INTERVIEWS 12 NORTHERN SILENCE 14 WOODS OF DESOLATION 16 NASHEIM 18 COLDUN 20 ALOR 22 ERED WETHRIN 24 EMYN MUIL 26 THERION 30 THE VINTAGE CARAVAN 36 SISTER 38 ALFAHANNE 40 ABYSSAL 42 BITCH WITCH 46 LIE IN RUINS 48 NERONOIA CONTENTS 06 AGAINST ON TOUR: NILE 10 ROCK N GENA 11 ROADKILLSODA 29 AGAINST SHOUTS 45 ARTWORK OF THE MONTH 50 REVIEWS (RECORDS, BOOKS, MOVIES, LIVES)
AGAINST MAGAZINE P.O.BOX 527 EC ALEXANDRE HERCULANO 3880 OVAR PORTUGAL WEBSITE http://www.againstmagazine.com E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EDITOR Joel Costa DESIGN Cátia Cunha (Head of Design) Joel Costa COVER DESIGN Cátia Cunha WRITERS / TRANSLATORS Andreia Figueiredo, Carlos Cardoso, Cátia Cunha, Cheryl Lynn, Christine Parastatidou, “Cookie” Shemaly, David Horta, Diogo Ferreira, Eduardo Rocha, Estefânia Silva, Jaime Ferreira, Jeffrey Allee, Joel Costa, Jorge Alves, José Branco, Jude Felton, Kevin “Junk” Kidd, Labrini Gouma, Luís Alves, Luke Hayhurst, Mike Ritchie, Miky Ruta, Mónia Camacho, Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis, Nuno Babo, Rúben Pinho, Rute Gonçalves ADVERTISE email@example.com
I can’t imagine a life without underground record labels and I’m pretty sure neither do you. Those are the guys who do it for the passion and don’t write “business” after “music”, who have a tremendous respect for their catalog even if no one else in the world knows their roster. Because of that, and to pay tribute to the passionate record labels which make our lives a little bit better, we have decided to feature Northern Silence Productions in this month’s cover but I guess it was only because we couldn’t decide which of their six February releases was the coolest one! Torsten, the owner of this fantastic 11 year old label, accepted our challenge and had a real nice conversation with us about his duties, history and his plans for the label. So, this issue is dedicated to all the hard-working guys out there, who really are doing something for the Metal community. We featured Northern Silence Productions but it could have been anyone else. Thank you.
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Formed in 1993, masters of Death Metal Nile have released 3 EPs and 7 fulllength albums, one more brutal and complex than the other. Delivered with a precision that none can match, their music is one of the most technical and fast on the planet. Their themes are taken from Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures, which are perfectly interlaced to evoke a sense of doom and the ten plagues upon us all. I met with Karl Sanders at their arrival in São Paulo (Brazil). INTERVIEW: Miky Ruta // PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of Nuclear Blast
irst of all, thanks for receiving us even though you were held in traffic. It’s a pleasure.
Tomorrow you play for the second time here in São Paulo. What can Brazilian fans expect from your show? They can expect some brutal metal. The show in Curitiba was great, it was last night, there were really some great fans there, and that’s what’s important. How do you choose your set-list? And how are your new songs received by the public? How do we choose our songs? We write them on little pieces of paper, then we put them on the wall and we throw darts on them. What’s the most insane crowd that
you have encountered this year? I think Mexico City was pretty amazing! No! The Metal Fest in Santiago! There were 25000 metal fans out there, and as soon as we started, we could feel the metal in the air(room), the audience was ready! Lot of insanity yeah! Crazy! Big huge pit, there was an ocean of metal fans! You gotta love fans in the show. Given the complexity of your music, I expect that Nile albums are very long to make, where do you get the energy and the inspiration? Coffee! Not alcohol? No, no…we don’t drink when we are recording, just coffee. Very focused. It is a very technical type of music.
You have to be sharp, you need to be on top of it, or else do it again. You play a lot of ethnical instruments, did you learn by yourself or were you thought? Well, for every string instrument with a body and a neck there is a little bit of guitar technique, so you pick up how to make the notes. And for example with a —– which is a Turkish instrument, I listen to a little bit of Turkish music to see what they are doing, and you recognize it, you recognize the pattern and how it fits together, it’s not that tough, it’s not impossible. I think it’s also because you are a very good musician. Let’s talk about your latest album, I personally liked it, but I know pepole did not receive it well, I think that possibly is because of the vocals which are quite different than your previous work. How do you feel about this release? How did the fans reacted to it? I think it has a lot to do with fans expectations, a lot of fans get used to hear one album, and they grow to love it. And when you do something different, they were expecting something else, so, it’s disappointment. If you were expecting a beautiful brunette, but then a blonde shows up, so you can go – Ah, no go away! – or you can enjoy the blonde, you know? What were your influences on how to sing on this vocals, or how were they made on this album? Well, there will always be Death on Nile albums, sometimes we add other elements to give a little bit of colour. There have been different singing on each record, for instance on Black Seeds Of Vengeance there were Arabic singing at the beginning of the record, and some at the end. There were some spoken words, and some actual singing in there to sound more traditional. Each record had a little bit of that, there are a couple of records where we didn’t do too much of it, but we have always done a little bit of it. What were you trying to achieve with “At The Gate Of Sethu”? We really wanted to capture the musicianship that goes with it. When you listen to it, it’s like you are in the band room, listening exactly what we did. Some records they sound monstrously huge, because with modern studio technology you can make anything sound huge, and I just wanted to give people something real. It’s real, it’s new, let’s play it! You can listen to every single note in it. Some people think it’s too clean, I have heard a lot of critics saying – It’s too clean, you should make it dirty again, dirty and heavy like the old stuff. And that’s fine, but for this record that’s what we wanted people to hear.
How do you approach the song writing? With Nile it always starts with the lyrics. I write the lyrics on a papyrus paper. Then I am at home with my guitar, and I look at the lyrics and I think about the music, and what do those words mean to me? What guitar parts can I play to bring those words to life? And that’s how the songs are born. How did you get interested in Egyptology and what other cultures fascinate you? I always had interest in that, then one day when I found myself in a band called Nile, I said – If I were a listener, what would I want to hear from a band called Nile? so, that brought me to do some research, to write some lyrics, and the more I did the research the more the lyrics grew, and it became a kind of a hobby. It’s a very fascinating culture of course. Have you ever been to Egypt? Not yet, we are going in June, it will be our very first time. It will be with a band called Scarabs, which is an ancient Egyptian symbol. Where do you get your sources to write your lyrics? A lot of ancient texts, sometimes the History Channel, which is always good for some sort of stuff. Sometimes the library or the Internet. Do you think that you will always write about Egypt, or are you trying to insert new elements to it? We are always trying to bring new elements to it, where we can, just to bring new interests, but I don’t want to go to far from what to do, again because of the expectations, you gotta give the fans what they want, at least a little bit. In your previous albums your drummers used to sing. Why is George Kollias not singing? George can sing, he has got his solo project where he will do the vocals, but he has been a little lazy. On all the records we always said – George, help us with this, come on sing with us – but he always says no… I think he is a little bit of mic-shy. In 20 years of metal, what are the best moments or the best memories that you have? Haha, there is a lot of them, yeah. Wacken (Festival) in 2003, the other Metal Fest in Chile, that was a big moment, driving home from the studio listening to Annihilation Of The Wicked for the very first time, it was an unforgettable moment. Do you have any plans for 2014? Are you already writing new material? We have started to write a new song; we have a US Tour in April and it will also be our first time in Canada. We have some
European Festivals: Hell Fest, Full Force. And hopefully Egypt, Israel and Russia. Are you ever going to release a DVD? We asked the record company many times, but they’ve never said yes, they tend to say “No” a lot, so unfortunately for now it doesn’t look like. Do you have a favourite album from Nile? Or what is your own favourite work? I don’t know, it’s my own work, so I hate my records! Cos when you listen to the old ones above all, you can listen to every little thing and you always think – I could have done that better, I could have play that differently. But they say that that dissatisfaction that you feel is what makes you work harder and grow as an artist and as a musician. What are your favourite releases from other bands? There was a re-release of Al Green Greatest Hits, Lecherous Nocturne has a new brutal album called Behold Almighty Doctrine, and there is a new album from Gorguts that I really like called Coloured Sands. What is your favourite band that you played with this year? The favourite band…Ah there are so many. Kreator. We did a tour with them and Morbid Angel, they are awesome. What are the good parts and the challenges of having new members coming into the band? The good part is – it’s like getting a new wife. There is always an energy when there is somebody fresh, it makes you feel like – Yeah! Let’s do stuff! Of course with anybody new there is always things that you have to help them learn, they don’t have a lot of experience and that’s a challenge. Sometimes you just want to kill them. It’s like having a new little brother, that’s what it is. Are you happy with the formation of the band as it is today? Sure! They are all very fine musicians! I am very happy with them. Of course there are times where I miss my brothers from the beginnings, but that’s life you know. I had to see them go, but I am happy for them and their projects. Pete Hammoura, the original drummer has just put out a new record called Psychic Spoons, it’s more kind of old fashion hard rock, so very different from before. ‘At The Gate Of Sethu’ is out now on Nuclear Blast www.nile-catacombs.net www.facebook.com/nilecatacombs
tours and future plans expressed by the group, it somehow seems that the long wait is paying off. The album is entitled “The Outcome Of Our Rage”, title that reflects a personal view and experience by the band members, as they would ultimately describe it, “rage is the product of the society we are living in. From the day we are born, rage progressively is developing into hate in small or big portions, eating our souls until the day we lay our bodies into the grave”. When it comes to Romanian Hardcore, one of the names that will always come first to mind will surely be Rock ‘N’ Ghena, a band that has been around for almost 15 years (since 2000) and alongside with a few other notable groups, these people have kept the local HC scene alive and still going, almost by themselves, all through flawless delivery and live performances, thus proving that their motto (“WE NEVER SURRENDER”) isn’t just words. Although being active for so many years, Rock ‘N’ Ghena released their debut material on the 4th of January, 2014. But considering the quality of the record, the
Starting with the single song, “Survival of Self”, the 13 track album continues to implant raw fury in the mind of the listener with some true masterpieces such as “Bloodshed”, “Inner Rage”, “World of Fools”, “Freedom Song” and the last track “My World To Take”. The album also features three tracks interpreted in Romanian: “Dreptul Tau”, “In Fata Mea” and the most notorious one “Implica-te” featuring Sebastian Cosmineanu aka Aliosha, vocalist in another HC icon from the scene, “H8”. A notable aspect regarding “The Outcome Of Our Rage” is the DIY (do it yourself)
characteristic, having the album artwork and video production (for “Survival of Self” song) done by brothers Calin & Razvan Raduta, both members of H8 & Cap De Craniu, the sound engineering and production was performed by Rock ‘N’ Ghena guitarist Rares Savischi and the same Razvan Raduta. Every song begins with an interlude from well-known movies like Scarface, Rambo, The Godfather or The Breakfast Club to name but a few; fact that emphasizes the idea and theme behind every song. Throughout their existence Rock ‘N’ Ghena have expressed, year in and year out, that their driven passion remains untouched and unbroken, the release of “The Outcome of Our Rage” being an obvious evidence which indicates a continuous dedication towards their music, probably even stronger than the early days, stating that “We are born hardcore, we live hardcore and we will die hardcore”. [Kevin “Junk” Kidd]
Here’s a little bit of music history for those who don’t know, in a nutshell “Stoner Rock” emerged from the early 90’s and it’s a very complex and digestible genre that combines traditional heavy metal, psychedelic/acid rock and blues as well as doom metal, while lyrically it can approach any sort of theme. The genre finally broke out of the underground and hit mainstream attention several years ago, thus the world wide stoner scene is being more and more populated by bands and fans alike. In Romania, the band that started the stoner “movement” is definitely RoadkillSoda, an actual super-group, formed by experienced members from well known bands in the local
scene. The idea to form the band came after a jam session between Mihnea (guitar) and Para (drums) back in late 2010, and almost three years later, with a complete line-up, RoadkillSoda would release their debut album entitled “Oven Sun”, which was received with overwhelming positive feedback. RoadkillSoda describe their music as “the reflection of the 70s American hawk, of the dusty Dodge, ragged T-shirts, tattoos, beards, booze, naked chicks and good vibes”, and after listening to “Oven Sun” and seeing them perform, you can easily taste the retro flavor that characterizes their sound, the hypnotizing psychedelic and desert rock vibes and the rebel aspect due to the actual tattoos, beards and overall image. Brothers Mihnea and Victor Ferezan (bass guitar) have had a pretty long music history together, besides RoadkillSoda they also played in bands like Tep Zepi, M-51 or The Fuzzenties, therefore chemistry wise these dudes are on the level, with Mihnea having no problem to be the only guitarist in the band, he’s capable of delivering both smooth bluesy licks and hard rock riffs, backed by Victor’s sludgy bass noise. Already known for his work in Mediocracy, Traum or Environments, drummer Alex “Para” Ghita certainly possesses the skill
to bring the quake behind the set and while vocalist Sebastian Stancu already proved he can growl, scream and squeal in his Grindcore/ Death Metal act, Spiritual Ravishment, the man now succeeded in showing the quality in his cleans also. Regarding the “Oven Sun” album, according to Roadkillsoda, this 10 track piece “embodies the experiences of a man who wakes up in the middle of nowhere, bound to wonder and to take in both the good and the bad [...] The “happy-end” is depicted through sorrow, despair and bleak scenarios carried out with a mask displaying a caddish grin, an attitude that fittingly sums up “Oven Sun” by one line – “F**k’em with a smile”. From my point of view, it’s nothing but good thoughts and hands down towards the bands that can release material with a well thought out theme, furthermore taking the time to explain the ideas behind their music. I certainly believe that these small things make the respective record more interesting, exciting and understandable. And after mentioning “interesting” and “exciting”, RoadkillSoda are preparing their 2nd release this fall. Stay in touch! Rock on! [Kevin “Junk” Kidd]
Founded in 2003, Germany based record label Northern Silence Productions has released some high quality records over the years and after listening to their upcoming February releases we just knew we had to do something about them for this month’s issue. We invited Northern Silence Productions’ owner Torsten to share his wisdom and passion for the underground scene.
Interview: Joel Costa / Photography: Courtesy of NSP
hat drove you to create Northern Silence Productions and to which extent have you accomplished your initial goals? Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts! There are two main reasons why Northern Silence came into being. One is that Metal is an important part of my life since age 13 and I wanted to not just work in a job that has to do with Metal but also to have a small but real influence on the scene by releasing albums that I like, helping these bands to spread their music, and helping people to get the music they like from a reliable and trustworthy mailorder. The continuing success of both label and mailorder show me that I must be doing something right. I take pride in doing a job well and I’m very grateful to the bands who allow me to release their music, as well as the customers who decide again and again to order from Northern Silence instead of one of the hundreds of alternatives out there. A label and mailorder would be nothing without them and this is something I never forget. The other reason is that I’m a very solitary and strong-willed person. Neither do I like telling people what to do nor being told by others what to do. I also work best when alone, when I do most or all things myself and when I’m in total control. So a regular job would be extremely unsatisfactory for me for several reasons. Even if I didn’t have a faible for Metal in general and the label work in particular, I’d have at least or one two other options to make my living without depending on an employer. I guess it’s a matter of personality. Like everything it has its merits and also its drawbacks. And what was the band or album that made you say “This is what I want to do!”? There hasn’t been one particular album, not even a moment when I consciously decided that my life would change direction. Things have always been falling into place for me so I go with the flow and just try to do my best under all circumstances, good and not so good. How much time do you dedicate to your label’s activity? Is this a full-time job for you? It’s a full time job since 10 years. In the past I often used to work 60-70 hours a week but that was when the label and mailorder still needed to be watered a lot in order to grow, so to speak. At
the moment I’m working perhaps 50 hours a week, a bit more when new albums are released, a bit less during the summer months when many people visit festivals instead of ordering stuff through the internet. Good for me because I like the sun and spending time in nature when it’s warm outside, instead of the office or warehouse. How do you describe your relationship with other record labels? And would you say the underground scene has some rivalries between labels or is it the exact opposite? I’m getting along very well with other labels who work professionally, despite that fact that most are underground labels like Northern Silence. As long as the people behind these labels are trustworthy, careful as to how they do their job, and don’t fish in foreign waters (continuously try to lure bands away from other labels), the cooperation is beneficial for all parties. Rivalries are a part of life but for me it’s “live and let live”. It’s normal that bands sometimes sign with bigger labels in order to become more successful and well-known, as happened when Valkyrja or Darkest Era signed with Metal Blade, or recently The Flight Of Sleipnir with Napalm Records, and I’d never begrudge them that if it happens in a fair and honest manner. There are enough good bands out there for all labels. You first released Endstille’s “Frühlingserwachen” LP, which are now signed by Season Of Mist. What are your feelings towards this release 11 years after? It was an important release because it started the success story of Northern Silence, if you will. I’ve been lucky that early on I got the chance to release some relatively important (by underground standards) albums. The year after saw the vinyl releases of “Brave Murder Day” by Katatonia (originally released in 1996 via Avantgarde Music) and your first cooperation with Nasheim. Why have you decided to work with Katatonia? And how would you describe your relationship with Nasheim since you work with that project since 2004? The old Katatonia have been, and I suppose still are, the most important band for me personally (besides King Diamond and Mercyful Fate), and their “Dance of December Souls” album will forever be my No.1 fave when it comes to music, not just Metal. “Brave Murder Day”, while not as brilliant as “DoDS”, was still an excellent album and I was honoured when I managed to get the vinyl license for Northern Silence. The Katatonia tribute that was released later, and features excellent covers from some rather well known underground acts, was another way to show my appreciation of Katatonia’s early works. The relationship with Nasheim is as it should be. We work together in a professional manner. Despite the years of “apparent” inactivity, when Erik worked in silence on the new album, the cooperation is as good and fluent as it always was and I like to think that it’s beneficial for both Nasheim and Northern Silence.
