VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
Hopefully everyone is checking out all the new features we have included here
at the magazine! Of course, our most exciting addition is the radio show,
which we are going to be expanding upon quite a bit within the next few
months, heck there's been so many weeks that have went by there should be
something there for everyone! Let's get the usual stuff out of the way:
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
That of course is our address for you record labels and the like. Email
And of course the web site, which you should know since you're here!
"Oyster dope... Dredged up by scallop junkies..."
ACID KING "Busse Woods" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 93/100
I couldn't find very much at all to complain about with this disc, except for
the length of the songs exceeding the 6 minute mark, some well past that. But,
with bands like Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, Datura, and Church Of Misery
doing exceedingly long jam session with their music, this seems to be the path
that stoner rock/doom metal seems to be on. And this band has one major
exception that makes them stand out from the rest: A female vocalist! This isn't
your wimpy high pitched screeching, but a rather strong feminine voice that
adds a haunting air to the whole thing. Though there's only 6 tracks, you can
find some of the heaviest doom riffs ever known to man on cuts like 'Silent
Circle' (my favorite), 'Electric Machine' and 'Carve The 5.' Lori (who is the
vocalist) also plays some mean riffs, and KNOWS how to play her guitar! There
is an interesting instrumental in '39 Lashes' which has something to do with
ANdrew Lloyd Weber, and when we do our interview with them we'll find out more
what it's about. As it is, I don't know too many other doom metal type bands
that incorporate strictly female vocals, and though I didn't know what to
expect from the band's name, I got a bit more than I bargained for. Even if
long, drawn out smoke inducing stoner rock of today's variety is a bit too
much for ya, you might want to check this out anyway and see just how heavy
things can get. By the way, what's this obsession she has with the
AGALLOCH "Pale Folklore" (The End Records) SCORE: 99/100
The End Records has done it once again, and this time they have signed on
what is more than likely going to end up one of the best atmospheric black
metal releases this year. I can't even begin to put into words just how moving
and majetsic this piece is, with the theme centered around the snow covered
forest in all it's sadness, loneliness, beauty, and darkness. The guitar work
is absolutely fantastic, mixing in with the sounds of the wind, and blended in
with some of the most beautiful keyboard and acoustic guitar work imaginable.
The vocals are a tad harsh but not so that they detract from the music. The
only thing that stops this from being a full on 100 is the operatic female vocals
at the beginning of the disc, thankfully they don't last long, and the spoken
male vox that interrupt the beautiful instrumentation too suddenly on part
three of 'She Painted Fire Across The Skyline.' 'The Misshapen Steed' is an
instrumental that will mellow you out with some beautiful acoustic/keyboard
work, and 'Dead Winter Days' along with 'Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony' have
some of the best written guitar riffs I've heard in along time, this disc not
only rocks but also showcases some heavy emotion, so expect to see nothing but
praise for this masterpiece of a record. You could actually coin this the Pink
Floyd of black metal!
CRYHAVOC "Pitch Black Blues" (Spinefarm) SCORE: 70/100
I must admit, the first thing that catches me about Cryhavoc is their awesome
album covers. This second release features an obvious fetish these Finnish
metal musicians have: beautiful women wrapped or covered in various wrappings.
The first album "Sweetbriars" featured two beautiful women covered with a VERY
thin sheet that revealed much. This one is a bit more modest, but it reveals
nothing about the music found inside. Lyrical topics are a bit tame compared
to topics uually covered by bands who delve in the Gothenberg style as this
band does. The vocals are rather unusual, in that there's a slight hardcore
slant at times, with some low male singing vocals that are done rather well.
The vocals do reveal limitations that are somewhat obvious on later tracks. I
must admit that the first three tracks are quite good, this CD may catch you
immediately with 'Cryscythe.' Their chorus lines are pretty well done, and
the catchy guitar work will get to you immediately. Towards the end, though,
songs like 'The Serpent And Eve' and 'Pitch Black Ink' don't really grab you
as much as the previous songs did, but even a less energetic track like 'Spree'
will grab you with the heavily sung chorus lines that are half shouted but catchy
at the same time. Gotta say I liked a lot of what I heard but I don't think
this album is consistent all the way through. I would like to hear their first
album though, just to see how different it is. I could probably enjoy quite a
few tracks from time to time, however I'm sure the group wouldn't have minded
if I gave them a 69 rating. It would fit with their album covers...
DARK TRANQUILITY "Projector" (Century Media) SCORE: 99/100
Said to be one of the forerunners of the Gothenberg sound, Dark Tranquility
has surfaced with a very powerful mix of melody and all out death metal. If
you enjoyed Crematory's "Act Seven" then this is right up your alley, though
I must say Dark Tranquility has the heavier passages of thw two bands. They
utilize piano and amazingly well sung male vocals, there are even some good
female vocals on 'UnDo Control' which gives this a very intoxicating mix of
power and melody. I couldn't really handle 'Day To End' however, bringing this
down a notch but still amazingly well written to deserve the high score.
'Auctioned' is sung totally without the heavy death vocals, almost a ballad
but those amazing guitar riffs, simplistic though they were, just blew me
away. Anyone giving this CD a bad review isn't giving it a chance, unless you
can't deal with ANY sort of melodies in music at all. Still enough viciousness
to satisfy any death metal fanatic, but enough well crafted musicianship and
serenity to satisfy those of us ready for a new realm of heaviness.
DATURA "Visions For The Celestial" (Cranium Music) SCORE: 100/100
This has got to be the most perfect, incredible piece of psychedelic/stoner
doom rock I have ever heard, and I do mean ROCK! From the opening track
'Magnetise' to the 10 minute plus beautiful epic 'Mantra' this is a very diverse
and ear catching piece of work. I couldn't begin to rave enough about all the
fine points of this CD. 'Sunshine In Purple' is probably my favorite track on
here, injecting a semi slow vibe, never as slow as say Sleep or Electric Wizard,
but the singer injects some amazing feeling into this punishing masterpiece,
and when I say punishing I mean in a mellow way. This is a materpiece of a
stoner's platter, even better than their first release 'Allisone,' which now
that I look back on I think maybe I should have rated lower. Check out
'Reaching Out,' which shows them at a bit of a faster pace and a monster riff
section that reminds me of the greatest of Kyuss' rocking tunes like 'Green
Machine.' The 10 minute plus epic 'Mantra' is so beautiful you won't mind the
length of the track, especially when you hear the flutes and spacey sounds
floating through this one. The mellow vibes run throughout 'Voyage' as well,
and even though some of the lyrics deal with 60's era peace and love type
topics, you can't help but just be blown away by the overall extreme heaviness
of it all. A top 10 stoner/doom metal disc if ever there was one!
ELECTRIC WIZARD "Come My Fanatics" (Rise Above/Music Cartel) SCORE: 76/100
THIS is a bit much. Hate filled doom metal of the ugliest and heaviest kind.
Make no bones about it, this is not a trip through the daisy fields, this is
some downright crunchy and downtuned to the lowest plane of hell hate filled
apocalyptic doom metal. Stoners can appreciate the lengthy songs, but be
forewarned: It's a BAD trip. The heaviness and overall weight of this CD cannot
be ignored, and they score high marks for doing so, even though I usually like
my doom a little more melodic. That instrumental has GOT to go though, 'Ivixor B'
I think it is, with that annoying female chanting voice sample that I could SWEAR
I have heard on one of Die Krupps' songs for 'Fatherland' I think. Lyrics are
great though, showcasing their extreme hate of politicians and the general political
climate over in England (see the interview for more details). Overall, I would
say that this is too much of a sonic blast for one person to take, but they do
it so well. NOTE: This album has recently been re-released as a double CD set
with their first album, self titled, being remixed by the band, and sold as a
single CD set price. If I were to review this as a double CD package it would
get much higher marks, but the "Come My Fanatics" album on it's own is what we
reviewed. Get the double CD set it's well worth it.
ENGINE "Engine" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 68/100
Ray Alder from Fates Warning on vocals, Joey Vera from Armored Saint on bass.
Two members of legendary power metal bands getting together to form a side
project should be enough said to raise the eyebrows of many the world over.
Many would think such a collaboration would automatically put on one hell of a
show. The problem is, as good as the guitar work is, as masterful as Ray's
vocals are, it's not enough to warrant a higher score. Something got lost in
the mix when everything was put together. In fact, at times the best thing
about this CD is the catchy chorus lines that force you to sing along, showing
some of Ray's best vocal work this side of recent Fates Warning releases, and
that's making a hell of a statement. Like 'I Don't Need' and 'Teach Me,' which
are downright dull, even Ray's vocal performance can't save this pair. I must
give them credit for trying, though; opener 'Monster' has some monster guitar
riffs, as well as 'You're Awake.' Even 'Tree Of Life' raises some eyebrows,
simply because though it could easily be a radio or MTV hit, this is one song
that while shocking some as being a bit too radio friendly (Read: alternative)
showcases some of the dynamic duo's best collaboration. It's not a total
failure, but I don't see it as the smash that many in the metal community would
expect from two of the power metal scene's long standing veterans.
GIRLS UNDER GLASS "Nightmares" (Van Richter Records) SCORE: 77/100
This is mainly a compilation CD of cuts from their many different albums over
a 10 plus year period. This is one of Germany's most creative underground
industrial/gothic hybrids, with a heavy dose of guitars in spots. To show how
well respected they are there are remixes presented here from none other than
Die Krupps AND KMFDM. The material is for the most part very well written,
though their penchant for new age and synth pop orientations leaves a bit to be
desired, especially on 'New Gold Dream' (a Simple Minds cover) and 'Believe In
Yourself.' Though claiming not to be the best vocalist in the world (See the
interview below for details) Volker comes off surprisingly at times like the
ever popular Jean Luc from Front 242. The best material presented here comes
from their "Christus" album, showcasing the brutal cuts 'Shadows Of Fear' and
'Torture.' Their innovative use of electronics shows them utilizing even piano
notations to create a rather strong and emotion filled backdrop against which
their sounds lie. 'Ten Million Dollars' is easily the worst track here, in fact
Volker admits he is not too happy about material that featured another vocalist
doing quite awful vocals; it's no wonder that the band chose the KMFDM remix of
this song rather than the original. 'Never Go' is a smash club hit and I think
one of their strongest written songs, and while we wait for a full length to
hopefully appear stateside, this is not a bad way to introduce yourselves to a
German industrial institution, especially since their older titles are said to
be extremely difficult to obtain.
