VIBRATIONS OF DOOM
Welcome back to yet anotha issue. This time around we're going to have a
special report on the New Jersey Metalfest which we attended the first week
of April. As you may know, there is lots of video footage available that we
shot, especially of bands who made their appearance in America for the first
time in their existence. Most notably of these was the outstanding performance
by Diamond Head.
Here's the address for sending stuff to us. Thanks again go out to Metal Maniacs
Magazine, who were kind enough to ink some extremely kind words raving about our
music magazine. The issue in question should still be on sale at newsstands
around the country, so please do check it out.
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
ABSU "Tara" (Olympic Recordings) SCORE: 53/100
I was a little hesitant at approaching this, especially since I didn't like the
Proscriptor side projects at all. But I figured this being more black metal
oriented might help. As you can see from the score, it didn't. My main beef is
the vocal department, and while Proscriptor's blackened shrieks are nothing
terrible in and of themselves, the actual vocal delivery sounds rushed and as
if he's trying to cram as many words into sentences as possible. The
instrumentation as well never seems to deviate much from the constant speed
and overall it makes for a rather stale listening experience. Reading the
lyrics to a song like 'Manannan' didn't help either, especially once I realized
what he was saying, it sounded quite silly. 'She Cries The Quiet Lake' showed
some really bad chorus structures, and the power metal styled vocals, which
are only heard on one track 'Stone Of Destiny' sounded really out of place. To
be fair, however, some of the guitar riffing was quite adequate, and I even
enjoyed the Slayer styled riffing on 'The Cognate House Of Courtly Witches...'
The bagpipe instrumentals, which covers the first and last tracks, were really
nice, as was the acoustic instrumental 'Bron,' but overall, the formula was
much the same. 'Four Crossed Wands' and it's successor 'Vorago' had some
vicious chorus work, and were probably among two of my favorites. I can't say
this is a lousy album, but my disinterest in many of the tracks presented here
gives this a score that puts it a few points above dead average...
Contact: Olympic Recordings, 1658 N. Milwaulkee Ave. #245, Chicago, IL 60647
Web site: http://www.olympicrecordings.com
ARCTURUS "The Sham Mirrors" (The End) SCORE: 91/100
Though on Voices Music & Entertainment overseas, this is exactly the kind of
release I would expect to find on The End. Long stalwarts of the black metal
scene, Arcturus has always been different and somewhat cutting edge when it
comes to redefining and reshaping the genre, but this time they have exceeded
all boundaries. Like Enslaved, they have progressed along more melodic and
experimental paths, but where Enslaved failed miserably with their last full
length, Arcturus shines mightily. To be sure, the more singing style of one
"Trickster G. Rex" may turn some off, in fact the higher ended range Rex goes
for at times can be dangerous waters to tread. Most notably in the song 'Ad
Absurdum' is the "Whoo-oooh-ooh's" that end this song, bringing the point count
down a notch. The black metal styled vocals are all but gone, save for ONE
song 'Radical Cut,' and "spitting" vocal style duties here are handled by none
other than Ishan from Emperor, proving once again that there is still life in
the black metal god. 'Collapse Generation' is the first fast paced song you hear
on "The Sham Mirrors," and it does feature some downright dynamic synth and
guitar work. You'll also hear some nice classical piano styled notations
starting out 'Star-Crossed,' and some great spacey ambient/techno atmospheres
closing out the lengthy 'For To End Yet Again,' which does a great job of
creating amazing atmosphere, something I've seen many bands in the ambient
genre fail to do time and again. Trumpets are found here too, and nothing it seems
is taboo for Arcturus. The blackened vocals and singing combination are a
strange and almost unsettling pair, but overal there isn't a whole lot to
complain about. Black metal's boundaries just got pushed further into the
future, though one might see very little that resembles "all things black."
Contact: The End Records, 556 S. Fair Oaks Ave. #101-111 Pasadena, CA 91105
Web site: http://www.theendrecords.com
AXEL RUDI PELL "Shadow Zone" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 89/100
Originally known for his appearance in the 80's metal band Steeler, Axel Rudi
Pell has carved out quite a niche for himself in metal history. This is now
his 13th album I believe, his solo career going all the way back to 1989! And
from the amazing music he creates here, it's as if he never left it! Timeless
and classic 80's metal is to be found inside, though most of his tunes are
updated quite a bit so they don't sound as if they're 80's relics only.
After a nice melodic intro, we go into 'Edge Of The World,' which is the
trademark of all the things I love about metal: catchy choruses, amazing vocal
work from Johnny Gioeli, great guitar riffs, and just a straightforward
approach that works really well. 'Coming Home' continues things in the same
fashion, with choruses that hit really hard. 'Live For The King' reminds me a
bit of Angel Dust's cover of 'Temple Of The King,' except it's a bit harder
hitting when the heavier guitar work kicks in. A long song but definitely
worth it. The main gripe I have is with the excess of ballads, something I
cringe at now when I listen to a lot of 80's metal bands. 'Heartbreaker' was
one of those, starting things off with some synth breaks, though I did like the
multi vocal pieces. 'Under The Gun' as well suffered except the synths opening
this one sounded kinda cheesy, and it's more hard rock oriented when it finally
cranks up. 'All The Rest Of My Life' was the third ballad, though this one did
strike my interest a bit more because of the more dominant vocal work done
here. I'll say one thing for Axel, he doesn't spend 90 percent of the CD
showing off his million notes a second riffage, he is content to let the band
members do their thing, but his solos are amazing, played with real feeling
and emotion rather than just wanking at light speed. For this, I must recommend
this album to anyone who misses the powerful and catchy days of pure 80's
Contact: SPV/Steamhammer Records, P.O. Box 72 1147, 30531 Hannover GERMANY
Web site: http://www.spv.de
BARBATOS "War! Speed And Power" (ISO666) SCORE: 41/100
What really pisses me off about this seemingly one man thrash unit from Japan,
is that the guy can actually crank out some killer 80's styled thrashy guitar
riffs, but the vocals are so awful it makes for a tough listen. Even worse are
the lyrics, which suffer from REALLY bad Japanese to English translations; you
only have to read the words to 'Teenage Slut,' 'G-Point,' or even 'Into The
Battlefield' to see this. He sings songs about Japanese sake (a type of alcohol
Japanese enjoy), which I find rather a non metal topic, and likening the
sex act to a war ('G-Point') which I found rather stupid. The vocals remind me
of a whinier Iron Monkey style, and it's at it's worst on 'Into The
Battlefield,' where the instrumentation doesn't hide the vocal work. A few
tracks feature guest vocals from Damian of Ritual Carnage, which helped on a
few songs, but overall this is just really bad. Like I said, though, Yasuyuki
does know how to play guitar to an extent (after all he is wearing an At War
T-shirt on the back cover, though he's smoking a cigar???) and you can hear
some killer thrash guitar work on 'Prophecy Of The Evening Star' and 'Defeated
General,' which keeps this CD from going even lower on the score. The Bulldozer
influence is felt in the lyrics to a point, after all sex and alcohol were some
of Bulldozer's lyrical stances, but at least A.C. and company had the decency
to do a decent translation. There's a useless instrumental track called 'World
War 2,' which is some really bad Japanese ritualistic music over some radio
vocal samples, and the last track on here was halfway decent, in more of a
straightforward metal style, though the vocals sort of pissed me off. All this
makes me wonder if he should let someone ELSE handle the microphone and stick
to the thrashy guitar work that saves this from being a total toilet score.
Contact: ISO666 Releases.
Web site: http://www.info-black.com
BLOODSTORM "Ancient Wraith Of Ku" SCORE: 79/100
Upon first glance, I was very intrigued by the cover, and dazzled by the
lyrics. Much of the songs read like a science fiction story at first glance,
though deeper glances will reveal a sort of spiritual overtones that mentions
references to Lovecraft and the Cthulu mythos (more info can be found in the
interview, also this issue). Bloodstorm's sound is quite primal, in fact it's
that very vicious essence that makes this CD what it is. There are some songs
that get off to rough starts, like the rushed vocal delivery on 'Quantum
Nihilism' and 'Possession By The Ku,' which had an awkward vocal/guitar sound
combination. Overall, the concept is done quite well, if not muddied at times.
The Celtic Frost touches were a nice addition, which you can most definitely
hear on 'Cold Flesh Of Space.' There are 4 tracks that make use of backwards
vocal samples, upon my reversal of these I heard some interesting revelations.
The vocal work is always quite vicious, and with the slight echo effects, his
delivery sounds like it's coming from the coldest and deepest regions of
space. Despite it's limitations, the biting viciousness and the freshness of
the lyrical content make this a CD black metal fans will find a welcome
addition to their collection.
Contact: Metal War Productions, P.O. Box 5996, Philadelphia, PA 19137 USA
Web site: http://www.metalwarprod.com
BOULDER "Reaped In Half" (Tee Pee) SCORE: 18/100
Here we go again. Yet another band Metal Maniacs has raved about that I find
absolutely horrifying. The vocals are the main culprit this time, lead
screamer doing just that, mainly a screaming/yelling delivery and when he
actually sings, it sounds really whiny and just plain annoying. None of the
songs here really have much going for them instrumentation wise, though the
lead guitarist can REALLY crank out some amazing lead riffs. He's wasting his
time and his talent here. Songs like 'Ripped In Half,' 'Should've Seen Blood'
and 'Yellow Fever' don't do much for me instrumentation wise either, and the
tune 'Back For The Show' could have been a great anthemic hit if not for the
terrible vocal work. 'Krank It Up,' likewise, is another potential hit ruined
by bad vocals. I had to listen to this several times to see if the
instrumentation was noteworthy, because the vocals (dare I say it again) were
so bad they made it hard to concentrate on anything else. More like heavy rock,
I wouldn't dare waste a tag like stoner rock on this mess. Avoid at all costs.
Contact: Tee Pee Records, P.O. Box 20307, New York, NY 10009
Web site: http://www.teepeerecords.com
CARPATHIAN FOREST "Morbid Fascination Of Death" (Avantgarde) SCORE: 86/100
Misanthropic black metal for sure, but these crazy warriors of the macabre
definitely do NOT approach black metal entirely old school. More on that later,
let's just say that the album starts off with some militaristic styled drums,
adding very morbid and eerie synths and guitar riffs with some twisted black
metal vocals and lyrics. Carpathian Forest don't mind slowing the pace down a
bit, nor do they mind experimentation, but all of it is done with a black
spirit. Heavy guitar work and anti christian lyrics coupled with some really
cool blackened vocal work are found on 'Doomed To Walk The Earth As Slaves Of
The Living Dead,' but still no blazing speed. The title track does offer up
some speedy guitar riffs though, proving that they haven't forgotten their
roots at all. Tchort of Green Carnation fame is working with this cult of black
metal bands, which is seemingly strange in a way but it makes me wonder if his
influence created 'Nostalgia' and 'Cold Comfort,' which is one of my favorites.
Let me explain: 'Cold Comfort' starts off with some melancholic pianos and
saxophones, alongside some vicious black metal vocals that are almost done up
in a whisper style, adding a very cold and kick ass atmosphere. It's amazing
that a band like this that is supposed to be raw and old school black metal can
evolve without changing their entire sound around. 'Nostalgia' starts things
off with acoustic guitars and saxophones being the only instruments you hear,
alongside the vicious blackened vox work. One of my other favorite tracks is
'Knokkelmann,' all sung in their native language (not sure what that might be
though), and though rather midpaced, they really crank up the speed and
heaviness on the choruses. Only a few tracks I didn't care for, and I think
that it's mainly some of the ultra slower riffs on 'A World Of Bones' that tend
to drag on a bit, and 'Warlord Of Misanthropy' I didn't care much for, neither
did I like their other experimentation piece 'Speechless' with guitars and
pianos. Not much to hate about this CD, and another good album from the crew
that brought you the ever so black title "Of Chasms, Caves, and Titan Woods"
and their last full length "Strange Brew."
Contact: Avantgarde Music.
Web site: http://www.avantgardemusic.com
CRYSTAL BALL "Virtual Empire" (Nuclear Blast Europe) SCORE: 88/100
Here's something to get pissed off about: This record will NOT be worked by
Nuclear Blast here in America. I only found out about it from an internet
friend of mine who, ahem, "gave" me a copy. Regardless, this is the kind of
thing that is obviously very popular in Europe, and the States I guess is
expected to never have an interest in melodic power metal that borders the
styles of melodic hard rock and progressive rock as well. This is a fantastic
example of a band that plays music true to what they want to hear and make,
not bowing to the industry, and this record does sound like it could have been
made in the 80's. After the electronic intro, 'Hands Of God' comes out with
some strong power metal styled guitars and a vocalist that is crisp and clear,
but you can tell English is not his native language only by a slight accent on
a few words. The chorus work here is most outstanding on nearly every track,
and the instrumentation is quite dynamic through and through. 'Savage Mind' and
'Dance With The Devil' are two of their heavier cuts, but they don't toss
melody out the window entirely. 'Blind Side' sounds like it would have been
written by Rhapsody or Labyrinth, and the multi vocal choruses work well here.
The title track has some faster guitar pieces, sounding like the riffs were
lifted straight off a Royal Hunt album! (And you all know how much I dig Royal
Hunt!) There were some rough spots though, and I have seen many reviews put the
score close to what I'm giving it. 'Look In My Eyes' is a ballad, not really my
cup of tea, as it sounds a bit too fruity. The eerie synth lines surrounding
the chorus on 'When The Night Is Over' sounded a bit odd and a tad overbearing,
seemingly trying to layer on the more horror type atmosphere through sound,
indeed not a thing a band of this caliber should try. 'Private Visitor' wasn't
a bad track either but I think the vocals, especially on the higher end, take
a bit more away from the choruses than I would like. All in all, though, a very
fun, catchy CD that I have found has been in my car more times than most. It's
a bit lighter edged for what some might consider power metal with touches of
hard rock and progressive rock, but I recommend checking it out anyway.
Contact: Nuclear Blast Europe.
Web site: http://www.nuclearblast.de
DIM MAK "Intercepting Fist" (Olympic) SCORE: 17/100
I think I hated this CD a bit more than the Boulder one. When Jim at Olympic
told me about the new Dim Mak coming out he said that the production on this
would be much better than their last release on some overseas label the name
of which escapes me now. This is just lousy death metal with a vocalist that
kinda sounds like a weak cross between hardcore and death metal, though more
on the hardcore side. 'Phoenix Eye Fist' starts the disc off with some fast and
furious instrumentation, but the songs really go nowhere, and you'll end up
listening to the choruses repeated over and over again. 'Shambling' does things
a bit slower, and it really doesn't surprise me that this is produced by Erik
Rutan of Hate Eternal fame, because I didn't like Hate Eternal either. A few
guitar riffs here and there caught my ear, like the ones on 'Mindgate,' and
I will admit for some reason 'Essence Of The Northern Fists' I dug more than
any other song on here, possibly because of the slower instrumentation and
thrashier guitars and overall better lyric structure. You'll get some fast
instrumentation, some slow stuff, and this screeching background vocal work
which I'm assuming is some band members very weak attempt at black metal, but
most of all the instrumentation is boring, the vocal work is nothing inspiring,
and I'm STILL not interested in the band at all. Hey man, why waste time and
Contact: Olympic Recordings.
DOWN "A Bustle In Your Hedgerow" (Elektra) SCORE: 94/100
Okay, this is mainly major label material, but fuck it, I highly enjoyed their
debut "NOLA," so I thought it fitting to do this one. The CD starts with
'Lysergic Funeral Procession' and 'There's Something On My Side' doing the
heavy thing, the latter track really shows off some heavy hitting bass guitar
licks, before the familiar heavy, almost yelling style of Pantera screamer
Anselmo kicks in. From there, things start to get a bit more melodic, and the
biggest surprise was on 'Stained Glass Cross,' with the killer Hammond organ
styled riffs that sounded just as heavy as melodic, and the multi vocal
choruses that are still fun to sing along to. This is an album that makes it
obvious to me the boys were having a damn good time with this and it shows all
the way through. There's a funny "Which one of y'all motha *beep* drank all my
*beep* kool aid?" piece (beeps done on the record, censored I think on purpose
just for effect), plus the various vocal quips here and there. 'New Orleans Is
A Dying Whore' was another rippin' tune, and indeed one of my favorites, though
they are all pretty much enjoyable. 'Landing On The Mountains Of Megiddo' is
a beautiful acoustic tune with some great multi vocal harmonies and great
singing chops by Anselmo, proving that he does more than just scream his way
through an album. Likewise, you can hear 'Learn From This Mistake' provide an
almost stoner like feeling, getting heavier at the end and showing us what a
diverse and dynamic album this really is. Didn't care for 'Man That Follows
Hell' in some spots, Phil's yelling getting a bit too much over the top and
higher pitched, and 'Dog Tired' seemed to lack in both guitars and vocal
departments. Even with the funny vocal sample in the beginning, 'Flambeaux'
was really a throwaway track with the odd percussion bordering on tribal and
the wierd moans and wails. Despite very few bad parts, this is a rock solid
album and one I enjoyed greatly. Don't expect NOLA part two however.
Contact: Elektra Records.
Web site: http://www.elektra.com
ENTWINE "Time Of Despair" (Spikefarm) SCORE: 54/100
Damnit all to hell, I really want to like this band, especially since the
strengths of 90 percent of their material lies in the catchy chorus work and
melodic mood that sometimes has a strong edge to it, but this CD has a lot
less going for it than the last album reviewed from them a few issues ago. This
time around there are only a few out and out rocking tracks, the rest get
washed down with gothic melody, which I might otherwise be able to like better
were the vocals primarily female. The male vocals here tend to be overtly
gothic style, complete with what I term "breathing melodies," where he seems to
be taking a breath at the same time he's changing pitch or tone. It makes songs
like 'Falling Apart' and 'Learn To Let Go' lose a lot of what they could have.
