VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
Welcome back! Hopefully you all are enjoying Doom Radio, as we've put a lot of
hard work into each and every weekly show! More and more bands are doing promo
spots for us, and we're going to keep giving you new interviews and CD reviews
as often as we can. The delays, unfortunately, will still be a problem, but we
are working to correct that as well... Well, I say "we," but as many of you
already know, it's been more like "me" for over 15 years.
Address to send stuff to, blah, blah blah:
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 3024-0963 USA
AIRGED L'AMH "Ode To Salvation" (Eat Metal) SCORE: 90/100
As blown away as I was by their full length debut "The Silver Arm" (and that
all depends on how you treat the album "One Eyed God" which had songs lifted
for the "Silver Arm" debut and was limited to 500 copies with it yet to see a
repress), I realized that they had a tough act to follow. New things this time
around: we see keyboards being more prominently featured on the record, making
for some piano intros, an atmospheric and soundtrack like opening track
entitled 'Midlothian,' and an amazine set of Celtic heaviness utilizing flutes
entitled 'Glide On The Wings.' 'The Hunter's Path' starts things off nicely,
with the epic midtempo guitar work that defined their structures on the last
album, and the first thing you notice is a bit slower tempo. Many songs here
are run through a slower framework, which shows Airged L'amh branching out just
a bit from their comfort zone. The title track shows further innovation in the
instrumentation department, bringing about a somewhat medieval feel while still
reminding everyone what "The Silver Arm" was all about; in fact, I daresay the
entire album is half "Silver Arm" influences, half experimentation, with some
extreme vocal work and a rather angrier singing style that some won't get into
right away. Many of the songs here retain a long length, in fact you'll find
quite a few 6 and 7 minute pieces. The guitar work is quite amazing, and truly
one of the highlights here, there's a LOT of higher ended lead guitar work.
'Dine In Hades' is an almost 8 minute piece that starts out with some piano
notes, and the pianos go on by themselves for about a minute and a half. Lots
of solo instrumentation is presented, and it makes me wonder if some of these
songs could have been trimmed down by a minute or two. The instrumentation is
still varied and diverse, in fact a tune like 'The Ritual Lair' has some of the
best solos and emotional variation on the instrumental passages I've yet to
hear from the L'amhs. My biggest gripe was with the almost doom metal pace of
'Pages Of Essence,' I do have to agree that this is probably Airged L'amh's
darkest and most haunting track I've heard them write, though the vocal work
wasn't quite up to par here. He's more of a singer, and a good one at that,
than one who can add a snarling and menacing tone to his throat work. HOWEVER,
that being said, there's several places where extreme vocal work akin to death
or black metal was tried, granted they were limited to one or two words here
and there, but I would love to hear more of that in the future. The ballad like
piece 'Mo Cuishle' too suffered, mainly on the vocals, as it was seemingly done
with a more harsh vocal style in mind, and the instrumentation, as decent as it
was, doesn't hold a candle to 'Mourning Grief' from the previous album. Still,
CD ender 'Glide On The Wings' ended the 9 song affair in movie soundtrack
fashion, complete with militaristic percussion and synth atmopshere, and it's
still worth picking up regardless of the few faults.
Contact: Eat Metal Records.
ALGHAZANTH "Wreath Of Thevetat" (Woodcut) SCORE: 100/100
Absolutely astounding is this masterpiece of symphonic black metal, with what
seems to me to utilize some astral and occult concepts, making the synth pieces
create an otherworldly atmosphere. No ballads or syrupy pieces to be found,
this band mainly goes for the jugular with some vicious paced black metal! You
will hear MANY tempo and structure changes, and every song is either 5 or 6
minutes in length. HOW they got their songs down to between 5 and 6 minutes a
piece is obviously a testament to just how well crafted these songs are. And
they go for atmosphere, folks, no long winded and over repetitive passages to
be found anywhere. They have no problems throwing acoustic guitars, some piano
notes, and LOTS of melodic and slower passages into the mix. I guarantee that
not only will you NEVER get bored with ANY song on the disc, but I've listened
to this disc 8 or 9 times already and I STILL hear stuff I missed! The spoken
word intro starting the disc off gives a bit of insight into what the lyrical
content might be about, which makes the more symphonic leanings make more
sense. The slower pace starting the tune 'The Kings To Come' reminded me
immediately of Immortal via the "Sons Of Northern Darkness" album, though the
track doesn't slow down for long. The guitar work on this disc is absolutely
astounding as well: lots of high ended leads and invoking lots of atmosphere
through the guitar work alone! The drummer is quite simply either a madman or
possessed; witness how he just flows effortlessly on the many structure and
tempo changes of 'The Phosphorescent,' for example. There were a few death
metal styled vocals in a few spots, which at first I wasn't sure if I was okay
with, but soon that became a non issue. Check out the track 'Twice Born,' when
he goes from a low death growl RIGHT into the blackened shriek, and you know
from there vocals are ALL handled by the same person! 'Future Made Flesh' was
interesting with the solo instrumentation starting off at a slower pace than
what's usually starting tracks off, and the vocals don't kick in until about
1:33. By that point, you're entranced by the synths emulating multivocal chants
which once again lend themselves to a wonderful and otherworldly atmosphere.
CD ender 'As Nothing Consumes Everything' is the highlight of the disc and a
grand way to close the album, starting off with ripping guitar work and a
killer headbanging pace, only to bring Nordic like instrumentation near the end
along with LOTS of acoustical interplay. Never forget this band is a VICIOUS
black metal assault that also blends some of the most amazing, epic and
atmospheric instrumentation (blown away I was by the almost melancholic and
slightly sorrowful landscapes including a piano on 'Future Made Flesh') you'll
EVER hear in black metal. Amazing vocals, amazing synths, guitars, jaw dropping
drumming and EVERYTHING else makes this one of the most surprising and creative
black metal bands I've EVER heard. THE black metal highlight for 2008!
Contact: Woodcut Records.
DARKFLIGHT "Perfectly Calm" (Ars Magna) SCORE: 98/100
What an amazing album! This, the followup to their 2002 release "Under The
Shadow Of Fear" album was well worth the wait. The production, obviously, is
much better this time around (though I didn't have a problem with the
production on their last release), and it makes for some striking differences.
First of all, the percussion is thunderous and gives a rather cavernous
impression, while the guitars are mixed with the synths rather well. Lots of
high ended guitar work, and some of the darkest instrumentation Ivo has
recorded in his career. The pace is consistently doomy, and one slight
comment is that the tracks rarely vary in tempo from start to finish. However,
the mood and atmosphere DOES change, quite frequently, from song to song (and
often within the framework of every song), so while on a tune like 'L'Ether
Astral' you're hearing dark synths accompanied by light, almost etherial piano
notes, you'll ALSO hear some dark and heavy guitar work, and believe me the
high ended leads are a definite highlight of the album. There are no female
vocals on this album AT ALL, so what you get vocal wise is very harsh and
echoey black metal vocals, almost whispered like quality like from Agalloch,
but much more resonant and booming. 'Dissolving Into Nothingness' is one of the
highlights of the album, with some killer atmosphere, and rather rich synths
that portray horn sounds and gives this tune that epic touch. 'Distant Pain' is
most noteworthy for adding an ultra heavy and doomy atmosphere, yet to add
melodic acoustical guitars and a change of emotions all in one song.
'Perfectly Calm,' the title track, obviously sounds rather contradictory from
first listen, especially with the haunting instrumentation giving way to some
melodic acoustical guitar work, guitar work that stays right with the synths
all the way to the end. Epic, dark and sorrowful with a melodic and melancholic
touch, Darkflight has made a masterpiece of doomy and atmospheric black metal.
CD ender 'L'Ether Astral' is a 10 minute piece that has only instrumentation
for the first almost 4 minutes, setting up a mood before the harsh vocals kick
in, only to end the track with solo synth passages. Every note, every emotion
on this disc will make you FEEL something, and it's all done to a rather slow,
doom metal pace. HIGHLY recommended if you think harsh music can't invoke any
emotional or melodic feelings. I sincerely hope this band gets much more
attention than it's getting now. A highlight for 2008.
Contact: Ars Magna Recordings.
DEMIGOD "Let Chaos Prevail" (Open Game) SCORE: 52/100
I was amazed to hear a followup record was released recently, as "Shadow
Mechanics" was a somewhat sleeper record released by Spinefarm and given almost
no attention save for the review in my magazine. I should have taken it as a
sign that this record wasn't released by Spinefarm, as it's quite
disappointing. Let's start off by being perfectly honest and clear here: I'm
not a huge fan of death metal, but there are still some bands in the genre that
still do it for me, like Bolt Thrower, Amon Amarth, Arghoslent, etc. but these
bands all have something that stands out from the rest, while this band just
seems to do it "by the numbers," in a way. "Shadow Mechanics" had a somewhat
haunting and eerie sound, which is still retained to a slight degree here, but
their vocalist that was used on their majority of songs is gone. Of the trio of
vocalists used on their last release, Ali Leinio is gone, and there is no
longer a keyboard player, so all we're left with is Tuomas, who has drastically
altered his vocal style. He now utuilizes a somewhat hardcore/death metal
approach, which kills a lot of this band's style right in the water. The
instrumentation, however, still retains some of that sinister aura, but frankly
it's hard to get past the somewhat lackluster vocal performance, especially on
the slower material. 'Not Dead Enough' starts the disc off in a rather dark
fashion, and for some reason is one of very few tracks where the vocals don't
actually interfere or bring about a different vibe. There's lots of killer
thrashy guitar work, but PLENTY of times when the guitar riffs are doing some
odd things (like on the midway point of 'The Uncrowned,' and the very beginning
of CD ender 'Baptized In Enmity.') They tried out some interesting ideas, like
the almost acoustic like guitar work opening up 'God Said Suffer,' but the
vocal approach ruined this. The faster paced instrumentation is kinda just
there, not really doing much, and it's on the slower passages that the Demigod
trademark shines through, albeit briefly. I cannot say these songs are
terrible, but damnit if I just can't seem to get into it no matter how many
times I've listened to this CD. Varying tempos and structures on just about
every track were a nice effort, but it all falls flat and the disc becomes
boring very quickly. Sorry guys, but I'll still always dig "Shadow Mechanics."
Contact: Open Game Productions.
EARTH "Hibernaculum" (Southern Lord) SCORE: 86/100
This 4 track affair is my introduction to the band, which is sad, especially
when you consider that Earth has not only been making music for over 16 years
(and they started right around the same time my own music magazine started),
but they were ALSO on Sub Pop Records AND saw a few of their releases feature
none other than Kurt Cobain from Nirvana! So when I listened to this release, I
realized that there indeed was something unique going on here. There's 4 songs,
with a total running time of 36 minutes. The first three tracks are 8, 6 and 5
minutes respectively, the last song is over 16 minutes which I think some might
find to be a bit much. Every song starts off with minimal instrumentation,
though to be honest there are slight variations along the way to the end, but
for the most part the one note guitar passages seem to rarely ever change.
These songs are REALLY hypnotic though in their simplicity, and I find them to
even be a bit relaxing, especially 'Coda Maestoso In F Minor' and 'Miami
Morning Coming Down.' Hell, all of them really! The guitar passages are almost
acoustical sounding, and you'll even hear a hammond organ on occasion. The
spacey landscapes on the opener 'Ourboros Is Broken' were a nice touch, and in
spots the instrumentation takes on a heavier vibe. 'Ouroboros...' is probably
the darkest of the four, though they all are decent tunes. CD ender 'A Plague
Of Angels' I found somewhat too long, though if I was in the right frame of
mind I don't think it would be an issue. The synths here work to more of an
atmospheric ambience, conveying to me the emptiness and denseness of outer
space, a mood conveyed perfectly throughout the spacey synths that seem to be
feeding off their repetitive soundscapes. The percussion takes awhile to come
in, though it never overpowers anything else, and it seems like a sense of
balance was painstakingly created so as not to interfere with the mood. This
might seem minimal and overtly simplistic, but one can tell this music was
crafted, shaped and balanced rather than just "created." Perfect for meditative
sessions or just for inducing a trance like state.
Contact: Southern Lord Records.
EREB ALTOR "By Honour" (I Hate) SCORE: 99/100
What an amazing album!! After being a bit disappointed by the latest full
length from Isole, it's nice to see their side project come onto the scene
and blow the doors off of the majority of doom metal releases put out this
year. It's QUITE reminiscent of Nordland era Bathory, complete with the
Viking styled chants (the "whoah-oh's" and what not) though in a much slower
pace than what Quorthon usually had in mind. It's a 7 track affair running
about 53 minutes, which means you have 7 and 8 minute tracks, with one
('Wizard') kicking in at over 10 minutes. Yes, it's doom metal oriented, but
despite the fact that there's often very little variation from start to finish
for each song, the atmospheres and emotions crafted on each track are well
worth their weight in gold. I almost questioned WHY out of a 7 song affair they
decided to put TWO instrumentals on the CD, especially given that the CD ender
'Ereb Altor' was 7 minutes in length. Further still, the opening of this track
is a solitary acoustic guitar playing one note progressions for about 2
minutes, and the heavier guitar work doesn't even show up until a minute later.
CD opener 'Perennial,' on the other hand, is only about 4 minutes, and mostly
piano notes at that (though beautifully done, like the CD ender). Although, I
coulda sworn I heard some violins backing this up. Acoustic guitars open up
quite a few tracks, however, and don't think it's all melodic beauty and
serenity. On 'Winter Wonderland,' the Northern darkness of the winter is not
lost in the atmospheric stylings, in fact the opening riffs are dark, slow and
crushingly heavy! Track 3, 'By Honour,' is one of the most amazing cuts on the
CD, due mostly in part to some soaring vocal work and amazing multivocal
chanted pieces. THIS particular tune sounds more like an Isole tune than any
other, and it's no surprise that WERE this to be on an Isole record, it would
probably stand out as the best track ON an Isole album. 'Dark Nymph' continues
the crushing heaviness, but with a VERY unique and UN-Ereb Altor like twist: it
contains a Middle Eastern influence on both the instrumentation AND the vocal
melodies; the chants here are strikingly different from the rest of the album.
Lots of heavy, dark melodies, but utilized with passion and flair, this is the
direction Isole SHOULD have contemplated more with their "Bliss Of Solitude"
record (also reviewed this issue). But Ereb Altor stands enough on it's own
merits with a catchy and strong mix of Bathory era folk/viking metal and heavy
doom metal. A SUPERB highlight for 2008. Buy it... What more do you need to
Contact: I Hate Records.
EVILE "Enter The Grave" (Earache) SCORE: 94/100
Two things make this "revival thrash" band most noteworthy in my eyes: First
off, the SICK and aggressive vocal work! This is brutal thrash throat work ALL
the way through; no wimpy sung ballad parts or melodic vocals. If you're going
to be a punishing thrash outfit, THIS is the way you need to "sing." That being
said, the SECOND most noteworthy thing about this is the fucking GUITARS man!
Invocator had my vote for hands down best approach to machine gun styled rapid
fire riffs, but Evile has come crashing in with some of the most vicious guitar
on an album! And it's not just one or two songs either! So your 80's styled
thrash is donein a more brutal style than most 80's thrashers managed to do
themselves! Obvious Slayer and Metallica comparisons aside (though much more
brutal, in my opinion, than ANYTHING the latter band's ever done), I do hear a
certain Forced Entry sound creeping in, especially comparing some songs to the
brutal crunch of F.E.'s 'Octoclops' or 'Unrest They Find' from their amazing
but inconsistent "Uncertain Future." And then the Exodus riffs start creeping
in. Right off the bat, the CD opens up with three brutal thrashers in the title
track, the anthemic 'Thrasher,' and then 'First Blood,' the first instance
where it's noted that song structures are not ALL in one tempo or style! 'Man
Against Machine' shows my first beef: that odd acoustic start shoulda been
scrapped, which would have made this a minute or so shorter (at a 6 minutes
plus length, isn't that a tad too long for thrash?) The heavier, lurching riffs
shows that heavy material can be written at a slower pace. Once again, thank
the brutal, in your face and up front production from Flemming (Artillery?
Anyone remember them?) The lead solos are blazing fast, but have a LOT of
intricacy as well: it's obvious these axe handlers can PLAY! 'Burned Alive' is
an interesting tune, and the first one where you see some ideas being rehashed:
you could insert lyrics from the opening tune into some of these riffs. The
Exodus like riffs REALLY rear their heads on this one. And probably one of the
coolest tunes here, 'Killer From The Deep,' will have one's blood pounding in
the veins! Lyrically, this is Exodus' 'Piranha,' with just as much fury and
aggression, complete with tons of diverse structures and passages (from slow to
fast and then back again). 'We Who Are About To Die' is probably one of the
slowest tunes on record (and at over 7 minutes in length, is not totally
surprising), and showcases Evile at their most diverse songwriting wise. The
dark acoustics here are cool, but once again I wonder how necessary. The
multivocal shouts on some passages REALLY give weight to the subject matter,
and proves once and for all Evile is not a one trick pony. You're raging
through the followup 'Schizophrenia' before saying you've heard a few riffs
somewhere before, and 'Bathe In Blood' sounds familiar, before the LAST track
of the album sees the band get psychotically crazy ('Armoured Assault,') as if
they're trying to burn themselves out by CD's end into a fiery supernova. This
is DEFINITELY the fastest cut on the record, and instead of fading into
nothingness, becomes one of the most brutal assaults on record (think a
thrashier Panzer Division Marduk). Though you wonder if a 53 minute running
time isn't too long for such brutal material, the fact remains that Evile is
one of the most vicious and promising of the New Wave Of Thrash Metal bands,
and it seems like Earache is the label concentrated on this new movement. Great
Contact: Earache Records.
FALCONER "Among Beggars And Thieves" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 92/100
I ALWAYS look forward to another Falconer record, especially now that Mathias
is back behind the microphone WHERE HE BELONGS!!! Suffice it to say that if
you're a Falconer fan, this record won't disappoint. 11 tracks, and the cool
thing is that three songs are sung completely in their native Swedish, which
sounds awesome under Mathias' bard-like tongue. Flute and keyboard sounds bring
the opener 'Field Of Sorrow' into play, purely for epic and folkish effect
before the blazing SPEED kicks in! And lemme tell ya folks, these are some of
the fastest songs I think Falconer has ever written. It's amazing to me how
such melodic and calm vocals actually work over such blazing instrumentation!
And the percussion, don't even get me started about the phenomenal drum work.
