Welcome one and all to yet another issue in this, what is it now our 9th or 10th year? Anyway, as you all are probably aware by now, we recently found two past issues, numbers 6 and 7 intact! This was a very joyous occasion for us here, we had been looking for these for quite some time! Now all we have to do is locate the debut issue, and a few others to complete our archives. I had said that those two missing issues showcase very well what Vibrations of Doom had always been about, there are just as many electronic, industrial and trance reviews as there are metal reviews! We have lost some ground with our last few issues where electronic music is concerned but we're trying to pick up more on that in future issues. Openmindedness is the key when dealing with music!

Okay, let's get the address stuff out of the way. Send yer stuff to:

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


APOLLYON SUN "Sub" (Sanctuary Records) SCORE: 44/100

It's odd when I first got this thing I knew it was a side project from Tom G. Fischer of Celtic Frost fame, and it's easy to see why Mr. Tom didn't use his stage name Tom G. Warrior that he went by in the 80's. There isn't much "power" to be seen here, and this release suffers from many problems, least of all being a rather droney and odd vocal delivery that sounds totally devoid of emotion and life. Come to think of it, tracks like 'Mother Misplaced' and 'Naked Underground' seemingly are meant to sound mechanical, cold and devoid of any feeling or emotion whatsoever. Lots of these songs really drag on, though the CD started out good with some great choruses and heavy thrash gits that for some reason remind one of early Fear Factory meets Pantera. They seem to be trying to do an industrial/electronic thing with heavy guitars, a few of the tracks have some great distorted and thrashy guitar work, though it couldn't save this CD. 'Slender' had some nice acoustics and "sung" vocals that half the time threatened to turn this into a lifeless song as well. Things don't really catch my ear again until parts of 'Naked Underground,' and there only the heavier guitars and the choruses, and then again it gets weak until the last track 'Concrete Satan,' which for some reason works as a rather bleak tune that adds a bit of angst and darker vocals. The thrashy guitar work helps here too, but overall a very monotone sounding vocal style, and even though I think I see the direction they were going, they didn't have what it takes to pull it off.
Contact: Sanctuary Records, 45-53 Sinclair Rd., London W14 ON5, ENGLAND
Web site:

ARSYN "Degeneration" (Rock Solid Entertainment) SCORE: 53/100

The first time I listened to this CD, Goddamn was I furious! Someone actually had the gall to say this band had influences from bands like Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Rob Zombie, Metallica and Nine Inch Nails. And true to form, the first two songs were quite heavy. 'Kill Joy' has some pretty heavy guitar work but does have a "gloss" to it that would definitely work the radio well. So goes the second tune 'Blind Fury,' with it's somewhat rap/metal crossover though the rap influenced vocals are slight and tricky enough that you don't notice it unless you are trained in the ways of corporate trickery like myself. The rest of this CD? Standoffish corporate rock that sucks for the most part. This band has been hyped to harder edged magazines like myself based on the two heaviest tracks, which incidentally aren't even in the same ballpark as Nine Inch Nails or even White Zombie OR fucking Motorhead! You may end up seeing these guys on the radio, cause surely corporate asskissers will find this the "Nu flava of the year," or whatever passes for the rope-a-dope style yo. SO here's what's bad: 'Succubus Blues.' HARMONICA?!? Oh, so we're trying to be like Guns 'N' Roses now? 'Will Be Gone.' The worst singing vocals and TRYING to be a cool ballad. The choruses are better, but so simple they want to have ya say "catch phrases!" 'Silent Scream' at least has some really cool thrashy guitars, but they swear they need to commercialize it so the teenage girls have a reason to put posters of them on the walls. 'Hit The Ground,' just to be fair, had a better vocal working, that guy can really wail reminiscent of Steve Souza's frantic screeching ala Exodus. Dude, go more for the thrash sound, and quit this bopper dream land. 'Exist And Die,' there ya go. I didn't totally get into it but damn the heavy vibes are there. Quit trying to kiss corporate rock's ass and go write something worthy of a name like arsyn. Hell change the name to ARSON or something while yer at it!
Web site:

ATOMINE ELEKTRINE "Archimetrical Universe" (Yantra Atmospheres) SCORE: 98/100

This is the side project of Peter Andersson from Raison D'Etre, and it's quite different from the cold ambient industrial sounds of his main project. Beautiful atmospherics showcased in this one, tracks are both short and long, much variety, and mixes some of the coldest and energetic spacey sound effects with beautiful ambient synth landscapes. Perfect chill disc. Sometimes tracks have a tendency to change the song structure midstream, making one song sound like two at times, and usually it's towards the end of the song that has the best ambient passages. This is Peter's vision of how outer space "sounds" (see the interview for more details) and I can see it perfectly. Some of the sounds can get to be a bit too harsh at times, especially on 'Sagittarius Cloud,' but that wouldn't stop me from catching the tracks anyway. The Cygnus Loop songs are barely 3 minutes in length, though one of the best tracks 'Hesperia Fossae' clocks in at well over 9 minutes in length, and worth every single second of it. VERY mellow and quite beautiful in scope, this CD explores the vast array of soundscapes that come from the farthest reaches of the cosmos.
Contact: Yantra Atmospheres, Bondegatan 20c nb S-595 52 Mjolby, Sweden

BEHEMOTH "Satanica" (Avantgarde/Dwell Records) SCORE: 93/100

Vicious black/death vocals throughout, and some great melodic riffs too, not what you'd expect from a release like this. With the exception of a few very odd parts in the song 'Ceremony Of Shiva' that dragged the ending of the song down, the vocal style is brutal and vicious all the way through. The riffing is pretty much straightforward, though on songs like 'The Alchemist's Dream' and 'The Sermon To The Hypocrites,' you'll be quite surprised at the high end lead work that reminds one of Soilwork or In Flames! It's a vicious brutal attack damn near from start to finish, and it's a good thing to see Dwell Records step in and give Avantgarde releases, which have always been of good quality, a U.S. base. The group also utilizes synth passages which sound rather dark, but they are really only noticeable at the end of some songs, they are not part of the main song structure. 'The Alchemist's Dream' did have a rather unnecessary "instrumental" tacked onto the end of it, it sounded out of place. 'Chant For The Eschalon 2000' did end things here on a rather dry note, however, the sound effects they used were quite interesting, but the vocals that were low toned and electronically effected brought this tune down a bit, as did the guitar riffs that stayed mostly the same throughout the whole track. Rounded out with some vicious screams, though, one might be a little more forgiving with this powerful statement in brutality. If only Dwell had provided a lyric sheet, I would have loved to hear what they were talking about, as it is I can pick out a few words and sentences here and there. "Love is the law" seemed to be mentioned in the track 'The Alchemist's Dream,' any reference to Crowley?
Contact: Dwell Records, P.O. Box 39439, Los Angeles, CA 90039 USA
Web site:

BESEECH "Black Emotion" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 89/100

Anyone who remembers their last full length on Metal Blade will be a bit surprised at the turn of events portrayed here. The emotional and, dare I say, "romantical" content is still preserved in places, however the first song 'Manmade Dreams' kicks things off more aggressively than you have ever heard from these Swedes. The weak link in the CD are the following two tracks 'Firewalk' and 'Little Demonchild,' these two tracks are somewhat pop oriented it seems, complete with female vocals interacting with male singing vocals, they are not terrible tracks but seem a little off. However, things kick right back with 'Ghoststory,' which does the dreamy, atmospheric style of music quite well. The choruses especially in all the songs are quite catchy and easy to get stuck in your head. 'Neon Ocean' is VERY relaxing, almost whispered vocals and then we get some of the aggression back in the tracks 'Velvet Erotica' and 'Lunar Eclipse.' There are also two very well done instrumental tracks, my personal favorite being the title track, which is an ambient styled synth piece inlaid over some piano notes which are very dynamic and add a strong presence without being overbearing. I was quite surprised at this, but it all works out quite well, and I am glad to see that they did get a U.S. label to back a damn fine work of art.
Contact: Pavement Music.

CEMETARY 1213 "The Beast Divine" (Century Media Europe) SCORE: 87/100

Thanks to Jim Raggi for helping me get ahold of this, this is something that the Century Media office here in the States isn't working with, and I can't quite figure out why. Cemetary is probably world wide known for their several releases with the Black Mark label, up until their final effort it showcased them carrying the gothic metal influences into their works, and this newest effort shows some of the same, along with some frightening industrial influences. The CD starts things off with a vicious guitar attack that thrusts some of the most vicious screaming vocal work I've yet to hear from them at you, and through this 10 song affair, there is such diversity that obviously something may not work. A few tracks, most notably 'Dead Boy Wonder' and 'Sunset Grace,' do lose out a bit by opting for using singing vocals in the majority of their works, however, their most diverse piece of art is the song 'Linking Shadows' that lets Mathias do some vicious screaming and then bring the choruses down to a melodic singing style. Very diverse piece of work, they even have some catchy choruses working on the track 'Silicon Karma.' This CD was a very good showcase of diversity, though with two tracks being very dark industrial soundtrack type pieces, there's really only 8 songs to dissect here. Take the time to track this down, though I would recommend listening to four of the songs first, as this heavy hitting approach may not find everyone in agreement, especially on the more melodic pieces.
Contact: Century Media Europe, Schaferstrasse 33a, 44147 Dortmund, GERMANY
Web site:

CJSS "Kings Of The World" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 90/100

I have seen this band around forever! Never picked up on any of their stuff however, but this band reminds me of Saxon, in the way of their longevity and this probably being the heaviest record they've ever made. This CD starts out very kick ass, the first two songs 'Kings Of The World' and 'The Final Frontier' being everything I ask for in good heavy metal: great heavy singing vocals, amazing lead guitar work and hell, there's even good thrashy guitar work as well, a bonus! The guitar work throughout is quite intense, and that should come as no surprise when I realized that David T. Chastain himself did most of the lead work. I remember his "Instrumental Variations" solo album and remember how he made instrumental guitar music actually worth listening to; he does that again with their instrumental piece 'The End Of The Rainbow.' There are some songs here that are presented in a rather traditional 80's hard rock/heavy metal style, most notably 'Thief Of Hearts' and 'The Executioner's Song,' the latter I didn't care a whole lot for due to the slower pace of the song and the loss of a little edge vocal wise around the chorus section. 'Locomotive Breath' is a cover, though I'm not sure who did it first, and it's a pretty good one. Most of these songs aren't too long, and they will hold your interest for quite awhile, all the way up to the ender 'Cries Of The Dawn,' solid heavy metal through and through; though they display elements of power metal, and tons of 80's styled riffs, even a ballad number that is heavier than most 80's hard rock ballads you've heard ('The Fall Of Babylon') you can't really categorize them and pigeonhole them, but you can say them make good old fashioned heavy metal the way it should be.
Contact: Pavement Music,

CROWBAR "Equilibrium" (Spitfire Records) SCORE: 26/100

Oh my god this is absolutely horrible. Those vocals for starters kill this thing before it even begins! And those awful guitar riffs to start the first song 'I Feel The Burning Sun' told me I wouldn't enjoy this at all. I haven't listened to Crowbar in ages, and don't even remember what they sound like, I have one CD of theirs and I hope for the life of me it sounds NOTHING like this. That vocalist is geared up more towards a hardcore style and he tries to pull off a singing style with it that sounds really bad. Well, except for the track 'To Touch The Hand Of God,' which features some surprisingly well done singing vocals, and there's no guitars on this track. If that guy would just sing instead of trying to be a hardcore "singer" this might have turned out a lot better. The guitar work, interestingly enough, has remnants of doom metal downtuned slow variations in them, although they didn't inject enough life into the party at all. To further show my disgust, they even have a coversong, doing a song from the 80's I absolutely HATED, 'Dreamweaver.' Surprisingly it went down a bit better than the rest of their stuff, though not by much. 'Down Into The Rotting Earth' had the better vocal idea, do the hardcore vocals! Either that or just SING. I've wasted enough words on this. I don't care if they are innovators of the sludgecore scene, let Eyehategod or hell even Soilent Green or Down carry this on.
Contact: Spitfire Records.
Web site:

CULTUS SANGUINE "The Sum Of All Fears" (Season Of Mist) SCORE: 35/100

Season Of Mist has seen better bands than this. Let me read to you what is printed on the back of the promo: "Since 93, Cultus Sanguine supplies the underground with the most suicidal, darkest metal. Before gothic metal became nice and gentle, they stole the essence of the most depressed Goth-Wave, adding them to their metal roots. The result is an insult to your sanity and nothing will cushion your fall." Aptly put. The music for this thing is quite intense, I really enjoyed the bell sounds, like a toybox, in places, along with really emotional goth synth notations, but that singer! Okay, basically this guy would probably be a good frontman in a hardcore band, he sounds REALLY torturous, but really bad for this kind of music. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but he really ruined a lot of the songs for me, in fact I could NOT get through this CD all the way through a third time. On 'Dominatress,' the vocals eased up a little but not much. So maybe they weren't trying to go for a nice and pretty gothic atmosphere, but damn they could have gotten a better singer. I sometimes think that were I able to tolerate this style of singing, which is really more like a shouting type of sound rather than anything remotely resembling singing, I could really appreciate this more, damn if the instrumentation isn't good.
Contact: Season Of Mist, 24 Rue Brandis, 13005 Marseille, FRANCE

