VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
BY: STEVEN CANNON
"Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in
eternity" -- Edwin Hubbel Chapin.
Hello all, and welcome back! We're sorry for the delay in getting issue #16 up
on the web site, but at least we're trying to stay consistent! Issues will now
be very lengthy, after all, you should see how much material I get during a
two to three month period! Let's get the usual address things out of the way,
for those of you wanting to send demos, letters, money, rat skulls, acid tabs
and what have you, the address is:
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
1133 East 53rd Street
Savannah, Georgia 31404 USA
The web site: http://www.kmf.org/~cl/vod_home.html
We also have a mirror site as well at: http://www.doom.org/vod/index.shtml
This mirror site will most likely be updated before the kmf site, so check
both to see if the newest issue is online. The mailing list is still being
sent out as well, so drop me a line if you want to be on it.
Email address is: email@example.com
We also have a temporary email address since we've been having problems with
the Talahassee Freenet address. If you have problems with the cannon01 address
try this one: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, we have entered into a deal with the Musikbahn web site who will be
bringing the masses full uncut CD's digitized in RealAudio! We already have
Wumpscutt, Evils Toy, Pouppee Fabrikk, Zero Defects and some other albums done
so check out their web site at: http://www.musikbahn.com
Before we go, we want to make a quick correction from last issue: the
Hammerfall cover song 'Child of the Damned' was originally done by Warlord,
NOT Iron Maiden. Just had to clear that up. We also gave you the digitized
sound files for Dimmu Borgir and Melechesh, but due to a printing error the
reviews for those particular CD's got left out. Suffice it to say that both
black metal CD's got very good reviews. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Iz dat mah cigaret hangin off tipa yo lip?!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- RANTS & RAVES
- 808 STATE "Don Solaris"
- ACUMEN NATION "More Human Heart"
- ANCIENT "Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends"
- ANVIL "Absolutely No Alternative"
- A.P.C.G. "Essential Hardware"
- CAPHARNUM "Reality Only Fantisized"
- CLEAR BLUE SKY "Cosmic Crusader"
- COSMONKS "In Afterburn"
- DOWNLOAD "Charlie's Family"
- HECATE ENTHRONED "The Slaughter of Innocence"
- HYPOCRISY "The Final Chapter"
- IRON LUNG "Chasing Salvation"
- JUDAS PRIEST "Jugulator"
- LIQUID SEX DECAY "Liquid Sex Decay"
- MORTIIS "Crypt of the Wizard"
- NOVEMBER 17 "Trust No One"
- NUMB "Blood Meridian"
- PENTACLE "The Fifth Moon"
- SAXON "Unleash the Beast"
- SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY "Bread and Jam for Frances"
- THE GATHERING "Nighttime Birds"
- UNLORD "Schwarzwald"
- VARIOUS ARTISTS "Spiritual Vibes"
- :WUMPSCUT: "Embryodead"
- ACUMEN NATION
- DAN SWANO
- LIVING SACRIFICE
- NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- EDITORIAL NOTATIONS
Time for a-notha letters page! Keep sending me your comments, I'm STILL
waiting for someone to tell me my page sucks and why!! Oh, well...
From: Dachar at The Industrial Bible [email@example.com]
Hey! So far so good on yer web page! I see where you enjoyed "Killer" by Swamp
Terrorists. If you liked that then may I suggest getting ahold of STR's new
project Hellsau. Imagine the chaotic techno sounds they dabbled in on the
bonus disc that was packaged with the "Get O." EP, add in some super guitar
riffs and vocals and that is Hellsau in a nutshell. The new EP is called
"Revain" (on Sub Mission Records) and the new full length is going to be
called "Vain" I believe. It was also released on Sub Mission but Invisible
Records will be putting it out in the States soon. I agree with many of the
reviews I read (especially the Zero Defects "Komma" and Collapsed System), but
I have to disagree with the Covenant review. Maybe I'm partial to it since I
had a chance to hang out with them for a few days while they were in the U.S.
What's the idea behind combining metal and industrial in your 'zine? Seems
rather strange that those two styles of music would be consolidated into one
magazine. Were you turned onto industrial music before metal or vice versa? By
the way, a few other CD recommendations for you: Individual Totem's "Mind
Sculptures Flesh," X Marks the Pedwalk "Drawback," In Strict Confidence's
"Collapse," and Digital Factor's "Countercheck" CD. There's a ton more but I'd
never finish typing if I kept this up. Keep up the good work!
Steven: Hey, thanks for the kind words. Okay, to address these one at a time:
First off, I haven't heard the Hellsau yet BUT I do remember seeing something
by them somwehere. As for Covenant, I wasn't thoroughly impressed, but I
didn't think it totally sucked either. Actually, I have since received the
full length which seems to have a better sound than the EP. And as for our
"combining" metal and industrial, we actually cover many different styles,
everything from techno, ambient, trance, and rave to gothic, punk, hardcore,
etc. And yes, I was a metalhead of the strictest degree before I found
industrial. Blame that on the local clubs here in Savannah! XMTP's "Drawback"
is set to be released stateside this year (read the noteworthy items section)
and I HOPE it is better than their last effort I got to hear "Meshwork." In
Strict Confidence will probably be reviewed this issue, and Individual Totem I
will have to listen to again.
From: Jeb Branin at the Crass Menagerie [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Great interview! Hot damn. Thanks. I laughed my ass off when you mentioned
your interview with Jeff Walker (for details see the Crass Menagerie interview
he did with us) He was also one of my worst interviews for the same reasons.
He even got into insulting my scene and arguing with me about whether or not
certain bands had ever played Salt Lake City. He sat there like a dick telling
me that I had not seen the Grindcrusher tour because he KNEW it didn't come
there (unlike him who was "gracing" our lame city.) What a prick! Obviously I
knew whether or not a show had come to my town! He left my interview and went
to do a radio interview with a friend of mine and got mad because the friend
also wanted to interview Pitch Shifter and Jeff walked out in the middle of
it! It was a good thing that they were an amazing band or I would have had to
Steven: That's funny, because I thought Carcass' performance sucked actually.
And the reason was that EVERY song they played was from Heartwork, they didn't
play ANY older material. It's funny that someone else had the bad experience
with him too. I urge you readers to send Jeb email asking him how to get a
copy of his fine publication which deals with mostly punk and stuff, something
we have been trying to do more of lately. Of course, you all WILL want to read
the waay cool interview he did with me for his last issue!
From: Black_god [email@example.com]
Hey. Just wanted to say that this is a really cool ezine you have here, and I
think it very commendable of you to cover such a wide variety of musical
styles in your reviews and interviews, although I would like to see a little
more black metal releases reviewed. I am not really into industrial/techno
music, but am starting to get into a lot of symphonic and ambient stuff, as
well as some older progressive rock. Hmm, Hawkwind actually sound pretty cool
and may be worth checking out, I dig the cover on the new Amorphis EP quite a
bit (however, I think they are doing something cool and not "selling out" as
some are quick to say, even if it seems like they left their roots behind.)
The thing prompting me to write was your reviewer's unfair trashing of
Ulver's "Madrigal of Night," an excellent CD in my opinion. As you may not
know, Ulver is a sort of "concept band" revolving around the theme of wolves
in Norwegian mythology, and this is their third release. They are a really
unique and special band for me and one of my favorite black metal acts. I can
safely say I can't think of any other b.m. band that can go from an album of
good midpaced to fast northern style black metal with acoustic guitars and
pianos, then do an entire album of acoustic guitars, cellos, flutes and choral
vocal melodies (referring to "Kvelsdanger" which I highly recommend to trip
to, or meditating). Some may say they've had an inconsistent transition from
"Kvelsdanger" to "Madrigal," but it fits when you consider the concept of the
storyline of the wolf, and yes even though the CD is underproduced it is very
fitting in a primal sort of way. After listening to this if you still have any
doubts as to the talent of this band then check out their other two CD's. Hell
even my father has a soft spot for their acoustic CD! Anyway, keep up the
great work, stay true and I look forward to reading your next issue.
Steven: First off, as I said when I responded, I fully stand behing Chris and
his reviews: frankly I thought the album being underproduced was only half the
fault of the CD. BUT, I do give EVERY band a chance, I don't immediately diss
a band based on their previous works. EVERYONE can change. Black metal does
have some good talent out there, as does any genre of music, we just don't get
a whole lot of it around here and it's hard to get serviced with the overseas
labels that we wish we could get promos from. I just can't afford to go out
and buy CD's! I would like to hear the acoustic thing but if I can't get it as
a promo then I'll probably never be able to buy it. If you like Hawkwind, then
I suggest you check out Darxtar and the Flower Kings; we are working very
hard to find other progressive rock/symphonic bands though they are few and
far between. We found The Flower Kings almost by accident, and as soon as they
WRITE BACK, we'll do an interview and hopefully review their latest CD. One
final thing that may need to be said, as some of you have noticed, with few
exception Chris is the ONLY reviewer I've ever let do reviews for my magazine,
and that is because I trust him completely. I'm VERY picky about who I let
write reviews, and this is because I need someone who is going to be brutally
honest about what they are listening to. In Chris's case, black metal was a
very new field for him, mostly being into punk but also being open minded, and
it's amazing just how close to his numerical scores mine were, especially when
you consider I've been listening to black metal for years and he just started!
