VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
As many of you know by now, my involvement with Hallows Eve is no more. I DO
want to thank everyone who encouraged me and helped me out along the way, your
support and well wishes meant EVERYTHING to me... Though the camera work was not
the greatest, at least I have video footage to commemorate the one and only show
I did live with Hallows Eve, and I may be putting a few clips up on the site in
the near future... Regardless of that fact, which was a devastating blow to me, I
WILL be starting up a new project sometime in the future. My girlfriend will also
be involved, and needless to say it will probably (if we can get the kinks worked
out) be utilizing male and female vocals, violins and I'll let your imagination
run wild on the rest of it...
We have a lot of ground to cover, so I'm going to get to it!
Address to send me stuff: (Send me stuff, SEND me stuff!)
Vibrations Of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
ACHERON "Rebirth: Metamorphosing Into Godhood" (Black Lotus) SCORE: 75/100
I've never really heard much from Acheron before, and when this CD arrived with
a rather graphic cover, I was intrigued. Especially since Adina Blase once
played keyboards for Acheron and now lives in the same area I do. So popping
this in, I immediately, of course, skipped the rather strange intro. (Further
reflection, however, revealed that there were some kickass messages when I
played the track backwards). 'Church Of One' starts the CD off in killer
fashion, complete with vicious death metal work that is very clear and concise,
and not the unintelligible growl I've come to be annoyed by. The dual vocal
work is especially vicious on the chorus, and what really blew me away and
smashed what was left of my senses is the AMAZINGLY melodic lead solo work
found on damn near every track! There's some NASTY heavy leads to be found as
well, and on 'Xomaly' the thrashy, choppy riffing takes on an extra brutal
meaning. It was very cool to hear Acheron, on this particular track, utilize
some nice Celtic Frost styled instrumentation and couple that with a cool
female spoken word intro. It made me wonder if it was the same woman that did
the spoken piece on a Frost record years back! Off to the next track 'Bow
Before Me' and the pace is a little bit slower, but here LOTS of solo
instrumentation takes the front, which is interesting since this and many other
songs easily surpass the 6 minute mark. THAT in itself was surprising. 'The
Kindred' was 8 minutes long and held my interest up until the very end. You
have a short spoken word piece which is track 6, I had wished this was either
dropped or placed at the beginning of a song (more on that in a minute).
Another almost doom metal piece is found with 'Golgotha's Truth,' and this song
shows the many different tempos Acheron is capable of working with. The worst
"song" on here is the plodding and dreary 'Betrayed,'which made the vocals even
sound rather strained and almost out of place. TOO slow. Finally, my biggest
complaint of all: the last track, 'The 9th Gate,' which is just like a bad
intro, except this time it's sounding like one of those TV test patterns that
repeats for NINE MINUTES!! You have 9 "tracks" on the album, but you really
only get 6 actual "songs," and one of those songs is not good at all. So a 9
song affair that only has 5 good songs. It's still worth picking up, though
just barely, because these songs are all pretty well written and NOT your
atypical satanic death metal rehash. These guys KNOW how to play their
instruments and KNOW what a lead solo is supposed to sound like! More actual
"songs" next time, PLEASE!
Contact: Black Lotus, BLR. Kon/Poleos 72, 17236 Himittos, Athens, GREECE
Web site: http://www.black-lotus-recs.com
DARXTAR "Tombola" (Record Heaven) SCORE: 77/100
I kinda flip flopped on this CD for awhile. And yes, it IS an older CD,
released in 2001, but we just got it. We actually were surprised that Darxtar
was still around, especially when you consider their only web site was down for
many months. I was a bit skeptical about this CD at first, since their last
full length "Sju" I wasn't extremely crazy about. And to be honest, since the
Captain K. Bengtsson isn't the only vocalist on this record, his absence from
some songs leaves me wondering if he shouldn't have done ALL the vocals. For
instance, 'In The Spiral' is absolutely horrible. It makes me wonder if K.
wrote all the music as well! Same goes for 'Aura Fiducia,' which reminds me of
a love song composed for a spaceship! Horrid vocals once again drag this into
the mud, but the rather off kilter guitar work doesn't help either. You won't
find songs that are as dramatic as on their first three full lengths, but there
are still some good songs on here. 'Silently Driftin' is the opening song that
shows Darxtar at a true to form: nice spacey feel, beautiful violin sounds, and
even some nice Spanish acoustic guitars! And of course, our favorite singer.
'Blue Frozen Flame' gets a bit more upbeat, and reminds me of a lost track from
their third full length "Daybreak." Nice laser sounds abound on this track, and
of course that voice carries the journey quite well. Odd guitar work starts off
'High On Hopes,' and some of the lyrics are a tad fruity, but otherwise the
electronically effected vocals give this a cool yet melodically otherworldly
feel. 'No Peak To Pass...' Well, I'll pass, especially since this song did NOT
start off well at all. The solo instrumentation in particular is REALLY off.
'Healin Skin' is an interesting tune, reminds me of the Hawkwind track 'Hurry
On Sundown' with the nice harmonica and showcasing a first for me: heavier,
almost metal like instrumentation! Further evidence of this is on their
instrumental 'The Tunnel Inversion,' which ALSO manages to throw in some nice
flutes along with the fast and heavy guitar riffs! I even liked their 'Baby
Gaia,' which sounded like an old 1950's bluesy rock and roll feel, complete
with piano and a nice long set of solo instrumentation. The title track ends
the CD in rather fine fashion as well, showcasing some acoustic guitars and
very melodic and well sung vocals. Lotsa lyrics on this one folks! There's
even some very cool female chanted vocals to round out what is a very effective
8 minute closing song. It's got some rough spots but otherwise it's almost what
I waited over 5 years to hear.
Contact: Record Heaven Music, Box 25, 230 42 Tygelsjo, SWEDEN
Web site: http://www.recordheaven.net
DEVIL'S WHOREHOUSE "Revelation Unorthodox" (Regain) SCORE: 89/10
For those who don't ever read the damn interviews that take me forever to not
only conduct but type up, if you go back and read issue #28 you'll notice an
interview we did with Marduk wherein Legion mentions THIS particular side
project that's mainly involving B.War and Roger. This thing sure took a LONG
time to come out, didn't it? It's mainly a Misfits/Samhain inspired side
project, and this suddenly leads me to a little understanding of just how and
why Danzig picked Marduk to open for them on a previous U.S. tour (which Marduk
had to cancel on due to improper travelling papers and what not). Anyway, on to
the music, I REALLY wish I knew who was doing the vocals, because they do quite
an adequate Danzig like impersonation. 'Death From Beyond' starts things off
and makes me forget what this project is supposed to be about, as it's really
fast paced, Marduk like black metal. When the vocals come in though it's
very apparent. The choruses on this CD all have the singalong quality that made
Misfits stuff so fun to sing. 'Swallow Your Soul' has a cool horror effected
bit of sampled screams innit, and 'Bondage Goddess' has some really dark and
nasty guitar work starting out. There's lots of the slower stuff that Samhain
did, and you can hear some of the better influences from the first three Danzig
records, so this "tribute" styled band really covers all bases. The only cover
the band do is, funny enough, a Christian Death song 'Deathwish' which I
thought wasn't their best choice. The only really weak cut on here is 'Funeral
Dream,' where the choruses were extremely weak, though you have to love the
slower and eerie guitar passages. Not really much more to say, but if you like
Misfits and Samhain inspired stuff, with song titles like 'Blood Nymphoman,'
'Pentagram Murderer' and 'We Live Again' (which is a great CD closer) you might
want to check this out. Oh and all the trademark "whooah's" and "Go's!" are all
Contact: Regain Records.
Web site: http://www.regainrecords.com
DRACONIAN "Where Lovers Mourn" (Napalm) SCORE: 100/100
This kinda pissed me off as much as it truly amazed me. For those not in the
know, the band I'm starting after leaving Hallows Eve, Broken Trinity, is going
to sound something like this. It's something seldom heard in the music world,
black metal styled vocals laid down to truly epic and emotional doom metal,
complete with female vocals and violins. 'The Cry Of Silence,' a true 12 minute
epic, never gets boring for one minute. The solitary guitars come in and
although doomy, also have a rather beautiful and melancholic side to them. The
female vocals on this disc are quite enchanting, and a real treat, besides
giving the more melodic side of things a chance to be strengthened. The black
metal styled vocals are truly sick when they're unleashed in full fury, making
this disc a virtual lesson on diversity within the framework of such amazing
songwriting. 'Silent Winter' proves that all is not totally doomy and slow, in
fact the guitar work is downright sinister and dark, almost at a black metal
pace is the somewhat faster instrumentation. Hell, even the solo piano notes
bleeding from within make their own eerie aura! Melodic acoustical guitar work
adorns many tracks, and starts off 'A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal.' One thing I
didn't hear that much of were lead solos of the technical kind, though one
popped up on 'The Solitude.' But keep in mind this is mostly doom metal
oriented. 'The Amaranth' was an interesting tune as well, since the tone was a
bit more upbeat starting out, and the female vocals got the chance to shine on
their own. And of course the darkened musical vibe roars up again. It's
interesting to note just how well the blackened vocals and female vocals mesh
together, and they're utilized in this way all over this CD. A bit of a
surprise to me was the very short tune 'Akherousia,' as it features nothing
much more than acoustic guitars, female vocals, and a few violins. If you love
doom metal and you still long to hear sick blackened vocals and occasional
dark and heavy guitar riffs, this is a DEFINITE must have, and one of the
strongest and most diverse and original doom metal releases that have come out
this year (but I've said that a lot this year too, haven't I?)
Contact: Napalm Records.
EXODUS "Tempo Of The Damned" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 81/100
Like 80's thrashers Hallows Eve, it's good to see Exodus back in action. At
first this record really hit me, though be forewarned: It's no "Bonded By
Blood." Steve Souza's vocals are in top form though, and he does hit those
crazed high note screams that I've been working on myself. 'Scar Spangled
Banner' starts the venomous attack rather nicely, especially from a lyrical
standpoint. 6 minutes is kinda long though, and you'll find that many of the
songs near or exceed the 6 minute mark. The main reason for that seems to be
the abundance of solo instrumentation on this record, so if you love well
written guitar solos, this record has 'em in spades. Which in many parts makes
up for a few lackluster songs. 'War Is My Sheppard' continues the onslaught,
and like it's partner 'Shroud Of Urine,' is not only anti christian lyric wise,
but also two of the most vicious tracks on the record. 'Blacklist' is done at
a slower pace, but nevertheless is quite a kick ass tune in it's own right.
Their track penned about Vlad the Impaler, simply titled 'Impaler,' could have
been written for the "Bonded By Blood" album, and it does contain nice higher
ended guitar riffs to boot. Didn't care for the nu-metallish 'Throwing Down,'
though, especially some of the hardcore like yelling on the choruses. And the
track 'Forward March' had a bit of an embarassing moment when he yells out nu
metal style 'Who isn't any sucker!' Anyway, it's still a good record, despite
3 tracks I really couldn't get into, but like I said there's enough good guitar
work going into this to keep you interested.
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.
FINNTROLL "Nattfodd" (Spikefarm) SCORE: 88/100
I'm glad that Finntroll and Moonsorrow are featured in the same issue, because
there is a tendency to see the two bands as very similar. I'm not completely
familiar with Finntroll, but the main difference I see between the two bands
(at least with this newest Finntroll release) is that Finntroll incorporates
more of the folkish "drinking and partying" attitude in the music, whereas
Moonsorrow's music seems, to me at least, more epic, emotional, and all
encompassing. And sure enough, 'Manniskopesten' starts this CD off in speedy
fashion, almost traditional like black metal! It reminds me a bit of Witchery,
though those comparisons don't last long. Once the accordion/synths/whatever
kick in you know this is a different ride! The biggest thing Finntroll has
going for them here is a song like 'Det Iskalla Trollblod' where you have some
really dark and almost evil guitar work, fast paced of course, and then to
throw you off almost completely, there's melodic and somewhat lighthearted
synths or accordions... Not sure which they're using. Because the melodies and
accordion like riffs are based on Finnish "hummpa," things can get a little
unsettling, especially on the song 'Fiskarens Fiende' which is nearly
unlistenable to me because of that wierd accordion pattern which plagues damn
near the whole song. 'Eliytres' too has moments that make me cringe, though to
be fair the sick blackened vocal work and nice synth melodies mask the majority
of this for me. 'Ursvamp' was interesting, as it incorporates a very fast and
almost punk rock like vibe to it, and the multivocal work and funny but fast
pianos and accordions make this a rather unique offering. 'Grottans Barn'
almost blew my whole theory about the difference between Moonsorrow and
Finntroll, as this starts off very melodic and more emotional, even going so
far as to slow things down. The vocals here are even in a rough singing voice
rather than blackened shrieks, so Moonsorrow definitely sprang to mind. And to
round things out, there's a funny instrumental like track where you get to hear
Trolls grumbling at each other over horses' hooves and what not. The CD ends
up on a beautiful acoustic track, somewhat like Trimonium does, and I'm left
with a CD that I'll definitely want to spin again. I wonder how well this would
work at a rather American drinking party?
Contact: Spikefarm Records.
