VIBRATIONS OF DOOM MAGAZINE
Damn if this thing almost didn't come out! Besides being quite a few months
late, my secondary hard drive finally crashed, taking out 85 percent of THIS
particular issue, so much had to be redone from scratch. I think many labels
were ready to give up on me at this point! BUT, fear not, I have soldiered on
through MUCH worse in my life... Anyway, since the next issue will not come out
until 2006, enjoy for now and worry not, for I will be working on issue #42
quite sooner than you think!
I guess we'll do the standard address statement like we've done for so many
issues past. (sigh). Okay, if you wanna send us stuff, the address that we've
had for about 6 years now still works:
Vibrations Of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
SUwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA
ACID KING "III" (Small Stone) SCORE: 83/100
Heavy, somewhat sludgy with a female vocalist, that somewhat describes Acid
King's sound (without trying to be overcliched and utilizing the "It's stoner
rock! What more needs to be said" lazy journalism tripe). Song descriptions
you need? Okay, well, '2 Wheel Nation' starts the disc off and though they go
for a really slow buildup, it's not the lethargic pace most bands overabuse in
this genre. Plus, Lori's laid back approach to vocals show she's willing to
take her time to build up to an effect. Not that the 5 minute length shows them
rushing through anything! 'Heavy Load' was crunchy but really slow, and it's
here that Lori's vocals grated the nerves a tad, especially when she would drag
out the word 'load' as if she was purposefully trying to gain that distorted
effect. There's lots of cool solo instrumentation, but like with many other
tracks, very little vocals, so the length of some of these tunes (especially
the 11+ minutes of 'War Of The Mind,' which had almost a minute and a half of
just ONE guitar plodding away!) seems a bit excessive in spots. More crunchy
guitar work abounds on 'Into The Ground,' and it's nice to see Lori break style
at times for some lead solos with some nice high ended notations to them! That
one is a 4 minute track, by the way, so they're not ALL the long, dragged out
songs this genre seemingly relies on. Yes, stoner rock bands DO have the balls
to be different... Sometimes... But if it ain't broke and it WORKS, don't try
to fix it! Echo effected vocals work well too, giving Lori's vocals the
illusion of being another instrument (don't think about the obvious just for a
minute) and taking things to another level. I don't know if this is not quite
as enjoyable as "Busse Woods," but they do seem to take the Sons Of Otis
approach as far as lyrics/music are concerned: Not a lot of vocals, but quite a
bit of instrumentation.
Contact: Small Stone Records.
AMON AMARTH "Fate Of Norns" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 97/100
You know, the more I think about it, the more I hear elements of black metal in
the Scandinavian warriors' sound (mainly vocal wise). This is a VERY strong
record, even going so far as to spawn a video for the title track (which,
unlike what some other bands do is not THE best song on the disc). 'An Ancient
Sign Of Coming Storm' starts things off, and immediately you know who this is,
the guitar work kinda gives it away. High ended notes ring out clear and loudly
through 'The Fate Of Norns,' and I must say the lead guitar work is one of the
highlights of this record. Vocals, of course, are another matter, and Johan's
vocals are at their sickest ever, especially on 'Valkyries Ride,' which,
incidentally, has some lead guitar riffs that are tuned VERY low, and at a
somewhat slower pace this almost sounds like a death march. Very anthemic!
'Arson' is one of their slowest tracks on the record, and one that has a nice
lead solo near the end, something that shocked me because you don't often hear
many lead solos in Amon Amarth's music. 'The Beheading Of A King' has lots of
melodic lead work besides, and as I said you'll find much to rave about for the
Viking warriors to the north have put out yet another gem of a record, the last
line in defense for true Viking oriented death metal. I've seen Amon Amarth at
least three times live, and everytime I see lead singer Johan, he looks more
and more like he's about ready to ride into battle with hammer in hand and
bloodlust in his eyes, and it carries over into the music nicely. This disc
will get your blood boiling and your battle cry firmly entrenched in your
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
AMORPHIS "Far From The Sun" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 31/100
I knew Amorphis' sound had been changing from record to record, but this band
is about as far removed from metal as you can get. And they even have the nerve
to put the Hammer Of Thor on the cover, as if that's going to give them some
credibility! Amon Amarth should be marching down there to kick their sorry
asses right back to Finland. This record really is an embarassment. To be
perfectly honest, though, there's some interesting guitar work to open up the
disc (track 'Day Of Your Beliefs'). For a somewhat alternative sound, this
opening song isn't half bad. From there it's pretty much all downhill, as
'Planetary Misfortune' continues on with some awful heavy singing that just
grates the nerves. The opening synths were nice but that's it. The choruses
especially are all whiny and shit, something I really hate. Okay, I'll TRY to
hide my disdain and be fair, there's some nice soloing going on here. I'll give
a point or two for the effort of going with Egyptian styled riffs, but it
really ain't happening. 'Evil Inside' shows them trying the Middle Eastern
thing and, once again, failing. The start betrays an almost industrial like
approach, which pioneers of the genre (like Front Line Assembly, :Wumpscut:,
and Die Krupps) have done WAY better. 'Mourning Soil' made me think maybe
things would change; well, until Pasi opened his mouth again. Didn't Pasi do
some doom/death metal vocals for some of the stuff on Spikefarm and Firebox?
The title track was a bit interesting, some nice opening acoustics and very
cool Hammond organs (which I'm a sucker for). The vocals here weren't half bad
either, surprise surprise! Well, I should say the vocals are at their LEAST
annoying here. 'Ethereal Solitude' could have had me at the synths and a decent
melodic start, but the syrup starts to ever flow. Forget the rest of the CD, as
they continue to butcher attempts at otherworldly guitar sounds (aren't they
from Finland? WHY do they try to be Egyptian or Middle Eastern?) Sorry to be so
harsh, but this just won't do at all. If this is their idea of metal then I
think someone needs to pull their head out of the sand....
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.
AXENSTAR "The Inquisition" (Arise) SCORE: 54/100
I REALLY, REALLY wanted to like this record. Especially since the past two were
so amazing, and I considered this band to be one of the best on this label. But
something's amiss, and it's not just the weaker choruses and lack of energetic
songwriting. And of course, if you want to annoy me even further, start your
opening song off with scratchy record sounds! (Especially since I literally
spend hours and hours cleaning the scratches OUT of those treasured 80's metal
vinyl pieces). The opening piano notes on CD opener 'The Fallen One' were kinda
nice, and this tune isn't too bad, though the choruses seemed to be cranked out
rather quickly. Regardless, there's some nice thrashy guitar work here and it
meshes with the synth work somewhat nicely. Nothing's catching me here with
'Under Black Wings,' either. Fast synths and guitars. Weak choruses. Where's
that dynamic vocal interaction? The synths seem to dominate the sound here.
'Salvation' showcases more melodic guitar work, though most noteworthy here is
the nice solo instrumentation. Once again, not a terrible tune but I'm still
not convinced. Very weak choruses finally bother me on 'Inside Your Mind,'
which has to be one of the worst tunes on record. The choruses are seemingly
devoid of life here, and it seems like another fast tune for speed's sake.
Oh yeah, then the ballad like sung vocals near the end REALLY grate the nerves.
Not too bad is 'Daydreamer,' and the choruses seem brought out better, though
this is nowhere NEAR the caliber of EITHER of the first two albums this band
put out. 'Drifting' IS your ballad. Short, acoustic, wussy lyrics, not much
more to say. And finally, after 6 songs, I FINALLY catch a glimpse of the REAL
Axenstar. 'The Burning' reminded me SO much of WHY I liked Axenstar in the
first place: very cool choruses, and energetic vocal work everywhere else. Then
the truth comes roaring back and they suddenly slow this, my favorite tune on
the WHOLE record, way down and "wuss out" vocal wise especially. Thankfully it
doesn't last long before they get back to the business at hand. And 'Run Or
Hide,' while far from being abysmal, does nothing for me. The spark just isn't
there, folks, and it would be a total crap CD if it wasn't for the fact that
the guitar players can play and the singer can actually SING. I'm almost crying
inside, but those tears are saved for the even more abysmal Falconer
(unfortunately, also reviewed this issue).
Contact: Arise Records.
DARKTHRONE "Sardonic Wrath" (Moonfog) SCORE: 92/100
I was most definitely looking forward to this one, which followed quite soon
after the "Hate Them" album we reviewed not too long ago. 'Order Of The
Ominous' is somewhat an intro, so we'll skip that one. 'Information Wants To
Be Syndicated' is next, and rather unusual lyrical matter for Fenriz and
company. Regardless, it starts off in fine black metal fashion with some speed
for ya, and of course in true Darkthrone fashion (these days) doesn't stay at
one speed the entire length. Those vocals are just as sick as I remembered them
too! 'Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist' reminds me of something from their last effort,
and it starts off in fast (but not blazing) tempo. One of my favorite tracks
here is 'Straightening Sharks In Heaven,' which utilizes some rather vicious
riffing and a bit slower pace than what some b.m. afficionados may be used to.
'Alle Gegen Alle' probably betrays better than any other track their slower,
somewhat Celtic Frost/Hellhammer like influences. Even the faster
instrumentation on this tune is blatantly obviously the Swiss 'Frost influence.
Another Norweigan sung tune 'Man Tenker Sitt' and it's too crystal clear.
Finally "Sacrificing To The God Of Doubt' was another one of my alltime
favorite Darkthrone tracks, especially the sick and heavy riffs and those
insane vocals carrying the chorus to a fever pitch near the end of the song.
I didn't care much for the hardcore styled shouted vocals on 'Hate Is The Law,'
but it's not a bad tune. Likewise, I thought 'Rawness Obsolete' might have been
dragged on a bit too long for it's 6 minute length, maybe because I'm not
alltogether into some of the lead guitar parts. Otherwise, a good solid effort
from one of the originators of the Norweigan black metal scene...
Contact: Moonfog Productions.
DEMONS & WIZARDS "Touched By The Crimson King" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 95/100
I was totally surprised by this band's latest offering, though not totally
expecting it to be a failure. When their self titled debut album came out, I
initially agreed it had potential, but was a bit disappointed by the heavier
material not being written as well, and I thought there should have been more
emotional and melodic passages, something which I wholeheartily agreed was
their strongest point. They have indeed improved on both accounts, and though
the opening track 'Crimson King' failed to impress me, from track 2 it's all
musical bliss. 'Beneath These Waves' shows a great mix of the heaviness and
the melodic and powerful vocals of Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursch (Jon Schaffer
from Iced Earth rounds out the writing duo), coupled with the heavy but still
melodic guitar work that really drives the point home. Choruses here, as well
as throughout the disc, are especially potent, and this is one of their
greatest strengths. The orchestrated pieces are also a wonder to behold.
'Terror Train' is the first dominantly heavy piece to grace the CD, and it is a
MONSTER to behold! The fast and furious guitar riffing nearly pins you to the
floor, and it's quite astounding to hear just how vicious Hansi can get vocal
wise! 'Seize The Day' showcases some nice acoustic guitar work, and the lyrics
are well written too. In fact, further along in the lyrics you're suddenly
thinking of Lord Of The Rings, a fact not unfamiliar to the Blind Guardian camp
(as they wrote an entire album based on Tolkien's writings). The multivocal
work on the choruses is especially astounding, even more so on the acoustical
"ballad" (and I use that term VERY, VERY loosely) like piece 'Wicked Witch,'
which has the most intense, emotional and soaring vocal work on the album, and
it's FILLED with multivocal work. 'Love's Tragedy Asunder' has a rather
beautiful acoustic start, very well done orchestrated pieces and still retains
a heavy thrash sound on the guitar parts. 'Down Where I Am' continues the
amazing catchy choruses, intense vocal work and lyrical content that hits home
(for me) on a personal level. I could have done without the rather lengthy
spoken word type intro to 'The Gunslinger,' though not a bad track overall.
Finally, they do a nice job covering Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song,' and
overall this is my pick for surprise album of the year. Even 'Dorian' crushed
me in a way that for all the heaviness they don't scrimp on the melodies and
man oh man, this is a great power metal album, that works on so many different
Contact: Steamhammer Records.
DISSIMULATION "Prakeikimas" (Ledo Takas) SCORE: 84/100
Another sick black metal assault from Lithuania, Dissimulation had me very
interested after their last release on the mighty Ledo Takas records. One big
complaint I have is the insistence on dark ambient outros on just about every
song, as a lot of them sounded rather similar and broke up the dark and heavy
mood damn near each and every track portrays. 'As Jusu Prakeikimas' starts the
CD off and has too long of an opening, with their useage of a rather odd,
operatic piece that sounded more like it fit in with techno act Apotheosis
rather than a sick black metal band. However, the sick vocals and ripping
guitar work soon make you forget this simple transgression (it would have been
a LOT better if that intro piece had it's own track number so as to skip right
to the music). The start/stop guitar work of 'Suteikim Jiems Kancia' definitely
piqued my interest, especially since they are of a rather thrashy nature. Fast
instrumentation abounds, and 'Ju Septynetas' is no exception. Celtic Frost
influences are found here, though slight, and there's lots of tight
instrumental prowess going on here. Varied tempos keep things interesting as
well. The vocal interactions between the lead vocalist and other members (or
was it all lead vocals overdubbed) almost ruined the ending of the opening
track, and the guitar/vocal mix was quite odd on 'Kol Viskas Niekur' as well.