You have some headbanging riffs on followup 'Man Of The Hour,' and then 'A
Beggar Hero' follows up, and it's strictly a ballad like piece and a very short
one at that: barely 2 minutes long with some female vocals accompanying the
bard's. No percussion and flute like notes along with acoustic like guitar
work? Yep, it's Falconer once again taking to the medieval realm. I did have a
problem with the track 'Mountain Men,' however, as some of the folkish parts
sounded a bit silly, and the vocals were sung WAY too fast on these parts only
to suddenly drop out again, making me wonder why they were even there. And
there were a few odd lead solo moments on 'Carnival Of Disgust,' and then again
on 'Boiling Led.' The WORST track hands down has to be the CD ender 'Dreams And
Pyres.' It starts off nice, with some light hearted piano notes (this reviewer
says maybe TOO much fluff in the instrumentation?) followed by female vocals
once again and the standard medieval styled acoustical guitars (mandolins?) and
flute like sounds. Mathias and the guest lady vocalist (Evelyn is her name)
take turns trading vocals to this, then the "soundtrack" like piece kicks in,
with synths, flutes and tribal or militaristic like percussion. Once the
heavier instrumentation kicks in it's pretty much downhill, with poorly
constructed choruses, odd solo guitar work that's actually cringeworthy, LOTS
of focus lost, and a 7 minute plus length. Yep, WAAAY too experimental for
Falconer, and the vocal work done by others (not sure who) is waaay off. Better
to leave this off the record I think! Regardless, there's still lots of heavy
riffing and fantastic singing, in fact I'd say this is an unusual twist for
Falconer but one that works. The Swedish songs are even fun to sing along to,
and that's saying something. Falconer are here to stay, and I daresay the metal
world is better off for it.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
FEN "Ancient Sorrow" (Northern Silence) SCORE: 89/100
This CD reminds me a bit of Agalloch, but with a bit more black metal "bite"
to it. The score of this CD really doesn't speak volumes about just how good
this band IS, but since there's only three tracks on the disc, you'll start to
see the need for a bit lower score than what this should normally get. ANYWAY:
The disc starts off with 'Desolation Embraced,' which has some interesting
"rock" guitars, almost acoustic in a way, and an almost folkish feel. The black
metal styled vocals are quite intense, and seem to have a bit of echo to them.
This opening track alone boasts quite a few structure changes, which of course
is important for an almost 9 minute track! The guitars and synths have a
somewhat ambient quality to them, and the synths really are hard to pick out,
as they blend so well with the guitars you think that's all they have! Track 2,
'The Gales Scream Of Loss,' is truly the epic masterpiece of the disc and
unarguably the best song on the record. Atmospheric guitar work starts things
off, and you get the sense that these aren't QUITE the icy leads most Norwegian
black metal is known for. There's even some clean sung chant like vocals. The
guitar and synth interaction is truly amazing, giving this track an almost
ritualistic and ambient feeling, definitely in tune with the ancient feelings
of nature! Quite the opposite of track 1, however, this song rarely ever
deviates from the structure patterns, intending instead to build up slowly
and gradually. Track 3, 'Under The Endless Sky' is the track I take points off
for. The guitar work starts off rather oddly, and for some reason the drumming
annoys me a bit, as this tune they sound really overpowering and a bit TOO fast
for my tastes. There seems to be a LOT of bass added to the drums in the final
mix, which isn't normally a problem (though after the first minute, things
settle down). Once about a minute and a half is gone, the track actually gets
even more enjoyable, with the more atmospheric feeling we're loving. Killer
blackened vocals give way once in awhile to whispered, almost ghostlike tones,
not unlike what Agalloch has done for many years. This track is good, though
they brought back the faster drumming near the end of the song, which is still
not sitting well with me. A minor point, but for the fact this is only a 3 song
affair. I like this disc, and can't wait to hear more from Fen. Many thanks to
our friends at Northern Silence Productions for their support!
Contact: Northern Silence Productions.
FOREFATHER "Steadfast" (Seven Kingdoms) SCORE: 98/100
We kinda missed out on their last release "Ours Is The Kingdom," but the first
thing the English Heathen Metal Masters brought back is the blackened vocal
delivery! The sung vocals are still there, though mostly on the choruses and a
few other places here and there (which was a stark contrast to the "Engla
Tocyme" disk reviewed long ago). The instrumentation still retains that
distinct Forefather sound, meaning a rather infectious and interesting mix of
black metal high ended guitar work mixed with a rather medieval, or old
English, feeling that Forefather has perfected to an artform. Yes, you
definitely know a Forefather song when you hear one! For the first three tracks
you're hearing fast paced instrumentation right off the bat, and tunes like
'Bruanburh,' 'Cween Of The Mark' and 'Theodish Beliefs' are filled with amazing
and catchy instrumentation that sets this band SO far apart from the other
bands utilizing blackened instrumentation and vocals. Then my favorite track
comes along 'Hallowed Halls,' complete with soaring sung vocals on the
choruses. The lead solos throughout are wonderful, never attaining the blazing
speed the majority of mainline riffs take to, and instead focus on mood and
atmosphere. Six tracks in, you get a 3 and a half minute instrumental in
'Eostre,' though the first few guitar riffs sound a bit odd, and my only other
complaint is I thought the sung vocals on the choruses of 'Three Great Ships'
should have been a bit higher toned, but all in all this is a fantastic disc
and the 11 song affair comes about 4.5 minutes of a full hour. This is their
first release for Seven Kingdoms Records, and it has affected the band's
creativity and passion for their craft none at all! Varied riffs and song
structures keep this interesting from start to finish. HIGHLY recommended,
especially if you're looking for bands that have the modern sound while still
retaining a folkish or old world feeling.
Contact: Seven Kingdoms Records.
FROSTMOON ECLIPSE "Another Face Of Hell" (ISO666) SCORE: 95/100
As you may have noticed, many of the bands in this issue have been interviewed
and had past discs reviewed in these very pages. Frostmoon Eclipse should be no
stranger to anyone who's read this 'zine for many years. This being their
latest full length release, my smallest complaint is that, though well done
this release is, I am hearing a lot of things that I've heard on discs past.
That being the case, this disc shows a LOT of blazing fast speed here, and the
band switches gears flawlessly and effortly, like they've been doing this since
they were born. The acoustical interludes are well written and convey emotion
and also serve to vary the fuck out of the tempos AND structures of each and
every song. Some tracks (like 'Elusion Of Sorcery,' 'Disinterest,' and 'Fury Of
The Elements') come storming right out the gate with insane speed (how they
manage to pull this off live I am dying to see, thankfully they come to Atlanta
in November), others (like 'Drowning Within The Eclipse,' 'Purveyors Of Chaos,'
and CD opener 'I Hate The Future') manage to start off slow but build up to the
speed (sometimes just stopping suddenly and going full steam). One thing to be
said for sure: it seems like the placement of songs and structures keeps this
disc interesting and varied. For the ten tracks, there's two very short,
acoustic only instrumentals, and they seem strategically placed: tracks four
and eight. ('Cold' and 'Black Rain,' since you must know). The acoustic
instrumentals are quite beautiful and serene, which is something that the most
vicious of black metal bands would NEVER even attempt. The percussion work is
absolutely INSANE. To pull off sudden changes in tempo and structure, you
better be damn good, and tight. Thankfully, this band is BOTH. Acoustic guitar
work frequents just about every track on the disc, and oftentimes is quite dark
and haunting (ESPECIALLY on 'I Hate The Future' and 'Purveyors Of Chaos.')
Though a lot of the blazing speed parts tend to sound a little similar after
awhile, there's great mood, atmosphere and emotion, not to mention the sick and
forceful vocals of Lorenzo. Once again, another kick ass release (and like with
many other great discs, over a year too late in the reviewing...) Oh, and
before I forget, in the song 'Elusion Of Sorcery,' Frostmoon Eclipse asks the
coolest question I've ever heard: "Have you ever seen the night, when the sun
is high in the sky?"
Contact: ISO666 Releases.
ISOLE "Bliss Of Solitude" (Napalm) SCORE: 80/100
This is a more surprising score than you might realize. First off, many people
questioned the jump to Napalm Records, "I" was NOT one of them. Isole makes
doom metal, what else is there to know? Epic, majestic, MOVING Doom Metal
(although, to be quite honest, Napalm doesn't have a lot of experience with
doom metal, having only Ahab and Syrach to their rosters, although you MIGHT
count Draconian in that field. Then again, Moribund doesn't have very many
doom bands either, most notable because Moribund and Napalm share publicists,
and even mailing addresses!) This is NOT in the vein of "Throne Of Void,"
however, and it seems my biggest complaint is that maybe they're trying too
hard to contain a heavier sound within the framework of what they do best. And
the telltale signs of what they do best are all over the CD, though I have to
admit on at least 5 of the 7 songs I found things I was annoyed at. 'By Blood'
starts the disc off in a definite heavy fashion. The drumming is a rather
fiendish showcase, pulling off vicious double bass percussion, proving that the
drummer is definitely doing his best to create a diverse set of patterns. I was
rather thrilled to hear the death metal vocals, though they only roar for a
minute or so on this track and CD ender 'Shadowstone;' the main problem being
the guitarwork BEHIND the death metal vocals isn't very well thought out, and
rather annoying. Another annoyance on 'By Blood' is the low toned male sung
vocals mixed with the minimal guitar work. There's several instances on the CD
where the low toned vocals threaten to ruin the framework of songs. And the
guitars are not always on track either, 'From Clouded Sky' has a few
cringeworthy parts, and the beautiful, dreamy atmosphere created on 'Imprisoned
In Sorrow' is almost completely shattered by rather grating vocal and
instrumental interaction at the song's conclusion. Even the female vocals on
this track were off. Okay, so I could go on about the things that drive me nuts
(can you tell they're not 100 percent consistent from track to track?), let's
talk about what this band DOES: They have the basic structures down pat. Most
noteworthy is one of the few times the thunderous heaviness WORKS, like track 5
'Aska,' where the opening instrumentation reminds you STRONGLY of Novembers
Doom. The dark acoustics are a nice touch, and when you hear the dual male
soaring vocal work come into play, it's a true mastery of combining heavy and
light passages in the space of one song. This is amazingly evident on what I
have to say is Isole's most amazing song they've ever written; a fitting thing
this is the title track. Yes, the song 'Bliss Of Solitude' goes from soaring
epic one minute to such amazing heaviness that if the rest of the album locked
in like this one track, they would have definitely BEATEN "Throne Of Void"
hands down. Darkness and melancholy they have, but their added aggression
factor wasn't perfected in my honest opinion. STILL, the overall fact remains
that even though you're cringing for a minute or so on 5 songs, there's much to
enjoy on each and every song. Such is the power Isole has over the doom metal
realm. Not an unlistenable album by any means, just be warned that the songs
WILL take some getting used to, as I was VERY VERY disappointed the first few
times I played this album. The songs are not as emotionally soaring, though the
vocal work more often than not IS, and is the TRUE highlight of the album.
Contact: Napalm Records.
JEX THOTH "Jex Thoth" (I Hate) SCORE: 93/100
From the band formerly known as Totem, and now known by the lady who fronts
this band, comes a very interesting mixture of 60's acid tinged psychedelia,
stoner rock and slight fuzzed out doom metal touches, on what many have called
a throwback to the 70's era of music. The atmosphere is certainly magickal, a
touch gloomy at times but with some rather mellow moments. Adding a church
style organ and some mandolin like acoustical passages makes for a rather
interesting sound. 'Nothing Left To Die' starts the disc off, and some of the
echoed and warped guitar notes sounded a bit odd. The female vocals are quite
mellow too, but be warned: Jex Thoth isn't a prototypical "sweet" female
singer, and can also get a haunting note to her vocals, especially on the CD
ender 'Stone Evil.' More on THAT track in a moment. 'The Banishment' could have
been a better tune, though the slower instrumentation didn't carry all the way
through; so suddenly, at about 4:19, you have a faster set of instrumentation,
proving the band isn't locked into one speed. 'Obsidian Night' didn't sit well
with me either, as the vocals are a bit too melodic for the killer fuzzed and
heavy guitar work (though towards the end of the song Jex gets a clue and
throws a heavier vocal punch that this song needed from the start). One of the
best tunes here of course is the catchy 'Separated At Birth,' and the use of
multi layered vocals works to add an extra atmosphere. The doomy riffs proves
this has doom metal touches. Xylophone notes? Coulda sworn I heard some on the
cut 'Warrior Woman!' The soft sung female vocals soon give way to a heavier
delivery and finish the song that way. 'The Poison Pit' was VERY interesting,
becoming an almost medieval type of ballad, with a very folkish feel to it,
and the fuzzy guitar work served more as an atmospheric landscape rather than a
set of riffs. The organ solo was very nice as well, giving another instrument
time in the spotlight. 'Thawing Magus' was a definite throwback to the jam
bands of the 60's and 70's, especially with the bongo like percussion, and a
seemingly improvised feeling (though the ending seemed to waver a little bit,
like the direction wasn't set in stone). This was, of course, an instrumental,
and it followed with another instrumental in 'Invocation Part 1,' though this
seemed more like a crystalline ambient piece not lasting even 2 minutes. I
didn't care for the disjointed 'When The Raven Calls,' as it had a rather
"carnival" approach to the song structure and had some odd guitar passages.
'Stone Evil' has to be mentioned as one of the heaviest and darkest passages on
the album, though it doesn't start out that way; in fact, it almost sounds like
a ritualistic Middle Eastern passage, complete with bongos and the almost
mandolin like "acoustic" riffs, before the heavy distorted guitars bring about
a dark, occultish feel. They do like to jam a bit on the instrumental passages,
and those complaining about long song lengths will find only two songs that
clock in at 6 minutes, so they do a lot with the small time frames they work
in. Another great release for I Hate, one that almost doesn't sound like a CD
this label would put out.
Contact: I Hate Records.
NECRONOCLAST "The Plague" (Moribund) SCORE: 94/100
As far as I know, only the second doom metal like release on this label (the
first being the debut full length from Catacombs), and if this is any
indication, then Moribund should definitely try and sign other doom styled acts
to the label! To be fair, this falls more in the realm of nightmarish funereal
doom/death/black, as the vocal work is especially twisted, and more black metal
oriented than many other acts. The CD starts off a bit misleading however,
especially when opening song 'Degenration' kicks in. After a dark acoustical
intro, the sudden fast instrumentation reminds one of some early black metal,
before settling in to some slower instrumentation. Once this is done, there's
very little of the fast paced structuring to be found anywhere else on the CD!
Be that as it may, there's some major points to consider about this disc: First
off, for a preprogrammed drum machine, the percussion is some of the most
varied and diverse I've heard in the realm of doom; in fact, it's not unheard
of on this album to hear some surprisingly fast double bass work. The vocals
themselves, while staying most of the time within the almost vampyric and
tortured black metal range, sometimes dip into an almost guttural death metal
vibe, though very deep and inhuman. When the faster paced instrumentation kicks
in, this can make the blackened shrieks sound rather odd, like on 'Vultures'
(track 4). The guitars are quite eerie and dark, and there's a very horrific
atmosphere going on with this disc. The lead riffs are quite enjoyable and
create a simple, but effective, dead and horror filled landscape. On 'From
Below,' the torturous landscapes are not without some sorrowful passages, and
there's a tad bit of melody presented, though in a dark and twisted way. This
CD encompasses perfectly a dead and nightmarish world, and I would think you
had better be of sound mind to keep from losing your sanity! All around, a
twisted and masterful dark and horror filled piece, with the guitars dripping
darkness and a bleak and alien landscape.
Contact: Moribund Records.
PRIMORDIAL "To The Nameless Dead" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 95/100
Another masterpiece of folkish and heavy blackened metal from Ireland's
Primordial, and the vocals are just as potent as ever! That being said, though,
Nemtheaga is seemingly doing less and less of the blackened styled vocals than
ever before, though they still roar up in many songs. 'Empire Falls' starts the
CD off in fantastic fashion, complete with singalong choruses, and the useage
of blackened vocals on the last lines of every chorus. So energetic and
bursting with passion and emotion! Followup track 'Gallows Hymn' is my biggest
complaint on the album, as you followup the amazing soaring emotions of the CD
opener with a track that's a bit more downtempo and melancholic; this track
should definitely NOT have been placed here! Either towards the end or
somewhere further down the CD track listing. Still, being one of the weaker
cuts here, the vocal work STILL is one of the highlights of the track. The
absence of any blackened vocal work is puzzling still. Next comes 'As Rome
Burns,' a 7 minute plus track (let's face it, if you're not used to the long
song running times Primordial's been doing for 4 plus albums now, then you
should probably stop reading here) that is definitely a highlight and picks the
energy back up. The bass guitars are easily audible and rumbling quite heavily!
The dramatic passages are in full force, including the nice multivocal chanting
done for great effect. 'Failures Burden' takes the tempo down a notch, and I
was thinking at first this would be another slower piece with great emotional
vocal work, before the instrumentation picked up at a faster pace AND threw in
the blackened vocals I love so much. The structure is varied too, as the vocal
tones and the instrumentation vary quite a bit for the song's relatively short
(by Primordial's standards anyway) 6:38 length. There's LOTS of acoustical
interplay on followup 'Heathen Tribes,' and it was nice to hear the heavier
instrumentation back up the acoustic passages. There's definitely an epic
folkish feeling throughout. The most blackened styled vocals you will hear is
on CD ender 'No Nation On This Earth,' though they're limited to the first half
of the song, but definitely make for one of the heaviest tracks on record.
Primordial have definitely done it again, and I for one wish MORE people would
pick up on this band. One of the best bands currently on the Metal Blade roster
besides Amon Amarth and Falconer.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
SAVAGE MESSIAH "Spitting Venom" (SMR Productions) SCORE: 92/100
People keep talking about the thrash revival going on, check out a band that
STRONGLY reminds me of the heaviest parts of Metallica, the non stop thrash
riffage of a Forced Entry or even Exodus (on their faster parts), and just
gritty, "savage" headbanging power. If THIS band had made this kind of noise
back in the 80's, they probably would have been contenders to the "big 4" at
the time (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament). The title track starts the
CD off in ripping fashion, and lemme tell ya, that guitar player can crank out
some LEAD SOLOS!! The vocal work is quite heavy too, mostly low toned though
the guy can SING (more on that later). From the crushing heaviness of the
opener to the following track 'Frontline,' you're probably not used to hearing
such a barrage of killer thrashy riffs in two songs! By track 3 'Servant To
Your Death,' you swear the opening riffs you've heard already, or is it just
deva-vu? (Or a similar set of riffs I've heard another 80's band craft)? The
band, incidentally, is tight as all hell, and the percussion is a non stop wall
of sound constantly in your face. By the time 'Heaven's Gate' rolls around, the
momentum they built up starts coasting a bit, as the more melodic structures
take things down a bit. Still there are punishing riffs to be found within, but
if you're needing a break by this time, you're well obliged. This song has a
sort of Metallica era 'Sanitarium' feeling to it, especially with the whispered
vocals and the dark acoustics you swear you've heard in the aforementioned song
before! Let's get back to the heavy thrashin' so followup this with 'W.D.U.'
and the relentless thrashy guitar work. There's some "Master Of Puppets" lead
work on here, but man did I mention the amazingly skilled lead solos? I'll be
damned if 'Conspiracy In Silence' didn't nearly kill the thrash mood; it's
mostly a ballad type, and probably shoulda been left off the disc in my
opinion. Still, it ain't a love ballad or anything, some slow melodic
instrumentation with some melodic singing; okay so maybe you call it a power
ballad! Nevermind. 'In For The Kill' picks up the pace though once again, and
this time it's a fast tune in the vein of some of Exodus' later headbanging
material (think more like "Pleasures Of The Flesh" or "Fabulous Disaster"). CD
ender 'In Cold Blood' finalizes the CD VERY well, and the killer choppy thrash
riffs will rip your face off in no time! Whether fast or slow, the thrash riffs
are quite masterful, and though some of this sounds familiar, to these 80's
styled ears it reminds me more of the thrash bands I enjoyed that DIDN'T make
it than the obvious influences they wear on their sleeves. Good enough to be
noticed, and even taken seriously!