The lyrics too lend a lot to the atmosphere of this album, singing about love,
and some depressionary topics to enhance the moods. They do pepper the songs
with some heavier guitar work, trying to enhance the gothic and somewhat
etherial atmosphere, though on a track like 'Safe In A Dream,' one wonders if
this is an effect that sounds out of place. Keyboards run amok in this album,
as if you couldn't guess, though oftentimes they are indeed a highlight. I did
enjoy the way the album started off, 'Stream Of Life' takes off where the last
album had most of it's strengths. 'Until The End' had some of the most
beautiful female vocals I've heard in awhile, and it's a shame this couldn't
have been more than a one song deal for her. There is a cover of Paul Stanley's
'Tears Are Falling,' yes, THAT Paul Stanley from Kiss, and it's just as syrupy
as the rest of them. 'Burden' was another track I enjoyed due to the dynamics
of the choruses, which I have stuck in my head now. Their chorus work is often
the highlight on many tracks, but the overtly romantic and gothic overtones
drown the rest of the disc and make me wonder if the next album Entwine puts
out can possibly be any good.
Contact: Spikefarm Records, P.O. Box 212-00181 Helsinki, FINLAND
Web site: http://www.spinefarm.fi
FLOWING TEARS "Serpentine" (Century Media) SCORE: 68/100
Gothic inspired metal is what this is supposed to be billed as, with a female
singer who, surprisingly, also dips into the lower range. This doesn't always
have good effect, and it makes opener 'Starfish Ride' rather painful to sit
through, though the choruses are fantastic. Many of the tracks here, roughly
6 out of 12, are great. 'Serpentine,' the title track, has some great piano
notes and showcases a trademark that Flowing Tears does very well: catchy
choruses and instrumentation that actually evokes strong emotions, whether
dominant or melodic. My favorite tune is also one of their heaviest in
'Breach,' the guitar work is quite amazing. The problem comes in that the other
half of the album ranges from mostly substandard to downright quirky, check out
the lower toned singing on pseudo-ballad 'Portsall,' which was rather weak both
vocally and instrumentation wise. The last three songs of this album as well
were somewhat throwaway tracks to me, though 'Merlin' did have some nice
atmospheric instrumentation but failed to deliver on the choruses and the main
vocal lines. Still, there's quite a bit to enjoy, however having to skip over
6 tracks doesn't make for a consistent listening experience. 'The Carnage
People' too I enjoyed, but as I said, you might want to listen to the worse
tracks as well as the good ones, for buying this album would not give you
complete value for your money (unless you bought it used, traded for it, or
managed to pick it up in a pawn shop). Gothic metal that's a bit heavier than
what generally is out there, though.
Contact: Century Media Records.
Web site: http://www.centurymedia.com
FROSTMOON ECLIPSE "Gathering The Dark" (ISO666) SCORE: 91/100
Vicious as all hell. Fast paced old school black metal that employs acoustic
touches ala Opeth but no singing vocals! For those of you (myself NOT included
in this category however) that found Opeth's latest offering covering too many
melodies and clean vocals, this is what you will be seeking. Frostmoon Eclipse
show maturity and development while choosing NOT to abandon the harsh and
speedier elements of the early days of black metal. 'Where No Light Burns' is
a great example of how the disc starts off: The first thing you hear is the
insanely fast drumming that will become a landmark on this disc, and the
vicious black metal screams that dominate and obliterate what's left of your
senses. They also know how to vary the instrumentation found within; don't be
surprised to hear them slow things down as well as go into speed riffing. There
is even a few melodic instrumentals thrown into the mix, in 'Astes,' 'Ruins,'
and 'Cold Silvery Eye,' the latter track being a bonus tune (along with three
others) pulled from a rare 7 inch EP. 'Dragon Millenium' was another highlight
tune, featuring some slight synth passages that I didn't detect the first few
times around. 'I Am My Worst Enemy' had some thrashy riffs, and was a favorite
tune of mine, so much so that I had to play it on the radio show. Only a few
problems with this disc, however. 'Son Of Scorn' had some really bad guitar
work, the tone just hit the wrong nerve with me, and 'Dusk To Exalt My Triumph'
had some guitar passages that sounded a tad off. Vocally, there's no problem
with this CD, though it seems the 7 inch material is not quite as crisp as the
rest of the CD. Very promising and powerful black metal from Italy of all
Contact: ISO666 Releases.
HONCHO "Corporate Rock" (Water Dragon) SCORE: 98/100
Damn if this CD didn't come right out and kick me square in the ass! Chris
Miller, who is rather new to the stoner rock genre (who also stars on my radio
show), also really digs this CD as well, so there you go. Stoner rock? Well,
that's the tag that this band will probably get lumped under, which isn't
alltogether unfair, considering there are some slow moving songs, like 'Loco
Steam' and 'Dark Tunnel Of Love.' However, there are some really rippin' fast
tunes, like 'Snake Eyes,' which is also catchy as hell, and 'Hide Behind,'
which is one of the HEAVIEST tunes they've penned on this disc. 'Grebo Mentor'
and 'In The Woods' start this CD out explosively, rocking all the way to the
bank! The vocals are absolutely perfect as well, soaring when they need to
soar and laying low and mellow when the instrumentation calls for it. This is
damn near a perfect disc, except for 'Industrial Lane,' which, being a slow
track, was quite off for me, especially with the odd sounding instrumentation
and the vocal work that was off in spots. This CD flat out jams, even the
hidden track, a blistering instrumental that will leave you shaking your heads
and begging for more! Can you believe these guys are out of NORWAY of all
places? Wonder if these guys gave up the corpse paint in a former life?
Contact: Water Dragon Records. (And you BETTER go after this one!)
Web site: http://welcome.to/water_dragon
KALMAH "They Will Return" (Century Media) SCORE:98/100
They have most definitely done it again. Returning after putting out a barn
burning "Swamplord," this is easily their most defining work to date. HIGHLY
melodic guitar work amidst a framework of vicious black metal screams and a
new twist this time around: some slightly death metal influenced vocals.
Thankfully they don't go too far with this last acquisition, as it's my strong
opinion that what they did last album they can do here as well. The album
starts things off quite nicely with samples of someone stomping through a
swamp, but the lyrics take a different path this time around, speaking of
do nothing idealists and the concept of hangers-out in bars congregating
together as a family. 'Skin Of My Teeth' is a nicely done Megadeth cover, and
the whole album is absolutely brilliant. 'Human Fates' was one of my favorite
tracks, starting out with some very cool and mellow synths, showing that their
M.O. of the day is not always to blaze away at top speed. 'Swamphell' has some
catchy but simple chorus effects, and our swamp screamer really lays the
aggression on with his vocal work. The only song I wasn't too pleased with was
'My Nation,' it is slowed down quite considerably, almost ballad style, with a
whispered vocal delivery that somewhat takes away from the feel of the song,
but the choruses kick back in with vicious vocal work and redeem this song a
tad. The guitar work shines throughout, and the vocal work is just as vicious
as ever, but of course you can't deny those keyboard riffs that make this
whole thing shine. Great job, yet again, guys.
Contact: Century Media Records.
KHOLD "Phantom" (The End) SCORE: 24/100
Usually I don't have a problem with much of what The End licenses these days,
but this overseas offering from Moonfog Records didn't strike me as anything
I'd want to return to. It's slower, much slower paced black metal than what
most are used to, and it definitely has a "kold" feeling, but that doesn't
help me much. Most of the instrumentation seems to drag along at a painful
pace, though not slow enough to evoke feelings of true doom, if anyone can
comprehend what I mean. The vocals too are nothing outstanding, they are
basically just THERE. Gard's vocals never get overtly vicious or even long
winded, they're just rather samey, what you hear on track one, 'Dodens Grode'
you hear on 'Vandring,' the last track. I will admit some of the guitar work
on 'Hekseformular I Vev' were interesting, citing a bit of a Celtic Frost vibe,
while 'Phantom,' the title track, hinted at a blackened doom metal combination
that, had it been worked out better, might have been an interesting and unusual
style for this disc. Instead, we get horrible twangy guitar work on
'Skjebnevette,' said guitar riffs being mostly of the higher end variety, and
mostly not much variety in the song structures overall. I can understand the
appeal of this CD, as very few black metal bands I know would want to creep
along at a snail's pace, however this is not one I can recommend. Get Arcturus'
new CD instead.
Contact: The End Records.
LANA LANE "Project Shangri-La" (Limb Music) SCORE: 39/100
I must admit I haven't heard much from Lana Lane, but the last album from her I
got to hear, "Queen Of The Ocean," impressed me quite a bit. This album however
does not have the same quality of songs. Mainly, the biggest problem I see
is NOT with her vocal work, which is still quite up to the task, it's her
obvious insistence that she prove to the world she can back up heavier, more
"metallic" types of songs. It makes the instrumentation on songs like 'The
Beast Within You,' 'Only A Dream,' and 'Encore' sound not only silly, but like
she's backing somebody else's band. And the lyrics for 'Encore' themselves were
quite bland, it seems as if she ran out of steam on this album. Most people seem
to think that the vocals are all I can look at; this album will prove people
wrong. Her vocal work, as I stated, is still quite enchanting, like on the
ballad 'Ebbtide,' she can still keep a mood and melody going. There's a few
instrumentals here as well, though the latter one 'Redemption Part II' really
sounds like a band without any idea how to do a heavy song, the synths are
so drenched in heaviness it sounds like a faked effort. Even the bonus track
'Romeo and Juliet' failed to grab me. 'Before You Go' was a decent ballad,
though, and added the proper mixture of heaviness and atmosphere that worked so
well for Lana on "Queen Of The Ocean." If she'd quit trying to prove she can
do metal and stick to the emotional, thought provoking and moving type of songs
she did with "Queen..." I think things would go much better for her. 'Tears Of
Babylon,' finally, was a good example of a song that could have been written on
the "Queen..." album, the instrumentation is more in line with what sounds good
for her, except the choruses are the only redeemable vocal work here.
Contact: Limb Music.
Web site: http://www.limb-music.de
MANOWAR "Warriors Of The World" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 84/100
Good socre, you say, but this CD should really have been able to get a higher
score, namely because the best songs here are quite simply fantastic. Manowar
has perfected the warrior/viking feel with this album, making it one of the
most intense albums I've heard since "Fighting The World." The problem here is
their insistence on what I'll term "non-metal" pieces. Granted, 'The Fight For
Freedom' was very nicely done, starting out as a piano ballad and then cranking
up the guitars to go along with the marchign style drums to create a true
American, warrior pride atmosphere that would be a proud addition to any public
service event. However, the opera styled 'Nessun Dorma?' Great, he can style
his vocals for opera, but this really has no business on a Manowar album.
Neither does 'An American Trilogy,' singing about Dixie is strange since aren't
Manowar from New York? They do add the heavier explosive drums and synth
passages at the end, but still it's a track I'd skip. And there are also two
instrumentals, both of which are great but I would have preferred one more
song. SO, despite these few things, there are at least 8 tracks of amazing,
kick ass and anthemic power metal. The synths are used to surprisingly good
effect, to bring out the Viking feeling, along with some multi vocal chanting.
'Swords Im The Wind' is a perfect anthemic ode to warrior Vikings, and 'Fight
Until We Die' closes out this album perfectly. In between there are gems like
'Warriors Of The World United,' with thunderous drums, crunchy guitar riffs,
and the usual melodic singing style going a bit harder edged. Check out the
crazed assault of 'House Of Death' as well, which is a fast and furious
ripper of a tune. Despite the good score, I wish Manowar would concentrate less
on the ballad like pieces, after all, in this writer's opinion it's what made
"Into Glory Ride" near painful to sit through, despite great anthems like
'Gloves Of Metal' and 'Warlord.' Still a must have for true metal fans.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
Web site: http://www.metalblade.com
THE MUSHROOM RIVER BAND 'Simsalabim' (Meteor City) SCORE: 98/100
Holy shit! Tell me you didn't see this coming! When I first got the CD, and
saw the wizards on the cover over some stars, I was expecting some stoner
rock of the slower variety. When I listened, however, that explosive screaming
voice and kick ass, in your face and smashing guitar work took me completely
by surprise! And it dominates you all the way through the album, leave off any
stoner tags and call this blatantly heavy, HEAVY rock! The guitar work
throughout this album is absolutely amazing, not to mention HEAVY! To further
prove this point, check out 'Make It Happen,' where the choruses are actually
screamed, seemingly at the top of lead vocalist Spice's lungs! The only thing
that really threw me for a loop was the harmonica playing on 'The Big Sick
Machine,' hadda take a point or two for that as it didn't really sound like it
belonged. You will be digging the choruses on 'Run, Run, Run,' though, and
really jamming air guitar to the opening title track. There's some breaks to
the madness, however, they do a nice set of acoustic passages once in awhile,
these can be found on 'Change It' and 'Proud Of Being Cool,' and the lyrics
are quite cool to read as well. What a monster of an album, something I relate
more to the likes of Pawnshop than the usual roster of Meteor City greats.
Contact: Meteor City.
NATAS "Corsario Negro" (Small Stone) SCORE: 99/100
The CD and press kit show themselves calling themselves Los Natas for some
reason, but we here at Vibrations of Doom will refer to them by the name they
have gone under for some time, since we consider them to be Argentinian GODS
of stoner/psychedelic rock. And after their split CD with Dragonauta last year,
which I wasn't extremely crazy about, these 4 have redeemed themselves in
unbelievable fashion! This album is an instant and remarkable classic.
Once again, there are quite a few instrumental passages as well as much better
vocal work this time around since the split CD last year. '2002' starts things
off as one of their heaviest instrumental tunes yet, and production this time
around was handled by Billy Anderson, yet another few points added to the mix!
The guitar riffs are fuzzy and slightly distorted where they need to be, and
the acoustics are dominant and clear sounding when THEY are called for. Like
on 'Lei Motive,' where you hear some beautiful acoustic riffs and then the
build comes to some fast heavy instrumentational jamming! As if that wasn't
enough, they bring out a PIANO and start fast jamming with it. How much better
can it get? 'Planeta Solitario' shows some electronically distorted vocal
effects, though not laid on too thick like they did on one song from
"Ciudad..." These tracks definitely know how to build momentum, keeping you
constantly guessing and far from boring. 'Contemplando La Niebla' is a perfect
example of this, with their slow vocal delivery and dominant guitar riffs.
Despite all this, I did have a problem with 'Patas De Elefante,' and that was
with the "whoah, whoas" which I heard a bit too frequently. Not enough to pass
the song up, but it's enough to lose a point or two, unlike on "Ciudad..."
where I had to lose a whole song. Coming from Argentina, it is great that a
secure U.S. label has picked this up and a DAMN welcome treat for this writer's
eyes AND ears.
Contact: Small Stone Records, P.O. Box 020007, Detroit, MI 48202 USA
Web site: http://www.smallstone.com
NONEXIST "Deus Deceptor" (Century Media) SCORE: 92/100
Licensed from something called New Hawen Records, Century Media once again
scours the globe for impressive talent outside the U.S. And this CD sounds
like a mixture of the Gothenberg sound with some rather unique rough vocals,
rather a tad between At The Gates, black metal, and slight hardcore. It works,
trust me! The songs are catchy as well, like 'Eaten Alive,' with some really
choppy thrash riffs and dominant catchy chorus work. Then there's the beautiful
but heavy high end guitar work starting off 'A Halo Askew' before they start
rocking and pushing viciousness in the vocal and guitar department. Very
good and catchy stuff! There's even a few nice instrumentals to change the
pace a bit. 'Phantoms' was a killer track too, though I didn't care much for
the overtly death metal styled vox and guitars in the chorus, it sounded a bit
like overkill (the term, not the band). You'll find 'Delirious Tongues' to be
a speedfest that has a very angry and vicious spirit, and you'll probably be
hooked by the time the Gothenberg styled riffing of 'Idols & Fiends' comes
around. I've been hooked on the choruses and vicious melodies this CD throws
out, and hopefully you will too. It's heavy through and through, hell it's
vicious through and through!
Contact: Century Media Records.
PAWNSHOP "Cruise 'O' Matic" (Beard Of Stars) SCORE: 91/100
I didn't know what to expect from this band, yet another group out of Norway
that isn't playing black metal. Heavy, HEAVY rock is what we have here, and
it reminds me a bit of what The Mushroom River band are doing, just plain,
straightforward, kick ass heavy rock. Surprising in and of itself, since Beard
Of Stars mostly caters to psychedelic/space and stoner rock. The vocals are
shouted to a degree, rather like The Mushroom River band, but they don't mind
putting in a bit more melodic passages, like the single note acoustics bringing
in the end track 'Living Zombie.' Likewise, though still heavy, the title track
has a rather laid back vibe but is still no less heavy. I only had beef with a
few things; 'Year Of Pleasure' had some really odd higher ended lead guitar
parts, and 'Mean Machine' had some strange cowbell notes and was a bit
"country-fied" sounding. They still crank the heaviness out though, but in his
vocal delivery he's coming off a bit twangy, for lack of a better word. 'Space
Cadillacs' is another slow tune, but they definitely know how to make catchy
choruses and some jamming instrumentation. Definitely check this out.