FORGOTTEN TOMB "Springtime Depression" (Adipocere) SCORE: 96/100
The self proclaimed suicide squadron of Southern Europe is back in action once
again! At first I started to not do this record, especially when I saw the
liner notes that said "thanks to no fucking one." Well, that's the thanks I get
for doing a great review and interview with them several issue back. No matter,
though, since this is a style of music I truly enjoy, and the darkness and
depressionary topics are back in full swing. 'Todestrieb' starts things off in
fine fashion, the rather slow, doomy and somewhat sorrowful guitar work that is
a trademark of this band proceeds to darken even the brightest of souls. There
seems to be a lot more use of acoustics on this record as well, and the track
'Springtime Depression' is an almost 5 minute piece of nothing else save for
rather melancholic and sorrowful acoustic riffs. 'Scars' throws things in a bit
of a different light, with the addition of some majestic and rather melodic
high ended guitar riffs, which proves that Herr Morbid can keep the music
diversified and interesting, which he needs to do since many tracks easily top
the 7 minute mark. 'Daylight Obsession' has to be the fastest black metal
oriented piece I've heard from him yet, though true to his style the music does
slow down at times. The most awesome thing about the drumming is that as slow
as the music is, there's some excellent fast double bass patterns at work, and
of course the vocals are just as sick and torturous as ever. Ending track
'Subway Apathy' is the longest track on the album, but easily one that contains
some of the eeriest, blackest and darkest set of guitar riffs on the record,
and plenty of structure changes clocking in at over 11 minutes, and Morbid
even chose to end the CD with very sick acoustical numbers that, when inlaid
with his screams, add even more effect. 'Colourless Despondency' is truly one
of my alltime favorite Forgotten Tomb songs as well, and despite the length of
some of these tracks, this is a great followup to what was termed as "the
soundtrack to your suicide."
Contact: Adipocere Records, BP 2, 01540 Vonnas, FRANCE
Web site: http://www.adipocere.fr
IMPERATIVE REACTION "Redemption" (Metropolis) SCORE: 85/100
This is said to be more aggressive than their earlier output, and there's no
doubt that there are some clubworthy tracks. The electronics on this album are
definitely interesting, and I find a LOT of trance like instrumentation, like
on tracks 'Faded Into One' and Redemption.' For the most part, though, the
aggression is present mainly in the vocal work, especially on CD opener
'Arrogance,' though one suspects that the opening track for a band like this is
meant to be one of the heaviest or at least the one to catch your ears and mind
so as to keep your interest. The percussion on said opener is especially harsh
as well. 'Something I Left Behind' would DEFINITELY make a good club piece,
and even the sung vocals are a bit mroe aggressive than usual. 'Giving In To
The Change' is easily the most dynamic and explosive piece on the album. The
melodic sung vocals are quite soothing, but when the choruses kick in the
song definitely throws you for a loop. I daresay this is probably one of the
best club tracks I've heard this year. 'Guilt' kinda disappointed me though, as
the louder sung vocals and instrumentation didn't mix well, and the instruments
are kinda dull. And WHAT were they thinking bringing a female voice into the
song 'Malady?' She sounds WAAY too poppy and almost with a soulful edge, and
ruined this track completely. She can't pull off the dark edge at all. And the
almost ballad like 'Alone' was way too melodic for my tastes, especially with
the odd electronics. 'This Distance' was very cool to end the disc, utilizing
trancey instrumentation coupled with some ambient like synths, while still
remaining upbeat and bringing in catchy choruses. Catchy instrumentation,
aggression in all the right places, and hey! It ain't no synthpop crap, and it
definitely will give ya enjoyment...
Contact: Metropolis Records.
MOONSORROW "Suden Uni" (Spikefarm) SCORE: 96/100
What is utterly amazing about this record is mainly how OLD it is. We reviewed
"Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" some time ago, and this new release is actually a
reissue of an album that came out in 2001. Now that I think about it, it's not
THAT old but you can't mistake the unique sound of Moonsorrow on this release.
After the howling of the wolf, 'Ukkosenjumalan Poika' starts the disc off in
FINE fashion, the trademark being where the synths and guitar riffs blend so
flawlessly that you have to really give repeated listens to pick everything
out! Most of the instrumentation here is about building mood and atmosphere, so
only at select times is the paced the typical speedier black metal fare. Vocals
are of course done up in vicious black metal style, and of course they add some
clean sung vocals to the mix, which sound like, well, I guess a big male Viking
choir. 'Pakanajuhla' starts off with a funny little accordion piece, which
means that the band is having fun with this stuff too, but before you laugh
you have to realize, through extended listening, just how well this works. I
don'tthink any other band can pull this off and leave your jaw hanging in
amazement. '1065: Aika' is quite a lengthy track, around 11 minutes! The
awesome acoustic guitars and somewhat sorrowful atmosphere do a lot for
carrying a song of this length and still making it enjoyable, though the track
does take a few minutes to really kick in. And the blackened vocals mix with
the sung ones very well. The bonus track 'Tulkaapa Aijat' was my biggest
complaint though. It IS a bonus track specifically for this reissue, and you
can tell it's kinda out of place with the rest of the material. It starts out
with some nice flutes, but it's really too fast, and has a bit too much going
on in it, even if it's not a terrible song, it sort of loses the mood and
atmosphere the record has had going for it for 7 tracks. The jew's harp makes
it's triumphant return here as well, and for those looking for something
interesting and different from the harsh black metal realm, Moonsorrow has
proven that they can ALWAYS deliver the goods. Limited editions of this
reissue feature a DVD bonus that contains two video clips and apparently a live
performance, which I have already bought and am awaiting it's arrival.
Contact: Spikefarm Records.
MY DYING BRIDE "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light" (Peaceville) SCORE: 98/100
WOW! For those of us stateside that have been missing the boat on M.D.B. for
awhile now, thank VERY HEAVILY those gods in the States at Manic PR who are
ALSO doing press for Candlelight and a few other cool labels. This record,
quite simply, FUCKING SMOKES!! From the slow, eerie and haunting guitar work of
opener 'The Wreckage Of My Flesh,' I just knew that this was going to be a step
in a slightly different direction, especially when I heard our normal low toned
singer and death metal growler do black metal vocals! Yes, I'm NOT kidding, and
these vocals are absolutely SICK! And vicious! And ALL that good stuff. My
Dying Bride has clearly created a monster and proven to the doom/death genre
just WHY they are still the leaders of the cult. 'The Scarlet Garden,' lest ye
forget, contains the sorrowful and slow guitars that are still heavy, and of
course there's plenty of sung vocals to go around. These vocals are SO dynamic,
folks. And yes, thee Olde English lyrics are in full force, these stories and
lyrics sounding as if they were crafted by Shakespeare or Hamlet himself!
'Catherine Blake' tells a very unique story as well, complete with competing
sung and black metal vocals describing a close encounter with an angelic war!
Some of the most dramatic instrumentation and emotional passages are to be
found within this song. 'My Wine In Silence' has nice solo melodic acoustic
riffs, and though very mellow, you're almost very surprised to hear Aaron throw
in black metal vocals to a rather melodic and sorrowful track. These are some
ANGRY vocals people! One of my alltime favorites HAS to be the crushing and
sinister guitar work and rough yet low toned sung vocals of 'The Blue Lotus,'
MAN is that story ever wicked! No song here is a bad one, though the end of
'The Blue Lotus' had some very offkey sounding guitars, a minor point really.
The other point drops for the rather hollow middle section of 'And My Fury
Stands Ready,' here there's some cool rushing sea noises, but there's about a
minute or two of almost nothingness that really aches at me to push the fast
forward button. Closer 'My Doomed Lover' is probably the most strict doom metal
tune on the album, with some slightly higher toned vocals, nice piano notes,
and a very dramatic finish filled with lots of amazing solo instrumentation.
There may have been some amazing doom/death styled bands to come up in the last
few years (like Shape Of Despair, Mourning Beloveth, Swallow The Sun, etc.) but
My Dying Bride have made an album that may surpass all and easily become one of
the top 5 albums of 2004. COUNT ON IT!
Contact: Peaceville, P.O. Box 101, Cleckheaton, W Yorks BD19 4YF U.K.
Web site: http://www.peaceville.com
PECCATUM "Lost In Reverie" (The End) SCORE: 17/100
I wish this CD would get lost in a river somewhere. I'm sorry but this is
HORRIBLE, and it is really sad to see the demise of Emperor over this crap.
Ihshan's wife, Ihriel, can now be called the Yoko One of the black metal scene.
Because I swear, if this woman was responsible for dragging Ihshan away from one
of the greatest black metal bands ever, it will be like the Beatles all over
again. I don't even know if I wanna talk about the music now, I'm so pissed
off. Okay, well since it's my job... 'Desolate Ever After' starts this mess off
with wierd haunting synths and flies buzzing... I guess they know what this CD
consists of. There's some wierd spoken voices and at 8 minutes there's very
little to like about this crap. Well, except for the unusually good harsh
industrial landscape noises, and some surprisingly well done female vocals,
though there's more annoying stuff than good stuff. 'In The Bodiless Heart'
starts off with nice acoustic guitars but the female vocals here definitely
grate the nerves. The sung male vocals don't help either. The acoustic guitar
work would serve better on their own, but not for the 7+ minutes this takes.
'Parasite My Heart' is the one track that features Ihshan's only black metal
like performance. Which has severly lost it's edge. This track is really a slap
in the face to ANY of Emperor's fans, it's like "Okay, let's remind them what
we used to do back in the day and then suddenly rip it from them." Ihshan can't
even do the black metal vocals right anymore. Lounge lizard type of music is
found on 'Veils Of Blue,' with even more horrid instrumentation found inside.
The only redeeming quality about this piece of crap is the fact that, when
actually done right, Ihriel's female vocals aren't too bad, which makes CD
ender 'The Banks Of This River Is Night' the only decent tune on here. It's
a nice bit of dark piano notes and good singing, this song could have been
included in the Egyptian themed videogame Killing Time. Although after about 4
minutes, the scraping, jarring instrumentation come back to annoy me. Waste of
time, waste of plastic. Your money is better spent elsewhere....
Contact: The End Records.
SPARZANZA "Angels Of Vengeance" (Water Dragon) SCORE: 95/100
I was a little afraid to tackle this album. The fact of the matter is, we
reviewed their most recent "Into The Sewers" back in issue 37 and I contacted
Water Dragon Records for their first full length release which was put out back
in 2001. Water Dragon has had a perfect record so far and I didn't want to see
it broken. Suffice it to say that perfect record is STILL intact! This release
is definitely heavier than the newer stuff, especially from the get go. This
album is a bit more "together" if you will, meaning the songs are all pretty
consistent and raw. I still prefer some songs off the newer album simply
because there's more dynamics to the songs, but these tunes are definitely
heavier. He gets a bit long winded on some of the choruses tho, especially on
'Velodrome Home' and 'Amanda.' Just good, rockin' tunes! 'Coming Home In A Body
Bag' was a bit surprising, because like the semi ballad like tune 'Little Red
Riding Hood' off of "Into The Sewers," the track here has much of the same
qualities but because of the rougher edged singing vocals, coems off as much
heavier, making this the better "ballad" (and I use that term VERY loosely) of
the two albums. 'Silverbullet' ends the CD with a faster, heavier edge, and the
nice folks at Water Dragon even give you a cool video clip for this track
included right on the CD! Kick ass choruses abound on 'The Sundancer,' and all
in all there's not much to say except you'll only really have to skip the track
'Logan's Run,' as it was kinda basic instrumentation and vocal work that didn't
really grab me. It's a short song but at a slower pace. 'Crossroad Kingdom' was
done in a slower pace too, but the overall heaviness of the vocals and
instrumentation keep you tuned in. VERY heavy effort, if you liked "Into The
Sewers" you won't suffer from picking this up as well. Still 100%!!
Contact: Water Dragon Records.
TENHI "Vare" (Prophecy) SCORE: 92/100
WAAAY back in issue #22 we reviewed "Kauan," which to me was a fantastic piece
of art that invoked very melodic and at times melancholic atmospheres. Things
have changed just a bit for Tenhi and at first it really struck me hard. Sung
all in Finnish again, this CD takes on much darker aspects than I think I've
ever heard the group utilize. Starting off with 'Vastakaiun,' obviously the
first surprise I will see is the almost ritualistic and tribal feeling this
track has. Even the piano notes are somewhat dark! The vocals too are VERY low
toned and almost sinister, but somehow Tenhi still manages to project an air of
melancholy. It's a somewhat long tune but well worth sitting through. Next up
'Jaljen' and it's a bit lighter this time. Nice acoustic guitars work the
majority of the tracks, and of course when they grace us with violins it's all
very pleasant. This song could have easily been on "Kauan," as well as the
next song 'Vilja,' which is a great melodic/melancholic piece. And the flutes
just add to my overall pleasure. 'Kevain' I have a little joke with my 3 year
old son, as he's an avid Dora The Explorer fan. Anyone who's watched the show
can see how one could sing "backpack, backpack, backpack" to the opening
acoustic lines. This one's rather short and all instrumental. The violins
become rather dominant on 'Yota,' and of course once again the flutes rear
their head, even going so far as to increasing in dominance towards the end of
the song. Another "Kauan" like track follows with 'Tenhi,' showcasing a 6
minute instrumental. And then my major complaint about the CD, the rather odd
way they present a sort of Middle Eastern style of instrumentation. It makes
the flutes on 'Sutoi' sound very odd, and the low toned vocals sound very odd
here. I'll pass here and I'm not too crazy about the style as it continues on
with 'Katve,' though some of the Indian styled flutes did sound good. It's when
the flutes speed up that they get off track. Tenhi's darkest track yet is
'Varis Eloinen,' and with the minimalistic dark acoustic guitars which are
seemingly downtuned, plus the dark and ritualistic like multivocal chanting,
this is one of the most surprising Tenhi pieces yet, and strangely enjoyable!