DESTRUCTION "All Hell Breaks Loose" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 52/100

As many of you know, Destruction is one of those early 80's speed/thrash bands that have decided to bring back the glory days of the 80's. Let's review our track record: Artillery's "B.A.C.K." record was a complete flop, Metal Church went prog-rock, and Kreator DEFINTELY fell from grace in my eyes. You know what I'm afraid of? As you have probably read this issue, one of my all time favorite bands from the 80's Iron Angel has their third release coming to my mailbox any day now, and I'm VERY afraid of what it might sound like. Comeback albums do NOT seem to rekindle the burning black flames of thrash. So onto yet another chapter in Destruction's career, which incidentally started with some pretty upset fans from their performance at Milwaulkee a year or so ago, but now this new record doesn't break any new ground. To be perfectly fair and honest, I really dig many of the faster thrash riffs that come at the beginning of songs, and during solos, like on 'World Domination Of Pain' and 'The Butcher Strikes Back.' Also it must be said that they do have some rather vicious chorus work going, but the main body of many songs leaves a LOT to be desired. A rather funny twist of things, the best track on here, 'Tears Of Blood,' sounds a LOT like a Metal Church "The Dark" era track, especially in the way the vocals are delivered. This one song has some killer slower riffage working, and some vicious screams as well. They mostly utilize the faster thrash attack, which does work to an extent on the only other song I could sit all the way through, 'Total Desaster 2000.' Their slower pieces are the worst, especially 'Kingdom Of Damnation,' for the most part this CD just doesn't have the instrumentation mix down, especially on the main lines of each song. There's some stuff that did raise the eyebrows, but it gets buried under dull instrumentation. It's not a terrible release, but it could have been so much better, the problem is that no matter how bad this album is or is seen by others, the world right now NEEDS Destruction, as they are still carrying the flag of hate high and maybe this next album of theirs will be a return to the days of Infernal Overkill...
Contact: Nuclear Blast America, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA

EDGUY "Theater Of Salvation" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 95/100

I am SO glad this has been released domestically. I have heard lots of talk in various newsgroups and through Napster communities (which I may have to visit more in depth "just for the conversation" :> ) and lemme tell ya it was well worth the wait! Brilliant melodic power metal that has an edge! Great songs like 'Babylon,' 'Falling Down,' and 'The Headless Game' have trademark multi vocal choruses and pre choruses, intricate high end lead work, and great vocal delivery that at times, especially on a song like 'The Unbeliever' reminds me a LOT of Bruce Dickinson, although I don't think Bruce could ever go this high. 'Arrows Fly' has THE coolest speedy melodic high end lead riffery I think I have ever heard, these songs are catchy and even heavy thrash guitars on songs like 'The Unbeliever.' I couldn't believe how heavy this song was! 'Wake Up The King,' though, was one of the very few weak points, though not bad overall, I think the overemphasis of higher pitched singing on the chorus was what caused me to skip this track. Plus, I would much rather hear power pieces or more midtempo parts than ballads, like they did on 'Land Of The Miracle' and the title track, though they at least mix it up a bit. Nice piano parts as well, and the synths too are well done. 'Holy Shadows' threw me a bit, it's guitar orientation sounded a bit mroe straightforward and more like hard rock/heavy metal, in fact when the vocalist started performing it struck me as sounding quite a bit like Queensryche, even in the vocal department! I don't know from where these guys hail, but all the hype and press that surrounds them is WELL deserved, just go listen to the 5 songs we digitized for you, you WON'T regret it!
Contact: Metal Blade Records.

HATE ETERNAL "Conquering The Throne" (Wicked World/Earache) SCORE: 33/100

Eric Rutan. Lead guitarist and vocalist. Formerly with Morbid Angel... AH! You say, that's how a death metal band this bad got signed to Earache, or more specifically Wicked World, Earache's "sub label." Seems death metal isn't good enough for the label anymore, they have to sub label it. I must say that though Eric Rutan's lead skills are quite adequate for the job, someone forgot to show him how to write songs. Good songs. Songs that don't just blaze with speed through the whole track. His vocal delivery isn't bad, but it just doesn't carry the power and aggression over when it's buried under bland instrumentation. As I said, his solos are very good, when he is doing some lead solo work on tracks like 'Dogma Condemned' and 'Catacombs.' Incidentally, the choruses are so bad, even if you can't understand the lyrics, you can always pick out the choruses because they are quite simple. 'Sacrilege Of Hate' was about the only song I could get into, assuredly a freak accident that they actually wrote ONE decent song, and yes, the points come into play because of Rutan's guitar skills and the fact that he's got a pretty vicious set of pipes. I hate to bad mouth someone, but maybe it was a good thing Eric didn't write guitar parts for Morbid Angel.
Contact: Wicked World, 43 West 38th St. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10018

HERBERT "Steppin' Off To Eden" (Fueled Up/Necropolis Records) SCORE: 43/100

It's not very often that I give low scores to a band in the stoner/desert rock or doom metal genre, since it's one of my favorites these days, but I really couldnt get into this much. At times they come off like a more laid back version of Monster Magnet, but at a slower pace at times. The vocals aren't terrible, and the guitarists have some skill, but overall it didn't mix well. Take the tune '1000 Dreams' for instance. Now, it's nice that they have the ability to mix faster and slower parts within a song, but they ruined the nice acoustics and mellow passages by changing the structure. Some songs, like 'Locust Rain' and 'The Monster' showcase some really slow riffs that drag on, and really take the song through passages that seem to never end. I actually got interested in Herbert by hearing the song 'Devils Garden' off of a Necropolis sampler, but sad to say that song along with the nice short instrumental 'Reposado' were all that I could bear. Not to say I didn't dig some parts of 'Crone' or 'Wonderlust' when they weren't dragging their feet or plodding along aimlessly. Still, I did hear a bit of potential but they need to come up with something a bit better. At least better than just really trying to avoid listening to this more than twice just to write an accurate review.
Contact: Fueled Up/Necropolis Records, Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815 USA
Web site:

HIGH ON FIRE "The Art Of Self Defense" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 87/100

If anyone has wondered what became of the crew from famed stoner/doom band Sleep, then wonder no more! Matt Pike, who does all vocal and guitar duties within this band, has carved a name for himself with this six song affair full of very downtuned Green amplified riffs and heavy vocals reminiscent of a darker Wino (from The Obsessed & Spirit Caravan, naturally). The lyrics are quite cool as well, tracks like 'Baghdad' and 'Fireface' don't seem to deal with your average stoner lyrics, though 'Baghdad' reminds me a bit of the type of imagery fellow U.K. space rock pioneers Hawkwind would come up with. 'Master Of Fists' and 'Fireface' have some of the heaviest instrumentation of all, though 'Fireface' takes roughly 2 minutes before you hear any riffing, for the first few minutes it's slow, heavy bass guitar. These songs are a tad long, but not any longer than some I've heard. The songs aren't all slow either, there's quite a number of riffs that are steady headbanging pieces, though the instrumentation is quite varied even for the length of some of these. Those guitar riffs are ultra downtuned and kick ass all the way, I am thinking that if these are the type of bands signed to Man's Ruin, their ad should read: "Our bands only play Orange and Green amplification!" It's definitely no Sleep clone, there's enough originality and heaviness here to please most everyone.
Contact: Man's Ruin Records
Web site:

IN AETERNUM "The Pestilent Plague" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 97/100

Can't find much to complain about here, a vicious, brutal and solid death/black effort from the three piece out of, where else, Sweden. There is surprisingly a bit more melody than you'd expect, but some skullcrushing vocal work, those screams on the opening seconds of 'Ultimate Warfare,' my ultimate favorite track, have to be heard to believed. Also, they show us that they can slow things down a bit, which gives the vocals such crushing power. 'Wolves Blood' does seem to run a tad long though, but I really dig those vocals, especially when Larsson screams "I curse you all to die!" Very melodic leads at times, best utilized on 'Torture Chamber' and usually done when the vocalist is silent, but it at times can take a bit of their power away like on 'Eternal Devastation.' This isn't a problem very often, check out the title track which adds some eerie church bell notes Ala Onslaught from their "The Force" album. Not a lot to complain about, very vicious and this should get lots of praise for it's no bull attitude and viciousness from the fiery depths themselves. Would LOVE to see a tour.
Contact: Necropolis Records, P.O. Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815 USA
Web site:

KELLER/SCHONWALDER "The Two Piece Box" (Manikin Records) SCORE: 91/100

This CD comes from a small label over in Germany that I had never heard of before, but needless to say we will definitely be hearing more from this label in the future. Though their many CD releases arrived after deadline, I was so impressed by this that I rushed to review it, though I did listen to it at least 4 times. It's two songs, 30 minutes each track. Wait, don't let that cause you to run off, because the duo of Detlef Keller and Mario Schonwalder are creating the kind of music I have been desperately wanting more of from day one. Their music is borderline spacey ambient, new age, and electronic masterpiece all rolled into one. Track one, 'Another Temptation,' is the best of the two and it's not hard to see why. For both tracks, beats or percussion if you will is limited to a few well placed but short cymbal blasts, though on track one the heavier beats kick in around 20 minutes. This track definitely keeps your interest for the whole 33 minutes, it utilizes awesomely dynamic swirling spacey ambient landscapes inlaid over electronic notations, and though beautiful and melodic there is a very strong and dynamic presence throughout the track. It keeps your ears busy, and there's also some multi synth choruses that are mostly of the chanting type. Track 2, 'The Quiet Room,' is more in the style of relaxing ambient styled music, and has the unique distinction of bringing in beautiful and stunning flute melodies, as well as some synth chanting vocals. Very mellow, however the main problem with this track is that for the 30 minutes it runs, it doesn't vary the sound structure very often, when it does it's very gradual and takes several mintues to appreciate the changes. However, it's very relaxing, and if you have lots of time to appreciate all the soundscapes, it's worth the effort. Not something you can just pop in and absorb on one listen, this is the kind of music that will give you repeated plays for your money, as you can always find sonething new with each listen. More from Manikin will be forthcoming in future issues!
Contact: Manikin Records, Postbox 450274, D-12172 Berlin, GERMANY
Web site:

KEOKI "" (Moonshine Music) SCORE: 78/100

Okay, first off I need to explain a few things: Mixed CD's, that is, a CD of many different artists mixed and put together by one DJ or person will have the sound files in the various artists section. Secondly, although DJ Keoki is world reknowned for his DJ skills, all the remixing and turntable processing in the world doesn't mean a damn thing to you if the songs he selects aren't to your liking. Though I am an ardent techno fan, I usually can't get into techno tracks that have annoying rapped vocals or jungle/breakbeat/house styles thrown in. That rules out the opener big time, DJ Rush's 'Grind Me Baby,' which is all he ever says ad nauseum. That being said, there are quite a few really good tracks, like '5:55' with it's cool ambient/acid trance synth layers, and Ravelab's 'Send Me An Angel' which is a pretty popular song but here it gets an instrumental treatment and is quite short. Some songs Keoki picked, like 'Big Up The Noise,' and 'Sublimation' are not terrible but one of the main flaws I find in this CD is Keoki's "safe" mode that he puts on quite frequently. Many songs are not explosive or overtly energetic, it's like he wants to make sure he plays it safe for the crowd and keep them on the floor, which I have no problem with, but he'd have a hard time working stuff like this at anything other than a rave or a very long club night. Down in Savannah club goers abandon floors in droves if they hear songs they either aren't familiar with or don't know or like, something that Keoki might want to consider for tougher audiences. Hard and heavy hits like I'm really into don't come around until 'Seven Crossroads Of The World,' which is rather tribal to a slight degree, with very heavy beat structures and electronic sounds thrown about. The CD ends off positively with a beat oriented version of a Star Wars instrumental piece 'The Beginning Of A New World,' though it takes awhile to work itself up from the cheesy marching drum parts that don't really do anything for me or a crowd of movers. Overall though, a nice selection of songs. even if some should have been more energetic and explosive rather than laid back, but if an all night rave finds this acceptable, then it's okay by me.
Contact: Moonshine Music, 8525 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069 USA
Web site:

LANA LANE "Queen Of The Ocean" (Limb Music) SCORE: 88/100

Lana Lane is dubbed to be "the reigning queen of dramatic & progressive symphonic rock and metal" from Los Angeles. I guess Lee Aaron lost the crown as being the queen of metal from years ago. Lana Lane has some fantastic vocals, though some may say they are a little bit too "soft." She comes off sounding a bit like Heart at times, the instrumentation is top notch however, and songs like 'Night Falls' and the title track are some of her best and most emotional work on the whole CD. Her vocals especially on the title track have some very powerful and moving feeling to them, and she comes off conveying whatever emotion she is portraying very well. I did have a problem with some of her electronic effected vocals on 'Rainbow's End' and 'Through The Rain,' two of my least favorite tracks, though the rest of the material holds up very well. 'Frankenstein Unbound' is one of her heavier tracks, and surprisingly, though I tend to think many may prefer her heavier songs, I find when she's melodic and atmospheric she is at her best. There are three bonus tracks, the live songs sound like they could have been recorded anywhere, the crowd noise, minimal to say the least, could also have been dubbed from anywhere and is quite suspect. However, these minimal points aside, Lana Lane comes off more as a melodic symphonic hard rock project than metal, though 'Rainbow's End' has faster instrumentation that reminds one of Blind Guardian at times. If you can deal with topics concerning love, angels, mermaids, and lost loves, then this 11 track, 71 minute CD has much to keep you busy. I do rather enjoy it myself, but I feel many with darker taste may not be able to keep this disc in rotation.
Contact: Limb Music, Postfach 60 25 20, 22235 Hamburg, GERMANY