Contact: Beard Of Stars
Web site: http://www.vinylmagic3.it
PRIMAL FEAR "Black Sun" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 63/100
I must say I'm still not overtly impressed with the latest offering from Priest
soundalikes Primal Fear. After the prerequisite intro, we're down to business.
Some of the songs have shown a bit of improvement over 'Nuclear Fire,' but
still offer no real heavy hitters, save for 'Revolution.' This is about as
anthemic and dynamic a song as I've ever heard Primal Fear write. Kick ass to
the nines, it's a shame Primal Fear couldn't write more songs like this. Ralf
Scheepers' main problem is he doesn't really know when it sounds better to dip
higher or better to stay at a lower range. More than half the problem with this
CD is the timing of his vocal range. For example, 'Fear' shows him using a
vocal style that for some reason seems to clash with the faster instrumentation
going throughout the song, while the chorus work on 'Magic Eye' sounded a bit
off, especially if the vocals are multi tracked. And 'Mind Machine' surprised
me greatly with the heaviest instrumentation on the album, but the higher end
vocals really clash here. Still, there are some good moments besides the one
mentioned above: 'Lightyears From Home' had fast but melodic guitar work, and
Ralf's vocal work was equally accomodating and dominant. 'We Go Down' had a
synth line right out of Priest's 'Nightcrawler,' but also had the distinction
of being a heavier, more anthemic tune with good vocal structure, though the
track isn't near as good as 'Revolution.' 'Mind Control' similarly was a decent
track. Overall, this band is probably going to have it's career plagued as a
Priest clone, but if they could make more dynamic, anthemic tracks like the
ones I mentioned above, neither I nor anyone else will care as long as the
album can kick ass from start to finish. A bit of an improvement, but still
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.
RAGE "Unity" (SPV/Steamhammer) SCORE: 83/100
Man, oh man was I glad to see this in my mailbox! I even tracked the band down
for an interview, as I loved the way they mixed speed metal, power metal and
just some overall kick ass melodies with their "Perfect Man" album back in the
80's. Unfortunately for me, "Perfect Man" was the only exposure to Rage I had
ever had, besides the Avenger stuff they put out even earlier. Their newest
album "Unity" is definitely no "Perfect Man," but it has many strong points
that stand out. First off, you may be surprised to hear the opener 'All I Want'
showcase Peavey Wagner, the only original member left, doing a death metal
growl! He doesn't do this very often, hardly at all, but it does give one a
shock! This album definitely borders on the dark and heavy, but still has the
multi vocal filled melodic choruses that have been a trademark on their 1988
masterpiece "Perfect Man." The subject matter is still just as dark, one only
has to listen to the lyrics on 'World Of Pain' and 'Down' to know that! 'Down,'
incidentally, has some low toned vocal work and is a kick ass middle finger to
the establishment as Peavey puts it. Quite simply, these tunes rock. The
experimentation phase with the classical and operatic styles that they did on
a few previous albums did not work well here, the song 'Dies Irae' had really
offkey operatic style choruses that did NOT fit well with the heavier
instrumentation. 'Seven Deadly Sins,' likewise, was a bit overbearing with the
heaviness, as if he had a point to prove. However, when he is writing what I
call the standard Rage formula, songs like 'Insanity,' 'Down,' and 'Living My
Dream' make you feel weighted down with the heavy and almost thrashy guitar
riffs, only to be pleasantly surprised when the choruses catch you off guard
with amazing catchiness and melody. The trio now is comprised of a German, a
Russian and an American (guess what the founding member's nationality is) and
the musicianship has never been tighter, the songs definitely show a great
working relationship between the three. Not quite up to par with "Perfect Man,"
however even that album had a few blemishes, but this album is a damn solid
effort in it's own right.
RHAPSODY "Power Of The Dragonflame" (Limb Music) SCORE: 97/100
This is allegedly the last volume in the storyline that has carried on for
about 4 albums now, so I'm wondering where they go from here. Rhapsody this
time around has created a masterpiece that is markedly heavier than their
previous efforts, while still carrying the traditions and sounds over from
gems like "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands" and "Dawn Of Victory." In fact,
'Knightrider Of Doom' comes off a bit like 'Holy Thunderforce' from the "Dawn
Of Victory" album, with the fast guitar work, dominant synths and of course the
multi vocal choruses both male and female that are a bit operatic. 'The March
Of The Swordmaster' starts off a bit like 'Village Of Dwarves' from a previous
album, with the medieval instrumentation, and you know Rhapsody isn't afraid
to drag out pianos, acoustic guitar riffs, but the most dynamic part of the
album is of course the vocal work, which has gotten a LOT heavier. As always,
the vocal work from the lead singer borders on being strained, but somehow he
always manages to keep himself in check, this vocal work is a very demanding
performance, as you can no doubt hear from song to song. And I had sincerely
hoped we would be rid of that annoying narrator, and until the very last track
I thought we were. As long as they have this goofball of a "performer" doing
narration, a Rhapsody CD will never be able to get a perfect 100 score.
Thankfully, his wailing is even more limited this time around, confined to the
19 minute epic closeout track 'Gargoyles, Angels Of Darkness.' There is one
track that is mostly operatic vocal styles, 'Lamento Eroico,' which I enjoyed
a bit more than the opera styled tune found on Manowar's disc, simply
because it's done in a heavier style and the vocal work is more dominant, but
I still have to voice my slight displeasure for a straightforward opera piece.
I dig it when it's mixed in with heavier instrumentation, which is why Rhapsody
does a more tolerable job with this. A masterpiece to say the least, it is a
necessary listen even if you didn't care for the other releases, this is their
heaviest work yet!
Contact: Limb Music.
SIDEBURN "Trying To Burn The Sun" (Beard Of Stars) SCORE: 56/100
I must admit the whole concept of this band was rather strange. Points have to
be given, majorly I might add, for the fuzzed out, heavy guitar work that is
presented on MANY of the songs, and when there aren't any quirks, tracks like
'Planet Of Doom' (which is the best song on here) and 'Rainmaker' tend to be
jam fests. The main problem is that there is so much quirky stuff going on
here; sometimes the vocals will be too dominant for the instrumentation, or
sometimes the instrumentation will take on a rather odd quality, like the
almost embarassing twangy opening guitar riffs on 'Burn.' The lyrics can
definitely be a distraction, though it has to be noted that the themes running
throughout seem to be from a hippy's perspective. Normally I don't care about
lyrics, but when I hear a song like 'Doin Fine' where he's yelling "Doin' fine
with my lady, doin' fine with my baby..." well, you get the picture. 'Sweet
Love Of Youth' has a fantastic chorus line, but I can't ever get to it because
of all the sappy multi vocal work that is in the main lines of the song. What's
really sad though is that this record could be so much better than it is if
the group as a whole would just tighten things up. 'Ceremony' starts the track
off with some beautiful acoustic riffs, and the vocal work is definitely in
line; not too mellow but not too rough either. 'Sideburn' is a rather slow,
ultra doomy passage, probably one of their heaviest, but I can't seem to get
into it for reasons beyond the vocals that tend to be way too loud for the tone
the music sets. Not a horrible release, somewhere between the spirit of the
60's generation and stoner/doom rock, but not one I'd rave about either.
Contact: Beard Of Stars
SONS OF OTIS "Songs For Worship" (The Music Cartel) SCORE: 91/100
Everyone should remember how I raved about this band from Canada over their
last two full lengths, and after Man's Ruin folded I somehow envisioned the
group joining this label. This is a very good effort, but I must admit it's
not my alltime favorite Otis album. The slow, doomy stoner rock that
incorporates spacey effects and heavy downtuned riffs is still to be found,
in fact when you hear a Sons of Otis song, even if you don't know it, you
recognize the band playing it. 'The Hunted' starts this off in quite a slow
fashion, and be prepared to see songs exceeding the 6 minute mark here. One
thing about Sons Of Otis is the bass on your stereo will need to be adjusted,
as the thunderous rumblings continue on from track to track. The cool swirling
and echoed guitar effects continue on with the tune 'Losin' It,' and this song
shows a more upbeat set of instrumentation this time around. The vocals are
definitely becoming more of a factor in the music of Sons Of Otis, all but one
song features rather extensive vocal work, though depending on your stereo's
settings, are still for the most part nearly buried in the background. 'Cold
City Blues' is a highlight for me, for amongst the doomy rumblings are some
neat higher ended blues styled guitar riffs which add an interesting take to
the usual formula that has been presented over three albums and a demo tape.
'In From The Storm' has those wacky swirling and echoed guitar riffs, and 'I'm
Gone' has to be one of the heaviest and angriest tunes here, harkening back to
the days of 'Spacejumbofudge.' A Sons Of Otis album is still a good album it
seems, but this newest release seems to be more of a mixture of ideas from the
first two records while containing none of either's elements in their entirety,
so the formula isn't totally abandoned, just reworked and tweaked a bit. Still
Contact: The Music Cartel.
Web site: http://www.music-cartel.com
TEARABYTE "Embrace Oblivion" (Screaming Ferret) SCORE: 79/100
I first saw these guys at the Jersey Metalfest, and was impressed at their power
thrash meets 80's styled power metal. The CD has very little of the higher edged
vocals, but it does have that crazy 'Screaming Pig' song they played live! The
lyrical content on some of this is kinda silly, at least where that song and
'Pissing Contest' are concerned, but what keeps drawing me to this CD is the
downtuned riffing that starts opener 'Road Rage' out. Downtuned to the point
where you think you'll hear Obuituary or Carcass styled vocals come out. The
majority of the songs are done at such a downtuned pace, you almost think
there's no life in this CD, but the guitar work and the aggressive stances
of the music keep you coming back for more. Plus the guitar work is often taking
me back to the glory days of 80's thrash. If you're used to faster material
from bands like Soilwork, Dark Tranquility or Carnal Forge/centinex/Behemoth,
this may be hard to get through. If you can stick around, though, songs like
'One More Day' and the Faith Or Fear styled thrash of 'Price Of Evil.' It
doesn't jump out at you, doesn't get hellfire and aggression, but it definitely
holds it's own. I didn't care much for 'Pissing Contest' with the weak chorus
work and a bit slower than THEIR usual instrumentation, and though the cover
song 'Ring Of Fire' was rather fun and an unusual choice (I believe it's a
Johnny Cash song), I don't think I'll be spinning it too much. 'Under The Sand'
REALLY suffers from medocrity, while the lyrics on 'Lash Of The Gash' make this
a bit harder to sit through than most (Despite the fact that this song has
some vicious thrash guitar work!) Still, despite a lower score than most
other discs I rave about, there's plenty that will keep you interested for more
than a spin or two.
Contact: Screamin Ferret Wreckords, P.O. Box 56 Hillsboro, NH 03244
Web site: http://www.screamingferret.com
VALLEY'S EVE "Deception Of Pain" (Limb Music) SCORE: 82/100
Somehow this reminds me of Burning Point in a way, it's like the heavier side
of thrash on the guitar work, with a singer that actually has a range. Though
said vocalist here goes low at times, it's never to growl range. That being
said, the first three songs 'The Fire Burns,' 'Point Of No Return,' and 'The
Sun' all start out heavy on the guitar work, though 'Point Of No Return' is a
bit slower of the three. It's the heavy instrumentation while showcasing power
metal styled vocals and catchy choruses thing, which I always dig. 'In Your
Head' DEFINITELY reminds me of Burning Point, and it doesn't seem to be a
coincidence that both bands are signed to Limb, I think this is the kind of
music Limb music seeks out on a regular basis. 'Mirror In Your Eyes' didn't
impress me as much, the choruses didn't sit well with me, and the almost ballad
like feel they went for with the acoustic guitars definitely clashed with the
heavier singing. Awkward moment there! 'Dark Room,' same thing, except they are
going for a slow, dark and eerie feeling, the vocals are just too dominantly
heavy for this to work. 'Creating Gods' is catchy as hell, and the acoustic
breakdown thing actually works here. 'Falling' takes a different path from most
of the other songs, with more uptempo guitars and song structures; it's very
catchy and not drenched in heaviness. The albums starts to dip a bit by the
last few songs, most notably 'Unholy Power' with some strange guitar tones.
If you liked Burning Point, you should be able to get into this as well, but
as I stated there are a few songs that venture along a strange path. Still,
for a 13 song CD (there's a bonus track after the 12th), you can't complain
Contact: Limb Music.
WOLF "Black Wings" (No Fashion) SCORE:67/100
I must admit I was taken aback when I first started listening to this CD! This
couldn't be the ultra melodic and cool singer Niklas Olsson who did such a
marvelous job with the first Wolf CD! But alas, it is, and the problem with
this CD lies squarely with the vocalist. Songs like 'Demon Bell' and 'Unholy
Night' are two examples of songs that were difficult to sit through due to the
change in sound of the vocals. I can't for the life of me figure out why the
guy sounds so damn different on this album, I think the answer lies in the fact
that vocal effects were used to give him a "darker" tone. His higher pitched
delivery is fine here, in fact one of their best songs 'Genocide' shows Niklas
hitting higher notes for the most part, but then again to be fair the best
instrumentation is on this song and the tempo and atmosphere is kick ass all
the way around. The guitar work continues to be a highlight through damn near
every song, from the beautiful lead solos on 'Venom' to the faster
song structures of 'I Am The Devil' and 'Night Stalker.' I can't say the singer
sounds terrible, but he has this rather ragged edge especially when he sings at
a lower range and it really didn't sit well with me. I didn't find all the
instrumentation to be superb, either, like on 'A World Bewitched.' Their NWOBHM
styled instrumentation for the most part is quite dominant and true to form,
but I can't help feeling that if Niklas sang like he did on the first album,
things would have been much better. Their Mercyful Fate cover 'A Dangerous
Meeting' was a bad idea, as the chorus work is very weak, something Wolf never
had a problem with in the past, and the higher ended screams at the end of this
song show just how offkey he can REALLY get. Raving about 'Genocide,' and able
to tolerate many other songs in smaller doses, this CD was a bigger
disappointment than the score will actually show.
Contact: No Fashion Records.
WOLFEN SOCIETY "Conquer Divine" (House Of Death) SCORE: 36/100
I was personally handed this CD by Lord Ahrimand of Dark Funeral when they
played here in Atlanta. And when the first tune hit, 'Conquer Divine,' I was
mightily impressed. Vicious death vocals from one Vincent Crowley of Acheron
fame, backed with the ripping guitar work of Lord Ahrimand and leads coming
from none other than Electric Hellfire club axeman Ricktor Ravensbruck! Kyle
from Incantation also makes an appearance. It's a shame the other three songs
on this EP aren't as promising as the lead cut, but there's just too much I
can't get into. 'Blood Oath' is more of a speed tune, taking away some of the
power that the opening track had, though they do throw in some killer slower
leads here and there. They overdid it with the sound sample (I still have NO
idea what that sound is, sounds like wolves breathing up close maybe?) and
overall this is a mediocre tune. 'Life Is War' REALLY didn't work for me, it's
a very slow, dragged out tune that Crowley's vocals don't help along at all.
The overuse of howling wolves tended to get annoying as well, and I definitely
had to pass on this. The last tune is a cover of Carnivore's 'Race War,'
which sounded rather silly, especially when Crowley dips as low as he possibly
can on the choruses. Even the synths seemed out of place, and though this is
only a 4 track EP, I would still like to see if this most unlikely of side
projects can tighten the sound and style up and create a decent full length.
Contact: House Of Death Records, P.O. Box 2892, Joilet, IL 60434-2892 USA
Web site: http://houseofdeathrecords.com
BLOOD STORM. Interview with Mezzadurus via phone.
Many black metal bands run through the same old rehash of topics. Christianity
bashing is certainly nothing new, but Bloodstorm gives the genre a new twist
lyric wise. Musically, they have mixtures of Celtic Frost and Bathory with
speed and hellish vocals, but the first time I read through the lyrics, I
thought I was reading a really cool science fiction story. On closer
examination, I realized that some of the Cthulu mythos are tied in with the
lyrics, but the explanations I got run on a surprisingly deeper level, and
reveal much that is strange and inspiring in the lyrical content. Be warned,
though, some of Mezzadurus' explanations into the lyrics are seemingly quite
bizarre, though they reveal much that is actually written in books mostly
unknown to the majority of us. An open mind here is DEFINITELY a must. As a
footnote, please be advised that there are lots of references to deities and
entities I am not familiar with: since this was a voice interview, the
spelling of certain names may not be 100 percent correct.
- Now when I last spoke to you you mentioned you would be on tour
with Absu as a fill in vocalist?
Just for that one show, it was the same kind of scenario as some of the other
tours I did with them, I do bass and some vocal parts along with Shaftiel and
- Absu just put a new album out, did you have time to learn any of
the material from the new album?
I've learned their older songs before. It's kinda like riding a bike for me,
I never forget their stuff. I just had to go down there and rehearse for like
three days, it was kinda rushed. It was basically just a brush up technique.
Absu was offered the show two weeks before it happened. It was a last minute
entry with Manowar and Immortal.
- I want to talk about the new album of course, I was pretty
impressed with it. There's like three or four tracks on the album that you
guys ran the vocals backwards. I actually got a program and ran the backwards
Wow, you actually took the time to run the passages, which I call them,
- Yeah, I used Cool Edit 2000 to reverse the direction of the track.
That program is amazing, you can do damn near anything you want to a piece of
music with that thing. What did you use to do that with?