There's some complex riffing to hear on 'Omega Et Alpha,' and Voivod
immediately sprang to mind , especially on the more solo oriented guitar work.
Not at all a bad effort, and as long as Dissimulation keeps putting out albums
like this, I will always be interested!! See what new sounds and influences
keep brewing from deep in the underground forges of Lithuania!
Contact: Ledo Takas Records.
DOOMTREE "Down Below" (Long Live Crime) SCORE: 81/100
I believe bands shoot themselves in the foot by advertising the "hit single,"
which is also the video AND the CD's biggest highlight. In fact, had I not
given this CD many spins, this would have probably brought a much lower score
than you're seeing here. Opening track 'Severed' is such a rockin', kick ass,
punk/metal tinged affair, complete with Misfits styled 'whoa's' that it really
is THE main highlight of the disc. Nothing else here kills with the power that
this opener has, however don't let that dissuade you just yet. 'Alive And
Well,' granted, doesn't have that spark, and the choruses don't kick me where
they should, but 'Stand And Fall' definitely puts the ideas that the Misfits
and Samhain banked on from day one into a new light. Remember, members of this
outfit are pulled squarely from both Samhain and AFI (the latter band going so
far as to doing a straight up Danzig tribute with Sons Of Sam, reviewed here
many issues ago) so this was going to be interesting from the get go. Heavy
bass guitar attacks come opening up 'The Light,' and it's a rather rocking
punk affair. Choruses especially hint at the power this band has, and their
greatest strength is obviously in their chorus work (and the low toned sung
vocals help create a dark mood before the more 'light' versions of the
choruses [no pun intended] create a dramatic change). I can't dig 'Seven Lives'
much at all, nor do I care for CD ender 'Soul Of Silence,' as it's WAY too
alternative sounding for what this band is trying to achieve. The rather wussy
sung vocals really drag this tune further down as well. However, the next best
song here would have to be 'Don't Ask Why,' as it has some great dark guitar
parts before exploding into a rocking motherfucker of a song. Complete with, of
course, amazing chorus work. A slightly faster paced song at times, it's part
of the charm and style Doomtree is looking for. Wicked guitar work adorns 'Down
Below,' and 'A Perfect Way' is more Danzig like than even Danzig these days,
but these last few tunes mentioned don't quite make the cut as far as the rest.
It's an interesting affair, but PLEASE give this multiple spins beyond one of
the coolest (and it IS included on the CD in multimedia format for ya) videos
and "hit singles" I've heard this year.
Contact: Long Live Crime Records.
DRACONIAN "Arcane Rain Fell" (Napalm) SCORE: 100/100
This is very easily the pick of the issue, so much so that a portion of time
was spent procuring an interview for this issue. This is such a fantastic piece
of work, that it easily gets my vote for inclusion as one of the top 3 albums
of 2005. After the masterpiece that was "Where Lovers Mourn," this albums seems
a LOT more doom/death metal oriented, but they are SO much more than that. The
female vocals are in force once again, to complement the harsh vocals of Anders
perfectly. 'A Scenery Of Loss' starts things off perfectly, and the guitar work
is SUCH a highlight on the entire disc, showcasing the most beautiful and also
sorrowful of works that would give Candlemass a run for their money. Such
emotional instrumentation definitely did NOT go unnoticed. Black metal vocals
also rears it's head as well, most notably on 'The Apostasy Canticle' and
'Heaven Laid In Tears,' which have these amazing passages where the music gets
about as brutal and as sick as you'll hear on this album. 'Expostulation' was a
very poetic spoken word piece, and after finally obtaining the full version of
this masterpiece (as opposed to the cardboard sleeve where I could finally get
lyrics) I was surprised to see the lyrical content deals with much more than
the usual sadness and sorrow all too commonplace in one of my favorite genres
of music. 'Death, Come Near Me' is about a 15 minute piece that utilizes the
growling male and beautiful female vocals in tandem for a very nice effect.
Many people complained about the overuseage of spoken word passages, but they
(in my eyes) add a nice effect of having different vocal styles running
throughout the same songs, so it's widely varied. Such a moving album has
spawned MANY repeat listens at work, at home and in the car, and it's been VERY
hard to move past this to work on other titles for weeks. If you want something
that will work for you on many different levels, especially emotionally, the
followup to "Where Lovers Mourn" is a disc you cannot afford to miss.
Contact: Napalm Records.
FALCONER "Grime Vs. Grandeur" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 46/100
I knew that things would never be the same for Falconer after the brilliant but
sadly overlooked minstrel singer Matthias left the band, but I had no idea the
snowball would turn into an avalanche! Poor songwriting, lyrics and tired vocal
abilities ruin any chance this band had at really making a mark for themselves
in the metal world. To be perfectly fair and honest, 'Purgatory Time' is one of
the best tracks here, mostly because of the emotional performance new singer
Kristoffer Gobel puts into this track (he actually performed on their last
full length "Scepter Of Deception," but he wasn't given the total free reign he
has with this disc). The opening guitar work on this track will definitely
remind you of the Falconer "sound" even if most everything else falls flat. CD
opener 'Endless Skies' is your first glimpse that something's wrong. The
heavier guitar work was nice, but the multivocal choruses, besides being REALLY
fruity, didn't sit well with me. It wasn't worth replacing "the bard" with this
guy for sure. 'Humanity Overdose' and ESPECIALLY 'Jack The Knife' suffer from
very bad lyrics, and the latter song is ESPECIALLY confusing, as our famous
English killer is referred to as both Jack The Ripper AND Jack The Knife.
Forgive my ignorance but was he REALLY both? Besides, aren't lyrics about
serial killers better left to the experts (like Macabre)? Some songs, like
'Power' and 'I Refuse' don't sound much like Falconer at all, especially in the
most important part, the guitar sounds! 'I Refuse' irked me even further by
making use of rather industrialized effected vocals, something which SHOULD be
a no-no by the standards of this group. The guitar work in spots is often the
only highlight, especially on songs that weren't terrible but just didn't have
that catchy spark to them, like 'Child Of The Wild' and 'The Assailant,' the
latter probably being the second best tune here. Oh yeah, and before I forget,
what's up with 'The Return,' with Kristoffer not only doing a very weak Ozzy,
but going so far as to insult us further with some lame attempt at death metal
vocals. I think more work should have gone into this before it was flung on an
unsuspecting public, but judging by the fact that there were a lot of positive
reviews, it's obvious to me that these same reviewers either didn't listen
intently to the first three Falconer records, or we're witnessing the return of
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
NOVEMBERS DOOM "The Pale Haunt Departure" (The End) SCORE: 97/100
I have the feeling people are going to think Vibrations Of Doom focuses
primarily on, well, doom metal. When people think of successful bands in the
doom genre, the first thoughts are to overseas, most notably Scandinavia and
England. Add America with the release of "The pale Haunt Departure," which is
a shining example of one top notch doom record. Okay, well in the last issue of
Metal Maniacs I read, Novembers Doom were growing tired of lazy journalism as
people constantly lumped them into a generic doom category. So let's give them
the benefit of the doubt and delve more deeply into their individualistic sound
shall we? The opening track, which is the title track, is a bit faster than
normal for doom metal, so that would certainly validate their argument right
off the bat. Thunderous percussion and some sick downtuned riffing give this a
very unusual quality, and there are a few spots where I heard the blackened
vocals rear their sick heads! 'Swallowed By The Moon' proceeds with some very
dark acoustic riffs, and of course the trademark slower pace. However, there
are quite a few instances where low tuned sung vocals will pop up, which
accentuates the well written and emotional lyrics quite well. Speaking of
emotional, the effect of 'Autumn Reflection' does not go unnoticed, as it is
performed ENTIRELY in clean sung vocals. The emotional weight of this song
cannot be denied. And on a lighter note, 'Through A Child's Eyes' is a somewhat
more uplifting piece, complete with brighter acoustics and of course no death
metal vocals (which, to my ears, would sound out of place, especially
considering the lyrical subject matter). 'In The Absence Of Grace' was a fun
tune to hear, as they perform melodic acoustics and suddenly rip into fast
instrumentation and death metal vocasls. Even the angrier spoken word parts
lend an overwhelming heaviness and help you get the anger and frustration out
as you deal with the sadness and sorrow. The guitar work does it's job quite
well, whether it's cranking out the angry, crushing downtuned atmosphere or
just simply creating more emotional and mellow vibes. Defining and re-defining
the genre they most certainly are, and doom metakl afficionados are well
advised to keep their eyes on the American shores, as doom metal here is most
certainly NOT dead. Amazing foresight for The End Records to pick up on such a
high quality act.
Contact: The End Records.
PRIMORDIAL "The Gathering Wilderness" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 97/100
When I first heard about this I was like "What?!?" When did Primordial sign to
Metal Blade? Obviously, there was not a whole lot of press or hype before the
release, and if not for the frequent Metal Blade newsletter email, I might have
never found out for this. But good for them, because this Irish band definitely
deserved a jump to a bigger label, and this effort is monstrous! In fact, it
ranks up there with Draconian as one of the best releases of 2005. (Top 3 or
top 5? I'm still not sure, get back to me next year!) The Irish folk influences
seem to be lessened a tad, as do the blackened vocals, which kinda frustrated
me at first. However, when the blackened shrieks do come, they are SO welcomed
that it's almost like anticipation before a date before you get to sleep with a
woman.... It's all worthwhile and every effort was worth it. And in this case,
the soaring and emotional vocal work of Nemtheanga makes the tiniest nuance SO
damn enjoyable, you don't even notice that these are somewhat long songs. 'The
Golden Spiral' starts things off with some thunderous, almost militaristic
percussion, and of course he teases you from the get go with some sick but
passionate blackened vocals. On to the title track, which has nice melodic and
melancholic acoustical guitar work for that great folkish feel before the
heavier guitars come roaring in. Lyrically this is very well written, and the
soaring emotional passion you hear in the vocals just drives the point home
that much further: this is a GREAT fucking band. Fast drumming and one long
winded blackened scream later (YEESSSS!!) 'The Song Of The Tomb' breaks in with
fast instrumentation, belying the black metal roots, or should I say influence.
The chanting was a nice touch as well. Slow and majestic is the order of the
day with 'End Of All Times,' a track totally devoid of the blackened shrieks of
terror. Some of the darkest acoustic guitar work known to man is found opening
'The Coffin Ships,' and it's here that the vocals and instrumentation,
especially the tear-inducing and utterly astounding high ended guitar work,
soar to their highest point and leave you utterly speechless. 'Tragedy's Birth'
and 'Cities Carved In Stone,' well, what more can I say? The length of some of
these songs (especially near the end of the disc) makes me wonder if a small
trimming of a minute or two here and there was warranted, but like with most
bands in other genres (MOST notably doom metal) if the song's a-flowing then
the time I ain't a-knowing! A band that truly deserves this jump to a label of
epic proportions, it's proof positive that even in this cut throat music
industry, the fates and karmas can be kind to those who exude true passion.
Oh yeah, and dedicating this entire record to Quorthon of Bathory? Respect for
this band goes up even further. HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommended!!!
Contact: Metal Blade Records.
PYRAMAZE "Melancholy Beast" (Nightmare) SCORE: 87/100
This band features none other than Lance King on vocals and they managed to
pull in Morten Gade, the drummer from Wuthering Heights. As if that wasn't
enough, their keyboard player lives in my neck of the woods. If you wanna know
who he is, you'll have to read the interview! This is one of those progressive
slash power metal bands that has a definite emphasis on power! 'Sleepy Hollow'
starts things off, and once you sit through the first few minutes of low toned
spoken word, things kick off rather quickly. The melodic instrumentation is
accentuated by some heavy and almost thrashy riffs, and catchy choruses abound
here. Not only can these guys play their instruments with skill, even the
vocals storm across with passion. 'Forsaken Kingdom' starts off rather slow,
and gives us some dark vocal deliveries, with nice vocal melodies. The title
track is the first track that REALLY perks my ears, though a tad long at 6
minutes, and features some great choruses, right along with the dark and heavy
guitar riffs. One thing that needs to be mentioned though, is that the synths
and guitars are properly mixed to where one doesn't always drown out the other,
and they complement each other well. 'The Journey' has some thrashy riffs as
well, and of course the fantastic choruses keep you well hooked. My other
favorite tracks are the fantasy lyrics of 'Legend,' and at a somewhat slower
pace but still enjoyable is 'Mighty Abyss.' There's a rather nice keyboard
instrumental in 'The Nature Of Triumph' which barely lasts a minute, and CD
closer 'Power Of Imagination' showcases some fast and thrashy guitar work that
easily betrays their progressive/power metal genre. The vocal work here is to
die for, even when he goes up high (like the prechoruses on 'The Journey') it
never gets out of hand and the emotions running through his pipes are worth
hearing. Some of the songs I thought were just a bit too long, even my favorite
'Mighty Abyss' was 8 minutes long, due to some of the slower instrumentation
and whispered vocals, but all in all, this is a band that will keep those who
normally frown on the progressive/power metal scene interested due to their
insistence that songs be heavy and catchy as well.