MAMMOTH VOLUME "Noara Dance" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 41/100

Supposedly a stoner rock oriented band, this was a really bad release. Starting things off with 'Matador,' the first thing I thought of with the really bad guitar work and the whiny vocals was a really bad, but radio friendly whiny alternative band. To be fair though, they do inject some heavy riffs in places, and some shouted vocals, but it's seemingly just to hide the alternative style that they showcase. Don't get me wrong, however, I am not against alternative styled music, but this is pretty bad. 'Larrivee' has more of a rock styled quality to it, even though they start off with some wimpy acoustics. There was nothing great here to tie me to this track. 'Seeds In Rocky Places' was a bit faster paced than most, even the vocals picked up finally, even if they do go off into left field midway and do some wierd solo instrumentation. It's nice to see them try and vary the song structures in songs, but they never take them anywhere. The last few songs utilize some acoustic melodies which REALLY drag the band down into alternative modes that really don't work. I tried to see if there were parts of songs I could enjoy, but why sit through 2 or 3 minutes of a band song to hear some guitar riffs that last no more than 30 or 40 seconds? Maybe they have potential, but it sounds really bad, especially on the singer.
Contact: The Music Cartel, 106 West 32nd Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001 USA
Web site:

MYRKSKOG "Deathmachine" (Candlelight Records) SCORE: 46/100

From the bio and information on this band, I was expecting an unusual black metal/industrial combo, but basically what this offering is is a fast paced black metal style with some slower thrashy guitar riffs thrown midway in the song, maybe some eerie industrial sounding synth work that sounded the same through three tracks, and not much else. The most interesting song on here was 'Pilar Deconstruction,' the end track, which utilized everything from a turntable, acid trance notes, techno realtime drums, and some death/black vocals. The whole CD, though showcasing a pretty vicious vocalist and a kick ass drummer, doesn't ever peak my interest for more than a few minutes per song. The best part of the CD was when they slowed things down to showcase some Slayer type riffs, there's some vocal samples on a few tracks as well, but it doesn't do much to add anything. I can describe every damn song the same way, they all start out fast as hell, throw in some slowed down guitar riffs that stand alone without any vocals, and then speed right back up again. The musicianship is pretty high quality but the song structures themselves were quite boring. Didn't do much for me at all.
Contact: Candlelight Records, 2 Elgin Avenue, London, W9 3QP, U.K.

PRIMORDIAL "Spirit The Earth Aflame" (Hammerheart Records) SCORE: 66/100

After hearing their EP released a short time ago, I was intrigued enough to want to hear the full length. After doing so, I am left a little disappointed but did hear some stuff I liked. The CD starts off with the title track being more like a spoken word into over music. Intros I usually skip, so we jump into 'Gods To The Godless.' Now I must say that most of his vocal work is singing rather than black metal screams, though the few times you get to hear the blackened vocals they are quite vicious, and give some tracks that extra bite that they so desperately need. 'Gods...' is quite good in fact, it starts out acoustically and like most other tracks on here, is slow paced, something that works against Primordial especially when the vocals have a tendency to sound droney. This is most evident on 'The Soul Must Sleep,' one of the worst tracks on here, though by the end of it the vocals pick up a bit as do the guitar riffs, which also sound rather dreary. 'Children Of The Harvest' brings us some interesting chanting vocals and also some ritualistic guitar pieces, which were nice. The lyrics are quite gruesome at times, reminding me of a battle ready conqueror spinning tales of his conquests. Many of the songs on here however don't have enough bite to keep them interesting for long, like in 'Glorious Dawn.' The vocal work here is quite vicious, mostly black metal vocals here which is a rarity, but the track thins out significantly with basic instrumentation. I wouldn't mind seeing if they progress beyond this album, I know there has been lots of positive reviews but for the most part I can't get into it much.
Contact: Hammerheart Records, P.O. Box 277, 6300 AG, Valkenburg, HOLLAND.
Web site:

PUNY HUMAN "Revenge Is Easy" (Small Stone Records) SCORE: 54/100

If you checked out last month's reviews, this is the group that did 'Raise The Leghorn Bar,' a funny ass tune about some dude in a strip club. Unfortunately, this full length CD doesn't contain any greater tunes, most of the songs here go from really bad to just average. The only other song here that's really cool is 'Jesus Has My Leg,' which is a bit more melodic, but still has that vocal style that's part shouted, part sung. The vocal style gets REALLY bad in parts, especially on 'Way Of The Intercepting Fist,' even the guitar work on that track was bad. Most of the guitar work was pretty interesting, though, the lead work especially had some bite to it, however when it came to the actual song structure there just wasn't much there. The majority of the songs weren't terrible but I didn't feel much towards most of them. The guitar riffs were most noted for their fuzzy tones, going for almost a sludge feel, which was interesting. 'Eating Cigarettes,' 'Stink Of Two Men,' and 'Damone' were examples of songs that some of you may really dig, but I just couldn't get into.
Contact: Small Stone Records, P.O. Box 02007, Detroit, MI 48202 USA
Web site:

RAISE HELL "Not Dead Yet" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 94/100

I have seen countless reviews stating that the lyrics to this thing are rather silly. "Isn't it, isn't it, isn't it the best. Isn't it the best when it is like this." Well, their verbal musings aren't the greatest, but despite that fact, this is a CD I keep coming back to more and more. Why? This thing has killer thrash, bitchin' screaming vocals, and a general 80's heavy & dark thrash vibe written all over it! Besides, the MUSIC is the mode of the day around here anyway. 'Dance With The Devil' starts things off in fine form, and tracks like 'Not Dead Yet,' 'No Puls' and 'Babes' are simply a lesson in kick ass thrash attacks. 'Devilyn' didn't work well for me, though, as it was their "ballad" type. 'Soulcollector' had a lot of instrumentation towards the middle that didn't really enhance the song any, and considering that this one track is 8 minutes long, it could have been shortened. If you long for the screaming vocals, and killer thrashy riffs that don't have to blaze at 100 miles an hour, give this a try. Lyrics aside, it makes for some great headbanging.
Contact: Nuclear Blast America.

RAISON D'ETRE "The Empty Hollow Unfolds" (Cold Meat Industry) SCORE: 82/100

The dark, ambient/industrial master Peter Andersson is back with another full length CD filled with vocal Gregorian style chanting, harsh mechanical sounds, and ambient landscapes of sorrow and beauty. A five track CD, this is one of his better works that I have heard, though I do prefer his side project Atomine Elektrine a bit more. The tracks are a bit difficult to explain in mere words, though he does inject periods of silence within beginnings and endings of songs, for more info on this be sure and read the interview. The first 4 tracks are just fantastic, especially the track 'The Hidden Hallows' with the etherial winds, some mechanical sound effects, and really cool chanting loops. By track 4, the mechanical sounds get louder and harsher, bringing up more of the dark feelings towards the close of the CD. Track 5, 'The Eternal Return And The Infinity Horizon,' is my least favorite track of all, and spans nearly 20 minutes, most of that being long periods of silence and more mechanical sounds than any of the other tracks, less of the ambience, and hard to take for 20 minutes or so. Obviously, this is the darkest track on here, and some of the ambience is lessened than on previous tracks, but it does present a good mindset for darkness and solitude. If Mortiis is described as Dark Dungeon Music for Kings, then Raison D'Etre is, to me, a lonely haunt filled trek through graveyards, cemetaries, and cold abandoned industrial complexes.
Contact: Cold Meat Industry, Villa Eko, 595 41 Mjolby, SWEDEN

SAXON "Metalhead" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 94/100

Okay, I'm pissed! I walk into a Best Buy one day, flipping through CD's, and see this sitting here! Didn't they release "Unleash The Beast" on CMC International not more than a year ago?!? Well, when I saw this, I had to pick it up; I thought with the Steamhammer U.S. office we would get promos for this. First off, I have to say overall it is a MUCH heavier effort than "Unleash The Beast," there's NO ballad types here unless you count the acoustical pieces of the ender 'Sea Of Life,' which has some great emotional singing parts. They do incorporate some of the heaviest, eeriest and darkest thrashy guitar riffs you have EVER heard in a Saxon album, and the reason why this album falls a few points shy of their previous effort is the fact that most of their songs are strong, heavy, and kick ass, but some don't have the catchiness and strong presence that "Unleash..." had. Don't get me wrong though, songs like 'Song Of Evil' and 'Are We Travellers In Time' will hit you square in the face almost immediately and there's a presence hard to ignore, just catch the way Biff does his vocal delivery on some of the darkest parts of 'Song Of Evil,' and you'll be convinced that this is indeed Saxon's heaviest work yet. Their catchy melodies and their ability to mix heavy, dark and thrashy guitar riffs with some of the most memorable singing vocals, combined with choruses that you can be singing all day long, will really make this album stick in your head. The opener song 'Metalhead,' and 'Watching You' were a tad weak compared to other cuts, but believe me, it was money well spent. You can't help but agree, especially if you listen to the sound files we digitized for you.
Contact: Steamhammer, P.O. Box 721147, 30531 Hannover, GERMANY
Web site:

SEA OF GREEN "Northern Lights" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 86/100

"If you like your rock smooth, tight and melodic then Sea Of Green will almost certainly please." This is the cover sticker that is supposed to appeal to, um, actually, what target audience is this message intending to reach? The music presented within is very well done, it has a very mellow stoner's flavor that showcases an alternative sounding vocalist. It makes for a rather unusual combination, especially when you consider not only how catchy the lyrics and choruses of tunes like 'Move The Mountains' and 'Look To The Sky' are, but how hard edged the guitar riffs are and also adding that psychedelic flavor, most noted in the spacey sound effects presented on 'In The Sun.' The only drawback, besides the alternative sound that you should really be able to look past if you're open minded enough, is the extreme ballad sound of the song 'Change With Me,' and some of the chorus lines on 'Time And Space' could have been more energetic. This is a very well done CD for the most part, though some songs could easily get radio play it's all done with a mellow stoner's pattern in mind, and that's what The Music Cartel has been about since the beginning. I really like this, though the lower points come about because of the fact that this is only a 6 song CD, so one song off the mark is bound to bring it down score wise, even though overall this deserves the high 80's mark it got. (Do the math, does a CD this good REALLY deserve a full 20 points off? It makes my job hard, yes it does, and the reason why I NEVER go by a pure mathematical formula).
Contact: The Music Cartel.

SHAPE OF DESPAIR "Shades Of..." (Spikefarm Records) SCORE: 92/100

Man oh man did I eat this up. Slow doomy, funeral dirge like death metal in the vein of Winter and Disembowelment, and you KNOW music like this doesn't come around every day so you eat this up when it shows up at your doorstep. There are subtle differences in this band and the aforementioned two best known bands that played this style of music, that being the inclusion of flutes, female vocals, and passages that aren't always doomy or melancholic. 5 tracks presented here, and they are LONG ones, most hitting well over the ten minute mark, but as with Hacienda, when they are on a groove and rolling along, you don't care HOW long they play! They do vary things up to their credit however, so listen to 'In The Mist' and 'Woundheir,' the two best tracks here and the first two that start the disc. They are also the only two tracks to feature flutes, but all tracks have synthesized passages that melt into the framework. The death metal vocals, as well, sound like a cold, freezing wind that blows eternally, as I said everything fits very well here. 'Shadowed Dreams' is the first track to feature female vocals right alongside the death metal vocals, and they work very well together, however she does sometimes hit a few sour notes, like on 'Down Into The Stream.' 'Shadowed Dreams,' incidentally, could have added a bit more instrumental variations into the mix, but it isn't as long as most of the other tracks. 'Woundheir' does have some low ended "chanting" type vocals, a different style used sparingly on this CD. 57 minutes of solitude and melancholic doom/death, with a bit of melodic passages so it's not all gloom and doom. A masterful release, though 4 of these 5 tracks are pulled from their first demo "Alone In The Mist," which until now was unreleased. The fifth track 'Sylvan-Night,' being new, stays in the same vein as the rest of the songs, so I definitely look forward to their next recorded effort.
Contact: Spikefarm Records, Box 212, 00181 Helsinki, FINLAND
Web site:

SOILWORK "The Chainheart Machine" (Century Media Records) SCORE: 100/100

Well, despite this probably being the last issue we will feature Century Media bands (see the editorial notations section for more details) there is no doubt that C.M. has brought American audiences some of th ebest and brightest stars in the music business. Soilwork has only released their second album, but this is definitely a serious candidate for album of the year. Gothenberg based death metal once again, but with serious guitar harmonies you wouldn't believe, akin to some of the best riffs you grew up with from Judas Priest and Accept; bands of their ilk combined with some of the most vicious vocal delivery you are likely to ever hear, especially those ear ripping screams on a tune like 'Millionflame' and 'Generation Speedkill.' Even the lengthy 'Room No. 99' with its slower pace keeps your interest while still being vicious and melodic at the same time. I know I really dig a lot of this Gothenberg stuff, but these guys are definitely one of the best. More words need not be said, for along with hints at commercial acceptance, I believe this is the type of bands we need to introduce to those who still (blindly) follow Metallica, or those who think Korn/Biskit represent the hardest that metal has to offer without the overtired cliches metal sometimes represents to the masses. Intelligent AND heavy. You WILL check this out.
Contact: Century Media Records.