From: Agelos Kanarelis" [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hi Steve! We are a heavy metal fanzine on the web. We have news, CD reviews,
concert reviews (we publish our own killer pictures), interviews, and a
competition with free cd giveaways. Give us a try if you have the time and
please publish our message so other people can visit us. Thank you.
Steven: Hey dude! It's great to see someone from Greece getting in touch with
us. One nice thing I like about his web site is the pictures of the CD artwork
with each review. I also like the fact that he is in touch with progressive
rock and metal bands in addition to black and death metal. Nicely done! He
also managed to get his hands on the latest Razor, Exciter, and Venom CD's,
discs which I would give my left arm and possibly my right one just to have
and digitize here in the magazine! Keep up the good work my friend!
From: John Sunol [email@example.com]
Steve Cannon: God will move against all of those who move against him. Roger
Martinez's earthlink page gave me your peice. Rogers page is evil and the God
will eventually destroy his page and him if he does not repent. Punk Rock
music can be evil and can lead to eternal destruction as well. So you need to
come to Jesus Christ and stay out of these areas or it will be your downfall.
Rogers page is evil and all honest Christians would throw at the sight of
this. I am at war with the devil and seeing the devil will be finally defeated
in the end I will not give up for any person.
Steven: Isn't this funny how he addresses me BY NAME? It's people like YOU who
made Roger Martinez turn AWAY from the "Christian" faith. And I use the term
"Christian" loosely. Who are YOU to condemn Roger for what he believes in? I
happen to believe in God myself, but I also know the TRUE "christians" don't
go around persecuting people like Catholics, Protestants, and the like have
been doing for thousands of years. And furthermore, you should know that Roger
Martinez's music has NOTHING whatsoever to do with punk. Our policy here at
the magazine is that we keep the politics and religion crap OUT of the
magazine. Just because I don't like certain religious or political viewpoints
does NOT mean I am better or worse than anyone else, and the fact of the
matter is whether I worship Satan or Jehovah or any other GOD is secondary to
the primary purpose of this magazine: to inform a mass public about GOOD music
which can either be of "Christian" demonination or "Satanic." I try and keep
an open mind about everything, something you would do well to probe yourself.
I actually understand where Roger is coming from, for I think organized
religion, with all it's power trappings, responsibility for thousand of deaths
in wars, and just plain hypocrisy, is much worse than Satanism in ANY form
could EVER be. Maybe if you knew more about music you would have made less of
a fool of yourself. By the way for those interested, a copy of THIS entire
letter and response has been forwarded to Mr. John. You may be amused to note
that in the text body of the letter was the words "A message from God
Damn! It's so hard for me to believe this is the SAME group responsible for
such great club hits like 'Time Bomb' and 'Nimbus.' First off, there isn't
really ONE single club worthy track anywhere. While that isn't my main concern
for a good techno album, I have NO idea what these guys are trying to do.
While I must admit I liked pieces of songs, just when I would start to enjoy,
say, a saxophone riff or a steady techno piece, they would change the sound,
style and tempo midstream and just ruin it for me! Only 'Jerusahat' was
enjoyable from start to finish. Most of the instrumental pieces had diverse
sounds, but they just weren't able to combine them together well enough to
make for an enjoyable disc. Like 'Kohoutek' for instance. I'm enjoying what is
a rather trippy piece, nice piano notes and stuff, then they start in with
some wierd sounds. Incidentally, on 'Mooz,' those calypso notes and sounds are
presented throughout most of the disc, and it reminds me of those cheesy organ
sounds I could play on my grandmother's funmachine organ! Just plain wierd!
Acumen, the industrial terrorist group that brought us "Transmissions From
Eville" and "Territory + Universe" have changed their sound and style just a
tad, but enough to leave me wondering just what to really make of this disc!
Track one starts things off rather heavily, however once track 2 jumps in it's
becoming obvious that there are more mellow and, dare I say, alternative
sounding instrumentation coming into play. Acumen has never relied strictly on
electronics, however I must say that at times they do play a more prominent
role in the music. 'If You Were,' and 'The Funny Thing Is' showcase a more
distinct singing style than their previous works, and on 'The Funny Thing...'
I think it's their attempt at a radio hit, though it left me a little
puzzled yet not totally annoyed. Thing is, tracks like 'Revelations Per
Minute' and 'Bleed For You' still contain lots of thrashy guitar riffs and
kick ass vocal harshness, but a track like 'Cancerine' showcases a ballad type
singalong with danceable beats and slight harsh vox! (The electronics got a
little wierd here). Finally, the song 'F*ck Yer Brains Out' was rather a poor
cut, the vocals were intermixed with some hardcore techno and jungle riffs.
Interesting idea but doesn't work very well in practice. Their songwriting
abilities range from average to above average, and overall they still retain a
bit of their thrashy industrial heaviness while adding some new twists. I can
sorta dig it. And yes, they DID change their name, see the interview for more
These days I'm hearing more and more black metal bands that are REALLY making
great music. Case in point is Ancient's follow up to their highly successful
"The Canian Chronicles." This newest release has much to proclaim throughout
their 14 tracks. There are many different vocal styles presented, a screeching
black metal style which is very vicious all the way through, a female vocalist
who for the most part has a speaking role, but a very strong presence at that,
and there is also a male vocalist who is very deep and powerful. The whole CD
is full of interesting and innovative instrumentation: On tracks like 'Hecate,
My Love and Lust' and 'The Draining,' the guitars have some very cool riffs
and even get to thrashing at one point, on other songs like 'The Emerald
Tablet' there are great uses of acoustic guitars and synths. There are fast
pieces and slow pieces, dark, haunting and eerie sounds and melodies and quite
beautiful riffs and instrumentation, in fact the song 'Neptune' is a beautiful
instrumental utilizing synth chorus chants and acoustic guitars. The only
downers to this disc was the rather poor guitar riffs and fast vocal delivery
on 'Vampirize Natasha,' and since I never liked King Diamond much anyway,
their cover of 'Black Funeral' didn't impress me too much, but their screeches
on this one DID. Lots of guitar solos, leads and riffs are not your typical
black metal sound, in fact there are some power metallish chords and even some
more mellow notations. Even the lyrics are intelligently written and very few
songs deal with the extreme hatred for Christianity that most black metal
bands thrive on. In fact most are written in Old English language and are a
bit romanticised. Great release throughout.
Those crazy Canadian metallers are back, and this time around their sound is
rather different for those of you who only heard earlier, more melodic albums
like "Forged in Fire" and the ever classic "Metal on Metal." One thing I MUST
say is that they haven't lost their sense of humor, albeit a wierd one, on
cuts like 'Show Me Your Tits,' 'Piss Test,' and 'Hair Pie,' though the latter
song is probably one of the weakest cuts on here. It's amazing how many killer
crunchy, almost total thrash riffs they present on nearly all the songs, and
yet their lead guitar work is very intricate and quite amazing! Even their
drummer works up quite a frenzy on tunes like 'Old School,' and 'Piss Test.'
The vocals are also quite different from earlier years, it's much deeper and
almost totally devoid of that old school sound they used to have, but lots of
cuts here are really good thrashy mosh riff pieces. Tracks 6, 8 and 9 were
kinda average though, however it's quite a good record. They even have a few
positive statements to make about racism on 'Black or White,' and 'Hero by
Death' is a thought provoking piece. Mosh it up!
What makes this group so remarkable is the fact that no style of music is
really taboo. Though they pride themselves mostly on progressive/hard rock
with some alternative melodies, they utilize some heavy thrashy guitar riffs,
flutes, and strange computer sound effects via keyboard to throw together a
unique musical style. Things start off rather heavy, though the vocals are NOT
alltogether consistent from track to track, in fact the singing style does
tend to be a BIG distraction at times, especially on songs where they are
ripping out some heavy pieces and then slow things down. 'Norman's Kitchen' is
a straightforward acoustic piece, reminiscent to me of the band Last Tribe,
one of the few songs that utilize a slower pace and the vocals are sung well.
'Grungar Rangar' has some wicked basslines to start off, the vocals tend to
get a Stuck Mojo treatment in their delivery. 'Right On' showcases some neat
70's style guitar effects (like they were run through a Phaseshifter) and the
vocals get their heaviest treatment here (there's some saxophone notes here
too.) Overall I like a LOT of what they presented, but sometimes a few songs
got too long, and sometimes they would lose the feel of what they were doing.
Those who want to see just how far and varied music can progress might be very
interested in this band, others will like the heavier parts, and some of the
alternative and acoustic styles will appeal to some.
This is an independently produced CD by Connecticut based Capharnum, a band
who plays some rather interesting and at times melodic death metal. The guitar
riffs range from slight speed riffs and crunchy melodies to all out power
metal style riffs, which is very interesting. There's even some cool keyboard
riffs on the first track 'Eternal Descent' which was one of the best tunes on
the CD. While they are quite good, on most tracks they seem to spend a little
too much time on melodies and straightforward power metal riffs, it seems to
me like a lot of the brutality this band could possess is rather hidden. I did
enjoy a lot of what this band has to offer, but I feel like they could have
done better. Their approach is rather interesting and not often utilized in
the death metal world, so I would say that many may find quite a few tracks
would warrant further investigation, especially 'Night Terror' where they get
into some faster riffing, and 'Sinister Perceptions' which starts off with
some slower yet sinister instrumentation before getting faster.