I just recited the passages and when we went into the Council Room in the
studio I asked the engineer to run it backwards, which is really no problem to
do. There's an underlying tone underneath each one of those passages. They are
all a little different but there's one specific tone for each passage that is
supposed to be vocally recited when you meditate and go into the rituals, like
the Trigums Of The Flesh. It helps you to experience a kind of magical current.
You use tones because they are supposed to tap into your subconscious, it's
rather like hypnotizing yourself. Some things in the occult are like that.
- I noticed that in your lyrics, I remember that song 'Possession By
The Ku' there was a reference to Lovecraft, the line was something along
'Consuming The Princess Of Cthulu.' Some people really dismiss the Necronomicon
as just a crazy story by a mad Arab, but then you look at things like the
Egyptian pyramids and you wonder if a supernatural force had an influence on
cultures and civilizations. After all, even with our technology today, those
pyramids would be hard even for us to build.
I've spent a lot of time, just for myself, looking into things. Even in school
I had these kinds of questions. By the time I got out of school, a year later,
is when I really got interested in it. Answers that I was looking for came
later on as I got older. What I learn, say and do is definitely not for
everyone, because everybody has their own magical universe to master, and
I believe everyone is their own star.
- That's interesting because I remember some of those same things
being said by Crowley, and it's funny to me that people say "Oh, Crowley was
heavily tied to Satanism," but Crowley is one of few individuals that I know
that based his philosophies from ancient Egyptian and Sumerian culture, beside
some of his other writings.
People of course are more familiar with Crowley because of his rituals and he
became more popular, but I prefer more of his teacher Austin Osman Spare.
Spare wasn't as corrupted, humanly wise. Crowley was rather corrupt.
- You mean in his bid for attention and power?
Well, with his drugs and things like that. That's corruption to me when you
bring drugs into the picture. I think Spare had gone a lot further and been a
lot deeper than what Crowley has done. Not saying that Crowley wasn't
successful in what he did, but I think he reached a point in his magical
career or lifestyle that he kind of got stonewalled because of the way he
became corrupt. He got very erratic and quite greedy. One entity, called Lam,
I've read a lot about how that entity purposely forced Crowley to be confused
at a certain point.
- Maybe that's where all the outside influences came into play.
It just depends on what you are trying to look for and what you are doing. I
believe a person going into something like this, like Clythic(sp?) magic and
necromancy, Typhonian currents, the Cirrus magic; to me personally you would
have to be uncorrupt, and I know a lot of people like to experiment with drugs
when they do ritual stuff. That's VERY dangerous, especially if you're tapping
into something that's too powerful, old and wretchedly pure, just...chaos. Not
chaos in a negative way and not chaos in a positive way, just chaos. Both
positive and negative can come out of it. Not being able to distinguish one
from the other means you will go nowhere with it. That's how I see it.
- When you're playing with forces like that you really need to be in
control of yourself anyway.
You have to be 100 percent, absolutely of sound mind and body. You have to have
your mind absolutely trained. It is a shock to the system to feel things that
you don't normally feel.
- Now how ritualistic is a lot of this, because one person's
complaint was that in certain ceremonies, you know the candles have to be a
certain height, they need to be placed in a certain position, you have to
pronounce the words and dialects exactly. That turned some people I know off
who were studying this. But I said, well, if it's true and it's pure it should
not always be that dogmatic.
I've always learned from my teachers in the beginning that you can never be
wrong as long as your intention is pure and focused. You are the individual
creating your natural universe. You're putting your energy into a void of
nothingness, into a whole other dimension or plane of existance. And you create
out of it what you will, your landscape. To me a person isn't wrong as long as
the intention is pure and not a corrupt one. A lot of people think that magic
is like having a hundred women fall in love with them, becoming unbelievably
wealthy, and having this total control and power to get people to do what they
want, and it's not like that. If a person is into it for those kinds of things
then they are dead before they start. The entity you are trying to contact is
already aware, it's already going to know what you are knowing, simply because
it's above our plane of existance anyway.
- Well, what would you consider true intentions as opposed to the
ones you mentioned above?
A person's pure, focused and conditioned heart. If a person is looking for
earthly or material power, they're going to do it if they really want it. I
think that's lesser of a person that has to value everything as material worth.
The reality of course is that we have to have money to survive, that's earthly
reality, you gotta have a place to live, you have to eat, etc. If all people
want to do with magic is gain material goods, then they are missing a great
adventure, a great journey for themselves to be a lot stronger, better focused
and shielded from negative energy on this planet. Magic should be a forcefield
from negatives against your life. Whatever a person considers negative, and one
person's negative could be another person's positive, which is something else I
believe. For me, drugs and alcohol is a negative.
- That's definitely a thing that I consider a positive, and my
philosophy runs along parallel lines to the band Maudlin Of The Well (see the
interview done with that band in issue #30), somewhat like if you use a
crystal to channel energy or power. I believe certain drugs can open you up to
other planes that you might not be aware of. When I get ready to do some
writings, I like to smoke a little marijuanna to get my brain into a certain
state. Sometimes you have to turn certain things off in your mind to reach
other normally inaccessible areas. The way Maudlin Of The Well puts it, there's
another field, or plane, or energy base, whatever you want to call it, that
artists can tap into and take what they need for inspiration. Certain types of
recreational drugs can help you get there easier I think. Of course not
everyone uses those drugs, like LSD and Marijuana to do writings.
That's a positive for them, then. Me personally, I have already done the things
I need to do to know that THAT is a miniscule thing that isn't needed. For me.
I know plenty of people that are like that though. If you have a bad trip,
though, it can definitely mess you up. You really can't be harmed unless you
allow yourself to be harmed, and that's the whole trick of the picture. It
probably sounds easier to say it than do it...
- I'm looking at a lot of the lyrics, and don't be offended by this,
but the first time I read the lyrics it sounded like something along the lines
of a Cthulu mythos, like a story, but the more I read the more I realized that
this was a lot more in depth. I'm curious as to how you wrote the lyrics, are
they based on ancient texts you read or are they in direct line with your
NO problem with that, I'd be more than happy to explain the lyrical stance.
Mostly what I do with BloodStorm, I formed the band as my vehicle of magic
universe as a tangible thing from this world to tap into another. Metal is my
profession, that's my positive, so I put it in metal music. The concept
originally started out to show base elements in creation that comes from things
like what is supposed to be Atlantean mythos, the portal and plane of Yuggoth,
and the Zothyrian system and currents out in the unvierse. These three things
are probably the things that capture me the most. When I investigated these
things, before I started Blood Storm, it's a way for me to channel and alter the
qliphic gateways outside the circles of time. Each album turned out to be an
evolutionary stage, a viral host of malignant entities, all of which are
symbols that conceal unnameable appalling gulfs of qliphic necromancies. The
story of Blood Storm is like a summary of the realms of the great Crimson
Desert, the voids of stellar reptilian forces beyond the dimensions of outer
gateways. It's like an extremely potent magical phenomenon (dealing with)
a triple complex known as Yug-Yog-Yig. This is in the three currents of the
triple fire tongue which is the language of this magical art from these
entities. On the album you'll notice there is mention of the Pestilence of
the Dragon Star, an Atlantean War Dragon, and there is a diagram of a wierd
bar with like a number 3 figure through it.
- I see that symbol on the right column of the album cover, where
the wraith creature is sitting.
That's the triple fire crown symbol, the symbol for it's language. Those three
are one, the ultimate power zone which is Yuggoth. Yog is the chastian doorway,
Yog-Sothoth, which is a portal of nothingness, the death, the absence of the
material world. Going into that is the guide to Sirius, the main star that
influences our solar system. It gives us the reptilian entity, that current to
channel into, that's the highest power which is the silver star. It's also
considered A.A., you might see those initials mentioned, which is also like
- I noticed there were a few songs that mentioned viral entities and
transmissions through viruses. It seems to me like it's a transmission stage,
like a tool. Everyone knows how a virus works, it spreads and mutiplies
rapidly, unless you put a great stop to it it spreads on a massive scale so I'm
wondering if this is their method of communication, transmission of their
thoughts or patterns of something.
To me it absolutely is. Going through these three phases is how I make my
connection, these three currents. The third one is the Yig, and that typeifies
the terrestrial manifestation of the Ophidian current. That's the three places
of magical elements in a celestial aeon. Three of them together for me
representing that is the aeon of Horus, the aeon of Ma'at, and the aeon of
Set-Thoth or Yog-Sothoth. It all denotes to Sirius. Sothoth also means Sirius.
So-Sith is actually a feminine form of Sirius, one of three daughters of the
bowstar. There's three stars that point, Ankith, Anukith and Sothis. They're
the three daughters of Anubis, who is the guardian.
- I remember Anubis from Egyptian mythology.
I could sit here and talk your phone off about this thing, there's so many
ways to make your connection, but I'm just trying to give a basic structure.
I think the Draconian current is the oldest current coming into Earth from
outside. The Draconian spirit is the force behind the whole representation.
The time of dimensional and primal chaos is the moment that heralds a warning,
a transmission like you said, a warning and an awakening towards a new stellar
experience to arise.
- Sort of like a new renaissance?
What I think it is is a warning and an awakening of a 13th stellar
constellation, of an arachnian. There's a lot of things that underly a form of
a spider. And those entities that you see on the front cover that are
surrounding that mummified, reptilian manikin sitting on that throne, they are
Arachnian soothsayers. They are entities that guard portals inbetween spaces,
in between our universe; the physical material plane, and the anti-material,
anti-time plane universe, being the negative side. In between that there's the
qliphoth, the tunnel that connects the tree of life and tree of death, the
Nightside of Eden and the Qallabalistic(sp?) spheres of power. In the
Necronomicon, well, more in the Book Of Dead Names... Necronomicon, the Simon
edition, is to me a trap...
- I heard there's a lot of stuff left out of that edition too...
TONS, tons of things left out of it.
- I know people are definitely going to want to know about the
sources you drew from for your lyrics and what not, I'm sure most of this stuff
is not something you can go to your local library and pick up.
Unfortunately, no. Kenneth Grant, I highly recommend ALL of his books. He's
actually living in England. He's old I know that probably around 80 or so. His
books, the Typhonain trilogies, I think are the real formula; the more
calculated knowledge, language and explanation of things that the Necronomicon
tells people on a really vague scale.
- There's no guide to it, they mention the gods' names, throw out a
bunch of ancient type words, and that's it.
Some of the stuff there is written as stories of actual events that happened
in our solar system during the pre-human era. It's all good, but it leaves out
very vital things that need to be understood when someone mentions certain
things. It's Sumerian priests when they did certain rituals too.
FROSTMOON ECLIPSE. Interview with Claudio and Gionata via email.
- It's quite unusual these days to hear a black metal band that plays
such vicious and fast paced instrumentation combined with acoustic guitar work
and melodic arrangements. The closest comparison that comes to mind is Opeth
and I'm betting this is how people wish the latest Opeth release sounded, even
though I really dig Opeth's new stuff as well as their old.
Claudio: Thanks very much! Opeth are one of the best bands today even if, I
must admit, I only recently began listening to their works. In my youth, in
fact, I was much more into black metal stuff, and thought that Opeth was too
soft. Of course, I was wrong, they have amazing guitar melodies and one of the
best vocalists around. Of course, we are more violent.
Gionata: I think it's good for bands to have a personal sound to be quickly
recognized for. Bands like Darkthrone or Judas Iscariot are a few of our
biggest influences but there are too many bands playing that way nowadays.
Frostmoon Eclipse have chosen a different path, and we simply like playing this
way, nothing more or less.
- It's good to see a cutting edge black metal band coming out of
Italy, a country more known for power metal like Rhapsody and Labyrinth. Any
other good black metal bands in Italy, or any cult black metal scenes that
might have done infamous deeds, like the Norweigan church burnings or what not?
Gionata: The Italian scene sucks! There are a lot of idiots here and the good
bands are few.
Claudio: Italy hasn't a very good black metal name around the world, but we are
trying to do our best. We are much known for such power metal bands, but I'm
not into that kind of music, even if I totally respect their work and am
somehow happy for their results. There were some "black metal troubles" in my
hometown back in 1996.
- I gotta admit, 'Let The World Burn' was pretty killer, and rather
funny that a track with that name starts off with some mellow acoustics!
Claudio: When composing a riff I really don't think about which song title it
is going to have. Usually I just hang about with my guitar, and when I find the
right melody, I simply keep it, as long as it sounds killer to my ears, whether
an acoustic line or black metal riff. For that song I had this strange 6/4 tune
a bit Andy LaRocque sounding.
Gionata: Music always born first, lyrics are written and arranged a second time
so it could happen that a song with an aggressive lyric gets a strange start or
something. Please, don't listen to a single part of the track but the whole
mood, you'll feel the real essence of Frostmoon Eclipse this way!
- You re-released the 7 inch from Maggot Records, why wasn't another
full length done on that label? Seeing as I'm not familiar with Maggot Records,
did they do anything else noteworthy? And I'm curious why some of your other
demo songs weren't used as bonus tracks?
Claudio: There were plans to release the LP version of "Gathering The Dark"
on maggot, but they had other plans. Maggot is a great label with a true
underground philosophy. The 7 inch was preferred instead of older material
because the 7 inch was limited to 300 copies and we thought it was too good to
be already sold out. Moreover many people don't have a record player!
Gionata: We prefer recording again the demo tracks instead of reprinting the
old ones. We used to do that for every release we've done until now. Our MCD
and our album both contain 1 track each coming from our second demo and the
7 inch, then, contains a track coming from our first one! We thought that the
best way to give them a new life was to record them again. The final result was
more than appreciated by ourselves so we decided to repeat this process again
in future releases.
- I have to ask, what is that thing on the cover of your album? It
looks maybe a bit like a troll or orc riding a broom, but that shape is a bit
too odd looking to be a mere broom!
Claudio: Ah! Ah! No man, it's a raven. I will be dead the day you see a broom
on a Frostmoon Eclipse cover!!
Gionata: Ha ha! It's an obscure cover but when I chose it I couldn't believe
it could be mistaken with a broom! Ha ha!
- How has your sound changed or stayed the same from the demo
recordings? I noticed there were two demo releases prior to the Iso666 album,
so I'm curious what they sound like and if they're still available.
Claudio: We've always been a black metal band, thus the demos are. Things found
their way with the MCD "Supreme Triumph In Black" (1999) when we developed our
style. But the old days are still a part of us, and the demos can still be
obtained, just contact me: email@example.com
Gionata: The early recordings were a bit primitive and more raw than what we
are playing at the moment. We had a lot of line up problems in the past and
that fact surely contributed to us making slower and harder our style. If in
the future anyone would be interested in reprinting our demos, we will for
- I'd also like to ask about Black Tears, since I don't know much
about that label either, save that you had a record with them. How did you
come to settle with ISO666 Releases, and what kind of deal did they offer you?
Claudio: Black Tears is a label owned by a close friend of the three of us. He
released our MCD, in a great digipack edition (limited to 500 copies), and it
had a good selling. It got high reviews. Many years ago I got in touch with
Alex, one of the guys hiding behind the ISO666 name, as I was a great fan of
his band Macabre Omen. The other guy Leonidas did very good work promoting
"Gathering..." we are really satisfied, and our 2nd CD will come out on ISO666
Gionata: It may sound strange to everyone's ears, but we worked without a
record deal. That shows you what kind of people are behind ISO666. They are
great guys and believed in us when others didn't. We're working on our second
album but just 3-4 tracks have been written. Hopefully we'll hit the studio in
Autumn 2002 and see the new album out around winter of the same year.
- How familiar are you with Bulldozer? Their "Day Of Wrath" album is
one of my favorites of all time, and I am trying to line up an interview with
Bulldozer for my magazine! Italian gods!
Gionata: I really love Bulldozer. They recorded great music when others could
just imagine at that period in time. Unfortunately, Bulldozer never had a good
feedback from the 80's except from the underground of course. Of course, they
sold a lot of albums around the world, but it seems people appreciate a band
more after they've broken up rather than while they're alive. Their cult is
still alive here. If you need a contact with the band, you should try Warlord
Records. They are very close to them and constantly give help to those asking
for unobtainable Bulldozer stuff. They recently reprinted their "IX" and
"Neurodeliri" albums, and their "Fallen Angel/Another Beer" 7 inch from 1984!
Keep alive the Bulldozer cult!
Claudio: Bulldozer is my alltime favorite Italian band! I had an old tape of
"The Day Of Wrath" that a friend dubbed for me, and I have always been crazy
for their Venom/Motorhead style. I bought the reissues of their 4 albums some
years ago, and tehy're great. I never saw them live however, rumours said that
they would have done one single show when their reissues were out, but as far
as I know it never happened. We are doing 'Fallen Angel' for a tribute to
Bulldozer 7 inch coming out sometime this year.
- Since I didn't get any lyrics, I am curious of course as to what
your lyrical base is for songs. I'm assuming from song titles like 'Worms On
Mankind' and 'Let The World Burn' that you are somewhat a misanthropic band,
which is always good since I myself seem to be surrounded by idiots even in my
Claudio: Idiots make your life look funny. We aren't extremely positive people.
Our hate for life itself is real, and this is the main difference between us
and many thousand of other so called black metal bands. We are simply bored by
Gionata: I wrote the lyrics for the "Gathering The Dark" album. They are all
based on hate spread towards mankind without exceptions to anyone and any kind
of person. I hate to be in contact with so called "normal" people. I hate all
the interests they have as they hate mine. I mean soccer, radios, TV, religion,
sports and everything means "social life." I usually live alone with a close
circle of friends and my life is based on simple things that have nothing to
do with the modern society: friendship, honour, pride, and of course, music.
