VIBRATIONS OF DOOM
Yeah, yeah, yeah, another issue, blah, blah, blah. I think by now we all know
who runs this 'rag. Anyway, glad to have ya back for yet another music
filled extravaganza where you'll find everything that's underground from techno,
gothic, punk, hardcore, speed/death/thrash/black metal and more!
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Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963
"You are invited to the Blood Orgy Of The Atomic Fern. You are invited so bring
something that we can burn..." - Dead Milkmen.
AND OCEANS "A.M.G.O.D." (Century Media) SCORE: 94/100
Another winner for And Oceans! Their move to Century Media might have been
seen to some as a sign that they would weaken, but they definitely haven't!
As with "The Symmetry Of I, The Circle Of O" or something like that, they
have some bizarre song titles and unusual concepts. This time around they
utilize more techno/synth work in the background, and this time it's more of
an electronic feel, whereas with their last album the synths were more like
an ambient backdrop. On 'White Synthetic Noise' they even utilize some electro
beats which only sound harsh instead of having that dancey feel. But as with
every And Oceans album I've heard, there are a few weak spots. 'Odious And
Devious' had some rather odd vocal arrangements that I didn't care for, and
though 'New Model World' was a nice instrumental club piece, they had some odd
electronic sounds, like the repetitive moaning female and the scratching sounds,
which didn't work well for me. They do show us that they know how to do fast
paced black metal and do it old school, this is most evident on 'Esprit De
Corps,' which gets big points for it's great use of militaristic styled
choruses which give one a change of pace from the faster black metal.
'Postfuturistika' as well had the speedy black metal instrumentation, this track
simply crushes with power, and then they have the most insane drumming around!
The electronics here are played fast as well, keeping everything in pace. If
black metal has to progress, this is the way it should be done, Mayhem should
indeed take notes, for And Oceans forges ahead in the future of black metal,
without sacrificing the speed or the brutality the genre is known for.
Contact: Century Media, 1453-A 14th St. #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404 USA
Web site: http://www.centurymedia.com
AVANTASIA "The Metal Opera" (Century Media) SCORE: 97/100
Sometimes us reviewers have to take a little bit of liberty with the ratings
system. Despite one poor ballad, a track that has a silly spoken word intro
('Malleus Maleficarum') and yet another instrumental (though quite good and
rather movie soundtrack'ish though some would probably prefer another "song"),
this has some powerful tracks all the way around. Everything else here is rock
solid, and yet another CD that I had a hard time picking out just 5 tracks to
run. I have been picking this CD up more and more to play in the car despite
everything else I have to try and work into the magazine. 'Farewell' is the
better type of ballad that Edguy's main vocalist Tobias can sing. And of course
it has flutes that start the track off very nicely, which works even better.
'Glory Of Rome' has some very kick ass, dynamic multi vocal work on the
choruses, and some rather vicious instrumentation all the way around. These
tunes are great to sing to as well, and there are even some nicely done female
vocals on 'Farewell' as well, and they aren't the screaming opera type I usually
like. Despite the title, this does not strike me as being much of an opera, at
least not where vocal delivery is concerned. 'Sign Of The Cross' was very cool,
and surprised me with guest vocals from Rob Rock of Warrior of all things!
'Reach Out For The Light' is the first song on the album that shows us what you
are in for with this CD: Fast and furious power metal that has the tendency,
if not the consistency, to slow things down near the choruses and give off some
great melody. Other than 'Inside,' with the piano notes and his ballad singing
style which sounds really off, Tobias turns in one fantastic vocal performance
and the rest of his crew should get props for writing some fantastic songs and
pulling this off marvelously. And of course you know I'm a fan of Edguy.
Contact: Century Media Records.
AYREON "Ayreonauts Only" (Transmission) SCORE: 88/100
It's a damn shame that this hasn't been released domestically; the only way
you'll get it is via import for now. And what a disc it is! Anyone familiar
with the 2 CD set that's been reviewed here the past two issues will know
exactly what to expect. This CD contains tracks from various albums that feature
different singers, some unreleased stuff, and a preview of Arjen's new project
entitled Ambeon. Starting with 'Into The Black Hole' featuring Damian Wilson and
Lana Lane is a good choice, though I must say that Bruce Dickinson's vocals
made this song heavier than it is presented here, and even two vocalists can't
make this cut as powerful. Lana Lane's vocals even bring parts of the chorus
down, but let's give credit, Wilson and Lane do give a commendable effort. And
'Out Of The White Hole:' DAMN! The liner notes mentioned how shocked Timo from
Stratovarius was at Robert Soeterboek's vocals, who sounds very much like David
Coverdale! And a kick ass performance he does. 'Temple Of The Cat' gets amazing
treatment from Arjen's newest prodigy, a 14 year old girl who can bring tears
to the eye. This version is more stripped down than the version found on "The
Dream Sequencer," just acoustic guitars and the occasional flute, but what it
lacks in instrumentation it makes up for in vocal performance, hard to believe
that singer is only 14! The new track 'Cold Metal' also features Astrid, our
14 year old singer, and I sincerely hope that her vocal performance is different
on the Ambeon full length. Here she does quite a good job, but her breathing
through the vocal lines made the track sound quite a bit off, the vocals were
the only problem I had with this track, which features nice ambient soundscapes
and heavy as hell guitars. 'Original Hippie's Amazing Trip' features none other
than Anneke from The Gathering, and there's a vocal performance by Mouse, who
was absent from the original recording of this song. The track is good but it
sounds like it's missing something, the instrumentation is very minimal. 'The
Charm Of The Seer' features Arjen himself on vocals and is quite good, though
the standout track here is 'Beyond The Last Horizon,' which could not only be
a radio hit, but is also very catchy, and just all out amazing. You might have
many Ayreon albums, but this is definitely another one worth having, just for
all the alternate versions and unreleased tracks, though I really wanted another
vocal track rather than a demo version of 'Carpe Diem,' the instrumental from
the "Flight Of The Migrator" CD. Hunt this one down!
Contact: Transmission Records, P.O. Box 2078, 3140 BB Maassluis, NETHERLANDS
BAL SAGOTH "Atlantis Ascendant" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 99/100
When Jim Raggi first described Bal Sagoth to me as being "overblown symphonics,
grand majestic passages and an album that tells a story song by song," I was
expecting one of the latest power metal sensations Jim gets long winded about.
Imagine my surprise when track 2 kicks in and it's some vicious black metal
vocals! Make no mistake about it, everything about this band is excessive to
the point some would say "overdone." Black metal bands may use keyboards, but
very few use them to the point where they add serious dynamics to the music!
I've listened to "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria" and I gotta say this is so
far out ahead! My favorite track on this album, not surprising to those who know
my tastes, is 'The Dreamer In The Catacombs Of Ur,' with that sinister and
Egyptian styled synth work, but when the black metal vocals kick in on top of
this, needless to say I found myself hitting the rewind button on just this
passage! The CD starts out with some AWESOME, and I mean AWESOME synth work,
usually I bypass a band's intro but not this time! Track 2, the title track,
starts our story which is set about the time Atlantis' destruction is foretold.
The narrator does a magnificent job of adding depth and an ominous presence, as
well as a dominant one, to his low toned vocal delivery, which also shares
space in every song alongside black metal vocals of a brutal nature!
Slower passages abound, this is not all a speed fest, remember this is a story
being told and one can hear this most evident on 'In Search Of The Lost Cities
Of Antarctica.' This would have rated a full 100, and maybe I'm being picky,
but at times the narrator's use of non-English sentences here and there sound a
bit silly at times. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have taken a point off, but when
this occurs in three different songs, well, let's just say this is as close to
a perfect score as I could give. Definitely head over heels above damn near
everything else the black metal genre is doing, I'm sure that like Agalloch, Bal
Sagoth would not be content to be called strictly a black metal band. This story
takes us all over creation, from the deepest and darkest depths of space to
Atlantean shores and deep ice tracts of Antarctica. A fantastic musical journey
all around, and one that kicks serious ass all along the way.
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records, 1453-A 14th St. #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404 USA
Web site: http://www.nuclearblast.de
DEFILED "Ugliness Revealed" (Necropolis) SCORE: 5/100
This has to be the lowest score I have ever given to a band. Their biography on
the back of the sleeve is funny. It states that they possess "jagged, angular
riffing and raw edged technical proficiency." Well, the technical proficiency
is debatable, however, I can translate what "Jagged, angular riffing" means:
Tone deaf guitar players that can't write decent riffs, so they throw 500,000
riffs together to try and create a song. Next time I see a band that possesses
"jagged, angular riffing" I throw the CD out without delay! The riffs themselves
vary from mostly bland and downright boring to odd, off key and hi-end riffs
that sound badly out of tune, listen to the digi sample of 'Uncovered Plots'
and you'll see what is the norm around here. Plus, get this: 18 songs, SEVEN,
yes, I said SEVEN intros, one before each "song." And the intros are short,
useless, and have no point whatsoever, they're not even named! The outro isn't
much better. I did hear some decent riffs, though only a very small few on
'Nihilism,' the first hint of any evil instrumentation, and there was a cool
riff on 'Fatal Intrigue,' but I know for sure those few good riffs were a
horrible accident on the part of the band. The only way this band got signed
was because they went to Necropolis and told them they wanted a deal; when asked
what their best qualities were they said "Hey, we got that jagged, angular
riffing thing going on." Not knowing what the words meant, they signed them
anyway, I guess so they could cash in on the first known band to possess said
qualities. This CD sets the death metal movement BACK about 15 years.
Contact: Necropolis Records, 85 Stanton St. 4B, New York, NY 10002
Web site: http://www.necropolisrec.com
FALCONER "Falconer" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 100/100
Man oh man what a monster album! This is some of the most innovative and kick
ass power metal to come out this year. This and Freedom Call I really enjoyed a
lot. This band is formed out of the ashes of Mithotyn, and I must say that lead
vocalist Mathias sounds reminiscent of Jethro Tull at times, soaring with power
and giving off a medieval sound and style. Especially where the lyrics are
concerned. Their riff structure is based on the faster power metal stylings one
knows and loves, but at times the drums make these tracks sound faster than they
really are, especially on a tune like 'Wings Of Serenity,' a really cool tribute
to the mighty falcon. Artwork, lyrics, guitar riffs, vocals, everything is very
well done and I can't seem to get this CD out of my player for any great length
of time. 'Lord Of The Blacksmiths' sees Mathias' vocals at their height, and
some killer axe work as well. 'A Quest For The Crown' features a very cool story
line, and some medieval folk stylings as well, it's a shame he couldn't utilize
more stuff like this. 'A Quest...' did remind me a bit of Rhapsody's 'Village
Of Dwarves,' without the pomp and overblown melody; even on a folk inspried
piece like this the guitars kick serious ass! 'Royal Galley' features those oh
so cool "whoa-oh-oh-oh's" as well, but also has some great chorus lines, a
standard all throughout this disc. 'Heresy In Disguise' is another great tune,
a rockin' set of riffs and great vocal work, hell I simply must stop here,
because my words are sounding rather weak compared to the might this band holds.
They should definitely be booked at a Renaissance Festival here in Georgia, I
am going to see about getting them booked for tours Stateside!
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
FREEDOM CALL "Crystal Empire" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 95/100
I have been playing this for quite awhile now. Some people might complain that
the music is overtly "happy" or "upbeat," whatever. Tracks like 'The Quest,'
'Palace Of Fantasy' and my personal favorite 'Pharao' have that Nocturnal Rites
style of heavier power metal that retains a dark quality, anyone familiar with
the change from N.R.'s last album to this one will appreciate what I'm saying.
The songs are very catchy as well, with choruses you will remember for a long
time. Okay, to give the Devil's Advocate a chance to speak his mind, the opening
of 'Farewell' might have been a little bit too upbeat, vocal wise, but overall
this is a very solid album from start to finish. 'Pharao' has some very dark
vocal work where there seems to be narration in spots, though it is sung rather
than spoken unlike in Bal Sagoth's newest work. The melodic passages, when they
occur, retain a heaviness of their own and usually they hit you right in the
prechorus and choruses of the songs. 'The Wanderer' was somewhat of a medieval
folkish ballad but without the medieval instrumentation. Check the heavy almost
thrash riffing on 'The Quest,' and of course I need to mention fantastic dual
vocal work on 'Call Of Fame.' This one needs to be listened to to be
appreciated, and 5 songs aren't nearly enough. I had a very difficult time
deciding on the best 5.
Contact: Steamhammer Records, P.O. Box 721147, 30531 Hannover, GERMANY
Web site: http://www.spv.de
GOR "Ialdabaoth" (Prikosnovenie) SCORE: 78/100
This is quite a strange release. The label is French, the band is based in
Italy and features some Gregorian chanting styled vocals but they are of the
darkest quality I've ever heard! 'Salva Meam' starts this out with some flutes
and acoustic guitar work, but the monk styled chanting borders on tribal and
ritualistic. It's quite interesting to say the least. Then 'Kyrie Eleison'
goes into a little bit lighter of an atmosphere, using some nice duelling
flutes and tribal drum sounds. I'm assuming the lyrics are in Italian though
some of the song titles like 'Nomine Christe' and 'Eximi Possit Imperio' sound
like they were penned in Latin. So is this tribal, ritualistic or religious
to the point of old world Catholicism? Further on, 'Pneuma' was one of the
strangest tracks on here; the first thing you hear is some odd breathing
sounds like an old man in an iron lung, followed by some warped synth and
bell notes, as if this was an otherworldy tune. Not much in the way of vocals,
but there is such a bizarre atmosphere, I'm STILL not sure after repeated
listens if I like it or not. The last two tracks didn't appeal to me that much,
mostly because the vocals take on this higher tone, which for a male chanting
voice doesn't work well here. 'Kalila' sounded rather Hindu based, it's the last
track on the CD, and the instrumentation is a bit off as well. I'm not sure what
effect they were going for, but if you're interested in hearing some Gregorian
styled chanting that isn't all "nice and pretty," this will appeal to those
into the darker sides of music. Very thought provoking and different, though
it remains to be seen how many people will appreciate this.
Contact: Prikosnovenie, BP 9423C - 44194 Clisson cedex, FRANCE
Web site: http://www.multimania.com/prikos
INSANIA "Sunrise On The Riverland" (No Fashion) SCORE: 77/100
Insania's second release is definitely heavier and more dynamic than their
debut for No Fashion. There's an intro that starts things off, and their
fast paced power metal continues on through 12 tracks. The main problem with
this CD lies with the fact that many songs have the same elements repeated
throughout their framework, especially where the chorus and builds to the
chorus are concerned. The synth work is a lot more up front here than I
remember it being, and despite that major detraction, there are still many
good songs to listen to. 'Beware Of The Dragons' and 'Lost In Time' are two of
my favorites, there are some great chorus patterns going on here. There is a
nice ballad type with 'Angels In The Sky,' this track vocally sounds like the
Stratovarius ballad off their "Infinite" album, though the vocal work did
show some weak points, especially on 'Heaven Or Hell' and 'Seasons Of Life,'
his delivery tends to waver on a few spots, but otherwise there's some solid
vocal work here. Synth and lead guitar solos are nothing short of amazing,
though on many tracks a tad on the long side, but like I said, the
instrumentation is top notch and definitely more dynamic on this record, and I
can't help but think the production is better, even though I don't know a lot
about production other than what's audible to the human ear. Still a good
release, even though many songs are laid down in similar fashion, their good
points far outweigh their bad ones.
Contact: No Fashion Records.
LIVING SACRIFICE "The Hammering Process" (Solid State) SCORE: 98/100
Man, is this ever one monster of a release! Utilizing some brutal vocals that
have that hardcore slant to them, I must say that a Living Sacrifice record
NEVER fails to disappoint. Well, one track kinda disappoints, 'Bloodwork.' It
has some rather odd guitar work and goes for the fast Fear Factory sound, but
this didn't work in their favor. 'Not My Own' however is a fantastic example of
what DOES work, extremely consistently I might add, over the other 9 songs.
Slow and heavy, building up to explosive climaxes with vicious choruses and
crunchy, kick ass guitar work that damn near never lets up. This is vicious,
man! 'Hidden' is an example of a song that is in your face every second, and
they don't mind throwing in some melodic solos in there to vary things up a
tad either. Nor do they mind 'Hand Of The Dead' having some surprisingly mellow
alternative styled singing chorus lines either, while the main vocalist yells
and screams his way to your nervous system's core. Vocal wise, it's a rather
interesting blend of vicious hardcore and borderline death metal, and it's done
so effectively it gets your blood boiling. If you look to several issues ago,
you'll see that their "Reborn" CD got extremely high marks, and this one too is
highly recommended for several spins. Nothing groundbreaking for the genre, but
when an album is this well done who the hell cares?
Contact: Solid State Records, P.O. Box 12698, Seattle, WA 98111
Web site: http://www.solidstaterecords.com
MALEVOLENT CREATION "Envenomed" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 71/100
After what has been said about Pavement, it's odd to see this come out on the
label (more info in the interview). Tampa's murderous metal crew are back once
again with another insane disc. This features original lead vocalist Brett, who
sang way back on the first few Malevolent CD's. Now I must admit, out of what I
have heard from Malevolent Creation, "Eternal" is still my favorite disc, which
featured Jason doing vocals (he has since moved on to Divine Empire). This CD
has the typical death metal that M.C. is known for, the insane, violent, crazed
vocal attack, and mostly speed riffs and changes. Which is my biggest problem,
not to say this CD isn't any good, it's just not as consistently good as
"Eternal" was. Nevertheless, though I usually pass on overt speed fests, this
one has some interesting pieces to it, like on 'Pursuit Revised' where they
are actually playing slower, and 'Serial Dementia' where Brett's vocals push
this track to the limit. LimitING however are the lyrics, half the time a three
minute song or so will have most of the few verses repeated, they could have
written more vocal lines. 'Homicidal Rant' and 'The Deviant's March' are my two
least favorite tracks, mostly by way of the vocal phrasing on the choruses, in
Malevolent's case a very important factor for giving some individuality to
these songs that start out blazing fast. 'Envenomed' was my favorite tune on
the disc, especially with the evil high ended riffing, and the double bass
blasting by Dave Culross is second to none. If I hadn't noticed it before, I
did this time: Brett's long winded screams sound EXACTLY like a Tie Fighter from
Star Wars roaring through space! You can hear this shredding on 'Viral Release'
and 'Halved.' With Malevolent Creation you know EXACTLY what you are going to
get, though there should have been more variety over the course of 11 songs. A
good record but not quite one that I would be spinning consistently. I would
still love to see these recordings done in a live setting.
Contact: Pavement Music.
MARDUK "La Grande Danse Macabre" (Cemtury Media) SCORE: 89/100
I was pleasantly surprised to see Century Media sign Marduk. However, I did have
my reservations at first, seeing as how usually Century Media U.S. has a strict
guideline for what it does and does not service here. All that aside, this is
Marduk, and they deserve to be given their due, as one of the last TRUE black
metal bands to come out of Europe. Mayhem has changed their sound, Darkthrone
has done the electronica thing, nowadays keyboards seem to be a major factor in
the sound and style of black metal bands, but you will find NONE of that here.