GOATSNAKE "I" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 38/100
I tell ya, I don't know who raved about this band in Metal Maniacs but he must
have been doing some really mind destroying drugs at the time, 'cause I don't
see where this band's release is all that great. The only song that was killer
was 'Mower' and at the last minute or two of the song, they ruined a heavy vibe
by repeating some awful vocals. The vocal style varies in places, on 'Slippin
The Stealth' it was quite bad in spots, but it was some of the guitar playing
and the overrepetitive drugged out lyrics in spots that brought this way
down. A couple of songs, played slower in tempo than some and if the listener
is on mind altering drugs, might be tolerable, but I don't ALWAYS listen to
music under the influence, and even if I did, I still wouldn't be able to
appreciate this stuff. 'Trower' wasn't too bad, it was funny to hear them say
"So high" several times in a nasal style voice, but even that got old after
the first 15 times you hear it. 'Dog Catcher' was the absolute worst, horrible
vocals and instrumentation that just got annoying, I mean do you REALLY wanna
hear someone saying "Diggidy-diggidy-diggidy-dog" over and over? I can toke out
to some mellow ones but this probably has to be heard under 7 or 8 different
drugs to be appreciative, and that's only if you don't O.D. first. Man's Ruin
has some great releases on their label, this isn't even close.
GODDESS OF DESIRE "Symbol Of Triumph" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 36/100
I was intrigued by the two females in the band, though to what official capacity
they serve is unknown, it doesn't seem like they play instruments. Which is just
as well anyway, since this "true metal" type of project is quite bad. I mean,
first of all let's check out some of the chorus lines: "Metal forever, forever
metal??" And my favorite, "Riding my bike across the highway at night. To Satan
my soul I sell??" If that hasn't given enough reason to stay the hell away, then
the silly thrash riffs and the near godawful pronunciation of the lyrics ought to
finish things off. There are some interesting riffs on the first few tracks but
follow it with even cheesier lyrics than even bands like Thor and Manowar can
possibly come up with and you start to see the downfall of this project. 'Diabolic
Demolition' and 'Infernal Bestialities' showed some promise but it's just hammed
up really bad. Though we usually pick the three bets tracks to digitize, I just
HAD to digitize one of the worst, 'Metal Forever' so you could laugh at those
beginning lines of the song where all you hear is the singer's voice. Cheese
IRON MONKEY "Our Problem" (Earache Records) SCORE: 91/100
The first time I heard this CD, my first reaction was, "Damn! Beavis finally
got him a band! Yep, the lead vocalist sounds a bit like a deranged Beavis
(from Beavis and Butthead fame) screaming to a killer set of upbeat, rocking
to all hell doom metal guitar riffs! It's doom metal instrumentation with a
very unusual, almost death metal vocal approach! It's pretty catchy too,
though they ARE able to utilize some slower riffs. They go a bit too far with
the slower riffs on 'I.R.M.S' however, which doesn't fit well with the vocals.
And if you love roughly 7 minutes of slow feedback then bits of the hidden
track are just for you, but they were distractions for me! These guys really
kick some serious ass, I enjoyed damn near every track on this one, though
they tend to let a few cuts run a little bit too long. Not being stoned when
I listened to it may have had something to do with it though, but damn if I
can't say these guys, despite not being able to grow decent pot (listen to
the spoken stuff hidden on one of the last few tracks somewhere for more
info, I found the spoken dialogue from god knows whop funny as hell!), have
got one ferocious handle on some ultra heavy stoner doom!
INSANIA "World Of Ice" (No Fashion) SCORE: 81/100
No doubt about it, Sweden continues to produce quality acts no matter what the
genre. This time around, power metal is given a fashionable treatment here with
a quite unusual vocal style. The one thing detracting from the album in
spots is the vocalist, it is my opinion that on tracks like 'Fighting My Tears'
and 'Paradisia' the higher pitched vocals need to be kept a bit more under
control, it seems like David Henriksson's voice gets a little bit too forceful
and detracts from the mood a bit. However, the instrumentation is top notch,
and some of David's best vocal performances are found on 'With Courage And
Pride,' which I might add has a characteristic trademark of having very melodic
and catchy chorus lines, something Insania capitalizes on quite a bit, and
'Private 6-Machine,' which both lyrically and song title wise I found a little
bit out of place for an album like this. The obvious sexual references are
what I would deem more appropriate for a glam metal or hard rock style band
than something with this much obvious class and character. Though it did take
quite a few listens before I could fully appreciate this release, simply due
to the fact that after the intro one of the songs I liked least was track
number two, I find that even the fantastic guitar riffs will create an album
that power metal fans the world over can appreciate and enjoy, continuing to
find delight in the unusually mellow overtone of the whole release, even in the
faster numbers. Not an album I would expect to find on a label that also is
home to Lord Belial, Lobotomy and the Bathory tribute album!
INTERNAL BLEEDING "Driven To Conquer" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 93/100
If you know what Internal Bleeding is all about then you don't need much more
of an introduction. Fast paced, slow paced, and vicious death metal vocals are
the order of battle around this latest release from New York's brutal five
piece. Some may say that this record breaks no new ground, but one also has to
admit that damn near every song on here has some vicious guitar work as well.
One detraction may be that many of the songs' vocal lines are laid along similar
foundations, but at least they are able to keep songs from sounding exactly
the same. Interesting to note that 'Falling Down' (yes, based on the movie of
the same name) and 'Anthem For A Doomed Youth' use spoken movie samples for
effect, and many tracks, like my faves 'Driven To Conquer' and 'Falling Down'
waste no time in laying out the carnage. I can't find much fault with this
other than what's been mentioned above, with the possible exception of their speedier riffs
which sometimes get a little out of hand. But those slower riffs just crush
with power, sort of like why I really dug Cannibal Corpse's "The Bleeding" for
showing that crushing death metal doesn't have to be played at 500 miles an
hour with 5 page lyrics rushed through in 5 seconds. This has been played by
me so much I can do this review without written notations, so go out and
see how death metal pioneers do it with force.
KREATOR "Endorama" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 28/100
I must say I am terribly disappointed by this whole thing. Kreator have lost
any heaviness they ever had with this terrible CD. First of all, the lyrics are
VERY lame. What the hell is an "Endorama" anyway that is supposed to crush
people's lives? And some of the chorus lines are over repetitive to the point
where that is the main lyrics to the song! Like for example, on the track
'Pandemonium' he repeats "Over and over again" over and over again! And
'Tyranny' is even worse! On the only positive note here, some of the riffs and
vocals on the first three tracks aren't bad, but the songs quickly lose their
focus. 'Last Passage To Babylon' is absolutely laughable, with that almost
techno'ish fast beat and Mille trying to sing in a horrible voice. At times
through the first three tracks Mille has a vocal style reminiscent of Lauren
from Drown with the low rough vocals, but I must say it's a very poor imitation
of a band that blows this one away time and again. Whatever repsect I had for
Kreator in the early days is shattered with this piece of trash, not even fit
for the cutout bin. If it wasn't for some of the thrashy riffing which barely
brings it's head above water, I would have probably given this a much lower
LAB ANIMALS "Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars" (Digital Dimension) SCORE: 44/100
It surprises me that this album isn't very good, since Digital Dimension has
been known to put out some quality acts. Hailing from the area of Detroit, more
known for soul sensations that will always miss coverage in this magazine, we
have a group that has a penchant for industrial, gothic and metal tinged
guitars. Unfortunately, this doesn't mix very well. Granted, there are a few
songs that carry the aggression factor over quite well, when it isn't trying
to cross genres. It has been my experience that gothic, industrial and metal
does not cross over well, though one must give them points for trying. They
have a rather bizarre take on My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult style
vocalizations, combined with the strange synth arrangements many other electro
acts were known for. '24 Hours In Hell' is probably the best track on here,
with some vicious screams and aggressive guitars. 'Worlds In Collision' wasn't
a bad cut either, but when the vocalist tries to sing it doesn't work well.
'Caliban' had some interesting "Pretty Hate Machine" era Nine Inch Nails beat
structures and 'Skin Driver' shows them doing a faster electronic style, which
was interesting but didn't work well at all. They have some good ideas, but
they don't blend well together on recorded format.
LACUNA COIL "In A Reverie" (Century Media) SCORE: 90/100
One unfortunate thing about this release is that almost immediately it will
be compared to another gothic styled metal act already on Century Media, an act
known to many fans the world over as The Gathering. Which is a shame really,
because the world needs more talented female vocalists in a genre that seems to
be dominated by male machismo and all things brutal and dark. But that's okay
for the rest of us open minded individuals who can appreciate the balance one
must have between the dark and the light. Okay, but what sets this group a slight
bit apart from The Gathering is their use of a male vocalist. And while Andrea
Ferro, the male singer, tries to keep a powerful yet clean male voice from
sounding too harsh like most death and black metal singers, there are times
when he is too overbearing and detracts from the moods that Cristina magically
creates over her listeners. Especially on 'My Wings,' I think he would make a
good front for a nice death or black metal band, but here he needs to be
stopped. However, to give the devil his due, he performs and blends quite
nicely on 'Stately Lover.' Not afraid to utilize acoustic passages and blending
slower, faster and sometimes heavier pieces within the framework of a song,
this act has what it takes to create catchy melodies, great choruses and forget
a minute about commerciality, I like what I hear.