I'm proud to be like that but what I hate most is when people would like to
(try) and change you.
- Any shows you have played overseas you want to talk about? Maybe
you have some funny tour stories, those are always enjoyable. I'm also curious
about what shows have come to Italy as of late.
Claudio: Sadly, we have never played outside our country. Here in Italy there
isn't a big interest in black metal. Concerts are often very poor, and I must
say that I don't like the audience.
Gionata: We're actually keeping in contact with some organizers from abroad
(especially Germany) who are interested in seeing us live. We would like to be
a part of the next "Under The Black Sun" black metal festival in Berlin, but
nothing's sure at the moment even if one of the organizers are really
interested in having us on the set.
MANOWAR. Interview with Eric via telephone.
Damn, how many Manowar albums are out now? Going strong since the very early
80's, Manowar should need no introduction to true metal fanatics. Their newest
album further espouses the metal warrior ethic, and you know when you listen to
a Manowar album you're getting true, honest and down to earth heavy metal.
(Eric starts our interview out with a question to ME): So tell me, have you
seen the band live yet?
- Yeah, I saw you guys play up at the New Jersey Metalfest. It was a
That was a good show for us.
- A lot of the photographers were pretty pissed though (at not being
able to take ANY photos or video).
Well, you know we limited it to one song, usually it's three songs but this
tour we had it limited (actually, photographers AND video cameras alike were
prohibited PERIOD - Ed.) We found that by the second song, particularly in the
summer months, we're like a drowned rat out there, and those are the pictures
you usually see. A good photographer should be able to get all his session
shots within the first song anyway. A lot of other bands let them go all night,
more than three or four songs, whatever. We're always different.
- So are you planning on coming to Atlanta, I don't think you've ever
played here before.
We've never played in Atlanta, we've been in and out of Atlanta plenty of
times. Atlanta is the city we always fly out of when we go to Europe. I don't
know what the schedule is, we have a lot of summer festivals in Europe and
after they're done we're going to set up a fall tour here in the States, which
sucks for me because that's when hunting season starts. (laughs).
- Well, wouldn't you rather be on tour?
Yeah, but there's times when I'm emailing my buddies back home saying, "hey
man, what did you get," and they're telling me of all the stuff they caught.
What I need to do is find people like yourself all over the country who hunt,
and set up hunts with these guys.
- Well, we definitely have lots of deer, they're doing so much
building and the deer are jumping out in the roads these days. You don't even
need a gun, just a big 4x4.
Ha ha, I hear Atlanta is loaded with them.
- The last album I heard from you guys was "Fighting The World." I
love the new album, it definitely has the Viking feeling going on, which I
always love. Are you into any of the more Viking oriented bands like Einherjer,
Amon Amarth, early Enslaved, etc?
There are some Viking metal bands I like, but I listen more to classical music,
because that's really the influence. I listen to Deep Purple, Ian Gillian is
the man, when I heard him scream it was an inspiration. I really dig Ozzy, and
heavy stuff like that. I was just listening to AC/DC rolling in here today.
Right from the beginning we've had this attitude and image and we haven't
changed it. This goes all the way back to "Battle Hymns" and "Into Glory Ride"
of course. We are the ones that started that, and it seems like a lot of bands
nowadays are following this. Like if you go into stores and buy records of
heavy metal bands, they're all posing with swords and stuff, but they weren't
doing it before we came around. So when you see us on the album covers, it
let's you know you're not buying a rap album, you see guys swinging swords and
they mean business. Nowadays we let the music do the talking.
- I have a couple of shows of yours, I do video tape trading and what
not with friends of mine, and even in your Jersey show, I noticed you don't
seem to play songs from the "Into Glory Ride" and "Battle Hymns" albums. How do
you feel about those earlier albums, I know 'Gloves Of Metal' is one of my
favorite Manowar songs.
You know, it's one of those things where we have to decide what songs to play
out of 9 albums, over 100 songs, what songs are we going to do in the 2 hour or
1 and a half hours we're up there. And it gets more difficult because this time
we try to look at it, in 1982 was when the first album came out. We'll do
'Battle Hymns' because it's the signature of the band, but after that, although
there are some great songs on those albums, not many people are going to
remember. Not all, but some. Our setlist is mostly from "Fighting The World"
on, because that's what people are listening to in their cars. Every once in
awhile we still play songs from the first and second albums. We have to decide
what works great live.
- I noticed the new album has done pretty well worldwide, of course
albums from you always seem to place in the charts regardless of being on
Metal Blade or Atlantic.
Our albums always do well in Europe. It's nice to see that the fans in the
States were singing the new songs already, on that 6 week tour we did. I know
the single was already out, or they downloaded the album off the internet. But
they were singing the songs along with us, and it was a great feeling knowing
that these are strong fans, just as strong as anywhere else around the world.
And some of these fans probably know the songs inside and out better than I do!
- There's actually two parts to this question, in a way, because you
guys have been on both a giant, major label and a bit more of an independent
one in a way, and with the RIAA industry shutting down Audiogalaxy, Napster and
web sites, I'm curious about your take on this first off. I see these sites, as
a music journalist, as a great way to be able to hear new bands I won't see in
mainstream press and radio, besides in this day and age of CD's costing 16
bucks and upward, I'm sorry but people should be able to hear the music before
they buy it. You don't go buy a new car without checking it out and test
driving it do you?
My feeling on that is, as a musician this is our bread and butter, and it is
the bread and butter of record companies as well. I do have mixed emotions on
it, because first this is what we do for a living, and if everyone downloads
the songs; record labels have shown that sales are down simply because of the
internet. Fans will still come to the shows and see you live, but no record
company will send you out on tour if you don't sell records. The way I do see
it, downloading 20 seconds of a song to see what the album is like; that's fine
and I don't have a problem with that AT ALL.
- Well, we do the Real Audio here at the magazine, we do about 3
minutes of 4 songs, and the music is nowhere near stereo quality. I mean, you
can't really go by 20 second clips, and that gives them enough to go on. I
believe streaming audio is the way to go, because these files aren't meant to
be downloaded anyway, and they still get a great representation of the album.
I hate to see entire albums downloaded, every song from every album. Some
people really don't care about the quality of the songs, they just want to know
what the songs are, they just want to sing along with the songs. Bits and
pieces of an album out are fine, and great. Also I think a fan has to know the
band, a Manowar fan knows we're not going to screw them. Manowar fans know we
are out there doing our very, very best with whatever we have out there on the
market. We're not like a lot of other bands out there that just keep pumping
out material and play from the wallet, we play from the heart. If I wanted to
be rich, I would have been an entertainment lawyer.
- That leads me to the other part of my question. You spent a lot of
time on Atlantic, which is a major label, and a lot of bands who have been on a
major label have been severely screwed over. Scott Wino, of The Obsessed
(see issue #20), told us a big story about how the label screwed him out of
30,000 dollars, and he said you really have to read those contracts. It seems
to me that major labels really don't know what to do with smaller type bands,
they're too busy looking for the big hit single. So how were things when you
were on a major label and what was the point when you decided it was time to
When we were on those labels it was a good, comfortable thing. We got off those
labels because they started promising us the moon and giving us the telescope.
They kept telling us they were going to make this big push in America this
year, or this big European marketing thing, and after a while it gets to be
a bit too much. We just said, look, it's time for us to get out of here, things
got to be a bit too much. The band has a great reputation and we never screw
anyone, EVER. And I can proudly say that, we tell it like it is. People may not
like what we tell them but we tell it like it is. There's no reason to bullshit
anyone, because at the end of the day it all comes out in the wash. It's a
question of finding a record company that believes in the band. When a record
company tries to change a band, like by telling you you're playing too loud, or
bitching at me when I leave the stage during a solo, you know why should I
stick around, it's not my part, not my time.
- Yeah, let the other band members shine a little bit.
You know, it's their time to shine, why should I be out there? That's the way I
look at it. And nobody is going to tell me how to react on stage, or tell the
band how loud to play on stage. When they try to change us, tell us we have to
do this or leave the label, we say fine, fuck you! We've had labels give us the
ultimatum you know?
- Damn, who did that to you?
Geez, we've been with like 20 different labels, that's just the industry, it's
business and that's just the way it is. It's either our way or the highway for
them, and we'll take the highway. We stick to our guns; our fans have told us
don't change your style of music, and we're proud to carry the banner of heavy
metal. Not too many bands can say that, many bands say they were heavy metal
but they give up on it because the money isn't there, and they fuck their fans
over. We will NOT do that, our fans are the most important thing we have. If it
wasn't for our fans we wouldn't be around, you know?
- There's a lot of patriotism themes that run along the lyrics of the
That was just the way the album played itself out. There's more symphony sounds
on this album than any other album, it's the most versatile album we've EVER
done. When you first start writing songs, you don't say, okay, the last song
had a lot of symphony music so this next one can't. The song starts to be what
it is, if the song demands to have an orchestra behind it, then that's what the
song demands. That's why 'Nessun Dorma' fit on this album, and 'American
Trilogy' fit well. It's something we wanted to do for a long time, and if we
had put it on the "Kings Of Metal" album it would have have stuck out like a
sore thumb. So this album was the one to lay this type of material on.
- I know you guys are based out of New York, I hope you didn't lose
anybody in that 9/11 tragedy.
Thanks for asking, man, really. Thanks a lot for asking that.
- NO problem.
A couple of the guys were in the city at the time, but no, we didn't lose
- That's good. Well, I mean I hate to say that's good, especially
thinking about all the other people that suffered up there. I keep thinking
about my cousin who worked on Wall Street up there, but she came back home to
Savannah before all that went down. I love that cover, I keep seeing Osama Bin
Laden under that sword of the warrior on the cover of your album!
Ha ha!! That song 'Freedom' was of course dedicated to the people that lost
their lives, their families. It's a terrible, terrible thing, it's a fucked up
world we live in right now.
- I meant to ask you, did you have any kind of opera training for
that song 'Nessun Dorma?'
For this particular track, yeah I did. It wasn't easy, it was a pretty
demanding piece. I took some opera lessons down in the city and went to a few
operas, studied how they projected their voice and how they sang. I really took
the time to study how to do it, because it was very important to get this
right. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.
- I bet that opera style singing is a lot more demanding.
Yeah, absolutely. I really do. It's also the fact that you're singing it in a
different language, for one thing. Everyone in the world has heard this song,
it's not your song. So you're being criticised by industry people that have
heard this song, sung by the greats like Pavarotti. Being compared to that is
- There are bands like Therion and Candlemass that have incorportated
opera styled vocals throughout their music in years past.
I've heard those, but none of them have ever really done opera pieces, they
mostly have sections of songs that have the opera style, but none that I know
of have done a proper opera song.
- So I want to know, are you strongly into the Viking religions and
cultures? You cover so heavily many Viking themes from album to album, I
thought that maybe this was a part of your lifestyle.
Well, I can speak for the whole band when I say that we don't discuss politics,
religious or spiritual topics; it's a very personal thing and it's something
that everyone has to deal with in their own way. The only Viking I have in me
is I like the Minnesota Vikings. I was kinda pissed when the Atlanta Falcons
beat them in the playoffs.
- Ha ha! I still remember watching that game, don't feel too bad
because I think they won that game by luck in a way. I sat there going, I
couldn't believe they were about to win the game by a field goal, and I think
I spent two hours afterwards staring at the TV screen after the game was over,
still not believing what I had seen.
My mouth was still on the floor after that game ended!
MOONSORROW. Interview with Henri Sorvali via email.
If not for the newest Immortal disc, this would easily win the prize for the
best black metal CD this year. If you like Finntroll, Moonsorrow is a lot more
dynamic. Mouth harps, accordians, drunken viking choirs, and more are all
present and create the most amazing atmosphere for a viking oriented black
metal band on the planet. It was a thrill and an honor to talk with yet another
great band out of, where else? Scandinavia. My only "sorrow" lies in the fact
that Immortal's latest CD may easily and greatly overshadow such an amazing
work of art.
- Just out of curiosity, how did a band associated with Viking culture
choose the name Moonsorrow for the band?
Hmmm... The name was originally stolen from Celtic Frost's 'Sorrows Of The
Moon,' meaning some kind of deep northern light with only the moon guiding the
lonely wanderer. If you have visited Finland, you know just how melancholic the
night can be; the harmony of souls, just you and the silence. We were thinking
of different names when we started but found this one to suit us the best.
After our last demo (and just before the record deal) I actually wanted to get
rid of the name but then we started thinking about these millions of newcomers
going "Let's do some cheesy black metal with Viking lyrics and name our band
after a person or place in Northern mythology. A trend perhaps? We decided to
stick with what we already had; I'll admit our name isn't very "Viking"
sounding, but the music and ideology is and that's all I care about.
- I know you have a few other demos out including a demo which I have
not listened to yet, how do these compare to the newest release?
Starting with the "Tama Ikuinen Talvi" demo (which, in my opinion, should not
have been released on CD format at all), I find it extremely too "blackish,"
being just regular synthetic crap with too many blast beats to me. It is,
however, released by Sagitarius Productions in Finland, so if you want to hear
how we got the (record) deal go and buy the CD! Nevertheless, it doesn't have
much to do with our current style. Personally I prefer the "Metsa" demo much
more. Our first full length, "Suden Uni," was recorded in February 2000 and was
released by Plasmatica Records (Sweden) in April 2001. It is an album of what
Moonsorrow is, standing as a perfect debut album for us. It's like a prototype
version of "Voimasts Ja Kunniasta." Speaking of "Voimasta..." that's something
I'm very proud of! It's like a 100 times upgraded version of "Suden Uni" with
better song structures, musicianship, songwriting and arranging!
- It seems to be that the synthesizers are just as important in the
sound as the guitar, bass, drums or vocals.
You are absolutely right! I think the reason for that is, we want to create a
"soundtrack" type of atmosphere and the keyboards add that layer to the other,
very metallic type of music which comes from the other instruments. Moonsorrow
would sound very different without the keyboards, but in my opinion we would
sound different if didn't use a bass. Synthesizers are just as important as any
typical metal instrument, and this is how it will be until we fall.
- In this day of people wanting free music, it was very nice to not
only offer your demo for free downloading, but also adding the front and back
CD covers to print out!
Well, why cash in on people with some old cheesy demo? We thought that just
because we don't sell it anymore doesn't mean that people should not hear it,
so in this modern age of the internet we decided to put it up for free to
download. There are some exceptions, though, that separate the downloadable demo
from the one we used to sell. The new version has some additional synths and
mouth-harp, new bass tracks and it is remastered as well. The covers are not
the same either, the old covers sucked! Although I don't like the new covers
much but they're 100 times better than the old ones. Trust us, you don't want
to see the old ones! For those desperate collectors, though, I have also taped
the old version with the old covers, so die hard Moonsorrow collectors that
can't live without the original "Metsa" demo, you know what to do!
- Now, I recently saw the mpeg video on your site for 'Sankarihauta,'
can you tell me more about where this was filmed and give us a little background
on this particular show?
The video was filmed in Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland at 12/7/02 in our gig with
Finntroll. (I had a very busy night, heh). We had three cameras, one shooting
straight to the stage (which is always there on behalf of the gig-place), one
moving camera was handled by my fiancee, and one was handled by a friend of
Mitja. After Baron had edited the song a bit shorter, Mitja edited the whole
video at the office of his job (he is also studying video editing). We had a
great time there, and as you can see, our stage show includes blood and leather.
We also had a session "background" singer who is a friend of the band (actually
he is going to replace me on guitar for one show the day after tomorrow, as I
have to go to the Dynamo Festival with Finntroll, so he's a very useful guy!)
Mitja is actually just finishing the editing of the whole show with the live
sound (I recorded the gig straight from the mixing desk and added one audience
and live sound microphone, and then mixed plus edited the whole thing in my home
studio!) and it will be great to see the whole show from video when he is ready!
- I couldn't tell from the live video, but how are all the multi
vocal viking "drunken choruses" and keyboard passages handled live? Are real
accordions and mouth harps used onstage or on record?
The "drunken viking choirs" are handled by all of us, as we all have microphones
in front of us on stage. Plus the additional vocalist sometimes if we want a
special type of show. The keyboard passages are just arranged a bit differently,
as Lord E hasn't got twenty hands. Basically, his keyboard is split into two
parts, where the left hand plays all the pads and choirs and the right hand
plays all the melodies, etc. However, he has to change sounds many times in a
song, so it is a bit complicated, but he can do it of course! We don't use real
accordions live, as Lord plays them all from keyboards and all the other stuff
like mouth harps or acoustic guitars we will just have to forget, as we don't
want fifteen people farting around the stage, after all we are a METAL band and
that is something which should never be forgotten!
- Speaking of a mouth harp, I remember reading books on that
instrument, I think back then it was called a Jew's Harp? Is that a term still
used or was it's name changed to avoid anti semitic feelings?
Bah! We don't care if someone is too stupid to label us as anti semitic, which
we most certainyl are not. There was one interview where someone asked Ville if
we are a nazi band as we have the sigel rune in our logo. How stupid can people
be? Well, your question. We know well that the instrument is also called a Jew's
Harp, but we decided to use the term mouth harp, as most of all, we have nothing
to do with Jews. It has an original name and in Finnish it's called
"Munniharppu" which comes directly from the Swedish word "Munnharpa," meaning
literally as mouth harp in English.
- Are you into any other Viking styled bands like Einherjer or Amon
Amarth? I know also Faithful Breath was considered one of the earliest viking
metal bands in the 80's.