Some songs, like 'Funeral Bitch' and the title track, are slower in scope than
what you had heard on "Panzer Division Marduk," one violent, vicious album that
to me is one of my favorites. Even slower, Marduk comes off in vicious form,
however there are some faster tracks that I appreciate even more. 'Death Sex
Ejaculation' is something that would not have sounded out of place on the
Panzer album, and 'Jesus Christ' is filled with the blasphemy and speed that
also was presented on Panzer. I do question the use of not one but two
instrumentals, and right near the beginning of the CD as well. 'Ars Mariendi'
is the first track on the CD that's also the instrumental, and not a great one
at that, however, the second instrumental 'Pompa Funebris 1660' is a cool
tune that is quite dark and haunting. Then 'Obedience Unto Death' kicks in,
in fast vicious Marduk style, and you know that the label changes nor the
problems with Osmose and lack of U.S. tour support (See interview for more
details) could not change the style, sound, or iron fortification that is
Marduk. A recommended CD especially for those who bitch about the newer black
metal releases being too "soft."
Contact: Century Media Records.
MASQUERADE "Flux" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 29/100
Damn how the mighty have fallen. Once a great hard rock band, previously unknown
to these shores, and now commercialized by their record deal with Metal Blade.
It seems to me like Metal Blade is looking for their next Goo Goo Dolls type of
success band. And this is a shame, because Masquerade used to bang out some
pretty kick ass hard rock that bordered on straightforward heavy metal. Anyone
remember their "Surface Of Pain" album? You won't find none of that here.
Quirky vocal delivery, as if this guy wants to be Axel Rose so bad. 'A Me And
An I' wasn't too bad of an opener, somewhat in line with what they were doing,
but those choruses take a bad hit, and that is an important part of a song to a
band like this. Hey, if ya wanna be radio friendly (which they so shamefully
obviously do) then ya gotta make choruses people can remember rather than
cringe at. Like 'Back On Earth,' where he's trying to croon out a ballad. There
is another ballad 'Wish' where he's actually got moaning female vocals. Just
plain crap. Then when they do manage to inject a little bit of heaviness, they
ruin it like on the title track, just when you think things might pick up they
ruin the choruses yet again, delving into alternative style vocals and
instrumentation. The last two tracks finally show ya what this band is capable
of, 'In A Day' has some vicious lead solos, which you hardly find anywhere else
on the album, as if they think their newly found alterna-fans wouldn't possibly
be interested in hearing someone shred with proficiency. Plus, the track has a
heavier but slower vibe to it, which is a little different from what we've heard
but not altogether uncharacteristic. Finally, 'My Dying Days' gets even more
surprising and goes for a rather doom metal orientation, the best damn track on
here, and if things don't get better with their next album, I'm fully ready to
write this band off. They should have stayed on Empire Records. Radio friendly
idiots and people who think the only good bands exist on MTV and pop radio will
obviously eat this crap up. Then again, some of the vocal work is so bad, maybe
even the radio friendly people will cringe. Either way, I've wasted too many
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
MEMORY GARDEN "Mirage" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 63/100
Metal Blade hasn't had a good doom metal band on their label since Candlemass,
and for what it's worth, the newer Candlemass material is still rock solid even
without a great guitar player and their vocalist Messiah. The main reason for
the low score here? The vocalist, hands down. This guy has an adequate voice,
more along the lines of a power metal singer than a doom one though. His vocal
delivery is just too higher pitched, maybe upbeat even, for a style of music
this dark, and believe me, the guitar work is quite heavy, even dare I say on
par with some of Candlemass' heaviest moments. The vocals do hold up on
'Hallowed Soil' and 'Navigate,' though, making me wonder if this would have been
a better CD if lead vocalist Stefan had varied his approach throughout the CD.
For example, he sings with this offkey lower tone whem he should have tried some
higher notes ('Shade') and his high vocals should definitely have been toned
down to actually fit the mood of the music (damn near everywhere else). The
instrumentation, as I said, can't be faulted much, check out the killer solos
on 'A Long Grey Day' and the aforementioned 'Shade.' Not too much else to say,
I think the vocalist should definitely be replaced, as for the instrumentation,
obviously it's top notch or else this CD would be ranked a LOT lower. You know
they're headed in the right direction as legendary Candlemass axe slinger Mike
Wead produced this thing.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
NOKTURNAL MORTUM "Lunar Poetry" (The End) SCORE: 83/100
This was originally released on cassette by MetalAgen in 1996, and is finally
re-released here on The End in 2001. This has been taken directly from the
original cassette and it definitely shows, especially on the first track: if you
listen very carefully you can hear a few dropouts. Plus, the tape noise that
starts and ends the silent passages of each song. Be that as it may, there is
lots of high ended guitar work and amazing ambient synths, this stuff is very
advanced for a release that goes so far back to the beginnings of this band.
With three previous full lengths on The End, this is definitely a great release.
Check out the synth work that starts each track, most notably 'Carpathian
Mysteries' and 'And Winter Becomes,' which feature some very nice Pan style
flutes and tribal drums in parts. The instrumentation ranges from faster,
atypical black metal riffing to slower, midpaced material. The guitars are very
noteworthy as being high ended. The major detraction in this CD is the lower
sung, almost Viking style male vocals, which completely ruin 'Sorrows Of The
Moon.' The instrumentation here isn't much to go on either, this guy reminds me
of the sorrowful moaning done on the Celtic Frost tragedy "Into The
Pandemonium." (Might be because this IS a Celtic Frost cover!)
Think Mortiis styled synths, though darker and more eerie (like on
'Lunar Poetry.') There is a lot of great instrumentation here, though I wish
the killer "icy wind" screaming black vox were more in the forefront, rather
than almost buried in the mix. This could have benefitted from a better
production job, considering the facilities of The End, plus the fact that Metal
Agen has sent me stuff on CD. There's that definite "forest" feel, most evident
in the synthesized openings of tracks, but you definitely can't go wrong with
Russia's most innovative black metal band to come from the frozen landscapes.
There's a bonus track 'Return Of The Vampire Lord,' which of course features the
best production on the CD, coming from the EP of the same name, though it is a
bit too long.
Contact: The End Records.
ORK "Blessed By Evil" (Folter) SCORE: 81/100
Bathory inspired vocal work, fast riffing and instrumentation. This is black
metal played old school, for those of you who are interested. Quite an
interesting CD this was, too, the guitar work was often the highlight of this
CD, and that made the songs hold my interest. Granted, the production is a
little fuzzy, especially on the more distorted parts, but that's what gives the
CD it's appeal. The vocals are rather buried on the first track, but soon
things straighten out, which is good because those vicious screams are rather
potent. I love good screaming! This isn't just a speed fest for six tracks
however, they actually have the balls to pull out some slower acoustic passages
from time to time to break up the songs. Sometimes they do have a tendency to
overdo the faster riffs, especially on 'Black Soul Desire' and 'Blessed By Evil'
but like I said they vary the instrumentation a bit. There's some darker
acoustic passages on the title track, and believe it or not there's also some
synthesized pieces, but don't let this throw you: these are not "pretty" synths.
They only pop up seemingly when they slow things down a notch, and I had to
listen to the CD three or four times before I even noticed the synthesizers.
With an album title like "Blessed By Evil," you know exactly what you're
getting, and the electronics only serve to enhance the dark moods, which the
end track 'Nosferatu' cashes in on perfectly. You'll even hear some faster
guitar solos, proving once again that these guys know how to craft some
interesting music. Not the best black metal CD I've ever heard, but damn if it
doesn't manage to keep my interest by keeping it brutal and dark.
Contact: Folter Records, Thulestrasse 32, 13189 Berlin, GERMANY
Web site: http://www.folter666.de
PROJECT PITCHFORK "Daimonion" (Metropolis) SCORE: 47/100
I haven't been a big fan of Project Pitchfork's most recent releases, and this
is no exception. One noteworthy thing I can say is the vocal work is so varied
you'd think there were more than a few guest singers. Unfortunately, the vocal
work and some of the sappy lyrics ruins a lot of what could have been good
songs. For instance, take the track 'Fear.' Nice acoustics going, good swirling
ambient synthscapes, then what happens? You get this dull, robotic sounding
spoken vocal effect, which reminds me of that "song" that was real popular a
few years ago where a guy is just basically talking through a dull set of
instrumentation and giving out life lessons. Then there's 'We Are One,' going
through some bad monotone vocal work, which is even more of a shame here as the
choruses are kinda catchy and they can definitely make some interesting
instrumentation. The best songs on here were the first two tracks, 'Daimonion'
and 'Timekiller.' And of course 'Drone Assembly' works well, seeing as how it
is mostly an instrumental. The vocal work picks up quite a bit on 'Drone State'
and makes for a decent track, this time the vocals sound more etherial and not
as robotically processed. 'Last Call' had some dumb lyrics, and the vocal work
dragged this down as well. There are club worthy tunes here, but some won't be
able to stomach the vocal work, and for 14 tracks, this is something I'd
Contact: Metropolis Records.
SAGA "House Of Cards" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 31/100
I am not quite sure what type of band Saga is supposed to be, though their bio
states that they have an extremely long and detailed history. That has no
bearing on this interview whatsoever, considering what I'm hearing here is
mostly a progressive rock disaster. Probably one of their best songs was 'The
Runaway,' one of very few tracks where you'll find slightly heavy guitars.
Some of this sounds like they're trying to make the soft rock "Pillow Talk"
type of radio stuff, like 'Once In A Lifetime' and 'That's How We Like It,'
the latter track actually throws in some heavier guitar work but they soon do
the wimpy soft rock thing. 'Ashes To Ashes' had some nice synthesizer work, and
this is one of the more melodic tunes that actually works for me. I'm not raving
about it but it's not terrible either. There's lots of acoustic guitar work, but
unlike the instrumentation, which is often quite adept if not accidentally at
times very interesting, does not have much appeal whatsoever. 'Watching The
Clock' is a good instrumental, their ability to actually construct decent
musical passages is commendable, though sometimes that isn't a major point in
their case. Syrupy soft rock is what they go for, somewhat of a bad release for
a label like Steamhammer.
Contact: Steamhammer Records.
SAVATAGE "Poets & Madmen" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 38/100
I must say, what has happened to Savatage? When I heard original vocalist Criss
Oliva was doing the singing on this album, I was greatly pleased. Though he
doesn't have the greatest voice, he made classic tracks like 'Hall Of The
Mountain King,' 'Power Of The Night,' and several tunes from 'The Dungeons Are
Calling' and 'Sirens' sound so kick ass. And that's the problem with this disc,
his vocal delivery sounds pretty bad on many tracks, and the songs themselves
don't have that rockin' kick to them that we all know and love from older
'Tage material. In fact, I didn't like their last effort "The Wake Of Magellan"
either, so it comes as no surprise I'm not on board for this one. His vocals
do hit some highs on 'I Seek Power' however, and in other spots he shows us a
little bit of his versatility. The songs are rather weak, and I think that
coupled with the rather uninspired vocals make this get a lower score than it
normally would. The guitar playing is on par though, 'There In The Silence' had
some of the best solo riffs on the record. 'Drive' started out heavy, but the
weak choruses really dragged this one down. 'Morphine Child' had a piano and
acoustic guitar start, some of these songs rely on melodic passages. The
storyline itself is rather interesting, about a few teenagers who visit an
abandoned mental institution and actually meet someone, who they can't be sure
is alive or dead, or a figment of their imagination. I long for the style
Savatage did with their first 4 or 5 releases, this just doesn't inspire me at
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.
SIXTY WATT SHAMAN "Seed Of Decades" (Spitfire) SCORE: 61/100
Now everyone that saw the review of their debut for Game Two "Ultra Electric"
will know I ain't a big fan of this band. But damnit, something blew me away
when I listened to the first 4 tracks and was really digging them! Total
surprise there. Out of 14 tracks, though, to have only 5 or 6 decent songs is
not grade for a good album. Let's start off with the good. It seems that this
time around the vocals take on a heavier singing role rather than just insane
hardcore shouting/singing. And the instrumentation really kicks ass here, I
must say I really dig when they play slower and with heavier feeling. Like on
'Low Earth Orbit,' one of my favorites, where he dips down into a nice mellow
low vocal range, and playing some emotional riffs. The faster rockin' tunes
like 'Devil In The Details Pt.1' and the fast lead work on 'Poor Robert Henry'
really got me going! From track 7 on, though, the CD takes a sharp nosedive
downhill, with those wierd song arrangements, mixed with that very off kilter
singing/shouting/cat wailing/whatever that he did from album number one. In
fact, 'Rumor Den' could have been recorded from the "Ultra Electric" sessions,
and though I hear some good instrumentation at times, the vocals really bring
this one down, even more so because one realizes that the songwriting has
actually gotten better, and heavier to boot. So while only a few points higher
than their debut review, this showed a lot more promise as far as complete
songs I could get into. It just didn't make the cut for a CD with 14 songs, if
this had been a 5 or 6 song EP, it would have ranked much higher... (That is,
if those 5 or 6 songs were amongst my favorite).
Contact: Spitfire Records.
SPACEBOY "The Force That Holds Together A Heart Torn To Pieces"
(Howling Bull) SCORE: 37/100
A very strange mix of tormented death metal and the whole "psychedelic/space
rock" thing. The guitar playing is all over the place on this 4 track CD,
making it hard to pin down a standout track. As it is, the death metal vocals
aren't bad, but they just don't mix well with this. 'Sky Marshal Silver' starts
out with some rather Edgar Winter style guitar riffs (think their famous hit
'Frankenstein') but soon degenerates into chaos. Vocals are not unlike Living
Sacrifice's throat work via their "Non Existent" album. 'The Maze' had some
slow, spacey opening riffs, but they are rather odd sounding, and they merely
drone on, to my dismay. Parts of this song aren't too bad, and from this track
on, you'll hear some low toned spoken vocals. Nothing here really catches me,
but there are moments, like on 'Strange New Powers,' the spoken vocals and
heavier instrumentation; this track reminds of the heavier spoken word
pieces on Hawkwind's "Warrior On The Edge Of Time." They soon ruin the ending
with some droney echoed spoken vocals that seem to go on and on. 'Pot
Hibernation' finishes out the CD and has some odd ambient pieces coupled with
some bad female vocals. I like the idea, the whole concept just doesn't mix
Contact: Howling Bull America, P.O. Box 40129, San Fransisco, CA 94140-0129 USA
Web site: http://www.howlingbull.com
SPIRIT CARAVAN "Elusive Truth" (Tolotta) SCORE: 64/100
Believe me, I was just as surprised as you at this lower score. I don't think
Wino is capable of writing a terrible album, but this is nowhere near his
previous effort. First off, his style this time around is slower paced, much
slower than what we're used to. The CD starts off with 'Spirit Caravan,' yes,
the same song we've heard on at least two other CD's. 'Black Flower' is a tune
I first heard live when they played in South Carolina, and I wasn't too crazy
about it then and still not crazy about it now. The lyrics in particular kinda
get to me. Sherman, the weed-loving bass player, does vocals on 'Retroman,'
and his vocals are pretty rough, almost death metal styled. He doesn't wear a
Venom shirt on stage for nothing! His rougher style almost works here, but I'm
not quite on board. 'Elusive Truth' was the song I liked the least, VERY slow
and Wino's vocals sound very dreary here. My favorite tune here is 'Cloudy
Mirror,' it's quite characteristic of the rockin' midtempo style we've heard on
Obsessed's "Incarnate" and some of his earlier stuff. There's even a punk styled
tune (again) with 'Lifer City,' which was quite cool. 'The Departure' is rather
interesting as well, very mellow and nice instrumentation that surprises you
with the slower pace. 'Darkness & Longing' is the darkest track here, and
surprisingly it works well though some might have a bit of a beef with Wino's
vocal performance, though I find it fits here very well, and one of the few
doomy passages that does work well. Not the score I'd expect from a Spirit
Caravan release, but nonetheless there are some good tracks; Wino is just
missing the formula that worked well for The Obsessed right on up to the present
Contact: Tolotta, P.O. Box 4412, Arlington, VA 22204
Web site: http://www.tolotta.com
STEEL PROPHET "Book Of The Dead" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 65/100
I must say I don't really know too much about Steel Prophet, other than the
fact that they have a few releases out through Nuclear Blast. They definitely
play metal of the power variety, most noteworthy is the lead vocalist's ability
to sound like Bruce Dickinson on some of his harder edged vocals, yet still
retains crisp, clear high notes. However, evident from the opener 'When Six
Was Nine,' his singing delivery gets a bit quirky at times, sounding a bit,
what's the best way to put this, "whiny." It's his softer delivery in spots
that bothers me, and you can really hear this on 'Locked Out' as well. Though
I gotta give him points for his kick ass heaviness on 'Phobia,' which showcases
his best vocal work. The other problem stems from some of these songs just not
being up to par, though overall there are about 6 or 7 decent tracks out of
12. There are three instrumentals and a stupid "throwaway" track in 'Oleander,'
and I question why they couldn't have had more vocal oriented songs, though the
instrumentals were quite nice. 'Burning Into Blackness' was a piece that starts
out sounding like a ballad, the one song where the melodic vocals really take
off, then gets heavier on the choruses. They have the ability to write good
material, hell their guitar solos are well done and 'Anger Seething' sports one
of the most beautiful emotional solos I've heard in awhile, but with three
instrumentals, a throwaway track, and the others not being crappy but not being
tunes I'd repeatedly come back to, this is not a CD I'd highly recommend as
being a keeper. Still, if you're in the mood to throw on a few good solid metal
tunes, you might want to check this out, just try and listen to it before you
throw ya cash down on it.
Contact: Nuclear Blast.
TAD MOROSE "Undead" (Century Media) SCORE: 90/100
Making the jump from Black Mark to Century Media has not hurt these guys at all.
I will admit it took a few listens to really appreciate everything, which in
this case is a nice blend of darker instrumentation and great singing vocals
that don't dip into the high range very often. They also know how to make use
of melodic choruses within the darker framework, and catchy, memorable choruses
is what I like. So it's no surprise I've been singing along to 'No Tears In The
Rain' and 'Where The Sun Never Shines,' the latter song showcasing some of the
band's more melodic moments while at the same time showcasing the vocalist's
most vicious low ended singing (NO growling here). The title track 'Undead' was
one of my least favorites though, and one of the darkest tunes, I think it's the
guitar work mostly that drops this down, I just didn't like the arrangement of
the instrumentation. 'Corporate Masters' is a straight up rockin' tune, one that
relies on the sheer power of being able to just rock, and 'The Dead And His Son'
was a nice one as well, starting this one off with acoustic guitars was a good
choice in variation, though still heavy as hell. They're not trying to redefine
the genre, but damn if they don't make a solid album that is well enjoyable and
will only require you to hit the skip button once, maybe twice on a track that's
not as enjoyable as the rest. It's what a record buyer likes to hear, right?
