Sorry about the radio show first of all. We had problems with and we felt it was more important to get the classic albums section back up and running again. We may resume the radio show at a later date, but right now there's other things we have to consider. We have added quite a few new labels to the mass of CD material we get already, some of our most noted are Avantgarde, Black Widow Records out of Italy, and we are trying to incorporate more and more demo and unsigned bands, which you will see this issue with The Satellite Circle, Abdullah, and the like. Send yer stuff to:

Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA

Web site is:

We're also going to start adding contact web sites and addresses so you all will know how to contact these labels/bands to purchase their "warez" or to sign them... :> A few notes before we get started: First off, from now on Split CD's, which we may start doing more of, you will find in the sound files section under Various Artists compilations. Basically, any CD that features songs from more than one band is now listed under the various artists section. That includes two way splits, three way splits and up... :> Also, I've tried to tighten up the ratings a bit, some were changed at the last minute, but ultimately, I try to keep things as close as I possibly can. The scoring system one more time:

100 - A true masterpiece! This will stand the test of time...
75 - A good record, one that you'll spin for more than a few songs. (This is the lowest score of CD's that I would personally put into my collection to spin quite regularly.)
50 - A bit average, nothing great but nothing terribly awful either (my new ratings system would seem to suggest that this contains maybe three, four or five good songs, depending on length of album, but nothing else noteworthy. While I might spin these songs myself, a paying customer might not think he or she got his/her money's worth).
25 - Damn! Quite poor, there's maybe one or two good songs here but that's probably about it (This is pretty self explanatory a rating and doesn't change much over time, believe me!)
0 - Not even as a coaster would this CD have any value whatsoever!

This is being reprinted from issue #18 and it has seemed to change a little since it's inception. We do the best we can...
Of course, the biggest change this issue is we now feature FOUR songs digitized in RealAudio from every CD rather than three. This was possible since we moved most of the classic albums off the spree server onto the spaceports.

ABDULLAH "Snake Lore" (Abdullah) SCORE: 86/100

Proof positive that not ALL the best bands are signed to record labels, comes this group WAY out of left field with some of the most innovative stoner rock, doom metal, raw 70's based rock and roll, and a surprising black metal twist on a few vocal lines in the song 'Distant Lights,' surprising lyrical insights and this wierd obsession with serpents. Extra points MUST go out for the very unusual packaging, the printing of the lyric booklet makes it look like it was printed in the early 1900's or so, and the trippy rainbow coloring on the CD front sleeve show an extra do it yourself creativity that even major labels couldn't spend the time to come up with. At times the vocalist reminds you of Ozzy in spots, at other times just a hard rocker. 'The Black Ones' was a little off the beaten path and not their greatest song, and on a 6 song album that's gonna take off some points. 'Firmament' could have used some improving, but for the weak spots there's so many more good points. 'The Sickness Unto Death' has the most sorrowful and beautiful lyrical/instrumentation interaction I have ever heard, and it will definitely move the soul, but the damn thing is 14 minutes long! Not good if your drive to work is only a matter of a few miles, but for those who want their mood prolonged you can't do any worse, plus they do throw in some nice acoustical breaks and leads to keep this from being overrepetitive. The other songs are very catchy, and I've been humming lines from 'In The Belly Of The Beast' at work quite a bit. "We're all prisoners trapped under the sky" is a sample of the lyrical interpretations by one Jeff Shirilla, and if it's a trap we're in you can do no worse than cranking these tunes up!
Contact: Abdullah, 1569 Hibbard Dr., Stow, OH 44224 USA

ABIGOR "Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan" (Napalm Records) SCORE: 24/100

The only thing Abigor may be channeling in the near future is a swift kick to the ass! Man was I ever disappointed by this record. First off, as everyone knows, I am not a huge fan of music that just flys by at 100 miles an hour. And damn near every track here does this. They start out a lot of tracks with some strong and eerie synths, even going so far as to break up songs by throwing in some synthesized passages every few minutes. A rather dull album, not even salvageable by the screaming of one Thurisaz. Some tracks do manage to slow things down some, like 'Utopia Consumed' and 'Towards Beyond,' but on other songs, even the first track 'Dawn Of Human Dust' the guitars sounded really BAD. Not much could I enjoy here, it was painful trying to listen to the whole album more than twice. By the second listen I already knew that the mighty Abigor had disappointed me terribly.
Contact: Napalm Records, P.O. Box 382, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA

AETERNUS "Shadows Of Old" (Hammerheart Records) SCORE: 89/100

Said to contain a former member of Immortal, some have made comparisons to this group stating that their compositions are Immortal influenced. If you can see that, so be it, but frankly this pretty amazing band sounds more death metal oriented, especially where the vocals are concerned. They really know how to bring out the blazing speed, in fact tunes like 'Resurrection,' 'Cuchulain' and even the opener 'Under The Eternal Blackened Sky' start out with blinding speed and extremely tight control! His black metal screeches, which are kinda few and far between, are very long winded, something I really dig for some reason. Where this band really shines is in their ability to not only write crushing material, but also be able to interlace it with acoustic melodic passages, and keep the song structure varied throughout. Even longer songs are broken up a bit midway, so you're not listening to the same stuff all the way through. This is also a small drawback, especially on a song like 'Death's Golden Truth Revealed,' when you'll find passages in a song that you don't really enjoy, but they seldom last long. 'The Sunset's Glory' is an instrumental featuring bagpipes, something that REALLY struck me as odd, but quite refreshing, and I'm wondering why they didn't use that throughout the disc. I can only halfway understand the review of this CD in Metal Maniacs, it is difficult at times to grab the entire disc simply because there's so much going on in every song, but I take the opposite opinion by actually enjoying the simplistic riffery in many songs, even though there's a lot of innovation and tightness in their music. Heck, they are even able to stop the song during a particularly speedy passage in 'The Summoning Of Shadows,' only to blast right back into it again. I actually thought I heard flutes on this one! Great stuff, is it death or black metal? Sounds more death metal oriented than black, but who cares? Get this now!
Contact: Hammerheart Records, P.O. Box 277 6300 AG Valkenberg, The Netherlands

AND OCEANS "The Symmetry Of I, The Circle Of O" (Season Of Mist)
SCORE: 91/100

This is said to be one of And Oceans' most bizarre and diverse as any they have ever released! And with song titles like 'Mechanic Hippie,' 'I Wish I Was Pregnant,' and 'Baby Blue Doll - Merry Go Mind,' they aren't kidding! Musically everything is done really well, there's much brutality in the vocal department and the instrumentation is very melodic and heavy at the same time. They do use keyboards, but they are not always the dominant instrument, they sometimes alternate between dominant guitar riffs and atmospheric keyboard passages, and the music NEVER gets stale. The one major problem with this disc is the whiny higher pitched vocals, they almost ruined 'Baby Blue Doll,' but to make up for this they had this awesome psychedelic/space rock keyboard passage straight out of a Darxtar or Hawkwind album! The faster piano style notations on 'I Wish I Was Pregnant' worked very well with the higher end thrashy guitar work. The instrumental was okay, though I felt they could have left that off. Sometimes the faster parts tended to leave me hanging, but overall this is a very dynamic and diverse piece of work, and what few parts you may not like aren't hanging around long enough for you to despise the whole album. This is what I like in Black Metal, especially if you guys are going to drag songs past the 8 minute mark! (See examples from Night Conquers Day, Vesperian Sorrow, and the like to see more what I'm talking about)
Contact: Season Of Mist Records, 24 rue Brandis, 13005 Marseille France

ANGEL DUST "Bleed" (Century Media Records) SCORE: 92/100

This is one of those records that I enjoy but can't see fully giving it the high marks one usually sees from projects that I really, REALLY enjoy. I'll even go so far as to say that their brand of metal deserves them getting top marks in the running of album of the year, but there are some songs I just can't get into. But before I comment on that, let me say that tracks like 'Black Rain,' 'Bleed,' and even some of the more mellow numbers like 'Temple Of The King,' 'Nightmare,' and 'Follow Me' (parts one and two) show that they definitely have the ability to write some innovative and groudbreaking music! I mean, come on, when was the last time you heard all out headbanging thrash set to piano riffs and keyboards? 'Addicted To Serenity' didn't grab me that much for some reason, even though I thought it was good, and 'Memories' sounded WAY too mainstream sounding, more along the lines of a Journey or Europe, totally NOT in line with the rest of what they were doing. I guess that was their radio song? I like a lot of tracks on here, but sometimes I think being picky as I am I may not be giving this group their full score. Can't take away from their abilities, though, especially considering the fact that they released two dark thrash records back in the early 80's.
Contact: Century Media Records, 1453-A 14th St. #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404

BABYLON WHORES "King Fear" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 81/100

This is a rather unusual signing for Necropolis, especially with word that another Misanthropy Records band Solstice got picked up by Necropolis as well. (For details, see last issue's Solstice interview and the editorial notations section). At first I was quite enthralled by the overall "gothic" feel of the band while digging on sone really dirty ass guitar sounds, a mean rock and roll slash metal crossover. It's quite interesting and original, despite the fact that only four or five songs really bring out the heaviness and raw crunchy attitude of a pissed off rock band. The bio on the back of the CD fails to mention the gothic overtones which are extremely evident on slower and more mellow numbers like 'Fey,' 'Exit Eden' and 'Sol Niger.' The interesting thing about a track like 'Sol Niger' is the way he mixes pretty gothic style singing that's more on the lower end with some aggressive vocals that are kick ass but not shouted or screamed like a Pantera or Roachpowder (sorry for the ultra obvious but I can't think of any better comparisons right now). There is a surprising guest musician on 'To Behold,' and 'King Fear: Song For The Damned,' and it's none other than Nik Turner himself of Hawkwind fame! And he plays the most beautiful flutes a man could ever stand to hear, and they REALLY enhance the sound of these tunes! 'Skeleton Farm' is probably my most favorite track here, it's thrashy guitars and tough as hell, it's quite nice. I loved the opener 'Errata Stigmata' too, it's got a 'Say you love Satan' thing thrown in there for sarcasm. The more mellow tracks can tend to drag on a bit at times, there are some rough edges that could be polished up, but you can't go wrong with this and it's a nice refreshing change of pace from Necropolis' usual roster of ultra black and brutal death and black metal bands. Though they shouldn't be so quick to hide the obvious goth influences, in fact, I don't see why 'Veritas' couldn't be played in some clubs catering to that style.
Contact: Necropolis Records, Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815 USA

DEFENDER "They Came Over The High Pass" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 52/100

Philip Von Segebaden, long noted for outstanding work with Afflicted and Cranium, has forged ahead with his ode to true heavy metal, citing his obvious disdain for Hammerfall type metal. The problem with this CD is that, while the instrumentation is very good in many places, the vocals are NOT. It's kinda hard to get into this when the best songs on the CD are the instrumentals. And on tracks like 'The Siege Of Armengar' and 'Dragon' (the lyrics on the latter are a bit silly sounding) I might have enjoyed the instrumentation more if the singer hadn't distracted me time and again. I don't know if a different singing style or even a different singer would have made much of a difference here, though points have to be given for the execution. If this were an all instrumental album I could have given it higher points, as it is the vocals are just too gruff sounding to enjoy. Sorry.
Contact: Necropolis Records.