Contact: Savage Messiah Myspace page.
SERPENTCULT "Trident Nor Fire" (I Hate) SCORE: 56/100
Now signed to Rise Above, I'm more interested in seeing what they do with a
full length than what they accomplished here. 4 tracks, 18 minutes running time
and the only thing that really saves this disc is the Uriah Heep cover of
'Rainbow Demon.' Geez, where to start... Okay, first of all, the majority of
riffage on this disc is downtuned and doomy heavy, although sometimes (more
often than not) the riffs get a little odd and to me, several parts of songs
weren't well thought out. Still, to have such heavy riffage keeps my ears
perked. The MAJOR complaint I have is with the female vocalist, she sings in a
higher range that clearly is at odds with some of the heavier and almost
nu-metal like downtuning (ESPECIALLY on CD opener 'The Harvest,' but more so on
the followup 'Red Dawn.' The sung vocals work better on track 3 'Screams From
The Deep,' mainly due to the instrumentation not being tuned so low when the
vocals are going on. Incidentally, what REALLY unnerved me was hearing TWO
single instances that would have made this CD a bit better as a whole: tracks
1 and 3 when you hear a single death growl before Michelle starts to sing. Yes,
this CD is one that was BADLY in need of extreme vocal work. And to be honest,
the songs aren't that strong themselves, in fact 'Screams From The Deep' and
CD ender 'Raimbow Demon' are the LEAST annoying and a bit stronger songwise.
The Uriah Heep cover was interesting, especially since you're hearing a female
vocalist who is going a bit lower ranged than most of her work throughout the
CD, and the bass rumblings and low toned guitars replace the keyboard riffs
that make up the majority of the song. Not sure what else to say, though I was
awed at the sheer heaviness of riffs when they weren't annoying. I think they
needed to write better guitar parts to actually match the female vocals (which
are a little unique to begin with). Try again, guys and gal...
Contact: I Hate Records.
SHINING "V - Halmstad" (Osmose) SCORE: 71/100
Keeping in mind that scores of 75 and up are keepers, this disc frustrated the
ever loving SHIT out of me... It's somewhat of a suicidal blackened doom
project, but to the man's credit this is a very limiting description, as the
band utilizes some dual acoustic guitar work and some stringed orchestration
(I'm thinking mostly violins) and the occasional saxophone. We start the CD off
with the track 'Yttligare Ett Steg Narmare Total Javla Utfrysning,' and it's
becoming slightly annoying with just the song titles alone. The band is coming
across as rather arrogant, for some reason, which pisses me off even further.
So we go along and get some blackened vocals and the most annoying approach to
extreme vocals, something akin to warbly angry yelling, as one reviewer put it.
There's some faster blackened instrumentation too, so it's not all slow and
doomy. But those damn vocals grate the nerves when they're not blackened style!
Next track 'Langtar Bort Fran Mitt Hjarta' (here we go again), and we have some
nice dark acoustic riffs to open things up. The higher ended leads backing the
acoustic guitars are great, in fact the instrumentation is probably one of the
strongest suits of the record. The vocals are MUCH better on this track; I
would dare say it's the best cut on the record (and by best I mean the one that
annoys me the LEAST!) The "angry shouting" is even more under control, and the
female vocal sample is decent, though one sentence. Followup 'Lat Oss Ta Allt
Fran Varandra' starts off innocently enough, almost proceeding at a headbanging
pace (think more midtempo). Sick and heavy atmosphere, and the vocals aren't
bad. What ruins it first off is the sudden drop to soft pianos and this girl
crying and being kinda "depressed goth." Then there's a cowbell for the
transition back to the heavier parts? (Yet more arrogant). The clean sung
vocals didn't sit well with me either, though they're even WORSE on CD ender
'Neka Morgondagen,' making MUCH of that track uncomfortable to sit through,
despite the amazingly rockin' instrumentation and very well thought out
atmosphere. Acoustically, this stuff is amazing. Then we have the ULTIMATE
insult, with a CD only 6 tracks to do a 2 minute piece, ALL piano, which is
a supposed darker take on the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. Like I need to
hear some jerk redoing this, though competently done. What ruins it even
more is the wierd humming this guy INSISTS on doing throughout the "song."
DUDE! Take a clue! This song DIDN'T have any vocal interaction on it!!!
A few violin sounds were kinda nifty too though, like on 'Besvikelsens
Dystra Monotoni,' though a wierd out of tune saxophone was grating away at what
little is left of my patience at this point. Granted, there's a lot of
interesting song structures here, though the 10 minute piece 'Besvikelsens...'
was a bit TOO long, but the arrogance of it all makes it difficult to get
through. I can appreciate the good stuff, but not quite a "shelf keeper" for
me. Vocals have GOT to be reworked for this one.
Contact: Osmose Productions.
SIG:AR:TYR "Sailing The Seas Of Fate" (Morbid Winter) SCORE: 99/100
As I am constantly looking for new bands in the most unlikeliest of places, I
am constantly reminded that the next amazing band could be a total unknown in
the world music scene. So it is with Sig:Ar:Tyr, which has to be one of my
picks for top album of this issue! The band, hailing from Canada, is a one man
project, which is perfect as far as I'm concerned. Nordic themes are just the
tip of the iceberg, though this is predominantly an instrumental album. DON'T,
however, look upon this as a Satriani, Steve Vai, or (god forbid) Yngwie solo
project, because there ARE some vocals, though mostly narrative, spoken word
type. Which remains one of my smallest points of contention, especially when
you hear the Nordland-era Bathory styled heaviness at the CD's end (especially
considering the heavier, almost thrash like guitars blend VERY well with the
high ended acoustical leads) on the track 'Skuld,' which is easily one of the
best tracks on the disc! The blackened style vocals are well done, but not
utilized NEARLY enough (some sung vocals would have been cool too!). You hear
them on CD ender 'Skuld,' as well as on 'Urd.' That's it! The instrumental
passages on this thing are sweeping and epic, whether they're multivox like
chants that I assume are synth oriented, or high ended acoustics, which you
hear ALL over the album. From the melancholic, nature inspired sounds of the
acoustic guitars on 'The Dead Giant's Tale,' to the dark guitar work and
overall atmosphere on 'Urd,' there was obviously a LOT of thought that went
into each and every song, because with every song you FEEL something, rather
than just hearing a collection of riffs and soundscapes. The lead solos, even,
will have you awestruck, as Daemonskald chooses to use single note progressions
rather than blazing away at 100 miles per hour every second (although, when he
does, it's with the skill and grace of someone trained in classical guitar,
which is most evident on 'Under The Dragon Star,' and 'Dead Giant's Tale,' just
to name a few). The use of layering works especially well, particularly when
the acoustic riffs are complemented by either a dual set of acoustics or
throwing the heavier riffs in the background. Bathory era Nordland is
prevalent here, especially on the aforementioned CD ender and 'Dead Giant's
Tale,' which makes me even hungrier for the follow up CD which is said to be
more in a metal vein. Amazing atmospheres and Nordic inspired landscapes make
this one of the highlights of this issue!
Contact: Morbid Winter Records.
SVARTAHRID "Sadness And Wrath" (Soulseller) SCORE: 91/100
Straightforward, no nonsense black metal of a VARIED kind is what we have on
offering here. The vocal work is intense and sick, sometimes utilizing dual
vocals (some of a higher range), though non mistakably black metal! After a
few years on Napalm, the crazed trio now find themselves on Soulseller, and
it's a shame Napalm dropped them (see interview this issue). After a darkened
synth intro, 'Svartahrid' kicks right into view with a blast, though at a
surprisingly midtempo pace! Lots of room for the vocal work to breathe and
interact with the heavy guitars, then some blasting blackened guitar work to
complement things. 'Dod' has a more melodic start, and the sick vocal work
goes well with slower passages. These songs find the instrumentation VERY
varied, keeping things quite interesting for the 4 and 6 minute tracks on
display. Slow to fast, to blazing speed, back to slow again and maybe changing
things up a few more times, this is a very diverse record from start to finish.
A few times the slower guitar work threw me, like the opening solos guitars on
'Awake Or Vanish.' And yes, if you couldn't guess, some lyrics are in English
and some in their native Norwegian (I assume). 'Iron Minded' I probably liked
the least, especially on the slower material, but the track overall is still
decent. CD ender 'Framsyn' was a great way to finish the CD, complete with epic
passages and even small layers of synth (which, incidentally, you'll find
peppered throughout the disc, but usually only noticeable once in awhile, and
mostly on the slower pieces). Much variety to be found and a crushing set of
headbanging riffs alongside cool icy northern guitars, Svartahrid is a band
I've always been intrigued by (especially since I ALSO own their "Forthcoming
Storm" CD), and I was appreciative of the band actually sending me the CD
themselves, doing promo spots for the radio show, interview, and just being
kick ass black metal musicians.... What else is there to say?
Contact: Soulseller Records.
SVARTSOT "Ravnenes Saga" (Napalm) SCORE: 91/100
Folkish inspired metal isn't a new thing, folks. And no surprise to anyone else
that knows Napalm's history that THIS label would sign another Scandinavian
band to it's roster. What makes this band different from the Finntrolls, the
Moonsorrows, the Thyrfings and the Ensiferums of the world are twofold: One is
location. Yes, Scandinavia but in DENMARK rather than the usual Norway, Sweden
or Finland. Secondly, it's folkish DEATH METAL... That's right, though that in
itself isn't really unusual, especially if you look at Amon Amarth's rather
brutal viking approach. But it's normally black metal vocal styles that are all
the rage in this. To be honest, overall this is a fun little CD. Gets a bit
samey by the time the disc ends but there's no doubt that this is a fun,
headbanging and mug-of-mead swinging good time. The mandolins and heavy, almost
thrashy riffs are backed up by some rather catchy flutes (whistles?) and the
whole affair has a rather energetic atmosphere to it. The songs here run around
the 4 minute mark, for the most part, and there is very little variation from
start to finish on most tracks, but the guitars are done well (though very
seldom off the higher three strings that are usually reserved for "icy black
metal"). Headbanging tunes abound, and tracks like 'Jotunheimsfaerden,' and
especially 'Festen,' prove that first and foremost, Svartsot seems to be mainly
a METAL band. ('Festen,' incidentally, is one of very few tracks that you'll
find devoid of the flutes, as if they wanted to prove they can write metal
dominated songs). The majority of the tempos range from slighty fast, in
reminiscent of Finnish "humppa" (their version of a folkish polka), to slower
with some dark atmosphere (like on 'Spillemandens Dase'). The tribal percussion
is presented as well, especially heard on CD ender 'Havets Plage'
(incidentally, one of my least favorite songs, due to the overt folkish nature
not being done well, in my opinion). This isn't meant to be innovative, in
fact some might be a little put off by the lyrics which I assume are in Danish
or Scandinavian, and the almost guttural tone of the death metal vocals,
because these songs are so fun that some would want to sing these lines out!
It's definitely a good disc, one that is strangely uplifting and makes for a
good drinking disc if you don't mind not being able to sing along (unless you
speak the language or have a lyric sheet). The perfect label for a good folk
oriented death metal band! "Hey, ho!!!"
Contact: Napalm Records.
VALKYRJA "Invocation Of Demise" (Northern Silence) SCORE: 92/100
There's a reason why I have recently added Northern Silence Productions to my
list of favorite labels rather quickly: the onslaught of quality releases. This
band is no exception, and though they have similarities to many of black
metal's elite, they've managed to carve a rather interesting niche for
themselves in what seems to be an ever crowding genre. I liked the militaristic
percussion opening the CD up ('Origin Reversed,') and it's quite good for a CD
opening intro. It does not betray how quickly the onslaught begins. 'As
Everything Rupture,' besides showing disrespect for the plural ending in the
letter 's,' starts the show off with a bang, and the drumming is an absolute
highlight of the disc. It seems like this guy never stops! Blast beats abound,
and the drumming is not all one dimensional either. The vocals are blackened
styles but more in a harsh range that does NOT include any sort of high range.
Almost a death metal styled slant to them I'd say. For the most part, 'As
Everything Rupture' stays on a fast track, and mostly straightforward with
little variation, though the dark leads help keep things going. Sick thrashy
guitar work lends an eerie presence to followup 'Plague Death,' complete with a
nice dark acoustic solo passage midway to keep the 6 minute piece from becoming
a speed riff obsession. And I must say that this acoustic passage manages to
keep the dark atmosphere; it's done right! 'The Vigil' proves that Valkyrja can
craft a dark tune without keeping the foot down on 100 miles per hour guitar
work; you'll definitely find this to be one of the slowest tracks on the album!
It was nice to hear a well crafted lead solo rear it's head too, something that
seems to be amiss in black metal, and they do it AGAIN on the cut 'Sinister
Obsession.' A very short piece this time in 'Twilight Revelation,' definitely
the odd man out as a track with vocals that never even touches the 2 minute
mark. Shame the followup 'On Stillborn Wings' couldn't impress with it's less
than 2 minute vibe: this track had some odd acoustic riffs and just seemed out
of place to me. Followup 'Sinister Obsession' had a VERY interesting landscape
like set of riffs, almost post rock like, and made for a very unusual take with
the melancholic and melodic atmosphere presented. Though this track is 9
minutes long, there's definitely times when the track seems to drift aimlessly
for a few minutes, but it still retains the dark feeling while ending on a
melancholic note. If anything else, it proves that multiple moods and diverse
instrumentation are not lost to these Swedes. 'Purification And Demise,' while
flooring you with the insane percussion, also tends to lose a bit of focus at
times, though the majestic instrumentation does rear it's head. Finally, CD
closer 'Frostland,' while containing some catchy echoed choruses, definitely
carries the frosty vibes through the Nordic like landscape of the high ended
riffs all the way to the close of the CD. Northern Silence signs quality bands,
and though a few flaws are present, it's a label I have very keen eyes on for
the future of our collaboration.
Contact: Northern Silence Productions.
VIRGIN BLACK "Requiem: Fortissimo" (The End) SCORE: 98/100
I ALMOST didn't pick up on this. For some reason I remembered not liking the
Virgin Black CD "Sombre Romantic" and kinda dismissed this band's next few
releases, including, yes, "Requiem: Mezzo Forte." (Hint - I went back and
listened to "Mezzo Forte" and rather liked most of it. NOW I need to find
"Sombre Romantic" and listen again). So one day I read in a review on the
Encyclopedia Metallum (I dunno WHY I glanced through this band's discography)
that this album was a Doom metal piece in the vein of My Dying Bride and
Paradise Lost, I was like "Damnit!" Upon hearing this near perfect masterpiece,
I can truly say this is a forerunner for most innovative and epic doom metal
release of 2008! There are amazing male and female chanted vocals ALL
throughout the disc, and of course most of the vocals are in a rather deep
and vicious death metal style (doom/death fans already know of what I speak).
'The Fragile Breath' starts the disc off rather misleadingly, as it's fast
paced for it's opening before suddenly going into doom mode. The female vocals
on this track are quite haunting, and further down the road she gives off an
almost otherworldly quality. Much of the lead work is doomy, dark and tends to
fly smoothly in and out of melancholic, dark, eerie and beautiful passages, all
within the breadth of one song at times! Think Chanting Monks on the multivocal
male passages. 'In Winter's Ash' carries the dark strings, showcasing the
Virgin Black mastery of stringed instruments (besides a guitar). The vocals get
nearly inhuman, and the militaristic percussion to end the track was a nice
touch. These songs are long, folks, so if you're looking for the 3 and 4 minute
quickies, you need to look elsewhere. The beauty that doom metal can possess is
not lost on the third piece 'Silent,' as there are some amazingly beautiful
lead riffs interacting with the female vocals, which take on a very melodic
tone (only to add a rather eerie and mysterious tone combined with the guitar
work on the followup track). 'God In Dust,' at 8 minutes plus in length, is a
perfect example of amazing diversity within a long track, doing more than just
keeping your interest. And the double bass drumming was a nice touch, something
doom metal isn't usually known for. Solo piano notes drop in to add an extra
touch, though the darkly sung male vocals got a tad off track. 'Larimosa' was a
2 minute piece, rather nice though the solo death metal vocals could have been
fleshed out better (though the instrumentation is nice). The CD ender 'Forever'
is a short, barely over 1 minute piano piece, and quite nice, but for these 2
short tracks, I daresay Virgin Black could have added another piece. The crown
jewel proudly shining on this disc is the 11 minute epic 'Darkness,' containing
just about every emotion known to man, and the most amazing multivocal
accompaniment from both male, female, AND harsh death vocals, which needs to
be heard to be believed! Obviously the best track, and the reference point for
the entire album. Pleased as hell I didn't toss this disc aside, though maybe
just one more "song: could have been added? HIGHLY suggestive for top 5 albums
Contact: The End Records.
WALL OF SLEEP "And Hell Followed With Him" (I Hate) SCORE: 61/100
I know, I know, what am I thinking you must be saying to yourself!?? This is
the first time I ever heard a Wall Of Sleep album, and I must say I wasn't too
impressed... Some of the riffs are heavy, the guitar work has a nice bottom end
on heavier passages, and the vocals are even adequate and rather unique in a
way. So what happened? Well, let's take it from the top. 'Buried 1000 Times'
starts things off, and right from the get go, I'm not saying these tracks are
bad, but they just don't catch me. Midpaced, and weak choruses are to blame to
open the disc. Track 2, 'Nails For Crucifixion,' has a slow and doomy opening,
though once again I just can't get excited about it (even with the nice solo
instrumentation and lead solos, which are quite skilled). I dig the following
song 'Crusade,' especially since the choruses really catch me and the bottom
heavy sound is done well. However, I don't really hear much that catches me
until track 7, 'Signs,' which is not only a FUCKING amazing song, but if the
rest of the album had been as catchy as this one track, this would have been
one HELL of an album! This song has amazing lead guitar work even opening the
track up, and the multivocal effects on the sung parts work very well. The
choruses are catchy as all hell, and I catch myself singing this track quite a
bit when no one's around. CD ender 'Stabat Mater' is easily the WORST track on
the CD, as it goes for a dark sound but the riffs aren't catching me at all,
and for some reason the vocals sound a bit off kilter. The other songs here are
not terrible, but like I said they just don't really move me much, they're
kinda "just there." It's a kinda doomy and downtuned stoner rock sound, a bit
more on the rock side of things but still with a metal edge. I hope seriously
that this group can improve by the next record, because there seems to be
plenty of potential (the lead solos on 'Unchanged' convinced me that even a
mediocre song has merits, while the slow riffing of 'Cain' should have been a
bit more menacing). Maybe next time around guys? Heck, I think I should at
least check out their back catalog.
