocals work very well on was 'Float,'
and with the rather dreamy melodic guitars, you can almost really savor this
track. I say "almost" because at certain intervals, they add these heavier and
slow guitar notes that sound SO dreary that they ruin the atmosphere the song
was trying to build! 'Cease' has some nice acoustic stuff in it but the song
structure isn't much to write home about. This probably should rate a much
lower score, but I am definitely hearing the potential all over the place. A
bit more consistency would really make this a CD to spin repeatedly.
Contact: Iron Glory Records.
Web site: http://www.ironglory.de
NAGLFAR "Ex Inferis" (Century Media) SCORE: 82/100
Okay, before I get griped at, I have to mention that this is licensed through
WAR Music AB. Moonfog was upset that reviewers said the Khold CD was released
through The End Records rather than them, personally I think Moonfog should be
glad such a crappy release was being deflected through another record label.
Anyway, this is a pretty nice 5 track EP, featuring a Massacre cover (remember
them from Earache?), a couple of newer (that I know of) tracks, and two songs
pulled from the "When Autumn Storms Come" EP released way back in 1997. To be
honest, the two EP tracks are among the best cuts on here. 'Of Gorgons Spawned
Through Witchcraft' starts the CD off (newer track), and is a pretty damn fast
cut. The vocal work is quite vicious throughout, and I am reminded, at least
instrumentation wise on this cut, of the mighty Dark Funeral. They also know
the value of adding slower passages to this to keep things interesting. The
Massacre cover 'Dawn Of Eternity' didn't work too well for me, though it's not
a terrible song, maybe for my ears it's involving too much speed and the whole
death to black metal thing doesn't seem to carry over well. It's not a terrible
track, but just doesn't work for me very well. They threw me off with the piano
solo on 'Emerging From Her Weepings,' I don't normally, as you know, write off
on the melodic stuff, but it sounds a tad out of place on this song, especially
when they change tempos midstream virtually without warning. 'When Autumn
Storms Come' showcases lots of melody but an extreme amount of vocal
viciousness too. Even the faster parts of this song utilize some melodic feel
to them. And finally the true gem from this release 'The Brimstone Gate.'
A harsh and furious bass guitar pounding, though the slower and more standard
metal oriented guitar work definitely sets the tone for this song. It's most
definitely NOT an atypical black metal tune, and for that I have to give it
high marks. Blackened vocal work is simply vicious, and though it's a 5 song
EP I think it's meant more for collectors, as it's not something I would play
every day, though no doubt still one for the collector's case, as I'm sure the
EP tracks are impossible rare and out of print. Worth it for that and the other
stuff for sure!
Contact: Century Media Records.
NEBULA "Dos EP's" (Meteor City) SCORE: 41/100
Not much coming out of this label really disappoints me, but this one really
did not sit well with me. The main culprit here are the vocals, which never
cease to annoy me at nearly all levels, which is a shame because some of the
instrumentation had definite high points. The vocal delivery is somewhat of a
whiny, alternative style, hard to put into words but you'd have to listen to it
to understand. It really pisses me off on a song like 'Smokin' Woman,' which
has such cool melodic and laid back Fender Rhodes (like an organ) chops, and
some melodic guitar riffs that give a perfect stoney feeling. Half of 'Fly On,'
that is the second part on out, gives a nice Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon"
feeling with the great organ work and long jamming instrumentation. Still, how
can I sit through half a track when the vocals are grating my nerves? Opener
'Rocket,' which is one of three new and unreleased songs, has some pretty fast
and rockin' guitar work, though the vocals aren't as much a distraction here as
on the rest of the CD. The best vocal work, surprisingly, occurs on 'Full
Throttle,' where he's mostly doing shouted, aggressive vocals that match the
song well, and it's my feeling that if Nebula goes for a heavier approach this
could indeed be a better disc. 'Rollin' My Way To Freedom' as well had a better
vocal approach, but the instrumentation isn't always flawless on the CD either;
check out the rather uninspiring ballad type tune 'Back To The Dawn,' and the
instrumentation didn't catch my ear at all on 'Sun Creature' or 'Long Day,' the
latter being rather annoying musically and vocally. Though I love stoner rock
and things related, I definitely can't get into EVERY release of this nature.
This is mostly older material, 8 of the 11 tracks are culled from two EP
releases, one from Meteor City and one from the mighty Man's Ruin.
Contact: Meteor City Records, P.O. Box 40322, Albuquerque, NM 87196 USA
Web site: http://www.meteorcity.com
PRIMORDIAL "Storm Before Calm" (Hammerheart) SCORE: 89/100
I didn't really care a whole lot for the CD Primordial released before this
one, entitled "Spirit The Earth Aflame" (see issue #25), and I am wondering if
I just got used to their style. 'The Heretics Age' starts the CD off well
enough, though it does kick off with some speedy black metal instrumentation
and soon the blackened vocals follow. Of course, it's not all one sided, the
choruses feature a rather rough singing style, which suits this music very
well. You can definitely hear the Irish melodies on the slower guitar parts on
this song. The dark atmosphere is heightened on 'Fallen To Ruin,' starting off
immediately with sung vocals, only adding blackened growls at the ends of
verses, making the song build to a certain point and then releasing more
energy. This effect carries on to 'Cast To The Pyre,' and I must say I really
like how Nemtheanga paces each song so that nothing is really overdone vocal
wise. I didn't care for the overt yelling he does on 'Fallen To Ruin,' though
it's probably a minor beef with some. I really dig the spoken word piece that
starts 'Cast To The Pyre' as well, it sets the tone for the oppression and
misery that the vocalist is trying to convey. 'What Sleeps Within' was the
atypical black metal piece, with the vicious vocal work and though it's mostly
a standard black metal passage, they do utilize some dark acoustics midway
through. 'Suns First Rays' was a really nice instrumental, conveying the
feeling of the awakening of the land as the sun hits it, using some tribal
percussion and good acoustic guitar riffs. Didn't care much for 'Hosting Of
The Sidhe,' using wierd whispering sounds and mostly spoken word passages,
though I must admit I am a bit surprised by how well this entire CD turned out.
You can feel the almost doomy and grim atmosphere but also in a melancholic
sense, and I know this has a lot to do with the history of the Irish people in
general, how proud they were but also how terribly oppressed they have been as
Contact: Hammerheart, P.O. Box 277 - 6300 AG Valkenburg, The Netherlands
Web site: http://www.hammerheart.com
ROLLERBALL "Rollerball" (Water Dragon) SCORE: 96/100
A funny thing happened to me with this CD. After the label sent me the ultra
crushing CD from Honcho (reviewed last issue) I asked them about some of their
earlier releases, most notably I was curious about Rollerball. The label rep
said he'd send it to me, but he didn't think I'd like it. Guess he didn't think
it would fit my "usual" genre of bands I cover. After listening to this thing
many, many times, mostly out of sheer enjoyment, I still don't know what he was
getting on about! This is one hell of a heavy fucking rock record, with slight
alternative leanings and just fuzzed out, crunchy guitar riffs. Plus, one mean
vocalist who definitely injects a heavy tone throughout. This record kills damn
near from start to finish, and it'll take all day to rave about the many good
parts. 'Jonothan E' starts this disc off and is rather a fast rocker, with some
funny samples that come from a movie though I know not which one. Though I
wouldn't call this a stoner rock group, there are some fuzzed out guitar riffs,
and they're heavy as hell too. Check out the fast paced 'Eye Of The Storm,'
which has some vicious vocal work and fast crunchy instrumentation. 'Evie' was
a really funny track, especially lyric wise, and I really dug the interesting
rockabilly/bluesish meets 50's era rock and roll instrumentation on 'Lake Of
Life,' which soon turns into another rippin' fast tune. One noticeable thing
about Rollerball, listen to a song like 'Lowly Sublime' or 'Classical Stimuli,'
where they can start out slow and melodic, at times throwing in acoustic riffs
into the mix, only to rip it up and get heavier. They know how to write good
builds within a song! The only bad tune on here was the VERY alternative
flavored song 'Believe In The Breeze.' Sorry, but his heavier vocal work does
not make for a very "mellow" alternative delivery, and it's obvious they were
trying to write an accessible radio hit. On a 14 track CD though, one bad song
gives this a high ranking. 'Theme From Odissey' closes this out as an
instrumental, with some very mellow and melodic acoustic riffs, somewhat
reminiscent of Abdullah or Orange Goblin, only to end up thrashing the guitars
all to hell! As if all this wasn't reason enough to get this disc, there are
TWO video clips for the songs 'Evie' and 'Lowly Sublime,' and lemme tell ya I
think I've said enough! Water Dragon releases are welcome in my house ANY DAY!
Oh, and I forgot to mention, Rollerball hails from Australia no less!
Contact: Water Dragon Records.
Web site: http://welcome.to/water_dragon
SIXTY WATT SHAMAN "Reason To Live" (Spitfire) SCORE: 97/100
Who the hell are these guys!?? What a complete 180 turn these guys have made!
When their first album "Ultra Electric" (reviewed in #23) came out I wasn't
much into the band though I could appreciate their vision. Then "Seed Of
Decades" was released (issue #28) and I could see a definite improvement, but
it wasn't the disc I had expected it to be. So when I saw that the new record
had 16 tracks, I was thinking I'd be lucky to get even half that to be
listenable. Lemme tell ya folks, this fucking CD ROCKS!!! I mean immensely!
This thing starts out with a bang on 'Nomad' (though some of the vocal work
near the choruses get a bit quirky) and pretty much keeps on going throughout
the last track! You've got all out rocking cuts like 'My Ruin' and 'Horse You
Rode In On' that characterize some vicious and loud vocal work, think the
hardcore yelling in a way but the instrumentation just goes for the kill! This
band is HEAVY! And then you've got some more melodic tunes that actually
showcase the more melodic singing vocals in a good light, and I don't know how
they pulled this off! 'The Mill Wheel' is the first one that comes to mind,
with an acoustic start and overall pace that sounds rather bluesy-rock
oriented, but is catchy as hell and really amazes you at the vocals, especially
if you've heard the last two records. The melodic cut 'When The Morning Comes,'
though, does not work at all, the vocalist is trying too hard to hit higher
notes and it's really not his thing. They do a rather long (too long) drum solo
after 'When I'm Alone,' which really should have been saved for the live show,
and 'All Things Come To Pass,' being one of the heaviest (almost doom metal
oriented) is really too long for the almost lack of variety within the song
structure. Damn it though, what else could I say about this CD? For so many
great songs, you should always have more than a full album's worth of material
to jam to, and I mean JAM! Way to go guys, this is the album you should have
made from the start.
Contact: Spitfire Records.
Web site: http://www.SpitfireRecords.com
SPIRITU "Spiritu" (Meteor City) SCORE: 86/100
Another good release on Meteor City, this seems to be a new entry into the
slower, stoner rock/doomy genre. 'Z' starts out with some really slow, ominous
sounding riffs, and they have a really heavy atmosphere on many of these songs.
The singing vocals are good as well, though one complaint is he gets a little
out of control especially on the track 'Woman Tamer,' which is my least
favorite track and probably noteworthy that Spiritu didn't write this song,
rather it's a cover from an old, rather obscure rock group called Sir Lord
Baltimore. The guitars didn't sit too well with me in the opening of this track
either. And the constant bongo drum style percussion threw me off on ending
track 'Slump,' but overall there's some heavy and catchy stuff here. 'Fat Man
In Thailand' is easily one of my favorites, incorporating the slower, heavier
sound again, with funny lyrics and near the end they manage to throw in a few
vocal lines from an old hit 'One Night In Bangkok.' 'Glorywhore' is a very nice
nod to the life of a traveling rock star, and it also helps that the singer
can really sing without becoming too annoying. 'Clean Living' takes a bit of a
faster approach to the music, but it definitely rocks, with a very catchy vocal
and instrumentation mix. Only 6 songs are here, so that's why the "point
spread" seems a bit low but make no mistake about it, the slower, heavier vibe
is here and in full force. Nice job.
Contact: Meteor City Records.
THE QUILL "Voodoo Caravan" (SPV/Steamhammer) SCORE: 27/100
Billed as stoner rock, somewhat, this thing really struck me the wrong way.
The main problem for me stems from the singer, who really sounds like he should
be singing for Skid Row or Warrant or something like that. He's not a terrible
vocalist, but it gives these songs a rather bad edge. Opener 'Voodoo Caravan'
is really the only song I can come back to, it actually rocks, and coupled with
the catchy choruses and heavier sound and style, the vocals are actually a bit
lower tuned and work about as good as they're going to. 'Shapes Of Afterlife'
and 'Until Earth Is Bitter Gone' start the downward spiral, the latter song
being somewhat acoustical to start out, and later on the guitars get a bit
heavier, but they had to throw in twangy guitars, and a vocalist that just
doesn't seem to fit anywhere in this recording. The music too can often be a
culprit, I know people think vocals are all I ever notice in a band but of
course that's not true. The opening vocals on 'Overlord' really suck, but this
overall is a rockin' tune instrumentation wise, and the choruses are
surprisingly catchy. 'Travel Without Moving' has the "honkytonk" sound running
throughout it, adding yet more twangy guitar riffs, and they actually had the
nerve to drag the ender 'Virgo' out to 8 minutes in length! 'Hole In My Head'
had some really annoying vocal work on the chorus, what's usually supposed to
be the strongest part of a song. Can't really insult the stoner rock genre by
calling this that, but maybe this guy should go sing hair metal or something.
THE WICKED "For Theirs Is The Flesh" (Spikefarm) SCORE: 41/100
Usually Spinefarm/Spikefarm does things right, but hell I guess no label is
perfect. After starting this unusual black metal project off with 'The Ways Of
The Wicked,' you will be quite surprised at how the synthesizers are used in
this strange beast. I liken this whole experience to what would happen if
Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney decided to go "Hmmm... Let's make some money and
start a black metal band!" From the opening notes of the storybook spoken word
into 'The Ways Of The Wicked,' you would think these guys were trying to write
a sound track for a Disney movie! And the synths get a bit strange in parts,
just check out the fast horn emulation sounds on 'Black Gallows.' The vocal
work is what really bothered me the most, rather a strange cross between a
hardcore shouted delivery and black metal that rarely carries over onto my good
side. They also like to utilize some techno orientations, most notably, well,
everywhere, but in the opening lines of 'Master Pain.' I did dig how they were
trying to write an industrial type tune for the clubs with 'Ordo Malleus,' but
it jumps around so much, from fast paced black to electronic, that it was hard
to keep up. The sparks just aren't there for damn near all of it, though the
synthesizer work was most intriguing, especially when they were doing the
horror styled passages. 'Church Of The Worm' was rather wierd, starting off
with guitar riffs that sound like they were lifted straight off the latest
Cannibal Corpse record. They utilized lots of vocal samples, though many of
them were so buried in the mix they were hard to make out, but I'm guessing
they were pulled from "Hellraiser," one of THE most sampled movies in the music
industry. Nice ideas but a bit too wierd and ecletic for my tastes, I wonder
what the rest of you will think?