LAKE OF TEARS "Forever Autumn" (Black Mark Records) SCORE: 98/100
Forget that Goatsnake CD, grab this instead if you want a mellow melodic trip
that actually rocks! (On a lighter scale that is). I don't know where to start
on this one. There's lots of brilliant acoustic passages, mello piano notations,
a beautiful instrumental that actually WORKS rather than just be a filler song
to lengthen the CD, great singing vocals, and some of the best atmospheric
symphonic music I've yet to hear. Granted, sometimes the lyrics get a tad on
the fluffy side, especially with 'To Blossom Blue' ('nuff said about that one),
but there is no denying that Lake Of Tears can write fantastically melodic,
catchy songs that you can't help but sing along to. So why not a 100? Okay,
well first of all, though 'Pagan Wish' had some beautiful flute passages
intertwined with the soothing vocals and 60's style guitar riffs, it sounded
too much in parts like 'Devils Diner' from their last album "A Crimson Cosmos,"
plus a bit heavier in tone it kinda mismatched the rest of the songs on the
album, though it is still a great song! Some songs start out rather folk'ish,
like 'Hold On Tight' with it's acoustic start and vocals only, but like most
they soon add drums and create a heaviness that dramatically accentuates the
melodic moods, and the lead solos on this one are to die for! There's violins
too on the title track, which may make some think instantly of Pink Floyd, but
with more emphasis on beauty. I highly recommend this to many, even those who
aren't totally into melodic style music. You may be impressed with the high level
of musicianship, and if you liked Agalloch then you won't want to miss this.
LEFAY "The Seventh Seal" (Noise Records) SCORE: 62/100
They have been renamed from Morgana Lefay, gotten off of Black Mark and signed
with Noise. I don't know who is left from the original incarnation but I can't
say that the move was an extremely good one. I have heard that there is going to
be another Morgana Lefay record on Black Mark, so until I know the story this
is all I can say: I have enjoyed past Morgana Lefay albums, this one I don't
enjoy as much. It's still power metal with touches of thrash, though these
days more thrash than anything. It's not a crappy album but there are times
when things should really pick up and they sort of stagnate. The title track
is a good example, it starts off with a rather dark and ominous ballad style,
a bit heavier than most ballads you're used to but never really picks up on
the intensity level. 'I Am' had some riffs that sounded like they were lifted
straight out of Metallica's 'Harvester Of Sorrow,' but never really picked up
either, while some of the singing parts dragged this down a bit, a problem that
is not limited to this one track. 'Child Of Time' however DOES pick things up
a notch and really thrashes onward, probably one of their better tunes. However,
'Shadow Empire' is just downright terrible, and 'Harga' sounds like there's
something missing instrumentation wise. It's not a terrible album, but I felt
like there was much missing from the old lineup, maybe the problems the band
has had weakened the impact this album SHOULD have had on the masses.
THE OBSESSED "Incarnate" (Southern Lord Records) SCORE: 98/100
Anyone into good rockin' doom metal CANNOT afford to pass on this kick ass
recording! Mainly consisting of older B-sides, rare material and a few tunes
culled from "The Church Within," this is such a fantastic recording I don't
know where to start. Wino has long been known for breaking and making the
rules on this style of doom metal, which has a hint of southern rock flavor
that Down, Eyehategod and Corrosion of Conformity all owe to the master. The
only drawback to this disc is the track 'Mental Kingdom,' but not much of a
drawback. The vocal delivery was a little off with the instrumentation, but
his guitar riffs absolutely smoke! And they're also very well written.
'Skybone' is one of the tracks lifted from "The Church Within," but added was
Wino's very moving vocal chant and killer guitar solo that were absent from
the Columbia release, which sounded more polished. It sounds better here in
it's raw form. 'Sodden Jackal' was one of my fave's as well, with those eerie
and haunting lead riffs that start things off. 'Iron & Stone,' 'Spirit Caravan'
and 'Concrete Cancer' totally rock, and with 'Peckerwood Stomp' you know Wino
loves the good green grass! 'Inside Looking Out' was Wino's take on a Blues
style track, one that rings heavier than most blues numbers you can bring to
mind. Whatta disc! Required listening for ANY metalheads that want a good doom
metal stoner's disc...
OLD FUNERAL "The Older Ones" (Hammerheart Records) SCORE: 39/100
I think this is more of a nostalgia piece than anything else, in fact many may
just decide to check it out as this is the influential death metal band that
featured Burzum and many other prominent members of the black metal movement
at the time. Fast death metal playing is the order of the day here, and though
I could get into the vocals, the instrumentation didn't always cut it. There
wasn't much here I could really get into, but you can hear those trademark
black metal screams and growls which became the order of the day when black
metal bands branched off from this. Tracks like 'Annoying Individual,' 'Alone
Walking,' and 'Into Hades' just didn't deliver anything exciting, basically
this is just a little history of the days before the black metal scene branched
off from this. Not much more I can say really.
ORANGE GOBLIN "Frequencies From Planet Ten" (Rise Above/Music Cartel)
WOW! I had been begging and pleading with all of The Music Cartel's publicisits
for many months now to send me this and lemme say I was totally blown away by
this! Fantastic melodic and trippy passages inlaid with some rockin' 60's
enhanced guitar riffs that totally rip! You get headbanging riffs along with
the mellow moods presented here. I had a hard time picking 4 cuts to digitize!
'Magic Carpet' and 'The Astral Project' are examples of cuts that just all out
rock, while 'Saruman's Wish' slows things down a little bit and throw some
slow, heavy grooves at you without having to play at 1 mile an hour. 'Star
Shaped Cloud' has some rather mellow vibes running through it, as does 'Land
Of Secret Dreams' before they start rocking hard. There are two instrumentals
on the CD as well which are beautifully done, 'Song Of The Purple Mushroom
Fish' and 'Lothlorian,' the latter being more of a straight up acoustic number
that will have you floating on the smoke. Be rest assured we WILL be getting
Orange Goblin featured for an interview here very soon. Great and fantastic
trip! Even the cover art is worth checking out, and you can tell the whole
60's/early 70's vibe is captured, even down to the clothes the performers wear
in their photo shoot! One CD that was definitely well worth the wait!
PAZUZU "The End Of Ages" (Avantgarde Music) SCORE: 98/100
I remember this band waaaay back from when I got a demo tape of their first
album "And All Was Silent." Needless to say this newest release blew me away.
Though they are part of the Austrian Black Metal Syndicate (see interview for
details) their music is about as far removed from black metal as you can get!
There are 15 tracks here and each one, short though some are, is a vital part
of the storyline which is intertwined with some amazingly emotion generating
synth music. The beats, when presented, resemble more a militaristic style
marching type of drum set, which showcases the intense scenes of war, and I
must say the music was very masterful in invoking images in my mind of the
emotional state of the story. This album must be listened to from beginning to
end at least the firt few times, as it tells a killer story. Mortiis comparisons
probably cannot be avoided, but suffice to say on tracks like 'Eclipse: Final
Clash Of Swords,' 'The Haunted City' and 'An Antidote For God,' the synthesized
passages are very complex and so intertwined with emotion and the story being
told, I must say I have never heard music like this that demanded certain
responses from the listener and the story here is told with more than just
the spoken dialogue. A few passages are in French and German, which sometimes
confused me, but overall if you're looking for a diverse and exciting piece
of work that is just short of theatrical art minus the pictures, let your
imagination and the music fill in the blanks and take a ride through a dark
PENANCE "Proving Ground" (Independent) SCORE: 70/100
You know, it has been awhile since I heard anything from this doom metal band
since their last release on Century Media several years ago. Though I don't
remember much about that release at all, I must say that the style of doom
presented here by this brash four piece from Pennsylvania is quite heavy, though
the vocal stylings of Brian do take some getting used to. The guitar work is
very downtuned and crunchy, giving the majority of the points on this CD,
though the vocal work at times really can take much away from this project. For
the most part, Brian's almost hardcore styled vocals are yelled for effect in
spots, and this works well on tunes like 'Cast In Grey' and 'Transcending,' the
latter being one of my favorite tracks. Overall he does a good job of keeping
the vocal delivery from wavering, possibly realizing that with a vocal style
such as this he really needs to be careful to keep the instrumentation and
vocal mix well balanced, though he does tend to be too overpowering on 'Bitter,'
one example of what I'm talking about. The instrumentation is mostly to blame
on 'Pain,' dragging this thing down with very slow instrumentation that seems
to take forever to go anywhere. However, the lyrical content is quite good, and
when they follow the formula, 'Proving Ground,' 'Cloudless' and 'Transcending'
are three great examples of an extremely heavy style of doom metal that will
bring reminders of early Trouble, Black Sabbath and downtuned riffing of many
monster doom metal acts. I could appreciate much but definitely saw the need
for polishing up the rough spots, which may keep this out of constant rotation
for many doom metal fanatics. And what's with all these 7 minute plus songs?
That seems to be all the rage among doom and stoner bands these days!
SEPTIC FLESH "Revolution DNA" (Holy Records) SCORE: 46/100
This is said to be a bit more cybernetic in style and sound, and while there
are a few choice cuts that really rock, the majority of this project REALLY
got annoying. Granted, I have always liked Septic Flesh's releases, everything
from "Esoptron" to "The Ophidian Wheel," but this could have been a lot better.
'Chaostar' and 'Android' were rather heavy but had some awful vocal interpretations
inside, while the instrumentation often leaved a lot to be desired. However,
'Revolution' was very interesting, showcasing a guitar style that harkens back
to Running Wild's "Port Royal" days, very energetic and totally rockin'! Same
with 'Arctic Circle,' a cut that uses both harsh death style vox and a higher
pitched singing style. 'Science' was an interesting cut as well, but mostly
with the catchy chorus lines. 'DNA' had probably the best lead vocal work of
all the tracks, and showcases more dynamic guitar riffing. Still though, four
great tracks is not enough to save the entire disc from a low score, though I
may spin those few noteworthy cuts on occasion.