Contact: I Hate Records.
WORSHIP "Dooom" (Endzeit Elegies) SCORE: 95/100
What a beautiful packaging first of all. I've only seen one other release
packaged like this (Mayhem's "Chimera" album), with a 4 panel foldout digipack!
This release was several years in the making, primarily due to uncertainity as
to whether the band would continue on after the suicide of Fucked Up Mad Max.
But soldier on they did, complete with some eerie spoken word parts from Max
himself, and a piano piece ending the album (which, incidentally, would be the
very last time Max and The Doommonger would ever collaborate on a track). This
is funereal doom/death of the highest order, and the overwhelmingly oppressive
atmosphere permeates every single track, though simplistic some of the
arrangements and riffs seem. Dark acoustics are found on many tracks, often
accompanying spoken vocal parts (which also seem to appear on nearly every
track). My main problem lies in the way some of the spoken word pieces are
constructed: they're not nearly audible enough, especially when even the most
minimal of instrumentation appears. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness
and despair, and you almost feel the intense pain and suffering the other band
members must have felt from the loss of the Mad Man himself. It's most evident
in the lead guitar riffs (like on 'Devived,' and the stellar 'Graveyard
Horizon,' which very easily houses some of the best leads on the disc). Don't
think it's all melancholic and sad though, because a track like 'Zorn A Rust
Red Scythe' has some downright eerie and evil lead riffing... Lead riffing may
be a misnomer however, considering the length of these songs often exceeds the
8 minute mark, and this has to be one of the SLOWEST and most funereal
doom/death bands of all time! The Solitude Aeturnus cover 'Mirror Of Sorrow' is
almost unrecognizable from the original, but still well done. Churchbell notes
pop up here and there, as do multivocal chant style singing. What's most
interesting is a track like 'Graveyard Horizon,' where you will hear low toned
male sung vocals AND death styled vocals of the sick and oppressive kind mixed
together in one track (though not always appearing at the same time). There's
usually a break somewhere midway on many songs (like the water noises on 'The
Altar And The Choir Of The Moonkult' before the spoken word pieces come in). As
I said, the spoken vocals could have been brought out better, maybe it was all
the echo effects, and I thought the bass guitar rumblings (while neat to hear
that particular instrument shine solo on a doom metal styled release) and death
vocals could have been done a bit better here; in fact they could have scrapped
the entire first minute of 'The Altar...' Not a hell of a lot to complain about
though, and it's the most interesting guitar sound where the leads can sound
not only eerie and dark but sad and melancholic at the same time (the whammied
riffs on CD ender 'I Am The End' reminded me of tortured ghost shrieks). A
great release from the German doomsters, let's hope the band will curse us with
another unholy release soon!
Contact: Endzeit Elegies.
ELECTRIC WIZARD. Interview with Justin Oborn over the phone.
I just wanted to say I really dig the new record "Witchcult
Today," and I've read a lot of good reviews for the album. How many interviews
have you done today?
I've done 8 today. I guess it's a tribute, the album has been quite successful
and popular, it's been received really well. There's a lot of demand at the
Now when you were set up early on, The Music Cartel here in the
States released your stuff, and now you're on Candlelight. It seems like
distribution has always been a problem for you here in the States.
Distribution has ALWAYS been a problem here in the States. We've just had bad
luck. It always seems to happen when one of our records is just released. When
"Come My Fanatics" came out, in Europe the company that pressed it went
bankrupt like a week later. These things happen though. I hope things work out;
things are working out so far...
It seems like there was a long period of inactivity, and then you
guys changed members. And then there was the news that a new album was coming
out. So what happened in there?
It took a long time to get the lineup together. The first lineup ended right
around the "Let Us Prey" album. Then we did the "We Live" album which was
basically just a lot of songs I wrote and recorded with my friends. But it
wasn't truly a band at that point; it didn't feel like a band until we started
touring and things settled down from the changes in the lineup. I'd rather wait
for that point that rush into the studio, so I think it was worth waiting until
I felt we were a killer band again. It's a special thing that takes a long time
So how did you come to work with Liz? I never heard any of the band
13, but I did hear some Sourvein through Man's Ruin Records. Her guitars are
awesome on this record!
Yeah, it's awesome, really awesome. We were friends before, and I think her
playing style is very similar. I saw Liz play live a few times with Sourvein,
and I was a fan of 13. I thought her style was just spot on. I thought it would
work and it did (laughing).
The sound of your new record; it's still heavy of course but it
seems to go back to that earliest of styles. I remember the last interview we
did you talked about wanting to take the sound of the band and the direction a
lot heavier. But here it seems like you're going back with some nods to the
60's and 70's... I'm curious as to your mindset when doing this album.
I like the sound of those old records. And we're still playing as heavy as we
can. It's just something I wanted to achieve for myself. It's a labor of love,
we were recording in an old studio. It's a different heavy sound. The next
record is going to be over the top!
It was definitely great to see you guys in Metal Maniacs,
especially considering you made the front cover!
Yeah that was cool! I was kinda surprised, but pleased as well. I didn't know
what our profile was in America, we've barely had any releases over there at
all. It just came out of nowhere!
Metal Maniacs has been covering... I don't know if you hate the
term, I know Orange Goblin does... They've been covering a lot of stoner rock
stuff lately. I've been into it ever since. I know it pretty much originated
(considered to be originated) with Kyuss, but the Man's Ruin Record label to me
was phenomenal, and it was a shame when the label went belly up.
Yeah, there were good bands there! I look back on it fondly! (laughs). We grew
out of it in some respects though. We were one of the few bands that kept
things going, constantly redefining our style. We'll never be a band that plays
just one style, but we're going to always play heavy, heavy metal. Some form of
it, some way.
I don't know if you know about this, but a lot of those bands that
were on Man's Ruin went over to Small Stone Records; enjoyable bands like Sons
Of Otis, Dozer from Scandinavia, Natas from Argentina... So Small Stone kinda
picked up where Man's Ruin left off, and I still enjoy those bands today; in
fact I still play lots of them on the radio show!
That's cool. I think there's a resurgence, a renewed interest. People like
heavy, good music you know? Good songs, good shit. Not pussy music, but HEAVY!
(laughs). You don't have to be all screaming your nuts off and shit! Some stuff
is just too mainstream, you know? A few years ago you had rap metal and shit.
It was getting too commercial. Metal is supposed to be scary, you know?
I was reading through the lyrics, and of course I read the
interview where you talked about the song 'Satanic Rites Of Drugula,' and I'm
thinking that would be a really cool, B-movie horror vampire flick. If what you
were talking about in the song would actually happen.
That's actually pending, we hope to make it. There's definitely plans to do it.
It would make a very good horror movie.
Maybe like a cross between Dracula and Cheech And Chong's "Up In
Yeah, something like that. (The vampire) is going to be sucking the blood of
chicks that have been dropping acid and stuff, then he's gonna get hooked on
acid. Girls that have been doing heroin. It's gonna be a good movie (laughs).
Yeah, it seems like your lyrics in the past have dealt with some
black magic and witchcraft, occult and vampire themes. It was cool to see songs
like that, but it was ALSO cool to see a song like 'Dunwich,' because I am a
HUGE Lovecraft fan!
Oh wow. I'm always into Lovecraft. For writing lyrics, he's VERY inspirational,
just on loads of levels. His writing style is amazing; he's able to fit such
description into few words, and that's what we try to do in the lyrics: to
paint pictures, give visions of what the songs are about. 'Dunwich' is my
updated version of it, I mean 'Dunwich' is a town and he describes it quite
vividly. There's probably kids that are into metal now (that read Lovecraft).
Have you seen any of the movie adaptations, like the "Call Of
Cthulhu," which was filmed like a 1930's style silent film.
I haven't seen that one, I've seen it around but I have yet to check it out. I
read a review of it, but I'm always worried about whether it'll be cool or not.
I like some of the older adaptations, even the not so good ones. I like
"Dunwich Horror." But I always thought the first Alien movie had a rather
Lovecraft feel to it. I could imagine him writing it. You know, there's
something that is bigger and badder than humanity.
It's amazing to me just what he was writing back in the 1920's and
30's. I mean to think of a guy that long ago with such a twisted mind; most
people can't even today match what he did so long ago!
It was a crazy time though, Crowley was an influence still and people had an
interest in the occult definitely around the turn of the century. People
wanted to hear about that kind of stuff.
The way Lovecraft describes things in these books, like these
creatures and places. He describes them so matter of factly... A lot of people
complain that Lovecraft's writing is so dry, so matter-of-factly, basic and to
the point; but I get the feeling that maybe he was able to astral travel, and
maybe he actually saw this nightmarish realm in some form or another and it
just became kind of second nature you know?
It's more like he's describing this rather than trying to engage on their
level. You know he's like "This IS what I can see." It really gets under your
skin, you know? I used to have nightmares when I read his stuff!
The "Witchcult Today" CD ends with the song 'Saturnine,' which was
interesting. It seems like it's an astral journey, like we were talking about.
And it's got sort of a, well, I don't want to say a positive set of lyrics, but
maybe you're saying there's something out there that we're striving to get to,
something that's a lot larger than us here on Earth.
There's definitely a feeling of that, The lyrics ended up being a celebration
of sorts. You've got it there, but I know it's strange for an Electric Wizard
album to end on a little bit of hope! (laughing).
Well, the way this world is going today, I dunno; all the crap
that's going on. I don't know if you're familiar with David Icke...
Oh yeah, definitely.
I've got a DVD of his, and it's amazing to me the way he ties in
christianity with the whole 9/11 myth, governmental control and things like
that. I'm curious as to your thoughts about him, because he's from England I
He's a very intelligent guy; he's making... he's forcing people to question
stuff, you know? He's going "Look, just check shit out, there is stuff
happening and anyone can see, anyone can prove it." You just have to look.
He's on TV a lot here in England, and he is VERY convincing; he just wants
people to think.
It's funny, too, but when you think about heavy metal... I don't
want to stereotype further, but lyrically metal has always been about rebellion
against christianity. So it's funny to see David Icke talking about the
Illuminati and "the horns" coming from Satanism. But Satanism is one aspect of
life that forced us to question christianity, and of course he carries it a
step further by saying "question EVERYTHING," so I think more music and more
people need to come out and question. That's what here in America democracy was
supposed to be based on.
Yeah, otherwise things stagnate, people exploit people and what not. You have
to question things on ALL levels.
So how is your deal with Candlelight Records structured; are you
just doing this as a distribution deal, or are they doing more press and
publicity for you? Because Rise Above Records is kind of a small label.
Yeah, well, they are a small label. They got hooked up with Candlelight awhile
ago. It's cool, it's definitely working out that they took an interest in the
band. I just hope people are into us.
You guys have been on Rise Above for pretty much your whole career.
And I assume Lee Dorrian is still running the day to day activities of the
label, in addition to duties with his band Cathedral?
Oh yeah, definitely. He's in the office! (laughs). I've known Lee for a long,
long time. I have no need to change labels because I'm working with a friend
I've known for 20 years. Anyone else, if I do anything different now, how am I
going to build that trust again, it's impossible!! (laughing).
Now I remember seeing you guys here in the States, I think it was
Warhorse opening up.
Oh yeah, that was killer. Those were good times.
And THEN I saw you guys here again with Sons Of Otis, which was
killer for me because I'm a HUGE fan of Sons Of Otis.
We had some bad shows with that! We were in Europe for over a month, and THEN
we came to America. And you know, all the drugs, partying, and stuff... I
almost died halfway through the tour. I was in the hospital by the end of it, I
had kidney stones and exhaustion...
You sure it wasn't from eating greasy, American fast food? (of
course we're both laughing here).
Well, yeah I guess. I mean I wasn't eating well; we were eating like burgers
every day. Here it's just like a big salt crystal! I could have eaten better if
I tried, but when you are eating at truck stops you have no choice sometimes.
That's the same all over though, but yeah, it's not good for your health.
Well, I heard you almost got arrested on that leg of the tour, like
you almost got arrested for drug possession?
Yeah, like three times! (laughing).
Well, that's the way to do it ya know?
Yeah. We managed to get out of it. Sometimes you gotta think fast. The cops
kinda get freaked out when they see that you're English; I dunno why. You just
tell them that it's legal in England and you're... sorry... (laughing).
Yeah, I wish it WAS legal here!
Well, it's NOT legal in England, but they don't know that...
Well, is there anything else you wanna add before we wrap this up?
Thanks to everyone for buying the record. Electric Wizard is here to slay! We
want to play some gigs soon, and fuck the world!!
I was wondering if you guys were planning on coming back to the
States anytime soon.
Nothing's planned right now, we're trying to keep our heads low. There's ideas,
and it might happen. Sooner or later we'll be over there. There's been some
talks, but I can't say right now....
EVILE. Email interview with Matt Drake.
If you haven't heard yet folks, or have been living under a rock through the
90's and Y2k era, then you must know by now: thrash is back! Sorta... Well,
despite Onslaught reforming and of course my small but pivotal role in bringing
Hallows Eve back, plus all the other reformations from the 80's, some new bands
are picking up the torch. Municipal Waste, Hellmachine and of course THIS band
Evile, which is making Earache Records seem like the leader in the trash
revival. From the U.K., home also to the mighty Onslaught, is a band who not
only rips it up on their latest album "Enter The Grave," but is ALSO a newcomer
to the rather interesting world of video games. Matt will fill you all in...
It seems like Earache is doing a killer job of promotion and press
for you guys, esepcially considering how you got on the essential albums list
for 2007 (too bad it wasn't closer to the number one spot though!) So how has
the other aspects of signing to Earache been, and how many more albums are you
They've been doing a great job with us so far, I've always thought that we'd
found the right label when we got together with them, it's not a massive
corporate thing where other bigger bands are given more attention, it's just
a few blokes in an office so we are pretty lucky in that they are always
accessible. There are no disputes, they believe in what we're doing and want
to help us make something out of it. Even considering all the bad stuff that
gets said about them, we've always got on and agreed with everything that
happens and hopefully it continues that way as they've really helped put us out
there for people to judge/like/despise. Only contract items I can really talk
about are the clauses that say we have to appear naked on national television
576 times a year, and the 3rd album has to be a pop goth concept gayorama.
One of the coolest news items I heard about the band was the fact
that you had a track on the Rock Band game! How did this all come about, and
have any of you played the game yet? (They say the track 'Thrasher' is one of
the hardest to perform in the game!)
That's all thanks to the game developer Harmonix, Earache emailed them to ask
if they fancied putting a few of their bands on the game, and they agreed, it
was quite straightforward I think! It's incredible though that they would put
us, an unknown band on there. Maybe they thought they could give the punters a
run for their money once they heard the track because it is a pretty fast song,
and yeah apparently no one has 5 starred it yet! Have some of THAT!! I think
it's pretty good for a game to have that notion of something that in theory you
can beat, but it's bloody hard to actually physically do so. It reminds me of
having Batman on my Amstrad 464 when I was younger and for the life in me I
couldn't bloody finish it, and to this day that has haunted me haha. So
hopefully in 20 years' time people will be saying "yeah I've had a good life,
got a lovely wife and some wonderful kids, life is great, but I still COULDN'T
FUCKING FIVE STAR THRASHER ON ROCK BAND"!!!! We haven't been able to play it
yet, but I know straight away what's going to happen; we're going to be shit at
it and be unable to play our own song. Probably even on beginner.
I know I was thrilled to see Onslaught return to bring us another
new album (I noticed one of your band mates wearing a newer design Onslaught
shirt). Do you think this helped out the U.K. thrash scene for newer bands, as
I see you have a few other releases out before the signing to Earache.
I think in terms of Onslaught coming back and loads of new thrash bands
starting up, I would say they've helped each other out. I think this whole
revival spurned Onslaught into reforming and bringing out another cd, it was
perfect timing because they've been introduced to a whole new audience who are
getting into thrash for the first time and won't have heard of Onslaught, and
in return Onslaught coming back will have turned their followers onto the whole
revival if they weren't aware of it and help them discover all these new bands
that are eager to mosh!
What do you think of the newest Onslaught album? At first I thought they
had a brand new singer, since Sy Keeler sounds more like Steve Souza from
Exodus on the new record, but then again I saw live footage. How Sy's voice
Sy's voice is unbelievable, he's bloody powerful!! I like the new album, it's
definitely got the old school Onslaught "The Force" song style, but with a
modern production, and live they still blow you away. But I still feel, and
I've been quite outspoken about this, and I mean no offence to Andy Sneap as
he's an awesome guy but I'm not in agreement with modern productions,
everything sounds too mechanical and repetitive and most bands nowadays all
sound exactly the same because of all this technical wizardry that goes into
the productions. Look at the difference betweens Lars Ulrich's drum sound and
Dave Lombardo's drum sound, not styles, sound. You can identify them
instantly, the problem with trying to achieve perfection in recording is that
you leave little room for mistakes or abnormalities in sound so it takes away
the life that different instruments have, which to me robs songs of identity
and character. That's just my personal opinion though, I'm not saying what's
right or wrong. Back to Onslaught though, they've done a good job to say
they've been away from the music for such a long time, it's like they never
left! Brilliant guys.
So as you may know, Vibrations Of Doom Magazine has this large
archive of rare, out of print and classic 80's metal albums you can listen to
online, so I'm curious what some of your favorite 80's metal bands are? I of
course loved the second Onslaught album "The Force," as well as stuff from
Deathwish, Excalibur, Xyster, and of course the hundreds of NWOBHM bands from
that region, like Diamond Head, China Doll, Triarchy and more...
Wow I haven't studied it THAT deeply to be honest haha because the weird thing
I found is that the more I looked into all the underground metal bands from the
80's the more I realised that there's a reason why bands like Metallica,
Sepultura, Exodus and Testament were more successful. They wrote the best
songs. So I stopped digging into all the obscure ones. I've never had time to
spend on listening to all the albums in the world, especially recently as I
like listening to more than just metal. But bands that do please me are the
obvious ones like Metallica, Anthrax, Sepultura, plus bands like Sacred Reich
("Ignorance" was brilliant), Kreator, Destruction, Sacrifice, Xentrix, Faith No
More haha there's way too many to list actually. Next!!
I'm curious about who you use as an artist for your album covers,
as I was particularly pleased with the artwork on the "Hell" demo, are you still
using the same artist?
On our first 2 cd's we made we had an artist called Lee Gaskins from New Jersey
USA do the artwork for us, he's a great artist and a really nice guy. He did a
great job on the "All Hallows Eve" EP and an ever better job for the "Hell"
demo but when it came to doing "Enter The Grave" we ended up getting an artist
called Vitaly S Alexius, he's damn good and understood what we were looking for
in an album cover, I hope to use him for the next album actually, I have a few
ideas floating around in my head for it!
Speaking of the demos, I noticed there were some songs that
appeared on the newest full length but also some songs that didn't make the
jump, like 'Russian Roulette,' 'Death Sentence' (from the "Hell" demo), 'All
Hallows Eve,' "Dawn Of Destruction' and 'The Living Dead' (from the "All Hallows
Eve" demo). Will those ever be reissued or reworked, and what was the deciding
factor over what songs would be featured on the newest full length?
