VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
Hey one and all!! Sorry this issue is so late, once again, we had, well, "I"
had numerous personal problems, one being my appearance in court for possession
of the green leaf. It was so miniscule an amount that it was really a waste of
the court's, and my, time. Well, maybe a waste of time but not a waste of
money: the courts will be getting a pretty hefty chunk of change, but since I
fall under the "first offender's act" (what a title for such a miniscule
misdemeanor charge) I get the wonderful 40 hours of community service, the
fine, and numerous trips to probation central. And I'm locked into probation
for a year. All this stemming from a lousy misdemeanor charge, hell if this had
been like a case of assault or battery, hell even D.U.I., I wouldn't be locked
into the system for nearly as long. Oh yeah, let's couple this with the fact
that I lost my job of nearly 5 years, the company screwed me over, I got
another job and promptly lost it within 2 weeks because I didn't play into the
"office politics." Let's see, oh yeah and there was the near wiping out of my
funds, not to mention the other little crap that goes on, and it's a miracle
this thing is only a few weeks late.
Sorry for the shortened number of CD reviews this issue, but we did our best.
Next issue promises to be a killer, as we already have interviews locked down
with The Haunted and a return interview with Behemoth! So stay tuned, 'cause
things are going to continue to get interesting for the (standing on soapbox
yet again) "world's oldest and longest running internet based music magazine on
the planet!" Special mention here as well, we finally hit the 300 mark! Yes,
that's right, we now have over 300 rare, classic and out of print metal albums
from the 80's online! So go check it out! Don't forget to listen to the songs
from each album we review!
Let's get this out of the way before we proceed... You need our address? Here
Vibrations Of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
I don't know why I print this each and every issue, since you can see the addy
every time you hit the main page... Oh well...
ARGHOSLENT "Incorrigible Bigotry" (Moribund) SCORE: 95/100
Just when I am about ready to forsake the death metal realm entirely, I keep
getting challenged. And this band, who supposedly has been "in the underground"
for over 12 years (about how long my music magazine's been on the internet) has
put out one hell of a record. On one hand, it's death metal, but nothing like
I've heard yet. The song structures are very interesting too, lots of high end
guitar work, and vocals that match the music perfectly note for note. (Note to
the guy in Metal Maniacs who reviewed this: I don't see WHY you had a problem
with the vocal work). The vocals are almost black metal quality, but they at
least are not guttural to the point of being stupid. He may not enunciate every
word clearly, but hell it's extreme metal folks! Let's start with 'Flogging The
Cargo.' Intelligently written lyrics abound throughout the album, and the
higher ended guitar work flows from one song to the next. The lowest tuning of
riffs you'll hear is on 'Heirs To Perdition,' and they are still ultra clean.
Their music is mostly fast, but they definitely have no problem with the slower
passages, in fact 'Quelling The Simian Urge' actually boasts some ultra
emotional guitar work that borders on doom metal! There's only 7 tracks here,
and why they chose to introduce an instrumental that is nearly twice as long as
ANY song of theirs containing vocals, I don't know. The music is good, but damn
they could have picked another song and added vocals to it. The tune in
question, 'Incorrigible Bigotry,' features all the fast and slow guitar work,
but at well over 8 minutes, it's WAY too long. There's some sweet lead solo
work on 'Hereditary Saint' too, and the song structures are so damn catchy,
especially the opening lines of 'In The Purging Fires Of War,' you'll be
singing them for days. The guitar work here borders on Viking/Medieval
structures as well. Recorded "south of the Mason/Dixon line, I can see where
some might have a problem with the lyrics, especially since on one song the
"N" word is used (think of the album title). We'll be doing a chat with them
hopefully one day, so they can clear that up or explain it one. Otherwise, it
does go over extremely well, and lyrically reads more like a lesson in ancient
American history. You would do well to check it out, especially if you want to
hear death metal that will challenge you. This band also features members of
Grand Belial's Key. Go figure!
Contact: Moribund Records, P.O. Box 77314, Seattle, Washington 98337-0314 USA
Web site: http://www.moribundcult.com
AVANTASIA "The Metal Opera Part II" (Painful Lust) SCORE: 91/100
I had been looking forward to hearing this after enjoying Part I so much. This
CD continues on pretty much the same path, utilizing many different guest
musicians and vocalists, though the guest vocals are this time mostly relegated
to backing vocals and choruses. 'The Seven Angels' starts things off nicely,
especially the solos vocals of what appears to be Rob Rock, one of very few
times we hear mainline vocals done by anyone other than Tobias. The song is
heavy yet contains much melody, though I felt the track was indeed too long at
14 minutes! After a synth break, you hear lots of heavy synthesized passages
and more operatic styled multivocal work, which didn't end the track extremely
well. Off to 'No Return,' which is a decent speedy power metal tune, though not
one of my true favorites. There is some slower instrumentation present, but the
song doesn't always give room to breathe and flesh out the melodies. 'The
Looking Glass' continues on in fine fashion, starting off at a rather slow pace
and utilizing some catchy chorus work and some really good lead solo guitar
work. I must say I didn't care much at all 'In Quest For,' it starts off with
piano work and sounds mostly like a ballad, and it's here that Tobias' vocal
work sounds a bit more strained than it usually is. The lyrics aren't your
atypical ballad piece, but there are so many other tracks that are much better
than this. 'The Final Sacrifice' totally shocked me, as it was so dominant with
the vocal work, heavy as hell too, especially with David DeFeis doing ripping
throat work (after all, he did stints with Piledriver and Exorcist, so his work
really seems more than appropriate here). And the multivocal, shouted chorus
work, well this has to be the heaviest Avantasia song yet! Rob Rock's cool
vocal work comes through again on 'Neverland,' and I loved the dark synth work
found within. 'Memory' is another good song, making great use of varying song
structures, even going so far as to use an acoustic breakdown within the
framework of heaviness. The female vocals are used on the last track,
accompanying some intense yet slow multivocal choruses. All in all, it's not a
perfect disc, and it does have a few flaws, but it is most definitely a worthy
successor to Part I.
Comtact: Painful Lust Records (Through The End & Century Media in the U.S.)
BATHORY "Nordland II" (Black Mark) SCORE: 94/100
Damn, didn't I just review "Nordland I" last issue? And I wrote the review for
this CD before I went back and looked at the score, just to see how the two
CD's compare. Would you believe I gave "Nordland I" the same score? Muscially,
the format is basically the same, the heavy guitar work is presented on tunes
like 'Vinland' (thrashy but slow start) and 'Death And Resurrection Of A
Northern Son' (very fast and overtly distorted guitar work). And of course we
have varying types of instrumentation throughout (the melodic synth start to
'The Messenger,' which still sends chills up my spine, and the synthetic flute
type sounds on 'Sea Wolf.') If you liked Nordland I you'll love the second
chapter, although missing from II are the blackened style vocals you'd hear on
'Dragon's Breath.' The drums are especially thunderous sounding, especially on
the opening instrumental track 'Fanfare,' and I'm wondering if it's something I
didn't notice on the first CD as well. I had to wonder though, if the
multivocal Viking styled choruses (which are on damn near every track) didn't
sound a bit rushed with the faster instrumentation on 'Death And
Resurrection...' and maybe sounded a bit forced? The rough edged vocals also
on this track almost don't seem to mesh well with the fast instrumentation,
though the choruses and guitar solos are fantastic. You also have the cool
sound effects like the rushing water and horses galloping, though it seems like
there's wind and water sounds on just about every track. 'The Land' of course
I have to digitize for you, especially for the guitar work, but Quorthon's
soaring vocal work is definitely a highlight. Rough at times but holding his
own, making yet another majestic masterpiece with few flaws. What's with the
very short "instrumental" And maybe 11 minutes might seem to be too long on
the last "song" of the album 'The Wheel Of Sun,' but you can't deny the awesome
feeling, especially of the medieval type instrumentation starting this track
off. A very epic song, my complaints here only come in as the multivocal Viking
choruses seem to make up nearly all of the last 3 or 4 minutes of this track.
I'm definitely not nitpicking, but it did seem a bit dragged out. All in all,
though, another album Quorthon should be VERY proud of, one I haven't been able
to keep out of my car's CD player. I am going to try and travel to Norway one
of these days...
Contact: Black Mark Records.
Web site: http://www.blackmark.net
BLOOD "Dysangelium" (Morbid) SCORE: 8/100
God, this record is absolutely HORRIBLE! I don't care how many years this band
has been in the underground, I can sum up this 21 song mess in a matter of a
few words: terrible death vocals, lousy song structures (thank god nearly all
the songs never even come close to the 3 minute mark) and just bad ideas. Check
out tunes like 'Penalty' and 'Anthem Of Scorn,' where they're content to just
blast away at near grindcore speed, rendering the results more goofy and silly
than brutal. Grindcore is their M.O. I suppose, but I can't get into this at
all. There were quite a few tracks that started off with some funny movie
samples, especially the song 'Wormbody' that had the drill instructor from Full
Metal Jacket. Speaking of 'Wormbody,' their choruses really suffer from bad
vocal delivery. Imagine saying wormbody really fast, and then going to
'Breaking Bounds' where the instrumentation is so dull and the vocal work so
laughable... 'Malicious Awakening' was about the only track I could stand, and
only for the first 70 percent of it. Nice start/stop instrumentation that the
laughable death metal gurgling actually worked for. There are dual vocals
presented, but like Hate Eternal, the music and vocal approach make even the
most vicious attempt sound stupid. Listen to 'Son Of Shadows' and you'll hear
the worst guitar riffs on record, and hey, let's repeat them ad nauseum! The
opener 'Blood Pulsation' had female operatic styled vocals, talk about a REALLY
bad idea! Over slow downtuned death metal riffs? Geez... The last song, which
ended up being the title track, was an instrumental that had some cool music,
but they dragged this on too long. Definitely crappy vocal work. Stay away from
this one, man... PLEASE.
Contact: Morbid Records, Postfach 3, 03114 Drebkau, GERMANY
Web site: http://www.morbidrecords.de
CAMAROSMITH "Camarosmith" (Dead Teenager) SCORE: 42/100
The cover of this CD is quite interesting, even the band logo and photo are a
spoof of the Black Sabbath album "Sabotage." And their roots are somewhat
entrenched in the stoner rock genre, though the most annoying feature of this
CD is also their seeming penchant for southern rock type. The vocalist in
particular is not a terrible singer, but he has that drawl on some of his
pronunciation that really bothers me. The guitar work does shine on quite a few
tracks, most notably the faster and heavier riffs on 'S.O.S.' (Son Of Sam), and
'It's Alright.' The song structures themselves are nothing overtly impressive,
though one has to wonder if a change of vocalists might make these songs sound
better. And to be sure, tunes like 'Time Around' and 'Sonic Colonic' didn't
have much going for them in the instrumentation department either. To top it
off, the track listing on the CD is totally incorrect, due to the fact that the
CD itself has 13 tracks, while the track listing only has 12. Reason being is
there are a few useless instrumentals that were thrown in, probably mistracked
and done at the last minute. 'Sellout' had some interesting lyrics, although
the harmonica was a dead giveaway that this band definitely incorporates the
southern rock thing in major overdoses (think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, stuff
like that). Some of the heavier shouted vocals sounded a bit odd as well, like
on 'Running Free' where they dragged the ending into the ground, and the
somewhat blackened styled vocals shouting the choruses of 'Corrupt.' The
instrumentation is most definitely the brightest spot on the entire CD, though
it gets annoying in places as well. If you can stand the vocal work, you may
very well find yourself enjoying this a lot more than I did, but when the
vocals strike a bad nerve for me, it's usually all over but the crying. Oh, and
before I go, check his really bad Guns 'N' Roses imitation via 'Corrupt.'
Contact: Dead Teenager Records, P.O. Box 470153, San Fransisco, CA 94147-0153
Web site: http://www.deadteenagerrecords.com
DARKTHRONE "Hate Them" (Moonfog) SCORE: 90/100
After listening to the newest Marduk record, this CD kinda hit me by surprise.
I must confess I enjoyed it immediately. After repeated spins a few minor flaws
came to light, but overall the vocal work is as sick, vicious and as twisted as
it gets. If I had to compare Legion (of Marduk fame) to the ravings of Nocturno
Culto, I'd have to say that Nocturno is a bit more powerful, and either he's
using some vicious effects or that guy eats demons for breakfast! Starting the
CD out, 'Rust' comes in rather slowly, which was a complete surprise to me.
Awesome track, though, and I also have to admit that this is the first
Darkthrone record I've ever heard. DT manages to incorporate faster guitar work
into the album, but like Marduk (see their review below) they know how to mix
things up pace wise and still keep for a brutal album. What makes this fall
a bit below Marduk's recent standards is the pace can sometimes be a bit TOO
slow, evidence this on 'Ytterst I Livet,' which by the way is the only songs
sung completely in their native language. The songs are varied both in speed
and actual structure, so some of the longer songs don't get completely boring.
The last track on the CD 'In Honour Of Thy Name' sounds very much like a
mixture of early punk and black metal, another surprise to me. And of course
here, the slower instrumentation/vocal mix weren't quite as good as on other
songs. But 'Striving For A Piece Of Lucifer,' man what a track! Killer guitar
work abounds, especially if you love it sick. Definitely a nod to the old
school of black metal, no keyboards, female vocals or forestwanking shit to be
found anywhere. Much slower in scope than Marduk, but remember this is only a
7 song affair, so the rougher parts, of which there are few, hit harder. I
always said that black metal can be slow paced as well as fast, and Darkthrone
is a perfect example of how twisted and sick black metal really can be. One of
the forerunners of the earliest days of Black metal still pierces the souls of
light with amazing precision. Distributed here in the U.S. by The End Records,
who also worked the latest Marduk record. Coincidence????