Contact: Nightmare Records.
REX INFERI "Like A Hurricane" (Sonic Age) SCORE: 82/100
Many of you have probably heard the nice little EP "The Damage Has Been Done,"
which has been in the classic albums section for a few years. What many of you
probably DON'T know is that there was another album in the works that never saw
the light of day, well, until now. The band had broken up before their 1988
release date could be confirmed. Well, it's why you're reading this review
instead of listening to this in the classic albums section. Granted, it seems
to have been polished up a tad, but there's no denying this has galloping 80's
metal written all over it! 'Angel Of Might' starts the disc off with rather
nice singing vocals, though it's noteworthy that there are two different vocal
performances here. The drum work is especially quite intense and pounding, as
the first two tracks especially showcase. 'Ghost Horse' is one of my favorites,
especially due to the soaring vocals and catchy choruses, a must for true 80's
metal afficionados who appreciate good songwriting. 'Flight To The Sky' has
some rather INSANE guitar work, probably their fastest stuff to be found on
record! The sudden drop in tempo did throw the track off a bit, however, though
lead solos are all over the place. 'Like A Hurricane' features more intense and
speedy guitar work, though the tune picks up considerably once the vocals come
roaring in. Another favorite tune of mine is the bit slower paced 'Welcome To
The Slaughter,' complete with multivocal choruses that are almost shouted, but
still catchy, and it's our first glimpse (on the CD) of our second vocalist
Zephyr. WHY they had two vocal performances is beyond me, however I think an
interview in the future may shed more light on this. 'Back From The War' had
some rather unusual chorus design but regardless the skill is there for our
intrepid axeslingers, and closing instrumental 'Murder In Time,' good though it
was, could have been left out as they dragged this on a bit. Nice release, for
the first time, even though it does show a tad bit of age and definitely could
have used more fleshing out, maybe with some bonus demo tracks or live clips?
All in all, a good piece of history that's never been presented... Until now.
Contact: Sonic Age Records.
RHAPSODY "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 93/100
It seems like Rhapsody may be running out of ideas, though some good things
have ocurred since their last outing. Christopher Lee has come on board
(played the character Saruman in the Lord Of The Rings movies) to do voice
narration, and this is possibly the best thing that could ever happen to
Rhapsody. Music wise, the songs are still strong and full of life, especially
with the multivocal choruses, but here and there you can hear parts of other
songs' past, especially 'Unholy Warcry,' which is one of their heaviest, and
'Nightfall On The Grey Mountains.' Overall, though, the concept reminds me of
the Lord Of The Rings story, even if laid out over 12 tracks clocking in at
around 70 minutes. It's a rather ambitious project, and yes, there are still
some cheesy spoken word parts, especially the demon's dialogue on 'Erian's
Mystical Rhymes,' 'Guardiani' was an interesting piece, sung entirely in
Italian, and Fabio's vocals carry over very well. Orchestration is suitably
tight and strong, and the self proclaimed "hollywood fantasy metal" is still
pulling it's magic. Some of these songs I thought may have been a bit too long,
though, as both "Sacred Power Of Raging Winds' and 'Erian's Mystical Rhymes'
clock in at over 10 minutes a piece, even though 'Dragonland's River' is about
4 minutes in length, and the melodic medieval like instrumental 'Elgard's Green
Valleys' is roughly 2 and a half minutes. A good solid effort, but giving the
disc a few spins you'll be asking yourself quite a few times "didn't I hear
such and such repeated in some of their earlier albums?" Still worth a listen,
if for nothing else to hear Mr. Lee pull off that Elvish chant on 'Sacred Power
Of Raging Winds.'
Contact: Steamhammer Records.
SIX "The Price Of Faith" (Embryo) SCORE: 79/100
WHen I first heard about Six, I was VERY excited. Lauren is one of the most
maniacal and vicious frontmen I have ever had the pleasure to witness both live
and on record, and his previous band Drown put out two monster releases that
still stand the test of time today. The industrial laced metal hasn't deviated
from the original Drown format (upon first listen) but the music has seemingly
gotten a tad more, and I REALLY hate to use this word where Lauren is
concerned, "commercialized." And that's not totally in a bad way, though there
IS a bit more of an emphasis on melody and catchy hooks, something that Drown
was able to accomplish but in such a brutal way that you NEVER NOTICED. The
brutality is still there, and for that I commend Lauren. 'Something's Gotta
Give' and 'Everything' still have the screamed vocals, though it's Lauren's
SUNG vocals that make Drown fans go "what?" Don't get me wrong, these are GREAT
CD openers for what Six is now doing, and once you get into them and try and
distance yourself from the Drown catalog, you'll do just fine. Six seems to
concentrate on explosive vocal work mainly during choruses, which was NOT how
Drown approached songwriting, but maybe it makes you appreciate the heaviness
more when you're not blinded by it. The melodic sung vocals aren't ALWAYS
tactfully done, in fact they kinda grated me a tad on 'In My Life,' this
despite the fact that Lauren is screaming throughout the track, and on "Sad
State Of Apology' his interaction with a female vocalist (singing wise) didn't
sit well with me. However, Drown is not totally dropped from Lauren's radar, as
an unreleased Drown track 'Stranger, Killer, King' is, rather obviously, the
heaviest, sickest and most damaging track on the record. 'Lay Back' is probably
the second sickest, especially the way the dirty, distorted guitar work builds
up to choruses of such explosive and epic proportions. 'Leave Me Dry' is a
tune that stands out in my mind, simply because for most of the album, you're
thinking, melodic (somewhat) sung mainlines and explosive, shouted/screamed
choruses, and Lauren completely reverses this on this track. So the man's got
some ideas left in his skull, and we are all better for them. Not quite what I
wanted to hear out of Six, but I'm definitely looking forward to the next
record, if for no other reason than to KNOW I'm going to at least get half a
record full of anger, explosion and aggression.
Contact: Embryo Records.
SKYFORGER "Semigalls' Warchant" (Folter) SCORE: 83/100
This is actually a reissue of Skyforger's very first release, and it's rather
unusual to hear after all the other material I've heard. In fact, we were going
to review "Thunderforge" beforehand, but once we got this we thought we'd work
it first. The black metal styled vocals are rather inhuman and very sick, if
you want a little insight as to how they got this sick sound, make sure to read
the interview! 'Sunrise Over The Sacred Forest' starts this CD off with nature
sounds, tribal drums and flutes. After this brief instrumental, we can hear
some sick guitar work with 'Werewolves.' The blackened guitars have an
interesting sound to them, and this is rather primal sounding black metal.
'Chief Nameisis' continues with a somewhat midtempo pace, and though they
incorporate what's hereby referred to as the "blackened blast," many of
their numbers incorporate slower to midpaced instrumentation as well as fast.
The solitary bass guitar notes add a thick bottom end, giving 'Chief Nameisis'
a somewhat doomy Celtic Frost like sound. 'Signs Carved In Stone' has some of
the sickest vocal work on the record, and is a rather dark piece containing
some blistering riffing. What I penned to be a bit wierd at first though later
appreciate more and more (in a somewhat headbanging sense) is the opening
tribal instrumentation and thick, distorted guitar mix, truly showing their
folk roots. They even had the nerve to throw in some dark acoustical number
midway through this. What REALLY surprised me however was the track 'Long I
Heard, Now I See.' This track is amazing in the vocal melodies and harmonies.
It's all a vocal track, no drums, guitars, synths, bass, or anything else, and
it's derived from a folk melody. Personally, I'd love to hear more of this type
of stuff from Skyforger, as they do it so well. 'Semigalls' Warchant' closes
out the first portion of the disc with nice, high ended melodic leads and some
doomier passages as well as semi fast paced blackened guitars. As a bonus,
there are 4 tracks which showcase a DIFFERENT style of singing (they are new
tunes, and apparently ONLY for this reissue). Personally, I thought they could
have left a few tunes off, as the multivocal work on 'Kavi' grates the nerves a
bit, though these 4 tunes have the trademark tribal instrumentation and slight
differences from other black metal bands. A band worth checking out if you're
into tribal and folkish black metal, this is well worth having.
Contact: Folter Records.
SONS OF OTIS "X" (Small Stone) SCORE: 91/100
THIS is the record I had been waiting for, as I knew a band like this wouldn't
stay unsigned very long. I also figured that they would end up on Small Stone,
as this is where good Man's Ruin bands go to survive. Nothing much different on
this latest affair, their fourth full length album, though it seems to tie up
everything from "Spacejumbofudge" all the way up to their last release "Songs
For Worship." A 7 minute track 'Way I Feel' starts things off, and they do a
pretty good job of messing with your head (the song sounds like it ends for
good around 3:40, of course that's the stoner in stoner rock!) Anyone NOT
familiar with Sons Of Otis should know right off the bat this is NOT atypical
stoner rock anyway, though they utilize the warping Orange and Green amp guitar
work. More like heavy sludgy stoner doom in the deepest and coldest depths of
space (just in case you missed the last three reviews). 'Relapse' shows us that
the 'Sons are still capable of throwing us a curveball: Middle Eastern guitar
work! And yes, it's echoey. Definitely heaviness abounds in this song, and this
particular track reminds me strongly of something off the "Templeball" album.
It's a shame they didn't do more of the Middle Eastern sound (it's strictly a
beginning song only affair), but the heavy vibe still reigns. '1303' could have
been off either "Songs For Worship" or "Templeball," and there's a lot of vocal
work in this one, though not a lot of length. 5 minutes and not much variety,
but it's Otissally consistent. 'The vocal work seemed a bit off on 'The
Pusher,' which definitely seems more bluesy to me. One of their most mellow
tracks to date, and probably not out of place on "Songs For Worship." A 4
minute track!? I kid you not, and 'Help Me' has some crazy vocal effects this
time around. This one has a more "upbeat" feeling, something they were working
more with on "Songs..." Some very heavy and dark ambience reminded me of
something, and thus starts the 10 minute opus 'Eclipse.' Some rather angry and
DARK guitar work, coming from the angriest, darkest and loneliest reaches of
space, and then it hits me: This is like the vicious instrumental from
"Spacejumbofudge," minus the higher ended, scraping feedback guitar work! Of
course, there's no vocal work, and some wicked guitar noises still abound.
Finally, 'Liquid Jam' will test your patience at around 14 minutes, and you
at least have to stay for the early era Orange Goblin like acoustic segments.
It jams for quite awhile, but around the 4 minute mark things slow down even
further. There's some long lead solo work to balance things out as well. A good
solid effort, doing the smart thing and mixing the songs up by combining
influences from their past three records, to create an album that was quite a
few years in the making, but well worth the wait. Now, please come back and
tour the States? (THIS time making sure the new drummer extraordinaire can PLAY
songs from the first two records?)
Contact: Small Stone Records.
:WUMPSCUT: "Evoke" (Metropolis) SCORE: 84/100
Rudy has had a very long career with the :W:, and this marks the first time (as
far as I know) that female vocals have taken a more prominent position in the
arrangement of songs. The harshness and militaristic industrial stance seem to
have fallen by the wayside as well, as CD opener 'Maiden' will attest to. Very
nice and melodic, however, this is a good start for the German industrial
pioneers. The lyrics and storyline are rather sad though, but still a good
tune. 'Churist Churist' shows that Rudy has no problems writing lyrics in
German, and this is a bit faster paced, a bit more club worthy. And Rudy does
'sing' on this one. (Yes, he still uses the somewhat harsh distorted vocals,
but they seem a bit tempered this time around for some reason). I didn't care
much for the female vocals on 'Don't Go,' as they seem a bit warbly, and the
lyrics have gotten a bit, 'softer,' if you will. 'Evoke' was a good title track
I thought, especially with the interesting synth sounds and more melodic tone
offset by the harsh vocals of Rudy (which seems to be a trend with harsher
industrial bands these days). 'Tomb' has some eerie synth notes, though also
presenting a melancholic and melodic side as well. A rather beautiful
instrumental, and still club worthy. 'Hold' really bothered me, the female
vocals here are TOO in synch with the instrumentation, and sound a bit rushed.
Not only that, the lyrics are REALLY sappy, I won't go into that here. 'Krolok'
is yet another instrumental, this time utilizing some cool samples and an
almost spacey sound. 'Breathe' I'll pass on as well, the kid vocals were very
odd to me. It's another instrumental, which makes three on the record, which is
in my eyes a bit too many . 'Rush' is classic heavy :W:, and probably their
heaviest and darkest on this record. 'Perdition' is almost relaxing in a way,
and with nice choruses as well, and 'Obsessio' has female vocals, presumably
all in German, with nice violin notes. Not the strongest :Wumpscut: album as
some diehards may say, but a nice refreshing change of pace and still keeping a
bit of the old charm.
Contact: Metropolis Records.
DRACONIAN. Interview with Anders via email.
Some people have said this newest record, "Arcane Rain Fell," is a
bit more doom metal oriented than your first full length "Where Lovers Mourn."
How do you see the progression from the first album to this one?