SONS OF OTIS "Spacejumbofudge" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 97/100

I've noticed that the further back you go into a band's history, the heavier they become. Case in point: Candlemass' "Nightfall," the better known album, was heavy. VERY heavy. Metal Blade's debut for the Swedish doom gods. However, the lesser known (and digitized in the classic albums section) "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus," not only featured a different vocalist from the well known Messiah, but also featured the heaviest slice of doom candlemass ever came up with. ANYWAY, bands like Testament and Metal Church have proven that debut albums are usually the best, and this stunning debut album from Canada's own proves once again that debut albums are a thing of beauty. As much as I liked "Templeball," however, I was not prepared for just how much sonic destruction this album packs! Only 7 songs here this time, and songs are noticeably shorter timewise. Tracks like 'The Truth,' 'Clowns' and 'Anti-Nauseant' make me think I should have given "Templeball" a few lower points than I did! That being said, there were a few downers (aren't there always these days?) 'Big Muff,' while being a nice darker ambient styled tune, mainly showcasing the vastness of space, is ten minutes long! The guitars and drums don't kick in until about 9 minutes in, so unless you're looking for a long spaced out ambient track you may miss this. I still find it enjoyable at times, but not for 10 minutes! 'Theme,' incidentally, runs an air raid siren to start this track off, and does so continually for roughly a minute and a half! Minor points really, especially considering this band is one of very few that uses echo effects on the vocals almost exclusively, adding an even heavier vibe to the dark cold nether regions of space feel each track carries. Sonic destruction, carried to you at half the speed, well, with the exception of 'Sidebar,' I must say that's the fastest song I've heard yet from Sons Of Otis! We'll be running an interview with them very soon you can be rest assured. Highly recommended, as there's really nothing else like this out there.
Contact: Man's Ruin Records.

THE CROWN "Deathrace King" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 71/100

Okay, I can recognize the kick ass fury that this band presents. I have listened to this CD many times all the way through, and only a few songs really grab me. I don't know why, I have come to think maybe it's their insistence that EVERY song be a speed fest. I mean, damn near every song, you can expect speed, speed, speed. The vocal work is vicious, the guitar riffs do have some melody in them, hell, they even have some catchy chorus work going on tunes like 'Back From The Grave,' and 'Rebel Angel,' but I really only dig a few songs all the way through. Like 'Vengeance,' with it's skullcrushing power, I've worn out my vocal chords on the death screams quite a few times. These guys are obviously having fun with this unique brand of speed racer meets death rock, but I think they insist on the speed too much. Note that it did get close to a 75, which in my eyes would be a keeper. 'Dead Man's Song' was quite cool as well, especially the story line and the events that unfold. I have found some of the choruses sticking in my head from time to time, and they were great live. Maybe it's just me, I dunno. My brain still tries to figure out why I can't reach for this more often.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.

THE GATHERING "If_Then_Else" (Century Media) SCORE: 98/100

I must say, after their last disappointing double CD set "How To Measure A Planet," this is a complete 180! A very mellow and beautiful disc, Anneke's vcoals have never sounded better. The track 'Herbal Movement' shows us that maybe some herbal remedies were partaken to get the sound and style presented in this 11 song offering. The only drawback here was the song 'Shot To Pieces,' it's faster and heavier in scope and seems a tad out of sync with Anneke's vocal delivery. However, beautiful and seductive as songs like 'Amity,' 'Bad Movie Scene' and 'Analog Park' are, the guitars sound really fuzzy, reminiscent of what bands like Sons Of Otis, Sleep, and the like might do to their guitars. These heavier styled guitars aren't used EVERYWHERE, but when they are utilized, especially on a serene track like 'Analog Park,' it seems to fit, throwing a bit of heaviness into the mix. There's two instrumentals that I enjoyed; one, 'Pathfinder' has a rather oldies feel to it, as if it were constructed by classical composers of old, the other 'Beautiful War' had nice trumpet synth arrangements. 'Morphia's Waltz' was very interesting as well, a gothic waltz sound to start the synths out, breaking down into the beautiful and enchanting vocal/instrumentation style that we all knew The Gathering could do well. What a release, I can't find hardly anything to complain about save that mentioned above, and yet another relaxing stoner's platter, that has some doom metal heaviness thrown in for good measure.
Contact: Century Media Records.

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Electropolis Volume 2" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 93/100

I must apologize first of all. Metropolis has put us on their distribution list once again, though Mike Mahan is no longer doing publicity for them. There are quite a number of great tracks on this compilation, and all of them either unreleased or exclusive remixes to be found only on here. Most famous track on here would be Front 242's 'Headhunter,' and a surprisingly well done, innovative remix by Cold Meat Industry's darkwave pioneers Aghast View! It was very interesting to hear, still vicious with even darker electronics than the original! Apoptygma Berzerk's 'Near,' a track that I assume was on one of their older albums since it's not on "Apopcalyptic Manifesto," "7" or the latest release, starts out with old school dark electronics but where Apop really shines is with their singing vocals. This one is great. Funker Vogt does 'Martians On The Moon,' and this is a bit unlike any of their previous works, as all the electronic instrumentation is rather spacey acid/trance notations! The surprise hit for me was Diary Of Dreams 'Now This Is Human,' which is a great gothic piece made for the floor, as was Ikon's 'Triumph Of My Will,' and this track sounds a bit different from the usual Ikon fare, more beat structured and made for club play. Lots of selections here would be awesome additions to any DJ playlist. Okay, there were a few bad apples, Kevorkian Death Cycle's vocal style got annoying, and I have never been a fan of Crocodile Shop, their electronics leave a lot to be desired. Wumpscut and Front Line Assembly offer remixes of each other's tracks, which reminds me of the remix wars, however the Wumpscut remix of the F.L.A. track 'Masterslave' was astounding in the way it brought some very atmospheric synths to an otherwise harsh track. Numb was in usual brutal form, though the electronics sometimes wear thin, especially due to the lack of vocal work, which makes ANY Numb instrumentation stand out; man that guy can yell! Only Drown has a better screaming vocalist. Anyway, club owners will find this a MUST HAVE, everyone else will definitely find LOTS to listen to even in their cars or at home, and this is the best apology I can think of to Metropolis. Thanks again guys, now industrial music will be prominently featured here at Vibrations of Doom once again.
Contact: Metropolis Records.

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Metal For Muthas Volume 1" (Sanctuary Records) SCORE: 71/100

Available to U.S. fans is a collection of some of the rarer gems of the NWOBHM movement (That's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal for those of you who don't read my 'zine on a regular basis. Shame on you!) and EMI is the American giant who is distributing this. Part of a 2 volume set, there are quite a few reasons why this doesn't rate a 75 or better score, and that has to do with track selection. The best tracks on here, Iron Maiden's 'Sanctuary,' Sledgehammer's 'Sledgehammer,' and Praying Mantis' 'Captured City' were all featured on the NWOBHM compilation put out by Metal Blade Records at Lars Ulrich's request. (Though the Praying Mantis track was only included on the second CD which was a CD only bonus). I question also quite heavily Toad The Wet Sprocket. First off, the blues based rock was VERY out of place on a compilation touting the virtues of heavy metal's roots, secondly the song sucks, and third isn't there a Toad Sprocket that hit the radio not too many years ago? Same band or different? Iron Maiden has the luck of havign two tracks here, though their 'Wrathchild' track I didn't care much for, and the Angelwitch track 'Baphomet' was a poor choice though not terrible. I did feel they could have picked a better Angel Witch song, and for that matter a better Samson song, who gets represented by their 'Tomorrow Or Yesterday' tune that features piano notations and a near ballad piece. There were some surprises here in store though, like a band called Ethel The Frog that sounds VERY British in vocal attention, and a band called Nutz? Are these guys making this stuff up or are these bands a real, integral part of NWOBHM history? The E.F. Band did a pretty fast rocked out song entitled 'Fighting For Rock And Roll,' which was interesting, and Nutz had some heaviness to them for their song 'Bootliggers.' (What the hell is that anyway?) There's some interesting stuff here, but if you have the NWOBHM comp. Metal Blade put out I don't really see a reason to own this, however curiosity may get the better of you.
Contact: Sanctuary Records, 45-53 Sinclair Rd. London W14 0NS, ENGLAND
Web site:

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Neat Metal" (Neat Metal) SCORE: 80/100

Everyone should be familiar with Neat Metal. They brought out some of the best NWOBHM bands and this compilation shows what those heavyweights are doing now. First off Cronos, who did some solos stuff outside of Venom, though I question why they included "1,000 Days In Sodom" since it is one of the most easily recognized Venom songs. His other offering 'Fantasia' is quite vicious in it's own right, he does a harsher singing style that what is presented on the latest Venom disc. The two Savage tracks, 'How' and 'Let It Loose' are easily the best tracks on here, great singing style, and kick ass instrumentation, but Blitzkrieg is right behind them with their offerings 'Unholy Trinity' and 'Hair Trigger,' the former song being an ode to Jack The Ripper. Cheer Accident is the worst band on here, and I really mean horrible! The instrumentation is dull, especially the first two minutes of the instrumentation on 'Fat Dog.' I question their inclusion on this, but these 4 bands were Neat Metal's first 4 album releases, and this comp. shows 2 tracks from each band. A 1995 CD sampler, but it's all they sent me when I asked them for promotional CD's. Hopefully we can get more recent material from them, I know the Savage and Blitzkrieg tracks alone are worth the price of admission for this. Everyone should remember Blitzkrieg, as Metallica did a cover of theirs for Garage Days.
Contact: Neat Metal, 71 High Street East, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear NE28 7RJ England

VENOM "Resurrection" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 98/100

Despite not getting a full 100, this CD so far has candidate for best album of the year written all over it! The CD starts off heavy enough and damn near never lets go! For those who think that keyboards have no place in black metal, let Venom's 'War Against Christ' show you how dark, evil synth music should be used! They defined the genre, and they prove once again that they can further define this style of music, despite the fact there's no screeching black vocals. 'Pandemonium' shows Cronos doing a good heavy singing job, those choruses are really cool! There's so many favorites I don't really know where to start or end. 'Firelight' has a cool keyboard intro, almost technoish but it throws you off when they start ripping shit up with some hellacious guitar riffery. Some songs are simplistically arranged, but there's more room for brutality and kick ass guitar work and vocals. Listen to Cronos even do some low growling in spots, just to add effect. 'Black Flame Of Satan' was especially vicious, especially on the chorus lines. The only weak spot on this CD was the song 'All There Is Fear,' the chorus lines were sung and not very well, they were rather weak. Many of your choruses on some other songs were very simple as well; if you know the name of the song you know how the chorus goes, but like I stated before, simplicity gives way to the overall vibe of the song, which is dominantly heavy. If you like the faster speed type of tunes, you'll really dig 'Control Freak' and 'Pain.' Cronos just radiates bad ass throughout, and though original drummer Abbaddon is gone, you won't miss him much. This has to be considered one of their best albums yet!
Contact: Steamhammer

VINTERSORG "Odemarkens Son" (Napalm Records) SCORE: 93/100

This is a pretty cool CD. It features some black metal instrumentation with I assume Norweigan or Finnish singing vocals in two different styles. It's very well done, there are even some black metal vocals used on a few tunes like 'Under Norrskenets Fallande Ljusspel,' and 'Odemarkens Son.' The black vocals, while quite harsh, are not overused, there are even female vocals as well. It's nice to have so much variety vocal wise, this carries over into the instrumentation as well. There's one instrumental, 'Trollbunden' which was VERY well done; it reminded me quite a bit of Tenhi's style of playing, utilizing pianos and nice synths, and I sincerely hope that these guys plan on doing a side project with just this type of music! The ending track 'Pa Landet' had some nice flutes to start the track out, however there are a few problems I found. The lower end styled singing vocals clashed with the instrumentation on a few songs, but didn't totally ruin the songs, as I said there are at least 3 styles of vocals on nearly every track. This was noted on 'Pa Landet' and 'Svaltvinter.' Some people might have a slight problem with the different language they sing in, some of the pronunciations of certain words was a little harsh, but there's a lot going on musically; some tracks like the title track and 'Offerbacken' are based around speedier instrumentation and black metal vocals, other like 'I Den Trolska Dalens Ujarta' are based around melodic acoustical riffs, there's a lot going on and it makes for a very interesting release that you won't quickly grow tired of. I've listened to it all the way through 5 or 6 times now and there's still a lot to explore.
Contact: Napalm Records, P.O. Box 382, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA
Web site:


AGALLOCH. Interview with John Haughm via email.