DOMINANCE "Anthems Of Ancient Splendour" (Scarlet) SCORE: 93/100

This is pretty vicious! Doing the death and black metal style vocals, and actually more death metal sounding than Aeturnus, yet having more of a dominant black metal presence, this thing is very interesting. Like Aeturnus (I have NO idea why I'm comparing the two, except for the fact that they are kinda similar in ways :> ) they do have blasting speed passages but they do utilize more thrashy guitar parts. They do also have an intro and an outro, showcasing some very nice piano notations, though the intro does take awhile to really kick in with some better instrumentation, and also only having 8 songs on the CD led me to ask just WHY they had to do two instrumentals? Regardless, this is very solid and kick ass material, one I enjoy immensely. And yes, like Aeturnus, they do the acoustical thing to start off the tracks 'Immemorial Iced Lake' and the title track, though I must admit the title track's acoustic guitar passages caught me completely off guard as they were very well composed, and very moving as well! Like Aeturnus, they do not sacrifice heaviness for melody, and it seems that Dominance tries to keep more with the slower passages adding that much more power to their passages. Where Aeturnus seems a bit more tightly controlled, Dominance seems to want to unleash their power at just the right time, sometimes making this sound heavier than it's intent. (Especially on the title track). The instrumentation was a tad weak on 'Celestial Tormentors,' though. Not a hell of a lot to complain about, and though I purposefully DO NOT use the scores on individual albums as a comparison base between one album and the next, the scores do seem to favor Dominance a bit more, which is okay for me, since I do tend to favor this one just a slight bit more. However, that doesn't change the fact that I've been "blessed?" with two good genre busting albums. Check out those KILLER slow thrashy riffs just about everywhere!
Contact: Scarlet, Via Mattei 48, 20097 S.Donato (MI) Italy

EERIE VON "The Blood And The Body" (Cleopatra Records) SCORE: 61/100

I didn't know this guy was recording an album. For those not in the know (shame on you!) Eerie Von was a part of the Samhain legacy that Glenn Danzig put together. And it's obvious that Eerie is trying to fill Glenn's shoes, but his style of music is altogether something very interesting! First thing that comes to mind is a rather spooky, and evil type of blues. Even the reference to selling his soul for rock and roll (as evidenced in the song 'Sell My Soul') seems to give nods to Robert Johnson's legacy from the early 1900's, as he was reported to have received his guitar playing abilities from dwelling in cemetaries and selling his soul to the devil for his gift. This musical project is interesting at first but sadly his songs don't have much to hold them together for repeated listens. His drum and percussion sounds are the most unusual I've ever heard in music, and his vocals are a bit unique though they come off more like Glenn. Mostly slow tunes, even a track like 'Good' which has some slide guitar in it doesn't try to hide his obvious blues influence. 'The Sum Of Love' was probably the most interesting, with the rather spooky jewelry box notes along with some slow and haunting synths. 'The Wheel' was probably one of his best, but the rest just don't seem to have much instrumentation and always seem to be lacking something.
Contact: Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave. Suite 251, Marina Del Ray, CA 90292 USA

EMERALD "Rebels Of Our Time" (Emerald) SCORE: 36/100

Coming to us all the way from Switzerland, this sounds a LOT like something that Mausoleum Records would have put out. My first complaint is with the vocalist first of all, and I know that's usually the first thing I look at in a band, but sorry, it's usually the first thing you notice. Some of the leads in this thing were pretty high end and some were well put together, but it all sounds too "fluffy," I guess, for lack of a better word. Like 'Never Fall In Love?' Just the song title right there ought to tell you all you need to know. Even 'You And I,' with it's acoustic and keyboard intro, makes me wonder if this is really metal or something for a late night "pillow talk" type of radio show. Their only saving grace was the track 'Independence,' which sounded rather epic and actually had lyrics and style more in line with real metal rather than fluff. The vocals weren't terrible all throughout, but mixed with the tone of the guitars and overall song feel, didn't help much. 'I Will Remember' got a little heavier but the lyrics weren't that great and the vocals dragged this way down. I really wanted to like this, the cover artwork was really cool, but I just couldn't get into it. VERY 80's sounding, I think this is more reminiscent of a time when underground metal bands starting out early couldn't decide just how "heavy" heavy metal was supposed to be. Listen to the sound files and maybe you'll come to the same conclusion.
Contact: Michael Vaucher, Rutschelengasse 27, CH-3400 Burgdorf, Switzerland.

ENOCHIAN CRESCENT "Omega Telocvovim" (Avantgarde Music) SCORE: 54/100

A somewhat weak attempt at black metal, they try to utilize some clean sung vocals in intervals that failed miserably, thereby ruining most of the better moods these songs tried to convey. After a pretty damn good song with 'Oceanus On Dry Land,' they totally ruined it with horrible guitar riffs on 'Abaiuonin.' 'Tis The Sound Of The Tempest That Drowns Us Out' started to pick things up, and the black metal vocal style here isn't bad, though it grates horribly when they switch to a slower playing style on 'Vakisinkastettu.' There were only a couple of tracks that I could get into, and even on some of the instrumentation it wasn't much to write home about. Members of this band and And Oceans are getting ready to do a side project for Necropolis Records, and I hope the record will feature more of And Ocean's contributions than this group.
Contact: Avantgarde Music

ENTOMBED "Black Juju" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 71/100

I must say I was intrigued when I heard that Entombed did some punk stuff for a 10 inch series for Man's Ruin. This stuff is much better than the "Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth" album, and many have said it's even better than their last full length that Roadrunner put out, though I didn't get that so I don't know. Entombed seem to be stuck in a wierd place, they are trying to "progress" it seems but don't really know what sort of music they should play. This is evident by the 4 covers they do along with 4 original tunes. Track one starts things off okay, but the chorus lines are simply horrible! 'Vices By Proxy' is a pretty good tune, and on a few tracks like this the guitar riffs are well written. The title track is heavy and somewhat doomy but for some reason this track doesn't seem to click with me. 'Sentimental Funeral' had nice alterations between slow and faster parts, the guitar work is some of the best I've heard on this release. The best cover here is 'Ballad Of Hollis Brown,' and I suppose I'm partial to it because I've always been a HUGE Bob Dylan fan, though where he plays it slow, Entombed crank it up and play it faster. 'Satan' was an interesting cover, as was the Twisted Sister song 'Tear It Loose.' It sounds more punk laced than anything else here and this isn't the greatest collection of Entombed songs, in fact if you own the import version of "Ride, Shoot Straight..." then you already have 4 of these songs. For Entombed collectors this may be worth having but I didn't really see where I'd be spinning this very often.
Contact: Man's Ruin Records, 610 22nd Street #302, San Fransisco, CA 94107

EVILS TOY "Angels Only!" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 97/100

Despite Metropolis Records dropping us from their distribution lists (which basically means we no longer go out of our way to work with ANY of their bands) there are still a few bands that I will always want to check up on. After Snog's lousy crap album "Third Mall From The Sun" (see the review somewhere around here) Evils Toy was my last saving grace for Metropolis. Thankfully these German industrial sensations have not failed to delight me at all! They show a great deal of professionalism and a fantastic mix of the harsher vocals with some dark and light industrial instrumentation, in fact, this CD is a worthy follow up to the last CD from them we reviewed and fell head over heels for in "Illusion." The angels only theme runs rampant throughout the work of art, dealing with the eerieness and mystique of the angelic realm. Beautiful cover art, cool lyrics, and really only a few complaints. 'Forever,' the mellow tune on here, had a rather hip hop style spoken sample thrown throughout the disc and got rather annoying, but their soothing and dark style soon won me over. The one instrumnetal 'Contact' wasn't too bad but I felt better use could have been made of a vocal track. However, the title track, 'Transparent Frequencies,' 'Concrete Garden' (okay, what's with all these gardens? It was 'Lucifer's Garden' on Illusion, and now that I think about it wasn't the word Frequencies on a song from the previous album?) are all great club hits, and rather energetic industrial pieces that project the moods of their songs quite well. This works on so many levels from the dance floor to those into a bit darker industrial. I will ALWAYS check out what Evils Toy are up to, can't say the same about everything else on Metropolis' roster.
Contact: Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105 USA

HANGNAIL "Ten Days Before Summer" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 58/100

Man oh man was I disappointed in this. The Music Cartel has put out such good innovative stoner rock/doom metal bands that this really was a let down. BUT, it's not the worst release in the world, just mainly in the vocal delivery. Some may think I'm nitpicking about one Harry Armstrong, especially since he bears an uncanny resemblance to Soundgarden's Cornell in the vocal delivery, but it just doesn't match up well for this style of music. Like the opener 'Overhang,' which shows that the guitarists can really rip out some heavy riffs and make good instrumentation. The female chanting Indian style vocals really ruined 'Side/Slide,' too, though her vocal delivery is stunning on the track '428.' The Indian theme was an original idea, with the tribal drums and acoustic pieces, but they didn't create a good mix. The vocal delivery just didn't blend with the guitar work well, and even the guitarist seems like he's held back by the group's overall structure, especially on the song 'Summer Rain' where he blows you away with this Pink Floyd'ian yet very solo/lead riff oriented material. Two and a half songs do not a good album make, however, even if the guitar work is above average for this style of writing. Fine tune the weak spots and concentrate on a more solid vocal delivery (Harry's lower range on the track 'Visit My World' is the right mix for this work), leave out the wailing non-lyrical female interaction, and just concentrate on rocking, and this four piece can work it's way into my CD collection permanently.
Contact: The Music Cartel, 106 W. 32nd St. 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001 USA

HECATE ENTHRONED 'Kings Of Chaos' (Blackened) SCORE: 91/100

I must say this is the first Hecate Enthroned record I really enjoyed. And it might have something to do with their newest two members, namely the bass and vocal replacements. Trying to get away from the neverending Cradle of Filth comparisons, this monstrous epic utilizes both death AND black metal vocals, sometimes employing both in the chorus sections like on 'Repent' and 'Blessing In Disguise.' Keyboard melodies are here too, though they are not as dominant on some other black metal albums, in fact you will more often hear a few minutes of sheer guitar aggression before a few notes from the 'board will drift in and add some atmosphere. Some may question the four tracks that are strictly instrumental only, a few of them sound more in line with an industrial or ambient album, though 'Witch Queen Ascending' was very cool and horror/ sci-fi type that would have been very welcome on a C17H19NO3 album (John Bergin from Trust Obey's side project). 'Deceiving The Deceiver' started out pretty weak but picked up speed soon enough. The track 'Perjurer' is easily my favorite, and I must say amongst the rest of the vocal tracks there isn't a whole hell of a lot to be disappointed in. Quite a solid and surprising effort from a band trying to reinvent itself and avoid the CoF clones tag.
Contact: Blackened, Unit 15, Bushell Business Estate, Hithercroft, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 9DD England.