Contact: Century Media Records.
THRESHOLD "Hypothetical" (Inside Out Music) SCORE: 92/100
This is one progressive band that knows how to blur the lines between heavy
metal (mostly thrash in this case) and melodic hard rock! Starting things off
with 'Light And Space' shows us exactly what this group is made of. Fantastic
vocal work and heavy, thrashy guitar work that is nearly a constant throughout
this disc. 'Turn On Tune In' is one of my favorite tracks on here, utilizing
some great chorus work and builds all the way up to the chorus, mostly you'll
find their songs get melodic and mid tempo until the chourses kick in. Their
heaviest number is 'The Ravages Of Time,' even slow these guys devastate. Just
keep in the back of your mind that these guys are a progressive metal/rock band
so the vicious thrashy guitars ala Bay Area thrash won't throw you for a loop
too often. It surprises me to no end, even after many listens, just how heavy
these guys crank it. Some points had to be taken for the syrupy ballad 'Keep My
Head,' this is an obvious ploy to gain a radio spot, even going so far as to
try and get a 'Pillow Talk' song going. Too lighthearted. However, their other
"power" ballad, 'Sheltering Sky,' was simply awesome, the vocal work was quite
powerful for such a mellow tune. The CD ends off with 'Narcissus,' another
fantastic tune, but they do have a tendency to go overboard with some of the
instrumentation. This song is 11 minutes, but the heavier guitar work in the
middle served to spoil the song a bit instead of provide a break. And
'Oceanbound' had some very dull instrumentation to start, but don't let that
throw you, this song kicks some serious ass once the vocals kick in, making the
repetitive guitar work actually mesh and work. Their choruses were a tad weak,
but there's so much powerful material here, one can't help but be enthused
about this release. Sound file listening is a must here!
Contact: Inside Out Music.
TWIN EARTH "Black Stars In A Silver Sky" (Beard Of Stars) SCORE: 83/100
Some of you may remember this band as one of the many stoner rock bands on the
"Judge Not..." 2 CD compilation we reviewed a few issues ago. Their track 'Ask
For Water' that graced that compilation is also recorded here. However, when I
listen to the entire CD I see that 'Ask...' is one of their weaker songs
compared to the killer cuts presented here. The CD starts out kicking some
serious ass with the best damn song on here: 'Dig A Hole.' It has the trademark
formula for a classic song: Great singalong choruses, great vocal work, and
kick ass guitar riffing that never lets up! THIS song should have been on the
"Judge Not..." compilation for sure! One positive note about Twin Earth, they
utilize some of the most rockin' Black Sabbath (Ozzy era) styled riffs in tunes
like 'The End Of The Road' and 'Eroticon VI.' But when I say rockin' I mean
the Sabbath styled riffs that were fast, fun and not so slow and doomy! Though
there are some slower numbers here, like 'The End Of The Road' with some
"heavy shit" (as their lyrics put it) via some melodic but heavy riffs. That
vocalist definitely fits this music well, except for the track 'Eroticon VI.'
But that's at the beginning. Likewise, 'Get My Soul Out' kinda annoyed me with
the spoken word piece, didn't dig that at all. 'Close But Far Away' was a ballad
type of tune, with just guitars and vocals, and it seemed out of place here and
not very interesting, though it didn't all out suck. And of course I still think
that 'Ask For Water' was one of their weaker tunes, but overall these guys sure
know how to get the rockin' stoner formula going. The label's based in Italy,
the band in Sweden, yes THAT country. The one where all the great metal bands
like Hammerfall, Candlemass, every great Gothenberg band, and even some great
psychedelic/space/progressive rock bands like Darxtar and The Flower Kings.
Polish up the rough spots a bit and these guys are a clear winner.
Contact: Beard Of Stars, c/o Vinyl Magic 3, Via C. Abba 9R, 1700 Savona, ITALY
Web site: http://www.vinylmagic3.it
VAMPIRIA "Among Mortals" (Icarus) SCORE: 93/100
Vampiric topics in black metal are certainly nothing new. Cradle Of Filth have
been doing it for awhile now, and then there's the Vlad The Impaler theme Marduk
was kicking around on their "Nightwing" album. But, that having been said, these
are tracks that would be the highlight of any vampire soundtrack in the Y2K
era. Vicious guitar work, amazing synthesizers that are not only rich and
full, but evoke some of the most horror filled, graveyard walking nights. The
vicious black metal vocals are accentuated by "lovely" female vocals and male
singing vocals, neither of which are overused but sometimes utilized in the
wrong places. My favorite tracks happen to be ones that have some viciously
fast playing, thrashy guitar work and hellacious screams ala Dani, but not quite
as screeching. There are piano pieces too, though not in a wimpy sense. You'll
even find a Celtic Frost type heaviness and sorrowful doom metal atmosphere
in 'Crown Of Crows.' The guitar work is some of the best I have heard solo wise
anyway, check out those amazing leads on 'Legend Of A Curse' and 'Brother Wolf.'
There really isn't a bad tune amongst the bunch, however as I said the male
singing vocals sometimes sounded a bit rough, like on 'Pagan Celebration'
and I thought the female vocals were a bit too high pitched on 'Crown Of
Crows.' The synths are played organ style for the most part, and really reach
eerie pitches, especially on 'Legend Of A Curse,' these are not wimpy mellow
keyboards! If a black metal band is to do the Vampire theme, a bit of dark,
eerie and evil atmospheres are in order, and this band, out of Argentina of all
places (!), does the most evil, dark, and sadistic vampiric theme I've ever
heard in all the realm of black metal. They even pay homage to the dark lord
himself with 'Satan Legion's Comes.'
Contact: Icarus, C.C. 1593, Correo Central, C1000 WAP, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
VANISHING POINT "Tangled In Dream" (Limb Music) SCORE: 89/100
Hobbs Angel Of Death. Ikon. Armoured Angel. And now Vanishing Point. What do
these bands all have in common? They are of a select few, those bands that hail
from Australia. And what I have found about Australian bands is that they are
of high quality. This particular band is hard to pin down to one style and
category, they are definitely AOR friendly (adult oriented rock, whatever that
means, though it seems to have more to do with popular radio styled hits) but
have the most amazing melodies and catchy choruses. Starting off with 'Surreal'
this CD carries on in great fashion, up to the highlight of the CD, track 5
which is 'Never Walk Away.' They do have a penchant for heavy guitars, these
in particular help to hide the true nature of the song, you think it's going to
be a heavy riff oriented affair but instead some amazing melodies and highly
emotional instrumentation. This is one of the best songs I've heard this year,
not to mention on a CD I was quite surprised with. The heavier guitar riffs
work well in conjunction with the synthesized passages and amazing vocal work,
but they do tend to overuse them in spots where they really aren't needed, like
on 'Father' and 'I Will Awake.' They do such a masterful job of overwhelming
emotional content they do not need to use the heavier guitar parts, as if they
were trying to appeal to the fans of heavier styled metal. As good as this CD
was, though there were a few weak points. Their ballad style doesn't sit well
with me, 'Dancing With The Devil' was weak and didn't have that spark that the
rest of the tracks have, not to mention a rather poor use of movie samples.
Same goes for 'Tangled In Dream,' the CD ender. However, though it's progressive
rock oriented, this is a very well done CD; though after track 7 the CD has a
hard time keeping to the energy and emotional vibes that carried up to 'Never
Contact: Limb Music.
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Fish & Vegetables" (Hello) SCORE: 79/100
The main reason this is in here is because of a classic interview we did this
month with Dr. Know. They are back and kicking! This is a CD compilation
featuring three bands, Dr. Know, Fang, and The Hellions. Surprisingly, Dr. Know
is not the best band on here, though they do turn out some fast hardcore punk
with 'Life Saver' and 'Down At The Bottom,' the latter sounding a bit like
Suicidal Tendencies ranting from their classic hit 'Institutionalized.' Every
band on this comp has one bad song, and surprisingly it's at the end of each of
the 4 songs the three bands do. The Dr. Know track 'You Know' suffers from bad
lyrics, and a rather vague subject matter. However, take 'I'm So Punk' from
them as an anthemic, funny tune about being a fake punk, complete with mid
song banter ala Dead Milkmen on their 'Bitchin Camaro' tune. The Hellions
turned in one of the best performances on the album, 'Into The Dirt' was a fast
and furious pit anthem, while 'Do What I Want' is a bit of a rockin' energetic
fuck you punk tune. Fang had a vocalist that was really cool, like a cross
between a drill seargent and a snotty punker that everyone from GBH to The Sex
Pistols made use of. 'Boot Party' is a tune sure to get some heads kicked in at
a punk show, while 'Babes In Crankland' was a funny track about, well, crack
whores I guess. :> Only a few bad apples in the bunch, though as I said the
Dr. Know tunes are not as great as I remember them being from their Metal Blade
days, though bass player Ismael elaborates more on that in the interview. A fun
compilation, showing us that punk hasn't quite breathed it's last breath here
in the States.
Contact: Hello Records, 343 Waller Ave. Suite 201, Lexington, KY 40504
Web site: http://www.hellorecords.com
VARIOUS ARTISTS "The Best Of Manikin Records" (Manikin) SCORE: 93/100
I have been nothing but pleased with the electronic music put out by this
relatively small but awesome German label based right in Berlin! And for a
compilation CD featuring this many artists to be this good, you know it's a
label worth checking out! You may remember the "Two Piece Box" release by duo
Keller/Schonwalder, well, they are back with a few tracks of their own. First
off, this music presented here is mostly instrumental ambient styled music,
there is some percussion involved, but it rarely evolves to the club worthy,
rave and/or dance floor type of beats that plagues most techno and trance music.
Not that I don't like those types, but this is more relaxing type of music,
that contains energy. The most impressive cuts here I shall mention first. Spyra
brings us 'Future Of The Past,' a cacophony of beautiful swirling ambient
landscapes with some deep, emotional instrumentation that is beautiful as well
as solitary and a bit melancholy. Detlef Keller blew me away with 'Tear 4,' a
heart stopping track utilizing flutes (whether synth or real I don't know,
though I would suspect from the majority of his work they are synth based),
quick start/stop medieval synth pieces, soul reaching bell notes, and some
AWESOME piano playing. There are slight beats to this but as I said these are
more for relaxing and meditating. Arcanum has the tune with the more dance
oriented beats, with 'Timehunter,' though he does work some nice ambient layers
in and it mellows out more towards the end. Ramp threw me with
'Phasenverzerrung' which was more dominant and faster sound wise. They had some
ambient landscapes but they were more in the background than anything, and this
piece sounded out of place here on this CD and not very melodic. Steve Hug's
track 'Timespace Victory' took quite awhile to settle in, he starts off with
some disturbing alien sounds that can ruin the mood for you, but once the beat
structures kick in, the track takes off quite nicely! Many of these songs are
quite long, hell when an "excerpt" is still 9 minutes long you wonder what got
cut out! Be that as it may, this is intelligent electronic music that has no
vocals (except for the wonderful chanting styled multi vocals on 'Ghost In The
Machine') and can really invoke some powerful emotions, if you're open minded
enough, this stuff can be just as dominant and powerful as any other type of
Contact: Manikin Records, Postbox 450274, D-12172 Berlin
Web site: http://www.manikin.de
W.A.S.P. "Unholy Terror" (Metal-Is) SCORE: 92/100
Glad to see Mr. Lawless still cranking out great tunes. And lemme tell ya,
this album is a welcome return to the grand, anthemic, rocking tracks that we
all know and love from their first two records, clearly a highlight for any
W.A.S.P. fan/ Check out the great soaring melodies and recognizable formula
on opener 'Let It Roar.' 'Wasted White Boys' has 'Blind In Texas' written all
over it, from the attitude, music and those trademark vocal signatures. There
were a few surprises, the most notable being 'Euphoria,' which Blackie pens as
"great music to get stoned by," and he ain't kidding. Probably their most
emotional song, though it's an instrumental, featuring some beautiful acoustic
riffs and just one mellow vibe through and through. 'Evermore' was rather ballad
like as well, with vocals; this one is more in like like 'Sleeping In The Fire'
from their first release but with some great vocal melodies. Only a few tracks
didn't work well for me, and it's not that they're terrible tracks, though there
are others I prefer more. 'Who Slayed Baby Jane' was rather unusual, especially
with the lyrics, and 'Hate To Love Me' doesn't spark my interest like the rest
of the CD, though I can't say they're bad tracks. 'Unholy Terror' was a somewhat
spoken word piece, without the abject terror and darkness, and if you bought
"Kill, Fuck, Die" from W.A.S.P. then you'll recognize how this one goes. 'Loco-
Motive Man' is Blackie's musings on the Columbine Tragedy, and it rocks to hell,
though it also portrays a little bit of emotional feeling that you can sense
right off. A VERY thought provoking album, one that definitely gets a permanent
place right alongside my two favorite W.A.S.P. albums from the past: Their self
titled debut release and their "Last Command" album. (Though "K.F.D." has it
hands down for the most brutal W.A.S.P. release ever).
Contact: Metal-Is Records.
WIZARD "Head Of The Deceiver" (Limb Music) SCORE: 91/100
"Defenders of metal... Fight And Kill..." Yeah, this band has a bit of the
Manowar/power metal spirit in them, so if you can forgive the lyrics, which
definitely show a spirit for metal, you'll hear some kick ass power metal with
a great singer. Of course, you'll hear the atypical speedier instrumentation
passages in tracks like 'Magic Potion' and 'Iron War,' and some solid drumming
throughout. Like I said lyrics aside, this is some good stuff, and with tracks
like 'Defenders Of Metal' and 'True Metal,' you know their allegiance to metal
is true and strong! Though lines like 'We play more metal than the most people
can take' and 'We play metal for all metalheads and not for rotten poser rats'
may be a little hard for some people to take seriously, but these songs are
FUN. The way metal should be, why be all serious and dark all the time? Even my
girlfriend, who typically can't stand the death and black metal I listen to,
loves this CD (Well, she does like a lot of well sung power metal band, hell
Rhapsody are gods to her). I could talk in depth about the CD, but at least
listen to the music before making a decision, it tells the tale of the tape
quite well I think. Okay, well, the intro to 'The First One' is really bad, but
the rest of it...
Contact: Limb Music Productions.
ABDULLAH. Interview with Jeff Shirilla.
One of the best release to come out of 2000, in fact it's voted in the top 3 of
albums that came out last year. This band blew me away with their "Snake Lore"
demo and proceeded to disintegrate what was left of my remains with their self
titled full length. If you don't own either release, you're quite simply missing
out on one of the best bands to come around in a LONG time. And that's probably
words that are not strong enough being said in my opinion. The lyrical content
as well is far superior to what many bands have put out, so expect this to not
only be an insightful look into one of the greatest bands to come down the pipe
in the Y2K, but also a philosophical and intellectual conversation that cuts
right down to the essence of man's very existence. This, of course, is our
feature interview this issue, and I'm very honored to bring this to you.
- Abdullah has been getting nothing but positive reviews for not only the
demo, but the full length out on Meteor City. Every piece of writing I've read
just praises you guys, from Chronicles Of Chaos to Kerrang!
For the most part, it's been really good, but we have gotten a couple of bad
reviews. Everyone gets bad reviews.
- I haven't seen any! Where did you get bad press from?
Martin Popoff, I don't know if you're familiar with him, he writes for Brave
Words And Bloody Knuckles.
- I don't really count his reviews. I've got his "Big Book Of Heavy
Metal," and anyone that can slag off the greatest Hawkwind albums of all time,
plus seem to have very little respect for the early German thrash that came
out of the 80's just doesn't really count for much. I wouldn't even think twice
about bad press from him.
He's kinda out of touch too, I know back in the day you read his books and you
wouldn't see any death metal get positive spins. It was a letdown for us to get
a bad review from him because his reviews appear everywhere. It would have been
nice to get a good review but I'm not worried about it. He gave us like a 5
and a half, and he usually gives 8's and 9's for some stuff.
- It surprised me about his book, because while he slags the early
forerunners of death, thrash and black metal, you see positive reviews for the
newer breed of Century Media artists, and I think his reviews in part are based
on corporate sponsorship. After all, the damn book comes with a Century Media
various artists CD!
A lot of reviewers, the bigger they get, they still kinda fall prey to the hype
machine. I know a lot of the bands he praises are bands that have a big
following behind them like In Flames, stuff like that.
- One thing I wanted to talk about, having heard the "Snake Lore" demo
and nothing else previously, is some of your MP3 files on your web site. I was
surprised at how heavy they were and the fact that there was some black metal
styled vocals on them, which popped up one one song on "Snake Lore" and then
Right now, I am the only original member of the band left. It's not saying much
though seeing as how it's only been me and a few other guys from the get go. I
was playing in a band called Sloth which is like a sludge core band. (NOT the
U.K. band signed to The Music Cartel - Ed.) I got to sing on the occasional
track for Sloth, but mostly I played drums. Things just fizzled out from there,
though. So I ended up working out with my stepbrother, who was a bass player and
really into all the sludgecore, Eyehategod kinda stuff. He moved on and after
that I started writing songs by myself. That was our third demo, and basically
I demoed everything out myself. I have a 4 track machine and I started doing
demos, sending out flyers looking for a guitarist, and that's when I met up with
Alan. To me that is when Abdullah really took off, we have the same ideas about
music, we like the same bands and personality wise everything clicked. So after
a few weeks together we were already starting to write new material. Within
three months of us getting together we worked on "Snake Lore." Meteor City
signed us based on "Snake Lore," but I didn't really know how things worked, as
my band experience never went out of the garage.
- Now the "Snake Lore" demo came out on Rage Of Achilles right? Wouldn't
that be a conflict of interest, seeing as how you have two records on two
different labels? Is Meteor City cool with this?
That actually happened AFTER we had signed to Meteor City. The guys are really
cool, real easy to work with, and when we got signed by them a couple of weeks
later Rage Of Achilles approached us and wanted to put something out from us.
I told them about Meteor City but they were still interested. They liked the
demo so much they wanted to put it out, but I never really considered that as
a release for public consumption.
- I noticed you had redone 'The Black Ones' and 'The Path To
Enlightenment' from the "Snake Lore" demo to be on the new album. I liked those,
but personally thought 'In The Belly Of The Beast' and 'Distant Lights' should
have made it on there.
I totally agree with you, but the reason we picked those two songs are those
are two of our favorites, and also as it turned out it was two of Meteor City's
personal favorites and they actually requested both tracks. The other reason I
didn't include anything else was I didn't want the album to be too much of a
rehash of "Snake Lore," and I figured the majority of our audience that will
buy the CD already has the demo. We are planning on releasing both of those
songs on an EP or our next CD, definitely.
- The packaging of the "Snake Lore" CD was the most intriguing thing,
the way the paper insert was done, it looked like an old document from the 17th
or 18th Century, it totally blew me away before I even listened to the CD! I'm
wondering what sort of font this is and what type of paper you used.
