"When you have a passion, whether it be a hobby or career or anything else, do not let anybody ever tell you that it is not important. Do not let any other person decide what should and should not be a priority in your life. It is not luck that brings great things, but the will to continue when the sane thing to do is stop." - Jim Raggi, Lamentations Of The Flame Princess.

There is a VERY STRONG reason why I quoted Jim above. You may not agree with his writings, or his reviews or whatever, but both Jim and I have a passion for music. We both needed a break to reassess ourselves, but in this grand scheme of a universe, we all have our paths to follow. I have found mine. I am confident that the universe will grant me all that I need and take care of everything I am unable to take care of on my own. And our passions are what drives us, what makes us stronger, and upon reading the newest Lamentations Of The Flame Princess magazine, I also realized that I am not alone in my hard work. My extreme thanks, Jim, for helping me realize that my 15+ years of existence has definitely NOT been a waste of time. Even if I already knew that. Even if I finally started recouping some monetary compensation for all my years of hard work. As long as you believe and don't give up, I truly believe that there is enough success in the world for everyone. Prosperity and abundance exist in this universe, you have only to believe it and TAKE IT. The rich can and do get richer, but the poor DO NOT need to stay poor their entire lives. As long as you believe these fundamental truths, the universe can open doors for you that you never saw before. Go check out the movie "The Secret." It doesn't get any simpler than that, my friends. You can have whatever you desire. TODAY. (My thanks to my spiritual guide and teacher throughout life's difficult journeys, April Smith.)

Something new you will notice starting with THIS ISSUE. ALL soundfiles for the respective bands in the soundfiles section have now been increased to 4 minutes in length (give or take the few seconds for fadeouts). With more server space comes the innovation to try out new things. They're still in higher quality RealAudio (higher quality than the classic albums section anyway) but you get a bit more representation of the bands we're working on. Hope you all enjoy that!

On to the business at hand... Reaching me is ever simple these days:

Vibrations of Doom Magazine/DOOM Radio
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 30024-0963 USA

If my address EVER changes, this website will let you know....


ABSONUS NOCTIS "Penumbral Inorgantia" (Wraith Productions) SCORE: 63/100

Rather low-fi, this is somewhat basic black metal. Being a 6 track CD, with a running time of 41 minutes makes you think that all the songs are of the 7, 8 and 9 minute variety (they're not, and more on that later). First off, the vocals are quite sick but heavily processed, as are the guitars. It's not a "bad production" type of thing, but there is a sort of icy, cavernous darkness about the recording. As cool and sick as the vocals are, I simply could NOT get into the first two tracks 'Distant Underground Kingdoms Long Forgotten' and 'Ancient Chambers Of Inhuman Sorrow' (which just the title of those two tracks alone ought to give you some indication of the sound Mortifer was aiming for). The lead guitar work was a bit odd for me, and the overall feel of the songs on these two tunes just didn't do it for me. The structure was somewhat slow, putting this into an almost doom/black category, which works much better later on. Track 3 was most interesting, as it's almost an ambient like piece, nice sorrowful and mellow synths inlaid over some almost acoustic like passages (that's what they sound like, at least). Mortifer pretty much goes for a pattern and sticks to it, which sometimes works and sometimes not. He DOES have a BAD habit of utilizing LONG fades, which means an ending of a song will take a full 20 or 30 seconds to fade out completely (especially the ending track, which we're getting to). Tracks 4 and 5 REALLY opened my eyes, especially 'Inorganic Reanimation - Awakening,' as it's almost creepy and cavernous doom; yes, it's slower in scope. The sick vocal work really shines here. Even the almost acoustic like guitars blend well with the harsh, white noise infested leads. Even the followup 'Inorganic Reanimation - Ascension' holds the guitar work well, though this time around it's faster paced black metal. The ending track is over 17 minutes in length, and starts out VERY well, though it goes on WAY too long, as there's almost NO variety from like 8 or 9 minutes until the end (which takes an additional 2 minutes to completely fade out). The cavernous atmosphere and sick vocals give this a sort of ancient feeling, but is waay too long. On the interesting side, though, the vocals on this last track are very creepy and almost death-like, making for an interesting and unique, not to mention unusual, experience. There's stuff here that I definitely dig, but it all seems unfocused and could have been better written. No lyrics to be found, no homepage, further taking the oldschool approach of mystery and anonymity. I'll look forward to seeing if a full length improves and expands upon the good ideas found within.
Contact: Wraith Productions.

AUTUMN "Chernye Krylia" (Stygian Crypt) SCORE: 47/100

I wasn't quite sure at first whether this was gothic/doom or doom/death, but upon further listens, it falls mostly into the gothic metal camp. I really wanted to dig this, since Stygian Crypt is a Russian label and I am mostly pleased at much of the music that comes out of the former Soviet Republic. (Intaglio, Little Dead Bertha, Munruthel, Nokturnal Mortum, etc.) But my main annoyance is with their lead singer, who sounds almost like a carbon copy of Fernando Ribeiro from Moonspell, a band I have absolutely NO use for whatsoever. Sorry to be so blunt, but the vocal work absolutely ruins the experience for me. However, by track 3, 'The Conqueror Of My Heart,' I heard something interesting, something that you'll hear only on that one song: female vocals, and they're quite well done too! They only appear for about half a minute and they greatly enhanced the track overall; it makes me wish the male vocals had been totally eliminated and the sweet (but not overtly exceptional) female voice remained. There are dark acoustics utilized on just about every song save the last (which is a minute or so long "outro," IE, an instrumental), and are a bit simplistic but well done. The heavier guitar work tended to be a bit overbearing for the most part, mostly due to the abundance of more acoustical and "quieter" passages. This isn't a band that is meant to crank up the heaviness, and nowhere is that more awfully and nail bitingly more apparent than when the "Moonspell imitator" tries to do death metal styled vocals; it's obvious that either he hasn't the throat for it or he just doesn't know HOW. Thankfully they don't pop up as often, but it still annoys. It's a sad thing to say when the best tracks on the CD are the lone two which there are no vocals on, however further damage is done by the opening instrumental 'Intro' (how original) having the heavier guitars sound a bit off ton. And I also should add that a drum solo to end this track was totally unnecessary! There's some good instrumentation here, though it's almost half and half, like they just didn't plan out the song structures very well (making tracks 2 and 3 seem unnaturally long at 8:57 and 8:52 respectively). Not one of the better offerings I've heard from Stygian Crypt, though regardless of that they are a label WORTH watching. All I need now is a copy of the newest Folkearth and I'm set!!
Contact: Stygian Crypt Productions.