INDECISION "Release The Cure" (MIA Records) SCORE: 98/100

Oh, god is this a bazooka shell in the face of hardcore! This has to be one of the most brutal hardcore albums I've ever heard, and with a message too! You see, the theme behind the title is the fact that AIDS has been unleashed on a population by the government who actually has the cure but won't release it because of course of the almighty dollar. But enough about that, even though it makes perfect sense, especially when I just finished reading The Second Angel by Phillip Kerr. From the opener 'Higher Side Of Low' this thing slams right in your face and never stops. 'At The Wake' was a little weak but I had a tough judgement call to make in dropping some points. Though slower in nature, it still retains the attitude and power that they keep throughout the disc, something that is hard to find in many bands these days. Some people may mistake consistency for a lack of innovation and variation in a CD, but when the tried and true formula works and works well (you'll see later on a few other CD's where consistency isn't always a good thing) it's an instant classic. Unbeknownst to me this little unit has put out a LOT of material prior to this one, so it's obviously some of the band's best work making it to CD. Check out those crunchy, meaty and brutal metal riffs found just about everywhere, but mainly on 'Through The Wasteland Go Searching We,' the title track, and by the way did I mention one of the guitarists is female??!? In hardcore? Unheard of! What would be a shame is if this band gets unheard of by the hardcore community at large.
Contact: MIA Records, 315 Church St. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013

IRON MONKEY/CHURCH OF MISERY "Split CD" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 90/100

I first reported on Iron Monkey last issue, and this split CD off of Man's Ruin comes right on the heels of the unfortunate demise of the Iron Ones. Yes, Iron Monkey have broken up, though they left us this little gem of a split CD with amazing doom metal godz from Japan in Church Of Misery. The first Iron Monkey track (there's 3 songs by each band) takes a few minutes to get going, but I can say that the following two tracks 'Kiss Of Death' and 'Sleep To Win' are two of Iron Monkey's shortest songs EVER, and the 'Sleep To Win' is a kick ass old school Corrosion Of Conformity cover. But on to the band that stole the show, the unknown (to me) Church Of Misery, who dutifully worship at the altar of all that is Black Sabbath. Very good lead solos, and each song lovingly written about a different serial killer, Church Of Misery is the Macabre of doom metal. Though their riffs are dark and powerfully brooding, their vocalist sounds a bit more uplifting than you would think for tunes of this caliber. Quite a shock, coming all the way from Japan, and definitely an unexpected surprise from the label that has seemingly endless amounts of cool releases by the world's coolest bands! (Note: we recently received ANOTHER split CD that features Church Of Misery, we will review THAT next issue, but for now I'll just say that the tunes on the Game Two split are MUCH heavier than the C.O.M. songs here!)
Contact: Man's Ruin Records

MISFITS "Famous Monsters" (Roadrunner Records) SCORE: 86/100

It's been 2 years since "American Psycho" has been unleashed upon the world, and the Misfits are back once again with another great album. Though the score IS lower than the last release, one will notice that this album is not as heavy overall as "American Psycho" was, however, the group as a whole has crafted their melodies and made them a LOT stronger, enabling them to pull off things that would have sounded out of place on the last album. For starters, the unbelievably shocking 'Saturday Night,' which sounds like a damn 50's slow tune! The lyrics are cool on this one, but this sounds like something that could have been sung in the 50's, and it proves that punk can still be shocking while retaining it's coolness. No doubt many longtime punk and Misfits fans will be shocked beyong belief at this. Then there's 'Helena,' which is almost bluesy but even has some faster paced parts in it. There are some duds here, though. 'Scarecrow Man,' while having some very eerie guitar riffs, kinda dies on the chorus lines & faster parts, and 'Witch Hunt' lacked quite a bit in the chorus area, something that has become an even stronger force than ever before with The Misfits. Michael's vocals are in top form and there are NO problems with ANY of his vocal deliveries, no my friend the few problems that crop up are in the song structures. And it's tracks like 'Dust To Dust,' 'Living Hell,' 'Descending Angel,' and 'The Forbidden Zone' that showcase a strong songwriting ability and a definite cohesion between all members present. You'll be singing along the awesome chorus lines to many tracks for days. Another great album, sounding almost entirely different from "American Psycho" but proving that they still are a force to be reckoned with in the 90's, without Glenn.
Contact: Roadrunner Records, 536 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 USA

NATAS "Ciudad De Brahman" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 95/100

From the faraway depths of Argentina down in South America comes this great stoner rock with slight doom metal touches and lyrics in Spanish to boot! Man's Ruin has quickly become one of my favorite labels as of late, putting out such great bands like Sons Of Otis, the Iron Monkey/Church Of Misery split, Acid King, and others. This is mostly guitar instrumental type material, but it does have a few songs with vocals. It's a very interesting mix and seldom do you find instrumental albums that have this much diversity, these guys have no problems with utilizing acoustic passages as well as the crunchier, faster paced ones. They will do a nice mellow paced set of acoustics, and then break into some heavy fuzzed riffs, some that border on doom metal even! Highlights, man I don't know where to start! Okay, check out 'Alohawaii,' where the guitarist is doing this slide guitar sounding like the kind of Hawaiian music you're probably picturing in your mind already (Aloh, ha hey?) and then imagine them cranking things up, playing faster and that slide guitar still ripping in the background! 'Polvareda' is probably their heaviest tune, still trippy, but doing a faster Kyuss style jam session. This whole CD sounds like a damn jam session, though there are a few weak spots. They try to get industrial styled on 'Siluette,' though even with the distorted vocals and heavy guitar style, it detracts from the mood of this album and didn't hold up well, but it's only a 2 minute piece. '999' got a little off key too, but the guitarist showcases some fast acoustic picking. Very little to complain about, and you can't say that all the songs are instrumental either, since I know some people don't have much use for instrumental guitar albums. However, for a mellow disc that also has the balls to jam out hard, when you've got a long drive and you've been toking up, slam this one down and watch the colors fly!
Contact: Man's Ruin Records

PENTAGRAM "Review Your Choices" (Black Widow Records) SCORE: 92/100

I was very surprised to see this come out on a small but rather interesting Italian label that is more dedicated to this style of music. At first I must admit I had a hard time getting through the first two tracks of this album in 'Burning Rays' and 'Change Of Heart' and it almost kept me from getting fully into the album. Besides one other rather bad song, though, this is a monster doom metal masterpiece! The most amazing thing about Bobby's vocals is it seems like he is able to pull off like 4 or 5 different vocal styles in one album! The track 'The Diver' shows him sounding damn close to Ozzy, and the guitar work is simply phenomenal! 'The Bees' showcases some pretty dark and unusual riffs that just overall add to the feeling of what a powerful album this is. I really enjoyed 'Gorgon's Slave' despite it's length, and the vocal style on this may take a little getting used to but it fits the epic tale VERY well. My few complaints overall do reside with two really bad tracks, especially in the vocal department and also over the delivery of a few chorus lines on 'Mow You Down,' but if you listen to this album all the way through AT LEAST two times or so, you will begin to see the intense instrumentation and vocal work come together. My praises do have to be made over 'Downhill Slope,' which is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, with a mellow singing style and almost bluesy feel which makes this a highlight, along with some speedier numbers already mentioned and the title track. Ominous, beautiful, and very well written, the advantages of this album far outweigh the disadvantages, my friend. With a long history dating back to the late 60's I don't think anyone could know doom metal better than Bobby Liebling and Joe Hasselvander, two of doom metal's truest pioneers in every sense of the word.
Contact: Black Widow Records, Via Del Campo 6R 16124 Genova, ITALY

ROYAL HUNT "Fear" (Rondel Records) SCORE: 100/100

This damn thing blew me away! Melodic power progressive metal is what we have here, with beautiful keyboard notes, awesome guitar riffs, and a singer that just blows my mind with his range and power. 'Fear' starts this thing off superbly, and though there's this spoken word type intro that goes on for about a minute, the song couldn't be better done. None of them could, actually, and I believe this should be given very high regards for 1999. 'Cold City Lights' reminds me a lot of a Queensryche 'Jet City Woman' type of song, and 'Faces Of War' really hits you hard especially in the lyrics. Melody abounds, but like on 'Faces Of War,' they know when to pull off some heavy, almost thrashy, even headbanging type of material! Nothing as diverse and musically all over the place as Angel Dust, but they do know how to write some powerful and moving songs. Even the near ballad 'Follow Me' is a much stronger type of slow song than you've probably heard in quite some time. This band has quite a following overseas, with I'm sure a great number of albums out, so do yourself a favor and check this out, the 5 songs digitized here ought to convince you enough!
Contact: Majestic Entertainment, P.O. Box 222179, Great Neck, NY 11022 USA

SIXTY WATT SHAMAN "Ultra Electric" (Game Two Records) SCORE: 59/100

I don't know what Metal Maniacs reviewers are doing when they review some of these. This is the second band I have read a good review about in M.M. and found it to be much worse than the review stated. In this case, I can somewhat see why some might be drawn to this, it's a very unusual mix of somewhat stoner type rock mixed with these damn singing type of hardcore vocals, and that's the biggest detraction in this band. I mean if he could do a more shouting or harder type of voice this might have turned out different. And on tracks too like 'Burn Baby Burn' and 'Permethrin' these sogns just don't really go anywhere! It's nice that their guitar players can really play, evident on the song 'Bemis Manifesto' and 'Cactus Mexicali' but that at times doesn't even get made great use of. WAAAYY too annoying... SO I dunno what to say, the band is evidently talented, but I can't get into this at all...
Contact: Game Two Records, 2980 Hooker St. Denver, CO 80211