It sounds almost sinister, which is definitely NOT a normal Tenhi trait. So all
in all, though this CD is said to be more experimental, it still follow in line
with what I enjoyed from "Kauan," and is sure to be an enjoyable part of any
Contact: Prophecy Productions.
Web site: http://www.prophecy.de
TEXTURES "Polars" (Listenable) SCORE: 84/100
Just when you think the Gothenberg style of At The Gates/Soilwork/etc. has been
done to death, along comes a band that truly creates, well, many textures in
their music. The name really fits. Trust me. 'Swandive' starts off bringing up
STRONG reminders of Meshuggah, especially with the almost hardcore styled
screaming that carries the punishing aura of this disc. There's even some
melodic riffs and melodic sung vocals as well, bordering on alternative but
done VERY tastefully. The choppy, thrashy and downtuned as hell guitars really
do the job on your head. 'Ostensibly Impregnable' continues the assault in
Gothenberg styled fashion, but also daring to showcase more melody than many of
the Swedish brethren dare to attempt. And of course it was cool to hear the
shouted vocals inlaid over a progressive metal sounding set of instrumentation!
'Young Man' becomes a dead ringer for At The Gates era (like "Slaughter Of The
Soul") and this definitely could have been a heavier Soilwork track. They kinda
botch the ending a bit, but you're still in there for the ride. And if you
weren't shocked enough, 'Transgression' takes the brutal progression and stops
it mid stream to add a solo saxophone passage! Those guys gots balls, lemme
tell ya. Nick Turner's influence can definitely be felt here! 'The Barrier'
continued to throw me for a loop, with guitar work that crunches straight out
of an Invocator record, especially when the track is very fast and very short,
but still packing a punch. My ears were curious at the instrumental ambient
like piece 'Effluent,' but what disturbed me was the last track 'Heave,' which
clocks in at over 14 minutes and is basically an extended clone of 'Effluent.'
'Polars,' the title track, clocks in at well over 18 minutes and is really too
long for most to sit through, but the progression changes and tempo switchups
are very interesting, going from speed to melodic slowness, heavy and thrashy
to almost alternative sung styled. It's a damn good record and one of the most
varied you'll ever hear, but an 8 song CD really needed a bit more substance
than the final three tracks provided. Still, it's a rather surprising effort
that needs to be heard. Regardless of it's faults. See where metal is headed in
the Y2K era!
Contact: Listenable Records.
THE HEAVILS "Heavilution" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 21/100
I still find it hard to believe that a band like this is actually a priority
for Metal Blade. Vocals come across as a rather (at times) weak hardcore
sounding Crowbar (who I've never liked) coupled with some annoying alterative
and whiny sung vocals. It's obviously meant to inject a sense of humour (song
titles like 'Chicken Soup Can' and 'Space Heater,') but comes off more annoying
than anything else. What pisses me off MOST about this CD is opener 'Outside
The Circle' and 'Get Behind Me' merely hint at how powerful this band could
possibly become if they'd lose all the damn wierdness. The start/stop/start
instrumentation does come across rather forceful, and it's here that a
Strapping Yound Lad influence can be felt, albeit slightly. 'Get Behind Me,'
for the somewhat overrepetitive chorus lines and vocals, had a heavy start.
And the CD falls rapidly downhill from there, only showing a few moments of
promise, like on 'Floaters' where the heavy guitar work is slamming it's way
forward, only to be drowned out by the hardcore vocals this time being a bit
too high toned. Most songs here have really awful guitar work, and the hardcore
vocals don't help, especially when the guitars are somewhat acoustic and twangy
based, it all grates the nerves further. 'Touch' is about the worst, complete
with the goofiest lyrics I've ever heard, and the overrepetitive chorus and
main vocal lines. The songs here are very short, though, but they can seem to
drag on when things aren't going well. The fact that this tragic disc was
produced by Devin Townsend is even more surprising, especially since this is
such a horrible mess, but now I start to think the hints at better things to
come could have been Devin's idea. A band Metal Blade should NOT have signed.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
TORCHBEARER "Yersinia Pestis" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 93/10
Damn good record. This is a pretty sick assault of black and death metal mixed
with thrash overtones, which makes for a really brutal release. Featuring
members of Unmoored and Satariel (and one member from Setherial), these guys
really know how to write some powerful material! 'Assail The Creation' starts
the CD off in rather speedy fashion, though make no mistake, there's plenty of
variety within each song. There's some brutal slow thrashy guitar passages, and
they get plenty of space to breathe on their own, this is most notable on tunes
like 'Faith Bled Dry' and 'Pest Cometh.' 'Sown Are The Seeds Of Death' is one
of my favorite tracks, complete with a vicious catchy chorus and intense
drumming. 'Dead Children, Black Rats' starts out slow and haunting and reminds
me HEAVILY of one of my favorite In Aeternum tracks from "The Pestilent
Plague." The guitar riffs have a slight tendency to add melody as well, and
this is evident on a few select tracks. I didn't care much for a few higher
toned lead guitar riffs, this really grated my nerves on 'Far Advanced
Closure,' but there's still some cool stuff to enjoy with this track. 'Thus
Came Dying Unto Kaffa' was the most interesting of all, as it had some really
melodic lead work that made for a nice break midway through the song, for both
the faster and slower instrumentation. Every song on this disc varies things up
so you can't really become bored; also taking into consideration there's not
one track that exceeds 4 and a half minutes (with many clocking in at barely 3
minutes) and there's seemingly a lot of music for the short duration of the
songs. Get in, do the damage and get out quickly, this thing hits hard! It also
helps that vocal wise you'll hear extreme death growls and sick blackened
shrieks, so variety all the way around is the name of the game.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
TRIMONIUM "Blow The Horns" (Folter) SCORE: 84/100
This is pretty much folkish inspired black metal, mostly of the faster paced
variety with plenty of higher ended guitar work. They capture the epic feeling
quite well on many tracks, especially on 'Battle Axe Destruction' and
'Forgotten Heroes.' You'll find no song, save for the untitled CD ending
instrumental, shorter than 5 minutes, and sometimes that makes some of the
instrumentation seem a little less varied than it should be. For example, a
track like 'Of False Friends' starts off with slow and solitary guitars, then
thunderous drums come in, and your instrumentation will be mostly slow for
awhile, then speed up as the vocals are about to come in. This particular track
doesn't start vocal work until around 3 minutes and 16 seconds! However, the
epic feeling is kept intact by invoking slower passages within the framework of
mainly speedier black metal. The vocal work mostly stays in a more midtoned
range, but make no mistake about it: the vocalist can make his throat work
sound pretty sick at times! 'The Burning Witchhammer' has a nice Celtic Frost
like guitar pattern starting out, before going back to fast black metal speed.
I did have a problem with some of the higher toned riffs on 'Banner Of
Fortress,' especially in and around the choruses. Some of the solo
instrumentation on 'Forgotten Heroes' could have been fleshed out better, but
after all this is a more black metal oriented affair, complete with the fast
pace and more aggressive overtones. Ending instrumental, as noted above,
ends the CD nicely with some water sounds and folkish acoustics. Due to the
length of some of these songs, you'll find interest waning a tad on a few
tracks, but overall it's nicely done and will definitely become a welcome
addition to your black metal collection.
Contact: Folter Records.
VOODOOSHOCK "Voodooshock" (Psychedoomelic) SCORE: 92/100
This release is a good example of the varying styles of a label like
Psychedoomelic. There's psychedelic touches here, stoner rock and doom metal
presented, but not all at once and in varying degrees over the course of 10
tracks. 'Fountain Of Freedom' starts things off with killer guitar work, such
is the power of slow, crushing almost Sabbathy doom metal. The vocals too are
slightly rough edged, almost Ozzy like but please, no Ozzy/Sabbath cloning
comparisons! Cool choruses abound on this disc. 'Rainbow Sky' has slow but
more melodic guitar work, with the definitive stoner sound, but when the
melodic acoustic guitars and higher toned vocals kick in, I knew this was going
to be something different and UN-atypical for the genre. (What genre?) Back to
heavy guitar work yet again, 'Tomorrow's Bloom' reminding me a tad of heavier
Cathedral circa their second and third albums. The 'I love you's' were a bit
much, but lyrically this is more akin to psychedelic 60's and 70's rock than
the usual doom and gloom lyrics you normally find. Kinda like Datura with the
crushing heaviness and the "enlightening" lyrics. 'Lady' gets REALLY ominous,
especially with the vocals and the SLOW pace. This is probably their darkest
tune here. Another Cathedral like opening occurs on 'Amazing Fire,' showcasing
some melodic sung vocals and guitars. This CD was a lot more varied than I, and
many around me, thought! I didn't care for 'Showtime,' though, as some of the
sung vocals are rather odd but the instrumentation wasn't bad. It could have
been better. The one track I REALLY couldn't get into was 'We Cry,' which is a
cover by some band called Elephant Mountain I've sadly never heard of. This
track had vocals that REALLY drag, though several minutes later there were a
few vocal lines I could enjoy. The true gem of this release, though, HAS to be
the sloooooow, doomy, and killer cover 'Nights In White Satin,' which sounds
very little like the original and is a true gem of a cover. If you think all
stoner rock and doom metal is overtired and cliched, check these guys out and
trip on their vibes for awhile. You won't be sorry.
Contact: Psychedoomelic Records, H-9653 Repcelak, Avar u. 6/B HUNGARY
Web site: http://www.psychedoomelic.com
WARRIOR "The Wars Of Gods And Men" (Reality) SCORE: 38/100
It's VERY hard for me to believe that this is the same Warrior that put out
that 80's metal masterpiece "Fighting For The Earth." Gone are the vocals of
Rob Rock and on board is the vocalist from Krokus. Now I will admit I've never
heard any Krokus songs (their look, image and song catalog just sounded too
"commercialized" I guess, for lack of a better word) but this guy does these
songs NO justice at all. His rough edged delivery sounds very thin and
uninspiring, for proof you only need to listen to the slow and plodding pace of
'Love Above All.' It's funny, but with 'Love Above All' and 'Hypocrite,' it
sounds a bit like doom metal instrumentation is the order of the day. As heavy
as these guitars are, the overall songs themselves just don't inspire any great
feelings in me. The CD starts off with the title track and it's not too fast,
with somewhat heavy guitars. 'Do It Now' is an obvious commercial track,
complete with annoying twangy guitars even found on the solos. 'Never Live Your
Life Again' suffers horribly from grating, overrepetitive choruses and heavy
guitars that just aren't speaking to me. The one track that surprisingly worked
well was not even a metal song. 'Mars' starts off with some rather interesting
electronic percussion, only to see Krokus headman singing rather cleanly. It's
almost ballad like, but heavier (still slower) guitars do come in, and I would
have liked to hear more songs done like this. The heaviest of riffing goes on
in 'Naked Aggression' and 'Three AM Eternal,' but as I said the song structures
and the rather weak vocal delivery makes me say that I could care less if I
ever heard the majority of these songs again.
Contact: Reality Entertainment.
WITHERING "Gospel Of Madness" (Firebox) SCORE: 96/100
Firebox does it again, but this time it's a bit of a different signing than
what I've heard from them so far. Withering plays more melodic styled death
metal with some amazing guitar work, and very little doom at all. The vocals,
death metal though they are, are quite forceful and clear, and a few songs
showcase a slight black metal influence. Like on 'Anguish Of Frustration' and
'Feeble Morning' especially on the long winded screams. Comparisons to early
(and I mean EARLY) Amorphis have been floating around, and that may not be
alltogether untrue, but the guitars do possess a crunch to them as well as
crafting some amazing melodic structures. See the song 'Reborn' which is one of
my alltime favorites on this disc. It's not the doom/death metal combo that I
have been hearing but it's obvious that Firebox Records will sign a band that
has TALENT and plays with conviction and feeling, so this artist fits right at
home with everyone else. Go grab it.
Contact: Firebox Records, Teollisuustie 19, 60100 Seinajoki, FINLAND
Web site: http://www.firebox.fi
:WUMPSCUT: "Bone Peeler" (Metropolis) SCORE: 79/100
German torture industrialists :Wumpscut: have been going at this for quite some
time. Their newest album (which sports a very cool name, by the way) is a bit
diverse like the last full length we reviewed in "Wreath Of Barbs" in that
you'll hear somewhat fast and slow songs, some melodic passages and some
torturous synth and vocal passages. 'Crown Of Thorns' starts the album off in
fine fashion, with some rather sorrowful synths, militaristic percussion, and
the harsh, distorted vocal effects that give this the heavy edge. You'll find
the various movie samples well in place throughout, of course, and the spoken
word samples get rather funny (taking religious overtones, you know how
christian hating those industrial guys are!) on 'Just A Tenderness.' It's
really the vocal work that makes some of these songs heavier than they sound,
just listen to the sorrowful tones and rather sad lyrics of 'In The Peace Of
The Night,' with rather disturbing lyrics but yet the most melancholy synths I
think I've heard from Rudy and company. I didn't care much for 'The March Of
The Dead,' despite the militaristic beats and harsh vocals; the simplistic
vocal delivery and instrumentation left MUCH to be desired. Further, the song
arrangements and young girl speaking in German on 'Our Fatal Longing' turned me
away almost at once. All around, the choruses are very simplistic on many
tracks but they get the job done without bogging things down. Very catchy are
some of these tunes, especially the dynamic 'And Life Goes On' with the even
more dynamic vocal work. 'Rise Again' also shows the contrast between the harsh
and sometimes dark atmosphere and high toned synth work. 'Your Last Salute'
ended the album on a sour note, with instrumentation sounding like it was done
in the 1930's or 40's, and the female spoken vocals were all in German. Not
that that bothered me or anything, but the wierd electronics and rather
"unorthodox" song structure (well, at least for what I've come to accept from
the :W:) made this a track I'd rather skip. Still, though, for a 12 tracker
that only has 4 bad songs, this is a better effort than "Wreath Of Barbs,"
though I must also point out that some of these 6, 7 and 8 minute songs have
very little in the way of vocals, so if you're liking the instrumentation
there's a LOT to hear.