I gotta say that when I first got this I was kinda excited, especially after
seeing the packaging. The cover is quite trippy, there's a full color poster
inside, the members themselves visually remind me of Hawkwind, and I was
expecting a rather enjoyable space rock type of sound with some keyboards.
Unfortunately what I end up with is something that sounds more progressive
with VERY LITTLE keyboard sounds save for the cool and wonderful intro
entitled 'Earth, the Rock,' but from there it went a bit downhill. I must
give credit where credit is due, however, those guitars use some awesome
trippy effects, especially on the first cut where they sound like they were
run through a phaseshifter (an old 70's guitar effects board that does some
wild things!) and the lead work was quite good in its own right. The vocalist
isn't bad either, though the mix of instrumentation and vocals didn't work
well together on 'The Age of Dinosaurs' or 'Every Living Thing' and in cases
like those I thought the vocalist should have been a bit more dynamic instead
of sounding a bit like Rush's singer. 'The Serpent's Venom' was a good track,
however, as the eerier and heavier style made the singer's voice sound much
better, and 'Picture Puzzle' had a nice mix of acoustic and electric guitars
which was more rock oriented, and for what they do it's not bad, however there
were a LOT of things that really brought the overall feel and sound of this
project down, things that needed improving. More keyboards would have helped
the atmosphere of music that was at times just not intense enough.
Well, this surprised me a LOT! Damn, someone's gonna kick my ass after they
read this review! Diehard Music, those responsible for kick ass thrash bands
like Invocator, Centinex and the like announced a punk label called Lucky
Seven, and I was thinking, GREAT! A return to the old classic punk style like
G.B.H., Black Flag, Circle Jerks and the like. WRONG! It's more like pop-punk
style, and damnit I'm not supposed to like stuff like this! Well, the first 4
tracks really caught my attention, with some very well put together guitar
riffs, cool drumming and a vocalist that is slightly reminiscent of bands like
those you hear on the radio. Some tunes in fact HAVE good commercial appeal
like 'Loop the Tube,' 'Sacred Seeds' and the like. BUT, they still are able to
rock, and I was quite surprised to hear a heavier hardcore vocal shouting
style on 'President Grizzly.' There were later tracks that were just okay, but
the instrumentation sometimes compensated for this. 'Bastard' had some funny
lyrics too ('I smell like a bastard from hell.') and sometimes lyrically it
delves a little into "trendy" thought patterns, but the writing is good and
damn if those chorus lines aren't catchy enough to have me singing them lately
around the house! I know I shouldn't be liking this but I can't help it!
Usually, Download would put out CD's filled with incredible sound samples,
melodies, and brooding rhythyms that were really cool and mellowing, but
unfortunately, this is almost the opposite of mellowing, it's practically
insane! So I guess you could say that the music fits the title really well. On
the upside, this CD was very well produced and had lots of cool samples and
electronic noises. However, none of the noises fit together to make much
sense; the sound scupltures that they were known to create didn't work well
this time around. I have to admit that "Tweeter Blower" and "Catblower" tended
to have fairly decent rhythyms and melodies mixed in with the collage of noise
and a few others had some hints of this as well. Don't get me wrong though,
the sometimes downright insane feel of these noises and samples would please
some of us who like that sort of thing at times, but the overall note on this
CD is that it's chock full of sounds samples and electronic noise, and nothing
much more noteworthy than that.
-- Review by Chris J. Waters
These underground British black metal kings are back with a vengeance,
spreading the words of the evil and darkness that their master brings forth!
(And remember, if you DON'T get help at Charter, please, get help somewhere!
- Ed.) Picking up where Cradle of Filth left off before "Vempyre," these
former C.O.F. members thrive off of the intensity of their speed and technique
and blend it with some of the most beautiful melodic symphonies that black
metal has to offer! (Though I may beg to differ after hearing the newest
Ancient CD. - Ed.) The CD starts off with an enthrallingly orchestrated piece
called 'Goetia,' and kicks right into beautiful speedy madness in 'Beneath a
December Twilight.' Very intense, but yet very melodious even in some of the
vocals. Then it pours forth into a mellow bass line that leads into Jon's evil
chant of 'The Spell of the Winter Forest.' And the spell works itself into a
chaos that ends in yet another enthralling keyboard outro! This CD is full of
incredible atmosphere, but it continues to stay raw and in the black metal
vein, which is perhaps one of the factors that separates them from the mighty
C.O.F. As far as the downfalls of this CD, many may notice that it closely
resembles the aforementioned group, especially in the vocal department. A lot
of people still may dismiss this as another C.O.F. ripoff, but compare this to
the latest efforts from the U.K. outfit and you will see that Hecate Enthroned
is staying in a more true black style that differs quite a bit from the more
theatrical and gothic style of 'that other band.' Listen to some of the solo
keyboard orchestrations like 'At the Haunted Gallows of Dawn' and you'll see
what I mean about their unique style of atmospherics. And check out the
insanely beautiful blends of swirling mad demons and dark melody in 'Within
the Ruins of Eden,' definitely black metal that will leave you possessed!
-- Review by Chris J. Waters
It's a shame that this seems to be the last Hypocrisy outing, 'cause it's
brutal and melodic at the same time. Some of the singing parts like on tracks
'Inquire Within' don't totally lose the brutality even if they are composed a
little slower. 'Inseminated Adoption' and 'Dominion' showcase some fast riffs
as well, and even though Peter tends to suffer from the Carcass syndrome, his
vocals are quite vicious and throughout this CD we see his slower, more
melodious side as well as some kick ass instrumentation which really shines
through and gives the death metal fan quite a lot to love about this disc. One
thing I was puzzled about though, wasn't the song 'Evil Invaders' done by
Razor originally? This one sounds a little off, of course I never heard the
original either so I have no clue... Hopefully we haven't heard the last of
Peter Tatgren, and this latest Hypocrisy CD stands as a testament to his
I was rather interested in hearing doom metal done up by members of select
hardcore outfits. Unfortunately, it's not as good as I thought it would be.
The most notable problem is with the vocalist, who tries to sound too much
like a cross between Ozzy era Black Sabbath and the singer from Internal Void.
The instrumentation was not too bad though, but a track like 'Jinx' is one of
a few that have drugged out sounding instrumentation, even if it adds a little
to give them a really heavy feeling. 'Reality Check' was a very interesting
song, if for nothing else than the faster hardcore style vocals and playing; a
nice mix of hardcore and doom metal with some hardcore shouting vocals that
seemed to work, and I wish they had used this style of singing more, it might
have made for a better release. 'Birdman' and 'Far Too Late' were the better
tracks; ones that the vocals didn't detract from. Check out too the extreme
heaviness of the bass riffs on 'Jinx' and 'Dying to Get Laid,' which had some
Ya know, after "Painkiller" I didn't think Judas Priest could possibly get any
heavier!! And when I first listened to this I said, damn! Is Rob Halford back
in Priest? Tim "Ripper" Owens is an unbelievable vocalist! Damn if this didn't
blow me straight down to the fiery pits of Utumnos itself! (It's a Morgoth
thing, ya wouldn't understand). This album is VERY, VERY vicious and I liked
every damn track on here!! Just when I thought Saxon would probably end up
being metal album of the year, Priest comes out on top! Tracks like
'Abductors,' 'Burn in Hell,' and 'Death Row' show that Priest can even use
acoustic guitars to achieve a haunting and heavy effect! 'Cathedral Spires' is
the lightest tune on here, and it's still a very good song! 9 tracks of
nothing but pure aggression, unbelievable power, and some low rumbling vocals
I didn't think a singer that hits such high notes (and holds them forever!)
would be capable of going so low! Kudos goes to the lead work of Downing and
Tipton who have put together some choppy, thrashy, and evil riffs that shine
on every damn track! The drummer is quite a piece of work in his own right as
well, especially on the title track he's quite fast with the double bass! I
had a VERY hard time figuring out what to digitize, so we did three songs for
ya! Can't wait to see them tour!! Check out the waaay cool artwork as well,
god damn this stuff is brutal!!!
Damn this is strange! Wierd! Haunting! And DON'T listen to this if you're
tripping on acid! I DO have to give them credit, though, for they combine the
industrial and ambient genres with a touch of gothic and some very warped and
evil landscapes! The disc starts out with some wicked and wildly twisted heavy
beats, overall there is a very hypnotic, dark, ambient feeling and some of the
passages would be good pieces to play at Halloween! 'Needles and Pins' sucked
really bad though, a slow piece with warped vocals I really couldn't get into,
but despite all the strange atmosphere I found it rather interesting. Most of
the tracks, like 'Dr. Who?' and 'Schizophrenia' were instrumental pieces, but
because of the slower paces and the wierd ability to change tempo and sound
structure midstream, only 'Pins and Needles' MIGHT make a good club track. I
can't really explain WHY I was able to get into this. I guess it will appeal
to those with a slightly warped persona, but I must admit that their approach
at unusual instrumentation was very innovative! Check out those demon rumbling
sounds on 'Dr. Who' as well! Morbidly fascinating...
