Hey hey hey! Anotha issue is here today! (Or whenever you happen to be reading this). Things are really picking up now, it helps when you start work on the next issue immediately after putting out the last one!

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

As a side note: Please, PLEASE do NOT send us cassettes for review! I can't stress this enough, first of all we do not have the capability to digitize from cassette, and we hate to see someone waste their time and money. CD format ONLY!! Also, we do not review MP3's either, just CD's. Burned copies are fine, but they MUST be on CD...


ABDULLAH "Abdullah" (Meteor City) SCORE: 98/100

Damn! Ya know, I still listen to "Snake Lore," their demo CD that we reviewed a few issues ago. Their full length contains two songs from that demo, 'The Path To Enlightenment' and 'The Black Ones,' the latter song I didn't care for much off of the demo but for some reason I have started to get into it. There's so many tracks that are good I don't know where to start, so I'll get the bad parts out of the way. 'Lotus Eaters.' Not a bad tune, really, acoustics all the way making this a ballad type piece, but it's really long. And of course, 'The Black Ones' wasn't my favorite tune, like I said, but there may be times I sit through it anyway. Okay, the fun stuff. 'Visions Of The Daughters Of Time.' Hands down my favorite track, very slow and doomy, but with such heavy atmosphere and of course Jeff's vocals which are portraying some of the most intense and emotional vibes ever heard in this brand of music, which seems to border on stoner/doom, but it's very hard to place the unusual style to just these two. 'Conundrum.' Great tune, very short, but very catchy and guitar work is simply amazing. Lots of acoustic passages can be heard, some quite beautiful ('Proverbs Of Hell'), others simply add another atmosphere to a darker or heavier vibe. 'Lucifer In Starlight' was an acoustic piece too, but it had some great insightful lyrics. 'Awakening The Colossus' had some very dark, heavy kick ass riffs, but Jeff's vocals bring the atmosphere to a more mellow vibe, which not only contrasts with the eerie vibe, but complements it as well! They have the knack for making instrumentation and vocals mesh together as one, a feat not often heard these days. Very minor points taken off, a great CD all the way around, I was very excited when this showed up in my mailbox.
Contact: Meteor City, P.O. Box 40322, Albuquerque, NM 87196 USA
Web site:

AYREON "The Dream Sequencer" (Inside Out Music) SCORE: 99/100

This project is one people are going to be, and already have been, talking about for a LONG time to come. This is part one of a two part CD set, the other CD will be reviewed next issue. The 2 CD set chronicles a story of the last man on Mars, who uses the dream sequencer to relive past lives, and is laid out in one magnificent storyline, though each song can stand out on it's own merit. I liken this beautiful ambient progressive/space rock dreamscape album to the likes of Pink Floyd's more mellow concept albums, though this one is so far up there it is destined to become a classic, at least within the right people's minds. Arjen Lucassen is the mastermind behind this release, though each track has a different singer and many guest musicians. Most famous guest vocalist is Johan Edlund from Tiamat, which gives the song 'My House On Mars' the right touch of melancholy and utilizes female vocals as well. Kudos to Arjen for allowing female roles in this story, no less than three vocal performances are showcased here, while Lana Lane herself does melodic vocals on 'Dragon On The Sea.' My alltime favorite tracks, however, are 'One Small Step,' which features beautiful acoustic guitar riffs and a fantastic vocal performance by Edward Reekers, and 'And The Druids Turned To Stone,' which features awesome keyboard instrumentation and a fantastic vocal performance by Damian Wilson. I could rave on and on about how great this is, etc. but I'll let the sound files speak for themselves. I only took minor points for 'The Shooting Company Of Captain Frans B. Cocq,' besides the long song title, the vocals at the start have this warbled quality to them, but there is not much else to complain about. The lighter tracks on here, especially my aforementioned favorite two, do have some heaviness to them, theer's a variety of moods here, and this is sure to top most listener's best of 2000 charts.
Contact: Inside Out America, 344-TB Oakville Dr., Pittsburg, PA 15220 USA
Web site:"

BLACK STEEL "Battle Call" (Independent) SCORE: 93/100

I was pretty damn impressed by this 4 track CD coming all the way from down under (read: Australia). We haven't heard about too many bands coming from there, however all that we do know about have released great albums (Hobbs Angel Of Death, Armoured Angel, Alchemist, etc.) The guys in Black Steel have a nice mixture of newer styled power metal in the vein of Edguy, Rhapsody and the like mixed with that New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Lyrics are quite anthemic without being overtly silly. The vocals may sound a tad rough to some but they do fit the music quite well. The vocalist has a good high range but rarely dips into it, when he does it's done for emphasis. All the songs are quite good, however 'Heart Of A Lion,' even though it has great choruses and good vocal lines, is not as good as the other three tracks. 'The Power' is very easily my favorite track, complete with anthemic and very melodic chorus lines and guitar work that is slightly thrashy, heavy and still retains great melody. I can't wait to hear a full length from them, as their instrumentation skills are extremely good, even the drummer smokes! Check out those lead riffs, this is definitely a band to watch out for!
Contact: Black Steel, P.O. Box 570, Mirrabooka, Western Australia, 6941
Web site:

BRUJERIA "Brujerizmo" (Roadrunner Records) SCORE: 85/100

Damn it's been a long time since we heard from the Mexican band of satanic drug overlords, though lemme tell ya this was worth the wait! Remember all the hype that was made about Sepultura's newest album, where they "adopted" the Korn guitar downtuning process? Well, Brujeria takes it upon themselves to adopt the sound to some agree, and I must say does it more successfully than either aforementioned band. Juan Brujo's vocals are in top form, even more brutal and kick ass than I remembered, and the guitar work is ultra heavy. This CD starts out with the title track, with some vicious multi chorus vocal effects, and it seems that the whole band gets involved in the screaming process. They do have some really speedy numbers, though tunes like 'Laboratorio Cristalitos' are quite sloppy sounding at times when the vocal delivery is rushed. 'Anti Castro' was cool too, reminiscent of a Sepultura tune, even complete with Spanish guitars and tribal percussion. 'Guiden A Los Ninos' was a weak point as well, the group does NOT utilize singing vocals well at all. There's very few bad points, though, especially compared to the crushing power of tunes like 'Marcha De Odio' (my favorite), 'La Traicion' (dig the catchy choruses that are simple but pack such a punch they stick in your head), and 'Mecosario,' the latter most noteworthy for it's use of air raid sirens and slower, darker atmosphere to create a unique vision of terror. Rumoured to feature members of Fear Factory, Napalm Death, Faith No More, and Dimmu Borgir & Cradle Of Filth (!?), this is a very devastating album. Lyrics in Spanish of course!
Contact: Roadrunner Records, 902 Broadway, New York, NY 10010
Web site:

CANAAN "Brand New Babylon" (Prophecy Productions) SCORE: 76/100

This was a very difficult CD to rate. On the one hand, there are 14 songs on this CD, but a few of them are just noisy dark ambient pieces that don't do anything for this CD at all. On the other, there are tracks here, a little over half the CD, that are quite simply awesome. This CD barely gets to be a keeper in the collection, but once you listen to tracks like 'La Simmetria Del Dolore' and 'Of Lost Desires,' there is an unusual mix of gothic/darkwave and folk imspired music not unlike the unusual moods and styles created by Tenhi, incidentally another Prophecy band we featured some time ago. When they go for vocals, they sing in both English and Italian, with amazingly mellow and relaxing results, well, except for 'In Un Cielo Di Pece,' which for some reason blurs this track. His instrumentation is quite superb on many pieces, his synth work is very emotional and quite diverse. 'Sperm Like Honey' (don't laugh) is a tune that could get club rotation, and his gothic overtones are a bit more serene that what you would normally expect from this genre. 'La Simmetria...' is quite deceptive, starting out VERY dark and heavy before going completely mellow, one of very few releases where lyrics in another language actually enhance the listening pleasure. Though there's quite a few bad apples, the talent is there, along with masterful song writing and emotional portrayals, you'll be hitting the skip button quite a few times, but there's at least a full albums' worth of great material (that is, if you consider about 7 or 8 songs an album's worth).
Contact: Prophecy Productions, Kurfurstenstrasse 5, 54492 Zeltingen-Rachtig, GERMANY
Web site:

COLD MOURNING "Lower Than Low" (Game Two Records) SCORE: 87/100

Quite an interesting doom/stoner rock band we have here, some of the latest releases to come to us from a label that we recently featured with their Sheavy/Church Of Misery split. Though Game Two doesn't put a whole lot of stuff out, they obviously made this worth the wait. What we have here is a very competent style of doom metal that relies on vocals that are more low ended than what you may be used to. It works for the most part, creating an ominous, doomy and cold atmosphere. However, the vocal style doesn't work on all the tracks, in fact the worst song on here 'Lower Than Low,' has the vocal and instrumentation mix sounding way off. There are certain vocalists in music that have the ability to make or break the precision balance that exists in bands, and this is one of them. His vocal performance, however, adds an extra dimension in music of this type that does bring about that "cold" feeling. The guitar work is phenomenal as well, the solos in 'Catacomb' and 'Losing My Shadow' definitely pay homage to bands like Pentagram and Vitus, as well as showcasing some kick ass riffage. There's a couple of instrumentals as well, usually a waste of space with many bands but here are utilized to quite a nice effect. Mellow and serene are the tracks 'ST-321' and 'The Fog,' utilizing many acoustic passages to build the framework. 'Iceland' has some of the best guitar work on the CD, and this frozen winter scenario works very well for this band. Some rough patches in a few songs, but they even go so far as to show their diversity by doing a cover of a HARDCORE band Discharge, and from this nearly perfect cover you can tell this vocalist could front a hardcore styled band very easily. Hopefully this tells you all you need to know about how interesting this sounds, if you still aren't sure then the sound files always finalize the story.
Contact: Game Two Records, P.O. Box 22640 Denver, Colorado 80222 USA
Web site:

COVEN 13 "Book Of Shadows" (Akashic Records) SCORE: 53/100

From the witch capital of the U.S., Salem, Massachusets, comes a very unusual band with their roots deeply planted in Wiccan religion. Whatever perception people have about Wiccans, or Pagans, one might be surprised to learn that some Wiccans actually believe in God, though their culture and religious origin revolves around nature and more earthly magics. That being said, I must say the main problem I had with this disc is that most of the lyrics and song structures are too soft rock oriented, in fact, tracks like 'This I Know' and And Oh, How I've Wanted You' could be played on a syndicated "Pillow Talk" radio show. Make no mistake, though, the male lead vocals are very powerful and can be quite emotional at times, his full range and power are clearly shown on several tracks. When they try to get "heavier," like on 'Red,' it sounds a bit cheesy, the higher ended guitar work sounds like it was played on a synthesizer rather than an actual guitar. Where this band shines is on it's haunting and powerful emotional tracks like 'Book Of Shadows,' 'Fallen Angels,' and the unbelievable 'Haunted.' The aforementioned tracks have this gothic air about them, and powerful male vocal interaction. There is a female member presented, and one has to wonder why her vocal abilities aren't utilized. If the duo could make more tracks like the three listed above, this would be one powerful disc, as it is their material is too bogged down in love type songs, which affects not only the lyrics but the instrumentation as well. They don't have to utilize metal styled guitars either, the strength of their work clearly comes with the synth and piano notations and the power of the male vocalist. Interesting history and concepts behind the band nonetheless.
Contact: Akashic Records, 203 Washington St. Suite 143, Salem, MA 01970 USA

DEICIDE "Insineratehymn" (Roadrunner Records) SCORE: 66/100

Gotta hand it to these guys, their convictions and lyrical stances have not changed since the beginning of their existence. Which can be a bit tiresome after awhile, I mean every song on this CD has something to do with the hatred Glenn has for Christianity and religion. However, one thing has changed, and that is their music has slowed down quite a bit! This is a huge distraction on quite a few tracks, especially 'The Gift That Keeps On Giving' and 'Halls Of Warship,' they had the most unbearable useage of slower vocal delivery. However, it wasn't a terrible release, some of the slower guitar work was actually quite powerful, especially on 'Suffer Again' and 'Remnant Of A Hopeless Path,' it's as if Deicide has changed tactics; instead of rushing at you and bashing you in the face repeatedly, they are slowly creeping up on you and then bashing you in the face. Opener 'Bible Basher' works instrumentation wise, but the repetitive 'Bible Basher' chorus, repeated many times ad naueseum, got to be a bit much, and surprisingly, Glenn's higher pitched growl mixed with his low tone really made the choruses sound much worse than they are on this song. Many passages of songs have that dual vocal style working for them, though I'm not sure if it's being done by Glenn or Glenn and another member. Many tracks had points against them, but Deicide still has guitar work that kills. I just don't think the slower "doom metal" style is Deicide's thing, but they still write some fast heavy material. It will never be as good as their debut album, still the album which is a benchmark for brutal, evil, hellish death metal the world over.
Contact: Roadrunner Records.