Contact: Metropolis Records.
ACHERON. Interview with Vincent Crowley.
The new record is a bit surprising to me, it seems like you guys
have done a lot of label jumping.
We've had some bad experiences in the past, and we're hoping Black Lotus steps
up to the plate on this one. They seem to be promoting pretty good in Europe,
but the U.S. needs some work.
This new record is pretty kick ass, though I haven't heard much
from you in the past. I was a little disappointed in the fact that there wasn't
much music on this record though, I mean you have an intro, an outro and a
spoken word piece, but I really just wanted more songs!
The next album will definitely have more music!
That album cover artwork is pretty wicked! You guys definitely
don't pull any punches!
We've been reading reviews online and what not: the cover's just like the
album, either you love it or you hate it. It's funny because we've seen stuff
saying everything from one of the best album covers ever to the cheesiest of
things... (laughter here). It's funny, you know but it represents us and if
people don't like it they can fuck off.
I hear ya man... That girl on the cover's got some nice tits, don't
ya think? (laughter on both sides). How did you come up with the artwork and
who was responsible for this? Sorry if I didn't really go in depth on the
credits in the booklet.
This guy named Timo Wuerz, he's a German artist that Black Lotus Records has
worked with before. He did a cover for that band Thou Art Lord. He also did an
old school 80's kinda cover for the Tribute To The Devil's Music CD that we put
out a couple of years ago.
What's your deal with Black Lotus Records like? Is it just a one
off deal or are there to be more albums on the label?
We're not really obligated at all, we're kinda like album by album. We put out
2 CD's now and we're getting ready to put out a double CD set. We'll see how
they do. For our next album we'd like a little bit bigger budget, a little bit
more time in the studio and get our worth out of it.
I've seen the album advertised in Metal Maniacs and what not, of
course I don't really get a chance to read any other metal magazines around the
area, so I don't know how well advertising is doing elsewhere.
My only problem with the U.S. deal, is I'm not seeing it in stores. We need
people to push the CD in the chains, like Media Play and stuff, where The End
Records' CD's are already being carried. Stores that actually carry underground
music, places where the kids can actually go and get it.
Well, with a cover like that it might be a little difficult to see
When we got the whole U.S. deal, there's a slipcase that goes over the CD
graphics, it's the inner photo of crib, kinda like the Rosemary's baby theme?
That shouldn't be a problem at all with getting it into the stores.
One thing I've been curious about, there's a girl that lives in the
Atlanta area with us, her name's Adina (I'm sort of laughing here at this one).
She used to play keyboards with you guys, and I'm wondering why you didn't
decide to keep her? I was thinking maybe you decided to forgo the synths, since
I didn't really hear them on this album.
We actually did CD's where we still used keyboards. There's a little bit of,
uh... It just didn't work out (laughing). I think in this band, any female that
is going to be a part of it, even as a session musician... We've got too much
testosterone in the band to deal with the girl issues.
(We talk about the Hallows Eve reunion and some of the new material
I'm writing for the new lineup. Then the conversation shifts a bit). I don't
know about you but I totally support that stuff (the church burnings that took
place in Norway). You have to feel sorry for these guys, you know because their
heritage, their whole culture was just wiped out by a bunch of pussies.
I totally understand now what they were pissed off about, the only thing is, if
you're going to do it, don't do it just to get on the cover of Kerrang!
(laughs). If you're going to do it, you don't have to announce you've done it,
if you really want to be a terrorist you don't go around bragging about it
Maybe they just didn't give a shit, hell over here in the States
you'd be put to death for that stuff!
Yeah, well, the church burnings didn't make me shed a tear (Much laughter from
One thing that really caught me was that speech on the album 'A
Long Time Ago,' where you talked about maybe Jesus didn't really rise from the
There's so many stories about Christ you know? Just because supposedly his
corpse wasn't in the tomb, maybe he just walked out (laughs). To me it's like
you could write 2,000 years from now about Charles Manson, or David Koresh. And
who's really going to debate you? You know? I mean who was there? The whole
idea of Christ is funny, as far as weakness, as far as everything I'm against.
A lot of people don't even stop to think that there is a very dark
period in our history. Well, not really here but over in Europe. Basically, the
bible was considered too sacred a book for common man to possess. If you were
caught possessing a bible back then you could be burned at the stake or killed
or whatever. My thought processes goes; as corrupt as that was, to keep the
bible out of everyday working man's hands, don't you think that lent itself to
the "holy clergy" going "I don't like this part, let's just change it?"
Right, and it's been proven that the bible has been updated and revised like a
million times. It basically goes for the church, you know the church is like
the sacred holder of it. I remember as a kid when the King James version turned
into the more updated, hip version. The translation was like a change of words,
basically. It makes no sense to me. I always considered the bible a work of art
plain and simple; it's no different to me than an Edgar Allen Poe poem. It's
based on some historical fact, but not much.
I know there's some wicked stories in there, esepcially about the
apocalypse towards the end of the bible, but I tell ya, I don't know if I
believe in that whole "burning in hell" concept. I mean, it makes for cool
record album covers, and some nice little stories, but it just sounds too silly
Satan is the "infernal boogeyman" for the christians. But being a satanist
myself, I'm not a devil worshipper; I use Satan as an archetype. Satan was the
one that told God in christian mythology, "Fuck you. I don't need to bow before
you, I'll be the king of my domain." And that's just how Satanists feel,
they're like fuck everbody. The whole burning in hell, I mean I get that stuff
all the time, and it's like I don't believe in a hell. My hell is on earth
right now, I have to live on this piece of shit planet. I do believe that there
are dark sides, I believe in the working of magic but that's the natural forces
that are already out there...
Stuff that's already been here before us.
Right, exactly. The whole idea of worrying about after you're dead, I'm just
worrying about right now.
Everytime I do a talk with a black metal band, we ALWAYS end up
talking about the whole christianity bashing thing, but one thing that always
puzzles me is... I did an interview with Legion from Marduk and we got to
talking about Satanism, and my question was you are one of the bands that are
more vocal about it, Acheron is definitely one of the bands that practices what
they preach, and there's no bullshit about it. How do you feel about Satanism
as defined by Anton LaVey and what not... Legion said that once you take the
worship of Satan out of it and you know, "Do what thou wilt" and do what you
want praising yourself as your own god; they say that leaves Satan out of the
equation. So is it really Satanism or just an expression of self worship. You
see what I'm saying?
Yeah, I do. I would say that Satan to me is no different than Jesus Christ,
than Santa Claus, it's just a mythological figure. Instead of saying, "Oh, I
believe in this, I'm going to die for this, I worship this," I'm saying, okay
this symbol is very similar to me. If you ever read Karl Young, he talks about
the relationship between the self and the archetype. Some people may resonate
the oath for foreign gods or whatever. In Western civilization, Satan is a very
recognizable figure, so that's why a lot of Satanists will use Satan as that
symbol. And it comes with a great, devilish aesthetic. You have great imagery,
and you use these images and symbols in your rituals. To a point, yes it is
self worship, but it's also kind of bonding with this mythological character
and embracing these evil little things you're not supposed to indulge in...
Like food, sex...
Right. To me Satanism is a lot more thought than just drawing a pentagram on
the floor and throwing the horns up in the air. Because realistically you can
wipe out every bit of pentagrams, upside down crosses, and the word Satan and
the idea of Satan still exists upon the philosophy part.
Technically, you're not supposed to worship Jesus, well, at least
from a biblical standpoint, from a quote unquote "christian standpoint." You're
supposed to worship God, and I suppose Christ was maybe just the guy that was
supposedly just showing the way. So I guess Satan was maybe more like someone
that says "I'm just helping to show you a different path," or whatever. Not
like someone that's supposed to be knelt down to and given obeisance to or
Right, right. It's pretty interesting different people's concepts on it. I
remember back in the day when the black metal scene was hung up on the whole
church burning thing. I was kind of against it at first because it became more
of like a "look at me, I'm fucking even more evil than you" thing. I just
thought it was stupid especially since realistically churches were getting
sympathy. And they're getting insurance money to build bigger churches! I used
to give interviews where I said, you know, they want to burn churches that's
fine, but churches can be rebuilt. You wanna make an impact, you wanna go to
jail? Make sure those churches are filled when you get rid of 'em! (MUCH
laughter on this one)
Ha ha... There ya go! Well, what gets me is bands that started out
in the black metal scene, I guess they felt that in order for people to take
them seriously, like this was no laughing joke, they had to commit these acts.
I know about being true and all, but the world just isn't set up where you can
freely commit murder and burn churches and what not without some trouble. Like
these bands, what they commit murder, do all this stuff, put on this evil aura
and then go home and cook dinner for the wife and kids?? You know what I mean?
Back in the day I think the older bands were more vocal and more out of hand,
but I think now people are more realistic about things. Those guys nowadays are
a lot more rational about stuff. The fact is, like you said, we have that dark
side that we express through the music and what not, and then we go out and do
stuff, but there's always that time when you have to go out and buy yourself
food, and you have to go out and see a movie. There's different things you're
going to be involved in doing and you're not going to be walking around in
corpsepaint and wearing a goddamn sword to do it. Even with the newer Deicide
stuff, I mean Glenn seems like he's pretty much done with the upside down
crosses, blah blah blah, he just wants to play music and come home to his wife.
Is he wrong for that? Some people would go "Well, he's changed," but I think
he's just more like he normally is all the time you know? At this point in the
game, everybody that's been in the music for so long has done all this, we have
nothing to prove anymore.
Yeah, I mean you already have the fans of your music, what else is
there left to prove?
Exactly, exactly. And the people that gripe about these musicians living a
normal life, these people want to live the fantasy life 24/7 ya know? Sure, my
fantasy is to walk down the road and put a bullet in some asshole's head that I
don't fucking like. But is that realistically going to happen everday? Is that
going to realistically going to happen at all?
Maybe once or twice if you're lucky! (much laughter here)
Well, I'll be in a 10 by 10 cell after that. It's the rationality of everything
too, you have to really put perspective...I've always said that the best way to
fight the system is through propaganda and stuff. To me that's what the music
is, it's making these kids, these people listen to themselves and go, "You
know, what the hell's wrong with this problem? Why are we submitting to a
society that's based on a guy that's hanging on a cross? And if you notice,
Christianity has kind of lost it's stronghold for the last 10 years, and it's
really been going down...
Well, the priest scandal is really the thing that struck a big blow
to this. I mean, you never thought you'd see people looking at a priest with
hatred and disgust. Maybe it's just a sign of the times, ya know?
Yeah, but what's funny is, Mel Gibson puts out a movie out about Jesus getting
tortured for 2 hours, it's one of the most popular movies and people are going
(said very snotty and sarcastically) "Yeah, this is beautiful" and then people
start going to churches again. It kills me, people are fucking sheep! The
majority of the human race are sheep! You know what? Satanism does NOT exclude
sheep. I'll tell you what, I've met as many black sheep as I have white sheep.
Just because you don a pentagram and act like you're all into it... big deal, I
don't give a motherfuck... You live the lifestyles, you really believe it? Or
are you going skateboarding next weekend? (HUGE bouts of laughter). I've seen
people jump from trend to trend. And then I've had people write to me asking me
if we use this for a gimmick. I've been in this for over 15 years, that's FAR
from a gimmick. I damn sure don't make no goddamn money off a gimmick. And
realistically, there's a new sherrif in town called Muslims, and they don't
play around. They're doing what Satanism should have been doing, you know?
"Fuck you! Let's blow up a goddamn building to make them listen." That's the
kind of stuff that proves that religion is fucked up.
AREKNAMES. Interview with Michele Epifani via email.
I want everyone in the world to stand up and take notice of this band. Right
now! For those of you that say there aren't many bands that are trying to do
something original and different, Areknames is about to blow the doors off of
whatever you THINK you know about music. Bringing the sounds of the 60's and
the sounds of the 80's coupled with the energy and passion of TODAY, this band
sounds like no one else you've ever heard. I was extremely pleased to be able
to speak to a band who MOST DEFINITELY will see their self titled debut album
(reviewed AND DIGITIZED for you last issue) become, quite easily, one of the
best albums of 2004...
It's amazing to me that a record like this is made by a band that
seemingly comes out of nowhere! Have any of you played in other bands before or
created other music?