Einherjer used to be good but I didn't like "Norweigan Native Art" so much,
except for the last song. When it comes to Amon Amarth, I have only heard a
couple of songs but they sounded pretty good and very aggressive! Other Viking
styled bands I like are Thyrfing (the new album kills!), Helheim, old Enslaved,
Otyg and of course the epic Bathory stuff. Also Vikingarock (or "Viking-rock,"
if you prefer... it's basically a combination of Oi! punk and folk music) is
great, bands like Hel, Ultima Thule or Midgards Soner really kick ass! (Not to
mention our Vikingarock band Ahti!)
- So how heavily are you and other band members in Viking culture,
religion and mythology? I know your country is rich in Viking lore and culture,
what was not destroyed by Christians. Also, do you share in some of the beliefs
Amon Amarth has in their extreem hatred for Christianity for destroying and
trying to eradicate their culture and lifestyle?
I think I can safely say I am the one in the band most into the Viking stuff.
Ville is interested in some topics, as well as Baron, but the others aren't so
concerned with this, they're more into the music. In Finland (and other Nordic
countries) we have preserved some customs and beliefs pretty well, concerning
the PLAGUE that has infected this soil for over a thousand years now, and I
think that tells something about the deep roots our people have in our faith.
When it comes to thoughts on Christianity (spit!), I share some beliefs with
people, yes, as I am a heathen and rely on our old Gods. I think Amon Amarth
feels quite the same as every other Asatruan, including me. Extreme hatred for
Christianity, that's for sure! We have our own gods and culture and I think we
would have been pretty much satisfied with that... then again we will never know
as the opportunity to CHOOSE was taken from us a thousand years ago, and that is
something I can never forgive.
- Now that brings me to the question of Varg Vikernes, and the whole
black circle in Norway, how do you feel about them torching and burning
churches? Varg states it's mainly to show their hatred of Christianity, but
later said it was retaliation for building christian churches right over sacred
Viking burial grounds and temples.
Oh, Varg, our wrongly treated intelligent man behind bars. Hah! I really can't
find words to describe my feelings about this guy. He is simultaneously amusing
as a burning church, but meanwhile scary as fuck. This guy is a complete lunatic
in my opinion. He was just a kid who first freaked on death metal, then black
metal, and suddenly he becomes a nazi-viking or whatever. Every time his past
gets questioned, he invents some explanation which fits his image he is now
carrying. The rings of Tolkien are now the rings of Odin, and every time he gets
caught in a lie, he invents another one to save his ass. He is a pathological
liar with serious fixations, and I think the best place for him would be a
mental asylum instead of a normal prison. Back to your question, though, I do
not in any case support 1000 year old buildings getting burnt down, no matter
how Christian they are. You can't really get Asatru back into Scandinavia by
burning a wooden building down no matter how hard you try. Besides, in my
opinion, churchburnings just unite christians and I can't see a single good
reason why we would want them to unite more tightly. And if I want to wake up
some Christian individuals, I most likely do not want to use violence or fear as
a substance. The biggest reason there are so many christians and so little
Asatruans is that they think we are barbaric, evil and so on. And if we just
keep acting evil and hostile towards them, will it help our cause at all?
- Is Moonsorrow a fulltime project for all members involved? I'm also
wondering which members are in other bands, since it seems nowadays especially
in Scandinavia many band members are involved in other bands besides their own.
Basically Moonsorrow is our main band. We all have other projects like Amoral,
Finntroll, Gorewinter, Luokkasota, The Sinkage, Ahti, etc. but we are all very
aware of which band comes first. For us, it's vital to have other projects as we
are all interested in different music styles and of course we don't want to
bring any "too far out" influences into Moonsorrow's music.
- How is your deal with Spikefarm set up? How have they done promoting
your band worldwide, and are there other bands on Spinefarm or Spikefarm you
enjoy? I seem to be getting lots of good stuff from those two labels these
Compared to Plasmatica, Spikefarm is like a dream to us! Seriously, they have
done a great job. Promotion is great for a small band like us, and the most
important thing is that they have spread the promo CD's like Hel! After all, in
my opinion the marketing value of an ad isn't worth a damn when compared to a
good review or even an interview. When it comes to other bands on the label,
Spikefarm has Ajattara, Thyrane, Rapture and Finntroll, but Spinefarm... Well,
in my opinion, the Spinefarm bands suck a big sloppy one! Well, except for
Ensiferum, which is a pretty good band with too many power metal influences. I
can't stand Children Of Bodom's music, or Nightwish. And there's the copycats
the Spinefarm management has signed in the hope of getting bigger bucks, like
Norther and Throne Of Chaos, who might as well die away.
- So what's next on the horizon for Moonsorrow? Of course, I'd love
to see you come to the U.S.!
Looking into my crystal ball, I can see a couple of gigs in Finland and maybe
some in Sweden, a new album out in the spring of 2003, some fights, more mead
and a great time! I don't think we are going to play the U.S. in the near future
as it's goddamn expensive to travel there from Finland! But if someone wants us
to play there, you know what to do! We would be very eager to play in the States
that's for sure!
- Finally, I am curious about the lyrics, as they seem to be set up as
a story told in 6 parts. It was nice to see an English translation for the
lyrics so we could get a bit of an idea of what's going on.
Well, actually I'm not the right person to comment on lyrics, but I'll give it a
shot. The story is told in 6 parts which goes something like this:
1. TYVEN. This is the "theme of home," when our man finally comes back home from
a long journey, just to witness...
2. SANKARIHAUTA. To witness his home village under attack! And it's ver cleab
they will lose the battle unless the main character does something quick! So he
grabs his sword, taking his troops into bloody victory, banishing the foul away!
And the legend of this warrior's deeds will stay in history for eternity.
3. KYLAN PAASSA. This song tells an epic story of two brothers who used to be
"natural born" warriors. One brother was the hero of our story, the other was a
man (his brother) who became more or less interested in monetary gain and not
real honor, pride or things like his brother did. The story tells us that the
brothers choose their own paths, and the next song tells us what happened to
4. HIIDENPELTO & HAPEAN HILJAISET VEDET. Here we get a glimpse of earlier
happenings. The village was attacked because someone let the enemies inside,
betraying his own people. And as we follow the runner who escapes from his
village, we see he is one of the above mentioned brothers! Carrying a huge sack
of gold he got from his betrayal, he flees like a mouse when being chased. But
somehow nature won't accept this misjustice, and finally he steps into a marsh,
starting to sink slowly down. Fighting like hell to get out of the pit, he sinks
deeper and deeper. And if he would just throw the gold-sack away, there could be
a chance for his survival, but the gold is tooprecious to him and he goes down.
Forever holding his dreams until the very end.
5. AURINKO JA KUU. This is a story of the other brother, seeking his now dead
brother everywhere. He finds wisdom from nature and the animals, travelling in
the moonlight guided by brids, but not finding his brother. He wishes the gods'
protection for him in his journey, and finally understands what has happened.
6. SANKARITARINA. The final chapter. Our hero has reached his end in battle
after many years of berserking, and the villagers arrange him a great funeral.
The villagers put his body into a longship filled with weapons, food, mead and
jewelry, wish him farewell and set the ship on fire. As they push the burning
ship into the ocean and watch it burn, with flames reaching the skies, they hear
a melody of something very old but very familiar, and they know then that their
chief has reached his new home, Valhalla.
- Oh, and before I forget, I seem to be unable to play the Moonsorrow
CD in my computer's CD player. Was that something deliberate you asked Spinefarm
to do to keep people from copying the CD? I usually listen to a lot of music on
my computer, as that is the only CD player I have in the house.
I suppose you've got the promo version, right? Spinefarm put that code on the
promotional copies so they won't be spread into the internet before the actual
album gets out. But if you buy the album or get the normal version from
somewhere else, there should be no problems with computer-matching. If it helps
you at all, I can tell you that I know how you feel, as my CD player was broken
for over half a year and I didn't have the money to buy a new one so I had to
listen to every album with my computer. Oh, and did I mention that my CD
player's sound connections were broken, so I had to use Audiograbber first to
grab the music into my computer and then listen to those MP3's? THAT was
- If there's anything else you want to talk about at length I forgot
to mention, use this space here. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing
your next CD!
What can I say? This was a very good interview and it really covered everything
essential in my opinion, so I don't feel anything should be added more. I thank
you for this opportunity to spread some heathen metal and ideology and may Oden
smile upon you! SIMAA, VERTA JA RAUTAA!
NATAS. Email interview with Sergeio.
Natas, probably one of the best bands (besides Vampiria) to come out of
Argentina, and one of very few at that. What they create is just absolutely
mind melting, not quite stoner rock with a flair for instrumental music and
vocals entirely sung (with few exceptions here and there) in Spanish. You can
tell by the parentheses remarks that Natas does NOT fall easily into one
category or the other, and after "Ciudad De Brahman" on Man's Ruin a few years
ago, I didn't think they could top it, but they damn near have with their latest
and greatest on Small Stone Records entitled "Corsario Negro." What a treat and
an honor to talk with the Hombres from south of the border,
- You guys have jumped around with many different labels, doing stuff
with Icarus, Man's Ruin, Beard Of Stars and now Small Stone! What was the
reason for all the label jumps? (Not including the folding of Man's Ruin).
It was not a meant decision, it's much more how crazy thing have been happening
to us since we started with this (Los) Natas trip. Also each release happened
in a different way, and we needed different ways to handle them; each album had
different needs and expectations. We like to keep each release as a single
issue, having a single deal per release. Splitting labels and licenses is much
easier for us to "control the horse." Anyway, we feel very thankful to all the
labels that worked with us, as all of them helped us out and trusted us even
though not meeting us personally and us being from the ass of the world,
- So then I take it the deal with Small Stone isn't a permanent
thing, it seems to be a one-off licensing deal.
I hope the relationship with Small Stone stays cool and clean, and we look
forward to keep on working with them in the near future. We first did an
Aerosmith tribute with them, then "Corsario Negro" and soon to do a 'Stuck In
The 70's" comp. where we recorded a Hawkwind cover. If all stays smooth we
might do a new album with Detroit's Cement Hammer label.
- How do you feel about Man's Ruin going under? I am very sad about
the loss, as they introduced me to tons of cool stoner rock and doom bands.
It was fucked up for all the bands in Man's Ruin, also they left lots of money
owed to bands and distros. The only cool thing about the breakdown was that
they gave us back all our albums masters and open reel tapes release rights. So
now we are free to do new deals on "Delmar" and "Ciudad De Brahman." Anyway,
we'll thank Frank Kozik forever, as he was the first one to release our music,
and the first one to help out.
- One thing I have to ask, why the name change to Los Natas? Did the
rapper Natas come out and try to sue you guys? You probably could have won in
court since didn't you have the name first? As far as Vibrations of Doom is
concerned, we will always refer to you as the REAL Natas!!
We did not have any problems with the Natas rap band, but if we keep on growing
and releasing stuff, I know it will be trouble someday. So as we released our
new album, and also changed bass players, it was cool to do it. Also, we feel
like the Latin brothers of the scene, and the Los Lobos/Los Natas/La Bamba
feeling was quite suitable for the occasion.
- On your web site there are like 4 videos you can watch. I remember
the 'La Ciudad De Brahman' video was very cool, where was that footage shot? I
think it had wolves and desert scenes in it.
The wolves video is 'Meteoro 2028' one, wolves running free through the
mountains, running away from the hunters and getting set free at the end. We
got those images from an old 70's local documentary about wolves, to then
re-edit the video and shoot some scenes rocking live, mixing it all together.
It was very fun to do.
- Tell us a bit about the music scene in Argentina. I know you guys
are from there and isn't Dragonauta from there as well?
Drago-who? Ah, the Sleep song. Yes, it has been kind of a small scene down here
lately, cool bands some of who are friends of us. Bands like Satan Dealers,
Taura, Culebra. The poor thing is that there are very few places to gig, no
money at all, very few bands and not many opportunities, you know how they say.
Small town, big hell.
- What is going on with Icarus Records? Other than the split CD they
did with you and Dragonauta, plus the black metal band Vampiria, I don't think
they are releasing much. Are you still involved with them?
Icarus are cool, but may be more involved with metal/dark music. They did a
great job on the split CD, and they also distro our other CD's down here. Good
friends, but I don't think we would release new things with Icarus.
- Tell us about live shows you have done, I'm still hoping you come
to play the United States! If you have any funny stories of life on the road,
I'd love to hear your tour experiences!
Local shows are cooool, sometimes we play for 40 people in crappy places, but
for some others some crazy promoter wants us to play as an opening act for big
pop bands, so a massacre happens. It's fun seeing people freezing in front of
our 26 bass drum/artillery demanding ball of sound. Touring is fun, once we did
a small west coast tour with Nebula. I remember Ruben Romano playing almost
asleep from being on medication, drunk and ill, screaming to the crowd "What do
you want from me? I can't play anymore!!!' Other cool touring shows, was one we
did with San Fransisco's Gammera, they got a penitentiary bus, all painted
black with black windows. We did all the west coast from Canada to San Diego
twice! That was our biggest tour, very demanding! Also one time our bus engine
broke down in the middle of the Arizona desert, it was 100 degrees! Very hot!
- I know most of your lyrics are in Spanish and have been for several
albums now. Tell us a bit about your lyrical topics, since it might not be
obvious to many of our readers. What sources do you draw from to write lyrics?
Does your culture or background influence your works in any way?
Our singing happens in the exact moment that our music demands it, so we are
basically instrumental, but when it comes to Spanish words we say what happens
to us in that moment. We talk about a lot of things we have to eat down here in
South America, repression, anger, hate, rage; sometimes we talk about the
future. Almost all of "Corsario Negro" talks about what will happen once the big
new war comes, what will happen to the survivors after the final bomb. It is
kind of sad, but also takes a lot of hope on our future human survivors' ideals
- Your newest album seems to be leaning in a much heavier direction
that we last heard on "Ciudad De Brahman." Is this the way your releases are
heading now and in the future?
I think "Corsario Negro" is the heaviest music we've ever put out, much heavier
than "Ciudad..." Direction for us is hard to say as we never know what is
happening until it happens. With "Corsario..." we wanted the heaviest sound,
which is also why we wanted Billy Anderson in the project. Right now we are
recording an experimental album for Finland's crazy label Ektro. It's gonna be
3 songs, 20 minutes each featuring 3 jams done with unreleased (Los) Natas
music, and also including local Argentinian indian instruments like flutes, low
drums and charango (small guitar). We hope to release this by the end of 2002.
But, I am also looking forward to what will happen on our next album, which is
hard to say but if rather I choose a different direction, it might be the
heavy metal sound of the 80's.
- Speaking of Billy Anderson, how did you come to work with him for
the production of this album? He seemed to add an extra dimension of heaviness,
especially where the guitars are concerned.
We met Billy in San Fransisco 4 years ago, but only casually. Of course I knew
about Sleep's "Holy Mountain" record and always dreamed of having him work with
us. years passed and talking about the new album with Small Stone, figuring out
how to pull it off, I thought about this crazy idea to bring Billy down to
Argentina to do the record. So I contacted him and started sending him demos of
the new album for almost 6 months. When the moment came, he knew exactly what to
do, no waste of time at the studio, just awesome! The best thing about all this
was when I asked him why he pulled off such a difficult job for so little money,
he said, "I love what you guys do."
- It's amazing to me the way you mix faster and slower instrumentation,
plus heavier and more mellow passages, all in the breadth of one song!
Thanks, that's how we feel about life, man. It's a huge emotional mountain
where you cannot tell what comes from where. It's also crazy how this music
builds itself with no help at all, we just plug in and jam what's inside our
heads. It gets heavy, fast, slow, emotional, cheesy...
- Tell us about your current lineup and how it has evolved, it seems
like there's an extra member and a person that wasn't in the group for the last
The prime lineup is me, Sergio CH on guitar and vocals and Walter Broide on
drums, we started all this shit together in 1993. Then a lot of bass players
passed through the years, and finally Gonzalo Villagra joined the band,
hopefully for good. Now sometimes we got guests on our recordings, as Dale Cover
played piano on "Ciudad..." and local buddy Pablo Cattania played Hammond Organ
in several songs.
- I don't know if you noticed this, I haven't seen anyone mention it,
but on the song 'Rutation' from "Ciudad..." if you turn up the volume really
loud at the end of the song, it sounds like there is an American radio
commercial going on in the background! Have you ever noticed that, and was that
Yes, that happened acidentally. Noises coming from nowhere intercepted my wa-wa
pedal. There was no way to take that out, so we just let it be.
- Thanks for the interview, anything else you want to say in closing?
Basically I want to thank everyone that made this album possible, and say hola
to all music lovers worldwide. Take a chance on "Corsario Negro," I feel it
won't disappoint anybody.
- How do you feel about your past albums? I know I wasn't crazy about
"Delmar," but "Cuidad" is great and the new album is even better still! I guess
too you should mention the other label releases on Beard Of Stars and Icarus.
I feel good about all the music we have done, sometimes I take time to listen to
all of our songs, almost 80 now! And I can barely believe we did this much in 8
years. Maybe every album has its good and bad things, and may be listened to
for different moments of your day. I really like "El Gobernador," "Ciudad De
Brahman" and all we have been doing since our former bass player joined the
band, but also am always looking forward to keep on recording and jamming,
releasing future tunes. I don't feel we have done enough for the music community
yet, we still have a lot more to do and give to music fans worldwide!
ORANGE GOBLIN. Interview with the band at their live show in Atlanta.
