VIBRATIONS OF DOOM
Damn, last issue before we hit the big 30! No, not 30 years unfortunately.
Nearly 11 years in publication and only 29 issues! Glad yer still with us on
this, the longest running internet based publication on the planet.
You'll no doubt notice that besides being on our own server, with our own
domain name, we have also incorporated something many readers have asked us for
for years: RealAudio 5.0! That's right, starting with this issue onward, all
sound files for the CD's we review are digitized in RealAudio 5.0. This results
in a clearer sound for our readers. We have a host of other surprises planned
soon, in the meantime, here is the address if you feel the need to write (with
pen and paper that is!)
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
ADAGIO "Sanctus Ignis" (Limb Music) SCORE: 81/100
This thing totally struck me as a group that is dominated by masterful
musicians. The orchestration and synth layers are absolutely top notch, and a
track like 'Panem Et Circences' showcases some very eerie horror styled organ
pieces. The first four tracks of this album absolutely smoke, however, and their
lead singer has amazing ability, the most surprising facet of this comes from
the fact that our lead throat man once frotned Pink Cream 69! Their tunes do
tend to be a bit drawn out at times, notice the really rough beginning of 'The
Inner Road' before they settle down and craft an amazing tune. The guitars rip
like no other, showcasing more thrash tendencies than the standard power metal
fare of fast instrumentation, though they also have that in spades. Songs like
'The Stringless Violin' and 'Seven Lands Of Sin' show us that they can craft
some very dark, almost haunting instrumentation as well, and that's what sets
this off so well. On the minor side, besides getting off track and going off
into strange realms (note the almost chessy prog-synths ala The Flower Kings
on 'The Strginless Violin'). Four instrumentals grace the album, including a
rather interesting synth version of the Zeppelin classic 'Immigrant Song,' which
is a few too many for a 10 song CD. The Zep cover would have been nicer still if
we could have heard some vocal work. The score that graces this CD in particular
is the equivalent, in my eyes, of a 50 or 60 for an average band. This band has
limitless potential and surprising skill and craftsmanship. Let's hope future
endeavours expand on such an amazing CD full of emotion and grace, both heavy
Contact: Limb Music Products.
AGALLOCH "Of Stone, Wind And Pillor" (The End Records) SCORE: 100/100
Ya know, Agalloch has done so much in so short a time. After creating what many
have called one of the best atmospheric black metal albums of last year, they
returned with a mini CD collection of older material, demo tracks, and a cover.
'Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor' starts this off with some of the most vicious
black metal vocals I've yet to hear from Agalloch, and they're definitely more
dominant. 'Haunting Birds' is an instrumental, and shows off the more classical
oriented instrumentation that dominates much of this CD. The Sol Invictus cover
'Kneel To The Cross' is done predominantly with clean sung vocals, very nicely
done and quite the rarity for Agalloch. True, there are blackened vocals
backing up the cleanly sung choruses, but it was surprising to hear the clean
vocals done so well. The beginning of this track had them repeating 'Summer is
a-coming, arise, arise' quite frequently for the first minute or so, and almost
garnered a point lost, but it's not like the female sung vocals from the first
album that are almost rampant throughout the song. I didn't feel it as large
enough a distraction to shave off a point, and so you have the perfect score.
'A Poem By Yeats' was interesting enough, with more medieval like synth work
with some spoken vocals and it's surprising how a poem set to music works well
for Agalloch. If this is any indication of where their next release is heading,
then I foresee another fantastic score in the works.
Contact: The End Records.
AMON AMARTH "The Crusher" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 82/100
I know this is seen as a death metal release, but it definitely has elements
of black metal in it, especially with some of the vocal work. What Amon Amarth
is doing is, from a lyrical standpoint anyway, is Viking styled death metal,
something that is not very common anymore. Their musicianship is what is
immediately going to set them far apart from their peers, for though tracks
like 'Annihilation Of Hammerfest' and 'Masters Of War' have some crushing
riffs and vicious screams, their guitar framework is quite musical and melodic
at times. They definitely use the instrumentation as enhancement for the mood
of whatever lyrical content they are working through the song. For example, and
though it's one of my least favorite tracks, 'The Fall Through Ginnungagap' has
some strange, otherworldly guitar structure going through it, though it must be
noted that the main character is telling a story from beyond the grave, so
obviously he's in a strange place. The one odd thing about Amon Amarth's music
is that there are really no choruses to speak of, save for 'Masters Of War,'
and that is only sung a time or two. No my friend, these songs remind me of a
story told that is set to music, which some may find rather odd. The vocal
delivery usually charges on at the same pace throughout the song, though they
will throw in a few different changes to keep the song interesting. The lead
solos are used very sparingly but are of such quality it's a shame the
axemasters aren't turned loose on EVERY song. One other minor detraction may be
the abundant melodic paces many songs have, sometimes they take precedence over
the crushing, brutal edge we all know Amon Amarth possesses. Still, they
manage to put out one hell of an album, and it's one I can find myself
listening to quite a bit.
Contact: Metal Blade, 2828 Cochran St., PMB 302 Simi Valley, CA 93065 USA
Web site: http://www.metalblade.com
BEATEN BACK TO PURE "Southern Apocalypse" (Retribute) SCORE: 94/100
Stoner rock? Southern stoner rock? Let's just say I see this band as a cross
between Iron Monkey and Lamb Of God, with a little bit of Southern flavor
thrown in. Vicious vocal work sounds more on the Lamb Of God front, but at
least the lyrics can be made out a little bit better (though you still need a
lyric sheet to do it). There are some definite headbanging riffs present, so
stoner rock or not there are some vicious "metal" influences in the songs.
It can go slow like on 'Acolyte' or fast paced like 'Whore's Bath,' but they do
manage to do BOTH in damn near every song. They tend to run the ending of 'Six
Gun Salute' a little long, but it's so damn enjoyable you don't care. They do
this feedback overrun on 'Failure Wine' which really grates the nerves, but
there aren't many big problems standing in the way of enjoyment here. The
marching war drums (sounding like a drum beat you'd hear marching in the Civil
War) on 'Antietam' were a nice touch, as were the acoustics immediately
following the opening percussion. They know how to keep things interesting and
diverse, and whether you consider it stoner rock or just slow, heavy, doomed
out death metal, it's a great release from a label I have never heard of
before. Make sure you tune in to the interview though: seeing as how the band
is based out of Virginia, it gave me the opportunity to talk about a great many
things dealing with the Civil War, the South, the NAACP, and the Confederate
Contact: Retribute, P.O. Box 76, New Ferry, CH63 OQT, ENGLAND, UK
Web site: http://www.retributerecords.com
BLOODTHRONE "Storms Of Apocalypse" (Forever Underground) SCORE: 79/100
Bloodthrone play black metal wicked and full of power. It helps that lead
screamer Demonian belts out some of the most brutal warlike screams I've heard
on a black metal record. 'Bloodthrone' (the song) starts things out with a
wicked evil synth intro, before ripping into some fast instrumentation. They
do know how to write good songs too, as there are good variations throughout
many of their songs. They do cram a lot of lyrics into small lines though,
which was one of my main gripes. The title track continues the carnage, and you
really hear how effective the drummer is in providing an apocalyptic beat
structure to the mayhem. 'Mummification' however was probably the weakest link
here, with some odd instrumentation and vocal phrasings that, if you read the
lyrics, are a bit awkward. And lyrically, well, this is more Nile's turf than
theirs, but u gotta love the beautiful lead solo and vicious screams. The
instrumentation is unusually mature for a band playing this style, high ended
lead guitar work pops up all over the place, especially on one of my favorite
tracks 'Marching Towards Armageddon' and the slower passages that are wrought
with such heaviness, though they are slower, on 'Mayhem Upon The Heavens.'
The do seem to have a little difficulty on their transitions from sudden slow
to fast passages, but it seems like this is a relatively new band on the black
metal scene. Don't laugh at band members with names like 'Evil Pope,'
'Machine' and 'Captor,' though, as these New Jersey based fiends know how to
come up with some killer black metal in the style of old Gorgoroth, Satyricon,
etc. while not sounding like clones. They even go so far as to mix death AND
black metal vocals on 'Serpent, Goat, Spider And Skull,' though they could have
written the song a little bit better.
Contact: Forever Underground, 1111 W. 4th St., Hobart, IN 46342
Web site: http://www.foreverunderground.com
CANYON CREEP "Hijack The World" (Canyon Creep) SCORE: 79/100
You may already know what to expect if I tell you that this album was
co-produced by Billy Anderson, most notable for his work with The Melvins,
Sleep, and recently High On Fire. So with Man's Ruin down and out, this band
seems to have nowhere to go! But, onto the music, which is lively and not
really stoner rock much, well, unless you count 'Black Bra,' which is a funny
tune about a Mexican chick who kics ass. The opening intro tells you all this
band is interested in: rocking your eardrums off and chicks! There's a few
instrumentals in here (see the Karma To Burn review for all you need to know
about heavy instrumental rock), 'No Brakes' and 'Warm Beer.' The first vocal
track is the title track, and it kicks serious ass. The music gets a bit
aggressive but they ain't afraid of using some melody, heavy though it may be.
This is a pretty fun ride, though the last track 'Give Me Some' must be some
sort of joke, it's supposed to be humorous I would think, but it definitely
grates the nerves. Constructed as sort of a ballad, it plays on a death metal
inspired chorus, which was interesting but they could have left it off. They
got some guy named Dave singing 'Can't Afford You,' and he has a bit rougher
style of vocal work than their regular. The two instrumentals and the bad track
kinda drop this 9 song CD a little low, but it rocks in all the right places.
I wanna hear more from Canyon Creep, so soon ya better 'Gimme Some!'
Web site: http://www.canyoncreep.com
CLAN OF XYMOX "Notes From The Underground" (Metropolis) SCORE: 61/100
Clan Of Xymox, for the uninitiated, is a gothic band that has been around for
quite some time. I remember the 4AD demo releases back when they were just
Xymox. Never really a band I could get into, their biggest drawback some will
say is that they sound too much like a more successful gothic band already
signed to Metropolis in Australia's Ikon. Some tracks like opener 'Innocent'
and 'Number One' he tries to do the warbly Sisters Of Mercy vocal effects, and
many of the tunes are quite simply fluff cheese. Remember that some goth bands
would rather sing about love and other sappy things, however Clan Of Xymox
MUST be given points for daring to bring out the darkness in the gothic scene,
it's not all love and melodic ballads. 'Anguish' is probably one of the darkest
tunes on here, and the melancholy atmosphere is made all the more dark by the
low toned vocal work. Best cut here is most assuredly 'The Same Dream,' which
is upbeat, energetic and obviously tailor made for club play, especially with
the female backing vocals, but this track, clubworthy though it is, is pretty
dark in it's own right. I know, I keep saying dark, but for a gothic band, the
more mysterious side of existence is something to be celebrated, as is the
overbearing misery and loneliness, which they throw around in pieces. 'The
Bitter Sweet' sounded more trancey than I am used to hearing them do and is
quite unusual. 'I Want You Now' has the dark heavy elements but the guitar work
is a bit too overbearing for this group, who definitely does NOT have the
better qualities of their music defined by the 6 string instrument. Potential
here, but a bit disappointing, I'd rather listen to Sisters Of Mercy or even
Ikon but the CD is not a total waste.
Contact: Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105 USA
Web site: http://www.metropolis-records.com
DAWNBRINGER "Catharsis Instinct" (Icarus) SCORE: 63/100
From Argentina comes yet another signing that has not quite lived up to it's
potential. Playing the Gothenberg styled death metal which is fast becoming the
next "wish it would fade" trend with many metal fans, Dawnbringer has one
serious problem with this release, and that is the vocalist. That is, the
seeming lack of one. There's only two things I can think of when I hear this
CD, either the vocalist is very weak and ineffective, or the mix on the record
is so bad that the vocalist is in the back. Many songs I'm hearing lean
strongly towards the former, while on 'Halfman' you can hear the vocalist a
little more clearly, but that's because the guitars aren't full on every
second. Many of the guitar riffs are quite good, in fact they're the highlight
of the CD. Especially a track like 'Halfman,' which has an evil quality that
invokes some of the most vicious tracks from Entombed's "Hollowman" release.
Fast tempo songs are the order of the day around here, and songs like
'Mudslicer,' 'All Hell Broke Loose,' especially on the latter's efficient
lead solos, proves that Dawnbringer has the potential, at least in the
instrumentation department, to make something happen; hell, they even had the
balls to bring nice flutes into 'Cosmos Disease' and incorporate some singing
vocals on the chorus, though some will find them a tad weak. Even for all the
great guitar work that graces the CD, I can't help but feel like I'm listening
to a Gothenberg instrumental album, which will sound overtly repetitive since
there's nothing else to back up the instrumentation work.
Contact: Icarus, C.C. 1953, Correo Central, C1000WAP Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
DRAGONLORD "Rapture" (Spitfire) SCORE: 98/100
One thing I always dig is the fat guitar sounds Eric Peterson wrote for the
last few Testament releases. So when I heard that Eric was starting a black
metal project and doing vocal work, I was intrigued as all hell. Fortunately,
this "side project" exceeded all my expectations! The fat, thick thrashy
guitar sound is only the first thing you notice. Eric's screams are more than
adequate for this as well, and though Dragonlord features a Sadus member in
it's ranks, Eric's vocal work for some reason reminds me of Sadus. So you have
black metal bands all over the globe trying to bring back that retro thrash
sound and incorporate it with black metal, this U.S. band actually succeeds.
Check out his raven throated opening screams on 'Tradition And Fire.' Keyboards
are presented in force but they don't distract from the main attraction here
which is the guitar work, however they are allowed to give their moments of
glory, like when they solo off on 'Born To Darkness,' and the song 'Unholyvoid'
where the synths are utilized to give off a rather cosmic atmosphere, done up
better than recent efforts by The Kovenant to mix outer space themes and black
metal. The main thing that hits you in the face is the thick sound and beefy
production, which made recent Testament albums like "The Gathering" and
"Demonic" so powerful and punishing, and it's good to see Eric make great use
of that. No female vocals to be found here, but some multi vocal singing lines
are used, albeit sparingly. I had to drop a few points for 'Wolfhunt,' the
faster speed chaotic lines got a bit too out of hand and sounded a bit sloppy,
but they soon return to form. Black + thrash = kick ass all the way around.
Contact: Spitfire Records
DREADNAUGHT "Down To Zero" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 48/100
Man, I was totally floored by the start of this CD! Yes, the singer does have
an alternative delivery, bordering on melodic, but damn if the first two tracks
on this disc don't rip shit up! Yelling vocals bordering on hardcore and mean,
FAT chunky riffs had me going for 'Dead In The Dirt' and 'Scumbag.' However,
all that is abandoned by the rest of the disc and only resurfaces on tracks
5 and 6, 'Game' and 'Fast Food On The Streets Of Gold,' respectively; the
latter track losing a bit of it's power near the chorus. So these guys really
want to croon for the females, they do this alternative melodic style the rest
of the way through which is really shameful since they rock so hard on those
other tracks. 'Last Drinks' does the electro-acoustical start, even trying to
throw in some heavier riffs but it doesn't work with that singing. Hell, this
is stuff you can turn on your favorite corporate sponsored radio station and
hear! With 'Undone,' it's way too obvious these guys want a radio hit, though
gotta give 'em props for throwing in some heavier gits near the end. I'm
already jumping ship on 'em tho. 'Blue,' track 9. ANOTHER ballad. 'Nuff said.
Points are given for using the female vocals and piano notes on the end track
'Someday,' which has a kind of stoner atmosphere. And if you weren't totally
convinced they were going for radio play, their heaviest, catchiest tune
'Scumbag' which features the vocal line 'Get me out of this world of shit' is
featured AGAIN on track 11, but of course the word 'shit' is bleeped out. Tell
me they aren't going for radio play...