Fans of Mortiis' "Keiser Av En Dimension Ukjent" will find that THIS CD flys
right on by! There are 10 tracks presented here and they are obviously much
shorter than the 25 minute epics he is known for. I must say a GREAT disc
throughout but the best tracks are tracks 5 through 9. There were a few sour
notes within this disc, thankfully they didn't disrupt things TOO much. On
'En Sirkel ov Kosmik Kaos' there was a beautiful, almost spiritual atmosphere
that was ruined in spots by a harsh vocal style, and 'Trollmannen's Krypt'
had some silly pot banging sounds that should not have been as dominant as
they were. However, most tracks had the tendency to sound like two songs in
one as he would often change the mood or flow midstream which surprisingly
did NOT detract from the theme of the album. Surprising still, in a pleasant
way, was the oriental style synths he used on 'I Morket Drommende' and 'Fanget
I Krystal.' And of course my personal favorite was 'Vandreren's Sang' and
'Den Bortdreune Regnbuen' with their awesome synth flutes, piano and horn
notes, and for just their overall mellow feelings! This CD would be GREAT to
play while you're blasting through the halls of Quake, so those of you that
have Quake installed, replace the audio CD with this one and get a TRUE
What will become apparently obvious from the first track is that this harsh,
fast paced industrial band pulls many pages from the books of legendary
thrashy style industrial band Ministry; and 'Grip,' the opening track, sounds
like a mix between 'Just One Fix' and other faster paced numbers from "Psalm
69." It's heavily guitar influenced, obviously, but one thing they DO have in
their favor is they are a LOT more consistent from track to track than
Ministry ever was. This can also be their downfall too, as many songs are
written along similar lines. Now, I'm not saying every song sounds the same,
but if you're looking for many good hard edged industrial tunes that would
make great club tracks this is for you, however if you're looking for more
"intelligent" atmospheric industrial music, look elsewhere. The vocals are
actually reminiscent of Ministry as well, but with a more hardcore edge to
them. On a more positive note, 'Version 1.2' sounds like a cross between
Pro-Pain style hardcore and industrial, and 'Virus' shows more emphasis on
electronic sounds than guitars.
Watch yer speakers on track one and quite a few others: them boys from Canada
are back with yet another brutally harsh piece of work. One thing that is very
interesting to note is how they craft distortion into their beats and use it
as an effective tool. The vocals are harsh and angry, there's lots more
screaming pieces going on here than the last CD we reviewed, and overall the
instrumentation got a lot harsher. Even on the instrumentals there is some
dark ambience, and while 'Blood Meridian,' 'Alien Hand' and 'Spasm' were dark
instrumentals, ('Alien Hand' was a bit too long a tune though) I would have
much rather heard more vocal pieces. 'Stalker,' 'Desire' and 'No Time' were
three examples of my fave tunes, and on 'Critical Mass' my hat goes off to
them for doing ultra fast hardcore techno sounds and making it all sound so
brutal! There were some drum and bass sounds on this one too that showcase a
little innovation on their part. Downsides to this disc were rather minimal;
their singing style got a little thin on 'Stalker,' just the singing parts
though, and the instrumentation pieces around the chorus lines tended to
weaken the overall strength of the song. JUST a little tho. Those into extreme
aggression (IE, some thrashers and death metal fans) should find the song
'Desire' (which we naturally digitized for ya!) quite a bloodthirsty treat!
WOW! A vicious blend of early black/death metal, more akin to Hellhammer and
Celtic Frost than anything else. Their guitars are what REALLY caught me,
especially those awesome swirling guitar notes on 'The Flame's Masquerade.'
Though there are lots of obvious Celtic Frost/Hellhammer influences presented,
all the way down to the vocalists' vicious and harsh screams, it's very
thrashy and well written. The tracks ARE a little long though, especially the
opener 'Black at Heart' which is roughly 8 minutes in duration! However, they
do vary the instrumentation a bit and keep things VERY interesting, thus the
high marks. Damn shame this is only an EP, I'd love to hear more from these
guys! Those guitars thrash and blaze!
WOW!! THIS is the same New Wave of British Heavy Metal band that Lars Ulrich
and company digged back in the early 80's along with Diamond Head, Venom and
others? Let me just say that I REALLY wanted to give this disc a 100 because
these guys are kicking heavy metal right square in the ass with a killer set
of well written guitar riffs, awesome vocals that are also very emotional and
strong, and some very well written chorus lines that anyone will find
themselves singing even when NOT listening to this disc. 'Gothic Dreams' opens
the disc up and lemme say I usually skip through intro pieces, except this one
was gothic sounding and quite interesting! Paul and Doug's guitar riffs are
quite the masterpiece, I remember saying that Megadeth had more kick ass
guitar riffs on just two songs (circa the "Peace Sells" album) than most bands
have on their whole album, but with THESE guys the lead riffs, rhythm, and
even some acoustic pieces are so strong they will knock you over! 'Unleash the
Beast' has riffs reminiscent of 'The War Drags Ever On,' one of the greatest
Tank songs ever written, and towards the end of this song they change it and
thrash to the end! The only downers were so small really, 'Absent Friends' was
a ballad type acoustic piece sounding a bit like something Guns 'n' Roses
might write, but those mid song riffs were so awesome and emotional I found
myself liking this song! 'The Thin Red Line' was a bit average overall, the
leads weren't very diverse for the most part, but midway through they kicked
in with some blazing solos. There's not much to dislike about this album,
damn I must say it's one of the strongest metal releases I've heard this year,
what I wouldn't give to see them live! Now that I've heard this one, I have to
wonder what their earlier albums sound like, are they all this heavy?
This is quite a different record stylistically than "Serpentine Gallery." The
first thing that struck me as odd were the turntable scratching sounds on such
tracks like 'Soldiers' and 'Dirty Dog.' The track listing, incidentally, is
WAAAY off, there's only 14 tracks listed and a few are NOT in order. There are
quite a few songs where the instrumentation just doesn't sound right, in fact
it isn't until track 7 'Harpsichord' that things REALLY start to get a little
heavier. I did listen to this CD twice, and wasn't too impressed overall but
little things started to grow on me, like the beginning track 'Witches'
(though later I realized it was still an average tune and the "meenie" vocal
lines really annoyed me). 'Sick Mary' was a very beautiful instrumental, it
had a really medieval feel though it was very short; I would have liked for
them to expand upon that sound more. Like I said, some of the vocal
arrangements brought lots of pieces down; just when I started to enjoy a piece
there would be something in her voice that would bring it down. Especially the
operetta style singing on 'Fractal', it was a nice try but didn't fit with the
heavier guitar sounds (of which there were very few). The singer's voice is
quite soothing and even seductive at times, but she needs to concentrate more
on the overall sound of her vocals. I even enjoyed her haunting sounds on
'Dirty Dog,' but then again they were quite annoying on 'Soldiers' where she
sounds like a wailing ghost.
WOW! Anneke's voice is absolutely beautiful, let me start off by saying this!
The playing is quite a mixture of different styles, there are slight doom
metal touches via the heavier guitar sounds, but there are also some acoustic
guitars, synths, a Hawkwind style saxophone on 'Nighttime Birds' which worked
very well, and pianos. I couldn't really find much to complain about this
masterpiece of an album, though I must say some MIGHT find a few of the tracks
to be a little bit too long. That wasn't the case for me, as this was such a
moving and touching CD. The majority of the tracks are mainly a showcase for
the emotional, strong, and passionate vocals of Anneke, yet she rarely ever
sounds wimpy or pop oriented and doesn't dip into the extreme high note range.
Everything here is crafted for melody, power and strong emotional feelings,
which should please greatly fans of Tiamat's newest release, or those into
beautiful, well orchestrated pieces. My ONLY complaint was the track 'New Moon
Different Day' which got a bit darker towards the end and almost brought the
mood down a little, it just seemed rather abrupt. 'Shrink' was probably the
only song that used just vocals and pianos, though beautiful they were, then
about 2 minutes into it some well crafted and emotional guitar riffs came
through. Very relaxing, and the tracks 'On Most Surfaces' and 'Third Chance'
were a little more upbeat and energetic than the rest, it's all quite
refreshing and ranks right up there with Hawkwind, Darxtar, Hacienda, and even
Type O Negative as good smoking discs.
WOW! The more I hear black metal's incorporation of enthralling atmosphere,
the more I love it. But this is an almost completely different story
altogether! (Hey, is this the one about that chick and the bears? I've heard
it - Ed.) What I'm screaming about is the incredible intensity that this band
displays throughout the entire demonic tribute to their unholy gods of chaos,
evil, and destruction! (Hey, maybe they're Goldilocks worshippers? Who said
they were TOTALLY evil? - Ed.) Using a few touches of atmospheric keyboards
and melodies (just to make things more interesting), these lords of evil
pound out tune after tune of some of the most intense and insane black metal
to date. And just a note, this is all real and raw! Just check it out for
yourself, nothing but bloody screaming over blaring guitars and a drum assault
that will kick you right on your ass chanting to their evil spells of insane
delight! From the first few notes of 'Inferno Bizarre' you can feel the fury!
'Monarchy Dies' can actually be called the punk song of black metal because of
it's speedy and to-the-point approach and the 1:19 time frame! And songs like
'Heroism' and 'E Caha Di bela' prove that they don't have to simmer down for
the atmosphere they blend into them. Nothing but fierce and brutal thundering
sorcery, blasphemy and demonic chaos, and these black metallers know how to do
it and make it sound good, er... EVIL! (So YOU'RE the one that's been giving
these black metal members their names, eh? "Brutal Thundering Sorcery?"
"Blasphemy and Demonic Chaos?" I think your major should DEFINITELY change
from Engineering to, um, something to do with black metal member naming! Great
review by the way, one I concur with completely. - Ed.)