SPACECRAFT "Earthtime Tapestry" (Lektronic Soundscapes) SCORE: 85/100
I must admit I get very little in the way of ambient music these days, but it's
one genre I enjoy a hell of a lot when I need some relaxing music. With that in
mind, I must say I enjoyed Spacecraft's unique ability to craft New Age stylings
with an almost otherworldly ambient essence, and most of their songs are quite
musically structured, there's a lot more electronic textures than most ambient
artists usually go for. And this may have something to do with the fact that
there are no less than THREE synthesizers being utilized, in fact all four
members of this unit perform keyboard duty. What's even more amazing is something
seldom utilized in the ambient genre: female vocals. These "vocals" at first
glance will fool you because though there are no words spoken, more like long
ahhs and ooohs that could sound almost Gregorian, but for the most part sound
so beautiful that one would swear they were computer generated! I've never
heard female vocals utilized in this manner, and songs like 'Living World'
and 'Dreams Of One' work the vocals in as another ambient landscape sequence,
leaving the word "vocals" well undefined! The keyboards mostly perform very
intricate and complex crystalline notations that add to the relaxed atmosphere,
though towards the end of the CD 'Seed,' and parts of 'Thread Of Continuity'
are way too dark for the style they present here. And another drawback is that
on longer 6 minute plus pieces they could use just a little bit more variety
since the music is all instrumental, but aside from that one cannot argue that
a journey worth taking is one in which Spacecraft is your guide through the
ambient layers of space and time.
SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY "The Three Calamities" (Cleopatra) SCORE: 97/100
WOW! I must admit I had no idea what to expect after not being too thrilled by
their previous release "Bread And Jam For Frances." Fortunately, what plagued
the last album is not presented this time, and of course I am referring to
their experimentation with jungle and drum & bass sounds. Well, with the
exception of 'Copy Cat,' which for reasons other than the jungle beats style
is about the only weak point on this beautifully done masterpiece. Their
singing style is no doubt beautiful, with Tina doing the majority of the lead
work; the instrumentation, while containing some slight beat structures and
some that resemble hip hop at times, is absolutely phenomenal. This goes way
beyond gothic, in fact they use osme neat horn arrangements reminiscent of
50's era big band style on 'Into The Sky.' Don't be fooled though, even though
their song styles are slow and mellow and quite moving, on a track like
'Wicked,' they do know how to throw a bit of darkness into the mix. The lyrics
on 'Invitation' are a bit sinister too as well, the lyrical stances are very
well written and quite thought provoking. This is a disc you can take a relaxed
listen to, in fact I dare say it's a good mellow stoner's platter, and I have
no idea if that was their intention, but maybe the song 'Green' will have you
wondering. VERY provocative and sensual work, their best yet! Their chorus
lines are some of the catchiest and most beautifully sung that you'll ever
hear in music, especially on 'Therapy,' I'm sure many will be enchanted to no
end by this disc.
SYNERGY "Beware The Heavens" (Nuclear Blast Records) SCORE: 44/100
About the only thing that saved this from a lower score is the fact that the
instrumentation is halfway decent, but then again how could Jesper from In
Flames write bad guitar material? Sharlee D'Angelo (Witchery, Mercyful Fate)
even lends his bass skills to this, but they shouldn't have wasted their time.
First of all, the lyrics for the most part are horrible. I mean, come on? How
can anyone take seriously the song 'Warrior Princess' devoted to Xena? And
'Venomous Vixens?' Thanks Kim, let's bring DOWN the women's movement a notch.
It sounds rather like a male bashing tune, and don't get me wrong, I'm all for
equality whatever the stance, but these lyrics are downright horrible. Some
songs are okay, but Kim's voice is more suited for soul music or pop/soft rock
than a metal project of any real credibility. It's quite watered down, and I
have been told by Jensen of Witchery that this project is meant to appeal to
European fans. Okay, be that as it may, and I do like melodic music, but this
can't really be called metal. On the title track, you can tell she wants to
inject a heavy vibe but it comes off very poorly done. Only the instrumentation
could be noteworthy of anything halfway decent, Sharlee and Jesper have enough
to do without wasting their time on this.
TEARSTAINED "Monumental Is The Sorrow" (Mordgrimm Records) SCORE: 41/100
Though I was mightily impressed by the song 'Bat Horde,' with it's ripping
guitar riffs straight out of thrashdom and the killer black metal vocals, the
rest of the CD was so annoying as to make even the good parts unbearable to
sit through. The problem comes with the varying vocal styles, none of which are
very good save for the black metal style which is reminiscent of Quorthon style
Bathory. In fact, the only other three good tracks, two being covers, are
Bathory's "Equimanthorn" and (surprise!) Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls."
The opening track wasn't too bad either, it had some of the best female vocals
on the whole album, until the lead vocalist ruined it by losing the nice
atmosphere and speeding things up to the point of annoyance. Not much else do
I know about this disc, except that I wouldn't even keep it around were it not
for the unusual Metallica cover from days of old before they sought the gold.
If they could make more songs like 'Bat Horde,' this would be a dynamite CD.
As it is, this is simply a dud.
TENHI "Kauan" (Prophecy Productions) SCORE: 95/100
This is quite a fantastic piece of work. 8 tracks of Norweigan "folk" music,
that utilizes very melodic and mellow passages via the use of pianos, acoustic
guitars, slow drum beats and in some places male Norweigan vocals. If you liked
Tiamat's "Deeper Kind Of Slumber" then you can probably appreciate the moods
this piece creates. I really enjoyed the first 6 tracks, the 7th 'Taival' had
good piano notations, but the last one 'Souto' had very little else besides
the piano work, which was good but I thought it lacked the strong emotions
that the previous 6 songs held. This label is supposedly dedicated to pagan
and magical works of music, you can check out more about their artists by going
to their web site at: http://www.prophecyproductions.de. It's a very enjoyable
album, not unlike deep ambient music with very little keyboard interaction,
though they did use nice violin sounds in 'Revontulet' and flute notations in
'Hallavedet.' And I never thought I'd hear a jew's harp utilized in such a manner!
Definitely worth picking up.
TRELLDOM "Til Et Annet" (Hammerheart Records) SCORE: 42/100
This CD really disappointed me. This Norweigan (I assume) based band, who
apparently sings all their lyrics in Norweigan, has Gaahl from Gorgoroth fame
doing both the lyrics and the vocals. I really must say that Gaahl's screams
and black metal rasps are some of the most vicious in black metal.
Unfortunately, that does not alone save this disc. He also has another style
to his vocals, which are used quite a bit and bring down to a great degree
most of the songs. His most vicious vocal performance can be heard on
'Slave Til En Kommende Natt,' but that same track also shows him using a
rather nasal, almost spoken style which REALLY detracts. Also, the musicianship
is NOT what it should be, in fact, the last track I believe 'Sowar Dreyri'
has a VERY basic guitar riff repeated ad nauseum for nearly 10 minutes! This
could have been a lot better, thank god it is only a side project, for I know
Gaahl can do much better vocal wise. Some of the bass lines were heavy in
spots but overall I didn't think a side project from a member of the mighty
Gorgoroth could be this weak, and this would get an even lower score were it
not for Gaahl's vicious black metal screams, truly the ONLY highlight of this
TULUS "Evil 1999" (Hammerheart Records) SCORE: 86/100
Quite a vicious and evil set of screams on this black metal unit from basically
out of nowhere. Lyrics are of course all in Norweigan, though I could make out
the word "demon" in a few places. As most readers know, with very few exceptions,
most of the black metal I like has slower instrumentation rather than super fast
blast beats, and the riffage here is pretty simplistic but it works very well
to give the entire tone of the CD a rather eerie and haunting feeling. Some
very powerful vocals, the weak spots were mostly on 'Salme' with those damn
annoying low spoken Norweigan chant things, they were the most annoying at the
end of the song when that's all you heard for like a minute. Highlights were
definitely 'Tarantulus,' my favorite, and the pounding bass lines which were
given their moment to shine on 'Blodstrup' and 'Darskap Til Visdom,' which had
a bass only intro! These songs are short but sweet, most of them clocking in at
no more than 3 minutes a piece! The weakest track here was 'Kviteheim,' a very
slow and dragging piece. Plus, while all songs had a dynamite start, some cuts
tended to be a little weak in the middle, but those hellish vocals and awesome
guitar riffs made up for the shortcomings. Black metal doesn't have to be played
at 100 miles an hour to be effective, and though there's hardly any keyboards,
one cannot deny the sheer brutality of this release!
USURPER "Skeletal Season" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 87/100
After hearing their EP I was decidely very excited about getting their second
full length release, and for the most part I wa quite pleased with it. For
those not familiar with Chicago's Usurper, they mix vicious black metal
screams with a vocalist who sounds just like Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior.
On top of that they utilize some slower passages just like their idols in
Frost, though here the two slowest cuts 'Embrace Of The Dead' and 'Wolflord'
don't work for Usurper as well. 'Cemetarian,' while just as slow as the two
aformentioned tracks, works because of the haunting atmosphere and unique
acoustical guitars. The rest of the songs are so damn brutal, epecially when
vocalist Diabolical Slaughter utilizes three different vocal styles, and his
hellish high pitched screams have to be heard to be believed! Tracks like
'Dismal Wings Of Terror' and 'Brimstone Fist' show Usurper at their very best,
when they display a fierce, fast and furious onslaught backed by some of the
coolest lyrics this side of a "Morbid Tales" record. Oooyah!
ELECTRIC WIZARD. Interview with Jus Osborn.
Probably one of the most interesting email interviews I have ever done, I had
the results mailed back to me from England, wherein resides one rather angry
group of musicians. I guarantee you've never heard doom metal as ferocious and
pissed off as this three piece, and the interview below will reveal some of the
reasons for their hostility.
As our readers know, your newest album "Come My Fanatics" has been
re-released along with the first album remixed. Why was the decision made to
offer this as a 2 CD set and why did you feel the need to remix the first album?