We were all involved in other projects before Areknames. I'm a classical organ
player and compoers (mainyl contemporary classical music). On the other hand, I
played Hammond organ in many obscure bands before Areknames was formed. None of
these bands released anything except for a jazz-rock outfit called Arco Del
Pendolo (a demo CD in 1999). Piero Ranalli was the bass player of the
space/doom band Insider (they've made three albums and a fourth is on it's
way), and Mino Vitelli played the drums with the psychedelic band Perizona
Experiment. This, more or less, is our musical background.
The musical styles of the group as a whole are so diverse that I
wonder who is the resident metalhead and who brought the influences from the
60's? I'm also curious as to what the band name means, as I haven't ever heard
a name like this before.
Areknames was born solely to play a few songs I had written. I wanted to create
a doom band with a 70's progressive attitude. So the project started with a
single songwriter and has stayed that way. I compose everything on the piano
imagining the final result as it could be. So when I've finished a new song
we're ready to play it together. The different styles mixed into our music stem
from my musical background. I started searching for musicians who had the same
taste and attitude, but above all the same mood. I was very lucky 'cause I've
found the best travelling companions I could. Areknames is a Battiato song
taken from his second experimental album "Pollution" (1972). It's an Italian
word written backwards, and it means something like "If it shall lack." It
implies an absence. We thought it was perfect for our music.
I was really pleased to see in an interview that you liked the band
Voodooshock, who will be reviewed in this next issue. Also I noted you liked a
lot of the newer doom metal bands, so what doom bands have you been listening
to in the last 5 or 10 years? Did you ever get to hear the Probot project that
Dave Grohl did with Scott Wino, Lee Dorrian and Eric Wagner?
I was into doom metal when nobody knew anything about bands like Cathedral and
Solitude Aeturnus. Looking at my doom collection I think I've bought almost
everything that has been published. In my opinion, in the early 90's there were
only a few true doom bands but the quality was excellent. You could go into a
record shop and find gods like Revelation, Unorthodox, The Obsessed, Solitude
Aeturnus, Sevenchurch, Penance... and they were new and fresh! They were
underground, and I supported them with all my heart. I think of that period as
unique. Nowadays, you can find lots of new bands, some of them with good and
fresh ideas but, at least to me, the standards are lower: Before discovering a
band like Voodooshock, you bump into countless bands that just repeat what they
learnt at school. Apart from Voodooshock and some (welcome) returning veterans,
my favorite new doom bands are Ordoruin, Slow Horse, Dragonauta, Mirror Of
Deception, Jack Frost, Las Cruces, and While Heaven Wept. I must say though
that I haven't listened to the Probot album yet!
How in the world would you describe the music you make? It's
really, to me, like a mix between the 60's and 70's psychedelia/classic rock
and modern 80's and 90's heavy and doom metal. Is there a certain set of rules
for what influences are used and where?
To be honest, I've never asked myself what kind of music I'm going to create.
But everything you hear in the album was deeply assimilated and filtered by our
experiences. We've mixed progressive and psychedelic rock with doom metal. I've
been very careful to avoid simple juxtapositions of styles because I have
something to express that's mine. I think when you feel like this, you can't
think about your music as if you were going to write a review of it. I've
always been very suspicious of musicians who talk about their music a lot.
I do notice a definite Pink Floyd feel to some of the songs, and I
know Hawkwind must be an influence as well. Some of these tracks are so epic
that it must have been difficult to keep them dynamic and especially the first
and last songs have great beginnings and strong, dramatic finishes.
I really like Pink Floyd up to "Atom Heart Mother." I love their first two
albums in particular (not to mention Barrett's solo albums). But to be honest,
I didn't think about their music when I wrote the material. I don't mean you're
wrong, but sometimes the listener's feelings can be quite different from what
the composer had in mind. If you hear Pink Floyd in our music you're quite
right! But I'd like to make it clear that the Pink Floyd influence on our album
was a reflection of another, possibly bigger influence that comes from 70's
German bands like Paternoster, German Oak, Amon Duul II, Necronomicon and so
on... Most of the so called Kraut-rock bands were influenced by masterpieces
like "A Saucerful Of Secrets" and "Ummagumma." Whereas Hawkwind music was in
mind when I wrote some of the passages here and there. I think their influence
would be clearer in a live performance, especially during long improvisations.
Are you a big collector of 60's and 70's rare and obscure music? I
know I have been trying to track down stuff from Atomic Rooster, Camel, Captain
Beyond and more...
Yes, I'm a big collector of all that stuff. It's a sort of sickness. Often you
seek out a very obscure name, which every collector is looking for, to discover
that the cover is much better than the music! But when you find some rare and
musically excellent LP, it's an indescribable joy. (My sentiments EXACTLY -
Ed.) Bands like 2066 And Then, Frumpy, Cornucopia, After All, Zakarrias, have
recently amazed me. The difference betweem obscure names of that period and
today's underground bands (apart from the price) is that you never know what
will happen when you play the record. If you pick up an obscure death metal
band LP, you don't know whether it'll be any good or not, but you know it'll
definitely be death metal. While a band from the 70's, apart from the sound
production, can be really surprising from every point of view.
If you guys are Hawkwind fans, what do you think about the
direction Hawkwind took with the "In Your Area" album? I know I was upset that
they seemed to be going in a more hip-hop oriented direction with that vocalist
they had for a short time. What would you consider to be some of the best
I loved Hawkwind, but in their early years, so I don't know anything about
their later material and their new direction. Their first classics are so
profound that I will never finish exploring them. All the first six or seven
albums are great, but my favorite is definitely "Warrior On The Edge Of Time."
(YES! Mine as well - Ed.) When I play this LP I really feel lost in dark outer
space... Maybe it's the Simon House presence, but I can't say exactly why I
love this album more than the others.
It's interesting to me to hear mellotrons and I believe the Hammond
Organ was invoked on these recordings. How difficult would it be for you to
pull all of these instruments off live, since it seems that it's only a few of
you on the record.
The Hammond organ is my main instrument. It's a C3 model customized by me. I
didn't use it in order to obtain a "vintage" sound (that's simply a side
effect). I think that the new synthesizers have lost the personality of the
first generation keyboards. Those instruments, like the Hammond or Mellotron,
also required a specific technique. They are still THE sound of electric
keyboards. Modern synths are only able to emulate them, and they don't really
have their own sound. I borrowed the Mellotron, because it's very expensive and
I think it's not essential for our music. I've never tried playing the
Mellotron in concert; it's too stressful because it can often be out of tune,
and if you have a problem with the tapes it can turn into a right balls up!
How did you come to be signed by Black Widow Records? Are there
other bands on Black Widow you enjoy?
I thought of Black Widow as soon as I realized that it was time to search for
a label. I knew them from years ago because, as you probably know, Black Widow
is also a record shop and I was in touch with them for this reason. So I sent
them a demotape recorded live in our rehearsal room just to see what they
thought of it and they liked it. I think that most of the Black Widow bands
have their own style and attitude, and consequently a Black Widow "sound," like
a Hellhound sound for example, doesn't exist. Nonetheless all the bands I've
heard have something in common, but it's something very deep and hard to
describe. The bands I prefer are obviously Pentagram, and then Malombra,
Northwinds (their first album) and Rise & Shine, but I confess I know most of
the Black Widow bands only by name. I'm sure I'll hear them in the future.
Have you played out live and what is a typical Areknames show like?
The typical Areknames live show is set up with time for long spacey
improvisations. In the album we had to keep it short, but there's room for
jamming in every song. Maybe we'll put out some live recordings that we have in
our archive in the near future.
There's a line in one of your songs that says "I send my sperm to
the bank of the dead." I thought it was a very unusual thing to say, so besides
the whole concept of the album, what influences the sometimes dark lyrics? It's
musically a trip from the 60's and 70's but lyrically it sounds pretty metal
I think it's a coincidence. I didn't want to write metal oriented lyrics but,
evidently, I was in that mood at the time. To tell the truth, all the lyrics
are just one long poem, which is why we put them in the booklet without a
break. The whole thing is a sort of auto-analysis where memories, thoughts,
dreams and visions converge in a poetic dimension. When you're writing like
this, there's no room for compromises, so sometimes you end up with peculiar
thoughts. I was only interested in the overall result. This attitude blends all
of the different styles in our music: it helps us express ourselves. In a
certain sense, we've learnt the Black Sabbath lesson - in "Sabbath Bloody
Sabbath" and "Sabotage," they included many different styles, not giving a damn
about orthodoxy. That's the real meaning of the word "progressive." If you
freeze progressive rock in a set of cliches, you're going in completely the
Have you ever experimented with Astral Travel? I know the ability
to explore other realms and worlds intrigues me greatly, so much so that I am
studying how to do this. Do you think maybe some of the artists of the 60's and
70's were able to visit other planes and this may account for some of the
lyrical input they had?
Astral travel, and meditation in general, is not a school trip; it's the best
way to delve inside yourself whilst seeing what's outside. I think that the
real lesson is that you don't need anything but your purity to know who, where,
and why you are in the universe. For example, bands like Ash-Ra Temple, Dzyan
or Yathra Sidra (to name just a few) knew this very well. But for other bands
of that period, I'm afraid it was just a trendy attitude.
I am assuming you have listened to some ambient music, some
instrumental techno perhaps? There's lots of passages that seem to show a great
knowledge of relaxing ambient music. I know Moonshine Music, Instinct Records
and even Manikin Records in Germany have put out some of the most beautiful,
relaxing instrumental ambient music I've ever heard, and I'm wondering how much
of an influence you consider this.
I don't know if you can consider "ambient" bands like Cluster, Neu, Tangerine
Dream, Cosmic Jokers, late Can, or the various projects of Klaus
Schulze, and even the early works of Battiato. Maybe they can be defined as
"proto-ambient." I was into Dead Can Dance and Death In June too, for example,
but I think they are not really "ambient," maybe more dark wave. As for the
labels you mentioned, I don't know them so I can't comment.
What can we expect from the next Areknames record? I read in an
interview that the next disc is going to be a bit mroe experimental and
radical, though considering what masterpiece you have already created, I can't
imagine what could be any more different! So let us know about concepts and
song titles! How far away IS the next release?
Our next album will probably be entitled "Love Hate Round Trip," it will be
longer (maybe 12 tracks) and much more varied than the previous one. We are
working very hard on it; all the material is already written, and the
arrangements are half done. I feel I'm now more mature as a songwriter;
obviously, the material from the first album dates from 1997-98. Our next album
might be out next year, but I have no definite date. Some of the songs are
different from those on the previous album, while others are in a similar
style, but the general mood is the same. We have improved our sound, and I
think (and hope) that those who appreciated our first effort won't be
Finally, any chance Areknames will have a website? There's not much
info for fans out there except for the Black Widow records website and a few
interviews and reviews online. And anything else you want to mention?
Yes, I think you are quite right, but we're going to put our website online,
possibly this summer. I'd like to thank you for the space that you've put at
our disposal, and also thanks to all the people who have supported us 'till
now, and the guys at Black Widow Records who made this all possible.
DARXTAR. Interview with K.Soren Bengtsson and Marcus Pehrsson via email.
The newest release from space rockers Darxtar, "Tombola," (also reviewed this
issue) is over 2 years old but almost came to me out of the blue! The old
Darxtar website was down, and I thought (like the storyline on the "Darker"
CD) that they had been lost, drifting aimlessly into deep unreachable space! So
imagine to my surprise when I heard they not only had a new record, but a new
website! Comparisons to Hawkwind are, unfortunately, inevitable, but starting
with "Sju," and of course "Tombola," they have moved a little further away from
that classification. Not too far though, and though we originally interviewed
them WAAAY back in the early to mid 90's, sadly that particular issue is also
lost to the deepest regions of space (that being the internet). SO, finally we
can give you one of our feature interviews from a band that decidely deserves
more coverage than it's going to get.
It has been a LONG time between releases, so I'm curious as to what
exactly happened with Darxtar? It seems "Tombola" has been out for quite some
time now! And I'm also curious about the old website being up one day and then
gone the next, for a period of a year or so!
KSB: Considering how we live, our daily work and being parents I think you must
not expect us to follow the tempo of professional artists that make a living
out of it. For us music is something we need to do to keep us from going mad,
and so far we haven't made a penny out of our records in some 15 years. We live
far from each other and have to plan VERY carefully to keep this thing going,
and at the same time we need to make a living to provide for our families. This
means 3 months can disappear very quickly without any visible action at the
Darxtar HQ. Still, this way we're flooded with ideas and plans each and every
time we meet and it's never boring to be in this band. You just have to be
patient. In the end it's worth it. The same goes for websites, etc. Since no
money comes in from the music we can't spend too much on things like that.
However, www.darxtar.com is here to stay now!
The "Tombola" album seems quite a bit different from the last
release "Sju." Do you feel you needed to move further away from the space rock
styled sound and the unfortunate media tags of being Hawkwind clones?
KSB: Absolutely! But I don't blame anyone for the "Hawkwind clone" tag. When we
started out we really wanted to capture the feeling (rather than the actual
sound) of the early Hawkwind albums, all culminating with "Daybreak" where we
came pretty close I'd say. But we didn't want to be Hawkwind, it was more like
a tribute to a great band that was regarded as "has beens" at the time. It was
actually the death of Robert Calvert in 1988 that triggered the whole thing. I
was a big fan of his, especially in the 70's. But as time passed by we evolved
into a "new" band. The space influence was there, sure, and I think it will
always be to some degree; we're simply space rockers at heart. The thing is
we've always been into all sorts of music (some of us since the 60's), and we
wanted to incorporate other influences in our sound and hopefully come up with
something unique. We're still moving in that direction; there's nothing
stopping us since we're our own masters.