DOMINION CALIGULA "A New Era Rises" (No Fashion Records) SCORE: 98/100

Great CD! Very powerful, melodic at times, and just all out intense black metal from three of the members of Dark Funeral, who would have guessed? As many may know I'm not a huge fan of speedy black metal, though there have been exceptions, but this CD shows the style of black metal I'm really digging! Every song on here is great, though there were a few minor detractions on a few songs. The guitar work is quite vicious and dominant, though there are some high ended lead solos that sound really out of place on tracks like 'In Love With The Gods' and 'Let Them Hate Me.' There are some female vocals presented as well, check out those spoken female vocals on 'In Love...' and tell me that's not the same woman that did some spoken word parts on an old Celtic Frost album?!? The vocal work here runs through many different styles, though it's the vicious black metal screams that get this piece running. 'Let Me Become' really threw me as well, as the lower sung vocals remind me of none other than Beseech vocalist himself Jorgen Sjoberg! Many of the songs presented here are slower in scope than one would find in the black metal genre, but it creates a better mood of atmosphere. Keyboards are there, but hidden pretty well, you really don't notice them much until 'Drink The Royal Seed' (don't laugh, though it probably means what it says it means), and then it doesn't overpower the guitars. Black metal style first and foremost, with some atmosphere and melodic instrumentation at times, it's mainly all power, and I love it. Had I not sent my top 15 list to Metal Maniacs, this would have definitely been in the top 5.
Contact: No Fashion Records, Industrivagen 1, 171 48 Solna, SWEDEN
Web site:

DREAMS OF DAMNATION "Let The Violence Begin" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 64/100

Ladies and gentlemen, pleasw welcome back after a long hiatus Dark Angel guitarist and founding member Jim Durkin! And his new band Dreams Of Damnation is set to bring about a new wave of traditional death/thrash metal. He has brought with him Brazilian vocalist and bassist Charlie Shiva, and at 6'8, he is quite a dominating presence, especially vocal wise. Jim's guitar work is still as potent as ever, though many of these songs are too bogged down in speed riffs to really enjoy properly. I'm not totally on board with this yet, though one can immediately hear the possibilities for this project to bloom into something truly devastating on a grand scale. Let's start with the opener 'Blood To Free A Soul.' Yes, that is the guitar chaos that you first heard opening the track 'Darkness Descends' from the Dark Angel album back in 1986. It sets the tone for what is to come. The vocal work is quite vicious, and the best songs come about when the guitars are playing at a rather moderate tempo; songs like 'Hammer Of Sickness' and 'Release Me' are just so fast that they don't have a chance to build up any atmosphere or crushing heaviness. It's only a 6 song affair, but maybe a full length is in order to establish a more dominant sound. Interesting things afoot, but more work is definitely needed.
Contact: Necropolis Records.

ENTOMBED "Uprising" (Metal-Is Records) SCORE: 88/100

Man, what a surprise! Entombed has definitely "found their way," so to speak, and though this isn't death metal it still kicks some serious ass. There's 15 good tracks here, though some aren't as good as others, many of the songs are similar to each other, but definitely rock. 'Seeing Red' starts this off nicely with screaming vocals, vicious guitar work, and agressive measures. 'Say It In Slugs' works just as well, the first three tracks really drive the point home that agression and mosh factor are the keywords of the day! 'Scottish Hell' is a Deadhorse cover, slower in scope and not a good tune for Entombed to cover. 'Year In Year Out' started out good, the vocal work was electronically enhanced, but this song dragged towards the end. The surprise of the CD was the song 'In The Flesh,' which would have fit nicely on the album "Wolverine Blues," it was done in the style that I really enjoyed from an album many have forgotten. It starts off with a horror movie soundtrack organ piece, followed by some of the slowest and most evil guitar riffs ever heard, a very dark and disturbed piece I loved greatly. 'Superior' had a kind of punk attitude, especially with the lyrics, and wasn't one of my favorites, but there's no real crappy tunes here, though as I said a few songs weren't as good, but for the money it's a great buy and is the CD that will put the faith back in the Entombed legions once again. Besides, even with their newer material, they still play old classic live anyway...
Contact: Metal-Is Records, 369 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017

FIREBIRD "Firebird" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 53/100

Anyone remember the rockin' 70's? Well, okay, many may remember the bad disco that came out of this period, but images of Steve Winwood, the ever forward psychedelic sounds of Hawkwind, Robin Trower and the like are what this trio tries to covey. And unfortunately, they don't rock as good as I'd like. The most surprising facet of this band is lead vocalist/guitarist Bill Steer, yes, THE same Bill dude that fronted the legendary grind band Carcass. The CD starts things off in a really rockin' way, with the track 'Meantime,' which is what this project should have been about from start to finish, even the organ sounds display coolness. From there it's pretty much all downhill: most of the songs aren't really terrible, but they just don't ignite a spark in me at all. On many tunes, like 'Torn Down' and 'Fat Cat Groan,' the songs just kinda plod along without really raising an eyebrow. 'Raise A Smile' starts things out with some kick ass guitar riffs, and then once the vocals take over the rest of the song falls flat. Album ender 'Through The Fields' however is beautiful; great acoustic guitar riffs, a very dreamy and mellow vibe that I really dug. I'm all for recreating the experimental sounds of the 70's, hell they even score points for their band logo, which looks surprisingly similar to the band Bread's logo (remember their big hit 'If?' 'Through The Fields' reminds me a bit of that song.) 'Hardened Sole' had guitar work that is now permanently stuck in my head, though for these minor points they just don't ROCK. I'll still be keeping my eye on them to see if they capitalize on this style a bit more.
Contact: The Music Cartel, P.O. Box 629, Port Washington, NY 11050 USA
Web site:

FOREFATHER "The Fighting Man" (Angelisc Enterprises) SCORE: 97/100

A band and record label I had never heard of is presented here for you today, and let me tell you I am thoroughly impressed. THIS is the band for people who say the black metal scene is stagnating, it is a very refreshing mix of black/ war and power metal. Granted, teh first two tracks start off a little slow but there's no denying the strong old school English pride bursting through each and every note. The problem I had with Mayhem's "Grand Declaration Of War" is NOT a problem here, the blackened voxals mix very well with the power metal styled vocals. 'Out Of Darkness' even has only power metal vocals sung through the whole piece, though the lyrical content is a tad short. They utilize synths too, but I don't think you'll pick them out very easily on the first few spins, but they definitely add mood and atmosphere on the instrumental piece 'The Call To Arms,' which unfortunately was too short at only 2 minutes. You can definitely feel the ancient atmosphere of the band members' forefathers, apparently this is the only "English Heathen Metal Band" in existence. It's an outstanding release, and right now the only band signed to this label. The black metal vocals are not too vicious and though they can crank out the speed, as evident on 'The Last Battle' and 'Together They Stood,' they can vary the tempo and the mood, which is necessary for songs short on lyrics. The CD ends with a great folk ballad type complete with acoustics and howling wind sounds. Overall a CD that should please just about anyone who is looking for something new, exciting and innovative in the black metal genre, and even some that may not be crazy about black metal.
Contact: Angelisc Enterprises, P.O. Box 68, Leatherhead, KT23 4YE, ENGLAND
Web site:

GOATSNAKE "Flower Of Disease" (Man's Ruin Records) SCORE: 84/100

Man, I must say I am totally impressed! As you may remember from a few issues ago, I wasn't digging their first full length on Man's Ruin, but this is a much better offering. Completely turned my head around, catchy chorus lines, though much of their wares add a southern rock touch to their unique brand of stoner rock laced doom metal. 'Prayer For A Dying' is one of my favorite tracks here, the chorus has great power and energy and the vocalist sounds great! There's some harmonica on quite a few tracks, in fact 'El Coyote' will mislead the hell out of you before it just starts balls-out rocking. 'Live To Die,' once again, has the harmonicas working; they start out with some crazy drugged out dude screaming "WOW!" every few seconds, but it will grab you if you stay tuned with some rather mellow chorus lines, great vocal delivery and you must crank this LOUD! A few sour notes here were the tracks 'The River' and 'The Dealer,' the latter song I can tolerate a bit more than the former. These two songs are Goatsnake's attempt at the slow, drugged out doom metal that bands like Electric Wizard and Acid King can pull off better. 'The River' sounds really drugged out, and is very hard to appreciate for a full 8 minutes, let alone for even 1. 'The Dealer' does pick up towards the end, and there's even some female vocals I thought I heard, either that or some guy's getting a swift kick in da shorts! Reminiscent of what Down tried to do mixing Southern flavored rock with the heaviness, Goatsnake goes one step further and creates a very enjoyable album. Loose the slow drugged out doom, and stick with the stoner/ desert/southern/whatever!
Contact: Man's Ruin Records, 610 22nd Street #302, San Fransisco, CA 94107 USA
Web site:

HACIENDA "3rd Door Left" (INFRACom! Records) SCORE: 93/100

I must confess, this was a very scary review for me. First of all, Hacienda is one of my alltime favorite bands, and they even went so far as to personally thank me and greet me in the thanks and greetings section of their newest release! It was hard because this is a very different Hacienda, but one that has all the signature sounds, in various places. The most noticeable change is the obvious Latin percussion and vocal influences, which I was very sceptical of at first, and to be perfectly honest, 'Sabor' doesn't work very well for me. Yes, it's sung in Spanish, but remember Hacienda is spanish for house, or dwelling. The song 'Me Da Um Favor,' however, had great instrumentation that was a bit heavy at times, while the Latin vocals actually get heavier in spots. Though Marcus has stated that this is not really an "Album for relaxing," there are most definitely more mellow tracks here than on their last full length "Narrowed Eyes," though the drug references, however slight they have been in the past, have all but disappeared. Surprisingly, most of the vocal work is done very well, a fact that I found comforting after Marcus stated in our last interview together that there would be vocalists used. Several tracks have a "lounge lizards," jazz oriented night club feel, but the female vocals used are astoundingly mellow, like on 'Blue Smile' and 'Blind.' 'Quiet Nights' features mellow female vocals too, but sounds a bit more commercially oriented, though the electronica is in full force. The instrumentals? Simply astounging, and no matter what problems I had with any vocalists, Hacienda's music making skills are just as strong as ever. Throwing latin influences, more acoustic and lounge/nightclub sounds in the mix just proves that Hacienda are truly innovators of their craft; no one will EVER accuse them of making generic and uninspired techno/electronic music. 'Mexican Dubweiser' had some of the worst vocals, mainly on the electronic oriented Spanish singing, but I find myself sweating through them to get to the fantastic instrumentation. They even do the disco 70's meets cool porn flick funky guitars of the 80's in 'Seventy Steps To The 80's' and make it all sound electronica. Branching out, and feeling sorry that I couldn't give them another 100, I still find that I can definitely enjoy this album, even if there are a few tracks, like the 'Incredible Shocking DJ Updates' that don't make any sense whatsoever! Definitely masters of their field, making electronic music like no one else in the world. You WILL be challenged with this one. Interview, for the third time in this magazine's life, is sure to follow.
Contact: INFRACom Records.

HALFORD "Resurrection" (Metal-Is Records) SCORE: 60/100

I must say, despite the score, it's good to see Rob Halford back. Sexual orientation aside, Rob has one of the most recognizable voices in metal. And true to form, this CD starts off rather interestingly enough where Priest's last recording with Rob, "Painkiller," left off. The first track 'Resurrection,' showcases those ear piercing screams that Halford does quite well, to jump into the anthemic 'Made In Hell,' which is a lyrical reflection on the entire history of metal and the career of Mr. Halford. 'Locked And Loaded' has some killer thrashy riffs, and is a vicious piece. After that the record takes a nosedive, check out 'Cyberworld' with it's cheesy lyrics, weak choruses and instrumentation that goes nowhere. 'Twist.' Damn, the lyrics are REALLY bad, it sounds like Halford is trying to mix pop and metal? And what's with the song 'Drive?' Is Halford back in high school again? Some of the songs here like 'Temptation' and 'Saviour' aren't too bad but nothing to get excited about. The only two other songs worth mentioning are the very cool 'The One You Love To Hate,' and 'Slow Down.' The latter song is a more mellow track but has some good arrangements, especially vocally. '...Love To Hate' is a duet with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden fame (shame on you if you didn't know who Bruce sang for!) and is quite kick ass, probably THE duet of the year. I'd like to see Rob polish up his songwriting skills a bit more, there's some pretty good stuff, but lay off the cheese! Even Artillery couldn't write a song about the internet and make it sound cool.
Contact: Metal-Is Records.

KATAKLYSM "The Prophecy" (Nuclear Blast Records) SCORE: 44/100

This is a bit old, but I figured I would review something from their label since I missed out on releases from them for some time now. I saw Kataklysm a while back in Atlanta, and they put on a powerful live show. '1999:6661:2000' starts things off with some hyperspeed parts mixed with what has become a majority on this CD: slower passages and more riffing. The biggest detraction here is the non-death metal vocals, which are VERY annoying and quite bad in most spots, almost downright embarassing. 'Stormland' shows us overrepetitive choruses, and overuse of the screeching vocal style. 'Machiavellian' had some interesting power metal riffs, but a very sloppy vocal delivery, which seems to plague this disc. The song 'Laments Of Fear And Despair' had vicious vocal work from Cryptopsy growler Mike DiSalvo, and had good guitar work plus surprising melodic instrumental riffs. The guitar work is choppy and thrashy, and at times quite interesting, though they seem to utilize the hyperspeed passages a bit less than on other albums. Definitely not one of my favorites by them, some stuff was enjoyable but not enough to sustain my interest through a whole CD.
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records. (Note: At the time of this writing Nuclear Blast has merged with Century Media, so there is no contact address as of yet).

LIZZY BORDEN "Deal With The Devil" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 94/100

There are certain bands I never followed throughout the 80's, I mean hey, you can't buy EVERY record that came out, especially when as a teenager ya don't come across money in the form of a paycheck every two weeks. Like Saxon and CJSS, this is a band that I have found to be quite heavier than what I imagined from a band that had been around forever. Great record, that's really all I need to say. (The score kinda makes it obvious too). For the first three tracks you know they are playing classic 80's metal, with all the singalong choruses, great singing vocals, and instrumentation that has a 90's edge to it. This is the kinda shit that makes the blood boil with excitement, this is how a band from the 80's does it in the 90's. 'There Will Be Blood Tonight,' 'Hell Is For Heroes,' and 'Deal With The Devil' are probably three of the heaviest tracks on here, and definitely a great way to start this album off. 'The World Is Mine' kinda dragged things down a bit, but hell not every album out there gets the 100 treatment. I have played this quite a number of times, with great enjoyment. 'We Only Come Out At Night' was a very pleasant surprise, with the theme of vampires and a club worthy beat structure that sounds almost industrial; very, very heavy nonetheless. Catchy material, even their two covers are pretty good, Alice Cooper's 'Generation Landslide' and '(This Ain't) The Summer Of Love,' which they can make at times sound like a Poison cover. Traditional metal is still alive, it's this kind of stuff I live for.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.