Contact: Spikefarm Records, P.O. Box 212 - 00181 Helsinki, FINLAND
Web site: http://www.spinefarm.fi
THYRFING "Vansinnesvisor" (Hammerheart) SCORE: 92/100
If you dig Finntroll or Moonsorrow, this will be right up your alley.
Hammerheart's entry into the Finnish folk meets black metal field is a damn
good one, albeit not quite as good as Moonsorrow. Viciousness from the get go,
our lead screamer has some of the most crazed yells I've heard lately. 'Draugs
Harg' starts things off quite nicely, with the trademark majestic
instrumentation that includes some rather slow keyboard work, but those vocals
are plain vicious! 'Digerdoden' slows things down a bit and there's even some
nice multivocal singing parts within, as well as some good piano work. This
kind of stuff really has to be heard to be understood fully. 'Angestens
Hogborg' was one of my favorites, mainly due to some very melodic keyed fiddle
work (which sounds more like a violin to me, but I'm not a music professional).
They also manage to work in some nice flute type sounds here, while the vocal
work stays vicious and ripping! It was interesting to hear Arabic styled
instrumentation on 'The Voyager,' though the blackened vocals didn't mix too
well with the sung vocals, and I had to take a point or two off for the singing
vocals on 'The Giants Laughter,' as it almost sounds out of place, and the
strange organ notes take some getting used to. 'Vansinnesvisan' was one track I
didn't care for at all, it starts out rather slow and ominous, but the vocal
and instrumentation mix doesn't work well together, which may be even more
suspect since it's mostly standard speedy black metal fare once things get
going. I think the vocals didn't work well here. Other than that it was very
enjoyable, really only one bad song of the 8 gems here. 'Kaos Aterkomst' ends
the CD quite nicely with great melodic acoustics starting this out, utilizing
some vicious vocal work and atmospheric synths, it's a startling but dynamic
contrast and that's what this whole CD is about.
Contact: Hammerheart Records.
TYRANT "Legend" (Displeased) SCORE: 95/100
To my knowledge, there were two bands named Tyrant, one hailed from the U.S.
and released two classic 80's metal gems. One hailed from Germany, also playing
metal during the 80's, however this band Tyrant hails from Japan and plays a
very interesting keyboard oriented style of black metal that is very
intoxicating. The CD starts out with 'Maze Of Inferno' utilizing some power
metal styled synths and on many of the tracks, the synth work is very majestic
and powerful. In fact, some of the instrumentation reminds me of the work of
Argentinian black metal group Vampiria. 'Erebus' starts off with some nice
acoustic instrumentation before the faster and heavier instrumentation comes
into play. There's only 6 tracks here, but as is typical with bands playing
this style these days, the songs are 6, 8 and 10 minute affairs. Not that this
bothers me in the least! 'Tears Of Purgatory' is probably their most standard
of black metal fare, just to remind you what old school black metal sounds
like. Mostly a fast track, this is not one of my favorites, and the synth work
is not as dominant here as on others. However, by the end of the song the
instrumentation picks up with some classical styled guitar picking and amazing
synth work. You have to hear these tracks to really appreciate them. There's a
few vocal problems I ran into on the first track and again on 'Knight In
Black,' apparently when the music slowed down and the vocals went for a more
eerie tone. Overall though, quite an interesting listen, and one CD I enjoyed
quite a bit!
Contact: Displeased Records, Ronde Tocht 7d, NL-1507 CC Zaandam
Web site: http://www.displeasedrecords.nl
VADER "Revelations" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 81/100
Upon first listen, I just thought, great, another atypical Vader album. This
record still doesn't have the punishing power that "De Profundis" had, but it's
still a good record. By the score, though, you can tell that there are other
CD's I would rather listen to, however, sometimes a Vader album can be a good
thing. They start things off heavy enough with 'Epitaph,' and one thing Vader
does well on this album is create some dark and evil riffs, especially at a
slower pace. It's unusual to hear a track like 'The Nomad,' which they slow
WAY down, of course they couple it with some kick ass thrashy guitar work,
which is always good. 'Black Moses' did NOT work well as a slower piece, at
times it sounds like it's dragging, though the lyrical imagery is quite
horrific. 'Wolftribe' and 'Lukewarm Race' are examples of faster Vader
instrumentation at it's best, however the vocal phrasings around the chorus of
the latter song didn't sit too well with me. One of my favorite tracks is 'The
Code,' this is such a thunderous track and a bit of a slower pace than what you
might normally expect to hear from Vader. Nergal from Behemoth graces a few
vocal lines on 'Whisper,' and I wonder how these tracks would sound with him
singing instead of Peter. A Vader song can always be picked out by the unique
vocal abilities Peter possesses, keeping Vader a step above most death metal
bands these days, even if the CD is not as good as "De Profundis." As a side
note, there are three "bonus tracks," and only 'Privilege Of The Gods' is
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
VINTERSORG "Visions From The Spiral Generator" (Napalm) SCORE:59/100
I must say I am pretty disappointed. First off, let me start by saying that
almost NONE of the songs on this album have anywhere near the spark that songs
on "Cosmic Genesis" had. It sounds to me like Vintersorg is trying to recreate
the sound of the 70's on this record, and for my ears it's an era he doesn't
seem to be well versed in. 'Quotation' is the opening track that serves, well,
I guess as somewhat of a spoken word "intro" that should have been left off the
record.'Vem Styr Symmetrin' showcases some piano notes, and then ripping fast
black metal styled instrumentation, and it seems to me that this disc features
more of the blackened vocals than the previous effort. Also worthy of note is
the fact that the Swedish vocals are more of a presence here as well. Anyway,
'Vem Styr...' isn't a terrible tune by any means, but the culprit for many of
these songs, surprisingly (especially given my penchant for noticing vocal work
so often), is the instrumentation, which fails to be as catchy as on tracks
from "Cosmic Genesis" like 'Algol' and the title track. I must say though that
I liked 'A Metaphysical Drama' the best out of all the songs presented, and I
do believe it's due to the midpaced nature of the songs, some nice instrumental
melodies, cool multivocal chanting, and the way the black metal and singing
vocals were done. 'Universums Dunka Alfabet' and 'E.S.P. Mirage' start the
downward spiral, with 'E.S.P. Mirage' being among the worst of the tracks here,
with weak choruses, awful instrumentation to start off with, and very off key
instrumentation ending the track, though I had to take note of how cool the
vicious blackened vocals sounded against the piano notations. 'Spegelsfaren'
wasn't too bad a tune, but didn't have sufficient enough of a spark to keep me
interested, and I must say his spacey keyboard effects didn't thrill me in the
least. Closer track 'Trance Locator' had the atypical blackened vocals and fast
instrumentation, which wasn't too bad, but made for a very short tune. Not much
here in abundance that would make me return to this, though you cannot deny
that on many tracks, the vocal work is the ONLY highlight, even if the songs
aren't very well written this time. If not for the vocal work, would be an
Contact: Napalm Records.
BLIND GUARDIAN. Interview with Marcus Siepen.
I didn't get the single, but I did get "Night At The Opera," so
what was on the single CD? Was it just that 14 minute song?
No, well, obviously it was that song ('And Then There Was Silence'), plus
'Harvester Of Sorrow.' I know the U.S. version of 'A Night At The Opera'
contains this song in a Spanish version, which is a bonus track. We recorded
different languages for that song for different territories, we did a Spanish
version, a French version, an Italian version and a second Spanish version with
the kind of Spanish spoken in South America, which is supposed to be a bit
different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. I do not speak Spanish, so I have
no idea if that's true! There's also a video clip on the single as well.
Well, that does depend. If you are in Mexico and you speak Spanish,
it's a bit more slang laced, a LOT more informal than what we could actually
learn in school. It's rather sad how bad their monetary system is. Now I wanted
to ask you your thoughts on something that's made the rounds of the internet,
and many people have said you should have done some of the soundtrack for the
Lord Of The Rings movie. Have you seen it yet?
Yes of course, it was awesome. The best thing I heard about it is that the DVD
is going to be one hour longer and contain all the missing parts. We had been
in contact with Peter Jackson actually, and when he announced that he would do
the movie, there have been tons of fan sites on the internet devoted to voting
who should do the soundtrack. We won most of these votings which brought up the
attention of Jackson. We were asked to send in demo material, and at that time
we were already stuck in the middle of songwriting for the new album, so at
that time we said thanks for the offer but we have to skip on this.
I definitely think you should have done the movie. My problem I see
is that you're huge all over the world, but here in the States you don't have a
huge following, which doing this movie would have given you.
If we had done the soundtrack for the movie, we wouldn't have had a new record
out. Blind Guardian is the most important thing for us. The break between
"Nightfall In Middle Earth" and the new album was like 4 years, and if we would
have done the soundtrack for the movie, it would have been 5 years or even
longer. I know what you mean though, the problem is that we have never played
any gigs in the States. We are playing the Prog Power festival of course in
November, and it hasn't been announced yet but we do plan on doing a U.S. tour;
there will be more headlining gigs after the festival.
What is a Blind Guardian stage show going to be like, I'm curious,
because you have such rich multivocal choruses on your records. It's going to
be expensive just to get you here!
Ha ha, yes of course. We definitely sound different live because it's just four
guys in the band plus we have two guest musicians on stage. We have one guy
playing bass because Hansi stopped playing bass since the "Nightfall..." album.
We have a keyboardist with us who is supposed to play all the classical stuff
live as well. With these 6 musicians on stage you have to sound different live
than on, say 'And Then There Was Silence,' because we used about 200 tracks for
that one song alone! You can't play this stuff with just 6 people. We just
focus on the main melody lines concerning the vocals and the guitars; it's
going to sound rougher and heavier. It has been that way ever since 1990 when
we started with the guitar harmonies and the choir arrangement stuff. And
nobody ever complained. We always have a couple of people in front of the stage
singing stuff, so that's fine. Concerning the stage design, to be honest, I
don't know what it's going to be like because we haven't seen it yet! We have
our guys working on the stage set and we've thrown them a couple of ideas. They
will present the whole stage set including the lights and stuff to us in about
Do you know who is going to support you on a tour like this? I know
a lot of people are excited to see Blind Guardian's first U.S. appearance, and
especially when the bigger headlining tour follows.
I don't know about the U.S., but here in Europe Freedom Call is supporting us.
Yeah, you know I remember reading something about that tour, I saw
a flyer from my friend Dane Kurth over in Switzerland, maybe you know her she
runs the Z7 club there?
Yeah, that's where I start the tour. We're going to practice for the tour three
days before we start the tour actually. We're staying there almost a whole week
but we do one show there only. We're rehearsing with the full production. We've
played there quite a few times and they're very friendly people, it's a great
You said your classical influences go back to 1990, but your bio
notes that "Battalions Of Fear" is actually where the influences started.
That's true, but on the first two albums we didn't have all these huge choir
and guitar arrangements, it was more simplistic and straightforward power and
speed metal and melodic. We started with the choir stuff in 1990 on "Tales From
The Twilight World," and that's why I was referring to that album. We can play
the old stuff almost exactly like it is on album. The new stuff is definitely
going to sound different live. To me that's the interesting thing, if I see a
band and they sound exactly like they do on album, it's kind of boring to me,
because then I know exactly what's going to happen.
I'm just curious as to the themes of the new record, as I don't
have lyrics, so if you want to talk about some of the stuff, this doesn't have
a constant theme running throughout the record like the last one, does it.
No, it's nine different themes. Two songs are dealing with The Illyad, the war
of Troy. One of those is 'And Then There Was Silence' and the other was 'Under
The Ice.' The rest are different, one is about the Dragonlance books, people on
the homepage could vote on the lyrical themes and that's what they chose. That
song is called 'The Soulforge.' One is about Jesus Christ, one is about the
german philosopher Nietzsche, different themes.
The song about Jesus, would that be 'Precious Jerusalem?'
Yes, exactly. We had songs about him before, on "Follow The Blind" we did a
song called 'Banished From Sanctuary.' He's an interesting character in
history, I don't believe he was the son of God or anything, but I'm pretty sure
that he lived and he must have been a pretty charismatic person.
Century Media has been really good to you guys.
Oh yes, we're quite happy at the moment.
They haven't re-released your entire back catalog yet have they?
I have "Somewhere Far Beyond," but that's about it for now.
As far as I know they released everything besides the first two albums
"Battalion Of Fear" and "Follow The Blind." The rest should be available in the
Now why haven't the first two records been re-released yet? I
always like to follow the first two records in a band's career.
It's definitely a different style we had back then. That was a time when we
were searching for our own style and we found it with the third album; as I
said before it was the first album that had all these choirs and guitar
harmonies and stuff. We still play songs from the first album live, for
example on this next tour we are going to record a new live album, and there
will definitely be some older songs recorded live. The fans have been asking
for this stuff, so we will play it.
Well, at least you're not like Running Wild, I mean I have seen a
lot of set lists from recent Running Wild shows, and the ONLY thing they play
from their first two albums is 'Prisoner Of Our Time.' I have the "Death Or
Glory tour" live on video, and that's it. It's a shame that they seem so
embarassed by their past, as it's a big part of making who they are today. They
have carried the pirate theme to death!
That's all they play? Damn. Of course every band has songs they don't like to
play that much, I mean we have some songs that we don't really enjoy playing,
but the fans are asking for these songs.
And the fans are what's important, you give the fans what they
Yeah, exactly. What's the big deal about it? You just play the fucking song and
everyone enjoys it, everyone is happy, so what?
Now tell us about your overseas deal with Virgin Records? Virgin
Records is such a big label here in the States, and I know the Century Media
releasing of the single did pretty well in the charts. Virgin should be doing
something with Blind Guardian here in the States.
I have no idea why it isn't like that. The funny thing is that back in the
early days when we were signed to a small German independent label called No
Remorse Records, Virgin and Germany did the distribution for No Remorse. At
that time, somewhere between "Follow The Blind" and "Tales From The Twilight
World," Virgin in the States said, "Yeah, that would be a great band in the
States." But they didn't want to release us because we weren't SIGNED to
Virgin. Half a year later we signed a worldwide contract to Virgin, and from
that day on, Virgin in the States lost all interest in us! We heard a lot from
guys in the music business, American producers and stuff like that, and they
all kept saying, "Yes, this would work in the States. It's great music, why
don't you release it?" We still don't understand why? So we looked for another
American company, and obviously Century Media got the job.
Century Media is pretty big in the States here, and I have actually
seen lots of Blind Guardian records in the stores. The problem is not in
getting coverage, they work the metal magazines and press just fine, it's
getting your name out in the mainstream world that is a big problem, and always
has been for metal bands of any style. Of course I don't know how a 14 minute
single works on the radio!
Ha ha! Yeah, well there's a radio edit of the song! So I guess half of it gets
played on the radio. And some people have been asking why we chose such a long
song. With our previous singles, we didn't get any radio play, so we just
thought about the fans and giving them as much new material as possible. Also
a lot of people wanted to know about a video clip for the new album. In the
moment, we say no, we don't do a video because it just costs so much money and
no one will play it. The situation in Germany, MTV doesn't play any metal
besides of course Linkin Park and Limp Biskit...
Ugh! You call them metal!?