SNOG "Third Mall From The Sun" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 31/100

Many of you know from previous issues that I have been a HUGE fan of Snog. David Thrussel, aside from being interviewed in these very pages, is capable of creating some of the most mind bending out of the ordinary types of industrial. This is a CD I actually had to BUY thanks to Metropolis' holier than thou staff thinking that this particular 9 years running online magazine has no voice in the world. And let me tell you, it's one of the WORST CD's Snog has ever released! You probably read my rant on Metropolis with the Evils Toy review, but suffice it to say that having the first two tracks utilize hip hop style beats did NOT make me a happy camper. Add to that the horrible vocals in 'Slide Into Extinction' and that awful "song" (I use the term VERY loosely) 'Land Of The Bland,' which has some screeching, annoying as hell instrumentation along with some guy talking through the track, and you get the idea that David wasn't concerned about catchy melodies, quality instrumentation, or anything remotely resembling his previous works. But then again, maybe that's the point, and if so then I've missed it completely, Thrussel's vision be damned. The sad thing is that his lyrics are right on target, though he strays a bit on the song 'The Last Diamond,' which incidentally features some rather lousy robotic vocal effects that sound more at home on a Dazz Band or Newcleus album from rap days LONG ago. With a 31 rating though there must be some good points? Well, the instrumental track 'Third Mall From The Sun.' Some of his other instrumentation is nice but it gets ruined with his off the wall synth arrangements. Next Snog album I probably WON'T buy and it will probably only get reviewed if someone gives it to me or the label changes their policy, neither of which I doubt so I'm off to see if I can find someone to buy this album from me. 14 bucks wasted!
Contact: Metropolis Records

SODOM "Code Red" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 79/100

It's good to see this longtime German trio (yes, they still are a three piece) back to their roots though this effort seems very polished compared to their debut "Obsessed By Cruelty" back in '86. And for the most part, Sodom's "Code Red" comes off surprisingly like Slayer's "Reign In Blood," but with a bit less variation. Pass on the intro and you get right into the title track which starts this off with a good instrumental variation of slower and faster riffs, heavy heavy thrash that actually works. It immediately goes right into the next tune 'What Hell Can Create,' a speedier number with a nice twist on the lyrics, while 'Tombstone' slows it down a notch to create one of the best tracks on the CD. With 'Spiritual Demise' Satan makes his appearance in the lyrics, and the track uses non stop fury ala, yep, you guessed it, Reign In Blood style. 'The Vice Of Killing' had something about it that bothered me, namely in the chorus and bridge patterns, and once you get about halfway through this CD, you start to realize that, solid though it may be, it all starts to have a rather simplistic style and writing structure. 'Cowardice' is another slower one, though it has some annoying guitar work and some great riffage to boot. 'Book Burning' sounds like R.I.B.'s 'Necrophobic,' though thank god they add a twist to it to make it sound original, and 'Visual Buggery' had some really bad chorus lines. All in all though, Sodom, UNLIKE German thrashers Kreator, has maintained a heaviness and consistency since day one, and for that they need to be applauded. Though this is a good disc, some may see this as a retro-rehash, but keeping in mind where they came from and how they survived over ten years of metal's decline, major points have to be given.
Contact: Pavement Music, 7400 W. Detroit St. Suite 150, Chandler, AZ 85226 USA"

SONATA ARCTICA "Ecliptica" (Spinefarm Records) SCORE: 81/100

I must admit this is a rather good power metal styled CD, at times both in the instrumentation and in the vocal delivery. Comparisons to Labyrinth are an unfortunate thing, however I must say that Sonata builds only a few songs on speedier riffs. The keyboard instrumentation is quite intense, one may find it hard to believe that a mere mortal can play that fast! 'My Land' and 'Replica' are very catchy, in fact while they are my favorite songs, the CD as a whole showcases a rather strong songwriting ability, though 'Blank File' and 'Kingdom For A Heart' were two of the weakest cuts on here. Weak though they are the musicianship is top notch, and you may either love it or hate it but 'Letter To Dana,' with it's fantastic use of flutes, is a rather interesting and moving ballad; the vocalist makes his voice sound Irish and this could very well be a traditional Irish piece converted into metal format. As I said, comparisons to Labyrinth may be a little unfortunate, but you could do no harm by grabbing this 10 song CD which crafts some catchy songs and amazing guitar and keyboard interaction.
Contact: Spinefarm Records, Box 212, 00181 Helsinki FINLAND.

SONS OF OTIS "Templeball" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 96/100

DAMN! THIS album is waaaaay heavy, man. Lemme start by saying that the equipment Sons Of Otis uses is pretty authentic and definitely from the 50's and 60's! What I previously heard a guitar do by way of the Phaseshifter from my uncle, the Orange amplification does to extremes! Where to start with this one is tough. First of all, the 10 plus minute 'Windows Jam' is worth every single second! The lead work is so amazing you would swear it's Jimi Hendrix himself playing this stuff! It's a shame the leads throughout the whole album aren't done like this, but we get to hear more mindblowing riffage everywhere else! The guitars are echoed, flanged, and phase shifted all to hell sounding like the psychedelic 60's style riffs but also sounding so bottom heavy and doomy at the same time! The vocals are more on the lower end and create this monstrous feel that would take you WAY beyond the galaxy on clouds of green smoke! My two complaints though: 'Mississippi Queen' first of all. Didn't care much for it. Didn't like the original much and the cover is good but not my favorite. The second thing is 'New Mole;' it's a bit long and doesn't have much instrumental variety, but it's still somewhat enjoyable for a few minutes. Some of these tunes are long, but like with Hacienda, I like to be able to enjoy really great music at length, and these songs are just intense. Super heavy, bottomed out and this trio from Canada have simply blown me away. My cousin thought the vocals on 'Windows Jam' said "My indo" (referring to Indonesia, a variation of Marijuanna that is said to be extremely potent) and I'm sure quite a bit of that was utilized to get this sound. Only two instrumentals here, but so damn heavy, this surprise hit from 1999 is definitely one of my favorite discs. Watch for their first album "Spacejumbofudge" to be re-released by Man's Ruin sometime in 2000, and I for one can't wait! In the meantime, check out the interview.
Contact: Man's Ruin Records

SUMMONING "Stronghold" (Napalm Records) SCORE: 92/100

I screwed up last issue. It was Summoning, not Fleurety, that was the partner of Pazuzu in the infamous Austrian Black Metal Syndicate. And after listening to this newest release, it's not hard to see why the two bands are somewhat related. Though they both share a love of melodic, powerful and emotional synth and orchestrated pieces, Summoning utilizes guitars and black metal screams, which very effectively contrast the stark beauty and power of the synthesizers. After an interesting intro, 'Long Lost To Where No Pathway Goes' is simply mind blowing, and possessing a beauty that goes hand in hand with the vicious vocals. 'Where Hope And Daylight Die' features a female vocalist who does all the vocals on this track. Most songs clock in between 5 and 8 minutes, but if you liked Agalloch, then you should find this one quite enjoyable as well, though on a few tracks the instrumentation wasn't as strong, this was most notable on 'The Shadow Lies Frozen On The Hills.' It also seemed a little too long at 7 minutes, though the militaristic beats were a nice touch. Said to base their lyrics and instrumentation on Tolkien style fantasy, it is an impressive piece of work none the less.
Contact: Napalm Records, P.O. Box 382, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA

THE SATELLITE CIRCLE "Way Beyond The Portal Of The Bone White Rubber Sun"
(The Satellite Circle) SCORE: 100/100

What is it about Sweden that manages to create the most mindblowing music of just about any genre it attempts? This is a 4 track CD that no matter how many times I play, I just cannot find a damn thing wrong with this! I've played it about 20 or 30 times now and it's just fantastic. Heavy crunching stoner rock mixed with doom touches, melodic passages to break the song down a bit before rocking out with some shouted vocals; the whole project is very classy and very well done. Headbanding all the way, it makes me wonder about the 3 songs (out of 7 that were created) that were left off the promo CD! Read the interview for more details. The lyrics are quite cool as well and there's some spacey guitar and white noise effects going on here. 'Reconcile' has some very cool chorus lines, and you'll find yourself humming these tunes for quite a long time to come, especially 'The More I Drink (The More I Make)' which is just heavy and mind blowing. Can't really say too much more about this 4 track CD which claims to draw influences from Black Sabbath (who doesn't?), Kyuss, and the ever obscure Sir Lord Baltimore, though their logo and the album name immediately betrays their obvious love for the Beatles.
Contact: Fredrik 4 Holmgren, Hyvlargrand 14c, 907 35 Umea, SWEDEN

TIAMAT "Skeleton Skeletron" (Century Media Records) SCORE: 62/100

I had a really difficult time with the grading scale on this one. You see, out of 10 songs, really only 4 are very good, one is passable, and one is an instrumental of sorts that is unusual but I can't decide on. The rest are either poor or just unmemorable. For the buying public, 4 songs do not a great album make, not if you have to shell out 13 or 14 bucks for it. For ME, however, I can easily play the 4 I like. The opener 'Church Of Tiamat' starts out with some really mellow instrumentation, and there are quite a few other songs that could have possibly fit on their previous album "Deeper Kind Of Slumber." 'Brighter Than The Sun' was more upbeat and a bit faster, though it did sound a little pop oriented with some female vocals in the chorus. This track would have no problems being on radio or played in a club. One of my favorites was 'For Her Pleasure' and this would have fit right in with the other favorite songs of mine from "Deeper Kind Of Slumber." The other songs were not terrible, but they were rather weakly composed, even if some of the instrumentation was mostly up to par. I think a lot of the monotone vocal delivery on songs like 'Dust Is Our Fare' and 'Sympathy For The Devil,' the latter of which I never cared for even the original of, brings these down quite a bit more than anything else. (It was originally performed by The Rolling Stones). The jury's still out on the tune 'Lucy,' which had some interesting heavy synthesized passages. I really did enjoy roughly half of the album, but the higher score comes from my acknowledgement of Tiamat's musical abilities. I don't think it's something many would want to pay full price for, but maybe your taste are different enough from mine that you can pick up a little on the tracks I didn't like.
Contact: Century Media Records.