LONG WINTER'S STARE "The Tears Of Odin's Fallen" (Dark Symphonies)
SCORE: 52/100

I have never been a fan of Long Winter's Stare, though I must admit there are some very interesting elements found with the framework on this CD. The CD starts out rather poorly, with minimal instrumentation, and poorly sung male vocals; almost no variation at all, a theme that runs rampant throughout this CD. Tracks two and three, 'Blood Of Steel' and 'Blood Of My Fathers' respectively, are the best tracks on the CD, and even those tend to be a tad bit too long, especially since their songs usually repeat the same patterns through the length of the song (which can be quite lengthy). Their penchant for synphonic keyboards ala Mortiis is quite admirable, and their mixing of harsh death metal vocals along with female singing is quite intense, especially on the opening minutes of 'Blood Of My Fathers,' I don't think I've heard such dark piano notations coincide with the heavy guitar riffs! 'Neolyth' was a nice instrumental except for the off key trumpet notes which ruined this for me. The last track 'The Unknown God' was about the WOSRT example of overrepetitive song structure I've ever heard, it doesn't help that the instrumentation is VERY minimal and the death vocals are pretty much the same throughout. If you've heard 2 or 3 minutes of a song you've pretty much heard the whole thing. More variety would be most welcome, and work on some of the vocal patterns.
Contact: Dark Symphonies, Box 547 Billerica, MA 01821 USA
Web site:

MACABRE "Dahmer" (Olympic Recordings) SCORE: 95/100

Okay, I know you guys have seen a LOT of high 90's scores this issue, but this one really deserves it: You'll hear EVERYTHING in this melting pot of a release, everything from punk, hardcore to blues, and slight power metal! Oh, and of course, those twisted death metal vocals that get really insane! As much as I enjoyed "Sinister Slaughter," which incidentally was one of the first CD releases I got from Relapse/Nuclear Blast YEARS ago, this is light years ahead of their previous works. Based on the entire life of Jeffrey Dahmer, the most interesting thing about this is that some tracks are told from third person perspective, and a few are even told as if Corporate Death himself was assuming Jeffrey's personna. There are some hilarious tracks to be found here, most notably 'Jeffrey Dahmer And The Chocolate Factory,' which is a take on the Willy Wonka theme, and 'The Brain,' where you can hear C.D. go "Braay-yaa-yaa- yaain!" for a few. Then there's the pop-punk styling of 'Grandmother's House,' which Corporate Death swears is more of a christmas song (see the enclosed interview for details) and then the death metal/punk hybrid of 'Blood Bank' which kicks serious ass! Of the 26 songs, there's really only a few bad moments. 'Baptized' has Corporate SINGING, ala power metal style, but the instrumentation didn't quite match, it's quite amazing to hear him actually SING though. I didn't like opener 'Dog Guts' either, something was amiss, and 'Exposure' kinda grates on my nerves at times, though it's got some slamming instrumentation. Slow, fast, all out agression or slowed down a bit, Macabre does it all, including utilize black metal styled keyboards on 'Temple Of Bones.' ("Bring Me Their Craniums!") Damn, then there's 'Coming To Chicago' ('Coming Round The Mountain' is the takeoff here), geez I could go on and on! Surprising release, and surely one of the best death metal styled releases of 2000, this one should make a LOT of top 10 lists in Metal Maniacs when the list is published in April.
Contact: Olympic Recordings.
Web site:

MAZE OF TORMENT "Death Strikes" (Necropolis Records) SCORE: 44/100

Death/thrash metal from Sweden. It starts out sounding like a mixture of OLD Sodom circa "In the Sign Of Evil/Obsessed By Cruelty" mixed with "Morbid Tales" era Celtic Frost. The title track starts things off interestingly enough, a short track that had good structure. 'Sodomizing Death Spell' too had great lead work, a fast tune to be sure, but one that had me getting into it. And then, for the most part, the CD falls flat. Most every track here is just speedy delivery, and the lyrics are kinda chessy. Like check out 'Angels From Hell': "Hell will come with the 6-9 strike." Huh? Is this bowling or death metal? Anyway, there's a special guest vocalist on 'The Evil Beneath The Flames' that sounds a LOT like Quorthon (if you don't know who he is, you should skip to the next CD review) although the track itself is nothing great. Some of the vocal work is vicious but overall there's really not much to write home about. Oh, the "hidden" track is a nice instrumental.
Contact: Necropolis Records.

METALIUM "State Of Triumph" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 92/100

It's good to see another full length after their first chapter came out not too long ago. There's some heavier tunes to be found on here, like the digitized for ya tune 'Years Of Darion' and 'Stygian Flames.' These guys remind me a bit of Startovarius for some reason, mixed with a bit of the thrashy guitars and heavier choruses that Judas Priest utilized starting with "Painkiller." There are some great chourses to be found, one of their strengths to be sure. The album dips in intensity towards the end, and sorry, but that cover of Miles' 'Music' doesn't get it. Too wimpy! Lots of singalong pieces here, especially with the high notes of Henning Basse, one of the coolest vocalists I've heard in some time. 'Inner Sight' was rather weak, the choruses here were better than the main body of the song, but as I stated earlier, their choruses are quite amazing. Some of the over the top high pitched chourses of 'Steel Avenger' were a bit much to take from the first few times I listened to it, but it soon grew on me. Great range and power, he definitely adds a lot to the sound of this group. Some may think a band like this should get a higher score, but there were some troubled spots. No less than three ballad types, one 'State Of Triumph' reminded me of Stratovarius' 'Mother Gaia,' but a bit better. Quite a solid effort, one definitely worthy of the power metal genre, but adding some much heavier guitar work, ala Nocturnal Rites.
Contact: Pavement Music.

NOCTURNAL RITES "Afterlife" (Century Media) SCORE: 94/100

It's a new twist for the Swedish six piece. The songs this time have gotten a lot heavier and there's a new vocalist to boot! I must say it's a great album, but I recently went back and listened to their last release "The Sacred Talisman" and I like that one better, though this isn't far behind. I still agree with that album's score of 99. :> The title track (which incidentally is the first song on the CD) starts off a bit more melodic than what's being offered later on, and it's not quite my favorite track here. However, the faster and heavier sound dominates with songs like 'The Sinner's Cross,' 'Temple Of The Dead' and 'The Devil's Child.' There are still some great singalong choruses presented, though the lyrical topics and instrumentation are a bit darker. No more sword and sorcery lyrics here! 'Wake Up Dead' is cool as well, what I would coin "dark, heavy melody." There's some great vocal work as well as some thrashy riffs, from what I've heard their heaviest yet. Not as consistent as their last album but damn enjoyable nonetheless and yet another great addition to the power metal sweepstakes, emphasis on POWER.
Contact: Century Media Records.

OVERKILL "Bloodletting" (Metal-Is Records) SCORE: 43/100

For those who haven't figured it out yet, CMC International has merged with Metal Is, which is really a Sanctuary Records based label. And many might also know I am not a huge Overkill fan, but do find some songs here and there to be quite enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Overkill flying the flag of pure metal high, but if you read my review of their last CD you also know that I have not been on board for very long. The trip is even shorter this time around, with me really being about to enjoy one song all the way through, and that's 'Death Comes Out To Play.' This one has the telltale headbanging written all over it, though it's drowning in a sea of mediocrity and an album that sounds rather lifeless and tired. I don't have a problem with Bobby's vocals, I don't have a problem with the guitar work in spots, in fact, tracks like 'What I'm Missin' and 'I, Hurricane' shows that the instrumentation has bite, but not where it counts, and that's on the vocal delivery. His deviations from the Overkill norm leave tracks that have you enjoying the good parts and then something comes in and screws with the formula. This is painfully obvious on 'Blown Away,' where their killer delivery lasts for maybe two vocal lines before he slows the song down and ruins it by changing the mood and tempo. I don't really want to say too much more about this, though I think there's still potential there.
Contact: Metal-Is Records, a division of Sanctuary Records.

OVERSUN "Tragedy Of Time" (Nostradamus Records) SCORE: 29/100

I had high hopes for this record, especially when you consider it is the side project of one of Russia's lesser known, but quite adept, bands Ens Cogitans. Though their stunning debut mixes electronic and slight techno effected sounds, Oversun takes things a bit further with even more electronic influences, but with a death metal vocalist, the only high point of the CD along with the guitars in some tracks. 'Felo De Se' starts things off nicely enough, though from song 1 the wierd singing vocals threaten to drag this CD down into the mud. And drag it down they do, making tunes like 'Worst Kind Of Vampire' and 'Lightmare' torturous to sit through. By track 4, 'Tragedy Of Time,' things pick up a bit though the vocals still annoy me. 'Something Better Than Me' was the straw that broke the camel's back, with those damn turntable scratching antics of theirs, and the rap samples. The only saving grace for this CD came with their most amazing cover of 'Reign In Blood,' and I tell ya this would make for a great club track. You've never heard a Slayer cover done like this, complete with singing vocals and Tom Arya's voice sampled in. THIS track should have been on the Dwell tribute, as it's much better than most of the others that I had the misfortune to hear. Great singing vocals on that. Finally, 'Cage' is the Ens Cogitans track from their debut album, though this is the instrumental version with even more techno effected parts than the original song. It's interesting to note that the Ens Cogitans cover they chose was one of the most commercially accessible tracks on the CD. A huge disappointment.
Contact: Nostradamus Records, Tolmachev St. 11-82, 141282 Ivanteevka, Moscow Region, RUSSIA
Web site:

SOLACE "Further" (Meteor City) SCORE: 96/100

Thanks go out to the guys in Solace for hooking us up with Meteor City, a label that is fast (VERY fast) becoming one of my favorite labels. Hell, they put out the newest Abdullah CD! SO I felt obliged to review this, and damn glad I did too. As original as Abdullah is in the so called "Stoner rock" genre, these guys are actually quite innovative themselves. I mean, I don't know very many bands that can lay down these really mellow grooves, trippy laid back vibes, and then be screaming their heads off and kicking some brutal riffs and vocals all in the space of a 6 or 7 minute song! Check out 'Followed' if you need more info. This CD gives new meaning to the word heavy, twice! 'Whistle Pig' is rather short, an all acoustic piece with some good vocal melody. 'Heavy Birthing/2 Fisted' is really two songs rolled into one actual CD track, and showcases some of the heaviest sounds around! They start out shouting and even throw in some heavy, HEAVY bass riffs (gits, not drums) to boot! It's a weighted heaviness, one you seldom hear in this style of music. The other part of the last track has some trippy Orange Goblin style warped git effects, something I'm seeing pop up quite a bit amongst other bands these days, though no one seems to be overusing it these days. 'Angels Dreaming' has some lower toned singing vocals, one of a few long tunes, but with all the tempo changes and emotional roller coaster rides going, it'll be over before you can really get to enjoy it fully. Only 'Black Unholy Ground' had some downer bits to it, it was a tad long for some of the more mellow passages, I was digging more on the heavier side of this track. Along with Abdullah, this band is one of the defining moments of the genre that few bands would embrace fully, and I feel truly blessed to be introduced to a band of this caliber that can take a tried and true sound and somehow innovate and rework it. I've said enough already, go listen to the sound files!
Contact: Meteor City, damnit!

SUICIDE COMMANDO "Mindstripper" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 93/100

Though it took me nearly a year to get back into Metropolis' mailing list, there has been some great stuff coming my way. This is one of them. Some of you may remember the review done of their "Construct/Destruct" when they were signed to Possessive Blindfold, a label more commonly known for harsh noise based bands than true industrial. With the switch to Metropolis, it's obvious that there are more industrial and electronic influences. To be sure, the beat structures are still ultra brutal and militaristic, in fact on tracks like 'Raise Your God' and 'Blood In Face,' you could swear that there's a huge robotic creature smashing the ground with every step! There are many great tracks here, my personal favorite is 'Raise Your God,' especially as the vocals are so distorted and ultra brutal, this stuff is so harsh you may swear off the death metal in favor of this disc! The synthesized notations are a lot more mellow than they have ever been (that I have heard), and they help set the tone of 'Love Breeds Suicide,' a song that uses very mellow atmospheric keys to covey some sorrowful and depressing lyrics (in a good way). The slower 'Slaves' is great too, it's just as brutal and lyrically has something to say. 'Jesus Wept' is a crushing tune in it's own right, these songs have great instrumentation as well as the brutal distorted beats and vocals that just have to be heard to be believed. I find this better than their last release to a degree, even though the title track and 'Run' just seem to plod along without much spark to them. They are definite downers after the brilliance that you get for 8 of 10 tracks.
Contact: Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307 Philadelphia, PA 19105 USA
Web site:

SUPERSHINE "Supershine" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 92/100

The doom metal bug has bitten Doug Pinnick! The well known vocalist/bassist for King's X has teamed up with Trouble axemaster Bruce Franklin to create one hell of a side project! Make no mistake, this will take a few listens to fully appreciate what is going on here, and I can even forgive Doug's obvious distate of my Slayer shirt when I saw them play in Savannah many years ago supporting their latest release which featured the hit single 'Black Flag.' Simply put: Bruce's guitar work has never sounded better, in fact it adds an atmosphere to some of these songs that would make them sound really dull otherwise. Not to take anything away from Doug's vocal abilities, in fact I thought it was refreshing to add a rather soulful approach to such vicious guitar work that ALWAYS bites. My main problems with King's X in the past were their non-heavy material, but this combo takes the best from both bands, though the Trouble influences are more dominant here than anything else. 'Take Me Away,' 'Kingdom Come' and 'One Night' rock like all hell, and burn this CD to a crisp right from the start. These songs just plain out rock! 'I Can't Help You' starts to slow things down a bit, and this track, along with 'Automatic' and 'Going Down' are REALLY slow, doomy stoned out passages reminding one of the earliest days of Trouble, and though I had trouble (no pun intended) with them at first, ironically it's Doug's soulful yet heavy delivery that saves them from being a mess. The track 'Love' didn't do anything for me at all, it sounded like a throwaway song from King's X days. 'In Mourning' is a slow doomy guitar only track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Trouble's self titled album for Geffen Records, and the last track is a slow ballad that doesn't sound too bad, if you want to wind down. 'Candy Andy Jane' had great riffs and vocal lines, except for that lame chorus. Not a hell of a lot for me to bitch about, though the lower points come in because I know a few of the slower tracks may not work for all. I look forward to hearing a LOT more out of this most unusual of pairings.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.