Contact: The Music Cartel.
ENTWINE "Gone" (Century Media) SCORE: 68/100
I hate to admit I liked this a little more than I thought I would. You see,
Entwine plays what's commonly known as gothic metal, but in this sense the
word takes on a more commercialized meaning. Tracks like 'Snow White Suicide,'
'New Dawn' and 'Silence Is Killing Me' are very catchy, upbeat and add a
dimension of heaviness to what would usually perturb most other metal fanatics.
Be that as it may, the sappiness does tend to creep through in their lyrics
at times, especially with a song like 'Closer (My Love).' I think the song
title says it all. On 'Thru The Darkness' they're going for a Type O Negative
vibe and it just doesn't work well at all. The choruses are heavier but it's
just not working for me folks. The starting track shows our male vocalist
trying to do some warbly delivery I guess he's trying to overemphasize some
key words, and it starts to distract from what is otherwise a decent tune.
'New Dawn' was their hit single and it did their career a world of good, though
as I said this may be a bit too mellow oriented for most. There's some good
songs but if they could just stick to catchy and slightly heavy, even if they
are going to inject heavy doses of melody, they would do better. This is a disc
that falls a few marks short of a keeper, though as I said I must admit I do
find it easy to crank 3 or 4 of these songs.
Contact: Century Media Records.
FEAR "American Beer" (Hall Of Records) SCORE: 52/100
To be quite honest, the only Fear record I know by heart, or have heard until
this point, is their first, which is a kick ass boot to the face for punk music.
It is the main reason why I have went out of my way to see Fear perform live
twice now in as many years, and through all the death and black and power metal
shows I have attended, Fear puts on one of the best performances I have
witnessed in quite some time. This record, released late last year, is somewhat
disappointing. I mean, first of all, their second record "More Beer," their
next "Have Another Beer With Fear..." do you get where I'm going with this?
Sadly, their beer anthems are among the best tracks here, with the rest going
for a more emotional feel sort of the kind of punk I don't like. I was even
more apalled by the bebop singing and jazz riffs coming out of '33rd And 3rd.'
This is the same band who wrote 'Fresh Flesh?' The same band who didn't mind
saying fuck you to everyone has not one profane word to utter and singing about
lost love and 'I'll meet my baby at 33rd and 3rd?' Then there's the usual
obnoxious, nails across the chalkboard tune like 'Catfight' and a damn Willie
Dixon cover 'Hoochie Coochie Man?' 'Hard Cotto Salami' is just basically a sad
reworked version of 'Beef Baloney' from the first album, and you can hear
the tiredness of 'I Don't Care Without You.' Lee Ving's singing vocals aren't
the greatest in the world, but on leadoff track 'Surgery' and even 'What Is
Best In Life,' the latter the only reminiscent tune of Fear's angst ridden
days, there is promise and a kick ass mosh pit delivery. 'The Bud Club' gets
a bit anthemic and some tracks here are actually fun, but overall Fear has lost
much of its edge. Maybe Lee's been spending too much time with the wife. I'll
still go see Fear whenever they come around, but sounds like Lee needs to take
a textbook lesson in old school punk one more time. They do manage to write a
Misfits like tune with 'And The Spiders Crawl,' however.
Contact: Hall Of Records, P.O. Box 69281, West Hollywood, CA 90069
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM "My God" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 18/100
Bland, uninspiring and flat out boring. Why the hell doesn't Metal Blade drop
these guys already? I haven't been a fan of the band EVER, even "Doomsday For
The Deceiver" way back when failed to impress me at a time when just about
every new metal release I bought back in high school had some thrill for me.
Nice thing about Flotsam is, though, whenever I need some bad album reviews,
they never fail to disappoint me. Let's start with some of the crappy lyrics,
like on 'Learn To Dance' and 'Killing Time,' which is an obvious rip of the
Metallica demo, and showcases some white boy rap. Like I'm able to stick
around that long. 'Keep Breathing' was one of their better tunes, well at least
the opening riffs were interesting. The vocals ruin it though, as not just here
but throughout the disc they are very uninspiring. Even their acoustic
instrumentals 'Praise' and the opening acoustics on 'My God' cannot save this.
Kudos to the end track 'I.A.M.H.' which was Arabic flavored instrumentation,
but that seems like an extremely lucky coincidence (on an astronomic scale,
think of the odds of one person hitting the lottery and you'll see just how
lucky they got that they wrote one decent song, no vocals here definitely ups
the odds). I've already wasted enough words with this one...
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
GALAXY "Solar Synthesis" (Blue Room Released) SCORE: 82/100
I have always said that we don't get nearly enough electronic music here at the
magazine, and Blue Room has always put out top quality electronic music. They
were responsible for starting the career of Juno Reactor, whose biggest claim
to fame was having a track on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, and releasing one
of my favorite electronic based albums with "Beyond The Infinite." Galaxy is a
bit difficult to pin down, though it's definitely techno based. Major points
had to be taken from the breakbeat and jungle styled percussion structures they
used in 'Golden Crown' and 'Liquid Sky.' They aren't total detractions,
however, as the mastery of the synthesized passages shines through. One of my
favorite tracks is 'Connected,' which has some heavier electronic acid trance
notes, and is quite energetic to boot. This would make a great club hit, and
works quite well in the presence of lighter instrumentation that is the staple
for a Galaxy track. The electronics and trash can styled beats on 'Freezer'
didn't work well for me, and the synths were minimal here anyway. 'Big Blue,'
however, was another great track, though it started off rather odd. It soon
settles into a somewhat slow, rather melodic landscape with darker and slightly
heavier sounds thrown in, and works as a rather downtempo, but still forceful,
club track. It's neat how they can vary the mood and landscape of the synth
work within the framework of a track, and 'Fragment' ends off the disc with
some damn good ambient passages. Pigeonholed between ambient, trance, techno,
and some of the breakbeat and jungle elements makes for a rather interesting
run at electronic music. Blue Room does it again.
Contact: Blue Room, 6C Littlehampton Rd, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 1QE U.K.
Web site: http://www.blueroom.co.uk
HANGNAIL "Clouds In The Head" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 48/100
Stoner rock, sort of. The guitar riffs sometimes make some crunchy sounds, but
overall the vocals usually ruin this. He's spending more time trying to yell or
scream his way through the songs. The opening track 'Slowhead' is done really
well, great guitar work and the vocals are actually in place here. An enjoyable
track that unfortunately is the last great thing you hear on this. 'Third Time
Around,' track 2, immediately shows what's wrong: the vocals really rubbed me
the wrong way, and though he does bring things under control for the more
singing parts that a song like 'Into The Ether' and 'Gone' require, these two
are not songs I'm raving over. I'm not a huge fan of ballads so it's no
surprise here that I'm not on board. If he didn't try to overpower his way
through the songs they might have come off better, like on the shorter end
track 'Riffmeister Jesus,' which is a short song that is definitely heavy,
and his vocals work to decent effect. Haven't really enjoyed a Hangnail CD yet,
you might recall their debut we reviewed, maybe one day they can tie it all
Contact: The Music Cartel, P.O. Box 629, Port Washington NY 11050
Web site: http://www.music-cartel.com
HYPNOS "The Revenge Ride" (Morbid) SCORE: 36/100
I remember when Morbid Records first came to my attention, it was through some
small flyers in various mailings. They had some inetresting sounding bands back
then, like Castle and some other doom/death combos. What we have here in Hypnos
is a straight forward, for the most part, death metal clone that unfortunately
doesn't offer much. They have a spoken word intro to start things off, then
'Crystal Purity Of Treachery' that basically just speeds along, though I did
note a bit of Deicide in it's vocal delivery. The growled screams were a bit
interesting, though it's not the vocal work that suffers here, surprisingly,
but the song structure. 'Evil Awaken' had some interesting start/stop guitar
riffing, but the overall quality of the song didn't do much for me. Things
didn't really peak my interest until track 5, 'Journey Into Doom.' This is by
far the slowest tune on here, and one of the best, sounding a LOT like slower
Morbid Angel fare, and quite brutal, the one exception from Morbid is the use
of higher pitched screams than what Steve Tucker or even David Vincent could
have pulled off. They have a nice instrumental in 'Lost,' which was full of
melodic acoustic passages and showed some skill in the riff writing department,
but their skill gets lost easily throughout this speed fest. It's not always
the vocal work that kills a band, though I have to admit that if the vocals of
a band suck, it's usually all over with. Standard death metal fare done a
hundred times, but if they could make better use of the haunting slow riffs
mentioned above, this might have come off sounding better.
Contact: Morbid Records, Postfach 3, D-03114 Drebkau, GERMANY
Web site: http://www.morbidrecords.de
IN THE NURSERY "Engel" (ITN Corporation) SCORE: 92/100
In The Nursery is doing a LOT of music work for movies, films and now it seems
they've stepped into the gaming realm. Engel is the soundtrack for a computer
game being created overseas, and I am quite puzzled at how the game will
progress since the music here runs the gamut of moods and emotions. Mostly
atmospheric music, they do utilize some militaristic percussion in the opening
track and reminds me strongly of a couple of tunes I've heard in the game Doom.
'Beutereiter' really impressed me with the nice mixture of dark electronics and
angelic chanting sounds, coupled with some impressive flutes! You can sense the
tribal feelings from the percussion found in 'Brandland,' complete with a more
sinister set of instrumentation than what you'll normally find, then they
switch to a mellow and serene set of instrumentation, which is simply
astounding; they seem to switch tones in one song so easily. My only major
complaint is on the two tracks that feature vocals, they just don't work well
for me. Granted, the female singer on 'Angelorum' is quite nice, but the lyrics
are in French and just don't work for me, it's almost TOO mellow. Also, the
male vocals on the title track sounds just a tad cheesy, but overall this is a
fantastic disc, one that shows In The Nursery has been making some quality
music for years now, and I wouldn't be surprised if their style and sound shows
up in a few movies here in the States sometime soon.
Contact: ITN Corp. P.O. Box 1795 Sheffield S3 7FF, ENGLAND
Web site: http://www.inthenursery.com
KAMELOT "Karma" (Noise) SCORE: 91/100
Another album from Kamelot. This makes like their fourth now doesn't it? I must
admit I haven't been a big fan of theirs, "Siege Perilous" was the only album
I've heard from them and it didn't make any big impressions on me. However,
all that's changed with this latest release. They're set to play the
Progressive Power Metal festival thing which is surprisingly going to be held
right here in Atlanta! Okay, onto the album: Superb instrumentation and song
writing for the most part, it opens well and proceeds quite nicely before
taking a few dips here and there. 'Don't You Cry' is their ballad, and though
I'm not a big fan of ballads, I have found myself singing this one quite a bit,
as Khan's vocal work is quite superb. He can really hit some notes, and his
vocal work is quite catchy especially on the first three cuts (first three with
vocals anyway), 'Forever,' 'Wings Of Despair' and 'The Spell.' 'The Spell,' in
particular, has a rather dark aura about it, especially lyric wise. The
synthesized intro for this song is unusually sinister, a trend which continues
over to the three song trilogy dedicated to our favorite Renaissance female,
Elizabeth Bathory. 'Mirror Mirror,' 'Requiem For The Innocent' and 'Fall From
Grace' make up the trilogy, and yes they are separate songs. Not your usual
fluff and fold fare (IE, some of the recent Italian power metal). Kamelot has
what I would term 'melodic heaviness' running rampant throughout their music,
which is good for those wanting to hear it done heavy. 'Across The Highlands'
is another ballad type but doesn't protray the typical ballad qualities of
'Don't You Cry.' The album's later tunes aren't as powerful and dynamic as the
beginning, but the songs are still enjoyable and hell I could even see a few
songs enjoying some radio play. I wanted to slag the quote-unquote "bonus U.S.
track" 'Ne Pleure Pas,' all it is is 'Don't You Cry' sung in French. You can
give us better than that. Otherwise, good solid album. Much impressed.
Contact: Noise Records.
KARMA TO BURN "Almost Heathen" (Spitfire) SCORE: 87/100
Some odd facts about Karma To Burn: They have a wicked and outrageous sense of
humor. (Witness the funny packaging, especially of the devil standing over a
burning forest holding a shotgun and a bottle of beer). They hate the idea of
having a singer in the band. And the whole packaging, from the CD graphics down
to the front and back sleeves, would not have been out of place on Man's Ruin
Records, may it rest in peace. If you're going to make instrumental music then
you damn well better make it interesting. And for the most part they succeed,
with a hard edged guitar sound that thrashes more often than it settles for
melody. All the song titles are numbers too, not indicitative of the track
numbers, however. Track 1 is actually called 19, Track 2 is called 38, etc.
The first three tracks have some of the most crushing riffs on the album, as
if they're trying to prove they're a metal band. Once track 4 kicks in, they
monkey around with the heaviness and throw in some melodic passages, but they
are still throwing down hard. They utilized guitar feedback in a rather unique
way on '36,' making it sound like an instrument all it's own; usually overuse
of feedback is something limited to the Noisecore scene (like Merzbow, Namanax,
etc. and something I usually despire) but here it works to their mystique quite
well. They even drag out the cowbell on '35,' for a rather dirty southern
rocker type of feel. Tracks 7 on to 10 aren't as dominant as the first few
tracks, but track 10 loses me completely, breaking out some really silly
sounding guitar work. Maybe they were trying to make it the most melodic but
they made it the most silliest track on here. And '39' portrays the stoner rock
vibe down to the essence, even throwing in a doom metal feeling. I can't really
put music like this into the best of words, but this is NOT your typical,
boring guitar god making an instrumental album. These guys KNOW how to write
Contact: Spitfire Records.
PAUL CHAIN "Sign From Space" (Beard Of Stars) SCORE: 51/100
This is a most unusual move for Paul Chain. The last time we heard from Paul,
it was via his "Alkahest" CD which was some fantastic doom metal, and now we
see him delve into the depths of space. This is going to remind one of Hawkwind
instantly, and all 4 tracks are improvised, which is most of the problem with
this CD. Plus, his use of phonetics rather than actual words (though you can
hear him say "Sign from space" rather frequently) really was a bad choice for
such a work. His vocal "phrasings" will instantly bring to mind one Dave Brock,
who did vocals for Hawkwind for many years, and this was a surprising twist.
The tracks are all entitled 'Sign From Space,' in 4 parts, and the CD starts
off with a 1 minute 46 second "intro." The next 3 tracks get progressively
longer, and the direction of the songs tends to drag, though I must say this
has promise. Track 3 is 12 minutes and the last track is over 20 minutes in
length! The last two tracks in particular feature some really odd noises and
off key guitar work in spots, and overall if this had been planned out better
I would more than likely have been astounded at the change of genre. It's
surprising to see Paul Chain venture into this realm, and hopefully with a bit
more planning and forethought to the songs this will make for a pleasant
journey, since apparently Hawkwind is no longer a band and Darxtar has all but
vanished from the face of the Earth; someone has to pick up the banner of space
rock for the 21st century.
Contact: Beard Of Stars Records, Via C. Abba 9R, 17100 Savona, ITALY
Web site: http://www.vinylmagic3.it
RABIES CASTE "Let The Soul Out And Cut The Vein" (Earache) SCORE: 36/100
This band first creeped its way into my attention via a very independent label
called Infernal Racket, and back then I wasn't very impressed. Neither am I
into this band now, who somehow got moved onto Earache Records, and I am not
sure how, but I will say that some of the attention must be due to Earache
looking for the next Pitch Shifter. At the start of the CD, 'Got It From Blake'
reminds me of Pitch Shifter via their earliest recordings like 'Submit' and
'Industrial,' though their colder, darker and harsher styled industrial/metal
hybrid was shown mainly on their Grindcore Records recordings. The vocalist is,
in one word, quite annoying. He's practically doing a hardcore yelling on damn
near every track, and there isn't much variety to his throat work. It's
actually the instrumentation that is the most interesting on this CD, as
several tracks had the Pitch Shifter guitar work down, though on many tracks
they managed to screw that up, like 'Prove Me' with it's horrible high end
leads and 'Hand Abortion,' whose guitar riffs were very painful to sit through.