You have also released a split with Angmar and Alcest. What’s your opinion on Alcest’s music nowadays? Have you heard their new album? Neige is one of the rare musicians who are able to create great music no matter the actual style. I haven’t followed the development of Alcest very closely after the “Souvenir’s” album which I was honoured to release on vinyl, simply because my main focus is first and foremost on my own releases. Since I don’t listen to music all day long and I like what “my” bands create, this is often what’s playing in my car, besides the occasional classic. What are your biggest regrets? Are you the kind of guy who regrets to have released something? We all make mistakes and they’re an important part of life, because that is how we learn the most. Without the mistakes some good things may not have happened so I can’t say that I regret anything. As incarnated humans we don’t see the full picture that we would from a higher self perspective, and so I think we shouldn’t judge the individual pieces of the puzzle until they have all been arranged at the end of each journey. February will be a very busy month with 6 records to be released. The funny fact here is that every single one of them is a solo-project. Is this a coincidence or what? It’s a coincidence but perhaps shows the development in the scene towards more individualism. Or maybe I draw these individuals to me because I work independently from others, too. The only thing that matters, though, is the end result. For how much more time do you see yourself doing this? Who knows? As long as I like it better than doing anything else for a living. Tell me about your plans for the future. Approximately in May 2014 I’ll release one of the greastest classic Doom Metal albums ever (for me personally, but others may think so too), the debut from German band – to be announced soon. In moments like that when I got this album, when it turned out that I can be the one to release it, and in the weeks during which it worked its magic on me, in such moments I almost feel a kind of bliss, that I can do what I do, and that my life is going in the direction that was planned before I incarnated this time around. So I’m very glad to tell you that while the future is not set in stone, there are great things in the works, like the Gallowbraid debut full length, new material from Caladan Brood, new albums from Belenos, Heretoir, Soror Dolorosa, Angantyr and all those who can’t be named here because I already exceeded the available space. Thank you very much for your support, good luck with future issues of AGAINST and greetings to your readers! www.northern-silence.de
irst of all, congratulations for this new album “As the Stars”, it blew me away like Woods of Desolation always has done. Three years without releasing anything new – only a compilation… Was it a time of reflection or was “As the Stars” always in your mind? Thank you. Well, during this period there was always some sort of musical activity going on, if not necessarily related to Woods of Desolation. There was an entire Grey Waters album I wrote and we never finished, plus new project ideas, unfinished demo recordings etc – so in 2013 I decided to just compile the more interesting tracks I wrote during this period and start work on the album that became “As the Stars”. Perhaps the gap between albums was too long for some, leading some to start misinformed rumours of WOD breaking up, but releasing albums for the sake of it has never been what this is about. I think I’m able to say I’m a connoisseur of your work regarding Woods of Desolation. I figured this album evolved the whole thing into something more post-rock and sometimes a little shoegaze. Was it clearly your intention from the beginning? I can’t say there has ever been a conscious plan to incorporate specific genres into my work – it has just been a natural evolution of my writing. The guitar lead work has always been something I’ve wanted to incorporate, but had to be left out to make room for other elements in recording – on this record however, I did not hold back on recording what I had in mind. In fact the entire album was intentionally meant to be driven by my guitar work. Are you leaving behind the depressive black metal labelling? At least for me, I don’t consider this album a depressive one in its full body… Again, I never intentionally tried to make “depressive black metal” in the past, it is just something others have used to describe my music, personally I wouldn’t use this label, but perhaps others feel the need to and that’s their prerogative. I will always follow whatever path comes naturally. Once the musical direction has changed
a bit, what do you have to say about the lyrical concept? Yes, the lyrical direction has seen a change. The album generally centre’s around the concept of the separation of soul and body and the question of the possibility of a souls’ immortality. The lyrics are rather metaphorical and not included to read. I encourage listeners to a deeper listening experience to draw their own conclusions on what they feel and think I might be trying to convey. The lyrics also feature a contribution from Old with “Withering Field”, but I can’t comment on the ideas behind his lyrics, which should be left up to him, but I know he put a lot into them – which you can hear during his vocal performance on that track. The echoed lead guitars have more influence than ever before having an important role to transmit us the song’s feeling. Do you think it was the biggest achievement in “As the Stars”? As mentioned above, I did not hold anything back when recording my guitar parts. I allowed time to try all possibilities instead of either rushing a part or simply not including it. I’m quite pleased to have been able to do this and create the record I wanted to make. Talking about your guests… Luke Mills (Nazxul) and Old (Drohtnung) are fellow Australians of yours, and it took me by surprise when I found that Vlad (Drudkh, from Ukraine) was your guest. Why him? Did both of you have to travel in order to record and rehearse or everything was done separately? It was all done separately. The guidelines were created here, but I also allowed Vlad the creative freedom to add any extra parts he wanted in the studio. It was an honor to have him participate. Everything worked out very smoothly without any alterations or editing needed whatsoever. Vlad is certainly one of the most committed and reliable drummers I’ve worked with. Is that a personal goal to work with different musicians each time you have an album to be released? Or would we have Tim Yatras (Germ) in a Woods of Desolation’s album again? I’ve never deliberately strived to have a new line-up on each album; it is just
something that has occurred, but it doesn’t bother me. However, I have offered Old the position of guest vocalist again if he wants it, so I do not think there is a possibility of seeing Tim on a WOD album again. You’ve worked with Tim and Desolate, the guys who were Austere. Both Woods of Desolation and Austere were founded in 2005, but W.o.D. has prevailed. I see them, along with Drowning the Light, as Australia’s black metal maximum exponent. How bad it was for the scene to lose such a band? I think Austere had some strong material and when Mitch asked me to join to help write for the ill-fated 3rd full-length, I of course accepted, but it was not to be unfortunately. Everyone has gone on to do their own respective thing and that’s fine. There is no use going into any reasons behind it, if it’s time to dissolve a band, it’s time to dissolve a band, you just have to let it be and be thankful for what the band created – and I think there’s plenty of fans that are. Woods of Desolation has kept connected with the European label Northern Silence Productions. Of course now there’s Internet, but I guess it’s an important bridge and partnership allowing you to spread your music widely… Is it? Being so geographically isolated from the rest of the world in Australia, it certainly helps having a European label to handle releases.
Black metal and atmosphere connect with darkness and night. With that album title, are you trying to somehow transform the concept by pulling the sorrow and loneliness into the daylight instead of night? Actually, the title “Solens Vemod” – that means, roughly, “the melancholy of the sun” – does have a connection to night in a way. Where I live, in northern Sweden, we have really bright nights in summer. The title refers to the strange, melancholic feeling of walking around in the middle of the night, when everything is still and quiet and no people are around, yet it’s more or less daylight outside. It’s a very particular atmosphere, which was a source of musical and lyrical inspiration for me at the time. The phrase actually appears as a line in the lyrics of an earlier Nasheim song, ”Lidelse/lidande”. If there’s any, what’s the role of a melancholic sun in the flowing of the album? It’s not that the sun actually plays a part in the lyrics or anything. There is a certain atmosphere and feeling that inspired some of the songs early in the writing process and that I tried to capture. According to you, the making of “Solens Vemod” was painful and sporadic. Do you want to share with us why? Painful seems to be a deep feeling… It was really painful indeed. For the past six or seven years I have been thinking about and agonizing over this album constantly, every day. I am very difficult to work with, and I work only with myself, so... Because I constantly distrust my own abilities and secondguess my decisions all the time. The album has laid dormant in various states of 90-95% completion for years, yet I could not bring myself to finish the few things that needed to be done. I eventually got to a point where I had built huge mental blocks for myself, where I was so disappointed with the current state of the project that whenever I tried to force myself to work on it I was overwhelmed and felt only disgust towards it. I would open up the project in my DAW, stare at it, press some buttons and push some faders up and down and just close it down in disgust because it was so far from matching my vision; how I wanted the album to be in my head. For a long time, there was no joy or creativity in it, just anxiety and doing joyless busywork over and over. Mixing and re-mixing, recording and re-recording, doing this and that, fiddling with details to-and-fro for what seemed like eternity. Finally, in the autumn of 2013, I had a short burst of “let’s-just-get
this-fucking-thing-done-already” spirit and got the final loose ends tied up in a matter of days. It was so easy when I actually did it, yet so terribly hard to get myself in a mental state where I could stomach the thought. The relief now, of having the CD in my hands, of getting this off my back – and actually being quite happy with the end result, after all – is really amazing. From what I’ve read it seems you have struggled with the real identity you wanted to give to Nasheim. Are you able to say that you finally find it in “Solens Vemod”? Yes, I think this album is for the most part pure and true to the vision I have for Nasheim these days, but more importantly, I feel like I’ve translated the vision into a recording better than I have in the past. I am happy with songwriting and ideas of the old stuff for the most part, but in the past there was always a mundane technical detail or other that let the vision down in the end. For example, “Sövande Mjöd Vill Jag Tömma” is probably the best thing I’ve written thus far, but there are a lot of little things in the performance and production that annoy me when I listen to it. I am a perfectionist, but there usually comes a point where I have to realize I myself am not perfect and that it is therefore unreasonable to strive for perfection. That’s partially why writing and recording for Nasheim is so painful for me. But this time – although it took something like seven years – I’m pretty much happy with the end result and the extent to which it matches my vision. Some material in the album has 6 years. There are any signifying mutations they suffered you want to tell? The songs have actually changed remarkably little throughout the years. I’ve fixed and changed things here and there. A detail I’ll mention is that the end crescendo part of ”En nyckel till drömmars grind” is more or less new; ”new” in this case meaning I probably wrote most of it in 2011 or so – I can’t remember. It was never really finished in the original demo version of the song, there used to be some really bad placeholder stuff in its place. Now it is one of my favourite parts of the album musically. Anyway: a great problem with working on something for such a long time is that after a while, you’re no longer the same person who wrote the original material. I’ve changed a lot as a person since 2006 or 2007 when I wrote the first material for what would become ”Solens Vemod”. And changing the
material to better reflect who you are today, though tempting, is a very treacherous thing, because you risk losing that original spirit, the original intent of the songs. So what I had to do was trust in my past self, even when I had forgotten what my intent was when writing a particular part, and just record it the way I originally wrote it. This means that the me that exists today may not be very satisfied with some parts of the music or, especially, the lyrics, but if I kept revising it, the album would literally never have been finished. There comes a point where you have to draw the line and say the album is – as software developers say – ”feature complete”. Only after 13 years after Nasheim’s foundation we have a debut. Can you assure this is a new chapter in order to please us with forthcoming full-lengths? I’ve learned my lesson and will not assure anyone of anything again when it comes to Nasheim. With that said, yes, I have a new album planned and there is new material for it partially written. Whether it will come out next year or in 2025 (or indeed at all) I won’t speculate on, because it would be just that – pure speculation. Being the band’s remaining member, and main visionary I must add, can you say it became easier to spread your affinity with northern nature and culture outfitted as Nasheim? Being alone with Nasheim is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I would not appreciate or tolerate the input of others in Nasheim, with very few exceptions – I listen to the opinions of Mikael to some extent – since it the most personal thing in my life, something that is extremely close to my heart. A curse mainly because I have no one to kick me in the butt or encourage me when I need it. That said, it’s not certain that Nasheim will remain a solo project forever. Mikael and me started the band with a shared vision. Although he was not on this album, we are still close friends and he is still there ”in spirit.” Mikael ”left” the band due to a mutual agreement that he had nothing to add to Nasheim at the time – he also lived quite far apart from me, which made it hard to meet to work on Nasheim. That will change, though, since I’ve recently bought a house in a village very close to where he lives, so I would not rule out working together again in the future.
t what point in your life did you decided to create Coldun and what feelings motivated you to do it? Coldun was founded in 2006, when I recognized more and more that I needed some musically playground besides the bands I played in from the extreme metal side to express the doomy and calmer voices in my head. So the first songs came to the light of day and later formed the debut album of Coldun. In which ways is “Collapsing Polarities” a step further when compared to your debut “Necessariis? Dubiis? Caritas?” For me it’s a big step further in many directions. The debut was very doom metal influenced and from the whole colour of the music more gloomier. The new album is a lot more open and shows the progress I have made in some aspects – personnel aspects, which reflects mainly in the lyrics and musically aspects. And I think there are also progresses of my skills - from expressing feelings in music to optimizing the recording process. This all feels a lot more mature to me. This is your solo project and you play all instruments. Do you think Coldun could benefit with some outside input or will keep doing everything your way? That’s a good question to many solo-projects. For sure Coldun could also benefit with some outside input but it also makes the think a bit more difficult to express my vision. Maybe the impulse to change Coldun in this direction will come some day but ‘till now I’m happy about the way it is. Will you perform live with Coldun, maybe with some live guests? Maybe this could be possible in the future but in short term it’s not planned. Coldun is being promoted without back-
ground information. Why have you chose to stay, let’s say, anonymous? Do you have a criminal record or what? haha I played metal music now for long years in bands and specific subgenres but don’t want the new stuff from Coldun to be put in a preconceived direction. It’s a whole separate thing and stands for its own, so the label and I decided to do the promotion in that way. What is like to record an album all by yourself and what do you feel about it now that everything is done? It’s a destroying and wonderful journey at the same time. You can learn a lot about yourself and about the way of making music and recording layers over layers to create a sound that you hear only in your head, ‘till finally the new child is born and the pain but also the joy of growing fades. That’s where I am now – haha… What’s the theme behind the album title? The lyrics are about a range from spiritual progress to some philosophic thought experiments in general. The overall theme is maybe the aspect of zooming out of the everyday life problems and to get a wider view of life, death, men, gods and meaning in general. It’s the title phenomenon – if we zoom out of our narrowed point of view, we see all polarities collapsing. What bands left their mark on you, when you were creating Coldun? That’s really hard to say for me. I was asked a lot about that – also in interviews or review-requests but can not really say it with some clear directions. There are bands I listen to for long years now, for example Spiritual Beggars, BLS, Warning, Neurosis or till Bathory or Solstafir, but for sure also the metal scene from the 80ies and the rock and psychedelic bands of the 70’s.
You were the lead singer of a German Pagan Metal band. How do you compare the writing sessions between that band and C oldun? Which one makes you happier about your creativity? These are two kinds of creating music, that both have the ability to make me happy. Maybe the own creativity is more requested in the solo-project but from the magic, when music is born between a bunch of musicians, I probably can’t abstain. So, just to end our interview, what can our readers expect from your new album? And what will you do now? The reader can expect cinematic soundscapes between doomrock and metal. Make your own picture on the albumtrailer via youtube www.youtube.com/ watch?v=CJAlThl4GJs. There the whole album is introduced. Now I wait for the release on February 14th and hope some people like the album. Thanks!
www.coldun.de www.coldun.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/coldunmusic
lor is a very recent project so there’s not much information out there yet. What can you tell us about your musician journey? Were you previously involved with other bands? Yes, I had a previous Dark Ambient/Black Metal project called Lyset with Atroz, from Funeror, Autolisis and Suicide Movement, but we abandoned it. I have also been in some bands, but it was just for fun, nothing serious. What motivated you to start this project? And are you pleased with the way your first album turned out? I had been planning to start a neofolkish project for a long time before starting Alor, as I wanted to play music focused on beauty, nature and, of course, on my own beliefs, and I think Neofolk is the perfect sound for this. I could say too that I was a bit tired of Black Metal and all the clichés it has and I wanted to do something completely different. I thought through this idea during some months and I finally recorded some tracks of acoustic music, which were the beginning of Alor. You seem to do your music with a lot of passion. What does inspire you to compose
Neofolk/Atmospheric songs? There are a lot of inspiring elements behind my music. The place where I live is one of the most important ones, as Galicia has an ancestral, celtic-rooted tradition related to nature and the ocean, besides being a region with a plenty of forests and mountains and rainy climate. Literature and painting are very important too: writers and poets like Tolkien and Erik Gustaf Geijer influence on my music a lot, as well as Theodor Kittelsen does with his paintings. Mythology and old languages are also hugely important to me. On the other hand, musically, the influence of bands like Agalloch, Ulver and Empyrium is obvious. Your lyrics are heavily influenced by Nature. Do you think people show enough respect for Nature? Definitely they don’t. We think that the Earth belongs to us because we transform it as we want, but we shouldn’t forget that Mother Nature created us and it can destroy us. We destroy whole ecosystems, we cut down whole forests, we pollute the seas and the air, we don’t respect Nature and we think there won’t be consequences. However, the nature cycle won’t allow this much more... in fact, I think it is starting to happen and the damage we dealt to our planet is starting to turn against us, the climate change and
all the recent eathquackes, hurricanes and tsunamis are actually a proof, I think. Fortunately, we can still stop it if we are smart. Is Mankind really doomed? Well, I think this question is partially answered above. Anyway, I don’t think Mankind is completely doomed (yet), we can stop what we are doing and start being conscious of the damage we are dealing to our planet and Nature will not turn against us. We are our own threat, if we don’t respect Nature, its cycle will cleanse the Earth of us. How did you decide to team up with Feigr for the vocals on “Näcken” and the poet Erik Johan Stagnelius for the lyrics? I chose the poem “Näcken” because I think it means a lot for every artist, since the näcken symbolizes the typical misunderstood artist. The rhyme of the poem is wonderful, as well. Feigr offered to record the vocals, as I needed someone who could speak Swedish, and he did a great work. You do everything by yourself here, right? Do you think if you had other musicians working with you Alor would lose this freedom feeling we sense when listening to your compositions?
I do everything, yes, but I think Alor would be basically the same if more people worked with me. I don’t discard to play with more musicians in the future, but I do know that I would compose the main part of the songs. Maybe this sounds a bit arrogant, but the only purpose of it is that I have a defined idea of what Alor is and will be, and I don’t want it to change in a essential way. Of course, there would be different elements and a slightly different sound, as all the other musicians would add their own brushstrokes and styles. I think it would be more a sound change rather than a composition one. Alor wouldn’t lose that feeling, but it would have a richer sound. You’re from Galicia so you must have a Celtic influence. How important is religion and tradition for you? Can you tell us about your spiritual beliefs? Yes, Celtic influence is important in Alor too. Galicia is a land of ancestral traditions, inherited of all the ancient cultures that stayed in our land, like Celtic, Roman, German or Arabian cultures. This makes our tradition very rich and diverse. However, Galician people have a strong Celtic feeling, which can be found even in our national anthem. This is important to me and it takes part in Alor, too. The logo, for example, has a Celtic triskelion,
which symbolizes the cycle of life and Nature. This is related with my spiritual beliefs, as I am a pantheist. I don’t believe in any god or divinity, but I consider Nature as the only creator power or energy. Nature created us and will destroy us and we are born from the material of past beings and our material will become future beings when we die. That is the only spiritual beliefs I defend and I am against christianity, islam, judaism and every other imposing religion that is against knowledge and progress. What you can tell us about the Metal scene in Spain? Do you feel a part of it? The mainstream Metal scene in Spain is very poor if you compare it to another countries like USA, England or Germany, for example. There are some great bands, though, like Northland or Angelus Apatrida. I think our scene is focused on classic Metal, there are a plenty of Heavy Metal bands, but personally I don’t like them very much. I find it a bit strange that we don’t have a solid Black Metal scene, since Spain has been almost a catholic domain since the Middle Ages and the Vatican has yet too much power here. I do feel a part of our quality underground scene, which is vast and has many good bands.