What was done differently on the re-release?
We re-released "Come My Fanatics" because the first time it was released the
distribution company went bust about 2 weeks after it came out, so hardly any
copies made it into the stores, which was totally annoying because we got all
these amazing reviews but nobody could find a copy. The 2 CD set was the idea of
the new distributors and we thought it was kinda cool because it would come out
as the price of a single disc. Also we got a chance to release the original
Electric Wizard mix of the first album. This is the original rougher, heavier mix
that we did in the studio but was originally rejected by Rise Above and remixed
by Paul Johnson. But now Rise Above have realized that the Wizard are the only
ones who decide what mix to use.
Making an observation then, between the first and second albums it
sounds almost entirely like a different band. Were there things done on the first
album that you didn't want to repeat the second time around? Lots of the guitar
riffs on "Come My Fanatics" were much heavier and more distorted, is this the
result of the band trying to attain a different sound?
I don't really know what happened, maybe we got too fucked up! Though the first
album was mostly crappy old songs from my first band but "Come..." was 100
percent Wizard. Also on the first album we had it all rehearsed before we went
into the studio but on the second one we decided to record it all live and write
the songs and jam them out in the studio. I think we were also very screwed with
drug abuse, on the first day we couldn't find Mark so we had to drive all over
trying to find him and some of his mates said he was lost on acid somewhere but
we found him in the woods and he was just messy. So we dragged him down to the
studio to record his parts which led to all three of us going on a three day
binge of acid, grass, speed and vodka, these three days produced all the basic
tracks for the album and has now become the routine for all Wizard recording
sessions. We always wanted to be the heaviets and loudest band in the world but
not in some cliched way, but a genuine outpouring of total doom and hate.
I noticed that several songs are played slower on the second disc than
on the first one. In an interview I did with Sleep some years ago, they said it
was a lot harder to play slower live than at regular speed. Do you find this to
be true, and what is an Electric Wizard live show like?
To most people's horror we play even slower live. I love totally crushing riffs
live if you hold the notes long enough you get this kinda massive swell which
threatens to crack the venue walls. I remember seeing Candlemass when I was
younger and I was just amazed at how awesome the slow riffs sounded, it seemed
like a sonic deathray! Yeah, it is harder to play slower live but it just proves
we can play better than everyone else. The main thing that surprises people is
that we don't play the tracks the same way as on the album, which no other bands
do but when you listen to all the old seventies bands they used to jam out the
songs for hours because they were so shot on drugs which we are as well. The
better the drugs the better the concert! And it is true that sometimes we don't
play if we can't score any decent weed. An Electric Wizard show is baiscally
unpredictable, but always very heavy. Sometimes people say we come across like a
punk band because of our attitude on stage because we don't pu on a proper rock
show, so because of our reputation we get punks, metallers, skaters and all sorts
of freaks at our gigs. Do you remember the British punk band Doom? They always
came to our gigs because they think we kill live with no rock star poses. We did
a gig with Chaos U.K. once and they were pissed off because all their punk fans
thought we kicked their old punk asses, ha ha!
Many of your songs tend to be quite lengthy, which is perfect for the
stoner that wants to concentrate on the sounds, do you feel that only stoners can
appreciate a long tune? Personally, if a song has great instrumentation the
longer it gets the more I get to enjoy the music. Especially with Hacienda, their
instrumental songs are written so well I almost never want them to end! Going way
back, the Beatles did that same thing with the endless riffs on 'I Want You
(She's So Heavy)' from their Abbey Road album.
I agree. Our songs are so long because we're so stoned when we play them. I think
it's definitely a stoner/drug thing because straights think we're too boring and
too slow but only dopers come to our gigs now and they love to hang out for hours
on extended 20 minute jams. When we rehearse we just play hour long jams and the
more it goes on the more you become lost in the music until eventually reality
ceases to exist and only the Wizard is real and life is gone. Death to reality!
Speaking of the herb though, there wasn't much mention of the green leaf
in any of the songs. As many of our readers know, we here at V.O.D. are very pro-
hemp and we were curious about what good herb is floating around at the time?
Do you prefer using the bong, pipe, or papers, and what do you guys think of High
Times Magazine? Also, on the latest Iron Monkey CD, some guys mentioned that some
English people couldn't grow very good pot because of the climate; something to
do with lots of cold and dreary days (though I assume they were also half joking).
Care to put any of thoe rumours to rest?
The Wizard only smokes the finest homegrown Dorset buds. We grow our own dope
under lights so we always have fat buds! Iron Monkey are stupid northeners who
can't grow decent weed, ha ha! The south of England produces very fine weed, come
over for a smoke sometime and find out! We prefer to use the righteous bong and
we NEVER mix it with tobacco as has been rumoured by some American bands, also we
use various hardcore devices such as "The Waterfall," "The Lung" and the
universally reknown "Bucket." Various bands have tried to challenge us at toking
but we always kill those wimpy fags, I've seen Orange Goblin fall to the floor
many a time we stoned them up hard! Only Brutal Truth could keep up with us, it's
wierd because all these bands in England call themselves stoner rock but they
don't even smoke any pot! High Times has some cool growing tips but I don't like
the wimpy hippy stuff. They should do a Sleep special every month!
I was curious as to some of your influences, besides the obvious Black
Sabbath, on the music you make? I did hear a slight Louisiana sound in the vein
of Eyehategod and Crowbar so I was wondering if there were any other styles of
music you were into? Also, I'd like to get your reaction on a couple of other
bands in this genre, namely Iron Monkey, Roachpowder, and my all time favorites
We love all heavy and original music, the Louisiana bands too. Electric Wizard's
favorite bands are Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Blue Cheer, Celtic Frost, Witchfinder
General, Sleep, Darkthrone, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream, Slayer, Pentagram,
Bathory, Trouble, Earth, Burning Witch, the Melvins, etc. Basically anything that
stops the voice in my head which tells me to do bad things. Iron Monkey totally
rock and we got trashed with those dudes a few times but they've split up now. I
might be doing some project stuff with the drummer soon like the slowest band
ever or something. I don't know of Roachpowder so I can't say anything. As for
Hawkwind, I love their early stuff with Lemmy but the later stuff is gay. But
they are kind of an institution in England and everyone goes and sees them live,
they're still cool live and everyone in the crowd shares their drugs around and
it's a great party like in the 60's. I've seen them about 6 times.
'Mountains Of Mars' was a beautiful instrumental, but there doesn't seem
to be any other styles like this on any of your other albums that I've heard. Was
that a one shot thing or will we hear more mellow stuff like this on future works?
Speaking of those, are there any plans for a new album and what might it be like?
Tell us what type of bands you consider to be perfect bands to listen to
"under the influence."
We do a lot of mellower jams at rehearsals but it seems we are always pissed and
have a negative attitude when we're in the studio. I think it's kind of a myth
that when you're stoned you want to listen to wimpy Led Zeppelin crap, I hate it.
We listen to Bathory and Darkthrone even on acid! If I want to relax I prefer
ambient music to acoustic stuff. We will record a more mellow track if we think
it's appropriate, if it makes you feel like you're lost on some screwed up alien
world NOT look at the lovely flowers they're so trippy man... UUUGGHH! Our new
album will be called "Dopethrone" and we are working on it now! It's gonna be
the heaviest and most original stoner doom album ever recorded in human history!
We guarantee that even if you've never taken drugs you'll experience the baddest
trip of your miserable life! Electric Wizard are the perfect band to listen to
under the influence, if you can handle it!
Finally, any chance you will tour the States? And also, I noticed being
on Lee Dorrian's label (from Cathedral fame) your first album artwork looked
strikingly similar to a few of Cathedral's and the Lake Of Tears album "Crimson
Cosmos." Is it that this artist only does album covers for those doing doom metal
or trippy psychedelic music?
We are going to tour the U.S. very soon, it's our total dream! It will probably
be with Goatsnake as we did an awesome British tour with them and we really got
along well. It was a great show for the fans because we're both total doom live
but in a different way. Also, we heard American chicks are suckers for English
accents! We used the same artist as Cathedral on the first album but we were sick
when we saw it because it's totally weak hippy crap, we asked for a huge dragon
dripping blood with naked chicks and stuff like the cover of "Savage Sword Of
Conan" or something, not that stuff. I mean she hasn't even got her tits out and
there's a queer dolphin on it! (Luckily this is cut off on the re-release). Since
then we've used our own stuff! Check out the new "Supercoven" CD on Southern Lord
Records out now with new tracks and cover art for the U.S. only. It is SOOOO
heavy! If you're into Death, Black, Doom, Stoner, Punk, whatever we guarantee you
will get on your knees and pray to the Wizard!
GIRLS UNDER GLASS. Interview with Volker Zacharias.
For those into industrial music, many U.S. fans may not even be aware that
right now we are speaking with a band that not only has releases going way
back to 1988, but has also had remixes done for them by such legendaries as
Die Krupps and KMFDM! I recently asked Volker why he thinks American audiences
have been unable to sample the Girls Under Glass experience, and it does have
a bit to do with the fact that "Firewalker" actually got American label
interest, but it's best to hear it in his words: "Okay, I'll start with the
Nuclear Blast story. After being on an independent label for ages we wanted to
be on an internationally working label. Nuclear Blast was interested and they
had an international net of label partners and distributors. The U.S.
department was our biggest hope because we see a good chance for us in this
market, but Nuclear Blast wasn't very active in promoting and marketing this
record so we didn't have the chance to get built up to American audiences. The
change to another label was due to Nuclear Blast's decision of concentrating
on metal only acts, basically we didn't fit into their roster anymore. By that
time we were already in touch with Van Richter Records, as they were quite
impressed by our project Trauma. So I sent him also Girls Under Glass material
and after awhile we decided to work together. At that time however we didn't
have plans for doing a new record, and having just one Girls Under Glass record
released wouldn't give you the right impression because most of our records
are very different from each other. I believe this compilation "Nightmares" is
perfect to give you an idea of what we are all about and what has happened in
the last 13 years. We already made a new album that will hopefully come out
next year in the US."