MP: I would say we don't really plan for new or different sounds, it's just the
way it happens when we write the songs. Different moods and influences at the
time of writing a song more or less decides what it will come out like.
Have you had any press for "Tombola?" What are the majority of
people saying? And also, do you remember any noteworthy media from your other 3
KSB: The reviews for "Tombola" have been overwhelming! We are really amazed. We
thought it would turn out like the other albums that got good reviews from a
handful of space and prog enthusiasts, but "Tombola" seemed to open doors since
we are reviewed in prog, space, hard rock, metal, pop, you name it type
magazines. That's what we like, to cross borders set up by record companies and
journalists ages ago. "Sju" was also knocking on some doors, but then it's far
from "Tombola" quality wise, isn't it?
One thing that bothered me a bit about the latest record is all the
different vocal performances, when I felt that the vocal work that had been
done on all the other releases was VERY sufficient. Why did the band feel the
need to add other vocalists, as they all seem to pale in compairosn to the one
I know and love from years past?
KSB: But that's your personal opinion, the other guy tells me something else.
And to be fair there was never only one vocalist in Darxtar. On the first 3
albums Juba (ex bassplayer) did quite a lot of vocals. I guess you're referring
to "Sju" where I did most of it and that was because Marcus (resident bassist)
hadn't settled in when the recordings started, and the material was already
written when he joined. Patric (drums) on the other hand finally agrees to do
some vocals after some time of harassment and contributes more and more. Call
us strange but we just record what we like to hear ourselves at the time; it is
made and if we're happy then so be it! That doubles the fun when people show
appreciation for it.
When you look at all the albums you have made, which one stands out
the most and why? Personally, I think that "Darker" is one of the best Darxtar
albums ever made, and I love the darker feeling that the first record has.
KSB: As a musician I must insist that our next album (being recorded at this
very moment) will be the best ever. Why? Because we're on another trip and it's
fresh. But of the ones already made... Well, I don't think I can pick one over
the other just like that. "Sju" is the one I like the least because it wasn't
finished properly, and some of the songs were rushed in because we were short of
time (which was unusual) and money (as usual). The vinyl version at least has a
decent mastering. I tell you what, give me 3,000 dollars and I will do a
compilation of the first four albums and remaster them properly. That
compilation and "Tombola" would be my favorites.
MP: When I'm in the mood for the diversity of "Tombola" that one's great but
when I'm not I'd rather listen to a collection of songs I define as Darxtar
classics. A few would be 'Stars' ("Darker"), 'Voices Of My Dreams'
("Daybreak"), 'Sju' ("Sju"), 'Silently Driftin' and 'Tombola' ("Tombola"). I
agree with Soren that the new album will absolutely be THE standout and I don't
just say that because of our enthusiasm right now. I have honestly never been
this excited about any of our recordings and I can't wait to get the album out!
Some of your earlier CD's are becoming next to impossible to find,
is there any chance the band will ever reissue any of these? Especially since
some of the original labels are hard to locate!
KSB: Since the first release I realised that one of the things I really enjoyed
before we made our own albums was to find these really obscure bands. You know
what I mean, the delight to find something new, exciting and sometimes awesome
that you couldn't pick up in the local mart. It adds to the excitement. And
anyone who is willing to spend weeks or months to find a specific record is
more likely to give it a fair chance, knowing from the start it isn't a hit
record. So we said we'd rather release them in small quantities than find them
in hundreds on the "unwanted" shelf for a few cents. I still like this idea;
people talk and it generates interest which means there will be a demand for
the first couple of thousand copies of the new album that we need to sell to
break even. Don't expect to see any of them re-released, maybe except for
"Tombola." But as I said, a compilation should be very nice to release, with
the remastering they needed in the first place (no remixing, that's impossible
due to the nature of our low budget recording techniques). As usual, it all
comes down to money.
One thing I was wondering about, and that is since Black Widow
Records in Italy issued "Sju" initially, why didn't the followup record
"Tombola" get issued through Black Widow as well? I thought they would have
been perfect especially since their roster includes America's oldest doom metal
band in Pentagram, and they have also worked some Hawkwind releases. Did you
ever approach Black Widow about the newest record?
KSB: No, we did not. We have a very stringent approach to copyright matters,
which means we want full control of our own compositions. We had a deal for
"Sju" with Black Widow and some things happened that made us lose faith in
their commitment to honour done deals. Working with a non budget like we do we
really need to get paid in full to survive and that means no ripoffs. As far as
I know they paid us in full (at least after we informed our copyright bureau)
and we have no hard feelings. We met some of them at the Stockholm Prog
Festival in 1998 when they were there with Standarte and they were really nice.
But business is business and the songs belong to us, no one else. Too many
composers have made that discovery too late. That's why we have released some
of the albums ourselves. I mean, how hard is it to sell 1000-2000 CD's of a
band like Darxtar? I'll be frank with you, we have paid for all studio time,
studio equipment and mastering for all recordings so far except for "Tombola,"
where Record Heaven paid us for the master, that's all. But that's okay with us
if the record company can advertise, promote and distribute the record so that
more people can hear it. And if they pay us our copyright fees. These small
labels don't. They just press it up and sell it - we can do that ourselves. We
just haven't had the time lately to do so, but I wouldn't be surprised if you
see the next album out on our own label. Black Widow is no worse than any other
I've dealt with; they're all good guys but they don't appreciate the work of
the artist. It's not like spitting out new riffs by the minute, it's more like
being pregnant for some years and then delivering a baby. And you don't want to
lose that baby, do you?
Tell me more about the show with Hawkwind that went down in your
country? I know there was a live CD that chronicled the show, but what songs
were played and how was the crowd and press response?
KSB: It was actually not with Hawkwind but with Nik Turner from Hawkwind. A guy
I knew planned to bring over Hawkwind for a gig but I warned him he would go
bust (he was no professional arranger and Hawkwind do cost a bit to bring in).
I knew Nik had been touring in the States with his Space Ritual and I said we
could be his backing band. We did one hour as Darxtar and then two hours with
Nik! The gig was great, it was (somewhat poorly) recorded and we released a CDR
in 100 copies only to commemorate the event and called it Hawxtar. The crowd
loved it and Nik was very pleased. You can see it mentioned on his own website.
I'd rather point you to www.darxtar.com to read the full story there. Press
response was absolutely zilch.
Just out of curiosity, have you actually heard any of the newer
Hawkwind material? I know their last full length album I heard "In Your Area"
wasn't very enjoyable at all, in fact they seemed to have picked up this new
vocalist and were doing some hip hop oriented material, especially in the
lyrics and vocals department.
KSB: Have some sympathy for Brock. He's had his hard times and refused to lie
down and die. Now he picks up the rewards. They sell quite a few records and
tour for good money so good on him. Musically, though, I'd say I lost interest
completely many years ago. They're still one of my favorites and not only the
1970-1975 stuff, but when they started to reuse old songs with new lyrics it
was time for me to look elsewhere.
Since it's been about 3 years since "Tombola" was released, can
you tell us anything about new song titles, album concepts, anything at all?
I'm also curious as to what's going on with the band since the website hasn't
been updated since November of 2003!
KSB: Ha ha, we took a vacation from the website since there's little point in
telling the world we're recording bits and pieces here and there. I think too
much info is worse than no info actually. We are working on a new album and
have been since ages, but as mentioned earlier, it takes time. Most of the hard
work is done however, just have faith in us. We won't go away unnoticed.
MP: We can tell you that the album will be called "We Came Too Late" and it
will be darker and more psychedelic than "Tombola." Among the future Darxtar
classics are titles like 'Secrets,' 'Sky Is Open Wide,' 'It All Happens Here,'
and the title track 'We Came Too Late.'
Back to "Tombola' for a minute. The word is rather unusual, and
there still seems to be somewhat spacey themes on the record, though some songs
are presented in a more down to earth sort of manner. So I'm wondering how it
all ties in? Maybe you could tell us what lyrically went through your head when
you wrote tunes like 'Blue Frozen Flame,' 'Ode To The Undone,' and 'Silently
KSB: It was a good friend of ours, called Sputnic, who went with us to a gig in
Belgium in 1994: he came up with the lyrics. He said he dreamt them up. The
whole story can be found at www.darxtar.com if you click on the "Tombola"
button to the left.
I know Sweden and to a lesser extent Norway and Finland have some
doom metal, stoner and space rock bands, though Scandinavia is more commonly
known for it's extreme death and black metal bands. Are there other bands
playing similar styles of music to yours you could recommend? Have you heard of
releases by bands like Honcho, The Satellite Circle, Gate 9 and others?
KSB: To be honest I have very little time left to discover new bands these
days. I tend to think, eat and sleep Darxtar. When I do have time to relax in
front of the stereo I like to go backwards rather than forwards. I get my kicks
from doing new stuff with my own band. Marcus is the one with ears open and now
and then hands me a CD with good new stuff, but not often space related. The
only band in Scandinavia we have some relation to now is Finland's Dark Sun
(Hello Santuu) and maybe Jubas' own band Pseudo Sun.
When I think back on the very first album you ever releases, it was
in a way cool that the entire album was just one big long track, but as you
said on the website, it seems kind of silly today. I guess if you reissued that
album you would probably split the CD up into separate tracks?
KSB: That was the idea of the record company. They thought it was meant to be
heard that way, from start to stop. Mad! Of course we would split the songs, I
can get crazy myself fast forwarding the CD to track 6!!
It's amazing to me to read about all the stuff that went wrong
prior to the release of the "Darker" akbum, but as I said before that album is
my alltime favorite. Do you think that Darxtar would have taken a different
direction had A. the recording been redone as your first label asked or B. the
album been split into two single CD releases as you originally attempted?
KSB: A: There's no way we would let a record company dictate how we make our
music. It's simply unthinkable! It's not about money. It's the "pregnant" thing
I was talking about before.
B: No, I think it could have been cool to split it on two single CD's as the
track listing would have been the same anyway. But it was better off the way it
went I guess.
One thing that amazed me from the "Tombola" record was the
track 'Baby Gaia.' It sounded to me like rather a 1950's era or early 60's
blues/rock song, and sounded so different from the usual Darxtar material, yet
somehow it seemed to fit! So I'm curious what made you decide to do a track
like this for the new record?
KSB: Stretching the limits, that's all. We don't like tage. If it fits, it fit,
you can do anything. Sometimes it works, sometimes it won't. That's our
philosophy, that's why you're surprised, and that's good!
MP: And again, we didn't really decide to do a track like that, Patric simply
came up to us with the idea for the song and we thought it was good fun.
I think too it's the instrumental track 'The Tunnel Inversion' that
features some of the heaviest, more "heavy metal" riffs I think I've ever heard
Darxtar do. Any chance that metal styled instrumentation will pop up on future
releases? And if so, are you a fan of metal at all?
KSB: Fans? Oh yes! Very much so! 'Tunnel Inversion' is more like thrash or punk
I'd say, but we do like heavy metal. It's not our natural element so we only do
it if there's a specific purpose. Who knows what we might come up with!?
I know there are some Norweigan black metal bands who have
experimented with using spacey themes and concepts, not to mention synthesizers
and more "space rock" oriented musical ideas. Do you feel that (besides maybe
Hawkwind) Darxtar has been an influence to any Scandinavian bands in this area?
After all, you have been doing this style of music since VERY early 1990's,
when many black metal bands were just rearing their heads in Norway and Sweden.
KSB: Well, I certainly hope that we've had some influence on other musicians in
Scandinavia, otherwise I would be disappointed. But being a prophet in your own
homeland isn't the easiest task. There's some strange legacy in Scandinavian
countries that your neighbor simply can't be doing something out of the
ordinary. So most kids here look over the pond to the U.S. or U.K. to find
their influences. But I really do think that we have opened the eyes of some
younger bands, even if they may deny it since we're "just another Swedish
As we wrap this up, if there's anything else you want to mention at
length that we forgot to talk about, please do so. I am eagerly looking forward
to the next Darxtar release!
KSB: Well, it's nice to do this interview and we have some news for you too: We
have just recorded a track for a Moody Blues (yes, you heard right!) tribute
album! I can guarantee you it will stand out from the rest. As you maybe know
we like to participate on tribute albums (Eno, Genesis, Hawkwind) but we don't
like to do covers, rather our own interpretations of the songs. This one is a
monster - check for news on it on www.darxtar.com (soon to be updated).
MP: I'd like to say thank you too for your interest in the galaxy of Darxtar,
it's been a pleasure!
EXODUS. Interview with Gary Holt.
Exodus made what is unarguably one of the best thrash releases from the 80's
with "Bonded By Blood." Sadly, the man responsible for screaming forth venom on
this record has left this world, in Paul Baloff. However, Steve Souza carries
the torch and does a great job. The newest Exodus release "Tempo Of The Damned"
proves that age has not tempered the fires of the mighty thrash juggernaut,
and it was an extreme honor to receive my baptism by fire in Hallows Eve by
opening up for the might Exodus. In fact, "Tempo Of The Damned" was the
yardstick by which I felt Hallows Eve's upcoming material needed to be
measured. If anyone could come back from the 80's era of thrash and kick
everyone's asses, it should be Exodus, and the job was satisfactorily
performed. Anyone who knows of my work with 80's metal knows this is an
interview that, eventualy, HAD to happen.