I was working at a place that let me use digital equipment, so I had that at
my disposal. I designed the color cover, which was rather psychedelic looking,
but then I wanted an insert which included the lyrics. I really dig that old
gothic style, the old English/medieval woodcut patterns. I got the idea to go
with that for the booklet, and that really cool font that goes with it. I
thought it would be cool if it was printed on parchment paper. It's a map type
of paper, you'd be surprised how many different types of paper you can get. I
think I got it at Kinko's or something. I just wanted to make it look old.
Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between me and Rage Of Achilles
Records, especially over the packaging. If I had known they would be doing a
black and white cover instead of the color cover, I would have requested them
put it on a rougher stock of paper.
- I haven't seen the Rage Of Achilles version, I'm glad I have the
All it is is the insert, but it's on slick gloss paper.
- Where did you get those pictures in the demo? Especially the dragon
with multiple heads, and the angel standing next to snakes? That looked like
something out of the book of Revelations!
That's what it is actually, there was a 14th century German artist called
Albrecht Durer. I've seen his stuff before, his work was on Internal Void's
"Standing On The Sun."
- I've definitely heard of Internal Void.
He has a work called "The Seven Beasts of The Apocalypse" or something like
that. He has a large woodcut and I basically took different parts of the
woodcut for the layout.
- I like the drawing of the half man half snake.
That was different, I got that from an old book of Greek mythology. It's
another woodcut, and we used that to tie into the whole theme of the demo
title "Snake Lore."
- I wanted to go ahead and talk some about the new album, especially the
lyrics. The lyrics really stand out with this new record, and I am very
intrigued as to the source for the lyrics, they sound like they are taken from
a very old philosophical base, maybe Hindu or Middle Eastern teachings or
writings? I can't really put my finger on it, but they are VERY deep and very
spiritual, but not in a Christianity type of spiritual way. Rather than doing
the doom and gloom theme, there seemed to be messages with a bit of hope, a
bit of insight into man's condition and plight on the Earth.
I'm into a lot of older literature, older stuff that goes into religious
detail, not Christian religion or anything like that, sort of a quasi religious
supernatural kind of thing. Instead of taking just one straight and narrow
path, like a gothic feel or an early christian feel or even a middle eastern
aura, I tried incorporating elements of all of those and mixing them in with a
personal feel, my personal feelings and emotions. It seems like a mish-mash of
different ideologies to some though.
- Maybe it's Shirillism. (laughter erupts from both sides of the board).
I don't know about that. I personally wanted the lyrics to be a little vague so
that each person that listens to it can take what they want from the songs, I
have never been a fan of preachy lyrics that lay everything out on the line. I
have always been influenced by bands that let their lyrics be more open to
interpretation by the listener. I am very pleased with the results.
- I'm very pleased with the results myself, as I said these themes and
topics really hit home for me and even inspired me a bit.
That's cool, I was a bit afraid that some of the themes of the songs bled
together a bit too much.
- Well, it's good that there's at least some continuity running through
the songs, something to tie everything in together, and I'll get to some of the
individual songs in a minute. There are bands I enjoy, even christian metal
bands; Living Sacrifice is a good example of what I'm talking about. Though
they profess to be Christian, their hard edged, brutal sound uses lyrics that
are more abstract, not being preachy and giving the whole "Believe in Christ as
your savior or you're going to hell" kind of speech. Of course, your lyrics
are not quite as vague, but still have something to say.
I don't want to offend anyone, but all of us are pretty much opposed to
- Same here, I'm a BIG hater of Christianity especially.
Exactly. Okay, cool. (Jeff seems to breathe a sigh of relief - Ed.) It seems
that we're on the same page. I definitely am spiritual though and I have a lot
of personal beliefs. Mainly (us) intermingling with nature, though that may seem
to sound a little hippie'ish.
- Well, I could't really say "hippie'ish." There's a lot of forces in this
world that work in ways that we can't really understand. I believe in a god but
I don't believe in the structure that we have as religion. It's funny though
when you talk to a lot of black metal bands that mention how corrupt
Christianity is, I say "Well, look at the basis for what Christianity is, it's
MANKIND'S organization," and of course it's going to be faulty. So in some
essence, when they talk about the ill effects of Christianity all throughout
the years, are they speaking of man and his corrupting influence or are they
talking about God's presence within these organizations, if God even has
anything to do with these religious sects. I think things have just been
diluted and mistranslated down through the years.
The original bible is basically used as a means to control people, control
people through fear if they didn't behave a certain way, and they would be
punished in the afterlife for it. It's persevered for years and years! I went
to Catholic school as a kid and had to deal with all that Catholic guilt.
- It's funny you mention that, I went to a Catholic school for a while
myself. That sphere of influence, all that needless guilt, really ruins people's
I see that we are really, REALLY on the same page. And just because you're
against Christianity doesn't mean you can't have a spiritual side. I agree
totally what you're saying about the black metal bands, especially the ones
that are so down on Christianity but they believe in Satan, which is a key
part of Christianity. It's kind of hypocritical to me.
- Well, I like the more realistic, the philosophical side of Satanism.
There's really two trains of thought on Satanism, one is just total devotion to
the deity Satan himself, which is going to lead to a question about another
song which I'm sure you've already seen in the back of my mind. It's like
Satanism is more of a personal way of life as in you're responsible for your own
destiny and to do what you will. Which leads me to the song 'Lucifer In
Starlight,' it seems to me that the song is spoken from Lucifer's point of
view and it makes him seem a little more human than the stigma and Christianity's
points of view that have been put on him throughout the years.
I was on my break from work actually, thinking of ideas for lyrics to a song
that Alan had already wrote the music to. I was just jotting ideas down and I
came up for one of the lines for the chorus, and that's when the song idea
struck me. It sort of personifies him, I thought it would be cool to have this
song sung from Lucifer's point of view. It's not a very original concept
- Well, I don't know, I've never seen anything written like that before,
I've never seen Satan as being portrayed as a victim, and in some points, if
you read the bible and see what has happened to him and what WILL happen to him,
you can't help but feel sorry for him. If that's an indication of things to
happen, the human side of you definitely feels for his plight, especially since
it's written that his destruction is imminent.
The thing about 'Lucifer In Starlight' was I figured I would get a lot of flack
for it after I wrote the lyrics. I figured people would see this as a rip off of
'Sympathy For The Devil' by the Stones. In college I was an English professor,
and my focal point was English literature, 17th century literature. One of the
works that really left an impression by me was "Paradise Lost," by Milton.
There's so many different parts to the story, but one of the main points was
about Lucifer and it gives him a real human aspect. The fundamentalist Christian
view of Satan is like a red guy with a beard and horns and stuff. It's really
- Yeah, that's a bit absurd, especially since if you go by the bible,
which quote-unquote "Christians" seem to swear by, Lucifer was depicted as one
of God's most beautiful creations, so those descriptions don't make any sense.
Exactly. And if you think about it just in terms of folklore, which is what I
view the bible basically as, he's a very interesting figure. He pretty much
could have anything he wanted, just for going along with God. But instead he
decided to rebel against him because he wanted a little bit more.
- So he's displaying greed, a human trait.
Exactly. He alternates as a tragic figure. I didn't really come up with
anything else for the song though.
- It sounded to me like that concept had never been done before, and I get to
hear a LOT of bands both signed and unsigned so I don't think I'm missing
much. I had never heard any bands doing a lyrical topic like this, but like I
said I had never read "Paradise Lost" either. Anyway, enough of Christianity.
I wanted to ask you, who are "The Black Ones?"
The Black Ones are based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, I'm sure you've heard of
"The Call Of Ktulu," "At The Mountains Of Madness?"
- That's one of the things on my to do list, I haven't read much of
Lovecraft, but he turns up EVERYWHERE, from Obituary album covers to Metallica
songs, Lovecraft turns up damn near everywhere! And it's amazing the time period
that he lived in to be able to write stuff like this that is still pretty damn
horrific even today.
It's definitely great stuff. There's a scary sort of authenticity to his work,
I think it's the way it's presented, it's so deadpan. In the beginning I had a
hard time reading his stuff because it was so dry, but then after absorbing
some of it that's what I found makes it truly horrific is that it's deadpan
accounts of the supernatural, which makes his stories that much more believable.
- It makes you wonder if he was tormented by some really horrific visions
throughout his life!
I don't know much about his life, if he was tormented like Poe was, or had any
mental instability. Anyway, 'The Black Ones' was one of the first songs I ever
wrote, which I think is pretty obvious since it's kinda simple, composed mainly
of two riffs.
- Well, I wouldn't knock the simplicity of the song, sometimes a tune is
carried over with far more effect than if it's loaded down with 30,000 riffs
and time changes all over the place.
Exactly, you want something that's easy to follow. The song is a loose
interpretation of the story; and like with everything else I tried to give it
more of a 21st century feel, a vague modernization I guess.
- So what is 'Earth's Answer?' It seems to me more like a man's musings,
like his personal reflection on where his life is going or something.
That song is basically about suicide.
- It seems like he's having a lot of thoughts, maybe that thousand
thoughts you have going on in your head before you meet the end?
Damn, that's a good interpretation. It's sort of like that, to me it's Earth's
answer against suicide. Man doesn't have all the answers, man is always going
to have questions and stuff, you know. I wanted that song to have a more upbeat
sound to it because I wanted the message to be upbeat, that no matter how bad it
gets, everyone always has something to live for.
- And there's so much crap in this world that gets you down, you see Mad
Cow disease running rampant throughout Europe, rising gas prices, murders and
violence in the streets, world wars, and stuff.
And that's what usually gets to people! As stupid as it sounds, you could lose
someone that you've loved your whole life and function and get on with your
life, but sometimes those little aggravations of life are what really brings
people down. And that song shows us that we all have the same struggles in life
and eventually things are going to be okay.
- So what's the deal with your bass player situation? I noticed you used
two different people on the album?
Well, I wanted to use our original bass player, my stepbrother, but he got
called out of the country with his job. It was right when we started practicing,
before we headed to the studio to record the album. So we really needed a quick
fix, and we are friends with the band Boulder. So I asked Jamie, the singer/bass
player, if he would help us out and play in the studio. This guy is just an
unbelievable bass player and a musical genius besides. We practiced with him
one or two times, and the reason we used two bass players is we literally had a
week before we went into the studio. Instead of having one guy learn an hour's
worth of material, we decided to split the material up, and thinking that 30
minutes of material would be easier to learn, we also got a guy named Ed
Milich who has also played in bands before.
- One thing that has been really puzzling to me, is to try to describe to
people what style of music you play! I hear elements of 70's progressive rock,
you can't call it stoner rock, but you can't call it doom metal either! I know
for sure there's no one else in the genre like you guys.
I'm very glad to hear that. We basically threw the rulebook out the window. We
definitely have the Black Sabbath style going, and there's no doubt that out of
any category we're going to be lumped in, it's going to be the stoner rock and
doom metal category. Our influences are all over the place; I think the 70's
prog sound style comes from Alan's guitar playing, which is atypical of what's
really going on in the stoner scene. He has that really defined, clean, classic
heavy metal sound.
- I think that fact alone speaks volumes about what's different about you
guys; the guitars are not that crunchy, phased distortion type you usually hear.
They're so clean sounding! Especially on a track like 'Visions Of The Daughters
Of Time' which just weights you down with its heaviness and the fact that the
guitars are so clean sounding. Not to take anything away from the other
facets of the band, but until you said that I guess I didn't really have it
locked down as to what makes this sound so unique.
To me too. I love the screaming stuff, and the heavy stuff, but to me the clean
vocals are the way to go. In the underground scene nowadays there's such a
movement away from vocalizing and melodies, I wanted to bring that back. There's
so few bands doing that now, that are trying to sing. A lot of people seem to
be more into the screaming, growling stuff.
- Lots of people getting into metal for the first time are people that
came from bands like Korn and Pantera. So that's what they're used to, they
want that heaviness.
They want that heaviness, right. Just the slow stuff alone, all the Eyehategod
fans and Buzzoven fans, they want to hear the screaming and stuff. From a Kyuss
point of view, however, you have John Garcia who is an awesome vocalist. But
it's still very raw and primal.
- Well, you can have melody and still have the heaviness too. Like
'Awakening The Colossus' that's very evident, where you hear some distorted
guitar riffs but it's still slow, but crushingly heavy.
I think a lot of people forget their roots, and where they come from. I don't
know about you but I was raised on Black Sabbath and Maiden almost exclusively.
- Unfortunately for me, I grew up as one of very few white people
listening to rap before I found my dad's Black Sabbath record. That's when it
all spiralled for me.
We definitely get into hip hop too, like I said we're into a lot of different
- I totally left that genre, though, because it didn't speak to me
I don't like the new stuff, any of the stuff on the radio at all. Some of the
older, really underproduced stuff is cool. Alan really gets into a lot of that
- In my particular area I grew up in Savannah things were different, the
big city I lived in. Up where I live now, I'm about 55 miles north of Atlanta,
in a suburban community. And it's funny to see these white kids playing the
Wu-Tang Clan, Poison Clan or whatever and seeing them driving 30 and 40 thousand
dollar sport cars that mommy and daddy bought them. These kids can't relate to
ANY of the lyrics in any of these songs.
Exactly. Because rap to me is not as much of a musical style as a life style
that was from the streets, about struggling and struggling with poverty and
issues. What do these white kids know about stuff like that? I think it's the
ultimate rebellion against their white parents. When I was growing up the
ultimate rebellion was the long hair, jeans and black T-shirts, but now those
people have become the parents. Teenagers nowadays what are they going to
rebel against? Well, their dad's probably an Ozzy fan, listening to Ozzy like
we do, so to me this is the ultimate form of White, suburban rebellion. As far
as I'm concerned, it's really an insult to what music is, it distorts the true
meaning of what the music is.
- For me, Grandmaster Flash's 'The Message' was the first real glimpse
into city life, though I saw a lot of this stuff that was going on. Like the
school shootings, people think that's new? I saw a kid get shot in the hallway
in my school when I was in high school! Go out on the lunch yard and you can see
people snorting coke, hey you need weed? Back left corner of the lunchyard man.
Barbed wire over and UNDER the fences, bars on the third story bathroom windows.
People say, why would people want to jump out of third story bathroom windows?
It wasn't to keep people from jumping out, it was to keep people from being
able to THROW people out of the windows. I'm not trying to personify and
stereotype, but I lived in the inner city for awhile before I moved up here,
and I understand a lot about what's on those records.
Yeah, you didn't hear about the school shootings because it didn't happen in
White, middle class America. In the original hip-hop movement there was so much
going on, it was a new movement, and now it's all stripped down and ALL MTV
and money making. All substance, no style.
- What's really funny, the people that I went to high school with that
turned me onto metal, they're still listening to it today! So it's still just
as relevant a music form today as it was in the 80's. Like I went to see Dio
in Atlanta, and you couldn't even move in there as it was so packed!
Even bands like Skid Row, bands that are down and out, will come to town and
people will line up out the door to see them! I mean, mainstream music has
always sucked and it always will. I think now more than any time I can remember
the MTV generation has such a dictatorship on music, where it's like all there
is is like nu-metal, rapcore, r&b and rap or whatever. They don't even try to
market anything else. You go to a Dio show and it's a packed house, but no
record label wants to market it. No one wants to target the older crowd, and by
older I mean later 20's into the older 40's, guys like us who were weaned on
heavy metal and love that form of music. It shows the short sightedness of the
corporations and stuff, their tunnel vision they have. The cash cow to them is
the kids and the teenagers, that generation.
- And the stupid thing about that is it's the parents of these kids who
have the money! When little Jimmy wants a rap CD, their parents give them the
money, they don't necessarily earn it for themselves.
CITIES. Interview with AJ Pero.
Anyone knowing anything about classic 80's metal should remember this band.
Featuring in it's ranks none other than Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Pero, this
great power metal outfit released only one album, but had a buzz in the
underground that lasts to this day. Their "Annihilation Absolute" is absolutely
a classic, go listen to it in the classic albums section and check out what the
members of Cities are up to now.
- What got to me was they said there were two versions of "Annihilation
Absolute" pressed, one of course is the one I heard on Metal Blade, but the
earlier version is supposed to be more raw and heavier.
The original version was more like an EP, I think there was six songs on it.
I don't remember what label released it, actually I wasn't even on that
album. That was kinda like the demo tapes they did and they pressed it and
released it. I think Ronnie's brother played drums on that album. After Twisted
Sister broke up and I joined Cities, that's when we recorded the album that I'm
on, which Metal Blade released. There's another version I believe that was
released in Japan that has ten songs on it. I remember the one song we wrote
together 'Shades Of Black.'
- That was one of my favorite songs from that album too.
That was one that I think we had a verse and a chorus and I said to Steve and
Ronnie, 'Man, that's a good song, why don't we put that on there?' Well, they
said it's not really worth it, but I said you know let's do it now? So we ended
up working it out in the studio, we ended up laying it down and I think I did
two takes on it. The last take is the one we took and it ended up being one of
the strongest songs on the album. I don't know what happened to that, we had
great expectations and high hopes that the band was going places. Maybe not
like Bruce Springsteen level, but maybe on par with Megadeth. At that time we
were pretty heavy, and we weren't really relying on my name as much as the band
speaking for itself. I know when we did shows, though, the majority of people
that came down were Twisted Sister fans. And this was outside of the New York
area as well, like Pennsylvania, Jersey, etc. It ended up where the label just
wasn't doing squat for us.
- It's a strange situation with Metal Blade these days, where they had
started out basically in this guy's basement, and with small distribution, now
they have major distribution and are really getting behind the bands, the
publicity is getting better and things have improved tenfold. It makes me wonder
how the band would do had they signed to Metal Blade today?
I don't know, and that's another thing. I have contacts with Koch Records,
Spitfire Records and a few other minor or independent labels, that have said
anything I've done in the past they wanna hear. I was talking to Ronnie last
week, and said, 'You know, what if we gave them a copy of this "Annihilation
Absolute" record? Maybe they could work out a deal with us. I don't know who
owns the copyrights, well, I mean we own the copyrights but I don't know who
owns the catalog, I guess you would say.
- Well, that's rather strange, because I've been told you are aware that
Old Metal Records has re-released the "Annihilation Absolute" album.
Yeah, and who is Old Metal Records?
- Well, it's King Fowley from the band Deceased, it's his label. Their
band is signed to Relapse, but it's a label he started to rerelease a lot of
older stuff that has been out of print. His first project was rereleasing Cirith
Ungol's "Frost And Fire" which was officially done FOR Metal Blade. On his label
he's rereleased a Sorcery album, the first few Witchfinder General albums,
even the two Iron Angel albums. From what I have heard, he said he couldn't get
ahold of anyone from Cities, so he just went ahead and rereleased it. My
question of course is why didn't Metal Blade rerelease that album? I know there
was a lot of demand for that record.