Contact: Moonfog Productions, St.Halvardsgt.33C, 3ETG. 0192 Oslo, NORWAY
Web site: http://www.moonfog.com
DISSIMULATION "Maras" (Ledo Takas) SCORE: 85/100
This is one sick black metal project! The vocal work especially, and I say the
sicker the better! 'Sauksmas Lapkricio Miglose' starts things off with some
tribal percussion, which is cool enough in itself, before the black metal
styled guitar work comes in.Basic and primal, but it gets the job done.
Incidentally, though all the lyrics are in Lithuanian, as was Obtest (see
issue #31 for details), there are English translations given. 'Blogio Triumfas'
continues on, though the starting guitar work was a bit strange. Not an overtly
fast tune, one will find that this isn't the atypical speedy black metal fare
many are used to. Those long winded screams are pretty potent though! On to
the title track, with rather fast guitar work and also some slower guitar parts
to be found. This isn't the most exquisite black metal release around, but damn
enjoyable enough to warrant repeated listens in your CD player. They do a
rather nice Kreator cover in 'Tormentor,' though one of the "unnamed' tracks
('Tamsio Nakta, Juodo Ugna,' according to the CDDB database) was quite wierd
and nearly unlistenable, starting off with slow drumming and extremely odd
low end sung vocal work. Some of the vocal/instrumentation structures on
'Pazadintas Ritualu' were a bit hard to take, as well as some wierd, ghostlike
blackened vocals on 'Demoniska Audru Naktis.' Dig the choppy, thrashy guitar
work on the latter track, but sometimes the instrumentation seems a tad
disjointed. And of course Dissimulation can pull off an insanely fast set of
drumming and guitar riffs like they do on 'Miglose,' sure to please the most
diehard of blackened fanatics. In addition, I forgot to mention lead screamer
doing a strange power metal styled yell in one place on 'Viesulai
Kraujuojanciame Danguje,' not to mention the fact that they like to jam a bit
on the instrumentation before kicking in with the vocals. A very good release,
one that's sick enough to keep you hanging around for more.
Contact: Ledo Takas Records.
DREAM EVIL "Evilized" (Century Media) SCORE: 88/100
I got this CD recently in a trade, so that's half the reason why it's included
in here. Just because Century Media doesn't deem me a worthy publication is no
reason to slag the artists that are actually putting out good releases. And
this is a good one, though it's not quite as good as their last release.
'Break The Chains' starts things off good enough, with their trademark heavy
yet melodic guitar work. These guys know how to write good choruses as well!
On to 'By My Side,' with the heavy and fast guitar work, and nice battle style
lyrics. It has a bit of a rough start but it soon settles into a power metal
pattern. And define "power metal" for me, because I see some of these tracks as
a bit more accessible but still with a hard and heavy edge. 'Evilized' had some
nice and dark acoustic riffs, and the tune soon gets heavier. Nice singing
vocals too I might add. 'Fight You Till The End' was one of my favorites, once
again citing the catchy chorus work. 'Bad Dreams' didn't work extremely well
for me though, the choruses didn't hit me as well, and there's some strange
guitar work overall in this track. 'Forevermore' was a heavy ballad style that
is better than most I usually hear, though it does add some heaviness, and you
all know how I feel about ballads! 'Made Of Metal' is your anthemic heavy metal
anthem, though lyrically it gets kinda silly at the end, especially with Snowy
Shaw's wife making a "guest appearance." The album kinda falls off around the
last few tracks, but it's still a solid outing. 'The End' lost a bit of steam
with me as being yet another attempt at a "heavier ballad." And 'Children Of
The Night' could have definitely benefitted from some heavier guitar work, but
overall it's a good listen.
Contact: Century Media Records.
FORSAKEN "Iconoclast" (Golden Lake) SCORE: 65/100
A 4 tracker arriving out of the land of Malta, this band shows promise but
didn't ultimately fulfill my needs. It's somewhat doom metal based, though
opener 'Where Angels Have Fallen' showcase some unusually heavy guitars for
this style of music. There are nice lead guitar passages to be found in this
track as well, and the vocal work is a bit easier to take than you'll find
later on down the road. The track itself wasn't bad, but the choruses didn't
inspire me and the rest of the song was rather average. Some spots in the song
you'll catch the lead vocalist doing some higher toned vocals, which bothered
me a bit, so I was bouncing back and forth on this tune. 'Via Crucis' was
easily the best track on here, starting out with some nice acoustic riffs and
beautiful female vocals that back up the choruses well. The lead vocals work
very well when they stay in the middle to lower range, and every once in awhile
you'll hear some death metal styled vocals, though thankfully they are kept to
a minimum. Very nice choruses as well, I wish the whole album had been
structured like this. We then move on to 'A Martyr's Prayer,' which is easily
their WORST song. The guitar work starts out good, though the vocals really
ruin anything I was getting into. His melodic singing parts aren't bad, but he
seems to feel he has to scream, yell and try too hard to be heavy. It makes
this about as fun to listen to as nails on a chalkboard. The song structures
here didn't hold my interest either, and they ran the ending instrumentation on
way too long. So scratch that. Finally, some nice synth flutes open up 'Wither
The Hour,' and you'll even hear faster guitar work in spots. Yet another tune
where the vocals dip between annoying and tolerable. I do hear stuff I like in
this CD, but overall there's too much I didn't like as well. Control the
vocalist and put down some more tracks like 'Via Crucis' and I will definitely
Contact: Golden Lake Productions.
Web site: http://www.goldenlakeprods.co.uk
GALLERY OF MITES "Bugs On The Bluefish" (Meteor City) SCORE: 43/100
It's not very often that Meteor City puts out something this bad, but even the
promotions guy told me he didn't think this should have been released. It's
somewhat stoner rock oriented, but even though the songs don't creep along at
a snail's pace, the bland song structures and uninspiring vocal work make one
think that you've been listening longer than you should. 'Exploded View'
starts the CD off, and really isn't a bad tune, probably one of the best on
here. Which ain't saying much since the rest of the CD slides way downhill. The
main problem I see is with the vocalist, he has a rather pissed off, snotty
attitude which doesn't work well for the music found within. 'Headless Body,
Topless Bar' starts the downward spiral, and the loud guitar work doesn't help
since the gits also tend to drag. The vocals in particular REALLY piss me off
on this as well. It's as if our main singer is trying to sound mean and all
pissed off, but he is lost in a sea of uninspiring instrumentation. 'New York
To Peru,' well, I can't totally write this track off, but it's so average I
definitely won't wanna hear it again. Like it does nothing for me. 'Chocolate
Rabbit' adds a new twist with slightly distorted vocal work, which only serves
to frustrate me even more. What's with all the handclaps on 'X's For Eyes'?
The vocal work definitely needs more aggressive backing instrumentation,
especially if he's gonna say fuck all the time. And Juan Garcia's guest vocals
on '100 Days' was the WORST! He "electronically enhances" his vocal work as
well, and it sounds absolutely horrible. Why has Garcia's vocal work gone to
shit ever since he left Kyuss? 'Bugs On The Bluefish' wraps this mess up by
bringing out annoying and heavily distorted riffs, extremely simplistic lead
work, and a tune that drones on and on. I must say, for a band that features
many current and ex members of Monster Magnet (not to mention 5 lead guitarists
and two bassists), this is one example of too many cooks ruining the soup.
Contact: Meteor City Records, P.O. Box 40322, Albuquerque, NM 87196
Web site: http://www.meteorcity.com
GOD DETHRONED "Into The Lungs Of Hell" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 93/100
I think the first thing that will freak out fans of this band are the more
melodic guitar passages found on many tracks, like the title track and
especially 'Gods Of Terror.' But the strengths of this album far outweigh the
weaknesses. The title track starts things off rather slow and eerily, but the
vicious and sick blackened vocal work more than makes up for anything else. Not
that the guitar work suffers, in fact it's refreshing to hear such thrashy and
wicked axe work and it really gives the vocals room to breathe. The chorus
work often gets faster though, and these songs definitely have diversity.
'The Warcult' starts off pretty melodic before ripping into insane drumming and
some more killer axe work. There's plenty of death metal styled vocals, but
they definitely are NOT too guttural. Lyrically the band has adopted a
different stance as well, as 'Slaughtering The Faithful' deals with the torture
of animals for food, and 'Enemy Of The State' deals with the ever present eye
of Big Brother. However, there's still the haunting 'The Tombstone,' dealing
with what being dead might feel like. My favorite tracks are many here,
definitely the title track, and 'Soul Sweeper' especially, where he is just
ripping his throat to shreds and you hear some of the crunchiest, sickest and
heaviest guitar work yet. How about the blazing speed of the entire band,
especially the drummer, when you hear Henri screaming "Your God is dead!!" My
main problem with the CD is the last track 'Gods Of Terror,' the main lines in
the song are pretty decent, but the slower, more Gothenberg styled lead guitar
work really drag this tune down. And likewise, though I didn't take off more
than a point or two, 'Slaughtering The Faithful' rarely changes tempos or song
structures until the end. These minor points aside, a God Dethroned album
absolutely slays your poser asses, even more so at slower speeds (See also the
Marduk review for "World Funeral").
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
HANZEL UND GRETYL "Uber Alles" (Metropolis) SCORE: 92/100
Think about it: Where would a band like this end up? It's been many years since
we heard the brilliance that was "Transmissions From Uranus" (see issue #15!)
and now they're back, minus a few members (see the interview with them this
issue for details). "Uber Alles" starts off with 'Overture,' a rather strange
symphonic and quite overblown intro with strange operatic female vocals. Track
2 starts us off on a heavy trip, that being 'Third Reich From The Sun' and this
is where the CD kicks into overdrive! A heavy industrial/metal tune, and
showing Vas' penchant for writing lyrics in German as well as English. Unlike
"Transmissions..." however, the majority of the tunes here have primarily
German lyrics, which are done up in a harsh style that fits the heavy vibe of
the CD perfectly. 'Ich Bin Uber Alles' was a tad difficult to take because of
the male vocals, but still the instrumentation is heavy. Some of the German
lyrics/vocals sound a tad silly here. 'Komm Zu Uns' had some almost hip hop
styled beats and a sample of a DJ saying "Rock The House," but you'll soon
forget all about that once you hear how kick ass the track is. Only HuG could
pull off a stunt like this and make it WORK. 'Mach Schnell' is a bit more metal
oriented but the electronic percussion and synth work makes you remember that
this is no ordinary metal/industrial hybrid (references to Rammstein will
abound, though). 'Mach Schnell' also has the rather annoying melodic break from
the heaviness, and it is here that Vas sounds at her worst. Sorry, but the
harsh, German vox do not work well in a melodic, amost German setting. Kudos
definitely for 'Let The Planets Burn,' where Vas is at her most vicious, almost
bordering on black metal in her vocal style. 'S.S. Deathstar Supergalactic' too
reminds me of 'Fireball XL5' from "Transmissions..." though not quite as fast.
The 'Intermission' track needed to go, with the silly toybox notes and the male
vocals singing some nursery rhyme in German. Check out the Indian type sitar
notes on 'Transplutonian Annihilation,' further proof that Loopy and Vas have
added new twists to the dual genres, and of course the chanted Indian female
vocals didn't detract either like I thought they would. To wrap all this up,
'Aufweidersehen' was a really trippy and melodic ambient styled piece to end
the CD, and the melodic singing from Vas was truly a surprise! The CD has a
tendency to waver on a few tracks, but the CD overall kicks serious ass and
shows that Vas and company wasted no time getting the sound of this CD to
danage your ears and fling you into the farthest reaches of space yet again.
Contact: Metropolis Records.
KING'S EVIL "Deletion Of Humanoise" (Crash Music) SCORE: 84/100
Hailing from the land of the Rising Sun, (Japan), the first thing you will
notice from the opening track 'Victim Of Hate' is how much this band sounds
like Kreator, ESPECIALLY vocal wise. The opening track shows you for the most
part what you are going to get throughout the album: thrashy and fast guitar
work, fast and technical drumming, and one hell of a rough ride. The lead solos
especially on tunes like the aforementioned above and 'Detonation' would make
Kerry King of Slayer himself do a double take. I really enjoyed 'False Pride'
the most, especially with their insistence on drawing out some really slow
and crushing guitar work. Back that with the maniacal vocals of Wataru Yamada,
and you have one kick ass tune. 'Fanatical Devotion' has a less sinister vibe
to it, and more of a fun, punk laced attitude, with more straightforward metal
guitar leads and interesting but overtly simplistic opening bass notes. The
interesting twist that gets added at times are the more hardcore styled vocals,
usually only popping up during the choruses. 'Scream' has these in abundance,
and they sound really cool especially since they are delivered at a very rapid
pace, however they almost completely ruined 'Core Dead,' since they seem to be
in the wrong places, at the wrong times, especially with the "regular" vocal
work. I did dig the start/stop riffs opening this up, but I wasn't extremely
crazy about this track. 'Punish With Death' had some odd guitar work at the
beginning and ending of the track, though I have to admit the guitar work does
NOT disappoint. Their English pronunciation at times is spotty, but it's the
music that's the thing, and though it isn't the most magnificent album I've
heard, when you want thrash down and dirty, these guys deliver. Like a fucking
full on Kamikaze attack.
Contact: Crash Music.