WAR "We Are War" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 64/100

The Black metal project of All (from Vondur and Opthalamia), It and Blackmoon (ex-Necrophobic & Dark Funeral) decided, according to the bio, to form the ultimate "Anti-christian, anti-human statement," as they obviously felt that such a thing hadn't been created yet. So here we have 11 tracks of what is supposed to be the most brutal, apocalyptic and diabolical black metal ever. Well, Marduk they ain't, but they do have some nasty tracks. Dubbing this the "Reign In Blood" of black metal would not be inappropriate, for many songs never reach the 4 minute mark. 'War' starts things off nicely, and what is characteristic of the entire disc is their simplistic, yet basic arrangement in the riff structures and vocal delivery, especially where the choruses are concerned; a major drawback in songs like 'Kill God' and '666' where the speedier parts make the chorus lines sound too rushed and kinda silly. There is quite a bit of viciousness to the instrumentation, like on tunes 'Soldiers Of Satan' (though it ends way too suddenly at only 2:11, 'Execution,' and 'Ave Satan' with a few slower passages to change things a bit. The whole CD sounds rather repetitive after awhile tho, and some tracks like 'Kill God' and 'Hell' just don't really add anything to the overall feel of the CD, if you've heard three or four of the best tracks, you've pretty much heard everything this CD has to offer. This could have been a stronger release, especially since many of the songs just fade out in the middle of many verses, and one just cuts off completely! There is a Sodom cover for 'Bombenhagel,' a nice touch but still rather bland considering the rest of the material presented.
Contact: Necropolis Records, Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815 USA


ACID KING. Interview with Lori S. via email.

Acid King is just one of many great bands currently residing on Man's Ruin Records, a label that has very quickly become one of my favorites for doom metal and psychedelic/stoner/space rock. The thing that makes Acid King stand out amongst the rest is the fact that the vocalist and guitarist is female! I was curious if Lori felt that she was in a unique position as one of very few female members of a metal band, to which she replied: "There aren't many females into this style of music, true. I'm almost always the only female at every show we play. I guess it is a unique position to be singer, songwriter, vocalist AND guitarist for this type of music but it comes naturally to me so I don't think much about it. The only bad press I can remember regarding the gender factor is some 20 year old punk rocker in Flipside magazine that reviewed one of our records and said I sounded like Courtney Love drinking milk while jamming with the Grateful Dead! I guess the biggest bummer is when people do reviews they like to compare and since there is really nothing to compare me to I get grouped into the L7, Babes In Toyland thing which, if any of you know, is not even close. It really depends on the journalist, though lately we've gotten some really good reviews that don't even mention gender which is cool."

Acid King's newest CD release is entitled "Busse Woods," and after seeing the album title and looking at some of the songs, the first thing that hit me was that whole "Blair Witch Project," with the eerie wood setting and all. So I had to grill Lori a bit about the inspiration for the album title, and of course I wondered why she didn't call the band Acid Queen instead of Acid King. Hee hee. "Busse Woods is actually a forest preserve I used to hang out in as a teenager in the suburbs of Illinois," Lori informs me. "We would cruise around in our cars. go to Busse Woods where cars would be lined up, trunks open blasting tunes and you could buy and sell everything from purple microdot to black beauty's! We'd hang out, get stoned, play frisbee, and make money! The cover does appear to be very Blair Witch like but it really wasn't supposed to come off that way. Most of our music is based on the book ''Say You Love Satan'' and this album is an attempt to move away from our theme. I know we use a pentagram alot, there's no special meaning to it though but it is something you see carved in picnic tables all over the world! The name Acid King comes from the book I mentioned above ''Say You Love Satan,'' it's about a teenage stoner in the 80's names Ricky Kasso who was the local drug dealer, they called him the Acid King, and once I read this book I decided I was going to name my next band that." WIth the name Acid King firmly in place, the next thing on my mind was the style of releases that Acid King has decided to venture into. I have noticed recently a LOT of split CD's are being released, and this band in particular has done a lot of mini albums and a few splits. This follows on the heels of another couple of bands, namely Church Of Misery and Iron Monkey who recently did a split album together, on Man's Ruin Records incidentally. Lori tells us a bit more about their first full length release, how she feels about Man's Ruin, and moreover, what CD's that have more than one band on them helps do for the music scene: "Split CD's are good for the fans because they can get a sample of two bands for the price of one, and both bands may have a different fan base which helps both to expand their audience. Frank Kozik, owner of Man's Ruin, loves this kind of music and there weren't too many people a few years back that were really into it besides Rise Above. He sort of tapped into a type of music that no one seemed interested in releasing. I'd much rather be on a smaller label that likes my band any day and he and the Man's Ruin people, Lydia Russell and Jami Wolf are awesome so we love them! Zoroaster, our first album, is not one of my favorites, and we have definitely progressed since then and will continue to. Songwriting like anything else hopefully gets better the more experienced you get. We've got a killer band now with Joey Osbourne on drums and Guy Phinas (ex - Goatsnake, Obsessed) on bass so it can only get better. I always tell those guys all the have to do is get a new guitarist and they'll have a great band. So our future plans include us doing yet another split on Man's Ruin with Clearlight from New Orleans, which we're very excited about/ We plan on recording in April or May for this, then I'm sure a full length will follow not too far after that."

Lori is obviously a very dedicated doom metal fanatic as I am, so it was cool to talk about some of our favorite bands. I asked her about certain bands within the doom genre, and who she thought was most influential overall, mentioning bands like St. Vitus, Sleep, Candlemass, and The Obsessed. "For me," starts Lori, "I'm from Chicago so I've seen Trouble for many years, and St. Vitus for sure is great. I think St. Vitus had a bigger impace on doom metal for most people besides Sabbath. I must admit I only have heard one Candlemass record and I honestly don't remember it, sorry! Sleep's ''Holy Mountain'' is my favorite, and I do like their newest ''Jerusalem.'' We also played with Sleep here in San Fransisco on the Hawkwind/Sleep tour. Matt Pike has a killer new band called High On Fire and he's the only one I ever see. (Editor's note: the High On Fire project has been releases through Man's Ruin and will be reviewed next issue. Also, I wasn't crazy about "Jerusalem" and I was at the Hawkwind/Sleep show when it rolled through Savannah, though sadly Acid King wasn't with them). I love Electric Wizard too and we have sometimes been compared to them, which I don't mind at all. We've toured the U.S. a few years back on our own and did a small two week southwest tour last spring but no European tours. We'd fully love to go. We're not much of a touring band, we do local shows and small trips up and down the West Coast but that's about it. We are playing south by southwest this March at Emo's in Austin so come on down."

That was about all Lori had to say, so if you get a chance to check out stuff from this band, be sure and do so. And finally, Lori asks, "check out the Acid King web site and drop us a line at:

ANGEL DUST. Interview with Bernd Aufermann via phone.

Though I didn't get to hear the first two records which are said to be classic dark thrash albums, thie German unit has done an amazing job of mixing some melodic passages with some dark and heavy thrash. There actually was another album release on Century Media enttiled "Border Of Reality" back in 1998, which I didn't get to hear. Bernd tells us why and explains a bit about their newest release "Bleed:" "I just heard a few days ago that ''Border Of Reality'' wasn't released in the States, it was only available by mail order through Century Media. It's not surprising that you don't have this album. I think we focused much more with the ''Bleed'' album on things like groove, rhythm and sounds as well, ''Bleed'' has a much darker and more thought out approach to the songs and songwriting, and lyrics as well. It's kind of a progression for the band, we stuck together a little more as a unit because of the touring we had in Europe. We've also gained more experience as a result and more experience in the business end of things, and this is what our newest release reflects upon. I have been a member for three or four years now, before that they had a break for about 7 or 8 years, the original members are the bass player Frank Banx and the drummer Dirk Assmuth, they tried to find some people who fit with them musically, plus a good working relationship on tour was very important for them. It took them several years to find good members. I played in a few hard rock bands here in Germany, but they're too unknown to mention them. I worked as a studio musician here as well, doing lots of stuff for German and international artists who are probably just as well unknown to you. The situation in Germany was unusual for metal, at that time ten years or so ago, we had only a few popular metal bands in our area who were mainly responsible for every style of metal we know today, like the type of black metal approach covered by Sodom, there was the thrash metal style like Kreator or Destruction, then there was the speed metal stuff that we covered a few areas on. We play lots of stuff from the first two records live a lot, our first album was called ''Into The Dark Past'' and it features lots of speed metal guitars and dark vocals, the vocalist was also the guitarist on this record. Angel Dust was pretty popular in Germany at that time, and the Bay Area in San Fransisco as well. So we combined the style we had with some of the type of bands playing over in America like Exodus, Testament and what not. The second record, ''To Dust You Will Decay,'' featured a brand new lineup with a new singer and two guitarists, and it was much more focused on putting riffs and song structures together, they tried a more progressive way of songwriting comparable to what Metallica did with their ''Master Of Puppets'' album." I was curious as to what Bernd's favorite album from the first two releases was, and he was a bit stunned for a minute: "I have never been asked this question before! " he states. "I don't know, but what I really like is the rawness and approach of the first album. I don't like the singer of the second album much at all, he sounds a bit too trendy for that time, like Michael Kiske from Helloween."