'Steel Right Through The Mouth' actually have some of the best instrumentation/
vocal combinations I've heard on the CD, and the opening track, which features
a video for, are about the two best songs on here. The rest is just wierd
arrangements masked behind great industrial metal with a cold and dreary
feeling, though they need to lose that singer and tighten up their song
arrangements. Since Pitch Shifter seems to have died a slow death, I'd love to
see Rabies Caste take this to the next level and provide the world with another
angry, brutal metal/industrial crossover. Maybe some brutal death metal vocals
of the low toned variety are in order. Musically painful to sit through.
Contact: Earache Records.
RAW POWER "Trust Me" (Raw Power) SCORE: 33/100
Italian hardcore styled punk rock. Not too sure about the label of origin,
though it could have been an advance release from Hello Records, the label
responsible for Dr. Know's newest full length. The vocals are a bit rough,
not exactly a good thing in this case, and the lyrics are truly strange. Take
'Feed Them Grazioli?' What the heck is that?!? Many of the tracks here are
along similar lines, doing the fast paced punk style. They do tend to show a
bit of angst with the track 'We Hate You' and they do some venting about bad
cops on the song 'Take Your Hands Off Me,' but their lyrics delve into some
awfully strange territory. Sometimes the vocals sound like they proceed at
their own pace, rather oblivious to the rest of the band, and like I said,
VERY odd lyrics. They do a Circle Jerks cover 'Behind The Door' which failed to
impress me as well. Fast fast fast, and not much originality behind it.
REIGN OF TERROR "Sacred Ground" (Limb Music) SCORE: 94/100
Guitar virtuoso Joe Stump debuts this band as his way of showing off his
guitar skills AND making a heavy metal record one can actually enjoy. Many of
the songs here I really enjoyed, and thus the high marks. 'Save Me' starts out
with some intense riffing, speedy riffs that border on the power metal coming
out today, and great vocal work. Just as noteworthy is the choruses which Joe
knows how to make use of. 'Sacred Ground' was rather nice as well, melodic
vocals on the chorus and some mean licks. 'Dante's Danza' and 'Paginini's
Purgatory' are the two instrumentals here, and 'Paginini's Purgatory' is the
better of the two, as it features great emotional instrumentation and is not
just a showoff track, unlike 'Dante's Danza' which is filled with tight
musicianship, but was a bit long and I would have liked to hear more
instrumental variety. This is what a guitar virtuoso's album should sound like,
and it's clear he's playing music that is not outdated sounding. Other choice
cuts are the mean rocker 'Hellbound,' and 'Undercover.' 'When Will We Know' was
really the only weak cut here, as it clocks in at 7 minutes and at a slower
pace really seems to drag, plus the choruses are not as dynamic as they are
throughout the CD. Nevertheless, if you like heavy metal without all the fluff,
all the nu-jack aggression and just want to hear someone rock, then this disc
is definitely for you. The CD has been garnering good press worldwide as well.
Contact: Limb Music Products.
ROYAL HUNT "The Mission" (Century Media) SCORE: 87/100
I was completely blown away by Royal Hunt's "Fear" album (yes, even the ballad
type track.) So obviously I was looking forward to this one, and while it's a
solid album, I can't help but be just a bit disappointed. This album quite
simply has "Fear" written all over it. Here's some comparisons: New track
'World Wide War:' reminds one STRONGLY of 'Faces Of War' from the previous
effort, similarity in songtitles notwithstanding. The heavy guitar riffs sound
basically reworked though they are heavy. The bass guitar work starts off
'Judgement Day' like it does on 'Fear' from the previous album of the same
name, though the chorus work is different. The instrumental track 'Fourth
Dimension' has structure that is along similar lines as 'Lies' however for all
the similarities, these are still good songs. This tells me one of two things:
either they resurrected pieces, riffs and ideas from the album "Fear" or their
signature elements are just too easily recognized. Either way, you'd be hard
pressed to say this album didn't deserve more than a few spins. 'Total Recall'
is one of their heaviest tunes that is truly original, and the title track is
also in a different vein. The vocalist as always never fails to shine, and his
vocal work has gotten a bit more diverse, though you'd have to REALLY know
their last album inside and out to recognize this. They do sprinkle the 13
tracks with a few instrumentals, which shows off their skills without being too
flashy or saying "hey look at he the master musician" like some progressive
metal bands I've heard recently. They KNOW how to write good songs, bottom
Contact: Century Media Records.
SCENE KILLER "Scene Killer" (Meteor City) SCORE: 80/100
Despite Meteor City having one of the best track records for stoner rock
worldwide, I was indeed a bit skeptical when I saw the number of artists from
different bands contributing to what is essentially a jam session for stoner
rock musicians. This will get a bit more attention, thankfully, due in large
part to the contribution of Tim Cronin and Ed Mundell, both of Monster Magnet
fame, who many of the artists on this compilation will agree are big influences
on the modern stoner rock scene, which seems to have many roots in Jersey. So
enter the first track 'Intro,' which is a short guitar oriented, well, jam
session if you will. The riffs here are killer and incorporate more influences
than you might think.One of my favorite of the Meteor City bands Solace
lend their talented and killer vocalist Jason for a few tracks, the tune 'Pit
Of Your Soul' sounds like it could have been written by Solace themselves,
complete with heavy riffs that accentuate Jason's heavier delivery as well as
his smooth singing style. However, that style didn't work very well, and
surprising it was to me, on 'As You Look.' Sounded to me like his vocals had
some electronic effects on them. Other few detractions were the ability of many
tracks to run exceedingly long, though the guitar work is definitely a
highlight throughout, without much essence to the filler minutes. Plus, the
vocals and instrumentation didn't work for me on 'You Know,' which was acoustic
based and had some rough vocal work. However, one can see the influence of
the mighty Robin Trower on tunes like 'Midnight Snack,' which just oozes class
and anyone familiar with the Trower album "Bridge Of Sighs" will know exactly
how cool this is. 'Back Of My Mind' was a balls out rocker, complete with funny
but cool lyrics, and the rest of the album definitely shows off the skill and
craftsmanship of some of the best bands in the stoner rock genre, despite the
sometimes tiring ability to exceed their distance and duration. Also noteworthy
to this "compilation" of sorts is the inclusion of the last Drag Pack song
ever to be written in 'Psychic Down,' plus an older Drag Pack tune 'Aurora.'
Good material overall, and one that should require some of your attention
Contact: Meteor City.
SIGH "Imaginary Sonicscape" (Century Media) SCORE: 91/100
After the terribly disappointing "Scenario IV: Dread Dreams" on Cacophonous,
I must say that thi\ough I dig them branching out WAY into left field, I didn't
expect their follow up to be any good, but I knew if anyone could tame such a
wild beast, then it would be Century Media (and no I don't mean tame as in
"convert" their sound). In the interview, I noted that I have been telling
people that this is what The Beatles would have sounded like had they played
black metal back in the 60's and nothing could be further from the truth!
One very unusual characteristic is their use of vintage 60's and 70's
equipment, like the Mini Moog, the Rhodes-Fender, and the Hammond Organ, the
latter a favorite instrument of mine ever since Hacienda (also reviewed this
issue) put it to good use back on their debut "Sunday Afternoon." The vocal
work has improved dramatically this time around, and the keyboard work is more
spacey and psychedelic than you have ever heard from them. 'Nietzschean
Conspiracy' is the only track without guitars, and is very slow and eerie, not
to mention that it was co written by an ex black metal member! (You'll have to
read the interview to see who) There were only a few bad spots on this disc,
and that's not really surprising considering just how much they throw in there.
'Slaughtergarden Suite,' in addition to being way too long at nearly 11
minutes, has a wierd industrial vibe to it and the vocals don't mix well here.
However, there is so much going on it may take you a few spins to get it all
to sink in, though I remember digging this thing on my first listen! And
finally, the track 'Scarlet Dream' had robotic effected vocals, something I
usually don't dig, but here they just added the right effect. The most
original and innovative black metal band you will ever hear, it's no wonder
these guys have a cult following that goes all the way back to the very roots
of the Norweigan Black Metal scene. Read the interview!
Contact: Century Media Records.
SONATA ARCTICA "Silence" (Century Media) SCORE: 92/100
I definitely enjoyed this album, their second full length. Spinefarm Records
has proven to have considerably talented bands on their roster, and now that
Century Media licenses and distributes these titles, the American market can
finally catch on to what the rest of the world has been raving about. A
Finnish group that released "Ecliptica" (reviewed by us some time ago) has
definitely improved upon their style and sound. I'm still not crazy about the
power metal scene embracing the ballad, which is touched upon here by the songs
'Last Drop Falls' and 'Tallulah,' though the vocal work is superb. Highlights
of this disc have to be 'Sing In Silence' and 'False News Travels Fast,' with
well built choruses and the trademark speedy keyboard and guitar solo riffs.
For their second album they sure have come a long way, and their melodic side
also gives way to some heaviness, most noted on 'Wolf & Raven,' which REALLY
surprised me at just how heavy they can get! 'Black Sheep' was a cool tune as
well, especially since it's mostly guitar dominated and has very catchy chorus
work. 'The End Of This Chapter' showcases some surprising new twists, though
it's only utilized on a few words: death metal vocals! Despite the cheesy man
calls woman on the phone on a dark stormy night ala "I Know What You Did Last
Summer," this is a good tune that shows Sonata going from a semi ballad to a
heavy track. Much more dynamic and heavier than their last release, which I did
somewhat enjoy, it does show that power metal mixed with melody doesn't always
have to be fruity.
Contact: Century Media Records.
THE EVILS "Live At Studio X" (Skull & Bones) SCORE: 96/100
My history goes back with this band at least a year and a half. The first time
I saw The Evils, a local Atlanta band, was when they opened up for Fear.
And immediately I was impressed by how old school their punk sound was, not to
mention the fact that they had some kick ass tunes. Plus, they did a Motorhead
cover onstage! I asked them to send me a CD when they were done, it never
arrived. Fast forward about 1 and a half years later, when they, AGAIN, opened
for Fear, THIS time they did give me a CD and boy was it ever worth the wait!
I must say I don't know much about Atlanta's history within the punk scene, but
this has to be one of the best Atlanta punk bands I have ever heard, hell one
of the best ATLANTA bands I've heard. The CD starts things off with 'Liberty,'
and I must say it's strange to hear loud, rowdy, kick ass attitude and rough
punks espouse the benefits of freedom in the U.S.A., but freedom to do what
one wants must be the ultimate rebellion. Whatever. 'Goin' Down' shows the boys
telling you that you're taking some damage, and with their fast riffs, great
song structures, and choruses you'll be remembering long after the CD's over,
you know that punk is alive and well in the South. 'No Rest For The Wicked' had
some cool lyrics and a passion for the dark side of life, check out some of the
cool lyrics like 'And the wolfman is my friend, until the silver bullet end.'
And my favorite line 'Speed on brother, hell ain't half full. You wanna hang
with me you gotta break the rules.' You can also hear some Misfits inspired
'Hey' and 'go, go' type multi vocal breaks. Only a few bad spots here though,
the song 'Lovesick' was rather weak, especially with the lyrical content, and
'Rockers' was rather bad, notice that the choruses are just 'hey, hey, hey
rockers.' I was a bit disappointed in this track also because the guitars were
a tad overbearing. 'Attack' sounded like New Wave Of British Heavy Metal fare,
until the vocals kicked in and then you know it's a punk song. Besides, when
did punks start singing songs about riding motorcycles and goin' down a dusty
highway? No matter, these guys do sport the "rock and roll band" moniker, and
I guess that's the latest craze amongst new school punks these days, to try to
be "rock and roll, baby!" Guess calling yourselves a punk band ain't the in
thing to do anymore, well, don't let that stop you from remembering what punk
is supposed to sound like: kick ass, bad attitude, and songs that never dip
past the 3 minute mark, even with the excellent lead guitar solos that pop up.
Contact: The Evils, P.O. Box 5582, Atlanta, GA 31107 USA
Web site: http://www.rockandrollsf.com
TRANSATLANTIC "Bridge Across Forever" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 53/100
It was pretty screwed up the way I had to review this thing. The CD is divided
into 4 "songs" with each song containing several sub-songs. Except for track
3, that is its own song. Confused yet? Well, when you have 4 "songs" totalling
70 minutes, you might start to get the idea of just how poorly this is
executed. Worse still, some of the "sub songs" simply regurgitate lyrics and
song ideas from the previous "sub songs" before it. This is the "brainchild" of
key members of Marillion, Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings. A seriously
whacked out idea if ever there was one. Roine Stolt's influence is obviously
the most dominant of the three, and one of the weakest links found here.
The Flower Kings, to be fair, had one great album in "Back To The World Of
Adventures" (reviewed here in issue #16) but since then have been progressively
sliding downward. Later albums started getting progressively cheesier, and
their fruity keyboard work has wormed it's way into several "sub songs,"
especially on the first "track." The vocal work isn't bad on many spots, in
fact when the three of them harmonize it's done quite nicely. And the only
thing that keeps this from dipping into the low to horrible range is that many
tracks actually show us that instrumentation skills are possessed by these
stalwarts of their respective genres in abundance. However, due to the length
of these 4 tracks, it would have been far better had they split the songs up,
like for instance the 26 minute track one actually has 5 subsongs, and 25
minute track 4 has 6 subsongs! I did like the saxophone on 'Silence Of The
Night' (subsong 3 on track 1) and it retained a Pink Floyd'ish atmosphere which
is ALWAYS cool. The biggest pleasant surprise was to be found on track 4,
subsong 2, 'Hanging In The Balance' where they utilize some crunchy and almost
thrash oriented guitar work! Even Stolt's "metal" vocal delivery, a style
totally alien to him throughout his years of work with The Flower Kings, was in
surprisingly good form. They should have stuck to this style instead of the
fruity crap found damn near everywhere else. The ballad type pieces give way
to some rather bad lyrics, check a sample from 'Mr. Wonderful' which manages to
rip on both the Beatles and The Rolling Stones: 'His name is wonderful, and
it's wonderful just to be near him, his name is majesty and his majesty is
requesting your presence.' Oh and the Beatles reference from 'If She Runs:'
'It's hard, calming the Beatle inside of me, it's hard, missing my max and
melody.' 'Lost And Found Part 1' has some awful vocal work, sounds to me like
whoever is doing the singing is trying to go soul on us. Can't believe that
Metal Blade didn't demand a heavier input from these guys, giving the name
"Metal" and all in the record label title. Obviously this is the fault of
Spock's Beard for the pressing of this.
Contact: Metal Blade.
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Guitars On Mushroom" (Zoomica Music/SPV) SCORE: 79/100
Those of you who aren't into electronic music may want to skip this section. Or
you might want to see just what this is all about. It's trance, mostly of the
psychedelic genre, or commonly known as goa trance, hell I get confused with
all the genre tagging in what's basically techno. But this isn't your ordinary,
slap happy soul induced club crashing techno. These electronic tunes have been
fused with the mighty guitar, and make for an interesting album. To be sure,
there are some duds here on this 2 CD set, most of the bad eggs being on CD 1.