They are right, of course. The new album is more doom-oriented and it was made
on purpose. We wanted to take it further into the dark and mellow… more back to
the roots of the sound of old My Dying Bride and Anathema… as well as retro
Doom/Death bands such as Mourning Beloveth, but without losing the true
The progression was there even before we recorded “Where
Lovers Mourn”. We knew already then we wanted something else for the next
album. We had grown quite tired of those songs since most of them had been
included on the “Dark Oceans We Cry” demo. Personally I think these songs are
still better on that demo. I dislike the sound “Where Lovers Mourn” got. It was
not what we were looking for at all.
Vocal wise, it sounds very death metal oriented but there are
touches of black metal singing styles as well... It's sometimes tough to
categorize music these days, but where would you say the vocal range falls, and
was it your intention to have blackened vocals in the music as well? How easily
do these types of vocals come for you?
Well, I think it’s important to vary the vocal style in order to heighten
emotions and so on in the lyrics, taking the music to a higher and more
powerful level. We are neither black nor death metal just because we use those
types of vocals. I use extreme vocals because that’s what Draconian is about.
Draconian uses death-vocals much more than black-vocals because we are that
type of band, it’s darker… but it’s important not to limit yourself. I always
vary my vocals according to the emotions in the lyrics and the music.
I hate cardboard sleeves! I was quite surprised when I did finally
get ahold of the lyrics, and despite the female vocals, synths, focus on
sadness and solitude, I was reading some topics that seem a bit black metal
oriented, especially the brazen attitude against god and the desire to be
independent from Christianity. How were the lyrics constructed for this record,
and how do you personally see the theme progressing from song to song? Is this
lyrically based on personal feelings or an outside, third person view?
I think you can use any type of lyrics without limiting yourself into a certain
genre. The black metal movement doesn’t have a patent on these matters, and I
don’t think I’ve ever heard a black metal album which made this subject that
interesting either. (To them) It’s just all about evil, hatred, cursing Jesus
and sodomizing virgins. That is not really my thing. I am more interested in
Lucifer and the fallen angels as victims of a tyrant god, so I use this concept
in order to clear Lucifer’s name from religious prejudice. One great album
recommendation about this matter is Elend’s “Les Tenebres Du Dehors”… I think
Elend have captured the genuine essence of the luciferian spirit on that album.
To me that album is superior!
These lyrics are very personal for me in one
way, since I consider myself (more or less) a luciferian. If it was all up to
me I would have developed the lyrics for “Arcane Rain Fell” even further into
the luciferian state of mind. To me that is the real truth of what happened all
those millenniums ago. The universe is infinite and everything is possible, so
I chose to believe in this because it has something to say about religion,
humanity and its injustice… and it strikes me on a personal level.
what God was really about and he revolted against him, but Lucifer and his
legions suffered a bitter defeat. And you know, the rest is history… and
history has always been written by the victors.
Speaking of, how do you view black metal ideology and views of the
Christian based faith (you can leave out the church burnings and murders within
the Norwegian scene if you wish, as we have discussed that ad nauseum in other
interviews)? Do you feel Christianity has any place in society, and how are
your views of Satanism as they pertain to what many other bands have sung and
Well, I have nothing good to say about Christianity… and I’m no big fan of
Satanism either. The ideology of Satanism is very divided – just as the
Christian faith. I don’t think the general black metal attitude against
Christianity is very intellectual. I can respect truly devoted Christians
as my enemies, but generally, I cannot respect these retarded Blackmetallers
as co-warriors in the final battle (if you know what I mean).
should not have a place in society, I believe, but since the human nature is
so submissive and weak I think religion suits them well. It makes them even
more narrow-minded. The Jewish and Christian god is just a tragic and
oppressive figure. I cannot really understand why more people haven’t seen
through the lies and deceit.
One thing that struck me at first, more so now that I have read the
lyrics, is the sadness and solitary feelings, especially in passages that have
nearly brought a tear to my eye, but the overwhelming anger and aggression in
some of the harsher edged vocals (almost black metal in style) on songs like
'The Apostasy Canticle' and 'Heaven Laid In Tears.' I would love to get your
feelings on this, but one thing that I have noticed is, sometimes in order to
get over extreme sadness and move on to better emotions, one must be angry
enough to not want these feelings of sadness anymore, and that's where I see
the death metal vocals mixing well with the more doom metal oriented approach.
Hopefully I explained this well enough...
Perhaps you are right. I always try to use sad and bitter emotions
constructively – I try to make something creative out of it, instead of just
becoming a victim. I believe my soul is very rich because of my suffering,
otherwise I would not have learned anything deeper about myself, life and
beyond. I used to say that I'd rather suffer and know the truth, than live my
life like a naive zombie – thinking that everything is peachy. There’s so
little in this world of true value, if you think about it. It’s all falling
apart and it’s spiritually crippled by narrow-mindedness and lies. Humanity is
like a disease, a cancer – and generally they are all sheeps – slaves of the
common opinion. Their gods are tyrants disguised as prophets of love and
promises. But in the end, the human kind means nothing… there are larger and
much more important things out there.
My lyrics are just reflections of all
these realizations and feelings inside, and if people cherish them and feel
with me, I know I am not alone – that is my reward, except for my honoured
position in Draconian.
Napalm Records as a label puts out a lot of music that features
female vocalists and synths, almost to the effect that people label this
extreme form of metal as "gothic," when of course Draconian has very little to
do with gothic (true gothic) music. Was it a conscious effort to minimize the
amount of female vocal interaction and synths, or does it matter to you at all?
About synths and female vocals - it has been like that from the beginning, or
at least when I joined the band in late 1994. I wanted more atmospheres and I
also wanted female vocals – so I guess I was responsible for that from the
start. To me it’s important to show many aspects of emotion in music like this,
and therefore I wanted it. But it wasn’t until sometime in 1997 we gained a
full member keyboardist. We live in a small town and Draconian had not really
gone anywhere in the development. With our first demo in 1995 we got excellent
reviews… but it was hard to follow that up and go further from there. We have
gone through a lot of problems during our time as a demo band.
On “Arcane Rain
Fell” there are less female vocals, but it’s no less synths. About Lisa’s
vocals, it was both a conscious effort but still not. When we created the songs
we did not pay any attention to it, we just made the songs the way we wanted
it, and we felt Lisa would not fit the way she did before. She just had to
leave more space for the grunts and screams. Next time I guess there will be a
little more of Lisa in the songs. The new songs leave more space for these
kinds of arrangements.
How has Napalm been as a label for you? Do they give you tour
support, and what is your album deal structured like?
Napalm is a great label – we have nothing to complain about, except for tour
support and merchandise. They are a little slow in that department. But I hope
that will turn around. It must.
I'm curious about the "Dark Oceans We Cry" demo, which has seen
some of those songs turn up on both full lengths... Any chance that will get a
proper reissue? I would especially like to hear songs like 'Cthulhu Rising' and
'Memento Mori' which, as far as I know, haven't been redone yet. How different
from the album versions are the demo versions of these same songs?
No song on “Dark Oceans We Cry” needs to be redone, I think. We did a remake of
'Death, Come Near Me' this time because it’s our most popular song, so the fans
more or less demanded it from us – and of course it’s a great song as well.
There were also some remakes from that demo on our debut album, but I think
they were quite bad.
The “Where Lovers Mourn” versions from the demo songs
just got too flat and without substance. I blame the production and the lack of
time. We also had a producer that was wrong for us. The best versions are still
on “Dark Oceans We Cry” and the demo is still available to buy. We felt we had
to make more copies, because of its success.
I'm curious to know about some of the side projects, I didn't know
there were so many!! I definitely want to hear Doomvs, as I love funereal doom
bands like Winter, Disembowelment and especially Shape of Despair, who are one
of my faves. What sort of doom bands are you into? I love the newest My Dying
Bride, it's good to hear extreme blackened vocal styles in doom metal!
The Doomvs album will be out sometime in the beginning of 2006, and I can
promise you a great release. I haven’t heard much of it yet, but I know it will
rule anyways… hehe.
My fave doom bands are: My Dying Bride, Anathema (old),
Katatonia (old), Paradise Lost (old), Esoteric, Shape of Despair, Saturnus,
Mourning Beloveth, Solitude Aeternus, While Heaven Wept, Necare, Novembers
Doom, Pantheist, Evoken, Morgion… and of course Disembowelment are great. I
remember when I bought their album all those years ago – I’m still stunned by
Any chance you might be touring the States? I would definitely love to see the
band play over here... Tell us about some of your most recent tours, who you
played with, and if there are any funny stories you might share with us.
A tour in the states is not planned yet. We have actually never toured yet. Sad
but true, but we are about to. So I have to return to you in a while…
I really enjoyed the spoken word piece 'Expostulation,' I'm
assuming the opening words are in maybe Hebrew or something? How did you decide
to do an entire spoken word piece? I really enjoyed it but I have seen some
reviews that thought the spoken word parts were too many on the record. (I of
I think they are too less. I wanted more narrations of the album, but there
wasn’t enough time to fix it. Ryan Henry (Necare) really did a great job there.
The Expostulation lyric was written by Ryan and the words in the beginning are
various names of God with various meanings. They are all from the Middle East.
When I heard “Gethsemane” from the latest Necare album, I wanted something
similar. I have always loved narrations in both movies and music, and this is
not the last time we will use it.
Any chance Draconian is working on a new album? If so, anything you
can tell us about it, like if you have song titles, themes, or what not...
We have made a couple of new songs. They will be included on a “bonus album”
Napalm records wants us to release at the end of the year. This album will
contain new songs, remakes of old demo material (not from “Dark Oceans…”) and a
few covers. More info will follow on our website very soon.
Something that seems to affect a lot of Scandinavian bands (so I've
been told) is the fact that there are very few days out of your calendar year
that have sunlight... Is this something that is hard to deal with over there? I
know here we do get lots of sunshine, but sometimes I prefer the not so hot
days where skies are grey. You don't hate the sun, do you? ('Daylight Misery'
Yeah, I really dislike the sunlight, and even if we don’t get really much sun
over here (compared to other countries), there is still too much for my taste.
I think it numbs all the inner emotions. Therefore my most creative time is at
night. I need to get in touch with my soul to live and breathe from within. At
night, your emotions are closer to the consciousness. Mankind are afraid to
confront themselves, they are afraid of the unknown, so therefore they despise
the dark... they are slaves of fear. Of course this also has religious meaning.
The attitude and principals of religions are so deeply rooted in society, so
people believe things without even knowing why… they just believe. To me,
loving and adoring the sun is like fornicating with your own inner destruction.
Sounds extreme perhaps, but just think about it for a moment. You need darkness
to know who you truly are, sunlight blinds the insight. It truly drains you
from power. Those who must have the sun to feel some kind of happiness are just
individuals who are afraid to confront themselves. For example, people who must
take light-therapy at the wintertime, or feel the urge to travel to a sunny
country at that time of the year. To me it’s pathetic. Darkness is the true
Just curious if this music of yours is an outlet for pain and
depression... Personally I love listening to Draconian just about anytime, but
when I'm going through a rather painful ordeal, music like this helps... Still,
as I said above, it helps to have the extreme aggression to go along with the
sadness... What's your best method for dealing with depression and painful
issues of the day?
To me it feels very rewarding and comforting with sad and depressing music in a
state of distress. It feels I’m not alone feeling the way I do, so I take
comfort in that. As I mentioned before, I'd rather suffer for my realizations,
than not having them at all… but to be alone with all these feelings are more
or less unbearable… so it feels a lot better when I listen to bands with lyrics
similar to mine. I feel some kind of hope of finding unity.
When I am
depressed or feel anguish I usually try to sleep or watch a lot of movies… I
try to escape into another world where I don’t have to deal with it. This kind
of escapism is perhaps not the best choice in the long run, but if you are
alone it’s very hard to focus and deal with the problems. Often I also put some
suitable music on… very loud… and perhaps clean the dishes or something. But in
the end I know my pain won’t perish until I’m dead and gone from here… but I
have learned to live with it. There are things in life I do cherish very much.
So what bands really get to you emotionally? I know more and more
these days, I prefer bands that put a lot of feeling, intensity and emotion
into their music (whether it be extreme anger, beauty, sadness or whatever).
Oh damn… there are so many bands I like in that way. I like many types of music
as well. More serene, dark and ethereal bands like Elend, Arcana, Lycia, Dark
Sanctuary, Gothica, Angels of Venice, Dargaard, Ophelia’s Dream… generally
touches me on a deeper level. Metal in one way is quite limited, but of course
there are bands in that category too, but mostly bands like My Dying Bride,
Anathema, Nevermore, The Wounded, Pain of Salvation and Saviour Machine… the
list would go on forever. One band which has meant a lot to me emotionally is
Porcupine Tree. I have much to thank them for.
Finally, do you think it's difficult having female members of the
band? I'm sure some might think it's a gimmick to get more male followers
(especially at live shows), and some might use female vocalists even to jump on
a trend that many other bands utilize...