-- Review by Chris J. Waters
First off, gotta say it: I have YET to see a CD with so many great club tracks
on it. Even though there were a few songs that had rather average or poor
beginnings, those few (besides the ones that were just plain awful) had some
GREAT middle to end pieces. Especially true is Cox's mix of System 7's 'Hangar
84,' and Josh Wink's remix of Psychosonik's 'Unlearn.' The worst track on here
had to be Plateau's 'White Widow' which had very annoying beats AND electronic
sounds. Roughcut & Sesco D's 'Gun Shot' was practically ruined by the tribal
vocals which varied from good to annoying at times, and the same problem was
with the Sunset Yellow mix of Alpha Project's 'Samba Bells,' the electronics
and beats were nice but the female voice ruined it. One of the most surprising
things about this CD were the Spahn Ranch and the Scorn tracks, two bands that
I personally didn't think would translate over well to a rather ambient techno
compilation, but the Spahn Ranch track 'Aftermath,' mixed by none other than
Astralasia, was easily the best cut on here. Astralasia kept thing very varied
instrumentation wise and VERY energetic, even using the beats that get faster
before they explode and drop back into the mix. Scorn's 'Exodus' I would have
though nearly impossible to do and felt they shouldn't have even been on here;
Sabres of Paradise couldn't do much to bring this up to speed, leaving the
song practically beatless and rather one dimensional. Long techno songs HAVE
to have either a good variety of instrumentation or sounds and landscapes that
can hold one's interest for awhile, and for the great majority this CD does
Many of you know most industrial bands, especially overseas ones, as overtly
dark and harsh, but lately there's been this small trend for bands of this
genre to embrace feelings and emotions. Which is a fitting description for
this, my first exposure to a band I've only heard about for years. And what
they have been saying is true, that this band can craft the heaviness and
darkness and envelop it with some real heartfelt emotion be it sadness and
despair, concern or just pure aggression! The two best tracks on here that
showcase what I speak of the best are 'Down Where We Belong' and 'Is It You,'
which show the slightly distorted vocals having some real range and emotion
rather than just being ultra low and one dimensional, plus these two songs in
particular have some GREAT chorus lines you'll catch yourself singing many
times as I have. The beats are ultra distorted too, and like on 'War' and
'Golgotha' they are REALLY in your face, and quite a few tracks would make
good club pieces. On the downside however, 'Womb' really annoyed me with that
child like voice, however credit has to be given for the lyrics which look at
an unborn child's perspective and gives him/her a voice, which really hits
home and makes you think. 'Angel' and 'Stillbirth' play around with less or no
beats and trying to go more emotional than usual, and don't really work as
well. Their lyrics are really insightful however, and those of you into harsh
electronics and screaming vocals will get a kick out of 'War.' I'll leave you
with the quote from the liner sleeve, which should sum up what the theme of
this album is all about: "Embryodead is dedicated to all foetus acting wisely
enough to die in their mother's womb before they could be thrown into this
cruel world full of hate. May they never know how hard it is to live without
any reason, without any sense."
ACUMEN NATION. Interview with Greg via the phone.
Well, though they have a new name, new record label and a new sound, it's
still the same unit even though things have taken a new direction. Greg gives
us the story on what has happened and why things had to change: "Acumen has
been playing industrial music for quite a long time, and Jason has been doing
this on his own; being based in Chicago it's really easy to get influenced by
all the Wax Trax stuff that had come out in the late 80's. That was the basis
of where Acumen started, and as it became more of a live show it became very
heavily multi media oriented with dancers, performance art, and film and
things. This was about 4 or 5 years ago when I joined up with the crew. The
music became a bit more of a focus after this point when I joined in. Once we
started to integrate live drums into the set, people started saying that the
songs without live drumming didn't sound as good. For independent releases on
a small label we sold a lot of records, we got our record deal with Fifth
Column and put out two records which like I said did really well. Those
records gave us a lot of visibility and a lot of recognition for a band that
started out 5 years ago, but now we see a lot of bands these days in the
industrial community that sounds like other bands and you see lots of bands
that are really strict in what they think they are allowed to do. There's a
lot of bands especially that are very strict about things like 'well, you
can't be an industrial band and have guitars in your sound.'
elements of all different types of stuff in our music, there's definitely hard
edged stuff, there's also some electronically influenced stuff that are not
just hard edged, the record was called ''More Human Heart'' for the reason
that industrial doesn't have to be so percussive and unemotional. You can make
electronic music that is still interesting but has some emotion in it. And
some reviews have called our new disc alternative sounding, simply because of
the songs that are slower and more emotional with more electronics and guitar
pieces. From our standpoint human beings go through different emotions on a
day to day basis, there's nothing wrong with centering on certain feelings for
your band but there are times when you need to go with something that goes
beyond anger, and trying to express it musically means you need to stretch out
and do things that are more interesting."
Now we come to an interesting point
in the conversation which has to deal with the name change from Acumen to
Acumen Nation, which Greg elaborates about: "Jason had been using Acumen for
quite awhile, and when our first record on Fifth Column came out we got a
cease and desist order from this other band from Ohio called Acumen as well,
and from what I understand after they heard about us they trademarked the name
which, if we could have went to court over it at that point we would have won
our case, since you can't have knowledge of another person with that name when
you go to trademark it. I'm not quite sure about it but this is what I hear.
Between getting off of Fifth Column and having to go to court for the name
problem all last year and this year we would have spent at least a year and
over 100,000 dollars in legal fees, and the whole time you are in court over a
name dispute neither entity can release any records at all, so we wouldn't
have been able to sell any of our records that were already out. I don't need
to tell you how financially devastating that is for a band on our level.
Column lost their distribution with Caroline which was a big blow for them
(which started the whole ball rolling.) and we encountered so many problems,
people would call us wondering how to get our records, the stores wouldn't
carry them and stuff. So we would call Fifth Column and they would tell us
there were plenty of records out there, but then we'd hear other stories like
there's 3,000 records sitting at the pressing plant waiting to be picked up,
but they weren't picked up because nobody had the money. Fifth Column really
wasn't going to give us the money we wanted to do our third record, and we
needed someone that would give us the attention we deserved and someone that
would make sure our newest release wasn't ignored. I don't really want to say
much bad things about Fifth Column because they did give us our start,
although I know many bands are getting off of Fifth Column, Haloblack has
already left, and so has Death Ride 69."
DAN SWANO. Interview via email.
Well, it's official now, Edge of Sanity are continuing on without Dan Swano.
Dan obviously has projects of his own to focus on, and though he didn't have
a whole lot to say, I took the time to conduct an email interview with him.
Because of the shortness of this interview, I have done it in Q & A format.
Vibrations of Doom: Tell us what is happening with you right now and what
exactly has happened with Edge of Sanity?
Dan: E.O.S. are about to release their seventh album entitled "Cryptic," the
first without myself in the lineup. I am trying to find the right sound for my
first heavier solo album, and I think I am pretty close to getting it the way
I want. It'll be heavy and wierd is all I can say at the moment, though things
may change. It should be out around November '98.
V.O.D.: Nightingale's last release "The Closing Chronicles" was an excellent
release and I was quite unaware there was an album released before that. What
was it like, will there be any more Nightingale releases, and besides the
rexording of the albums, what else was done with the Nightingale project?
Dan: The first Nightingale album "The Breathing Shadow" is kinda "immature" in
parts since all the tracks were written and recorded in like a three day
period. I think some of the songs rule but there are parts that could have
been done differently. It is very gothic rock inspired and in parts is far too
much like Sisters of Mercy cloning, and cloning is not my real business so I
went more for my personal likings on the second release. I also recorded a
couple of cover songs under the Nightingale moniker, one is on the Black Mark
Tribute album and two are unreleased. The original versions are done by Judas
Priest, Uriah Heep, and Greg Lake.
V.O.D.: How do you feel about Black Mark Records and their treatment of you
and your projects?
Dan: They are a great label, and they give me great artistic freedom, which I
love. As you may have known, I have done work producing and performing on
so many different things, I helped record albums at Unisound Studios with
Ancient, Altar, Dissection, and also did some stuff on various compilation
albums, like the Slayer tribute albums, and some other style music. I also did
vocals on Therion's album "Theli" which was a great success for the band. I
also have my own studio where I do work for bands and stuff for myself...
V.O.D.: Speaking of Therion, how did you come to work with them and what do
you think of them and the tracks on "Theli?"
Dan: Chris is a long time friend of my wife's (lead singer for Therion - Ed.)
and he just called me up and asked me if I wanted to do some deep vocal stuff
and I agreed and flew down there and did exactly what he told me to! I did
some stuff on my own, but not too much. I feel the album is too overproduced
for my personal enjoyment, but that's an individual taste. It is a
groundbreaking blockbuster of an album in general, and I may end up on the
next one as well, we'll have to wait and see!
V.O.D.: I'm curious about the lyrical topics you used for Nightingale's works,
and am curious as to what sort of influences you use to draw from to obtain
your lyrics, but also I would like to know how you go about choosing what
sounds and instruments would work best for your various projects?
Dan: I find inspiration in myself, and by that I read an article a long time
ago about near death experiences and that kinda put the whole concept of
Nightingale rolling. I am a studio engineer so finding the right sounds is for
me a bit like a bandleader trying to find his members.
HAMMERFALL. Interview with Joacim.
To start with, those of you who are not familiar with Hammerfall, I'll let
Joacim give you the rundown on where Hammerfall had it's humble beginnings.