THE BRONX CASKET CO. "The Bronx Casket Co." (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 56/100

Quite an interesting lineup of guest musicians we have here, it's Jack Frost from Metalium, Charlie Calv from Shotgun Symphony, two Overkill members and the mysterious Myke Hydeous doing the vocals, who is an ex Misfits member. Myke's vocals are quite adequate for the job, however it's obvious the supergroup is trying to re-create the horror/goth tinged sounds that Type O Negative is famous for. What is it about New York that breeds gothic bands? Anyway, the CD starts out pretty good, the opener 'Who Lives Forever' is quite heavy and catchy; however the rest of the CD falls short. 'Change The World' wasn't too bad, rather ballad like and good instrumentation. 'The Bad Guy' was quite poor, as was the ballad 'Alone.' Much of the instrumentation showed promise, but the song structures overall suffered. Major points had to go to their amazing cover of Metallica's 'Jump In The Fire,' complete with eerie synth riffs and a low toned vocalist! They also had some annoying sound samples at times, like the music box on 'No Miracles,' and the synths on 'The Bad Guy.' Maybe there's room for improvement, but if you want to hear good goth with heavy structures, I suggest Type O's "Bloody Kisses," hell, even their "October Rust" is good.
Contact: The Music Cartel, P.O. Box 629. Port Washington, NY 11050 USA
Web site:

THE HAUNTED "The Haunted Made Me Do It" (Earache Records) SCORE: 100/100

I have the perfect drinking game for you. Every time you hear a Slayer riff, influence, or idea in one of these songs, you must take a drink. By track 5, you'll be ready to puke your guts out, track 8 and you'll most likely be passed out. If you can manage to survive the whole CD and still be kicking, you are not human! This is what I feel is a superb and astounding effort by a band that has successfully made THE follow up to "Reign In Blood" that Slayer should have done. The influences are there, but don't let that throw you, 'cause baby you'd be missing out on one of the blockbuster releases this year! So let me talk about some of the differences, besides the harsher vocal style, that rounds this CD out. Remember Dark Tranquility? In Flames? There's some gothenberg based riffs in here, most notably on 'Trespass' and 'Hollow Ground.' They definitely DO NOT overuse those Gothenberg stylings, nor do they overuse the electronic effected vocals you've heard everyone from D.T. to Misery Loves Company throw in on 'Hollow Ground.' They even have the balls to bring out some acoustic guitars in 'The World Burns,' but they make sure you understand this whole album is for the headbangers! And your neck will be cracked, shattered, oh, and you'll definitely be drunk playing the drinking game, so let's hear it for a band that actually released one hell of a follow up to an already kick ass debut.
Contact: Earache Records, 2nd Floor, 43 W. 38TH St. New York, NY 10018 USA

VARIOUS ARTISTS "A Tribute To Judas Priest Volume II" (Century Media)
SCORE: 95/100

I must admit there's quite a lot of great tracks on this compilation. It's good to hear Forbidden again rear their thrashy head again, even if the band is long gone, with their version of 'Dissident Aggressor,' which sounds a LOT better and a lot heavier than the Slayer version. And what's this, a classic NWOBHM band covering a band that has been around for nearly as long? Saxon does a ripping cover of one of Priest's most famous tunes (hell, even my girlfriend knew this one from the opening guitar riffs without even knowing what CD I was playing!) 'You've Got Another Thing Coming,' which is a definite highlight. So does this mean that when Saxon's tribute album comes out, Priest will return the favor? Ralf Scheepers along with Gamma Ray proves why THIS man should have been considered for the Priest frontman role if Ripper Owens hadn't come on board with this near perfect rendition of 'Exciter.' Devin Townsend is a nut, and his version of 'Sinner' is exactly the aggressive piece you'd come to expect from a man who fronts Strapping Young Lad; damn who knew he had such a great singing voice? It's good to see Priest's heavier side represented, as "Painkiller" was a great album (and it's NATURAL progressive followup "Jugulator," key word here is PROGRESSIVE follow up). Radakka does it viciously with 'Night Crawler,' and as much as I hate Angra, I must admit that, accent problems aside, 'Painkiller' gets a pretty fair treatment. But alas, this is not a perfect score, the reason for this lies mostly with U.D.O.'s treatment of 'Metal Gods.' It sounds really rough, and I have never been a fan of his. Even 'Balls To The Wall,' about the only thing I've ever really heard from Accept, reeks to me of mediocrity. However, the surprise hit comes with Iron Savior's 'Desert Plains,' this one kicks ass all the way to the bank. Oh, and Rage's 'Jawbreaker,' and... Well, I think I've convinced you enough. Well worth the cash.
Contact: Century Media Records.

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Metal For Muthas II" (Sanctuary Records) SCORE: 54/100

As promised last issue, this is the second installment of the NWOBHM comp. that showcases a thriving British music scene in it's infancy. Many of these bands, unfortunately, show us why some of these rising acts never made it past the first release stage. Of all the bands here, only Trespass is known to me, and they present themselves with two fine tracks, 'One Of These Days' and 'Storm Child.' The best two on here definitely, but 'One Of These Days' can be found on the Metal Blade compilation "NWOBHM 79 Revisited." So what else do we have here: White Spirit does 'High On High,' and I'm quite intrigued by the way the melody sounds. It's not an aggressive or heavy track, and they even utilize keyboard passages! Dark Star's 'Lady Of Mars' also has keyboards, and was supposedly a rock club hit at one time. There's nice vocal stylings going on in this one, something that is a major detraction from the bad tracks here like Xero's 'Cutting Loose,' their vocalist sounds like he's from the Motown era trying to play southern rock, and not very good at that. This track has an interesting mix but it's not very well done. Chevy's "Chevy" sounds like a bad leftover from the Lynrd Skynrd days, and with some country guitar pieces as well. Interesting how a British band can sound like some of our Southern American counterparts, but it doesn't define the essence of British Heavy Metal. Horespower's 'You Give Me Candy' was as cheesy as it's title, the aggressive and shouted choruses were interesting but this whole track, right down to the 1950's sounding guitar riffs, were really bad. Aimed primarily at people who wanted to see the start of this movement, this compilation shows us more or less the bands trying to develop and hone their sound and style, often with disastrous results. Trespass and Dark Star, the two shining moments of this CD, with very little else keeping my interest.
Contact: Sanctuary Records.

VELVET ACID CHRIST "Twisted Thought Generator" (Metropolis Records)
SCORE: 95/100

What an album! I rceently got to see and speak with these guys when they performed at the Masquerade (see the interview for more details) and they put on one hell of a show! For those who think industrial is more for dance floors with happy, groovy vibes, you MUST check this one out. Dark, twisted and sometimes gut wrenching, this has to be their most mature record to date, even if some tracks from their "Calling Ov The Dead" (which we reviewed several issues ago) are a bit darker. They show they ability to throw many different moods and instrumentation styles at you while still coming full force. 'Velvet Pill' starts out serenely enough, with some melodic piano notes inlaid over a vocal style that screams pain and suffering from every pore. You can feel the sorrow running throughout this track. 'Dial8' then kicks in with some wicked sample lines and a darker, heavier feel. The movie samples are their funniest on 'Crypulse,' it's the old bum from "Wishmaster," though this track starts off a little slow. The vocals are quite a twisted and distorted mess, though they definitely could not be done clean or singing to have any effect. There are two instrumentals on here which are just absolutely fantastic. 'Mindphlux' for starters is a club hit for sure, though don't think it's just another dancey acid trance piece, it's got all the sinister and signature electro with some rather sinister screams of fright from an unknown victim. 'Hypersphere' is like a great voyage through the inner workings of the mind, set to music instead of drug induced lights, it's the happier song on the CD. A few points were taken due to some of the lyrical delivery on 'Asphyxia' and 'Crypulse' that seemingly drags a bit, but there's no denying a top notch release all the way.
Contact: Metropolis Records.

WITCH MOUNTAIN "Homegrown Doom" (Rage Of Achilles Records) SCORE: 35/100

Anything in the doom metal genre instantly picks up my attention. Self dubbed as "homegrown doom," this tag reminds me of many amateurs who try and grow their own smoke at home. It may be presented in abundance, but it definitely takes many growings and experimentations to yield a good quality crop. Many may be able to grow, but few can cross-germinate and do all the required tasks necessary to constantly produce good bud. Anyway, the main complaint is with the vocals, there is really no need for all that screaming! It ruins many a song that started to show promise, especially on the opener 'Indian Passage.' The guitarists have good lead work, but it gets marred by bad ideas and poor conception. 'Foxy Mule' was bad right down to the instrumentation, especially the chorus (what is a foxy mule anyway?) 'Victim Of Chord Changes' was faster paced doom, it didn't work well either, I don't really hear much promise until 'Iron Long Part I,' the vocals here are the best on the CD, low sung vocals which, had they utilized these style of vocals rather than the harsh screaming/shouting, might have given them a better score. The lead guitarist on this track is just flying! The last song, 'Iron Long Part II,' drags this CD back down into the mud, with the trademark bad vocals, and lack of punch to the instrumentation. The guitarists are obviously skilled, but for doom metal I usually require some mellow vibes, who knows if they can improve on their next record.
Contact: Rage Of Achilles, PO Box 20508, London NW8 8WT, ENGLAND
Web site:


BRUJERIA. Interview with Pince Peach, their manager.

It was interesting to me to see a new record from these self proclaimed "Satanic Mexican druglords." After being so curious for a long period of time, I had to at least attempt to conduct an interview. While quite short, it is interesting to see some of the developments that have been going on for the last few years. Speaking as Brujeria's representative, this may be Brujeria's first set of interviews in years, so hope ya enjoy.

Many people may not have picked up on this, but I noticed the cover artwork and the album seems to coincide not only with the release date (around October 31st), but there is a Mexican holiday that loosely translates to "Day Of The Dead" where shrines to dead people are made with candles and their memoirs. Can you elaborate a little on this?

Not really. Everything exists for a reason, some things are better left unsaid.

It is good to see a new album come out. I am curious about some of the song titles, as my knowledge of Spanish is limited. I did notice there was no parental advisory sticker placed upon the cover, even though there are quite a few profanities in the songs that I have translated.

It's interesting to see that even though Spanish is widely spoken throughout the U.S. and is the most spoken language in California, most of the industry has no contact with Spanish speaking people other than seeing them as comsuming sheep. It only shows that the people who control things speak only English.

Any truth to the rumours that members of Fear Factory, Napalm Death, Faith No More, and a few others are involved in this project? I talked with Dino Cazares from Fear Factory a few years ago about this project and he wouldn't say much.

The members of Brujeria do not like to use their real names, and there are very real reasons for this; security for example. Another reason not to use names is so people can judge the record on the strength of it's message and the power of it's music. Personalities only get in the way and confuse the issue. The names of the band members and what each member does are listed on the album credits. That is how the band chooses to work.

There are a few new twists to the record this time around, I noticed more Hispanic influences soundwise, especially with the sound samples. I do, however, detect a rather Korn/Sepultura/Soulfly influence on the guitar work.

Hmmm... You might be the only one who feels this way.

"Raza Odiada" seemed to deal, as did "Mantando Gueros," with hatred for those who maybe had persecuted your people? I am aware of the themes "hated race" and "kill whitey" though rather than being offended myself I can understand the context of the lyrics. What is the outlying theme of "Brujerismo" and how do you see the advancement and development of the members as musicians? Are there other Hispanic artists that you are influenced by?

Pancho Villa was an artists who inspires Brujeria. The outlying theme of the new album is an introduction of something new. It is a new period in history and a new spiritual awakening. Things have not changed for centuries, and it is time to move forward.

The band has kept a very low profile for several years, though each album released has garnered over 25,000 copies sold without touring, promotion or radio play here in the States. I have however been told that a tour has been done in your native land, a Hispanic friend of mine told me you put on one hell of a show. Are there any chances that we will see a proper U.S. tour?

Touring is not important to the band right now. Bands tour to sell records. Brujeria has other priorities. This is not to say a live set is not possible, but the band will do it when it is ready.

Your relation to the drug cartel and the underground seems to fit very well with this style of music. What are typical Mexican satanistical beliefs in your country, and how do they parallel with the practices and beliefs of, say, the Norweigan black metal scene?

The music of Brujeria has been part of a natural process. It does not consider itself allied with any scene, whether it is black metal in Norway or in Mexico.

I noticed that your releases have been on quite a few record labels besides Roadrunner. Tell us about KoolArrow, and I also know your first release was a single on Alternative Tentacles Records. What sort of deal do you have with Roadrunner, and how does the recording and pressing of an album come to be? Will the single you did 'Marijuana' (parodying the Macarena hit) ever be released on a full length album?

The recording of "Brujerismo" took about a year, and involved various studios between the U.S. and Mexico. It is true that in the past our music has been on other labels, but now our music is on our own label KoolArrow. "Brujerismo" is a joint KoolArrow/Roadrunner release because Roadrunner connected with the music and their support and experience can help the band. But all future releases will be Kool Arrow. In fact, Kool Arrow plans on re-releasing a CD compilation of it's old singles called the "Mex-tremist Hits," including 'Marijuana' and some new material, early next year.

As I mentioned above, I know that Brujeria has done very few interviews, so why have they decided to speak to the press now? Are there certain goals that Brujeria wish to obtain here in the United States? You also have a web site up as well, how do you view the internet as a global way to reach many people and fans the world over?