They will never be reissued. I'm not into the idea of it as I like them being
as they were; the art was sent off to a printer and sent back to me, I folded
all the inlays, I burned all the cd's, I put them all together and sent them
out. I like the idea that people out there have something I made, it makes them
special. If they were mass produced and marketed then the people who have been
with us from the beginning who own the "Hell" demo and "All Hallows Eve" would
suddenly find that what they have wouldn't have the same meaning anymore. And I
don't want to rob our loyal fans of that. Plus we aren't as proud of the songs
on "All Hallows Eve" as we are of the album tracks, although saying that we
might be planning on reworking one of those tracks for the next album! For
deciding on the album tracks, we already knew long before what tracks were good
enough for an album and which weren't and we knew that 'Killer From The Deep,'
'Enter The Grave,' 'Thrasher' and 'We Who Are About To Die' were good enough to
be on there and that we would write 6 new tracks to add to them. We ended up
writing about 13 new tracks, some we were really happy with and some we
weren't; we chose them in a pretty basic way. The four of us sat around a table
at the pub, and each said what we thought should be on the album; the ones we
all agreed on would definitely be on there and we all agreed on 8 tracks so it
was pretty easy to argue the last 2 tracks onto the album! So we'll probably
end up re-writing some of the ones that weren't good enough for album number 2!
Any plans Earache plans to bring the band over to North America for
some shows? I'm curious about who you have already played out live with, and
how those shows have went down.
We're hopefully going to get to come to the states very very soon, plans are
being made!! By the time people read this we might even be already there haha!
So far we've played with mostly smaller UK metal bands, around the same level
as us but we've been lucky enough to do a full European tour with Megadeth, a
U.K. tour with Onslaught and Susperia, a UK tour with Sanctity, we opened for
Machine Head in Ireland, we also opened for Xentrix and Onslaught 2 years ago.
Every show we've done has been brilliant, even if people don't like what we do
and don't pay any attention to us we're still playing live and that's what
we're in a band for!! The most surprising reaction we've had was opening for
Machine Head; it was insane, there were huge circle pits going for nearly the
entire set, I've never seen a support band get a reaction like it, it made us
I noticed you guys started life as a Metallica tribute band, what
sort of songs from them did you enjoy playing live, and when did you decide to
turn things around and do something different? How do you feel about Metallica
nowadays, as I can't really even stomach the idea of playing anything they've
ever done anymore after turning their back on their fans and releasing disc
after disc of crap music and "no longer metal" offerings.
Yeah we did but we generally skip over that part as it's not that interesting
haha, we just got fed up with playing someone else's songs. People cheer and
enjoy it but I always felt like we were cheating people because we were just
living off someone else's hard work so we gave it up and got into doing our own
thing because we wanted some new thrash!!!
I'll have to disagree with you, I wouldn't say they turned their backs on their
fans, they're musicians and it's completely up to them what they write and when
they write it. It's not like they followed any hip trends or anything, I've
never heard an album that sounds like "Load" or "Reload" before!! I thought
they were good albums, I enjoyed them; I'm not interested in what other people
think as it doesn't change the fact that I like them! People want another
"Master Of Puppets," which is ridiculous, we've already bloody got one and it's
one of the best metal albums of all time. They've done that and they wanted to
do something else; if you do the same thing for over and over again it gets
boring after a while. Which was fine with me, they don't owe me anything as
they've given their lives to doing Metallica!! The black album was fucking
brilliant, it's maybe the best produced album of all time. "Load" and "Reload"
were enjoyable, different Metallica experience but still enjoyable, "Garage
Inc.," was really good as well, "S&M" was fantastic and then it all ended with
"St. Anger" which was incredibly shit. I would never dare defend that, it is
terrible. So let's see what happens with the new one!!
A lot of people are talking about this big thrash resurgence, where
do you see yourselves in all this? The media of course have hyped things up to
a big degree, saying that thrash is huge again, but of course this might make
more sense for you guys if you were American, maybe even from the Bay Area or
Well Evile started years before this whole thrash resurgence happened, we
didn't know of any bands doing it, we thought we were alone, but we heard of
some other bands that had started up around the same time, they had the exact
same idea that we had. So we all got together and started doing some gigs; we
weren't aware of any big resurgence happening at all, but I guess that's what
happens when enough people take notice and join in. We definitely weren't aware
of anything happening in America at the time, now we hear its kicked off big
time and its fantastic, we can't wait to get out there and see what it's like
compared to the UK scene!! The only problem I can see is if people do things
EXACTLY like they were done in the eighties/early nineties and we've thought
about this quite a lot, we want to try and make something of this resurgence
and take it somewhere different. Our debut album is VERY 80's, it's slightly
modern in places but essentially it is an 80's thrash album. For the next album
we're hoping to take what we do to a different place, in a way we're trying to
jump out of the 80's, still keeping the vibe and character and love for the
genre but trying to put our Evile spin on it; we'll either be successful or we
So which bands would you say helped reshape and influence the Evile
sound? I'm assuming Onslaught is in that list, but the guitar riffs are razor
sharp and quite complex. I bet newer fans would have a difficult time learning
to play riffs found on songs like 'Thrasher' and the title track!
Yeah Onslaught definitely, Sepultura are a huge influence on our riffing;
likewise Metallica and Exodus. I think our speed is generated from a joint love
of Slayer, which is probably why so many comparisons are made with us and
Slayer... oh and my vocals can be a bit Araya'esque but I'm training myself to
step away from that and find my proper voice, I've only just started singing
properly and we're a young band who have only released a debut album; give it a
chance to grow, give us time to find ourselves!!! It's weird that people say we
sound like Slayer because if you listen to our album and then listen to a
Slayer album they sound completely different; sometimes I wonder if people
actually have listened to Slayer when they say that because we actually don't
sound like them. It's probably just someone making lazy comparisons because
Slayer are the only fast band they can name and we play fast as well. Like
someone saying Thrasher sounded like 'Angel Of Death,' had they actually heard
'Angel Of Death' (a Slayer song, obviously - Ed.) when saying that??
I was reading the lyrics to some of your songs (since I don't have
the full packaging, I have to turn to the Encyclopedia Metallum), and one set
of lyrics in particular stood out: 'Man Against Machine.' Do you envision the
end of the world turning out this way? The funniest thing about this song is
this is the way things seem to be slowly developing, with governments getting
more and more corrupt, and the people slowly losing their natural and born
freedoms (like here in the States, the freedoms guaranteed to people by the
constitution are being eroded in the name of "terrorism," when to me the real
terror is the very small number of people that REALLY control the country who
probably set up 9/11 in the first place).
Yeah that's how we see it, and I think you're actually the first person I've
spoken to who has understood that song; most people go "oh man that song
about the terminator is brilliant," to which all we can say is "eh?" so well
done! Yeah that's how we see what's happening, especially here in the U.K., it
all seems to be going tits up, government seems to be unable to govern itself
let alone a country full of people. There's loads of gun crime happening,
gangs, some of the stuff that happens is crazy. Some of the sentences that get
handed out for crimes are stupid as well, they're almost trying to keep people
out of prisons to stop overcrowding and it spills into the streets, nothing is
being done and you have to wonder how this is all going to end up.
It's good song material, and full credit has to be given to Ben for writing
that song; the lyrics are his. But I always maintain the song is about his own
superhuman ability to be in debt haha.
While on the subject of lyrics, what fuels the lyric writing
process? It was nice to see some original themes (well, as "original" as most
lyrics can be as I'm sure most lyrical topics have been done to some degree by
one band or another), like the gladiator combats in the days of Rome, and of
course 'First Blood' which sounds like a tribute to the Rambo movies...
Yeah true I think everything's been covered in one way or another, i'm not sure
anything original can be done anymore, unless we go into the future and steal
stuff to write about! We share lyric responsibilities, depends on who has what
written. Mike might have a song written completely, lyrics and music, so we
just all get together and pick it apaart, use what we like and destroy what we
don't. We're heavily into films, me especially so that's where 'First Blood'
and 'We Who Are About To Die' come from; I just thought it would be great to
put the Rambo story into lyrics, luckily it works... it's one of my favourite
songs to play.
Flemming Rasmussen did an excellent job of giving you guys a
powerful and in your face sound for "Enter The Grave," how did you come to be
able to work with him? Did you feel you needed this sort of producer to hone
and perfect the best elements of your sound? And what, if anything, did
Flemming change about your songs or sound?
We knew he was the right man for the job; he's completely out of touch with
modern metal and it works to our benefit as we're not really fans of modern
over processed productions, they suck the life out of songs. So we figured we
would need a producer who isn't tainted by all that... He still works the way
he used (to), updated slightly, but essentially it was much the way he worked
with Metallica; all about mic placement and double tracking! He even still uses
the same desk he used to record "Master Of Puppets" which was brilliant; such
an honour to be using that desk. We made the right choice, as we came away with
an album that sounds like Evile should sound; the songs have character, they
don't all seem like one big 50 minute song, and you can tell them apart which
we're really happy about. Flemming didn't change much about what we'd written
apart from taking out a whole section of 'Bathe In Blood,' suggesting tempos,
adding another verse for 'First Blood' and trying to make me sing better as I
had no idea what I was doing! He's the right choice for us, hopefully we will
be doing more albums with him.
SO: my final question to you is this: How long do you think this
thrash revival will last? It seems to me like there isn't a whole lot of
innovation left in music, I mean there's really only so much bands can do with
guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Even with black metal, the newest thing now is
to combine elements from folklore of hundreds of years ago (Viking metal, pagan
black metal, etc), utilizing folkish instruments like flutes, violins, etc. Any
ideas what the next innovation in music will be?
I have no idea how long it's going to last, but enjoy it while you can, if
there's a thrash gig happening by you, go to it and thrash like a maniac, for
those who weren't around the first time around now is the time to experience
it. I would like for this band to move beyond just being an 80's thrash band
and do something more with what we have and build on our first album; this
thrash revival has really helped us get out there but to make sure we can stay
out there we need to do something more, put our own stamp on it. I'm just glad
we aren't a bloody pirate metal band! The next innovation will be cookery
metal. I have seen the future!!
FEN. Interview with The Watcher via email.
A rather new band for these eyes and ears, it's a very unique and innovative
mixture of cold, harsh Norwegian styled black metal and post rock, a very small
but growing genre that only one other band in black metal history (that I know
of) is utilizing: The mighty Agalloch. If that tagline alone is enough to pique
your curiosity, then the fact that this band resides in the U.K. (England to
those not in the know) ought to tell you a bit more. Listen to the soundfiles
from their "Ancient Sorrow" EP and then read this rather enlightening
Though I usually loathe doing band interviews this way, please tell
us about the history of the band, who is in there and how you came to be. Have
any of the members played in other bands prior to this one?
Fen currently consists of Grungyn on bass and backing vocals, Draugluin on
synth/keys and backing vocals, Theutus on drums and myself The Watcher playing
guitar and performing lead vocals. The band was formed in early 2006 by myself,
Grungyn and Theutus as a development of material we had been playing previously
in other bands prior to this point. We have known each other and played
together for a long while in more traditional black metal environments - Fen
more or less evolved from the directions we found ourselves heading in. We had
no grand ambitions when we started, it was simply a way for three old friends
to play something personal and passionate.
Your music is described as a mixture of atmospheric black metal and
post rock, and I would daresay the closest comparison would be to a band like
Agalloch; however your music is more akin to the earliest incarnations of
Norwegian black metal than, say Agalloch, how do you describe the band and do
you think the Agalloch comparisons are way off or somewhat close?
I would say that we play atmospheric, progressive black metal with post-rock
elements. Unlike many musicians, I have no problem with defining our sound with
regards to genre stereotypes we all do it after all when listening to music
and it comes across as pretentious to say things along the line of 'we really
couldn't describe it, you'll have to listen to it.' Everyone is influenced by
something and sounds like someone, especially to begin with it is the journey
and evolution of the band that brings individuality.
Agalloch comparisons are of course very flattering. I've been aware of the band
for about 10 years but only really sat down and started giving them serious
attention maybe 1 and a half - 2 years ago. I can see the comparisons,
certainly their sense of melody and space, their aesthetics and their use of
textures are definitely comparable to ours. If I were asked to differentiate, I
would say there is more traditional black metal in our sound and perhaps more
aggression but ultimately, it's an honour to be spoken of in such company.
I have very little experience with the post rock genre, save for
some of the type that Agalloch performs, though I slightly understand it to be
a bit more like guitars that are utilized more as atmospheric landscapes than
actual riffs and notes, also I've heard from Agalloch's guitarist that some of
Voivod's earlier spacey guitar patterns are a small example of post rock at
work. What would you say to people who want to know what post rock sounds like,
and are there any bands you would recommend give a good picture or idea of this
Post-rock is a somewhat hazy term but then again, it tends to describe somewhat
hazy music so perhaps that's appropriate! Not being immersed in the post-rock
"scene" myself, I can only give you my personal perspective on what it sounds
like it is essentially about layers, about ebb and flow. Predominantly
instrumental, riffs/themes are repeated with increasing levels of intensity
building to sometimes quite breathtaking climaxes. Guitars are often clean or
semi-clean and are swamped with various effects to add space. It's not
generally about technicality or "prog" styled structures with weird time
signatures indeed, it is usually deceptively simple in terms of structure,
the key is in getting the feel and the atmosphere right.
Acts I would recommend would be Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Red
Sparowes, This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky and also post-metal acts
like Isis. A special mention must go to Voivod progenitors of so much we take
for granted today. Piggy's guitar playing I don't doubt is an influence on some
post-metal musicians in terms of redefining the limits of what the guitar can
achieve within a metal framework.
. I recently heard that you are now in negotiations with Code666
for the release of your soon to be album. What happened with Northern Silence
Productions, it seems like they have some great bands on their roster?
Let me clarify for the record that nothing went wrong with Northern Silence I
think they are an excellent label, have done very well for "Ancient Sorrow" and
we will hopefully be able to work with them in the future with regards to
releasing vinyls and such forth. Nevertheless, Code666 made us a great offer
and expressed a real enthusiasm/appreciation for what we are doing - not only
that, by having full distribution, it would enable us to spread the message
even further afield, particularly here in the UK where their releases are
Speaking of the new album, the song titles are listed but there's
no cover artwork presented yet, also I heard the album is going to be delayed
for quite awhile, what's going on with the late release of the album?
Fear not, the artwork has been completed and will be released in due course as
the promotional wheels begin to turn. The delay is unfortunate it is
something to do with the European distributor being reluctant to process
"underground" releases so close to Christmas (the album was originally penciled
in for a November release) although the precise technicalities of this elude me
somewhat nevertheless, I can confirm that "The Malediction Fields" will be
unleashed on the 9th January 2009 so its not a massive hold up.
Just out of curiosity, why did you decide to make your first
release an EP rather than a full length? Was there material recorded or
released prior to the EP? And how did the original deal with Northern Silence
come about, as I'm assuming you had to send them some recorded material for
them to consider signing you?
Well, and at the risk of sounding a little blase, "Ancient Sorrow" was never
really intended for release. It was recorded after we had been playing together
for a few months and was recorded purely as a demo for us to be able to analyse
where we were at. If I recall correctly, our bass player had only rehearsed
with us maybe 3-4 times before the recording was made. Northern Silence heard
the material via Myspace and more or less offered to release the EP there and
then! It was of course very flattering to us a number of reviews have
criticized the production/playing, however it has to be taken into account that
a lot of it was very much "one take," live in the studio. I think that given
the circumstances surrounding the release, it has a unique atmosphere and works
well as a stand alone piece.
You recently played some shows with Agalloch, how did that go over?
Have you ever played live before, and if so, where, when and tell us about some
funny stories from the tours...
Yeah, we played with Agalloch back in March in Belgium. It was a relatively
last-minute arrangement, we got the call with maybe 3 weeks notice as Mourning
Beloveth had had to cancel the show. If I'm honest, it went excellently; the
crowd were fantastic, the venue excellent and Agalloch themselves were
incredibly supportive (as well as incredible). Memories of our actual set are a
little hazy as a fair quantity of strong Belgian ale had been consumed before
stepping onstage... nonetheless, from looking at footage, I think we performed
We haven't played a huge amount of shows and so funny stories are limited to
sitting around in service stations trying not to be sick with hangovers. We did
play a gig upstairs in a ghastly, grotty pub in London once and when we had
finished, went downstairs to find the bar cordoned off by police and blood all
over the floor. Apparently someone had been glassed while we were playing not
funny, but certainly noteworthy. We left very quickly.
You currently hail from the United Kingdom, are you fans of any
other bands or styles of music there? I know Cradle Of Filth is probably one of
the most popular black metal bands from there, though a bit more, shall we say,
commercially acceptable than most. I really dig the stoner rock and doom metal
bands from there, and it's cool how Lee Dorrian started Rise Above Records. I
am heavily into Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey (RIP), Orange Goblin and the like.
UK black metal has been a joke for about 15 years (with Cradle being one of the
biggest offenders), however in the last couple we have seen some really good
bands emerging from the underground. Wodensthrone are a band from the Northeast
who play epic, intense heathen metal very much like a blend of Hate Forest and
Drudkh and are heavily recommended. Lyrinx are another band who I would
mention; bleak, suicidal material in the vein of Shining. Other great bands are
Winterfylleth, Niroth and Ghast.
Other than the black metal underground, I'm a big fan of the early 90s doom
bands like My Dying Bride and Anathema as well as the classic metal bands of
yore Priest, Maiden and their NWOBHM peers. The "new school" Rise Above doom
is not really my thing if I'm honest but I can certainly see the appeal and
the first few Cathedral albums are great!
How do you feel about the early 90's style of Norwegian black
metal? I know there was lots of mayhem and destruction created as a result of
the murder of Eronymous and the church burnings of course.
The early 90's Norwegian scene, whilst the "second wave" of black metal in the
eyes of purists, is very much where the template of what is generally
considered the traditionally-perceived sound of black metal was developed I
feel. Those early records by Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor and Burzum defined the
sound for thousands to follow and their importance cannot be underestimated.
The atmosphere on those early recordings is something truly unique, genuinely
captivating and getting into that stuff for the first time as a 15-16 year old
was truly exciting. I think I speak for many when I say that I doubt I'll ever
fully recapture the thrill of listening to "De Mysteris..." or "Nightside
Eclipse" for the first time again.
Many in the know speculate that once Varg Vikernes is released from
prison, someone will probably attempt to kill him for the murder of Eronymous.
Some still say that maybe he will join Mayhem once again, while still others
say he may have nothing more ever to do with music and maybe even disappear
totally. What do you think?
Who knows? I have to be honest, I don't really care. Awesome though the early
Burzum works are, Vikernes to me exemplifies a worrying development in black
metal i.e. the rise of the Black Metal Celebrity. People obsessing about
individuals rather than art that they create. Not interested. Playing along
just for the fun of it though, I reckon he'll probably release a "back to the
old style" feeble pastiche of his early work that everyone will lap up because
it sounds a little bit like "Det Som Engang Var," then hopefully disappear
somewhere to count his cash.