Ha ha! Well, Linkin Park I like but I wouldn't call them metal. It definitely
is heavy music and they had three singles in the #1 charts in Germany, so MTV
here had to play them. They wouldn't play a regular metal clip though.
That is surprising to me, considering the fact that much of the
world's greates metal bands originated from Germany, like Rage, Kreator,
Destruction, hell I could go on and on. I didn't realize MTV had degenerated so
It totally sucks. In Germany we have three music television stations. There's
MTV, which as I said don't play any metal, then we have Viva, which is a pure
pop station, and a second channel which is Viva 2; they actually played a
really cool rock show about 8 in the evening where they would do some of the
new metal stuff, but they would play classic metal and heavy music. But this
station was shut down three months ago, then a new channel called Viva plus
sprang up which totally sucks. So there's no real reason to do a video clip for
so much money and nobody will play it.
There's been some talk about a new Demons and Wizards album, is
that considered a full time project? I don't know if you've done any touring
with that, I know that sounds like a project that might cut into time you'd
need to devote to Blind Guardian.
They plan to do another album definitely, though nobody knows at the moment
when that will happen. Blind Guardian will be on the road until the middle of
next year, and I have no idea what Iced Earth will be doing when we're done
with touring. Both bands obviously have to have the extra time to write the
songs and record the stuff, so it will probably end up being 20 shows worldwide
and that's it. 20 gigs I wouldn't call a big tour, but yes, Demons And Wizards
did do a small tour.
DARK FUNERAL. Interview with Lord Ahrimand.
This interview took place right about the time Dark Funeral took to the States
for their tour with Cannibal Corpse. It would have been a lot longer had
Caligula not been highly intoxicated on mushrooms and Jagermeister, so the
ending will seem a little strange. We'll try and get a better interview with
Lord Ahrimand, Caligula and company later on, so I can ask him just what the
fuck he was going on about!!
You told me tonight that you've been having problems with
Basically we have a situation where one of our labels fucked us big time. They
breached the contract big time, and it's time for us to bring on the calvary,
to defend ourselves. Right now we're just trying to enjoy this tour, but we
will sort things out when we get back home. Things definitely have to change,
that's for sure.
Is this a situation where you might end up in court?
If it takes that, we'll go as far as it takes. You cannot have a situation like
we are in right now. We look in the magazines, and we see nothing for the most
part. We were told the label will make it big. Right now the contract has been
breached so much it's just toilet paper.
How about No Fashion Records, your parent label. How have they been
They basically screwed us also. We're done with them for sure. I really don't
know too much, I've heard some things but I don't know what all is going on.
When we get home we will take care of this, start all over again.
I was rather surprised to see "In The Sign" come out on Necropolis
instead of No Fashion, I guess they wanted to chronicle your start.
There was a bidding war between the labels here in the States. We thought we
were in a very good position, but obviously we picked the wrong choice.
Whatever happened to Themgoroth? I know Blackmoon did the War
project for awhile.
I haven't talked to Themgoroth in a long time.
Go into the story you told us about backstage, about the frozen pig
The Kansas City show. We try to have chaos and more violence at our shows and
on the stage. We had this guy who brought us the pig heads but we didn't really
have anything planned. We kinda used them as Bin Laden's heads and we threw
them out into the crowd. We had two microphone stands, and we tried to put the
heads on them. On the second microphone, we couldn't get the head on, and we
just said "This is Bin Laden's head, take care of it!" Caligula then threw the
head out into the crowd. It was like a football game there. Later on in the
night the tour manager looked up at the ceiling and saw part of the pig's
head! It was a really small venue and we got the blame for everything. The
floor in front of the stage almost went down into the basement, and I heard
afterwards that security guys had to run down and put pillars under the floor
to hold it because the crowd went too crazy! I think they let too many people
inside the venue, which obviously couldn't hold that many people. I heard
someone out the whole pig's skull on his head and was running around the crowd
with it! I didn't realize it was so chaotic!
Have any of the shows been as crazy as that Kansas City show? I
would think it to be tough having to play before Cannibal Corpse's crowd.
Actually, I have been kind of surprised, we have had killer responses almost
every night. Only a few shows have been kinda not so good, but they were played
out in the middle of nowhere. I know probably not too many people know of Dark
Funeral, but the crowd definitely took me by surprise. It's good to see the
people getting into the black metal.
We've had more black metal shows lately over here, like Marduk,
Mayhem and Dimmu Borgir. Were you surprised by the intensity of some of the
fans, I don't know what shows for you in Europe are like.
I've been to the States before and played a few shows here. I've been here as
a fan too. It's really nothing new to us, it's all cool.
(Turning to Chris now, as Caligula drunkenly steps on the bus): So,
should we start ragging on Christianity now?
Caligula: Why should you rag on Christianity?
Because it's responsible for more evil in the world than anything
Caligula: You think that's evil?
It's pretty fucked up.
Caligula: To destroy something that contains hundreds of years of history, you
want to destroy that in one strike? What do you want to do with the churches,
because you probably support church burnings, but you probably destroy hundreds
of years of history. The only thing you can treasure to destroy something is
when you know the history so you can pass it on; what you write down to your
following people. Because you are not allowed to destroy anything as a beauty
from anything if you don't know it's history by itself.
Well, I've studied a lot of the history of Christianity.
Caligula: Studied what? You read your bible?
Well, you can't just go by the bible anyway, there's a lot more to
it anyway, historical documents, archaeological ruins and stuff...
Caligula: That's why we are so fucking pissed off with people who say they are
Satanists when they aren't, they don't know what they are talking about.
There's really two trains of thoughts behind Satanism today, one is
where Satanism is more like a philosophy saying mankind is getting more in
touch who he is and realizing that man can be a god unto himself. But like
Legion said (at this point Caligula is laughing rather unto himself) if you
are more into yourself as a god then you leave Satan out of the equation, you
Caligula: Oh, I'm sorry, I mean, I won't even remember this conversation
tomorrow. Please do not make me go more extreme on this.
Pretty wacky conversation! It's a rather short interview, but the experience
was quite funny.
Since many of our readers are hearing about you for the first time,
please give us a little history on the band.
I started Forgotten Tomb around March of 1999 after the split of my previous
Unholy Black Metal band called Sacrater, to play uncompromising, cold, occult
and misanthropic black metal with some misanthropic touches. The first mini CD
"Obscura Arcana Mortis" was released in June 2000, self produced under the
Treblinka Productions moniker. The mini CD was a mix between the fast and
unholy Sacrater-style and some new nihilistic and depressive touches, it
reminds me of "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" by Mayhem. In the following times I
decided to move my style towards something more depressive and grim, and then
started the depressive dark black metal era. I recorded between December and
June of 2001 the "Songs To Leave" album, and found a deal with Swedish label
Selbstmord Services. The album will already be out when you release your 'zine.
The band reminds me a bit of Shape Of Despair, of course the
difference between you and Shape Of... is that you're almost strictly guitars,
black metal instrumentation and vocals, and nothing else, whereas Shape Of
Despair utilizes death metal vocals, female vocals and other instruments. Are
you familiar with them at all?
I have both Shape Of Despair albums and I think they're quite good, but they're
a bit boring in my opinion, and they're too "gothic metal" oriented. I don't
think they're really a suicidal band, and in all honesty I fall asleep every
time I listen to their music! And I surely will never use violins, flutes, and
above all female vocals! I have doom influences, but I am still a black metal
band. I think the Forgotten Tomb sound is more similar to bands like Katatonia,
Dolorian, Shining and old Burzum.
This CD surprised me because starting with track two, what I
thought I was going to hear throughout the CD was strictly black metal and doom
metal styled instrumentation, but there are also some melodic guitars and power
metal type guitars.
What!? How can you talk about Power Metal guitars in FT? Are you totally drunk?
(No, just stoned at times - Ed.) You can find some melodic guitar lines in the
album, and if you want to compare them to another band, I could say old
Katatonia's guitars were quite similar. Melancholic, sorrowful and atmospheric
guitars, with a delayed and reverbered sound.
What sort of press has the album received so far? I haven't seen
much press outside of Europe, have any other labels offered to step in and
license the band, maybe even a U.S. label?
Selbstmord Services is working a lot on distribution. Here in Europe they're
signing contracts with big distributors and soon you'll be able to find our
releases in every store. I think they're doing something also for the U.S. but
it will take more time I guess, also considering there's a very small black
metal scene nowadays in the U.S. In the past we were supported by Fullmoon
Productions, but I don't know if they're still working for us. In all honesty I
have to ask Kvarforth of Selbstmord about our U.S. distribution. We are also
signed in Australia by Modern Invasion. One of the newest signings of
Selbstmord is an American band Krohm, so I guess Kvarfotrh will manage to
promote our material also in your country.
The CD draws a different feeling from, say, Shape Of Despair,
whereas the depressive feelings there are more mellow, however with your work
the depressive feelings go a bit more angrier and aggressive.
The sound on "Songs To Leave" are like an acrid taste of death. It smells like
suicide. So you can easily feel a really grim and nihilistic touch in the
music. Surely I'm not so quiet and "poetic" like Shape Of Despair or other
similar bands, my sound summons the darkest side of doom metal and the sickest
side of black metal; the result is a very suicidal, depressive, dark black
metal. In the album there's a lot of sorrow but also a certain feeling of anger
and surely a big hate towards humanity and life.
How has Selbstmord been for you, they seem more like a promotions
or public relations company than a ful fledged record label.
I don't know why you talk this way about Selbstmord (don't worry, dude, it is
NOT meant as an insult. - Ed.) Selbstmord Services is a truly professional
label, and they work like hell to promote the bands and the albums, with tons
of advertisements, promo CD's, etc. They work just like every other good label
around! They print some thousands of CD's, hundreds of vinyls, T-shirts, flyers
and they have distributors around the world, and also special official local
distributors for Poland and Italy. They're the best label to release Forgotten
On a couple of tracks I heard some sort of spoken word thing, are
these samples from a movie, and if so tell us about the source of the samples.
The clean vocals on 'Entombed By Winter' are mine, no samples at all. They
create a really discomforting and depressive mood. The sample on 'Solitude
Ways' is taken from a very cool movie called "The Cube," and I think it really
fits the mood of the song and of the entire Forgotten Tomb concept.
Unfortunately, it's in Italian language, so I guess no one outside of Italy
will understand it. To sum it up in a few words, it's a dialogue between two
guys about the usefulness of life and about the endless human stupidity.
Music and lyric wise what influences do you draw from to create
this unique type of music?
I'm influenced by my own thoughts and feelings, which are feelings of
depression, coldness, sorrow, anguish, nihilism, and hate. I write FT material
only when I feel sick and tormented, when my thoughts are twisted and when I
feel like dying. During the songwriting process of "Songs..." I also used to
cut my flesh in total depression and then I write some lyrics and music. I'm
also inspired by the suicide propaganda I support together with the other
Selbstmord bands. We have to force or at least inspire the weak listeners
towards self destruction, depravation, murder and above all, suicide! I try to
manipulate the listener's minds and to torment them in a very horrible way. By
listening to the Selbstmord products you support the death of yourself! I
glorify the death of the individual and the extermination of most of the human
race on this planet!
The unusually melodic guitar work of the last track was a bit of a
shock; it took some getting used to but creates a rather unique and different
experience for the CD. There's definitely lots of variety within the 5 tracks.
I think 'Disheartenment' is not so different from the other songs, but maybe
it's my favorite. It's quite melodic, but every tune in that song is so
discouraging. You can easily kill yourself listening to it, especially in the
middle of the song, when I play the acoustic arpeggio and then starts a totally
suicidal guitar line. I love it, it's one of my best songs ever. And yes, the
songs on the album are quite varied, mainly because I hate those albums where
you can't distinguish the songs from each other!
Now I know you have a few side projects going on, maybe you want to
tell the readers about them and who they involve?
I have three side projects. Gaszimmer is grim, unholy black metal with NO
compromises. The main influences for this project could be old Darkthrone, old
Mayhem, old Carpathian Forest, Morbid, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, the first
Bathory (records) with old death metal touches. It kicks ass! I recorded a demo
tape called "Scorn Triumphant" to be released originally on a new born Italian
distro called Colourless Productions, but the guy is a rip off moron, traitor
and backstabber, so he can die and fuck himself! Anyway, I don't care, because
the demo songs will be printed by a true label this winter on vinyl, maybe on a
double 7 inch. Be prepared for an assault of True old style black metal
Dakryon is avantgarde death metal, starting in 1997 as a melodic death metal
band; we recorded a demo in 1998, but I never have been a fan of this kind of
music, so we decided to move towards something more particular and technical,
with some fusion/jazz influences and other experimental stuff. We can be
compared to Atheist or Cynic, but our proposal is really more original and
avantgarde. I do the vocals and play bass, the other guy (Wudang, session
lead guitar for the FT live shows) plays all guitars, synths, effects and drum
programming. Totally untrend stuff, I can assure you!
Died Like Flies is me and Kiara (my wife), it's serial noise/death/industrial,
in the vein of Brighter Death Now, MZ412, Atrax Morgue, Cazzodio, Merzbow, etc.
Totally sick and disturbing sounds, the final way towards oblivion. A limited
mini CD (50 copies) called "No Beauty Without Sickness" has been released under
Treblinka Productions in December2000, and now we're ready with the full length
album and we're searching for a good label. We're also releasing some limited
split CD's with SS 3 Industries and Uji.
I'm curious about the live setting, can you tell us about any shows
you have played and how this sound goes down live? Are additional members hired
or sequencers/samplers used?
I played the first FT show in June 2002, during an Italian black metal festival
together with Mortuary Drape, Death Dies, and Ensoph. The show has been totally
cold and self destructive, with self-injuries, blood, masochism, and other sick
stuff. Kvarforth was on a vacation in Italy so he joined the show singing some
lines on 'Solitude Ways.' The sound was more powerful and raw than on the album
and I think it was really good. Some session musicians help me during the live
shows, they're 2 friends of mine plus my wife on the bass. I play rhythm
guitars and sing.
I stated that you were mostly guitar oriented, but I did hear some
bell notes on the opening track, are any synthesizers used at all in this
recording? And how do you feel about keyboard oriented black metal like Dimmu
Borgir, Emperor, etc?
I used few synths in the background on 'Entombed By Winter' and 'Solitude
Ways' to create a colder sound and to increase the depressive mood. Synths are
not an important instrument in FT anyway. I think there will be NO synths at
all on the next album, simply because the new songs don't need them. I hate
keyboard oriented black metal; there are very few bands able to use keyboards
and synths in a good way.
Are there any other types or styles of bands you are into? I think
maybe you might like industrial/darkwave groups like Raison D'Etre, or harsher
industrial bands like :Wumpscutt,: Front Line Assembly or even Hocico.
Besides depressive/raw black metal and extreme doom I like death/industrial,
power electronics, and some ambient stuff, but apart from Raison D'Etre I
dislike the bands you mentioned. I love bands such as Brighter Death Now,
Cazzodio, Atrax Morgue, Masonna, MZ412, Slogun, Converter, Megaptera, Ordo
Equilibrio, Puissance, etc. I hate the EBM movement and all those pseudo-dance
trendy bands! Anyway, I listen to a lot of different music, in particular I dig
the old bands of the 60's and 70's like Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix, Black
Sabbath, Pentagram, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Flock, The Doors, The Velvet
Underground, Lou Reed and stuff like that. Sometimes I also listen to some
brutal death/grindcore stuff and a bit of violent hardcore.