I wanted to talk a bit about the concepts that were brought out on the new record, especially where they utilized pianos and some synths! "We tried to keep all our arrangements interesting" Bernd continues. "This is a major point for us, to keep everything interesting and the keyboards are a good instrument for making the songs sound different from what people would expect." I related that my favorite tracks were 'Black Rain,' 'Bleed' and 'Nightmare,' the latter of which I found very interesting, to which Bernd laughs: "You should hear the single version of 'Nightmare,' which was on ''Border Of Reality.'' It was a huge hit for us in Germany as they played it in clubs everywhere in Germany. On this song we cut the size down and came to the choruses a little bit earlier. Not on regular radio or techno/industrial clubs like you think of though." It was, I must admit, quite a shock to see them jump from such mellow styles like on 'Temple Of The King' and 'Liquid Angel' to such hard thrashers like 'Black Rain' and 'Addicted To Serenity.' "You must understand, though," Bernd goes on, "'Temple Of The King' was not meant to be on the ''Bleed'' album, it was meant to go on a tribute album to Dio (which has since been released by Century Media - Ed.) but Century Media thought it would be a good idea to include it on ''Bleed'' as a bonus track for U.S. fans." So now I wanna know about song ideas and lyrics, Bernd's grasp of the English language is quite good, I know a lot of German bands in the past like Running Wild, and Iron Angel had a lot of trouble converting the words over to English. The song 'Black Rain' in particular intrigued me, there seems to be a really aggressive vibe going on in this track: "The lyrics are discussed by everyone to a degree. I wrote two or three sets of lyrics for the ''Bleed'' album, I helped write 'Addicted To Serenity' and 'Follow Me' parts one and two. 'Black Rain' is influenced by the viruses that came out of Africa, and while we were touring in North Africa and doing some shows in South France, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt; very strange places to play actually, there was this discussion about this huge continent that Africa is such a big and unknown country. We don't know yet what will come out of the jungles and dark places of this mysterious continent. The ebola virus is kinda like the black death and plagues, the viruses were always there, as is portrayed in our song, as an ancient power maybe that has been unleashed. I can tell you something about most of the lyrics, as ''Bleed'' at first was to be a concept album but we decided that there would instead be a thin red line creeping through all the songs. Lots of bad things happened to us in the business as a band, and our experiences touring, so finally we felt like when we want to achieve something very difficult, all you have left is to bleed for what you want, so this is the central theme running through this. There's a song about drug addiction too, we had lots of people saying they wasted their time on drugs, and that is the song 'Addicted To Serenity.' 'Sanity' is an interesting topic which arose from the tour we did with Nevermore. We had very deep, very interesting conversation with vocalist Warren. He had vivid and intense stories about his new album ''Dreaming Neon Black'' which involved the true story of the writing of the album. It's a sad story in his life about his girlfriend who was raped and murdered in her apartment and when he came home and found her, the police came in and saw the two of them. The police committed him to being the murderer, and of course he lost his girl that he wanted to marry. It seemed very deep and quite troubling when he was sitting in his cell waiting for arraignment. We figured that this would be his thoughts as he's waiting for all this to wind down."

If you read the interview with Metal Church already, you might have remembered a question I put to Kurdt about the fans of heavy and dark thrash back in the early 80's getting into more melodic music as they get older, maybe their taste runs a little more on the light and melodic side. One of the things I wondered about Bernd and the rest of the Angel Dust crew, with their expert mix of melody and heavy, dark thrash, was will their newfound direction see the heavier and darker or lighter and more melodic side shine through on their next release? Bernd enlightens us further with the next release and what the change of pace may be: "I think that our direction for our next record, which will be out in Germany in April 2000, is going to be a little bit harder than ''Bleed'' was. We already wrote 6 or 7 songs and put them on tape and gave them to our producer a few days ago, and we would like to write maybe another five or six songs to finish up the record. As far as I can say now the material will definitely be much harder than on ''Bleed'', but even the original members of Angel Dust they try to prove as musicians that they can write melodies and they have nothing to do with getting ''more mellow.'' You always want to write things that refer to how you are really thinking or feeling, you shouldn't limit yourself by saying ''okay, come on, we have to do fast and hard music, everything faster and harder,'' you want to write good songs. One major positive point in this band is that we have so many influences with five members and everyone has a different background; from my direction there is Rainbow and Deep Purple, two of my alltime favorites, from our singer Dirk he likes Judas Priest, and Savatage. From our drummer we have lots of Slayer and Metallica plus Rush influences, believe it or not we have Queen that our bass player likes and Steven our keyboard player likes Dream Theater as well. We'll just put all this in a can, swish it around a little bit and see what comes out, I dunno."

"We were really surprised," Bernd says as he talks about the fanbase Angel Dust has been receiving since their stateside release of "Bleed," "when we heard from Jon who is in Crimson Glory, he sent me email and told us that we are really big in the United States, everyone was talking about our new release, which we found hard to believe at first since our last album wasn't even officially released here. We have been doing a ton of interview lately, and we were given an internet address to join Perpetual Motion, a sort of internet chat room for Progressive and power metal music. I showed up and said a few words and was shocked by getting responses from everyone in there! I got around 480 emails just about the new album! We feel really honored about the response from Crimson Glory, they asked us play with them in the United States. We had a meeting in the States with Century Media about the tour and they said let's see how things go in the next few months and hopefully we can play United States soon, it's an opportunity I would really love."

The final thing I'd like to mention, CD copies of the first two albums do exist, and Bernd plans to re-release the first two albums on CD. Before we wrap this up, I'll let Bernd tell you about the redoing of "Into The Dark Past" and "To Dust You Will Decay:" "Our old label that released the two records went out of business, so all the rights have since reverted back to us. We're talking with Century Media about doing a double CD, remastering the old stuff and putting in the old booklets and maybe add a few things. Century Media was always interested in getting the rights for these, but until recently the label they were on was not interested in doing this."

HECATE ENTHRONED. Interview with Dean Seddon via email.

Hecate Enthroned has returned with their strongest and most diverse piece of work to date, finally dropping once and for all the unfortunate comparisons to Cradle Of Filth. However, that's not all Hecate Enthroned has dropped, and as the saga of this English based black metal band unfolds, Dean relates his tale of trial and triumph: "The reason we kicked Jon, the original vocalist, out of the band was because of his refusal to tour Europe. This was the catalyst, though, there were lots of otehr reasons as well. I was asked to join in October 1998 to do their European tour, which obviously I did. Jon was officially kicked out in January of '99 and Mike left the band of his own accord, there are no hard feelings there. In fact, Mike wrote 'Exalted in Depravity' for our new album. He just wanted to move on to other things and he really couldn't commit 100 percent. Daz joined in November of 1998 and officially in February of '99. I think Jon and Mike both had the ability to contribute with the new music, but all the stuff for ''Kings Of Chaos'' was written by the six of us and not Jon or Mike. I am glad you noticed that we are no longer like Cradle Of Filth, please feel free to spread the word! This album has a bit of everything; speed, atmospherics, brutality, keyboard breaks, it's quite varied. I have absolutely no idea how the new songs we're working on will turn out, but I think it will always be a good mixture of death and black metal with atmospherics. As for our former members, Mike lives up the road from me and I see him from time to time. He is no longer in a band but he has some sort of project going. I've been told Jon has a band started up with Marc (who is an ex-Hecate Enthroned guitarist) but I really don't care about that." Being the interview was conducted with the vocalist of Hecate Enthroned I was curious as to how the changes from death metal style to black metal style was on Dean's throat, as I have had problems myself trying to incorporate different styles into my repertoire, as well as trying to pull off high pitched power metal notes. "It's not really a problem," Dean states, "to maintain different vocal styles, though it was at first. I was used to singing death metal and when I had to change to black metal it was hard to do, especially because of the way Jon's vocal patterns run. But practice makes perfect, and although I'm not perfect, I'm certainly improving. I have had a few problems with my throat. In the studio, towards the end of the recording I caught throat rush, which is a very nasty infection. I think this was because of the air conditioning in the studio rather than any strain. Then on the Satyricon tour, I started losing my voice. Not because we had to perform every night, but because we all got drunk and were singing Iron Maiden and Megadeth songs for hours. I guess that could have been my fault!" So let that be a lesson to all up and coming vocalists, because I can personally vouch for this one: excessive drinking can ruin any good vocal delivery, especially if the vocals have been strained already.

Another notation in the "new" Hecate Enthroned history is the lyrics. Lyrically things have changed as well, which leads into another topic that I'm finding surfaces with many other black metal bands I've interviewed: Influences and current taste in bands. Take it Dean: "The lyrics are totally different now. Whereas Jon was more interested in legend and folklore, my lyrics are sheer blasphemy, very anti-christian. My main lyrical influences are Deicide, Morbid Angel, Nocturnus, Immolation and bands of that ilk. This suits the new style of music too I think. We were a corpsepaint type of band when we started, but that got dropped when I joined, as only Jon was really into that stuff anyway. To me image is nothing and music is everything. I'm not really into today's black metal scene, most of it is boring, badly played, badly produced and unoriginal. I like stuff like the first Emperor/Enslaved split, Beherit, old Immortal... You get the idea? I think keyboards are very important to our band, as they help to give us a good mix of brutality and atmosphere. I'm sure that keyboards will always be part of our band, I couldn't imagine it any other way."

Finally, I got Dean to mention a bit about their record label, in Blackened. Metal Blade has released all of their stuff with the exception of "Kings Of Chaos" (at the time of this writing that is) and I wondered about sales figures and the deal with the label. "Things with Blackened are okay," starts Dean. "Obviously being signed to a U.K. label has it's advantages for us, we are a priority band for the label and they lend us money if we need it. But they can also be too incompetent. I'm not going to give any examples but we were less than happy on the Satyricon tour. Overall however I'm quite pleased with them. At the moment we don't know how many copies ''Kings Of Chaos'' has sold, we are due a statement soon. I know the last album sold between 20,000 and 25,000 copies. We expect ''Kings...'' to sell more. I'm not too sure of the Metal Blade connection as that is the label's business and not ours, but it can't be a bad thing to be on the same label as Immolation!"

Okay, as a closer, it's something I ask a lot of bands, since the U.S. is so musically deprived in many areas. You all in internet land I'm sure know what this is, so I'll just let Dean answer it and close this interview: "At the moment, we have no definite plans to tour the U.S. though that does not mean we won't, obviously we would love to. At the moment we have plans to play in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, but the U.S. is certainly not out of the question. We have toured Europe twice now, the first one was with Usurper and Enthroned. (What a lineup! - Ed.) That was a great tour. Being our first one we were all very excited as we didn't know what to expect. We had a lot of problems on that tour due to bad organisation, but for a first tour it was okay. Then we did a tour with Satyricon and Behemoth which was better for us. We got a LOT of exposure as Satyricon are quite a big band in Europe. It was also better organised, although the usual stale bread rolls, cheese and cooked meat menu was less than appetizing! The only 'problem' with that tour was that it was quite long, so we were all very tired and some of us even got quite sick due to a virus. In fact, Frost had to go to the hospital he was that ill!"

METAL CHURCH. Interview with Kurdt Vanderhoof via telephone.