I see what you mean. Lisa is with us since we want some beauty and tenderness
in the songs… the feminine aspect, the other aspect of the whole thing, you
know… like a balance. I have spent very little time thinking about how it looks
and how it can be interpreted. I don’t try to generalize the genders when it
comes to music. We are all the same breed, and if someone thinks it’s some
kind of a gimmick, they are welcome to believe so… but they are wrong. We have
used female vocals since 1995.
EWIGKEIT. Interview with Mr. Fog via email.
First of all, how is Ewigkeit constructed? Is it all the brainchild
of one person, or do you have various other personnel to help you create your
Right, Ewigkeit is music that I write/produce. Sometimes I have used bits from
friends (who gladly donate them rather then put the effort in themselves!) but
that probably accounts for about 1% or less. The remaining 99% (or more) is
mine. Essesntially it is a solo project with which I create what I want to do,
in my own time.
I'm curious about your previous band, Meads Of Asphodel, are they
planning on doing anything in the near future? I'm also curious as to your
thoughts on the black metal scene, both past and present, including your
thoughts on the Norweigan scene.
I dont know anything about them or what they are doing. I'm not really
interested to be honest. My thoughts on the black metal scene...hmmm.... well,
I think that the Black Metal scene of 1990 - 1996 was really exciting. There
were lots of ideas coming out, people doing new stuff and all going in
different directions. I think that it's over now. I think it's waiting for
something to happen, because at the moment it is dead. It's not a style which
interests me any more. As for the satanic stuff - that was never something
that interested me anyway.
Speaking of the Norweigan scene, are you in contact with any of the
members, maybe from bands like Mayhem or Darkthrone? I know one thing that
people who are so called "black metal purists" fail to realize was that
Eronymous was listening to ambient and avant garde bands like Dead Can Dance
and Kraftwerk, so it's funny to see people who think black metal shouldn't
evolve, when it had roots as far back as it's inception with other styles of
I dont know any of them, but I am kind of friends with Stian (Iscariah) from
Immortal - though I don't see him much. He's a cool guy - i'm sure a lot of
that Norwegian scene could learn a lot from him now that he has lived in the UK
for a while ;-) For me, the big thing about Black Metal was the ambience of
it, the semi-classical chord structures, the use of melody and the
re-introduction of synths into metal. It was all great and really exciting for
me - a real change from the mundane american death-metal bands who (generally)
were all about speed and about as melodic as someone gurgling beer (which no
doubt has been tested).
I think metal could really progress light-years by embracing some new ideas,
but it seems that the majority of folk are into this idea that retro is cool. I
find it funny, because rock music was always about challenging the old-school
of thought and doing something new/dangerous/challenging.
One thing that's rather odd to me, your "bio" on the back of my
promo CD mentions bands like Killing Joke, The Orb, Opeth and the ever so
mentioned Pink Floyd, but no one ever cites Hawkwind as an influence. Does
Hawkwind have any influence on the music, as I hear some spacey stuff in there,
and if so what were some of your favorite periods of Hawkwind (albums and
songs). I love the tunes that Hawkwind made, but they were very inconsistent
from album to album. I feel "Warrior On The Edge Of Time" was their best and
most complete album.
I think the main reason that Hawkwind were left off was that they are not that
well known outside the UK (where they enjoy 'cult' status - much like the
'Grateful Dead' in the US). Hawkwind's best moments (for me) was when they
used the electronics and radical ideas for mixing tracks (more than half their
creativity was done at the production stage). My favourites of Hawkwind were
the Bob Calvert stage of their existance (about 1976 - 1982) - my favourite
albums being the studio albums "PXR5" and "Quark, Strangeness & Charm". That
guy was one of the most outstanding, perceptive and creative lyricists I have
Anything you can tell us about the band name or album title "Radio
Ixtlan." I know that there was a book published about this title, but I have
yet to read it so if you could enlighten our readers...
The book was one of the Carlos Castaneda stories about his journey to becoming
a shaman warrior or brujo. It is the shortest book (about 30 pages) and is
included at the end of one of the other books (can't rememebr which). There is
this scene at the end where Don Juan (the old mexican-indian who is teaching
Carlos) and his brujo freind Don Genaro are sitting with Carlos and Don Genaro
tells this story of what had happened to him as he began his own path. He was
spun off the earth and landed in a place he recognised as being near his
childhood village called Ixtlan. He began to walk down a road which he thought
led to his Ixtlan, and met this guy going in the same direction. This guy
didn't talk, but they walked together. They came to a cross-roads, and the man
gestured that Genaro should follow him - Genaro didn't and continued on his
way. Next he meets two guys with a mule travelling the same way, same thing
happens. Next he meets some women, same thing happens. Then Genaro stops
telling the story. Carlos then asks "what happened when you got to Ixtlan" -
Genaro replies "I am still on my way there". Essentially, Ixtlan is a metaphor
for the end of the road for a shaman/brujo. It is death, it is rebirth, it is
the goal at the end. The people who were trying to lead Genaro from the path
were malignant spirits/powers/forces. We meet these (people) everyday
ourselves - people that attack you for following your own path. So for me,
Radio Ixtlan was like this imaginary radio station being broadcast from your
personal "final destination". I thought it was interesting, but I guess many
people either wont like it, or find it too involved...
The album seems to have gained quite considerable press and great
reviews... I haven't read any bad reviews, maybe you can humor us with some of
the funny things you might have read concerning bad press... I'm assuming some
people just won't get it no matter what...
90% of the reviews have been really positive. The worst reviews were
(understandably) from the UK. I think it's because they have been aware of me
for longer, and judge me from what I have done in the past. Also, there are
certain people who would like nothing more than for me to stop doing music
altogtether - well, they're shit-out-of-luck ;-)
One ridiculous review just mainly talked about this silly photo I did from
about 5 years ago. Another said that I had "an outdated idea of what
'avant-guard' is" (the album was not intended to be 'avant-guard', and the
reality is that they have an out-dated idea of what is 'normal'). I guess the
main thin is that most negative people have a lot to say, but not much is worth
listening to. Good luck to them - I dont really hold any grudge.
I know you mentioned getting tired of the generic death and thrash
metal as the reason for creating Ewigkeit, do you still feel that way or can
you still get an energetic feeling from some of the 80's thrash bands that put
out crushing works (like Iron Angel or Exodus or even venom)? Some 80's albums
I listen to today I have a hard time getting back into them while others, like
IRON ANGEL'S "Hellish Crossfire" or RAZOR "Violent Restitution" I have no
problem still listening to.
I view metal from an outsider's perspective. There are great things about the
type of music as a whole, and there are note-worthy bands who I make reference
to. What I don't do is get all wrapped up in any "scene" - boxes are for things
you dont really need - i dont want my music to be in a box. When I do rarely
listen to any music, it is the bizarre french radio station that we get here
(I am on the south coast of England). On that station they play everything
from 20's blues, to classical, to underground french rap, to acid jazz to
chinese pop music. It is totally un-commercial, and most of the music is quite
horrible, yet I find it really exciting that someone (probably insane beyond
belief) could get all that and play it on the station. They don't have any
adverts, minmal news and I think they record a 12-hour program and leave it on
loop for a few days. In short, it is my ultimate radio station because you
NEVER know what is coming next!
Other than that, I tend to listen to classic rock (Sabbath, Deep Purple, The
Who, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Led Zep) also some later heavier stuff (Maiden to
Metallica) and rarely some heavier metal. I am always listening out for
something new - one of the recent bands I heard were the french band "Carnival
In Coal" who are on Elitist Records. They are like a hybrid of technical
Death metal, 80's chart-pop, classical/jazz and cartoon music. Totally
unlistenable, yet fantastic beyond belief...
Or maybe do you think age has tempered us to a point where the more
melodic and mellow influences are going to creep in (like old age sets into our
bones) and influence our writing and direction in sound? I know one black metal
artist I read an interview with (I THINK it was Satyricon) said that the older
he gets, the angrier and more "crotchety" he gets, as he sees even more
stuff that pisses him off... I guess an angry old man can still make angry and
hate filled black metal.
I think that rich kids from one of the world's richest countries don't really
have much to be angry about. I think they have stuff to feel ashamed about,
like living the life of Riley while the rest of the planet are either in a
war-zone of our making, or starving to death because our countries have robbed or
enslaved theirs. What does the guy from Satyricon have to be angry about ? I
think he just has to keep up this 'act' of being "evil". It must be quite
stressful to keep that up everyday - especially when he goes to have dinner
with his dear old mum.
I'm curious if there is a new Ewigkeit album in the works? Can you
tell us about themes, song titles or concepts that will grace our ears once
There IS a new album which has been completed last week; CONSPIRITUS... The
theme of the album is about realisation of a huge global conspiracy that's aim
is to control mankind through brainwashing, destruction of knowledge, control
through the media and enslavement through debt. These conspirators are also
guilty of creating mass death through wars and manufacturing killer disease.
They are the most despicable and, some might say, weakest human beings alive.
They make the Nazis look like kindergarten teachers and will not stop until
they have turned our world into a global-prison ! This is all started by an
"attack" which is used for an excuse to start their "masterplan" of global
domination. The simple thing is that, to escape, you just need to see the
problem and spread the message. Their house of cards will start to fall and
mankind will be free. That is why I communicate the idea to you. Some might say
it is a bizarre idea for an album - others may see more truth to it than
others. Is it fiction or not? Look at the world around you, educate yourself -
then make your own decision based on what you believe - not what the controlled
media, education systems or your pre-conditioning tells you. You may come to
the same surprising conclusions as many others are coming to every day!
The album has been produced by John Fryer; he has mixed lots of other bands in
the past including Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Fear Factory, Paradise Lost,
Cradle Of Filth, Depeche Mode and many other well known artists. I feel lucky
to have him work on my stuff. The core sound of Ewigkeit is still there,
although I have (finally!) removed the death-metal vocals. I intended to have
Radio Ixtlan as a "clean vocal" album - but as it was originally recorded for
Metal Age Productions, which is a small death metal label, I kept them. This
album was the right time to get rid of them and make the vocals a part of the
music & harmony too. Another key element to the album is the artwork - the
ideas were roughly described to this great artist called Mick Usher, and he has
managed to create one of the most epic album covers I have ever seen!
I read that you had a previous album "Land Of Fog." Nice to throw
your own nickname into the mix! Anyway, how would you describe this album
compared to the newest one, and is it still available? I have read a few
reviews that said some thought you rocked the boat too far with the myriad of
influences on this particular record. How do you feel these days about "Land
Land Of Fog is an album that I am almost tempted to go and mix again. It is
quite raw, but has a real "atmosphere" to it. Some people have said it is like
a Death Metal record that had been recorded in the 70's. I dont know why or
how specifically, but there is a kind of classic rock feel to some parts of it.
It's a great album that I really enjoyed making (probably because I was stoned
ALL the time) but it is quite rough around the edges (probably because I was
stoned ALL the time). I have some copies if anyone wants...
Tell us about your deal with Earache Records. I know I didn't see a
whole lot of press for this record, but then again I don't read a whole lot of
metal magazines these days... Are you happy with the job they did and how many
more albums will you do for them?
Well, I think the amount of coverage that was given to Radio Ixtlan (or any
album come to that) is proportionate to the amount of money put into it.
Earache came in at the last minute to release that album. I originally wanted
to re-record and produce the whole thing in a good studio, but time & money did
not allow. "Conspiritus" is the first album 'proper' for Earache, and I think
that it will, or at least should be, promoted more. Digby (founder and owner
of Earache) told me that he will always support what I do because he really
admires the music - I hope that I can continue to write music which is
commercially released. It's either that, or give it away for nothing through my
Okay, time for most asked question #24... Is Ewigkeit ever planning
to become a "visual" band, and by this I mean not only doing tours with a live
unit, but maybe a video or two? I saw on the Earache website where they have
videos from their bands, and I thought maybe some nice computer graphics or
visuals would work really well for this band...
I think there is a plan to have a video made for one of the tracks on
"Conspiritus" (probably the first track "Its Not Reality"). Also, I was
thinking some while ago to have some videos made that would be played in synch
with backing drums, which live guitars/bass/vox would played along to. This
wouldn't be your average gig I know, so I guess I will have to wait until
people WANT to see Ewigkeit live till I get to do that. I dont see the point
of going out and playing gigs everywhere trying to convince people that my
non-conventional music should be liked by them. I think it will have to be a
case of the demand being there for me to play before I go down that road for
the time being.
From the bio on Earache.com we read "Initial demos saw James mixing
heavy riffs with layers of ambience to unusual, if amateurish, effect." Are
these demos ever going to be made available again at some point, and how do you
feel about "Dwellers On The Threshold," as this was apparently the deal getter
with Neat Records? (Yea, and I haven't forgotten about "Battle Furies," which
I'd like to hear as well...
The "Dwellers On The Threshold" demo was avaialable to download for free on the
Ewigkeit webs(h)ite (www.deathtomusic.com). That's undergoing a rebuild right
now, but should be back sometime soon.
"A Dark Side Of The Moon" for the death metal generation. That was
a pretty funny quote from Earache, and I'm wondering if that was written by you
or someone at the label. I know that Earache said this hints at a possible way
forward for the scene, what are your comments on that? I think personally that
there is a lot the scene can draw from, and what's surprising to me is that
some of the most popular bands (most notably Opeth) seem to be drawing a big
fan base because they draw from music of the past...