CANDLEMASS "King Of The Grey Islands" (Nuclear Blast) SCORE: 94/100

When I heard that Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeternus was taking over vocal duties from the world's most famous and favorite Candlemass singer Messiah, well, obviously it was concern for all involved. One thing I was certain of, though, was that Robert would definitely be a suitable replacement, and give Candlemass a darker edge (I have MANY Solitude Aeternus albums). How MUCH darker, though, would quite simply amaze me. The guitar work, first off, is even doomier and HEAVIER than the last record, and the vocal work is quite astounding. It's the extra edge in this Scandinavian band's arsenal, and I believe that Messiah will be missed, but soon forgotten with the next few Candlemass releases. (I long to hear the earliest classics done Robert style!) The record starts off with a dark acoustic intro, so already you're hearing the style and sound at work. 'Emperor Of The Void' starts the CD off, and it's not the typical slow and doomy sound you may be used to (but then again, the band has proved at times they can add a bit of speed, witness 'Black Dwarf' from their last full length). 'Devil Seed' is the definitive Candlemass track, and is monstrously heavy! This record also sees Candlemass tackling much darker lyrics, including my alltime favorite (and complete shock) line from the nearly misanthropic tune 'The Destroyer:' "Fuck the human race!" More on that later. The record keeps things fairly basic, although the lead solos are all over the place (and well done too, check the "Nightfall" styled solo on 'Man Of Shadows.'), a nice touch when backed up against monstrously heavy doom riffs. As if I didn't state it already, this is THE darkest and heaviest Candlemass record to date. Only 'Clearsight' seemed to lack the power and epic strength that other tracks had, being quite a weak tune (especially on the choruses, where Robert's strengths are usually pushed to the forefront). Speaking of epic choruses, 'Of Stars And Smoke' was a complete shock, with the slow, heavy, dark and doomy pace, only to add amazing melodic and soaring instrumentation and vocal work on the pre choruses (kinda like how 'Seven Silver Keys' went from their last record), only to drop back to slow heaviness. Even their other instrumental (the short 1:13 piece 'The Opal City') was very heavy, and the CD closes out with 'Embracing The Styx,' dark, slow and heavy as always, but closing the track (and the CD, naturally) by doing beautiful acoustic vocals and amazingly melodic sung vocals, which immediately struck me as something the "medieval minstrel metal" band Falconer would do. On one other note, 'Man Of Shadows' to me wasn't as strong as the other tracks either, but halfway through the tune the track picks up (with more melodic moments and epic structures). I did swear I heard a few synth passages (like the horn sounds on 'Demonia 6' adding an even darker vibe to the ending, and was that a synth solo piece on 'Of Stars And Smoke?') though it could have been something else, I don't have the original packaging so I have no idea. Doom's finest moment in the Y2K era, and it proves that Messiah's leaving could have been the metal gods' way of telling Candlemass how to create a near perfect masterpiece that will become copied over the next few years. All hail the doom gods!!
Contact: Nuclear Blast Records.

DANTALION "When The Ravens Fly Over Me" (Concreto) SCORE: 98/100

I recently went on a search to seek out bands I had never heard before from labels that were totally unfamiliar to me (see Mortifera) and I must say I have been pleasantly surprised! Formed out of the ashes of Mydgard, this band does a masterful job of combining elements of slow and almost funereal doom metal with sick, throat ripping black metal vocals and instrumentation, even going so far as to throw in deathly growls and near whispers, making for one of the most diverse and varied vocal performances in all of the realm of metal! Just about every song on here goes through umpteen numbers of both tempo AND structure changes; a wonderful thing since many tracks clock in at 6 and 7 minutes in length (something this band has in common with doom metal). The vocals are ALL of the sick and harsh variety, though, and mostly in the black metal realm. That, combined with the insane speed and dark, haunting yet icy riffs, means that they are primarily a black metal band. The percussion is quite intense as well, oftentimes being the very thing that pushes the speed factor into overdrive. The title track starts the album off in fine fashion, adding cool raven sounds that I didn't notice before. The speed changes are very well done, and without a pause, showing off the tightness of the band. 'Grant Me The Eternal Rest' starts off with some dark acoustic riffs before suddenly blasting into sick blackened instrumentation. This track and the next one after it ('Everything Ends') do end rather suddenly, keeping the intensity to a maximum, though the tracks start out dark and rather slow paced. My favorite track on here HAS to be 'Dreadful Outcome,' especially the opening with the amazing dark and slow ambience, only to lace into one of the sickest and most long winded blackened screams ever. It's just way too fucking cool! This guy has killer stamina, and many of the screams on this record are indeed quite long winded. I only had a tiny complaint with a few of the passages in 'Engulfed In Darkness,' as they seemed a bit off track and kinda stagnant, especially around the 4:40 mark (where the death like vocals come in). 'Abyss Of Solitude' is the shortest track here and a BEAUTIFUL acoustic only instrumental, which would most definitely seem out of place on any other black metal record (but considering the doomy nature of the song titles and the lyrics, it seems almost an insult NOT to have a track like this here). And CD ender 'Only Death Is Real' has some of the most amazing guitar textures and melancholic melodies, only to end the track (and the album) with some beautiful acoustic layering, serving to prove once more that the icy guitar work and multifaceted approach to the instrumentation make Dantalion one of the best doom/black metal bands to emerge out of Europe, and I cannot stress enough how CRUSHING a release this is!

FALL OF THE IDOLS "The Womb Of The Earth" (I Hate) SCORE: 67/100

I have to admit, I Hate Records is fast becoming one of the most potent labels in all of doom metal, right beside Firebox Records. This particular CD leaves me a bit puzzled. The pace for the majority of the songs is slow and rather dreary, a doom lover's dream I would assume for most people. Problem is, nearly ALL the songs are clocked at this pace, though nearly all the songs seem to really shine in their last few minutes with almost completely different instrumentation (solo, with little or no vocals), sometimes even changing the tempo, structure, or both. CD opener 'Sown Are The Seeds Of Doom' is probably one of the best tracks on here, with the somewhat dreary pace toned down a bit. The problem for me seems to lie in that these songs are not bad, but several of them don't really grab my attention. I'm not sure if it's the overall pace of the album or the fact that the oftentimes dreary and low toned vocals bury themselves into the mix too well. It's definitely puzzling. I DO know that they have good guitarists, in fact many of the instrumental passages are very enjoyable. 'Keep Wandering The Night' is one of the darkest tunes here, and the aggressive sung vocals are interesting as well. And the funeral like guitar work was a plus as well (or was that a well disguised keyboard?) I really enjoyed the lyrics on 'Ungodly Thirteen,' however the oddly voiced choruses took a bit off. I can't sit there and blame the vocals; as I said they're not horrible, some of the instrumentation on the main lines of the songs just failed to grab me. CD ender 'The Pathway' was WAY too long at 15 minutes plus, but the multivocal work (which at times tends to sound very ritualistic, an effect I'm sure was intentional) really catches your ear, as does the rather simplistic guitar work. I think I was really impressed by 'The Walk,' with the storm, rain and wind sounds throughout, and the killer use of dual, dark acoustic guitars. Nice melodic vocals too, this could have easily been longer than 5 minutes and still have been enjoyable. I can't say I Hate this record (pun intended, fuck it!) but it's not quite all there in my eyes. Dreary and doomy for sure, but the few songs I enjoyed proved there's still a lot of good writing left in the group. Not quite a keeper but it has enjoyable moments.
Contact: I Hate Records

HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE "The Locust Years" (Cruz Del Sur) SCORE: 93/100