I know you had reformed quite awhile ago, long before this newest
release, but it seems like it took such a long time to put out the new record!
After the 1997 reunion, things kinda fell apart. The timing just wasn't right
for this band back then, I mean I had personal problems at home, stuff like
that. And then in 2001 after we started gigging again 4/5 of the band, myself
included, were just too fucked up to do anything right. It took Paul's death
and then some for us to clean up our act and get serious about getting down to
It's a damn shame about Paul, and my condolences go out to the
band. The world really lost a metal legend, and I heard about a lot of the
crazy stuff he used to do...
Well, he was a madman... To put it mildly (laughs).
(We talked in depth about the Hallows Eve reformation and the fact
that both bands are somewhat in a "rebirth" period now). So what do you think
about all this, I mean Hirax got back together, lots of 80's metal bands are
coming back in and doing tours and records. Maybe it's something in the water
I dunno. (laughing).
It's almost like a little rebellion going on. I dunno, I think it's a good
thing, but people ask me why we're doing this second reunion. So we kinda have
a leg up on most bands. I'm all for it. This nu-metal thing is thankfully
starting to die out.
Well, I've always told people that if nu-metal is a gateway to
heavier music for kids, then it's a good thing. To give you an example, there
was a couple of kids wearing Korn and Slipknot shirts at some concert I was at,
and I told them, you know, if you guys want to hear some really heavy, kick ass
metal, you should come to the Nile/Morbid Angel show next week. And that pretty
much did it.
I liked Korn and Slipknot. I look at most of the nu-metal bands the same way I
looked at the hair metal bands of the 80's. In a way I think there were some
good ones and some bad ones, you know?
Yeah, and you know you still listen to Motley Crue anyway! (laughing)
I like 'em, hell yeah. I love Ratt, ya know? I can never get enough of
listening to George Lynch play, Warren De Martini. They're a couple of my
favorite guitar players!
I gotta ask you, man, I was over at a friend's house watching the
Ultimate Revenge Tour (the show at infamous Studio 54 that showed Venom, Exodus
and Slayer) back in the 80's? What was that like for you guys being up there in
front of all those rabid, fanatical metal fans
That whole show was totally fucking awesome. That whole night was kick ass.
We made a lot of new friends that night, it was the first time I ever met and
hung out with the guys in Overkill. We had a great time.
So tell us about the new record, because (at the time of this
interview) I still haven't received it yet, and don't know if I will. (Of
course, I have to thank Hannah at Nuclear Blast for her help in getting the
record AND interview).
Well, the release date got pushed back, but it's the heaviest thing we've ever
done. I mean, everybody always says that, hell it's not beneficial for a band
to have a new album come out and say "Oh, it's not as good as the last one."
(laughing). But everyone else seems to think the same, and definitely the
production is by far the best we've ever had.
So I'm guessing the record has already been out in Europe for
It came out in Europe February 2nd. It was slated to be a little bit behind the
European release in the first place, but then there was problems at the
Well, hell, tell us about some song titles and stuff.
The album opens up with 'Scar Spangled Banner' which is just furious and
crushing. It's hard to describe them without you having heard them. There's
that, 'War Is My Shepard,' 'Shroud Of Urine,' 'Forward March,' 'Culling The
Herd.' I'm trying to remember them all now. 'Tempo Of The Damned,' 'Impaler...'
'Impaler,' eh? Any influence from the guys in the band Impaler?
No, that's a 20 year old song! That comes WAY before them.
Well, is this all fairly recent material then? I mean, besides the
Yeah, well, that's the only song we've ever recorded from the Kirk Hammet era.
'Sealed With A Fist' and 'Throwing Down' were songs that were originally done
in a band Tom, Jack and I had called Wardance in 1996. Everything else is all
So what is lyrically going on these days, I know "Bonded By Blood"
had some pretty sick lyrical things, which was cool, you know.
There's a lot more realism, just the general hate and anger for the christian
religion in the United States....
There you go! (laughing).
...Ignorant, inbred people, you know, stuff like that.
I tell you, it's really great that there's no lack of things to be
pissed off at to inspire a metal record, you know! (MUCH laughter here)
Ah, definitely not, there's plenty of that!!
I remember when "Bonded By Blood" first came out, and it was on
Torrid Records. That was funny when people kept nicknaming it toilet records.
What was the whole deal with that, because it seemed like not long after that
deal you were on Conbat Records! The only other band I know of that Torrid did
was Tension I think.
Yeah, Torrid folded pretty quickly. A couple of guys, Todd and Ken Adams,
started the label. They were great guys, and we're still in contact with Todd.
They just realized that they got in over their heads. Before they folded they
just sold the rights to Combat.
So I gotta ask you, are you pissed off enough at Metallica?
Nah, I never really have anything bad to say about them, I never have.
Well, I do, because you look at their whole argument about this MP3
deal, and all this bullshit, it's really pointless. I remember back when you
had so many copies of "A Lesson In Violence" floating around...
Well, it was UNintentional, believe me. It wasn't supposed to be that way.
Wow, I didn't know that. Well, the thing is though, didn't that
record, even though it was the same songs but retitled "Bonded By Blood,"
didn't that sell like I dunno 20 or 30 thousand copies in it's first week of
release? So that's a good argument in favor of that, that's how you people got
started isn't it?
We did a lot of tape trading, but the difference back then was when the tapes
were going around of "Bonded By Blood," back when it was called "A Lesson In
Violence," those were like shitty, fifth generation cassettes. Now you're
living in the age of pure, perfect digital copies. So a lot of people who have
the album their copies sound like crap you know? Tapes wear out, and get to the
point where they're practically unplayable.
I know when you guys first got back together, you must have been
hounded by people to do tours and festivals. I know personally, when Hallows
Eve started back up again, all of a sudden I've got people going "Hey, why
don't you guys do the Cleveland Classic Metal Festival," and Oliver from
Germany is going "Yeah, come do the Keep It True Festival."
The first tour we did over in Europe was the Dynamo festival playing to
thousands of people! In May and June we're playing Sweden live, and Grasspop,
some dates in Finland.
It's kinda funny seeing you on Nuclear Blast.
It's the perfect home for us though.
Anything else you want to talk about before we wrap this up? Are you doing
a lot of interviews this time around?
No, not really, I mean right now I'm in the middle of moving so I'm staring at
a wall of boxes.
MY DYING BRIDE. Interview with Aaron via telephone.
If you read the review, then you know that this crushing and longtime running
U.K. doom/death outfit has added a new twist to their latest release "Songs Of
Darkness, Words Of Light:" Black metal vocals! We actually interviewed Aaron
WAAAAY back in issue #6, and we thought that it was high time to do so again,
since they are so AMAZINGLY consistent from release to release.
I have to say, the new album just blew me away from the first note
all the way up to the end. It's quite surprising because I believe this is the
first time I've heard My Dying Bride take a more black metal oriented approach
to the vocals.
Well, I can't play an instrument so I need to make the vocals as interesting as
possible. I don't have a great reach...
(Feeling the need to interrupt...) Well, I don't know about THAT!
I do things that I am comfortable with, because obviously you have to do
everything live as well. There's no point in doing something unique in the
studio and not being able to recreate it live. I'm trying to do all the ranges
of metal and a few other whispery, quirky things as well. If you do the same
monotonous thing over and over again, it becomes a bit boring. I try and fit
the vocals to whatever the music might be doing.
So how did you come to start doing blackened styled vocals? Were
you listening to a lot of black metal?
Not really, I did listen to a lot of that stuff in the early days and it
actually influenced the actual formation of My Dying Bride. But I could never
actually do it because it was quite extreme, and I guess over the years my
throat has kinda loosened up a bit and it just seems easier to do now! It's
actually quite enjoyable, it's rather bizarre for me to do. It's all this anger
and fury. In every single syllable the screaming feels really good, to spit out
this venom. It kinda cleanses you almost, you feel really good and fantastic
afterwards. I encourage everybody to try it! (laughing) Of course, at the end
of the gig when we've played for maybe an hour and a half, I feel wasted! I
mean I don't come off sounding like Barry White, the voice is a bit cranky.
There's definitely a rasp to the voice, but a couple of hours later I'm fine
again! I'm really fortunate that after doing this for nearly 14 years there's
been no damage to my health at all, which I think is quite remarkable.
It seems like you have been on Peaceville for nearly your entire
career, of course over here in the States it's a different deal. You were on
Mayhem/Fierce for a few albums or so and one day that deal just folded! Then
there was "Light At The End Of The World" which was on a different label.
Yeah, we did that one followed by "Dreadful Hours." There was a live album as
well, "Voice Of The Wretched." And then this new one.
So what exactly happened with the deal with Mayhem/Fierce records?
It just seemed like one day they were working stuff and the next they were just
I'm not really sure. I mean, we were aware of the changes over in the U.S. but
we couldn't really do anything about it. It's not really up to us to decide who
distributes our records. When I came over to the States to do some press a few
years ago for the "Like Gods Of The Sun" album, it was Mayhem/Fierce. Or no, it
just changed to Futurist.
Well, I think it was all part of the same company.
Yeah, yeah, it was like Peaceville who also had Deaf records. So it was all a
bit sort of mixup. I don't even know who Paula works for anymore!
Well, Paula is still doing stuff, I think she was the one
responsible for getting My Dying Bride worked with Manic PR. Anyway, about the
new record, sometimes it's quite draining to sit through a whole My Dying Bride
record, as you have the orchestrated pieces, the doomier stuff, all the
dynamics. You have all these dynamics and emotions. But even as good as the
record is, there were still a few things I had a problem with, like the ending
guitars on 'Blue Lotus,' they just seemed so out of tune... Maybe there's
something in that part I'm not getting...
Oh yeah, there are moments when we're recording this stuff and we're kinda
looking at each other and saying "Can we really get away with that?" Then we
think, "To hell with it, we're My Dying Bride" and we really don't have a
formula. Let's do what we want and we'll deal with the criticism when it comes
Well, surprisingly that's one of my favorite songs off the record,
and I'm wondering what that song is about! The way you describe it it's like
the Lotus is like a rare flower and then it's like a woman or something...
Well you've just about hit the nail on the head there. It's kind of like a
black, gothic, fairytale. Almost like the Sleeping Beauty. And she IS the Blue
Lotus, that's what the locals in the surrounding hills call her. There was this
program I saw on TV here in the U.K., something to do with the Nile and one of
the old Egyptian queens. I can't remember now it was unpronounceable! (laughs).
The whole Lotus thing was associated with death. Instead of having a
character's name you know like the Evil Witch, I thought I'd have something
like the evil witch.
The other song that puzzled me was 'Catherine Blake,' because at
first it sounds like lines about a woman's anguish, and then suddenly it
invokes the wrath of the angels in heaven. I didn't get lyrics for this so I'm
even more puzzled about the lyrical concept on this song.
I wrote this short story, which was really too long to use in a complete song.
The lyrics would end up being about 5 pages long. It's too much for me to think
about. I just took some of the lines and twisted them to make actual lyrics.
I guess the story is classic good versus evil stuff. I used the whole Catherine
Blake theme because you know we've done the whole good versus evil thing
before, like on 'Return Of The Beautiful.' It's nothing new, like Star Wars,
Lord Of The Rings, it's all been done a million times before. And so just to
make it a bit more interesting I thought I would start it off using this female
character. It forces people to ask questions, you know, "Who is she," "Where is
she from?" "What happens to her?" And I start off describing her night's sleep,
and it wanders off into some other realm, turning into utter mayhem. That's
exactly what I wanted, instead of doing the "these are the good ones, these are
the bad ones" type of classic thing, big fat war. I needed a different angle.
We've written over a hundred songs and to come up with more interesting ideas
is more and more difficult. So if you have an idea that you know has been done
before, you can still get away with doing it by approaching it from a new
angle. 'Return Of The Beautiful' was about this big epic war.
I was actually listening to some of the older stuff today, and I
think I had "Angel And The Dark River" and "Trinity" in the CD player. And I
noticed that both of those discs came out at about the same time but they're
both very different. It was very surprising to listen to just how rough and
heavy "Trinity" was, even though I know it contains a lot of your earliest
The first contract with Peaceville was to do three EP's and three LP's. We
don't do EP's anymore but it was the thing everyone did back then. So we did
"Symphonarie Infernus" which was our first EP and then our first album. "The
Thrash Of Naked Limbs" was our second EP followed by our second album and then
"I Am The Bloody Earth" was our third and final EP. A lot of countries,
especially far off countries, wouldn't import EP's, they would only import full
albums. So in order to get these songs to the fans who wanted to hear them in
these far off countries, we had to put them all on one CD, hence the "Trinity"
record. It's a good idea of the progression of My Dying Bride, obviously some
of it's a bit raw and a bit rough and ready. With no budget at all, and we're
in the studio for a weekend and that was it. You rush in, set your equipment up
and you're really nervous because it's the first proper studio we've ever been
in. And this is the first deal for the record label. We were kids and nervous
as hell. We didn't have a clue about mixing the record so we just sort of said
turn everything up! (laughs). It's rough around the edges but there's still
some good quality songwriting in there. With a bit more polish, a bit more time
and a bit more cash it could have sounded much better.