Despite what many people think of Agalloch and the style of music they play, John has some rather unique takes on the whole black metal scene: "I don't really give a damn as to what most of the black metal ''purists'' think as many of them are most likely 15 year old newcomers that discovered Burzum in 1996 and thus think they are somebody special. These people who say keyboards don't belong in black metal are probably the same people who adore old Emperor or who say Nocturnus' ''The Key'' is a cult classic. I just don't put much stock in what these people think or say, they're close minded idiots." I am sure a lot of this talk has come about due to people's insistence that black metal should have no keyboard interaction, a statement I strongly disagree with. Agalloch of course has atmospheric synthesizers interlaid through every song, though in this case it creates a chilling winter ambience, which if anyone has ever seen a winter landscape for themselves, they will know it can also be quite breathtaking. Despite John's obvious disdain for the closemindedness that the black metal scene has to offer in spades, he does shed some insight into the good aspects of the scene: "I'd say that Agalloch relates more to black metal bands like In The Woods, old Katatonia, old school Ulver, stuff like that, but as for my personal black metal diet, I really dig bands like old Darkthrone, Taake, DornenReich, old Abigor, Master's Hammer, Bathory, Dissection, Arcturus, Root, and so on. Plus of course the bands I mentioned above." Due to the incredibly mellow vibes that Agalloch puts out, very relaxing, very ambient in places, I wondered if any of their sounds were derived from any stoner rock bands or the psychedelic/space rock genre. "Stoner's black metal" is the term I have used to describe Agalloch's sound, and John assures me that some of his influences definitely run outside the black metal genre: "My musical diet is quite diverse and I actually listen to more non metal stuff, to be honest. I think Hawkwind's ''Space Bandits'' album is remarkable. I'm a big Voivod fan. I also enjoy some older psychedelia like Pink Floyd, The Doors and the experimental Beatles stuff. I'm not much of a fan of 'stoner rock' as you call it, it just doesn't intereste me very much."

I wanted to talk a bit about the last album they released, entitled "Pale Folklore," and some of the influences surrouding it. Unlike most interviews where I usually mention what I'm interested in asking and they just answer the questions, I also had a chance to meet with John personally, as he came to my store one night and we conversed about a variety of things, both related and non-Agalloch related. So I'll let him talk about the recording of the album, the special effects and sounds used on the album, and his brief take on his lyrics: "I write all the lyrics and they are quite personal. I really don't like talking about them to any great degree unless I'm asked about specific details." Interrupting a minute, I wanted to at least get perspective on one song, and that would be 'Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony,' which to me seems to have a rather bleak view of life itself from the lyrical standpoint, while the instrumentation seems to be a little bit more uplifting, so he indulges me on this at least before continuing on: "You are somewhat correct about 'Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony,' which is sort of a view of the mental hallways of someone who has pretty much given up on life. As for the sounds on the album, the wind and wolves were created with synths and a sampler. The wolf sounds were from samples of actual wolves on a CD, set on a loop. The photos in the booklet were taken on the way to Mount Hood just outside the city I call home, which is Portland, Oregon. A couple of the band photos (those of myself and Anderson) were taken inside the Timberline Lodge, most noted for being the hotel pictured on the movie ''The Shining,'' on Mount Hood. The picture of Breyer was taken near his parent's house in West Yellowstone, Montana. And as for our lineup," which I'm glad John mentioned since the booklet didn't say which members did what on the CD, "I perform electric, clean tone, and acoustic guitars, vocals, and session drums, Anderson does electric and classical guitars and also piano, J. William W. does bass and backing vocals and Breyer does synths and piano."

Agalloch has been rather quiet since the release of their CD and the flood of great press that has surrounded them since day one. I asked what they had been up to at this point, and to explain their live situation if there ever was to be one. For those not in the know, they did get invited to play a major festival, which John will now relate the story of to you: "We have received a few invitations to play live but we don't have a favorable drummer situation at the moment. Maybe someday we will play live and maybe not, only time will tell. Our relationship with The End Records was rather accidental, I didn't really have any interest in being on the label but Anderson sent them our 1998 promo anyway. As it turned out, they offered us the best deal so we took it. They offered us a slot at the Milwaulkee Metalfest and also some other festival in California if we could find a drummer. However, we aren't really interested in traveling halfway across the continent to play for 15 minutes in front of a bunch of drunken assholes." So despite their inability to make a live performance, they are at least keeping busy, and we'll end this interview with a bit of press history and their other interview with another local Atlanta area magazine, one which has received tons of both good and bad press, Lamentations Of The Flame Princess. Jim Raggi is, by the way, a good friend of mine, at least I'd like to think so, despite his oddities which all of seem to have in some areas. "Since the release of ''Pale Folklore'' we have been vacationing, working, going to school and doing other musical and non-musical projects. At the moment there is a plan for a MCD to be released before the end of the year. It will contain mostly unreleased 7 inch EP material from 1998 but we will include a couple of surprises as well. The press has been surprisingly great. I was happy to see a more or less positive review in Moondance, which is my favorite magazine. We have received very positive feedback in many of the larger publications as well as webzines and smaller fanzines. As for Lamentations Of The Flame Princess,his dedication to the cause can be considered admirable, I suppose. I personally could never do it, especially with the metal scene, but he does seem to be a bit misguided and closed when it comes to a lot of non metal stuff and ignorant when it comes to the older metal bands. He does admit to this, though, so I can't be too hard on him. I still do NOT like the interview he did with us last year but what can I do? It's in the past and I seem to be one of a minority who hates it anyway. I met him a few days ago, actually, he's a decent fellow, I don't hate him." On that note, one final thing I wanted to mention that I hope John will take the time to read. When I did the interview I sent the questions out a few days before he came to the store to visit with me. In the interview I mentioned that the only thing that dropped his album by a few points, and thereby keeping it from reaching a full 100, were the female vocals on the first "track," track being in quotes since the first song spans tracks 1, 2 and 3 on the actual CD. It wasn't meant as a hateful point, the female vocals weren't intolerable, they just didn't fit the mood of the music that was being played at a slower pace. In the interview he states, "Well, whatever. We are all happy with the female vocalist, she gave us the performance that we wanted and that's all that really matters." However, when I met him in the store, I also got to talk to his girlfriend, and when she heard me make that same statement, she said, "See?" She obviously had mentioned this to John as well, however I do realize that in that area I seemed to be in the minority. Varying opinions and differences in style and taste are what allows us to do our jobs efficiently, but it does suck sometimes to be in a very small minority group.

BESEECH. Interview with Mikael via email.

I noticed you are no longer on Metal Blade records for this new album, what prompted the change to Pavement? Do you feel, as I do at times, that Metal Blade has too many bands and cannot pay special attention to many of them?

There were different variables involved, first off it felt like they didn't help us out much. We felt like we were in the shadow of bigger bands they have and it was hard to get in touch with them. They didn't get us on tour which is one of the most important things with this kind of music, to promote us and reach new people. After that went down our singer quit us for a time, and the band almost split up, it was a hard period for us. He's back with us now however. Nothing really went positively and the album didn't do as well as they had hoped maybe. Maybe it was that Metal Blade couldn't handle this kind of music . We started wondering why they put our album next to Cannibal Corpse when they did the advertising, it seemed rather strange to us. If everything had turned out well, a German label called We Bite should have released "From A Bleeding Heart" in 1995.

So how did the deal with Pavement come about, and what sort of contract are you under with them?

A person from Metal Blade began to work for Pavement and he helped us out with the contract. Pavement liked our new styel very much! We don't have anything personal against the people at Metal Blade records however. It felt very good to be on Pavement, as they are a smaller label that seems to care more about all their bands. The contract is a 4 album deal.

This new record is quite different from your last release, in that it seems more aggressive and in your face, while still retaining the romantic and gothic styled melodies that were so dominant in "From A Bleeding Heart." Will a change in style and sound accompany each new release? Also, of the two albums which do you like better, and do you think this new record will appeal to people more than your last release?

I think that with "Black Emotions" we have made a great step in our evolution, especially as musicians and as composers. We experimented alot and at the same time knew more about what we really wanted. Our first record was more atmospheric doom/death styled, while "Black Emotions" is a harder edged gothic metal album with some electronic and ambient elements, and it feels more complete and the best record so far. We are definitely more focused in what we want and I suppose we are still growing as musicians. You can never predict how the next record is going to be, as we write what we feel is good for the moment. For this album we have written songs with more simplistic, catchy melodies that we felt could be even better if we combined gothic metal with an electronic sound and sound effects, so therefore we recorded the album with computers.

I noticed that many elements from the first record are either not present or not as dominant, like the female vocals, synthesized string sounds, and acoustic passages.

On the first album we wanted to create something symphonic, therefore we decided to use only real classical instruments like a violin, cello, piano and flutes to get the right atmosphere for this album. Though we used the same studio (Studio Mega) and producer (Christian Silver), this time you can hear a completely different sound. A guy like Christian with his experience has been a great help for the band in the studio. We are using female vocals and keyboards in a different way. Our female vocalist is Lotta Hoglin. Maybe it has something to do with me since I didn't play in the band when they recorded "From A Bleeding Heart." In this album we use less acoustics than we did previously.

What drives your lyrics these days? Your lyrical topics seem a tad different this time, though I must admit 'Velvet Erotica' was a pretty cool song, especially where the lyrics are concerned.

Jorgen and Klas writes all the lyrics in the band. You could say that their lyrics have some of the feeling of the romantic 18th century, when the artists wanted to escape from their reality. The lyrics are not about the 18th century as an episode to how life was at that time, but rather at the time that these kinds of thoughts started to appear in literature. They are neither religious or political however. The stories for the lyrics are based on Klas & Jorgens' fantasies and thoughts.

With all the metal bands, even harsher styled death and black metal bands utilizing synthesizers and gothic sounds, female vocals and the like, do you ever feel like these styles are becoming overworked within the framework of metal? I realize you guys are more on track with these influences as they add a whole other dimension to the music while helping to convey the images and ideas your songs touch upon.

Because I play keyboards myself, of course they cannot be overused. Sometimes however some kinds of music use the keyboards way too much. Just because everyone is using it doesn't make it good, however with some types of music it fits right in. Concerning black metal, this music deals with a lot of evil feelings which can be more powerful if you add strings or other effects. It may add an otherworldly presence.

Coming from Sweden, it must be difficult to play a style of music that seems to go a bit contrary to what normally is being produced in your country, IE death and black metal. Has the press seen your accomplishments as being different and standing out from the rest? Also, is the Swedish government still tolerant towards metal musicians and bands as I have been told by other Swedish bands in the past? I know Sweden has at times brought out other bands that play different style of music, like Darxtar, The Flower Kings and The Satellite Circle.

There is very little gothic styled music present in Sweden, but we don't see this as a negative, on the contrary it is a positive thing for us. Who wants to create music like everyone else? The press doesn't describe our music as a "stand out." There are so many different musci styles and a lot of good bands doing their thing so I guess we get treated the same. We have here in Sweden a good opportunity to play music through different educational associations. I think that Sweden in general has a good welfair, and not to forget there is a great interest of our music all over the land. The music industry has grown so large for a small country so of course there is great support for our activities. If you compare Sweden with poorer countries you could see that they live under much harder circumstances, maybe that's a factor in making good music. I'm not familiar with the groups you mentioned, but there are so many good bands it's impossible to hear them all. The press overall has had many different opinions about our new album, many comparisons have been made to bands like Theater Of Tragedy, Tiamat, Sentenced, Paradise Lost, and My Dying Bride, just to make some examples. The press oftentimes compares bands to each other, I don't know if that's good or bad or just being lazy!

Finally, as we wrap this up, tell us what's next on the horizon for Beseech? Any upcoming plans for a new album, maybe some song topics or ideas you're kicking around?

We are making a music video right now for the song 'Manmade Dreams.' Some movie companies have shown interest in having some music from our new album "Black Emotions" featured in a movie. Right now we are very close to signing a deal with a B-horror/sci-fi company. The deal will hopefully be signed when you read this. For more info about the film visit our homepage at
We are constantly working on new songs for the next album and hopefully we will start recording our next album some time earlier than the last one. The last album took way too long because of some problems with bandmembers and record label changes, so "From A Bleeding Heart" was meant to be released in 1995.

CHURCH OF MISERY. Interview with Tatsu Mikami via email.

Dubbed the Macabre of doom metal, Japanese murder masters are practicing a rather unique style of doom metal, and are one of very few bands in Japan to worship at the altar of Black Sabbath. After being totally blown away by their two appearances on split CD's here in the States, it is truly an honor to speak with the people responsible for slaying the masses with intense doom metal the likes of which have yet to be duplicated. Without further ado...

First of all, I must ask why the majority of your releases so far have been limited to split CD and compilation appearances? This seems to be a common practice amongst labels like Man's Ruin and Game Two.

I am not sure, you must ask the labels! I think split CD's are better for the fans of each band, it's a good chance to spread our own name to people who don't know about us.

It has been mentioned in a few interviews that I have read you are huge Black Sabbath fans. Are you more a fan of the Ozzy era or Ronnie James Dio fronted version? Tell us about some of your favorite Sabbath songs and albums.

Of course, we are ALL into the early Sabbath in the days of Ozzy. Personally, I love every song from Sabbath's first three albums. By the way, I really hate all trendy bands who play Sabbath songs easily. The "Nativity In Black" compilation is really shitty! (I hope he's referring to the second tribute album with some of the more trendier names in "metal." - Ed.) We never play Sabbath songs because Sabbath is really "sanctuary" to us, a holy area. (I assume he means Sacred. - Ed again).