It seems like the CD had become delayed by the record label, even
though I got my copy well in advance. What was the problems that delayed the
The problem was a print error of the CD's. The cover artwork and the CD itself
were badly printed. So everything has been redone and reprinted, and now the
CD is ready and looks good.
That front cover was pretty wicked, and I also saw on the web site
where you had a contest of sorts, where people sent you some intense self
The front cover is a picture representing myself naked and blood covered lying
in a bathtub. It's a sort of image coming from my future and representing my
suicide. It looks pretty sick I think. The pictures on the web site are great,
and they show the results of the FT Suicide contest I organized some months
ago. It's really interesting to see how you can manipulate people and inspire
them to hurt themselves. The contest has ended but people keep on sending me
pictures, and I think it's good. And this was before the album's release! So
you can figure how the people will hurt themselves now that the album has been
What sort of events in life get you pretty depressed? I know the
whole terrorist thing here in the States had me pretty shaken up for quite a
few weeks. I do suffer from mild cases of depression myself, and it seems like
you have an outlet to release in your music.
It's always difficult to talk about depression, because sometimes I haven't a
true reason to feel depressed; simply I wake up in the morning and I feel that
something's wrong, a discomforting sensation of nausea, confusion, anxiety, and
melancholy. I'm paranoid, and I had a lot of problems with it, especially in
the past. There was a time when I was going totally mad, I was sick in my mind;
I can describe that disease as sort of a twin personality, my thoughts were
divided in two completely different ways. There was a right side and a wrong
side in my mind, I was sort of a Jeckyll and Hyde. I was quite tragically
deranged from 1998 to 2001, and I was affected by paranoia, depressive crisis,
impulse to self destruction and persecution mania. I then found my girlfriend
(now I'm married since December 2001), and she helped me a lot to solve my
mental problems. Now I feel quite good, but sometimes I'm still a bit
discouraged and I feel in a strange and melancholic way, with doubts, fears,
and questions about my own life. Surely music helps me a lot to express these
If there's anything else you want to mention here, please do so,
maybe you might want to mention the music scene in Italy? Thanks again for the
I hate politics and the musical scene in Italy is full of pathetic idiots,
especially in the black metal fiels. Thanks for the interview and support the
GROUND:XERO. Interview with Sean Morrisey.
As stated in the review above, Ground:Xero happens to come from the Atlanta
area, in fact they're from the same county I live in. I have personally taken a
strong interest in this band, and with any luck, you'll be hearing a lot more
from them in the future.
That mixture of death and black metal kills me. A band like
Behemoth, especially on their "Thelma 6" record. Your latest album is somewhat
of a mixture of those two styles.
Originally, what's so funny is it didn't start out that way. It started out
as an idea I came up with in late '96, I was quitting my old band called
Renaissance, a somewhat groove rock band. I wanted a somewhat melodic metal
band, and I pursued that idea for the next few years. The original idea was a
band called Steel Waters, named after Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Roger
Waters of Pink Floyd. That was what the music was supposed to sound like.
Do you ever plan on pursuing that?
I might as a side project. I'd like to do it for fun, you know?
Well, let's take "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "October Rust," let's
compare the two. What's the common thread running you find running through both
of those albums? Besides the melody and...
Two of the greatest albums of alltime.
Well, besides that... Actually, the drug influence. According to
Peter Steel of Type O, they got really stoned before they started writing that.
People can bitch all they want about some drugs, but without them some of the
world's greatest music would never have been written.
Hey, they ought to be legal. Within reason though, it ought to be socialized
like they have it in Europe.
So I'm curious as to why Steel Waters didn't get off the ground?
Well, it's funny because some of this was recreated into Ground:Xero around
'98. Actually, probably like 1999 I met Kyle, we were roomates up in Buford,
Georgia, and I had actually toyed around with the idea of him being a bass
player, I invited him to jam with me. A guy who played drums in Steel Waters,
Jeremy and this keyboard player named Daniel; the four of us got together and
jammed and we wrote a few tracks together. Nothing really serious at the time,
but that's when Ground:Xero was officially started. Jeremy quit, he had
pressing school commitments, ironically to become a funeral director!
Ha ha, that's unreal. Actually, that's pretty cool.
No joke, man. It gives it that real metal thing going on.
I was in a funeral home one time, and I saw like goat's heads on
the wall, with black candles in them. I always wondered if that was standard
fare in funeral homes? Jeremy could always grab one of those for ya!
I have no idea, I suppose so. The funny thing though is I kinda lost touch with
Jeremy after that. Jeremy and I had played in another band together, a grind
metal band called Mangled Face, which later became a technical grind band, and
I don't think that band ever amounted to much. I was more into the melodic side
of things. Daniel's problem was conflicting interests, he wanted to do more
techno/industrial stuff, and of course we didn't. Kyle and I kept the torch
going; we took James on as a keyboard player and he actually was a novice, he
couldn't play a note but we taught him. James was actually a bass player at the
time, so we knew he had the propensity to learn really fast, and within a month
or two he was playing all our songs. He had never touched a keyboard in his
Well, it's always good to have someone that can fall back on
another instrument just in case.
He learns fast though, and it was really the three of us. We played our first
show in October of 1999 at the Somber Reptile in Atlanta, Georgia, and I'm
trying to remember how that first show went. It was a fun show, I hadn't been
up on a club stage in about 3 or 4 years and it was great to be back up there.
We took on Corey in December of 1999, and he went, "Hey, I can play guitar," so
we took him into the band and he learned quickly as well. The music originally
was, well, to give it the best description, it was somewhat hardcore meets
industrial/death metal. It had almost like a Sisters Of Mercy sound in some of
the music, but when Corey came in we decided to make it a little heavier. With
the addition of the second guitarist that became possible, because with one
guitar the sound is kinda thin; it's hard to get that pounding, crunchy sound
with only one guitar player. Industrial music is good to some degree, bands
like KMFDM, older stuff, Die Krupps. I almost consider Sisters Of Mercy to be
in that category.
I'm glad you mentioned that, last time we were talking in my store,
it's rather interesting to hear that you're into gothic music, but now that I
think about it, your keyboard player seems to lean into a slight gothic style,
not totally though, I mean there's some really good gothic bands out there, but
there are some cheesy bands too. Did you get him to listen to any bands of this
style, or did he just pick this up on his own?
This is the funny thing, when he moved back into the house with me and Kyle,
what we would do is he would ride around with us at night, hanging out with us
before he joined the band. That was the tradition for us, just to drive around
at night listening to tunes for hours. He had never really been exposed to much
outside of classic rock, and what we exposed him to was stuff like Samael,
Hypocrisy, Sisters Of Mercy, and at the time I was into Fear Factory but I lost
interest in them. Stuff like that, even some hardcore like Sick Of It All.
Ever heard of Pro Pain?
I don't actually have any of their stuff. They're one of the hardest working
bands in the business.
They haven't been as consistent as of late, but I did see them
headline with Voivod and Earth Crisis some years back.
I have a lot of friends into Pro Pain. Let's see what else, Pink Floyd of
course, he was already into that of course. Kyle and I, actually we all love
Pink Floyd. Type O Negative, he had never heard before, and I actually played
him their version of 'Paranoid,' which blew him away. Type O Negative is highly
underrated in my opinion.
What really upset me about their "October Rust" album is how Peter
Steel reacts about the record, he acts like the sound of the entire album was
forced by their record label, but that's a beautiful album. I don't care what
anybody says, but that record has a LOT going on emotionally.
I think you're always your own worst critic. From what I understand he's very
critical of himself from what I can tell, from what I've read about him. And I
have met him in person, he's a really nice guy, actually all of them are from
what I recall. If I had to say what would be our biggest influences, and you
could take this individually, this is coming from each and every one of us,
it would be Hypocrisy, Emperor, Samael, Type O Negative, Pink Floyd, and these
days Soilwork creeps in a little bit. Obviously we're not trying to be carbon
copies of them, but a lot of Scandinavian and European metal.
That's where it's at, basically. There's so many great bands coming
out of Europe, but Scandinavia in particular, and not just for metal, there's a
lot of stoner rock and other bands like Honcho and Darxtar coming out of there
as well. I know the government of those countries will support bands who want
to play financially as well, it's amazing just how many great bands rise up
from these areas.
I was actually bored the other night, and was reading in an encyclopedia where
those countries are actually referred to as the Kingdom of Norway and the
Kingdom of Sweden. I don't know if they're still referring to themselves as
kingdoms anymore though. They do have a socialized arts program, and if I'm
not mistaken their schooling in both countries is like 7 years of age to 16
years, and part of their graduation says they are required to learn a musical
instrument. That's why you get bands like Soilwork, Hypocrisy, and Dimmu
Borgir, the list goes on and on. But these guys pretty much have guitars in
their hands from the time they're able to ride a bicycle. What I do admire
about that though is these people don't take it for granted. Even though it's
been a requirement, they really put their heart into it. They are very
passionate people, and I've met a lot of Swedish musicians. You recall we
played with The Haunted and Witchery, I talked to them and the guys in Soilwork
and it amazes me how kind, well mannered and I don't know what it is about
their culture but it really impresses me, and it's something we could learn
It really is, a lot of musicians, especially American ones, they
get this attitude about them. They think they're rock stars. Anyway, what's
going on with Sounds Of Chaos, is that an active label just for yourselves, or
do you plan on signing other bands to it?
Right now, because of finances that's really hard to say. Ground:Xero is
obviously priority number one, because I am like the sole owner of Sounds Of
Chaos. I would like to expand out, and if Ground:Xero were to go to another
label, it wouldn't be difficult because there's nothing legally binding the
band to Sounds Of Chaos other than me. I would like to continue the label even
if that were the case because there's a lot of good talent out there. Sounds Of
Chaos, I don't know if I told you, is the name of a radio program that I did.
I still do it to some degree, but I haven't had time lately because of the
album and a lot of other stuff going on. That's where it came from, and it was
a diverse radio show that plays all the metal that I really get into and even
some I don't get into but I think deserves some exposure. I really would like
to seek out some other talent and try to help them. Right now my next projected
release is probably going to be a compilation, which I am still looking for
bands to do. As far as a band's full length album, there's nothing in the
works right now. There is one other Ground:Xero release which was that two song
promo we put out awhile back. We're planning on adding a track and making that
a sort of single release, it was called "The Fields Of Battle" and it will
actually have a cover this time.
Have you sold a lot of copies of the new record yet? I know you've
done a lot of campaigning through flyers at shows and what not.
Our phone traffic and some of our email traffic has picked up. There hasn't
been a whole lot of activity online, I don't think people are quite as active
online as you might think. We have the ability for people to purchase our CD
over the web, and I do know we use PayPal. Some people have criticized it
because they say "Oh, I lost my money through PayPal," all this junk, but I
think some people are afraid to give away their information online. We have
done a LOT of direct sales of CD's to people in person, and we still have some
inventory left thank god, because we have two shows coming up. We're
advertising whores. I'd say in the past couple of weeks we've handed out 1300
flyers for this upcoming show in Atlanta, probably a good 800 or 900 at Ozzfest
and another 400 at a Sevendust show that played here. Even though I wouldn't
say the Sevendust show was our crowd, we don't really know that, and I'm not
going to judge people. You never know, I've seen people that look like they'd
go to the country club every day or weekend with their parents and their SUV's,
I see them at death metal shows.
Well, you know Chris Miller right? I mean this guy doesn't look
anything like the insane black metal freak he really is. I remember when he
first walked into my store, and I just happened to be wearing a Priest T-shirt,
well, he commented on what a cool shirt that was, and I'm thinking right, you
probably don't know much about metal beyond what's mainstream. And when I asked
him what bands he liked, he was like "Ah, I dig Satyricon, Immortal, Marduk"
and stuff like that, but when he mentioned the 80's metal band Cyclone, that
was all she wrote! My jaw was on the floor, and I thought damn, this guy is
either from New York or Cleveland or something, because not many people but for
true diehards would know about Cyclone! (Chris now does some help with the
videowork at shows with me and various other things here and there).
There you have it, you just never can tell. I think the problem the metal genre
has had in this country, and I'm not putting down any labels here, but I don't
think it's been marketed the way it should be.
Well, labels try, but what do people have here in this country? If
you have satellite T.V., you can pick up some good metal music stations, but
for radio, you'll be lucky if you have a college station that plays it late at
night. I mean Deicide and Cannibal Corpse will come to Atlanta and pack the
house, but then again in order for an unknown band to hit it over here, these
bands have to open for a group like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Slayer or someone
like GWAR, and I keep wondering if the opener bands are ignored until the
headliner comes on.
I've been to shows where the openers didn't get the crowd response they should
have gotten. I have seen some opening bands that I went, "Wow, they are so
good," you know?
If I go to a show, there's opening bands I may not know about, but
I will at least try to get into a band. You've played quite a few shows now I'm
sure, and I have to ask how Atlanta is as far as a fan base at your shows?
It varies. I will say this, after we opened for The Haunted and Witchery show,
we did a show two weeks later at the same venue, The Masquerade. We were the
headlining local band, and we spoke to the door management guys later on, and
we had just about equal the draw of the Haunted and Witchery show. Not just us
of course, but the three other bands too. And it was a Wednesday night too,
just like the Haunted & Witchery show. That's not bad for a show with local
bands. It was one of our best shows, but I think our best show was our landmark
show, which we did in January of 2001. It was a small little restaurant place
in Lawrenceville, a European cafe. We were the first band on the bill and were
invited at the last minute. We didn't know what to expect, because most of the
bands on the bill were like hardcore and punk, and one christian rock band I
think. We got there and set up our equipment, and when we turned around to look
at the crowd, there's all these kids walking in! We struck the first chord and
those kids just went crazy! It turned out that a lot of those kids had seen us
at a backyard show that we played at a few months back.
I think I remember you telling me about that, you gotta relay the
spoon incident again.
It was an interesting show because we used to do this joke song about throwing
spoons at people. We played the song at this backyard show, and people told us
they brought spoons for our spoon throwing song, we were cool with it. It was
just to add a comedic element to the show, and sure enough they were throwing
spoons at the crowd when we played it. These kids were going nuts, and in the
middle of this restaurant there's this big circle pit breaking out! We were
obviously the heaviest band there that night, and in all honesty we felt bad
for some of the other bands because they didn't get nearly the response we got.
You said you did all this stuff at your rehearsal space, didn't you
say you had all this recording equipment available, and that's how you
produced and recorded the album?
We actually record and rehearse, for the time being anyway, in what's basically
a storage unit. We have a Boss BRA digital track studio machine, it uses 100
meg zip disks. Everything was multitracked and what's cool about it is that if
you make mistakes you are able to go back and do them over again without it
sounding like mistakes were made.
Despite what anyone else wants to say, the sound quality is
actually very good, and yeah, it's like a homemade recording.