And the songs do tend to be long, though, but I always say if you're enjoying
good instrumentation, length usually doesn't matter. (See Hacienda songs and
the Beatles amazing guitar riff on 'I Want You.') One thing everyone knows I
hate about techno is their damn insistence on what I term "ghetto beats," or
that damn breakbeat/jungle percussion. It crept into a great ambient album from
Galaxy and it almost makes me skip the first track 'Sexdrugs & Acidtrance.'
'Deep Thought' from the second CD had this, but it also had some strange
tribal chants going on. Some of the tracks that weren't working for me just
didn't have anything going on, and 5 minutes of a dead air track are bad
enough, much less 8 or 9 or even 10 minutes of dead air! So onto the good
stuff, of which there's quite a bit. For all you thrashers out there, the most
dominant track is 'Killer State,' this thing has a dark intensity and guitar
work that simply kicks you down and keeps stomping! The beat structures are
dark and heavy. 'Breaking Limits' from CD2 is another one of my favorites, with
some wild trancey and spacey instrumentation that just dominates and keeps
things aggressive. 'Meteor' again from CD2 has dual guitar work, and is quite
upbeat and trancey as all hell, which makes for a fantastic club tune. Check
out the bluesy guitar riffs on 'Down At The Crossroads,' which also has some
nice background commentary on Robert Johnson, and the guitar work everywhere
else (on the good tracks) isn't used just to "fill in" holes in the music, it
actually enhances good electronic music. Not many tracks have vocal work, and
the vocal work is usually limited to movie samples ('Killer State,' 'V.D.
Massacre) or spoken word pieces (like in the corny and cheesy tune 'Laugh.')
Some duds over two CD's but overall damn good material that you can really
appreciate. And as I said before, most ravers or happy go lucky techno heads
will be very surprised to find out that the majority of moods presented over
these 18 tracks, 5 of them unreleased, are quite dark and sinister, not at all
what most people think about electronic music. Who says guitars and techno
Contact: Zoomica Music, Vogteistr. 15, D-50670 Koln
VESPERIAN SORROW "Psychotic Sculpture" (Displeased) SCORE: 96/100
Record labels do get annoyed at me sometimes. In three months I manage to get
many CD's from labels all over the world, and I can't cover everything I get.
Most times CD's are passed over because they arrived past the deadline, or I
had covered too many CD's from the same label, or I just didn't find the band
interesting enough to cover. In the case of Vesperian Sorrow, we actually
did get their first album "Beyond The Cursed Eclipse" and it did arrive past
the deadline, which was a shame because their American blend of melody and
vicious black metal passages makes for one of the most interesting black metal
bands to ever come out of the U.S. of A. Their penchant for long songs
notwithstanding (like the almost 11 minute opener 'Solitude'), you'd be hard
pressed to find a band that plays this much synthesized melody corrupting it
with such blasphemated viciousness. And these dual black vocals (one that
borders on low growled death, the other of high pitched screechiness that would
make Mr. Cradle Of Filth screamer dani cower in fear) are in a realm by
themselves. Does the throat rippings come from one truly demented and talented
man, or are there two screamers? Nevertheless, on a completely different note,
the songtitles are most assuredly NOT of the typical black metal variety, like
'Nebula Design' and 'Spiral Symphony,' shit these song titles owe more to
Hawkwind and The Kovenant than Emperor, Dark Funeral or Marduk! And I was
pleasantly surprised by the accordian notes on 'Arena Unorthodox.' An
accordian! Wonders never cease. The instrumentation is oftentimes a thing of
beauty, and the guitar riffs are so clean and complex. Check the solo lead
riffings of 'Solitude' and 'Nebula Design.' They even let the synths get a
solo moment. Points had to be taken off for the last track, which is sure to
raise ire for black metal purists. It's a synth piece with female vocals ONLY.
And it didn't really sit well with me either. Century Media should surely take
an interest in this band, who surpasses the works of Sigh and even the newer
"artful" black metal bands like And Oceans and the rest. Far superior to most
black metal bands of an American standpoint and we're awfully sorry we didn't
review their first album, but it does take awhile for the psychotic genius of
this band to manifest itself to the uninitiated. HIGHLY recommended. And hell,
I forgot the eerie violin intro to 'Spiral Symphony.' Different and still
vicious enough to kick your teeth in.
Contact: Displeased Records.
WAYNE "Metal Church" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 88/100
After the disappointing Metal Church album "Masterpeace," founding vocalist
David Wayne has left the Metal Church fold. So when he formed his own group
Wayne, I thought it was a bit pretentious to call his latest album "Metal
Church." That is, until I actually listened to the thing. David remembers
exactly what true kick ass heavy metal is supposed to sound like, and with a
few exceptions reminded us all just what we loved about Metal Church in the
first place. Soaring vocal work, kick ass guitar riffs and cool song structures
make for an enjoyable ride. 'The Choice' starts things off at a moderate pace,
however the tune 'Nightmare Part II' is about as fast as it gets. 'Ballad For
Marianne' was an interesting tune, showcasing some of David's more singing
prowess, though not one of my favorites. And I didn't care for his cover of
'Mississippi Queen,' though I didn't like Sons Of Otis' cover either, but he
does try to make it a rockin' tune. 'Vlad' had some rough spots on the opening
vocal work, his vocals are a little unsettling, but once the chorus comes up
things are in kickass form once again. 'Hannibal' was one of my favorite cuts
on here, just balls out vicious and with eerie lyrics and fantastic chorus work
that is a trademark from the old school Metal Church days. 'DSD,' or 'Die Satan
Die' if you will, sounded like Black Sabbath's 'Heaven And Hell' Dio tune, and
should give you a good indication of what Metal Church's frontman is all about.
And let's not forget about the AC/DC inspired 'The Hammer Will Fall.' People
have raved in the past about David's first solo project entitled Reverend, so
for those who dig that band this one should keep you entertained long after
Metal Church has fallen by the wayside.
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.
BEATEN BACK TO PURE. Interview with Ben.
This might come off as a White Power interview due to the nature of us
Southerners, but be rest assured everything will be explained below. The thing
that makes this death metal/stoner rock combo so great is not just the lyrics
and the overall kick ass quality of the music, but the fact that Ben is
definitely not afraid to speak the truth AND his mind. Anyone who thinks the
Confederate flag stands for racism has a LOT to learn about true history. I
learned it in schools and so did Ben, so read below and keep an open mind
before making any snap judgements.
I haven't heard of the label, Retribute Records, in fact this is
the first thing I got from them!
They've been around for a few years. This is the sixth album they've put out,
and they have a few more releases coming out soon. They started out small,
but they branched out and started buying ad space in Terrorizer, Unrestrained
and Metal Rules, sending out promos and looking to gain more press. He's
sending out more promos now than he ever has. He's aiming to make this his full
time job now.
So who else is signed to his label?
The band he put out before us was called Soils Of Fate, the next thing he's
doing is a Visceral Bleeding record, perhaps a God's Iron Tooth release is
coming out soon. He put out a band called Evanescence, they are with Rage Of
The best way I can describe Beaten Back To Pure to people is like a
cross between Iron Monkey and Lamb Of God, with a little bit of Southern
hospitality thrown in there. (and no, that's not a band.)
I do like Iron Monkey, and Lamb Of God I remember them when they were Burn The
Priest, they're from Richmond. I've seen them around at shows and talked to
them quite a bit; the drummer knows our guitar player's girlfriend and used to
hang out regularly. That's not a bad comparison, out of bands that are out there
we could be compared to a lot worse. We get a lot of an Eye Hate God influence;
every damn review we've seen we can't seem to get out from under that, and I
don't believe we're even that similar.
Well, you have to admit, most of what's going on in your music is
mostly, especially where the riffs are concerned, rooted in stoner rock.
Yeah, maybe stoner rock on 11. Stoner rock I think is boring, all the bands
sound similar, the clean vocals and all don't do too much for me. I try to stay
away from that genre, but we don't get a lot of reviews that say that!
Have you heard Abdullah? As far as I'm concerned they are
considered one of the best in the genre, but I wouldn't say they're exclusively
stoner rock either. They have elements of doom metal in their music as well.
I've heard the name, I think we're either gonna be on a compilation with them
or playing out with them. I guess I shouldn't say I don't like stoner rock, we
have a lot of friends in the genre like Slowhorse, we're friends with their
drummer. I mean how many times can you regurgitate Black Sabbath, it's not any
individual bands but the genre as a whole I suppose. I do like doom metal, and
if it would cater to the doom metal style more then I think that would be more
up my alley. There's some stuff on Rage Of Achilles I found interesting, like
Kaptain Sun, Witch Mountain.
A lot of people say that the vocal work is awfully similar to what
Lamb Of God is doing.
Randy's good, but I don't think I hear that so much. The newer stuff we're
doing are going to have more cleaner vocals in them. Maybe 25 percent of the
time for this new one. Mainly just going lower and heavier, it comes across as
meaner. And it saves my throat for the next night!
The guitar riffs too are pretty amazing. It's one thing to hear the
growling, but those clean solos are well done. You have some great guitar work
going throughout your songs.
I've got every bit of confidence in my guys. They've been playing their
instruments since they were little, of course they're all grown now. Vince has
been playing his guitar since he was about 10, he does all the leads. This is
really his first project that he's gotten out of the rehearsal room. Shit, he's
been playing for about 17, 18 years now. Other people come to the table with
ideas, but Vince is the one that crafts them into the Beaten Back To Pure
sound. He's the one that goes home and twiddles the guitar, does some
practicing, and comes to the practice room with 85 percent of our riffs.
I'd like to talk to you about your lyrics, because they seem to
have a theme but the wording is rather abstract, maybe just a collage of ideas
coming together to back the theme of the title?
You're right in a way. I don't have any stories to tell or political messages
to get across, it's more like a series of one liners. The song titles in the
songs sometimes don't even line up. It's probably not a perfect way to do it,
but it's how I do it. I guess you could say I write down indiscriminate
thoughts during the day as they occur to me, whether it sounds crushing or
tragic or whatever. When it comes time to write a song I refer to that and
check to see if it has the right amount of syllables, then you got a line!
I know you had a line in there about the Civil War, with the song
'Antietam.' So I was assuming you had a lot to say about the South in general,
since you're noted as being a Southern styled band.
Well, the Civil War was an important battle for the U.S., despite what's
happened to New York in the last few weeks (referring to the World Trade Center
bombing - Ed.) I'm just glad we're starting to fire back.
I tell ya what we need to do with them, we need to round them all
up, douse them with jet fuel and stick them in the top floor of a 100 story
building, lock them all in so they can't escape, then make 'em wait 30 or 40
minutes before we slam a plane into their ass. Hey, let's make them feel what
those other passengers and people in the buildings felt!
That's a pretty good idea. I'd want to kill the babies in front of their
families, kill the mothers in front of the husbands who committed the crimes,
and line the streets with impaled women and children like Vlad the Impaler.
What a message that would send, eh? The thing that always struck me
as odd about the Civil War, I remember reading in textbooks that everyone
expected the North to win the war early on, and people were actually packing
picnic lunches and camping out right on the battlefield to watch this first
battle of the war as it went down!
Damn, I never read that. I dunno if it was me I would be worried about stray
bullets. At the time I guess they didn't think about it, it took too long to
load up those muskets, hell you could only get off a shot at a time.
I know you proudly sport a confederate flag on your album, which I
am happy to see. We've been going through hell down here, our governor actually
snuck behind our backs and got the flag changed on us, so we didn't even have a
say as people. The right to vote on our own flag was taken away from us.
Geez, I didn't know that. I know South Carolina gave in, I didn't know Georgia
One thing you have to note about the Confederate flag, if it's such
an abomination, then why does the basic design borrow, in a sense, from the
main U.S. flag?
The rebel flag is such a pain in the ass anyway, it's so fueled by ignorance
and people are basically just trying to see what they can get away with at this
point. I'm not trying to generalize anything but it seems like they're saying
we can make them give us free housing and food stamps, hell, let's see if we
can get 'em to take that flag down that we don't like.
I look at this whole evil as the fault of the NAACP. Okay, here's a
group that's obviously motivated by political power and money. I'm not trying
to generalize or stereotype anyone, but you know how some people like
basketball. This NAACP group that says they want to protect the rights and
liberties of black people, they wanted to come in and boycott the NCAA
basketball tournament right here in Georgia if the flag wasn't changed. And the
fact of the matter, the bottom line is, what in essence they are really doing
is costing the state hundreds of dollars in revenue for THEIR citizens they say
they so badly stand up for. They wanted to cost hundred of Georgia's citizens
jobs and money, money that some of these black citizens, not to mention white
citizens as well, so badly need. They'd rather come in and hurt their own
people over a flag.
And that affects EVERYBODY, from the peanut vendor to the guy outside the
stadium selling T-shirts outside the arena. It affects the lowest man on the
totem pole as well as the venue owners and future millionaires on the floor.
They have a really backwards agenda. You see, they want equal rights, AND they
want affirmative action. That's not equal, that's like equal plus one. As long
as they push for disparity, then there will never be equality. It's like the
Native American Indians giving people a hard time about the Washington Redskins
and the Atlanta Braves, but they don't get the time of day in court, no one
even listens to them. Maybe their numbers just aren't that strong or
politically they just don't have any clout, but for all the hell they've raised
they've never got anyone to fend for their wishes.
Even the NAACP would do well to remember the confederate flag
served them as well. Despite what I said earlier, the flag was based on the
design of the original U.S. flag because the Sons Of The Confederacy knew that
even though they were breaking away from the original country, without carrying
at least some of the ideas and thoughts that made America what it is, their own
new form of government would have no backing. The original ideas and backbone
of the original government had to serve some basis for their new government,
and maybe no one wants to say it, but the Confederacy took those ideas from the
old government incorporating them into the new. What the Confederate flag stood
for basically was freedom from governmental oppression, it wasn't totally about
goddamn slavery, it's about keeping the government out of your face and running
your own life.
It's definitely NOT about slavery, less than 20 percent of the Civil War was
fought about slavery. My girlfriend has a 12 year old kid who comes home with
homework, and they're even teaching these kids differently about the Civil War
than from what I was taught in schools years ago. They're trying to change
history, basically selling propaganda. They're trying to mold the past, change
it into a more palatable story, but hey the truth ain't always pretty.
I think the more time that goes on, the less people are going to be
around that actually remember how it was in the textbooks and how it was taught
in schools. They can afford to take liberty with the damn textbook.
Well, I'm sure I got a watered down version myself 15 years ago. And it'll be
worse about 15 years from now.
Even in schools I went to though, it almost had to be agreed upon
that the war wasn't fought over just slavery, hell I think we'd rather just
give up the slavery thing than have so many of our men killed. Maybe that
general agreement came because I live in the south, but even still...
I'm sure the Northern white men weren't that pissed off about the free labor
down south, hell, they probably wanted free labor of their own. I mean Abraham
Lincoln owned slaves! I read in addresses he made in Rutgers Library about his
reasons for freeing the slaves; he stated the reason he wanted to free slaves
was because he thought the idea of blacks and whites living amongst one another
was a bad idea. He wanted to load them back on ships and send them away. That
was his original idea, but there were excerpts from several different speeches.
It's not what they teach now though I'm sure, the way you hear it now he would
be happy to have a black man marry his daughter, have them over for Christmas
and what not. Truth is very distorted, and 90 percent of the people in the
world hardly ever question what is told to them anyway, especially when it
comes from higher up.
The stranger thing is, like take this war on Osama. I mean you see
the pictures of war, and the bombings and the pictures of targets being hit,
you have the radio and TV and newspapers accountings, but really we have no
idea what is going on overseas. Hell for all we know Osama is getting more U.S.
funding for another hit somewhere else in the world. We gave him money in the
first goddamn place to run the Russians out of his country.
CREMATORY. Interview with Matthias and Harold.