The most unique thing about your band is the lyrical devotions to serial killers ot people that have performed some diabolical deeds. How do you come to choose who you will write songs about; is there any special process for writing a song based on these people?

It's just a personal interest. I'm a great fan of early 80's U.K. Noise artists like Whitehouse. Ramleh, etc. Most of them are writing songs about serial killers. I was really shocked by their violent images. After that, I checked out a Serial Killers book and video documentary, which I got an ultimate impact from, and that's why I write these lyrics.

With your interest in American killers and criminals, are there any Japanese murders or diabolical acts in your country that have captured your attention?

Now Japanese crimes grow more serious year by year. There was a most terrible murder case in 1998, there was a severed head of a little boy in front of a junior high school's gate with a message card in his mouth. The arrested culprit was a little guy, he was only 14 years old! This case gave us a heavy shock!

You guys are one of the only doom metal bands I know of that write exclusively about serial killers. The only other band I know of that has a distinct devotion to mass murderers and criminals is Macabre, even though they are mostly death metal. Are you familiar with them at all, and what do you think of them?

Though their music is not similar to our style, I really love those guys! We're the doom version of Macabre I think. Besides some Noise artists, they deeply influenced me in their lyrics. Their "Sinister Slaughter" album is perfect; lyrics, music, covert artwork, everything is perfect! They call themselves "murder metal," which I think is pretty cool!

I'm not sure if there are any other doom bands in Japan. I do know there are Japanese bands getting some attention here like Yellow Machinegun, Hellchild and the like through Howling Bull America here. Tell us also about the Japanese metal scene, I know that Japanese fans are very dedicated to the bands in the underground and though many of those same bands miss touring in my area, there's usually at least one Japanese tour planned for these bands.

First of all, I really would like to say there's no doom scene in Japan because there's only two bands here who play doom, us and Eternal Elysium. So that means we have to play shows with various kinds of music like hardcore, sludge, death metal, etc. Last month we played with Hellchild here, but I'm not really interested in them much. Yellow Machinegun is a major label band here in Japan. We believe in the power of the underground only, I hate the corporate attitudes of many record labels.

Tell us about any tours you have played, have any shows been done outside of Japan? Also, give us a little info on your next upcoming full length release. Hopefully a U.S. record label that releases it will give you a chance to tour the States.

Our full length album "Master Of Brutality" will be out in November on Southern Lord Records. It was produced by a Goatsnake member. We don't play shows out of Japan yet, though we get tons of mail and people say, "Why don't you play out of Japan, you must come here!" etc. If possible, we do want to do some U.S. shows next year. Personally, I played in the U.K. in 1993 when I was in a Japanese thrash band called Salem. We played 8 shows in 8 places at that time, we stayed at James' flat (guitarist for the deathmetal band Decomposed), though now he is in the band Hangnail! (A band signed to Rise Above that wasn't too impressive - Ed.) At that time with Salem we played shows with Acrimony.

I had a hard time finding information on Church Of Misery for awhile, but was wondering how you guys view the internet and if you have been getting lots of good press.

Now we have received a lot of press interest. Have you got the newest Metal Hammer? In their "Stoner Special," besides Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Fu Manchu, Kyuss, etc. we featured in "17 recommended stoner bands," which is really cool! Also, our "Taste The Pain" CD got 4K's in Kerrang!

After hearing about you being into Noise bands, are you into any other styles of music like gothic, industrial, techno, punk, hardcore and the like? Also, do you feel that too many bands coming out these days are trying to copy and develop a retro 60's and 70's sound, or are they taking these sounds and styles from older eras and giving them a new twist?

I have been listening to many kinds of music from other bands. I really love 80's harsh noise/power electronics like Whitehouse, Jugend Sutcliffe, Ramleh, and those mentioned above, it's really violent music, perfect background music for real murderers! I'm also into 80's alternative like The Swans, Big Black, and Pussy Galore. Also, I dig techno music, especially trance techno and gabber! Always I have an open mind for every type of music. Of course, I really hate "Imitation bands" who are just clones. I do hate trends and corporate based music.

IRON ANGEL. Interview with Mike Matthes via email.

After many, MANY long years, one of the first metal bands I ever drooled over has reformed and regrouped. For those who have sent me CONSTANT emails regarding one of the finest and little known thrash gems in all of the 80's German metal scene, both Iron Angel albums have been reissued, and I recently got the honor of talking to one of the founding members of the band.

First of all, I was curious how King Fowley of Old Metal Records came to contact you guys and re-release your first two records? Also, why wasn't a lyric sheet printed up for the re-release?

King Fowley called me up after seeing an interview I did in the German magazine "That's Metal," and asked me if he could re-release both "Hellish Crossfire" and "Winds Of War" in the U.S. Neither album had lyrics attatched, for the reason being we can't find them anywhere! If I find them I will dispatch them to you via email, we kinda need them to play the old songs live!

Out of the two albums you released, I definitely like "Hellish Crossfire" MUCH better, though I must admit that several songs on "Winds Of War" had great instrumentation. Which of the two is your favorite, and what will your upcoming release "The Rebirth" be more in the style of?

I like both actually, the problem with "Winds Of War" is the mix on that album is too soft, and the sound is rather different than "Hellish Crossfire." Our new release "The Rebirth" will, I'm happy to tell you, sound more like our first album. We are working on it right now and it will contain seven songs plus an intro. We are planning on publishing the CD ourselves, and we have our own record label called MPD-net Records, which has a web address ("). I will be sitting at the controls and you can be assured that our new disc WILL sound like "Hellish Crossfire."

Though some of the lyrics are hard to make out, there were quite a few anthemic songs, from 'The Metallian' and 'Hunter In Chains' all the way up to the last record with 'Born To Rock,' and it seemed like you guys had obvious pride in heavy metal music all throughout your existence. Lyrically also it seemed like your topics dealt with a musical war going on, also some epic battles fighting evil were described as well, can you shed any light on this, and also how do you feel about the resurgence of thrash and your reformation?

First off, your lyrical descriptions are correct, the "Hellish Crossfire" album concerns the texts of all the conflicts against good and evil. On "Winds Of War" the lyrics are a bit different, there are also lyrical texts in this direction, In addition, we explored other topics, like the song 'Fight For Your Life' concerning the advance of technology and machines as you might have seen in the movie "The Terminator." Today we seem to have the opinion that different styles don't differentiate between the 'quiet' directions of heavy metal and the heavier styles, we wrote both as well; we were praised for being able to be a thrash metal band that writes songs like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even AC/DC. Today I see it as good, for bands appearing in magazines like Hit Parader have that distorted guitar sound which makes them sound much heavier. At the time that "Winds Of War" came out, many fans didn't like the song 'Born To Rock,' because their opinion was that speed metal bands make only speed metal, not anthemic type rock. Today different is good.

I always found Dirk's vocals to be one of the most unique in the genre of 80's bands. It was very cool to hear him dip into a low range while still being able to belt out some lengthy highs. I'm curious as to how the press was for you back in the days, as I have been able to find very little information at all concerning the band on the internet or in magazines,

Dirk will be singing like on the first two albums. Some magazines did not like his style of voice, they wanted to hear him sing like "Tom of Slayer." I will be placing some transcripts from press on our internet pages, the starting page is ready, which you can access at:

Tell us about your recording deal with Steamhammer Records? Over here in the States, the album was released through Combat, and they did a ton of work with 80's metal bands, it was what they specialized in. Also, I am interested in the bonus tracks that grace the "Winds Of War" CD, from what show that was, who you pkayed it with and whether you have ever toured outside of Germany.

With Steamhammer we were not so content at the time, since we never got an account of our album sales. Likewise, this happened with Combat as well. I do not like the way the companies operate today and worry about their bands, things were rather bad for us back then. The live tracks are taken from a festival we played in Germany with Helloween, and we have played a few shows outside of Germany in the past.

Most people, myself included, are very curious as to why Iron Angel disbanded and what took you so long to reform. Also, what were some of the band members doing during the split?

We dissolved in 1986 due to musical and also personal differences. After the reunion three former members came together, myself on drums, Peter Wittke on Guitar and of course Dirk Schroeder on vocals. Today we have a new guitarist, his name is Guenter and our new bassist is Marcus. After Iron Angel broke up I played in many bands, I did drums on some demos, and some CD productions. With Ritchie Blackmore, J.R. Blackmore was his name, I recorded a CD with his band Superstition, which was never released, but a Live CD and live video will be released on MPD-Net-Records soon. Dirk and Peter have also talked about us doing a live CD and video for our band as well.

"Hellish Crossfire" was recorded with one Horst Mueller, who I am rather unfamiliar with. Why and how did you come to work with him, what was the whole studio/writing experience like and has he done work with any other bands? I also remember seeing the album was recorded in Berlin.

The work with Horst was super and taught us that studio work is very difficult. I don't know which bands Horst still works with, but I believe he also worked with Sodom and Destruction.

As we close this out, I wanted to thank Mike for bringing the band back together, although with only three original members, and asked him if he had heard the soundfiles I put together for their first album, and he closes out with these comments:

I don't know the address of your homepage yet, but I find it to be great if the fans can hear the music on the internet, though the MP3's can harm the bands as well. When we reformed we would have never counted on so good a response. We hope to close the gap between years with the new album, thanks to all those who held our loyalty over the years and still believe in us.

RAISON D'ETRE. Interview with Peter Andersson via email.

This was a very insightful interview with one of Cold Meat Industry's biggest and most cult underground groups. Due to the topical nature of some of the questions, plus the desire to not loose you in the length of this interview, I have kept it in question, answer format. Hope you enjoy!

The first thing people will notice when listening to your music, whether it's the latest Raison D'etre release or your other side projects, is that the music doesn't fall into definite categories, there may be elements of ambient, noise, techno, electronic sounds, industrial, and what not. This does come with the realization that the two groups I have heard from you, Atomine Elektrine and Raison D'etre, have differences about them that are easy to distinguish.

Atomine Elektrine and Raison D'etre are totally different when it comes to how they sound. I would call Atomine Elektrine space ambient electronic chill out music, and Raison D'Etre is more like dark ambient music. The only common trait amongst the two is the ambient sounds, but the ambience is totally different. I am not really interested in making categories for my music, but people who are listening to my music might want to have descriptions when they describe my music for the local record shop or for their friends. Journalists may have problems if the music is not categorized, and many seem not to be able to live without categories, it's deeply anchored in our way of living, and when someone makes crossover styles of music no one seems to know where to put it.

One common trait I have noticed that crops up in both projects (for the most part when we refer to the music created by Peter we will be talking about Raison D'Etre mainly and Atomine Elektrine as well) is the placement of many seconds of silence either at the beginning or ending of some tracks. Do the silent pieces help prepare the listener for a change in atmosphere, or in the case of Atomine a reminder that even in outer space, as in life, there are moments of tranquil calm followed by periods of severe energetical discharge which can be violent, serene or just plain neutral?

The more silent pieces are places for respiration and suggestion before or after a new journey, so I suppose you got it right. I feel this is a natural way, our life consists of both silent and energetical moments, though it seems that for every new album I make the silent and energetical elements are becoming more extreme.

There are chanting type vocals presented quite a bit in the history of Raison D'Etre works, and I was also a bit surprised to hear some simpler chanting styles done with Atomine Elektrine. With Raison D'Etre especially I would love to in the future hear more of that kind of thing, especially the way it was done on the track for Cold Meat's "And Even Wolves Hid Their Teeth" sampler CD. Is the chanting style something you're a big fan of? How are the chanting pieces done, are they synth oriented or is there human interaction?

Occasionally it would be nice to listen to Gregorian chants, but it tends to be too much after awhile. When I use these elements in Raison D'Etre, I sample the interesting parts of a choir CD, process them and sometimes put them together to new, unique choirs. A few times I have used my own voice. I wouldn't call the vocal element in track 4 of the Atomine Elektrine CD a chant. It's definitely no Gregorian choir, just a sample of a female voice singing ahhhahhh.

How do you determine what sounds and samples are used in your different projects? Are there sounds or soundscapes you won't use in Atomine that you would use for Raison? Will we ever hear guitars in your music? Also, the techno parts of Atomine were very well done, mixed nicely with the ambient pieces.

I have no problems with the selection of sounds for each project. Almost no sound in Atomine could be used in Raison; I think much of the Raison sounds could be used in Atomine, but then I would have to process those sounds a bit more, using effect processors and resampling techniques. I hardly use any pure synthesizer sounds in Raison, most of them are sampled sounds; choirs or various acoustic sounds like metal plates, factory sounds, and what not. However, for Atomine Elektrine I use more synthesized sounds than samples pieces. I used an acoustic guitar sound once or twice in Raison D'Etre and I have used other instruments like a zither as well. Guitar sounds usually do not fit in the ideas of my projects, but it all depends on how it is done, a guitar can be heavily processed until it doesn't sound much like a guitar any longer. Techno is not really my style either, but I like electronic sounds. The first groups I really enjoyed were Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Klaus Schulze; Atomine Elektrine evolved from that.

I want to comment on the themes of your albums, first off with Atomine Elektrine, I wanted to know how you feel about the whole region of outer space? I tend to view it, especially after hearing the Atomine CD, as a huge region where laws and reactions that we have on Earth are totally disregarded in space, I see it as a place where there can be silence one minute and then some celestial body or energy discharge can disrupt whatever mood or atmosphere is going on and then leave the region in total silence again as if it had never existed. Your musical interpretation of this was quite astounding and for the most part very mellow, more in line with true ambient music than anything else.