What does the future holds for Alor? Well, it remains to be seen, but I can say that at least the next 2 recordings will be released by NSP. Also, “Haerfest” is the first of four recordings which will feature the four seasons, being “Wentruz” (winter) the next one. Like “Haerfest”, the following 3 works will feature artworks by Kittelsen. Perhaps more musicians will join Alor in the future and maybe there would be possible to play live then, I have no idea at all. Time will tell.
ow did you personally end up getting into metal? In the late 90’s, there wasn’t a Youtube to throw metal in your face and pull up similar artists for one to peruse. I always liked harder music and had to go by the cover art and logo, pickings were sparse because this type of music was circulated much less. Thank you lists lead to more bands and finally, after a few years I was able to find small shops and underground magazines. Ered Wethrin was started in 2004 but your first full-lenght comes only 10 years after. What took you so long? Problems with having a solid studio to back the project. Many times have I recorded half an album to have to start over later. Now that I have a decent set-up I don’t have to rely on meetings and other peoples hardware. I’ve read that you consider the riffs to be more important than the structure of the music. Can you elaborate on that? Stucture is obviously important, but I think that each riff should go beyond just being a filler (or glue) and I definitely like to see structure bend knee to where the music can take it, while trying (for the most part) to maintain some balance as a whole. I think it’s easy to see why I have and sometimes prefer longer songs with that simple explanation. I also really love a great 1st time riff near the ending of longer songs, songs that don’t make you feel as if you’ve pretty much listened to the first half of the song twice. What influenced you to start with Ered Wethrin and to record this album in particular? You also cite Burzum as a musical influence. Are you, just like Varg Vikernes, a fan of Tolkien’s writings? Absolutely as that is where the name is derived from. It was a love for atmospheric black metal that really pushed me to start Ered Wethrin. I picked up other
elements pretty early along the way, such as some slow melodic leads, many symphonic parts and always with a flare for the epic. Taking into account that you play all instruments and record everything on your own, what was the writing process for this album like? Very quick paced and flowing. I knew where I was going with half of the songs and I had many other riffs catalogued that were also used in the album. Also, the excitement of the new studio… it was hard not to be making music constantly. Post production was supposed to go a little differently, I had an engineer to master the album and with three weeks until my deadline, they disappeared from the face of the planet. So, I spent those next three weeks pulling my hair out, learning how to master and giving it my all. Turns out the release date got pushed back four months anyway. Since you’re active for 10 years now, I guess you have been composing and trying different things over the years. How do you feel about your first compositions for the project? And are we listening to some of them on “Tides of War”? Tides of War uses material from 2007 and on. Only Realm of the Tyrant and Stellar Graveyard were written as a whole in 2013. Fans may hear some reworked older recordings in the future, either as bonus tracks or some sort of EP or perhaps a vinyl release because I definitely feel most the riffs/songs can still be enjoyed even all these years later when I occasionally take a trip to the past. Will you recycle material for an upcoming record or start from scratch? My next album is about 80% complete and currently does not feature any recycled works. Maybe as a bonus track, as stated above, but that depends on the total length and feel of everything.
Do you have interest on what media has to say about the album? Are you looking forward to read their reviews? There is some interest, initially the music is made for myself to really enjoy personally and then I try to finish up the odds and ends for hopes that anyone who would share in its enjoyment, can. If the album does well for the label, then I won’t have to worry about a future home for EW as well. I do find it entertaining how contrasting some reviews can be though, where the reviewers will say the exact opposite things. Tell me about your plans for the future… The next album is getting musically finished up and fans can expect both the epic and atmospheric dials turned up a couple notches, while having a slightly colder guitar approach then is present on ToW. I will be conscripting some truly awesome and fitting artwork to match the cold and epic feeling of the works (more based on elements from Horus Heresy novels this time around). So, if you enjoy ToW, keep an eye out down the road, because I’m definitely proud of what’s to come.
ongratulations on “Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga”. How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it yet? Thank you very much! Well, I did not expect to explain it since I never claimed that the album had to be liked by every kind of listeners, because with this project I wanted to create something “only for Tolkien fans” and deep connoisseurs of the genre. However, for those who don’t know the genre of Epic Black Metal, most of the sound comes from the black metal of 90s, cold and fuzzy guitars united to the sounds of kolossal/fantasy movies of the 80s, magic atmospheres of an ancient land, epic melodies of battles and tragic moments, united to my sensibility for Tolkien’s incredible universe. I suggest everyone to read the book, to understand better what I mean. Emyn Muil is part of your master project called “Naturm Music Projects”. Could you explain us how does this works? Exactly, Emyn Muil is one part of the Master Project called “Nartum Music Projects” (now NMP), which is my personal way to express that part of music I’d like to listen to. I can say that NMP is divided into 5 projects, each one represents one of my genre, world and sensibility toward a particular theme / universe, in this case the purpose of Emyn Muil is to give my omage to one of these worlds, the Tolkien’s world, whereof I am very affectionate. The other projects are Ymir (2008) and Valtyr (2011). Two more projects are planned for the years to come. How much weight do Emyn Muil have on NMP? Well, surely I can say that is my most ambitious work, musically and artistically, so naturally I consider it as the masterpiece of my entire production, but without underestimate the others, because each project is important to me as part of myself. Emyn Muil is heavy influenced on Tolkien’s Middle-earth. What do you like most about J. R. R. Tolkien’s world? The ability to drag the reader into a fantastic and epic world, the ability to make it possible, real and desirable. The passion for history and obsessive attention to details make his works worthy to be fully lived. And, in my personal opinion, he had the ability to make me want living another life, far from this crazy world. I found myself in his works, that’s enough. Was it hard to convert a book into music?
What were the most difficult challenges as far as the writing process goes? The most difficult challenge is to be at the same level of the book, definitely! But Is not simple to explain, because each one tend to approach the book in different ways. I simply tried to bring my emotions and feelings into music, to tell the story with the same epicness I felt. Initially I wanted to create each track as “chapter”, like a sort of “musical book”, but then I realized that I was too much bound to the storytelling, so I preferred to make myself a little bit free, focusing the album on most important events of the novel, not necessarily in chronological order. What is the most common theme on this record? I mean, which book or part of the story did you decide to explore more? For the debut album I wanted to be focused on one of the most exciting and deep stories of Tolkien’s lore, “The Children Of Hurin”. There are not many bands that have treated this novel, but Túrin is a so fascinating character and his story so sad and thrilling. I lived his path through the story and I felt the need to give my contribute to this great character and his author. Besides Tolkien, who would you cite as an influence for you? Literally Tolkien is the only source of inspiration, musically of course I was mostly inspired by Summoning because I believe they are the most representatives of this genre with their unique style of music, other bands are surely Windir, Arathorn and Lord Wind. What are your thoughts on the “Lord Of The Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies? Are you a fan of the film adaptations? First of all for me it’s impossible to make such films without cutting out some important characters (Tom Bombadil for example), so, putting aside these cinematic needs, I surely can say that I love and respect what Peter Jackson did with Lord Of The Rings, because I felt all his passion for the book. On the other hand The Hobbit film did not give me the same impression, obviously is far from the seriousness and maturity of LOTR because Tolkien wrote this book for his children, but, in my very honest opinion, I noticed some things I did not like, as a banal screenplay and the “always need” to put a love-story where there is not. Don’t know, I see it more like a commercial operation. For me, LOTR remains insuperable even for Peter Jackson himself. Musically and lyrically speaking, will you keep this approach in future records or do
you already have something different in mind? I want Emyn Muil to be a bard of Tolkien’s world, so yes, I think to keep this kind of approach in future, I want to tell more about the first age of Beleriand, so for the next releases I will be focused on single stories or events from Silmarillon. Hardly I will make an album on Lord of the Rings, or a mix of different tracks about different stories. You play all instruments. When you start your recording sessions do you already know how everything will sound or do you try different things while recording? I always have a clear idea about the kind of sound I’m looking for, but is not ever simple to recreate it in studio, almost always a record sounds different from my early idea, and I have to work on it more and more times before reaching the nearest result to what I have in mind. What does the future holds for Emyn Muil? I hope to re-release the album also on vinyl with Northern Silence Productions, that would be a great result for me! In the meantime I’m planning to release a second album, or maybe a single first (I’ve not decided yet), it depends on my time after work. Any last comments for our readers? I want to thanks all my fans that have supported me from the beginning with my handmade production! Thank you for the interview and consideration, and thanks those people who have arrived at the end of it! Greetings all!
he “Rock Opera Unveiled” tour has just finished. How did the tour go? What is the main purpose behind this tour? I ask this because some time ago it was announced that Therion would not make a tour for many years and would focus only on the writing of the Rock Opera. Great. We felt we had to test some of the material on our fans to see if we were on the right track or not. You played five new songs from the forthcoming Rock Opera release. How were the fans’ reaction to the new songs? 99% positive. Seems like we’re on the right track. Can you shed a bit of light into this intriguing new release? How are the songs
sounding right now and what will be the musical direction of this Rock Opera? It’s not a ”new release”, it’s something to stage. Compare with Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and similar. You don’t refer to it as a CD even if there are several recordings of it available on CD. Of course we will record it as well and make available on both CD and DVD, but the idea with a rock opera is to stage it. So that’s something quite challenging to stage this Rock Opera. Can you tell us what are you envisioning for this kind of musical play? What can the fans expect from it? We haven’t started to work on the actual staging yet, right now we work on the story and the music. Then we will see what possibilities and options we have when we
have finished with that. The thought is to perform it on small theaters. What is the lyrical concept behind it? It is inspired by and partly based upon Vladimir Solovjov’s ”A short tale of Antichrist”. Will it be a regular album? Any planned released dates? As already mentioned, it’s not an album we’re working on. When we’re finished is hard to say and when an audio release of it will be available is impossible to say. You played “Vovin” in its entirety in this tour. Why “Vovin” and how were the reactions of the several audiences to it? All reactions were really good. It’s partly a very slow and moody album, so it was a bold move to open up with it, but it
seemed people enjoyed it a lot.
Vovin was our best selling album ever and established the band as we know it. It opened so many doors for the band and made possible all the crazy recordings we did there after like using 171 musicians and singers on Lemuria and Sirius B.
Your previous release “Les Fleurs du Mal” was a album a bit different from what isa typical Therion release. You also took quite a bit of risks by releasing “Les Fleurs du Mal” through your own label. Now that the fans have “digested” it, canyou make a balance of the outcome of this album? Of course it’s different, it’s a cover album. I like taking risks and in the end it turned out really good. I recovered my cash and evenmade some profit that I directed back into the project making new thinking original videoclips like Mon Amour Mon Ami.
Therion will also release a new DVD soon through Nuclear Blast. What can you tell us about it? It will contain two shows. One from the 20 year anniversary tour 2007, where we performed the entire Theli album, some unusual songs and having fun guest appearances on stage. The other one was ProgPower 2011. Then there’s tons of fun bonus material as well. Therion’s current line up seems quite stable now and the band members look like they’re quite united and having fun onstage. What’s the overall feeling within the band and what are the coming challenges for this lineup? We’re all having a great time and we have fun both playing live and recording together. I don’t see any particular challenges related to the line-up, but as a band disregarding who’s in it, we of course have a great challenge making this rock opera something breath-taking and memorable. Indeed, throughout Therion’s history you have dealt with several line-up changes. How hard was it for you to deal with these constant changes and keep Therion on the “right track”? How difficult was it to find the right musicians to take the band forward? It was never a problem as it was always about my vision. I always managed to find the right people at the right time, it’s almost like it was meant by fate to be like this. You had a bad experience in the Lisbon Dark Fest. I know you’ve sued the event’s promoter and asked for the help of your fans to take the case into court. How is the process going? Can you give us an update? I was (positively) shocked to find out that only in little Portugal alone, we had several lawyers and even a judge being active fans. The country is slow in terms of justice, so one had to be patient making things happening. But the process has been initiated and several important steps have been done. It’s difficult to say when exactly it will be in court, but I have great confidence in Grace who is representing
How was this experience of replacing this whole distribution chain of a well-know records label by a more direct contact with the fans? It’s a lot of work coin it your self, but it was fun and better for the Art Project in it self to have a more direct control of it. Therion is a band with 25 years of history and is a musical entity that has changed throughout the years, always exploring and incorporating new musical frontiers. Can you tell us which, in your opinion, the most important chapters of this band’s life? It will be 27 years this year actually. I’d say the most important things that happened were getting a record deal and releasing our debut album in 1991. Without it you can not reach out to people outside of the active underground scene. Signing with Nuclear Blast in 1994. They had cash, resources and also let us do whatever we want musically. Then, the release of Theli in 1996. Our first well selling album that finally puts the name of the band on the map in the bigger music scene and an album that created a new genre on the metal scene - opera metal. The release of Vovin in 1998. We doubled the sales of Vovin, cleared the debts we had with the record label and I finally started earning proper cash, which enabled me to take proper rest between the tours and albums (which is very important for the quality of the music) and start investing in my own studio (which was ready for the recording of Secret of the Runes 2001), so that I could spend several months in the studio without worrying about the costs. • The recording of Lemuria and Sirius B in 2004 (released 2005). Working with such a huge orchestra was fantastic and the ultimate trail of fire for me. After that I have seeked new challenges in the obscure rather than the bigger. Finally, the Art
project that Les Fleurs du Mal was a part of. After 25 years it was very important to really show that following the inner voice is more important than what is more logical according to expectations on the band. It was also purifying and inspiring taking a big risk and much of the project is about learning things, I will be publishing an essay about it later on. Those are interesting news to the fans. Can you tell us a bit more about this essay and what can the fans expect from it? It’s almost done, so when I get time to finalize it the upcoming weeks it should be out. A lot of things that has puzzled people will be explained there. There has been a lot of discussion around Spotify and other music streaming services with known musicians strongly criticizing this business model since, as some musicians claim, the bands are the ones losing money. What is your opinion regarding this discussion and what is the impact for Therion of such services and of this business model? The business model with paying for a subscription is OK, the problem is they charge too little and also allow these free subscriptions financed by commercials. It’s fine if people prefer to stream the music instead of buying it, but it gets problematic to pay for the studio recordings if you don’t get properly paid for the music. The result has already started to be that bands record cheaper and cheaper, so it will continue to effect many bands in a lower quality direction (which people who think low resolution streamed mp3 is good enough anyway won’t bother about).
n January 20th, the metal community over the Internet was flooded with the sad news that Biquette has died. When I’ve read it, I wanted to compose a little sad song with a strong distortion on my guitar – it turned out to be an entire song! Thank you, Biquette! If I have the luck to release my own stoner metal project, Biquette’s credit won’t be forgotten. Biquette was a 10 year goat who lived in Mauriac, France, and happened to like grindcore. She reached the stardom when the grinders Wormrot played there and
Biquette was standing in the frontline as we could witness in every photo and every video. She was not only a metal fan as she also led a life of a true rocker. She used to eat cigarette butts and to drink booze leftovers – reports say that Biquette even tried to steal lit cigarettes from people. Biquette, I’d make you my goat-wife if I was French and also a male-goat. Unfortunately, I’m Portuguese, a human being and… well, I’m happily alive. In the end, I’m able to experience an epiphany from all of it. And the best is that was a, supposedly, ir-
rational animal which gave us the ultimate message of fellowship. Never, never, never leave your brothers and sisters. Never forget who you are and what your life is worth for. And as metal fucking maniacs, never stop drinking and smoking for fuck’s sake! Cancer can put you down for good, but also can a truck, a train or whatever shit coming from nowhere. (I’ll regret these words when I get diagnosed with cancer.) Long live Biquette’s legacy, the coolest goat ever! [Diogo Ferreira]
more heavy than some of the other songs but also a little bit more “feel goodish”. I think it’s in the middle, not too heavy, not too prog, and kind of melodic. So yeah, I would probably say that one!