I don't mind the guy releasing it, but I'd like to know if he is selling
anything who is getting royalties? I mean, I don't want to sound like a prick
or nothing, you have the Napster thing which it's like what are you going to do?
I mean, I'm listed in the phone book, you can get ahold of me.
- I got ahold of you through the listing in the back of the Dee Snider "Never Let
The Bastards Wear You Down" CD which had your web site, which was down
Well, the web site went down because I had a falling out with the web designer.
I never really got back into doing another web site. Except for No More Tears,
the Ozzy-Sabbath tribute band I'm playing with locally every other week, I work
for AT&T in technology. I have training and certification in a number of things.
I'd love to be on the road, sure, I'd love to be making millions doing it.
Unfortunately, this is the hand I was dealt and I have to support my kids.
- The music business has changed so much too, it's hard to get anywhere
and build careers anymore.
Absolutely. I tried numerous times getting back into the business. You know the
old saying "It's not what you know, it's who you know?" I don't even know if
that's true anymore. I've known and done a lot as far as musicianship is
concerned. I speak to Alan White still to this day. We did a music clinic which
was one of the most talked about clinics anywhere. As far as a player I've been
up there with the best, and as a person I considered myself even tempered and
befriending all, but I always managed to get doors slammed in my face. Then you
get a dude like Tommy Lee who is in and out of rehab and constantly in trouble,
a guy who I knew really well, who gets tour after tour after tour! So I say to
myself damn, why should I even bother? And everyone that I have told I am just
retiring says I'm nuts! They say 'You're a great drummer why are you retiring?'
And I say to them 'Well, give me a job!' I call up Ozzy and he'd rather have
Tommy Lee rather than me!? Which that's cool, maybe he likes somebody that's
throwing up all over himself and falling all over his drums. If that's what he
wants then why am I even bothering playing? But now, I'm not as bitter about it
and just wish everyone the best.
- I think the thing that is going to make this stuff come back harder,
even when Motley Crue did a reunion tour a year or so ago, they put them
together with other bands, maybe Motley Crue can't sell out an arena anymore,
but put them together with a few other good bands like Quiet Riot, maybe
Queensryche or someone and it'll sell tickets!
Yeah, I would go see them! These bands however are touring constantly though.
Dee has his radio thing happening Monday through Friday, so he doesn't do the
touring thing every day. You remember how Twisted Sister used to go out, when
they toured, they went out and were on the road for quite awhile. It didn't
really do much for our personal home life, but that's what we had to do back
then to become as big as we wanted to be.
- The one thing about the original Metal Blade version of Cities, the
production was a little odd sounding, I'm not saying it doesn't sound good, but
King Fowley basically just lifted the thing directly from either tape or vinyl,
then transferring it to CD. He did a good job, but you can still hear the
original production in the transfer.
It was analog, so it's definitely going to lose a lot. If we were to get the
master tapes, which I talked to Ronnie about, I think we could get maybe
Spitfire Records or some other label to redo it properly, even if it's just for
a distribution deal. To me, that album was one of the heaviest I ever recorded.
The thing is though it loses something when you try to record it in analog and
then transfer it over to CD. The proper way to do it is to get the master tapes,
but I have no idea who has the master tapes, for all I know Sal might have them
and is trying to do it himself! But we are definitely going to do some
investigating and see what turns up, as soon as I have some time. This kind of
thing takes a lot of time and money though, and we're all involved in many
- Now I know we talked about the 6 song demo, or EP that was recorded.
If you guys were to re-record, would you be using the original 6 songs and
maybe a combination of the other tracks from the Metal Blade release, or just
use the Metal Blade release? Some have said, as I mentioned earlier, that the
demo is a lot heavier than the record released.
We'd just do it from the album Metal Blade did, because here I'm playing on
every track. The 6 song release, the other album they did, are the same songs
except that Johnny was playing drums. The reason why we did the whole album
over again is because they said they wanted me on the whole album. That was
supposed to be the band's coming out release, including 'Shades Of Black.'
That was the first time I played that song was when I recorded it! We did it
twice, we did a take and that was it. I never really rehearsed it, it was quite
a simple song. I think it was recorded around the 4th of July in 1985, or was it
1986? I had a certain limitation on my time, because I was in between touring
with Twisted Sister.
- So what about the guys in Cities, are they still around? Do you get to
speak to them very often?
I talk to Ronnie all the time, we're still really close friends. Sal the bass
player lives up the block from me, I'll see him driving up and down the street
once in awhile and we'll talk. He's got his own thing going though. Steve I
haven't talked to in years, and when we needed a guitar player for No More
Tears, so Steve played. His job dictated that he had to be on call 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week, and sometimes he got called right before a gig. So we ended
up getting Ronnie's brother in law Mike who was in Cities at one time after I
left. Now Mike is playing in No More Tears with me. Mike, Ronnie and I had this
band called Father Time, very progressive but hard to pinpoint. The plus about
the band is that we were all playing our ass off on this album. The songs were
in quite a different vein for each song, some stuff you might hear Metallica,
Godsmack, even Queen! Ronnie does the parent thing except he's still married,
I'm doing the single father thing. Steve is working in the city, I think he's
working in telecommunications. Sal Mayne, the bass player, I think he is doing
work in a distribution company; they do a lot of advertising for when albums
get released. I guess they do a lot of album covers and things, but they're
involved with different facets of the entertainment industry. They do things
like broadway playbills to album covers and full page spreads in magazines.
- Sounds like Public relations to me.
Exactly. I think he's trying to get into Broadway. He seems to be the only one
trying to get into the music industry full time, I'm just part time.
- Did the Father Time album ever get a label deal?
No. The labels we brought this CD to said it was great but they were like
'How do we catalog it?'
- So what was the eventual reason for the breakup of Cities?
I couldn't really tell you! I think at that time there were too many captains
and not enough first mates. In that respect, I blame it on the fact that we
didn't have proper management. Nothing against the guys we had working for us,
but we had two guys managing the group before I got into Cities. I saw nothing
happening with us basically. We did shows and it was still nothing going on. We
were hoping that we would get some big tours but they never happened. So it's
like the albums are selling, but where? I didn't see any readouts on the sales.
I guess maybe it was part of my fault because my expectations were along the
lines of what Twisted Sister had accomplished. Like every month I'd get a
readout in my mailbox of album sales, what cities and countries played the
songs, and I would see a nice royalty check and I would see all these things.
With Cities, of course it wasn't like this, maybe I wasn't mature enough to
appreciate it, maybe I was still hung up on what happened to Twisted Sister.
I was going through so much at that time, I had a divorce and lost a lot of
stuff, I had to file for bankruptcy. I have to say maybe I was one of the
catalysts of the band breaking up. Ronnie is cool about it though, he said it
was really a combination of all of us. It was total mayhem, and it sucked
because we were really all such close friends.
- Well, with all the resurgence in power metal, maybe the time is right
for Cities to come back together and show people what power metal was really
like back in the 80's.
Well, that would be great, I would love to! But the only problem is, and I spoke
to Ronnie about this as well, now you got this dude that's selling our album. I
mean it's a cool thing, if I can get in touch with this guy and he gets in touch
with me and tells me that the reason why he released it was because he couldn't
get in touch with me then okay. But hey, you know, get us a major record label
deal, get us a distribution deal throughout Europe and Japan. take a percentage
of it I don't really care!
- Well, Fowley is kinda small time, but I know his releases of the two
Iron Angel albums were officially sanctioned by the band, because I interviewed
them personally and they told me they let Fowley release those.
The only reason why we didn't pursue any other deals with other record labels
is because I couldn't find the paperwork. As far as this conract, it's gotta be
expired by now.
- I wanted to see if you knew anything about some of the lyrics, I
know you were in the band briefly before joining up with Twisted Sister. What
always struck me as being really cool about Cities is that their lyrics were
not typical of what most metal bands of that period were writing about.
When Ronnie and Sal wrote lyrics, it wasn't like your normal heavy metal. More
like present situations and topics, for instance 'Stop The Race' was about,
from what I remember Ronnie telling me, is about society in general and
situations are going too fast. And you're trying to catch up, and catch up; you
turn around pulling your hair out saying "Stop the race already!" 'Burn
- That song reminded me of man's first discovery of fire.
Ha ha! Yeah, but I guess fire was a metaphor, maybe a burning for success,
material things. I think that's what Ronnie was trying to portray.
- Now, I know you guys broke up, but was there ever a time when you guys were
working on new material with Cities? Are there any songs that are unfinished or
recorded that have yet to be heard by anyone?
There's a tape we did at Atlantic Records that they paid for I think it had 4
or 5 songs on it. I don't even remember what was on them or if the songs were
finished! If anybody knows, Ronnie knows. He's one you should really talk to,
because he remembers a lot more than I do. He can fill you in on all the details
that I can't. That's probably as much as I can fill you in on.
- Thanks a lot. Definitely enjoyed the interview.
DR. KNOW. Interview with Ismael.
For those of you going "Who?" Dr. Know started like as a somewhat hardcore
punk band, releasing a few albums that went largely unknown to everyone except
those in the punk community... Until Metal Blade Records stepped in. They
released two albums for Metal Blade under new vocalist Kyle Toucher. Presumed
missing and gone, they recently reuinted with their original vocalist Brandon
and have signed to Hello Records for a new record to be released sometime within
the next few months. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to bass player
Ismael about the past, present and future of the metal tinged punk outfit that
I have listened to for quite some time now.
- You have a new record coming out, which I think is pretty phenomenal
since I didn't hear much about the reformation until I did some web searching.
We just finished it up about two weeks ago. I think it's really heavy.
- The reason I wanted to do the interview with you and not Brandon
(original vocalist - Ed)is because my knowledge of the band is limited to the
two Metal Blade releases you put out, I didn't get to hear the "Plug In Jesus"
album or any of the other releases. What happened with Brandon's departure from
the band, this was before Kyle joined up and you guys signed with Metal Blade?
Brandon left in 1982 I think. Just differences I guess, the band was moving more
slowly in a more metal oriented direction, and that's not what Brandon was into.
Brandon and Kyle, who wrote most of the lyrics and the music, disagreed on a lot
of things, and it was easier for Brandon to leave to do what he wanted to do.
- Did Brandon play in any other bands after he left?
Yeah, he was in Harmful If Swallowed, which was his most successful band. They
were around for years. Another band he sang with, FTBD I think it was, I don't
know if they put out a full length album but they did a single. I lost track of
him for awhile so I don't know of all of his activities.
- You all are based out of California right?
We were originally out of a town called Oxnard which is like an hour north of
- Ah, so that's where the term Nardcore comes from. Apparently there
were some other bands in that area, but you guys are credited with starting that
There was Aggression, Ill Repute and Stalwart 13. Those are the 4 bands that
recorded. Actually, RKL weren't from Oxnard but they were from Santa Barbara.
There's a lot of other bands in that scene but those are the main 4 that
- I got a CD from Kyle awhile back, he actually was involved in a
project called Stigmata.
Oh yeah. I don't think he's playing at all right now. Actually, he and I and
Robin Cartwright, the original drummer, started the band. Kyle was the only
person who was in the band through the whole thing. From like the 80's to 91.
- Now, tell us about your release history, because outside of owning
"Wreckage In Flesh" and "This Island Earth," I've only SEEN the "Plug In Jesus"
"Plug In Jesus" was our first full length that we did on our own. We did some
compilations before that, and we actually recorded the stuff with Brandon
before but it was released after he left. Kyle probably sings on like 80 percent
of our stuff.
- You know, Slayer covered 'Mr. Freeze' not too long ago.
Yeah, and that really surprised me too, because when I left the band in 1987, it
kinda felt like we were just spinning our wheels, like we couldn't ever get
anywhere. It's kind of nice now in retrospect people come up to me and tell me
"Oh, you guys are one of my favorite bands," or "Hey, we covered one of your
songs." We really weren't aware of what was going on at the time.
- I have recently been tracking Agent Orange, another California punk
band, who are surprisingly still around! Bands like them and Fear are still
playing shows and packing the house, despite very little label interest and
very few punk records coming out for the masses. In a big way, the punk scene
is more underground than even the metal scene has ever been.
We've been doing pretty well. We've gone up to Seattle, Vancouver, Canada,
Portland, all over the west coast.
- But that's where you guys are based out of, so I'm sure there's
still a good strong scene in that area. Like in New York, I guess the scene
for hardcore is still strong, you had bands like Biohazard and Sick Of It All
that frequent the area, Madball and the like, so while you're not hearing much
from them anymore they probably still do a lot of shows.
We want to play up in that area really bad. We just can't get out there.
- When you guys made the jump over to Metal Blade, I know it really
blurred the lines as to just what kind of band you were considered then,
especially being on a metal oriented label.
That's what Kyle was always really into. He's a huge Judas Priest and Black
Sabbath fan. So he was always heading that way anyway. He also loved the Germs
and stuff like that so he started throwing it all together.
- The song 'Plug In Jesus' from "This Island Earth," was that a tie
in from the album "Plug In Jesus?" I thought maybe it was a track that had been
re-recorded, you know as I said I never got to hear the "Plug In Jesus" album.
Well, there was no song called "Plug In Jesus" from that earlier album. It's
wierd though, people thought that song was about television, it doesn't really.
It's just a silly thing.
- It sounds to me like you were referring to T.V. evangelists.
Yeah, that's what it became and that's what the song's about, but the title of
the album really meant nothing, it was just a cool title we used.
- I'm curious about "This Island Earth," why you might have named the
album that. It was also unusual to hear piano notes as well, I don't recall any
punk or hardcore bands using a piano back then.
Kyle always liked that name from the movie, and it was the last day to get
artwork for the record in. We had no idea what to call the album or anything.
So we found this slide of lightning and just used that, Kyle came up with the
album title. It really wasn't important anyway.
- I'm curious as to some of the lyrics, especially a song like 'Four
You know, you'd really have to talk to Kyle about stuff like that, he wrote
about 90 percent of the lyrics. I do know that he went to catholic school and
basically hated it, I think that had a lot to do with why he wrote about
religion and dark subject matter. He hated the whole religious oppression he
grew up under.
- But that could still be considered a punk topic, though nowadays it
seems a lot more common in death and black metal though.
Oh yeah definitely.
- With the whole Metal Blade era, I'm sure you had
quite a crossover of both the punk and the metal fans going to your shows, what
sort of bands did you used to go out with?
We did ten shows with the Bad Brains in like 1986 or 87, we mostly went out
with punk bands though. It wasn't until probably late 86 or 87 when we started
playing with more metal bands, like we opened a couple of shows for Megadeth,
we did some shows with Death Angel too.
- Did you guys go over well with that kind of crowd?
Yeah, we did actually. Though it was a bit surprising.
- Now the guy at Hello Records told me you guys weren't crazy about
the 4 songs you did on the "Fish & Vegetables" CD?
We didn't finish mixing them. There was a problem with the mixing and the
guitarist who is on that record screwed up and sent them in. When we heard them
we realized they weren't properly mixed. The drums were pretty far back on two
of the songs. It could have sounded a lot better.
- Are those songs going to pop up on the new record, or will they be
Three of the songs will be on the full length.
- I like that song 'I'm So Punk,' that one was funny and reminded me
of the Dead Milkmen song 'Bitchin Camaro' where the vocalist does that spoken
word thing that's so funny.
We decided not to redo that song because we kinda don't want to get, well, hmmm.
Have you ever heard the song 'Fist Fuck?'
- No actually I haven't.
This is a song we did as a joke, and people scream the song constantly at our
shows. We never intended to play that song live and now we have to. And that's
the thing Brandon our singer doesn't want to do the song because he doesn't want
that to happen again. Because 'I'm so punk' is more like a gimmick song.
- How do you feel about the whole punk scene today and where you guys feel
that you're at?
Two and a half years ago when we started playing again I was shocked at how many
kids there are out there. I had no idea, because I had dropped out of the scene
for over 10 years. I mean, I played stuff around the house, but I didn't play
with anyone else. So when we came back out I couldn't believe how many punk kids
and metal kids there were out there! I'm 40 years old so I don't really go out
and mingle with 20 year old kids you know, but I couldn't believe how healthy
the scene is. We did a bunch of shows with the Dayglow Abortions up in Canada.
They told us once we get back out onto the road we will be shocked at how many
fiends there are out there. I think it's great though. I don't really listen to
the shit that's on the radio though. Some people ask me like 'What do you think
of Pennywise,' and I'm like personally I don't even know which bands they are.
- Well, a lot of those bands that have one hit wonders, nobody knows
them either! Nobody knows their other songs, the band members, hell even if they
have other albums out or not! So is there anything you want to tell us about the
new record, any song titles or anything like that?
Wow. All I can say is that I think people are going to be really happy with it
when it comes out. What's so wierd is that the stuff on Metal Blade, like "This
Island Earth" I really liked a lot, but to a lot of people that album was
considered too slowed down I guess, they seemed a little annoyed by it. And then
when "Wreckage In Flesh" came out, a lot of the earlier fans hated it.
- I guess because "Wreckage In Flesh" was even more metal oriented.
But it was still hard and fast, you know. I think fans of the earlier stuff will
still be happy. Although at the same time there's still a lot of leads and tempo
changes in it, so I think fans of the metal stuff will be happy too. I think
it's a well rounded album.
- So do you still see yourself as a metal/punk crossover band?
Yeah, definitely. That's just expected from us, that's kind of who the band is.
And Craig, our guitarist, he's a punk rocker but he loves metal too, and that's
part of the reason why we got him, because we wanted the band to remain the
same. We didn't want to just go up there and play straight up hardcore or just
punk songs, because that's not what the people expect of the band.
- What happened with the deal with Metal Blade? It was a situation
where you guys seemed to be doing good with them, you had two albums out, and
then BAM! You just disappeared off the face of the Earth!
I had quit the band after we recorded "This Island Earth," so I don't really
know what happened. I kinda lost track of Kyle Toucher and didn't talk to him
for years because I moved up to Northern California.
- Now when you guys reformed, did you think about contacting Kyle and
asking him if he wanted to front the band again?
Actually, I didn't speak to him personally, but he was talked to about that. He
had no interest in going backwards, to him it was like moving backward. I heard
he's in a band now but I also heard he didn't play music for years.
- He had a very unique voice, I don't think I've heard anybody like
him before or since.
Yeah, actually he sang out of necessity because we couldn't keep singers.
Singers kept joining and quitting, and it was too much hassle to search for a
vocalist all the time. As a three piece it was easier, there's only three egos,
and three people to pay for a gig. As far as the business end and the ego end
it's a LOT easier.
- Now I haven't heard of Hello Records, they must be a small label.
How did you come to be on the label?
Brandon came across the label. We were talking to a couple of labels actually
and they offered us the best deal. They signed quite a few of our friend's
bands too. They're a hungry label and they were quite eager to grab bands.
- I'm glad to see good punk bands come out and record, I know I am
listening to a lot of metal but I have always enjoyed punk and always will
enjoy a good punk record.