I didnt think of that slogan man - i couldnt/wouldn't say anything so positive
about my own music. I'm like quite self-defacing... Digby came up with it, and
I thought it was humourous. You know, I think it was intended to be taken with
a pinch of salt - so many people took it literally! Wow - some people were even
angry about it! I think that in itself is quite funny, and it shows that people
in metal sometimes lack more humour than in other styles of music.
Have you checked out any other bands that are pushing the
boundaries of metal music, like Maudlin Of The Well, Subterranean Masquerade or
even some of the more daring Opeth records? There's a cool band down in Italy
called Areknames that blends a rather occultish sounding brand of doom metal
with the psychedelics and Hammond organ sounds to create a unique brand of
Like I say man - I hardly have the time to listen to other bands. It's a shame
really, because I know that somewhere out there are other musicians trying to
do something different to the mass of crap that is the underground scene. I
liked the first 3 or 4 Opeth albums (especially "Morningrise" and "Still Life")
but I havent bothered with them since. I heard a low-quality MP3 of one of
their new tracks for their RoadRunner debut - it was okay. A bit more
commercially acceptable, but that's not neccesarily a bad thing! You can only
scream on every record for so long before you think "why is it that I do this?"
Good luck to Mr Akerfeldt and the guys!
Anything else we forgot to mention that you want to talk about,
feel free to do so... Any news on when the website will be updated and ready to
I have just finished writing an album which is the best Ewigkeit album yet. I
really hope that as many of you hear it and consider the messages therein. For
me, this is not just "another concept" - this is about a topic I personally
believe to be vitally important for people to educate themselves in, whatever
conclusions they may come to. Whether you buy it or download it - I want you to
hear this album. Thanks for the interview and good luck!
PYRAMAZE. Interview with Michael via email.
One thing that many of our readers might not know is the fact that
your keyboard player also plays with Atlanta based Lilitu, something I did not
know! Which is even more surprising since he lives in Vermont. How are his
priorities as far as bands goes, and how did you first come to work with him? I
also wondered why you didn't try to find a keyboard player more local to your
Yes, Jonah plays the keyboards in Lilitu - that's true. However he does not
live in Vermont anymore. He moved to Atlanta earlier this year. As far as
priorities go, I can't tell you that he prioritises the one over the other. I
know that Pyramaze is something really special for Jonah, since he was with us
from the start. He is a permanent part of Pyramaze, just like the rest of us.
Hell, the guy even has our band icon tattooed on his back :-) Besides this, he
was in Pyramaze long before he joined Lilitu. Let me make this very clear:
Pyramaze is NOT a project band or anything like that. We are a real band, and
we play live too. Sure - some of the Pyra-members also play other bands, but
Pyramaze is equally serious, if not more, than the other bands. The reason for
why I chose Jonah for Pyramaze was that there aren't many good 'metal
keyboardists' over here. Then when I got in touch with Jonah, I just thought
'screw the big distance between us, it's the 21st century, we can handle it'
and so we just went for it.
I'm curious about your last record "Melancholy Beast," is there a
theme or subject matter most often dealt with in the lyrics? The concept of a
melancholy beast is a rather interesting, and almost contradictory one! Or
rather, it seems like a new twist on the old 'Beauty And The Beast' story.
There's no theme throughout the album. I chose the title "Melancholy Beast"
because that's a pretty fitting phrase to describe our music. It's kind of
melancholic, but also very heavy, therefore 'Melancholy Beast'. The title song
on the album, is about a terrifying beast that is not at all pleased with being
considered to be a monster and evil. Its appearance might be very frightening,
but inside it's sad and just wants to be accepted.
The song 'Mighty Abyss' of course, reminds me of the quote from
Frederick Nietzsche "if you look into the abyss the abyss also looks into you."
Yes - I've heard that been said before. Actually when I wrote the song, I did
not think about that at all - but it's very interesting that you noticed it.
Actually I was a fan of the movie 'The Abyss' - where I later remembered that
the movie starts with exactly those words too. So I guess this was a
subconscious thing, but certainly not my intention.
Progressive power metal is always greeted with a sort of
skepticism, as many will say that most progressive metal bands are more
interested in playing lots of notes and showing off how fast they can play,
while sacrificing good songwriting or even sacrificing sheer power. "Melancholy
Beast" has quite a bit of both, how do you see this relatively difficult to
explain field of metal? Some have even said that usually it's only musicians
who can appreciate this kind of music, from a definition of the band members'
Yes, I agree that 'real' progressive metal for the most part only is enjoyable
for musicians. But I definitely don't consider Pyramaze to be a progressive
band. I think I would describe our music as 'epic heavy metal with progressive
elements'. We have lots of melodies and catchy choruses, so we are pretty far
away from the typical progressive metal band. In Pyramaze we focus on the
melodies instead of playing fast. And if we can combine both elements and also
put in lots of real heaviness, then better so.
I have been told you have a new album about ready to be released,
are you able to divulge song titles, album titles or themes the lyrics will
The album is called "Legend Of The Bone Carver". It's a concept album about the
eternal fight between good and evil. I think Lance has written a very nice
'teaser' for the album - it goes: Close your eyes and picture an epic tale from
this album's beginning to it's final close... A tale of the world's evil
consuming all that is good, and a prayer that brings a young hope of unknown
origin to the world. Will this young innocent be able to help against the
massive upheaval and chaos? You'll have to hear the album in its entirety to
know the whole story and find out what the LEGEND OF THE BONE CARVER....is all
What are your favorite songs from "Melancholy Beast," and some of
your least favorite? If you had to go back and redo anything from those
recording sessions, what would it be?
I think some of my favourites are 'Sleepy Hollow', 'Legend', 'Until We Fade
Away' and 'Power of Imagination'. But it often depends on what mode I'm in. If
I could redo anything, then I would just like some more time to mix and master
the album. But studio time is expensive, so I just didn't have the money for it
at that time. But considering that we only had four days to mix the whole
album, I think the outcome is fantastic.
It seems like it took a rather long time to get everything together
for this album to be released! How is your recording deal structured with
Nightmare Records? Have they offered to bring the band over to the United
States to play? (Good thing is, one of your members is here already!)
Well, the deal with Nightmare is a license deal. So Nightmare only has the
rights for USA. We have other labels in the rest of the world (EMI - Japan,
Replica - Europe, Melodic Heaven - Asia, Mega Hard - South America). With the
new album some of these names have changed, but it's too early to reveal that
now. We have been in the USA already. We played the Minneapolis Mayhem last
year. And actually two of our members are over there already - Jonah and Lance.
One thing we talked about in email earlier, was you thought an
interview was not a good idea since the release of your last record was so long
ago, and I said that this shouldn't be an issue, because it keeps your name in
the spotlight. One thing I always hated was when record labels told me they
wouldn't help me set up interviews with their bands unless they were close to
having brand new records out, and this bothered me because I didn't want to run
the same interview that 30,000 other magazines had run. So I'm wondering how
you think now after you've maybe had some time to think about this!
Well, I did not say it was a bad idea. I just pointed out that this did not
have high priority right now, 'cause we are concentrating on "Legend Of The
Bone Carver," and the promotion starts in a couple of months. I still think
that our new album has a bigger priority at this point. Don't get me wrong, I'm
happy to talk to you about "Melancholy Beast," but this album was released last
year in June, so it's been a while.
So over in Denmark, how do those living in your country feel about
Nordic culture? I know personally a lot of bands I love, 90 percent of them
come from Scandinavia. I DO remember Invocator came from Denmark, and of course
Mercyful fate/King Diamond, but other than that I don't know a whole lot of
Unfortunately in Denmark Heavy Metal is considered to be underground music. No
airplay in mainstream radio, and it's hard to get on the bill on the larger
festivals. Denmark has turned into a real 'pop-country'. That's a shame when
you consider that we were once the mighty Vikings! But metal is well and strong
in the underground. This just doesn't provide any strong sales, so it's a
shame. We have some really good metal bands in Denmark, but we are all
relatively unknown in our own country, while in some other 'metal countries' we
have a strong following.
Any touring plans over in Europe? Have you played any good shows,
and if so do you have any funny tour stories to tell us? (I LOVE a good tour
story. Tommy Stewart from Hallows Eve used to tell me back when I was in the
band about the funniest things that happened on the road, and he had a million
We played a few shows in September last year, in Denmark, Germany and France.
Playing the gigs and meeting the fans is always funny, but nothing really
hilarious happened. We where only on the road for four days, so we had very
limited time for "real tour stories". We didn't get much sleep though, so
between a few of the shows, we just walked around like zombies, which was kind
of funny. Looking over the photos always brings a big smile to my face. Next
year we will play a few shows in Denmark and one in Germany. More is in the
planning, but we still have lots of time for that.
If there's anything else we missed that you want to talk about,
feel free to use this space. Thanks again for the help and hope to see you play
here in the States one day!
I just want to thank you for the interview, and all you readers out there:
thanks for your attention and check out our album (soon albums) and feel free
to visit our homepage at www.pyramaze.com
RUNNING WILD. Interview with main man Rock 'N' Rolf.
Over 20 years in the music business and STILL putting out albums to this date.
That in itself is somewhat of a legacy, whether you like the stuff that came
after the first three classic records, "Gates To Purgatory," "Branded And
Exiled," and their first foray into the pirate universe "Under Jolly Roger." I
had a LOT of questions to ask, so this interview is VERY lengthy, but it delves
into many areas of Running Wild's life, including the short lived fan club and
of course, due to my fascination with 80's metal, the particular era of theirs
focusing on the first three records. Our secondary feature interview, so enjoy!
I know you guys have a new record out, and it seems like image wise
you're still carrying on with the pirate theme.
It's just on two songs, because I never really wanted to do a full album about
that. It would be too limiting concerning the lyrics and the music. So I wrote
'Skull And Bones' and then 'Libertario' which was the bonus track on the
limited version of the album. I just wrote songs about the pirate stuff which
stands as a symbol for Running Wild, but only when I had the right idea for
that. If you ever look on the "Victory" album, there was no songs about it.
And I know with previous records you did other topics as well, like
'Little Big Horn,' the American Civil War, and things like that. But I don't
think there's any other metal band that ever really did much with the imagery
and themes of the whole pirates era, so you guys definitely brought something
new to the table in the metal world.
There's a reason why we used it when we were working on our third album. One
day I had a great idea for a riff and a melody and it really sounded like it
would be on a thieving or a pirate ship. When I was a kid I knew that the flag
of the pirates was called the Jolly Roger and the idea for the song was, of
course, 'Under Jolly Roger' because it really fit into the chorus I was working
on. And I played it for the other guys and they said it was the strongest song
we had so far. When they heard the song they asked me what it was called, and
when I told them they said it would be a great album title. I had this idea for
a cover to have a great sailing ship on the front, and on the ship we had our
symbol. And some other guy in the band, I can't remember who it was, came up
with the idea to let us paint the pirate clothing on the back of the album
cover. And when we saw it for the first time, we thought it looked great, and I
said we needed to do our stage clothing like that, because nobody else was
doing anything like this. So we didn't really plan this, it just came natural
and became a part of Running Wild.
I know that "Under Jolly Roger" was the very first Running Wild
album I ever heard, and I distinctly remember those cannons firing in the
beginning of the album. I'm curious how you went about doing that, because I
know there was a big warning sticker on the front saying "loud sound effects"
or something to that effect.
That was the idea of our manager we had at the time. We just wanted to play
around with the image and stuff like that, it was never meant very seriously.
You guys have SO many albums out, it must be very difficult to
pull songs for a live set. How far back in your album history do you go when
you start playing live?
When I try to figure out the songs we want to do in a live set, normally it
takes me about three days (laughs). Because we have so many classics we have to
play, but I've figured out a kind of rotating system, because otherwise we'd
have to play for like three hours, and with what we are doing onstage, how we
move and everything, it would be impossible to play for more than one and a
I've followed your career from practically the beginning, ever
since the first record "Gates To Purgatory" came out. I remember reading some
EARLY interviews where you said you weren't that happy with your first two
records. Now like I said, I got "Under Jolly Roger" first but it made me go
back and pick up those first two albums, which are my favorite Running Wild
albums of all. They were pretty unique for the time because many bands tried to
go for a dirtier sound, or they used harsh vocals, but the production on those
two records raised a lot of eyebrows because they were so clean, and there was
such a lot of high ended guitar work. So how do you feel about those two
records today, and do you still like playing stuff from those albums live
We always have to play, from "Gates To Purgatory," 'Prisoner Of Our Time.' It
has been in the live set since the first tour we ever did and we can't cut it
off because it's an absolute classic. From time to time we've done 'Branded And
Exiled.' Even when I did the 20 years of history album, I really had to work on
all this older stuff. When I listen to those records, it was worth it to see
what we were doing back then, but I would do a lot of things different today
for sure, but you could see that there was something very special in the band,
something that made Running Wild a very unique band. Running Wild was always
looking for it's own way so to speak. Even listening from the first song to the
very last, we always focused on getting better and growing by writing songs and
how we play our instruments. This was the very main point for me. And not to
have a look on all these trends that were coming and going for the last 20
When you were writing lyrics for "Gates To Purgatory," I noticed
you used a lot of, well, I don't want to say 'Satanism' or 'black metal'
topics, but it's funny to me that before black metal got established as a music
form like it did in the early 90's with Norweigan bands like Mayhem, Enslaved
and stuff, I remember reading magazines like Kerrang, Metal Forces and stuff
where they were saying all these metal bands are doing the black metal thing.