Without too much being said, it is a damn sad day to see a ten year act come to
an end. Crematory had it's start with keyboard oriented death metal on their
demos, and ended exactly the same way they started, with some noticeable
improvements along the way. This is most definitely one of our feature
interviews this month, and I am proud to say I have been a Crematory fan for
I've been a big fan of yours for quite awhile, my history with you
goes as far back as "Just Dreaming," and I'm sure the most obvious question I
have is, well, after 10 years, and I know what it's like to have a project last
more than 10 years as this magazine is going on it's twelfth year soon; so I
guess the big question is why after this long is the band splitting up?
Well, there are good reasons for the split. I think the first reason is our
private lives. We're not a young band anymore, and we reached a certain point
where we have to take care of our private lives. You can't do Crematory on a
50 or 60 percent level because you always have to give 100 percent and we gave
everything we had for the last ten years. It left us with no private lives, as
we did so many tours for each and every record. We want to look forward to the
future and think about our lives after the music business. Also, certain
members are having health problems; for instance our bassist Harold has
problems with his arms, and when he takes it further he probably won't be able
to play bass anymore. You can't buy health for money, your health is one of the
most important things you have in life. Crematory was tagged as Europe's
leading gothic metal band, and the media, press and radio stations in Germany
ignored us for a long time. We always reached higher chart positions with every
record but we were ignored and got no acceptance from like MTV or major
companies. If you want to do the big hit today you have to have acceptance from
the media. There are no more goals for us to achieve we think, so we went as
far as we could and want to leave Crematory where it is on it's highest level.
We never had the opportunity to do support tours for bigger bands, though we
don't know the reasons. There aren't many bands left in the gothic metal scene
in Europe as it is. It seems like there is becoming less and less acceptance
for heavy music in Germany anyway.
One thing I was upset about was that Crematory never got to play
here live in the States. I figured with Nuclear Blast they would hook something
up. I am curious though if any other Crematory members planned to pursue other
bands or musical projects.
We always wanted to tour the States but never got offered a tour. This was one
of our biggest aims. As for other members, you never know. I am continuing with
my second band Century which is less heavy but more gothic rock and synth pop
oriented. Felix has another side project which he is doing very aggressive
grind core and death metal, and Harold is thinking about joining his old band,
reuniting them. Kathryn and Matthias aren't sure what they want to do with
their musical future. We're going to continue music in some way I can say, but
where we go I don't know.
It's very unusual that our lives parallel so well, because I have
had quite a few times when I have looked at the magazine, and just wondering if
I am being very effective, if I'm reaching a target audience or just being
ignored. So in essence I have had to evaluate my life and music has been a big
part of my life for so long. I have asked if there is anything else in this
field I can accomplish.
That's the main point, you have to evaluate everything that you are doing.
It's getting to the point where people like us that grew up on the
80's style of death and thrash metal are getting older, and obviously you're
not going to be into the same style of music, but look at Dark Tranquility,
they have still kept it heavier and added a lot of melody and singing vocals,
but it's still hard edged. I think people's tastes change over time and it
seems more and more difficult for bands to still be heavy and yet still
progress as a band and actually appeal to a wider audience.
Yeah, but you develop as a person when you get older. You change your mind and
your opinions and your music develops. It doesn't make any sense to pretend you
are 16 or 17 and do the same style you did when you were a teenager. I think
this whole instance has come together in the music, and for Crematory it
doesn't make any sense to record an album like "Just Dreaming." It was an
ongoing process for us and always has been.
Well, especially with the last record you released, there were
still some extremely dark and heavy passages within the framework, and I have
been followed you since "Just Dreaming," where you were using keyboards! You've
used keys since the beginning, and I've seen people on the internet who say,
"well, I like Crematory's older stuff better," and I have to say, well, how far
back are you talking about? Some of the earlier stuff matches up in the darker
vein with what was done on your last record you put out
A major influence on our last record was our guitar player Matthias; he stuck
to the thrash metal guitar influences, all this influence from playing
Metallica's early stuff. He brought in some new darker and heavier riffs. So
we tried to combine his new style of guitar playing with our way of using
keyboards and samples, and that's what made the "Believe" album.
Going back a bit, I noticed from the liner notes that your keyboard player
has been with you since the beginning, apparently she was with you when you
were doing demos?
Kathryn was a guest musician on our first demo tape, and after that we decided
to put her in the band as a fulltime member. She's a big part of Crematory, so
obviously she's not a guest musician anymore.
That 2 CD set you released recently, your last recorded work for
Nuclear Blast really surprised me. Rather than being in a cardboard sleeve, it
came with full packaging, nice extensive color booklet and in a jewel case!
I'm glad that was done at least so the U.S. fans would have a nice farewell
present from you guys.
That was actually our idea, we told them not to send any promo copies, or those
CD's in a paper folder, we wanted everyone to have the original CD, the
finished product. For this release you must have the original CD, the booklet,
the photos and text, or otherwise it doesn't make sense to even do this. Our
intention was for the press to have this especially so they could obtain the
whole "Remind" experience.
Going back on your history a little more, I remember the self
titled album you did that was all in German. I think from reading press
releases you did that special CD as a thank you to your German fans.
Especially on the "Just Dreaming" album we had a song with German lyrics. We
always heard gripes from the fans "Why don't you do an album in German
language," or they wanted more songs like that. They requested that so much,
and Crematory is always a band that didn't care about what record labels wanted
us to do or business people wanted, because we are a very fan related band.
When the fans requested this we said why not give them what they want? It was
a big chance for us, especially for the German fans, to get Crematory more
popular. Historically, we got the German union in the 90's, and we have a lot
of East German fans that don't speak proper English, who didn't have English
taught in school. They didn't get along well with our English lyrics either, so
that was a way for the East German fans to be drawn in further to what
Crematory was doing.
I don't know if you're into German industrial bands like Das Ich
and Wumpscutt: but I have always appreciated the German lyrics in music, and I
don't know if this is going to be seen as an attack to you, but I have always
thought that the German language is much harsher and really fits more brutal
music than American lyrics do. So I really appreciated the self titled German
album when it came out. Some Americans though I'm sure probably said "Aw, well,
it's all in German, screw it."
Well, the German language is a lot harder than English, and it also was a
chance for Felix to express his feelings and emotions in the German language,
it's his natural language. I think you can express your feelings in a different
way when you do it in your native language. We kept on doing German lyrics on
later records, so it has become a trademark for us. Actually, after the release
of the German album, we got even more requests for more German sung albums, but
we decided to still include a few tracks in German on newer records.
How did that self titled album do outside of Germany? Did you get
to see any foreign press for it?
We actually got some outside feedback, and they still said it was a good album.
No one seemed to care about the fact we sang in German. In the U.S., Rammstein
is very big there, and they also sing in German as well. I don't think the
language limits your music if it fits.
Are you fans of any other bands in the gothic or industrial genre?
I know you are Sisters Of Mercy fans, as you did a cover of their big club hit
'Temple Of Love.'
Sisters Of Mercy are one of our old time favorite bands, they are huge in
Germany. I know they haven't released an album in 10 years, but they're still
big there. We are all big fans and that's why we did that cover, to show
appreciation and show our respect to them.
I've been after this interview for quite a long time, I bugged
Nuclear Blast for months and months for the interview, nothing happened, and
now I just want to say I feel priveledged and it is an extreme honor to finally
be getting to talk to you guys. I have been a fan of yours, like I said, since
the "Just Dreaming" album, with subsequent albums all getting great reviews,
and there is one thing I wanted to ask about the progression of your
albums. The artwork on "Just Dreaming" is really intense, with rich colors and
unbelievable graphics, but later albums have taken a kind of nosedive away from
the colorful artwork, going for more simple themes. I mean "Act Seven" had a
nice shield display and all but it wasn't the elaborate paintings and artwork
that stood out like on earlier works.
Thank you very much. Well, we changed our style in music, so we changed our
style in layout for albums. You can't do always the same thing from album to
album, so we decided to have less colorful artwork and colors. We changed our
logo as well to a much more readable style, and we thought that later layouts
fit better to the music.
"Just Dreaming's" cover was so wild looking, with that golden
statue with wings, suspended in a cathedral overlooking some giant mouth! I am
wondering what was going on in the mind of the person that painted this cover!
Actually, I will have to hand you over to Harold, who is more in line with that
sort of stuff.
Yes, hello, this is Harold. The artist was like 65 or 66 years old, and lived
in our neighborhood. He only drew stupid pictures, ha ha, but we got in touch
with him through Massacre Records. We went through some of his artwork and
tried to pick out something that would fit our music. We ended up buying about
5 or 6 from him, and they were used from the "Transmigration" to the
"Illusions" album. I think this guy has died now. He was a strange guy, indeed,
but he didn't want to see his originals. He wanted for one picture about
20,000 marks, it was too expensive. So we said, okay, we'll just buy the
Since you have been around since the early days, I'm curious as to
why you left Massacre Records to sign with Nuclear Blast, I'm thinking because,
especially nowadays, they are such a huge player in the metal market. You had
quite a few record with them so I'm wondering if there was any problems that
caused you to leave the label?
When you sign your first record deal, it's obviously not the best you can get.
We were very happy to get the first record deal with Massacre, at the beginning
there were no problems, but when Crematory started getting bigger, we wanted to
ask for more support from the label; more support, more money for touring,
better layouts, everything had to go better in our opinions. The band had
different ideas from our label, and after the German album our deal with
Massacre was finished. Once we were off Massacre, we started getting many
offers from many labels here in Germany. We chose Nuclear Blast in 1997 because
Crematory was always a fan oriented band. I think we were the first band that
Nuclear Blast paid for us to get the record deal. After that they signed bands
like Manowar, Helloween, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir and other big bands came to
the label. Nuclear Blast really grew up at that point, and and it was a good
thing for us to see the band grow up together with the label. The president of
Nuclear Blast was a good friend of ours, and the whole company worked very well
for us. We originally signed with them for 2 records, and when it was finished
we got even more offers from even bigger labels, but we said no, we were going
to stay here. They did a very good job for us.
It's a good thing you stayed, I mean have you heard of the band
Obsessed? They signed to Columbia Records and the label singlehandedly
destroyed their career, left the members in debt and what not. These major
labels are such sharks, they get an underground type band and they have no idea
what to do with bands like these. So it's really a good thing you didn't hook
up with a label like that.
Well, it's the same way here in Germany. The main problem is that the major
companies have enough money but no ideas on what to do with the band. For
example, the band Atrocity was signed to a label and they got a lot of money
from them, but they got no promotion or anything. The album is not really good
on this respect. Atrocity are good friends of mine, and I think they could have
done better. No traditional metal bands can sell records like the new metal
type of bands, like Limp Biskit, Papa Roach, Linkin Park and stuff on a major
Nuclear Blast has always been great because they understand metal.
No, they LIVE metal also. They are also fans, they understand exactly what we
mean and they live metal music. They don't leave the money in their pockets.
Now I know you have clean vocals on your latest records, those
aren't done by the same singer that does the death vocals are they?
No. Those are actually done by our guitar player Mattias and have been since
the "Act Seven" album. I don't think it's possible for one person to sing both
Well, I do beg to differ, I'm sure there has to be a way to get it
done. I know I have been experimenting with both styles myself, trying to do
both higher pitched power metal vocals and vicious death and black metal
screams. What I have found is that you usually have to sacrifice one or the
other, like for example if you do mostly death/black style, your higher notes
aren't going to hit as high, nor can you sustain them for any long length of
time and have them still powerful. By the same token, if you do lots of power
metal styled vocals interlaced with higher pitched notes being held, the harsh
vocals have to be done very sparingly to keep the power of the high notes
intact. I am sure there is a way to accomplish both.
Well, that is fantastic if you can do that. No, Matthias has always done the
singing vocals exclusively.
DRAGONLORD. Interview with Eric Peterson.
How did you decide to be doing vocal work on this project? Have you been doing
a black metal style for very long?
It's been building up for me. When I first started out playing, I wanted to be
a singer first, but I never had the knack or the look for it. I was a big Ace
Frehley fan as far as guitar ability. It's always something I have enjoyed and
had a lot of ideas for. My voice seems to fit this kind of music.
The vocals don't sound like your typical black metal vocals either,
they seem to be rooted in thrash as well, and those screams... Hell, don't get
me started on those!
It's definitely got a little bit more melody even though it's like screaming.
I guess you could say it's melodic screaming. A lot of my influences come from
bands like Venom, some of the newer, more raw vocalists like the ones in
Soilwork, and Darkane.
It says in the liner notes that you wrote all the lyrics and all
the music, is this a project that you started and had musicians just help you
out, or is this something that will become a fulltime band? I know that so far
this band has received a lot of press.
It's definitely not a one off project. It's a project, but it's a band, and
obviously I'm still in Testament and that's a big part of my life. I'm really
enjoying writing for this, and it's becoming very easy for me. Not easy like
it's easy to do, it still takes time to write everything but it is something
I enjoy. This style of music to me is more classical influenced rather than
just thrash rooted.
I noticed a classical feel, especially with the synthesized pieces.
How do the other guys feel about Dragonlord, are they planning to make this a
main focal point for them as well? I know Sadus is broken up but Death isn't
really doing much these days either.
Steve is pretty much a journeyman bass player, he's really into it but he's
tapped for a lot of the stuff he does, he's involved with a lot of other
projects. It's probably hard to pinpoint what he's really into. The drummer
John Allen is really interested and so is Lyle Livingston. I'd say us three are
the main members of Dragonlord.
So I take it you are the "black metal scholar" in the band.
I'm turning all the guys onto the black metal stuff. John is more into Morbid
Angel, death metal stuff, whereas Lyle and myself are into old school stuff
like Coroner, Bathory, stuff like that. I was a big Mercyful Fate fan and
Lyle was getting into that.
Are you planning on trying to line up a tour for Dragonlord?
As far as a major tour, we'll have to see what happens. I'm actually in the
middle of trying to find management for this, but we are definitely planning on
doing some shows in October. We'll probably do some west coast shows.
You can't leave the east coast out now!
Yeah, definitely, a lot of our sales have gone through Chicago, New York, the
It's a funny thing in the black metal scene these days, all the
bands out there seem to be like a side project or "supergroup" thing, you know,
where the guys in Old Man's Child were all in Gorgoroth at one time, or the
singer from Vintersorg going over to Borknagar.
Well, they're trying to make a living out of it, and everybody's trying to do
what they can. Like Dimmu, they've got a great lineup now, they've got Nick
Barker, and the Old Man's Child's guitar player. With Dragonlord, you've got
members of Sadus, Death, and a local band called Cyberia which is one of the
better symphonic/black metal bands in the Bay Area.
Now I know Chuck Billy has been going through some health problems,
how is he doing these days?
He's actually doing a lot better now. We did a benefit last week and it turned
out really good. His cancer is down to 0 percent now, but he's still being
monitored, so we don't know yet whether they will have to operate or not. He
still has a tumor that is around his heart and esophagus.
I noticed you had the recordings done here in the U.S. but you
had it mixed and mastered overseas?
Actually, I went there myself, I brought all the tapes with me to Sweden to mix
with Daniel Bergstrand, and I also did my vocals up there. It's a great studio
and I've really enjoyed all the work that he's done in the past. It was a good
chance for me to get out of town for awhile. He's done the Strapping Young Lad
record "City," the last two Darkane records, and a lot of other small European
The lyrical themes fascinated me on this record, it's rather
unusual to see outer space themes covered by a black metal band, somewhat like
what Kovenant was going for. Seems like you touched on that mainly on the first
Space has always been a big fascination of mine, and what better way to express
it than really dark, intricate music. It's a big universe, dealing with
astrophysics, and the whole... final frontier... the song also tells us a
little bit about how the universe will expire, and it's not with a big bang.
So are there any other plans in the works? Maybe a new album is
being worked on, some ideas tossed about?