After listening to "Nightmares" in great depth, I can undertsand fully what
Volker is saying, you'll hear some synth pop covers and downright harsh and
heavy industrial numbers. I can hear some of his best works with tracks lifted
from "Christus" and "Darius" while the worst song seems to come from not only
their earliest album, but also a different lead singer on this one track 'Ten
Million Dollars,' which Volker explains: "Well, you're absolutely right about
'Ten Million Dollars,' it's utter crap! Tom was a founding GuG member and his
way of singing was obviously a bit more exaggerated than my way of singing.
After two albums he decided to stop doing music, he was bored and wanted to
concentrate on other things. We had decided at that point if we just give up
the band or give it a try with myself doing vocals (in the early years I was
jut playing guitar). Luckily we kept going and became more successful with the
new lineup. ''Flowers'' is a very intense record that I like a lot, I must say
my least favorite albums are ''Humus'' and ''Firewalker.'' We do try to vary
our styles and musical tunes with every album; we don't like to repeat ourselves
for years and years, of course that's a bit boring. You are also right in sayimg
that ''Christus'' is one of the strongest records, such as ''Darius'' is.
''Darius'' was released one year before ''Christus'' and much more poppy.
Before ''Christus'' we founded the band Trauma and decided to concentrate on
the more moody, mellow and dark electronic side with this project. For GuG
this meant that we can concentrate on the much harder side of our musical
influence. We just split our musical ideas into two projects." Wow. I actually
own both Trauma projects and never had any idea that it was this group that was
involved in the creation of such an interesting side project.
Covers. Eventually all the best bands in the industrial scene either
contribute their remixing skills to other favorite bands or projects, or if
you have been repected and in the scene long enough, bands offer to do remixes
for you. I think a strong testament to the longevity of this band is the fact
that KMFDM AND Die Krupps both have remixes on this compilation, and Volker
once again explains how this came about: "First off, the press has always been
very friendly. We are a highly respected band, maybe because we never had this
big success such as Project Pitchfork, Deine Lakaien or Wolfsheim have in
Germany. For our fans and for the media it was always very obvious that
musical integrity was more important than record sales, and even when we had a
good sales success with a certain record, for example the album ''Darius,'' the
follow up was totally different. So we were never the type of band that sells
out by copying a certain success oriented style, we just do what we do, and you
must admit this is very untypical in the music business. On the other hand
there were always juornalists still comparing a new record with our first
''Humus'' and saying we were the best in the beginning, a typical reaction
which I can understand, though ''Humus'' is crap and we became better with
nearly every record. KMFDM were friends of ours in the late 80's before they
left Germany and moved to the United States. Die Krupps we got to know a couple
of years later, because Hauke our keyboard player has a diploma as an electro-
technician and invented a new instrument (a data to midi converter) that was
announced as the best quality kind of thing available in Germany at the time.
So lots of musicians asked Hauke to build one of his converters, and that's how
he met Chris from Die Krupps for the very first time. We asked him and Jurgen
to do a mix for us, and they did for the track 'Die Ziet.' Very simple thing."
So now we come to the covers they have chosen for this album, one being a sort
of movie song for "Halloween," and a Gary Numan song. "Gary Numan," Volker
tells us, "is definitely one of the most influencing artists for us. We see
ourselves as children of the 80's, a most impresive time for new bands and new
sounds. Of course we don't only want to transport this sound into the nineties,
we only try and make our roots obvious, combining this with modern sounds and
modern production. There are not many bands that really influenced us. These
days I am still into very melancholic and dark stuff like Type O Negative,
Tiamat, Massive Attack, Depeche Mode and good 'ol Numan. We don't try to copy
the bands we cover but show our respect and give all versions a strong GuG
appeal, which we think works."
Wrapping this up, there were a few points the liner notes of "Nightmares"
didn't make clear. One was the use of female vocals, something GuG used to
strong effect on a couple of tracks. "Oops," Volker seems to ask ashamedly.
"Did I forget the chicks? Hmm, let me think. On ''Positive'' and ''Darius''
we had Conny Millison singing, a very good friend of the band. On ''Christus''
it was Yvonne Ritz-Andersen, who is a well known singer-songwriter lady from
Denmark now based in Hamburg. This was a studio job for her, very quick and
professional. On ''Crystals And Stones'' we had a female ex-colleague of mine,
Sanne Sprenger, who has quite an interesting voice. Generally we like to work
with different guest musicians and singer on our records. Music is communication,
every record is a new adventure so we like to work with new and different
people to see how new collaborations work and what effect this has on our
musical result." Finally, the touring situation. A band that has been able to
exist for 13 years has obviously toured quite a bit, though Volker's take on
the touring scene, and my question on his touring the U.S. may show people over
here that maye there is more work that needs to be done before more
overseas bands venture onto our shores: "We are not very big fans of big tours.
It's not that I don't like playing live at all, but we are very keen in optimal
sound and lights and effects so for the last three tours inbetween five years
we always lost money. Because of that we haven't earned any money for ages now
and that's getting a bit depressing after awhile. I doubt that we will tour in
the US unless any of our GuG records become a bit sucessful there. At least we
have to be able to cover all costs and believe me, touring in the States is
mega expensive, especially for a German band. The other thing is that we don't
like to be treated like jerks and that's what usually happens in the States:
For most local promoters musicians are just a stinky, drug taking bunch of
asses and I don't like that attitude. Everywhere else in the world it's very
different. We played in France and Spain, and there everybody takes care of you
and is very friendly and helpful." So when will we see Girls Under Glass's
massive back catalog released in the States? "I have no idea," Volker says.
"In the moment the rights for our older records still belong to our old label
that is just not able to set up anything in countries apart from Germany,
which is a shame. As soon as we get the rights back I have to deal with the
rights for the U.S. First of all we want to release our last record
''Equilibrium'' stateside, as that album is announced to be our best one in
nearly all the German papers. It's a masterpiece and has to come out in the
ICED EARTH. Interview with Matt Barlow.
All the buzz about the long standing power metal band from the United States
is concerning their recent 2CD live extravaganza entitled "Alive In Athens."
Forget whatever you know or have heard about live albums, this one blows every
and anything else away! As I stated in the radio show, you've never heard a live
album like this! Matt tells you what was so special about the Greek show: "It
was obvious to us the first time we played there that this was the show that
would be recorded for a live CD set. We played there two times prior to recording
this and the first trip over when we got off the plane it was unbelievable. If
we weren't so grounded it would have been a real ego explosion, there were people
waiting at the airport for us when we got off the plane! We showed up at the
venue and people were surrounding our bus, blocking off traffic and what not."
Though Matt is a bit of a newcomer to the band, the track listing for the live
CD goes all the way back to the first album, though there is only one track
presented from their debut release. I know some people had a hard time with the
vocalist Iced Earth used at the time, but Matt relays a more difficult problem
with the song selections: "There were actually a couple of songs done live from
the first album, we did 'When The Night Falls,' and another one which was
originally called 'Written On The Walls' which we reworked on the ''Days Of
Purgatory'' album. We kinda changed the lyrics on that song, it now appears as
'Cast In Stone.' It's such a large catalog of songs that we have, and we tried
to do what we thought people would really be into, we promised a lot of people
that we would do 'Dante's Inferno,' and that's a 16 minute epic. Doing the
trilogy takes another 20 or 22 minutes. A lot of songs ended up taking a lot of
space and we had to do our staples like 'Watching Over Me' and 'I Died For You'
that would really get us good crowd responses. We actually did some of those
songs on both nights, and people in a live show expect to hear certain songs,
so for those that couldn't afford to get to both shows we ended playing quite a
few songs twice. 'When The Night Falls' is the epic from the first album, one
that we felt was the best song from that album. The popularity of Iced Earth
really started out with the album ''Night Of The Stormrider,'' there's a lot
more crowd identifiable songs with that record." I was indeed curious to hear
Matt's thoughts about the first two Iced Earth records, and his reply has quite
a bit to do with his vocal style as well: "I really like the first two records,
though there are a lot of things I can't do vocally like some of the other guys.
We did some different things on ''Days Of Purgatory,'' so when I perform the
older songs, I sing them the way that we did them on ''Days Of Purgatory.''
People seem to like them okay when I do them, though people have come up to me
and been perfectly honest and said ''Well, I like the way that John Greely did
this better,'' and I am perfectly okay with that, as I am not trying to pull the
vocals off like those other singers. I really do like the way John Greely did a
lot of things, but he left right after ''Night Of The Stormrider.'' I came in
on ''Dante's Inferno'' and ''Dark Saga'' then ''Days Of Purgatory.'' I think the
bottom line is though that the listener is always right, so if they like the way
John Greely did something on ''Stormrider'' then that's the best thing for them."
Iced Earth has been a revolving door for band members, with their long history
John Schaffer is really the only original member left! Matt talks about this quite
exhausting array of members taht have come and gone within the group: "After
the first vocalist, Schaffer realized that Gene couldn't do what he thought Iced
Earth should be doing as far as musical progression went. After Gene left they
got John Greely rather as a last minute deal, and they didn't really have time to
know what the guy was like personally. They had personal conflicts, so it was
really one of those things. Gene was a great friend of John's and the rest of the
guys, but Gene couldn't do what the rest of the band wanted to do musically;
on the other hand, John was a great vocalist but his personality didn't mesh.
When it came time to look for a third guy, they were trying out a bunch of people
for the position, and it took them about three or four months to decide on me.
They called me back a couple of times and they wanted to hang out with me and
make sure that my personality was cool, and it all worked out. This is John's
band no doubt about it, he writes all the music and in most cases all the lyrics."