LAKE OF TEARS "The Neonai" (Black Mark) SCORE: 83/100
I most definitely was surprised and glad to hear that Lake Of Tears was not
only reformed, but had a new album coming out! "Forever Autumn" was a beautiful
masterpiece that blended psychedelics, ambience and the lighter side of gothic
metal. Great smoking tunes anyway. This CD surprised me completely, out of left
field comes the industrialized sound of 'Return Of Ravens,' which would not
only make a fantastic club piece, but has an almost completely different
atmosphere than their last record. Such a kick ass tune is followed up by yet
another psychedelic/industrial/metal one two punch with 'The Shadowshires,'
which could be a biker's anthem as well as a club hit! The choruses here
especially are heavier than some of the instrumentation would suspect. After
this song, it took me quite awhile to really appreciate the rest of the CD,
especially since the industrial influences and heavier sounds do a disappearing
act starting with 'Solitude,' and this song, being another one of my favorites,
could have easily fit into the format of "Forever Autumn," especially with the
mellow flutes, piano and synth notes. A very dreamy tune that surprisingly has
a heavier ending. Then the shocks kept on coming, with 'Sorcerers,' complete
with female vocals singing nearly ALL of the vocal lines, and well done I might
add, though I did have issue with some of the lyrics. Another track that could
have been on "Forever Autumn." 'Can Die No More' picks back up on the
industrial influence, and though not a bad tune, it's not quite as good as the
earlier industrial styled tunes. I can still listen to it but the choruses are
not as strong. 'Nathalie And The Fireflies' uses some rather interesting guitar
work, amongst an almost disco styled backdrop, which surprisingly works well
here. Female backing vocals are in use as well. 'Let Us Go As They Do' reminds
me of the heavier style of 'Pagan Wish' from "Forever Autumn," except this tune
is a bit better in respects, but still probably the second weakest cut on the
album, the first being the godawful 'Down The Nile.' This track is Lake Of
Tears attempting to try a more "metal" oriented track, and the vocal work in
many spots is rather bad, especially on the choruses. This CD was quite a shock
to me, and it took me quite awhile to really appreciate what was going on, with
Lake Of Tears attempting to jump all over the place. Still not quite as good as
"Forever Autumn," but the more I play this the more I am appreciating the time
and effort it went to making this record. Definitely wanna hear more of the
Contact: Black Mark Productions.
LIVING SACRIFICE "Conceived In Fire" (Solid State) SCORE: 86/100
What a shame. One definite thing I do know about Living Sacrifice is that they
have NEVER, to my knowledge, release a bad album. And I just found out that
this band of over 10 years is now calling it quits. Like I said, what a shame.
To be true, it is very difficult to top "The Hammering Process," what was
indeed a damn near masterpiece, but this record does its best to come close.
One thing that I was thrilled with from their last album was the use of tribal
percussion. It turns up in full force on opener 'Imminent War.' The opening of
this track starts off in more of a death metal fashion, and the vocal work
definitely dips into the lower ended range many times, showing the vocals to be
just more than hardcore effected. The guitar downtuning takes on a significant
role in defining the sound of many songs, simplistic though they are, and they
are crushing! 'Symbiotic' is probably one of their greatest tunes, and the
tribal percussion takes on added significance when the instrumentation is at a
bit slower pace. '3x3 We Carried Your Body' likewise continues in sick form,
with some downright nasty guitar work. Note the almost alternative sung first
few lines of 'The Poisoning,' before Living Sacrifice brings the crushing
vocals back to the front where they belong! 'Send Your Regrets' I wasn't too
crazy about at first, it opens up with some off guitar work and then this track
shows where their heads were truly at: With Sepultura's "Roots, Bloody Roots."
It's a dead ringer for that song. The slower guitar work here then reminds me a
LOT of the crushing guitar work you'd find on Sepultura's "Chaos A.D." I must
say though that some of the guitar work got strange in a few tracks, though
never for very long. You can hear this in 'Ignite' especially, in and around
the lead solos. There was a very nice acoustic type instrumental in 'Into
Again,' giving the album a break at the halfway point. There's a rather
sinister and eerie vibe running throughout this album, it's not all the
crushing power and aggression you found on "The Hammering Process,"
nevertheless it works. The last 3 tracks of the album didn't match up as well
to the first three fourths either, especially when you have a tune like 'The
Martyr' jumping all over the place, from fast to slow and adding a blast beat
and a black metal type scream. The end song was about 1 minute of weak
instrumentation and then some odd spoken word preaching in a way, reminding me
of Eugene from Full Metal Jacket: You know, the part when he was talking to his
rifle? Finally, the Slayer tribute song to end all tributes: 'Separation.' The
guitar work especially made me think Kerry King was standing there playing
riffs straight off of a "Reign In Blood" album! Anyway, still a solid album and
a damn good effort from a band who I will be sorry to see go. Vicious to the
Contact: Solid State Records, P.O. Box 12698 Seattle, WA 98111 USA
Web site: http://www.solidstaterecords.com
MARDUK "World Funeral" (Regain) SCORE: 98/100
Damn this CD blew me away! Marduk had been experimenting with slower tunes
since their last full length "La Grande Danse Macabre," but they have finally
honed this into a sick and vicious artform! 'To The Death's Head True' is one
of the best tracks on the album, and a perfect example of just how dark and
evil slower instrumentation can be for black metal. 'Bleached Bones' is another
slow tune I have been cranking a lot of. You gotta love their album opening
sample too where the raving madman admits "I am inspired by the daaaaahvil!"
Then 'With Satan And Victorious Weapons' kicks the album into high gear almost
immediately. 'Cloven Hoof' and 'World Funeral' both have the raging speed,
vicious vocal work and intensity that those who really went insane from "Panzer
Division Marduk." The instrumentation on 'Castrum Doloris' really surprised me,
as it's a bit more melodic than we're used to hearing from Marduk, but the
vocal work never lets up. 'Night Of The Long Knives' was a speedfest, though
Marduk does have the ability to throw in a few slower passages to keep things
interesting. 'Bloodletting' proves once and for all that even a slower Marduk
can come across as very intense and sick, especially on those vocals! People
who liked the progression Marduk hinted at with "La Grande..." will eat this
record up, and those who loved the earth scorching fury of "Panzer Division"
will have this being spun on a regular basis.
Contact: Regain Records North America.
NAIL WITHIN "Nail Within" (Listenable) SCORE: 86/100
First glance at this album will probably conjure up images of the Gothenberg
style and sound, especially if you remember Night In Gales "Nailwork" album,
which I loved. So what do these guys, hailing from Israel of all places, have
that's radically different from the Soilwork/In Flames/At The Gates clones of
today? Well, they remember the 80's era of thrash metal, and though many of the
songs are the speedy Gothenberg type, there are moments of sheer power where
the guitars really hit you in the face. 'Emblazed' starts our listening
adventure off with a bang, and you pretty much know what to expect from start
to finish. There's no excessive lead-guitar wanking, no long and boring, drawn
out songs; in fact, many songs never even touch the 3 minute mark! The tunes
get in, do their damage, and leave almost as quickly. 'King Obscenity' seemed
to be one of the weakest cuts here, mainly because it does the more melodic
thing and there's bits of sung vocals which don't really seem to fit well with
what over 90 percent of the album is doing. Tracks here can go fast, slow, then
back to fast again, maybe time for a small lead or two, and all this in the
space of a few minutes?! Not much wasted time here, though you will find as the
album progresses that the formula (especially on the faster instrumentation) is
a bit repetitive. Electronic distortion is found on some vocal passages on
'Last Nail,' and you'll find some acoustic guitar work just to further prove
that this band is way ahead of what previous bands Betrayer and Azazel were
doing. Not the most dominating album of 2003, but what they do they do well,
and the vocal work is really sick in many spots. Add to this the fact that both
Tomas Lindberg AND Mille from Kreator do guest vocals on the record, and you
know the endorsement comes from higher up than myself. A good, dare I say,
Contact: Listenable Records, B.P. 73, 62930 Wimereux FRANCE
Web site: http://www.listenable.net
PAUL CHAIN "Park Of Reason" (Beyond Productions) SCORE: 46/100
Damnit, this phonetic language thing is starting to get on my nerves. And it
seems to me that Paul Chain is still stuck in experimentation mode (see the
review of his from issue #29) and it doesn't make for a pleasant listen. To be
sure, there are hints of the brilliance that we heard from "Alkahest," but
those moments are sometimes buried in odd guitar work and strange noises that
creep up from time to time (see 'Stajness Klaus,' one of his worst tunes). His
instrumentation for the most part seems to incorporate slower doom metal styled
elements with eerie, horror styled organ sounds, which you can hear on tracks
like 'Solitude Man' and '8 String Sweep.' The first two tracks on this CD
aren't the worst I've heard by him, but nothing I'd really want to come back
to. 'Sanctuary Heve' really bothered me, though, utilizing some very odd
acoustic guitar riffs and some chanted vocals, and the vocals really grate the
nerves here. Slow percussion starts off 'Continuous Fix' before you hear some
interesting horror styled organs and eerie bass notes. An instrumental piece to
be sure that would go great on Halloween. 'War Abysses' didn't inspire me much
either, especially when you hear some rather jangling guitar work. 'Let The End
Begin' was the closest thing to a song that could have been on "Alkahest,"
though it starts off rather slowly. Once this beautiful guitar solo kicks in
and runs for a few minutes, this track actually finishes off in good fashion.
Many of the songs are long, and the last track 'Logical Slow Evolution/In Time'
is actually 14 minutes in length! And get this, he splits two songs over left
and right channels. It was an interesting idea, but didn't work extremely well,
there were times when the instrumentation clashed, though the vocal work starts
off really well. Better than on many other tracks anyway. His instrumental
songs are probably some of his best, and I really enjoyed to a certain extent
the arabic/egyptian styled instrumentation on 'Ways Of Changes.' And what
REALLY sealed the deal for Paul was the 11 minute "organ solo" on 'Wings Of
Decadence.' To be sure there's some nice moments but nothing is consistent
here. I wish Paul Chain would go back to writing regular songs, as his vocals
don't mesh well with this horror/doom atmosphere.
Contact: Beyond Productions, C.P. 5057 Via Catalani 16154 Genova, ITALY
Web site: http://www.beyondprod.com
STORMWARRIOR "Stormwarrior" (Spiritual Beast) SCORE: 98/100
Hail the true metal!! Warrior kings unite and kill! Okay, before I get too
carried away, let me just say that Stormwarrior stands for true metal for
warrior kings. It is an amazing record that, to many, might sound like just
another power metal band trying to recreate the spirit of the 80's, but lemme
tell ya, this band brings 80's styled metal into the 90's. After the "battle"
intro things kick into high gear with 'Signe Of The Warlorde.' The guitar work
is nearly always fast paced, and every once in a great while you'll hear the
mostly rough edged singer hit some piercing high notes, emphasis on ONCE IN A
GREAT WHILE. You like early Running Wild? I mean, "Gates To Purgatory,"
"Branded And Exiled," yeah, this is for you. 'Sons Of Steele,' I coulda sworn I
heard the riffs in an older Hammerfall song, but damn if the multivocal work
isn't strong and dominant. No wimpy vocals here (though I must confess I like
the first two Hammerfall records). 'Thunderer' winds things down a bit as this
tune isn't the fast sort of power metal found throughout the disc. Thor is
mentioned quite a bit here, and this track, like many others, makes great use
of multivocal choruses that you'll find it hard to forget. Yes, there's a few
points taken off, but as great as this album is, I need to say to you: Go and
listen to the 'Spikes And Leather' track. It's the demo version, which is even
rougher vocal and production wise than all the tracks on the album, and reminds
me MORE of early Running Wild than the tracks on the album. I wonder what this
album would sound like had the vocal work been allowed to get REALLY rough and
dirty, and say that in the meantime, I am too busy banging my head and enjoying
a no frills, balls to the wall METAL album. Bands like this are the reason why
I will always love metal, and remember the quote found on the inner sleeve of
this album: "If it's not in thy bloode, thou will never understande." Oh yeah,
and I guess the other point taken off was for all the adding of the letter "e"
after many words in song titles.
Contact: Spiritual Beast Records.
Web site: http://www.spiritual-beast.com
THE GATHERING "Souvenirs" (The End) SCORE: 81/100
Upon first listen, there were quite a few things that bothered me. This time
around, The Gathering is going for more of a darker sound. At least, that's
what the bio says. Trickster G from Arcturus makes his guest debut and methinks
he had a bit of a say into the instrumentation of this record, at least more
than the band is willing to let on. 'These Good People' starts the CD off with
some rather strange sounds, almost organ like, but the fantastic vocal work of
Anneke, emotionally moving as always, wins the day out. There were some cool
solitary piano notes, and the choruses are always a winner. And yes, the
instrumentation is a bit more ominous than we've heard from them in the past.
'Even The Spirits Are Afraid' has a really rough opening, with solo percussion
and lower toned vocal work from Anneke, but once the instrumentation kicks in
and the song gets going, everything else is soon forgotten. 'Broken Glass' has
probably the wierdest opening instrumentation, a somewhat repetitive "warping"
organ sound, and as the first two once things settle down the track is not one
to be missed. The opening instrumentation here definitely clashes with Anneke's
vocal work. And that's the main problem I see, is that many songs take a minute
or two before settling in. 'You Learn About It' is probably the most mellow
tune here, acoustic guitars and just amazing higher ended vocal work, only what
we'd expect to hear from Anneke. 'Souvenirs' boasts some rather dark acoustics,
and has almost a melancholic air about it. 'We Just Stopped Breathing' was
probably one of my least favorite tunes; though not terrible, it really seems
to lack something. It doesn't help that the piano work seems to stray at times
as well. 'Golden Grounds' is their doomiest piece, boasting solitary notes from
the guitars, and minimal instrumentation leaves me wondering if this song would
have benefitted from more interaction. 'Jelena' keeps the almost doom metal
pace going, this time utilizing the darker acoustic passages. It was
interesting to note the unusually heavy, almost industrial like percussion.
'Monsters' is a true favorite of mine, though, and you will have to listen to
this to appreciate it, especially the way the song builds up to the choruses.
The last track had some dynamic instrumentation, and the duelling vocals
between Trickster and Anneke were quite interesting, though I still can't
decide the ultimate fate of this. Though the CD doesn't finish on the highest
of regards, it's still a very diverse CD. While not quite as good as their last
full length, judging by the score it's one that I'll definitely be able to
listen to at times, though I am a bit unnerved at a few things. Oh, and why did
the feel the need to add over 3 minutes of silence to the end of 'Jelena?'
Contact: The End Records.