Hammers Of Misfortune will continue to challenge what you THINK you know about not only heavy metal, but music that dares to be progressive, epic, and folk based. Hammers Of Misfortune doesn't care what sort of metal you're into, because they are always pushing the boundaries of what music is "supposed" to do. They'll take one direction in one song and do a complete 180 on it by the time the song is over. The musicians can play, and the vocalists can sing. What more do you need to know? Well, this 8 song, 45 minute affair is seemingly ALL about the instrumentation. Yes, the songs have vocals (save for lone instrumental 'Election Day,' more on that later) but it really seems more about the music... Until you take a glance at the lyrics which are both intelligently written AND insightful. I mean, come on! Who can't have a chuckle or two at this line from the song 'Famine's Lamp:' "Famine always hangs his lamp above the holy land?" (They dig on Mr. Pestilence and Mr. Death too.) Now, I'm no expert in the writings of Hammers Of Misfortune, but there seems to be quite a few songs dealing with the current situation in Iraq (the whole "holy land" comment, plus mentioning of death to the infidels on 'War Anthem,' plus song titles like 'Election Day' and 'Trot Out The Dead...' Need I say more?) 'Chastity Rides' didn't quite do it for me though. Even though some of the heavier guitars and midtempo pace "seem" metal. The heavier stuff seems out of place and not as well written. Ah, we come to my favorite part of the disc: The Almighty Hammond Organ! Yes, a fucking B3, like Hacienda uses to trippy effect. I thought the organ sounds should have been brought out in the forefront more, especially when they solo on 'Election Day.' Vocally, most times it's dual male AND female vocals AT THE SAME TIME. Makes for nice effect. The song 'Trot Out The Dead' (one of the best tunes and catchiest on the CD by the way) is a perfect example of how they defy even themselves. Choruses are mostly male oriented (female vocals are there, just pushed more in the background) but the mainlines of the song have equal male and female. By the end of the song, though, it's the FEMALE vocals who dominate the choruses! 'Election Day' to me was a perfect songtitle, as the instrumentation starts out slow and rather sorrowful, then gets heavier, more proggy sounding (in a good way, don't cringe on me!), and finally with heavier guitar work. Somewhat confusing and always "changing the story," kinda like our election. I really love the mellow moments when it's just pianos and female vocals (which worked much better on 'Famine's Lamp' than on CD ender 'Widow's Wall.') There's a definite mellow Pink Floyd theme going on at times (once again, 'Widow's Wall' and CD opener 'The Locust Years'), and I LOVED the old time (like very early 1900's feeling) "sound" that the female vocals and instrumentation had on the beginning of 'Trot Out The Dead,' like you're listening to an old time radio broadcast or something! There's a LOT to take in and not all of it metal, so you probably won't get everything on the first three or four spins. That being said, there's also a lot of instrumental stuff going on, many more solos playings than actual vocals on songs, and sometimes that can wear a tad thin. Be that as it may, the band can keep things interesting, and you'll be picking out many diverse and clever moments for months to come... Everything from the lyrics to the vocals to the actual music itself. Forward thinking, intelligent and progressive "metal," with an emphasis on diversity in the realm of music.
Contact: Cruz Del Sur Music.

INSOMNIUM "Above The Weeping World" (Candlelight) SCORE: 94/100

I'll have to admit, I didn't get to hear the second full length "Since The Day It All Came Down," but I DO know that their debut "In The Halls Of Awaiting" was an amazingly crafted melodic death metal album, with heavy emphasis on the melodic side of things. With this new album, you get the nice piano sounds on the opener 'The Gale,' which is more like an intro, and a nice one at that, then the high ended leads of 'Mortal Share' arrive, but the blazing fast speed and the overt aggression were something I was NOT expecting! This band has actually gotten MUCH heavier, a move they are quite proud of (read the interview in this issue for more details). Dare I say melodic death metal that actually has mosh worthy riffing and headbanging atmosphere! Still, for all the heaviness and somewhat speedier aggression, each song manages to weave rather melodic and beautiful passages (many of them acoustical) within the framework. The high ended lead guitar work is stunning, as always, but seems more emotional here than on the debut. Check out the nice acoustic solo on 'Last Statement' and the beautiful atmosphere on 'At The Gates Of Sleep.' There are some songs crafted with a bit slower pace in mind, namely CD ender 'In The Groves Of Death,' which may have been a BIT too long at 10 minutes. Still, I thought that the track just before it, 'Devoid Of Caring,' should have ended the CD, as it has an almost melancholic doom metal feeling and a definite "end of album" structure to it, especially with what sounds like synths ending the track (something seemingly utilized very little elsewhere). 'Last Statement' starts out with some dark guitar work, and seemingly is one of the darkest tracks on record, even going so far as to use dark acoustical guitar work! Whether fast or slow, the structure of many songs is similar: start out with an aggressive and monstrously heavy pace, slow things down (especially on seven minute tracks like 'At The Gates Of Sleep' and 'Last Statement') with either an acoustic set of riffs or just slower paced instrumentation with lots of high ended lead guitar work, get back to the heaviness and maybe throw in one or two more acoustic or slower passages. They vary this around a bit though, so don't expect any two songs to sound exactly the same. The high ended lead guitar work is obviously the highlight, as well as the monstrously powerful vocal work of Niilo Sevanen (who, incidentally, conducted the interview with us), who has a very vicious death metal vocal range. Still, "In The Halls Of Awaiting" is my alltime favorite, but damn if this record doesn't come very close! It's very enjoyable and very diverse, so you shouldn't get bored with this!
Contact: Candlelight Records.

IRON FIRE "Blade Of Triumph" (Napalm) SCORE: 92/100

I must admit I do have a few Iron Fire CD's here, but am not that familiar with them, except for "On The Edge," released on Noise Records (and their last full length for them before they would go on to release "Revenge" on Napalm, and finally, this album). I do remember not being as fond of it though after hearing THIS record I will now at least go back and listen to "Revenge!" The album is power metal no doubt about it, in fact if I had stopped at the opener 'Dragonheart' then I would have expected the entire CD to be like this track. High ended power metal leads sound very nice, and there's a slight Hammerfall feel to this track, especially with the lyrics and a bit lighthearted pace. It's a good tune, but the surprise comes immediately with 'Bloodbath Of Knights,' the heavy riffing is borderline thrash, and alongside the pounding drums, catchy choruses and good vocal work, this made me want to hear much more! So follows 'Dawn Of Victory.' It's a rather thunderous marching style and sound, once again with catchy choruses and it's quite obvious that this CD in a nutshell is VERY diverse, it's not all fast and it's not all slow. The lead solo work was a sight to behold as well; once again varying the tempos and mostly very emotional and well written, as an enhancement to great songs. The song lengths, incidentally, are nearly all in the 4 minute range, save for two 5 minute pieces and CD ender (which is the title track) being a tad bit too long at over 7 minutes. More on that in a minute! The best and arguably most "metal anthemic" track on the record has GOT to be 'Steel Invaders,' as we are admonished through lyrics to "raise the metal fist in the air." Complete with a pounding percussion structure and dark yet slightly thrashy guitar work, this is a great track. Further still, checking out the emotional choruses on 'Gladiator's Path' was a treat, especially when you hear the lyrics talking about true warriors spilling blood in the arena. This song would have been AWESOME to hear in the movie "Gladiators." The somewhat ballady style of 'Legend Of The Magic Sword' however, detracted a bit from the disc, as it's a bit cringeworthy and not quite up to par, even if the acoustical guitar work was a bit interesting (not to mention the synths themselves coming into play). CD ender 'Blade Of Triumph' should have been the grand finale to end the CD, alas it comes up quite short. It's not a horrible tune, and the multivocal chanting sounds a bit off, though they do utilize some nice guitar melodies. It just should have been fleshed out better (and certainly a bit too long at over 7 minutes). Still, the fact remains that tunes like 'Steel Invaders,' 'Bloodbath Of Knights' and 'Dawn Of Victory' are true anthems for metal warriors, and though they touch on some medieval and Tolkien like themes (the 'Lord Of The Labyrinth' is, after all, the Goblin King!), it's not as all encompassing as in some other bands. Heavy power metal, from Napalm no less!
Contact: Napalm Records.