I think that 80's style is definitely what kids are craving right now. And with
a lot of bands like the Circle Jerks touring, lots of kids didn't get to see
them the first time around.
- Yeah, and I was one of those, when I first saw Fear like last
year I was almost in tears, it was one of the best shows I had seen, and that
guy has to be close to 50 if not over and he's still getting up there and
kicking everyone's ass!
That's just like when the Sex Pistols did that reuinion tour, and a lot of
assholes were saying, 'They sold out,' and I was like, hey, I didn't get to
see them the first time around. I paid the money and went to see them and they
put on a really great show.
- That's what pisses me off and I forgot to mention this, people are
all saying that the new punk scene is like 'Hey, Green Day and Blink 182,' and
I'm sitting there thinking 'That's not punk, that's crappy pop.' You know what
I'm saying, fuck that crap! That's what really pisses me off about this "new
punk" scene. So I talk to people that say they like punk and they're like "Oh,
I like Green Day" and I'm like you want to hear real punk, you need to go back
to the 80's and late 70's.
What we're doing right now, we just got a new drummer about two weeks ago and
our live stuff is basically all the "Plug In Jesus" stuff that Brandon did.
We gave him 15 songs and said learn them as best as you can. The drummer we had
before we were doing 'War Theater,' 'Plug In Jesus' and stuff like that but now
we're back to square one. And of course our focus is the new album. We plan on
bringing back all of the stuff, though once we leave the West Coast kids are
going to want to hear the old stuff, the West Coast kids have heard this stuff
for like the last two years. We go to New York City or something they will want
to hear the old stuff, they won't want to hear the new stuff.
- Finally, as we wrap this up, it's hard to get ahold of your old
catalog, every single album you've ever done is out of print and difficult to
find, especially the Metal Blade stuff! And Metal Blade is a big label now,
at least bigger than they were. Metal Blade should be re-releasing those two
albums at least!
I agree totally. I don't know why they aren't though. This is all stuff that
Kyle mostly dealt with and I haven't spoken to him in almost a year now. The
thing is that Kyle is kinda fighting us on this because he's not interested in
re-releasing anything and as far as vocals and lyrics it's like 90 percent his
stuff. Actually, one of our albums was sort of a demo, like 20 songs with
Brandon, and it was never meant to be released. The label named it "The Original
Group," but it wasn't supposed to come out. It was paid for by a TV company who
wanted to film Brandon singing. So we don't even have the legal right to release
FALCONER. Interview with Stefan.
Created out of the ashes of the mighty blackened style band Mithotyn, this
album practically came out of nowhere and has been getting near perfect reviews
everywhere. I suspect this band has been and will be featured in many magazines
across the globe, in fact Jim Raggi of Lamentations Of The Flame Princess
magazine has already done an interview with Falconer, though his interview won't
be out until quite a few months after you finish reading this one!
- I didn't really hear a lot about the record, and then next day it
was like there it is in my mailbox! I know you were also in Mithotyn as well.
I really dug that band a lot, and Falconer to me is just as good, if not better,
a project that Mithotyn was.
Well, I hope you think it's better (laughs). The drummer was in Mithotyn too.
- It's kind of in the same vein that Mithotyn was in, well, except for
Yeah, you can do do much more with clean vocals, it adds one more element to
- The lyrics are not your typical sword and sorcery, fantasy type
that saturates most power metal bands, they seem to describe medieval life more
from a realists' point of view instead of 'The dragon is flying down from the
sky and burning down the village.'
I think those kind of lyrics are kind of childish, singing about dragons.
- Well, metal has been a sort of escape, so I wouldn't necessarily
call those types of lyrics childish. I guess some people have just grown tired
of lyrics like that, but as I said, your lyrics do portray ordinary life and
times of people living in that period, like the song 'Lord Of The Blacksmiths'
which tells the tale of an ordinary day in the life of, well, a Blacksmith.
That's a saga of course, talking about elves and dwarves and making holy swords.
I'm not pretty proud of that lyric actually.
- Another song that really struck me was 'Heresy In Disguise.' It of
course follows along typical subject matter for most black metal bands, showing
what went on with the Church, which seemed to have a strong influence
in the lives of people in that day.
And I don't think they were that holy. I got that idea from the movie "In The
Name Of The Rose" that featured Sean Connery. It's basically like the Christians
always want to seem as holy as possible, but if you look at what they have done
in history, they're really pretty evil.
- 'Upon The Grave Of Guilt' was interesting as well, I guess we could
spend quite a bit of time talking about the lyrics! I was wondering if that was
a storyline of one man's actions throughout his life, or just the recollection
of one dastardly deed that maybe follows a sequence of events throughout the
It's based upon my own feelings about guilt, having a bad conscience I guess.
Eventually you forget it but you will have a hard time dealing with what you
have done, like if you cheated on your girlfriend or anything. It's not a
typical power metal theme, but I want to do lyrics I can write for myself. Like
'Substitutional World' is about making a big deal over Greenpeace, people that
are trying to save the world. There aren't too many bands singing about stuff
like this. I like to have some kind of message, not necessarily a preachy one.
- How about 'Royal Galley?' Some have said that's a medieval story
based on the Titanic?
It's actually based on a true story about a Swedish galley that set sail in
1628 I think. During the maiden voyage it got tipped over because they built it
too high. So when the first strong breeze came in it just tipped over.
- Did they ever recover the ship or any of its artifacts?
They raised it up in the 1960's. They just found a couple of cannons and some
gold, not much. I think it was headed down to fight the Danes, to fight a war
with them, but it never reached it's goal. It started off from Stockholm and
sank after only going a few miles maybe.
- I haven't seen any bad press for this album yet. You guys are doing
really well in the magazines across the world.
I've seen one bad review. Though from 80 or 90 different magazines, it was in
a Swedish magazine, where we're based out of. They always talked bad about
Mithotyn though, so I think it's a personal thing. I don't ever expect them to
like my stuff so I don't take it too seriously. I've always taken the time to
read stuff that's written about our band.
- It's pretty obvious that you're fascinated with Medieval culture and
that whole time peroid.
I'm interested in history period. My interest started out about when I was nine
years old, with the American Civil War and Native American Indians. I was
watching that show with Patrick Swayze, a series called North And South. It was
my favorite show.
- I know they have Renaissance festivals here in the States, where
you can go and it's like 3 or 4 miles in all directions of medieval looking
shops, you can buy clothing and swords, battleaxes, and all kinds of medieval
gear. They have jousting tournaments, and just all sorts of things, it's like
stepping back in time and travelling to a medieval city. Have you ever been to
one of those? Here they do the Renaissance festival like twice a year.
I have read about them, they have some in England but I have never attended one.
I think they will be having one in Sweden this year.
- I was thinking about trying to get bands booked to play this next
one, and I thought bands like Blind Guardian, Rhapsody and even you guys would
be perfect to play at a festival like this.
I think we'd be perfect for this if we ever decided to play live. We're not
planning to play live at all. We're mostly a studio band, and I never liked to
play live. It's just three of us. I know we have obligations to the fans and
to the labels but we'll just have to see what happens. I can't promise anything
- I guess it would take getting you booked into a Renaissance festival
to actually see a proper tour!
(laughter) It would be the right offer for us I think.
- So tell us about your deal with Metal Blade? I know Mithotyn was
signed to Invasion and merely licensed to Metal Blade, how is it working for
It's a deal for 5 records. I don't think it will be any big deal for us to do
those albums. Metal Blade actually wanted another Mithotyn record as well, but
we gave them Falconer instead. Metal Blade is a good label. I do business with
the European office here.
- 'Quest For The Crown' sounded a bit like a Rhapsody song 'The
Village Of Dwarves,' I don't know if you noticed or not. I was very intrigued
by the whole medieval feel of it, will there be more songs in the future that
incorporate medieval instrumentation?
I haven't heard Rhapsody's newest album yet, but I've heard all the others, so
I will have to check that out! You have to have the right melody from the start
to conduct a song like that, it's a lot more difficult than you might think,
especially since that's not my normal style of writing. I do hope that I can
make one more, because I really like that style of writing.
- Finally, as we wrap this up, do you have anything written for a new
record yet? Any ideas or song titles you're kicking around in your head?
We have about six songs finished already. We're planning on entering the studio
in November. We have 'Decadence Of Dignity,' 'Portals Of Light,' 'Lament Of The
Minstrels,' um, 'Bastards To The Floor' but I don't know if you can say that in
- Oh yeah, we can say that. That's a rather interesting title.
It's like being beaten to the floor but Bastard sounds so much cooler. Even if
it's not correct lyrically.
LYKATHEA AFLAME. Interview with Ptoe.
Though their music delves into the faster grindcore style, there is so much
innovation in what they do, I mean I don't think I've ever heard a grindcore
band utilize keyboards at all, much less to create a spiritual and ambient
effect. Destined to stay forever underground, this is one band that deserves
special attention... Read on to find out why.
- Let's start off with the concept of the band and the lyrics. How did
you come to choose the name Lykathea Aflame?
This name came from my conception of viewing the world and our whole existence.
Lykathea is a certain level of spirituality and knowledge mankind is at now. So
Lykathea Aflame is a poetic and symbolic expression for spiritual evolution -
for when we'll finally reach "home."
- And how does the term "Elvenefris" fit into the themes and topics of
the album? I was under the impression that Elvenefris was maybe a town or city?
Elvenefris is "home," the superstructure of Lykathea. Lykathea is from where we
go and Elvenefris is WHERE we go. Elvenefris is basically God. You know, it's
very hard to speak about these deep thing even in your native language.
- The lyrics to this album seem to be quite positive in scope, some might
even say spiritual, as opposed to the darkness, negativity and shcok styled
gore lyrics that are usually found in extreme music.
"Our happy and beautiful fate is unaviodable - the only existing hell is not to
know that." Light and love (unconditional), knowledge and wisdom, sympathy and
understanding, freedom and reconciliation, spiritual evolution in general...
These are the main topics of my lyrics.
- Now as far as the sound of the album itself, I did notice some Egyptian
sounds on the album and some hieroglyphics, but your lyrics obviously do not
come from Egyptian culture for the most part. I am very interested in the
subject matter for your songs, they seem to stem from religious and
philosophical texts that are quite old.
In the times of composing the "Elvenefris" I was amazed and charmed by the old
Egypt. This was because I read a lot about historical Romans and documents from
the old Egypt so I was filled by the mysticism of those times. The other thing
is that I like Arabian harmonies very much and they'll of course be utilized on
the third opus. As for the lyrics they have spiritual, philosophical and
ethical conception, they do not however come from Egyptian culture. Lyrics stem
from myself, I'm not inspired by any philosophical or religious stream, I'm
inspired by the beauty of God, my idea of him anyway.
- Although some of the designs of the music and artwork have Egyptian
tones, I assume you didn't want to overdo the Egyptian theme to be called a Nile
clone band. Are you familiar with Nile's work at all?
The artwork design is a multicultural synthesis (Slavs, Indians, Chinese, Celts,
Egyptians, etc.) and it has to symbolize the whole of mankind with its history
as one entity which is constantly changing and pulsating in the space of human
cognizance of time. We are one, basically. The Egyptian design is one of many
in the artwork, of course, even though the lyrics have nothing much in common
with Egypt. When we did our first CD "Freedom, Hope And Fury (The Second
Spawn)" in the times when we were called Appalling Spawn, I was impressed and
full of mystical feelings by the Middle Ages. So I would say the artwork has a
Middle Ages type of conception. I really don't know what the artwork conception
will be on the next CD. As for Nile I heard them and they're ok. Egyptian
intermezzos and standard old school death metal. I would say except for those
intermexxos there's nothing new.
- When I think about ancient philosophy and mythology, I am always
fascinated by the Egyptian and Sumerian cultures, though they didn't have much
in the way of philosophers that left behind written works. Are there any Greek
or Roman writings you are into, or any of their mythology? The Greek and Roman
gods and goddesses seemed rather petty and jealous, self absorbed to a degree,
while the Egyptian and Sumerian gods seemed more interesting, having a more
mysterious and sinister overtone to their works.
Erst I studied many philosophers and religious streams but it's been a long
time ago. In the course of time I crystallized my own specified belief and the
gods of those old nations I take onyl as a mystical history.
- So how has Obscene Productions been as a label? It seems that smaller
labels outside of the U.S. would have a hard time getting their bands bigger
exposure. Tell us about how you got to the label and if you've garnered any
good press for your latest release?
As I mentioned above we were previously called Appalling Spawn (from 1995) and
under this name we did a demo "Bestial, Mystical and Spiritual" in 1996 and our
first CD "Freedom, Hope And Fury" came out in 1998. We renamed to Lykathea
Aflame in 1999 and of course released "Elvenefris" in 2000. This got us our deal
with Obscene Productions. They are doing a good job for us, they are promoting
us well and we have appeared in many magazines all over the world and reactions
are beautiful everywhere. This year we were nominated for the Czech Grammy in
the section hard and heavy and this was a great success of extreme music because
no one in extreme metal bands have ever been there. As you know the Czech
republic is home to quite a few extreme bands, the most known being Fleshless
and Krabathor. We have quite a large scene here as well.
- You utilize the grindcore genre as a backdrop, though I must admit you
are the most original of grindcore groups I have ever heard. Are there many
band in the grindcore genre you are into, or do you consider your faster parts
more death metal based? And have you heard any good U.S. death metal bands,
we have been considered a home to a great many bands in that style.
You made me joy with your words...thank you. To say truth I don't know the
borders between grindcore and death metal and don't feel comfortable by these
analysis. I don't listen to grindcore and non-progressive death metal because
I find there's nothing interesting for me. As for other bands in the U.S.
underground scene I must say I'm not knowledgeable with it at all. I only heard
there are a lot of brutal death metal bands but I'm not interested in this kind
of music. I like only one brutal death band which was doing interesting music -
- I noticed you used a session keyboard player for the recording of this
album, do you plan on adding a keyboard player full time? I'm assuming any live
gigs would deem having a fulltime keyboardist a necessity?
Yes, we are looking for a keyboard player but it's not necessary for recreation
of a sound live. We have playback machines with keyboard samples in them.
- Anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?
I'm happy that you enjoyed our CD. Thank you for space in this magazine and the
interesting questions. Let your steps be blessed and guided by light.
MALEVOLENT CREATION. Interview with Phil Fasciana.
- It's kinda wierd seeing you guys on Pavement still, I know you are
going through Arctic Music now, but there was a time when you said you weren't
happy with what Pavement was doing for you.
Arctic Music is MY label. I formed it with Scott, our manager. What happens now
is we don't have to dick around with Pavement anymore. They offered us a really
good deal, and they didn't want to lose us, but we wanted to start our own label
anyway. Pavement just markets and distributes the records. Scott is a lawyer,
so he deals with all the stuff with the labels. It's a lot better for both of
us, well, not better for Pavement anyway, but better for us, I don't have to
deal with all the crap.
- Now I must admit, and something I'm puzzled about, I don't know a whole
lot about Malevolent Creation before "Eternal," which is my alltime favorite
record. What happened to the vocalist on "Eternal?"
That was Jason. He has another band now called Divine Empire. I don't know if
they're still around or not, I know they put out another record, but I don't
think they're still around. They all live right here in my area. Actually,
Jason is playing in a band called Wykked Wytch! It's this crazy chick singing,
I don't know but they're down here in Florida and their problem is they don't
have a drummer right now. Their other guitar player is JT from Divine Empire
as well. And JT, funny thing is, is down here recording an album for yet ANOTHER
band, one that's coming out on my label. It's a band called Burner, it's heavy
as hell but it's not death metal. That's coming out in September.
- I couldn't remember if it was you or not doing vocals. I saw you down
in Savannah playing, remember that little hole in the wall club you guys played
at down there?
(INTENSE laughter here) Oh, my god! I remember that, cause there was a guy who
had a video camera down there, and he was wearing a baseball hat! I remember
seeing the video, we were pretty much just jamming there.
- I have a funny quote for ya, I read this in Metal Maniacs I guess about
five or six issues or so ago, someone said "Malevolent Creation is like Slayer
(Yet MORE insane laughter. We're both having fun with this interview - Ed.)
Actually, we're the ones that started that up, people were asking us what we
were doing. It's kinda funny because when we first started playing we were
total Slayer freaks, that was like 1987, and we started a band that kinda
sounded similar to Slayer and Kreator. As the years went by, we just got faster
and faster, and death metal evolved. We're still the same style today pretty
much, totally "Slayer on crack sound."
- It's kinda wierd hearing Brett's vocals, since like I said I never got
to hear the earlier stuff he sings on. This guy is just fucking nuts man! I'm
listening to this new record and hearing this guy just totally go off!
Yeah, he just got out of jail too! (more laughter erupts). When we were over in
Europe at the beginning of March, we had just got back and he found out he had
a warrant for his arrest from 1995 that he didn't know about. So they put him
away for like 60 days, and he's out now of course. We're getting ready to do a
tour with Six Feet Under so we'll need him.
- What was the arrest all about?
This was when he was out of the band for awhile, he got arrested because he had
a little bit of a problem with drugs. I think he had a little bit of cocaine on
him that got him arrested.
- One of the best tracks on the new album "Envenomed" is the title track,
which incidentally you wrote the music for. Actually, it seems you wrote a lot
of the music on this album!
We're really happy with the way things came out. We actually worked as a whole
band this time, for "The Fine Art Of Murder" we wrote these songs and then we
met up in the studio! (yet more laughter erupts). It wasn't really put together
properly, this time we had a lot of time to work on the songs. We produced the
album, doing it right here in our home town with a guy Jeremy Staska who does
a lot of cool stuff. He used to do a lot of punk bands and everything. I heard
some of his work recently and I was "Damn, this guy is right here too?" And as
it turns out I knew this guy, I've known him for years, he was a drummer in a
thrash band a long time ago that used to play with Malevolent. It was cool that
we could do the album right here, we didn't have to go anywhere, we could go
to the studio whenever we wanted to, so we took our time. It was the first time
we weren't rushed to do an album.
- The production is pretty damn sharp, I must say.
To us, six week is a lot of time, usually we do albums in a week to two weeks.
Studios are expensive.
- Oh yeah. You have to have your stuff together when you get in there.
This time we had enough time to do whatever we wanted. To me it's the most
brutal album we've done. I mean, it's my opinion, hell I've played on all the
Malevolent albums but I listen to this one and it reminds me of how fucking
crazy we were when we were little kids. Now we actually play our instruments
good enough to play at this level.
- How do you feel about "Eternal?" As I said, it is one of my favorite
There was a time when we didn't know how things were going to turn out with the
band. Musically, I was still writing the music, and we had got Dave on drums.
That was a big factor because he was able to play anything we asked him to play.
He played with Suffocation for about a year, and we had actually had a different
drummer. It wasn't like he was kicked out of the band or anything, it was just
a wierd situation. He went up to New York for a vacation, and we met this guy
down here and we're just jamming, next thing I know he's in the band! (yeah,
more laughter - Ed.) That's the guy who is the drummer for Hate Eternal now,
Derrick Roddy, he played drums on the "In Cold Blood" album. I love the album,
we still play a lot of songs from it live; to me when Brett sings it it sounds
even more hideous!