When writing for the EP, how did the music get written; did you
piece together riffs and pieces, or were the tracks fleshed out in advance? I'm
just curious how you decide which landscapes go where, and when the tracks get
more of a harsh vibe than a more melodic one.
The music on the EP came together as a result of jamming through some ideas
that I'd been working on over the winter of 2005. It was with this material
that Fen was started I guess a combination of pre-determined writing and
rehearsal room elaboration is the best way to describe it. Much of the detail
and texture of the sound evolves in the rehearsal room whilst I will arrive
with riffs/structures prepared in advance, the other three members will very
much work on their parts around this and it's only then that the song truly
takes shape. Some songs are more organized than others; some come together as
we jam stuff out and try new ideas in the studio, others are more meticulously
pre-planned. A couple of the album tracks exemplify this perfectly 'A Witness
To The Passing Of Aeons' was pretty much a jam track, something that evolved
from studio improvisation while 'Exile's Journey' was more pre-prepared with
the details fleshed out in advance.
While on the subject of the EP, I noticed there were no lyrics
presented, are there any topical references for the lyrics on there? It almost
seems like a somewhat bleak and cold, dark atmosphere; not unlike desolate and
cold Norwegian winters. I know parts of England can get pretty cold as well,
and I am sure that there are plenty of amazing old world landscapes not unlike
the ancient forests and mountains of Norway.
Conjuring up a bleak, cold and desolate atmosphere in the mind of the listener
is one of our key goals. The lyrics are generally reflections of English
landscapes, often used as a metaphor to describe more personal experiences in
that way, they work on two levels which I believe is important. Still, to me,
there is nothing more evocative than an awe-inspiring landscape and it is this
feeling first and foremost that we are attempting to portray.
In terms of the actual landscapes presented, both myself and Grungyn were
raised in an area of eastern England known as The Fens a flat, bleak and very
unique landscape. Many of the lyrics describe these areas and the sensations
that they can inspire hence the band name. I think this makes sense while
it's appropriate for the Norwegians to speak of freezing mountains and glacial
fjords, it would not be for us. I think it is reflected in the soundscapes as
well Nordic black metal tends to be majestic and cold while ours is more
melancholy, bleaker and isolated sounding, very much like the lands in which we
spent much of our upbringing.
Finally, while we're all eagerly awaiting the release of the full
length, how would you say the upcoming full length differs from the EP? What
elements of the "Ancient Sorrow" EP will still be retained on songs from the
full length followup?
The album is a distinct development from the EP, being as it was recorded over
two years after the material for "Ancient Sorrow" was committed to tape. While
we have recorded it the same way i.e. all ourselves and as live as possible -
we have taken great care to ensure a balanced mix that is atmospheric, powerful
and evocative whilst retaining clarity. The material itself is varied yet
consistent the aggressive sections are more biting, the reflective passages
more ambient and the album as a whole is much more defined. We have tried to
create a sonic "journey" if you will, a soundscape reminiscent of walking
through the Fens at dusk. The misty, twilit ambience of "Ancient Sorrow" has
been retained, yet with even more textures and dynamics acoustic guitars,
clean vocals, synthesizers and ebows have all been added to the mix to create a
dense sonic tapestry. To me, while "Ancient Sorrow" is a worthy introduction to
the band, "The Malediction Fields" is the definitive representation of Fen
Anything else you want to talk about that we didn't mention? I am
eagerly awaiting the full length release, as I thought the EP showed much
There's not much else to say really Steven, I think you've covered everything
here. Thanks for the interview and we hope that people will enjoy the album as
much as the EP.
NECRONOCLAST. Interview via email with Greg.
Moribund records has just recently started to sign doom metal styled acts, of
course with a more underground aesthetic (and almost in line with traditional
one man projects, especially in the black metal realm). Necronoclast
exemplifies everything that is dark, torturous and bleak, with a black metal
slant on the doom genre, something that is just starting to become more and
more common these days. Though Moribund's "experience" in the doom genre is
limited to the full length album by Catacombs and "The Plague" by Necronoclast,
they are certainly making up for lost time in a strong way.
I really liked the way you utilized acoustical type guitar parts as
well as the ultra distorted ones. How do you know when a song calls for the
distorted riffs and the acoustical type ones, besides the tempo of the structure
It's usually about mood - as I put the song together, I know where I want to
take it, and sometimes going into a clean guitar part shifts the atmosphere to
where I want to be. It can also maximise the impact of the following section.
What's cool about the album is upon the first track 'Degeneration,'
you're thinking this is pretty much a black metal album, and then by the second
track, 'Faceless,' we start hearing a predominantly funereal doom/death/black
sound! Of course, I find that there's not a whole lot of faster paced black
metal instrumentation on the album...
I think some variation is necessary if you are (musically) exploring different
ideas and thoughts. Moods shift, and musically, styles shift with them.
So how do you go about creating the music for the songs? Is there a
lyrical theme you craft an atmosphere around, or do you just write riffs and
structure first and then add lyrics later?
The lyrics always come last, although I will have some theme or inspiration in
mind as I write the music. Usually songs will all stem from a single starting
riff. I don't often find myself piecing together songs using various riffs
written at different times. It keeps a focus and keeps the song on track,
otherwise the emotion and feeling can be lost.
The drum work is amazing, and I had a difficult time seeing those
as pre-programmed drums! Had you ever envisioned obtaining a drummer's
services, or do you find the drum programming gives the percussion a rather
cold, machinelike and alien like quality?
I'd consider using a session drummer if I felt it would take the sound forward.
When I was recording the new album "Haven", I made sure that I was happier with
the drum sound than I am with the "The Plague's" sound - if I can't take
another step forward with programmed drums next time around, then I would have
to look at other options. There are pros and cons to using either option.
It seems like Moribund hadn't signed any doom metal like bands
until they inked a deal with Catacombs, and then you guys came along. How do
you feel about Catacombs, it's rather a shame that they only did one album!
The Catacombs album is excellent, and as you say, more doom than most Moribund
releases. Again though, it's a solo project - focused, depressive - he has a
similar ethos and motivation to many other Moribund projects.
While we're talking about Moribund, how did you end up on their
label, and did you at first find it strange that a predominantly black and
death metal label would choose to sign you? How many more albums are you
contracted for, and are you satisfied with the work they've done for you?
I was self-promoting the original (Infernal Kaos) release of "Monument" when I
first got in touch with Moribund, who liked the material and offered me the
contract. We've done 2 albums (including the Monument reissue), but "Haven" is
the first release I've written specifically for Moribund. There will be another
one after Haven, and we'll see what happens from there. I think Moribund is an
ideal home for Necronoclast because of their pedigree in the one-man black
metal scene. They are the keepers of the style and although Necronoclast has
some leanings towards other styles of metal, I think it fits well in the
Moribund ethos. They've certainly been able to put Necronoclast in places where
I wouldn't have anticipated it going - they've worked hard.
One of the most constant complaints I hear about the doom/funeral
doom, doom/death genres is the length of the songs, and the repetition of many
basic ideas on an entire album, but you manage to avoid both. Had there been
any consideration from you to create longer songs? Most clock in at 5 and 6
minutes which is rather unheard of in this genre of music.
The tracks on "The Plague" aren't too long, but that's just the way that album
turned out. There are longer songs on "Monument," and there are longer songs on
"Haven." Repetition for repetition's sake is obviously a poor songwriting
technique, but if it's the the right riff, repetition maximises impact. Each
song has its own character, its own aura. They must be considered as individual
entities rather than being stuck to a rigid pattern.
Just out of curiosity, how exactly do you see the band
Necronoclast? Do you consider it more doom/death, or maybe even
doom/death/black? Funereal doom? One thing I found interesting, was especially
on the track 'From Below,' where the haunting, eerie and torturous landscapes
give way to a somewhat sorrowful and melancholic sound/atmosphere. Of course,
that's not the overall mood of the disc, but it was an interesting find that
popped up a few times.
My own classification would be within the spheres of black/doom, but I leave
definitive categorisation to music writers.
I would love to get your take on some of the lyrical themes,
besides the obvious album title. I only have a cardboard sleeve promo so I have
no idea if lyrics were even presented (and if not, I'm curious as to why).
The lyrics aren't in the booklet of "The Plague" - I may add them to the
website at some stage. "The Plague" is based around the concept of humanity's
impact on itself and on our surroundings - it deals with several metaphorical
'plagues' which represent different elements of human ignorance and/or
malevolence. "The Plague" itself is, of course, the human race. The lyrics for
"Haven" are in the booklet, but on the whole, I don't see lyrics as a
particularly important part of Necronoclast and so I don't place much emphasis
on them. I have always set out to let Necronoclast speak musically rather than
I have yet to hear the album preceeding this one "Monument," though
I know it has been recently repressed. How would you compare the two, and did
you find anything that has been improved from Monument to the latest release?
I am proud of Monument, but it is an entirely different album. Monument was
written over a long period of time, approx 3 years. It marks the beginning of
the project, and as a foundation, it does its job. However I feel that "The
Plague" took what I am trying to create to the next stage. It benefits from
being more focused, more cohesive.
Are there any plans for Necronoclast to ever play live? I'm
assuming that were this to happen you'd have to find live session members.
I have absolutely no interest in playing live. I see live music as a totally
different entity to the creativity that is writing music. It serves a different
As I write this, I note that you're currently working on a new
album, entitled "Haven." Tell us a bit more about it if you would; song titles,
theme, artwork especially, as it seems there's a bit of a Lovecraft flair to
the front cover.
Haven is an album about isolation and bleakness, about desperation and fear. It
is based around the idea of a house, secluded from the world in the middle of
nowhere - a haven from reality. What it alludes to is the destructive nature of
the human mind, and the thin boundaries between seclusion and insanity. I am
very pleased with the artwork, a painting done by Gabriel Byrne
(www.gabrieltbyrne.com). How much Lovecraftian inspiration he has taken on
board is a question for him, but the creepy, chaotic image is exactly in
keeping with the style of the album. Song titles include 'Nyctophobia,'
'Deathless,' and 'Slashed by Shards of Existence.'
Are you a fan of any other bands in the genre, maybe Thergothon,
Tyranny with their monstrous Lovecraft inspired album "Tides Of Awakening?"
Maybe you are into some of the Firebox bands like Colosseum, Doom:Vs, Terhen,
Funeral, or Depressed Mode? When not listening to or creating funereal doom
styled metal, what other genres of music or styles do you enjoy?
I don't listen to very much music these days, but mainly other metal - death
and doom being particular interests. Firebox have some interesting bands on
Finally, I haven't seen any bad press for any of your releases; of
course I could see if someone couldn't get into the vocal work or isn't into
slow, torturous styled funereal doom/death (black?) metal. Have you received
any bad press, was there any funny reviews that cross your mind at the moment?
I've read some good press, I've read some bad press... ultimately, everyone who
listens to Necronoclast is going to have an opinion, but some of those
listeners happen to write about their opinions online or in print. I don't pay
a great deal of attention because I create firstly for myself. If anyone else
gets anything from it, that is a bonus.
SIG:AR:TYR. Interview through email with Daemonskald.
From Canada, this band is a rather unique entity (which explains it's priority
in our publication). Though Nordic based, the majority of these classically
influenced pieces are instrumental, though DEFINITELY Bathory influenced
(especially when it comes to the Nordic legends and lore). Though this issue is
going to be extremely late, we also have their newest release "Beyond The North
Winds" which will be reviewed next issue.
I had many questions available to you, many of which were answered
on your website in a forum (Screams From The Dungeon). So one of the things I
wanted to comment on was the band name itself (I'm assuming you're aware there
is a band from the Faroe Islands known as Tyr). So essentially, chaos, balance
and order seem to make up the bulk of the band name. Of course to look a tad
further; I see the year of the sun represented as a god, Which essentially
rules over everything; and we know ancient peoples deified the sun as they knew
it would end the cold, bring warmth and make crops grow.
Sometimes we give our ancestors a lot less credit than we should, and although
the sun itself might have received the respect, honour, and worship as a god
would, I doubt it was ever thought to be a god in and of itself. The sun (and
the earth's revolving around it) is our way of timekeeping, and depending on
where you were (higher or lower in the hemispheres), marked the changing of the
seasons on the solstices and equinoxes. These are the natural powers that give
ordering to our life: when we wake, sleep, plant, harvest, and so on, and the
sun was honoured as such. I believe in Egypt where we most often hear of "sun
worship," the sun was thought of as an emanation of Ra, (or later Aten), not as
the god itself.
In the Northern runes, the rune Ar is called "year." Not just any year though,
but a "good year," meaning one in which the harvest was particularly fruitful.
So here we have another idea centering around the concept of the natural,
cyclical year. The sun rune "Sowilho" or "Sigel," and also the many
manifestations of the sun-wheel are more focused about the actual sun and its
powers that are both creative and destructive. Tyr is the name of a god, and in
many ways presents the future of a man who has gone through the many cycles of
rebirth to become as a god.
But yes, the band name SIG:AR:TYR was based around the concepts of chaos
(destructive energy), balance (our natural state in Midgard), and order
(creative energy). This signifies that in the Northern tradition, "here" is the
place to be, not in some heavenly abode, or netherworld hell. The gods
interacted with man, and themselves fought, loved, died, because they knew this
was the only place where true spiritual evolution took place in your journey
through the material world, and why the cycle of birth, arising, and rebirth is
the basis for true growth.
I am rather curious about your next album release, "Beyond The
North Winds," as of course we got "Sailing The Seas Of Fate" rather late in
it's life. Tell us about the sounds, song titles and some basic meanings, and
how it will differ from your previous work.
"Sailing The Seas Of Fate" was a full concept album about a mystical journey to
learn of our origins, and most of the songs had motifs of snow, ice, and water
around them as part of the voyage and journey on a ship backwards in time to
the far north. "Beyond The North Winds" is not a concept album, but I decided
to base its motifs around earth, wind, and stone. If there is a running theme,
it is about the power of being in the "Now": building upon your past and
forging your future. There are songs about myths of the underworld, such as
'King Of The World' which is about the mythical king who lives in a
subterranean abode that comes to us from Tibet. But this also has many
parallels in northern mythology such as the "Hall Of The Mountain King" and
similar legends about a king who sleeps under the mountain until the time is
right to return for a final battle. This is echoed in the song 'Under The
Mountain.' The title track 'Beyond The North Winds' is a simple song about a
warrior who dies on the battlefield and is taken to Valhalla by a valkyrie.
'Etched In Stone' is a song about the runes, and how they were carved into the
stone monuments that still speak to us today as if a message from our past. I
could go on, but I'll let people hear the album once its released (in May) and
let them have their own interpretations of the songs and their meanings.
As for the sound, "Beyond The North Winds" is a more cohesive and metal-
oriented album than "Sailing The Seas Of Fate" but still retains that overall
acoustic/ambient sound that is the hallmark of SIG:AR:TYR. In fact, even though
it is a very metal song driven album, there is not one track that doesn't
feature an acoustic guitar! I also do a lot more things vocally, with less
spoken word and more actual singing. I feel I've also improved in the
songwriting department, and I think this album will have a wider appeal because
It seems like you handle all aspects of Sig:Ar:Tyr by yourself,
does this mean that you would prefer not to ever play live? I always assumed
that "one man band" projects were started and maintained because the said
individual could not find people who could share or help craft the artist's
Unfortunately, I've always felt that starting and maintaining a band would be
too much work, and it is always very hard to convey a lot of what is extremely
personal to other people in a band situation. It's not out of the question
entirely, but I'd prefer to keep SIG:AR:TYR as it is. I think if I did
something as part of a band, it would be another entirely different project
where I didn't have to be responsible for everything as I am now. When you are
expressing intensely spiritual and personal feelings in your music, you have to
have complete control.
It is indeed a shame that "The Stranger" is out of print and
"Sailing The Seas Of Fate" only has a handful of copies remaining. Is this a
situation that will soon be corrected, as I would love the opportunity to hear
"The Stranger" someday.
Yes, there is plans to get them reprinted as soon as we can. However, the new
CD "Beyond The North Winds" takes precedence, as it is important I get the new
material out there before getting the older stuff back in circulation. Such is
life in the independent scene! I think the new CD will appeal to a wider range
of metal fans, and that should end up in lots of interest for the older
material, so it will be a priority to make it available as soon as possible.
Some of your personal philosophies I can really relate to,
especially in this day and age when the paths our forefathers launched have all
but been forgotten, and in our pursuit for material wealth, possessions and
being a slave to the 40 hour workweek, we have sacrificed more and more of who
we are as a people. Also, in this "politically correct" age we live in, it
seems like the rituals our forefathers practiced to help young boys and girls
become real men and women have been tossed aside, so many adults are running
around in turmoil, not knowing how they should behave or even how they should
interact or deal with other people.
Yes, it seems all modern society wants to do is beat down all that is healthy,
proper, creative, traditional, and beautiful; and celebrate all that is ugly,
destructive, and self-defeating. This is the result of what happens to a people
when they become separated from their roots, their traditions, and their
family. One of the important concepts that pervades "Sailing The Seas Of Fate"
is that there is a 'bond of blood' between a people and their gods. These
things can be forgotten in the memory of the mind, but never by the memory in
our blood. We have genetic ties that kick in to remind us what is most
important and critical to the health and survival of a people. In many ways I
hope my music helps "kick in" those forgotten memories for others, as have many
things in my life: whether it be music, literature, art and so on, helped me to
"remember." These are trying times, and we must look deep within ourselves, our
families, and to our kin to keep us on the right path.
It has only been a short time that ideologies such as globalism, unrestricted
capitalism, multiculturalism, political correctness, secular humanism, and so
on, have wreaked havoc in western civilization, but I think a correction is due
as people quickly find such things empty and unfulfilling and are returning to
their roots. Ultimately, the relative strength of ethnic nationalism, where
nations are defined by a shared heritage, faith, and values, will win out over
these false ideologies.
I was quite impressed by the mostly acoustical work of the songs,
though a bit surprised that there was very little in the way of vocal work
(save for mostly narration). Do you shun the singing process, or is there some
other reason for making these mostly instrumental songs? When listening to such
tracks like 'Under The Dragon Star' or 'Snowborne,' some of the more "metal"
guitar parts especially leave a very stunning effect, and the solos are quite
moving and seem VERY specific, as if each piece is crafted according to emotion
and the song's overall background, rather than just cranking out as many notes
as possible in the span of a few seconds.
For vocals, I've greatly expanded on what I have done in the past on the new CD
"Beyond The North Winds," and there is quite a variety of black metal type
vocals, spoken word, whispers, and clean singing. I never did much of it before
because I wasn't really confident enough in my ability to express myself that
way, and would rather do so via the guitar and instrumentals. Originally I
wanted to keep my music as all instrumentals, but I found that doing that got
stale very fast, and is really too self-limiting. I've learned to incorporate
different types of arrangements and better vocal parts into my songs, while
retaining the acoustical ambience that I believe is the hallmark of SIG:AR:TYR.