We have decided that it was time to have a voice. I was chosen to be the spokesperson. I am the one man who doesn't wear the mask. I have the authority to speak for Brujo, though there are many things I am not at liberty to speak about. One of the things I can't discuss right now are our goals in the U.S. Our website is where our fans connect with us.

FOREFATHER. Interview with Wulfstan via email.

I gotta hand it to these English Heathen metal masters, I haven't heard black metal played like this. Signed to a label that houses only one band, we caught up with this rather unknown but very innovative and creative duo.

I haven't heard of Forefather or the label until recently, though a few of your releases have gained quite a bit of good press.

We only entered the scene in March 1999 so it's not surprising that after only 20 months we're still unknown to a lot of people, but more and more folks are hearing about us through reviews or interviews because we've answered quite a lot fo questions and received a good number of writeups. All kinds of magazines have featured us, some good ones, some bad. Generally though, the response has been quite positive, but it really annoys me when someone with the journalistic skills of a farmyard animal comes out with a load of crap about one of our releases. I don't mind the odd bad review if it's written well because different people have different tastes.

I was most intrigued by the use of clean singing as well as black metal styled vocals, and since there is only one vocalist listed, I assume you do both? Is it very difficult to switch between the two? I have been practicing with doing both but usually I have to sacrifice one or the other as my throat gets messed up a bit. Are there any special techniques to pull off both, and how is this done live?

First of all, I don't think using clean vocals aside toneless ones is anything new (indeed, the Macabre interview touches upon this as well - Ed.) because other people have already done it but we do it slightly different. I perform all the vocals on all the tracks, clean or growled I have no trouble switching between the two because when we record we do all of the one style first and then the other. If we were playing live it might be more tricky because the growled vocals can mess up one's throat a bit but we don't play live so I don't have to think about that.

There seems to be a recurring theme of war on this record, and it also seems like the people mentioned in the lyrics had quite a struggle to preserve their way of life and living.

The words throughout the album are often directly or indirectly linked to a few weeks in early medieval English history in which time two major battles took place; one a great victory, one an unfortunate defeat, the consequences being that England fell out of English hands and into the lap of a new alien ruling class. This period is very important to us and the album took on the theme of this time. The title "Fighting Man" relates to the personal war-banner of the English king in question, King Harold Godwinson.

'When Our England Died' was a very interesting piece, I am assuming it is based on an old English ballad?

That song specifically relates to the second of the two battles I mentioned above. The music is derived from an old folk tune but we wrote our own words. They are sung in honor of those kinsmen who took on the great march to the southern coast after a great victory in the North, and gave their all for England! Sadly, these heroic ancestors are viewed as insignificant or irrelevant to many of our current English brothers and sisters but WE haven't forgotten about them.

Tell us a bit about Angelisc Records. I noticed that you seem to be the only band on the label, will there be others?

We get asked this question all the time, hee hee. Angelisc is our own label, created to release the first Forefather album and to be a base for all our enterprises. We've got a pretty large mail order catalog of underground stuff from all different labels as well so we're more than just a label but we'd be interested in releasing stuff from other artists. The truth is though, we've not really come across anything we like yet that isn't already signed. Anyone who thinks they're onto something good and is looking for a deal should contact us.

So what does the term "English Heathen Metal" mean to you? I know the word "heathen" usually has a strong harsh connotation associated with it in quote-unqoute "Christian" circles.

I think we're pretty unique as an English band, I certainly know of none others like us. I think what constitutes us as heathen I think is that we reject all forms of alien and institutional religion and instead have a deep rooted respect for the true ancient traits of our own tribe. Just like anywhere else, I'm sure there would have been much persecution of non-conformists during the conversion period. A big hail goes to those who stuck to their beliefs even in the face of this!

From which part of England do you hail? I know the country has a very rich heritage, though also a long lineage of rulers that didn't always have their country's inhabitants best interests at heart; prompting, as well you know, the mass fleeing of citizens to the Americas.

We are from the county of Surrey in the South of England, part of the old Saxon heartland. It's quite urban in the North where it borders with London but where we are is more rural and quiet. England is around 1600 years old if you start from the arrival of the first English settlers from the old Germania and about 1100 years old as a united kingdom under one monarch so there's a lot of history to this nation. True, many a king who couldn't give a damn about England or the English as a nation and people have ruled this land; mainly and almost constantly since the unfortunate defeat and death of the last English king, Harold Godwinson, but this is the same with nearly all European nations I would have thought. Sections of people from all over Europe have fled to America at some point, in England's case it was the Puritans who, under threat of persecution from the restored English monarchy, hopped onto a ship and became the Pilgrim fathers who founded the first American settlement.

I'm curious to get your input as to some bands and styles of music you like, obviously you are into power metal styled bands as well as black metal. The choruses especially give a strong hint of power metal inclinations.

I like some power metal songs and bands but I'm not especially into that genre or any other. I just like what I like and write what I want to hear. I still enjoy the old black metal stuff by the likes of Burzum, Immortal, and Satyricon but I don't listen to them regularly. To be honest, I don't think much about the black metal scene but it seems to me that the traditional idea of the genre as being Satanic, dark and evil is fading away as more and more people in the scene realize that the better way to oppose Christianity is to positively promote the native ancient ways instead of conforming to the Christian ideal that anyone who is heathen is in league with Satan and dark forces.

It seems that most of the song and lyric writing duties are shared by the two of you alone (Athelstan and Wulfstan). Tell us about how the band came together and when you realised that it was best to write albums with just two members. I know many bands that have one or two core members seem to always have the same ideas about the progression of the sound of the band; some have said that when other members have influence it tends to pull the band in many different directions.

Forefather is an outletfor the music of myself and Athelstan only. No one else's contributions are welcome musically or lyrically, firstly because Forefather is a personal project to us and secondly because it's our own styles that make the band what it is. As we're brothers, we've been together all our lives, and because we have the same visions, goals and aspirations it made perfect sense to work together for one project. We purposely try and make sure that there is an equal representation of each of our works on each album.

I really enjoyed your latest album "The Fighting Man." Have you received much feedback from the new CD yet? How does this release compare to your older albums?

I'm glad you enjoyed "The Fighting Man." We've received quite a bit of feedback so far and the majority of people have been very impressed and thought it an improvement over "Deep Into Time," the debut, which is nice. There's always going to be some people that just don't get what you're doing, though, and that is annoying but unavoidable. One person's heaven is another person's hell. "Fighting Man" is a more varied album than "Deep Into Time" with a better sound and some more melody and folk influences but it's not hugely different. We've taken the style we started to develop on "Deep" and take it to a few new levels. We'll do the same with the next CD. The next album will continue to explore the style of Forefather in new and interesting ways and will undoubtedly again improve over the previous album, which is our current release. We've got some new songs with more on the way and I can't wait to get them all recorded and released. To us, "The Fighting Man" is really old already, some of the songs were written nearly two years ago!

Finally, as we wrap this up, is there anything else you want to talk about at length? For instance, do you have any opinions on the Napster sharing service? Also, what do you think about the presidency battle we have going on here in the United States? It's quite different from rule under a monarchy, but it's still quite ridiculous what's going on, both candidates are obviously quite the idiots.

I'd like to comment on Napster but I don't know much about it. All I'll say is that I think things like this will hurt big music companies and bands a lot more than underground ones. Finally, onto the U.S. election, does it really matter? It's a farce whatever happens. All so-called Western governments are farces. What makes me laugh is all these lawyers going to all these courts, trying to pretend that it's actually really important. There's a lot more to this world than we know about. Thanks a lot for the interview, hails to everyone and best of luck with Vibrations of Doom!

GOATSNAKE. Interview with Greg.

I wasn't too impressed with their first full length "I," but their latest release "Flower Of Disease" was quite good, in fact there were some diverse elements on here that kept things interesting. Without further ado, the interview with the guitarist that also runs a record label dedicated to good, heavy southern doom.

First off, I know you released a single or two on Southern Lord, yet both albums have been put out on Man's Ruin. Lots of bands, especially ones in the stoner rock and doom metal genres, seem to have many releases on different labels. I know Southern Lord carries Goatsnake merchandise.

Southern Lord is a label that I run. We have only released the "Dog Days" EP with that so far. We think it's good to diversify; put releases out with a few companies, to broaden our impact (hopefully).

I must admit I didn't like the first album too much but this new one really got to me! Was there any reason for the change in sound and style? I see that there is more melody here and also some doom metal stylings as well.

Hmmm... Too bad you didn't get the first album. We're quite proud of that one! But it was a documentation of where Goatsnake was at that time. The new album is more developed as we have had a couple of years playing together now. Pete has gotten more involved with the songwriting, and this definitely brings a new dynamic to our sound.

I'm kinda curious about some of the song topics, especially on a track entitled 'A Truckload Of Mamma's Muffins,' what's that song all about? Also, the tune 'The Dealer' seems to deal with a spiritual side of things, can you elaborate more on these few songs?

Pete Stahl would be the best to answer "lyrical content" questions. 'A Truckload...' is just a cool sounding title we picked. And the song is about working on trucks, so... My interpretation of 'The Dealer' is a very cool religious story/analogy put into lyrics.

I have been told by the vocalist from Church Of Misery that you produced their "Master Of Brutality" album, how did that come about?

No, I didn't "produce" the new Church Of Misery album, but Southern Lord will be releasing it next year. It sounds great, more brutal than past recordings!

Man's Ruin has quite a number of bands I really dig, like Sons Of Otis, Acid King, Natas, and High On Fire, are you familiar with any of these bands, and have you toured with any of them?

High On Fire is godly, we've played with them before. I love Angel Rot, Queens Of The Stoneage, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, Earthlings?, Desert Sessions, etc.

The cover artwork on the first album, with the bikers and vikings mixed in together, had some people wondering, personally I drew paralells to both as they are independent, free spirits; a bit rebellious in nature. I have the feeling that with the heavier vibes you tried to create on this first album, many people might have missed that connection.

The cover was meant to be complete 100 percent tongue in cheek humor. It was meant as an ironic joke. People that didn't get it, who cares, grab a beer and relax.

I hate to ask an obvious question like "Why did you choose the name Goatsnake," but the combination of creatures you chose points to some interesting analogies, especially the typical symbols of rebellion with the goat, and the snake seen to be the first rebel in history. What's your viewpoint on the band name, or am I just reading too much into it?
It's just a cool sounding name, combining the two most "metal" animals into one. We have no religious preference, but we love goats for sure.

Any upcoming tour plans? I saw on the web site where you have done quite extensive tours of Europe, though I'm not sure how much of a fan base there is overseas for stoner rock and doom metal.

There are possible tours coming up. Europe is amazing! The crowds are way more receptive to music in general. They go to shows purely for the bands, not to schmooze, pick up chicks/dudes, etc. They are there to rock, which is of course why it's great to play there.

What's upcoming for you guys in the future? Are there any discussions about a next record, and will it be more like the style presented on this new release or like your first album?

A complete mystery really for us. Surprise and discovery is part of the entire process for us.

I have recently said that Man's Ruin should have stickers attatched to their band's releases saying "Our bands use only Green and Orange amps!" Especially since bands like Sons Of Otis, High On Fire and the like swear by them. Do you utilize any special equipment for your guitar sounds? Any chance we'll hear keyboards in future songs?

Our sticker would read: "Sunn amplification slays pussy ass British Amplification!" Keyboards? Hmmm... Maybe Fender Rhodes.

We here at the magazine are definitely pro-hemp, any particular drugs of choice you use to create the sound and vision your albums mirror?

We really don't smoke pot. We are fueled by other drugs, mostly alcohol.

Anything else you might want to add that I might have left out? What's the going price for good bud in your area?

Doom! Check out the Southern Lord label for the heaviest shtuff you can find. Good bud? Not sure. Good head will cost you about $45 down on Santa Monica Blvd. But check the package first, you may get a man-bird.

MACABRE. Interview with Corporate Death.

I must say it's rather strange not seeing you on Relapse anymore.

We were never really on Relapse, we were on Nuclear Blast, and Relapse was the American distribution for Nuclear Blast Europe. We did some T-shirts and some merchandising with them but never really signed with them. Relapse did show interest in us, but they have a lot of bands on the label, and for us it was a matter of getting the right deal for us so we had to shop around a bit more.

The liner notes said you had recorded the album back in September of 1999, so I'm curious as to what took so long to release the album, especially here in the States.

We recorded the album ourselves, we put our own money into it. We had to shop it around and get the right deal, and for licensing. We didn't want to go to the label and get a small budget to record with and have them not make us a priority band. We got a good recording, good producer, and our producer is really amazing. We never realized in the past how important a producer is to the sound of the album, he gives you the big sound. We got a lot of different offers from many labels, but of course Hammerheart gave us the best deal. We have seperate deals with both labels, Olympic actually released this in the States. We aren't signed to any label, so we have options. Next album we might record the album ourselves. You make a lot more money this way by doing it yourselves and licensing it, and after five years you own the album instead of the record company owning it. A lot of bands can't come up with enough money to do a good recording.

What was really unique about the Dahmer album is that it is basically the story of Dahmer's life from childhood to his death in prison. One song in particular is told from the first person, where you attended Jeffrey's trial? This is the only song that is, lyrically, seen through your eyes instead of the thoughts and recollections of Dahmer himself. What was that like, sitting in the courtroom with Dahmer?

It was definitely a once in a lifetime thing. I got a hotel room the night before, I didn't want to drive out there real early in the morning. At about 5:30 or 6 AM I went to stand in line at the courtroom, they give you a number and you have to go through a metal detector. There's like 12 or 15 seats in the courtroom, and that was it. It was like front row, I was 5 feet away from Dahmer himself. There's a big plexiglass wall up there in the courtroom too. It was a wierd experience. The day I went there was a psychiatrist telling about Dahmer's wierd fetishes and morbid things he wanted to do, stuff like he wanted to freeze dry a man so he could keep him. He wanted to take pictures of the stiffs, he had sex with the freeze dried corpses. I brought a pen and paper with me in the courtroom, I wrote a couple of songs from the trial.