KAYSER "Frame The World... Hang It On The Wall" (Scarlet) SCORE: 92/100

Hot off the heels of their last full length "Kaiserhof," I REALLY like this band. Their unique blend of sick, distorted and crunchy thrash riffs, combined with ultra melodic and cool as hell sing along choruses, really hits home with me, even if not the most original thing out there, or vastly different from the last album. 'The Cake' starts this off in fine fashion, and it's obvious from the get go you KNOW what you're going to get. (There's a few different things going on, we'll get to those later). The vocals are loud and heavy, and there is a tendency to have a somewhat "rock' vibe in these songs. (I recently found out that the lead singer Spice was ALSO in the Mushroom River Band (they released a GREAT CD in "Simsalabim" on Meteor City) and Spiritual Beggars. The stoner rock influences carry over, but only ever so slightly (check the cool stoner rock vibe heavily present in 'Everlasting.') What's really cool about how Kayser operates is that the majority of their songs are around the 3 minute mark, and in the space of one 3 minute song you get heavy, crunchy thrash, some lead solos, and melodic choruses! They definitely felt they didn't need to drag the majority of their songs out (though there is an exception. Be patient!) The smart thing they did was put the majority of their longer songs towards the end of the disc, sort of a "breather" if you will, and even fleshed out the lead solos and solo instrumentation on 'Jake' (the CD ender) and 'Everlasting.' There's 12 tracks here, which in my eyes might have been just a few tracks too long, though 'Fall' was a nice 2 minute instrumental (almost acoustic like in structure) which gave you diversity before the last 2 tracks. My MAIN gripe with this CD is the way too long 9 minute piece 'Absence.' First off, it's WAY too slow for Kayser doesn't do the somewhat doom metal thing well. Guitars on this were dragging a bit. The last 3 or 4 minutes of this picks up, though, and once again, those ultra melodic choruses save this from being a complete washout. The soaring vocal work, ironically, is some of the most intense on the record. And finally, as atmospheric and emotional as the majority of the lead solos are (great emotion and feeling, and NOT proving that they can blaze single high end notes at over 100 miles per hour), 'Lost In The Mud,' 'Not Dead Yet' and 'Turn To Grey' had a few seconds where the lead solos were really off. Oh yeah, and the choruses to 'Cheap Glue' were kinda weak. But other than that, this is an aggressive, thrashy record that has some of the most vicious guitar work you'll hear (and very consistent from track to track). It's been said that Slayer fans should eat this disc up, but it's unique way of adding catchy, singalong and melodic choruses to such a heavy thrashy framework gives Kayser an unusual attraction. MY guess is this will really appeal to anyone who loved Invocator's "Weave The Apocalypse" and any number of 80's metal thrash fans.
Contact: Scarlet Records.

MAYHEM "Ordo Ad Chao" (Season Of Mist) SCORE: 98/100

The last Mayhem record "Chimera" I really enjoyed after the HUGE letdown that was "Grand Declaration Of War." Needless to say, I thought Mayhem's Maniac had turned in one of the sickest vocal performances in their career (that I had heard on disc anyway). So obviously, not having liked much of Atilla's stuff outside of Mayhem (and, once again, reiterating that Atilla's performance on "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" was unknown to me at the time), I was disheartened at the announcement that Atilla would be handling vocal duties. I swore that it was the downfall of the band... Thank god I was wrong, but how obscenely wrong! Atilla is easily one of the highlights of the disc, turning in utterly sick and fucking inhumanly maniacal raging throat shreddings, which makes the utterly dark and just dripping with evil and disease guitar work stand out that much more. This is the most poisonous black metal record you will ever hear, and if you're a huge misanthropist, this record is YOUR soundtrack. The only few points I took off were for the CD opener 'A Wise Borthgiver' being more of an instrumental passage, albeit a quite slow and doomy one (surprisingly, setting the tone for much of their instrumentation throughout the disc) which doesn't work as well in the opening moments. The other nod was that Atilla, though very animalistic and inhuman he sounds, has a few moments that make you cringe, mainly that wierd laughing thing he does on 'Key To The Storms.' For the most part, you get high screeches, very low and guttural, almost death metal vocals (though sounding like some demonic animal rather than anything remotely resembling humanity), and on CD ender 'Anti,' his voice sounds like a huge stone wall being dragged across the ground! The guitar work is quite utterly fucking evil. What really surprised me is just how often the instrumentation played out a slow, almost funeral like doom metal set of riffs, only to blast away at raging speed later on. Yes, the music on this thing is SO diverse and each track has a multitude of not only tempo changes, but structure changes as well, giving Mayhem the ability to be one of the first black metal bands in history to PROPERLY, albeit POSSIBLY, be termed "post-black metal." 'Illuminate Eliminate' further shows their diversity by utilizing some rather sorrowful and melodic yet doomy guitars at the end of the track (which was even more surprising). Much has been made of the production, which is not quite crystal clear, while Hellhammer's drumming is incredible, and his cymbal hits sound like warning bells to a doomed human race. As much as the instrumentation varies so much from track to track, the one constant is the fact that Blasphemer's guitar riffs were created with one thing and one thing in mind ONLY: Sheer utter darkness, desolation and the pits of supreme hatred and disgust for all life. Brilliant to the fucking core, and the originators of the black metal scene have created a true masterpiece that the followers will more than likely take 5 to 10 years to emulate. And might I add, NOBODY sounds like Atilla!
Contact: Season Of Mist Records.

MORTIFERA "Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera" (GoatowaRex) SCORE: 95/100

I have spent a LOT of time looking for the most underground releases I could find from last year, just to get a taste of what's out there in the world, and have had a LOT of success finding and discovering great bands from around the world on labels I don't get serviced with (yet...) Hailing from France, I know comparisons abound to Celestia, considering there's members in both bands (see, I did my homework), but having never heard either band before, let me just say right off the bat what really caught my ear was some of the sickest and most tortured black metal vocals I've heard in awhile. It's got a doom metal edge to it with atmospheric touches, though there's no mistaking the black metal background this band has. 'Fbrahgments' starts the CD off (what's with the inserting of the letter 'b' into just about every word on the songtitles?) in a rather unorthodox fashion, as the slower yet heavier guitars threaten to sound off-key, though this is an instrumental. The surprising thing about this CD to me is the short lengths of the songs! Bands like Nagelfar, Ruins Of Beverast, and even to an extent Draconian and Dantalion have a tendency to make their blackened masterpieces VERY long indeed, while the longest song on this 8 song affair is a mere 5:48! 'Le Revenant' proves that while dabbling in atmospherics and doom metal, the speedier pace of the guitars prove where the heart of this band lies. The acoustic like guitars are a nice touch, and on the instrumental 'Epilogue D'Une Existence Rebssurectyion,' not only are they quite enchanting and serene, but they are the ONLY instrument, the only thing you will hear (on this one track at least). 'A Last Breath Before Extinction' had a rather different take on the vocals; not only were they not of the higher pitched, shrieking kind (NO, not like Cradle Of Filth), but it was my impression that there was a different screamer on this track. The vocal work throughout is quite twisted and torturous, and it's amazing the contrast with the (dare I say) "beautiful" leads and the insane vocal work. It heightens the atmosphere of this disc to a great degree and I dare say you'll be hard pressed to find a more serene set of sounds coupled with such torturous vocal work. The Celestia cover ending the disc ('Fruits Of A Tragic End') was good, though I did think some of the guitar riffs could have been fleshed out better (a few were a bit odd), making me think this isn't one of Celestia's better songs. And it's nice to hear dark acoustics starting off 'Aux Confins Des Tenebrss,' which is one of the shortest tracks here and no sung vocals to speak of, only a few twisted and torturous screams (one VERY ear shattering) amidst a slow but heavy backdrop. This CD fulfills the darkest and lightest emotions all at the same time and is one very unusual and enjoyable release. WHEN do we get to hear more!
Contact: Goatowarex Records