- That's what I was really curious about, 'cause I imagine those songs
would just absolutely kill live hearing Brett's vocals on those!
You've got to hear him sing 'Blood Brothers' and stuff like that! Nothing
against Jason now, but at the time it was the first time ever singing, minimal
time to prepare and stuff, but he did a good job. He did the best job that he
- I thought he did a great job, his vocals worked really well to make the
album so dominant sounding.
Okay, now you're picking up from that probably being the first time you've ever
heard Malevolent Creation. To me and to other people, it was a big change in the
vocals because we see Jason as more of a monotone, following the music kind of
thing, more a death metal style, whereas Brett is more like just all over the
- Now that I think about it, he seems to border on black metal at times!
Yeah, but that's ALWAYS been his voice.
- Well, I have to go back and hear the first few albums then!
You have to man, "Retribution" especially, that's the album that people and us
even really dig. At that time our lineup was crushing, Brett sounded absolutely
amazing on that album.
- I think I had "Stillborn" at one time, but I can't seem to find it these
Now see, that's a wierd one, that's when Brett started getting all fucked up.
The songs on it are really good, though the production is a little weak. The
album was done by some freak producer, I don't know how we were talked into
doing it with this guy, but we did and it came out really screwed up. It's not
a trashy album but compared to the quality of the albums before that it just
wasn't very good.
- Now there's some kinda Pavement deal you weren't too happy with, they
put out this compilation not too long ago you weren't happy with?
"Manifestation." That's one of the reasons why we have our own label now, we
didn't want Pavement to put that damn thing out. We figured if we were going to
put out some kind of compilation, like a 2 CD set, we'll make it worthwhile.
We'll include ALL the songs, like songs from the first three records, not just
the albums that were on Pavement only!
- Well, according to some people that I talked to, the reason songs from
the first few albums weren't included was because Roadrunner was still clutching
onto the rights of those.
Well, they are. And we did try to do that and Pavement did try to contact
Roadrunner and help us out, but they wouldn't do it and they wanted a
ridiculous amount of money; we wanted to fight it and see if we could do it but
Pavement didn't want to and just released that compilation anyway. The only
thing that's on there that has anything from the old albums is there's a few
- So we'll see a tour in September?
All I know for sure is that we're definitely touring with Six Feet Under. But
now I've found out they're trying to make it a really big tour, including
Morbid Angel and one more band, I think it's Krisiun or something, We're
definitely doing it with Six Feet Under, but if it happens with that then that
will be good, that'll be even more people at the show.
- I heard from your lawyer that there's a band on your label called, well
you called 'em Rulf of Azazel? (THAT evokes some serious laughter!)
Ha ha! Pavement did the proofreading on that! I'm thinking they can't possibly
screw THAT up, and there's so many misspelling on this thing, I'm like who
never finished school up there!? I really wanna know?
- There's a few typos in the lyrics of your new album too!
Yeah, I KNOW! Brett's reading the booklet and going, what the hell!?
- Your lawyer says that Kult Of Azazel has been getting amazing press
worldwide since the release of their new album. Which is surprising since there
aren't very many good American black metal bands to speak of, none that have
picked up any kind of following. I know of Absu and Vesperian Sorrow here in the
States and that's about it.
Kult Of Azazel blows them BOTH away. If you like black metal you'll go nuts.
I can compare it to maybe Dark Funeral, or Marduk. I dunno, it has it's own
quality, you'll have to listen to it. It's really fast! (Now I see why Phil
eats this band up - Ed.) We recorded their album here, I helped them produce
the album here, it was recorded where we recorded "Envenomed."
- It's been a long time since you guys were on a tour!
Well, we haven't toured a normal U.S. tour since the end of 98 I think.
- That's when the "In Cold Blood" album came out right? I remember that
because you guys personally handed me a copy of that album.
No, that was 1997. The last tour that we did Stateside was with Broken Hope
- I don't think that show came to Atlanta.
No, that tour definitely did not come through Atlanta, I would have remembered
that! That last tour though, our tour bus got pulled over and we got busted!
- Yeah, I remember reading about that! You got pulled over for weed or
We were in a cell for like 4 days, we missed a few dates on the tour, it was a
nightmare. And then we actually finished the tour, I couldn't believe it! After
all that went down we were like screw this we need a break!
- So do you still smoke weed?
Yeah, that's what got us, man, 3 ounces!
- DAMN! That's a felony dude, that's like intent to distribute!
I gotta tell ya it cost a lot of money and a lot of headaches. We were all on
probation and were charged for drug trafficking. They made it look like we were
- That's what's kinda screwed up, they do that to you if you get caught
with over an ounce. Did your lawyer help you with that one?
He helped out some, but we were in Arkansas, he was in Florida. He contacted a
lawyer in Arkansas for us. We just wanted to get out as soon as possible. It was
my brother that actually put up all the cash for us.
- That's what happened to Electric Wizard, they almost got deported for
that shit. They were on tour too, and they were in someone's van and thankfully
another band helped them out of it, that was the night before they were supposed
to go to Atlanta. They almost didn't finish the tour! What's up with that cover
art, man, that's some wierd artwork!
Well, "Envenomed" was done by Travis Smith. I told him about the idea for the
thing, you know, you think of venom, it's just venomous parts of different
creatures I guess. There's this scrunched up midget arm thing or something.
- There's a lot of war themes going on too.
I think it fits the style of music personally. All the albums that Brett's been
on, he writes the lyrics. There's so many things to sing about, so many cool
topics, rather than fake stuff. Brett's a total war freak. Hell, the music's
like a war.
- I tell ya that damn drummer Dave is something else. Even on "Eternal,"
that track 'Blood Brothers' where that's all you hear is drums, I'm like Son of
Ha ha! On our next record we're really going to let Dave stand out. He is just
so brutal, man. It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be any faster, but
we want to definitely emphasise more on the drumming.
- With the drumming, I've been going lately, "Lombardo who?" (Referring to
Dave Lombardo, ex Slayer)
He surpassed that guy when he was like 16! Dave's incredible man. There's damn
good drummers out there, I've heard Derrick Roddy's work, he's pretty kick ass.
- I like Gene Hoglan a lot.
I do too, he's my favorite drummer of all time.
- To sit there and listen to Gene do Strapping Young Lad, that industrial
sound. To see Strapping live, there were times when I'd watch his legs move and
I'm going, 'Nah, that's gotta be a drum machine, that's just too damn fast!'
Dave loves Gene Hoglan too, but damn Gene loves Dave! When Gene first met Dave
at one of our concerts, he came to see us in L.A. and I was like 'There he is,
there's Gene the king,' and Gene's like 'No way, that Dave, he's the king!'
That was on the Eternal tour, and Gene's like 'Damn, where did you find this
kid?' They both rule, they're my favorite drummers. We were almost going to call
Gene to do our albums! We weren't sure when we reformed if Dave was going to be
able to do it because he was living in New York, hell we were gonna call Gene
and say, 'Hey man, you ready to do some blast beats?' (intense laughter - ed.)
- Thing is, Devin's got so many projects he has Gene involved in, it's
like where would Gene have found the time to play on your record! They have
Punchdrunk, Ocean Machine and god knows what else they're working on! Reminds me
of the whole Norweigan black metal scene where everyone is in everyone else's
band part time and they have full time commitments to three other bands!
I'm not going to say I like all black metal, I mean I like bands like Marduk and
Dark Funeral. The new Dimmu Borgir record is really killer. But now if you
listen to it they have the death metal vibe going now, the vocals now swing
both ways! But it's good, I don't like the keyboards too much, or the female
vocals. I think black metal should be all evil and gnarly and fast.
MARDUK. Interview with Legion during their U.S. tour.
- I got the new record, "La Grande Danse Macabre." Now I heard that there
is a theme loosely based around the album title?
It's a loosely based concept around death. When we did "Nightwing," everything
turned out to be related to blood in one way or another, so we said, since
"Nightwing" was the blood album, "Panzer Division Marduk" was considered the
fire album, "La Grand Danse Macabre" is the album based around a death theme.
Not necessarily giving praise to Bathory or anything, but Quorthon said that's
what the metal scene is all about, Blood, Fire and Death.
- One of the coolest songs off the new record is 'Death Sex Ejaculation.'
I love that title, it kinda sounds like something off of "Panzer Division
All the stuff we do is like a continuation of where we left off from previous
albums. It's also one of those fetish type of themes, like the song 'Funeral
Bitch' on the new album which is about a girl who gets turned on by going to
funerals and stuff.
- It's rather unusual to see you do two instrumentals on the album, though
my history with you only goes back as far as the "Panzer Division Marduk" album.
Is that something you have done regularly in previous releases or is this a new
thing for you guys?
Something like that we did on "Opus Nocturne." It's like this atmospherical
piece with some narration on it. We've done some stuff like that in the past as
well, this album is like a wrap up of all the things we have done in the past.
One song is 'Ars Mariendi' which means the art of dying. We wanted an intro for
the album and not something like we used in the past like on "Nightwing" we
used some noise together with some ambient type intro music, and on "Panzer..."
we got this Allied Forces fighting the Germans sample where they were just
getting it on yelling 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' The other instrumental 'Pompa Funebris
1660' off the new album is about the greatest state funeral Sweden ever had...
- There was a popular king that died right?
Yeah, exactly, and they spent... I don't know what money's worth today, but they
spent millions and millions on this fantastic dirge all throughout Stockholm,
they made this special armor just for the knights to wear for this occasion, the
entire Swedish army marched through the streets of Stockholm.
- I want to go back to the "Nightwing" album, it's an album I haven't
heard but it's a concept album loosely based on Vlad The Impaler, which I don't
know too much about... (I mistakenly thought he was a Tzar of Russia!)
We picked up that theme on "Heaven Shall Burn," where we did one song on him. He
was a Romanian leader born in Transylvania. We thought we could do the life
and times of Vlad, because all the other Scandinavian bands, they were like
"Oh, we're standing under the full moon, aaauuuugh!" So we wanted to check out
the man behind the myth. We called museums down in Romania, I talked to people
that I know emigrated from there, buddies of mine back home asking their parents
if they knew anything, we read all the books we could come across, everything
we could find. On "Nightwing" there's one chapter which is the usual Marduk
stuff, all the fire and normal brutal, antichristian obnoxious stuff. Then for
the second part we decided to do the really slow, impressionist stuff like some
of what you hear on the new album. There's some fast stuff as well though. We
covered the life and times of the real Dracula all the way back to his childhood
where they are being betrayed by the Turks and his father leaves him and his
brother to the entire Turkish army. They grew up in the Sultan's palace, they
get out of there, seize power in Romania and proceed to slaughter the Turks.
Then he turns his army against the Germans and then the Christian warlords and
- So he just tried to kill everyone then.
Yeah, he pretty much tried to cleanse the earth. That is what is so fascinating
about him, he wasn't afraid of anything. At first he got the Hungarians to help
him defeat the Turks, and when he finally scared off the Turks... He did that by
defeating the Trukish army and he impaled so many people, so when the Turkish
guys came to the south of Romania, they rode in a forest of impaled Turkish
people for like three days, and it never ended. They were like "What can we
do against an army like this" and they just went back home. Then they refused
to take shit from the Hungarians who wanted to rule Romania with him just as a
right hand, he basically fought them too. It's really a fascinating story.
- Now when you mention the Germans, what period was that taking place?
This took place during the 15th century. The Germans were considered the noble
people of Romania, and therefore they assassinated each king that seized power
there; basically they wanted to run the show. So when Vlad seized power there,
he impaled them and like in every town his army marched to they sorted out
Germans by like 20 or 30 thousand and impaled them all around the city, letting
them hang there until they fell from the poles.
- (Coming from Chris, my friend who was sitting with me): He used to sit
there eating dinner and watching them.
There's some old engravings and stuff where he's sitting and having this huge
feast with his closest men while they're impaling people. And one
of his men is standing there (holds his nose as if in disgust) like this
because the stench of the bodies was too much for him, and immediately he was
impaled as well, but on a pole which was twice as high so he wouldn't suffer
from the smell when he died. (INTENSE laughter breaks out here - Ed.) He seemed
to have a freaky sense of humour, he would invite people to his castle and ask
them all sorts of freaky questions, and if they amused him he could send them
away with all the gold they could carry, but if he had a problem with them he
would just chop their heads off. He was really something.
- I'm wondering how he got the title of the original Dracula though,
was it because of all the men he killed?
Well, that, and the fact that he never died in battle. He fought along with
his men instead of standing back from them. In the "Nightwing" crystal box
there's this huge battle, a painting that showed Vlad and 400 men storming into
a Turkish camp at night that held 20,000 Turks, and they just chopped up
everything in their way because they were trying to get to the Sultan's tent
and just execute him because they thought the entire Turkish army would flee if
they did that. No matter, even if he was in front of the battle taking the
biggest risks, he never got badly wounded at all. So therefore they thought he
was immortal and being immortal according to Transylvanian folklore meant that
he was a vampire to his people. That's how the myth originally started.
- Now I know you guys are off of Osmose now, I read an interview with you
guys in Metal Maniacs where you were being rather "generous" in speaking of
Herve; I've had quite a few problems getting anything from Osmose, I've heard
all kinds of stuff about Herve, especially that he doesn't like Americans or
The real problem with Osmose in the first place, when we really started to give
him attitude was because he never got us over in the States. Each time we told
him about this he was too proud to admit that anything was wrong with his label.
Osmose USA just bombed out so bad. Basically he told us that he ran the show and
we should just shut up. He refused to pay tour support, he canceled the
Milwaulkee Metalfest in 1999, the Cannibal Corpse tour in the States that
featured Angel Corpse, and also Cannibal Corpse wanted us for a tour in 2000,
but Herve told us it would be so expensive that he refused to do it.
- That's the tour that Mayhem appeared on! Exhumed, Krisiun was on that
tour and what not. I think if those bands could have been on that tour...
Yeah, exactly! The thing was, he let us and Immortal bring in all the cash to
the label and then he would piss it away on bad business. It was always the same
story and we just got tired of it. Then he made some illegal deductions, he
deducted like 26,000 of our royalties and stuff and he thought we should stay!
He even pulled the same stunt on Immortal too! He was like 'You should be so
happy that I'm around,' blah blah blah. We were like 'Fuck you, you're not
getting our next album.' So what we did was on the European Deicide tour, in
11 dates we sold merchandise worth about 15 grand. Herve was like 'You can't
keep that money because it's my money, because you're not on the label anymore,
sign the deal and you'll be able to keep it.' We were like, no just come to the
airport and take it, we'll talk then. So we just dodged him at the airport and
flew home with all the money. He's faxing us later going 'Oh, you motherfuckers,
you stole my money,' and I'm like what money?
- You should have waited until he got to the airport and slit his
Ha ha! I know he's calling his buddies and crying going 'Oh, all my good bands
are leaving me,' he's pretty much gone. Hammerheart Records is really taking
over in Europe anyway.
- And they have some good bands on their label too.
Yeah exactly. Osmose is not even making commercials in the big metal market,
press anymore because he hasn't got anything to promote. We went to a lawyer
though and he got us off clean. We were actually thinking about resigning with
Herve because "Panzer Division" was the last album on the deal. He had an option
to resign us which means that another company would have to buy us out and then
you're at the mercy of yet another label. But the lawyer helped us out and
because of the deductions and what not we were able to get out clean and we
started our own label here in Europe. So now we work directly with all the
promoters, all the distributors, and we signed a licensing deal with Century
Media in the States.
- And that's got to be a huge boost for you guys, because Century
Media is a huge label here now, yet they still have the attitude of an
Yeah, it's very awesome. I went to the Century Media offices awhile ago and I
was very impressed with all they've done for us so far. It's too early to say
how things will work out because we've only been working with them for a few
months, but I mean so far it's impressive because after a couple of months with
the licensing deal, we're already being sent out on a U.S. tour!
- So what exactly is going on with your label, Blooddawn Productions
Right now it's just a label for Marduk and Marduk side projects. Morgan might
do some other stuff, for the time being he's doing a band called Devil's
Whorehouse, which is Morgan and Roger playing Samhain type of music. There's a
couple of Misfits and Samhain covers and then five songs of original material.
- Century Media mentions that there are some reissues coming out on
There's the "Obedience" EP which features a Celtic Frost cover, and a few new
tracks, though the U.S. version has some live tracks that were recorded off the
soundboard from a tour we did in Holland. It's about 6 tracks and has different
artwork from the European version. Then there's a live album that's 2 CD's and
we did that to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We had a much bigger budget
then to record a live album, so we did it just as a fan thing and something to
help jumpstart our label. It's 2 CD's with 18 tracks, 3 CDRom (videos), a full
exclusive booklet with professional photography, and all the old lyrics which
are featured on that CD for the price of a single CD. It was a good thing for us
to do to show everyone that Marduk was alive and kicking, but it was quite
expensive. We got the money back though, and we showed all the distributors that
Marduk could still sell stuff through our own label, and it showed the fans that
Osmose wasn't able to bring us down.
- I'm curious to hear your opinions on the Anton Lavey version of
Satanism as it's been written in his Satanic Bible. A lot of Satanists nowadays
are really into what Lavey wrote and preached, and there's some that just take
satanism more as a philosophy rather than a religious lifestyle. I'm wondering
if you follow any of Lavey's teachings.
I like some of his ideologies but that is because it's something that everyone
thinks. (pointing to his head) If you have something up here and are not as
demented as most christians that are like "Oh, I'm so happy and I don't know
why" you know, if you step beyond that... I mean of course you follow the
'I smash you, you'll smash me back,' that is common law, but what he's preaching
I think it's more like self esteem things, like in life you should just take
what you want. Basically I don't know if his thoughts equate to true Satanism,
for example he says that man should be aspiring to be his own god.
- So that kinda leaves Satan out of the equation.
Exactly. If he should be a divine power unto himself, then where is Satan in his
concept of the Satanic bible?
- (Coming from Chris' mouth): Wheaties for satan! (Extreme laughter on
all sides here).
(Back to the editor now): We were joking about that, we were noticing how many
people have been getting into the Marilyn Manson, shock rock thing, and now
Manson is bringing Satan into the picture. So now, we foresee a time when Anton
Lavey is going to be on a box of Wheaties. (the laughter roars on this one!)
It's funny how you parallel things, for example I have a strong hatred towards
Christianity like yourself though I travel along a different path. Look at how
Hollywood portrays Satanism in television and movies, and you look at what
Christianity has done to it's fellow mankind all throughout history and you have
to sit there and wonder.
Yeah but Christianity sucked to begin with, if you look at it's foundation. I
mean like God created man and just left her on her own, just floating away. And
God doesn't seem to care because it should all be up to man. It's so fishy how
the priests explain it but why should you worship someone, well, like take the
example of paying rent to a landlord who doesn't give a fuck about your flat.