THE HAUNTED "One Kill Wonder" (Earache) SCORE: 94/100
Damnit if Jensen and company haven't done it yet again! Of course, this isn't
as great to me as "The Haunted Made Me Do It," but this stuff goes over really
well with me, especially live. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first:
Two instrumentals? With an 11 track CD, you have to sit through a strange
opening instrumental that has some wierd twangy guitars in it, and then another
instrumental 'Demon Eyes,' and though it's good, it's really way too long.
Plus, I didn't dig the whole vibe with 'Bloodletting.' There's still the
vicious vocal work that you hear all along, but the song structures and the
instrumentation are highly suspect, especially at the slower pace. Not to
mention the odd lead solo guitar riffs. However, that being said, tracks like
'Godpuppet' and 'Shadow World' have great guitar work, and some insane vocal
work as always. This shouting/yelling thing always works well here! 'D.O.A.'
was one of my favorites, and one that went over REALLY well live, especially
the choruses. Starting out you even get to hear some vicious slow but thrashy
as hell guitar work. 'Shithead' has some REALLY sick vocal work, not to mention
The Haunted can make a believer out of those who can't really dig music of the
insanely fast pace. What more needs to be said really? Dig the Gothenberg
styled guitar riffs around the opening of 'Shadow World,' hell I think I've
said enough. BTW: The Haunted totally kicked ass when they played in my
backyard AGAIN recently. GO GET THIS!
Contact: Earache Records, 2nd Floor, 43 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018
Web site: http://www.earache.com
VINTERRIKET "Und Die Nacht Kam Schworen Schrittes" (Regimental) SCORE: 85/100
Wow, what a long title. This German group has a definite fascination for the
Norweigan forests. And it is very moody ambient/atmospheric music, somewhat
Mortiis like but less emphasis on the Medieval aspects of the music and more of
the mystical and spiritual feelings one gets from being in the Norweigan
forests. Many of the songs here are quite lengthy and some may find that the
instrumentation isn't quite varied enough on some tracks to compensate for the
length. For example, 'Boten Der Ruckkehr,' while containing very simple but
effective bell type synth notes and a simplistic atmospheric ambience, had
very little variety, even if it is one of the shorter tracks clocking in at
barely 6 minutes. On the plus side, even though tracks like 'Im Sog Der Feuer
Des Schicksals' and 'Raben Uber Dem Grab Der Vollendung' clock in at well over
10 minutes a piece, there are times when these tracks sound like 3 or 4 songs
in one! Take 'Im Sog Der...' for instance. It starts out with some rather dark
and melodic landscape synths, adding some percussion along the way, to
eventually stop and start up again with a different instrumentational
structure. They do know how to make varied songs, even if some are still
seemingly too long. 'Die Ruinen Des Jenseits' was very interesting as it has
probably some of the darkest instrumentation on this album, especially with the
rushing wind noises. Definitely this track shows off the mysteriousness of the
vast forests. 'Zuruck Blieb Nur Die Ewige Schwarze' starts off sounding rather
Mortiis like, with the more medieval sounding instrumentation, but the
melancholic feel of being alone in the deep woods makes this emotionally deeper
than most of what I've heard Mortiis do. And percussion, though it is used very
little throughout the CD, is in most detailed format on this last track, which
I might add is the perfect way to close out the CD. Though many songs dip into
the 10 minute range, the instrumentation is quite striking and at times simple
yet very effective. The length of some tracks may turn people off, but at least
listen to the soundfiles before you make a final decision.
Contact: Regimental Records, P.O. Box 2488, Edison, NJ 08818-2488 USA
Web site: http://regimentalrecords.tripod.com
VOIVOD "Voivod" (Chophouse) SCORE: 38/100
When I first heard Jason Newstead was leaving Metallica, I thought what a great
thing that was. When I heard he had joined Voivod, I thought finally his
integrity as a metalhead was coming out. When I heard Voivod had a new record
I eagerly looked forward to it. Now, I must say Jason could very well be the
ruination of this once great band. Granted, I didn't really expect an album
like "RRROOOAAARRR!" or even the once mighty "Killing Technology." Problem
number one: Snake's vocals! Even on the best track 'Gasmask Revival,' Snake is
trying too hard to sing cleanly. His vocal work comes off whiny at times on
'Gasmask...' and everywhere else his vocal work is rather difficult to sit
through. Where's the snotty and rather sinister vocal delivery he worked so
well on great gems of the past like 'Cockroaches' and 'Tornado?' 'Real Again'
shows us that Voivod has now reach radio potential. And that's sad. More of the
"alternative" type sung choruses and melody lines. The vocals take their
biggest nosedive on 'Rebel Robot' where he's actually trying to do the singing
and yelling at the same time. The guitar work here kinda sounds like the Voivod
of old though. And if further proof need be given, listen to Snake on 'I Don't
Wanna Wake Up.' The acoustic guitars and ultra clean vocals make me think
Newstead talked Snake into doing a 'Nothing Else Matters Part 2.' 'Reactor' had
some nice opening guitar work, but the vocals quickly killed anything I was
starting to enjoy. 'The Multiverse' was a halfway decent tune, and on this
track and 'Divine Sun' I heard some of the coolest guitar riffs on the entire
album, sounding very Voivod like: spacey, full of echo and rich effects. This
would have probably gotten a much lower score except I keep hearing hints of
classic Voivod like instrumentation creeping through. It's not enough to save a
band that seemingly is headed in the same direction Metallica failed in
Contact: Chophouse Records, 1126 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Web site: http://chophouserecords.com
HANZEL UND GRETYL. Interview with Vas via telephono...
It's been a long time since we got the last record from you, in
"Transmissions From Uranus." We thought you guys had called it quits!
It has been quite awhile since that happened, hasn't it? We did drop off the
face of the Earth and traveled to many other galaxies while we were gone.
Basically what happened the record label we were on went out of business. It
slowly went out of business and then the guy disappeared, and then there was
no one we could even contact. We were left in this vast space of nothingness.
So we tried to shop to other record labels, and other record labels were like,
"Oh, but you're still with Energy, you have to get off of Energy, we can't
touch you with all this legal stuff." So we were like, what are we going to do,
what are we going to do? And THEN, we get a letter saying we were being sued by
Energy for like one million dollars.
Well, it was because we owed them another record, but they weren't anywhere
around to make a record. The whole thing was ridiculous. And we then had to get
a lawyer, and we weren't allowed to talk about it, we couldn't even make music.
We had to give another CD full of music to them that will never see the light
But how can a record label demand a CD from you when they don't
even have a label?
Well, you know, that's the life of Hanzel Und Gretyl. A very twisted reality.
We're not a normal band, and things that happen to us are just abbey-normal.
We are survivors, and we came back from outer space and here we are back again
on Planet Earth to take over and destroy everything, cause we're pissed!
So how in the world did you get out of that contract, what actually
happened with the litigation and what not?
Well, we found a lawyer that was actually very willing to help us without
taking all our dirty socks away from us. And then afterwards he would shop us
to another label. And of course we had to give away an album's worth of music.
So you can't touch that record at all?
Well, I mean, it's just music. Anyone can take it and put it on the internet.
At this point, so what, music is free anyway (Now THAT'S funny - Ed.) but the
reality is, if someone wanted the rights to it for a movie or this or that;
it's worth money I guess, it's worth one million dollars? I never thought I was
worth that much in my life. We're all laughing, my friends and relatives are
like cracking up!
I remember a case recently with the band The Sisters Of Mercy,
when they were trying to get out of their contract, they released the most
horrible, crappiest record that they could possibly make. And they did it on
purpose to get out of their contract because they had to do one more album.
Well, we have about 3 or 4 really good songs on this that we really love and it
really sucks. And the rest of it was just done in a half an hour. But there's
some cool ambient, wierd noisy things.
I wanna talk about the new album, which I really dig a lot, but I
think people are going to look at the title, and songs like 'S.S. Deathstar
Supergalactic,' I dunno, stuff like 'Third Reich From The Sun,' (at this point
I'm having a hard time relating my point)...
What, spit it out kid, (laughs), just spit it out!
Well, seeing as how it's in German language, they might think it's
kind of Nazi related or something.
Well, first of all, let me explain to you, S.S. stands for Space Ship Deathstar
Supergalactic. And Reich means kingdom, and Third Reich From The Sun means the
third kingdom from the Sun, which is the Earth. And if people want to look at
it that way or the other way it's their choice. We are NOT Nazis. All of a
sudden I became a Nazi overnight? I mean, please, how did that happen, what
planet did I go to?
Germany is really where a lot of the industrial music started
anyway, to be honest with you. And I've always said that the harsh, German
vocals fit very well with the industrial music. Because they're harsh.
That's why we use them because they sound so, evil. It's all art, and sound,
and colors and words.
So how did your deal with Metropolis Records come about? Are you
signed with them for more than one album?
We have this one and one option after this.
Are you going to renew after this record?
We'll have to see how things go with this record.
Any tour plans upcoming? I would love to see you on tour again.
We're planning a tour right now actually. It's going to be our first severe
headlining tour. We're going out starting June 15th. It's all being booked and
organized right now.
That tour you did really blew me away, especially with the lights
and stage props. I really tried to stick around for Sister Machine Gun but they
really.. I was just like, nah, we have to go. I saw the people I came there to
see and that was you guys.
Yeah, that was a very wierd tour for us because everybody would leave after us
and Sister Machine Gun was always pissed at us. And it was like, "I'm sorry!
(laughs). It's not my fault!"
I did try to stick it out, to see those guys, but when they broke
out with that really awful Beastie Boys cover, that was the straw that broke
the camel's back. It was just too much for me to take.
That was the end of that thing. They're still around, I don't know what they're
doing now though.
The last record I heard from them was really bad...
You're not putting this in the interview are you?
(laughs)Please do not put Sister Machine Gun in our interview...
(After a pause where Vas answers her other line)Now I gotta ask
you, is Gingerbread not with you anymore?
No she's not, and neither is Seven. You know, when everything ended, everything
ended, and when everything began again we began fresh.
Did they not want to come on board again this time? Because it
seemed like they fit, you know?
Well, yeah. Things just ended. You know, we separated and everyone went their
own separate ways. That's all I want to comment on that. Nothing really bad
between any of us. It was the end of an era, and like so many bands they keep
moving forward, sometimes they switch guitar players, drummers and this and
that. I mean look at Manson, he has a whole new lineup right now.
(I must laugh at that last statement). Well, I'm not really into
Manson, but I got your point. Now when you do carry out the live show are you
going to have to get session members or will you work it out to where it's just
No, we never do session members, that's kinda cheesy. We have a new drummer
right now who's really into the music. We have a bassist who will probably do
this tour. I don't want to mention who it is yet because it may not be
definite. We have a couple of bassists we might be using, it depends on who is
available at the time. But I will promise they will be fun and good and enhance
the whole sound and vision.
It seems like it's just been you and Loopy anyway since the
Well, this is our band, our project; We write everything, do everything and
then we bring in the live band.
What songs do you really like off of this new record?
I like '11:11,' 'Third Reich From The Sun...'
That's one of my favorites.
And 'Mein Kommadant.' I like them all, it's hard to say mostly.
(At this point Vas' call waiting kicked in one more time and we got permanently
disconnected. Suffice it to say when they do perform a live show it will be an
event not to be missed!)
HONCHO. Interview with bassist Steinar via email. (eee-eeeeeee-mail!)
A rippin' stoner rock band from Norway of all places, we reviewed their full
length "Corporate Rock" back in issue 32, and we really should have done the
interview then. Instead we interviewed Rollerball, and lemme tell ya: so far,
France's Water Dragon Records is a perfect 3 for 3 in releases. Needless to say
that it would be a damn crime if we didn't give the mighty Honcho their due
this issue. So on with the guys who abandoned the corpse paint in favor of the
Okay, I suppose those who didn't check out the review a few issues
ago will need some sort of introduction to the band, who is in there today, and
all that good stuff.
Honcho started out in '99 when Mathias (our first guitar player) and I hooked
up in Oslo. We tried out several drummers Spinal Tap style before we finally
settled with Kenneth. Mathias went back to his native Sweden. It took two
guitarists to replace him; Hakon and Jorgen. Trond joined forces doing throat
chores at the same time as Kenny. This would be the lineup that played on the
"Corporate Rock" LP. Then some changes were due. Jorgen left. We got Rino
instead, the guitar player from D.D.R. Later on this year we replaced our
singer Trond with Lars Si, the FAMOUS voice from the legendary Norweigan grunge
band Jack In The Box. He also did bass duties for Khold. We've been fans of his
voice for years. We're working on new stuff now. A pre-production demo is in
the making, and a couple of big labels have shown their interest.
I gotta tell ya, I have so far heard nothing bad come out of Water
Dragon Records. I'm curious as to how you hooked up with them? And are you into
any of the other bands the label has released, like Rite and Rollerball?
We did the obligatory promo-round, sending out various demos to various labels.
Water Dragon liked us. We like them. Most Water Dragon bands are quality stuff!
The album "Corporate Rock" was a great first release for this
label, being the first thing I ever got from them. How did you come up with the
title "Corporate Rock," and does Honcho mean anything special to you? Hee hee.
You guys speak Spanish?
The title is a snide comment that plays upon the usual run-of-the-mill
constructed bigshot "indie" bands. The corporate giants are scared shitless of
anything that isn't lowbrow nu-whatever. Honcho means "King Of The Hill." The
term stems from post World War 2 Japanese/American slang that the soldiers
used. So it's not to our knowledge a Spanish word. Honcho is also a well known
leisure magazine for the advanced man-to-man devotee. And nope, none of us
speak Spanish (although Kenneth and I are fluent in the fine Germanic
The song titles you threw in there kinda threw me for a loop, in a
funny way though. What the hell is a 'Grebo Mentor,' and I'm assuming 'Messy
Ferguson' is about some guy named Ferguson, though I don't know for sure!