When I listen to that first song 'The Cry Of Mankind' off of "The
Angel And The Dark River," after not having listened to it for a long time, and
when that somewhat string oriented instrumentation comes in, I'm swearing up
and down that I've heard something very similar, maybe on the new album? Or it
could have been on "Like Gods Of The Sun," but as I said that opening piece
sounds VERY familiar and I'm sure something only you have done before.
Wow, that's the first time anyone's said that! I'll definitely have to do a bit
more research. Because Hamish joined us a few years ago, as our other guitar
player, and he is obviously a big fan of My Dying Bride. Because when he's
writing new material, every now and again, you can tell he's been listening to
early works of ours! (laughs). "There's a riff in there, that's almost
identical to something from a previous album!" But Andy, the other guitar
player, will hopefully spot it right away and he'll reel Hamish in and say
"That's from 'X' album, you can't do that." And of course Hamish will say, "Ah,
I didn't realize that!" You're the first person to mention that similarity from
"The Angel And The Dark River," it certainly doesn't ring any of my bells.
We're going to rehearsal tonight and I'll mention it to some of my guys and see
what comes up.
You usually have pretty detailed and elaborate cover artwork but on
one of my favorite records "Like Gods Of The Sun," the cover is extremely basic
and simple and I'm wondering what happened to the somewhat dark, gothic art?
It's like there's a butterfly and that's about it!
That was one of the covers that I didn't do. That was done by Andy Green, who
actually did the cover for the new album as well. We were busy, I think we were
on tour with Iron Maiden in Europe when the record label said, "You've recorded
"Like Gods Of The Sun," it's coming out while you're on tour! We need a cover!"
Obviously we're like somewhere in Madrid, and we contacted an old friend of
ours Andy Green, and we said "Look, can you knock something up!" And we weren't
going to see it until we got back home! It turned out nice, very pleasant, and
also it's moody and dark; nothing that's overtly controversial. And for this
album, I was originally working on a cover, but unfortunately for me the rest
of the guys and the record label didn't really like what I was doing. They
just said it wouldn't suit the sound of the album. So I asked Andy if he could
come up with something that would be a visual interpretation of the mood
captured in the music. I'm a bit disappointed that my art wasn't used but hey,
you can't have everything. I believe it's a classic case of I couldn't see the
woods for the trees! (laughing). Sometimes I'm SO into My Dying Bride that I
just need to stand back from time to time and just let someone else do it
because I just can't quite hit the nail on the head. I don't know what I'm
Yeah, I've never seen an angel with a nipple ring before! (MUCH
laughter from both of us).
Well, Andy and I were debating whether or not that should be removed. At first
I said that's a really modern thing, everyone gets their nipples pierced these
days. Andy's girlfriend stepped in and said "Well, actually people have had
piercings like that for thousands of years." So I just said, alright, then
let's just go with it! Actually, and I'm blowing my own trumpet here, but I've
got some artwork if fans want to see it. It's at azzron.com. That's got all my
artwork on it, some of the My Dying Bride stuff and some other stuff on it.
You guys have been doing this since at least 1990 or so, about as
long as I've been doing my magazine. We interviewed you many years ago, and it
was when I was first picking up all the Peaceville stuff. And recently so many
bands have come out, I don't know if you've heard bands like Mourning Beloveth,
Shape Of Despair, Ordoruin, things like that. There's a whole label devoted to
it now, and there's lots of bands doing stuff like this now. Shape Of Despair
is great, they actually pull in flutes, female vocals and what not, have you
heard any of these bands?
Over the years we have, and some have actually approached us and said you know,
we influenced them. It's a nice feeling, it's nice to know we influenced these
younger bands. And then there are those who are blatantly influenced by My
Dying Bride and refuse to admit it. But we don't mind, we've been at it long
enough. It's a wonderful position to be in but we're not that familiar with
that many bands going on. We don't actually, we've never had a manager, we do
eevrything ourselves. And so from time to time I REALLY need to get away from
the whole metal scene. To chill out, and relax... I like Nick Cave and stuff
like that, so I rarely dip into my own genre. I mean, I eat, drink and sleep
it so I need to get out of it from time to time. It might sound wierd but
sometimes I just can't take it. Hamish is REALLY into the scene and I'll have a
chat with him about it, I'm sure he has some of these albums.
Not if I'm not mistaken, some time ago you actually did a full U.S.
We toured with Ronnie James Dio for 6 weeks! It was really good, we had a great
time and it was at the time when we were promoting "Like Gods Of The Sun." So
we were playing mostly the songs from that new release.
Are you ever planning on coming back? Because I hear things in the
works and then it seems like something goes wrong and it never happens...
I don't know why, we really need to come back because we had such a great time.
I actually got an email from Paula maybe about two weeks ago with the dates on
it, and we were like "that's cool!" But then we realized, Sean had booked a
holiday like last year already, for this year. And it was already paid for, you
know, the hotels, flights and everything. And it happened to be right in the
middle of when the show in America would have been. It's just a show and we
know you can't always plan for that...
I guess I'm going to have to go over to England to see you play!
We rarely play our own country because, I dunno, we don't seem to do so well in
this country. On the continent it's really good, we've got a gig at the Inferno
festival in Norway, and then we're doing the Grasspop festival. We're fixing to
do an Alice Cooper festival as well. I think we're doing about 10 shows, big
festivals this year. In the past we used to tour a lot, like 6 months to a
year, but as we've grown a bit older, we've kinda thought "Is it really worth
doing that? Is it worth it carpet bombing an entire nation with umpteen shows?"
And we decided it wasn't, that's not really what My Dying Bride is. So nowadays
we tour, we pick where we want to play and then we try and make sure we don't
play there again for at least 2 more years.
I guess you don't want to bombard the people over and over like
some touring bands I know.
We do subscribe to this kind of mysterious, dark ambience. And we don't want to
play on a regular basis in the same country, because that image that we created
would be shattered, we'd just be another touring band. And we haven't played in
Norway in over 6 years!! So the Norweigans will be coming out in force to see
us play. And that's rather how we like to do it. Like I'm a big Cradle Of Filth
fan, and of course one of my old best mates Dave is playing bass with them. I
love the band, but the people that are fans seem indifferent. But Cradle plays
live ALL the time! And I've had people say to me, "Well, I was going to go see
Cradle Of Filth but there's a good movie on tonight." (MUCH laughter). That's
because they've just seen Cradle Of Filth, and they'll have the chance to see
them again before the year is up. When it comes to My Dying Bride, people don't
give a shit what's happening, even if it's somebody's birthday, they're going
to see us because they know we're not going back for a long time!
WITHERING. Interview with Raimo via email.
First off, I'm curious about Warhorse Records, have they done any
other releases? I can't seem to find any other info on them anywhere!
Warhorse Records is our own record company, mine and Henkka's. And we decided
to do things this way when we both were accomplishing our military service in
the army. It just seemed that it would be the thing for us and so far it's
proven to be the right decision.
How did you come to work with Firebox Records, since obviously this
deal reminds me a bit of a licensing deal.
We had some talk with Firebox already before the album was recorded and then
when they heard our album they wanted to start distributing it right away. And
we made a choice that they are going to distribute our album and they do all
the license deals with other countries.
I'm curious about the two demos that came out before the full
length first album. How did you go about the track selection process, and is
there any chance that the demo tracks 'Deep In Veins,' 'The Signs Of Betrayal'
and 'On My Grave' will see release on future recordings? I thought you should
have made MP3 files available for these songs, since they are the only demo
songs not available on the full length.
There has been some talking about those old songs, especially 'On My Grave.'
That is very possibly a song to be also on the next album, and MAYBE 'Deep In
Veins' also. Just if we get new inspirations about that. The reason why they
aren't on this first album is because we already had so much good stuff to put
on the record so we left those aside, and (the) other reason was that we didn't
have any clean vocals on the album. I believe that is the way we are going to
continue on the next album.
And speaking of the demos, were these songs re-recorded or just
transferred over from the original tapes straight to disc? And maybe you can
tell us just when these songs were originally recorded.
Well, the first time we went to the studio was the "Signs Of Betrayal" demo,
and we had never been in (a) studio before so it was basically learning how
thigns would go. And we were trying some clean vocals and growling and then
mixing those. The second demo "Justification For Unavoidable' was more about
finding our own style and finishing the sound of Withering. Then we started to
put the final stuff together for the album.
Firebox is a pretty good record label, dealing mostly with bands
doing a mixture of doom/death metal, and so far you seem to be one of the few
bands that does straightforward melodic death metal with some black metal
touches. Do you feel Firebox can give you the special attention you need,
especially with so many bands that have come out recently in the same vein?
Yeah, we believe Firebox was the right decision to go. So far everything has
been really great and they have been really great helping with the marketing
and everything. Really important for us.
Tell us about your favorite and least favorite tracks on the
record. Personally, I feel that one of the best tunes is 'Reborn,' especially
with those amazing guitar riffs! I'm also pretty particular with the opener
It is really hard to find a favorite track on the album for me. Every song
touches my cold, stoned heart deeply but in a different way. There are really
great riffs just like the opening riffs in 'Northern Breeze,' and the verse for
'Penance,' but it is impossible to decide this. It just rocks all the way
through for me.
I'm pretty amazed at how easily the vocals switch from death metal
and black metal almost instantaneously. Is this an easy feat to pull off live?
How do you know which sets of vocals go in different parts of each song?
The changing of the style is not a problem, (I'm) just screaming differently. I
don't really need to think about that anymore, nor concentrate that much. We
are just playing the songs in practice and then everybody is free to share
their own ideas about the vocals and then I just try to make those ideas true
as good as it's possible with my voice.
I'm curious about some of the lyrical input you had for this album,
what do you draw from when writing lyrics? I'm especially curious about 'On
Death's Colour' especially since I was under the impression that death's colour
Well, we had 5 people writing lyrics for this album. Mika, Ville and me for our
other band and then we had 2 outsiders, Therese and Mika Kolu. 'On Death's
Colour' was Mika Kolu's writing and I really cannot say much about that. But
the message in the lyrics is not that important to me personally, I am just the
messenger of other people's words.
Any plans for live shows? Maybe a U.S. tour would be in the works?
Have you ever been to some of the doom festivals like Doom Shall Rise, or our
own Emissions From The Monolith festival here in the U.S.?
We have a mini tour here in Finland with Insomnium and Before The Dawn, but I
guess that is it for now. I guess it is too soon to start talking about a tour
in the U.S. or in Europe, let's just see after the summer how the record starts
Tell us about the use of Finnvox studios. Apparently, they boast
that they have recorded most of the artists that reside in Finland, and I was
looking at their website: their credentials are very impressive! And it seems
that they have several rooms serving various functions, and even a whole wall
lined with gold and platinum albums!
Yes that is true. They have an impressive studio. They have lots of studiorooms
for recording, mixing and mastering. We just mastered our album there so we
just got a peek of what is in there. I guess most of the big artists record
their albums there. I haven't gotten to know the studio much more than that.
I couldn't tell from the pictures, but maybe you could tell us
about some of the more noteworthy artists that recorded at Finnvox, and tell us
some of the albums that make up the records on their gold and platinum records
Well, there were lots of gold and platinum albums which are not metal, just
Finnish pop groups mostly, but I guess the biggest metal names were HIM,
Nightwish and Stratovarius, who had some gold or platinum albums up there.
Any chance we'll see a new record soon? If so let us know about
song titles, album titles or even how the sound of the album will be?
We have booked the studio to next January. One new song is 'Between The Hammer
And Anvil.' A few tracks are almost ready and I just have to say the next
album is gonna be even better and is going to rock even more if it's possible.
That front cover artwork is pretty interesting. It kinda looks like
something you might see in a mausoleum or something. How did you come to choose
the cover, and who was responsible for the artwork?
Our guitar player Ville did the covers. He wanted to do those and we knew he
has the skills to do that kind of stuff so he got free hands to do what he
liked. The figure in the cover is a statue of a monk, and he is holding a
really big sword but it doesn't show on that picture.
Anything else you want to mention at length we didn't talk about
before we wrap this up?
True metal will never die! And thanks to all the people who went to get our
album and help us trying to continue this battle against pop music. We won't
let you down!
Wow is this thing ever late! We're talking like over 4 months late! As many of
you know, our website was down quite a few times, once for almost two months!!
Hopefully the problems are over with and we can get back to the business at
hand. Sorry there's not more interviews or content but I thought it would be
better to get out the magazine, since it was mostly finished anyway, than delay
it any more. Hopefully the next one will go out in three months, we're shooting
for a late January release date. Probably the 30th. That will give us a few
extra weeks to start catching up on music for the next one.
Thanks to all the labels that stuck it out with me on this. There's quite a few
labels that have cut back on support, and I don't blame you one bit, especially
when there's other magazines who have their stuff together. But now you can let
the releases roll!! Not much else to say here, except look out for Broken
Trinity to have a demo or something out hopefully by the end of the year. I'll
go ahead and leak a few song titles I have completed: 'Sutekh The Destroyer,'
'Council Of Nicaea,' 'Trapped Between Life And Death,' 'Sacred Temples To
Ashes,' 'Cloaked In Black Shadow,' and 'Conquerors Of The Astral Plane.' I'm
not quite sure yet which ones will be recorded and which ones will be held back
for an album release, so we'll have to see. Thanks again for sticking around
and we hope to have the next issue out in three months!!
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