If you had to choose one song from the album which one would you recommend? I would recommend our first single “Expand Your Mind”. We made a video for it and I would definitely say that one. Check that one out if you like it. It’s a bit
Good choice indeed! So, “Voyage” was announced as your debut, but you’ve already recorded your first LP in 2011, and it was released by the Sena record label in Iceland. This album, the 2013 “Voyage”, is actually a re-lease or a rerecording of your first LP? It’s a re-release basically, it’s the same album that we released in Iceland in 2012 on Sena, like you said. We recorded the first album in 2009 and 2010, but we had no money whatsoever to put it out, and we waited until 2011. But I’m very pleased that we had the opportunity to get the “Voyage” album out, because I definitely felt like we had a really good record in my opinion, but we had no one to hear it outside of Iceland, and I was like, “well, gotta make a new one”. It was kind of depressing. But now we had a good
our band, Vintage Caravan, has been around since 2006, but 2013 was probably the first time a lot of people have heard of you, so for those who don’t know you, how do you describe the sound of your record “Voyage”? First of all, if have you to expect something from the album, I would definitely say that it’s an hard-hitting album with a lot of power, with influences from, call it “retro-rock”, and with some contemporary influences, recording-wise and power-wise. Of course, we love the old records with the big drum “thump thump thump” sounds, but we like to have everything as big as possible, like big room sounds.
opportunity, especially on Nuclear Blast, which is so fucking crazy… (laughs). And that’s related to my next question! You’ve been picked up by Nuclear Blast! How is the experience with them being so far? The experience with them so far has been great. I was kind of scared first, signing which such a big label like Nuclear Blast, with huge names, and were like, some kids from Iceland (laughs). [I thought] “Are we gonna be lost?”. But we had such a pleasant experience with them, like everyday they’re providing us something like interviews, and I couldn’t be happier. And how did they discover you? Ok, it’s 2012, and we met Gunnar Sauermann from Season of Mist. He’s a very close friend
of ours now, and basically, one year later we met him again at the Eistnaflug festival in Iceland where he left us with a lot of contacts. One was Walter from Roadburn and he gave us the contact to one of the A&R persons of Nuclear Blast. We just sent him the record and then just asked, “Hey, should we go to a smaller label first maybe and let them re-release it?”. Then he just said “Oh, I have to go to a meeting, and…I’ll talk to you later”. Ok, good. And then the next day they [Nuclear Blast] were like “Hey, here’s the contract!” and we were like, “wait, what? holy hell !!!” (laughs) Just like that… Yeah! It kind of worked so easy! It was pretty amazing, and we’re still not, like, fully grasping what’s going on…we’re still like, answering people on Gmail, and me
working on a kindergarden (laughs), but yeah, it’s been great so far… So, the average age of you guys is around 20 right? The one thing that’s interesting is the fact that you guys went in the search of some of the best forms of heavy music ever done, mainly in the 70’s, and kind of ignored most of today’s trends. Being so young, what made you develop such a fascination for the sounds of yesterday? That’s a good question. There was really no question about what we were playing when we started playing. Our parents were big rockers, old hippies in Iceland (laughs). Alexander’s dad [Alex, the bass player] was really into Frank Zappa and The Allman Brothers and stuff like that. There’s something about this kind of music that is so raw, like raw powered,
but there’s also some kind of realness to it that I really enjoy. There’s this kind of retro thing going on right now, a lot of bands are doing this, so, I think that’s great, I mean, we did not deliberately tried to take part in this kind of wave. We’ve been doing this basically with the same train of thought, since 2006. Talking about influences on your record “Voyage”, I can definitely hear some liking to what bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and other “newer” acts like Kyuss did. Do you agree? Other than these bands, which other albums do you consider to be an influence? Definitely all of those influences are a big part of our musical preferences, but we are big Rush fans, we love Rush. “Hemispheres” was always one of my favorites, so grand. Every piece has so much in it.
“2112” as well! Those albums had a lot to say to us. I’m a big prog guy myself, I really like Gentle Giant and that’s the kind of band that, a lot of people who say they like prog don’t like Gentle Giant, they go like…”wow that’s too much…” (laughs) It’s what I get when I talk to people about them. But, “The Power and the Glory” that’s one album by Gentle Giant that really inspired me. So, speaking about Rush, do you guys review yourselves in their model of power-trio and do you think that it’s possible to achieve their kind of longevity (40 years on the road) as a band starting nowadays? Yeah, we definitely think that the only three people that have this gigantic sound [are Rush] and maybe in the next records we’re going to try to expand. Maybe we’ll take out an 80’s synthesizer (laughs), or probably not, but yeah, we totally look up to them and talking about being together a long time, that’s totally inspiring. Three guys touring around for 40 years, that’s very inspiring for us, they’re just great! It’s pretty funny, I was just actually sending the “Beyond the Lighted Stage” DVD to
my friend, Gaui, the drummer. He hasn’t watched that one! Goddammit! Watch it! (Laughs) It’s such an amazing movie! Like we’ve discussed previously, you definitely come across sometimes as a band that came straight out of the 70’s, just like someone got you guys in a time machine and brought you to our present time. About that sound, what ensemble of instruments, amps, pedals and effects did you use to achieve it? I used my vintage Marshalls for recording, a ‘69 100 watt super tremolo Plexi amp and another 50 watt model, also from ’69, but it’s a Metalface. In this record I used that [amp] with the 100 watt and my Gibson Les Paul mostly. The first song [we recorded] we just played it all live together in the room and that was basically the foundation. Then I’ve doubled that, used both the amps on at the same time and created this monster sound, like so big. I’ve played the whole entire album on that one as well, so that’s basically a big thick layer of guitar (laughs). For the bass, [Alex] used a Fender 100 watt Bassman from ‘65-ish? I don’t remember…but he used one of those and
definitely some vintage gears regarding the heads. We did not record using tape or anything like that, but we’ve used two tape simulators on the mastering. So that was pretty fun. Kinda gave it...not a 100% authentic sound, but pretty close to it. I was just remembering this right now…it was kinda scary going into the recording process, I was like “don’t make it sound too brick walled…don’t make it sound too modern!” I didn’t wanted to sound like a pop/rock thing, I wanted to do something gritty and not polish it too much. But about gear, Alex used his Fender bass, I’ve used my Gibson. For clean sounds I’ve used my Fender ‘57 twin amp, just like the one Eric Clapton uses and like [the one] everyone’s playing. That’s basically it for gear, but pedals...I have a pretty big effect board, with twelve effects going on at the same time. I mainly use them for decorating the solos. I don’t have a distortion pedal or anything like that, I just try to put the amp on 10 and use it like that. A hotplate to get the same sound, but on lower ohmings. That’s basically what I do. About one of the best songs in your record, the ballad, “Do You Remember”,
I’ve read somewhere that it was a little bit difficult to record. Why was that? We’re always so used to being together in the same room...being with our faces up to each other just playing, and on this particular track I was in another room and it was like…2 A.M. or something, we’ve been recording all day and we were kind of in a rush to finish it up. Alexander had only been on the band for like 3 months while we were recording that album. I remember the song starts with a drum fill by Gaui, totally on the spot, just made up, and Gaui was having some real problems nailing up a fill. He was so tired, and the sound engineer was like “C’MON, C’MON, DO IT!” (laughs), he was just super upset…But those kind of things, they were kind of difficult to record, its something we’ve never done since or before. We never played that song live, ever. Its kind of a personal song for me…but there were no difficulties recording it because of that.
ics when it comes to writing, but I have to say, it sounds a bit more heavy the new stuff. It’s a bit more heavy, more complex… we have a three minute “feel good” song. Some people that have heard it said that it’s kind of metal…It’s just a natural progression basically. We don’t put much thought into it, we just play together, practice, jam and whatever comes out we feel good with [stays], we probably just do that. We wrote one song, it was turning out to be a 20-minute thing and we were like…”fuck…” I don’t have the patience!! (laughs) I mean, I really like those…but I don’t know if our next record is going to have a long one, like a really really long one. We can’t make a short song nowadays…we feel like [a song] is like three and a half minutes, and then we time it, and its like seven minutes! (laughs). Our producer was like “seven minutes songs are good, but don’t make them all seven minutes!” (laughs). But yeah, the next album is definitely going to be a bit more harder, heavier and lyrics wise much different. Basically, I wrote “Voyage”, like all the riffs, and we just put it all together production wise and arrangements [wise], but the next one is going to be more of a group thing. Not that before everyone didn’t had something to say, but everyone is going to contribute a lot. Its gonna be great!
at least. In the mainstream or the not-somainstream, this in 2009 or whatever, there weren’t any really good riffs...It was kind of hard to find them at some point, at it was just all formula based songs. It’s just something, maybe it was kind of “nobody’s doing it, I’ll do it, fuck it…”. Kind of an answer to what’s going on, but first and foremost we just really like to make riffs, to make something good, groovy and it just happens to sound…very ’70’s (laughs).
But can’t you simulate the effect with the electric guitar? Using a switch or something like that? Yeah, I probably could. Actually, Alex hates that song (laughs). Too corny for him I think…I like making ballads from time to time, but Alex is from a metal background and then he goes...“What the hell is that??” (laughs).
Great! So how soon can we expect the follow up to “Voyage”? Hopefully as soon as possible! Realistically, I hope, maybe early next year. We haven’t really discussed it with Nuclear Blast, but I hope we can go into the studio late this year. Hopefully! We’re probably going to record it on tape, and we’re gonna go find a farm with a really big kind of roomy sounds, and that’s the only thing we’ve decided we’re going to do recording wise. Its gonna be fun!
Any final words for the readers of our magazine? Yeah! Thanks for reading the interview, check us out on Facebook and hopefully we’ll see each other all in some little club near your hometown, or wherever you’re reading it from!
(Laughs) That explains a lot! What are your creative goals for the future? Do you think you’ll start expanding your sound in a more progressive direction like you’ve hinted on “The King’s Voyage”, the closing number? Very likely so! This album of course for us, its pretty old, it came out one and a half years ago, or two years if I’m not mistaken, and all the stuff we’ve written, we have like thirteen songs, fourteen songs or something so far. We’re kind of workahol-
Since we were talking about songwriting a few questions ago, in consideration to your songwriting approach, more retrobased, did you choose this creative path only because of your love for the sounds of yesterday or also as a response to the mainstream formulas and current tendencies that we wave on rock and metal nowadays? Yeah! This was always so clear to me. This kind of music was the way to go, for me
You could include that one on your setlist to give another atmosphere to your show. A little bit more quieted down moment, before getting on to the “bangers”. Yeah, Yeah! We’ve practiced it down a few times but it sounded kind of weird without having an acoustic guitar. I would need to have an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, that’s probably why we won’t play it live…
Regarding one of your dreams as musicians, with which bands would you like to share a stage or a tour bill in the future? Hmmm…Rush!!!!! (laughs) If not Rush, we’re big Queens of the Stone Age fans ourselves. I went out to Norway the other day just to see them and Ghost as well. If Josh Homme would come on stage with us…I could just go off stage [afterwards] and kill myself…(laughs) And would you play some old Kyuss tunes? Yeah, yeah! Maybe do a split? Like, maybe one of our songs, one Kyuss song…that would be cool. Maybe a medley thing…a few songs…I think that would be pretty great! Rush, of course has a three hour set, so…a warm up band isn’t really necessary (laughs).
ongratulations on your new record! How do you feel about “Disguised Vultures” and how would you describe to someone who has never heard of Sister? Thank you! I would say we are a high energy punk hard rock act both on stage and on record. On Disguised Vultures I think we have really captured that essence. How did you guys all ended up together as a band and decided to Punk/Metal music? The band has been around with a few changes since 2006. I joined the band in 2007 and the first years were more into all the stuff like getting drunk on and off stage but like a year or so before the debut album HATED we kinda got our stuff together and everyone realized that we probably could make something good out of this band. The genre punk/metal isn’t something we decided to do. When we write music, we write what we like ourselves and what we want to play. I think one of the good things with Sister is just that. We don’t care much for the rules many have for different styles of music. We take what we like from different kinds of music and make it our own. When you first started did you immediately saw that Sister would take you this far (with so many tours and a deal with Metal Blade)? I don’t think we have come very far. At least we can go a lot further and are just in the beginning of everything. Of course if someone would have said to me when I was a teen that I would play the big stage at Sonisphere festival in Madrid and tour with this and that band later on in my life it would have blown my mind but you always make new goals. Never happy and always wanting more. The curse of not to appreciate much but at the same time something that makes you always striving for more. I loved the single “Sick”. What are you sick of nowadays? Stupid people that just can’t mind their own fucking business and just have to pollute everyone around them since their own life sucks so much ass.
Despite the “Punk” label I sense this White Zombie feeling on you guys. Were they an influence for you? We all like Rob Zombie/White Zombie in this band and all the bands that we like are an influence in some way. I like the drive in his music and also the live act very much. In your opinion how keen are people for this kind of sound right now? I guess a lot of people have a lot to say about everything at the moment. Its hilarious to read some of the stuff on the internet. I think since we are considered to be a sleaze band by many, a lot of people make up their minds before they even hear us. A lot of people that I have met after they’ve heard us or seen us play comes up and like ’shit you are great and I just thought you were some stupid glam band’. I love music like New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks and such but I guess the genre have a lot of haters or something. I would say its pretty narrow minded. The influence of for example the two bands that I mentioned have always been big on us both musically and with their personalities. I’ve always liked that kind of mentality in a band, us against the world, and in Sister that is pretty much how we feel. You have toured with Wednesday 13 twice. Do you have any good stories from those times you can share with us? And how do you feel about playing live? I have to say that those guys are great! Being on tour for that long and with everything that goes on while on tour and shit on stage breaking down and all that, they were awesome. Both band members and crew are really easy going guys and always on a good mood. Hope to be able to go on tour with those guys again soon! We got drunk with them every night after the shows but since we stayed at hotels every night and they were on the tour bus there weren’t much raising hell on the streets all night both bands together. We’ll do it next time! How was working with Martin Sweet and Linus Nirbrant for this new album? We have been working with Martin on both our albums and we really know each other really good by now. We wanted to
record the drums, bass and rhythm guitar live in the studio on this album to make a real organic sound and we had some new ideas and when we talked with Martin he got really excited with everything as well, so we decided to go for it once again. There is a lot of advantages of knowing each other that well while you’re recording. I prefer it like that and the result was great. We were in Audiogrind studios who belongs to Linus Nirbrandt and he mixed/ mastered the album with Martin and he got what we wanted to do with this album as well. He had recorded some swedish punk bands in there and some other stuff that we all liked so that helped us making the decision of recording there. What are your plans for the future? I guess you’ll continue to promote this album on the road, right? Yeah we want to play as much as possible this year. We have a release party here in Stockholm in the middle of February and some shows booked in Sweden and Finland but we are in the middle of a discussion of doing a European tour. We would like to do a headline tour since we pretty much only been on tour as an opening act the last couple of years. It would be great to able to play a full set every night. Especially with the new record behind us. We’ll see what happens!
irst of all let me congratulate you for this burst called “Alfapokalyps” – from black metal to punk and rock. Is there any detailed way other than labeling to explain Alfahanne’s concept? Thanks! Alfahanne is a way to express our feeling towards the human stupidity and wrecking of this world. Everything Alfahanne is about is a concept in itself... Fuck the world. That is what we are communicating. Post-punk influences are evident in the “Rocken Dör” song. Is this genre a part of your 1980s years? We are all big fans of the 1980s synth rock. There isn’t a black metal band that comes near the darkness that dwells in many of these songs. But still we love Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger“, so why not putting these two influences together? After that track, “Syndernas Flod” blew me away with a black metal driving. Is that diversity an evidence that your music is composed by positive impulses during rehearsals? The diversity is an evidence that we don’t like to be labeled in any specific genre. Alfahanne is doing what Alfahanne does, regardless of trends or others opinion. It was very easy to create the “Alfapokalyps” album. What you hear is mostly first takes. We couldn’t care less about getting it perfect music wise, it’s the feeling we want. When listening to “Alfapokalyps” it’s almost obvious that there’s some Shining there, but in a softer and rockier version. Without forgetting your important musical past, do you see them as an inspira-
tion? Do you think so? I don’t really hear that in Alfahanne. Of course Niklas’s vocals on “Bättre Dar” give the song a mark of Shining, but I think that musically Alfahanne and Shining are wide apart. Still it’s always inspiring to work with great artists like Niklas. Do you see yourselves as a new fresh air within the Swedish underground? If anyone sees us as fresh air I guess it’s positive. The way we see us is a band creating what we believe to be the best music. We haven’t thought about creating something new as a goal in itself. The way Alfahanne turned out is the product of the chemistry we have as a band. Alfahanne is a band and no project or something we take lightly on. We share the same vision and ideas about how to write good music and how to express it. There are no exceptions from that vision. With Alfahanne it’s one way in, no way out. For us that’s the biggest inspiration. We are like a generator building up our own energy from ourselves.
something that came up when we learned that they are Alfa fans. Also we think the work they do with their own bands is great. We are satisfied they wanted to contribute and we are very pleased with the result. You will play at Inferno and Tons of Rock festivals, and more shows will be announced. Is the road one of your main goals? We are a live band and must be experienced live. We can’t wait to get out there and spread our music like a plague. Keep your eyes open and daughters locked in. Sooner or later Alfahanne will come to your town. Be sure to pick up the album when it’s released and support the Alfahanne Deathcult. We guarantee you won´t be disappointed. Hail the Alfa Hordes!
Starting with a split release featuring the Swedish band Shining must have been a great ignition. How did it happen? Do you felt from the beginning that it was a nice way to present Alfahanne to the world? Shining guys are close friends to us so it wasn’t a big deal. Niklas asked us if we wanted to be part of the split and we agreed. It was a great first release and we are happy about it. I guess inviting Kvarforth is obvious, but what about Taake’s Hoest? Why did you want to join his voice with yours? Hoest and Vgandr guesting the album was
ovit enim dominus qui sunt eius” is your second full length. In what way the biblical expression used for the title reflects your sound and message you want to get through? The title of the album is not actually of biblical origin, nor is it necessarily indicative of any consistent overarching concept across the disc. The themes of the album generally gravitate towards the ideas of futility, and the temporal nature of humanity, exploring this through the lenses of religion, personal ideology and philosophy. The album title (loosely translating to: The Lord Knoweth Those that are His) fits will with this general theme, in the same way that the title of the first release (“Denouement”) encapsulates the feel behind the album, but is not definitively representative of a full conceptual album. What changed in your sound compared with your first effort “Denouement”? A great deal. The songs are less traditional, less riff based, and more abstract. The album is definitely a more challenging listen, as almost all semblances of melody have been stripped away. As a result, the album is much less forthcoming, and may take listeners a little more time to digest than the more straightforward “Denouement”. The musicianship and production is definitely one step ahead of the debut record. What would you highlight in the new album and what could you do better in the next one? The aim with “Novit enim...” was very much to engulf the listener, both in terms of the style of songwriting and the production approach. I believe it does that fairly successfully, but as a result, it is perhaps somewhat tedious and difficult to pick out “highlights”, simply by the nature of the music. If I were pushed, I would say that tracks like “A Sheath of Deceit” and “The Last King” contain the most accessible material, but only by a narrow margin. Future Abyssal albums may aim to strike a more coherent balance between the absorptive and the engaging aspects of the sound, but we will have to wait and see.