'Grebo Mentor' is a blast from the past, a tribute to the scene bands like
Zodiac Mindwarp, etc. originates from. I luv dat shit! It's just plain fun with
words, man. Massey Ferguson is a neat tractor. Messy Ferguson is a neat title
for a song.
While we're on the subject of song titles, how about 'In The
Woods?' I assume you know there's a band by the same name?
Ever been lost in the woods, or elsewhere? Also, the song gives a polite nod to
the great Birthday Party's killer anthem 'Deep In The Woods.' Yes, we are
familiar with the band (In The Woods - Ed.) This guy I know knows them. That's
about as big a connection there is.
I did wonder too if that song had anything to do with the obsession
Black Metal Norweigans have with the forests and woods. I have heard that
Norweigan forests are very deep and magical places, so I have to go there
Nope, not at all. Whatever you do, don't get lost. And stay away from the
trolls (Mortiis, for example).
Norway isn't usually known for stoner rock, though I do feel
fortunate that I have CD's by several Norweigan stoner rock bands like Gate 9
and Pawnshop. How do you feel about Black Metal in general?
I couldn't care less. As long as it keeps the kids off hip hop, I guess, fine.
I don't see what the big deal is. Corpsepaint, "atmospheric" synth-curtains,
geekboy fantasy literature, bumblebee demo-sound. A generic scene overrun by
poseur scum hailing Cradle Of Filth instead of Black Sabbath. They got lost
somwehere on the road. Might as well be into Euro-synth. Actually, the
synth/goth and B.M. scenes in Norway have joined forces. A fishnet-clad, latex
wearing symbiotic tumour. But, Do As Thou Wilt, and all that. You know?
Are people there tired of black metal already?
BM is Norway's biggest music export. Folks are NOT tired. The positive aspect
of this is a keener ear to the Norweigan underground. The negative side is that
outsiders get this one sided view of all our rockers as wheezing "grim" church
pyros. There's a lot more going on. Ever heard of a band called Turbonegro?
We'll leave out of course the church burnings, murder and mayhem. I
actually like black metal as well; I'm pretty open minded but I like all kinds
of stuff. Do you get into some of the Swedish stoner rock bands like Satellite
Circle and such? And what do you think has been the cause for this sudden surge
of stoner rock sounds coming out of Scandinavia?
Lotsa good Swedish stoners! I like Satellite Circle as well. Also good are
Grand Magus, Spiritual Beggars, Awesome Machine... Seems like a healthy and
thriving scene. Us Scandinavians have always been good in the rock biz. Maybe
it's because of our upbringing, being distanced from the grandious U.S. rock
circus did us well. We were able to pluck out the decent stuff easier, see the
bigger picture. The cream of the crap!
I recently visited this girl's website who takes pictures of shows
up in Norway, and it seems like you played a gig with the mighty Candlemass!
How was that show for you?
Yup, it's true, we sure did. Good fun was had for all. Messiah, the singer,
said we were heavy as shit.
Tell us about some other gigs you have done, and especially the
show I read about where you were the only non-black metal band on a festival.
We played at this black metal festival. We were the only act with an audible
vocalist. I asked the audience "how does it feel to hear a band with a singer
not a growler?" There was no answer to my plea. Also we had a gig in Sweden at
a sleazy strip joint with one of them poles at the middle of the stage. We kept
our clothes on, though.
I must admit, I love the fact that you play songs that are both
fast and slow, but it's the faster, more rip-roaring tracks like 'Snake Eyes,'
'Grebo Mentor,' and 'In The Woods' that grab me the most. What's the next
record going to be like?
It will be slow, deep and hard. Like an allnighter with Ron Jeremy. More
focused. Even more darkness. Doomy. Methinks it will be a satisfying listen for
the consumer. The songs are, simply put, better. We spent more time writing it.
This time the entire band is involved in the creative process, which makes for
What are your favorite tracks on the record and which ones get
played live and asked for more frequently?
Favorite tracks are: 'Grebo Mentor' and 'In The Woods.' Live favorites are 'In
The Woods' and 'Vikings,' a Los Lobos cover.
Is there anything you didn't like about "Corporate Rock?" I can
tell you 'Industrial Lane' wasn't one of my favorite tracks, sorry to say. I
do know you played it live before.
The drum sound isn't nearly "vintage" enough. The production is kinda flat.
How do you feel about the term "stoner rock" today? Some bands seem
to not want to be labeled in the same genre as it feels the band becomes
pigeonholed and they feel suddenly they have to change their style and sound
(Orange Goblin being a perfect example of this).
We must be one of the only bands on Planet Earth that considers it an honour to
be coined with the label "Stoner Rock." That is, "Stoner Rock" as in groovy
blues driven hard rock. Just can't beat that sound, dahlin'! It's sad to see a
band leave what they set out to do simply because of someone else's opinion of
what they want the band to be (or not be).
Do you think the media has unfairly labeled bands as stoner rock
just to have an easy point of reference?
Sure. A quick and easy bandwagon for the fols buying records at the mall is
always convenient. Bigtime label dickwads will always package some bands as
whatever the flavour of the month is to help shift some copies. But still, I
don't see any problems with the term because stoner rock is some gnarly shit,
doood! It's here to stay!
And WHO is that cute girl on the cover of your album? Did you have
any trouble getting her to pose "nude" for the cover?
She's my soulmate. She, my fiancee, is a well known centerfold girl over here.
It's her day job, ya know?
Maybe she's gotten more work modeling since that album came out.
Hopefully the censors in various countries haven't given you any problems over
Oh, she's pretty busy as it is. And there were some slight difficulties in the
How do you guys feel about drugs like Marijuanna, LSD and Peyote?
I'm pretty much a straight edge kinda guy. Coffee and cigarettes are my vices.
What other folks want to inject into their system is up to them. But don't go
crying to mommy when the shit hits the fan!
I mean there's a song on your album called 'Peyote' and all! But
seriously, I think and believe that some of the world's greatest and most
innovative music would not have been written had drugs not become a factor.
Look at all the stuff the Beatles came up with for "The White Album" and "Abbey
Road." I really hate to see it treated as such a criminal offense. I bet even
our American judges listen to the Beatles and Pink Floyd!
It's all hypothetical. Myths and loose facts. A true creative person will
always follow through, drugs or not. But I hear Syd Barret's not doing too good
these days. Same goes for Peter Green and Brian Wilson.
Okay, so finally, use this space here _______ to tell us about
anything we didn't mention.
Support your local ____________! (insert your own preference here). But
seriously, who's got Ed Gein's tombstone? All info is welcome:
firstname.lastname@example.org. I also need an Ampeg SVT. They're kinda hard to get over
here in the northern wastelands.
NAIL WITHIN. Interview with Matan Cohen via email.
This band has created quite a buzz already. They are indeed from Israel and are
one of very few bands coming from that area. Most noteworthy is the fact that
not only did they play a headlining gig for roughly 700 headbanging maniacs,
but they also have guest appearances on their debut album from none other than
Mille from Kreator and Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates/Lockup/The Crown fame.
Doesn't that in itself give us reason to interview them? It was a short
interview, unfortunately, but here it is anyway....
I remember reading an interview online where you stated you were
very much into Metallica and the lyrics especially for the song 'One.' How do
you feel about Metallica today? I know myself, I am no longer a Metallica fan
and probably never will be, especially for their attitude towards their fans
and their music which has declined greatly over the years.
Personally, I still like Metallica to this very day. "And Justice For All" is
one of my all time favorite albums not just for its lyrical content but for
its unique style and sound, especially for that era. They still make great
music, and they perform it perfect. I can't wait to hear "St. Anger."
One thing I really liked about your new record is the fact that
there are slow passages as well as fast and midpaced, all in the lengths of
songs that are no more than 3 minutes in most cases! Was this deliberate, or
something that is a trademark for Nail Within?
On our first album we tried to keep the music interesting. Most of the albums
I've heard lately are so narrow minded, and repeating. Sometimes you get the
feeling you're listening to the same 5 minutes over and over again. Besides
that, most of the songs were written in different moods and times, so obviously
it affected the final result. I don't know if that's a trademark for Nail
Within but I can definitely tell you that most of us just like to cut our songs
short and FAAAAAAST!
I felt that some of your slower passages tended to be the most
powerful, do you think in the future you might explore the slower side of your
sound? Many of the songs seem to be very rooted in the Gothenberg style, though
there are differences especially with the thrashy guitar work.
I doubt it, I can tell you that we already wrote 7 new songs for the next album
and all of the songs are super fast! It's way more aggressive, hard hitting and
straight forward than you'll expect after listening to the debut. All of us are
big At The Gates fans, and I believe you can hear it pretty easily throughout
the record. It was a great honor that Thomas came all the way to Germany and
helped us out with the the vocals, one of the nicest guys in metal and an
amazing vocalist! About the guitar work, we tried to achieve a rougher and more
raw sound than most Swedish bands and the guitar sound Harris fixed us up with
I know that Nail Within formed out of the ashes of Betrayer and
Azazel, did those two bands ever do any official recordings? As for Azazel, was
there a big black metal scene in Israel around the time of this band's
There used to be a time when the black metal scene in Israel was bigger, but
it's kinda fading. Azazel released 3 albums if I'm not mistaken, I didn't play
in it but the lead guitarist Alex Shuchser and the bass player/drummer from the
original Nail Within lineup played there. (And) actually, (the songs) 'Elastic'
and 'My Wallow' were written and recorded back when the band was still Azazel.
How is the scene in Israel today? I only know of a few bands from
there, that being Salem and Bishop Of Hexen, though Bishop Of Hexen seems to be
The scene is pretty big, and I believe that it might even get bigger than in
some European countries. Salem released their new album a few months ago, and
there are a lot of other active bands in the scene like Lehavoth which recently
signed to Fadeless Records, Eternal Gray and other promising bands.
How has press for the new album been so far, please tell me about
both good and bad.
Well, almost all reviews for the album I read so far were really good, a lot of
people titled it as thrash album of the year. Of course, there were a few bad
reviews but overall I can honestly say that the reviews are more than I
expected for a debut from an Israeli band.
Tell us about tours you have done. I'm curious especially about the
show mentioned in the bio about where you played for 700 people. Have there
been tours outside your area?
We haven't toured outside Israel yet, but we definitely intend on doing so
whenever the chance comes by. As for our local shows, we get pretty big crowds
at our shows, it usually sums up around 300-400 but we had the opportunity to
play in front of 700 plus several times.
Any chance you might tell us about plans for the next record? Any
song titles, topics, or ideas being worked on?
First of all, it's fair for you to know that the vocalist of the band has been
replaced. I can just say that there are 7 new songs ready and we just keep
writing more and more of that new aggressive, fast, thrashy monsters! Be
One thing that interested me that was mentioned in the bio, was
that you had mass mailings from the internet since your foundation. How did you
get the word out about a band that had no record out yet? Was this due to your
previous bands, or did you have a demo out before you got signed?
We recorded a demo version of 'Dirty Colored Knife' and started passing it out
all over the net, and mailed it to labels and distributors all over the world.
We got really good responses at the time.
Are you familiar with the band Night In Gales? They had an album
out called "Nailwork" that I really liked, as well as their "Thunderbeast"
I heard that album and liked it! ("Nailwork" - Ed.) They recorded at the same
studio we did, Harris John's Spiderhouse studio in Lutte, Germany.
Anything else you might want to menion here, feel free to do so.
I hope we'll meet up and hopefully we'll play at your country as well. Just
visit our website at http://www.nailwithin.com
RIPPER. Interview with Rob Graves via ee-eee-mail!
Ripper. Horror metal at it's best. This band boasted eerie keyboards, a wild
and crazy stage show, and some interesting use of male and female vocals,
though the female vocal work is heavier than what you'd normally hear. Their
one and only album "And The Dead Shall Rise" is digitized in it's entirety in
our classic albums section. And get this: There is more Ripper material coming
our way, and last but not least a reissue of the Iron Works album. It is a
pleasure to hear from "The Grave Meister."
The only album Ripper released, "And The Dead Shall Rise," is said
to be made up of songs from 3 or 4 different demos. Tell us about the demos you
released, and if there are any demo tracks not on the full length album.
We released 2 demos. The first one became side one of the album, and the second
one became side 2. We used to sell these demos at our concerts, and we couldn't
keep enough of them on hand. We were always running out of them, that was a fun
time. We never intended for the demos to end up as our 1st actual album. I
mean, all totaled, we spend less than 2,000 dollars recording them both. We
were ready, and we were tight, and we got in and out (of the studio) quickly.
There were other recordings that were never intended for demo release. One was
with Animal, one with Steve Bogle (The Hunter) and one with Michael Emerson
(WWIII). This was the very beginning.
Okay, I must say that a bit of band history is in order here, if
you could. I know that according to your bio, you joined shortly after Sadie,
Animal and Dennis had already joined.
I joined (the band) in 1980. At that point, Dennis was already gone, and there
had been a couple of guitarists before him as well, though I don't recall their
names. It was always the intention to have 2 guitarists in Ripper, but that
didn't happen until after I came in. We were continually after Steve Bogle, but
he only wanted to be involved on a limited basis. We didn't hit paydirt with an
actual second guitarist until 1984. Up to that point, we did everything three
piece, with different guitarists coming and going. It was nuts! It was also in
1984 that J.D. Shadowz replaced Animal. Things were really starting to come
together quickly at that point.
The history of the band seems to go back to 1977, had the band
recorded anything at this earliest point? What would the band say were
influences back then?
Yes, Sadie and Animal were in the studio quite a bit before I came along. All
with different people, you know, just experimenting with different players to
see what clicked and what didn't. I think it's safe to say that these are
recordings that no one will ever hear. Sadie and Animal were huge Alice Cooper
and KISS freaks. I'd venture to say that 99 percent of everything they did back
then was based on those 2 influences. All the creepy stuff for sure.
One noteworthy thing about the record is the fact that there's both
male AND female vocals, which wasn't a common thing back in the early days of
metal. How were the female vocals received by the press, I know personally I
wasn't totally crazy about all the female vocals on record.