How can you respect a god who can't control his own creation? Ever since I was
a kid I have always had a problem with stuff like that.
- An interesting conversation I had with Mayhem, though, Necrobutcher
said that look at what would happen if people didn't have the Koran to live by,
there would ba absolute chaos. And from Velvet Acid Christ, Bryan said that
if you talk to people that lived in the regions where Christianity supposedly
rose up and their descendents, most people living there don't believe in that
stuff and some of the stuff written in the bible (See Issue #26). It was
basically seen as a political movement to crush the Jews at that time.
They have found some dead sea scrolls, which were found in the 40's. It's like
some missing chapter of the old scriptures, and they are actually saying that
Christianity is a nationalistic war ideology to begin with, which is like the
vatican and the popes. Just look at what was going on in Europe with the
Lutherans. They were into this numerology and stuff to begin with, and they
figured out that all the Catholic popes' names came out to 666, so they were all
like 'Aha! The Catholics are the evil ones, they must be destroyed!' We were just
on tour with Deicide and I saw Brian Hoffman's new tatoo, it's a picture of
Martin Luther standing with a demon climbing on his shoulder and blowing into
his ear. They have been butchering each other for years, it's all so sick and
- What do you think about the evolution of the black metal scene these
days? I know there's keyboards, gothic female vocals, and symphonics. I guess
it's an evolution for the scene.
But it's evolution in the wrong way. What was so funny was the Scandinavian
Black Metal uprising was a rebellion against the American death metal bands
going soft. Bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and the like had
their stuff together, and the rest of the bands turned strange in one way or
- Deicide went slower... (laughter here)
Yeah, but Deicide is still very aggressive and angry. So all of a sudden there's
these new hungry and angry Scandinavian bands. And the funny thing about that
scene was, as soon as they gained some popularity, 90 percent of the scene
turned even softer, with gay lyrics about fairies and stuff, violet light,
purple roses, female vocals, keyboards, all kinds of crap totally flirting with
this goth scene that is so big in Germany, with guys wearing plastic skirts and
girlie makeup. It's all in the eye of the beholder I guess, but we don't care
about that, Marduk will always be Marduk. That's all that matters to me. I
remember when we were planning on doing the "Panzer Division Marduk" album,
everybody wanted to be Dimmu Borgir pretty much, and we decided to go the other
way. They of course doing the female vocals and keyboards thing.
- So that was kind of your wake up call, rebellion statement I guess,
against that style.
We just wanted to take a big step away from the direction the scene was taking.
Definitely. So we just did an entire grind album, what we considered a "Reign In
Blood" of the 90's, and we thought our diehard fans would love it, and normal
record buyers would go 'Those guys are far out.' And that turned out to be our
most successful album to date.
ONWARD. Interview with Michael Grant.
- There's another band you were singing with before you came to Onward,
Legend Maker I think it was?
Yeah, it's off a small label called Sentinel Steel Records.
- Oh yeah, I'm VERY familiar with Sentinel Steel. I buy stuff from Dennis
once in awhile.
He put it out and it's actually doing really well. That's what gave me the gig
for Onward, that album sorta acts as my audition tape. Onward was formed in
Montana but they were only a three piece, and that area of the country is very
difficult to find anybody that is into metal. It was a pretty daunting task, so
they went on a nationwide search for a vocalist to record, and when they heard
my Legend Maker CD they said this sounds like the guy for us. They gave me a
call and said would you like to come to Denver, go into the recording studio and
lay down some tracks for us? I'm like 'Yeah, sure.' The cool thing was that it
was so good I decided to make it a permanent thing.
- Who all was in Legend Maker?
Legend Maker was from Columbia (the country in South America - ed.) I've only
talked to one of the guys once on the telephone, but we sent a couple of emails
back and forth, we communicated through tapes, sending notes telling each other
what we wanted to do. They had a singer down in Columbia but he only spoke
Spanish, and they wanted an American singer, who didn't have any accents so they
could market the album better. They sent the tape up with the Spanish guy
singing and I got a personal translator, we arranged the lyrics in English and
I just recorded it. I didn't really have any lyrical input, I felt like a hired
gun on it but it still came out okay, good Helloween type metal.
- It's so wierd to think about your input on a project you get involved in
where you're almost another continent away and all the other band members are
hundreds, if not thousands, of miles apart!
I know, but there's no boundaries to me with music like that. If you're into
metal, it doesn't matter where you are it will get done. That's what I thought
was so cool about it.
- I haven't seen any bad press on the Onward CD yet, most everything I've
read has been pretty positive.
I've seen a few bad reviews, but that's still kinda cool, I like to read bad
press, I want to see what they have to say about us. Sometimes it's laughable,
but at the same time it's like 'Okay, well this is what we did wrong, let's look
at that and see if we can fix it.'
- The one track I really didn't care about was 'Absolution Mine.'
Yep, I'm right there with ya. That song sorta got botched in the recording,
there's some vocals missing. If you notice in the bridge I just keep repeating
the same lines over and over again. There should be more vocals in that song.
The guys who mixed it in New Jersey forgot to add that part in. That's my least
favorite song on the album. Some people like it though, because they like the
flashy quality of it, but it's a little bit of a throwaway. Maybe someday in
the future we can re-record it and do it properly.
- Now one thing that really blew my mind was that you have another record
already done that's supposed to be out in May!? Called "Reawakening" or
something? I mean, "Evermoving" just came out and now they're saying that in
another month, here's another Onward record!
No, that's not coming out in May. The record company wanted us to put out
"Evermoving" as sort of an introductory release and then get us right back into
the studio to record "Reawaken." "Evermoving" got such a good response that
we decided to get some money out of it first, you know, let's milk it a bit.
the label is marketing it and setting up for us to do some shows. We're putting
off the recording until late summer or early fall.
- I really hate that word "Milking" it though, I mean if the album is good
it should sell and reviews and sound files alone should be enough for people to
want to go out and buy this record. I've done tons of interviews with bands like
Carcass, Napalm Death and The Obsessed that were on small labels that got sucked
into these big corporations and just got spit out and basically almost ruined
That's why I'm glad on Century Media, they've treated us beyond good. I can't
believe the support and how cool they are, they've really helped us out.
- And it's really amazing how they expanded too, taking in the entire
Nuclear Blast label and giving them the same phone number and address that
Century Media already has, it's just a really good deal for both labels all the
That really cuts down costs a lot, and I like that because more money can be
put into the metal rather than the electric bill. So really they're doing good
for themselves and in return the bands see a lot more of that help from the
- One thing I really hate about Century Media is those damn cardboard
sleeves they send the CD's in! You don't get lyrics or anything, and I noticed
quite a few labels being serviced by Century Media doing that. What kills me is
a small label in Finland like Spinefarm Records sent me like 12 CD's with
front and back sleeves and even jewel cases! And then had to pay a lot to ship
it all overseas! Hell, scrap the jewel cases even to cut down on costs, just
send the front and back sleeves and the CD!
Metal Blade does that. Hopefully they will get to that point, I think they do
want to get to that point where everything is top quality.
- I mean, we do the hard work to get the bands coverage in places that
might not have access to mainstream press, we should get a little bit of the
appreciation for our work.
Exactly I agree. And many interviews I've done people tell me, "Well, I don't
have the lyrics, but I think the lyrics are cool." So that's a little
- I've been covering Century Media since they first opened a U.S. office
here, and have been running this magazine for about ten years now.
That's great. I've known Century Media since they put out Demolition Hammer's
"Epidemic Of Violence."
- Toby Napp, I remember he recorded with Shrapnel Records, was he ever
with any bands or just doing solo projects?
Basically solo projects. He also did another thing called Darken, which was a
black metal project he did for Defiled Records. He was bummed about that, he
always wanted to have a real band and I think Onward gave him that opportunity.
- Is Shrapnel still around? I know they were doing a lot of projects back
in the 80's.
Oh yeah. In fact, I just met Mike Varney in Las Vegas about a month ago. He's
a pretty cool dude.
- They had some great bands, I know there was a guy who was in Apocrypha
who went to Third Eye Blind, a strange jump to go from playing power metal to
playing in a third rate alternative band!
People do that jump all the time. He's probably just doing it for the money.
- I don't know if you are familiar with the label, I'm wondering if they
have, or plan on, re-releasing some of their older catalog, like the Wild Dogs
and the Apocrypha albums?
I don't think so, Shrapnel is also notorious for being a big penny pinching
label. They basically put out a large release and that's it. I don't know of
any Shrapnel re-releases to my knowledge, if they do it's maybe just one or two
albums. They're also notorious for just putting out one or two albums from each
artist that they have. He's kinda like a farmer, he likes to find talent, get
them going and then pass him on to larger things. Yngwie Malmsteen is probably
his greatest example.
- Definitely want to talk about Sentinel Steel. I don't suppose Dennis is
upset about seeing Century Media pick your album up instead of it being on his
No, not at all. He submitted the album to them. He also submitted the album to
Nuclear Blast and Metal Blade, but Century Media showed the greatest interest.
He got that ball rolling, the only thing that delayed the album was the
reimbursement and the payment. Of course Dennis wants more money for the album
and Century Media wanted to give less, and then a lot of back and forth
hammering out the details. The only thing negative that came from it was the
album took a year to get out. We had all that downtime, so we went ahead and
wrote a second album, and that's where "Reawaken" came from. It's all done, we
just need to go in the studio to knock it out. When they have a studio ready in
Montana we're going to go right in and record it.
- Anything you want to tell us about the new record?
The new album is going to be longer, more dynamic, a little heavier, and have a
little bit more variety, but it's going to have the patented, downhome Onward
sound. Very catchy as always, lots of vocals, tons of guitars. The best way I
can describe it is, are you a Forbidden fan by any chance?
- Yeah, definitely remember them.
Remember when you got "Forbidden Evil" and you were like "This is great but it's
so raw," and when "Twisted Into Form" came out you were just blown away? That's
what we want to do, we want to go up ten notches with this one. And it's got a
little bit of everything, the songs on "Evermoving" have a counterpart on
"Reawaken." Like the song 'Reawaken' is the big title track, we have tongue in
cheek songs, we have songs that deal with the themes of Onward, some other song
titles are 'The Seven Tithes Of Labyrinthine,' 'Where Evil Follows,' we have a
big epic song that runs about nine minutes called 'The Next Triumph' and, oh
yeah, 'I Am The Nightmare' is one.
- Now since we didn't get a lyric sheet (laughter on both ends), I guess
you figured the questioning would lead in this direction. I'm not going to go
'Hey man, give me the theme of every song,' but let's start with 'Witches Winter
Eternal,' that was an interesting track.
The source influence for that song was "The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe."
I'm not retelling the story or anything, but I thought it was cool that in the
beginning of the book this witch has control over a season instead of a kingdom.
That's how she tries to win a kingdom, she says it will be winter forever. And
that's her power, it's really cool.
- 'The Kindness Of Strangers' seemed to have a bit of a personal touch.
That song is about irony and how people who don't know each other interact with
each other, and how strange it really is. Like if you meet someone on the street
and they just start talking to you, you ever notice that you're kind of afraid
but at the same time you know they're not going to hurt you? So why are we still
afraid of them. It's the fact that we want to get to know everyone but we're so
- Well, this is such a harsh world we live in these days, you hear about
so many horrible things going on that this world seems to breed fear. You're
pretty much ingrained from birth not to talk to strangers, don't get into a car
with someone you don't know, etc. Even just watching the news or reading the
newspaper can make one feel that their world just isn't safe.
I throw that angle in there too, there's some people that are just too trusting,
and they think that everything's going to be okay and the next thing they know
they're body parts in someone's refrigerator.
- Now, this studio that you used, Trax East in New Jersey? It mentioned
that bands like Snapcase, Symphony X and Sick Of It All recorded there. Just
curious as to why you recorded your album there?
Well, we didn't record there; the music was recorded in Denver, the vocals were
recorded in L.A., and the tapes were shipped to Trax East to be mixed and
mastered. They've gotten some good names there and Dennis Gulbey is a big client
of theirs. Gothic Knights also recorded there. They're just starting to get a
good name for themselves. Oh, they also mixed the Legend Maker album. However,
I hope that "Reawaken" will be recorded completely in L.A.
- That's very odd that three different parts of the album were recorded in
three different places! Rather an unusual way to do an album!
Onward was originally going to be on Sentinel Steel of course, so Dennis was
controlling the project. He said 'Okay, everything's recorded, can you send the
tapes to me so I can sit in on the mixes?' That's how they ended up in Jersey.
- So did any members of the band sit in on the mixing sessions?
Nope, we did it blind. Dennis was producing it at the time and he was paying for
everything so we just sort of had to say 'Okay.' For the most part I think
everything came out great, except for that one song 'Absolution Mine.'
- You know, I'm very much into classic 80's metal, and I've ended up
getting a lot of things off Dennis' label that probably couldn't be obtained
anywhere else. It's really a testament to how much knowledge he possesses about
classic 80's metal, so in a way I couldn't think of anyone better to get that
classic metal sound.
I think that's why he wanted to sit on the mixes, because he knew what kind of
sound to give our album and it does have that certain feel to it.
- Are there any bands on Sentinel Steel you really dig?
I like New Eden, I sang for them for a little while. I like Attacker, he did a
great job with those albums. And Manilla Road those albums are really cool.
- Anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?
We really do want to get out on the road, they were fooling around with the idea
of going out with Lizzy Borden but of course they got the Yngwie tour. We were
Lizzy's choice for opening band however. If we don't tour later on, we're going
into the studio to work on the new record. We really want to bring that metal
concert experience back, we don't want to just stand up there and play music,
we want to put on a great show. We want to get people's fists back into the air,
back to the front of the stage, make it fun again. I think metal these days has
VAMPIRIA. Interview with Oswald.
One of the most interesting and unknown black metal bands from Argentina. The
only other band I know of from this area is the mighty stoner rock gods Natas,
who incidentally are working through the same label as these guys. Great
vampiric black metal is in store, and since I know almost nothing about this
band save the one CD which is reviewed here this issue, I thought it appropriate
to let you all in on black metal's best kept secret.
- I'm curious about the band of course, this is such a professional
sounding recording and I'm wondering if any of the band members have played in
other groups before?
Well, first, thanks for your flattering words about our work. And yes, all of
the members of Vampiria have been in other bands and some of us have shared the
experience of being in those bands before but none of us had been in a
professional recording studio before.
- There are few bands I know of from Argentina, one would have to be
Natas, which I have been a big fan of, since they are on your label and from
your country, what do you think of them? Is there a big black metal scene down
in your country? Are there any other Argentinian bands worth noting?
We don't really like Natas, it's another style, other music, other lyrics... We
don't say that it's bad, but we don't like it, just our opinion. We do listen to
other kinds of music though. There really isn't a big black metal scene in
Argentina, here all heavy styles are so underground, except for power metal
which has many fans here. There are some good bands from Argentina, like Infery
- I haven't heard of Icarus Records before your release came out. Do
you feel they are doing an adequate job of getting your name spread outside of
your home country?
Our relationship with Icarus is fine. We think they are doing a good job at the
moment. Maybe the license of "Among Mortals" was sold very cheaply to Europe,
but it's our first CD and we wanted to see the results when it was in Europe.
- The instrumentation on this record is quite superb, who does the
arrangement for the songs and how do the orchestrated pieces come about? Are
they all synthesized? I felt the instrumentation matched the moods of the songs
The arrangement, the orchestration and everything was made by all the members of
Vampiria. Each one of us contributed to make the best recording possible. All
strings and orchestral sounds are synths because we haven't real instruments to
use; we'd prefer a real orchestra obviously but it's so expensive you know.
- Is this a concept record? The songs flow so smoothly from one to the
next, I was wondering if the whole album tells a story song by song.
There isn't a storyline in the lyrics of "Among Mortals," though our intention
was to create a fluid atmosphere song by song. Maybe it can be considered as a
concept work in music lines. Our lyrics talk about the dark side of thoughts and
feelings, and reflects real, ficticious and mythologic themes. The main
references are books of occultism and writers like Edgar Allan Poe, H.P.
Lovecraft, Stephen King, Tolkien, Baudelaire, Nietzche, Clive Barker and the
- Some black metal fanatics say keyboards and female vocals have no
place in true black metal, but I see your songs and I must ask how else could
you do an album of this nature without those influences? This would make a
perfect soundtrack for a vampire movie made today.
Ok, thanks again, you'll make all Vampiria members move to your country to live.
Ha ha! We'll try to use every instrument that contributes to what our music
needs. They can call our music black, gothic, death, whatever, though we try to
play music without limits. We have the music now we need a movie producer!
- So on that note, have you been approached by any movie producers to
use your music in any films? Someone that does the synth work must have had
experience writing music for movies or film, as the orchestrated pieces are very
rich and well thought out.
No, we don't have any experience doing music for films, but I think that must be
wonderful and amazing. If some movie producers are reading this interview,
please call or write us!
- So what is next on the horizon for Vampiria? Is this lineup that you
have sufficient to do tours? Care to answer question #2,000 about coming to play
shows in the States?
Well, I don't know if it's possible to see Vampiria doing a tour in the States,
here the economic situation is so bad. We hope that can be possible at some
time. About the next step to the band, we will initialize the recording of our
second album in a few days, around July 23rd. This will be recorded and mixed at
the same studio as "Among Mortals" and mastered in The Finnvox studio in
Finlandia, and we will probably play shows here and there.
- I'm curious if you've had any offers from any other labels in North
America or elsewhere, I could see this being picked up by Nuclear Blast or
Century Media very very easily!
We hope that happens too! But these companies are much too big for us I think.
We're a band relatively new (four years), this is our first album and we could
not record "Amongst Mortals" without Icarus' cooperation. Maybe in the future we
will change labels, it all depends on the conditions they offer us.
- Despite the obvious vampyric themes, Satan himself appears to have a
role in this album. I also felt some of the music was fast paced black metal
that would appeal to those into the old school black style, which is usually
In our lyrics exists different dark characters. It is impossible to leave out
Satan because he's the master of the dark sides of human existence. Some bands
take his name very easily and the results are pathetic, sometimes even funny. We
don't try to be apologetic about this but we take Satan's name very seriously.
- There's quite a few good vampire movies out there, I'm curious as to
which ones you really dig.
We are fanatics of Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula." And cult movies too like
"Nosferatu" and "The Bloody Stone," though sometimes the books are better.
- Anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?
Thanks for the interview and for spreading our words and music in your country.
Dark hails to all the crew of Vibrations of Doom magazine and all readers. To
contact us, visit our official web page:
Not much to say really, just want to thank everyone for sticking around. As you
know we're going on our 11th year in publication, and we're not exactly sure the
specific dates involved. We just tried to backtrack from when we first started
writing articles for Good Times Magazine in Savannah, that's when the 'zine
started up. That was around the end of 1991, so it's been roughly 10 years now.
Anyway, we plan on being around for another 10 if we can!
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