Oh it is, very much. It was actually mixed onto a Sony minidisc machine.
Unfortunately I don't have the great mastering capabilities that some mastering
houses and labs have, but I felt like I could get a decent enough sound curve
out of it without all that expensive equipment. I'll be honest, I have heard
some stuff that passes for a major label release that obviously the group had a
sound engineer that didn't know what he was doing. And I'm talking about stuff
that sells off the shelves at Best Buy. Stuff that didn't have dick for
definition as far as dynamics goes.
I was listening to Marduk's "Panzer Division" album today, and I
realized that on some stereo systems the vocals are going to be so buried in
the mix that it's not even funny. And too, a band like The Sattelite Circle, a
70's stoner rock band from Sweden, recorded their entire album on their
computer, which is one of the most dynamic sounding, crystal clear demos I had
ever heard. It's on a blank Maxell CD Rom disc! It's unbelievable quality and
you'd swear they went to a studio to get this done! I mean, even from my end,
I've got Cool Edit 2000, and I've taken the scratchiest, most click and pop
sounding vinyl and made the recordings sound so crystal clear, it blows even me
The common man these days has access to equipment and formats, recording
capabilities that you can make a decent product. A solo musician or a band can
make a great recording. And the music industry I know feels threatened by that.
I don't group metal labels along with the mainstream media though, but the
mainstream media, the ones doing Backstreet Boys, N-Sync, etc. I think they
WANT to have control over the dissemination of information. Yes, it's business,
yes it's capitalism, but I think it's perverse and kind of sick, because it's
for the wrong reasons. It's not to protect John Q. Public and his children from
obscene lyrics or satanism, criminal acts or whatever.
They want your damn money, bottom line. If you're buying a Soilwork
record, you're NOT buying a Britney Spears or N-Sync album, and they want to
stop that. Metallica has that mindset now, and I will NEVER listen to another
Metallica record again as long as I live. Now let's jump off this thing and
talk about the lyrics, because they did throw me, they do start to fit after
awhile through repeated listens. But it is a shock because I listen to some of
the early 80's metal bands who do a sort of ballad, and one thing I hated about
80's metal write kick ass material and then they do this love ballad thing I
guess to get radio play or what not. The lyrics aren't exactly along those
lines, but I guess you see where I'm going with this.
I do, I see where you're going. How best to respond to that? Lyrically, how it
works is, Ground:Xero songs start out in my head. Very little of what you hear
on that album was hammered out in a guitar out of the blue. The tunes start out
in my head and oftentimes I teach myself how to play them on the guitar. James
will come up with some keyboard parts, and the two of us come up with a lot of
material together. I get a feel for what lyrics go where. A lot of what I write
in my head deals with things I am going through. In the last few years you'll
notice a lot of the topics deal with relationships gone bad.
Somewhat doom metal oriented in the approach.
Absolutely, yes. I almost liken some of this stuff back to Type O Negative, a
lot of his lyrics deal with broken relationships. Very anger based as well,
just like with us, and in a sick sort of way you can say I'm trying to get back
at these people through the music. I'm taking the pain these people put me
through and throwing back at them. 'Cursed In Denial,' 'Complications,'
actually 'Omen 34' would be related to the most recent situation I went
through. 'Millenium Of Pain' the song sums it all up, it's not about one
particular person, it's about every one of them, it's about what every man goes
through. We've all been there.
And who better to write a song about this than a man?
Yeah, and I don't know if you remember the lines, but it's like 'I hear the
hymns of sorrow ring as I stare into the dawn,' it's like you stay up all night
because you can't sleep simply because that person isn't with you anymore. I
won't say I'm suicidal but I felt very empty and these lyrics have gotten me
out of that.
If you don't have an outlet, you're going to do something drastic
to yourself. And people ask me why do I listen to such angry and brutal music,
it's a release. I mean I don't listen to brutal death and black metal every
time I want to listen to a record ya know? And I'm finding as a lot of
musicians get older that I followed from the 80's, they do tend to mellow their
sound down a bit. Like Soilwork, they do the melodic passages too, but they
still come out and say they can kick your ass with some heaviness.
Exactly. That's rather the idea behind us. We do set up four or five steps
outside of what qualifies as the norm for black metal these days. Lyrically I
want to reach these people that go through this stuff these days, and there is
definitely more deception and hurt that goes on in relationships these days.
Maybe it's more due to humanity's current states these days. I'm not sexist
really, but I see a lot of deception these days from women, and I think that's
wrong, and I'm trying to communicate that we need to do something about that,
whatever that may be.
LIMBONIC ART. Interview with Daemon.
It's been awhile since I listened to "Ad Noctum: Dynasty Of Death,"
which was the last album I heard before this new record, and I'm not sure how
to describe the progression from that album to "The Ultimate Death Worship,"
which is a really kick ass record.
For us this is natural. In the beginning we were really into the orchestrated,
symphonic parts, but after some time we felt we needed to put more focus into
the more brutal and extreme parts of the music. At one point there were so many
bands that were sounding so much the same. We've always wanted to follow our
own path, to not be connected with anybody else. We decided to become more
extreme and brutal and less and less symphonic.
There's always been so much debate amongst black metal "purists" as
to whether keyboards belong in the music or not, however your new album shows
how obvious it is that you retain the origins of fast and true black metal
while adding another element that is just as brutal and dark.
I understand those that are a little bit old fashioned because I am like that
myself. I only accepted pure metal and refused to listen to bands that had
keyboards. But I learned as a musician to grow a little bit and I like to have
these extra atmospheres in the music. I originally believed that metal should
just be raw and primitive. I cannot answer for other people why they use
keyboards, but for me it depends on what type of effects you use and the sound
of the keyboards and all these things have to be talked about a number of times
before you just do it. Many people in black metal bands, especially in Norway,
they use ridiculous sounds; their keyboards sound like a circus melody in the
background, those atmospheres are so light and happy. The keyboards should make
the music sound really extreme and dark.
I'm looking at your history, and I'm noticing that your lyrical
topics as well dealt with seemingly outer space themes, maybe different
dimensions as well. It seems like you felt the need early on to expand black
metal beyond the typical sounds, but also in your lyrical images and topics as
well; I know The Kovenant and Vesperian Sorrow have dealt with images and
lyrics like this but it seems like you were doing it back in the early to mid
As I said, it was natural for us to bring this atmosphere into the music. When
I started up Limbonic Art many years ago, I was somewhat drifting in dimensions
between life and death, and I had so many ideas in my head for concepts around
Limbonic Art. It was somewhat outer space themes and sometimes it was not
really down to earth at all. With lyrics like this, I felt you had to bring
a bit of atmospheric music to the sound. It's supposed to be a musical travel
into a new dimension. I don't really follow the other bands from Norway, and
The Kovenant is rather far away from my type of interest. I think they maybe
took too many drugs, they started off in the black metal style, but they
changed so drastically, they obviously want to make a big career out of having
a rock star image. I am so old fashioned, I got a lot of my influences out of
the 70's and 80's imprinted into my head. Morfeus also has a period where he
listened to 80's style music. The music becomes a little more original for us
since we draw from our roots.
Who would you consider influences from the 80's?
I have a bunch of influences, I'm really into the evil thrash bands from the
States like Exodus, Slayer, geez there are so many, it makes me feel old. And
also thrash metal from Germany gives us inspiration, like Destruction, Kreator,
Sodom, and stuff.
Did you ever hear any Iron Angel?
Yeah, I have one record, it's really good. That kind of music is right in my
style. I have listened to this stuff since my childhood, and I never get tired
of it. There's a lot of people trying to sound this way today, and they bring
in too many modern things, plus the sound isn't quite right. I prefer staying
within my roots. Testament from your country has been a great influence on me.
I've been a vinyl collector for so many years, and there are so many great
bands that came out.
I remember that Mayhem's Euronymous was really into a Japanese
black metal band called Sigh, and I also read that Euronymous was into a lot of
electronic and industrial stuff. They were talking in the book "Lords Of Chaos"
about how he described the industrial artists as cold and mechanical, and
that's the kind of aura that he radiated back in the early days.
I knew Euronymous a little bit, and we talked sometimes. He said that drum
machines were not shameful to use, but it should bring a colder atmosphere into
the music, which I think is cool. You can achieve a lot of things with a drum
machine, but it can allow the music to become colder. When we released "Moon In
The Scorpio" a lot of people mentioned that it was obvious we used a drum
machine, and it made the music so cold, made the atmosphere so cold!
Mechanical things can be cool when used in black metal, but I think those
elements got over exploited and overused, and it became ridiculous.
The way you have the drums mixed on the album, they're kind of in
the background, and I couldn't really tell they were electronic until you heard
a drum roll or a fill where the drums were somewhat by themselves; then again,
I'm not really much of a musician either. It took me about 4 listens before I
could notice the drums weren't quite like real drums.
In the beginning, maybe, but later on we started to use samples of real drums,
we'd replace them with the computer. When we run the program then it was almost
like listening to a drummer but it was so mechanical and steady. I think most
drummers would have a problem following this. With later albums though we tried
to make them sound like a real drummer.
I just got through reading the book "Lords Of Chaos," and I have to
admit I was a little disappointed that the book focused later on more with
Varg Vikernes (AKA Count Grischnack) but it was cool to see the history of
Mayhem and read interview that were conducted. I'm curious if you had read the
book yet, and also curious as to where you were when all these events were
taking place in Norway.
To be honest, I haven't read the book, I'm not so much into reading. I started
knowing Euronymous in the late 80's, because I was playing around in a thrash
metal band, being inspired by (the band) Death also at that time. We had a
local concert and we invited Euronymous to come there and sell his albums and
stuff. I think it was 1988 or 1989 when I started to know him, and he invited
me and my band into Helvete, his shop.
What was your band at that time called?
It was called Infinite Decay. It was going on from 1987 until about 1992 I
think. We had some problems with the drummer though, he didn't like that we
turned so "black" in our image and stuff. It was just natural that this type of
extreme music gathered these people together, you know? We listened to
Euronymous at the shop, and spent the night there, having a party. Euronymous
told me that he was really into the German composer Klaus Schulze, and he also
liked Tangerine Dream as well. He said listening to this really depressive,
spaced out music often gave him a lot of ideas. I started to like these artists
and really drew into the music, buying lots of their albums. They're really
cool, listening to Tangerine Dream for me is like bringing your mind and
thoughts into another dimension, like you're leaving your body; you're just
floating. I can understand why he liked to listen to this type of music when he
wanted to get into composing moods.
I like a lot of ambient music, electronic music especially, I've
been into this type of stuff for a long time.
Like what kind?
There's really all kinds of bands, what I really dig is the trippy,
spacey type stuff, you ever heard of Hawkwind?
Oh yeah! Definitely heard of them, they're one of my favorite bands! Which
period of Hawkwind do you like?
I really dig the stuff that Nik Turner did, one of my favorite
Hawkwind albums is "Warrior On The Edge Of Time."
Oh man, that's one of their strongest. "Down the corridor of flame, will I get
so high again." It's a fucking amazing song.
The Robert Calvert stuff I couldn't really get into much, like the
"Quark, Strangeness And Charm" stuff, it was just too strange for me. A lot of
Hawkwind albums are very inconsistent, but there's amazing songs. There's a
self titled album they put out that has an amazing instrumental 'Winds Of
Change' on it, and I like the "Doremi Fasol Latido" album. The stuff they did
right up until recently was good, "Electric Teepee" and "It Is The Business Of
The Future To Be Dangerous" were good.
I heard "Electric Teepee" album, they changed a little bit but it's still a
good album. I prefer the period when Lemmy was playing, the Hawklords stuff. I
think Lemmy and Nik Turner were in about the same time, but Nik played with
them a little bit longer.
I wanted to mention 'Purgatorial Agony' and I think it's 'Last Rite
For The Silent Darkstar,' the two intro type pieces. Those would be good tracks
to play to scare the kids at Halloween!
Ah, I guess so. Um, those songs are very much inspired by two people that I
know who are ex-members of Limbonic Art that commited suicide. The first one
did it in 1999, he was a very good friend of mine who had also played in
Infinite Decay. He had his problems I guess and one day he couldn't solve them
so took his life. And ever since I have had a lyrical hymn prepared inside me
to salute him, at least the memory of what he gave. This actually became the
song 'Funeral Of Death.' When we did the vocal recordings for the album,
another ex member of the band also commited suicide, both in tragic ways. I was
so inspired to write something about this topic, I tried to place myself in the
same situation; you know, what do you think, what is going on inside your head
when you decide to do this. In his case, he was standing there waiting for the
train to come, and the train driver said he could only see a smile on the guy's
face. He was of course crushed by the train. I wrote 'Purgatorial Agony' for
this matter. It's like you are a torn individual stranded in this emotional
hell, and the only way out is through suicide.
Now there is another track called 'Suicide Commando,' and what
really got to me about this track was the opening vocal sample which sounds
like it's culled from a movie, I don't know, but I'm wondering if it had
something to do with the Kennedy Assassination, though I'm not sure.
It's a sample of an electrocution of this guy. It's a sequence where they say
the execution has started, but we had to shorten the sample or else it would
have lasted too long. It basically goes through three stages, and we think that
the sample might be hard for people to get. It's yet another side of death that
people decide upon you, maybe you have done something so terribly horrible
that they want to go through such a horrible act to (get revenge), like they
want to put 10,000 volts through you. It was pretty gross, as I saw this as it
was being done live. This whole act really kind of fit into the theme of
"Ultimate Death Worship," which is that some people decide their own destiny by
taking their own life, and other people try to become god and take the laws
into their own hands and execute other people. It's another side of death. That
song has nothing to do with Kennedy though. Underline that in your interview if
you could. (Ha ha) I think that they do this in your part of America.
Oh yeah, they do, but the thing that really surprised me, going
back to the "Lords Of Chaos" book, Bard Faust got imprisonment for killing
somebody, and Varg got jailed for awhile for killing Euronymous. Here in
America, crimes like this these people would be executed, but over in Norway
these people just serve a little jail time and they're out. It seems like
European countries aren't into capital punishment.
Norweigan government is so stupid in some cases. Like you can rape a little
child and abuse her body really bad, and you get MAYBE 20 years in jail and
then you go free. I believe if you do something really bad, especially against
a child, there is something REALLY wrong with you, and you will be wrong for
the rest of your life. If you are this sick to begin with, you'll probably
never be cured, and after getting out of prison this person can just do this
thing over again. It's just a matter of time before this evil person comes out
again. These people seem to live like normal people, but they have another side
of them as well. And people that know even these serial killers, they always
state how they seem so normal, maybe these people even live in their same
What was 'Interstellar Overdrive' about? I thought maybe it was a
passageway between two worlds, maybe a method of travel?
Yeah, it's kind of like an out of body experience. I also like to enjoy the
black star, sometimes I dream about leaving my body behind and flying like a
bird amongst the stars, that would be such a kick, without any sort of
mechanics around you, just fly! To be able to do this, some people maybe use a
lot of drugs, to disconnect from your body. The song is really some sort of
transport mechanism that makes you leave the body, and if you don't have this
sort of gift yourself, then a lot of people use drugs or alcohol to do this.