And back then, black metal wasn't even really established, it was just a name
that Venom came up with. So when you have a song that has a lyric like 'Black
metal's graffiti are thrown against the wall' I'm wondering what your mindset
was at the time.
We just used it, not in a religious way, but it was a political symbol for us
for rebellion. We never meant it in that way. When we did the first record,
everyone liked that. When the second record came out, Venom was there and
everything, and everybody figured Running Wild to be a black metal band. And
we said no, we're not. So they misunderstood what we wanted to say, because
they all stated that we say "hail satan" and stuff like that, and we told them
that we have nothing to do with that. So if you don't understand what we want
to say then we have to leave that off. If you ever look on "Branded And
Exiled," we totally wanted to change our lyrics, because we figured out that
the people really misunderstood what we wanted to say. I mean we didn't set out
to create a new religion or anything! (laughs)
If further proof needed to be mentioned, how about the song 'Chains
And Leather' from the "Branded And Exiled" album? The lyrics are really cool,
so you gotta laugh. But one thing that struck me was the amazing guitar work,
which I heard on "Gates To Purgatory" but absolutely SMOKED on "Branded And
Exiled." I've heard that many of those members left the band in the early days.
It was Preacher, the guitarist who left the band. We started out with the idea
that we could live on music, but it was not enough for him, he couldn't live on
that. So he had to make a decision, whether or not he really wanted to go and
become a preacher or stay a guitar player not making the right amount of money
he needed to live. We had some problems between our drummer and Preacher as
well. And he left about two months before we had to go into the studio to
record "Branded And Exiled," so I had to write all the songs on my own. And I
had to write all the rhythm guitar parts on my own as well, because the new
guitar player at that time, Mike, he just added some solos and stuff like that,
because he couldn't play the songs so far. He hadn't time to learn it, he came
to the band about 20 days before we went into the studio. So I played all of
the rhythm guitars and half of the solo guitars.
Many people have said you're kinda hard to work with because you've
had so many lineup changes. Did you ever get to a point where you thought you'd
have to hire session musicians because maybe people weren't working out or
people just couldn't understand your vision?
It was a very wierd situation because most of the lineup changes had nothing to
do with my person. Throughout all the times there was a lot of points where I
was standing in the middle between two people fighting in the band. And I was
oftentimes busier solving the problems between the musicians and all their ego
problems, but what I really wanted to do was do music. It was very frustrating.
When we did the "Victory" album, it turned out that Running Wild became a solo
project more and more. Peter left the band because he decided just to care
about his family. He said he couldn't do both things, he had 3 children and it
was a big problem at the time. So I made a decision that Running Wild should be
a solo project from that point on. I worked with hired musicians because they
were paid like that. We never acted like that inbetween the band, but it was
that way, they were paid for every song they played, and all the shows they
played for years. It was their idea, not mine, to get the money off that. When
I'm working on the albums, they have the time to do different things, like
working for other bands.
I'm curious about something, the album "Branded And Exiled" was
re-released here in the States, and now it's difficult to find the original
version, as the reissued version has completely re-recorded vocals for the
song 'Chains And Leather,' and I'm curious as to why that was done?
We just wanted to re-record it for an EP we were working on in 1989. We
decided that the version of the song that was on "Branded And Exiled" was not
the quality we wanted. There's actually three versions of that song, there's
one that was one of the first things we ever recorded for Modern Music for a
sampler of theirs. The second version we did for "Branded And Exiled" we were
totally NOT happy with. So that's why we decided to re-record it.
Well, the main difference is in how the vocals are sung. I am
somewhat of a completist, in fact when Sentinel Steel reissued the two Angus
albums "Warrior Of The World" and "Track Of Doom" and put them both on one CD,
I was all for it until I found out they cut one song from one of the albums. It
was a ballad, sure, and maybe many people won't like it, but the fact is, I
think those albums should be reissued in their entirety. People that are into
this kind of music want to hear how it sounded back when it was first recorded,
especially since many coming into metal today never got to hear the original
versions. That's why I got so upset at this...
I never heard about that, it's the first time that I knew about this. Maybe it
was just done for the American market.
That's something that I wanted to ask about as well, because for
most of your career you were on Noise here in the States, and then you had an
album or two for Pavement Music, and now it seems to me like you don't even
have a U.S. deal in place.
No, not so far. Some of our records were released through a company in the U.S.
but it was just for a few months, something like that. It's always been a bit
of a problem for us, because that was handled by a guy in Berlin who ran our
record company. And I don't know if it was because he couldn't find a record
company in the U.S., or if he didn't WANT to find a record company.
I know America has always been a rather difficult market for
success with heavy metal. Did Running Wild ever play shows or do a tour here
back in the 80's?
We did a tour, I think it was around 1986, and it was a very wierd tour. Modern
Music at the time wanted to do a tour with Celtic Frost and Voivod, and they
needed a third band for the tour and asked us if we wanted to do it. They told
us we didn't have to pay anything, we just had to come over here and play. So,
of course we said we'd do it! (laughs). And it was really great because we
played the biggest cities, I forget which city it was but I think it was not
that far away from Long Beach, California. And the same day we were playing
there, Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica were playing an arena! So we thought, oh,
no, that's too bad for us. But we had 2,000 people!! It was great, and even
all the bigger cities was great for Running Wild. But the smaller cities was
better for Celtic Frost and Voivod. I think it was just 10 shows. But we never
got the opportunity again, so maybe someday in the future we will, I hope so.
I have a few more things I wanted to talk about. First off, I was
rather curious because I remember that Running Wild had a fan club that was run
by Dane Kurth overseas, and I wanted to know what happened with that because it
seemed like that working relationship came to an end rather suddenly.
I don't really know what happened there, but at a certain point when we did the
album "Pile Of Skulls" we had some problems, and problems with Dane Kurth
herself. I don't know what she thought, or what she had in mind, because I had
a girlfriend with me at the time, and she didn't like that. There was a lot of
trouble going on since that day, so we just said "okay, forget about it." I
don't know what kind of ideas she had about my person, I don't know if she had
a crush on me or what, I dunno (it sounds like he's having a hard time putting
into words what he really wants to say here - Ed.), it seemed like she had
something in mind which had nothing to do with reality, and I really couldn't
This is an interview I had been after for some time, so I really
appreciate you taking the time to get back to me on this. Is there anything
else we might have forgotten about that you wanted to speak of?
No, I think that we've covered everything that was really important!
SKYFORGER. Interview via Peter via email.
I just got the re-mastered version of "Semigalls' Warchant" and it
surprised me to hear that your vocal style was very black metal oriented! What
prompted the change, and do you ever plan on utilizing blackened vocals again?
Hello Steven! I am Peter and I am the singer so I guess this is my question.
Indeed, the vocals of the demo album are very black metal like, and the only
explanation is that at that time period such bands like Darkthrone and all
the rest of the Norwegian black metal style hooked us up. We wanted to find our
style and rather not purposefully it turned out to be like that. Also another
small factor that is not widely advertised is that I had bad nose inflammation
but we didn’t want to wait any longer to record the vocal parts, it had to be
done straight away and we were all excited about the result. It sounded really
menacing and horrid, so we were satisfied with the end result, if I can say
so. The newest tracks of the bonus EP are not of that kind anymore. I don’t
think that I will return to black metal vocals because I want to create
something recognizable in music and if I can do it with my voice, then it is
cool. Many black metal bands are just like the same, and you don’t see any
difference, so I turned away from that. In live situations I sing all songs in
one style and here we can hear black metal vocals again.
I really love the song 'Long I Heard, Now I See.' It was a very
interesting track, and I'm wondering if you ever plan on doing more songs like
This is a track of really old Latvian folk heritage; it tells about the goals
of the pagan god and it’s connection with men. It is a national folk song but
we arranged it in our way; we tried to give the magic meaning here, because we
felt that this is the right vibe how to sing it. We have more such tracks on
our folk-only album “Sword Song”, which we self-released in 2004. There are 13
tracks and if you like this one, give a try also to our folk music album. All
the songs are about mythology and war of ancient Latvia, we can say that we are
fans of that style, so we try to get those songs out for the public. Besides,
all instruments played on the album are real authentic ones, we play them by
ourselves. The same we do in metal concerts too, because we have a special folk
musician on stage.
I noticed that you are from Lithuania, but yet not signed to Folter
Records. How do you view Ledo Takas Records, and I'm just curious why you are
not signed to them, since they seem to sign many of the metal bands that come
from that country.
Sadly, this is a very widespread mistake by foreigners. We are not from
Lithuania, but from Latvia. This is like you would make a mistake - mixing
India with Indians. Yes, the Ledo Takas label is located there, right, and it
is a solid underground metal label specializing on black and pagan metal
artists. We know the guy behind that very well, because the scene here is a
very small one and everybody knows everybody. We are not signed to Ledo Takas
because it simply is too small for us and cannot give us what we want. We want
more promotion in western magazines and more tours with famous bands, but this
is not possible on this label. Instead Folter Records gives us the opportunity
to be on a bit higher level and so far it suits us. They are a team and it
means more work for you; also more possibilities because they are located in
Germany. Folter runs a big underground metal concert place in Berlin, so he has
contacts and it helps us in some way.
So, what is your record deal with Folter like, how many albums, and
do they offer tour support and good press/advertising?
We are now on Folter for 3 years and so far I can say only good words about
them. They are of course also a small label, but rather dedicated and also
honest metal maniacs. We are there for one more album, and when this expires we
will see what to do. Maybe we will seek for another label, maybe stay there for
one more - I cannot say that yet. It all depends on offers and conditions. If
some label can offer us for example a world tour, then we will take this one
surely, because that’s all we wanted when we started hehe. Yes, Folter does
some press advertising, we have promo CD’s sent around, in the last month we
had a song included in the biggest German metal magazine Legacy compilation CD,
so things are not bad. As for tours, we have done right now two tours under
Folter, and they were pretty successful; all the days filled, people and fans
everywhere, no cancelled dates, money paid, tour bus is luxurious, so I guess,
nothing to complain about. We are planning a tour again for next year, which
should become the biggest so far, so we are looking for bands to tour with.
The new version of "Semigalls' Warchant" has 4 bonus tracks, which
I assume will appear on your next album? Anything you can tell us about the
next full length? Will these songs ('To The Northern Shores,' 'Bloodfield,'
'Kavi,' and 'Sunset Over The Sacred Forest') be redone or remain as they are on
the "Warchant" CD? I'd love to know some song titles and lyrical themes if you
No, these four songs are meant to be on the demo reissue, and they will stay
there too. We have no plans to release them again. The idea was such: we got
many emails and offers to release a demo album (which initially was on limited
tape edition) on CD/LP from various labels. But as the demo is only 27 minutes,
this is only a MCD. We figured out that we need some extra material to make it
longer and thus we decided to make some new songs to throw in as bonuses. I
came up with idea to do it and everybody agreed. We have included a four track
EP “Asinslauks/Bloodfield” as bonus material, which is a mystical story about
an ancient Latvian tribe of sea-riders; the Kurshi, who were similar to the
Scandinavian Vikings, and who are often mentioned in the olden tales of our
forefathers. I cannot say yet anything about next full album, because I have
not thought much about it. In this moment we have one song completed and maybe
some 3-4 half done, so many work has to be put into next album. I think that we
will return to the history again and make some songs about old forgotten
events, which deserves to be better known actually.
It was nice to see English translations for your songs, which I
assume were sung in your native tongue. Will there ever be plans to sing songs
in English? (Personally I don't mind the foreign language, as it is very
interesting to me).
Exactly, we sing all songs in Latvian and I feel that this is the perfect
language to express all that I want for myself. In demo times we still wanted
to be an English singing band, so we had a couple of pieces in that too. But
later I understood that we lose many important details in translations, and
also it’s easier to remember lyrics in my native tongue. I am not very good
as an English poet, so I would definitely lack something. But as we want our
foreign fans to understand what’s going on too, we always include translations.
I can even say this is our style. No plans for the future, we are not going to
sing in English. Every language has it’s own beauty. Too many English singing
bands sometimes are too boring.
One thing I have noticed is the artwork, runic styled lettering and
some mention of the gods and goddesses of your ancient land bear a striking
resemblance to the Nordic gods of old. How similar are the ancient cultures of
Scandinavia and your own lands?