Humans since the birth of mankind have been interested in the skies above, and I am no exception. The Atomine Elektrine CD is my homage to space. I think it's hard to grasp the beauty of space as our senses are not sufficient, space is way too big for us, we can't see all of it, only small parts of it. We can see pictures of space taken from a telescope or a space probe, and from out of that we can get a picture of how space looks. The only way most of us can get a good picture of space is through our imagination or dreams, where we can travel to the next star or planet in no time at all, no matter how far away. Space is dark, cold and empty, however at some places there are probably planets like our Earth.

Now onto Raison D'Etre, the latest album entitled "The Empty Hollow Unfolds." I had a hard time trying to come up with an overall mood or theme and matching it to my thoughts, but my girlfriend seemed to sum it all up quite well: She sees herself standing in a peaceful field near her home, and seeing the bulldozers and nechanical devices coming over the hills to raze the property and build new buildings and office complexes and what not. Her vision is not that far off the mark, but since she is actually faced with the prospect of this happening in real life, the music hit home even harder. I was curious if you see her vision in the music, I know I could get a better picture in my head from her description.

What people imagine and see in front of them when listening to my music is very individual and based on their mood, emotional reactions, experiences and thoughts in life. No one has the same visions, but I can understand other people's visions. The concept for this album is based on the legend of the Holy Grail. The songtitles are based on themes of this legend. The Holy Grail legend itself is very rich in symbols which I feel is fascinating and it is derived from the meaning of these symbols (interpreted by myself of course). It's all about lifecycles, actually it could be any kind of cycle as it's based on symbolic themes. The album is a journey throughout a cycle which could consist of a paradise phase that slowly moves towards a wasteland and armageddon phase, then starting all over again. This could also be translated into the psyche, an armageddon could be a nervous breakdown, paradise could be harmony, etc. Exactly what pictures I see in front of me when listening to this album differs from time to time depending on my mood.

You have so many projects going on besides Raison D'Etre and Atomine Elektrine, is Raison D'Etre your main priority, or do you need other side projects to help channel the other areas of music you are interested in? Tell us also about Yantra Atmospheres, the side label of Cold Meat that Atomine Elektrine is signed to.

Raison D'Etre can be seen as the mother project, while my side projects are the children. All my projects are important for me, but Raison D'Etre has always been my main project and the most well known. All my projects are different and give vent and care for different parts of my personality. Cold Meat is releasing what they feel is good music, so when I work on my side projects I don't make them for Cold Meat Industry, I make them for no special label. If CMI finds my side bands to be good they may release something from them. I have read somewhere that people think Yantra Atmospheres is a sublabel to CMI but that's not the case, Yantra is my own label, though all distribution goes through CMI. I run this label only for my own projects, but perhaps I will search for other bands in the future. So far I have released a CD with Atomine Elektrine, 3 CD-R's with Raison D'Etre, Cataclyst (an old project of mine), and a 10 inch picture disc with Necrophorus. The deal with Cold Meat came about when I sent a demotape to them and they were impressed; they released it as "Apres Nous Le Deluge" in 1992 on their Sound Source label. After that they wanted me to do material for a CD release which ended up being the "Prospectus I" CD in 1993. I signed the agreement shortly after that.

I know I ask this question in lots of interviews, but I'm curious as to how live performances are done for either group? How would the sound effects and atmospheres be done live, and would there be a full group of musicians?

I have not played live with Atomine Elektrine, but there have been several live shows with Raison D'Etre and Stratvm Terror. My live performances are visually not to my satisfaction, I stand behind my equipment and there is a video sequence running in the background, and that's it. For Atomine Elektrine I would love to do a 3 dimensional universe in a computer and then project it as a hologram just above the listeners together with my music. Also, this would be great for Raison D'Etre as well, but with another visual world, catacombs and ruins and such. I can't really realize any project like this, but to be more realistic, maybe a Raison nighttime show at an old cloister ruin with catacombs and mumified bodies, corpses and skeletons, candles, chains and so on would be nice. Perhaps Kutna Hora outside Prague in the Chech Republic would fit for a Raison performance. Old industrial complexes are also okay.

Finally, as I wrap this up, I was curious about the other Raison D'Etre albums I haven't heard, how they differ in scope and progression. The only two I have heard are the new one and "In Sadness, Silence, and Solitude."

Every album is a bridge to something new, exploring new elements towards a completeness. "Prospectus I" was my first CD album, which was a further development from my first official tape "Apres Nous Le Deluge." "Apres..." contained dark atmospheric and rythmic music with strings, choirs and industrial elements. "Prospectus I" contained the same, but less rythym, and there was a more consistent sound, also the Gregorian chant and religious elements were more explored here, alons with slow melodic strings and narrated voices. "Within The Depths Of Silence And Phormations" was my third CD, and in between this and "Prospectus I," "Enthraled By The Wind Of Loneliness" was done utilizing more ambient industrial approaches with some exotic parts, however "Within The Depths..." is more like my latest CD but a bit calmer and more melodic, still dark and beautiful with factory ambient industrial sounds. Since the beginning Raison D'Etre has become less melodic but more industrial.

RIGOR MORTIS Interview with Original lead vocalist Bruce Corbitt.

One of the questions I get asked most often from my readers is how to get the first Rigor Mortis CD, which was originally released on Capitol Records. It is being reissued on Halloween, with Casey Orr doing the honors, check out their web site for more details. This was a rather lengthy interview, but one that was very necessary as many bands have cited these guys as a major influence, so read on and learn the inner workings of the music business as seen through the eyes of a determined, hungry band milling around in Texas in the early 80's.

I remember you guys got your start with Capitol Records, debuting with a song in the movie "The Decline Of Western Civilization." How did you come to be in the movie and subsequently get the deal with Capitol? Also, how did you feel about being on a major label almost overnight, when most bands had to struggle and release many albums on indie labels and get almost unnoticed by the general public?

Rigor Mortis was not in the movie itself, but came very close to being in it. Our A&R representative Rachel Matthews was responsible for getting our song on the soundtrack, but we suddenly found out about another band called Rigormortis (spelling it as one word) who had released an album independently a few years before. Capitol told us that this band could sue us and that we should change our name, of course we said no way. However, this problem was solved when our manager called and said the old members of this other band would sell us the name for a thousand bucks. After all this, it was too late to appear in the movie, but Rachel got our song in the soundtrack. So suddenly Rigor Mortis was on an album with some really big acts. As far as going straight from a demo tape to a major label, that was just as big of a shock for us as it was for anyone else. Capitol issued a statement at the time that we were the heaviest, most brutal and intense band ever released by a major label, we were also the first metal band from Texas to sign with a major. This I am proud of but I will be the first to admit that there was a lot of luck involved in getting us signed. You have to meet the right people at the right time, and it all started when I was giving our guitarist Mike a ride to the guitar store when I noticed a flyer for Megadeth, who were playing in Dallas at the Longhorn Ballroom. Then I noticed the opening band, Scratch Acid from Austin! I was like, "What's this? They are just a local band from Austin, a punk band at that!" I was wondering why they didn't go for a metal band that was more like Megadeth. Instead of bitching about it and not doing anything, like maybe most young bands might have done, we thought it was unfair, and decided to go up to the venue anyway, without thinking it would do us much good except maybe to make them consider us for future shows. I felt it was time to make a stand and a statement for the band, trying to make things happen for ourselves instead of waiting for it to happen. The most insane thing about this club was that it was a redneck cowboys' bar hangout, where the Sex Pistols had had one of their most controversial shows and where Aerosmith filmed the country bar scene version of 'What It Takes.' When we got to the club, we had with us 1,000 copies of our demotape, which we had recorded a month earlier, and many flyers and bios with us. Jeff Liles, the club's booking person, told us the show was pretty much booked, but we persisted anyway and gave him 20 copies of the demo. After looking in our eyes and apparently seeing the desire and desperation, he seemed to change his attitude towards us, and we gave him our phone numbers and told him to think about us for future shows. The last thing he asked us was if we could draw 500 people when we played, and we told him, "Hell yes!"

The truth was, we had been playing small holes in the wall that didn't even hold 500 people. No big clubs were letting bands as heavy as we were play anywhere yet because of the fear of the violent crowds and moshing. We didn't know if we could bring in 500 people that would pay to see us yet! However, at 12 noon the very next day, Jeff Liles called me and asked if we wanted to open for Megadeth and if we could bring 500 people. He also wanted us to pass out around 2,000 flyers to help promote the show. Oddly enough he hadn't even listened to our demo, but the other band had just called and cancelled. Nevertheless, this was the biggest thing to happen to the band yet. I was the one to break the news to everyone. Every local metal band around would be jealous of us getting this gig. It turned out to be the turning point for Rigor Mortis. The very next day after Jeff had called us to open the Megadeth show, he called me again, only this time he had heard the demo, and he basically wanted to manage us! Those two days were like heaven for me, I had had so many downers in my life since I got kicked out of my home at 16, always fucking up left and right. I had the feeling that this was the start of something big in my life. Jeff Liles ended up booking us for some of the biggest local shows, and he got us in all the papers. He also got us gigs down in Downtown Dallas' big music scene Deep Ellum, where there were no metal bands at the time. In Deep Ellum, labels would send reps to the area to check out local bands, so getting us accepted as the first metal band was one of the biggest things he could have done for us.

With the success of bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, every major label now wanted their own Slayer to fill that category. So all kinds of labels began to come and see us play and they were very interested. He ended up getting us to play for like 5 or 6 major record companies, and got us signed to Capitol Records. So it was almost pure luck that we met the right people at the right time, it's scary when you really think about your odds of making it and getting a good record deal. We were, however, resented for getting the deal by many bands and people in the music business, although we thought getting signed would open up doors for other bands like us that deserved a chance. Some acted like we sold out because we were an underground band now on a major label, but the most important fact about Capitol is that they gave us total control of our music. We did not have to compromise our music in any way. We would have never signed with them otherwise!

As I mentioned earlier, I still get tons of letters from people asking about how they can get the self titled debut on CD, or if it will ever be re-released. What happened with such a huge label that they can't put your album on the shelves? Also, what happened with the deal with Capitol Records that caused you to move on to Metal Blade and then Triple X Records?

I also get many requests for the first CD. I guess we did not sell enough copies back then to convince Capitol to keep the album in print. Casey Orr has been working on getting the rights back from Capitol, he plans on having the album reissued in the next few months. I wasn't in the band when Capitol dropped them to Capitol/Metal Blade, they decided to replace me right before the "Freaks" album, and I am sure Capitol was not too happy with that. They didn't sign the band knowing they wanted a new singer, and they wouldn't have signed a band if they thought they needed a new singer in the first place. They thought we were a tight unit and I am sure there were many reasons for the change in labels for the band over the years. Many people have said that Rigor Mortis sucked without me in it and that the band went downhill as soon as they kicked me out. I do believe Rigor Mortis would have been more successful if they hadn't replaced me, even Mike and Casey admitted it to me themselves a few years after it happened, but it gives me no self-satisfaction that the band didn't succeed even after they kicked me out. We worked our asses off to get the chance of a lifetime and shot ourselves in the foot.

For those not in the know, several members of Rigor Mortis had been profiled in other bands. I know Casey Orr is playing with GWAR, and I have heard that one of the other members was in Ministry. I'm also curious as to what other members have been up to since Rigor Mortis' dissolution.

Casey joined GWAR around 1993 I think. Mike Scaccia left Rigor Mortis to join Ministry after the "Rigor Mortis VS. The Earth" CD came out. Mike is no longer with Ministry, as many of you already know. Actually, there was another former Rigor Mortis member in GWAR before Casey: Pete Lee, who had replaced Mike Scaccia when he went to Ministry. Pete Lee never played on any of the Rigor CD's. Harden joined a band called Pervis and now I think he is playing drums for a band called Speedealer. As for me I was very upset by being kicked out of the band in 1989, not long after we had recorded a demo for the upcoming "Freaks" album. I wanted to find another band and get right back into it, but I was a bit paranoid; I felt betrayed by the band, my friends, managers, lawyers and the record company, so I ended up backing off for awhile. I eventually tried it again with some other bands, I recorded a demo with a band called Malignancy, but it didn't work out, and I never felt the chemistry in any of the other bands like I did with Rigor Mortis. It's a rare thing that is probably once in a lifetime, and my heart wasn't into it as much since it wasn't ever as good as Rigor Mortis.

As an aspiring singer myself, I was wondering if you ever had trouble with those vicious screams of yours. I know I have trouble myself sometimes having found out that I can perform high pitched power metal notes and doing a wicked black metal growl, after a few songs of black metal vocals I have a hard time sustaining higher pitched notes. Are there any special techniques you used to keep from losing your voice?