Some people call you post Death Metal, while other compared you to Portal. How would you describe your style of music? There is merit in both these labels to some degree, but I find that it is not particularly useful to categorize music to such a precise degree. On a purely descriptive basis, the sound is a fairly traditional death metal foundation with elements of black and doom. If people feel the need to add terms such as “post” or “atmospheric”, or indeed to compare to bands such as Portal, then that is perfectly fine, but it perhaps toes the line of categorization for the sake of categorization. The album was initially self-released, but months later, after some buzz in the underground, it was published by Profound Lore Records. Will you keep releasing by your own or are you open a company’s offer? Profound Lore is an excellent label with a keen ear to the underground, and it was a great privilege for “Novit enim...” to be released on their books. In the future, who knows? It would be great to build upon the relationship and put another album out through PLR, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Nowadays, Abyssal band members want to stay anonymous. Why? This is perhaps one of the more absurd quirks surrounding Abyssal. The only trigger in all this was that the sleeve of “Denouement” contained no names of band members, or any info relating to contact, or social media etc. In this information hungry age, the omission of this handful of words on a page seemed to cause a mass hysteria amongst people (despite the fact that many bands release material in a similar manner). Since then, almost every interview has posed a similar question to this, making out that there is some conspiracy afoot. Ironically, such hysteria actually solidified the anonymity issue, as prior to the reactions, it was not a conscious statement. The subsequent release doubled down on this and followed the same route of not publishing names, simply because it should not matter what people’s names
are, or how much they thank their family and friends, the music should be paramount. Anyone who is truly curious and in possession of an internet connection can find these facts out relatively easily. The band members are associated to other projects, with more conventional musical approaches. What made your produce this “fracturing” form of art? “Denouement” was somewhat of a disparate mix of several years’ worth of material, and as such encompassed everything from incredibly basic death metal, to highly melodic passages. I guess the disjointedness of that release inadvertently acted to set it apart from other similar bands, and also to give it the fractured nature that you speak of, however the actual components of the album were nothing new or revolutionary. With “Novit enim…” the songwriting approach was more focused, but ironically the result was similar (albeit darker) in tone. So, to answer to your question, it just seems that Abyssal’s music arrives at a similar conclusion regardless of the way the compositional process evolves. Can you lift the tip of the veil about new material? A third release is under construction. There is no further relevant information available at this point.
ow did Bitch Witch start in the first place? How did you all get together? Malicia: I would say this was an unexpected project. It was during one silly weekend: we had no cash for going out and Lolo asked me if I wanted to play some riffs for him. After that, we were talking about how funny it would be to play some motörcharged songs and so on. But we are too freaky to limit ourselves to one kind of music. Lolo: I just wanted to have fun and share our weird tastes in music, especially our raw and punk sides. For a bass player my first thought was Mai because I had that feeling... she would be the chosen one and it was time for her to start playing again. This was to be an unstoppable madness trip with girls around, as usual. Mai: We were long-time friends. Lolo and I have been playing in different bands and Malicia just took the guitar. So it was natural. Just friends having fun. Your self-description on facebook is interesting: “Bitch Witch are three wolverine DISmaniacs”. Could you explain a bit more what you mean by that, besides the obvious Discharge/d-beat reference, of course? Lolo: DIS due to Discharge, yeah. Disclose are a blast too! Welcome to the DisEra. Malicia: I think Discharge is not only a band, it’s a true lifestyle. So give me DIS and you’ll have VIOLENCE! We also add DIS as a joke based on our “world vision”. We’re constantly complaining about how this shitty world works... so all those things we cannot change should be named DISfucks, DIStroubles. How is your usual writing process? Mai: Usually music and lyrics are made by Malicia and me. Some are totally owned by her or by me, and others are composed by both together. At that time, we put the ideas together. When I compose on my own, I have no rules, I’m not thinking of a particular band or style to inspire me… I just let it flow. The music comes to me like a feeling and the lyrics are the coming together of those feelings. Generally, I create the music first and then the lyrics, but it always depends. Sometimes I’ll want to vent my rage about something specific and in that case I write the lyrics first. Malicia: I must confess that I’d love to get my inspiration from those amazing suicidal writers like Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf, but the war in my mind drives me to be “witchy sarcastic” in the beat and punk songs. Sometimes I also try to keep alive that essence of Matt Pike and Amebix. I think their words are the best medicine when you are pretty fucked. You recorded the EP in your rehearsal space. Do you plan to use a studio for your next releases, or will you keep it strictly DIY like that? Lolo: We’d love to know what the future is keeping for us... But at the moment this is the cheapest way to record stuff and I think this way we really take control since we are at home. We know how the room sounds. We know it’s not the best quality like the one you can get from a studio, but we love when the stuff sounds raw and nostalgic. Who knows, maybe someday we will record with Steve Albini! I can’t help it... I’m a fucking fan of live recording. By the way, thanks to Pablito Mussel because he rules each recording session.
Mai: That said, we feel comfortable with the DIY way. Anyway, we are not able to afford a professional studio, but who knows? Malicia: Yeah... As she said! Fuck Money!
for back-stabbing. The endless competitive shit... As it is known, the female instinct can be our best friend and worst enemy too. Pure 1%er. We, the Devil’s Witches.
Speaking of the EP, it was already released in December 2012. Over a year later, what are your thoughts about it? Malicia: I think it sounds fresh, far from these ephemeral trends in music. We do not want to make a product; we just want to tell our “truth”. And don’t forget this is our first work, but it still makes me smile. The songs were made with all our love. We never tried that kind of egocentric shit. It’s not our way. And that’s what makes me carry on and believe in music. Lolo: It was a warm welcome. Our first edition was a “do it yourself” with a CD-R. Then came the 12” and the CD by the Cubo de Sangre label from the US. And then a Spanish label called Féretro Records made 50 pink cassettes. Mai: I’m proud of it. I have been in the studio with other bands before but there was little of me in those recordings, just bass lines and things like that... “Mother Crust” had been kept in my computer for like three or four years and when I showed it to my mates, and Lolo started to play the drums and Malicia singing on it, it was amazing for me. It was the first time that I heard a song created by me, with its real drums, live voice and those things. It was important to me, I think it’s beautiful to share your ideas with others and to create something that lasts.
The sort-of Discharge cover at the end is hilarious. How did you think of that homage? Malicia: It tells a story of a Saturday night with a bitchy sense of humour. It’s about a drunken motörcharged witch on high heels that cannot stand her female torture any longer... I’m that kind of tomboy that once got dressed for a party and also tried to wear the highest bitchy heels like her... or like most of the girls! Poor thing, for sure this can be a true suicide. So she gets pretty mad and turns the party into a bloodbath. Just a Hell On Heels! And remember, maybe you won’t kick ass wearing high heels but it can be a cool self-defense tool!
Are there some reviews you might have read that stuck in your mind the most? Mai: In general, the reviews have been good, but it’s funny when people talk about you and say things that you would never expect. For example, bands they think we look like or attitudes they think we support. Malicia: I’d say some dickfinders on Facebook. They must be a bit afraid of the trve women. But we do not believe in those Diva Thrones and we have no time
What are some of your other major influences besides Discharge? Lolo: From Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies to Iron Maiden or Emperor. At least I try to keep some of that black metal sound in my drums. But our music can be minimalist as well. And GG Allin will always be in our hearts. Mai: I’m totally devoted to bands like Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Venom, Suicidal Tendencies, Kreator, Slayer, Death, Obituary, Pestilence… Basically all thrash and death metal stuff, crust punk, grunge, 70s, all that. Malicia: I’m very into black metal (long live Québec!), traditional doom and 80s punk and post-punk. Bathory, Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Sleep, Reverend Bizarre, Siouxsie, Christian Death, Poison Idea or Joy Division. A little of them always rests on my riffs. The live cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (or should we say Lana Del Reich) has been really well accepted by the audience. Why did you choose this particular cover? Mai: That day we were at the rehearsal
room mixing the new EP and drinking coffee liquor, so it was just a kind of a joke. Sometimes we do nonsensical things. I don’t have an explanation about that cover. Honestly, I didn’t have expectations about that, we were singing Lana Del Rey, Lolo took his cellphone and recorded the video, that’s all. Lolo: Girls... I couldn’t say no. Malicia: Too drunk to fuck! Oh Lana, loving like a she-wolf, always ready to get into trouble… raw lyrics... she slays! You will soon release your next EP “Too Old Too Punk”. Is that a reference to Darkthrone’s “Too Old Too Cold”, perhaps? Another homage? Lolo: Yeah, a homage again. A Darkthrone tribute with crust punk witchy lyrics. What can we expect from Bitch Witch this year? And in the further future, do you think this is a band that’ll last for a long time? Malicia: Well, we’re going through hard times due to this fucking system! We had to leave our rehearsal room some months ago, we are a bit broke to pay for a place every month. First we want to get our new EP mixed and then we’ll see how we can start rehearsing again. We’re in other bands and it’s not easy to get all the time and money for each one. But we’ll get it!
ive years in the making and I have to say I’m very impressed with how the new record sounds and flows. I am curious, what ended up causing the record to be released so long after the previous? Well, I don’t think that’s a long time... At least it doesn’t feel like it, but that might be because we are involved a different bands and projects, like Neutron Hammer, Perdition Winds, Desolate Shrine, Supreme Court, and all of those have been releasing or working on albums during these last five years, so all of us have been quite busy. The actual writing of the new album was supposed to start pretty soon after the first album, but as I said, there were plenty
of things to do. When we finally started the actual writing process, everything happened quite fast. We had some kind of a vision about what we wanted this album to be and we weren’t planing to do any long songs, but it turned out that to give enough air for these songs to breathe and grow as powerful as needed, they would all be quite long. Instead of making classic verse/chorus -parts, we decided to make songs grow all the time and bringing new riffs in along the way instead of repeating the same ones. Writing these songs this way felt kind of natural this time and I’m really satisfied about how the album turned out. I know some people will definitely hate
it just because it’s so damn long, but I don’t really give a fuck. If people start complaining once again that our album is too long, then the next one will be even longer, ha ha. I also witnessed that you guys moved from Spinefarm to Dark Descent. How has the move affected you in terms of sound and getting the word out there? Well, spinefarm was a kind of dissapointment for us. They didn’t actually do anything they said they would be doing, so it was clear that we didn’t want to continue with that label. Well, probably they wouldn’t want to continue with us neither, since they didn’t know any contacs from underground business,
so were kind of forced to do most of our own promotion our self, including trading albums with distros our self, since spinefarm decided that they dont want to sell any small amounts for distros. Cut the crap short, Dark Descent has done more for us already in this short time, than Spinefarm did in whole that time we were there. It’s good to be in label who does what promised. Cheers Matt! I love how “Toward Divine Death” has that cavernous, old style of death metal sound to it. Which bands helped influence this? Hard to say, since we didn’t try to copy any other bands sound, but of course we have taken some influences of other bands that we like. There are many bands we like, but the question of which of them have directly or indirectly influenced us is difficult to say.
Have you begun creating any new material for future releases or are you going to take the elongated route of releasing new music again? We have started to write some new stuff already, but it’s really hard to say when we will have something new to release. This time it wont take five years, I can say that. What preparation goes into your songwriting? Does each member contribute? Alone and together. How ever the sketch of a song is made, the final form of the beast is made up in rehearsals when we are playing together and got a chance to test our visions. Do you prefer the older style of death metal? Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to the modern scene of the style?
A common question; what do you think of the metal scene of today? Mostly, pure shit. The whole “scene” thing is really drag, it really should be about music and the stuff related there, bands, releases, shows. Fortunately we can ignore the bad sides to some extent.
It’s pointless to go for the easy solution just because it’s easy. Now we have lot of crap ideas recorded poorly and put (prematurely) online. When there’s too much stuff coming up all the time, you really can’t check it all out and when 90% of it is just shit you start to lose your interest really fast. However, the really good ones will surface eventually, even for the most picky listeners.
Do you think bands have more of a chance of getting noticed or are there just too many out there? There are way too many bands out there and more coming all the time. Now that it’s really easy to record at home and spread that material by internet, everybody seems to be doing that.
What plans do you have in support of the new album? Any special tours in the works? We have a couple of gigs currently booked and a few under discussion, but it would be nice to do some touring too or at least play abroad. Let’s see if something good comes by...
I like old and new. When you hear bands like Nechros Christos, Dead Congregation, Cruciamentum, Grave Miasma, Negative Plane, etc. You can’t say that the old style is the only real thing. I think that scene is going forward all the time and lot of good bands are coming up all the time. We are definitely not stubbornly stuck up with the bands from 90s, in some instances the newer stuff is even better! Is there an overall idea to the album, such as a certain theme or story? Or is it more of an album that touches many ideas with the same resonating sound? It is kind a concept album, but there is no storyline like King Diamond style. The album is package, where music, lyrics and booklet pictures are combined together. All the lyrics for this album are available in the booklet, so anyone who wants to take a closer look to our visions, will need to do some work to
ast year there was a Canaan record and this summer was released a new Colloquio effort, so this Neronoia record came as good surprise. What is the concept behind “Sapore di Luce e di Pietra”? I wouldn’t say there is a particular concept behind it, other than the “usual negative” forces driving our music. Basically, we’re still the very same disenchanted, disappointed, disillusioned old morons, and the passing of time is making more damages than we’d like to acknowledge. Our music is a way to say “we know that life sucks and then you die but we don’t give up – yet”. Personally, I use music exclusively as a way to “feel alive”, and whenever I have some creative impulses I feel a powerful urge to channel them somewhere; in this case, after a very long break, a series of lucky coincidences brought us all together with Gianni, and we decided to try and do another Neronoia album. The result
is “Sapore di luce e di pietra”, which is something we all are very proud of. Why did Neronoia took five years to release this third record? Gianni is living some 300 km. away from us; here in Milano, we live a few hundred meters from each other but due to work, family, health, time issues and constraints we almost never meet. It isn’t actually correct saying Neronoia is a “band”, as there are no rehearsals, no fixed schemes, no traditional approach to composing/ performing. Let’s call it a “collective of people” working freely (and I mean it....) on music. We do not even meet to record – we do it in a “casual” way, no more than 2 people at once (often less), and sometimes also exchanging files via web rather than “playing”. So the logistic handling of the project is very complicate. On top of that, after 2008 we weren’t sure the band would have even survived (mostly
for the very intricate elements mentioned above); luckily to us, it did, but the time lapse between the two albums grew to these five years. At the first listens, the music sounds much more minimalistic and electronic, but also more focused on details. What changed in comparison with the two previous efforts? A great deal of things I’d say. The songs contained in this new album have no guitars, no acoustic bass, no drums, no “regular” instruments (or very little) as opposed to our previous albums that were based on somehow “canonical” structures (I don’t mean foregone). Instead of building songs out of a “rock approach” of some sort, we went the other way around, making music out of non-musical patterns. Working on noises and ambiental elements only was a huge change per se, probably the greatest one
on the album. The minimalism of these songs was wanted but not necessarily planned. It happened, and brought us to a “less is more” philosophy that proved very useful not only while recording, but during the mixdown too. In the vocal department, you took over in some parts this time, singing a sort of a duet with Gianni. Also the vocals lines are very much like prayers – something so well represented in the cover art. Is this vocal innovation related with the record’s concept or the specific direction of the project? While laying down Gianni’s vocals, I stepped in with a couple of interesting “alternative” harmonies to his, and since they turned out good, we decided we could try and share the vocal duties almost equally. I don’t know whether we’ll be using double vocals in the future again (nor if there will be another album, to be fully honest......) , but for this particular record it worked out very well. One thing I’d like to point out though is that there are no religious implications of sort in the band. None of us is a believer (in anything, I would add)...... This record was announced to be “very different from the previous two cds”. What changed really? We worked on sparse fragments recorded over 6 years (2007-2013) and gave them the shape of songs via a “collage of sources” if I may call it so. Started with basic rhythmic loops, disfigured them into noise, shaped these noises into melodies, added vocals, then completely deconstructed the songs and re-shaped them again, until we felt it was time to put an end to this process. We then proceeded to record the final instrumental takes, then rushed into our studio of choice since 2005 (Noise Factory, here in Milano) to mix &
master them. Voilà. Game over. The new album results of profound studio work. What is your composition and recording process at the moment? 95% of the whole process is based upon extemporaneous experiments and improvisations. We use computers as a kind of notebook to “freeze” ideas as they come before we forget them. Over months/years we record a myriad of small fragments (music or noise, it doesn’t matter), and when we’re ready to move on to the next phase, we “fish” elements out of this chaotic pool and assemble them into songs. Such a “psychopathic” way of working is made possible only by continuous access to our own small recording studio. It would be absolutely impossible in a regular studio, paying regular studio time. I like to compare our recording process to a distillation: you press grapes with your feet, then let them to ferment for a long time. Only time can turn the mass into wine. A project like Neronoia (and Canaan, on a lesser extent) wouldn’t exist otherwise. Working outside a conventional song-writing routine is intriguing (to us, at least) and opens up some semi-virgin composing paths we’ll most likely use again in the future. In spite of the seemingly intricate process (which is a bit complicate after all) things came out smooth as silk. Neronoia is the perfect combination of Canaan and Colloquio sound and creative minds. Do you struggle each time not the repeat the sound of your main projects is doing at the moment? We don’t. Neronoia lives its own life, and we don’t need to differentiate it, at least not in a conscious manner. Music and lyrics come in a very natural way and without any forcing. If we ever had the feeling things needed to be separated, it would mean it’s time to put an end to the project for good. Luckily, this hasn’t happened so far, and it won’t for a while, hopefully. Eibon Records has been persevering through the years, releasing quality music in quality packages for people who still treasure the physical object.
Since 1996 you have almost 100 records published. How do you see this route and what will tomorrow bring? I am proud of what I’ve done with the label. Really proud. In a world where virtual slaps on the shoulders, tweets, chirps, “ilikethisilikethat”, the abominable “social music” seem to command and rule everything, I prefer to work my own way. I can’t really understand how a digital fart (a vulgar file) could ever compete with a solid, stinky piece of shit (the object). It’s not only a question of “time-survival” (who will ever remember, 10 years from now, any “digital-only” release ????) but also respect to those who play music with heart & soul (and not only a PC & a mouse) and those who L.I.S.T.E.N. to something with more than just their ears. Yet no one - or very few - seem to understand this, and the label is undergoing a very very bad moment. Surprise ! Surprise ! When even in a micro-niche market like industrial music people seem happy with a fucking mp3 downloaded from the mule, there is really little space for improvement, hope or faith. It’s just a question of sheer survival. EIBON is a black hole into which I throw time, passion, work and money, with a very little psychological reward (money-wise, it’s a complete fail since 2007 or so.....). Yet passion is still strong, and I don’t want to give up. Though – I must admit it – the complete disaffection I see in the listeners is quenching the fires of my passion. Shall Don Quixote find a way to defeat the windmills ? Don’t think so, but this doesn’t make his illness less interesting. I am not sure what the future can bring, but one thing I know is that I would like to keep the label alive for at least another decade...