A statement that I had made in regard to Iced Earth, especially having released
so many albums and having been around for so long, is the famous quote "A prophet
is often revered everywhere but in his own country." One reason for this seemingly
dead on statement is the lack of good billing for metal shows here in the U.S.,
not to mention the popularity of other more mainstream types of music that we
won't discuss here. Matt had a strong contrast to my words, and he does defend
his fans, as you will see: "It's cool for us, the fans that we do have here are
super cool and dedicated, and it's good to at least be able to see them over
here with as little publicity as we have gotten. Obviously the scene here in the
U.S. is based on a corporate structuring shall we say, and it's tough for an
indie band to get nationide exposure. Century Media has been doing a lot more to
help us with that, a lot more advertising in magazines and what not. That's
pretty much all that we can go with at this point. Advertising is expensive and
Century Media is still technically an independent label and they can only do so
much. But, we have also done our best to get out there and spread the word, we're
not content to rest on our laurels and not do anything, we're actually going out
and touring the States now which is something we haven't done in the past because
there wasn't any way for us to do it, promoters wouldn't give us a chance and
now promoters know that we can actually pack places in the States now, smaller
venues yes but on a regular class A circuit we're working. People know the name
and promoters know the name so they're not afraid to take a chance anymore on us,
as we're not considered a chance. Each one of our shows has gotten bigger here in
the States, more and more people are checking us out. Granted, it's not the huge
numbers like we're talking about in Europe, but then again this is a big country.
In France, we got an okay crowd, it's getting better now though because Century
Media is branching out, though in certain parts of Europe people have no idea who
SOLSTICE. Interview with Lee Netherwood via snail mail!
After the demise of Misanthropy Records (reported on last issue) I was wondering
what would happen to all the great bands that called the label a home for many
years. But with word that Necropolis has signed not only Solstice but one other
band from Misanthropy's roster, I had misgivings that this might hurt the band
as far as Necropolis' penchant for extreme death and black metal bands. Lee was
quick to put those fears to rest however: "I don't think moving to Necropolis
will hurt us in the slightest, in fact just the opposite, as we have never had
anything released in the States so having an American label gives us the chance
to promote our music on your side of the pond. Up until now our stuff has only
been available as import releases. Necropolis seems to be a fine label who does
a hell of a lot for their bands, so we are looking forward to working with them.
We got the deal with Necropolis after Misanthropy, upon their announcement that
they were closing their doors, sent out CD's of ''New Dark Age'' to roughly 25
different labels. We were offered 7 or 8 different deals from different labels
but we had no hesitation in signing with Necropolis; we were told they were
branching out and I think they are proving just that as not only have they signed
us but they also signed our former label mates Babylon Whores. They also have
the likes of Deathwitch, Witchery, Usurper, Cranium and the like so it's not just
a black metal label these days." While on the subject of their record contracts,
I wanted to get them to take me back a ways, as this is their fourth release or
so if I am counting right. Lee is happy to oblige, so take notes all ye metal
scribes, the history lesson now commences: "Going back to the Misanthropy thing,
we got the deal with them by sending them a copy of our now infamous ''Drunken
Dungeon Sessions'' 4 track rehearsal demo. They liked it and signed us of course.
''Lamentations,'' our first album, came out in 1994 on Candlelight and was more
or less a straight epic doom release. Being a solid recording it got a lot of
acclaim and we toured extensively with it in the U.K. with Sweden's Count Raven
(who I always thought were from the U.K. myself - Ed.) and throughout mainland
Europe with Anathema, including a festival in Poland where Obituary headlined.
''Halcyon,'' a mini CD recorded for Godhead Records in 1996 bridges the gap
between ''Lamentations'' and ''New Dark Age,'' hinting at a more brutal approach
but not forsaking the brooding doom melodies of the first release. ''Halcyon''
was also released on 10 inch vinyl through Black Tears in 1997."
The one thing that really struck me as different about "New Dark Age" is the
vocal approach in contrast to the instrumentation. There is a hint of an Irish
accent in the vocalists' unusually light singing approach while there are some
harsh hardcore style vocals in places, yet the instrumentation often is quite
heavier than the vocal style, something that takes a few spins to grasp. I was
curious to get Lee's take on the reactions to this: "It could well be a unique
mix but it feels perfectly natural to us as we have alway been tuned down a bit
and have always had melodic vocals, even going back as far as the first demo
from February 1991, in which there is a very strong Candlemass feel to the early
works). As for the old world pronunciation, we just try to keep in with the
feeling of the lyrics, we actively encourage Morris (the vocalist) to do this as
we believe this adds character and distinctiveness to his voice. The more
aggressive vocal styles have been with us since the first album and will continue
to be featured in future material. It stems from our love of bands such as Celtic
Frost and Bathory, but also stems back to Rich and mine's hardcore punk days.
We have both played in various hardcore and thrash bands previous to Solstice.
Interesting that those two styles of music are mentioned, as many of you may
realize that not only with New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (forever abbreviated
in this publication and referred to as NWOBHM) but the punk movement rose from
many bands who are famous for being in the English countryside at the time when
these two scenes exploded. Lee gives his take on it all, including how the
English terrain influences many a band to write the music they write: "The
NWOBHM movement still holds a lot of inspiration for us. We still listen to lots
of these bands to this day; bands like Savage, Blitzkrieg, Tyson Dog, etc. I
think when the NWOBHM movement sprung to life in the late seventies/early
eighties they borrowed a lot from punk music, like making your own demo tapes,
playing sweaty clubs and pubs and stuff. At the time the U.K. was in a sort of
depression with lots of unemployment, riots and stuff. Metal was an escape for
the kids that's why it thrived along with the hardcore and punk, the music of
the working classes. It seems that even out of the hardest times, some good can
come from it. We all live in industrialized northern towns where it tends to
rain a lot, possibly the reasons for our doomy nature, but if it does get to be
too much we are never far away from history and beautiful countryside. A trip
to local historic cities such as York can be quite inspirational. After the
recent gig in Glasgow up in Scotland we drove down through the hills and valleys
as the sun was rising and it was quite breathtaking and very epic."
PAZUZU. Interview with Ray Wells via email.
Pazuzu contacted me quite a number of years ago with their demo tape for
"And All Was Silent" before it was released. Pazuzu's newest masterpiece "The
End Of Ages" has just been released through Avantgarde Music and we caught up
with Ray, a man who has made many changed in his life.
As you know, I received a demo tape from you entitled "And All Was
Silent." How has your progression changed from this first album up to your latest
release "The End Of Ages?"
The most obvious progression is the style of music and composition. Whereas "And
All Was Silent" was based more around melodies, "The End Of Ages" is more in the
cold void ambient corner, built mainly around effects and moods rather than
melody. Naturally I have progressed as a person and that has affected my taste
in music among other things. I feel now more than ever that Pazuzu is the demon
that lurks within me. It's all the somber feelings that slumber in the darkest
corners of my mind, if you want it metaphorically. I awaken them every time I
compose a piece for this group. Songs just create themselves, out of chaos I
usually end up with a strange kind of order and structure in my work. This
however applies solely for Pazuzu, in Raventhrone things work differently.
You are noted for being a member of the Austrian Black Metal Syndicate.
What other bands are involved in the ABMS and what does the organization have as
its goals and accomplishments?
The concept of ABMS has been put to rest for awhile now. All the groups that
once participated have since gone their own ways. I moved to Canada recently,
as my parents have lived here for close to 6 years now. I felt it was time for
a change and so my wife and I decided to come here and venture into something
fresh! I like Canada, it is a great country and I think we will stay for awhile.
Many consider you to be in the black metal scene even though you use no
guitars (that I've ever heard) and very little vocal interaction save for some
narration within the music. How do you see the black metal scene today and what
is your involvement with it? Do you correspond with any of the members of any
B.M. bands? Also why the adamant disuse of guitars? Do I ask too many questions?
I don't really care much about this scene. Most bands, save the handful of
talented and/or original ones, are utter garbage. At least when the death metal
trend was around, you would find proficient musicians; nowadays, in this so called
Black metal trend, there are just countless dilettantes copying copies. I have
grown tired of it. I do what I do, and I try to be good and original at it. I
hate people who follow cheap trends. Pazuzu does not require guitars at this
level of existence. The moment I feel guitars need to be used, they will be. I am
in contact with a handful of people that I find interesting and usually I don't
care what scene they belong to!
Many would consider your music in a similar vein to Mortiis, former
member of Emperor. How do you see the comparison, and are there any ambient
artists you find you are influenced by?
Mortiis does his thing, I do mine. I do not find our music comparable, but I can
understand why people would think so. As far as I know his music is the soundtrack
to his empire, my music 1999 is the antidote for life. I enjoy NON, Archon Satani
and the likes. I am into Japanese noise and just regular stuff like Loreena
McKennit and Blackmores Night. I also find the Tea Party to be one of the most
original "commercial" bands in a long time, they are from Canada.
Tell us about the theme of this album, I noticed that there are some
medieval styles, and the song 'Eclipse' was rather interesting with the battle
sounds and theme. Is the album meant to run a wide variety of emotions or is
there a centralized theme running throughout?
The theme is based around the coming of a new millenium. The renewal that will
take place is the cleansing of the earth realm. The music was kept very organic
this time, not as structured. Of course there are the typical Pazuzu styles, but
I tried to do something a little different by combining the cold void ambiences
with orchestral instruments. The whole album is supposed to be prophetic, like
a short glimpse into a bleak future through the Death Gate.
Does Pazuzu ever plan on playing live, and what sort of press has Pazuzu
received? I haven't heard a lot about Pazuzu after that demo tape you sent me, so
I am wondering what you have been busy with?
Pazuzu generally gets good reviews in the press, but of course it's a project
some people find hard to stomach, especially metal puritans. All three albums
are very different, but still you can tell they are somewhat related. Pazuzu
doesn't follow any trends, I release an album when I feel fit to do so. I need
time to compose. I played live in Berlin once on Christmas Day, which was a
pretty good experience. I think with the right atmosphere, a Pazuzu show can be
pretty effective. I will definitely do something soon, perhaps in the States,
just a few shows in small venues, that would be great.