I do take a lot of care crafting guitar solos, as in many ways that is how I
sing! I don't like solos that are there just for the hell of it, and especially
on the "Sailing The Seas Of Fate" album, there are some songs that do not have
a solo at all, simply because it did not need one and had nothing to do with
the overall mood of the song. I think guitar solos should be an integral part
of the song, and carry the same themes and melodies, to retain a constant flow.
The best guitar solos are the ones you can sing along to and remember all the
notes, and feel that is an extension of the song, not just a moment to try to
show off some technical wizardry. To give an example, one of my favourite
guitar solos is (in) 'Mr. Crowley' by Randy Rhoads. The song wouldn't be the
same without it.
I know you are from Canada, do you have any Nordic heritage or
bloodlines? I have fully embraced Nordic culture, mythology and lore, as I find
the characteristics of the Nordic peoples to fully complement those qualities
in my life that I have been lacking for a long time (I am mostly Irish, so the
Nordic ways are not "Along the bloodlines" as far as I have discovered). How do
you feel about those who are into fully these Nordic ideas but not necessarily
having "Nordic blood?" As I mentioned earlier, my belief is that by getting
back to peoples with proud heritage and a good background, we can enrich our
lives and become personalities with honour and character, those that "stand
out" from the normal, mundane everyday human clone.
Well, my parents are from England, and therefore have that Angle-Saxon Germanic
heritage. Although after doing some genealogy on my mother's side, she is
connected to the Andersons which is Danish/Norwegian origin, probably via
Orkney/Scotland. You have to remember that "Nordic" is a bit of a loaded word,
and often comprises a lot of different ethnicities and language groups, since
all it really means is "Northern Peoples," and is not necessarily limited to
Scandinavia. We all speak a common language whose root is what we call
Indo-European. Irish/Celtic is just one of many subgroups, so as you can see,
we all share very similar language root words, share similar myths, so I think
you are wrong when you say that Irish isn't "along the bloodlines" or Nordic.
All the northern peoples have a very intertwined root history, language, and
genetics. Many myths from Celtic, to Greek and Roman, to Scandinavia, have
common themes and stories among them, and many gods correspond to the same
The Scandinavian myths, mostly compiled in Iceland, that have come down to us
are very powerful stories, and are themselves drawn from an older common
Germanic tradition, which again is based on primal Indo-European myths. It is
often from these stories that most people become interested in their
pre-christian past. And I would say the J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings,
based on so much North European lore, is even a more popular catalyst for
people to turn back to the original writings and myths. So I wouldn't put too
much stress in having a common "blood"; it is more about having a common
history, values, and experience, and the sharing of these common traits (such
as honour and character as you mentioned) that is the cornerstone of all
Northern European peoples. It is most natural for people to follow the
traditions of their own folk rather than another. For example, I would think it
would be difficult for someone from Northern Europe to suddenly take up
Japanese Shinto etc... and feel comfortable or fulfilling. Likewise, I would
not expect a Japanese Shinto or Native American adherent to take up worshipping
Odin and feeling very comfortable with it!! Every person on this earth has some
sort of common ancestry and tradition, and their civilizations are at their
most stable and fulfilling when they stick to them.
As for christianity, I have recently learned that much of what is
taught in the bible and even the life of Jesus Christ, may in fact be untrue.
Certain movies (like "Zeitgeist" and documentary like films) hint to the fact
that Christianity may indeed be a "made up religion," in fact many aspects and
exact dates of Christ's life borrow so heavily from other religions that
christianity in it's truest form may be nothing more than a re-writing of older
religions. If in fact the diadem of control for our "government" here in the
U.S. is by deceiving the people with outlandish stories (like the 9/11
"conspiracy"), then by comparison, Christianity seems to resemble remarkably a
story to keep people in the dark and controlled through fear (does anyone
REALLY believe we lost our immortality because some woman ate an apple?)
This is a huge topic! Christianity as we know it today has evolved over two
thousand years and is a mixture of different types of beliefs, and there are so
many "brands" of Christianity, that who can say for sure what is the one
closest to the earliest expression of it. I have a read a lot (of) what is in
the Bible, and also texts that never made it into the Bible, or were considered
Gnostic and heretical. I used to beat up on Christianity a lot (just read some
of the lyrics in "Sailing The Seas Of Fate"!), but not so much anymore. We have
to consider why christianity succeeded in overcoming all of our old pagan
beliefs. And I believe over time it developed as a common spiritual base that
represented the basic values of European peoples, even though christianity is
often rebuked as a "middle eastern" religion. It was grafted over time with the
existing European pagan beliefs, and so what we know of European-based
christianity now probably would be unrecognizable to someone who lived in
Palestine in 60 AD.
What results in a "control" phenomena is when people take a linear view of
their world, and expect certain things to happen in a perfect timeline to the
"end times." So there are many self-fulfilling prophecies, and you can see how
so many people (especially in the Bible-belt of the US) would completely
support continued wars against various countries in the Middle East because
they feel they are living out a prophecy, and as long as their president is
"christian," they know they are being led in the right direction. This linear
view is a like a tight corridor with only one way in and one way out.
As I mentioned earlier, traditional civilizations had a cyclic world-view,
which is much different than the linear and apocalyptic modern christianity
worldview we have today. When people understand this, then all these control
mechanisms have no power over you, for they are based in "linear" time, not
spiritual cyclical time. And when you start living your life in this cyclical
time, living in what we call the eternal present, or eternal NOW, then you
realize that it is a moment frozen in time of absolute freedom. As an analogy,
you can think of the movie "The Matrix," and how people were controlled by
being in the matrix and not being able to see or feel outside of it. And it is
definitely not easy getting out of the matrix. However, I think any person can
spend a little time meditating each day and taking themselves, even for a brief
time, out of linear time to see what lies beyond.
I was very impressed by your insight, especially into the entire
Star Wars trilogy. I think the biggest insight I gained into the movies was the
Jedi and their almost "superior" attitude of non intervention to keep order. It
seems like the side of "good" almost always has this smug, superior attitude as
if their ways are the only ones worth adopting. I don't know if you've ever
watched Stargate: SG1 but the people who had ascended to a higher form took
this same attitude (even going so far as to "punish" those ascended beings who
tried to save millions of lives). I see a lot of churches or religions that
way, especially when the attitude of "only the elite shall rule the earth,
ascend to heaven, etc." seems to be the only path available. Not much room in
there for individual needs!
Well, everyone thinks they have it right. Even me! But think about what happens
when those with the "smug" and "superior" attitude suddenly get political
power. They "punish" those who do not believe in the same things they do. It
was true in the dark ages with the Roman Catholic Church, the Soviet Union in
the 20th century, and now the issue of liberal/Marxist/atheist ideologies where
Western civilization has succumbed to a liberal tyranny where those with
traditional conservative values are forced to endure an imposition of attacks
on freedom of expression, attacks on traditional family values and gender
roles, attacks on democracy and individual liberty, basically an attack on
anything that is generally part of every healthy society of the past.
Ultimately, it is personal freedom that I think most people find to be the
initial basic human right where all other human rights flow from. It is this
concept of freedom and democracy that is a hallmark of Northern European
civilization. It is not an accident that the oldest parliament in the world is
traced back to Iceland. I've always been a huge fan of the American Old West,
and it is in this environment of discovery, pioneering ambition, courage, and
personal freedom, that I think a movie like Star Wars was emulating, only
transplanted into space.
In Nordic mythology, "Ragnarok" signalled the end of the world, the
Viking equivalent of christianity's "Armageddon." What do you see happening to
the human race? Is there really an "ending times" (the mayan calendar
inexplicably STOPS at the year 2012 I think), or is it the ending of an "age"
where humans evolve to a higher form? (Once again, the movie Zeitgeist refers
to an "age," which lasts so many years and refers to each sign of the zodiac
passing through so that we will be in the age of Aquarius in 2012).
Even in the story of Ragnarok, the world was reborn again, and the sons of the
gods continued on with a new mankind. The Northern Myths are all based upon a
cyclical universe, the eternal return. There are "end times," but they are more
like an end of an age, and the beginning of a new one. There are so many tales
of civilizations that have risen and fallen. When looking back at ancient Rome,
it was one of the most successful and largest empires of all recorded history,
yet it too does not exist anymore. It would be naive of us to think that our
current modern world could not be undone just like Rome or ancient Egypt. I'm
proud of my British heritage, and for a few hundred years, we ran the world.
After World War II, there was no British Empire left and it was then time for
the ascendancy of the United States and the Soviet Union. Who is next? There is
also the issue of climate change, where severe conditions, ice ages etc..., can
easily wipe a civilization off of the earth. But mankind is resilient, and even
if our civilization falls, another will grow in its place.
How much of those myths and legends of the Nordic age do you think
bear any truths? I'm convinced that those gods and goddesses weren't just made
up by bored storytellers, though many of the origins of those legends would of
course be hard to pinpoint.
There becomes a mixup at some point where I think real people, mythic heroes
and their tales eventually become "gods" or "demi-gods." You also have to do
some comparative mythology, as there are so many tales that are common across
different cultures. For example, you will find "evidence" of Noah's biblical
flood in different parts of the world in their own ancient myths. Or that the
god in one culture has very similar traits to a god in another culture. So in
many cases, I would say yes that our myths are often depicting real-world
events or people, and in other cases, they are just tales. The Norse tales and
sagas are often intertwined with real-life events, specific kings, known wars,
etc... But as in most Indo-European mythology (Greek, Roman, German, Norse, and
so on), many of the gods are based on common archetypes and traits of the
Have you ever seen the movies "The Secret" or "What The Bleep Do We
Know?" I found those movies fascinating as it goes beyond just "the power of
positive thinking" and instead explains how man can control his own reality on
a day to day basis, creating instead powerful tools that the mind can use to
shape the very reality he sees in front of him, and frees us from the
limitations placed upon us by society, religions, governments and even the
I have never seen these movies/documentaries, but yes, most people don't
realize they have the "power" to make whatever realities they want in their
life possible. This is often called in the occult world "magick," i.e. change
in accordance with your will, but people call it all sorts of things, and
rarely do any of it. The hardest part about making a reality, is to what end
are you doing it for? Most often it is something that we "want," not
necessarily what we "need." I think that making the change isn't so often the
hard part, it is ensuring you are making the "right" change for you and your
true goals, finding your true "path." But for most of us, the "path" is a
journey, and it is something we unravel over a long period of time.
As we wrap this up, I am constantly reminded that it's truly a
small group of people that try to control and rule the overall population of
the planet. It seems like people are waking up, especially from the tyrannical
rule of the christian organization, but what do you think it will truly take
for mankind to really be free? CAN these small groups be opposed, and do we
have the power to see change within our lifetime?
I used to have very conspiratorial views, but not so much anymore. In fact, I
don't think there is any real central control going on. Anything that goes
wrong in the world is typically up to human incompetence, not some nefarious
plan. And if there are several power-groups out there, they are all at
loggerheads anyway. That is how world balance is maintained. The scariest thing
to think about is that there really is no one in control. We are masters of our
own destinies. And it has been said that most civilizations do not crumble from
external threats, they typically commit suicide. When you think about the
people that run our governments, or our economy, they really don't know what
they are doing.
I think what has to happen is a decentralization of power, where people look
more to the local communities, in a loose structure of autonomous ethno-states,
and less overall federal structure. It is when centralization happens that
things get disorganized and incompetent, and create lack of freedom. I think
anyone who has worked at a company where many of their jobs were "centralized"
at some other location that had no idea of the local requirements, knows that
it always ends in disaster. Look at what happened to the Soviet Union, they
tried the centralized, socialist, no freedom approach; trying to erase
ethnicity, spirituality, and personal liberty, and it crumbled like a house of
cards in the late 20th century. Even in the die-hard days of Communism, even
those on the inside knew it was one big bloated lie that could only maintain
power via fear and terror. Now think about how "fear and terror" affect those
living in Western civilization today?
As was proved with the Katrina disaster, you cannot count on your own
government to take care of you. When people create self-sustaining, close-knit
communities, they are able to weather such storms by working together, not
waiting for someone to come save them. So if I had any thoughts to the future,
I would say brush up on those survival skills! And be prepared to ride out any
future calamity on a local level in order that you may preserve yourselves to
grow again in a changed world, and create a support structure that helps those
around you in your own community.
Thanks again for your help and support, if there's anything we
didn't talk about you want to mention, use this space here!! Looking forward to
the next release.
Thanks for the great interview and support of SIG:AR:TYR, and I'm hopeful that
the new CD "Beyond The North Winds" will be released sometime in May. Some of
the things we talked about in the interview may come off as negative, in the
sense of creating fear about the future, but knowledge is (the) way of removing
fear, and there is nothing to fear from change if you are prepared for it; to
make it a change for the better. For when you live in the NOW, the future is
well in your hands.
SVARTAHRID. Interview with Forn via, once again, email.
Svartahrid is a rather interesting black metal styled band. Their first release
"Forthcoming Storm" and subsequent release "As The Sunrise Flickers," in 1999
and 2000 respectively, were released on Napalm Records. It seems that with the
2000 release "As The Sunrise Flickers," they were promptly dropped from Napalm
(apparently due to the lack of interest on the label's part since the band
decided not to continue in a more synth oriented direction) and seemingly
disappeared for 7 years. Fast forward to last year, and their "Sadness And
Wrath" album finally sees the light of day, with another record "Malicious
Pride" (as of this writing) already in the works and completed probably by the
time this issue hits. With lyrics and vocals done in both English and their
native Norwegian, the old school black metal pride beams forth... But with a
After two albums on Napalm Records, I see that you are no longer
on the label. What prompted you to leave Napalm for another label? I know
Napalm has a lot of bands, maybe you felt you were getting lost in the shuffle?
We had a deal for 5 albums on Napalm records but because of disagreement about
the musical development they didn't want to release a third album and cancelled
the contract. They were very satisfied with the very symphonic debut album but
when we started to play more grim black metal and dropped the keyboard, they
were very disappointed... If we weren't lost in the shuffle already we had been
it then if we insisted to release another album there when they are not
interested at all. There's no point in being on a label that doesn't want you
there so we accepted that.
Also, there seems to be a 7 year gap between "As The Sunrise
Flickers," and the last release I heard "Sadness And Wrath." What was the
reason for the long delay, did it have anything to do with the grave
desecrations of Ilvastar?
Probably it had nothing to do with the incident with Ilvastarr. He left the
band two years before that. But of course it can be one reason to the bad
response from labels. I don't know. We recorded the "Sadness And Wrath" album
in 2003 and tried to find a label to release it. When I look back on it know I
see that maybe we tried to be signed on to big labels and forgot to seek more
in the underground where we anyway belong. It was a great relief to finally get
the album out in 2007 because we felt it deserved to be released.
While we're on the subject, tell us about the head of one of the
bodies that Ilvastar brought back with him! Was it one of his enemies, some
christian fuck, or just some random guy? How did the court proceedings go, and
what eventually happened?
It was just an old man that was at the wrong place at the wrong time... No;
with all respect... actually nothing to joke about. It was really a sick and
respectless act he did and we take distance from such an act. Actually it had
nothing to do with our band at all but the media of course focused on the fact
that he had a link to black metal for all it was worth. I didn't follow the
court proceedings, I just know that he spent a year or something in jail for it
and moved from the town...
It's interesting to look at the cover of your very first record,
which I have, and it looks almost to be a folkish/Viking metal project, when it
probably surprised many people to hear vicious black metal. How do you feel
about that earliest of records, and how do you think Svartahrid has progressed
and evolved today?
I still like the album and also the layout looks great. Make up and
antichristian symbols have never been our style. You can say that our lyrics
and image are more Folkish/Viking inspired but the music is grim and cold black
metal. But we also like good production on our albums. No lo-fi production for
us... About the music on the debut album I feel that we got 100% out of the
material and the skills we had on that time. But of course the band has
progressed and evolved a lot since that. Better on the instruments and better
to compose music. But without missing the good essence from the 90's.
I don't have the newest record "Malicious Pride," how does it
differ from the "Sadness And Wrath" album?
There are no big surprises but just a natural progress from "Sadness And
Wrath." A little bit harder and faster, maybe with some more thrash influences,
but we also use more keyboards. I think the material is overall better and we
were better prepared this time. Most of the songs are from 94-95 and this is
the first time we have recorded a pre-production first. That is really helpful.
It is recorded in the same studio as last time (Akkerhaugen Lydstudio) but I
like the sound and the production on the new (album) better.
How did you come to be on Soulseller Records, and do you plan on
sticking with them after you release your third and final album for them? Have
they done lots of press or offered any tour support? It seems like with Napalm
there would have been a larger presence worldwide, as I don't get anything from
It was Jorn Rap from Soulseller records that contacted us in 2006.The plan
before that was to record a new demo and send to different labels. But we sent
him the already recorded "Sadness And Wrath" album and asked if he want to
release it. He liked the album a lot and we agreed on a record deal for that
one and another two albums. We went back to studio in fall 2006 and completed
the "S&W" album. We had to do a new mix and I played some keyboard before we
mastered it. We have just agreed on another 3 record deal with SSR so we will
be there for another four albums after "Malicious Pride." So it will come
(more) albums continuously in the future. Jorn has done a great job for us, and
the label and his distribution grows all the time so it's a perfect place for
us to be. Finally we get priority!
How do you feel about the Norwegian black metal scene today, are
you in touch with any of the members of any bands like Mayhem, Emperor (RIP),
I think we still have a lot of good bands, new and old, here in Norway. And
many I never have heard about for sure. But many of the great bands from the
90's are disappointing me nowadays. We don't have much contact with people from
other famous BM bands. I have contact with Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone),
Limbonic Art and some contact with Samoth (Emperor, Zyklon).
I don't know if you've read the book "Lords Of Chaos," about the
Norwegian black metal scene. There's a lot of speculation in the book that Varg
Vikernes was a liar, untrustworthy, and that much of what he said was untrue,
while actual members of Mayhem and Carpathian Forest actually backed up what
Varg said (especially in regards to the murder and the actual goings on of the
members in regards to Helvete, the shop Euronymous ran). Anything you might
care to add about this?
I haven't read the book and I can't say I'm very interested either. I don't
know any of the members from Mayhem, Carpathian Forest or Varg Vikernes. I just
followed the case true media and you never know what is true and not. The case
got a really huge attention but of course it was a great promotion for
Norwegian black metal.
It's cool that for all the viciousness of the music and vocals,
there's still a bit of Nordic pride, and some Viking themes in the music. Are
you into any of the Viking themed bands, like Einherjer, Tyr, Ensiferum,
Turisas, or even overlanders like English heathen metal masters Forefather,
maybe even Irish bands like Primordial? I remember reading in an older
interview (I don't remember who it was with) one of the members stated he
didn't like much black metal but instead cited influences like Nick Cave and
No I'm not very into Viking themed bands. Never heard any music from the bands
you mentioned. As I told earlier it's our lyrics and image and use of symbols
that are inspired from Norse mythology and our great ancestors. It wasn't me
that did that interview, that's for sure because I have always listened a lot
to BM through the years and also find a lot of inspiration from it. But I also
like Pink Floyd and other kinds of music but that don't give me any inspiration
to create black metal. But vast nature does...