This is an interview that has been quite a few years in the making. Ever since
their first album "Frequencies From Planet Ten," which is still my favorite
'Goblin album of all time, I have been trying to lock this interview down.
Things have changed quite a bit for the British band, but it was refreshing to
see them kick ass live for their first ever U.S. tour and hear what they had to
say about things in general. Most of the talk was conducted by crazy vocalist
Ben Ward except where noted.
- You guys have a new album coming out (at the time of this interview
which was May 6th). Anything you want to tell us about it?
It's called "Coup De Grace," and I believe it's a step forward for Orange
Goblin. We're trying to distance ourselves from the whole stoner rock scene
which is kinda stale now. We want to accentuate our typical heavy metal and
punk influences on this new album.
- I noticed with "Time Travelling Blues" you somewhat moved away from
the more melodic stuff, like the acoustic passages and what not. Are the
melodic influences totally gone now?
Chris Turner: No, as far as influences, times change and it depends on what we
were influenced by and listened to at the time
Ben: We've really gotten a lot more pissed off and more angry these days.
- Stoner rock over here in America is still kind of underground, I
know High Times Magazine has covered the scene but it's still pretty much a new
It's a struggle to see how you can really define stoner rock, to me it's bands
like Kyuss, Sleep, what not, but there's lots of bands like from the 50's on
that smoked pot and used it as an influence in their music, like the Beatles,
but Brutal Truth and Cannibal Corpse also smoke a lot of pot, they're not
classified as stoner rock?
Chris: It's really lazy journalism anyway, with these people, since the music
doesn't sound like Slayer or Motorhead. At the end of the day it's just heavy
metal to us.
Ben: It doesn't do us any favors to be pigeonholed into one genre anyway. We
like to keep our options open. That's what's good about Orange Goblin, we can
do so many different things.
- I think it's a good idea for a band to be diverse in a way; look at
Napalm Death for example, they pretty much pigeonholed themselves for about 10
or 15 years. On the one hand it's good because when a new Napalm Death album
comes out it's like yeah, it's the same style and sound, but on the other hand
it's like, well, do I really want to hear the 13th album or the first two that
Every band sort of has to change their image or recreate themselves to keep
their fans interested.
Chris: I think each one of our albums stands on it's own, but it also has its
trademarks as well, I mean you can still tell it's us even though each album
- When you look at the stuff you're doing now, how do you feel about
the "Frequencies From Planet Ten" album? Do you still play anything off of it
We don't really play much off of it but there's still stuff that people want to
hear. Like Tony Iommi obviously doesn't want to play 'Paranoid' live every
night. At the end of the day we're proud of what we did because we wrote that
stuff. We still play 'Magic Carpet Ride' and 'Aquatic Fanatic.'
- You ever play 'Saruman's Wish' anymore? That's a heavy fucking
Naah. If we ever play that song again I think we'd kill ourselves.
- It's just that that song was the first Goblin song I ever heard,
off that Rise Above Records compilation (Dark Passages). How did you come to
start working with Rise Above?
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. We played some
shows in London with a band called Mourn. One of the guys in Mourn let Lee
Dorrian know about us and he came down to one of the shows we played with
Electric Wizard, and we've always had a really good relationship with Lee.
Rise Above have shown us a hell of a lot support when nobody else would.
- I don't understand why you haven't gotten more support here in the
U.S., I mean I've seen the feature in Metal Maniacs but you guys should be
bigger than you are.
Chris: Actually, we were supposed to be doing this album through Spitfire
Records, they have a U.S. deal with Rise Above but they didn't want to put it
Ben: They didn't want to put it out because they didn't like the production. I
think the real problem with Orange Goblin is that we haven't been here for a
proper tour. If we had come here two or three years ago, who knows what could
- I know you played my little hometown of Savannah, how did that go?
It was allright, about 100 or 150 showed up in a little small room. We did have
a mosh pit going, it was cool.
Chris: There wasn't really any advertising, no posters in the window, just a
little paper in the doorway.
- I know you got a listing in the Creative Loafing paper here in
Atlanta, but down in Savannah I don't know, that paper is much smaller than
it's counterpart here.
We saw a newspaper in Savannah that had a good review of us, so it seems like
people were interested in us.
- I'm wanting to talk about some of the lyrical influences from
"Frequencies From Planet Ten," especially a song like 'Saruman's Wish,' I know
I've heard that name before. Wasn't that from Lord Of The Rings?
Yeah, it's Lord Of The Rings. Hence the name Orange Goblin.
Chris: That was all like 7 years ago we wrote that stuff.
- Well, I wanted to talk about this stuff like, 5 years ago, but they
(Music Cartel) never put me through to you guys.
The lyrics were all based around that sort of thing, the fantasy and wizard
stuff. It's kind of boring to write about today, we felt we had to move on.
We did some sci-fi stuff on the second album, and with the third album we got
sort of angrier and more personal. Nowadays we're pretty much writing about
horror, violence and drugs.
Chris: Not necessarily in that order.
Ben: Those are the three most important things on earth.
- I know the album is not out in the States yet (as of this writing,
that is) so if there's anything you want to tell us about the album, song
titles, lyrics, etc.
The first song we've got on the album is a bit of an indication of where we
wanted to go, it's something people won't expect from the so called "Stoner
rock" scene. We point fingers at the lazy journalists who won't give things a
second thought, they'll just lump the music into that category. There's a song
about Joe called 'Whisky Leech,' it's how he can drink three times his body
weight and still be standing at the end of the night. 'Monkey Panic' is
about a deranged ape who's took a bunch of amphetamines and is going nuts in
the city destroying everything he comes across.
- That sounds like something Iron Monkey would write! Didn't
you say you were involved in a side project with some of the Iron Monkey guys?
Chris: Yeah, the guitarist and bassist and myself are doing a project called
Dukes Of Nothing. It's like Black Flag meets Motorhead.
- What ever happened to the singer of Iron Monkey?
Chris: He went off and started a record store doing some dance music and stuff.
Ben: He's actually got a band together called Armor Of God.
Chris: He's getting another band back home with the guys from Medulla Nocte,
and a band that will involve one of the Eyehategod members.
Ben: Other than that, he's just been breaking his leg every other week
- Where in England are you situated? Is there a pretty good music
scene down there? I don't want to say stoner rock scene, let's just say the
kind of music that people like to call stoner rock.
We're in London, but we're sort of scattered around London. Most of this stuff
that's any good in England is signed to Rise Above, like Electric Wizard,
they've also got a Sheavy album and a band called Bottom.
- That's one thing that upset me a lot when Man's Ruin closed his
doors, I heard about Bottom signing to Rise Above though.
Chris: Actually, that was a good thing though for the scene as a whole, friends
keep it going though, and the smaller labels like Meteor City keep things more
Ben: I think Frank (Kozik) is kinda pleased too in a way, his first love is his
artwork, and his art is actually going to be on our new album "Coup De Grace,"
he's got this amazing 16 page color booklet laid out like old horror comics
like "Tales From The Crypt" or "Wierd Tales."
- I gotta ask you, in "Time Traveling Blues," where did you get that
vocal sample of a guy who says he invented time?
Chris: A Skateboard company, I think it was Zero skateboards, their first video
there's some people skating around and they come across an old bum in the
street, a wino guy who said he's a time traveler. We didn't actually have
permission to use it, so... Thanks. If you're watching this.
Ben: We gave him credit on the album.
- I actually like "Time Traveling Blues."
Since we've been here in America, a lot of people have been saying that's their
favorite Goblin album.
Chris: They're gonna HATE the new one.
- They're gonna HATE it?
Chris: It's very, very different.
Ben: I don't think it's THAT far removed.
- What do you still play live from "Time Travelling Blues?"
We play 'Blue Snow,' 'Solarisphere,' 'The Man Who Invented Time.' We try and
do a lot of stuff off the new album too.
Chris: We like to do half old and half new tunes.
Ben: We did a Misfits cover the other night.
- Which one?
We did 'We Bite.' It went down really well, we had a serious mosh pit in the
- I'm not surprised, really. There's a LOT of Misfits fans down in
Savannah, I ran around with quite a lot of people from that scene, which is
rather close and tight knit. What's the details on your contract with Rise
It's finished now. We're free agents.
- Are you going back to Rise Above?
We're trying to do something different this time. We're not saying we're trying
to run away from Rise Above, they've been good to us in the past, we just want
to find something new and see if we can really take off, and make more fucking
- Anything else you want to talk about, maybe your favorite beer
(he's holding a 40 in a paper bag).
Alcohol is my favorite beer. We haven't had a bad drink in America yet. We've
been drinking bourbon a lot.
- There's something you have in your pubs I can't seem to find
anywhere over here, it's called Black Death Vodka. I've tried ordering it here
and looking in various liquor stores, with no luck.
The guys from Iron Monkey make their own moonshine. You need to try that,
it'll get you really drunk and strip the paint off your tongue.
Ben: If anyone from Jagermeister is watching this, we want a sponsorship.
- Do you guys still smoke weed?
Chris: Yeah, sure.
Ben: I used to, but not very much anymore.
Chris: I do lots of "grownup" drugs. I like things that hurt my nose, make my
gums bleed and damage my kidneys.
- A little weed's still good every now and then. Of course, I can't
do it every day... I remember Electric Wizard in an interview saying that the
only people who could keep up with them smoking pot was Brutal Truth, they said
they'd smoke every other band under the table.
I think Sons Of Otis challenged them to a smoking contest here recently.
- I'd like to see how that turned out.
The Wizard almost killed them. I think it took Sons Of Otis about two days to
- That Canadian weed is pretty potent from what I understand.
What's funny is to see the Americans go over to Amsterdam and be able to pick
it up freely and get a choice in the coffee shops, let's see how they handle
Chris: Weed's actually been decriminalized in England now, I think it's a class
- Thanks for the interview, definitely looking forward to seeing you
RAGE. Interview with Peavey.
- I did get your new record, and from the first song I was pretty shocked, as I
don't think I've ever heard you do any death metal styled vocals!
I like to do something special, especially on the live shows, I know it freaked
a lot of people out.
- I know you guys have been out for a long time, but the only album
prior to this I have was "Perfect Man," which is also a favorite of mine. That
record was on Noise I believe.
That was our first American released album I believe. Back in 1988. We had a
couple more albums after that. "Reflections Of A Shadow" was the last album to
be released in the States, I think it was around 1990. After we were on Noise
we changed to BMG over in Europe, and they didn't do anything for us anymore.
We were completely forgotten, especially in America.
- You used to go by the name of Avenger, I actually have a "Prayers
Of Steel" album which I really enjoyed.
In 1983 we started the band Avenger, but it was changed after the first record
was out. I think that album was licensed by a Brazilian company, maybe that's
how it got in the States. It was repressed in 1995 I think.
- Well, I don't know if I have ever seen an official pressing of the
album, I have my copy on CDRom. How do you feel about the Avenger stuff these
days, I know the lyrics were quite a bit darker than what you guys are doing
Completely fun lyrics at the time. Me and one of the guitarists were doing
lyrics and we had a contest within the band to see who could write the most
stupidest, satanic lyrics. We were just writing bullshit, and one thing led to
another, we got a recording contract, and were rushed to get the album out. We
never thought that people would take the lyrics seriously, but then we started
getting all this fan mail, with people saying, "Ah, you guys are really
satanists, you really worship the devil," and I'm like, hello?? (laughs). We
were like 18 or 19 at this time anyway, we weren't really that serious.
Actually, I think it sounds really, really good considering how cheap the
recording was and how long ago it was. It's a typical debut album.
- How much did you pay to get the album done?
About 3,000 Marks, which is about 1 and a half thousand dollars. We had like
two days to do the thing, including the mix. It's basically like a live in the
studio album. (laughs).
- Tell us about the label that put it out?
It was on a very, very small label, no one ever heard of the label even in
Germany, it was called Wishbone Records. BMG re-released it in 1995. I got the
original tapes somehow, it was a coincidence that I could get the master tapes,
so I got the idea to redo it. It originally was a limited edition bonus CD to
the "Black In Mind" album which was released in 1995. They did offer a regular
re-release for the Japanese market.
- I know you guys have a huge following in Japan. It's a rather odd
market, because like when an album comes out in Japan and everywhere else, the
Japanese ALWAYS have to have extra tracks.
They always want extra stuff for their fans, that's one of the reasons why the
Avenger stuff was put out.
- So where did Avenger play live? Did you ever do any major shows,
tour with any big name bands? I'm just curious to know how much of an impact
Avenger had before the name change.
We played a couple of shows with bands that don't exist anymore. We did play
some shows with Destruction, who are still around. We toured with Kreator when
we were already called Rage.
- Your fan club is being run by a woman named Dane Kurth, if I'm
not mistaken. She's definitely very cool.
She's originally from England, and she's an old friend of Lemmy Kilmeister.
They were in a motorcycle gang together! This must have been back in the 70's
- Wow, I didn't know that! When I first met her she was doing the
Running Wild fan club, but I really felt sorry for her because she got fired
by Rock 'n' Rolf of Running Wild, and I never found out the reason why she got
ousted from that.
I think it was because she wanted to do more than just the fan club. That's how
I understood it anyway.
- Well, I've heard Rock 'n' Rolf is very hard to get along with, he
doesn't acknowledge any of his past, album wise, and there is nobody left in
the band that played on his first two albums "Gates To Purgatory" and "Branded
He's very hard to get along with; he wants to have absolute control of
everything, which is okay in most cases but you can't run a band like this.
When you do a band like I do with Mike and Victor, sometimes you have to step
back and give them all the same power like you have, otherwise you just have
hired musicians. That's how Rolf is working basically, I don't think he's
working with any musicians anymore, he seems to be doing it all alone.
- Well, with you guys especially, I know you play lots of older stuff
live, I remember seeing 'Don't Fear The Winter' in a few playlists from your
most recent shows, and that song seems to be a crowd favorite. That whole
album "Perfect Man" is one of my favorites.
We re-recorded this song last year. It's not only on a live CD it's also a
bonus track for the album we released before this new one "Welcome To The
Other Side." The original recording on the album there were some wierd
sounding drums, also I think the solo is overworked. We always played this
song on the live shows and we always loved the way it sounded live with the
new band, so when we thought about a bonus track for Japan, we didn't want to
spend one of our new songs for this, so we just did a new version of this
song. It was done very spontaneously in the studio.
- I also love the song 'Death In The Afternoon.' That's a rather
morbid tale on that album, but it seems like you pulled a couple of stories
that you read in the newspaper to form the lyrics for that song.
I don't remember if that was something from the newspaper or something that I
imagined, but I thought the story was kind of nice. Of course the names of the
people aren't real, but I also thought the topic was very simple.
- I didn't get a lyric sheet for the new record "Unity," so I am
curious about song topics on that one. I hate that!
That's a shame, they should give out the finished product. There's some nice
pictures in the booklet, and of course the lyrics. I would say the lyrics
on this new album compared to what I did in the last couple of years, they
headed off towards the direction I took with many of the older albums. It's
more like real life experiences, some of the songs are really angry, the song
'Down' is like giving a big middle finger to some people. Michael wrote the
lyrics for 'Living My Dream.'
- How has Steamhammer been as a label for you? It's funny because I
remember them as a label in the 80's that was responsible for bands like Iron
Angel, Destruction and what not, and it's good to see them still around, and
now with a U.S. office to boot! It's like they never left, and it seems to me
like they must be a huge label overseas.
Yeah, they really grew big, they even have different sections. Of course
Steamhammer is marketing all the metal bands but SPV is the mother company,
and they even have a few other things, they have a big pop label that markets
big pop artists. They make a lot of money, and I think it's one of four or five
metal specialized labels all over Europe. I would say SPV and Nuclear Blast are
the leading companies for this kind of music, so it was obvious to me that when
our contract with BMG ran out we would go over to one of these labels.
- It's a shame that you never got much coverage over here, I don't
think you ever played any shows over here either!
No, never! It never happened, and we had been on BMG since the middle of 1994
or so, and we missed so much because BMG just didn't seem to care about this
kind of music. They never did anything for us. They did a good job for us in
Germany, but the rest of the world was completely left out. Of course, when
you sign it you have to completely read the contract!!
- Do you have any plans to come to the U.S.?
SPV wants to wait and see how things develop, but we are talking about it. They
say there's a chance that if the album is selling they can put together two or
three bands like a tour package. It would be nice to come over here.
- Let's suppose there is a fan out there that said, "Yeah, I love
Perfect Man, that's my favorite Rage album," what would you recommend them go
and get from your catalog?
There are like 4 albums that I think are landmarks in the whole career of the
band: "Perfect Man" is definitely the first, then I would recommend "The
Missing Link" from 1993. Then I would recommend "13" which was an album we did
when we were in our orchestral phase, we had all the songs orchestrated. And
then the new one "Unity" is the landmark for the moment. It's the best one that
we did with this new lineup, which is the best lineup Rage has had so far.
This would make you laugh, the entire lineup of Rage left in 1994 or so and
they did a teenage pop band! They tried to make a break but it's not happening
so far. They were doing this song with En Vogue, you know those rapper chicks
from Los Angeles? I don't know why they did this, especially the drummer that
played on "Perfect Man," he was an old friend of mine for 20 years, an old
metal freak like me and then he just left to do a pop band! So I started the
band with an entirely new lineup.
- I noticed too, the cover for "Unity" kinda reminds me of the way
"Perfect Man" was set up, with that mechanical skull head thing.
You're absolutely right. The same guy who did "Unity" also did the "Perfect
Man" cover. "Unity's" cover is basically a remake of the "Perfect Man" cover.