MY DYING BRIDE "A Line Of Deathless Kings" (Peaceville) SCORE: 71/100

This was a very difficult, almost painful, CD to review, especially since it not only comes from one of my favorite bands, but it ALSO comes on the heels of what I consider to be My Dying Bride's best fucking album to this date: "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light." THAT particular album touched on just about every emotion under the sun, and complete with the newest MDB addition of blackened styled vocals, complete with songs that will take you from snarling, dark and demonic rage to extremely beautiful, melancholic and light hearted fare all in one song, "Songs Of Darkness..." is probably one of the most emotionally exhausting albums they've ever made. On the other hand, "A Line Of Deathless Kings" is confusing, jumps around quite a bit, and by the album's end your last few songs make you go "didn't I hear those elements in earlier songs... ON THE SAME ALBUM?" Nevertheless, let's start from the beginning. CD opener 'To Remain Tombless' certainly didn't make the greatest impression. Yes, the guitar work is very dark, heavy and almost thrashy at times, certainly one of the biggest highlights of the CD. MDB's darkest INSTRUMENTATION to date, certainly, but you will find the harsh and raging vocals limited to three spots on the entire record, and the last instance is almost a tease, as it's the last thing you hear before the record ends (with almost fast paced black metal instrumentation too, as if Aaron's taunting us). I thought for such a heavy and dark atmosphere the vocals on CD opener 'To Remain Tombless' could have been a LOT heavier, one of very few instances I have a problem with Aaron's vocal delivery. The whispered vocals help a bit, and see? Right there a tune that confuses me. The next piece 'L'Amour Detruit' doesn't help either, as you have very nice emotional synths and guitars opening up (incidentally, the amazingly atmospheric synths seem to be absent for the most part from this recording as well), and from the start you think "Ah, what amazingly emotional atmosphere, fuck this could have been on "Songs Of Darkness!" But then halfway through the darker tone with the instrumentation proves to be a double edged sword, as the heavier parts could have been fleshed out better. It almost threatens to drag the song down (The ending brings back the sounds of the beginning). The third track is even MORE confusing, as they seemingly are confused as to exactly WHERE this song is going! ('I Cannot Be Loved.') Let me say right now though that the most amazing passage on the album is the 4th track 'And I Walk With Them,' you'll know this ultra melodic passage when you hear it, as it features some soaring vocal work and trust me, it'll bring tears to the eyes (especially when you read the lyrics along with it). Why the rest of the album couldn't take this pace is beyond me. Nice piano notes open up 'Thy Raven Wings,' but for the life of me it just didn't grab me. Is there too much darkness overpowering the overall tone of the record? By tracks 6 and 7, I am DEFINITELY hearing a band start to repeat themselves, and I'm STILL confused, as Aaron is still sounding sharp. The industrial soundscape closing 'One Of Beauty's Daughters' (track 7) I could have done without. Here's where things get interesting: track 8 'Deeper Down,' opening up with surprisingly fast double bass drums, to note, seemingly treads down a dark, dreary path. At first I didn't think it was that great, but the overall feeling appealed to me. So it ends up being a good tune. CD ender 'The Blood, The Wine, The Roses' is even a decent tune, though the choruses could have been beefed up. No song on here is terrible, or even godawful, but the MDB fan will definitely have to pick and choose his moments. I don't know if I'm just so into "Songs Of Darkness" that anything after that has been ruined or if the songs TRULY don't hold weight well. I'll give you what I think is the biggest clue, the HUGE piece to the puzzle that makes me understand WHY this album isn't as good as it SHOULD be: A recent interview I read in Metal Maniacs (which would NORMALLY have NO BEARING on ANY review I do) had Aaron stating quite matter of factly that THIS album was recorded VERY QUICKLY, even by My Dying Bride standards. Let me rephrase that, it was WRITTEN very quickly, Aaron going on to state that not only were lyrics not written until they were IN THE STUDIO, but FOUR songs were written while IN the studio. Had they spent more time on these songs, I dare say the album would have turned out better. That being said, any other band writing and recording an album like this would have far worse results.

NACHTMYSTIUM "Instinct: Decay" (Battle Kommand) SCORE: 91/100

What a show this band put on when Watain and Angel Corpse arrived in tow! This band is definitely doing something a bit different in the black metal realm: add some psychedelics to the music! The CD starts off with an instrumental piece called 'Instinct' ('Decay' closes the CD), I think they call that an intro, Dave! The odd noises here surprisingly work, but they become a distraction later on (more on that "later on.") First "song" 'A Seed For Suffering' give you a great idea of what this band is REALLY about. A 7 minute track showing some HEAVY instrumentation alongside sorrowful guitar work (I think the use of an ebow plays heavily on the soundscapes), complete with headbanging riffs, a rather psychedelic tinge and the use of acoustic guitars make for amazing and varied diversity in just one track! Next up, this track is barely 3 minutes ('Keep Them Open') and is a fast paced crusher right from the get go (as are numerous other tracks. We're getting there!) This track is even more true to the black metal style, and I must say at this point that the production is THICK! The instrumentation almost bleeds into everything else, at times rendering the vocals barely audible (or it sounds that way), like on the song 'Circumvention.' The "noises" I mentioned above are what really grates on me with this CD, especially the track 'Keep Them Open.' Here's the deal: 'Keep Them Open' has a total running length of 2:56 (quite short, even by black metal standards). What makes it worse is the wierd scraping noises constitute the ENTIRE last minute of the song! Interesting but annoying. And CD ender 'Decay' (see, we told ya we'd wrap up all the loose ends!) is quite simply an instrumental, but even more drawn out (6:26) and if not graced with some nice, sorrowful leads, I would have skipped over entirely (I usually do anyway). That being said, there's still a LOT to enjoy on this 10 track affair. 'Antichrist Messiah' is a crushing tune, and very dark & eerie, especially given the whole ambience of stormwind sounds (even right down to the vocal effects). This band can be sick and vicious when they want to, and it is very effective on the shorter tracks, but the longer passages definitely flesh out the diverse and rather psychedelic instrumentation. Only 'Abstract Nihilism' seemed a bit too basic (though still short, at 3:39) for it's framework. The surprising thing about this band is how well everything works whether they're in speedier black metal mode or just adding unique atmosphere to a heavy and dark framework. One of the innovators of tomorrow's black metal scene, we should be hearing a LOT more from them in the future (Here's To Hoping!)
Contact: Battle Command Records.

NAGELFAR "Virus West" (Van) SCORE: 98/100

I can't tell you how fucking brilliant this record is. Sadly, is was to be the last record they ever released, though I believe some of the members carry on in the band Ruins Of Beverast. Be that as it may, you'll find some vicious and downright headbanging black metal here. My main complaint comes in the fact that on a 7 track CD, FOUR of the songs clock in at NO LESS than 10 minutes apiece! At times this seems a bit excessive, but damn if they can't keep things interesting for the entire length of the song! Here's a small sample: CD ender 'Meuterei' starts off with rain sounds, acoustic guitars, and some lone guy doing a kind of sung "ooh- oooooh" thing, which makes it sound like a lonesome tune out of the Old American West! And yeah, they will utilize some slow, almost doomy but eerie as fuck heavy distorted guitars, while dropping that structure later on to blast away in a headbanging fashion (in fact, this particular song has some of the most headbanging riffs on the CD). They'll repeat the acoustic thing somewhere down the middle, sometimes many of the songs repeat their structures but they are varied. That's a good thing. All the lyrics are in German, even though the album title is an English one. The vocal work is quite sick, and the vocalist's screams are quite long winded. I really dug the short instrumental 'Westwall' with it's very cool horn sounds and an almost militaristic death march percussion, leading RIGHT into the blasting pace of 'Faden Des Schicksals,' one of my favorite tracks on the CD. Though thank god the instrumentation is good, because there isn't much variation for an almost 7 minute piece. 'Hetzjagd In Palastina' had an interesting use of dark acoustic passages right alongside the slow and almost doomy leads. As I said, they have NO problems varying the structure as well as the tempo, so they're not ALWAYS blasting away at 100 miles per hour, but when they DO utilize the blazing instrumentation, damn if they are not only tight as hell as a unit, but they write damn good and catchy material! The clean sung vocals were nice, littered over the CD but not overused so that you forget what style of music you're hearing. This is a very well played CD, and damn if I haven't played it many, many times, but many tracks are HARD to play on a radio show that only lasts 2 hours!!! The theme seems to be warfare, especially with the German lyrics and militaristic percussion and slight synth sounds, but it's warfare for the ears and vicious enough to scorch the earth.
Contact: Van Records.