(It's a dull job, but someone's got to do it!) "Hammerfall was originally a
side project formed by members of In Flames and Emperor's Lake, the band was
formed mainly as a side project just to have fun. Oscar and Jesper were the
ones responsible for forming the band (the guitarist and drummer respectively
- Ed.) and for the first three years nothing really happened. I joined the
band three years later in 1996, when their vocalist (who was in Dark
Tranquility at the time) had to go out on tour, so they gave me a call to see
if I could help them out. After the gig where we played a rock show like a
battle of the bands, we got a record deal and recorded the show on videotape,
which we used to shop us around to interested parties. Hammerfall then became
a fulltime project, and that is also the reason why there were three member
changes, since the two members of In Flames and a members of Numb (NOT the
industrial band, a Gothenberg thrash band) had other commitments."
Most people will notice that Hammerfall has obvious influences from bands
like Manowar, Bathory, and the like with their power metal approach and their
lyrics which refer to Medieval and Viking themes. Joacim states about their
influences: "I would say we are somewhat influenced by Manowar but not
lyrically or musically. We have the spirit of Manowar, but our main influences
would have to be bands like Accept, Helloween, Iron Maiden, and some of those
other 80's type bands I grew up on." And what about Warlord? "Of course,"
laughs Joacim, "that's like my favorite band! Over in our country of Sweden,
there is still a huge death and black metal scene, however I think the melodic
power metal scene is coming back, because a lot of bands from the 80's are
reforming, getting back together and going out on tours. Still, I think the
whole genre needs new blood if it is going to survive, because I don't really
like the aggressive metal like Fear Factory or Machine Head, I think they lack
the melodies. I think music really needs melody to survive for a long time.
Don't get me wrong, I like a few songs by Machine Head, but after awhile I
want to have something more. That's just my opinion of course, and everyone is
different." So what is his stance on other forms and styles of music? I wanted
him to know that our magazine covers many other forms of music and another
favorite band of mine from Sweden is Darxtar. Joacim had not heard of them,
surprisingly, but he does tell me about the success of Swedish bands and how
the press treats them: "You see, there's a lot of bands from Sweden who are
very famous OUTSIDE of Sweden, but they don't care about the bands IN Sweden.
The same thing happened to Hammerfall too until recently, the most important
papers said they don't hear anything about us and they won't write about us,
but now all of a sudden things have changed. I think it's easier if you can
get your name known and publicized outside of Sweden, the press and media will
pick up on that afterwards." So let's go on to Hammerfall's successes, of
which there have been many since Nuclear Blast's feverish work: "We just got
nominated for the music awards here in our country. That is like the best
thing that can happen to us here in Sweden, so that means we will get a lot of
attention on television and what not. It's not MTV but it's Sweden's own
type of Grammy Awards, covering all types of music ." For a small country, as
Joacim puts it, there sure are a lot of good bands playing over there getting
In case many of you are wondering why it is so easy for so many
bands to get together and play, Joacim explains a very unusual support system
that Sweden has that many other countries should adopt: "There's a lot of
people playing music in this country because you get very good support from
the government, if you want to go to some kind of music school, even if you
want to learn how to play an instrument the government will help you out. We
get support for the rehearsal room that we play in every month, we get a
paycheck every month from our government which is a small amount, but it pays
the rent, and that's why so many people put more effort into learning to play
an instrument, and buying good equipment. Instead of a band having to spend
ALL their money on like rehearsal space and recording equipment, they actually
get help with their finances!" It led the way to some interesting questions,
especially over here where our government doesn't always support it's citizens
when they want to pursue careers that aren't arts involved. Especially in my
case, where I would actually like to run this music magazine full time since
I've been doing it for nearly 5 years. "Talking about music, in fact, it is a
great export," continues Joacim. "If we sell a lot of albums outside of Sweden
that's for profit, and the Swedish government gets money for that since we pay
taxes on it. It's the same thing with the athletic association, who is also
getting a lot of governmental support so their athletes can continue to train
and keep performing."
I was curious about the label Hammerfall was originally signed to, Vic
Records. Joacim explains about the other projects and signings Vic is working
on: "Hammerfall is Vic's third or fourth release. They released a band called
Crystal Age, which is the band Oscar had before he wanted to work more with
Hammerfall. Crystal Age is a fast death metal type of band. Vic never actually
released this album, because Nuclear Blast licensed it for worldwide
distribution very soon after we recorded it. It was an instant thing right
after they heard the demo tape, they immediately approached the label and got
all the rights to it, and actually Vic Records had very little to do with the
releasing of this album. Vic may be doing a release by a band called Katatonia
very soon. We actually read something in the papers about our budget we got
from Vic, they were laughing about it and saying that we had the same amount
of money that Def Leppard got to tune their guitars! So in reality it's quite
amazing that we were able to do really good work with very little money!" So
how has Nuclear Blast been with their promotion and advertising of Hammerfall?
"We were the first band in Europe playing this kind of metal on the label, so
really there's no other competition on Nuclear Blast. I'd say they've been
fantastic to us, they really supported us with promoting the album, for our
promotion they went all out, it was supported as a first class product from a
band who seemed like it had been out there for quite a long time. They
actually said they hadn't seen anything like this since Manowar. This was the
biggest campaign ever for a band of their own I think, and now they have
signed three or four other straightforward metal type bands."
All eyes are currently on Hammerfall right now, so what does the future hold
for these straight ahead Swedish metal masters? "We're planning on recording
the next album around April or May of 1998, and we'll be using a producer this
time just because we want to get the best sound possible. Many people are
saying that there's no way we can make a better album than this one. However,
we wrote the whole album in three months, so we will actually have more time
to do this one; I've got a lot of ideas about how to make a great second
album. September will be the release date for the album, followed by a big
European tour. Tommy Hanson will be the producer, he produced Helloween's
''Keeper of the Seven Keys'' album." I'm looking forward to the next release!
LIVING SACRIFICE. Interview with Bruce (vocals, guitar)
Armed with a new singer and a new record label, Living Sacrifice have
created quite a monster of a death metal album with their newest release
"Reborn." Though Bruce has now taken over the vocal duties, and even though he
is only the second singer Living Sacrifice has ever had, he explains: "Our
original singer had done vocals on the past three albums before this one, and
for each album his vocals were completely different from album to album. Each
album that he did we expected the vocals to get better but they kinda didn't.
On the album ''Nonexistent,'' (one of my favorite vocal styles) I wasn't
completely happy with the vocals but we weren't really unified in what we
wanted to do with the band at that time. We were really young when we recorded
it too, I was 19 or 20 when ''Nonexistent'' came out. Our first album, as many
may or may not know, was straight forward thrash, very Slayer-esque in style
and format. Our old singer left about 2 1/2 years ago, he just got out of
the whole music thing."
This may seem like a strange question to ask repeatedly, but I was curious
to know what influenced them to play the style of music they play today.
(Don't worry, there IS a method to my madness!) Bruce happily obliged: "We
were influenced mostly by hearing other bands that play that style. At 18 or
19 we were influenced by early Metallica, early Megadeth and then when Slayer
came out, it was like 'wow!' That was THE band for us, there was no topping
what they did, their style and their sheer force and brutality had such an
impact on us that we didn't know anything else to do except to try and imitate
it, to play in this style. Their first album ''Hell Awaits'' was just great.
We started hearing bands come out that were even more brutal like Obituary and
Malevolent Creation, bands that were taking the brutality in quite a different
way, and that over the top style came out in our writing and our songs. We
toured with Malevolent Creation awhile back, they were really into what we
were doing and we really liked their work. Personally I think that their
''Retribution'' album is one of the best death metal albums ever made, it's
such an underrated album in the scene."
Okay, now for the madness: In case you
didn't know, Living Sacrifice is a Christian oriented band, and after doing an
interview with Roger Martinez years ago where he mentioned that he hadn't been
influenced by secular death metal bands, it was quite a surprise to hear Bruce
gladly cite his influences, which he further elaborates on: "You can tell just
by checking out the lyrics on ''Reborn'' that we're all Christians, we don't
really promote ourselves as such though because I don't want people to get the
wrong ideas, and there's a LOT of misconceptions and preconceived notions
about quote-unquote 'Christian' bands. I want everyone to give us a chance, I
want everyone to judge us on our music first and foremost, and lyrically,
I leave that for them to judge, whether they agree or disagree or whatever.
Anytime I promote the band, any interviews I do, the Christian ideals aren't
even mentioned, because like I said it's about the music first and foremost.
We all grew up listening to metal, and I learned how to play guitar by
learning Metallica songs. I sat down with tabulature and learned almost every
note from ''Master of Puppets'' and ''Ride the Lightning,'' and we would jam
those songs together in the jam room, allowing me to become a really good
rhythm guitar player."
For those of you who are wondering, Bruce gives us the rundown on what
happened with R.E.X. Records and why they dissolved: "When we signed with the
label early on in 1991, it was originally one guy running the label who was
into putting out heavy music, but basically he found that he couldn't run the
label by himself, so he had another person buy into it. The other interested
party who bought into it managed to take control of the label and this caused
the original founder of R.E.X. to leave the label. Things got really crazy at
this point, with a lot of pop oriented acts getting signed to the label, there
were bands on there that I had no clue as to who they were or even WHY they
were on the label! I had to ask myself why were we still on this label, this
was NOT the label we originally signed to. We tried to get out but we were
still under contract to them, however they still owed us money and they could
not pay us. It's really bad when they can't pay us what they owe us but yet
they wanted us to make another album! Thankfully we got off the label but we
all knew that R.E.X. was in trouble and of course they are non existent now."