Honestly, I never had any problems losing my voice during any shows or recording any albums, I had it pretty strong after singing with Rigor Mortis for hours upon hours everyday. I never pulled that "I need to save my voice" crap if we were going through the entire set list three times, which some singers might not have been able to handle for that many hours. The desire and dedication in this band was incredible, however, and all those hard hours of strain and practice only strengthened my voice. The producer of our first album was amazed at how many hours I was able to sing without needing a break or losing my voice He mentioned that when he had worked with Geoff Tate from Queensryche, he could only do his vocals for a limited period of time before he had to stop. On the other hand, however, I am not really a great singer, and never took a lesson in my life! I do not have the greatest vocal range and in no way can say I belong in the same league with some of those who have real talent and awesome voices. However, I do think I fit the Rigor Mortis image well, and think my vocals are more understandable than most death/thrash singers. My only regret is that I wish I would have waited a little longer to record the album. You see, I had been stabbed in the back (physically, not figuratively - Ed.) 5 times and suffered a punctured lung less than three months before we started recording. I got stabbed right after Capitol announced they were signing us. I didn't want them to think in any way that I couldn't get the job done, because I feared losing the deal and my job. So I was acting like I was fine when in truth I had lost a lot of my energy and needed to gain some strength back in my lungs. One trick that used to give me more wind to help me get through long sets was, I used to simply blow up many balloons every day. I also found that being in good shape as much as possible in terms of endurance would help me get through those parts when I couldn't reach the high notes like you mentioned.

Although I never got to see any of my favorite 80's bands play live until much later in life, I am curious about some of your favorite shows, any special memories you have from life on the road you care to share with the readers?

We went on our first tour after the debut album was released with Death Angel. It was a non stop party the entire time on that tour. None of us in either band were into heavy drugs at all, we just drank heavily and got majorly stoned all the time. Well, all of us except for Death Angel's singer, who would usually be drinking milk after shows. The memories we made on that tour with them will last a lifetime. We bought a used Winnebago for that tour instead of renting out a tour bus. I swear we must have broken down over 10 times, amd missed a few shows because we were broke down on some highway in the middle of nowhere. The coolest part of the entire tour was just getting to party with some of the people who came to our shows. We usually just came out to the bar before and after shows. We would always look for a party if we were staying in town, and many times we'd party with the local bands and fans all night, and I think I had the video camera going for that entire tour! We got to open for some bands like Megadeth, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, TSOL and Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone locally. I have a story to tell about the night we opened for Paul Di'Anno...

I was majorly influences by Iron Maiden first off. In December of 1986 we opened for Paul, and I was nervous being around him. I told him we were big fans and we used to play a lot of Maiden. He said, "Well, I sure hope you won't be playing any Maiden tonight." I told him that many Maiden fans love the first two albums the best. He then replied, "Thanks, I also think the first two are a bit heavier as well." Paul was a cool guy and didn't act like he was better than anyone, even though I felt intimidated by him. After all, I did have the stage presence and showmanship down, but my voice was nowhere near as powerful as Paul's. I will always remember one thing that happened that night. We had to set up in front of his band's drum set, which left no room on the stage for me to even stand up there. So they said I would have to stand in front of the stage on the floor. I sort of got pissed and knew I would feel stupid doing that. So I had them build a little stage on the floor for me to stand on. I was standing in front of the stage bitching and having an attitude, saying "Fuck this crap! We wouldn't have played if we would have known it was going to be like this!" I was being a total asshole.

Then I happened to look back behind the drums and there was this huge hole in the wall behind it, where you could see into the backstage area, where Paul himself was sitting and watching and listening to me the whole time, and I will NEVER forget the look on his face, he was looking at me with the most disgusted look on his face like I was the biggest dick he had ever seen in his life. I immediately felt about as low and stupid as you can get. Here I was griping about something stupid when I should have been happy to just have a band and to be opening up for someone I always looked up to. Later that night as Paul was on stage, some of our fans started chating "Rigor Mortis!" Paul smiled and said, "Yeah, they are the band of the night. I know I got my tape." Then he said something that was probably directed towards me, he continued, "But it's all about having fun. You should remember that's what it's all about." I changed my attitude that night, thanks to Paul Di'Anno.

Well, now onto the question that I have heard rumours about for months: Will Rigor Mortis ever tour again, getting back together with the original lineup? Will there be a new album on the way?

There are no plans in the works at this time for any type of Rigor Mortis new album, show or reunion. In fact, that subject has not even been discussed by any of the former band members. I know a lot of people are wanting to see us do something together again, but as of right now, we haven't even talked about it. I did sing a few songs with Rigor Mortis back in 1991, it was my first time seeing the band after the breakup, Mike had left for Ministry, Doyle had gone (he was the singer who replaced Bruce - Ed.), and Casey was now singing all the songs and asked if I wanted to get up and do 'Re-Animator,' and when I got up there it was like I had never left the band. They decided to let me sing 'Vampire' as well, and I put aside any hard feelings I had about the band after that night. That was my final performance with Rigor Mortis. In 1993, we all started hanging out some again. The talk of a Rigor Mortis show actually became a reality. We decided to do it. But then it kind of dissolved and Casey then went to join GWAR. I think that was the last real chance of any kind of reunion for us, but who knows?

Finally, as we wrap up this interview, I am curious: I know you have been telling people about my web site for quite a while, which I am thankful and very greatful for. I have had the feeling that many people who were directed to my site by you are the same ones who have been asking if there was a CD for the first album available. How do you feel about the digitizing process we did for the first album? Does it bother you that your entire album has been displayed on Napster for free and easy downloading? Also, how has the internet been as a tool for helping you get the word out and do you think it's changed the way magazines and bands do business?

I think I have been sending out your link to people for years now. I think it was really the first official page dedicated to the band. I had no clue what I was doing on the internet at first. I had nothing to send anyone that wanted to know more about Rigor Mortis. Then I found your site and began to send that out when people asked. I thought it was very cool they could actually hear the songs. I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to your web site and for including Rigor Mortis.

It doesn't bother me at all that people can hear our music for free on your site, MP3's or Napster. I think it just helps spread the band's music to those who may otherwise never get a chance to hear it in the first place. Besides, if anyone likes the band or the songs that much, they will want to have a real copy of it, at least that's how I am with bands. I haven't really been in a band long enough to be able to use the benefits that the internet can bring to it. I know damn well I wish we had had the internet back in the days when we were together. Obviously it has changed the business end of things in many ways. I think the coolest part of it all is that you can pretty much get up to date information on any band whenever you want, we didn't have that luxury back in the 70's and 80's.

I am glad to see there are people still into Rigor Mortis after all these years. I know I almost gave my life for that band and am proud of the accomplishments we received while I was in the band. I am currently writing a book that will talk about many of our crazy stories in Rigor Mortis, and I think many old fans will be interested in reading some of these stories. I also want to say thanks to any of the fans out there, a band is only as good as their fans. I also want to say thanks for this chance to talk about some of the good old days in Rigor Mortis, this is one of the first times I have done an interview since I was kicked out of the band, but I respect you and your site enough to happily agree to do it. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated by many of us. Please check out the Rigor Mortis site I am currently working on:

VADER. Interview with Peter via phone from Poland.

Vader is pretty much a household name these days for punishing, brutal death metal that takes no compromises towards their sound nor on their lyrical stances. For those not in the know (IE, you didn't read my last issue) Vader is now signed to Metal Blade Records, and I asked Peter what was the deal with all the label jumping, IE from Earache to Pavement and their brief stint with Conquest Music, to Metal Blade: "I think from the U.S. side of things it seems like we moved around a lot, we started out with Earache for our first album, then we had a short deal with Repulse, but that was just for our mini album ''Sothis.'' For our next full length ''De Profundis'' we started to work with System Shock in Europe, and Conquest Music in the United States was responsible for the promotion and distribution of that album. Pavement had ''Black To The Blind'' and now Metal Blade has us for the latest album. Metal Blade seems to be doing great for us, they are a great label and it seems like we are getting finally the kind of support that we need, they're bringing us over to the States to play more shows, which is very important. Live shows are the best way to promote a band." Being totally ignorant of the big death metal scene in Poland, though, I realized that though Vader has a huge following both in and outside of their home country, they've done a lot since those early days, which Peter further elaborates on: "When we started, we were amongst the first bands that created metal music in Poland, and we were also doing what we could to promote the metal scene to people both inside and outside of Poland, at the time we were still playing behind the Iron Curtain and it was tough for us. The standard of living over here made it tough for us, that's why there are long periods of time between albums. People probably don't understand just what problems people and musicians in particular had to go through, but now, things of course have improved, though there are still things we have to overcome. At one time we were one of the most tolerant countries in Europe, but now it seems like we're the last one in line when it comes to change and tolerance for the extreme music scene. No problems we ever had could stop us, we always wanted to create music and bring this power across the land, for many people to hear."

One of Vader's most interesting concepts that seemed to start with 'De Profundis' is the footnoting of songs, to give the readers some idea of what lyrical influences the band draws from. "Lyrics are a very important part of the art and of creation," Peter states. "I should tell you that we incorporate different persons' viewpoints, we have close friends of ours that have helped out since the beginning of our existence. ''Litany'' is more of a concept album of one person, who actually started writing lyrics for us from the ''De Profundis'' album, but a few songs were written by myself; those lyrics were written in the studio and step outside of the theme of the album a bit. I wouldn't say these introductions are explanations of the songs, but more like a description of the source of the writings. We like to make people think with this music, to make them take notice of what is happening around them, what's happening inside and outside of their lives. Maybe a direct explanation would not be good for people, as we want to portray the lyrics as food for the imagination, to wake up people's imaginations on an individual basis. Each person can get different things from our lyrics that work just for them on a deeper level." Though we didn't get into a lot of specifics, one song on the album really stands out in my mind, and that would be the song 'Xefer.' Many will immediately understand why this song is my favorite when I mention that this particular word is culled from an ancient Egyptian phrase, one which I will let Peter elaborate on (I'm a huge Egyptology buff for those not in the know): "Compared to the rest of the songs on the album, this is a different song, not just because it's slower but because of the theme. Vader's themes are usually more supernatural in scope, we used ancient symbols which are signs, mostly for hungry man looking for knowledge, and we couldn't forget about Egypt, which to us is one of the most important civilizations in history. On the Litany album what we want to say is that symbols are not necessarily the equivalent of power. When I see people putting different symbols on their jackets, drawing them and things, like a pentagram or what not, I think that it doesn't make sense, like people don't understand what the symbols represent. The symbols are the keys TO power, they shouldn't be used instead of power, they are keys in the sens like keys that open doors. People these days believe that the symbols themselves can give power, this is the difference between people today and the ancient peoples, the symbols were keys to the power, the old people believed in the powers themselves, the magic behind them. You can't just possess the powers by chanting a prayer, trying to do an incantation or drawing symbols. The power lies within us, we must follow the right path in life and if we want to use the key we need to be smart and be hungry for knowledge, explore our surroudings. Time plays a big factor in this, we need time to learn how to use what we have been given, including our imaginations, which in some of us needs to be awakened. Think of things this way, which is why we try not to go into detail about what our songs are about; it's the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. With the book you can create your own pictures in your mind, your own images, but with a movie you cannot create the pictures because they're already done on the screen. We don't want to be a movie, we want to be a book! This creates the spark that allows our readers to research the topics themselves, to explore these other areas."

Not much else was said, they have played quite a few shows, are doing some festivals, and plan to return to the States sometime soon. Catch them when they come through, they are very intense live and fans over here have been clamoring for their return!


First of all, there's some good news and bad news. As you have already noticed with this issue, we have regained promotional help from Metropolis Records, after an absence of nearly a year! The home to one of the best industrial labels in the U.S. has a new publicist now, and we have gone out of our way to work press and reviews for this label, despite the fact that the promos arrived (as of this writing) only a few weeks before this issue is to be wrapped up. The new publicist seems to love what we are doing, and the fact that we've been doing it for nine years seems to be equally impressive.

Now for the bad news? Century Media publicist Matt Bower seems to think that we are just one of a thousand webzines that aren't worth a damn, well my answer to him is many fold: First off, I was working Century Media releases when the U.S. branch FIRST got set up here. Way before he was ever working press. Secondly, nine years is a LONG time to be running a 'zine, either in print or on paper, and we were one of the first up, also one of the first to start offering more than the printed word. Sound files are a major part of what I do here at the magazine, simply because it gives our readers more an idea of the actual sound and shape of the album. Plus the classic albums section, and many other features that no other magazine has the ability or the time and resources to offer. So tell me again why my magazine shouldn't be serviced by Mr. high almighty Bower? Nevertheless, though the label has been doing great things, until this press problem is resolved, we will not go out of our way to cover ANY C.M. bands, whether they be interviews, CD reviews, or what not. I have too many labels that actually appreciate all the hard work we have done for them, and some that are struggling to get their bands out to the masses, and if you were able to look at the web counter statistics, it can be PROVEN that our readership base spans many countries that I cannot even locate on a map! We may follow up one or two reviews already done with an interview, but since Matt has failed to respond to any of my letters, I assume he has no stance or doesn't give a damn about someone who has covered his label since day one.

So my public apology goes out to Metropolis, it's really the publicist that was the decision behind dropping support for me, not the label. However, thanks as always goes out to the people who DO support me and believe in what I'm doing. Going on 10 years, that's a LONG time to keep a magazine running, and hopefully I can keep it going for many more years to come. Just remember to always keep an open mind when it comes to music, just as we don't always eat the same foods every day, we shouldn't stick with just one style of music. There's a whole world filled with hundreds of new bands who record and release a CD every day. While we may not be able to get to all of them, we try and bring you some of the best and most unknown.

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