NOVEMBERS DOOM "The Novella Reservoir" (The End) SCORE: 98/100

Another brutal masterpiece from a band seemingly doing whatever they can to further distance themselves from the doom metal "tag." CD opener 'Rain' proves that there's more to this band than the usual doom metal fixations. It ALSO goes a long way to proving just how vicious and crushingly brutal these guys are! Sick downtuned riffs from the start are the staple of the record (for the most part), and the vocal work at times borders on black metal! The guitar work on this record will definitely punish you. The title track is next, and will surprise you a bit (unless you're completely familiar with the band) with opening acoustic guitar work. Nice to hear some clean sung vocals too, and some beautiful acoustic passages thrown in for good measure. 'Drown The Inland Mere' is good too, and it shows Novembers Doom isn't afraid to utilize faster instrumentation in their sound. The emotional lead solos were nice. This all draws you to track 4, 'Twilight Innocence,' which besides utilizing nothing but clean sung vocals, is probably close to a ballad. It also features Paul's most personal and emotional lyrics on the record, something some fans may take an issue with. It's all acoustic, no harsh vocals anywhere. 'The Voice Of Failure' is next, and has a nice headbanging feel to it, killer choppy riffs, and the mixture of harsh vocals and clean sung vocals. Slow or fast, this is a vicious record for the most part, so you pretty much know what to expect by now. CD ender 'Leaving This' is close to the ballad style and pace of 'Twilight Innocence,' the only difference here (besides the longer 7 minutes in length) is the useage of heavier instrumentation alongside the acoustic passages. The ending instrumentation on this particular track reminds me a bit of The Beatles' style of harmony via tracks on their "Abbey Road" album, and maybe hints at future things to come? All in all, one of the best releases this year, EASILY, and I look forward to their future endeavours. Read the interview we did this issue as well!
Contact: The End Records.

PSYOPUS "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered" (Metal Blade) SCORE: 28/100

Obviously, many of you can tell I still love music, even after 15+ years of doing this (despite the tediousness of some of the "work.") I try to be open minded about everything that comes across my desk, thus that's why there's a lot of positive reviews. The fact is, I'd rather, MUCH rather, put all my time and energy into bands that I like than ones I don't like. This particular record was extremely painful to sit through all the way, very spastic and with time, structure and signature changes every four or five seconds. The lead guitar work, to start with, is grating and annoying, the lead riffs almost sound like they're bended WAY out of tune. The drummer is the only least annoying facet of the record, and let's be honest: to be able to blast away at that speed, suddenly change tempos like tomorrow never comes, then to blast away at hyperspeed all over again, man this guy's obviously a phenomenal drummer, who's somewhat limited by the company he keeps. I don't much like the whole grindcore/hyperspeed death metal genre anyway, so that didn't work out for me from the start. 'Scissor Fuck Paper Doll' (what's with some of these song titles anyway) is a mess, the echoey sounds got on my nerves. Are these guys TRYING to piss people off on purpose? The vocals are kinda slightly high toned screaming vocals, no real death metal vocals to speak of, and maybe if the music wasn't so annoying the vocals might shine through a tad. Every now and then, though, I hear very small hints at the technicality of the band. Like the aforementioned "Scissor Fuck Paper Doll,' there's a spot. 'Insects,' there's a few machine like thrashy guitars. There's two tracks out of the mess of 13 I halfway enjoyed, not surprisingly they're mostly instrumental passages. 'Siobahnis Song' was the best, being a 6 minute acoustic piece, with some nice but almost wierd organ interludes. Still, at 6 minutes it's a bit too long in a way. Still, for the most normal song here, it's a relief. 'Imogenis Puzzle Part 2' was the other almost normal song, though you have annoying baby crying sounds and a multitude of spoken vocals thrown on top of each other. Be that as it may, the fast intricate lead guitar work is a bit surprising (hence, the technicality of the band is shown). Man, I really don't wanna say much more about this, as it's spastic, annoying and kinda sounds like 5 year old mentalities stuck in 20 or 30 something bodies.
Contact: Metal Blade Records.

SASQUATCH "II" (Small Stone) SCORE: 91/100

A nice eleven track affair that should cement Sasquatch as one of the kings of the stoner rock genre here in the States. It's a nice slow, heavy, rockin' vibe that opens the CD up in 'Let It In.' Keith's vocals are loud but nicely sung, even cooler is he throws the "f" word around a few times (though not through the entire CD, thank god, as I have to play some of this on WREKage!). The charming fuzzy guitars are back in full force, and some of the songs here are of a slow pace (like 'Let It In,' 'The Judge,' and especially CD ender 'What Have You Done,') but there's a lot of tracks that crank it up at a bit faster of a pace. The only thing I didn't like on the CD are the following two tracks: 'Nikki' and 'Catalina' (funny that both, tracks 6 and 10 respectively, are named after women). BOTH these particular tracks feature somewhat twangy acoustic guitars and some tribal like percussion (did I hear a tambourine in there? Greatful Dead Hippy Jam?) and the vocal work didn't fit well with these. So two dead tracks, but the rest of the CD flat out fucking JAMS. CD ender 'What Have You Done' is the longest track here, and about 4 minutes into this kick ass slow piece the instrumentation does a complete 180, speeds up a bit and we get a fast freeform jam. Incidentally, there's lots of great, fuzzed out lead solos ALL over the disc. If you dig heavy, stoner jamming vibes, hell you could crank this CD up at full volume while driving down the highway at top speeds, or while kicking back at home with a few greenleafs... :) Glad to see another record! May Small Stone NEVER go bankrupt!
Contact: Small Stone Records.

SWALLOW THE SUN "Hope" (Candlelight) SCORE: 94/100

After two full lengths with proven winner Firebox Records, Swallow The Sun makes the leap to Candlelight, who has a bit more of a presence stateside. As proof of this, Swallow The Sun will be making it's first U.S. appearance along side Katatonia later this fall. On to the new record, it's quite obvious to me that the heavier parts of their death laden doom sound have gotten heavier, and the more melodic parts have become even more melodic (which unfortunately is a minor problem, explained below). Needless to say if you liked the first two S.T.S. records, there's no reason you shouldn't like this one as well. The nice thing about the band is their diversity and the ability to change the mood, atmosphere and structure in the width of one song. Acoustic riffs abound as well, but my one glaring problem with this CD is mainly on the track 'Don't Fall Asleep,' where the clean sung vocals are a bit TOO clean sung and invoke the cringe factor. Almost pop like and the lyrics on these clean parts don't help matters. So I'm happy when the sick death like vocals kick in. Speaking of vocals, they do have a tendency to dip into the blackened range at times, something I doubt many reviewers have noticed. CD ender 'Doomed To Walk The Earth' annoyed me in one spot with the piano notes that sounded a bit offkey. Regardless of these minor points (well, almost a major point with 'Don't Fall Asleep'), let's focus on the strengths of this record, like the crushing heaviness opening up 'These Hours Of Despair,' and probably one of the heaviest tunes they've ever written in 'No Light, No Hope,' which incidentally is the shortest song on the disc, at around 4 and a half minutes. It's cool to see they didn't have to make EVERY song 8 and 9 minutes in length, so you have 8 songs at a running time of about an hour. There's one 8 minute, one 9 minute, a few 7 minute songs and of course a 5 and 4 minute track. 'Doomed To Walk The Earth' is easily their slowest and doomiest tune, and of course everywhere else you have clean and death vocals, acoustics and heavy, almost thrash like doomy guitars, and everything in between. A well rounded record and a bit of an expansion on a style they've perfected over the course of three records.
Contact: Candlelight Records.