Definitely, we're probably going to the studio again in March or April for a
summer release of the new record. It'll cover more dark territory. It's still
too soon to tell anything about it yet but there'll be a lot of cool guitar
riffs, we've even got a lot of little keyboard parts we recorded that are
really dark and classical like.
I know that your band Testament is signed to Spitfire, thus the
deal with them, but I am kinda surprised that Century Media didn't pick this
up, considering all the licensing and releasing of black metal they do here in
the States. Is this a multi album license for Spitfire or just on an album by
It's for a few albums. I never really got a chance to branch out the project
to any other labels. Spitfire wanted it, and legality wise thery were more in
line to sign it. It'll be interesting because labels like that they have so
many acts, and maybe they could do a lot with us because they are more familiar
with this type of music. This is pretty much Spitfire's only black metal band.
HACIENDA. Interview with Marcus Finger via email.
Many of you have seen this band interviewed twice in the magazine already. Quite
simply they are one of the best electronic bands in the world, and I wouldn't
dare call them techno, ambient, dub, lounge or even chill music, as they have
managed to defy tagging and labeling for their entire existence. If you haven't
experienced the type of music that Hacienda plays that always defies
description (though "stoner's techno" is the label that we coined for their
first release "Sunday Afternoon,") I strongly urge you to go out and check out
their last three CD's.
The latest record "Third Door Left" marks the first time that
Hacienda's music has been mixed with actual singing; how did that decision come
about and is this the direction Hacienda is to take from now on?
To continue our kind of music with warm and organic sounds, it was the logical
next step for us to express our feelings and emotions and sometimes this is for
the listeners much easier to understand when there are vocals in the songs. We
now compose songs compared to the two earlier albums instead of tracks, and the
next Hacienda album which is now in production will contain even more songs
with vocalists than "Third Door Left." We organize little castings to choose
our singers. When there is a wonderful female voice we ask her to try out some
songs with us and when everything flows and she wants to lend us her voice for
some songs we go into the studio. At the moment we actually have a casting
where we want to find our new singer for the fourth album. We have a good
feeling because there are a lot of good people we would like to work with.
You know we have interviewed you twice already, so I'm curious to
know what other magazines you have been featured in. You mentioned that this
album alone has garnered a lot of press already, and that your popularity has
There are a lot of German magazines like Raveline, Loop, D2000, Tendance,
Piranha, InMusic, IQ and European magazines like Jazzthing, Rolling Stone, Acid
Jazz Magazine, FutureMusic, and we even went into the regular women's fashion
magazines as album of the month, plus some regular newspapers in Germany. Plus
we've done a lot of internet magazines too.
I'm still hoping a proper U.S. tour will happen. What is
the live setting like for you, I know you have done quite a lot of shows for
this record, I'm assuming you will have to bring in guest musicians to handle
all the sounds, and of course the female vocals would have to be performed.
The live setting is very interesting, because we are six people at the moment
on stage: Marcus plays electronic and analog synths and some samples, Jurgen
plays the Rhodes, piano, organ, and analog synths. We have a drummer, a
percussion player, a bass/huitar player and the female singer. It was really
amazing for us to see people cheering and dancing to our music all over the
world. There will be a tour throughout Europe and some shows even in Moscow and
we hope to tour the U.S. in 2002 with our next album, as well. We need to set
up a good time schedule for all that.
So onto specifics of the album, especially regarding that singing track
'Me Da Um Favor,' with the vocals I assume are in Spanish, that was actually a
pretty heavy track!
The vocals actually are sung in Portugese (also like on 'Sabor.') We liked the
idea to do some songs in Portugese because our singer has lived in Brazil for a
year and we asked her to write some lyrics for us.
The 'Mexican Dubweiser' track was rather unusual, seems like a take
on a popular beer brand. You mentioned people wanted to hear another dub track
but I can't seem to remember a dub tune from any of the albums, so I am
assuming it comes from one of your many single releases?
Yes, we definitely like Budweiser beer and just exchanged the letters B and D.
We haven't released any dub songs yet, neither on "Sunday Afternoon" or
"Narrowed Eyes" but we did play live some dub oriented tracks. It's really cool
music and we want to put one or two similar songs on the next record. A lot of
people have actually asked us to do more dubby songs for further releases.
I also have to ask: What was up with the two 'incredible shocking
DJ updates?' Those went totally over my head, being short and in another
Those short breaks had their own ID number on the CD were only jokes with a
friend who spoke, late at night, senseless German words. We thought it would be
funny and added it to our finished album.
So it would seem that for "Third Door Left" your newest influence
seems to be the lounge club acts, what some people might mistakenly refer to as
the "lounge lizards." I am just thinking how radically different the songs
were, and this time around are even less intended for techno/dance club
audiences as they are more for late night lounge or jazz clubs. So there's
still a rather mellow vibe going on, just for a different setting.
We agree with you that the latest album sounds a bit different to "Sunday
Afternoon" and "Narrowed Eyes," but the whole European and especially German
music scene has changed a lot since the mid 90's and we developed our favorite
sounds as well. Our music has this certain "JazznotJazz" appeal. In Germany it
is still a growing scene with few producers that produce this kind of music,
for example Jazzanova, Neanfield, Yonderboy and others. There were a lot of
licensing proposals for songs off the album "Third Door Left" for compilations.
And to further tie some of this in, I remember the jazz clubs and
some of the lounge scenes in the early 1920's and 30's was where pot smoking
first came to play; I know jazz musicians from New York used marijuana
exclusively to help them with their music. Any comments on this? (I knew in
advance where this question would lead, but I just couldn't help myself! See
the last two Hacienda interviews for more details.)
Yes, we know that smoking pot opens your view to some things a lot, especially
music. You can hear from another level. Many of our friends smoke during the
production process, but we still don't smoke it because we think that we could
not produce anything when we are stoned in the studio. You see that concerning
this nothing has changed since 1996!
Though you said the tracks are less about mellow, relaxational
vibes, there are still quite a few mellow tunes, like 'Nord-O.S.T.' and
'Poeme.' I'm also glad to see there's no limit to what instruments you will
use, I really dig the piano and guitar work of 'Poeme.'
We definitely don't want to limit our creativity by using only electronic
instruments. For the next album we plan to work with trumpets, guitars,
contrabass, live piano and string ensembles, but also mixed with a load of deep
eelctronic and strange sounds that only synthesizers can produce.
You've been with Infracom! for two whole records now, they must be
treating you rather good! My only complaint is that their U.S. presence is all
but nonexistent, we really need to find a way to change all that!
Yes, Infracom! is a really good and fair label. We told them several times to
change their distribution ways in America and to find some partner-label that
could be interested in licensing our albums, but nothing's happened so far.
Maybe it is too difficult to get into the American market? We don't know.
Infracom! changed their distributor in America last year and they say the sales
have increased slightly. Maybe the best way would be to find a record company
that likes our music and takes control of the American market and makes sure
that everybody in the States that likes Hacienda is able to buy and listen to
our music. We think our only distributor in the U.S. is K7 distribution. There
is no record company that wants to license the current album "Third Door Left."
It has been licensed to Japan and so we toured Japan in July, which was really
You told me in email recently that you are doing remixing works
and tracks with other artists? That must be why this interview is an issue
late! Tell us about some of this outside work.
Yes, we did a lot of remixing work this year for bands like Two Men Ahead,
Billie Ray Martin, Vivid, Spike, Aromabar, Taxi, Phoneheads, Brown Smith And
Grey and also we did some exclusive Hacienda tracks for some compilations here.
Plus, I was pretty excited to hear you have a "spliff-smoking side
project" coming out in the near future?
Oh yeah. That side project is a solo project from me and it is called Sanchez
Mentiroso. It's a pseudonym-name. I collect a lot of ideas but there has been
no time to produce a lot of tracks for this project yet. The music is a mixture
of reggae, dub and a lot of electronics and samples like the "Sunday Afternoon"
album from Hacienda. I hope to start producing all this when we finish our next
album in April 2002.
It has been an honor to interview you for the third time in the
magazine's existence. Is there anything else you want to add to the interview?
I must say I am very honored to see my name in the liner notes of your last
No problem. We think you are sympathetic and feel the music. We are planning to
do a song with you on our next album. Could you speak something on a CD? Maybe
some words about a thing that is on your mind? We make the music and you make
the words. It should be spoken naturally. We think it's funny to make this try,
the result is to be released on the next album!
ROYAL HUNT. Interview with the vocalist .
Your newest album "The Mission" is rather a good album, athough in
all fairness I have to say that there are many elements of the first album I
heard from you, entitled "Fear," that pop up over and over again in this new
Yeah, "Fear" was the first record that I sang on, but this is Royal Hunt's
fifth studio album. I'm not really sure what to tell you about that, Andre
writes most of the music; he wrote all of the music for "The Mission." So
there are certain stylistic things that he does, that's sort of his sound and
I'm not saying that this is a complete copycat of "Fear," don't get
me wrong, but in the review I stated that maybe the key elements of Royal Hunt
are so signature that when you hear a song out of the blue you can say, "Hey,
that's a Royal Hunt song." Especially on 'World Wide War' you definitely hear
influences of 'Faces Of War' from the "Fear" album.
Yeah, some songs definitely do have that signature sound to it. He didn't use
any of the keyboard sounds that he used for "Fear" however, and the guitar
sound was completely different. I actually wrote a few songs on there, and one
of them was 'World Wide War.' I think we got a fresh angle on this new one by
having me write the lyrics, because Andre has been writing the last five albums
pretty much by himself.
How did you tie it all in? I noticed of course there is a theme to
the entire album, but I must admit I haven't read the book by Ray Bradbury. It
is something I want to read eventually though.
Andre and I spoke about the theme of the album and which chapters the song
would sort of relate to, and get a general idea of what the song was going to
be about. We just went from there.
'Total Recall' struck me as an odd song, because I remember seeing
the Armold Schwarzenegger movie and now I'm wondering, since the movie was a
sci-fi theme, if it was somehow loosely based on the book.
I have no idea about that one, but I did love that movie when it came out. I
bet it was, but that's one of Andre's songs. It's one of my favorites.
The title track was heavy as well, it really stood out in my mind
as one of the more dominant tracks. I thought it was a bit unusual that there
were more instrumentals on this record, well, even though there were none on
That was part of the concept of tying each song together with a short
instrumental, to keep people from getting too bored in between lyrical songs.
On "Fear," what they did was have like 5 minutes of musical interludes right in
a song, and sometimes the hooks got lost.
Long songs don't bother me, especially if they are interesting
enough to hold my interest. I gave that album a 100 despite that, the album
really blew me away.
There's a LOT of work that goes into those records when you think about it,
both technically and musically. Nothing on those records is done by mistake.
Everything's there for a reason. With "Fear," the first song has like 7 minutes
of music before I even sing a note. Everyone was waiting for the new singer to
come out, on the album, and I do the opening scream. Even in the first song I
didn't really let it fly out until the end of the song. It was sort of a build
up all the way through the album and then kind of bringing it down to the last
What's even stranger about "Fear" is the fact that there seems to
be many different musical styles on each one of the songs, yet they all come
together really nicely. Like you have a ballad type, then you have a more
aggressive track like 'Faces Of War,' then a straight out rocking track like
'Cold City Lights.' It's amazing that different styles for the album all come
together, and I think that's what stunned me more than anything else.
That's what Royal Hunt is I think, having a bunch of different styles all
blended into one, which gets put into the category of progressive metal or
rock. There's a lot of different stuff going on even in one track. I'm using
five or six vocal styles on a song, I'm doing R&B, metal, rock, blues, ballads,
and it all ties together. But when you see it live it all comes across as
really rocking. There's a lot of action on stage, everyone plays their ass off,
and the songs come across very well live.
Royal Hunt hasn't played the States live yet have they?
Not since I have been in the band. They did before I joined. Since I joined we
had offers to play here but it always comes at a time when we're doing
something else, like we'll be in the studio recording, and let's face it
there's only so many opportunities to tour in the States for a band like us.
I know a lot of shows have cancelled due to the events going on in
Not only that, but the environment for our style of music is limited. There's
only a few things that can come along, and it's usually been a case of timing.
I have done tours before here in the States, but not with Royal Hunt.
Now I know you've been in other bands as well.
I was in Badlands, I did Lynch Mob in 1998, their singer had quit on them and
I did a kind of sub in for their tour, that was the last time I played in the
States. What I'm thinking is that we should just create our own tour, as Royal
Hunt, and take a couple of other bands on our level rather than wait for a good
support slot, because that's really the only offers we've had so far. It would
take some coordination to get three good bands out there, all on the same level
but I think it's the way to go.
There's a progressive metal festival coming to Atlanta in November,
maybe that kind of thing is where you should try for. There's bands like
Kamelot, Symphony X, and Dan Swano's Nightingale coming over.
Are these U.S. bands?
Well, Kamelot is from Florida, a couple of bands are coming from
overseas, I'm not sure about Symphony X.
Symphony X is from Jersey. It's a little easier if you can throw everything in
a van and just drive it down. We have to fly everything in from Denmark, and
get tickets for the whole crew and band are expensive; unless you have other
shows built around that it's hard to go do a festival, a one off show like
Well, Jim Raggi from Lamentations Of The Flame Princess spent about
2 grand to fly Dan Swano down and the rest of his band members, and I'm
assuming his equipment.
That's pretty cheap if you think about it. You can imagine plane tickets, if
there's five guys in the band to get them round trip, 500 is the absolute
minimum for a ticket round trip. Usually those things are a combined effort
between the promoter, the band, and the record labels. Most of the opening
slots are paid for in this situation. If the band feels like the show is going
to promote them then they'll bite the bullet and cough up some cash. For
example, if you see a Judas Priest tour and there's an opening act, usually the
opening act is paying to be there, whether the band is paying for it or the
record label or the promoter.
I wanted to talk about the first U.S. deal you got with Majestic
Entertainment. Majestic was supposed to be the Black Mark Records connection
here in the States, and they haven't done a damn thing here since the "Fear"
record came out. There was a new Nightingale record, a new Bathory record, tons
of other Black Mark bands and I kept asking them when the new Black Mark stuff
was coming out. Their promotion for "Fear" was shoddy, I feel like I was lucky
to get the "Fear" record.
I think they just fizzled out. We're on Century Media now, and they have given
us a lot more press and bigger exposure. We're hoping this is good news for
everyone. I think "Fear" was caught in between when the deals were signed,
because they lost their singer and then when I came along they had all the
music recorded and the deals were already in place. I think they just took what
deal they had at the time. Majestic Entertainment is actually the management
for Royal Hunt. For us it's a big step to get on Century Media because it also
covers South America, and we've been neglected in both North America and South
America since I've been in the band anyway. We do so well overseas because
we get so much backing from the companies. They bring us there, we do the in
stores, we meet the fans. There's a whole wall of our records and a poster up
in the stores. Here it's like stores have one copy under the "R's."
ONE copy if you're lucky.
Yeah, and it's buried under the "R's" section. Who goes flipping through the
"R" section anyway? It's a business I guess. That's why we keep going back to
the countries where we do good business. We try to fan out from there but you
can't spend that much time in those areas because there's no money in it.
What do you think about services like Napster, well, Napster is
pretty much gone now but there's services like Audiogalaxy and Imesh where you
can still download full albums.
I think it's fine if eventually people can get paid for their work. I was in
Russia last year, we played in Moscow and I swear I never signed so many
bootleg CD's in my life. That's like the whole country is surviving on
bootlegs, it's so out of hand, and South America is like that too. You see your
own album, and it's kinda like Pet Cemetary where you see the cat come back to
life: it kinda looks like the cat but it stinks a little and it's not really
the cat. The bootlegs are kinda obvious, the pictures are in different places,
the colors are different. You can't really get mad at the fans because they
bought it for two dollars, they still love you and love your music, hell they
love you enough to come to the in store and have you sign it and they show up
at your shows.