Tell us about your involvement with Avantgarde Music, what sort of
contract did they offer you and do you know how many copies of your albums the
label has sold?
I signed both Raventhrone and Pazuzu to their label, I think for a total of 2
records each. I think they are the perfect label for me, they do their job really
well and their sales have been very satisfying.
I'm curious about the cover artwork, is this a photograph of an existing
scene or something created from scratch? (The cover depicts various medieval
style figures, as a statue, giving the thumbs down to an unknown entity). It
seems rather symbolic to me, as I remember the king would point down towards the
ground during a tournament to signal taking the life of the defeated, does this
in any way relate to the album's title?
Roberto came up with that image and I agreed. It seems like those statues are
hailing something coming at them, like the masses gathering to hail the next
millenium. I think the picture is very fitting, but I have no idea where he got
How do you see the internet as a tool to spread the word of bands who
are obviously in the underground? Have you utilized any computer equipment or
synthesizers to create the type of music you do? I am curious about how you go
about getting the sounds and vocal patterns for your albums, especially on "And
All Was Silent" with the female vocals; also it has been noted that you can speak
several different languages.
I use computers and synths all the time during productions. My studio is based
around an Apple G3 hard disc recording setup. I think the internet is the best
way to spread information globally within seconds, it's absolutely essential
nowadays! Anyone can set up a web page. Check out www.raventhrone.com and
www.pazuzu.tsx.org. I grew up speaking several different languages and I just use
that in my music.
If anyone requires more information on Pazuzu or any of Ray's other side projects,
feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
WITCHERY. Interview with Jensen.
Witchery should more than likely need no introduction to many metal fans, in
fact it is THE band that has brought Necropolis Records, a rather small label
dealing in brutal death and black metal acts, quite a lot of notoriety and tons
of press coverage. With their first release "Restless And Dead," and their recent
"Witchburner" EP, the hype and features in nearly every music magazine the world
over are not just that, for the former members of Satanic Slaughter know how to
write some heavy and catchy material. Their "Witchburner" EP does feature some
startling cover songs, and it is soon proven that Jensen and I have at least one
thing in common, our great love for the WASP song 'I Wanna Be Somebody,' which
Jensen further elaborates on: "As a band, we all sat down and discussed what sort
of covers we should do that had influenced us when we first got into metal.
The first song we all agreed upon was Accept's 'Fast As A Shark,' which blew my
mind when I heard it for the first time. It had a lot of double bass drumming,
which is probably where all the metal double bass drumming came from. The WASP
song was actually Toxine's suggestion, nowadays 'I Wanna Be Somebody' is more
like a metal anthem and it still holds up today. Judas Priest, Black Sabbath,
they're both great bands as well, I'm a HUGE Judas Priest fan. I am probably an
even bigger AC/DC fan but no one else in the band would let me do one of their
songs! We Chose 'Riding On The Wind' because the vocals are good for Toxine, he
can perform those well, and it's a rather uptempo song. Black Sabbath are the
godfathers of metal and we just had to do one of their songs, we chose 'Neon
Knights.'" A great precursor to a great tribute album. Jensen and I also
proclaimed our great love for the band Piledriver, and Jensen, if you are reading
this, I will try and get you Gord's email address.
Witchery played over here in the States a while ago, and I wanted to get Jensen's
thoughts on the American metal scene as he saw it compared to the rest of Europe's
obvious fanaticism over metal's finest acts. Once again the topic of conversation
led us to Greece, which you will find the main topic of our Iced Earth interview
which we also ran this issue. Check out the amazing details of that Greek show:
"Right now I'm pretty biased towards the European scene as a few hours ago (as
of the time the interview was conducted) I just got back from a tour in Greece,
and you know Iced Earth recorded a live album over there. The audience was
amazing, I've never experienced anything like it. Not many bands play over there
obviously. I was down there with my other band The Haunted and they asked us if we
could bring Witchery down because they want bands, most good bands won't come,and I
was like ''Hell yeah, we'll come!'' We did have a really good time on the U.S. tour
though, and I think we gave Emperor a run for their money every night." This is a
statement I wholeheartedly agree with, the vibe and energy and aggression was so
tight! Anyway, Jensen further elaborates on the tour situation: "A month after
the Emperor tour, I did a tour with The Haunted in the U.S. going out with
Testament in the midwest, but there were a lot more people showing up for the
Emperor tour unfortunately. We are rather busy right now, I have to do another
album with The Haunted, and then we are planning on recording two new studio
albums with Witchery at the same time. Sharlee is always out doing something, and
I might be out doing a tour or something, so if we have two or three months spare
time, we try to get as much stuff done as possible because we never know when we
will be able to get everyone together again." TWO ALBUMS!?? I was seriously
wondering if doing so many recordings at once might hurt the quality of material
coming out, and most people would probably share my concern. Jensen as well thinks
this is a valid point, as he mentions: "It could happen to us too, but I don't
think that's the case with us; as you can hear on our recordings we have a lot of
fun, I think we're all pretty enthustastic, and we have a very good atmosphere
within the band. As soon as we can get everyone together, the ideas just start
flowing. We are not a rehearsing band, and we know that when we get together we
have to have a major outlet of ideas. We've been in the metal scene for so long,
I've started my first band in 1987, Toxine and Mike started Satanic Slaughter in
1985. I was in Satanic Slaughter too, but only for the first album they recorded,
which I wrote 95 percent of." I know we're jumping topics quite a bit, but everytime
Jensen mentions something, I feel things must be elaborated on. This mentioning
of Satanic Slaughter leaves me with a question, and that is the mention on the
biography of Witchery's first release that due to conflicts within Satanic Slaughter,
Jensen grabbed the remaining members of S.S. to form Witchery. With so much turmoil
being mentioned, why would Jensen want almost every member from S.S. for his band?
"The conflict was," Jensen relates "in the history of Satanic Slaughter there has
been about 21 different members. The only conflict was with Steffan, who was the
only person who had stuck with the band since the beginning. He didn't like the
new kind of music we were putting out. I came down to the studio one day with a
new song I had written called 'Witchburner.' He didn't like it at all, and he
didn't fire us but he left the band and took the band name with him, leaving
four guys who were stuck without a band. I don't think anything is going to happen
with the band, that's kind of the story of Steffan's life, nothing has been
happening for like 10 years. After he left we needed a bass player and Sharlee
D'Angelo joined us. Sharlee didn't tour with us because he was with Mercyful
Fate touring with Metallica in Europe, so Magnus from The Crown filled in for
the Emperor tour."
One thing that Witchery has, besides a great stage presence and a great fun
filled atmosphere, are songs that are extremely catchy and full of memorable chorus
lines. "Even though we have a lot of riffs in our songs," Jensen agrees, "we're
trying to make these tune very memorable. We're not doing this so people can use
and misuse the term ''selling out'' with us. It's just that anybody can stack 110
riffs in a song, but it's not a song, just a collection of riffs. It's a lot
harder to write a song that will stick with you for the whole day, like if you
heard it on the radio or something. For example, the song 'Awaiting The Exorcist,'
towards the end of the tour with Emperor EVERYONE from Peccatum to the members of
Emperor were all going ''Do, dew-do-do-do-do-dew.'' It's just a funny thing!
I really love that song and that particular riff too. This is one of the guidelines
we have: You remember listening to all those old metal albums, and you have them
on cassette? And you fast forward it and you stop it and listen, within three or
four seconds you can determine what song it is and where you need to go. With our
newer albums, if you put one of those in, you'd have to listen for half a song
before you can recognize certain key elements. We wanted things to be more varied
so that you'd have to pay more attention to details." Since I have yet to hear
the new album, how does "Dead, Hot And Ready" compare to "Restless And Dead?"
"It's more heavy metal based," Jensen explains. "We write the albums in a very short
period of time, we take two, maybe three weeks to write a full length album.
It depends on what kind of mood the band is in at the moment. The first album we
were more thrash/black metal oriented. But we still have those kind of songs, some
tunes on ''Dead, Hot And Ready'' are faster than any other songs we have ever
done, but they are still catchy as hell. We're really looking forward to playing
those songs live. The next album that we have 9 songs already written for, those
are more geared towards the black metal side of things. The fun thing about
Witchery is that we don't have to follow any kind of guidelines, we can make our
songs sound any way we want to, in fact tracks from our first album, some of them
have styles of their own. Like 'The Reaper' is a real thrash song, then the song
'Witchery' is almost like a Motorhead/Kiss song, a real mosh piece. If it's a
good riff, then we will use it."
Necropolis Records has done phenomenal press for this band, it's no wonder that
Witchery has been featured in nearly every metal magazine worldwide. "I have nothing
but good to say about Necropolis," Jensen states. "They back us up 110 percent.
We have to thank them a lot, we're so happy with them. I get deal offers every
week from bigger labels, but Necropolis has been so good to us that we don't
want to leave them." To wrap this up, I wanted to take the opportunity to ask
Jensen his thoughts on a few other Necropolis bands, like Usurper and Dawn:
"I really like Usurper's first album more than the newest one. I guess by the
first album I mean the EP ''Threshold Of The Usurper.'' Friends of ours back
home, the band Dawn, I have known for ages. They were so overlooked, Cradle Of
Filth wanted them to open up for them on their European tour. They have the best
black metal vocals and riffs, if you're into that, it's what I would call
Well, another year comes to a close. Hope everyone likes the logos which we
incorporated with the interviews. We are sorry about not getting the Angel Dust
interview and review this issue, but we are going to have them next issue. This
issue was once again delayed, I have been having some troules internally and there
was a time when I thought the magazine would no longer be an interest in my life
anymore. It only took a few weeks to decide otherwise!
Not really much to say this time around. We'll try and be back in three months,
so stay with us! We decided to forego the letters page this time around, just
to keep up with everything going on. Thanks to everyone who supported us, the
labels that took a chance on us, and hopefully we'll be able to bring you more
cool releases next issue, some from genres and styles you may have never heard
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