Abyssal (UK) Novit enim Dominus...
APOSTOLUM Winds of Disillusion
BITCH WITCH Too Old Too Punk
Northern Silence Productions
/10 The second album
from the british Abyssal, one of the most noticed 2013 records in the underground, is now being reissued by Iron Bonehead. And indeed this one of the heaviest albums you can put your hands on. Without actually producing a tremendously original effort this band, however, surprises with level of oppressiveness distilled. The basis is Death Metal, but the bleakness of Doom/Sludge and the iciness Black Metal elements added are enough make you curious. After listening to the first twisted attacks, without a hint of melody, you find yourself think of Portal or something in a “post… something” territory. Dare to enter this void. [José Branco]
WOODS OF DESOLATION As The Stars Northern Silence Productions
/10 There are
bands which have a unique talent to experiment and to evolve – one of those is the Australian project Woods of Desolation. From a raw depressive thing with “Towards the Depths” (2008) going through a beautiful
/10 Mix in some Neofolk,
some Post Rock, some Ambient, and some Metal, add a generous amount of Agalloch and God is an Astronaut, and you get Alor. Haerfest, the debut of this Galician oneman-project, is a thoroughly pleasant journey; heavy in atmosphere, the music is mainly focused on acoustic guitar and other stringed instruments, aided by the occasional electric guitar riffs and drumming, vocals existing but being scarce. Ambient sounds like rain or thunder also make their presence known, adding a new layer of depth to the sound. Even with only seven tracks, the album seems to go on for longer simply due to its ethereal sound and atmosphere. Even if eerily similar to Agalloch, it manages to stand on its own. [David Horta]
canvas of nostalgia and loss with “Torn Beyond Reason” (2011), Woods of Desolation presents us the brand new “As the Stars”. Listening to the opener “Like Falling Leaves” isn’t an extreme novelty since that track is similar to the way “Torn Beyond Reason” was created. However, D.’s trademark will evolve into another type of soundscapes that I wasn’t aware that could happen. This record is lined by a post-rock journey that is led by a new element in Woods of Desolation menu: the echoed lead guitar. That guitar is always present in order to conduct the songs and to pierce on us the cruelest feelings of loss and despair. In spite of the dark vein, “As the Stars” also has rock incursions like in the instrumental
/10 Active for about
a decade, and having under their belt a demo and an EP, Apostolum unleash at last their debut album. The Italian’s offer is a blend of black, doom and dark metal which, while not being technically proficient, is effective and charming in its own, simple way. Consisting of 5 lengthy songs and an intro, “Winds of Disillusion” is fraught of ambient, keyboard laden passages, which often build up to faster sections. Although song structures tend to be elaborate, the riffs are generally too basic and Meba’s English accent has that very characteristic southern European tinge. Obscure and antiquated, like a specific product of a bygone era, it’s appeal is immediate but wears out after a few listens. [Jaime Ferreira]
“Anamnesis” that escalates into a passage of nostalgic climax where the lead guitar is the number one attraction. The fast drumming couldn’t be forgotten and the guest Vlad, from Drudkh, delivers a passage of that kind in “And If All the Stars Faded Away”. “Ad Infinitum” is the last track and mirrors what Woods of Desolation can offer us during
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/10 We could say they
are the feminine (maybe even feminist) response to the new wave of crust/d-beat bands but we wouldn’t be completely accurate. Bitch Witch is more than a crust band: it’s a tribute to the old and raw. “Too Old Too Punk” crosses another stylistic barrier, challenging the punk/crust limits with a doom metal feel, and showing that this is more than a Darkthrone homage. The doom metal influence has its better example during the song “Be My Bitch”, walking through five minutes of downtempo riffs, vocal dualities and the typical rawness. The final songs are their signature tribute-songs-not-covers with GG Allin’s “War In My Head” and Darkthrone’s “Too Old Too Cold” as the chosen ones. [Estefânia Silva]
the recent past and the infinite future: an epic track full of post-rock and shoegaze influences that may take you off of depressive paths into bright fields of inner-reflection giving you the feeling that something or someone is missing in your life. [Diogo Ferreira]
CALIBAN Ghost Empire
CHURCH OF DISGUST Unworldly Summoning
COLDUN Collapsing Polarities
Northern Silence Productions
ent and addictive result. Formed in 2010, the Eskilstuna’s alpha males recording debut appeared two years later, in the form of a 7” split EP with Shining. Pass two more years and Pehr Skjoldhammer – from Maze of Torment and Vinterland fame - and his companions return with their first full length attack. From the shrieking intro of “Bättre Dar” to the last chords of “Alla Ska Mé”, “Alfapokalyps” is a delightful journey all the way, much due to the variety of atmospheres it embodies. However, whether it’s the punk attitude of “Ormar Af Satan”, the catchy choruses of “Dödskult” and “Indiehora”, the epic feel of “Såld På Mörkret” or the cold black metalisms of “Syndarnas Flod” and “Där Drömmarna Dör”, the Swedes achieved a rare thing: to develop a
band identity of their own and to embed it on their compositions, producing a cohesive record in every sense. A definite highlight is the versatility of the rhythm section, which couldn’t go unmentioned. Jimmy Wiberg’s bass lines and Niklas Åström’s drumming mingle and flow naturally, providing a tightly knit safety net for the surrounding frenzy. Also noteworthy are the guest appearances of Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth, Taake’s Hoest and Helheim’s V’gandr, all labelmates, singing on one track each. Eventhough genre crosscutting might not be universally appealing, Alfahanne do it in such an exquisite and original way that absolutely everyone should give a chance to this album, at least once. No exeptions. [Jaime Ferreira]
/10 Caliban, one of
Germany’s leading metal-core bands, released their 9th studio album “Ghost Empire” just a couple of days ago (January 27th 2014). The music speaks for itself; this album is dynamic, heavy and assorted, not to mention that it can positively be considered their best material so far. The fiercely harmonious guitar riffs, the blasting drums, the smooth keyboards (synth) that labels the atmospheric elements of this album, and last but not least Andy Dorne’s monstrous screams with Denis Schmidt’s clean vocals are better than ever! So Caliban succeeded in delivering yet another great album, and hopefully they’ll get the recognition and the appreciation they deserve. [“Cookie” Shemaly]
/10 Church of Disgust
is a Death Metal duo from San Marco, TX, USA, featuring Dustin James on guitars and vocals and Joshua Bokemeyer on drums. Their 2nd album, “Unworldly Summoning”, released on the 1st of January, 2014, could’ve been a pretty interesting album if there was more attention given to the quality of sound, especially with the vocals. Now I’m not that “it has be this or that way” kind of dude, in fact I always appreciate bands that do something different, but this records is way too sludgy for a death metal album. Honestly there are more doom, black or sludge elements in this album rather than death metal, but even so, for the listener to actually feel something, these two dudes have to make some adjustments. [Kevin “Junk” Kidd]
ALFAHANNE Alfapokalyps Dark Essence Records
/10 No one can
blame Sweden’s Alfahanne for not being ecletic. Gathering influences from the most diverse genres, the quartet mixes hard rock, black metal, goth and punk, to a surprisingly coher-
/10 I was flabbergasted by
Circle’s latest work, “SSEENNSSEESS”. It’s a live album, recorded on November 22nd at the Kiasma Theatre and performed as a part of Mika Taanila’s exhibition “Time Machines”. They had recently been exploring their cosmic AOR and gentle rock in Falcon (ex-Circle) while loaning Circle to other musicians. This evening, however, belonged to some of the classic Circle members. It is Experimental Rock at its finest, with enough Prog influences to satisfy both the younger audiences as well as the occasional Gentle Giant fan looking for something to tickle their fancy. The live performance is amazingly technical, while at the same time looking as though they’re just jamming for fun. Perfect for an easy introduction to Circle. [Carlos Cardoso]
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Polarities” is Coldun’s new effort in order to please us with a new make-up within the doom genre. With a voice that’s like a mixing between Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, Coldun fills our ears with his deep voice which stands as the main attraction. “Collapsing Polarities” is characterized by catchy choruses – especially in “Echoes” which also have a neofolk driving due to the usage of an acoustic guitar. The album’s versatility keeps on with the addiction of string instruments in “What Stays?”. The songs are led to their climax when the frenetic yet melodic guitar solos are beautifully executed – sometimes more than once just in one track. The rock environment delivers a new fresh air within the doom scene. [Diogo Ferreira]
ERED WETHRIN Tides of War
CRYSTAL BALL Dawnbreaker
Embryonic Devourment Reptilian Agenda
EMYN MUIL Túrin Turambar Dagnir...
Northern Silence Productions
Northern Silence Productions
/10 Formed in 1999 in
Lucerne, Switzerland, Crystal Ball is a melodic power metal band, who has already edited 6 albums and that achieved some notoriety with “Hellvetia”, the fourth record in the year 2003. Seven years since the last album, the band now returns with “Dawnbreaker”, a record more characterized by a heavy metal classic sound and with much less Power Metal influences. In fact, “Dawnbreaker” is a excellent record, with very clever touches of hard rock, melodic metal and even, in some moments, a certain glam rock feeling, much like the reminding us of the ‘80s. With frantic themes that stays in the ear, such as “Zarathustra”, “Break of Dawn”, “Skin To Skin” and “Power Pack”, Crystal Ball assure a great return, with a record accessible to all musical tastes, to be heard with quite pleasure. [Rute Gonçalves]
/10 Third full length
for this Californian technical death metal combo, “Reptilian Agenda” sees Embryonic Devourment dive once more into the reptilian world domination theory they embarked on four years ago with “Vivid Interpretations of the Void”. More progressive than jazzy, the four piece demonstrates expert musicianship and crafty songwriting, making the mere half an hour the album lasts go by in a flash. Loaded with outlandish time signatures and tempo changes, and granting a strong emphasis to Austin Spence’s bass lines, this is a slab of metal that fans of bands like Pestilence, Atheist or Suffocation should not miss at any costs. An effectual and addition to the genre. [Jaime Ferreira]
CULTED Oblique to All Paths Relapse Records
/10 Besides mak-
ing good music, Culted also has an interesting story – the band members never met each other in real life, with vocalist Daniel Jansson living in Sweden, the rest of the members are located in Cana-
/10 Hailing from
/10 Ered Wethrin joins
Italy, this oneman project and its debut are one of two things; either Summoning worship, or Summoning clone. However, whether we choose to believe it is either tribute or rip-off, the similarities with Summoning’s music are extremely apparent, and definitely the first thing one notices when listening to this album. Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga, as the name might imply, is about Tolkien’s Middle Earth, more specifically about the book The Children of Húrin. The music is an Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal, heavy in synths and ambience, much like that of Summoning’s, the difference being, however, its slightly lower quality. Nonetheless, it is still a pleasant listen, even if lacking in originality. [David Horta]
the roster of amazingly well written epic atmospheric black metal from the city of Salt Lake in Utah. If you’ve heard of Gallowbraid and Caladan Brood, you’re most likely going to be fawning over this project as well. Tides of War marks as this one man band’s debut album and starts off the year in an explosive fashion with raw vocals accentuating over beautifully carved synths and desolate yet melodic guitar riffs. Ered Wethrin isn’t doing anything revolutionary in this style, but the presentation and energy is undoubtedly top notch. I’m hoping this project doesn’t take after it’s name and disappears underneath the waves of other great releases of the genre. [Jeffrey Allee]
da. But that didn’t stop them to create tremendous doom/black metal tunes! I was truly amazed by their 3rd album, released in January 21st, 2014, through Relapse Records – “Oblique to All Paths” – an outstanding record that surrounds the listener with a very dark but catchy ambient through the low tempo, hypnotizing riffs that remind me of Sun O))) & Electric Wizard and totally sick, impressive vocals, especially when they’re spoken. I’m only going to talk about the longest and also the most impressive tracks of the album: “Brooding Hex” is the first and longest, although twenty minutes might seem a lot, I still couldn’t have enough - it all felt like a creepy adventure through the darkest corners of
the Cosmos. “Intoxicant Immuration” and “Transmittal”, the 3rd and the 6th respectively, bring some of those spoken vocals that are introduced when the time is right, filling the instrumentals perfectly. They easily captivate the listener’s attention, they color the album to a morbid aspect. Culted are indeed one fabulous project, “Oblique to All Paths” is the kind of record that shows it was well thought out and no doubt, it deserves all the praises. I’ll certainly dig into the old stuff and I’m also looking forward for new records from them. [Kevin “Junk” Kidd]
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HAYMAKER Let Them Rot
HOPELESS YOUTH Disgust
LIE IN RUINS Toward Divine Death
MACABRE Dahmer (LP reissue)
Dark Decent Records
/10 Haymaker is a hard
core/punk band from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, comprised of former members of Pick Your Side, Left for Death and Chokehold. Known for extreme live performances which usually end in fights and people getting injured, they have just released their first studio effort in nearly a decade. “Let Them Rot” is another example of the band’s intensity. What we have here is very simple: four songs in four minutes. Yes, it may not be much, but listening to this is an amazing experience, especially if you are angry at the world and wish to release that anger and frustration building inside you. Musically speaking, there is a Converge vibe here, but in the end, only three words are needed to describe this record: short and sweet. [Jorge Alves]
/10 Listening to this
record I can’t help but think there is only so much hate and disgust a Metalcore band can spew. Unfortunately for these guys there’s a limit to musical and lyrical abuse a person can take without sounding monotonous. Many bands tried to keep things fresh by infusing traditional metal and Rap or Hip Hop elements into their music. This however is a band faithful to the perks and pitfalls of the genre and so after two or three songs it tends to become a bit tedious for all but the hardcore fan. [Nuno Babo]
DRAWERS s/t Kaotoxin
considered a doom metal band, Drawers comes off as more of a sludgy project that incorporates copious amounts of groove and melody in their music. The abrasiveness comes off
/10 After 5 years, Lie In Ruins
release their sophomore album, Towards Divine Death, to the masses in a ferocious, eviscerating old school metal assault. Although the sub-genre is known to be straightforward, Lie In Ruins deliver more than just worship with this new opus. The horrifically evil atmosphere that permeates from every band member shows how far these guys have come along with their skills and attitude. Songs like “Jaws of the Wolf” and “Of Darkness and Blackened Fire” crush you further and further into the ground as they progress (considering the fact that they both span 8 to 10 minutes in length) not giving you any chance to breathe. Towards Divine Death is a perfect example of OSDM done right, especially with the elements of doom metal infused in the framework. [Jeffrey Allee]
strong when first spinning this record, but with a little dissection and patience, you’ll find various layers complementing one another constantly. Even with these positives, however, the album suffers somewhat from repetition, especially with the vocals. They rarely differ throughout, but that is only a minor complaint. “Take Stock” is a definite must if you
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/10 Murder Metal
pioneers Macabre have just reissued their magnum opus “Dahmer”, which tells us the detailed story of the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. For those who still don’t know this record, Dahmer’s story is told through a plethora of sinister cuts intertwined with moments of comedic relief, which purposely aims at giving us an insight into the darker and softer sides of the killer’s personality. All of these tales are of course filled with sharp, catchy and dissonant riffs, which are accompanied by an extremely tight rhythm section and a singer who almost seems to impersonate Dahmer himself during several of his psychotic outbursts. The reissue is out on double splatter or double picture disc vinyl formats, both looking and sounding totally killer. This is, indeed, one to have in your collection. [Luís Alves]
want to get the feel of this opus. This self-titled effort is a must for those that dig rough grooves in their tunes. [Jeffrey Allee]
SOLSTICE (UK) Death’s Crown is Victory
MUSTASCH Thank you for the demon
Nasheim Solens Vemod
SAMMATH Godless Arrogance
Gain Music / Sony
Northern Silence Productions
Into the Void Records
/10 With a name
inspired by their heroes, like Tony Iommi and Freddie Mercury (Get It?) these Swedes are neither as operatic as Queen nor as heavy as Black Sabbath (That would be impossible!). They do take a lot of queues from another notorious moustache man, Mr. Phil Lynnot from Thin Lizzy. Although they are very modest on their approach, it works in their favour because the music tends to be a juggle between their main influences without being an obvious copy. Many other Stoner Metal / Rock band should take some lessons from this band. [Nuno Babo]
/10 Nasheim’s first full-
length –seemed more as EP to me with just 4 songs- is about to be released and the so called Soles Vemod is something not be missed. Since 2001, the Swedish black metallers from Umeå know how to drag you to your spiritual death, in their own dark way. Emptiness, desolation and sorrow are three of the main elements of this album, with En nyckel till drömmars grind (A key to the gate of dreams) –also personal favorite, being the first track of this album and three more songs to follow. The band didn’t lower their standards from their previous works with simple, melodic riffs that stuck in your mind and melancholic vocals. Perfect gift for you other half, as it will be released on 14th February via Northern Silence Productions. Let’s just hope their next album won’t take another 12 years. [Labrini Gouma]
ICED EARTH Plagues of Babylon Century Media
/10 On “Plagues of
Babylon”, Iced Earth returned to the “Something Wicked” storyline and followed the musical path of 2011’s “Dystopia”. It represents Stu Block’s consolidation as the band’s singer, but whereas “Dystopia” showed us a
/10 Sammath starts
/10 SOLSTICE are a
this year of 2014 with a new record called “Godless Arrogance. The album features moments that should be highlighted by the production department, but that side didn’t go as good as a listener would want – the lead guitar is almost hidden when it should be on the top of it all; thus the true sonority and intention is taken off. The album has some nice melodic soundscapes reminding me of the eastern European black metal like in the “Fear upon Them” track. The bass guitar is so distorted that when its sound comes to surface it seems like a ball of noise like in “Nineteen Corpses Hang in the Mist”. It’s vicious and violent, but refinements should be made. [Diogo Ferreira]