The lead singer of Bloodstorm talks about this quite at length in
his lyrics, and the interview we did he mentioned what's seemingly termed as
astral projection. I don't want to say it's his religion but I know he
practices a certain form of magick where he invokes the olden gods and stuff.
When you focus and believe in something maybe it becomes your religion. After
time if it's the only thing you focus about. I feel like I'm worshipping some
kind of very ancient system, but I don't have any names of gods and stuff
because I think there is no man or god that can stand above myself. Each one is
equal and it's what you do that makes you the person you are. I guess my god is
Mother Earth, when I isolate myself from society up in the mountains, and I go
around in the forests and stuff, I have my sources of inspiration and my
strength to go on. And that becomes my religion. I love predators like an eagle
or a hawk or falcon, they circle in the sky and seem to have an infinite
feeling of freedom. I envy these creatures and I try to put myself into this
kind of being when I close my eyes.
OMEN. Interview with founding member Kenny Powell.
One of the greatest power metal bands of the 80's is back, and of course this
is our feature interview this issue. A new record is forthcoming, and I wanted
to do this interview for quite some time now. We tracked down the only original
member of Omen still left from the 80's era, when some of the greatest metal
bands ever hit the planet and still leave us amazed at their music over 20
I hear great news is in the works, a new Omen record is coming out!
We're about 60 - 70 percent through it; the drums, bass and part of the rhythm
guitars are done. We're getting ready to go up there and start on the second
phase of the rhythm guitars tonight.
Any details about the new album?
Well, it's going to revert back to the classic Omen sound; of course it is like
20 to 25 years later but the writing style and everything is going to be in
line with "The Curse," "Warning Of Danger," and "Battle Cry," probably a mix of
I remember when I first heard "Battle Cry," it was and still is one
of my favorite records.
It's still a lot of people's favorite records. Metal Blade is getting ready to
re-release "Battle Cry" and "Warning Of Danger" as a double CD set with a DVD
bonus disc in there.
Wow, what's the DVD going to contain?
Probably some old live footage from the early days with the original lineup.
Man, I didn't know there was any live footage floating around out
Me either, I don't have any but I found out that Brian Slagel from Metal Blade
has some live footage from a couple of L.A. shows, very early stuff. I'm eager
to see this stuff myself! (Laughs).
That's a video collector's dream right there. I'd kill to have the
live Omen footage! When is that coming out?
They're supposed to be sending me a copy pretty soon, I'm waiting to see it
myself and hoping the sound quality isn't too horrid. I'm not sure (as to a
release date), but I'm working on it right now, it will probably be a few
months. I'm working with them on facts and things for the booklet. Michael from
Metal Blade Europe says the stuff is pretty decent. My main concern is about
the quality of the sound. There's going to be a 20 page booklet with interviews
What bothers me is that Metal Blade waited so long just to release
"Battle Cry" the first time around.
They've released all the first three records several times in Europe, but they
haven't done much over here in the U.S. That stuff still sells really well in
Oh, I'm not surprised one bit. I think I've said this in interviews
thousands of times, but Europe seems to be so much more advanced in the music
scene than the U.S. will probably EVER be.
The thing about Europe that I see, once they like your band and they get into
you, they are always loyal, they're not so fickle and chase every new trend
that comes down the pipe, which seems to happen a LOT in the U.S.
The whole, "I don't listen to metal anymore because it doesn't get
MTV or popular radio play." Fuck that!
Yeah, fuck that, is exactly right. At my age and my point in my career I am
going to play what I like. I've tried with this last record to be a little bit
more modern and I got slammed in the European press badly, but I don't really
blame them, it didn't really do anybody any good. So we're going back to trying
to do what I like.
That's what surprised me because when I listened to a few tracks
from the last album ("Reopening The Gates") I didn't think it was completely
terrible, but then again I only got to hear two 30 second samples.
We thought it was pretty good when we did it, but when it came out it wasn't
released in the U.S. We only had a European deal for this. Most of the people
in the U.S. who heard it seemed to have positive responses from it. In Europe
though they didn't like it at all.
I guess they were wanting to hear "Battle Cry" and "Warning Of
Danger" over again.
I don't blame them for wanting to hear stuff in that vein but I can't rewrite
the same songs again. I wasn't really aware at the time, because I was off in
Texas doing some other stuff with some local bands for a long time before I
decided to put the original Omen back together. I wasn't really aware of what a
loyal hardcore following we still had in Europe, we tried to make the thing
sound more American. It was a real low budget recording, Massacre in Europe did
it and we pretty much did it in the rehearsal room. They didn't have any kind
of budget to do this, we went from having the killer budget on the early Omen
stuff to having no money to work with. I thought for what it was it was pretty
It's kind of funny to see that you are the only original member
Nobody knows what happened to J.D. (Kimball). Things just kind of fell apart
with him; he was getting into trouble with the law and was just completely out
of control. We were on a certain level and we were climbing really fast; we did
the tour after "The Curse" and he ended up causing so many problems we had to
let him go. Nobody really knows what happened to him, and if he had cleaned
himself up when I tried to put this thing back together I would have managed to
work with him. Nobody knows where he is.
Your drummer and guitarist are gone too!
My bass player and drummer you mean? I've got really competent people right now
who I like. As far as a lineup I couldn't be happier. I went through the period
with my son there and our age differences were probably too far apart, we play
guitars almost exactly alike and that was really fine, but he's more into the
nu-metal and I was more old metal; we decided it would be best if we kinda part
ways, before we didn't like each other.
So tell us about your new vocalist?
It's a guy who has been around Dallas, I've known him for a long time and he's
into the classic metal vocals. Kind of a cross between J.D. Kimball and Dio.
He's got a little bit more of a high range than J.D. but he's got that nice
thick classic metal voice, and he's really into paying respect to the original
stuff. I think the record is going to turn out really well.
So who did the lyric writing for the earlier albums? I always dug
the lyric writing on "Battle Cry" especially, the way the songs were somewhat
story like and rather straightforward.
With "Battle Cry," I had written some of those songs, lyrics and all, when I
was in Savage Grace. They were actually going to be on a Savage Grace album and
the guys decided they didn't want to record them, so I decided at that point to
start my own band. I wrote lyrics on a few tunes on "Battle Cry," but Kimball
was writing lyrics pretty much in the same vein that I was. The other two
records afterwards he handled most of the lyrics; we worked once in awhile
together on stuff, but I'm a guitar player. I'd rather work on guitar parts. I
wrote a lot of lyrics on "Reopening The Gates," but Kevin, our new singer, just
fit right in and I've hardly had to be involved in the lyrics or the melodies.
I give him a little advice once in awhile on where to go but he's done an
excellent job of writing in that style of "Battle Cry" and "The Curse."
So he's definitely got the spirit of early Omen down. Very cool.
I'm definitely looking forward to the record, do you know who is going to
release the new disc?
We're talking to two or three companies right now, still negotiating. We're
going to finish the record first and then shop it to the highest bidder.
Wouldn't you like to be on Metal Blade again? I think those guys
are doing a lot better nowadays, and their distribution is a lot better today.
I'm talking to them, they're one of the people who are interested. I'm talking
to Century Media and Nuclear Blast as well.
I remember when I first heard the news that "Battle Cry" was being
reissued, going back to the Metal Blade front for a minute, you know there was
a time there when I thought it might never get a CD reissue! There's so many
bands that Metal Blade put out in the 80's that have yet to be reissued, hell,
they just started getting around to re-releasing the Lizzy Borden back catalog!
Yeah, it's hard and I have talked to Metoyer quite often. They don't put a lot
of push in the U.S. It's good to see Lizzy back, though, those guys are old
friends of mine. We used to share rehearsal space and were roomates. I saw them
when they came through about a year and a half, two years ago. I was glad to
see them back at it.
I saw them too, their new album is really kick ass.
I have to be honest with you though, I hardly ever listen to any music right
now because I'm writing, and when I'm writing and recording I try not to listen
to anything because I don't want to be subconsciously influenced, you know? I
haven't listened to any music for the last two years. I have heard the new
Borden record though, the show I was at they actually didn't play because they
got into it with Malmsteen, so we just hung out and drank all night.
That whole thing pissed me off with the Lizzy/Malmsteen tour, you
know Malmsteen acts like no one can go out there and play their best, he has to
be the top dog; its really sad when you have to stifle a band's creativity like
that just so you can rope in the fans. If you're Malmsteen you're going to pull
them in anyway, you shouldn't be afraid of being upstaged.
I never messed with opening bands. I told them play what you have to play, do
what you have to do. You might have to play in front of our gear but everything
else is a go. I'm not going to say turn it down or you can only use part of the
lights. If you're worried about getting your butt kicked then get off the
stage! I would think that's what hurt a lot of metal tours in the 80's, there
was so much competition; if everyone had gotten together and just tried to make
the whole overall show as good as possible I think (the scene) would have been
a lot more successful. If you put somebody like an Omen/Lizzy Borden/Armored
Saint package together and everyone got along, there was no quibbering, I think
something like that would sell great. It's a shame that everybody has to
headline, everyone has to be the star, and that just hurts. You see a lot of
classic rock bands touring now, and if three or four of them team up,
individually maybe they couldn't fill a big arena but together they play big
places because they team up and did something great. I hope that all the old
bands, we all can get together and do this classic metal tour someday.
Well, I hate Malmsteen anyway, he's an asshole. He just gets up
there onstage and wanks on himself.
I shared rehearsal space with him when I was in New York. I'm not going to dog
on him, I'm not going to say he's an asshole right now, but you know, um...
I was up in New Jersey recently, for the Metalfest, and it was just
a ton of classic 80's metal bands. I have a lot of this on videotape because I
feel that needed to be documented. And I finally got to see Diamond Head, their
first U.S. appearance in over 20 years; I was up in the balcony with a
camcorder trying not to get tears into the machine, and it was almost too much
for me really. Words can't describe just how important and awesome that was for
We just got back from Greece a few months ago, and it was just awesome. I came
out onstage the first night and I had tears in my eyes, it was just a throng of
people singing every word to every song. Even the guitar solos they were
humming along with! They had been waiting 15 to 20 years to see Omen, and
actually we are going back in December, to do two more shows at bigger venues.
It was awesome.
(Most often asked question #344) Any chance you might come to the
southeast and tour here?
I'm hoping once we finish the record we can get it out fairly quickly later
this fall. We're probably going to do some extensive European touring, two or
three weeks at a time. Probably with the U.S. we'll do four or five dates on
the west coast, three or four dates on the east coast. It's so expensive to get
a bus to stay on the road for two or three months.
I think it would be cheaper to drive through the U.S. than fly a
plane to Europe!
That's not out of our pocket though, usually shows like that in Europe are one
off shows, where we can have our backline rented and just throw our guitars on
a plane and take off. If something happens and we get the tour support, then
anything is possible, but it may take us a few months jaunting out to this part
and that part. We are going to try and get into every region in the country
after the record comes out.
There was a song on one of the albums, I think it was on "The
Curse," where you dedicated a song to the Space Shuttle victims?
Yeah, it was on "The Curse." There's a really bizarre story behind that. I'm
not a big believer in premonitions or ghosts and stuff like that, but at the
time when the Space Shuttle blew up, we were on tour with Metal Church in
Texas. I think we played in San Antonio a day before the Shuttle blew up. That
night I had a dream that the Shuttle blew up! Then we played Corpus Christi and
we were driving through San Antonio actually, and I heard on the radio that the
shuttle blew up! I almost ran off the road driving the equipment truck! This
was something I felt I had to commemorate so I wrote the instrumental for that.
I remember where I was when that happened, I skipped school and
went to a friend's house, we were watching it on T.V. I never did get to hear
the album "Escape From Nowhere." I'm curious as to how that album compares to
the first three.
It doesn't really compare to the first three for a lot of different reasons
than people might think. It was after J.D. left the band and we got a new
singer. We actually had written the followup to "The Curse" and the songs were
similar, but maybe a little bit heavier. We got a chance to work with a
producer for the first time (with this record). So we ended up going to New
York and not recording in L.A. in our normal studio with Bill Metoyer. It drug
on for about a year, and the producer dumped every song we had. It slowed the
band way down and it didn't sound a whole lot like Omen when it was finished to
me. The funny thing about it was that we got a radio hit off of it and we made
more money off that record than anything we had ever done because we had that
radio hit for about 4 months. It was the song 'Thorn In Your Flesh,' a Priest
sounding sound. I'm not trying to say anything derogatory about the producer,
I love the guy and he's a good friend of mine, but he was trying to turn us
more into a commercial band, putting us into a more successful area and it just
didn't gel with us. Metal Blade was actually pissed about the whole thing and
that's kind of what ended the whole deal between us. It sold fairly well in the
U.S. but it didn't sell shit in Europe, but Metal Blade was NOT happy with the
record. The band members were starting to leave at this point. That left me as
the only original member left.
When you played shows back in the 80's, what was your set list
like? What were people wanting to hear most?
Probably the ones I think they still want to hear. Even to this day, "Battle
Cry" is the one we lean heavily towards. Of course when we first came out,
"Battle Cry" was the only album we had out! When "Warning Of Danger" came out
we probably played, hmmm. Less from "Warning..." live because most of those
songs were a little more studio oriented, like 'Hell's Gates' which is one of
my favorite songs of alltime...
Yeah, that's one of my favorites too.
...pulling that off live, especially with one guitar player, would have been
really tough. By the time "The Curse" came out, we played a healthy dose off
of that. Probably we played 'Battle Cry,' 'Death Rider,' 'Die By The Blade,'
'In The Arena,' those are the big ones that stayed in the set the longest.
Other ones in there were 'Warning Of Danger,' 'Make Me Your King,'
'Termination,' we used to play the instrumental off that, it kinda comes and
goes on that one. Now the last year or two when I've been playing live, I
probably play more old stuff now than I did back in the old days! That's what
people want to hear you know? Even when the album comes out, we're not going to
bombard people with like 70% new stuff! People want to hear the old shit! When
I go see an old band, I wanna see the old stuff! Hopefully everyone will like
the new record, it's going to be heavily influenced towards the old stuff.
That "Battle Cry" record has some of the best looking artwork I've
ever seen come out of the 80's metal, and I'm glad Metal Blade reissued it and
kept the artwork intact. You guys ought to press shirts with that cover,
When it was first shown to us, I hated it with a passion! But now it has grown
on me and it is a really classic thing. That wasn't even done with airbrush or
anythign, it was some artist that Brian Slagel from Metal Blade knew, and it
was a pen drawing! Now I look back at it it is a classic piece! I like the
cover to "Warning Of Danger," but "The Curse" cover didn't turn out to be what
it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be the snake battling with a Werewolf
but it ended up the snake was eating the werewolf. A lot of money was spent on
that cover too, so we used it as it was. I don't exactly dislike it though.
As we close out this interview (this interview was quite long and
unfortunately some of this won't be able to see print), tell us about one of
your most infamous gigs from the 80's.