You have to remember that these demos were very raw, and done in a hurry. They
were all first takes. We didn't have the money to get them perfect, and as a
result there are some mistakes and things we would have liked to improve upon.
The clock turns VERY quickly when you're in the studio. There were only female
vocals on two songs, 'Night Cruizer' and 'Don't Tie Me Down.' Everything else
was male vocals. The press had a heyday with Ripper, we were the band they
loved to hate. They tore us to shreds, and we just got more and more popular.
We were only appreciated and well received with the metal underground,
especially in Europe. If only we had been there, things might have been
I gotta ask you, how do you feel about the debut album, looking at
something you worked on around 17 years ago? Are you still able to listen to
it, and do you actually own an original vinyl copy?
I adore that album, even though it's rough around the edges. It's a piece of
work, and we all poured our hearts into it. It was a magical time. I do own a
virgin LP and cassette copy. I even have the 2 demos in virgin cassette form. I
listen to it as often as I can. Any musician that says they don't listen to
their own stuff is lying their asses off. I still love it and it's as heavy as
anything out there. My personal favorites are 'Sinister Minister' and
'Halloween,' and I am also very partial to 'Death Awaits You,' 'The
Executioner' and 'Wake The Dead.' I love the remaining (songs) as well, but the
former are my absolute favorites.
How did you come to the attention of Iron Works Records, and what
kind of deal did they offer you? And how did your deal with Iron Works
eventually fall apart?
We had a good friend who did a column for a local entertainment paper and he
was the one that put us in touch with Iron Works. There were really no great
promises made by the company, we knew they were a small independent label. At
the time, they were the only label interested in us. The bad thing was, we
never received any royalties and there were tons of these albums distributed in
Europe. The other thing was the fact that they were only willing to press and
release what we had already paid for. We wanted to go into the studio and give
a better account of ourselves. The deal didn't fall apart, we just never
resigned with them.
Were there other bands on Iron Works you were into? I know many of
the bands on Iron Works didn't achieve much fame or recognition, with the
possible exception of Dark Angel, who had their "We Have Arrived" record on the
I wasn't really aware of who our labelmates were, but there were a bunch. I do,
however, understand their lack of success very well. Being signed with Iron
Works was like not being signed at all. They never told us how many were
pressed or sold. They never even told us about the picture discs and colored
vinyl pressings. People pay a fortune for these things on Ebay and I've never
made a penny (laughs). Rather than go with another independent label, I would
just start my own label. I certainly couldn't do any friggin' worse!
Soon after, Metal Blade Records became interested in the band, and
'Death Awaits You' was slated for a Metal Massacre compilation. What exactly
happened to Johnny and J.D. by this time, and why did the deal with Metal Blade
We signed with Metal Blade for the compilation. We were on pretty good terms
with them and we were making demos for them to hear. They liked what they heard
and wanted to hear more. Before all of this could happen, everything fell
apart. We were living and rehearsing in Los Angeles at the time, and there was
major internal friction within the band at that time, and that led to the
demise. Sadie and I began auditioning new drummers and guitarists, but all we
were getting were people who leaned more towards glam than metal. We figured
that since we found our original nucleus in Texas, what worked once would work
again. We also signed with Azra Records to include 'Sinister Minister' on their
compilation "Metal That Matters." After many more failed attempts to rebuild
Ripper, we disbanded.
It doesn't mention on the members list I saw on various websites, but I am
curious if you had a session keyboard player? I'd like to know how you did the
intros to songs like 'Death Awaits You' and the howling wind sounds on
'Sinister Minister' live?
Steve Bogle (The Hunger) was the mastermind on the keys. As far as I know, he
did everything on an Oberheim OBX, a very in demand synthesizer in the day
(Rush, etc). He is very talented and was a staunch supporter of Ripper. He was
helping Ripper long before I jioned. Incredible talent and a good friend. I may
be working with him in the future. He gave those songs the eerie-creepy feeling
we wanted them to have.
Who did the lyric writing for the album, and I'm curious if there
were any TV series or movies the band members were into.
Sadie penned the lyrics for 'Death Awaits You' and 'Sinister Minister,' which
happen to be my 3 favorites. She was very gifted in that area. J.D. penned the
opening verse in 'Metal Mission,' and Johnny co-wrote the lyrics in 'Wake The
Dead.' Everything else was me. We were all visually stimulated with certain
horror movies. Dracula, Frankenstein, London After Midnight, and of course,
Phantasm. There were many more, but these were the cornerstone movies we
anchored on. Classics, all of them!
So where are the other members of Ripper? Any chance that the band
will reform with any or all original members? I'm curious also if you know what
the other band members do or have done since the band broke up.
I don't really know anymore. I lost all contact with Johnny and J.D. in 1988.
Sadie and I didn't part ways until around 1990. The last I heard about her, she
was now married and living in Houston. Johnny and J.D. are probably still in
Los Angeles. I'm sure they've kept themselves busy musically, they all were
extremely talented musicians. I have no idea if our paths will ever cross in
the future, so I would have to say that a reunion would be very unlikely.
I'd like to hear about some of the tours Ripper did, and what bands
you played out with. Any funny tour stories you can tell us?
We did tons of shows. We were always the headliner because no one would ever
let us open for them. We were way too visual and loud for the other bands on
the scene. For awhile there, we couldn't even find anyone that would open for
us. As it turns out, that was probably best. The bands that eventually did open
for us were crucified by the fans. It wasn't pretty. We had deals in the works
to go on tour with the likes of Twisted Sister, Dokken and Ted Nugent. I guess
after they did their homework, they decided against it. Good for them, bad for
us. We could have used the exposure. We had a great manager and she was forever
trying to get us out on the road, which is more than I can say for Iron Works.
So, as it turns out, every show we did was in Houston.
So what was your impression of the local music scene where you
lived? I know you reside in Texas, where Rigor Mortis achieved great success
for their time.
At the time, everything was pretty Van Halen-ized. You know, the "party and get
chicks" mentality. With the exception of Ripper, Helstar, and Tyton, that was
pretty much it. Sad but true. But we all made our mark and opened the door for
a lot more. It's really quite remarkable that 2 or 3 bands were able to rule
America's 4th largest city, and we went on a feeding frenzy!
Now, you mentioned that there was to be three more albums that you
will be releasing soon. Can you tell us when the songs were written, and what
some of the song titles and themes for these records are?
These songs were written from the mid-eighties to the early nineties. The rest
is a secret. Some of the titles are working and some have been changed
altogether. One thing is for sure though: I wrote them all, including the songs
on "And The Dead Shall Rise." So there will be no "Hey, I wrote that!" coming
at me in the future. In the beginning I was just starting to discover my
metallic abilities. As time went on, the more I wrote, the heavier it became.
The theme will be "gothic." The music is very powerful; metal to the bone, Rob
Graves style. The rest will have to remain under wraps for now, I don't want to
spoil the surprise. But you can rest assured, it will be worth the wait. If
there's anything heavier out there, I haven't heard it. There will be no other
"Ripper" albums though. Without the original members, there's no point. I
respect them all too much to carry on with a project they helped create. The
music, however, is a different story. I'll do that solo or as a band with a
If there's anything else you want to mention as we close this out,
feel free to do so here.
I just wanted everyone to know how much I appreciate your dedication to Ripper.
We poured our blood, sweat and tears into that band with very little to show
for it.We gave all that we had and carried it for 10+ years with precious
little financial support. The re-release of the album on Black Widow records
will be done in both CD and LP formats. It should really be something to
behold! I've heard nothing but good things about their work, so if you couldn't
get one of the originals, hold on, the re-release will be out soon. Thanks
again Steven, it was a pleasure.
STORMWARRIOR. Interview with Kai via email.
Totally blown away by their debut full length, I was. Now, talk with them I
must for the ways of the old gods run strong within their veins. Listen, you
shall and tales of warrior kings you may hear. (Apologies to Yoda and it's
creators, I make).
The nice thing about the debut album is how close to classic 80's
metal it sounds, without feeling like it's "showing it's age." What bands would
you say influenced this sound, as I feel it could go up against any of the
"true" metal bands around today.
Thanks. Musically Helloween ("Walls Of Jericho") and Running Wild had much
influence on the guitar style and songwriting, but also the eighties Metal
spirit in general with its whole aggression, roughness and glorious pureness.
I do have to admit I liked the first few Hammerfall albums, but
people seem to think of them as false metal, maybe because of the higher tones
of Joacim's voice? How do you feel about Hammerfall, and what bands do you
consider that may be playing metal but not having that true metal feel?
Their first album was quite okay, but then in my opinion it went straight down,
and of course there is a lot of promotion working, but sadly that seems the way
it works in these days. There are a lot of these melodic bands that copy the
Keeper-Helloween and all sound the same but who are not able to catch the pure
spirit that makes die hard metal maniacs freak out. Of course there are many
great musicians among them but very often the songs are, instead of killing,
written on the edge to pop "music." Another problem is that there are really
too many bands and too many unimportant bands around in the scene today, so
that there are only a few of them who are really interesting for the scene's
survival. But mostly these bands then don't get enough support from the labels
and zines. But that already began in the late eighties.
I love the cover of the album, you have to tell me how you came up
with the coverart, it seems to fit the image and style perfectly.
The cover was painted by Uwe Karczewski, who did also some artwork for Iron
Angel (absolute GODS - Ed.) and Helloween in the eighties. We wanted to have a
cover that included Metal (the crossed arms) as well as the Northern battle
aspect. On the belt buckle you see an old northern rune which stands for the
northern aurochs that symbolized the unbreakable power and force of nature. The
belief in nature as the greatest source of power descends from northern pre
I was happy to get the Japanese pressing of this CD, as it features
some nice tracks, namely the Helloween cover and the demo version of 'Spikes
And Leather.' The demo track reminds me more of the earlier Running Wild, and
I'm wondering why you didn't go for a rougher edge on the vocals and production
like on the demo?
I don't think that the voice is so much rougher on that song than on the album.
The difference is just that the production on the album is better and not on a
demo level. But I think for a production in these days it has still a very
rough sound, the vocals as well as the whole sound.
How is your deal with Remedy Records structured, and do you have
contact with Spiritual Beast over in Japan, or was that the German label's
Remedy Records is our label and they can license the records to other
companies. The whole licensing and releasing stuff is up to Remedy Records, so
we didn't have any contact to the license partners.
It was cool to hear mention of Odin and Thor, how much into Viking
mythology and lore are you? The "battle lyrics" themselves were cool, sometimes
I feel like I am fighting against the rest of society just by my love of metal
Well, I'm studying Scandinavian history, languages and pre-historic archaeology
and the mythological part is touched as well in that study. Besides that I come
from northern Germany which once belonged to Denmark so I have a kind of
special connection to that. Concerning old northern mythology and lore one has
to be careful. Of course the informations you get are based on true grounds (as
some archaeological founds proved) but one should never forget that everything
we read about that was written down by christian hands about two hundred years
after the events happened. So no one can be sure about what was added or
falsified by the hands of christians whose fathers tried hard with every trick
and strategy to erase paganism (not only in Scandinavia) to widen the might of
How is the music scene where you are located? I know Germany is not
only home to Running Wild, but also half of the 80's thrash bands that I have
and still enjoy. Do you know the guys in Iron Angel, Kreator, Sodom and the
In the northern part of Germany you cannot really speak of a real scene because
everything is split into smaller groups. In south Germany things are a bit
better. It is sad to say but I think the time when Hamburg could be seen as a
great metal town is over since some years. Of course there are bands like
Paragon or us as well as the elder bands like Gamma Ray and Running Wild who
keep on raising the flag, but there is not a real scene anymore. It's more like
there are several groups of metalheads, somehow connected to each other, but
mostly drinking their beer alone, if you know what I mean. To Running Wild we
have no connection because Rock 'N' Rolf seems to only linger in his own four
walls and doesn't hang around in the clubs anymore. I met Mille of Kreator one
time and the guys from Sodom when I played with Minotaur at a festival last
year, but there's not a real contact between us. The only guys we have contact
with are Gamma Ray because of the production of our first album and because we
are rehearsing in the same bunker so that there are many beers to be killed
together after the rehearsings, hee hee.
There's quite a few songs from some of your earliest demos that
didn't see release, any chance those will be re-recorded or reworked for your
next full length? I'm referring specifically to tracks like 'Storm Of Victory'
and 'Heavy Metal Fire.'
Actually, no. I think it's also good to keep some songs to have been released
only on the demos to make them more special. What we are going to do is record
'Heavy Metal Fire' again in a newer version, but it won't be on the next album.
Maybe we'll do a 10 inch out of it with some other songs. 'Storm Of Victory'
was also on the "Spikes And Leather" 7 inch.
Okay, now I noticed you were, as I was, a fan of Running Wild. How
do you feel about their switch to the "pirate" themes, and how well do you know
of Rock 'N' Rolf? From what I understand, he's the only original member left
from the earliest days, and doesn't like to play much of the first two records
live. I do like "Under Jolly Roger" and "Port Royal," but my favorite R.W.
albums are the first two.
Well, I had a lot of respect for him for years because he was nearly the only
one who did so many really great albums in a row and who kept the faith of
Metal. Running Wild always stood for me as the pure unbreakable metalhead
without doing any compromises. But when the album "Victory" came out I was very
disappointed because there were bad songs and a drum computer on it. The worst
thing about that is that Rolf didn't admit that although it was so obvious to
hear and everyone knew that he used a drum computer. But what does Rolf do? He
calls his computer Angelo Sasso and continues telling lies. He also kept that
style of working on the next album which was even worse than "Victory." So I
think if Rolf doesn't change anything (concentrating more on metal than on
aliens) a lot of fans won't accept that any longer.
Have any U.S. companies stepped in to license this latest record?