band that reinvented the epic doom metal sound. Their last release, “New Dark Age”, is a classic epic doom metal masterpiece, so I was anxious to listen to their new work. The line – up has changed with only Richard M. Walker (Guitars) being the original member. This kind of changes might make us anxious, but SOLSTICE have managed to keep the essence of their sound and release a great E.P. The only change is that they have added more traditional heavy metal elements to their sound that is a mixture of early MANOWAR with Celtic tunes and with a healthy dose of CANDLEMASS. However, the guys have a unique and recognizable sound and “Death’s Crown Is Victory” is a great release! [Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis]
re-energized Iced Earth, “Plagues” represents a serious case of “hit and miss” due to the fact that most of the songs sound pretty generic and there’s not much risk involved in what should have been an affirmation of an almost entirely new band. The “riff, verse, bridge and chorus” approach is constant, and if re-knitted together again, the number of interesting riffs on this record could only make up for three or four classic Iced Earth songs. However, there are some flashes of brilliance on cuts like “Democide”, “The Culling”, “Among the Living Dead”, “The End” or “Cthulhu”, which combine most of the arguments that made Iced Earth iconic: galloping speed driven rhythms, maidenesque double lead trade-offs and epic sounding vocals! On
these moments, the Iced Earth of old rears its head off and gives us an example of how powerful “Plagues” could have been if only it had seven more tracks like these. It isn’t a bad record by any means. It’s well produced and tightly executed, but it’s too much midtempo for its own good, and half the time, amazingly boring. The band’s thrashier roots are becoming increasingly forgotten, and as a consequence, some of the new material ends up being released without any remarkable selling points. Unfortunately, “Plagues of Babylon” ends up being a good example of this. Let’s just hope that, with the arrival of drummer Jon Dette, Iced Earth can do better next time, as we all know that they’re perfectly capable of.. [Luís Alves]
THE VINTAGE CARAVAN Voyage
SUFFERING IN SOLITUDE A Place Apart
The Kennedy Veil Trinity Of Falsehood
THE LION’S DAUGHTER Godless Arrogance
album it’s the result of the artistic collaboration between the U.S. black metal band from St. Louis, “The Lion’s Daughter” with “Indian Blanket”, a folk band based in the same region. This is a partnership that despite being for many, an unexpected and quite risky surprise, proved to be a brilliant idea and a unique creation at the musical level. “A Black Sea” is a fascinating record, that transports us into a cinematic atmosphere of dark and cold winter landscapes, brilliantly blending the sounds of acoustic guitars, banjos and heavier riffs. Clear examples are songs like “Gods Much Trouble”, “Swann”, “A Song For The Devil” and “Moonshiner.” Exciting, unique and beautiful – so it is “A Black Sea”. Definitely not to be missed. [Rute Gonçalves]
Caravan’s debut record “Voyage” represents one of those great listening experiences where everything connects from beginning to end. This effort intersects the influences of some of the ‘70s best hard rock acts with the production values of current stoner rock. It serves us up with big sounding catchy riffs, sharpened bluesy solos and a solid rhythm foundation, all provided by a young power trio that displays a natural knack for hard rock songwriting. Tracks like “Craving”, “Do You Remember”, “Expand Your Mind” or the epic “The King’s Voyage” are some of the highlights of this debut, that if it had been released in the ‘70s it could be considered a cult classic by now! You really don’t have to be old to be wise. Truly worth the listen! [Luís Alves]
INDIAN From All Purity
pain. And that, my good friends, is meant in the most positive light. The seven songs on display here are all vicious body shots that will slowly beat you down, both physically and mentally, rather than go straight for the kill. Indian want to make you suffer, and with From all Purity they certainly deliver. The stunningly tortured vocals rest on top of the heavy as all hell music. Music which pummels along at no
more the 5mph, as Indian deliver great tune after great tune. From all Purity is quite simply the musical equivalent of pain and suffering at its very purest, which is quite apt considering the album title. [Jude Felton]
/10 “A Place Apart”,
the debut full-length album by the post black metal band “Suffering in Solitude”, is a shaded funeral of hopes, dreams, and devotion. It is the kind of music that strikes you right in the center of your heart, and then leaves you with nothing but silence and melancholy. Black Moore, Danny Arancibia, and Christopher A. (the founder) crafted wellstructured chants of desolation and anguish through the varied sounds, the fascinating arrangement, and the appropriate sinister atmosphere. I have to praise Christopher’s aggressive drum sounds, but the vocals could’ve been better. It’s a worthy album nonetheless and highly recommended for every post-metal fan out there. [“Cookie” Shemaly]
/10 The Kennedy Veil’s
new album, Trinity of Falsehood, promises a lot, in terms of offering up some straightforward, honest death metal, yet only delivers on part of this promise. It’s an album that steers clear of the gory side of death metal, as it does the overtly technical, instead delivering 11 short, sharp and very precise excursions into modern death metal. There’s no denying that it sounds good, with the production giving all facets of the music room to breathe, yet I found it hard to find any real stand-outs. There are certainly no bad songs, which is helped by a real intensity to the vocal delivery, yet, on the flipside, there are no really great songs either. In a time where death metal is producing excellent albums, left, right and center, I fear that Trinity of Falsehood will fall between the cracks and soon leave the public consciousness. It’s definitely worth a blast or two, although after that I can’t imagine you’ll be coming back to it all that often. [Jude Felton]
/10 When an album opens
with a track entitled Rape, you pretty much know that you’re not going to be getting a happy-go-lucky 40 minutes of happiness. Far from it, as Chicago’s Indian have unleashed an absolutely devastating slice of aural
/10 The “A Black Sea”
/10 The Vintage
KUOLEMANLAAKSO Tulijoutsen Svart Records
[Jeffrey Allee] THE WOUNDED KINGS Consolamentum
Verminous Impious Sacrilege
MDD / Xtreem Music
/10 When teenage Doom
Metal fans imagine the perfect band, they take everything into consideration. The beginnings: a misty swamp in England (Dartmoor). The influences: a perfect amount of Black Sabbath and My Dying Bride. The struggles: said band may have been in peril after important members left for other projects. The Wounded Kings are a perfect storm. Their massive riffs drag you through hot damp marshes while the hypnotic voice of a modern priestess, Sharie Neyland, imprisons you for what feels like an eternity. “Consolamentum” is an astounding work recorded in six days, in the hottest week of the year, isolated from everything and everyone, completely live, giving the band a pure, organic soul that cannot be destroyed. Simply haunting. [Carlos Cardoso]
/10 Verminous aren’t as
well known as many of their Swedish contemporaries such as Dismember, Unleashed or Entombed, but their debut “Impious Sacrilege” has certainly helped define the most extreme variant of this sound coming from the Nordic lands. It marked the presentation of their brand of old school death metal, which relentlessly attacks all things religious through an ensemble of twisted riffs combined with frenzied blast beats and infamous devilish shouts. Given the quality of “Impious”, it’s difficult to understand why they aren’t mentioned more often as one of the main thrusters of the Swedish death scene. The reissue isn’t worth it just because of the two live tracks, no; It’s mainly worth it because now it offers fans of old and new an easy way to obtain one of Swedish death metal’s finest and probably most influential records ever! [Luís Alves]
LEGION OF THE DAMNED Ravenous Plague Napalm Records
/10 Legion Of The
Damned know how to keep busy: “Ravenous Plague” is their 6th album in 8 years. They also have a talent for giving their fans exactly what they like, either by writing good thrash or by exuding
/10 Kuolemanlaakso are soon releasing their
second full length album, Tulijoutsen, which incorporates an avant-garde approach to the death and doom metal style. The record is essentially territory that the band seeks to conquer, including a new style of heaviness and another level of melancholy. Tulijoutsen, or The Fire Swan, reaches expectations and exceeds them. The incorporation of wider ranged vocals, colossal choruses, unforgettable melodies, and amazingly structured compositions are but a few characteristics that make this album stand out from the crowd. If you think this is your run of the mill death/doom experience, then you’re wrong. Kuolemanlaakso looks from the outside in, adding in the aforementioned avant-garde recipe over this 50 minute opus. Some of these additions are apparent, such as in “Glastonburyn lehto”, which feels like a full on jazzy lounge experience coated with a slightly twisted atmosphere. The more hidden and well placed concoctions are found in the instrumentals, with accentuating synths and interestingly written transitional pieces. The premise and way that The Fire Swan came to be is what strikes me the most. The band wanted to incorporate folklore and poetry located throughout the 1900s and inspirations of nature, such as the Finnish forests and eerie lakes. To keep this idea “pure”, the band recorded the material in a location that fit this idea, creating this work of masterpiece. Every second played from Tulijoutsen is an example of natural thought coming to life and making itself heard.
charisma in their live shows. In “Ravenous Plague”, the Dutch quartet decided to honor their own past by welcoming back Andy Classen as producer, a man who knew what Legion Of The Damned should sound like: Classen brought back the Euro-Thrash characteristics of Kreator without sacrificing the growth that the band had gone throughout the last 8 years.
What Classen couldn’t get rid of is the feeling that we already heard this way too many times. It is competent, but not groundbreaking in the least.. [Carlos Cardoso]
Original title: “Koroshyia 1” English title: “Ichi the Killer” Year: 2001 Genre: Comedy / Crime / Horror Director: Takashi Miike Stars: Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin’ya Tsukamoto Now it’s time to introduce here at Spoiler Alert one of my favorite directors: Takashi Miike. This infamous Japanese film-maker has delivered great tales of violence and extreme visions of supposedly easy ways of living, alongside with excellent remakes like “13 Assassins” and “Hara-Kiri”. Submerging into his vast filmography, I picked up what I think to be his greatest accomplishment: “Koroshiya 1”, also known as “Ichi the Killer.” A yakuza boss called Anjo is missing with 100 million yen and, threatened by other bosses, Anjo’s wingman will take care of finding what
happened – what no one knows is that Anjo was brutally killed by a repressed and psychotic boy brainwashed by an outcast called Jijii. That wingman is Kakihara, a sadomasochistic yakuza with a scared face. When he knows that some guy like Ichi is inflicting such horror within the yakuza ranks, he tries not only to find his boss’s murderer but also wants Ichi to inflict him levels of pain that nobody could ever done. “Ichi the Killer” is a gore movie with cheap effects and some moments of gore are so ridiculous that the watcher can burst out on laughing. However, this film isn’t just about blood over the walls and needles piercing flesh – the watcher must concentrate on the plot in order to follow this complex story. Takashi Miike is the master of subversive cinema when dealing with macabre anthems to our eyes and
brains. Miike isn’t just blood for blood – there’s always an existential fact or quotidian transcendent goals behind his characters and stories. If Kakihara must find Ichi to explore the pain he so craves, you must find Takashi Miike and especially this film in order to witness the finery of Japanese cinema.
MURDER IN THE FRONT ROW: Shots From the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter, by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew Authors: Harald Oimoen, Brian Lew Publisher: Bazillion Points 272 Pages. 2011. ISBN 978-1-935950-03-5
rise of the 80’s Bay Area /10 The Thrash Metal phenomenon is
perhaps one the most significant musical happenings that ever took place in the 20th century. A lot of the music created from all the bands that spawned on the wings of this movement still inspires various musicians nowadays, and the ripple effect of that influence is not only heard in the metal genre, but on other styles as well. Some of the bands that became commercially successful are now considered to be household names and most of them instantly recognizable as part of our contemporary musical culture. If you’ve ever heard or seen the names “Metallica”, “Slayer” or “Megadeth”, even if you don’t know any more bands, you’ll get a picture of the influence that this movement really had in the music world. Visual records of this scene are countless, and have been spread throughout the years all over CD’s, vinyl, magazines, books and also through the bottomless pit which is the Internet, but never before has ever been a single compilation dedicated to tell the whole visual story of the movement’s rise until “Murder in the Front Row”. This book is the result of a collaboration between old time musical photographers Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew. In a heavy metal scene filled up with so many peculiar characters, Harald Oimoen (or Harald O., as he became known for his famous Cliff Burton back-cover shot on Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning”) and Brian Lew were always in the right place at the right time, and were privileged enough to be able to go through their teens during the golden age of extreme music while combining their passions of heavy music and photography at the same time. The days of thrash metal’s inception, going back to mid 1981, were a time when there were almost no barriers between the musicians and their fans. Everyone who was living in San Francisco on that period recalls that there was a great sense of community between everyone involved in the
scene, and great friendships were made in the after parties of numerous gigs, some of them still standing the test of time up to this day. In this context, Harald O. and Lew, who never competed with each other, easily became friends with characters such as James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, Gary Holt, Dave Mustaine, Paul Baloff and Kerry King among others, and due to this, were granted access to photograph their bands, not only during their blistering and highly energetic live performances, but also on their inner circle, away from the stage and engaged in the most mundane of activities. Throughout its 400 photographs, the book makes us go down on a trip through thrash metal’s memory lane and tells us the story of the genre’s first steps, down to its mid days, when second wave acts like Legacy (later Testament), Death Angel, Possessed and Vio-lence appeared. Most of the photos came from the photographers’ personal collections, and never made it to the public eye before, adding even more curiosity to what the reader will find. By flipping its pages, we’ll see the beginnings of Metallica, its first gigs with the lineup of Ron McGovney and Dave Mustaine, up to Cliff Burton’s first gig and the band’s first official photo session. We’re also treated to several shots of their later “Ride the Lightning” and “Master of Puppets” tours with Kirk Hammett already
on board, but the funniest moments were indeed those pictured inside the famous “Metallica Mansion”, where all sorts of peculiar characters and bands used to wander around. Most of Megadeth’s space in the book features the band’s first four concerts with Kerry King and Exodus is portrayed extensively from their early Kirk Hammett days, up to the entrance of Rick Hunolt, with their shots being pretty descriptive of why they were considered the most dangerous live band of that period. The other group which also received extensive coverage, was Slayer. Their story is covered since the moment of their first gig in the Bay Area, where fans told them to simply strip off the corny “satanic” makeup. What’s so impressive about them in particular is watching the close ups and realizing, putting all the evil imagery apart, that they were just essentially a bunch of kids wanting to have fun. Something probably a bit hard to visualize for more recent Slayer fans, given the band’s own presentation to the public in the past years. Halfway through the book we witness the arrival of new blood in the scene, dating back to ’85 and ‘86. Bands like Testament are pictured even before Alex Skolnick or Chuck Billy were in their ranks, and it was funny to see a really young Eric Peterson and Derrick Ramirez using priest costumes in their attempts to create an image. Another treat in this book are the detailed vis-
ual reports of Possessed’ first concerts and the complete famous “Seven Churches” photo-shoot. Though they later became known as one of death metal’s innovators, they started out in the Bay Area, playing the same circuits as the thrash bands did. Oimoen and Lew were always present at their concerts and witnessed their transition from their early satanic clad imagery to a more laid back style, which was pretty indicative of the path that guitarist Larry LaLonde would be trailing in his future. We’re also given various visual and textual accounts of all the scenarios that gave birth to the style, which end up providing a framework and a sense of space to the reader. We’re shown pictures of several gigs at hellish pits such as the Mabuhay Gardens, The Omni and The Stone, up to what many have considered to have been the birthplace of musical violence, the one and only Ruthie’s Inn, where Exodus have cut their teeth. The book also features written reports and recollections from three of the genre’s most well known musicians: Gary Holt, Alex Skolnick and Robb Flynn. Their recollections are usually tied to the intensity of the live gigs, their humble beginnings as metalhead kids and the
rise of their particular bands in the circuit. The photos in the book are shown in various sizes and their quality tends to vary. Let’s not forget that these were still the days of analog photography when you had to do something like change a roll and develop pictures afterwards, which is almost unthinkable in our current days of powerful smartphones and digital cameras. There’s no such thing as “HD” quality or super high resolutions of any kind. The quality factor may be the only downside in the book to be honest. We’re treated to an immense amount of giant, double page spread pictures, and while some of them may be of incredible quality, others were very blurred and unfortunately at times presented without much detail. But of course, all that matters is that those moments were captured for posterity, and the occasional shady quality is forgiven, given the circumstances of the environment in which the photos were taken (try to take a photo next to an Exodus or Slayer mosh pit, and you’ll know what I’m talking about).
instantly worthy of being in any thrash or heavy metal fan’s book collection. It only accounts for the periods that most fans might find interesting, especially the beginnings of each of the genre’s iconic bands in the game, but more importantly, for a few moments, the immersive quality of the shots gives us the ability to jump back in time, straight into the scene and to feel like we were actually there. That’s the mark of a great musical photographer, the one who seizes the intensity of the live moment for it to be relived in posterity, and that’s the gift that photographers such as Oimoen and Lew gave us in this book. This is the definitive visual report of the Bay Area Thrash Metal movement rise, and it extensively captures the bands’ youthful enthusiasm and creatively hungry spirits, both living together in several photographs of time for us to witness and relive while listening to their earlier masterpieces. A highly, highly recommendable work of art. [Luís Alves]
To sum it up, the book is presented in such a deluxe package that makes it
Dave Mustaine and Kerry King during one of Megadeth’s first shows. A Metallica soundcheck in late ’82.
Slayer goofing around in the sun.
Vio-Lence with Robb Flynn (Machine Head) in its ranks.