We did a show with Stryper one time, billed as the "Heaven And Hell" show. That
show got us into a LOT of trouble! We were both distributed by Enigma at the
time, and of course Stryper was selling a hell of a lot more records than we
were. We were second on the schedule, and during our show we paid this stripper
to put a little teddy on, and we put her in a black mini dress. We took and put
yellow tape stripes on her like she was a big Stryper fan. Then we got a couple
of the roadies to take her down to the front and hold her up, show her to the
crowd and pull off her dress in front of everyone! The Stryper guys weren't too
happy about that. Then I got the bad phone call from Enigma, they were saying
"You stupid bastards, Stryper says they'll never play with you guys again and
we were getting ready to put the Heaven And Hell tour together!" Live and learn
I guess, it was still fun.
By the way, did you ever get any flack for the song 'Be My Wench?'
Not exactly. Actually, probably more girls liked that song than guys. I've had
girls come up to me and say "That song's about me, right?" Um. Not exactly.
The only thing I think we ever got flack for was when "The Curse" came out,
Wal-Mart wouldn't pick it up because of the blood on the cover. We never got
much flack for anything really.
POWER SYMPHONY. Interview with Michela.
Anything you want to tell us about the new album you've got cooking
in the oven?
Okay, there is an EP about to be released, it will probably be licensed and in
stores in November. It's called "Futurepast" and in November we'll be in the
studio recording our new full length, which will be produced by Brian Griffin.
I decided to call the EP "Futurepast" because it's a pretty good picture of
what Power Symphony is going to sound like next and what it was before. The EP
is 5 tracks + 2 pre productions for the next album ('Nine Moons' and 'Infinite
Machine'). There's a cover of the Manowar classic 'Blood Of My Enemies' and 2
VERY old songs from our 1995 one and only demotape. 'Nine Moons' is about
Morgana and Mordred, so it's about the Arthurian saga. 'Infinite Machine' is
about the Blade Runner story.
I personally can't wait for the EP, mostly because of the first
demo tape. Many fans may not have this, so could elaborate a bit more on the
Oh, I was so contrary to releasing those 2 old tracks! Mostly because my
singing was very different from my style now and those tracks are so rough! But
actually the demo got sold out even before "Evillot" was released, and fans
have been asking about it for so long. So at the end I got convinced. The EP
also, by the way, has a very big CD rom track with more than a hundred mostly
unreleased pictures. Pics from ALL the Power Symphony years, funny ones, and
it features our first video of 'The Way Of The Sword' from "Lightbringer"
album. In the booklet I wrote a sort of little letter than explains all about
"Futurepast" and the 2 old original demo tracks, which I'll call a sort of
garage days NOT revisited!
Any labels showing an interest in the EP? I know here in the States
Pavement Music put the record out, but I think they go by Crash Music now.
We are no longer signed to Pavement. There are labels showing interest but of
course I can't give you more details until things are fixed.
Back to "Evillot," which I got before the "Lightbringer" album,
did that ever get released by any U.S. company? I remember the band sent me the
Actually, Northwinds licensed it to Pavement last year. Northwinds is still
releasing new bands and new records, but I'm not so informed about them, though
I know they have signed Highlord.
I know for awhile there Italy was definitely a hotbed of activity
for power metal, with the likes of Rhapsody and Labyrinth being amongst the
two most famous bands to get recognition.
I know, I myself lost track of who's from Italy and who's not. And I think that
is a good thing! The very true new thing in our sound is NO MORE KEYBOARDS.
Just as background stuff in the studio, but we don't use keyboards anymore, too
much like "that" kind of power metal and we identify more with a U.S. power
metal, or a classic power metal.
Classic power metal like Manilla Road or Cirith Ungol kinda stuff?
I noticed you were doing a Manowar cover, I saw them for the first time up at
the New Jersey Metalfest, and they were awesome!
That's the direction we are taking, yes. I saw Manowar at the Gods Of Metal,
and yes they are great! It's hard for me to make comparisons with other bands,
about our sound, to me it's just the evolution of Power Symphony's sound. Our
style didn't get 80's, it's a very modern sound. Our style and music is more
aggressive but I'm not singing with a rough voice. I've got a doom kind of
voice, very clean and deep, but sometimes I put in rougher notes, if it suits
I'm sure you get this question a lot, but has it been tough for you
to get recognition as a female singer in a normally male dominated genre? I
would think some aspects of bands like yourself, Arch Enemy, Holy Moses and the
like would draw more males out of the woodwork.
Too many girls in metal bands are not really into metal, unfortunately. I hate
that but it's changing. And yeah, it has been tough, but not because of guys'
reaction - of course you expect that, metal is supposed to be fun after all,
not a church concert! - but because it takes a lot to be considered a metal
musician just like any other male metal musician.
So what other females in music are you into? Have you heard
anything by Holy Moses, or Arch Enemy, who Century Media here in the States has
really promoted? Also, what do you think of Anneke from The Gathering?
I don't know about Holy Moses, but I will check them out for sure! I saw Arch
Enemy live awhile back, but (Angela Gossow) wasn't in the band yet. I can get
into Anneke's singing because she's really good, but their music is not really
my kind of music. I like the album "Nighttime Birds" as it has a lot of
atmosphere, but of course it's not really metal to my ears. The new stuff I've
heard is even less metal than that, so I'm not into The Gathering but Anneke is
a really good singer.
So besides Manowar, what other bands or styles of music do you
Ah, there comes "the question!" I love Candlemass, Nevermore (and Sacntuary!),
old Blind Guardian stuff, the "father" Ozzy Osbourne, King Diamond, the first
Malmsteen, and Jeff Scott Soto is among my favorite singers. Then I listen to a
lot of folk and so called Celtic music.
I am so glad Candlemass got back together and is thinking about
maybe doing another album! I interviewed them and they seem to be getting
fantastic reactions at shows around the world. Now if they would just play
I saw them at Wacken this summer and I actually saw the light!!! Messiah is
just incredible. Their first show was fantastic and the audience was crazy. I
myself felt like a teenager to her first show! You know, singing all the songs,
screaming... Candlemass are great!
Okay, well I think we should talk about some of your stuff now,
and I wanted to ask about the cover of "Evillot," that's a pretty erotic cover,
and I'm wondering if you had much input into that, or if the artist normally
draws in that style?
The "Evillot" cover is by Louis Royo, and we just loved it! A lot of people
said it's the best cover they had seen around in awhile. I guess it captured
our attention because it's dark but sexy too, and the girl has red hair like
me, so when I was shown some options I decided for that one! I definitely love
it. And it got noticed I have to say.
It definitely got noticed, though your first full length
"Lightbringer," the artwork seemed a little obscure, were you happy with the
way it turned out? Keep in mind though I have the U.S. version.
Actually, "Lightbringer" is our second album, but I know it got released in the
U.S. before "Evillot." When we recorded "Evillot" we already wanted Travis
Smith Seempieces (Iced Earth, Death, Nevermore... And so many more!) to do the
artwork, because we LOVE what he does, but he was too busy at the time. Then we
did "Lightbringer" and we immediately asked Trev for the artwork, and for
"Futurepast" too. He was happy to do the job and we are 100% happy with his
work, I absolutely love it! And I love it because it is dark and obscure. We
are not the typical "happy metal" European band. We have a strong dark side
(me) that reflects fully in the music we do.
Dark side, yes, I'm well aware of that. The lyrics on "Evillot"
especially are very dark, and I'm curious as to who does all the lyric writing
and what sort of influences are drawn from for lyrics? "Evillot" in particular
almost seemed to tell a story in a sense.
I write all the lyrics, and you are right, there is kind of a story going on,
though it's not intentional. The older songs were more epic and classic power
metal; the newer songs were darker, because my songwriting got more personal
with time, so I thought that we could put up the track listing starting from
the most epic and optimistic song to end with the most dark, making a sort of
journey from the surface to the deep and darker side of Power Symphony and
I read in a friend of mine's maagzine, maybe you remember it?
Lamentations Of The Flame Princess. Anyway, I read where you said you did all
the vocals in the studio naked? I wonder how Joey Vera or your other band
members felt about that!
Yeah, I remember Jim! I recorded "Lightbringer" that way. You know, Warrel from
Nevermore gave me that advice and he said that he does so and it makes him feel
really free and honest and that IT WORKS. I wanted to try that, and it actually
worked! It may sound crazy but you can't be false, I assure you, when singing
naked. I like to record with very little light, and Joey said anyway that he
couldn't see me below my waist. He was surprised at first, but he adapted
immediately and if he felt embarassed he didn't show it. I don't think I'll
record naked for the next full length again. Singers out there should try it,
it really works!
On the web site you mention that there are only two members listed,
yourself and Marco, have you had lineup problems or are there session musicians
you use from time to time?
Marco and I are the only original members of Power Symphony left, the new
lineup will be revealed just after the recording of the next album in November.
We had some radical changes after "Lightbringer," for example we don't use
keyboards anymore, and the new version of the web site is incomplete.
So are you busy with the band fulltime? What else are you involved
in, are you involved with a relationship or anything?
I'm involved with a lot of things, as everyone I guess: relationships, friends,
rent to pay, jobs, etc. I hope I can live with just music one day but that's
very difficult. I know guys from well known bands that still have to work.
Metal is a big passion, but as far as money it's not rewarding, unless you
becoem Iron Maiden!
I agree. I'm sure a lot of guys are curious though if you have a
certain special someone in your life, but I agree, metal music should be played
from the heart and for fun. If you happen to make money at it that is a bonus
or a plus but shouldn't be the main focus.
I know everyone is curious about that and I like this curiosity so... I keep it
kind of secret! Well, not really... I live with my boyfriend, but that's all I
am saying! :P
That's a funny question I am sure for you. I bet you get asked that
quite a bit. I was of course trying to be a bit more diplomatic about it of
ROLLERBALL. Interview with Dave Talon.
This newest recording I know contains songs from two of your
previous EP releases, please tell us which songs come from which release? Are
there any songs from the EP's that didn't make this recording?
Our first EP "Lost In Space" contains: 'Jonothan E,' 'Lost In Space,' 'Dragon,'
'Eye Of The Storm,' 'Lowly Sublime,' 'Lake Of Life' and 'Theme From Odyssey.'
The second EP "Let Your Hair Hang Down" has 'Evie,' 'Classical Stimuli,'
'Knockn The Top Off,' '24 Hours,' and the live version of 'Lake Of Life.' The
original version of 'Lake Of Life' is the only track from the EP's not on the
I'm pretty curious about the song 'Jonothan E,' where did the movie
samples at the beginning and end of the song come from? It doesn't seem to be a
movie I'm familiar with.
Jonothan E is the main character in the movie Rollerball. This is sort of the
Rollerball theme song. It's all about him, the song and the sample.
There aren't a whole lot of bands I have heard coming out of
Australia, but the ones I know of are very good, whether it be Hobbs Angel Of
Death, Armored Angel, or Mortal Sin on the metal front, Ikon doing gothic music
and Datura doing stoner rock (even though they're from New Zealand). Do you
know any of these bands at all and if so what do you think of them?
I've heard of all these bands. I used to go and see Armoured Angel in the 80's
as a headbanging teenager. I saw Mortal Sin in the 80's too. Good to see that
you know of their work! Yes, Datura are from New Zealand, I've met the drummer
two or three times. Please don't put New Zealand in the same basket as
Australia, Canada is not the U.S. is it? Hahaha!
Ha ha, okay I digress on that one. I do know, however, of the
extreme difficulties of Australian bands playing live, have you ever been able
to make the trek outside of Australia? Tell us about bands that you can play
with live over there, is there a decent music scene where you are?
Well, Rollerball have never played outside of Australia, though we've toured a
lot with Aussie band Thumlock. Check 'em out on High Beam Records. We are
touring soon with label mates The Giants Of Science. There is a scene but big
distances between cities make touring hard and expensive.
I really dug the video clips for 'Evie' and 'Lowly Sublime.' Were
those songs released on an Australian TV show, maybe you have a version of
America's MTV down there. I'm curious as to how the recording of the videos
came about, I know videos are usually very expensive to make and produce!
We have all the mod cons here, MTV and competitive channels and we have had our
clips played a fair bit. We've just finished our new single, which will be our
fourth, and we like simple, low budget clips, and of course the new one's no
I really don't know exactly how to describe your sound, there's
tunes like 'Classical Stimuli' and 'Eye Of The Storm' that seem more metal
oriented, then some elements of stoner rock and just heavy rock in particular
like on 'Evie' and 'Lost In Space.' Are these songs representative of different
styles on the EP's or is this normally how an album goes for you?
We are influenced by all forms of rock and our recording sessions will lean a
little one way or another, but always having a mix of sounds. We get bored with
playing the same song over and over again, which is what a lot of bands these
days do. Because we don't follow fads, like them or not all our songs have a
timeless element; you couldn't really put them in any categories, so the songs
we liked then are the same that we like now.
So how did a band from Australia hook up with a record label in
France? Was it difficult to communicate back and forth between labels, or was
this a deal your home label Rhythm Ace worked out with Water Dragon Records
Rhythm Ace and Water Dragon hooked up as labels do, I think the internet is a
big help these days. I went to Paris to do some promotion and spent some time
with the Water Dragon people. They are REAL music people and I love their work,
we are happy to be involved with them.
So what can we expect in the future for Rollerball, is there
another album coming out, and songs maybe already being worked on?
Yep! Our first Australian single from our new album "Superstructure" is out at
the start of October and the album at the end of October. I don't know about
(licensing for) the other territories. The album leans towards the Aussie rock
sound of the 1970's.
From the video for 'Evie,' I'm assuming that Evie is a really hot
girl you all know over there... :)
Evie is part one of a three part trilogy written by Harry Vanda and George
Young (older brother of AC/DC Young brothers). It was a huge hit in Australia
in the 70's and is the only song we recorded that we didn't write.
How has this album been received so far? Or is it too early to tell
yet. I'm just wondering what countries have been receiving exposure to this
album, and if you've done any other interviews yet (Hopefully I'm the first).
Yes, it's a bit too early to tell, as the promotion wheel is just now starting
to turn. I've done about a dozen interviews, but yours is one of the most
detailed. I'm definitely glad you liked the compilation though.
Finally, I saved one of the most dull questions for last, but since
readers aren't going to be familiar with you, tell us about the band, who is
in the group and how you got together.
The band formed in 1998 on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia from the
ashes of Load and Vangard. We have a new bass player on the album and are
looking forward to hitting the road. Please check out some more of the
Australian bands available here. Love your mag!
THE GATHERING. Interview with Anneke.
Now I know you have a new album coming out, is there anything you
want to tell us about it?
We have an EP out that's been out for a few weeks. It's got three songs and
some multimedia stuff on it. The serious full length album is hopefully coming
out in January, we're still mixing it now and hopefully by September's end it
will be mixed and mastered. We've been working on those two records for about
a year and a half now, which is a little bit too long. We got held up in the
process due to quarrels with Century Media, but in the end we're really proud
of the music we're making, so I hope it's going to be received well.
Now when you say you're having troubles with Century Media, is that
with the German office or the U.S.? I take it Century Media won't be putting
out the next record.