As a longtime fan of legendary Seattle based Metal Church, I was excited to get to speak with Kurdt about the reformation of the band, and though the original singer David Wayne is back in the band, their newest release "Masterpeace" sounds a bit different these days from the type of heavy material put out in the past. "Comparing the new album to what people call ''Heavy Metal'' now it's very melodic. As I've grown older I've become a little more aware of and concerned with melody and structure and things like that. When we got together we wanted to try and keep it very traditional to what Metal Church was known for, but we didn't want to try and update this and make it more 90's sounding, so we just tried to make the best album that we could for where we're at now. I don't really want to try and do anything different or new, we're just trying to make the metal that we were known for, and I think that the true future of music is in the past. It's getting quite out of hand with stuff like Limp Biskit and Korn. I guess that in my disgust for bands like that I was more melody conscious on this new record, so a lot of people interpret that as being not as hard edged. I'm 16 years older now than I was then though, so I'm not nearly as angry." Granted, I wasn't familiar with the new record as I didn't get it from Nuclear Blast, but Kurdt will go into a bit of detail about the songs and influences on the new record, and also how they avoided the cliches of heavy metal, even from the earliest days: "We're definitely on more of the optimistic side of things, both Dave and I have become very tired of the complaining and the satanic side of things. We never did satanic subjects, but we got lumped into that category anyway. A lot of heavy metal these days has got to be dark and really satanic and stuff, so we tried to avoid that. The lyrics on this album are pretty optimistic or telling some kind of a story. 'Sleeps With Thunder' is a song I wrote the lyrics for, about my spiritual awakening, so to speak. It's about growing up and realizing that there's more to life than what you see. Usually everyone at some point in their life has to come to some kind of decision where they are either going to serve themselves or serve material things and get into more of the things that are really important, things that last. Then there's 'They Signed in Blood,' a tune that Dave wrote the lyrics for; it's kind of a story about the Scottish covenanters a history piece on some of the persecution of the people in Scotland, not the ''Braveheart'' type of thing but a 1600's era historical story."

I was curious about people who grew up like I did listening to thrash and death metal in the early 80's and seeing now how there is a lot of focus on the more melodic side of music: Just look at bands's progression from the early days to the past, bands like Tiamat, Sentenced and the like who have incorporated more melody in their music, either bridging the gap between heavy and light or totally abandoning the heavier and darker sound. Kurdt admits that a lot of the idea of the reformation of Metal Church was a reflection in growing and changing tastes: "When this reunion thing happened it took me totally by surprise, as I was just getting off the Vanderhoof tour, for my first record. My band is doing the 70's rock, Deep Purple/Uriah Heep kind of thing. I'm remixing that record for a release on Nuclear Blast in the spring. It's not a solo record, it's actually a full band. Our second release that we will be working on is going to be more in the vein of Progressive stuff like Kansas and Rush, mainly as a reaction to the substandard music of today." So we got then to talking about some of the bands like Orange Goblin, Roachpowder, and Sons Of Otis who use Orange Amplification, something that Kurdt actually owns, the phase shifter and what not, which leads to a discussion of bands from the 60's and 70's. Kurdt expands on the 70's era and how music from back then compares to music today: "As far as I'm concerned, it's 1974 all over again, and then you throw in a little of the stuff from 1986. That's totally what I was into before I did the Metal Church thing. That's what I listened to most of the time, it's when music had all the magic. When I was growing up and learning to play that's what I was into. There's not a lot that can compare to it these days, and for myself as a song writer I need the freedom to be in a band where I can all kinds of things musically. It's not about being a rock star or making money, it's about music, making good music. The late 70's is a different story, but in the early 70's there was so much that hadn't been done yet, many talented people were experimenting and expanding and growing with the music. Nowadays it's more about product, do they look good on video, basically like here today, gone today." This prompted me to remember an MTV special recently that talked about the state of music today with all the one hit wonders: they went out and asked people in the streets about bands like Pennywise and Matchbox 20 who had like one or two hit songs on radio. The kids couldn't name any of the members of the band or any of the other songs that were on these albums, and it struck a very immediate reaction from Kurdt: "I saw that special! It was so cool because it proved that the music scene is NOT like it used to be! My favorite bands, I can name EVERBODY in the band, what kind of guitar they played, and that was half the fun of getting into music. Like ''Who's the bass player in Matchbox 20?'' Nobody knows, and nobody CARES! That's why I don't buy new albums from bands that I've heard of because everytime I do I get burned. It's like one song is good and the rest is crap, those one hit wonders. It's time to start building catalogs and careers for bands instead of just gaining attention with one song. This era for rock and roll has to be the saddest it's ever been in history."

I'm sure many people wanted to know what happened with the lineup changes and why Dave had left after "The Dark." I personally didn't care for Metal Church with "Blessing In Disguise" and the followup. "At that point in our career," Kurdt states: "I had left the band too, for me I really started figuring out what can go on in the studio, and I wanted to get into the production aspect of that as well as develop my skills as a songwriter. So I stayed on as a songwriter and worked in the studio with the band. Dave was having some problems and there were a lot of drugs and booze flying around and that will screw up anybody's perception." Of course, some bands do it better when they're doing drugs and alcohol, like in Megadeth's case. I felt that Megadeth's second album in "Peace Sells..." was one of their best albums ever, and ever since Dave Mustaine cleaned up, his albums have steadily gone downhill from there. Getting back to the whole Korn/Limp Biskit thing which really seems to have Kurdt in an uproar, I mentioned that there was a friend of mine who was into the Korn/Limp thing, and I told him if you really want to see good, brutal metal, where it comes from, check out Nile, they're opening up for Morbid Angel, and the kid was totally blown away, they were like "This is the heaviest, most intense thing I've ever seen in my life!" So I took the position to play devil's advocate and say that if bands like Korn and Limp Biskit can serve as a springboard to heavier, more decent acts, maybe that's something slightly useful? Kurdt had an answer for me of course: "Bands like that are being crammed down people's throats by the corporate industry to kids who don't have the intelligence of lettuce, and they're buying it. Get them into real rock bands, bands that play well, sing well and have melodies that you can actually remember. Then put the intensity and anger in with those bands, and you can't beat it. It's cool to have innovative and bands that are doing something different, though people might say that the whole Korn/Limp Biskit thing is different, but different doesn't mean it's good. It takes work to be good as well as different. Don't be lazy, get a real singer and learn a melody structure!"

Okay, well, since Kurdt and I have been getting rather vocal about the whole state of music affairs, we sort of skipped the whole reunion question! "The reunion thing really happened by accident," Kurdt states again. "The reunion actually happened with David Wayne, just because I heard from Craig that Dave was back living in the area (Washington - Ed.) and I hadn't spoken to him in a long time. We got together basically just for ourselves for fun and we recorded an album at my studio and thought it would be fun. When we got back together we were dealing with SPV in Germany and they made us an offer. Nuclear Blast America was working with them in the States and we were pretty pleased with the stuff they were doing, their whole direction with metal and what not."

Their reunion tour went down pretty well, playing to 400 to 700 people per show in Europe. They do plan on a big tour this spring, so hopefully it will go down soon.

TENHI. Interview with Ilkka Salminen via email.

Reviewed here last issue, I really enjoyed "Kauan," the full length CD from Finnish trio Tenhi. For those who listened to the sound files, you were treated to some really interesting and quite mellow soundscapes, for the rest of you who didn't catch the tunes we digitized, I tried to get Ilkka to describe to the uninitiated just what they would hear if they were to pick up their latest CD, a task which I admit has eluded me as well: "I admit it has always been problematic, in a commercial sense, to try and describe the musical style we represent in a few words and come up with a simple explanation that would properly tell what Tenhi is about so people would be able to shape their expectations and presumptions about the music and maybe become interested. The main reason this is so difficult is just that Tenhi doesn't correlate to any specific branch of music. 'Nordic Folklore,' 'Melancholic folkloric rock,' etc. have been good descriptions in a certain sense, but they lacked the ability to tell the whole truth, since we have drawn our influences from many different genres of music. Lately when I have been asked this question (which has happened quite often) I have just said that the music should speak for itself. I'm not interested in putting this music into pigeonholes. We owe something to numerous bands and composers, but soundwise the closest artists can maybe be found from the 70's and 80's progressive era, like Pink Floyd. On the other hand, primitive folk music partly represents the same moods and feelings that we do. If you have a good suggestion in your mind about how to properly describe Tenhi's music in few words, please let us all know, as it would make life a bit easier." Sorry to say that I don't, especially since it would be a LOT easier to label this as atmospheric ambient folk music, with the possible exception of vocal deliveries, which ambient music usually doesn't partake in. This brought up an interesting point, since all the lyrics happen to be in Finnish. (I admit at first I was mistakenly under the impression that they were of Norweigan origin, something they corrected me on numerous times.) Ilkka explains how the lyrics and the album and band title are related to one another, without being upset at me for mistaking their country of origin: "The lyrics are of course written in Finnish, as Tenhi originates from Finland. However, the vocals are handled by me and Tyko. I take care of the 'pure' vocals (as on the songs 'Huomen,' 'Hallavedet' and 'Lauluni Sinulle') and Tyko takes care of uttering the more 'peculiar' whisper like sounds (as on 'Nakin Laulu' and 'Soutu'). There are also some clean vocals too on the track 'Taival.' By using two vocalists we try to reach more diversity in our sound, and we also have two different voices to choose from when we want to find the voice that fits better to the concept of the song. The lyrics deal with own experiences, life and death in general, memories of the past, the mystic side of nature, etc. Sometimes the lyrics deal with a small and simple issue like a description of a landscape or an atmosphere, sometimes there can be a bigger theme behind the lyrics like the relationship between man and nature. 'Tenhi' is an ancient Finnish word and stands for a shaman or a magician, whereas 'Kauan' means 'a long time.' The album title came up shortly after the recording session when we had a discussion of our music with a dear friend of ours, and thought that it is the perfect title for this album. It crystallizes well the timeless atmosphere in our music."

Their latest release, as well as their first mini CD 'Hallavedet' (which incidentally is also the title of a song on their newest release), have been put out on a small label known as Prophecy Productions. Prophecy, according to Ilkka, "is a label for extraordinary, obscure, dark, nostalgic or magical (sub)culture, mainly focused on music recordings. I value them for having signed very original and personal bands. We had our first contract with them right after we made our first demo tape 'Kertomusika' and shopped it to a few record labels (among which Prophecy was) and Prophecy showed their interest right away. The deal wasn't confirmed right away, we recorded an unofficial promotape which contained two songs ('Etaisyyksien Taa' and 'Hallavedet') in Autumn of 1997 and after that everything was quite clear. We have a contract with them for three full length albums and possible mini CD's or other releases and we're very satisfied with it." I was also curious as to why, of the two tracks presented on the mini CD release, only 'Hallavedet' was included in the full length release. "The mini CD was recorded already in April 1998, and it was a hasty two day session which didn't turn out in the best possible way when I think of it afterwards. The original idea was to make a 7 inch vinyl of those two songs (the other song being 'Hiljaiseksi Lampi Jaa') and 'Hallavedet' was intended to be put on the B-side of it. Shortly after the recording we asked Prophecy whether it could be released as a mini CD, however, and they agreed, so on November 1998, it was put out as a low priced CD single. We aren't satisfied with the way that 'Hiljaiseksi...' turned out in the studiom the sound is too dry and there are some playing mistakes and other things, however 'Hallavedet' we thought was a great song and wanted to include it also on the full length and record a better version of it. Our next release is going to be another mini CD with more experimental songs and instruments on it. The material would be a bit different from what Tenhi has done this far and what we will do in the future, however, nothing has been definitively determined yet, but this is what we have outlined for our future."