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ainy Night in Oporto. A few thousands gathered to witness Dream Theater’s comeback to Portugal, with some, such as your faithful scribe and others coming from as far as Lisbon, in the other side of the country, just to see their one of their favorite bands in action. They were now back for an impressive 11th time to this country in order to promote their latest venture, the self titled “Dream Theater” album, and showed their fondness of Portuguese audiences, rewarding their faith in the band by choosing to start their “Along the Ride tour” on a venue which they already packed up for so many times in the past few years. Most fans already knew they were going to witness a special event, as surely the night would promise a whole ensemble of live premieres from the new album. The overall mood was intimate and personal, with Oporto’s Coliseu filled up to an almost full capacity. It was indeed delightful to see the diversity of the crowd from my upper balcony point of view, which says a lot about the appeal of the band’s music and how it still resonates on people of the most diverse ages and generations. This was to be an evening with Dream Theater, a full three hour affair, so there was no support act. As the lights dimmed, a video animation was projected on to a giant screen covering the stage. This intro had an orchestral version of “False Awakening Suite” as a musical background to a 3D animation where all of the band’s albums’ covers came to life, each one transitioning into the other in seamless awe fashion. Just to give an example, one of the “Octavarium”
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balls rolled out to destroy the bridges in “Systematic Chaos”, forcing all the ants to run through the “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” surrealistic cover, which by its turn showed the “Dramatic Turn of Events” trapezist behind its door. As the album covers transitioned, the crowd was ready to pick out their favorites by screaming out loud in approval of what are seemingly considered to be the band’s best works: “Metropolis Pt. 2”, “Train of Thought” and “Systematic Chaos”. After this introduction, the screen came down and the first notes of the “Along The Ride World Tour” were played when the band launched into a blistering performance of their latest single, “The Enemy Inside”. The full stage reveal showed the band performing on a graffiti walls filled stage, with a giant video backdrop giving us a closer look into the technicalities of each of the band’s members, as well as providing the visual storytelling essential for songs’ unraveling. The first act consisted essentially on the presentation of the “Dream Theater” record. In between, we still had time for the incredible live debut of “The Shattered Fortress” and to revisit the Grammy nominated single “On The Backs of Angels.” The concert continued with the premiere of the Rush-inspired “The Looking Glass” and on to a representation of the “Falling into Infinity” album, with “Trial of Tears”, which hadn’t been played since 2004. Another premiere followed, the thunderous “Enigma Machine” instrumental, whose mid section gave way for Mike Mangini’s solo spot. Strong renditions of yet another premiere, “Along for the Ride” and “Breaking All Illusions” closed the show’s first act. The following 15 minute intermission gave everyone in the audience a few laughs, as the band amusedly compiled an ensemble of various self and fan-made footage from YouTube into a comedic show reel, showing us the audition of “Triangle Man”
(a skit clearly mocking Mangini’s audition process for the band) and the James LaBrie and John Petrucci Action Figures (with Petrucci as a “Decepticon” Transformer), among other hilarious sketches. The second act saw Jordan Rudess bring out one of weirdest instruments I’ve ever seen. A 180 degree curved keyboard set, which he used to get out of his usual spot and join the party with the rest of the band. After greeting the crowd and talking about the pleasures of drinking all of the city’s Port wine, singer James LaBrie pointed out an interesting fact that much of the audience were probably not aware of. This tour would mark a celebration of “Awake”’s 20th anniversary, and as such, the band played almost half the album, throwing in some regular setlist fixtures as “The Mirror” and ”Lie” and digging up some nice surprises like the intense “Lifting Shadows of a Dream” and “Scarred”, songs that hadn’t been performed as well since 2004 and 2007 respectively. To close the second half, the Oporto audience was awarded with two distinct treats, the first ever live performance of “Space Dye Vest”, a 20 year old, never before played track from “Awake” and the grandiose 22 minute epic “Illumination Theory”, whose middle moments of Rudess’ piano interlude with the screen projections made most of the audience just stand completely still admiring the delightful interplay between image and sound. The band went backstage once again, and the restlessness of a crowd that seemed to want more was quite noticeable, as the whole audience in the venue started stomping their feet simultaneously, making the whole Oporto’s Coliseu tremble. Everyone in the stands, such as myself, began to question if the structure was safe enough to withstand such a “seismic” charge! Dream Theater happily obliged to the fans’ requests, and returned to close what already was at that point a two and a half hour epic set. The encore was entirely
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based on their “Metropolis Pt. 2” opus and as the final moments drew even nearer, the opening snare drum hits of “Overture 1928” brought the whole place to near madness. Obviously, “Strange Deja Vu” came next and was promptly followed by the band’s greatest musical marathon, “The Dance of Eternity”. There was a slight hiccup from Mangini and he seemed lost for a few seconds in the middle of the song, but accounting that the instrumental has 104 different time signature changes, he was certainly forgiven by the more acute ears. The band then brought the proceedings to an end on the highest note possible, with a stunning rendition of “Finally Free”, which saw the whole audience singing in unison and simultaneously signaling goodbye to their favorite prog metal legends. It was an unusual performance, as it didn’t feature a John Petrucci solo spot and it wasn’t so reliant on well-known songs such as “Pull me Under”, “The Spirit Carries On”, “Forsaken” or “The Root of All Evil”. However, it still proved to be an unforgettable evening of premieres and a very special occasion for all who had the privilege to watch this parade of new live renditions and rarely played songs being rendered one after the other. The event left the promise of a great tour for other lucky audiences worldwide. It had been 16 months since they’ve been out on the road, but once again, as usual, Dream Theater gave an excellent show and didn’t disappoint. We’re already waiting for their next return.
Words: Luís Alves Photography: Carlos Miguel dos Santos
(Due to severe illness Maria Brink and In This Moment www.facebook.com/officialinthismoment were unable to perform on Sunday January 12 at Bogart’s www. facebook.com/bogartsshows. The show was made free and Before the Mourning, All Hail the Yeti, Devour the Day and Butcher Babies performed as scheduled. In This Moment rescheduled for February 3rd with tickets honored.)
an 12, ¾’s of the 2014 Hellpop II tour came to Cincinnati. Due to strep throat taking her voice with a high fever, Maria Brink was unable to perform. However the rest of the twisted circus showed up and gave fans a loud, rowdy show that brought many screaming, thrashing bodies over the crowd barrier eager to say hi. From LA comes Before the Mourning www. facebook.com/BeforeTheMourning and are a new dawn for heavy music injected with young
blood and passion. Three guys and one hot iron maiden came to play for the early evening pit ready crowd. The sweat, saliva, testosterone and estrogen flew as they christened their first stop at Bogarts with a definite Need to Bleed out. Clean melodic yelled vocals by Adam Ryan started the adrenaline opener sweeping over intense opening guitar interplay with pulsing bass and slamming drums. The industrial steam pump beginning of Grim went on a roller coaster ride of impassioned tortured vocals with a violent frantic guitar sound playing up and down your neck like a human fret-board. Slipping through the icy-cold clutches of darkness into mental oblivion. We got a very short break from the nerve wracking mental catacombs with the twangy guitar build of Damned & Forsaken only to be hit by thick Meshuggah riffs. ‘We’re all angels and demons, who’ve lost all feeling’, the message screamed from the broken heavens as we fall earthbound lying face down slammed in the dirt to wither. By our deeds, not
everyone has the right to live but we all have The Right to Die. Someone will be there to bury you. No worries, the light brings loud angels with screaming guitars that will carry you skyward or drop you south. Their sound is as catchy as it is deadly with modern day thrash and infectious melodies. They’re a dangerously delicious taste of deadly absinthe. They finish opening the floor for The Abyss proving humans can throw down just as hard as demons. Before the Mourning is a reminder to celebrate and honor the life of those we lay to rest. LA’s monstrous mythological contribution of not yet but someday legendary status All Hail the Yeti www.facebook.com/officialallhailtheyeti turned the stage into the Sawyer/Hewitt family game room, spread with time-weathered skulls, bones, animalized upholstery and some tenderized taxidermy. Either they shop at the international house of bones or trap and kill their stage props
before the tour. It’s a coonskin, gator bait grim reaper starring center stage in the bull-headed bazaar, draped and dapper with tribal feathers and fishnet. The Lochness was probably hidden somewhere in this wild-west nightmare sipping on dehydration and dust. They open taking us on a trip down to the Deep Creek in Big Bear where special chemicals and pollutants mix to create the Alice in Chains version of Creedence Clearwater spiked with some BLS swamp water. The flannel-soaked whisky’s flowing When the Sky Falls, shooting bullets at the moon as sky-bound vermin fall in the fire. We get hot and heavy in the dark Suicide Woods, screaming through the trees in search of the wildebeest. Fee fi fo fum, it smells the blood of everyone. We’re held by impaled burning wood scorched by flame as After the Great Fire graphically tells the haunting tale. The spirits and souls of charred victims young and old cry through the guitars searing notes. I am the devil in the smoke, I am the ghost. After the fire we get three minutes of drowning intensive Bloodguilt. It was time to move the f’n place around. The dirty, fighting, bullet flying old west comes to modern day Cincinnati on The Art of Mourning. Campfire harmonicas fire up a blaze of sound as bodies sway in the fragile wind, tried running from the angel of death. Roped, drawn and quartered by noon, wife, victim of outlaw rape and shot, gone and buried too soon. Revenge is sought, the cross will lead you. Blood spilt for blood; the crow’s eyes see all. Walk with her in spirit to heavens call. Turning their backs on their Hollywood home and better for it, they’re a nasty, smelly boogie man campfire tale come to life. AHTY is the 2006 brain child of singer, tattoo artist Connor Garritty and guitarist K.J. Duval. Quickly earning a reputation of stalking their audience with a dead in the eye stare, their shows have left behind a metal hunter’s stake of human remains, oddities, parts and limbs lying about. With savage guitars riffs and dark melodious melodies AHTY is what you’d listen to, blocking out the pain trying to escape out of a bear trap. www.allhailtheyeti.com From Memphis and the remains of Egypt Central, Devour the Day www.facebook.com/devourtheday start out with a Joey Chicago bass funkin, air hammering, sheet-metal sparks flying beat with jamming guitars of Get Out of My Way or be trampled. It’s electric dance floor destruction at its schizophrenic best. You and Not Me cry’s for salvation that can’t be seen through another’s eyes. Handshakes to Fistfights come’s in looking for trouble, road weary from death’s hand in back-street Memphis. They’ve risen and fallen, too late to turn back now, no point in relapsing to rehab, time to evolve. Ft. Wayne drove them crazy, infatuation isn’t love. Respect… must be earned and you don’t deserve it. Run away, like a little bitch, you’re not worth it. Their classical piano keyed rock anthem Oath is a promise of a homeward bound to that special someone. Time for a Blackout, everybody freak out, the sign of the times is here. A catchy, bouncy hard rock sing-along. The ‘closer’ opening beat of Move On has infectious techno-pop effects carried by
strong emotional vocals and punctuated bass slides. Blake Allison pulls a strong vocal ‘tool’ out on Good Man trying to cast the demons out with the light. New CD Time & Pressure is available at www.devourtheday.com. The massacre began when three guys and two loud and proud women teamed their admiration of Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Joan Jett and Gwen Stefani (yep) into their version of musical butchery. Their style also influenced heavily by iconic grindhouse horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the modern day malicious theater of House of 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects. However the person holding the most influence, watching from the metal heavens above, the queen of early 80’s punk, metal and shock was The Plasmatic’s Wendy O’Williams. Her bad ass, don’t give a s—t what people thought attitude resonated with the band not only influencing their on stage attitude but for the first several years Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey’s stage attire consisted of black nipple tape in tribute to Williams persona. What young, impressionable youths wouldn’t be impacted by a crazy mohawk sporting chick driving a school bus into a wall of TV’s in the desert? They also took their pluralized name from the Plasmatic song Butcher Baby and gained early attention via YouTube for a performance of F-----g Hostile. They’ve recently retired the tape for more fully dressed metal garb stating they’ve paid respect now it’s time to evolve. They self-released their first EP in 2011 and a comic book at Comic Con by Harvey who’s also a novelist and licensed funeral director and embalmer. Their show is a wild, vicious display of power with decibel shredding double vocals, pulverizing guitar, bass, drums and hot female aggression. In January 2012 they released Mr. Slowdeath and in May premiered the video from their EP, signing with Century Media in November, embarking on a two month tour with Marilyn Manson. Days later they began recording Goliath, releasing the I Smell a Massacre single in June. Goliath was released in July, touring the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Jagermeister stage in support. Touring continued with Danzig, Texas Hippie Coalition and A Pale Horse Named Death. The CD’s a story about the forsaken, shunned by society, festering in the underground, transforming into the Goliath in a world where the more heinous the act, the greater your legend becomes. Thematic songs about the demons around us and trauma suppressed memories that still scream in our sleep. The alluring demonic hell-bred combination of two beautiful voices singing and screaming out ravaged throat-tearing angst counter balancing hope and rage in the same cage with intense brutality. The blood red illuminated curtain open’s, the crowd stands ready for pit-stance. The smell of bloodshed fills the room with Heidi’s impassioned emerald-ended blonde warrior scream. The massacre’s back here again from a year ago, as the audible mauling begins with the opening throat
slit riffs of Henry Flury. The beast inside comes out at night. Two predatory animalistic voices ready to drive insanity into your brain. We see the dark side of the mirror, if these broken glass feelings won’t cut you with frenetic speed, the Butcher Babies www.facebook.com/ButcherBabiesMusic will. We feel Harvey’s agony with these feelings of remorse, it’s gonna be a long ride. Shepherd’s high peaked shredding shrieks prove it’s amazing the stuff you do and the sh- you f- up when you’re In Denial. Brunette song siren Harvey lays down the hypnotizing strong melody as the perpetual movement continues. They’re plasmatic princesses of battle-torn burlesque in a Mad Max world. Heidi and Carla, much to the chagrin of front stage security invite everyone in the back to ‘find a way’ to the front. Going back to the Butcher Babies EP and a visit from Dr. Feelgood himself, Mr. Slowdeath as no less than 20 ‘surfers’ did the climb of life during the, hungry for more guitar/ bass riffs, making their human-handed way towards the stage within arm’s reach during blooddrenched, emotionally scarred words. The babes and babies called for that one ugly word with fists in the air, screeching like a tortured soul with unanimous headbanging. It was a leather and lace request/order with boot-licking loud good taste from the crooning voice of a hell’s angel on aged whisky. They wanted the biggest Bogart’s circle pit ever as they enraptured everyone in full Hi-Def sledge-thudding, secret candle lit meeting Deathsurround sound. Let’s hear you scream Cincinnati! This city of angel’s creeps down the alleys of disease, destroying your innocence, passion and dreams, turned into a different person by drugs, booze and sleaze. Every town has a Magnolia Blvd. The babies get ready to end the show with an old-school Axe Wound to the damaged ear and soul. The crowd falls into the enchanted banshee delivered curse as Heidi, Carla and Henry each take to the railing, standing tall, surveying all who lingered. They bow, exiting as the house lights come on. But…wait, an attendant ran on stage flashing the index finger. We get one more song. Like a shot call in a riot, or moshpit, we get chemically compounded by octane with C8H18 as the Gasoline flows.
Words: Mike Ritchie Photography: Mike Ritchie www.facebook.com/mike.ritchie.338 www.coveringthescene.com
uring December last year, Therion proposed themselves to make a round of concerts in some chosen places to present their new anthems to the fans. One of the few chosen places was the new (old) BatschKapp in Frankfurt, a legendary concert venue which has a new location and space. The tour package included the mighty Arkona and the polish rock band Coma. The Polish group, although a bit out of context since it is a more rock alternative band, managed to grab the attention of the audience mainly with a very insane frontman and a very competent and skilled band. With a setlist mainly based on their last record, Don’t Set Your Dogs On Me, the songs had complex structures, which the band delivered without any issue, with many progressive touches while the singer grabbed the attention of public, one by one. What started as a weird act, finished with many applauses
from the audience. The following act hails from Russia and is leaded by a ferocious, but charming lady, known as Masha Scream who is unstoppable on stage. The band starts with two songs (Az’ and Arkaim) from their latest opus, Slovo, and it is immediately noticeable that Arkona has an immense fan base. The following opus, Ot Serdtsa K Nebu, sees Masha enchanting the venue with her beautiful vocals while Vladimir, the flutes and bagpipes guy, delivers all the folk melodies. Sergei “Lazar”, the guitar axeman, delivers the sonic wall of riffs while the rhythmic section, Rusla and Sergei, provides a solid base for the band to flow with. It was then time for one biggest anthems of the band, Goi Rode Goi, which drove the public even more insane. The mosh pit was spreading to the four corners of the venue, and then the band slows down
with the beautiful hymn Zakliatie, of the last album Slovo, It was then time for a surprise since it was the last concert of the tour: the band plays an acoustic version of Goi Rode Goi and invites Chris and Christian from Therion to join them on stage. Pamiat was then delivered with many dances on stage of Masha with Lazar, and then the beautiful Slav’sja, Rus’! song calmed down the public to behold such enchanting tune coming from the stage. It was then time to close with Stenka na Stenku and Yarilo, which led to one of the biggest dancing pits that this scribe of yours has witnessed. Arkona says farewell to an exhausted public who screams for more. It was then time for the main act: Therion. The opera metal gods promised to play Vovin in its entirety and when the first tunes of “The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah” come from the PA an immense scream roars from
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the audience while the band enters the stage. Vovin is delivered as promised and the band plays Birth of Venus Illegitima and then hops to the faster Wine of Aluqah. Clavicula Nox then comes and the beautiful voice of Lori Lewis reincarnates this hymn and leaves the audience speechless. Therion is a band that has seen many line-up changes but it seems that the band reached a stable state with the perfect singers, Lori Lewis plus the tenor Thomas Vikstrom and his daughter Linnea, and the set of great instrumental musicians. The Wild Hunt makes the first pit emerge and Thomas reincarnates the vocals of Ralf Scheepers and does a great job. Linnea has ger first solo appearance on Eye of Shiva while Black Sun claims for the joint effort of all three (!!!) singers. Draconian Trilogy and Raven of Dispersion completed the Vovin set. It was impressive to revive such a tremendous and landmark album. It
was then time to present the new songs with Chris addressing the audience to explain the concept behind the Rock Opera and what we were about to hear. Overture, an instrumental with some military touches to it, is the first song and then comes The End of the Dynasty, a somehow fast song, with Thomas showing his vocal skills in a second “part” of the song. Who’s You God seemed a song more tailored for Lori Lewis with some memorable riffs. Onda Toner begins with some weird tempo and then sees the band exploring some instrumental landscapes which sound promising. The last song from the Opera is called Sad End which consists of a beautiful duet between Thomas and Lori, both tremendous singers. It was then time for the last block of the concert: hits from all the other albums and the band started with The Flesh of the Gods. Muspelhiem is played with Masha and Vladimir from Arkona joining the band FOLLOW US ONLINE http://www.againstmagazine.com
and making an insane intro to the song with their folk touches. Tremendous combination. Asgard and Invocation of Naamah are the following tunes after which comes the mage hymn from the band: To Mega Therion. To conclude, the band leaves with a very intimate interpretation of another of their classic tunes: Lemuria. All in all, Therion gave everything this night: full Vovin album, presentation of new unreleased songs and then the remaining hits from the other albums. No fan can complain from this.
Words & Photography: Eduardo Rocha
Published on Jan 31, 2014