In that same interview it was mentioned that Svartahrid wanted to
come over to the States to play some shows. Is that still a possibility, or did
that ever happen?
We have never played in the States. Actually we had our first gig outside
Norway in May on Festung open air in Germany. But if someone paying the trip
for us to get over there of course we play. But I consider that the chance is
minimal, at least at the moment. But you never know...
Tell us about the album title "Sadness And Wrath," what's the title
mean, or is there a theme behind the album? (Some of the lyrics seem to be in
Norwegian, so I'm not sure what they all mean...) I tend to think that the
album's title refers to the sadness over Christian scumbags destroying precious
artifacts of Nordic/Viking culture and history, while the wrath means that the
spirit of the Nordic ancestors is still alive, and is out to destroy the filth
that spoiled such a proud and noble heritage! (Maybe I'm wrong about that. I am
heavily into Nordic culture, themes and mythology myself).
You have some points there. It's about how Odin looks upon the world and the
lack of respect for his kingdom. He sees a lot of weaklings with no pride and
the glorious days are gone. But there are some few left... Istar writes the
lyrics and there's no theme other than that most of the lyrics are about
battle, our great ancestors, nature and Norse mythology. We have always used
some Norwegian lyrics but usually most of it is in English except on "Sadness
And Wrath" where it's 50/50...
So just out of curiosity, how do most Nordic metal musicians view
the United States these days? I know that most Europeans think we all share the
same views as the current president, though thankfully he will be out of office
soon! I'm obviously curious to know if the Norwegian people are upset with the
way the government of this country handles it's affairs...
A difficult questions for me to answer. Also metal heads have many different
meanings about it. But Bush is not very popular in most of Europe I think. But
most people understand that not all the Americans stand behind Bush and the way
he fights his war on terror. I was very surprised when he was elected for a
second period. Looking forward to getting a new man in the office soon... Will
be good for America.
Norway is an amazing country with such beautiful landscapes; it's a
place I hope to visit someday. Even on the cover of "Sadness And Wrath" you can
see some remnant of the majestic forests that are quite obviously untouched by
corporate greed and inner city over development. What are your thought on the
Norwegian landscape, and what memories do you have of ancient Norway?
In Norway it's so much untouched nature that it's easy to imagine how it was in
ancient times. I spend a lot of time in the nature and to discover different
parts of our country. I'm especially fond of the Norwegian fjords. If you
travel to Norway one day it's a must to take a trip to the Western fjords...
it's just great. In Norway we actually just have just one "really big" city and
there it is just living 500,000 people. A lot of space here to breathe.
I'm curious about the battle scene on the cover of your very first
album "Forthcoming Storm." Was that a famous painting or an artist's rendition
of a wartime scenario? I only have the cardoard promo sleeve of this album so I
don't have any of the details!
It's a famous painting by the Norwegian painter Peter Nicolai Arbo and it
illustrates the battle on Stamford Bridge between a English king and the
Norwegian king Harald Hardraade when he fell in 1066. Some means that this was
the ending of the proud Viking era. It's a really great painting.
Finally, as we wrap this up, I'm sure some people are asking:
whatever happened to Mactatus? I know a few members of Svartahrid were in the
band, are there ever plans for them to do anything? Many websites say that the
actual status of the band is unknown; I guess no one's heard anything from them
in quite some time.
After the recording of the "Suicide" album we decided to quit. There was no
inspiration left. Istar played bass on the "Provenance Of Cruelty" album but I
continued in the band until the end in 2002. Actually we are going to rehearse
again and then we see if we have the inspiration from the old times. But if we
are recording a new album it will not be on Napalm records... We will have to
find a new label first. I was very surprised when the guys asked me if I was
interested in continuing because I was sure that the band was dead. But it's
quite uncertain if it will be a comeback or not...
Thanks for your time. I hope to be able to hear your latest full
length "Malicious Pride" very soon, and if there's anything you want to talk
about that we left out feel free to do so... Thanks again, and blackest of
Thanks for the interview... The album is on the way to you. For all you who are
interested check out myspace.com/svartahrid or soulsellerrecords.com... We
already have most of the material ready for another album so you don't have to
wait long for more Svartahrid music. Next spring we start the recording.
Looking forward to getting back to studio again. Hail to all metal fans out
WORSHIP...Email interview with the Doommonger...
An underground cult doom metal band from Germany with a sad and tragic history.
After the demise of their vocalist, Worship was seemingly put on hold for quite
some time, with only a handful of limited edition demo and split album releases
to their name. Now, with the mighty Solitude Productions in their corner, the
Russian label dedicated to quality Doom Metal felt the time was right to
introduce this powerhouse to the rest of the world. And we feel the same.
I'm curious to know,in your earliest of days the majority of your
releases were basically split releases with other bands and a demo tape. Wasn't
there any label interest to release a full length, or did you just not have
enough material around?
I think we really didn't care about no label. We just wanted to record cool
stuff. There was no commercial interest at all, maybe to shock as many people
as we can. It took a while for me to notice that many people care for Worship,
which is nice, but not intended.
How did the songwriting process go in the early days, as opposed to
now? Did Max write any of the lyrics or have any input into song structures or
Lyrics were written by Max and me, and the songs were my business. It was less
clear cut in the EP sessions, because the songs were not fully detailed when we
started to record, (but) we experimented a lot together.
From what I've seen in the liner notes, these tracks were actually
recorded in 2000 but only recently completed. Did the tracks get reworked or
rewritten, or did you just fill in the missing pieces? I know you were actually
able to use some of Max's vocals in a few songs, so I'm assuming all the vocals
Not much was completed, the closest to the old days is "The Altar", then "All I
Ever...". Some of the songs were written after Max's death even. All were
modified and improved. There was some shit I liked back then, which in 2007 I
thought too cheap for "Dooom". I had to write new lyrics because the old lyrics
were lost with Max, and I cannot understand everything he growls in french,
*lol*. Furthermore, I wanted to create this play thing, so I needed one
consistent lyrical concept.
It was cool to see a Solitude Aeturnus cover, and the lyrics seem
to fit the concept behind the songs... Was John Perez a fan, or did you just
write him to see if he would let you record that song? Do you still correspond
with John at all?
I am a Solitude Aeturnus fan, and my label Paniac knew him personally, so we
asked, and Perez gave the go ahead. The original can never be reached so I
tried something totally different. And I was amused that the lyrics fell
perfectly into my story; I had to change 2 lines to make it the perfect climax
of a totally different story.
We may have touched on lyrics for this album already, but if the
lyrics to some songs were written in 2000, then it would seem a rather ominous
foreshadowing to what would happen after Max's suicide... It seems like the
story portray's a witness to mankind's end and eventual rebirth of the planet
Earth, at least from what I see...
Most lyrics were written in 2007. I worked a long time on the story, first
writing it as a short story, then transforming it into lyrics. I read different
interpretations in every interview, and that is good. I made sure not to push
the complete unfolded story into the listener's face. I want you to think and
feel it. (Editor's note: Read further on, a few more lyrical revelations slowly
Tell us a bit about Endzeit Elegies, as I'm not familiar with the
label at all. I know there's another band on the label Beyond The Void, maybe
you could tell us about that, as there's a member or two from B.T.V. who's also
It's my own label; both bands are my bands. Worship on stage consists 100% of
Beyond The Void members, as these are brilliant musicians and close friends.
Yes, I do not know anyone outside my band. And in Munich, you cannot really
find anyone to play this kind of music.
It must be a good feeling, I know you worked very long and hard on
this release, but for the majority of your releases, I've seen nothing but good
reviews! "Dooom" is definitely a masterpiece, and it's good to see it in such a
luxurious digipack edition; and not one of those cheap ones either, but ones
with special photos on every piece of it! Was that the label's idea or yours?
(Keep in mind I have the version you sent me, released through Solitude
I am the label. So yes, and yes. I thought, people are waiting for this a
while, let's make it beautful. We came upon the cross idea when I discussed
this with my artist Gustavo Sazes from Brazil, a very talented guy. "Dooom" is
one big paradox mirroring the life of Jesus, hence the cross, and there are
those stations of the cross in Church, marked with roman numbers, and that we
did borrow, too. All falls into place; from A to Z everything is styled to fit,
with a lot of layers and little things hidden in the lyrics and the artwork. I
like this one very much. Yeah leeching assholes, you cannot leech this!!
Have you had any contact from any other record labels? (Especially
American ones?) I'm curious how you got this CD released through them, and are
you going to do another record for Solitude? I know it must seem a bit odd to
some for a German band to be signed to a Russian label? (Albeit a very good
one, especially where doom metal is concerned).
Never have we been welcomed as much as in Moscow; that gig blew our minds and
spoilt us for the rest of our lives maybe. And they are just distributing it;
thanks for that, as also Hellride is in USA or The End Records in USA for my
other releases. I see nothing odd there; the whole first half of Worship we had
our own French label, a Belgian label and a Japanese label. It's a global scene
and I love it.
This would be a good time, if you can, to talk about about Fucked
Up Mad Max. What was he like as a person? Tell us some good stories about him,
maybe some of his best memories...
A wild, captivating, shocking, strong and soft, gentle and angry guy. Hard to
grasp in one lousy paragraph, but we really clicked and argued a lot; it was a
nice time with him. I miss him in this, and in general.
Any chance you might give us some news of another full length being
worked on? Maybe some song titles or themes, album name perhaps?
Yea, yea, yea. I am writing on some songs and I have a clear vision of the
theme, the structure, the formats and most of the parts already of the next
album. I am not fixed on the title, but I know what I want to change. You see,
I will not be a lamed-down copy of last year, I cannot be. I can also not be
totally new. I want to offer new things, that do not dwell in the shadows of
"Dooom," but I also don't want to alienate fans more than I usually do. But, as
I have not recorded one bit, I will not release these details now. It is too
early, but talk to me in half a year and I will say more, alright?
There's quite a few bands of note playing a style of doom/death or
funeral doom, but what's most interesting to me is the mixture of black metal
and doom, which kinda seems a natural progression, especially since both doom
metal and black metal play on the cold, frosty and icy guitar tones (in black
metal's case, it stems mostly from Norwegian winters and what not). Just
curious about your thoughts on this more recent development of doom metal.
I agree; we share atmospheres. And we have more in common than one might guess
from afar. But, I am very open-minded anyway; people shall mix what they want.
I'm going to throw out a few band names, and I'd love to know what
you think of them. First off, Forgotten Tomb: (Note: This set of questions
didn't seem to go over too well, but The Doommonger did try and sit through
this line of questioning. SO, the bands that didn't get a favorable response
were edited out of this interview).
Oh dear; if you must. I am very quick to say that I have no idea at all what
happens in the scene; I try not to look left or right in my music, I want to
remain myself. Songs are appearing in my head out of thin air, and I don't want
them to be other people's songs I recently heard. Yea, Forgotten Tomb; I am in
contact with them, trying to play in Italy, but it hasn't worked out yet.
Yea, I heard them once, and was astonished how fast they were. They are
well-known for early Funeral Doom stuff, and Max and I had this session where
we listened to Funeral Doom stuff worth mentioning. Max introduced me to
Thergothon back then. I heard them once, so they really don't play a role in my
writing, but respect to them for innovation.
Candlemass... Some say they somewhat invented the doom genre.
I have a couple of their CDs, and listened to them in the early 90's a lot.
Today, they are too riffy for me. But they have some big songs I still have in
my head, and a great epic atmosphere I think.
Trouble... The U.S. doom band, who later seemed to gravitate more
towards stoner rock, or a heavier rock sound than the true doom elements they
started out with.
I saw them live; not really my thing, sorry.
Tyranny. Surely one of the most inhuman and monstrously heavy
crushing doom/death release I've heard in awhile! Total Cthulhu worship!!
Yea, I respect them. I played with them live and liked them a lot. I think I
will play with them somewhere this year, we'll see. They are much too close to
me to listen to their stuff; I don't want to steal from them subconsciously or
So as we wrap this up, I'm curious if you ever saw the movie "I Am
Legend," with Will Smith. It was an interesting theme, where he was the last
man (seemingly) on Earth after a plague wiped out over 90 percent of the
population. I started thinking how interesting it would be to not have to work
for a living; just raid people's abandoned homes for what you need, not needing
money or anything like that. Not having to deal with rude or inconsiderate
people, traffic, etc. How do you see the end of the world taking place? You
think mankind will last another 50 or so years on this planet?
Yes, I saw this one on the plane on the way to Japan. I liked the setting and
the feel but it's not a good movie in general, I fear. I really can't tell you
if we make it 50 years; I would be surprised. I fear tomorrow, and growing old,
and change, so I am not whistling into a bright future. But, we can always say,
we told you so! When the day comes, Apocalyptic Doom sales will skyrocket, so
we all will be rich for a few minutes at least.
There's quite a few record labels for doom metal the world over
that are pretty consistent from album to album, what are some of your
favorites? Me, I dig stuff that's been on I Hate Records, Firebox/Firedoom
especially for the ultra brutal stuff (like Tyranny, Remembrance, etc), and of
course Solitude Productions!!
Hehe pfff. Me buyeth one CD per year or so. I have written songs for 30
releases or so; 23 or what of which are out, and I am even more lost in my own
stuff as I am writing soundtrack for 3 PC games right now. When I take some
time to listen to music (some hours every day lately), I grab some scores for
films, which hit the mood I am after at the moment for soundtrack. Which is my
career of choice; totally soaked up in music and fuck mankind. I don't crave to
listen to new doom metal from any band; if I want doom metal I write on my new
stuff. That's the way I am and I know I suck, but at least I am straight about
it - Me miserable bastard monk. Worship's next album is about half finished in
my head before I played one note of it on my guitar; I arrange the songs quite
completely in my head. Most of the stuff on "Dooom" is either very old for my
standards (1995-1998) or written in my head. I like that. I feel like a minion
of some art goddess preferably bare-breasted and whip-wielding. Again, this is
no disrespect to the bands and labels; I watch what they are doing. I just
prefer to be uninfluenced in Doom.
I've seen reference to The Moonkult, any chance you could explain
what that is for readers?
The Moonkult was Max's idea in the old lyrics. We reused it several times;
pointing to some sort of worshipping evil monk cult. I decided to write a full
story about and around those vague images with "Dooom". The Moonkult,
basically, is a modern day cult of Moon Worshippers, who are so concentratedly
christian that they would destroy the earth and turn it into a moon, for all
its ungodliness and sinfulness. And I can't blame them, really. Evil religion,
that is my thing.
Thanks for your time, and great music! If there's anything else you
want to add or mention, please feel free... Now is the time...
Yea, check out Worship on www.MySpace.com/WorshipDoom or grab our stuff here:
www.EndzeitElegies.com. Furthermore, I read your review; the spoken parts are
so low in volume that you have to turn up the volume, and get mindfucked by the
sudden loud parts right afterwards. And secondly; if you miss the words, you
have to buy the original CD with full lyrics, and can read along! hehe, you
booklet-less downloading illegal manbitch (I meant the reader, not you of
course Mr. Interviewer Guy.). Seriously, I didn't want the spoken words to
plough into your head: I wanted them to be in the background, so that you can
block them out to enjoy the music. Or pay attention to them, possibly reading
along, if you take it as an audio play.
I had the hardest time putting this thing together, so apologies for the late
arrival. The interviews were rather difficult to come by, I believe it had to
do more with the bands I contacted having intense touring schedules. Phoners in
this day and age seem to be happening less and less, and email interviews being
easier and cheaper to set up. Gas prices on the rise, food costs going up, and
several labels resorting to online digital promotional copies of their
releases. The times, my friend, they are a' changing, and who knows how us
journalists will be affected in the next 5 or 6 years? On that note, I do plan
on having the next issue released before 2008 comes to a close, though we will
have to see if that actually becomes reality. I deliberately chose to wait
until we had enough to do a full issue properly, though as you can see many of
the CD reviews are over a year old (some by reasons not fully disclosed here).
Evile's disc, for example, will be exactly one year old a month after this
issue sees press.
One of the most interesting things about this particular issue, is it seems to
be filled with repeat offenders. And by that I mean bands that we've not only
reviewed before, but INTERVIEWED right alongside their previous disc releases.
This goes especially for Forefather, Frostmoon Eclipse, Airged L'amh, Falconer,
Darkflight, Isole and Primordial. And ALL these above mentioned bands have been
interviewed at least once in the magazine, besides also having repeat CD
reviews. We usually tracked down most of these bands to inquire about their
future releases, meaning some bands we didn't go through the usual label
promotional channels. The labels, however, still are quite helpful and probably
will be for some time to come.
I'm sure by now people need to be a bit informed about exactly WHAT the ranking
system in this magazine means. If you think of it in fractions or pie graphs,
what I seem to be saying is that on a scale of 1 to 4, only the last 1/4th
really counts for anything worthy of "keeping." (Once again, a score of 75 or
above.) When you consider that I've been doing a music magazine for over 15
years, I have amassed a TON of CD's. So by now, it's quite obvious that the
little bit of time I DO spend listening to a CD for leisure, you better
believe it's going to be one that's a damn good album. Anything less is really
not worth my time, and I'm not trying to be an elitist. But when you get to
hear SO many bands and albums, and have done so for over 15 years, you almost
HAVE to be discriminatory. Still, people would argue that the majority of
reviews in this magazine are 90's and above, and they would be right, beause
THOSE albums that I DO consider in the top 10 - 15 percentile are being
scrutinized even FURTHER than most would want to go. Folks, these CD's are
listened to completely and extensively NO LESS than 4 or 5 times. Rarely do I
EVER know a CD's "rank" just from a listen or two, of course exceptions do
happen. I would rather focus my time and efforts towards CD's that I KNOW are
of high quality, and I expect that the music BUYING public wants ONLY those
CD's that will be repeat listens over time. Those CD's that are truly awe
inspiring and leaps and bounds above the rest are what people DESERVE in this
day and age of instant gratification and easy access to even the most obscure
and overseas releases. Quite simply, if I'm raving about it, then you NEED to
experience it for yourself, let alone purchasing it for your collection. And
people, the soundfiles ARE important, because I don't expect everyone, or
anyone, to agree totally with every review I publish. So, do yourself a favor:
read the reviews, then LISTEN to the soundfiles and take note of what songs I
deemed worse than the others. See if you agree or disagree and that will bring
you one step closer to an understanding of exactly HOW to take my reviews. It's
your hard earned money after all, and you have the right to be totally and
As a final note, we have recently been interviewed for the very first issue of
a magazine called Chromium Dioxide. It's a VERY interesting concept, as it
seems to be (from what the author stated) a mix of comic book and metal
magazine, and we were extremely honored to be interviewed in their VERY first
issue. It has yet to be released (at press time), but when it comes out we will
give you more info. Thanks to everyone who helped out and stuck with us through
the extremely long deliberation, and we hope you all continue to check out DOOM
Radio every Sunday, so that you can hear the newest stuff the same days and
weeks that we get it from the labels.
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