Did anyone ever take notice of what you were doing in the courtroom?

I was actually interviewed by a big magazine in Milwaulkee, it was cool.

You must have done a lot of research for this album, there's just so much material here. I think I read somewhere that you visited Dahmer in prison?

No, actually I visited John Wayne Gacy in prison. In 1978 Gacy was caught with 28 bodies in his house, they were found in his crawlspace. My friend was buying paintings from Gacy so I started writing him. He started sending me his paintings in the mail, they were like 100 or 200 dollars a piece. My friend is a big murder buff, I sort of got him into it in a way, but he collects murder memorabilia, he writes to about 100 different serial killers. He lives in Florida and has a Charles Manson voodoo doll made of Manson's clothes and Manson's hair. It was worth about 1200 dollars at the time, who knows how much it's worth now, as that was a long time ago. He's got clocks made by killers out of matchsticks, paintings, drawings, he has all kinds of letters and what not. He got me into writing these guys, and since he met Gacy, I said "I want to meet Gacy myself." I wrote him and said I wanted to meet him, he said that would be cool, he wanted my phone number, and called me about once a week. I interviewed Gacy and saw him about 3 times, I actually tried prison food once and it tasted terrible, kinda like dog food. I was in a room with this guy for about 5 hours, it was a very wierd experience.

You weren't a little scared being in the cell with him?

I wasn't intimidated at all. He's a little guy I coulda kicked his ass. He's just a chubby old man. He's saying he could stick a pencil in my eye, a pencil in my neck, and I'm like "I'll kick your ass, I'll beat the shit out of you," and he kinda just laughed.

Speaking of Gacy, there's a guy from Acid Bath who has used two of Gacy's paintings as album covers for his band, that wouldn't have been the guy you were referring to was it?

G.G. Allin used to go in there, he went and talked to Gacy many times. He brought his girlfriend with him, or the girl he was with, and she wanted to give Gacy a blowjob right in the room. Gacy didn't go for it though. There's cameras in the room and stuff, there's no guards in there, they are on the other side of bars and you're locked into a thing with 8 rooms. I was in there with all these convicted killers, there was one guy from Illinois who painted some lady's house, raped her and set her on fire with gasoline. They all walked into Gacy's room, there was a guy who's about 6 foot 5, 270 pounds going "Hey Gacy, you got a pen man?" (laughter) Gacy's like "I told the guard to get in here cause someone will kill you." I'm just laughing at them.

I have a book called "The World's Most Infamous Crimes And Killers," I don't know if you have heard of it? One of my favorite stories in there was about the Chicago Torture Castle of the 1930's, I know not too many people have heard about that.

Yeah, that's about William Mudgett. We have a song about him on the "Gloom" album which came out in 1989. It's a song called "Dr. Holmes," where he supposedly killed about 200 people. It was up until the 60's or 70's then they tore it down. He had lime pits and acid baths everywhere, gas lines where he could gas the people down, crazy stuff.

You ever heard of a band called Church Of Misery? They are probably one of your biggest fans, they play doom metal like Black Sabbath but all their lyrics are about serial killers, they cite you as a big influence.

Ah, cool! "Murder Metal!" No, I have heard something about them but haven't heard any of their stuff. I love it when other bands do the killer stuff. I remember when Cannibal Corpse did it years ago. With that "Butchered At Birth" about Albert Fish and Gilda Rays (sp?) characters butchering people. Even Slayer, they did '213' about Dahmer, 'Dead Skin Mask' about Gein and stuff. We have been doing this stuff for years, back in 1986 we recorded our first album. We didn't have enough to put out "Grim Reality" so we didn't release it until 1987. It's a five song EP and is pretty intense.

What was on that album?

It had one 'Serial Killer' which is about Henry Lee Lucas, 'The Son Of Sam,' 'Mr. Albert Fish, Was Children Your Favorite Dish,' and Ed Gein. There's one other song on there that's not about a killer, but all we do now is killer songs. Originally with Macabre we did 80 percent killer songs and 20 percent morbid topics like grave diggers, funeral homes, but we don't do that stuff anymore, we're strictly killers, murder metal.

All that stuff is available isn't it? Through your own label?

"Grim Reality" isn't available anymore, you MIGHT be able to get it used. It's real hard to find if you can, we plan on re-releasing it eventually, but there is a lot of work to be done on it. We have to remix it, there's a lot of old tapes we have to transfer and stuff, it will cost a lot. We're going to put it out probably next year. "Gloom" is out of print at the moment, but we're going to re-release it again, we did it once. I'll ask Rodney if he has any more so you can hear it, it's the one with 'Dr. Holmes' on it. It's a wierd sounding one, it's more of a punk album. With Macabre I want to make each album sound different, I don't want to do the same record all the time. With "Gloom" and "Grim Reality," it doesn't even sound like the same band. Even from "Sinister Slaughter" to "Dahmer" there's a big, BIG difference.

Now, I noticed you had some keyboards on the track 'Temple Of Bones,' are you guys into black metal at all?

Yeah, I like some black metal, there's this band I'm really into, I think they are on Hammerheart, it's this guy's solo project. It's Dead Silent Slumber I think, but he plays in another band. (Naglfar - Ed.) That guy did the artwork, the vocals and everything! I dig Old Man's Child too.

I wanted to get back to some individual songs on "Dahmer," like 'Grandmother's House,' it sounds kinda like pop-punk, maybe a take off on some Green Day stuff?

That's actually a christmas song. (What!?? - Ed.) It's more metal/punk crossover. I'll throw a couple of punk songs on the album, to give it a bit of variety, I have no problem with that. I try to do different musical styles, different vocal styles, I want to make it sound like a musical.

I was pretty amazed by how you are able to do the high pitched vocals and the low toned death metal style vocals. Plus, there's actual singing on this thing! Are all the vocals done by yourself?

Background vocals were done by Nefarious the bass player. I do most of the vocals here, I can switch my voice off in different parts, I get bored doing the same vocal style all the time. I used to really get into Judas Priest when I was in high school, I could scream like Rob but I really can't do it anymore, I guess all the Macabre vocals kinda ripped my voice up for that. We're going to do a Macabre Minstrels in the future.

Yeah, I had heard something about that, what is that exactly? The bio mentioned a performance live that you did with this.

It's Macabre unplugged actually. Acoustic stuff, I try to sound like John Lennon or something on that. It's like Beatles instrumentation with really sick lyrics.

That's what I was trying to do with my project that never really got off the ground, the whole blues style guitars with acoustic playing and regular singing vocals. I did two songs like that, 'Hell Castle Blues' about the Chicago Torture castle theme we mentioned earlier, and 'Rainin' Down Fire.' The project never got off the ground tho. I'm sure you guys go for a rather comedic effect on some songs, 'The Brain' was really hilarious, my girlfriend was laughing her ass off on that one.

That's kinda tongue in cheek humor. Have you ever seen 'Cannibal The Musical?'

Ha ha! No, I never heard of that, I need to see it though.

It's good, it's done by the guys who did South Park. They did it for a college project. It's on the same video line that did the Toxic Avenger and stuff. That song is like the theme, I don't really want to be totally serious with it, I can have fun with this, i can break into any style at any time. There's certain styles I won't do on the album, like I won't do country/western or rap. We did do 'Coming To Chicago,' which is kinda like folk style.

I like 'Dahmer And The Chocolate Factory' a lot, that was rather unusual, especially how it was like the Willy Wonka theme song.

That one came off better than I thought it would. I wasn't really prepared going into the studio with that one, but the producer was a great musician besides. He said "Just play these guitar parts here." And he gave me all these three part harmonies to play, I just said "Wow, cool. Just show me what to play and I can play it." He was trying to make me sound like Brian May, it was a lot of fun.

You must have worked forever getting this thing recorded.

Not really, we were out there for 13 days, we flew out to Texas, and it took about 11 and a half days to record and mix it. The vocals were the hard part, I only had three days to do them, so if my voice wasn't right then it was hard.

Is there any preparations you do for your vocals, I know you guys tour with this quite a bit.

You have to just scream. Your voice kinda conditions itself after awhile. I'm ging to Europe January 4th and I have to play 19 straight shows. I've done it before. I've done 22 shows, actually. Macabre is headlining too, so I'm playing an hour and 15 nimutes every night. And then you have to talk to people all night. But you condition it. It's like running, if you try to sprint real fast for a quarter mile, you're going to be dying. But if you work up to that, and try to do it every day, you're going to be better conditioned. Same thing with vocals.

MAYHEM. Interview with Necrobutcher, Blasphemer, Hellhammer AND April Smith!

This was one hell of an interview. We would have run it last issue, but seeing as how like 20 other magazines ran this interview at the same time, we felt it wouldn't get the attention it deserved. It was THE funniest interview I have ever done, and since the weed was flowing free throughout this, it means that you will get to see things here in print you won't see anywhere else from Mayhem. Hope ya enjoy this one of a kind interview, these words you won't find ANYWHERE else on the planet.

I guess I should start off by asking this, I was with someone that was talking to Hellhammer and he asked him about Burzun. It surprised me to hear that he actually likes Burzum's music! I had the impression that you maybe hated Varg Vikernes for the murder of Eronymous?

Necrobutcher: The thing is, Eronymous screwed up. I feel that Eronymous brought it all on himself; he owed the guy money, put death threats on him and what not. He basically backed himself into a corner. Some people just don't know their limits, that last thing to do that keeps them out of trouble. We have an understanding now with Varg, we don't talk bad about him and he doesn't talk bad about us.

So whose idea was it to bring in the industrial influences? I know Apoptygma Berzerk was listed as an influence for this release?

Blasphemer: Maniac is into Apoptygma Berzerk. I personally haven't heard a lot of industrial music. I've talked to him about doing something different. This new record is a concept album, it's the start of something new that symbolizes where we are going. I don't want to feel limited with this band.

A lot of press for this album has been saying that you guys are one of the last original black metal bands left to start changing their sound, not necessarily changing in a slight way either.

Hellhammer: Mayhem has always changed their sound, from "Deathcrush" to "Mysteriis..." We have to make a stand with our music, we don't want to repeat "De Mysteriis" all over again.
Blasphemer: Do you want to repeat ninth grade all over again? You cannot deny progression in any level, and as you evolve as a human, your music evolves with it. Your way of thinking reflects your music. I must say I'm not as narrow minded as I was in 1993 or '96, you progress all the time. I don't want to be stuck in the same thought patterns for years. A lot of black metal bands have changed, but we do it with style, and how do you say "correct?" The music on this album is down to the essence of the whole theme, the music reflects the lyrics and the lyrics reflect the music.

It sounds very militaristic, which I thought was very appropriate since the theme seems to be the grand declaration of war against Christianity.

Blasphemer: Not just against Christianity but society as well. We're against everything I guess.

I have an extreme hatred for Christianity, especially after what I've seen it do to people who grow up basing their whole faith in a societal system of beliefs that you know "You have to do this to achieve salvation," not realizing that man chooses his own path in life, regardless of your religious, social or philosophical beliefs. Christianity can be blamed for a lot of the bloodshed we've had in the past.

Blasphemeer: Religion is the source of much evil.
Hellhammer: Never is religion good. (evokes much laughter - Ed.)
Necrobutcher: You see like these millions of Arabs, if they didn't live by the Koran, just imagine what would happen.
Blasphemer: You couldn't imagine what the world would be like if it was free of religion.
Necrobutcher: Yeah, it would be like Planet Of The Apes.
Blasphemer: I am quite comfortable in my situation, I see the world is going on, and I don't take part in it. I do my thing and it's great, beyond what society is like. I see the world moving, there are things there for me to take when I need it. I don't necessarily want to be a part of the world, but I take the things that I need from it.

Necrobutcher: Have you heard of the British band GBH? (It's obvious to me that this isn't the typical question, answer interview - Ed.)

Yeah, I've heard "City Babies Attacked By Rats."

Necrobutcher: In the beginning of the 80's, punk was as important as...
Blasphemer: (talking softly) ass... ass...
Necrobutcher: metal. Lemmy always said if it hadn't been for the punk scene there would be no metal scene. He was into punk, it was something slightly different. We can blame a lot of stuff on Motorhead.

You know, Lemmy was also in Hawkwind. Any of you guys like Hawkwind?

Hellhammer: Crap band!

What's the matter, too mellow for ya? (laughs)

Necrobutcher: I hear now, Lemmy has bought the Rainbow Club in L.A.? I guess Lemmy was so fed up to have to pay for his own drinks, he felt he had to buy the club so he could get the drinks for free. It was not enough to just be Lemmy anymore, he had to buy the fucking place. (much laughter erupts)
Blasphemer: I guess it was cheaper in the long run. (even more laughter)
Necrobutcher: He's a freebie. You know how he got his name Lemmy? That's because all the guys down at the pub always called him Lemmy because he would go "lend me a fiver." "Lemmy a fiver." That's true.
Blasphemer: I think this is going to be on MTV tomorrow... (extreme laughter)

So Hellhammer, what's the lightest... Hmmm... How do I say this? What's the non heaviest type of music you listen to? (Since he doesn't like Hawkwind, I'm rather curious).

Hellhammer: I listen to everything that I classify as quality music. It doesn't have to be metal.
Blasphemer: A lot of metal is definitely NOT quality music.
Hellhammer: Quality music... Britney Spears... Pet Shop Boys. (you can sense the laughter here again).
Necrobutcher: I'm a big fan of the Beastie Boys. That's not metal though.

You sure you want me to print that in the magazine, that you listen to the Beastie Boys? (laughs)

Necrobutcher: That's cool music, those guys basically said to hell with the business, they do their own thing. Grand Royal Records, they started that themselves.

It's funny, though, I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but when I was in high school, the first two metal records I had ever heard were Iron Angel's "Hellish Crossfire," and Venom's "Black Metal." Before that, I was listening to rap, but at that time there weren't any white kids listening to that style of music.