So how has Tooth and Nail been to Living Sacrifice? As we wrap this interview
up, Bruce explains the label's philosophy and the type of bands signed to the
roster: "Tooth and Nail is a very cool label. The founder Brandon is very up
front and straightforward, he will tell you what he can and can't do with the
label. As an indie label he admits that even his label has limitations about
what he can do and can't do, unlike some other indie labels that try to hide
their agendas from the bands. They've actually been around for about 4 years
and signed hardcore and punk bands from the start, but in the last couple of
years they have signed independent bands, more artistically motivated bands,
some of which I don't understand but I DO like the fact that he has been
putting out hard and heavy music consistently, not necessarily metal bands
though. In fact, we are the first metal band signed to his label! The label is
run by a Christian but his philosophy is that he signs what he likes, and
there is no prerequisite for any of the bands to be Christian or to have the
same faith. A lot of the bands signed are Christian oriented however, getting
distribution through Christian retail bookstores and what not, while we also
have distribution through other markets too. One of the biggest bands he is
known for right now is MxPx, who have really taken off, maybe even taken off
from the label!"
MORTIIS. Interview with the man himself via email.
Mortiis, as many of you know, started out in the black metal scene some
years ago with the band Emperor, "playing bass guitar and writing all the
lyrics. Except for doing a lot of mail and interviews I am still on friendly
terms with them," he states. "The black metal scene for me is really
nonexistent. The entire idea of black metal has been basically screwed by
itself. As far as I'm concerned black metal sold out years ago, but then again
who am I to care? I started Mortiis in 1992, did 4 albums with that, and I am
still working on the fifth. Mortiis is a cursed project it seems and I am
still fighting tons of problems getting things done and released just as I did
five years ago." These problems seem to have affected his whole attitude in
doing this interview, as he didn't seem to want to elaborate much at length. I
did gather that there was an entirely different reason for starting up Dark
Dungeon Music, which he did mention, albeit briefly: "First off, Dark Dungeon
Music will not release any other artists besides myself. I started DDM a
couple of years ago because at that time I was unfortunate enough to be
dealing with incompetent labels that were dealing with amazingly incompetent
distributors and pressing plants. Promises were broken on a daily basis,
things got lost and/or stolen. In the end I decided that I could do things
better myself, so I started Dark Dungeon Music, issued a bunch of cool vinyl
discs that no other label would have been able to do, and some CD's of side
projects. Future recording plans at this point are a little vague however, as
I recently encountered some rather bad problems that could result in a major
setback for me."
I tried to get inside his head and see where the vision and thought process
for Mortiis came from, and though a little vague, he mentions: "My spiritual
belief is myself. My spirit is Mortiis, I am the medium of flesh through which
Mortiis channels his/my ''visions,'' in lack of a better word. Through me
Mortiis creates the world, the home of my spirit. My hometown is irrelevant,
and to quote an old cliche: ''My music speaks for itself.'' As for influences
for my music, I am influenced by a lot of my own writings that have not been
published yet. As usual, the Conan soundtrack has influenced me greatly,
however I try to be as personal about my music as possible." Finally, we
talked a little about his live performances, he recently toured the U.S. for
the first time doing the Chicago Expo of the Extreme. I asked him about the
media's reaction, how they reacted to the shows and what audiences can expect
in the future from Mortiis stagewise: "I'd rather not say what people can
expect to see live. I don't want people to know what they will see, but
basically, it will be a fog filled, dimly illuminated stage set. And I try to
perform a bizarre show on top of that. Reactions to the live shows have been
very split. Not so surprising, really, as my earliest shows were actually
pretty lame. However, I am always trying to improve and expand the live setup,
as far as budget and competence of other people I have to rely on goes. Press
and fan reaction has been very positive lately. I have noticed that some lame
idiot journalists try to put me down, when will they realize that they cannot
dethrone a God?"
So then, Mortiis has really encountered a lot of bad vibes from the music
world in general, and it really should come as no surprise, as it's something
we have to face every single day. His final words as we wrap this interview up
were, "I don't think there is a whole lot I want to talk about at this point.
Thank you for your attention, the world sucks, people are assholes and so
Yeah, it's back, the section we left out last issue so as to make room for
other cool things!
News from deep down in South Africa: Marbil Entertainment, the label that
brought us Groinchurn, is no more. According to Mark Chapman, his partner
who helped run the label disappeared with all the stock and ripped some people
off along the way. However, Mark has continued on with his own distribution
and label activities under the name of Rodent Records, and one of their first
releases is a tribute to Agathocles which will feature Brutal Truth,
Groinchurn, Nyctophobic, and Agathocles themselves! Their new address is P.O.
Box 4478 Vereeniging, 1930 South Africa.
For those of you Iron Maiden fans, well, they have been in Steve Harris'
Barnyard Studios working on their next studio album! It is scheduled for
release early next year and is to be followed by a massive world tour, and
rumour has it that they will go back to doing the massive, full blown stage
show with huge production, lighting and enough pyrotechnics to blow away a
fair sized stadium! And they have re-enlisted the help of Dave Lights, who was
responsible for some of the fantastic work stage wise when Iron Maiden
performed their Powerslave, Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son tours. On top of
this, they are also working on a very top notch computer game which is also
due for a Spring release, and all that has been said was that the game will
feature Eddie traveling through time, and is going to blow gaming fans away!
Something of extreme interest to gothic fans worldwide! After a 7 year hiatus,
the Sisters of Mercy will be reformed and touring again starting in January of
1998! What a great way to kick off the new year! Several European dates are
already planned, with a Stateside tour to follow shortly. There are some
rather amusing details behind Andrew Eldritch's problems with East West
Records, and he seems to have gotten the jump on the corporation. Here's the
details: After seven long years of threats of litigation, East West expected
Eldritch to make a good record despite the fact that they owe him a fortune in
back royalties. However, Eldritch made sure that East West got the record they
deserve, and made damn sure that they paid more for it than he deserves! The
album, which is under the band name SSV and rumoured to stand for "Screw
Shareholder Value", is said to be a VERY bad techno record (purposely) and was
only recorded in two days. The LYRICS are said to deal with the glorification
of shooting people and selling drugs to schoolchildren. Obviously Eldritch
wants to see some sort of bad publicity and press leaned against this big
corporation, so congrats go to Eldritch for putting one over on a big company
who obviously is only interested in the monetary aspects of the business.
On the reissue front, Displeased Records plans to re-release Whiplash's first
two classic masterpieces, "Power and Pain" and "Ticket to Mayhem" on one CD.
Even more interesting, Gord Kirchin of Piledriver fame states that there is
currently label interest in re-releasing "Metal Inquisition" and "Stay Ugly",
and I for one couldn't be happier. Piledriver is a classic metal band that has
stayed hidden for far too long.
The biggest news I can give you from Massacre Records in Germany is this:
Solitude Aeturnus' new album will be released in early summer of 1998! They
are the newest signing to the roster. Also, Skyclad are planning an Irish pub
tour through Germany in February of 1998 where they will be performing their
songs in an "unplugged" style, and with their extended line up with guest
musicians they can also present instruments like bagpipes, flutes, banjos or
accordians! They will do a "normal" European tour around March of 98. In other
news, Heavenwood are currently working on their second album tenatively titled
"Swallow." This time around they are working with producer Gerhard Martin, who
is most noted for his work with Theater of Tragedy, Totenmond, and Crematory.
Finally, guitarist Tommy Lindal is no longer a member of Theater of Tragedy,
the decision was based on professional issues which, in the words of the rest
of the band, "affect the future of Theater of Tragedy. It is with deep sadness
that this was done, however we would like to thank Tommy for all he has done
(for Theater of Tragedy) and wish him the very best in the future."
Progressive Blindfold has started a new alliance with Johan Van Roy's label
COde Products. Johan, as many may know, is a member of Suicide Commando, and
future collaborations from these two labels include a number of releases by
artists like Stin Scatzor (an exclusive P.B. signing), DB.F, Frames a Second,
and the highly successful Voltage samplers. Possessive will also release a
remix war CD between two of Los Angeles' premier electro bands, Jugend Staat
and Imperative Reaction. This will be a powerhouse release full of heavy
percussion and dark mayhem. The release, also being worked upon by L.A.
industral club Das Bunker, is set for a March release date.
Gravity Kills will be working with top notch producer Roli Mosimann for the
recording and release of their second album, which is set for a Spring 1998
release. For those not in the know, Roli has had a very successful and very
busy career producing such landmark albums as Marilyn Manson's "Portrait of an
American Family," The The's "Mind Bomb" and "Infected," and also worked on
Young Gods' "Sky TV." he has also done lots of remixes with Smashing Punpkins,
The New Order, Megadeth and Lords of Acid, and it was his remix of the Gravity
Kills 1996 smash "Guilty" that got them a six month reign on the Billboard
charts. It also got them a spot on the entire Sex Pistols reunion tour back in
the summer of 1996.
In some black metal news, coming to us courtesy of Miika Kuusinen, Emperor is
now a 4 piece and has written 5 or 6 new songs for their forthcoming album,
which is to be recorded in Sweden at The Abyss studios, and yes, Peter Tatgren
will be the producer. They are planning to do a single and rumor has it that
there may be a possible Uriah Heep cover (though Miika says it may have been a
joke between the group). Many of you may have already been aware that Dirge
Rep from Gehenna is now Emperor's permanent drummer.