TALES OF DARK "Fragile Monuments" (Solitude) SCORE: 92/100

Despite the score, this CD is a WHOLE lot better than it seems. While apparent to me that My Dying Bride has fallen off the epic doom/death throne; there are a whole SLEW of bands, from Europe no less, willing to step up at any moment and steal the crown permanently. There are no less than three labels in Russia devoted and fanatically dedicated to not just doom/death, but the somewhat obscure genre of funereal doom/death. This band will amaze the fuck out of you right off the bat with the opener 'Via Descendens.' What strikes you immediately is the epic and emotional guitar AND synth work, but what really is the deciding blow is the amazingly uncanny ability of lead vocalist Arpad to almost PERFECTLY emulate Aaron from My Dying Bride! His clean sung vocals are astounding and really add to the atmosphere the band creates. In fact, check things even further with the sinister spoken word parts on CD ender 'Serpent Wisdom!' Female vocals are in abundance too, as well as sinister and sick death metal styled vocals of the harshest quality. Back to the opening track: a 12 minute epic better not be boring, and this band has some of the most tempo, structure and atmosphere changes of any doom/death band I've ever heard. You'd think that with so many passages in one song they'd tend to make mistakes, and believe me, they do, which is what keeps this CD from being a complete masterpiece. Tracks 4 and 5, 'Luciferian Elegy' and 'Towering Grief Behemoth' respectively, are not 100% there. Granted, some of the most sinister and hauntingly slow passages are to be found on 'Luciferian Elegy,' but the sudden introduction of death vocals right in the middle of clean sung passages threw the structure off in my opinion. Still further down the line, the odd downtuned guitar work lost me with the death metal styled vocals, and while we're on this 16 minute track, let me also say the female vocals weren't planned out 100 percent either. I wasn't sure about the female vocals backing the death ones on the follower 'Towering Grief Behemoth' either, but the funereal passage is worth sticking around for, as is the fact that on this particular track, you'll find some of the sickest and most diabolical passages on the entire record (especially when they crank up the speed, which is definitely NOT the norm for this style of music). There was a rather folkish element at times I have to mention, especially on 'Of Grandiose Fevers And Passion Arcane,' where you'll hear nice acoustic instrumentation and a rather Irish sounding female voice. Incidentally, the female vocals in this record get just as much time as everything else; they're not just utilized as a backdrop (whether chanting or sung). These tracks are LONG folks, and there's 6 of them with a total running time of an hour and 9 minutes, the shortes being 7 minutes in length. If you have no patience for long songs, steer clear, though be warned you're missing out on some epic instrumentation and songwriting. Lyrically, though I haven't delved into it much, they seem to be dealing with Luciferian themes somewhat along the lines of Draconian. Excellent material, and so brimming with differing emotions... This band has talent and passion in spades, and I can't WAIT to hear the next full length!!!
Contact: Solitude Productions.

TROUBLE "Simple Mind Condition" (Escapi) SCORE: 79/100

I must admit, after a twelve year wait, I didn't think Trouble would EVER release a new album. But here it is, and man has the criticism been LEVELLING! Yes, I'll be the first to admit, this isn't the crushing, heavy ass stoner rock vibe thing like Honcho, Rite, or even Sparzanza (further proof that if you don't know of these bands, then you need to see just how much ass stoner rock can KICK), rather it seems more laid back and subdued. Rather, like a mellow stoner rock vibe. Take tracks like 'Mindbender,' 'Pictures Of Life,' or 'Seven.' These tracks, while being rather laid back (to most Trouble fans, and yes, I have heard nearly the entire catalog), do contain some killer guitar work, like the dirty and fuzzy leads opening up 'Mindbender,' the trippy bended leads of 'Seven' and the heavier riffs that follow, and what about the title track, with it's more energetic and stomping rhythms? Even the heavier vocals on the choruses makes this a good title track. However, that being said, I did listen to this several times before the more mellow side of Trouble started speaking to me. I believe it's gonna happen like that for most. The best damn track on here HAS to be 'If I Only Had A Reason,' and that song is just perfect! Great energetically sung choruses, vicious riffing, and a hypnotic effect with great builds leading up to a fantastic chorus. If the rest of the album was like this one song, this album would become, quite simply, one of the best Trouble albums EVER. But it's not, and there's other reasons why the score dips quite a bit. Yes, it's a keeper, and a little bit more than "just barely" (evident by a score that says only keepers score at least 75 or above). The guitar work on 'Trouble Maker' sounds tired and unrefreshing from the start, and it seems rather lifeless. 'Arthur Brown's Whiskey Bar' had a slower vibe starting out, but sounded quite weak as well. The latter part of the song gets better, however, especially with the killer lead solo and more uptempo instrumentation. The "ballad' attempt didn't sit well with me ('After The Rain') even if, once again, there's some cool lead guitar work. CD ender 'The Beginning Of Sorrows' was the biggest surprise here, starting off with just pianos, vocals, and light percussion, only to add dark and doomy guitars later on, making for a good CD ender, one that's different. The cover 'Ride The Sky' I simply couldn't get into as well, it sounds very out of place on the album for some reason, despite the faster instrumentation. I think it's Eric's delivery of it, mostly all high ranged. I could slightly forgive the ripping off of a Supershine song (mainly because Bruce Franklin played on that one shot project), mainly the opening and mainline guitar riffs on 'Pictures Of Life,' but overall I gotta say if you take some time with this one you can appreciate the more melodic things. Either that or I've just gotten more mellow in my old age (okay, does anybody REALLY believe that? So what if I'm 36, Mayhem rules man!) Smoke some grass first if you think it will help....
Contact: Escapi Music.

TYR "Ragnarok" (Napalm) SCORE: 84/100

I enjoyed this album right from the get go. A song about Thor's Hammer, Viking themes and even the original language of the Faroe Islands (a small group of islands situated between Iceland and Great Britain), man what more could you ask for! This is quite an original release of epic folkish Viking metal, most noteworthy because UNLIKE fellow Viking metallers like Amon Amarth or Unleashed, it's all clean sung vocals (though never dipping into the ultra high "power metal" range). After many listens however, I started getting unnerved by a few things, which keeps this from becoming an ultra top 5 percent release. First off, a 16 track album can understandably have quite a few instrumentals on them, and seeing there's 7 of them might make one say "no big deal." The big problem comes from just WHAT they do with these. For starters, opening track 'The Beginning' is way too long at over 5 minutes, when CD closer 'The End' is exactly 37 seconds of the SAME instrumentation found at the beginning of track 1, minus the percussion. (why use the same set of instrumentation three times?) And 'Rage Of The Skullgaffer,' once again is too long and consists mainly of blazing lead solos for about 2 minutes. (When not soloing, the guitar work wasn't as enjoyable). Granted the guitarists are very skilled and obviously spent countless hours honing their soloing skills, but it takes away from the overall feeling this band goes for. The two weakest "vocal" tracks on this record ('Lord Of Lies' and 'The Hunt,' also to a lesser degree 'The Ride To Hel') seem to be the ones utilizing way too much solo instrumentation. That being said, there's some astonishing moments on the CD. One of my favorite tracks is obviously 'The Hammer Of Thor,' lyrical content fascination notwithstanding. The vocal melodies, many times multivocal in scope, are quite intoxicating, and quite atmospheric especially on the somewhat sad tune 'Ragnarok.' Choruses are catchy as hell, and you'll be singing 'Brother's Bane,' 'The Hammer Of Thor,' and even what you can understand on 'Wings Of Time.' 'Grimur A Midalnesi' is fascinating simply because it's an actual Viking chant recorded with just vocals and foot stomping, probably how it was done in the olden days (those are ACTUAL Viking descendents who carried that folk tune down for centuries, by the way, for an even more honest and authentic recreation). What's even MORE surprising is when the followup track 'Wings Of Time' kicks in, with the SAME lyrics as the epic Viking folk track above, just converted to heavy metal guitars and metal rhythms! Some of the horse and battle sounds (instrumentals 'Victory' and 'Gjallarhornid') help to convey the epic grand scale fighting that the story of Ragnarok encompasses, but I just can't help but walk away from this record thinking it's short on vocal content. Regardless, there's some amazingly catchy and innovative stuff to hear on this record, and if you're into Norse mythology, culture or even slightly interested in this stuff, Tyr is about as up front and honest as you can get. Even more innovative is the fact that some songs utilize BOTH languages at once. As you may guess, a followup interview is on my top 5 things to do....
Contact: Napalm Records.