Hellhammer: So you were always an extremist when it comes to music.
Blasphemer: That's pretty admirable actually.
Necrobutcher: I like some Old Dirty Bastard stuff, Public Enemy. (starts singing) "Dirty cash, dirty dirty dirty cash."
Hellhammer: Give me some cash, I'm broke.
April: You don't mind if it's dirty do you?
Hellhammer: Course not!
Necrobutcher: (STILL singing) Freddy Mercury's dead.
April: Oh, I like Freddy Mercury.

(At this point I'm going, "oh, no, this has really gotten silly).

Necrobutcher: I like him too, he's dead.
April: I can't help it, I like him.
Necrobutcher: He was always wearing these really glittery handbags.
Blasphemer: I like his mustache (says "mustarche")
Necrobutcher: If I had met him, he would not have died from AIDS. He would have died from this bottle (holds a Heinekin) up his ass!

Necrobutcher: We hate everybody, we want to kill everybody. We can laugh about stuff like this because we are sick! We want to kill your fucking pets! (severe laughter). Have you seen the album cover? That was someone's pet. Don't mess with us, we'll mess up your pets.
Blasphemer: What? Mess up your pants?
Necrobutcher: This is the last thing, we need to finish up this interview. A hundred years ago there was a law in Norway that all everybody had to have a weapon in their homes, to protect the country from the Swedes. This law (pause) is what I live by. And now we are trying to get this shit going again. Guns for the people! (trumpet sounds from Hellhammer and Blasphemer).
I think we need the camera off now.

SAXON. Interview with Biff Byford.

We caught up with one busy and exhausted lead vocalist as they were winding down their U.S. tour for "Metalhead." Though he wasn't very talkative, I think there's enough here to give you all an insight into the workings of one of metal's oldest bands.

I haven't heard much of older Saxon, but I have been enjoying your last two releases, "Metalhead" in particular. It seems like a much heavier, darker record than "Unleash The Beast."

The album is a mixture between the more classic melodic metal and the more modern sound. Classic influences are heard on songs like 'Conquistadores' and the harder, darker influences come in on 'Travelers In Time' and 'Metalhead.' "Unleash The Beast" was quite dark, though, quite heavy. On the darker side of heavy. But that's the way we are these days you know, we mix the melodic vocals with the darker riffs, pretty much how we used to do in the 80's. We like our albums to be really atmospheric, an experience rather than just a bunch of songs. We work very hard to get the atmosphere of each song right, it's very important to us.

As I said, I'm not very versed in older Saxon, but it seems to me like bands that have been around for a long time, such as yourselves, Judas Priest, CJSS, Lizzy Borden and some of the 80's bands making comebacks today have made their sound and style heavier, much darker and harder than they did in the past.

I think that's what people want these days. They've been through the early 90's with the death/hardcore style, and a little bit of that has rubbed off on us. The younger fans are obviously into that so we have to write songs in that style for some of our earlier audiences. It's difficult to please everyone.

So you mentioned that you've been influenced by bands in the death and thrash metal genres, what sort of bands do you listen to these days or take some influences from?

We're quite into some of the newer European stuff that is coming out, the gothic things like Nightwish, melodic metal bands. You're going to get them over here, they're going to be really big here in the States I think. It's all guitar based and highly melodic. We're more into bands like that, Nightwish is good, they have that female operatic singer. Anything that's based on melody with the heavy riffs we like a lot. And also we are into the usual stuff like the new AC/DC album, the new Halford is great as well.

The theme of "Metalhead" seems to involve ancient Egyptian culture and maybe the fact that the Egyptian civilization was advanced by otherworldly visitors. I am totally fascinated by Egyptian mythology so it was quite a pleasant surprise to see an Egyptian theme on the cover.

That's more or less what the theme involves, it's more tied in to the movie "Stargate" though. Just a little bit, not totally. I like that kind of theme, it's a lot more interesting than singing about the devil all the time.

This tour that you're on right now, how many more shows are you doing, and how has the reaction been from people? I know America has a rather small but devoted following of metal fans.

It's been pretty good, in some towns we're really big, other towns we're not so big. That's how it always is in America. A lot of the shows have been 18 or 21 and over, so a lot of our younger fans can't get in which is a bummer. We're not doing any biker festivals here in America, but we have done quite a lot in Europe. We picked up a lot of fans in the States with the "Dogs Of War" and "Unleash The Beast," it was like a new beginning for us really. All our 80's albums have been in the Billboard charts in America, but we didn't have any real success until the middle 90's. We're very busy in Europe though, we recently played some shows in South America. We did some shows a few months ago with Iron Maiden in Europe which went over really well. Blaze Bailey (the former Iron Maiden singer before Bruce Dickinson came back - Ed.) was our special guest for a couple of shows in England.

Have you played Greece yet?

We did like 3 sold out shows there, it was fantastic.

I was just curious, Iced Earth had trememdous success down there, they said the fans were singing along to every song, and even seemed to know the words to some songs better than they did. Have you experienced this kind of fanaticism at any of the shows? I know Saxon has a cult following here in America.

San Antonio was great, they were singing along to all the songs. In America, it's rather sad, but so much depends on radio play. In some towns believe it or not we do get lots of airplay so that helps.

Tell us about your record deal with Steamhammer. I know they have a U.S. office set up here, I have been following their releases for quite some time, as they were very involved in the 80's German thrash bands like Destruction and Sodom.

It's pretty cool actually. We're the first band in working with the new office so it's going pretty well. We have to give it a bit of time of course to settle in, but we have high hopes. I think Nuclear Blast is in competition with them, they also have a U.S. office set up here.

Any plans for another album? I'm glad there wasn't a lull in between albums from "Unleash The Beast" to "Metalhead." Song topics or ideas you care to mention?

Not really, no. We'd kinda like to keep things a surprise for everyone before the album comes out. We are already writing the album and are halfway through it. There will be a couple of war songs in there, we really dig the war theme.

SONS OF OTIS. Interview with Ken via telephone.

This is an interview that is LONG overdue. For those of you who haven't caught on yet, Sons Of Otis plays a VERY unique brand of spaced out stoner rock. We finally got to chat with Ken after months of delays, especially with his tour of Europe with the almighty Electric Wizard, so enjoy a rather lengthy chat about vintage electronic equipment and bud-packing tunes!

So tell us how the tour in Europe went? A guy in Belgium named Nicky Neyah sends out email every week or so about concerts that come his way, and he said you guys put on a great show.

We had some problems where a few shows got canceled because Electric Wizard's management pulled out some funding for a few shows. Once we got with them at the shows, things went well, people were really getting into us. We paid our way over and were going to hook up with the Wizard, drive with them on the bus. We did three shows like that and then a bunch got cancelled. We did about 6 or 8 shows towards the end, but we were caught hanging in the middle and did some solo shows, just hanging out in cities like London, Holland, trying to raise some money because we were running low. We had everything all arranged to start with and luckily it all came together by the end of the tour.

That's a rather scary thing, to think about being trapped overseas with no money or way to get home. I know a lot of people aren't too familiar with the business side of the touring agenda, so how long does it usually take to get a work visa or some kind of agreement where countries will agree to let you come over to play shows?

To get the visa, it takes three weeks to a month depending on who you know. We had a promotion company guy taking care of things like that here in Canada, we didn't have the papers sent to us first. We were told they would be waiting for us in England, which is a little nervewracking because we didn't know if we would even get in the damn country. We're standing there with all our gear; it took a couple of hours to get the papers and finally we're told "Okay, you're cool." We had passports, but to play in England and get paid you have to have a work visa. Everywhere else we went we didn't need one however. The cost of living is crazy over there, depending where you are. England is nuts compared to Canada, I mean our money means nothing anywhere except here, but one English pound is like 3 Canadian dollars almost.

I think Man's Ruin Records should have a sticker on their CD's that says "We only support bands that play Orange or Green amplification!" Especially with bands like Acid King, High On Fire and the like, that seems to be all they play, what is so special about these amps that everyone from Sleep to the rest of Man's Ruin bands swears by them?

The amps were made as original amps back then, mine is an early 70's model. They weren't made as copies of brands like Marshall, Fender or Vox, they have their own thick, deep sound; no other amp sounds like theirs. They are really loud too, the louder you turn it up the bigger the sound, kinda like a freight train. Everything we use, the amps and cabinets are all vintage equipment from the 70's, well except for a few guitars. Our equipment is exactly what you see on the cover of "Templeball."

Okay, now I must ask: What is the difference between Green and Orange amplification?

It started when Orange went under, a guy in England started making Green amps to the same specs that Orange were but of course couldn't use the Orange name due to trademark purposes. Now they are pretty much like Oranges, they have a variety of models, utilizing overdrive and single volume stuff. Greens are distributed and made today still so you can get them.

About how much does one run these days?

They cost about $1200 U.S. for a certain head, which is pretty good pricewise.

Damn, that's pretty expensive for one amp.

Yeah, but if you're going to try any amp made today that's supposed to be heavy, it's going to cost a lot of money, like a Marshall or something. There are heads out there that are like $2500, $1200 or $1000.

What sort of effects do you use on your guitars, are there any special pedals or things like that you use to get those special guitar sounds?

I use an old electro harmonics fuzz, a phaser and a couple of delay pedals.

When you mention phaser, did you ever play around with a phaseshifter? My uncle had one of those, may still have it even, but there was a demotape that came with the thing, and it was the funniest demotape I've ever heard, it was what sounded like some black guy giving a demonstration of the unit, and he was laughing his ass off throughout the whole presentation, it was as if he was stoned or something! I also noticed that you used these type of guitar effects, which basically sounds like stuff you would hear on a Jimi Hendrix album, but you didn't use those effects very much at all on either album, in fact 'Windows Jam' is about the only song you hear that style of playing on.

I dig Hendrix, he's the man. We didn't use that guitar style much, Certain songs get certain things. We like to jam and play bluesy, or play straight ahead and really slow, heavy scary stuff. I like to play, solo and do trippy stuff but not all the time, I like to mix things up so there's some type of variety. I love these effects and I can use them in every damn song but I try not to for certain ones.

"Spacejumbofudge" I know basically just came out, after "Templeball," but it is your first album that was originally released on Hypnotic Records back in 96 I think. What took so long for this album to see a U.S. release? I know the label Hypnotic is still doing stuff with another Canadian band Razor, or at least that's what I have heard.

We had problems from day one with Hypnotic. It's not really worth getting into, all the nonsense we went through with them. It's typical record company crap; we couldn't wait to get out of that mess, and that's when Frank Kozik came around. He was digging the stuff for sure, and wanted to release the album. We said "Sure, go ahead, do whatever you want, it's cool we don't care!"

So, is the artwork and packaging for "Spacejumbofudge" the original artwork?

That was Frank's artwork (head of Man's Ruin Records - Ed.) We didn't want to use the same stuff because we have nothing to do with Hypnotic Records anymore. Frank came up with the artwork totally for this record. We did remaster it and make it sound a little better, which was good because Hypnotic wouldn't even give us money to master the disc.

Now, when you say remastering, basically you mean that the sounds are recorded exactly the way they were, it's just that the production's better?

What happened was we didn't get to put it in the computer the first time for mastering back then; even though "back then" was like 5 years ago, a lot has changed technology wise since then. We ran the main stuff through a computer using Pro Tools just to clean it up a bit, EQ it some. No recording was done on it again though, just a little clean up, to make it sound a little bit more professional. The first time around it wasn't mastered like I said and it sounded a bit muddy. Frank wasn't into that at all, he said it should be remastered at least. It's much clearer and more defined now, definitely.

I've noticed one thing with your releases, and this is true about a lot of bands, where the earlier back you go the heavier the releases get. Of course, "Templeball" was the first release I heard, and now with your very first album "Spacejumbofudge," it's just so much heavier!

We were definitely a lot angrier back then. I've heard that a lot from people of course, a lot of interviews I have done, they say the exact same thing. Our demo tape that came out a few years before that was even heavier.

Yeah, I have heard of the demo tape "Paid To Suffer" (back when Sons Of Otis were just called Otis). I have been wanting to hear that, any chance it will be re-released?

No, that was so long ago and things have come such a long way. I have a bunch of tapes but they are not really for general comsumption anymore. They were at one time. I have about 500 real tapes left that I had made up, I can send you one of those. (Which I did receive - Ed.)

So what's on the demo tape that's not on any of the official releases?

There's 6 songs, 'Relapse,' 'Beware,' there's a version of 'Nothing' which is on "Templeball," a really long version, an 8 minute version, of 'Windows' in the early stages. There's another song called 'Drone,' I think there's 4 songs that you can't get anywhere?

So would you be willing to send those to people if they wrote to you asking for it? Maybe if they sent postage or something?

Yeah, I could do that. Definitely.

So is there any new material coming out anytime soon?

We're working on a bunch of new stuff now, when we were in Europe we were playing about 6 new songs on tour. We're ready to go, we don't know if they are going to come out on Man's Ruin or not. Man's Ruin has said they would put it out, but I have had other labels talking to us. You never know what will happen. You have to see who is into it and who will help us out. Man's Ruin has been good, but if someone can do a little bit more we would appreciate it. Man's Ruin really only licenses music, they don't support the bands so much.

Well, the label helped me get in touch with you to do the interview!

Well, I understand that, that's cool! (laughter on both parts). We were in Europe like we said, we got into trouble and needed money and they are not in that position to help us out. If we can get some minimal ground level support somewhere and great distribution then why not? We've been doing this for a long time, this is what we do, and this is not just a trend to us.

I guess I'll ask rehashed question number 99, and of course that is via a tour: I've been bugging Man's Ruin to send you guys down here, anywhere maybe in South Carolina or Atlanta, just so I can check you guys out, I'd be willing to drop whatever the hell it is I'm doing to check this one out! Any idea when you might tour, wheer you might play, or even what sort of bands it would take to put on a package like this to actually get this to happen? Man's Ruin recently sent High On Fire through here but sadly I missed it.