They are similar, but definitely not the same. We have the same background
which lasts for many thousands of years, but history has turned people to be
different and by the time people here have developed their own mythology, their
own gods and rituals. Basically Scandinavian mythology is so well known in the
world because there are simply a lot of bands that sing about that. From this
corner of the Baltic Sea we are almost alone telling people about our history,
culture and mythology. So, it is similar in some way, but we are still very
Something else I have noticed is that even your lands did not
escape the wrath of the christian hordes... I know they wiped out a lot of the
Scandinavian heritage but how much did your ancient peoples suffer at the hands
of the self righteous, hypocritical christians? How were your people able to
carry on the legends and traditions of old? And how do you feel about
Yes, sadly you are right. It happened in 13th century when they started to
expand here as peaceful traders but later they became more and more and the
wars started. When they entered here, all that was invented during many a
thousand years was destroyed and undoubtedly many cultural values were lost
forever. Luckily enough all-traditional heritage didn’t die and from mouth to
mouth, from father to son they were able to carry it on until today. Thus we
know millions of folk songs, many tales, customs, and myths of our ancestors. I
have a deep hate against all that disease called the christian plague, and with
hope I see how it dies away slowly. The new dawn has become and previously
forbidden things are getting stronger with each day. Just look at the growing
number of pagan / Viking / folk metal bands. Especially USA is also under
church influence; here we have still relatively free air to breathe. I don’t
think that any free man needs some factitious god; only to be shown the only
right way where to go. Old pagan religions in this way were easy going and man
could decide what he likes to believe - an old oak or thunder in the sky. And
it was a personal one, not a money making machine like it is now.
The artwork for the two CD's I have (The other being
"Thunderforge") look very similar, both in style and themes. Who does the
artwork, and what can you tell us about how the artwork ties in with the themes
of both albums?
The artwork for the “Semigalls’ Warchant” album is taken from an old painter's
work from the 1920’s - “Semigalls’ Fight with a Crusader”. We thought it was a
perfect example of what we wanted to be on the cover and later it became one of
our trademarks. Some guy drew the “Thunderforge” cover, I explained to him the
idea and after a few takes, he brought me 3 artworks. After many computer
tricks, it was ok for the CD cover. The album themes are in tight connection
with the album artwork, we wanted them to tell people straight away what this
or that album is about. “Semigalls” is about brave fights against intruders in
our land. “Thunderforge” is about a magic story of the Thundergod who shaped in
heaven’s forge with a mighty hammer, and the embers fell down. We wanted that
to look really like a master of the sky. The songs here are more about Latvian
mythology; and the ancient God pantheon is an important part of the whole
story. More of this you can read in our homepage; we have a story section,
where readers can get more info about each album.
Speaking of themes, maybe you can touch upon what some of the songs
on "Semigalls' Warchant" are about, since I have no lyrics and I'm wondering if
the black metal vocals were used to convey a somewhat angrier mood...
Well, to start with, I have to tell you that the style of the demo is harsh pagan
black metal, in vein of Darkthrone and Immortal. That is in conjunction with
our (back then) recently discovered black metal and it seemed something new for
us. But this doesn’t mean that we copied those bands, we rather tried to evolve
in that field. The songs tell about the brave pagan tribe Semigalls who in the
13th century fought more than 100 years against Christian invaders into our
land, so we thought this was a significant history page and didn’t want it to
be forgotten. Here maybe I will write more about Semigalls as people. Semigalls
were our forefathers and they inhabited these lands before many centuries. They
had their own culture, language, and mythology; they were strong craftsmen,
sailors, hunters etc. But then in the start of year 1200 came the ugly
Christian hordes and started to kill everybody and plunder these lands. Mostly
they were just a bunch of criminals who were sent by the Catholic Church for
getting new lands and new slaves. If you read historical sources, then you will
know that their wars of the Cross to the promised lands of Israel ended with
next to nothing, and new enemies have to be found anyway. So, they burned down
castle-hills, slayed everybody who would not kneel to them and their new faith.
Semigalls were proud people and they fought for about one century but they lost
the game because the crusaders were simply too many. Each day brought more
ships from Germany with them and they had to leave their own country and they
went away. But that free spirit has always been inside us up to these days when
we broke free from bloody Soviet Union 15 years ago. We thought that it could
not be forgotten - these glorious battles.
Just out of curiosity, have you played many live shows? Where have
you played and what is the live show like? Do you pull off all the traditional
and non-traditional instruments?
We have played live shows since our beginnings and this is very important to
us. I don’t know exactly but I think that during our ten-year history we have
played about 150 concerts. This is maybe not very much, but we all have regular
jobs and we cannot afford to go on lengthy tours, although we have had offers a
lot. So far, we have played around the Baltic countries, in Finland, Germany,
Belgium, Holland, Austria, Czech republic, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belarus, and
probably somewhere else that I don’t remember. This October we are going to
visit Slovakia and Hungary with our shows. USA is still in our future plans; we
hope that in the next few years we can play some small tours there. Live show…
it is just like for many bands, we don’t make any pyros or other shit, just
play as honestly and with full force, as we can. Giving all the emotions that
we feel to the audience. Yes, about Skyforger's outlook - well, you should know
that we don’t look quite like “normal” metal bands after our dress code, but
that was our decision to look like that since the very first days of the band
in 1995. We wanted to create music about old forgotten tales of our country’s
heritage, so we decided that it would be cool if we can bring extra feelings
onto the stage also by our image - ancient dress, swords, banners with olden
signs, old music instruments, jewelry etc. I personally think that this is
something for the “eyes” of the audience, but their ears we fill with music,
which is also our attempt to collide two seemingly not possible to join styles:
folk music and modern metal music. I guess, this is maybe something fresh; we
don’t want to be yet another band clad in metal t-shirts and playing tedious
death metal. Btw, our girlfriends make all our clothing at home, so we don’t
buy it somewhere in shops. We try to be totally authentic, but at the same time
we want to keep showing that we are also metalheads.
On stage we also play traditional folk instruments. All these years we played
folk music parts only in studio, and in a live atmosphere we performed all folk
melodies on guitars where it was necessary. But in the last year we found a
folk musician who is a full time member now, and he does all the folk parts in
a live situation. Right, it is quite hard because all guitars and drums can
overshadow a tiny noise of bagpipes, but therefore we make a good soundcheck
and now live concerts are just like on the CD. After much experience I can tell
that people like very much the sound of live played instrument. His name is
Kaspars and initially we found him for only one song for playing live in the
Latvian Music Awards, we got nominated there for “Thunderforge” album in two
categories in 2004. That went great, and we asked him to stay. So, now
SKYFORGER is a five-piece band.
I am rather curious about the political movements in your country.
How is the ruling class set up? I'm afraid I don't know much about the country,
except where it is located, so maybe you can tell me who is involved in the
lawmaking processes, and how you view American democracy and to get your take
on this whole war we have going on with Iraq? How does your governing body
treat citizens who like to play music and want to start bands?
Oh, I don’t like questions about politics. We have the same system like all
other countries - parliament republic, free elections once in four years,
democracy etc. I am not too much into this puppet show, because somebody will
always be angry that he is not elected, and the other is. And vice versa.
Latvia is a big friend of America in the world scene and without help of you
we probably would not be able to get away from the filthy claws of the Soviet
empire. That time was simply terrible; we really lived like we were behind the
iron curtain. I also don’t think that the war in Iraq was very necessary, but
now maybe it is too late to say it. There are too many interests and money
involved, so a usual man goes there where the country’s flag takes him. In
Latvia we don’t have any support for music, all depends just on yourself and
how smart-ass you are. The better music you make, the bigger you get. It’s a
normal process like everywhere else in the world.
How is the English language treated in your country? Are kids
taught the language from an early age, and is it a language that is mandatory
for students to learn like it is in many European countries?
Yes, English is taught from the age of 10 maybe, but generally kids have free
will what to learn. Nevertheless basically English is the most popular foreign
language here in the Baltic. Also later in all universities, this is a must.
Otherwise I don’t know how they would understand what to do with a computer,
for small example…?
If there's anything else you want to talk about at length that we
missed, feel free to do so. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing your
I think that we always can talk about something, but I tried to answer only
your questions. Ok, about our plans - right now we just last week returned
from a nice German metal festival and now we will concentrate on making of
the new album. No exact release time I can provide, but we have some songs
ready. Maybe after two years we can provide you with something new again.
Plus concerts all the time, wherever possible. Maybe one day we will visit the
USA also, so if any promoter is interested - then get in touch. I think they
are very simple future plans and I could not surprise you with anything. Ok
Steven, it’s been very nice to answer to your magazine, and have my best
regards from Latvia to all your readers! Stay Metal!
:WUMPSCUT: Interview, albeit a SHORT one, with Rudy via email.
I like the new record "Evoke," though it seems like :Wumpscut: is
heading down a different path these days, especially with the more emotional
lyrics and the dependence on more female vocals. Has the anger and aggression
pretty much left you these days?
No idea where :Wumpscut: will go - but be sure, it will be a FINE path ...
Remembering the "Embryodead" album, to me that record seemed a bit
more speed oriented (maybe on a heavy metal slant?) and really seemed to upset
quite a few of your fans, even though there were some really emotional songs
like 'Is It You' and the title track. How do you feel about this album?
"Embryodead" has the same value for me than any other :W: album ...
I read a review somewhere that was intrigued by the use of anti-war
imagery while presenting the lyrics in a somewhat harsh German vocal style. I
am somewhat anti-war myself, but want to know how you feel about Germany,
especially their Nazi past and the current situation in your country.
For me, the Third Reich is a part of Germany's past like any other one.
Have you gotten flack from German press about some of your
It's amazing to see all the releases that you have done since the
Really? Thanks a lot...
How do you find the vision to keep :Wumpscut: going?
I just sit down and start working on new tracks.
Does it take a lot of time and preparation to get some albums
Well, 3 to 4 months.
How do you know when you've got the right ideas for songs on an
album? I'm assuming you are the only composer and performer for :Wumpscut:?
Yes. Well, I don't produce songs that don't get released - the simple truth...
Metropolis has been a major player in your career from early on.
What's your contract with them like, as I'm sure you've had to renegotiate
with them at least once or twice! (Since many bands sign 4 or 5 albums deals
with labels, for the most part).
The work with Metropolis is very easy - although I would like to put out the
TWO-disc versions of the last 2 albums - they don't.
Will :Wumpscut: ever tour the U.S.?
No. (I'm guessing Mr. Rudy doesn't like Americans... - Ed).
Here in the States, it seems like industrial is almost a dying
breed of music, though the concerts (few and far between they are) always
seem to bring out the fans... What is the industrial music scene like in
Europe, Germany especially?
It is VERY alive - but keep in mind that you cannot call ALL scene stuff
Industrial. (no, but many clubs I have been to, both in Atlanta and Savannah,
tend to mix the gothic and etherial with hardcore techno AND industrial. But I
assume mr. Rudy thinks I have no idea what a club scene is - Pissed off
Editor once again).
I know with "Dried Blood Of Gomorrah" and "Blutkind" some of your
earliest demo tapes and works have been reissued, but are there any other
recordings that have yet to be released?
"Preferential Tribe" offers the same period.
How difficult was it to transfer over these tapes, and what sort
of remastering software do you use?
Not very hard, apart from EQ'ing. I use Pro Tools, Logic and Waves.
Are you a fan of other types of music?
Have a look at the latest w.com updates.
Anything else we didn't talk about that you want to mention feel
free to do so.
Stay tuned for April 2006 folks!
Roughly 15 years have passed, give or take a year or so, and I've seen much
transpire throughout this time. I remember the very first big package I ever
got from a label after starting out on my own, it was a BIG Megaforce package
containing an SOD video, some Anthrax stuff, and a bunch of other I can't
quite remember now. It's still a thrill to go down to the post office and turn
that key to see what treasures will come to me from lands far away. But this
old music fool needs a bit of a break, so the next issue will probably not see
the light of day until a few months into 2006. Besides, it's October, and we
all know that baseball is winding down it's rather lengthy season and the
arrival of the dark winter nights shall soon be upon us.
As I mentioned earlier, this issue almost didn't happen this year. The magazine
was over 85 percent finished before a windows crash took out not only my
primary hard drive but my secondary one as well, where I stored all my pictures
for the classic albums section as well as other important files (like the adult
clips, but ah, I'm saying too much already!) It seems like fewer CD's got
reviewed this time around but I didn't want the delays to complicate things any
further. So hopefully after I take a few months off, things can progress at a
rather normal pace. Don't worry though, as I WILL be listening to new stuff
that I get in, in hopes to fill the reviews section with many more titles for
you to peruse at your leisure. I will, however, be extending the classic albums
section with quite a number of titles that I recently obtained in a massive
trading scheme that saw this particular issue delayed by a few days! Ever
working I am... I just wish I could make this my life's work (as in, the ONLY
job I need to gets' paid, yo!)
I want to thank everyone who stuck around to read this far, and especially
those who have supported my magazine with not only cash donations, but other
items, as I have had people send me those titles I needed for the classic
albums section without asking for a thing in return. We are a united, strong
people, bound by our one common goal: the love of music. I also want to thank
the people who stuck by me and believed in me enough to help me grow and become
a better person, and of course to April Smith for not only giving me a new and
better way to look at life (even though we're not together anymore) but also
for giving me lots of material for future song endeavours with my new band
Broken Trinity. Stay tuned to 2006 folks, as I am sure there will be lots of
good things yet to come!
Now, CLICK HERE to return to the main menu!!!