I think this record might fit in with what Century Media or Nuclear Blast are
doing, hell, maybe even Metal Blade since they have Manowar. Are you a Manowar
fan at all? I was a little disappointed with them when I interviewed them (see
issue #34) and asked them about their Viking lyrics, with their reply being
they are into the Minnesota Vikings football team and not much else!
No, the record wasn't licensed in the U.S. I have been a great worshipper of
Manowar until "Triumph Of Steel." Songs like 'Battle Hymns,' 'Gates Of
Valhalla,' 'The Crown' and 'The Ring' or 'Hail And Kill' really made me feel
metal deep in my veins. But when they changed the horses to Harleys and the
lyrics and songs became more stupid it seemed to me that the cult status went
away. Of course the early albums still have a special meaning for me, but I am
very disappointed by Manowar in the meantime. The worst thing is when you meet
some "true metalheads" who listen to Manowar for two or three years now and
they want to tell you that you are false because you don't support Manowar
anymore. That's the point when you ask yourself if Manowar changed or if
everything they created was just a show. I don't know if that was a show
because I can't imagine someone creating so many great songs, albums and a
whole Kingdom of Steel without feeling it. On their latest album there were
some songs that were really great again but there was also some real bad stuff.
I think not even half the album was worth the name Manowar. But that's only my
opinion as a longtime follower of Manowar.
How do you feel about the black metal scene? Especially in Norway,
I know some of the musicians were notorious for living up to their "blackened"
images; burning churches and comitting murders. Where do you feel the line must
be drawn at fanaticism in metal music? Are you a fan of black metal at all?
That's a very difficult thing. I have no problem with black metal and everyone
has to see how far one gets into the music and the lifestyle. I know that in
the black metal scene there's a different lifestyle than in the "normal" heavy
metal scene, even if there's an undeniable musical connection between them.
When it really becomes dangerous is when political directions come to rule the
lifestyle and make people lose the Metal spirit in the music and turn them into
fascism. Concerning the church burnings I actually cannot really say something
against it as long as it happens in areas where christianity is not native.
Every culture and religion developed itself according to the natural
surroundings and occurences. Fact is that Norway as well as other northern
European lands created their own culture and religion which was nearly erased
by the church by reasons of might and only survived in the underground. So I
can understand when hatred against the church has been built up for generations
in those areas and some wild people let it out, because the church prevented
the development of these ancient cultures for about a thousand years. There is
something like a new rising paganism in the different undergrounds today
because people realize that in these lands the church leads to nothing good and
the church's power starts fading away.
Just out of curiosity, since I couldn't find any info on them, what
tracks were on the "Possessed By Metal" and "Spikes & Leather" 7 inches? What
company put those out?
"Possessed By metal" was released through the Italian underground label Dream
Evil Records and included remixed demoversions of the songs 'Defenders Of
Metal' and 'Heavy Metal Fire' of the second demo. The second 7 inch "Spikes &
Leather" included 'Spikes & Leather,' 'Storm Of Victory' and 'Attack Of The
Metal Hellstorm' (a cover version of a German underground band Bestial
Desecration) and was released through Remedy Records.
So, are there any plans for a new album? Song titles, ideas,
anything you wish to tell us?
Yeah, at the moment we are very, very busy with the preproduction of the second
album, and in maybe August we enter the studio again. The album will probably
be called "Lindisfarne." We will record with Kai (Hanses) and Dirk again like
on the first production. Some song titles are: 'Heroic Deathe,' 'Fires Beneath
Northern Skies,' 'Secret Ritual,' 'Odinn's Warriors,' 'Bloode Eagle,'
'Sigrblot,' 'Njord's Daughters,' and 'Lindisfarne.' Besides that we will
probably record 'Heavy Metal Fire' again in a newer version for a 10 inch, but
that's not clear right now if and when that should be released.
When Amon Amarth came over here to the U.S., they were kinda making
fun of American beer, which was okay with me. What sort of beer do you guys
drink, myself I'd rather grab some hard liquor like Jack Daniels, Vodka, or
Black Death Vodka (when I can find it).
Holsten, Warsteiner, and Astra mostly, but I also like whiskey from Scotland or
Ireland very much. Concerning American beer I only know Budweiser and I only
drank that one time and after that I continued drinking German beer. Hee hee.
Okay, just to throw a question out there, how do you feel about the
U.S. involvement in the war with Iraq? Myself personally, I don't know how to
feel, except I do know someone has to answer for the Twin Twoer bombings here
in the U.S., plus all the Anthrax that was placed into the U.S. mail. Trust me,
though, I can definitely find fault with my own country when they screw up!
But has somebody proved that Iraq was guilty on that? I don't want to defend
Saddam but for me it seems like your government just wants to show might again.
Of course, the attack on the Twin Towers was a very bad thing but I have seen
something like that coming because the U.S. government seems to love it to
interfere in the Eastern area even if there's no real menace on the U.S. I
don't know exactly why they are doing that. Don't get me wrong, I don't support
Saddam but neither do I support Bush and Rumsfeld or whoever owns the might
(Illuminati?) For me all of them are just stupid idiots. And when this "War
against terrorism" is titled as a war between moslems and christians I am
simply not involved because I am heathen and can't identify or understand
neither one nor the other ideology. Besides that I prefer battles with sword
and shield in hand and when the warriors can face the enemies' eyes. Battles
based on honor. But nowadays these guys who plot the war just keep in the
background and don't appear on the battlefield personally. If the chief of a
land starts a war he should fight as well on the field.
Are there other kinds of music you listen to outside of metal? I
personally like lots of different things, as long as it's not the watered down
crap plastered all over U.S. MTV or popular radio.
I am listening to Metal from (Deep) Purple and Uriah Heep, over Manowar, Saxon,
etc. to Venom. I also like some classical stuff like Richard Wagner, some works
of Beethoven and film music for example of Mel Gibson's Braveheart (for me the
best film ever could have been created). MTV I am not watching and radio I am
actually not listening to so I can't say what they are playing 'cause I am not
interested in that. I prefer, if there's some time left, reading books about
Finally, before I forget, tell us who's in the band and what they
do, you can also give us a little band history if you like. I'm curious if any
of you have played in other bands before this one.
Stormwarrior was founded on New Years' Eve 1997/98. We released two demotapes
("Metal Victory" and "Barbaric Steel") two 7 inches ("Possessed By Metal" and
"Spikes & Leather") and the first self titled full length album so far. After
some line up changes, the band consists now of Scythewielder (guitars, former
member of Dwar's Rebellion and Ring Of Torture), Black Sworde (bass, former
bands Northern Rage and In Distress), Doomrider (drums, also played in
Seelentanz) and Thunder Axe (vocals/guitars, former band Northern Rage, other
SUBHUMANS. Interview with Dick at their last Atlanta show.
The U.K. Subhumans. Not the Canadian ones. Having been around since at least
late 79 - early 1980, this British punk band has a pretty large underground
following, especially from the show we witnessed and videotaped at a place
called The Cotton Club in Atlanta. Having skated to them in my teens, and still
finding myself enjoying their unique brand of punk which sees lead singer Dick
firmly brandishing the heavy British accent, I felt it would be an honor to
have these guys in the magazine. And they definitely kicked ass on stage too.
By the way, the main interviewee was Dick, though Bruce did jump in there a few
times, so unless otherwise noted, all main dialogue was done with Dick.
So you guys do a Subhumans tour what, every few years or so?
Like once every five years.
I know the lineup for the Subhumans has pretty much stayed the same
after all this time.
Yeah, totally the same, since 1983. We haven't done much, as three of us have
been in Citizen Fish all the way through the 90's, and in 1998 we got the
Subhumans back together again just to see what it felt like. It felt really
good, and we did three tours in 1998 and 1999: The U.S., Great Britain and
Europe. Now we finally have the sort of time and space to do another one so we
came over here.
SO how is your label Bluurg? Because I noticed that all the
Subhumans releases that came out were on Bluurg, and I especially like how they
put like two albums on one CD, the "Time Flies" and "Rats" CD.
The Bluurg label as such isn't really putting anything out except a couple of
small CD releases that are mail order only. Basically the distribution is not
as good except for...
(At this point Bruce walks into the room)
Bruce: You've got a room as well!
Dick: It's interview time...
Where were we again?
Bluurg records, distribution... Something like that.
Yeah, the distro is okay for the Subhumans because people know the Subhumans
and they seek it out, but the distro for Citizen Fish didn't end up being as
good as it could have been if we were on an American label, so we moved from
our own label to Lookout for three albums just because the distro was a lot
better. Citizen Fish sells about 80 percent of stuff here in America, which is
Thinking odd, because punk isn't really as popular over here as it
was back in the day. It's funny when you see bands like Circle Jerks, Fear,
Agnostic Front and what not, they come back and they just pack the house. The
touring lineup you have tonight, that is the lineup that was on albums like
"From The Cradle To The Grave," "Worlds Apart" and such?
Yeah, it is.
I think the only person who isn't with you anymore is your bassist?
Grant was on "Day The Country Died" and the first three EP's. In 1983 Phil took
Actually "Worlds Apart" I just picked up recently, as I had it on
cassette but it is one of my favorites. There's a song you did with a piano I
remember, was it 'Susan' or 'Sarah?' Any chance you might be trying to pull
that off live?
Naah, we'd need a piano to do that.
Not just for one song.
When you play out live, do you like the faster and heavier stuff,
or do you like to mix it up?
We like to mix it up a bit, otherwise it would all be fast and the fast stuff
would lose it's energy.
I dunno... (much laughter)
Well, you do a bouncy one in between the fast ones, and the fast ones sound
faster and the bouncy ones are a break for us. We've actually got more medium
paced songs than the fast songs tonight.
Now they say you have a newer record. I don't know if it is brand
It's called "Unfinished Business." We found some old tracks from the 80's that
never got recorded, and basically we recorded them and added a couple of
strange, new things to it, but it was like "Let's get these tracks back up,
record them and make them sound good."
It's rather funny, but just to give you a little history, the club
you played at back in 1998 actually shut down like a month later! I don't know
if you remember that, it was at The Point?
It was really, really hot. We were trapped at the back of the building, at the
very back on stage, and there was no exit. If a fire started it would have been
closed down because it was a fire hazard! I was just breathing in hot air and
I remember almost fainting a couple of times. It was REALLY intense. Excellent
gig though. I was actually surprised at the amount of people that showed up.
Are you planning on working on another record?
Slowly but surely, yeah.
So what kind of punk bands are you guys listening to? I just picked
up The Vandals today, it was their two albums on one CD, one being "When In
Rome Do As The Vandals Do."
One of the most recent bands that impressed me was The Enemies, which is one of
the reasons that they're on the whole tour with us. They're from San Fransisco.
really good band. We had The Voids with us before for the first 5 gigs and Meet
The Virus for the next 5. And also The Code as well. The Voids were recommended
by Margie who booked the tour, as were The Code. We knew The Enemies, and we
heard Meet The Virus's CD's. We've got The Eccentrics playing for us tomorrow
for about 4 or 5 gigs, which is our drummer Trotsky's other-other band. His
girlfriend's band. He'll be a happy man.
Bruce: Whenever I come out on tour, we always end up playing The Clash at other
people's houses and just going mad to it. Like we were the other night. I don't
play a lot of punk at home, but whenever I go out on tour and we stay at
people's houses they've got such excellent record collections. So I listen to
punk, but it's usually the old punk. I'm not really inspired by anything that's
come out lately....
I don't like the new punk either, I mean everybody talks about
bands like Blink 182, Rancid, and Green Day, and I'm like, "That's not punk,
that's pop!" Real punk to me is like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys,
GBH, DOA, etc. THAT'S punk.
Bruce: Yeah I think so. The other thing I think is good right now is that we're
working on new material, and I think it is good to get influence from the old
stuff, if we're going to get it from anywhere. I think it's just a whole lot
So what do you listen to when you're not listening to punk?
Bruce: I like Fatboy Slim a lot. It's great for jumping around to and things like
I like some dub reggae. It's good music to relax to.
And to smoke to. (mugh laughter from both sides).
Bruce: Queens Of The Stone Age.
Ah yeah! I love a lot of stoner rock. Now I wanna ask you about
some of the lyrics; I love songs like 'British Disease,' 'Heads Of State,' and
stuff like that. And I am reading it and it seems to me like you're showing
people... Please don't get offended by this, and maybe I'm wrong, but it seems
like you're showing people what's wrong with your own country, things you see
going wrong on a daily basis.
Yeah, I mean I don't see how we could get insulted by that (laughs). I write it
down as I see it. There's a lot of lyrics out there where people can say what
they're happy about, I try to concentrate on things that are generally going
It seems more working class oriented, something that people like me
who work 8 hours a day, doing the grind stuff... then going home to like ...
and it's like "what are you going home to?" That's why I do a music magazine,
because for me it's "I'm not doing the grind," I may be here working but I'm
enjoying my work. And that's what it's all about, that's why you guys are
The whole definition of work has got a bad rep because so many jobs are shit,
and it is like you say a grind. And if the job is a grind, like you say, then
just get another job. And if none exists, then that's tricky, but I guess you
have to start creating something that brings in enough money to pay the rent.
Something I wanted to discuss lately, and I'm not sure how your
news channels are in England, but the media really seems to be a mass whore
lately. I mean, over here people say, well, I've got like 6 different news
channels, like ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and they think that's all they need. Then
you start looking at news channels from overseas and you're going, whoah!
There's like a totally different viewpoint coming out of left field from those
other news carriers!
It's the same stuff, every station carries the same stuff. It's not so much the
opinions, it's like which facts get filtered through. Over here you have a lot
of central T.V. viewpoints, and then everything from there is right winger.
Radio, T.V. and talk show are set up that way, and there's so little set up
along the left wing, or liberal side of opinion in America, it's really hard to
find it. It's definitely not in the top 6 of channels as you say it. We were
watching something on HBO in the hotel the other night, I think his name was
like Leher or something like that. Anyway, this guy was hosting the talk show
with like 3 guests, one was right wing, one was left wing and one was this
black guy who was into totally radical politics. They were discussing the war,
sodomy laws in Texas; all sorts of stuff. The show was VERY funny, and right on
the ball. Very left wing and radical, and I thought how brilliant that was.