We're going to try to get out there and hit some places this summer. At least go down the East Coast, see what's happening. There's been a lot of people contacting us along there, from the Carolinas and stuff, they want shows in New York too. I'm not sure who's out there that would tour with us, we haven't toured the States at all, so I don't know what bands would be interested.

I noticed you don't have lyric sheets for your albums, some have said that the vocals are more or less like chanting rather than actual words and phrases.

I'm singing but it's not so much what I'm saying. Because I use delay on my voice I try and just make my vocals sound like an instrument in there, so it doesn't really carry the weight of what I'm saying, or singing about. I sing about certain things but live i'll change it depending on what how feeling or whatever the hell is going on with me. Whatever comes to me I guess. I like to try and get the vocals as more of an instrument, not a big focal point on either the singing or the music, I want it all to come together as one.

That's rather what I felt since the vocals seem more in the background; it just didn't seem like you put an emphasis on the words, but the vocals weren't necessarily hidden either.

People always bitch about that, they'll come up to me and say "I couldn't understand a word you said," and I say well good! They then start to tell me different lyrics which I find very amusing, you know they say "It sounded like you were saying this" so I'm just like there you go.

Are there any topics running rampant on "Spacejumbofudge?" I noticed with songs like 'Clowns' and 'Anti-Nauseant' the lyrical subject might not be as easy for listeners to pick out.

'Clowns' was written after a huge fight I had with the record label, and I threatened to kill the guy that was running the place. Just messing around, he said something to me and I went to grab him and he laughed and had me thrown out of the building. I wrote that song soon after. What I'm saying has merit here, but I'm not jumping up on the soapbox or anything. 'Anti-Nauseant,' I really enjoy that name; we have a motion sickness pill up here in Canada, that's where I came up with that song title.

As we close this out, tell us about some "kind bud" you guys get up there? I know marijuana laws are a bit more relaxed up there than they are down here.

An ounce usually goes for about $275, our main guys anyway, sometimes we can get hooked up for around $240 (Not sure if this is Canadian dollars or U.S. - Ed.) It's usually pretty good weed we get here, we were just in Amsterdam, the "pot capitol." We were a bit disappointed in the weed, but the hash was wicked, we don't get a lot of hash up here in this area.

We don't get a lot of hash around here either.

The people growing here do it in hydroponic labs, they're growing some serious stuff, the weed is really intense up here in Toronto. A friend of mine grows the White Rhino, the Purple Haze up here, really nasty stuff. We call him Gordo. The grass is always here. We tried a couple of really nice grass samples in Amsterdam but it was the hash that was really great.

How important is the weed in the writing process? I know Voivod sometimes won't even go on stage unless they've been smoking out, when I last saw them live a huge cloud of pot smoke followed them onstage when they left the backstage area!

We will cancel rehearsals if we don't have any weed! I get up and smoke all day long, and play, write, etc. That's what I do, but when I'm working I don't smoke, when I'm on the job I mean. Everything is written under the influence.

So on that note, how do you equate the recording of "Spacejumbofudge," which is MUCH heavier and somewhat angrier, with the recording of "Templeball" which is, not to say more mellow, but maybe less aggressive? For example, Type O Negative wrote their "Octover Rust" album totally under the influence, and I have always wondered had they not been "U.T.I." so to speak if the album would have sounded differently? I think you see where I'm going with this.

For "Spacejumbofudge" we were really drinking a lot, as well as smoking, so that probably had a lot to do with that. We were quite angry as I stated back then, plus that was five years ago. With "Templeball," we said we weren't drinking and we just smoked and did valium like we always do. The valium makes you feel really liquidy, puts you deep into the groove, it's fun to play with. The valium smooths out the edges, you get this rubbery feeling, you flow that much more, which really helps if you're doing a lot of jamming and improvising.

VELVET ACID CHRIST. Interview with Brian AKA Disease Factory and Paul Lipman

I'm sure there are those of you who still think of industrial music as dance music that is more about upbeat vibes, happy energy, and groovy tunes. For those not in the know, Velvet Acid Christ is one of the most dark, evil, twisted and brutally heavy industrial bands on the planet. We reviewed their "Calling Ov The Dead" CD a few years ago, and their latest release "Twisted Thought Generator" is one seriously dark, drug laced and truly heavy piece of work. Please note: unless noted, all words are spoken by Brian. Also, please note: Due to the actual descriptions of movie samples and themes from the record, there ARE some rather harsh profanities uttered within this interview; for most people that isn't a problem, but if you're letting your young son or daughter read this magazine then you might want to be alerted to this fact.

Let's start off with a fun topic: drugs. I noticed in the booklet you mentioned a bit about MDMA (a form of Ecstasy - Ed.), which I have wanted to try for some time now. After reading how you had problems with it especially having depressionary issues, I am a bit wary of trying it now myself, as I sometimes suffer from mild bits of depression.

Well, there's tricks to taking it, which I didn't know at the time, but if you take some Seratonin Uptake inhibitors after you do it you can actually recover. I stayed in a slump for about 6 months, but I won't lie; when I did it I did a pretty hefty dose of it. It really blew me away more than my first acid trip if you can believe that.

Reading the lyrics from the song 'Lysergia' where you talk about 'The stomach knots the spine it locks,' I'm looking at this and going, "nah, man!" That's some really scary stuff.

Paul: That song's more about acid than anything else; we've all had the stomach cramps and the back the next day, you can't eat, etc.
Brian: We were actually going to call it 'Fun With Drugs Part II,' I was going to call it that but I forgot to put it in the liner notes. (laughter)

You also said in the liner notes that you were going to originally make a record with lots of drug themes and upbeat dance songs, of course the record took on a different tone.

I started doing some research on this stuff, but like I said I got the big mental depression boot right up my ass, so I got to thinking if I can't handle the research then maybe I shouldn't do a record about this.

I know sometimes when I do drugs, I have bad trips; I'm wondering if you can get your mindset to control the trip instead of letting the trip control you, if that would be better.

That takes all the fun out of it. That's the whole point, my freakouts are kind of why I'm where I'm at today. These are things that build your character. What was that fortune cookie thing saying about trials and tribulations? You don't really get to see who you really are until the shit is splattering on the ceiling.

I use drugs on different levels, for my own uses; sometimes I want to do some writing, and it unlocks doors for me that normally you can't unlock. Then there's times when I just want to sit back and see what happens: do all the colors, see all the lights, stuff like that.

I've done these drugs so much that it just isn't fun for me anymore. I don't think they offer anything to me anymore. I'm sticking with the, um, legal ones now.

So does that change the tone of the lyrics for future releases now, I don't assume that you are now against drugs tho, are you?

No way am I against drugs, because they had a very profound influence on my life.

I think drugs did on most people's lives, I know most of the world's greatest music would not be here without the influence of drugs.

Brain and Paul: Absolutely. (You could tell the strong feelings of agreement in the room from this statement).

To me that just goes without saying. And the Beatles, look at the stuff they wrote before they started experimenting with drugs, I mean drugs made their music sound so much better.

Yeah, but it made some people's music just not exist anymore too, and we cannot forget that. If they're handled wrong and go too far, it's goodbye. It's not good to see someone go before their time because some kind of drug has taken over their lives. I try and stay away from and try not to promote stuff on the records like heroin, cocaine and stuff like that because those drugs are way too super addictive and if you're not some kind of super human without any type of compulsive disorder you cannot handle them. I do know some people who can do coke and then quit for four years, do it again and then quit again, no problem, but they are like the very small percentage. There's more to life than just drugs too, it's just one aspect and I definitely don't want to come across as this rock star that's out of control, because A. I'm not a rock star, and B. I'm not really out of control. It may appear that way but I really do work hard at what I do and I can't really afford to screw it up on drugs.

I'm not sure how you feel about this (utilization of the word 'Christ' in the band name notwithstanding) but I guess I'll start off by mentioning I'm a pretty strong hater of Christianity; not whether you believe in God or Satan, or some other mess, but just because Christianity has done more evil in the world, or let's say more harm, than any satanistic organization in history. Or any other organization for that matter.

But in some ways you can look at it as it's been responsible for a lot of innovation as well. You can't just dismiss it, it's time is up, that's just the way evolution does these things. Philosophies come and go, many thought that some of these religions have outlived their usefulness.
Paul: A pretty good case in point: Pope John Paul, obviously motivated by people other than himself, came out and apologized for the Inquisition, apologized for ignoring the Holocaust. It kinda ticked me off, as most of my race got extinguished during that time period. It's lived it's time; the Pope is a pretty good indication of where things have gone, he's a dottering glutton, a blithering idiot old man.
Brian: The Catholics are kind of like the laughing stock of Christianity anyway. I think the real evil in that religion lies in the Protestants and some of these wierd Southern Baptists, who really take it to the extreme and go out of their way to cause hell for people who don't deserve it.

I don't think it was ever supposed to be that extreme: even amongst "christians" that the bible mentioned, it was either you accepted whatever their religion was based on or not and that was it; it wasn't supposed to be about persecution for your own individual beliefs, even though governments at that time weren't set up like they are now with individual freedoms being any sort of priority.

My biggest problem with Christianity is that if you talk to anybody who is a descendant of the region where all this stuff and Christ supposedly existed, none of them believe in that stuff and their ancestors never passed that stuff down. It's just some kind of B.S. Roman lie to try and pacify the Jewish political movements of the time, and it just got big. If you look throughout Europe especially there's a lot of Roman descendents. I feel kinda pissed because I've been lied to about my heritage; I'm Nordic, and all my religions are gone, now I have to put up with all this other stuff.

I noticed you mention liking bands like Napalm Death and Godflesh, which is cool because I've always felt that the intensity level and the aggression of industrial bands can be on par with the heaviest of metal bands, especially with the use of guitars and distorted vocals.

I try to mix the best of all the genres, not just one or two. I like stuff from many different genres, but I just happen to like electronic music a lot.

That's what this magazine has always been about, I do everything from techno to metal to gothic, punk and hardcore. I get tons of bands from all over the world, and it's a shame to me that 99 percent of the general population will never know about these bands.

I don't think it's a shame, man. I think the underground is a wonderful place, and if the underground is done properly these bands can make money.

I was a little worried about the turnout tonight; there's a ton of death and black metal shows being booked here but very few industrial shows. The last industrial show I saw in Atlanta was Apoptygma Berzerk.

That's not industrial. (much laughter)

Do you like the new Apoptygma at all?

I don't like synthpop. I like Depeche Mode, Erasure, but I'm not really into the genre. I don't want to listen to Paul Oakenfold with that guy singing over it (MUCH laughter) Awww, geez, I can't believe I just said that. I really don't want to start fights with other people, it's just not my thing. They do a great job, they work hard and put on great shows. I respect them though, I met him (Stefan - Ed.) and I think he's a cool ass guy.

I really dug the acid/trance notes you've been doing lately, those two instrumentals are just amazing. Besides that, you guys probably have the best useage of samples I've ever heard in industrial. A lot of bands, they throw samples on a record just because they sound cool, whereas when you use samples it gives a deeper meaning to the songs and it actually fits along with the theme really well. Like on Velvet Pill, I love that old man sample! (Intense laughter pops up on this!)

Paul: We do too!
(Say it along with Paul, Bryan and myself "Die you sack of shit! I hope ya die and I hope you float down the gutter so I can fucking piss on ya!")

What movie was that on?

That was Wishmaster.

I haven't seen that one yet, I definitely have to go and rent it.

It's really bad, but that's classic. The guy's hilarious. You'll recognize him immediately, he's a hobo guy. When I first saw that I was rolling on the floor. It's really a mean sample but it sounds so funny, ya know. We sometimes use humorous samples.

That and "Fuck, shit, mother fucker." That's probably your signature sample there.

Paul: That's Antonio Benderez(sp?) it's one of my favorites. That comes from the movie "Assassins." It's so great because it's this part in the movie where this guy is getting so frustrated, you can't beat it man. That is like "I'm totally frustrated" and it's so, "passionate" sounding.

I was curious how you see your progression from the first album "Church Of Acid" on up through the new album?

"Church Of Acid" isn't really a fair record to compare anything to because it's basically a greatest hits of a bunch of old music that we had done. Most of the records with the exception of "Neuroblastoma" are ones that we built from the ground up as to where the others are really just compilations. I think gear and my age and experience I guess as well as what kind of music I'm listening to determines what I write about. How I'm feeling too, basically that.


It's funny, how these labels that dropped support of me have re-added me to their mailing lists after I ran a few hateful lines about them. :> Both Metropolis AND Century Media now have me back on their mailing lists. With Metropolis, it was a case of a new publicity personnel change, with Century Media, I pressed home my point about all the things I offer and do that makes Vibrations of Doom different and more unique than any other magazine both on the web and in print. Of course, my rants now make me feel a little guilty, but there's one thing I have learned in life: Sometimes you have to bitch and complain really damn loud to get your point home. So thanks to Matt at Century Media and the NEW publicity department at Metropolis for recognizing that I do some pretty impressive work and have continued to do so for roughly 10 years now.

Speaking of being impressed, as I mentioned earlier I was mentioned in Metal Maniacs magazine again. Okay, so maybe it was in the form of a readers' letter page that I got mentioned, but the editor actually wrote his own words within my letter itself. And, the web site got mentioned and the web site address listed, so hopefully people are checking out the magazine from within the very pages of Metal Maniacs. I strongly urge all my readers to write to Metal Maniacs and tell them you want to see my magazine featured in it's pages again, whether as a 'zine review, or a column on the magazine itself. The last time Vibrations of Doom was mentioned in Metal Manaics was an article on webzines done by Spider, and that web address is long gone, ancient history. The magazine itself will carry on as long as I possibly can, now that I have moved closer to Atlanta, it makes concerts easier to attend, and interviews easier to conduct, plus I have a great job and make good money, so I can afford to do this up right.

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