Some countries, especially poorer ones, hell take Russia for
example: they didn't really have a metal label until Metal Agen came around,
and it was a tough market for metal music, but the fans wanted to hear this
stuff. I know even in South America, there's TONS of metal fans, they are down
there in droves. So yeah, maybe some of your fans in these countries have a
bootleg CD, but here they are, by the hundreds or the thousands, and they all
paid like 20 bucks to get into the show to see you play.
At the very least you can say the music is being listened to. And that's
really why we did it in the first place, because we love music and hope that
the people love what we do. It's not the worst thing I can think of that could
SIGH. Interview with Mirai Kawashima.
If you know about this Japanese band, then you know they have a cult following
all over the world. What you may NOT know is just how close this band was to
MANY members of the Norweigan black metal scene in the early 90's. Mirai knew
all the players, and besides being THE most innovative and original black metal
band around (and has been since the early 90's), he has great stories to tell
that are only just now being realized about a scene that was so shrouded in
mystique and controversy.
I hate to actually admit this, because I love the new album a lot,
but when I got "Scenario IV: Dread Dreams," I didn't really like it. I think it
was the vocal work, it sounds different this time around.
Well, I do not have any intentions to change my vocal style. I do think that
"Dream Dreams" might be the weakest release we have done, and there are several
reasons for this. We had a lot of trouble with Cacophonous Records. The sound
was too clean to me, I don't say it is a bad sound, but it wasn't powerful
enough in my opinion. This time we used a new studio that was owned by a
Japanese stoner/doom metal band, and he knew how to get the heavy sounds we
When you say a Japanese stoner rock band, are you referring to
Eternal Elysium? I know there are a few great bands coming out of Japan
these days, like Elysium and Church Of Misery especially I really dig a lot.
Eternal Elysium's vocalist is running that studio now, and they're a great
band. Church Of Misery are good friends of ours. Very heavy band. Japan has
quite a few metal bands, playing death or black metal, but most of them are
just content copying Western bands and it's quite difficult for them, I think,
to get a record deal.
What actually happened with Cacophonous? It was amazing that for
such a small label you still managed to gain a worldwide cult following. I
know they have been a part of your career for quite a while now.
When we were with them, so many people told me they couldn't find our CD's at
the local CD store. Cacophonous had really bad distribution, so they didn't do
almost anything to promote the album. When we did "Hail Horror Hail" in 1997,
we tried to escape the label, and Century Media was actually interested in us
back then. We tried singing with Century Media back then but unfortunately we
had a contract for three full length albums with Cacophonous and they said they
would sue us if we signed to Century Media. We came to the conclusion that
doing another album with Cacophonous and trying to leave peacefully and legally
would be much faster and easier than trying to fight them in the courts.
Cacophonous went bankrupt after "Dread Dreams," but it seems they are still
involved with something nowadays.
I wanted to go back to your first album, I was just reading in the
bio that your first album actually came out on Voices Of Wonder instead of
Eronymous' label Deathlike Silence. You've been doing this avantgarde style of
blackmetal ever since your inception in the early 90's, and I'm sure you were
pretty shaken up over Eronymous' death.
I often spoke with Eronymous over the phone, in fact three days before his
murder I spoke to him. A week later I got a letter from Samoth of Emperor
saying he was murdered. It was really shocking because I had just talked to him
days before! He was a very interesting person, and he was full of ideas. I
always adored his work.
What's so surprising is how you came to be known in a scene that
was secretive and seemingly off limits. Just the fact that American journalists
were not usually able to interview these bands, plus the fact that the scene
was so limited to the area in which it grew up from, it makes me ask just how
in the world you were actually able to get in touch with Euronymous in the
We actually sent our demo tape to Dead, who was the ex-vocalist of Mayhem. But
it was Eronymous who wrote back to me because Dead killed himself. Eronymous
wrote me and told me that Dead had killed himself, so he said he was the one
that would be writing me. He happened to like our style, because in the early
90's, so many people were dismayed about grinding death metal, which had become
trendy, but there were still some bands interested in doing 80's type of stuff
like we were doing. Eronymous always liked the thrash metal of the 80's and I
think that's why he was interested in signing us.
Were you close to other black metal bands? I know you mentioned
Mayhem a lot, I wasn't sure if your dealings with the whole scene were limited
to a few bands.
We used to be in touch with lots of Norweigan bands, I was talking to Burzum,
Enslaved and stuff. Older bands in the early 90's knew each other, and all the
bands were in touch with each other. At first there were probably like only 10
black metal bands in the world, but a little later there were more. Everyone
was quite cooperative and supportive of each other. I didn't really know any
true evil, dark and misanthropic people in the scene in the beginning, because
everyone was very friendly and things were really great.
So how much did you know about the infamy that surrounded the whole
black metal scene? I have received conflicting reports; in major press and
magazines over here, it's been reported that this whole scene is involved in
church burnings and rather crazed incidents, whereas according to a Therion
interview I did, all of that was just hype started by one or two member of the
"Black Metal Syndicate" trying to gain some press and notoriety.
Because I live in Japan, I couldn't tell if what they were saying is true or
not. When I got the mail from Grishnack, he told me that he burned another
church or something, and during a phone conversation with Eronymous, I was told
that the phone was being tapped. It's not something that's easy to believe, but
now I know that much of that which happened really was true.
I never got to hear the first album, but I assume you were doing a
mixture of thrash and black metal music?
It had some synthesizers in it, but it's more straightforward and primitive
than the stuff we are doing today.
I have told people that Sigh sounds like if The Beatles had played
black metal back in the 60's. What really amazed me, and I think you hear this
in full force on the song 'A Sunset Song,' was when the Hammond organ kicked
in! The only other band I know who can pull out a Hammond Organ and just jam
with it is Hacienda, but you guys definitely pulled out the vintage 60's and
70's style equipment.
This time I wanted to add the feeling that some 60's and 70's rock bands. Many
of the bands of this era were very ambitious and they were always trying to
take various styles of music, like Indian music and Irish, whatever. These
bands were very ambitious musically and always took advantage of the latest
state of the art technology, mostly in the synthesizers that came out in that
period. There are lots of things in common with us that were common in bands
from that time. I wanted to create something spacey and psychedelic in our
I did notice a sort of Middle Eastern influence you guys threw in
on one of your songs.
Yeah, there is some Middle Eastern music, like from India. It's hard to explain
in English, but it's not real Indian music, it's a feeling. The Beatles played
Indian music in the 60's too but it wasn't real Indian music, it was more like
their interpretation of it, like their image of India.
If this performance goes live, will you be using synthesizers to
emulate like the Hammond organ and what not? I know if you're up on stage it
might be difficult to actually bring all that vintage equipment with you and
still have room for yourselves. Plus, I know that nowadays synthesizers can
emulate just about any instrument there is, including guitars.
I use a digital Hammond organ, it's sort of like emulation. For other
instruments, like the Minimoog and the Fender Rhodes, I use the actual
I'm really curious to the lyrical stances of some of the songs,
because even though there are psychedelic overtones and influences, the song
titles seem to be in line with what normal metal lyrics would be.
Most of my lyrics are based on my personal views of life and death. These days
I'm writing about the horror which lurks in our daily lives, because this is
sometimes much scarier than, say, someone writing about zombies or occult
topics. Some of the lyrics on the new album are talking about the fear of
death, and sometimes the fear of getting old, the fear of losing someone you
love, etc. You can't avoid getting old, unless you die young, and I'm going to
lose the ability to play in a band and my voice when I get 60 or 70 or so. I
feel lucky too that I'm alive on a day to day basis. When you watch TV and
watch details of a person who gets murdered, you might think that the victim
was someone special, but he or she is probably not. There's a possibility that
you could be a victim today, hell you could die in a car accident tomorrow!
The third track on the album, 'Nietzschean Conspiracy,' was written by Baard
Faust, an ex Emperor member. I got an email from him last year, he told me he
was writing the lyrics for Samoth's band Zyklon.
The twanging country guitars from "Dread Dreams" really unnerved me
but I do wonder, with all the different styles of music you've used in the
past, is there anything else that might turn up on a future release? I'm sure
you probably will leave out the rap influence though (hopefully)
It's very hard to tell about the next record, but at the moment I'm thinking
about making the next record sound more ethnic, and more exotic. Maybe it will
be more drugged out, with lots of echoes and delays, definitely more
psychedelic stuff. I can't promise anything because I usually change my mind so
easily, but at the moment that's what I'm thinking of.
I wanted to wrap this up by jumping topic a little bit, are you a
big baseball fan?
I'm sorry but I don't follow the sport, though I do know a little bit about
Well, I'm a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and I've been hearing a lot
of stuff about Ichiro (the Japanese baseball player that signed to the Seattle
He's a very famous Japanese baseball player here. Is he popular in the U.S.?
He's extremely popular here, this guy has been phenomenal. It's
been a big focus of American press here.
Really? In Japan it is reported that he is very popular in the U.S. But you
know, everything in the newspapers and on radio is excess rated so I was not
sure if it was true.
No, believe it, believe it definitely. The team that bought him
right now (at this writing about three weeks before the postseason ended) is
being considered one of the best teams in about 50 or 60 years, and they have
done so well. Ichiro played in the Allstar game and is probably going to win
not only Rookie of the Year but also MVP of the year. The thing that surprises
me is we would have American ballplayers that would get sent to the Japanese
leagues and that would be considered like a death sentence for them, Americans
said that the Japanese couldn't play baseball, but the American players would
come back and tell everyone that those Japanese leagues are very tough. Now
everyone seems to want to pool talent from Japan for their own ballclub,
especially after the success of Ichiro and Sasaki.
Now many Japanese baseball players are eager to play the major leagues in the
U.S. The Japanese baseball players always get paid big money over here.
And Seattle paid so much money just to get the rights to sign the
players, and they took a huge gamble on that and could have easily lost. So for
them to say for like a million dollars or so you will be able to get the rights
just to negotiate contracts with these players, not to sign them YET, which
could easily run into more millions of dollars. The gamble Seattle took was a
very steep one but it has paid off.
SOLACE. Interview with Tommy.
From what I have been able to surmise so far, if it's on Meteor City, you can
bet it kicks some serious ass. First Abdullah came and blew me away, not only
getting a damn near 100 (which it should have been a 100) but also making the
top five "Best of" list for 2000. Then along comes Solace, who ALSO graces the
top 10 list of "Best of..." and you know it would be a damn shame if I didn't
at least make an attempt to interview them. Tommy is about as open minded as
they come when it gets right down to music, and a collector to boot. We had a
very long conversation, much of which sadly went down while my tape had run out
of room. One of the best and brightest in the stoner rock genre, if you still
feel comfortable calling it that.
I am hearing you are recording another Solace album?
Actually, we just got finished tracking all the instruments. We were in the
studio October 15th, 16th and 17th, and tracked out ALL the music. We're just
waiting for our singer Jason, who has a little bit of writing to do lyrically.
We're gonna get him in the studio as soon as possible, and hopefully we will
have this thing out in early 2002. You gotta mention this, we actually got Wino
to be on our next record! Yeah, he flew in here and we had him do some stuff,
we got him to do a guitar part and some vocals. To show you how great this guy
is, we found out he just did some vocal work, that guy from the Foo Fighters
is doing a record with a bunch of musicians, he even had the guy from Voivod on
there, and he paid Wino to do this guest spot. So we told Wino when he came
down that we couldn't afford to pay him anything to be on the record, and
Wino said, "Even if you offered to pay me, I wouldn't take your money dude."
I mean, he took a plane here to where we were recording! I wanted to at least
give him a little bit of cash to get something to eat, maybe catch a return
flight, and Wino just said, "dude, put your money away man, I can't take your
That just goes to show how cool he was, I remember when I met him
at a Spirit Caravan show in Spartanburg, he let us videotape his show, he even
let us hang out backstage before the show, and they had bought chinese food to
eat, asking us if we wanted some! He even asked us when we wanted to do the
interview, and had no problems talking about his days in The Obsessed. He's a
phenomenal person, and it was an extreme pleasure for me all the way around.
Speaking of your last record, it was definitely killer. Is that a good practice
for you guys, to do the lyrics and vocals last? Was the first album written
It's a wierd situation for us, basically the band works most of the stuff out
beforehand, and then we give the music to Jason and he does his thing. Then it
comes back to us and we might retool or rework it. It's not like most bands
that work everything out at the same time, we just give everything to him and
then he lets us know how it should go.
So I would assume that you write the music yourself?
I write about 95 percent of it, but hey, all input is welcome. It's not an
authoritarian thing where like, I write the music and you guys just follow
along. It just so happens that this is the way it works out. Everybody has
equal say in how it goes, whether things are added or subtracted. It's a
democracy around here, really, but it just happens this way more often that
Some people would say that's a good thing, because when you have
too many people involved in the writing process, you'd spend all day arguing
and disagreeing on stuff and hell, you'd never get a record written!
That's true, because before I was in Solace I was in a band called
Flatrocket. And it was with Chris and Keith from the Atomic Bitchwax and Shane
from Nudeswirl. Basically everybody was a writer, and we'd literally spend a
week going "I think we should add this, and let's do this," and this little
three minute song would end up being an eight minute, off the wall tune with
like 800 changes. It got so crazy that we couldn't even remember how the song
went by the time we were finished! Needless to say we didn't last very long,
it was more like a battle of wills. We had interesting shows to say the least.
Well this is odd, and now I have to ask you, because there's some
long songs on "Further" too! Of course, there's not 500,000 chord changes
crammed into three minutes.
I've never met a riff I didn't like to beat to death. We don't consciously set
out to do that, and before we go into the studio we don't time songs out or
anything. We would be in the studio with 2 inch tape, worried about how much
time, and the engineer is like "What's the next song, how long is it," and I'd
go "hell, I dunno, we'll know when we get it all down," maybe it's 4 minutes
long. Then we'd get done and the engineer goes, "What are you crazy, that thing
is eight minutes long!"
I know that this record is not like most I've heard in the stoner
rock genre, and I know there's been a few bands I've said that about lately,
most notably Abdullah...
Which I think, by the way, are completely fantastic.
Those guys have blown me completely away. When I got the "Snake
Lore" demo, there were a couple of songs I wasn't completely impressed with,
but their full length was simply astounding. I should have given it a 100.
A lot of stoner rock bands, to me, they just wear their complete influences on
their sleeve, they mimick their influences instead of trying to incorporate
their influences and mold them together. I mean, we don't just listen to stoner
rock, we listen to everything from 70's riff rock to thrash metal, punk rock,
and we try to incorporate all those kinds of influences and mesh it into one
That's what I try to do, I mean since day one practically I have
been covering more than just metal, there's techno, industrial, gothic, and
even punk and hardcore.
I hear ya man, I've been reading your magazine for awhile.
What really surprises me about this album is there's this really
mellow passage coming on in the song 'Followed,' and I'm floating along with
it, then all of a sudden out of nowhere it's like Biohazard jumped in there or
something! And it's making it so much heavier, and most stoner rock bands don't
take that style of music to that level, most of them are content to just keep
it mellow, keep the stoned vibe going. The heaviness of the song just slams
into you suddenly.
That's the effect that we're going for. We like the aspect of dynamics in music
as opposed to having everything hitting you over the head with a sledgehammer
or having everything lulling you to sleep. We like twisting that form and not
knowing what comes around the bend. We'll start it off one way, and wind up
going in a different direction. You'll never know when you hear one of our
songs what's going to be coming up next. A little surprise here and there is
Do you know anything about what some of the lyrics are talking
One of the things you'll notice, if you look at the record, there's only like 4
songs that have lyrics...