It's mostly the German office because that's where the big bosses are. As a
matter of fact we fulfilled our contract with Century Media, so we're out of
there anyway. That's a good thing and we have decided to put this out on our
own label Psychonaut Records. We're putting out the EP and upcoming album on
our own label, but we'll cooperate with some bigger labels.
I'm really looking forward to the next record, though it does worry
me that your next release won't get out there; at least with Century Media U.S.
I see the records in the stores, and they have such a dominant presence in the
market. I'm still hoping the Century Media office here would be willing to
You needn't worry about it because we have an even bigger label that wants to
help us. The real important thing for us is to be brought out everywhere,
worldwide, because there's people who like us all over the place. It would be
no use just to have a record out in Holland and surrounding areas. I think this
is going to be distributed by The End Records, they're smaller but a really
nice label. We're still shopping things around.
One of the most interesting quotes I read from you was in Metal
Maniacs where you were talking about playing in the Milwaulkee Metalfest. It's
an amazing tribute to your success when you were mentioning how you were
standing on stage and looking out on the crowd, seeing people in death and
black metal T-shirts that were really getting into your performance!
Yeah, that was amazing! And still, sometimes we play on those really, REALLY
gothic festivals and there's people with corpsepaint standing around, looking
really angry. But we always manage to put a smile on people's faces, because we
love to make the music and perform this music so much, so the energy is just
going back and forth, which is the best present you can get and give while
doing a show. At the Milwaulkee Metalfest, we were like the only band that
seemed to have a melodic side, and we kept thinking, ooh, what are we doing
Didn't you do a small mini tour here in the States following
We did a tour by ourselves in little clubs in the area, we did a few big stage
tours though. We did some shows with King's X and we did a few shows with The
Misfits of all things! That was pretty strange.
I have been wanting to see you play live for quite awhile now, but
I think not being on Century Media anymore may hurt, I remember when Marduk was
first signed and they had JUST released Marduk's new album and had them already
booked on a U.S. tour!
Wow, that is really fast. The thing is though, there should just be a good booker
who just wants us to play, and you'll usually get the money somewhere. Century
Media didn't put any money into us for a few years. But I know there's some
kind of market for us in the U.S. because we played from the west to the east,
and there was really no commercials for us anywhere because we had a bad
booker. The closest thing we had to a commercial is the posters that were put
up on the outside of the venue in the morning when we arrived and (tour dates)
on our web site. There was always 50 to 100 people that showed up. It was
pretty amazing. The U.S. is such a big country and there's so much going on,
and people still showed up even with little promotion!
Hammerheart Records released the very first Gathering albums before
you came into the band, I think it was a compilation called "The Early Years."
How do you feel about that stuff, is it a good representation of their early
I think that was the demo recordings, It was a demo so of course how good can
it be? It's mostly grunt vocals, but in that time when they started out they
just did this demo and then they came out with the record "Always" and their
second was called "Almost A Dance" with another vocalist. But "Always"
especially was very popular in the underground, so it has a big atmosphere and
is pretty special, so those demos are good to have in your collection if you
like the early stuff.
Do you perform any of the early stuff live?
Not really no, we did in the beginning when I first joined, but not anymore.
I don't think the story has been chronicled very often, but I would
like to know how you got in touch with The Gathering and how you started
singing for them. I know the direction and scope of the band changed
drastically when you joined.
Maybe because female vocals are "normal" vocals. It's a little bit easier to
listen to, and the music gets a bit more open as well, but it was a group
process we went through. After the second Gathering album the vocalist left the
band, and they wrote some tunes and decided to see if they could move onto the
next singer. They felt they had nothing to lose and I think you can hear that
in the music, there was no pressure and ideas were more open. Then we found
each other and the music was already written, all I had to do was write lyrics
and do vocal lines. It all fits together, and it's what makes "Mandylion" a
very special record.
The first Gathering record I remember hearing was "Nighttime Birds"
and that's what did it for me. I do have to be honest though, I wasn't very
impressed with the 2 CD set "How To Measure A Planet," and I didn't see a lot
of good press for that release, how do you feel about this record?
After "Mandylion" got quite successful, it was rather fast when I joined the
band, and after that "Nighttime Birds" was in the style of "Mandylion" you
know? We wanted to make new music again, because you tour, doing all those
records, and we love that stuff but when we make a new record you want to put
new stuff on it, new ideas. We found ourselves a new producer and a whole new
technology of recording, which consisted of Pro Tools on the computer. We used
Pro Tools but we also used analog recordings as well in the studio, so we had a
whole new thing going on, it was very exciting. We just went crazy and we wrote
SO many songs that we had to release a double album. The thing with "How To
Measure A Planet," we believe that it's our best record, and it's very nicely
recorded. Maybe too nice, it doesn't have any rough edges but it's nice to
listen to. The sequence is not really good, the sequence should be better, but
that's also because Century Media wanted to put it out as one record plus
bonus, but we wanted to make a double album for the price of one. Just to
please our listeners.
Well, I feel the best record you did is "If_Then_Else," and I think
what I really like about it is hearing the warm, fuzzy guitar sounds made
famous during the 60's and 70's, so I wonder if any of those artists influenced
you in any way? Also, living in Amsterdam as you do, where Marijuana is legal,
did you find using any recreational drugs like Type O Negative, Pink Floyd and
the like help you obtain influences or ideas for the record?
That's what everyone else has wondered too, ha ha. We don't necessarily use
grass or whatever when we work, because we like to be sharp when we're working;
we don't drink beer or do anything especially when we're performing. When we're
in the studio we just work and that's it. I never use the stuff anyways.
I know there's a big stigma attached to it here in the States, but
just look at some of the world's best music, like the Beatles and Pink Floyd
and stuff. When I write with it, it seems to help me reach areas with my mind
that are otherwise inaccessible, and if used in the right way I see it as a
very powerful tool.
Exactly, I think it is. It numbs a bit you know all the daily stuff, it gets it
out of your head, and it's a good thing unless you use it every day, all of the
day. It has a permanent effect on your behavior you know, you get really slow
if you use it everyday for a few years. But if you use it sometimes, using it
to let go of the daily things that bother you, it's nice. I did it a lot when
I was like 16 or so, but because it's legal you can buy it on the corner
everywhere. It's a normal thing here and you get so used to it, we're actually
spoiled with it, they'll (the guys in the band) drink a beer or smoke a joint
once in awhile. I don't really like what's going on here with the exctasy drug
and what not though. All that chemical stuff I hate, it changes people rapidly,
and it's those people that go to those dance parties, the raves.
A lot of the lyrics on the "If_Then_Else" album seem really
abstract, but I'm curious if you did the lyrics on the album. My girlfriend was
really into one of the songs you did, I can't remember the title but it was a
song dealing with relationships or something.
'Saturnine' it was. It's such clear lyrics, but it's not something I went
through myself at that time, rather something that everyone can relate to
since everyone has been dumped at one time or another in their life. I get a
lot of reaction from that song, because I hear from people "I know what you
mean!" It's one of the worst emotions you go through when you grow up. I like
performing that song live as well. It's one of the least vague lyrics on the
'The Colorado Incident' was rather sad when I learned from you
what that song came from. A lot of incidents here in America, 9/11 especially,
seem so dramatic and the media over here played this stuff to death. I hate
to say that about the media, I know they have to cover these events, but they
played 9/11 to death, and sometimes I think it was just to expand ratings
coverage or to get their point statistics with the ratings companies.
It's really sad what's going on, and everywhere people are going crazy. I'm no
psychologist or anything, but underneath I think the problem is that the world
is going so fast that we cannot keep up with life itself. And we get more
demands on ourselves. I live in Holland which is an easygoing country; there's
a lot of social security and we aren't as hardworking as say Americans are.
The way I see it in America, the moral standards are so high that I just
couldn't live underneath this! Actually, what 'The Colorado Incident' was
written about was when we had a show in the U.S. and the show didn't go through
because we were all very sick and were late for the gig. We couldn't make it
and people who wanted to come see us got very angry and called us names, asking
why we didn't play the show. I understand why people don't understand why you
sometimes can't make a show, but they called us terrible names and things.
So we write this song about how we love the fans and love to tour. The title
was really just a rather unusual title.
Wow. You think our moral standards are high?
Oh yes, like 'Love your family,' 'Go to war and become a hero,' protect your
country, and when you fail it's really a failure. Like President Clinton, when
he took one joint I thought it was cool. But they made him to the point where
he felt he had to say "I didn't inhale," it's so hypocritical. People have to
have fun every once in awhile.
(Thinking Anneke has a different definition of "morals.") The whole
9/11 thing was blamed on the fact that Islam people overseas think our morals
have gone down the toilet. A lot of our culture that filters over there, like
movies and T.V., sex seems to sell everything, and I think your media has
portrayed the U.S. in a different light. Yeah, we've been seen as the world's
super power and what not...
I know that in America sex sells everywhere, but that's kind of the twisted
moral about it. You know, you can't have sex when you're underage, you should
live a model life, but in the meantime the whole country is going crazy, people
shoot other people in schools, and pornography is going around, you just can't
think about it! The extremes get so bad because their moral standards, if I
explain it right, are so high by society that it's unlivable so people get on
drugs and drink, it's kind of a two way thing and quite dishonest. But it's
such a big nation too, it must be difficult to rule the nation, especially
Did you have any vocal training before you came into The Gathering?
I think the vocal work you do is absolutely enchanting, it's definitely one of
the focal points of the album.
Wow, thank you. I had some vocal training for like 14 years or so. Some, like,
classical training too but I never really went to school for that, I just took
lessons every week for 14 years and then I just got a little bit lazy and of
course I was busy with the band. Now I know what to do but it's nice to have
somebody listen in once in awhile and say that if you're doing okay.
Do you find that any of that helps you when you're in the studio or
performing live, maybe you're in the studio doing the same piece 5 or 6 times
to get it right, or maybe just singing for an hour or two constantly? Because I
know a lot of it is breathing techniques that they teach you.
I think that's the thing about singing, just minding your breathing and
watching how you breathe and dividing your breathing and voice. You just listen
to your body and it will tell you if you can or can't do something. You kinda
have to learn what you can and can't do, because every voice is different, as
to how high or how low you can go. Then you just have to go and do it.
I'm curious as to when you're not with the band and you just listen
to music in your spare time, what you like to listen to. Can you ever listen to
like extreme death and black metal?
Not really, ha ha. The blackest metal I can listen to is like Ulver. That's
really dark but it's also kind of melodic and kind of industrial too. I love
heavy music and dark music but there always should be some melody involved.
I will listen to stuff like Radiohead and I discovered a band called Elbow
which makes some beautiful music. I listen to The Beatles a lot.
What's Elbow like, I may have to check that out!
Check it out, it's so beautiful. It's kind of pop music in the vein of
Radiohead, but it's a male vocalist who has such a wonderful voice and they
have beautiful, melodic songs. It's just beautiful pop music.
One of the coolest things I heard from you was about the time you
played some big show and record label people were upset: I think you got
onstage wearing a jogging suit and the labels were saying "you need to wear a
dress and high heels" and you were like, "Naah, I don't need to do that." That
Ha ha! I remember that. I have been wearing some outfits like a tennis dress
with green football socks under it! And they were all going, what the hell? And
we played on a gothic festival so everybody is in total black and we were
trying to be colorful. We make serious music though, but we wear what we want.
And this last time we played another dark festival, and our guitarist wore a
construction hat, how do you say a hard hat? People don't really mind in a way,
because you're the band! You can wear a sock around your, thingie, and that's
okay too; like the Red Hot Chili Peppers do.
Well, we need to wrap this up, but one thing I wondered, I remember
seeing pictures of you in Metal Maniacs when you had long, blonde hair, and I
was wondering why you cut it and dyed it red!
Oh, man, I'm a girl!
Yeah, I know that. Hee hee.
We always dye our hair! It's been blond for more than two years already.
Is that your natural color?
No, I'm kind of dark blond or something. It's really, really blond right now.
And I like it, it is rather long right now. Sometimes I cut it, sometimes I
grow it out. I think long hair is better so I'm letting it grow longer for
awhile. I should be blond for a bit longer.
After all this time, few things in the music world seem to shock me anymore. As
a few interviews have mentioned, I have read the book "Lords Of Chaos" from
cover to cover quite a few times, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants
to understand the Black Metal scene and it's most humblest of beginnings. The
quotes from scene founders and eye witness accounts from many different sides
puts a whole different perspective on the church burnings and murders that took
place splashed amongst the tabloids and magazines worldwide. After many of you
read the Dark Funeral interview, drunken ramblings or not, it is quite a few
months AFTER the interview took place that I finally understood what Caligula
was so pissed off about. His comment about people not understanding Satanism
brought to light the fact that some people may follow a scene without really
comprehending what may be a deeper meaning. And to answer a question, to many
of my readers who may be wondering: In some ways, I do understand the logic and
reasoning behind the church arsons in Scandinavia and throughout the world when
Black Metal ideology is involved. The so called "christians," the same ones who
preach love, peace and turning the other cheek on one hand, were and still are
responsible and accountable for much of the horrors in the known world, not
only today but throughout history. The church burnings were justified as
revenge for murdering and plundering the Viking lands and landmarks. For those
not in the know, since the Viking culture was all but wiped out by Christianity
years ago, many of these so called "historic" churches were built right on top
of conquered Viking sacred ground. The "christians" razed their temples, killed
and raped their women, and then to add further insult to injury, built their
own churches right on the spot where the rightful owners' buildings once stood.
That being said, however, I don't know that arson was the best way to eradicate
the christian menace. It did seem to achieve it's purpose, however, which was
to bring notoriety and fear to the people, though I think some of these just
did it for fun. Varg Vikerne's perception, of course made much later, seems to
be justifying himself as the champion of Odin, dismissing Satanism outright as
a beginning point rather than an end point. And on that note I was trying to
establish that there are intelligent ways to fight your battles, rather than
wanton destruction and mayhem, though one must remember that in war, if you are
going to fight the fight then you must be prepared to crush and destroy the
enemy before he can do the same to you. Mercy is a tool for the weak,
especially when you look at recent events in the Middle East. We were too
lenient with Saddam Hussein, and if he actually develops superior nuclear
technology and wipes us off the face of the earth, how much mercy and
compassion we gave will seem rather irrelevant. Trust me, I do not support
fully all the actions that our government takes, but at least the hard stances
have to be supported. If war is what it takes, go in there with the objective
to win. Our fiasco in Vietnam cost us many lives of good men, men that died
needlessly while the politicians played their games and the media spun webs of
I will jump off the soapbox now. I wanted to thank everyone for sticking around
with us for so long, many may realize we are indeed the longest running
internet based publication on the planet that's still running. Long after many
have folded up their tents and gone home, here we still are. Improving and
learning all the while I am, for even I do not get to see and hear it all. Special
thanks must go out to Sascha Glaeser, for without him the classic albums
section would not be as special and groundbreaking as it has been. What started
out as a showcase to a few of my favorite bands from the 80's has turned into
a full fledged shrine, with readers as far away as Estonia and Libya extolling
it's virtues. Also special mention needs to go to Daniel at Softerweb, for
helping me have a place to store what takes massive amounts of space. And all
the others who would take much time and space to mention.
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