Taking the discussion of the making of "Kauan" a bit further, I wanted to note some of the instrumentation on the disc, where you can hear a multitude of instruments, the most noteworthy being violins and even a jew's harp! "The instruments you hear on ''Kauan,''" explains Ilkka, "were mostly played with real instruments, I.E. not synthesized. On this album we used five different guitars, two bass guitars, a basic drum kit and some other percussion instruments, a grand piano, a didgeridoo, violin, transverse flute and a nature scale flute, jew's harp, a rainmaker and some other 'effects' and synth. We tried to do everything we could with real instruments, for example, on the last song 'Soutu' there are six violins playing simultaneously to obtain the 'string section' feeling." Not surprisingly, this would make playing out live very difficult due to the fact that there are so many different instruments involved. "There are three main members in Tenhi," Ilkka finishes, "and then we have also a violinist and a flute player as studio musicians. Tenhi hasn't played any gigs yet and it is possible that we won't ever play any live shows. We don't have anything against the idea of performing a live concert, but the problem is just that it would demand vast arrangements with at least two extra musicians, getting the group together for endless rehearsing (all of us do not live in the same town) and it seems that we just haven't got enough time for that. A more likely option would be to do an acoustic performance with simpler versions of the songs." As we close out this issue, I'll let Ilkka tell us about some of the fantastic press he has been getting on the band and also what else to look out for on Prophecy Productions: "The response to our work has been utterly great. We wouldn't have expected people to like it so much. I can tell you some of the points that we received in different magazines: 9/10 in Tombstone fanzine, 14/15 in Legacy magazine, 6/7 Hammer magazine, 9.5/10 in Metal Heart, 8.5/10 Rock Hard magazine, 7.5/10 in Terrorizer, 4/6 in Scream and of 9.5/10 AND CD of the Month in Orkus magazine. And fan reaction has also been fantastic. I really can't make up my mind about what bands to recommend to people who like our music, however I'll have to say that Naervaer is another Prophecy band whose work I really appreciate and like a lot. I only have their 7 inch EP but it is so fantastic music that I can't wait to hear their coming full length album. That band is a must for those who are looking for very atmospheric music that is genuinely based on feeling. And in closing I must say to everyone that if you are looking for a special and intense musical experience then you should hear our album ''Kauan.'' "

THE SATELLITE CIRCLE. Interview with Jonas Ericson via email.

Never in my life has a band I have never heard of before that has sent me their one and only demo and doesn't even have a record deal blown me away with every single second of their 4 track demo CD. The Satellite Circle is just that band, and their history, influences, and complete dissection is being presented to you by none other than Jonas Ericson himself. He has quite a lot to say so I'll let him get started: "The band was born in 1997 and has some roots in a previous, more Motorhead/Ramones oriented project called Eskapism, which recorded two albums and a bunch of demos. That way, The Satellite Circle has a lot of songwriting and arranging experience and didn't really come ''out of nowhere.'' The Satellite Circle plays something that we would like to call Psychedelic Retro Doom, which in our minds means heavy psychedelic rock in the tradition of early seventies bands like Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Captain Beyond. We also listen to Candlemass and St. Vitus, but our songwriting influences comes more from the ''source.'' Except for the bands mentioned above we listen to Grand Funk Railroad, Sir Lord Baltimore, Deep Purple, Sky Saxon, The Who, Nazareth, The Rolling Stones, BTO, Mountain, The Beatles and Faces to name a few. Also eighties bands like Maiden, Judas Priest, The Rods, and Dio plus old progressive rock like King Crimson, Yes and Rick Wakeman's early solo albums." Ah yes, Sir Lord Baltimore. I have heard that name mentioned within wuite a few groups sporting a slight metal influence but basing their sound on 70's and 80's bands as Satellite Circle is proud to proclaim. Their Beatles influence as well runs the gamut from their "Rubber Soul" lifted band logo to the title of their 4 track demo. So here is a little more info on a rather obscure group by the Swede Jonas: "It's hard to describe Sir Lord's incredibly intense sound. Imagine Grand Funk with even more energy and a more insane rhythym section. The drummer and bassplayer are totally mad in our opinion! Sir Lord are not extremely heavy, but they have a totally irresistible seventies jamrock feel about them that no modern bands today can capture. Check out their first album and you will never listen to surf music again. It is available on CD but we recommend that you track down the very hard to find original vinyl version. Preferrably a well scratched copy for that extra retro feel. Contact your nearest long haired 45 year old with a basement vinyl record shop for details. And you're right about the logo being Beatles inspired. We were looking for something that fitted the psychedelic vibe of our demo and reminded people about the period in time that we felt influenced us. The wierd style of writing seen on many posters and albums from around '66 - '72 seemed perfect. A good example of it was found on (The Beatles album) Rubber Soul, so we made our own version of it! Then we needed a cool album title and made up ''Way Beyond The Portal Of The Bone White Rubber Sun.''''Rubber Soul'' wasn't really an inspiration for the rubber sun title but maybe it could be some Freudian thing."

Now, finally, onto the demo. Out of the tracks presented to us (all of which are digitized, I'd like to say that Satellite Circle was one of the reasons that i decided to go for 4 songs digitized per review!) only 4 were given to us to review, three were left off. We get some info from Jonas about one of the bonus songs, and what the songs were recorded for: "There are some rare late copies of the demo that has a bonus track. The extra song is 'From Where You Stand,' recorded in 1997 during our previous project. We brought it in for two reasons: First, it is an awesome track that sounds like a leftover from Sabbath's ''Volume 4'' album. Second: The four demotunes were immediately scheduled for release on various compilation albums, so we needed more material. Now we feel that this one should have been featured on the demo in the first place! (This five song collectors edition can be ordered.) The songs on the demo were written over a period of six months before we hit the studio. We came up with many other tunes that those recorded, but they sounded more like something more suitable for our former direction, so they were left out. During four days in August 1999 we recorded seven tracks, out of which four were chosen to be on the demo. The other three didn't fit the retro/psychedelic/seventies thing that we wanted to achieve, but since then our style has been knocked into shape and the next demo in February will probably feature eight very heavy seventies style numbers."

The band used no synthesizers in the recording of the album, but there are some interesting stories to be told about how this was done, since it was recorded on a CD-Rom disc with excellent sound quality and some wierd sound effects, especially on the song 'Kick You Right Back.' Your turn again, Jonas: "There are no synths used in the beginning of 'Kick You...' though later on we made use of a mini-moog for wierd effects. The effect you refer to (wild scraping sounds that somehow blend perfectly with the guitars drums and vocals) was created by two wah-wah rhythm guitar tracks playing sort of against each other, so to speak. The guitar was a rare 80's Gibson Firebrand 335 S Custom put through a Hyperfuzz, a Wah-wah and into a glowing 50 Watt Sovtek head with a Marshall Cabinet. We recorded the demo at the Second Home studio in Umea, Sweden. It is equipped with an ADAT and has loads of strange seventies effect pedals and other bizarre stuff. We are very pleased with the results of the session and feel that the most important factor for the results was the engineer Henrik Ojja, a member of the well known psychedelic music collective The Spacious Mind. As for lyrics, well, we usually never discuss the lyrics with journalists, but we will make an exception for a magazine with such a cool sounding name like yours!" (NO, I am not making this up, they actually SAID this to ME! - Ed.) "The story behind 'The More I Drink, The More I Make' is a wet one. I had to go to one of those stuck up parties your boss arranges once a year. You know the one, everybody is dressed up nice and the smalltalk mostly circles around the workplace. I was bored. But then it struck me, the food costs nothing and the drinks come free, and right then and there I noticed a slight change in personality. For each free drink I knocked back I was making money. The more I drink, the more I make. I left that night with a fortune in my veins. 'Kick You Right Back' has a whole different background, and a darker one too. But, you could say that the dark sensation in the beginning of the song transcends into a somewhat more positive message and down the road it gets more violent too. When things don't go your way you need to kick it right back. And remember, once you get over the skies, there will be enough sun." Here's to hoping things didn't get lost in the translation from Swedish to English, as I do have a good idea of where his lyrics are coming from. Quite a unique way to look at things!


What an exciting millenium this has been! We're going on 10 years in publication now, and we hope that for our 10 year anniversary we can do something really kick ass. Anyway, you all have seen quite a number of changes since our simplest versions of earlier issues, and we will always try to improve the magazine in any way possible. One way you have all seen is with the soundfiles, you now get to hear a minimum of 4 songs per CD reviewed! Where else can you sample this many songs before you rush out to spend your hard earned dollars on the many choices available today!

Some people have asked me about my top 10 lists for the last ten years. I must say that that is a monstrously difficult task, especially when you consider I could make lists for the many different genres I cover. As far as metal goes, I think some of the top releases for 1999 alone would have to include bands like Emperor, Roachpowder, and I'm probably leaving out a ton of others. In the industrial field, there are really only a few bands that have stood out over the past 10 years, and these few include Evils Toy, Front Line Assembly, Zero Defects, Apoptygma Berzerk and that's about it really. I don't get much in the way of industrial anymore but I love the genre and would hate to have to phase it out completely. With Metropolis Records dropping coverage for us, that was about the last industrial label left still actively doing releases month to month.

Not gonna say too much except thank you for sticking with us through each and every issue. I would really love to have some readers mail from you all, especially mail telling me how long you have been reading the magazine and what features you liked the best. I get tons of email all the time about the classic albums section, something that is probably done nowhere else in the entire world. BUT, I would like to know if the soundfiles pages have helped you to buy or not buy a CD, and if there's any of my reviews rating you agree or disagree with. Vibrations of Doom will be around for a long time, so hopefully you'll stick with us through the end! Until next issue, remember to be open minded about new music, and never turn down the chance to educate the masses about new and exciting forms and styles of music.

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