Yeah, that was something I was going to ask you about...
He writes from his heart, all of his stuff is very introspective and personal
to him. So basically, that's why we write the way we do. We do our thing, and
he does his thing, and the end result is Solace. Jason's VERY protective of his
lyrics. Just to get the lyrics that are actually printed on the CD was a big
struggle. He really didn't want anything in there which is why there's only 4
songs with printed lyrics. His ideology was that he wanted the lyrics to be
left up to people's interpretations. Obviously when something's written down
and you read it, it's just sitting there on a piece of paper, and it doesn't
speak to you the way it does when you hear it, you can interpret it in
different ways as opposed to reading the words.
There's a really cool sample you used on the song 'Suspicious
Tower,' it's a dialogue about the difference between men and machines. Where
the hell did you get that sample?
Ha ha. You know, about 50 people have asked me that already. To be honest with
you, I do a lot of garage sales and thrift shops. I was in a Salvation Army
here in Asbury Park, and I would always buy these kooky old tapes, and I walked
into this store one day and there was a bunch of tapes in a box, they wanted
like 2 bucks for the whole box. So I took them all home, the tapes were all
hand written on, there was all this wacky stuff, it looked like old D.J. stuff
from a college station, some old demos and stuff. One tape had some wierd sound
clips and they were strung together with some wierd organ music. I was thinking
how cool this was, but I have no idea where this was from.
It sounds like it came from a science fiction movie or something!
It might be from a Twilight Zone movie or something.
I know where you might be able to find out, believe it or not there
is a sampling list on the internet. They have this humongous database, and it's
every sample pulled from every song they can get their hands on. And they tell
you what movie and what record it came from. Are you familiar with Velvet Acid
Well, you know they have samples all throughout their songs, and
I went to this site and sure enough, over like 5 albums, they had EVERY
V.A.C. song cataloged, what samples they were using, how the sample goes and
what damn movie it came from, and in some cases what actor spoke the lines!
That's amazing. Did they have anything on there from Buzzoven?
I didn't see anything, but this list is so huge, you had to search
either by artist name or by the sample!
That's pretty crazy!
That's how things have gotten these days, if there's anything in
this world that you're into, it's on the internet somewhere, you just gotta
look for it. Except for bands like Axe Witch, which of course the only info
you are going to find is on my site. (shameless plug. It evokes much laughter
Okay, now I gotta ask this question of you, it seems like every time I get into
a new stoner rock band, hell, are all you fuckers from New Jersey or something?
Ha ha! Jersey, the area we come from, is a cool little spot that has cool bars
that allow local, live and original music. You go to places like that around
the country and you'll find cover bands, D.J.'s and dance music, all that stuff
but around here, I've been playing in heavy bands for a long time. It comes in
circles, and there's been a core group of people that have been here since day
one; you know the guys in Solarized, and of course Monster Magnet has done
their thing. There's always been good heavy bands from Jersey. I was actually
in a band called Godspeed back in the day, and we did tours with Black Sabbath,
then there was Nudeswirl, and Daisy Cutter were the guys in Solarized before
they called themselves Solarized. There's this cool little bar called the
Brighton Bar where everybody congregates and there's always been a happening,
fresh, original music scene. Everyone here has cut their teeth on the heavy,
Black Sabbath type of rock.
I just got the Scene Killers project, where Jason did a few songs,
and there's two songs Jason is singing on. 'Pit Of Your Soul' I really liked,
but I hate to admit I didn't like that last song he sang on, I don't know if it
was because the instrumentation in the background, I think it's the wierd
electronic effects used on his voice.
That's actually his other band, that last song. The 'Pit Of The Soul' song, I
don't know if you know it or not, but that's MY side project Rot Gut. I have
an alias, I'm the bad guy on that.
I guess Steve needs to read his liner notes better. Now I did
remember there were a couple of Drag Pack tunes there, and of course everyone
knows that the big sell is supposed to be the fact that there's Monster Magnet
members on there. Meteor City, by the way, has been amazingly consistent these
days. I'll never forget that first package I got, it had the Abdullah full
length, Eternal Elysium, and your first record in there.
I think that's just Jadd's love of heavy music, which really shows through.
He's not trying to cash in and ride some scene or something, the dude obviously
digs this stuff and he loves these bands. I think I was the one who told him to
send you some stuff, I was on your web site and I was reading a ton of your
reviews and I said "This guy knows his stuff." So I told Jadd, I said you gotta
send this guy some stuff, send him our new record, and I guess he put you on
his mailing list.
You talked about being into 70's rock, what sort of bands from that
era do you like? I know the 70's is more known for disco and crap music, but
there were some standout bands like Hawkwind that came about.
I'm always on the prowl for old, obscure 70's stuff. I'm a semi serious record
collector, I picked up the first Gun record, Truth and Janie, Buffalo, I just
made a bunch of purchases on Ebay. It's stuff that's getting rarer every day.
It's crazy though because if you go searching for old 60's and 70's psychedelic
rock, some of those records are going for hundreds and hundreds of dollars!
I'm in the ten to fifteen dollar range!
That's a funny thing, I was on Ebay myself looking for some rare
and out of print metal myself, and I saw a vinyl version of Dungeon's "Fortress
Of Rock" that someone wanted 60 bucks for! So I went searching and I found a
guy in Italy through a web search that had this album on his list, and I
emailed him asking if he could CDRom burn this for me. That's how the Dungeon
album ended up on my classic albums section. I utilized Cool Edit to clean up
any scratches and pops from the vinyl; that's what's so amazing about
technology these days, you can use software and make even the scratchiest
records sound like CD quality. You could never even tell that this recording
came from vinyl. What's so funny is these people that are wanting to buy some
of this stuff, they have no idea if they'll even like the record when they get
it, heck for all we know they may never even play the record once!
I was on Ebay looking for Hellhammer's first album. It's a damn three song EP
and it's going for 38 bucks! I was like, you're kidding me, this is too much
money for a stupid record.
And it's been repressed on CD too!
Yeah I know! I'm like the king of dollar records. Where I live there's a few
cool little record stores. And there's the Salvation Army, which every once in
awhile you get some good scores. It's cool to walk in there and you see like a
Sir Lord Baltimore or a Captain Beyond record for 99 cents and you go, "Oh,
The thing about stuff like that is it's all in the eye of the
beholder. Somebody who just wants to hear the music, they're not going to care
if they get it on CDRom or on vinyl. My whole thing is, I have stuff that has
been burned to CD from other people's vinyl, but hell, you can't go out and buy
this stuff, and a collector is not going to get rid of it for anything less
than an exorbitant price. That's what so great about the internet, it makes
this stuff more obtainable, and it shrinks the world down to a more accessible
size for you. I mean, there's so many bands all over the world, that's why I
started the magazine, because other than magazines and press and demo tapes,
who the hell is going to hear these bands? There's much more than metal out
there. There's so many other bands that 99 percent of the U.S. population will
I'm with you one hundred percent. These bands need all the exposure they can
get, and we need more people that can spread the word. I wish more people would
expand their minds to other music, to me it doesn't make any sense to get stuck
in a rut and only listen to thrash metal, or only listen to punk. There's so
much more stuff out there it boggles my mind that you wouldn't try to absorb as
much of it as you can. As you age a little bit you find things out on your own
and you tend to open your mind a bit.
SNOG. Interview with David Thrussel at the Riviera show in Atlanta.
One of Australia's best industrial bands is still around, for those of you who
missed out on Snog's first ever U.S. tour (and yes, we have the video footage
from such a rare and momentous occasion, we have been waiting for roughly 5
years and three albums now). We did an interview with David all the way back in
issue #20, back when "Buy Me I'll Change Your Life" just came out, and we
decided that this was a band worth doing a second interview with. So enjoy.
Things aren't as wacky as they were in the first interview, but more insight
to their "Dear Valued Customer" is gained, as well as a few other things.
It's been awhile since we heard from you, the last record we got was
"Third Mall From The Sun." I'm wondering if you have any upcoming album plans?
I think "Third Mall.." is our best album yet. I like "Buy Me, I'll Change Your
Life" (the album before that - Ed.) too, and we also did an album of remixes
recently. We're halfway through the new album and maybe in the middle of next
year it should be out. I can't tell you any details about it, but we do have a
lot of songs written. We've got to go back to Australia to work on it. Right
now we already have 27 songs written.
The last time I interviewed you we talked about about M.A.C.O.S.,
the Musicians Against Copyrighting Of Samples, and we talked about the creation
and ideas behind "Buy me I'll Change Your Life." I wanted to go back and talk
about "Dear Valued Customer" a bit more, because at the time when I interviewed
you I wasn't extremely familiar with it. With the upcoming show though I had
been playing the CD a lot, it's been a favorite of mine. A song like 'Skinhead'
caught my ear recently, and I'm wondering what skinheads in Australia are like!
You know, it's always hard to judge people by the way they look or what clothes
they wear. You can make some rough approximations some of the time. It's not
really a song about what group or social tribe they belong to, it's more about
the mental landscape of some people. And in a way it's quite a lighthearted
song, it's not meant to be a serious treatise or analysis of those sort of
ideas and things. It's satirical.
Well, in the song, when you say "I'd rather be dead than red," did
you refer to rednecks? (evokes strong laughter from both sides).
Ha ha! No, the idea was to turn around this phrase "I'd rather be dead than
red." It's sort of a McCarthyist era, communist "red scare" type of idea. I
was just making a bit of fun with it, I'm not that in fear of communism, but
I'm also not really in fear of capitalism either. They both have major pitfalls
though. I'm not a great fan of either of these systems.
And that's a theme that you've worked all throughout "Dear Valued
Customer." You say it's lighthearted but I noticed that "Dear Valued Customer"
had some of the strongest "attacks," even in a lighthearted way, than some of
the newer albums did. You even went so far as to attack Christianity in the
song 'Hey Christian God,' which of course has been a very common theme in not
only industrial, but in black metal as well.
Probably a bit too common if you ask me. Really the idea of "Hey Christian God"
was sort of an attack on Christmas. I'm not so fussed about people's individual
beliefs or belief systems, or faiths. In a way it's not my business what people
believe. I just find this whole Christmas thing very offensive, this mass
marketing of faith as just another marketing tool. It's a most depressing time
of year. I had to do a little bit of attacking of Christianity any because I
couldn't help myself. (see issue #20 for more details - Ed.) Some of the songs
on "Dear Valued Customer" are more obvious, so I don't know if I'd agree with
your assessment of newer albums not being as biting as "Dear Valued..." Like
"Third Mall From The Sun" was a bit of a political record, but some people have
different definitions of what is political or what is hardcore politics. "Third
Mall" is probably our most political based. I think the other records have,
well I wouldn't say subtle, but there are other attacks.
'Langley, Virginia.' I was always curious about how you pinpointed
a small town I have never even heard of myself as a song title.
That is where the headquarters of the C.I.A. is. I wanted to see it blown up,
so to speak, give them a bit of their own medicine. I know many people around
the world are not as kind to them either, I'm sure they'd love to see someone
return the Karmic favor.
I never realized that the C.I.A. had such a far reaching effect
around the world, from a U.S. standpoint. I know... (He cuts me off before I
can mention that I was aware of their involvement in the Bay Of Pigs operation
in Cuba to overthrow Castro.)
The C.I.A. caused a coup in Australia about 25 years ago, in 1975. This was a
few years after they violently caused the removal of the government of Chile.
At the time I had a name for the C.I.A., I called them Capitalism's Invisible
Army, because they always seemed to, perhaps "accidentally," seem to do what
was best for big business.
Well, the only thing I remember the C.I.A. being involved in was
the Bay Of Pigs operation.
Ah, they've had a long and glorious history before and after that.
I guess I need to go back and do some studying then.
Let's see there's a book called "The C.I.A.'s Forgotten Wars." It's really
good. I saw another little book you can get, it's called "The C.I.A.'s Greatest
Ha, ha! I love the title on that one!
Let's see I saw it in a bookstore yesterday. Where did I see it, oh yeah, it
was a in bookstore in Little Five Points.
Wow, I know where that is. Right here in Atlanta. It's funny to
think about Castro, he's actually outlasted what is it now 10 U.S. presidents?
He's still down there doing his thing, ever defiant in the face of the U.S. I
wonder what's going to happen to him in the future?
That's quite ironic isn't it. Good for him I say, that's actually a really
valiant effort. He's a hero, I think. Well, he's an old man he's going to die
soon. The talk is always that his brother Ralf will fill his shoes, but he's
quite up there in years too. So I'm not sure, but it will be a tense period
Now I saw on the web site that you were doing TWO U.S. dates here,
with Atlanta of course being one of them. But apparently you did a string of
shows out West or something?
Yeah, after the New York show, we headed out West, to San Fransisco, Portland,
Seattle, L.A., Tampa and then here. The response was great, full houses all
There's an industrial scene here in Atlanta, but the live music
scene isn't as good, there's quite a bit of clubs spinning music in the area
though. Metropolis seems to be the last American label that's doing anything
with industrial music here so I don't know if industrial is a dying scene.
That's not strictly true I guess, but I am rather happy that they seem to have
cornered the market.
Well, like Re-Constriction Records is gone, Wax Trax doesn't seem
to do anything anymore, and KMFDM resigned to Metropolis! I always thought it
would be MDFMK, but I guess Sascha and company decided to bring KMFDM back.
I guess a lot of the industrial music never had much top 40 potential. Lots of
American charts are dominated by top 40 hits. I think Snog music is kinda pop
oriented, the newer stuff especially, it's MY vision of top 40. It's hard to
get radio play for songs like this, your chances of seeing MTV play are almost
nil. If our music is acceptable to people that's great, if it's not accessible
to people that's just life. We make the music we want to make.
I know as far as Australia is concerned, most of the bands I knew
from the music scene down there were mostly metal, like Armoured Angel,
Alchemist, and Hobbs Angel Of Death. The only industrial or electronic bands I
know of are you and Ikon, who are also signed to Metropolis.
There's been more signings that are not as mainstream, you can talk about
Severed Heads, about SPK. Australia is on the other side of the world, and it's
quite a ways away. I've known some of these bands, but I didn't think they were
very well known here. I remember Hobbs Angel Of Death. I didn't know people
knew of them here at all.
So the lineup you have with you tonight, is this the same lineup
that appeared on your last couple of records?
We have a lot of people appear on our records, the last couple of records we've
had like 10 people play on them. It varies, but we can't bring everyone with us
to play live, generally they have other things going on in their lives.
Not too much to say this time around. Each issue seems to speak for itself I
suppose. We're going to try and go back to earlier issues and bring them up to
speed a bit. Mainly I want to put the interviews and reviews in alphabetical
order, so it will make things easier to follow. I wanted to somewhat keep the
flavor of how I did things in the past, but I realized that some people that
are following a link froma search engine to a specific review might have
trouble finding what they are looking for. It's all in the interest of space
On a personal note, I'd like to take a moment to remember the tragedy that
happened to our nation on September 11th. I don't think any of us will forget
the terror that those bastards brought to our home, our land of peace and
security. I have no doubt that we will get the job done and bring to justice
those responsible, and hopefully prevent the senseless destruction of our
property and our people. I know religion is responsible for much evil in the
world, but now it seems WE are looked upon as the evil ones. Who can really
say who has the better sense of judgement? Regardless of a person's religion,
race, creed or national origin, there is NO sense in needless killing of
anyone. This world has truly gotten out of hand, I think...
Anyway, I'll end things here. I hope to see all of you around for another 11
years or so, I never thought a project I started this long ago would still
survive. I think the magazine has taken on a life of it's own, despite the
multitude of times that I thought I just couldn't continue on. Until next
issue, remember to keep an open mind about music, and support your local music
scene, if there is one.
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