Mike Mahon gave us here quite an extensive list of industrial mayhem to be
released through Metropolis in 1998! First off, Front Line Assembly's new
album entitled "Flavor of the Weak" is coming out January 13th, and yes, it
will be done WITHOUT Rhys Fulber. Chris Peterson is the newest addition to the
FLA roster, the first realignment of the band since 1990. Also in January we
will see the following titles: Die Form's "Duality", Dark Illumination's
"Realize the Error," Decoded Feedback's "Technophoby," and Project Pitchfork
will FINALLY get a domestic release for their "Alpha Omega" album which was
put out last year. February sees some exciting new releases from more well
known underground acts: X Marks the Pedwalk will release "Drawback" in
February, along with Snog's "Buy Me, I'll Change Your Life," Mentallo & The
Fixer's "No Rest For the Wicked," and Cevin Key will unleash "Music for Cats."
There is also a various artists compilation from Metropolis entitled
"Electropolis" and Ikon will also have a new album out. Ikon recently lost
their vocalist and are now down to a two piece, incidentally.
Devin Townsend has quite a busy year ahead of him for 1998! The first order of
business is the Strapping Young Lad live album which was recorded during their
tour of Australia. The album entitled "No Sleep Till Bedtime" is finished and
they are awaiting the word from Century Media Records on how they wish to
proceed with it. His side project Ocean Machine is finished, and he has begun
work on his newest project entitled Infinity, which is much more guitar
oriented and ambitious than his usual style and still in the early stages of
recording. He also did some guitar work on an upcoming Skinny Puppy remix
album with his friend Rhys Fulber (ex Front Line Assembly.) The album is still
untitled but features remixes by Tool, Steve Albini and Trent Reznor. Devin
plays on the song 'Warlock' and the album will be released on Nettwerk in
Canada and most likely Capitol here in the States and other regions.
Circle of Dust, the christian industrial outfit, has a new record coming out
on Flying Tart Records, and is actually being postponed until early 98. The
planned "Refractorchasm" remix CD single will not be released, instead the six
remixes will be added to the end of "Disengage," giving their newest album a
total of 16 tracks. They are also getting ready to add a homepage to the web
for interested parties, in the meantime Klay Scott has a personal homepage for
the band at: http://home.earthlink.net/~dusted.
Down on the Century Media front, boiz and goilz, we have some cool thingies
for 1998! In January, C.M. will release Sentenced's "Story: A Recollection"
which is a kind of best of compilation featuring some unreleased tracks! They
are also reissuing Rotting Christ's "Thy Mighty Contract," their second record
which was originally on Osmose Records, with new artwork and extra tracks!
January will also see a specially priced various artists compilation entitled
"Firestarter" which will showcase many black metal bands on C.M. February will
finally unleash the newest Moonspell gem entitled "Sin/Pecado" and Identity 4
will be thrown to the winds. Identity as many know is their specially priced
$3.98 label sampler, and if past samplers are anything to go by, this one
should be a church burner! (hehe..) Last but not least, Atlanta, Georgia's
hottest commodity right now, Stuck Mojo, will hurl "Rising" from the depths of
their recording studios into the hands of unsuspecting people everywhere! You
have been warned...
Though the Nuclear Blast offices have moved from Florida to somewhere up
north, they do have quite a busy new year planned for us! Hammerfall, who we
ran an interview with this issue, has had their debut album "Glory to the
Brave" reside in the German top 100 album charts for over seven weeks now!
Several sold out tours with Dio and intense media praise shows that the
classic headbanger is still out there and he wants his metal loud! "Gods of
Darkness" is a various artists black metal compilation that will be released
in February and will feature tracks by Emperor, Dissection, Immortal, Cradle
of Filth, Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir and more. Dimmu Borgir, incidentally, will be
releasing an EP entitled "Godless Savage Garden," and featured on this EP is
a frightening and unique cover of Accept's "Metal Heart!" Peter Taetgren, most
noted for his three projects Pain, The Abyss, and Hypocrisy, has completed a
demo CD for the new Pain album and plans on doing a tour with Hypocrisy over
in Europe around the spring of 1998. He recently enlarged The Abyss studios
where he also does production work for various bands, and apparently many
artists want to use him to produce their albums!
Who's out and who's in? Sinister vocalist Mike has left the band due to some
musical differences, and as yet there's no word on his replacement. Face Down
drummer Peter Stjaernvind left to become Entombed's skin pounder! Therion will
enter the Woodhouse Studio on December 3rd and will be recording their long
awaited 5th album, a follow up to "Theli," which will see the light of day
around March or April of next year. And finally, in other Dimmu Borgir news,
bassist Nagash burned his fingers badly while spitting fire at the beginning
of their show at the Nuclear Blast 10th Anniversary show in Stuttgart. He
underwent treatment at a local hospital right after the gig, however he didn't
have time to remove all the stageblood from his face and clothes, so the
doctors were rather surprised when they found out it was "just" his hand they
had to take care of. It also prompted the physician on duty to ask if the guy
worked at a circus! Somehow the bassist managed to perform at the next three
shows before admitting he could not continue playing in utter pain, and thus
the Berlin show had to be cancelled the following night
Well, it's the news we've all been waiting to see confirmed: Savannah, Georgia
industrial act Vault Point Nine WILL have their track 'The Devil Went Down To
Georgia' appear on "Nod's Tacklebox O' Fun," the sequel to "Shut Up Kitty"
compilation CD that featured cool cover songs. There is no release date as of
yet, but it IS listed in the upcoming releases section of the Re-Constriction
Records web site. Other artists to appear on this compilation are 16 Volt,
Hate Department, Trust Obey, Pain Station, SMP and a host of others! As we
stated, there is no set release date yet but it HAS been given a catalog
number REC-035. "CyberPUNK Fiction" is another various artists album featuring
Re-Constriction bands re-interpreting the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Killing
Floor, Society Burning, Collide, Christ Analogue and others will appear here.
Hexedene's "Choking on Lillies" features Jonathan Sharp (from New Mind and
Biotek fame) is said to be a synth-drenched, female fronted project described
as Collide with less etherealness and more breakbeats! The unusual thing about
this release is that the European version will have different mixes and
remixes on the Side Line label, while the US version will be a harder sounding
release and will feature remixes from Christ Analogue and possibly Trust Obey!
And finally, though it's not an official Re-Constriction release, yet one more
various artists comp. entitled "Songs From the Wasteland" should be out soon.
It will feature Re-Con bands like Society Burning, Christ Anaolgue and others
alongside Stone 588, Ex-Voto, Eva O. with Stun Gun, Wreckage and more doing
their tribute to The Mission. A nice mix of gothic and synthcore talent is how
this is being described. Can't wait!!
Though for the most part Pendragon Records usually remains quiet, their roster
has been quite busy lately. A new Individual Totem CD "Mind Sculptures Flesh"
should be ready to go by January 20th. THD will release "Wattz Your Program,"
a full length that marks, if this is the same band, a label change from their
previous home of Cleopatra. The big buzz for Pendragon right now however is
with one Velvet Acid Christ, and their second album "Calling ov the Dead" will
be released in late January. This has actually been pushed up due to popular
demand, as it is said members of Front Line Assembly discovered this raw and
Despite many many problems we have been having with web servers, we think we
have finally straightened things out. I want to give many, MANY thanks to
Megan Irvine and Chris up in Pennsylvania, without whose belief and faith in
my work and ability to keep this magazine going since the very first issue
they ever read would have seen this magazine fold years ago. Hard to believe
that this publication is now nearly 6 years old!! That coupled with the fact
that we were one of the FIRST and ONLY web based magazines to offer digitized
music on a regular basis makes me feel like we were one of the originators on
the web zine scene. Special thanks go out to DJ Genetik (I'll figure out your
name one of these days!) for offering us a mirror site and for offering my
readers a chance to listen to classic and out of print albums IN THEIR
ENTIRETY through his Musikbahn web site. Many of you may not realize just how
many megs of storage it takes to offer what he does. Most 16 bit stereo full
length albums are roughly anywhere from 9 to 18 megs long, and we never had
the storage space on the kmf.org site. HOWEVER, I am retaining BOTH web sites
for useage, the doom.org site will be updated FIRST and the kmf site updated
afterwards. There will be links pointed in both directions and the chat room
we talked about adding should be out or nearing completion very soon! Other
thanks go out to my Raven who has put up with a lot from me, hopefully someday
we may be together, and also to Chris Waters who has come down to visit me
quite frequently. Many thanks also to the various labels who have stuck it out
with me, especially the labels I started with from the beginning like Metal
Blade, Century Media, and the like. Thanks be to one and all for all the help
and support. And now for a little flashback: WAAAY back in issue #9 there was
a little statement I made about three bands, two of which I was right about:
Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. I said that these bands would
never regain their former glory, and except for Judas Priest I was pretty much
in the right. I'd like to hear from the rest of you about this, and see what
you think. Replies will be printed in the next issue. Finally, a very special
hello to Trish, hope you get things straightened out and you're in my
thoughts. The rest of you we will see next issue, and those of you indie bands
and labels that we didn't cover, we'll be featuring more from you in issue
Now, CLICK HERE to return to the main menu!