Especially after watching all this placid stuff on CNN, over and over again.
I remember after 9/11, there was like 4 days of coverage! I don't
see how some people could sit in front of the T.V. day after day. Anyway, there
was this talk show host, I don't know if you know of him, Art Bell? And he was
talking about how man NEVER set foot on the moon. At least not American men
anyway. And this guy who he had on as a guest had all this talk about the
camera angles of the spaceship, and how the flag couldn't have been waving in
the background because there's no atmosphere on the moon. It really got me to
thinking how back then we were trying to compete with Russia, and our
government has lied to us about so many things already, why not this?
It's cheaper to do it in the Nevada Desert, and hope nobody spots the mistakes.
It's 1969 we're talking about, they didn't have high tech editing suites. It's
much cheaper to do that and say "We beat the Russians, we're better than them."
We're talking about the Cold War. If I wanted to impress the world and I was in
government, I'd say "fuck going to the moon, let's just pretend we did and see
if it works." (laughs).
The other thing that struck me as odd, is how he noticed that the
astronauts haven't done any interviews since. Man, if I had walked on the moon,
I would have talked to the papers, magazines, I'd be raving about it! And he
said the guys wouldn't talk to him at all. And if we had been to the moon, how
come we haven't been back? His explanation was that Russia has spy satellites
now, so they can track our every movement in space. When he puts it all
together there's just too much information you can't ignore.
There's a lot of wierd shit going on, isn't there?
So how do you guys feel about the punk scene today? It seems like
there's still people into it.
People keep turning up at the gigs, it's obviously still very strong. It's all
going through a cycle. (at this point the sound of drums are going on steadily
in the background, a band doing soundcheck - Ed). It was all bought into by the
major record labels during 1979 - 1980, and it seems people lost interest in
punk rock for nearly a decade. Then the record labels stopped buying into it
again. A lot of kids get interested in it, because they see it on MTV or
whatever, and then hopefully they can explore the underground bands - as -
well - as - the - stuff - they - see - on - M - T - V. (Said to the perfect
beat of the drummer, to much laughter).
MTV has made such a mess out of any music genre they touch, hell
look at metal today for example.
Bruce: It will probably make a mess out of punk too, but because I maintain
that we're punk rock, and not punk, then we will still be there. I maintain
that there's a difference.
Anything else you guys want to talk about?
Mosquitoes suck shit. (Points to his arm). There's the swelling I get from
Are you allergic to mosquito bites?
Bruce: They always bite him, I guess they like him.
VINTERRIKET. Interview with... via ee-eee-mail.
Don't let the logo fool you. The only thing Vinterriket has in common with
black metal is their love for the Norweigan forest. Hailing from Germany,
though, it's a strange fascination for a group that still lives quite a
distance from our brethren to the frozen North. Comparisons to Mortiis are
forthcoming, but make no mistake: This is not medieval based synth music, but
rather music inspired by the Norweigan forests.
The last time I looked at your website you had quite a LOT of
releases available, but unfortunately many of them were sold out! Will there be
a chance that many of the shirts and CD's will be repressed in the future? And
are you a bit upset that many fans are having a hard time finding this stuff?
Yes, most of the releases in the past are totally sold out. This is mainly
because all Vinterriket released are strictly limited to a certain amount of
copies. Very often handnumbered. There will be no repress in the future,
especially with handnumbered stuff. Handnumbered is handnumbered and limited is
limited. Many of the releases in the past are still available at distributions
around the globe. Many people are asking me about special sold out Vinterriket
releases but I always tell them to keep their eyes open and to look for them in
various underground distributions. Making releases strictly limited guarantees
that only true fans get ahold of the stuff and that the releases are not
available for the wide masses. If someone is really interested in the stuff he
WILL get a copy somewhere and he WILL look for it.
How does the new record "Und Die Nacht..." compare to earlier
releases? And tell us about your upcoming new record.
Actually, "Und Die Nacht..." is not the new record. The new CD called
"Winterschatten" was just released a few days ago. The material of "Und Die
Nacht..." was created almost a year ago and has been released in Autumn 2002.
Compared to earlier releases it is at least a little bit different, I think.
There are only dark ambient tracks on the CD. No vocals, no drums, no guitars,
etc. Pure desolate and dark synth-soundscapes, nothing else. Well, the style
was the same on other previous releases but the tracks on "Und Die Nacht..."
are more "mature" and "sophisticated" at least in my eyes. Concerning the brand
new CD "Winterschatten," it features both ambient stuff as well as songs with
guitars, drums, vocals, etc. I avoid using the term "Black Metal" here. 45
minutes playing time. The CD is a conceptual album dealing with the darkness of
the winter season. Layout, music and lyrics are going hand in hand. The ambient
songs on the new CD are more atmospheric and more simplistic than on "Und Die
Nacht..." More cold and more desolate. The new CD is, of course, limited and
handnumbered (1,000 copies) and comes with special packaging. Cassette and
vinyl version will also be released soon. The vinyl version will be something
very special this time; out as 3 7 inch EP Boxed set, including three inlays,
three art cards (rather like postcards), and the vinyls themselves will be
white, black and white/black marbled.
It's rather unusual to see a German band praising the Norweigan
forests, but with the music I can definitely hear the style of this. How do you
know what sounds or atmospheric landscapes go with the themes that run through
Well, I am not praising the Norweigan forests. Vinterriket deals with nature in
general. Maybe people think of Norway because of the Norweigan name of the
project. I admit that I am a big fan of Scandinavia. Not because of the
countries or the people, but because of the landscape, the nature, etc. Germany
also has great landscapes, forests, mountains and majestic places. Besides this
I am living not far away from Austria and Switzerland. Both countries are very
comparable to Scandinavia. Concerning the atmospheric landscapes on "Und Die
nacht..." this CD contains a concept dealing with the coming and presence of
the night. When I hear the tracks I can feel and see those nightly landscapes.
The feeling is supported by the layout and pictures included in the booklet.
Others listening to the album may have other landscapes or feelings in general.
It is individually different from person to person. Besides this, the album
contains many changing atmospheres, just like nature itself. At one point the
music turns more warm and "sunny," at the other point more dark, cruel or
frightening. But the dark aspect is dominant I think.
I'm curious to know if you have ever been to Norway, and if so what
your exact impressions of it were. Just from hearing many bands talking about
the deep woods, I know I would love to go there someday.
I have been in Norway several times. I have stayed there for many weeks in the
past. It is good to get new inspiration. To enjoy the great nature, the "people
free" landscapes, the majestic fjords, the cold mountains, the endless and vast
woods. It is definitely worth it to see the great nature there. The rough clime
in general, the fog crawling through the valleys, etc. You can really feel the
power of mother nature there.
Are you much into the black metal scene that started in the early
90's in Norway? And were you aware that Eronymous, original founder of Mayhem,
was heavily into synthesized music; especially bands like Tangerine Dream and
Well, I am no longer interested in the current black metal scene, to be honest.
There are too many shitty bands around copying each other and making the same
like others did even better years ago. I am seldom buying a CD related to black
metal. There are only a few bands around who are able to catch my attention.
Those bands are different, because of their originality and because they are
not doing standard stuff like thousands of others. I will not mention any
names. I still have all the old records of the Scandinavian black metal bands.
Sometimes I listen to them but I prefer other stuff these days. I was not aware
of the fact that Eronymous was heavily into synth music though.
I'm curious as to your opinions on the last Mayhem album "A Grand
Declaration Of War," where they utilized some cold industrial influences. To my
ears it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped.
The last album was very good, I think, I mainly like it because it is so
different from all the other stuff around these days. I always respect
originality, individuality, and progression. The last Mayhem album is good, but
not my favorite CD around. The industrial influences are bringing the band in a
new dimension though those influences are not 100% perfect. I agree with you on
this point. There are many parts on the album I totally dislike.
Besides the stuff mentioned on the new record, have you ever done
any recordings featuring more black metal styled instrumentation? Are there
other bands you have worked with?
Yes, I did many recordings featuring more black metal styled instrumentation.
For example, the stuff on the "Kalte" EP, or the 16 minute track on the split
CD with Ordoruin and on the split LP with Swiss project Paysage D'Hiver. Also
the tracks on the "Herbstnebel" EP are more "metal related." Back in the mid
90's I founded a local band, unworthy to mention at all. We never released a
demotape or anything like this. I still have some rehearsals lying around here.
We have also played live one time. There is a video of the gig existing
somewhere. The band broke up because I recognized that the other members were
not interested 100%. Besides this I was playing guitar in the German based raw
black metal band called Graven (they have a CD on Undercover Records now).
Right now I am totally into Vinterriket, nothing else. Maybe I'll start other
projects soon, but nothing is planned right now.
Does Vinterriket ever play out live? I'm assuming from what I read
that this is a one man project, but I'm also thinking a live show might have an
interesting stage setup.
Vinterriket is a one man project, yes. Up until now Vinterriket has never
played live. Maybe in the future? Who knows. This mainly depends on finding
other competent musicians. The music is mainly pure ambient as you know. So it
is senseless to make live shows, at least in my opinion. In general the music
of Vinterriket is absolutely NOT made to be performed live in crappy concert
halls. People should listen to it individually at home during the uttermost
darkness! I'd not like it very much to play in front of a drunken horde of
stupid kids, you know. If there were a gig it would be something very special,
I am sure. But there are absolutely no plans for a live show right now.
I noticed that on your album there was very little percussion on
any of the tracks. Does it not feature prominently with what you are trying to
On "Und Die Nacht..." I used some percussions, yes. I am of the opinion that it
was enough. Vinterriket is not industrial, though on the new CD
"Winterschatten" there is one more "industrial" track with apocalyptic,
dominant drums. But this was only an experiment and should not be seen as the
future style of Vinterriket. Sometimes percussion stuff fits to the track,
sometimes not. It depends on the track itself, the atmosphere and on my
personal taste of course.
What sort of electronic or ambient artists are you into? I know
here in the States Moonshine Music put out quite a few good ambient CD
compilations, and over in Germany I believe I have reviewed a few great
electronic ambient CD's on the Rainhorse/Manikin label.
I listen to a lot of ambient stuff actually. Too many bands to mention. Of
course I like almost all the Cold Meat Industry stuff. I also listen to more
underground ambient. Very good bands are, for example: Northaunt, Arcana,
Puissance, Svartsinn, Predominance, Apoptose, Kammarheit, etc. This is only the
top of the mountain, so to speak.
I decided I'd save the somewhat boring question for later instead
of putting it near first, but can you give us a brief history of how
Vinterriket came to be?
The story/history of Vinterriket is quite boring and nothing special, I think.
I have started the whole project in late 1996. In the early days the whole
thing was very slow and I was not 100% behind it. The first demotape was
released in early 2000 or the end of 1999 I think. So it took 3 years to finish
the stuff. This was mainly because of bad equipment and so on. After the
release of the demo the whole thing became more serious and I totally focused
on the project. Up until now many EP's, CD's, demos and so on have been
published on different labels around the globe. Too much stuff to mention
I thought for a time that the magazine might be closing up shop. Granted the
web site will probably always be around, but this particular issue is, once
again, late. And many of you will notice that there aren't as many CD reviews
this time around. I haven't lost the passion for the music I don't think, but
all the personal crap that went on starting this year made it very difficult to
get this thing out on time. Being half a month late is NOT something I enjoy.
Regardless, being the longest running internet based music magazine on the
planet is something I am rather proud of, and I really want to see how long we
can keep this up. However, I would not want to see the maagzine become another
Not really much else to add. By the time this hits print, a few metal festivals
will have come and gone. I wasn't really impressed with the New Jersey lineup
this year, a lot of bands were repeat performances, however we though that
Behemoth, Carnal Forge and Immortal would make treks through the states.
Granted, seeing Behemoth live here in my hometown was one of the most memorable
experiences in my life. We got an interview with them we will probably run
later, but it was definitely one of the better shows. Carnal Forge and Immortal
were supposed to make their run to Atlanta, but Halford's big tour got canceled
for some reason. My thinking is, fuck Halford, why can't the bands make their
trek through the States anyway? Immortal, Carnal Forge, Amon Amarth (again, but
still worth seeing more than once) is enough reason to continue a tour.
Hopefully we'll find out what went wrong.
As you've noted from the rant I went on above, this issue is a few weeks late.
So much for the lucky number 13!! Anyway, I must apologize to the numerous CD's
that were sent to me that I didn't get to review this issue. Nevertheless, we
haven't rested on our laurels, we are as we speak working on CD reviews to
bring to the masses! While we can't review EVERY single CD we get sent, we are
trying to make a better effort to cover those labels that have sent us stuff
that we don't cover. It's a timeless and sometimes tiring task, to try and keep
track of which labels got reviewed and when. Needless to say, we do appreciate
the support of each and EVERY label, regardless of how many CD's and interviews
they try and set us up with.
There's a few interesting tours being booked for the summer. In Flames and
Soilwork are supposedly coming down, and that will be interesting. I haven't
heard the followups from either band, but according to Sean from Ground:Xero,
the new Soilwork sucks. Speaking of Ground:Xero, the local Lawrenceville band
we interviewed, reviewed, and are working with, are getting ready to record
their next full length record, and once we have this little gem, we will be
working it in the next issue. We tried to shop them to a few labels, most
notably The End Records, since we think what Ground:Xero does would fit well on
Andreas' label, but no dice. I think once the new release is out, Andreas will
be taking on a different mindset. At least, we hope! Definite thanks MUST go
out to Andreas for licensing so many great Euro titles for the masses, like the
newest Gathering, Marduk, Darkthrone, Nail Within, hell, half the stuff you see
in this issue. So until next one, and don't forget to listen to the sound files
for each CD reviewed,
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