He's a friend of mine, and he's always wanted to do another cover for us, but
Noise and Gun Records always thought he was too expensive for them. He's a real
artist, making art from real objects. They're real objects that have been
photographed, it's a huge design.
- You mentioned you did an orchestral type album "Lingua Mortis," I
am really curious about that time period.
We had a phase in 1996 until 1998 where we had two releases out that were
completely orchestrated. We did several festivals in Europe, and did several
shows with the orchestra. BMG actually supported us throughout this venture,
this was a time when BMG was really into the band and was trying to make us
huge in Europe. It really worked here but it was due to the fact that they
never worked us outside, no one else outside of Europe ever noticed us. It's
the same thing that metallica did, we just did it 4 years earlier. I think we
inspired a lot of other people as well, Deep Purple started with this again
after we were their support band. They did a European tour with us and right
after the tour they started the orchestral thing again. Of course in the
beginning of the 60's Deep Purple were one of the first bands ever to start
with orchestration, we can't say they copied us but I guess we re-inspired
- Last thing I wanted to ask you, you've been doing this for over 19
years, how do you keep this going for so long?
I just keep on, I love to do this music, I love to write songs, and have always
had a band put together, despite the fact that we've had 4 lineup changes in
nearly 20 years. Which is okay, compared to other bands that have had more
lineup changes in shorter periods of time.
- How is the talent pool in Germany, is it easy to find good
musicians to play with if you wanted to go to Germany and start a band?
There's a couple of good musicians, but I had problems last time where I
couldn't find any musicians in my area, so I had to look more for international
people. I was trying to find people around my age, you know I don't want to
start out with some 20 year old kids! These other two guys, Victor and Mike,
they're both around my age and they also are very experienced like me, they
really know what they are doing, and have done music for around 20 years.
- So how is the song and lyric writing process handled now? Is it
shared between the three of you or do you write most everything and have them
craft their skills around what you are trying to do?
In the past it was like 95 percent my job, I wrote everything. Now, with this
new lineup it changes pretty much. I share things 50/50 with Victor, the
guitar player, and Mike is not really a song writer, but he contributes as much
as possible. He's trying to learn piano at the moment to have more
possibilities to write songs in the future. He has wrote some lyrics though,
and this is more of a teamwork effort than it ever was in the past.
- What bands from the 80's are you still listening to? Any classic
80's metal bands you still like?
I like what Rob Halford is doing these days with his new band, and I have
always like Rush. I dig Dream Theater and this kind of progressive bands.
I used to be a Metallica fan but they have gotten so much more boring these
days. I still love their old records though.
- I've gotten to the point where I won't even listen to old Metallica
albums anymore, since they have mistreated the fans so badly and basically
turned their backs on anyone who ever supported them.
Ah, so I see it's the same way in America as well! Over here they hate them
even more so. They are doing too much of this trend shit.
TYRAN PACE. Interview with Ralf Scheepers.
I must admit, I think a lot of people are put off by the fact that Ralf sounds
a LOT like Rob Halford. However, back in the early 80's, Tyran Pace made three
great albums that were the forerunners of what Primal Fear is about today,
though I really don't like Primal Fear anywhere near as much as Turan Pace. The
three albums are all up in the classic albums section, and it was nice to get
to reminisce about the glory days of 80's metal.
- So how are you doing today?
Not too good actually, my leg hurts really bad because I was in an accident
today, I can hardly walk. It's getting better though.
- So you're based in Germany, I assume. I know you guys have the
Audobahn over there. I don't think we have any roadways over here that are that
Many roads are very limited here now. The law is changing, we cannot go as fast
- It must be hard for you these days since you seem to always be
getting compared to Rob Halford of Judas Priest because of the vocal style you
I have always been compared to Rob's singing, but I cannot deny that I am a big
fan of his. I don't stand behind the microphone and try to copy anybody, this
is how I sing. I have been singing for 20 years now, and it's not necessary for
me to copy anyone. It's just when I open my mouth I sound like this.
- I go back and listen to the Tyran Pace albums like 'Eye To Eye'
and 'Watching You,' and I was wondering why Tyran Pace stopped after your third
he thing is, first of all we were very young. I was 18 when I started to sing
in Tyran Pace. Also, we had some managers that really soaked the money out of
us. We couldn't continue so we had to make cover music to pay for the situation
we were in; with the T-shirt companies, the managment and so on. They really
fooled us, and took much money out of us, that's why we split up in the end.
There was nothing personal that caused us to split.
- When I think back to the early 80's era of metal, I think about
labels like Noise and Mausoleum that signed a ton of bands, and that's where
you were, on Noise Records, which is considered one of the most classic and
cult labels in the metal world. Back in the 80's who did Tyran Pace do live
We just booked small tours, we went with Uriah Heep in Germany for example.
We did just one or two shows in Holland, and that's the only foreign country we
ever played in outside of Germany. There was a time when I started to go into
the international scene, but that was when I was in Gamma Ray, but Tyran Pace
didn't go into other countries.
- Do you still like to listen to any of the Tyran Pace albums?
Yeah, sometimes if I find an old tape, and I still have the record of course.
The thing is, though it's always about the sound and I never was very happy
with the sound of these CD's because I knew that my voice sounded really thin
and the guitars as well. For us it was the very beginning of finding some
experience in the studios, and the studio engineers we had at that time were
probably not that good like they are nowadays.
- I really did like the way those albums turned out, especially "Eye
To Eye," when people ask me about Tyran Pace, I tell them the songs are a bit
more anthemic, rather what 80's metal is supposed to sound like I guess. There
were some great songs that came out of those three albums.
There was an American guitarist, Michael Young, and he is now over in America
again. He was with the army at the time and was driving his ass off every
- I know you did a stint with Gamma Ray, but I'm curious where the
other members of Tyran Pace are today.
They are scattered all over south Germany, I don't know where they are. I just
know Oliver Kaufmann, the guitarist, is now coming back to start a band with the
very first drummer of Tyran Pace who never appeared on any Tyran Pace albums.
Now they make music here but there is no label interest yet. I don't have any
more contact with those guys.
- Why didn't the original drummer appear on any of the albums?
He appeared actually on the Sinner albums, his name is Ralf Schulz. He played
on "Danger Zone" I think.
- What's your favorite Tyran Pace album?
I'd have to say the "Watching You" album.
- I like the "Eye To Eye" album, but I listened to "Watching You"
last night and I realized that there are more heavier songs on "Watching You,"
and that album also seems like it's a lot more together.
Our first two albums were on Gama Records, but the second album was already
worked through Noise Records. Our third album was the first time we worked
together with producer Tommy Hansen, who had also produced Helloween albums.
He was very experienced in the studio, and this was good for us.
- Tell us about Gama Records, because I know the last two records were
on Noise, so I'm assuming Noise grabbed the rights to the second album that was
They didn't pick up anything, Gama was just, how do you say, going down the
garbage? Because they really fooled bands, they really soaked the bands and it
was pretty much an Italian mafia run operation. The label head was Italian. All
I know is that we didn't see any sales from the records.
- So who else was signed to that label? Anybody noteworthy I might
Everybody from south Germany was on that label. Do you remember Tyrant? Also,
let's see Stormwitch? Stormwitch can really sing a song about the story with
- What 80's metal bands did you enjoy listening to at the time?
Accept, Judas Priest, Saxon, and Iron Maiden of course. There was another good
Scandinavian band, TNT, they had an American singer. These bands were a big
influence for me, of my days as a headbanger.
- Finally, I had to mention, I just returned from the New Jersey
Metalfest and there was a lot of 80's metal bands that played there. If you
could get the chance to reform Tyran Pace and do a festival or shows, would you
I don't think it's going to happen, first because I don't really know anyone
anymore. This has been over 20 years ago, and we've been apart for so long. I
don't think it would be possible, but like I said there were no personal
problems, but everyone did go their separate directions afterwards.
SPECIAL REPORT: NEW JERSEY METALFEST
It was our first attendance at the annual New Jersey Metalfest, and I must say
the metal gods smiled on us the whole weekend! It didn't seem that way at first,
as we got a VERY late start Thursday night. We were supposed to leave at 3 or 4
P.M. and start the drive, but after locking my keys in the house, sitting
through a typical Atlanta traffic tragedy for almost 2 hours, and Lincoln being
late, we thought this trip was going nowhere fast. However, after a roughly 13
hour drive, we had just enough time to find a hotel, check in and make it to the
convention hall. No sleep would be had for nearly another 14 or 16 hours!
With three stages to choose from, I was a little worried about the scheduling.
Fortunately for us, some bands that ran behind worked to our advantage (more on
that later). I guess many of the local concerts spoiled me for the two day
festival, as there were quite a few hours before any bands I knew and was into
would play, so for most of the early part of Friday we were wandering around
from stage to stage, sampling the ungodly amounts of merchandise and shirts that
seemed to be overflowing! We saw old school shirts like Onslaught's "Power From
Hell" design, some old bootleg Death and Bathory shirts, even newer designs by
Dark Funeral, Einherjer, brand new Nuclear Assault and Diamond Head shirts,
and it made one's jaw drop! The first real band I paid attention to on Friday
was Pessimist, who were quite brutal death metal style, and I know this band
has a following. We were pretty impressed, most of all because of the superb
Digital Metal stage, which had the most impressive and clearest sound of the
three. We caught a bit of Rune, who Chris was very impressed with, on the
Relapse stage. Finally, we caught The Crown, with new vocalist (now departed)
Thomas Lindberg from At The Gates, and the sound mix on the Nightfall stage was
the worst of the three, but The Crown played with such intensity and fury,
plus the sound was LOUD! Bringing out new cuts like 'Under The Whip,' along with
everyone's favorite "Deathrace Kings" album cuts, the crowd was worked into
quite a frenzy from their performance. Afterwards, I headed to the Digital
Metal stage where I would remain for the rest of the night. The Crown's set
left me missing over half of Blitzkrieg's set, who I wanted to videotape BADLY,
but I did get to hear them do a splendid crowd pleasing version of the song
Metallica made famous. Finally Witchfynde stormed the stage, with such a clear
sound I was totally blown away! Doing hits like 'Cloak And Dagger,' which nearly
everyone seemed to be familiar with, the "old guys" in the band played with
NWOBHM fury and conviction, and were a surprise of the night. Nightmare then
took the stage, and though quite good, they disappointed me a bit by choosing
to scrap most of their material to do a few cover songs, one by Judas Priest of
all things. I guess they figured they were more of an unknown, but they were
playing at the time when the bands later on in the evening got more time to
play. Chris actually went to see D.R.I. at this time and his report to me was
that they were horrible. I guess the sound had a lot to do with it. (They were
on the Nightfall stage).
Finally the big guns were up Friday night. Still at the Digital Metal stage,
Virgin Steel came out, and by this time I had moved up to the balcony where the
camera shots were crisp and clear, unhindered by the unusually bright lights
that were present. Virgin Steel bored the living hell out of me. Literally. I
still am not sure if it's because I don't know much of their material, or the
fact that I was practically falling asleep at my seat, but they failed to
impress me. Nevertheless, I filmed them anyway because I knew people would want
to see them. Finally, headliner number 1 in Saxon played, and what a hell of a
show they put on! Doing of course the classics like 'Power And Glory' and
'Princess Of The Night,' alongside
great cuts from the new album "Crusader" like 'Killing Ground' and 'Dragon's
Lair,' coupled with cuts from my favorite Saxon album "Unleash The Beast" like
'Preacher,' which was a surprise since it was a more mellow tune. They polished
off the night by doing 'Wheels Of Steel' and 'Crusader,' though I have to wonder
where was 'Motorcycle Man?' All in all a picture perfect performance, and a
very rockin' good time was had by all in attendance! But the moment America had
waited over twenty years for, was Diamond Head's first ever U.S. appearance, and
I was nearly in tears at the anticipation of seeing history in the making. After
the rather melancholic intro, Diamond Head burst onto the stage with probably
THE best sound from ANY band in the two days. Now, I've heard EVERY Diamond
Head song ever made on the planet, but nothing prepared me for the shock of
hearing these songs like it was the first time ever! The opening song 'Wild In
The Streets,' from their last ever release "Death And Progress," i didn't even
recognize until the choruses broke in! This band did many of their classic songs
live much differently from the way you've heard them on record, despite many
different versions of songs both remixed and remastered. 'Lightning To The
Nations,' 'It's Electric' and 'Borrowed Time' were so professionally done you
would have swore this band has played these songs over a million times before.
Every album was pretty well represented, except for "Canterbury," though they
did spend a few more songs from their last album like 'Truckin' and 'Run.'
Finally, they saved the best for last: 'Am I Evil' was so superbly done. I was
in tears throughout the entire performance, and didn't think the metalfest could
get any better. Sleep finally called, and we answered very weary but satisfied
beyond our wildest dreams.
Arriving late due to sleeping a bit too long, after loading up on blank tapes,
food that we could sneak in (fancy $3.00 for a pencil thin hot dog!) and drinks,
we missed Bloodthrone who went on at 11:30. One of the main reasons I was
thrilled to be in Jersey was my first live look at Abdullah. Very good
performance, they started out their set and was one of the only bands in the
festival to get 45 minutes instead of 35, since Forest Gloom had cancelled.
The metal gods smiled upon us! And I would not be disappointed, their very
unique brand of 70's rock meets doom metal meets stoner rock sounded extremely
well despite being on one of the worst stages in the place. Debuting new songs
from their yet to be released album, they also played some of my personal
favorites from their fantastic self titled full length, like 'Conundrum,'
'The Path To Enlightenment' and the amazing guitar fretwork on 'Earth's
Answer,' which was just as much fun to watch as it was to hear. They even took
time to play a song from the "Snake Lore" demo, 'In The Belly Of The Beast.'
Jeff Shirilla's vocals were in top form, even doing many of the tracks a bit
different from the way they're heard on the album. Abdullah was definitely the
highlight of the morning, and thanks to those guys I now have autographed
copies of the demo and the full length! Havochate impressed me as well, a
rather heavy band that's tight with the thrashy riffs and heavy vocals, going
out on tour with Immortal and Manowar had to be a bonus! I stuck around for
80's legends Impaler, and their stage show was quite hilarious, with the guys
dressing up in toxic suits and the frontman wearing a "crown of spikes."
The guys took turns kicking the shit out of one another, and doing the blood
and gore splatter effects, akin to zombies ripping hearts and guts out people's
chests and eating them. Quite a gruesome experience, and the music, a mixture
of punk and metal, was a shock rocker's dream come true. Very enjoyable.
I forgot to mention Tearabyte as well, a band who sounded a bit more like old
school thrash meets power metal, though their debut CD his higher pitched vocals
do not come into play. After hearing a song like 'Screaming Pig Fucker From
Hell,' I knew these guys were pretty crazy. Incantation was horrible live,
owing again to the crappy sound from the Nightfall stage but also due to the
fact I could care less about the band. Due to a schedule screwup I decided to
miss Dark Funeral, especially since I knew they would be in Atlanta next
month anyway when I could catch them longer. Chris and Lincoln went to see D.F.,
while I hoped to be in time to get Steel Attack and Artch on film. However,
Rob Rock was still going, allowing me to catch the rest of Dark Funeral's
overtly impressive live set! 'My Dark Desires' rounded out the set, as well
as a few cuts from their "In The Sign" mini LP, and the sound of that horrible
stage was absolutely crushing. After Dark Funeral, I caught Steel Attack, who
were even better live than I remembered them on record. Artch too had a great
sound that night, impressing all with choice cuts from "Another Return To Church
Hill" which was released oh so many moons ago. Nuclear Assault was the surprise
hit of the night, and lots of material was played from the "Survive" album,
which is truly one of my favorites. Very tight, thrashy and they sounded like
they just released an album yesterday, the vocals were surprisingly strong, and
the band was in top form. Due to the fact that Manowar said no cameras would be
allowed, the only band of the festival doing so, I opted instead to see
Vesperian sorrow, who only got to do about 2 or 3 songs due to their 8 minute
plus tracks on their two releases. Many band members were on stage for this one,
since their sound is vicious black metal inundated by keyboards, and sounded
very good despite the Relapse stage not having the best sound and being in such
an open area. After Vesperian Sorrow, who was supposed to start 10 minutes
before Manowar, I went to see how much of Manowar I could catch. Such a shame
about Vesperian not having a big crowd. To my surprise, not only had Manowar
NOT started yet, there were a few seats left in the back for me in a room that
was nearly filled to capacity! Talk about extreme luck! The metal gods had been
with us all weekend. And Manowar put on one hell of a show, from the "Fighting
The World' tracks to some new cuts from the newest album. The guitar solo, the
motorcycle sounds, 'Black Wind Fire And Steel,' it was all enjoyable for one
who has never seen Manowar live. Very little went wrong, and the first metal
festival Vibrations of Doom attended yielded lots of video footage and a great
time. Other standouts, according to Chris and Lincoln, was Arch Enemy's kick
ass performance, and Cthonic, the Korean black metal band putting on a vicious
show. We hope to be there next year as well for the Jersey metalfest, as
everything ran smoothly for us despite some of the scheduling problems.
On that note, we will definitely see you all next issue. There will be no
editorial notations column this issue, but we do want to make sure that everyone
has seen the latest Metal Maniacs, which should stillbe on newsstands. A very
nice review of our webzine was done by the 'zine staff, and we want to say
thanks to them for taking the time to peruse our 12 years and running music
magazine. We'll see you all October 13th, when the next issue will be out!
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