VAINGLORY "Vainglory" (Rebellion) SCORE: 98/100

All I can say is... Wow. Fronted by Kate French, who in the past sang for Chastain on a few of his records... All I have to say is a female vocalist would VERY easily get lost behind the brutal power this band holds. I actually got the CD by walking into Corbin King's music store about 5 miles down the road from my HOUSE!! Corbin AND Kate, besides being married, are both stalwarts of the 80's metal scene, and Corbin is a virtuoso with the guitar, though I swear his background sounds like it comes more from heavy death and thrash metal rather than the power metal it's categorized under. There are solos all over the place, of course, but the main riffing is HEAVY. And dark! 'Walking Dead' is the perfect CD opener, and it's obvious from note one that Kate has a very rough vocal delivery that makes her sound mean as hell, though she can definitely hit the high notes, which sound a lot more natural coming from her than they would a male singer (why I don't know. I AM an aspiring vocalist myself you know). The headbanging tunes are in full force, just check out 'Burdened' or 'Midnight Hellfire' for more proof of that! The album seems a tad long at an hour and 6 minutes, or 12 songs, which will make you feel like, in the words of one reviewer, you just went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson! The one thing that I took off a point for is also one of the strengths of Kate's vocals, and it was seemingly done out of necessity. You all know how I HATE 80's metal bands that kick ass feeling they need to resort to the "power ballad," but in THIS case it shows that for all the rough and vicious vocal work Kate spits out, the more melodic parts of 'Undying Love' (doesn't the name alone make you cringe?) are amazing, proving that Kate's voice can be as beautiful and mellow as, say Anneke Van Giersbergen from The Gathering, or even (though not as operatic) Liv Kristine from Leaves' Eyes. And the song is not ALL ballad either, as it gets pretty heavy and mean midway, although resorting back to the acoustical ballad by the song's end. Still, that being said, it's a bit easier to take a ballad being sung by a woman than a man (once again, I don't know why...) especially in the case of where it shows off Kate's remarkable range. 'Midnight Hellfire' is a rather down and dirty tune, bikers ought to love it, and there's such a dark atmosphere invading many of the 12 tracks. Even the instrumental passage 'Decapitation Attack' will have you banging your head! One nice thing about the myriad of lead solos is they're not ALL blazing away at 100 miles per hour, there's actually some thought put into them, and especially on a song like 'Blackened Soul,' they are crafted with some forethought and emotional feeling (not to mention the higher ended leads provide a nice contrast to the dark and thrashy guitar work). Corbin is definitely a disciple of 80's thrash metal, and this entire CD was a kickass surprise. If all power metal was this heavy, I don't think people would have much to complain about, however I do admit to liking the melodic stuff some other bands are involved with (read the Iron Fire review). In a phone conversation with Kate, she mentioned that a future release will have less of the guitar solos, which will mean some songs won't be 5 and a half to 6 minutes long like quite a few songs were on here (the other point off). One of the best power metal "styled" records this year!

WATAIN "Sworn To The Dark" (Season Of Mist) SCORE: 93/100

No kidding, friends... This is some dark, sick shit... Watain put on one hell of a show, and they're all about some hatred for mankind and the glory of death. The CD opener 'Legions Of The Black Light' is dedicated to the memory of Jon Nodtveidt and upon reading the lyrics, there's no doubt that frontman Erik and Jon share the same philosophies of life and death. Speaking of 'Legions,' this indicates the breadth of this entire CD, as you won't find Watain spreading sickness at a constant 100 miles per hour for the length of every song. Though many tracks start out at a skull crushing pace, there's a tendency to remark upon doom metal's rather creeping pace. The vocal work is not only sick but dominant and VERY forceful, ALWAYS in your face. 'Satan's Hunger' was an interesting track, especially lyric wise, and that lead guitar work is quite eerie, especially when it's the lone highlight on certain selections of tracks. There's two instrumentals here, the rather pointless 'Withershins' (which is little more than a rather odd dark ambient landscapes made with odd guitar noises) and 'Dead But Dreaming,' the latter MOST noteworthy as it utilized acoustic guitars ONLY, at times the only melodic stuff you will hear on this record, but surprisingly dark and otherworldly, and would work amazingly well on a Lovecraft type movie. Anyway, the bulk of material is very solid, though I have to question how long some of these tracks are, especially opener 'Legions Of The Black Light' and CD ender 'Stellarvore,' both clocking in at over 8 minutes a piece. Thankfully, the band utilizes several tempo and structure changes, and in the case of 'Stellarvore,' it's crushing use of almost doom metal tempos and death march percussion (not to mention the eerie stop/start instrumentation) almost sound like a ritual chant to call forth (as the lyrics put it the 'God...Of...Death...' It's powerful stuff! Every once in awhile, the eerie guitar work sounds a bit off, especially when they're slowing things down to hammer the point home (most noteworthy on the title track, surprising enough one of my favorite songs, especially the slowed down choruses). Some of the fastest speeds on the record are found on the blistering, almost "Panzer Division" era Marduk paced 'Storm Of The Antichrist' and 'Underneath The Cenotaph.' 'The Serpent's Chalice' had a nice lead solo found within, which was surprisingly melodic amidst the darkness and chaos. Many are saying this is what Dissection's "Reinkaos" should have sounded like, and when you consider that Erik used to play for the aforementioned band (even having Set Teitan handle instrumentation duties and some writing), this is not a hard thing to dispute. Be that as it may, Watain has crafted a vicious, diabolical record that gives black metal fans of old and new renewed faith in their blackened genre. This is a band I will definitely see live again if they ever return, and thankfully you can read a short interview with them this issue.
Contact: Season Of Mist Records.


ANGUS. Interview with William through email.

  • I know Edgar Z did vocals on your first two albums, why wasn't he called upon to do vocal work when Angus reuinted?

    Well, to be honest there never was an Edgar Z. but a certain Edgar Lois who did the vocals on the first two albums. He had a great voice and I liked him personally but his lifestyle of Edgar Lois was one of the reasons I quit the band in those days. He drank too much and used too many drugs. Besides that he never really was on time for rehearsing or gigs. After some 20 years, when the band reunited, I never though about asking him again to sing with us for those reasons. And I don't know where he lives or if he's alive for that matter...

  • When Denis from Sentinel Steel decided to reissue your first two albums, how did that all come about? And are you happy with the way the reissue was done? Personally, I felt the two albums should have been reissued separately, simply because leaving the song 'I'm A Fool With Love' off the reissue to me means that the album "Warrior Of The World" is left incomplete, and doesn't give 100 percent the complete picture of this album. (I'm somewhat of a completist when it comes to 80's metal, meaning original album artwork and songs should be all included).

    Through a member of the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs I got in contact with Denis who wanted to reissue the two albums on one CD. I was very pleased with that, because Denis is one of the best in the business. It was my honor to become one of the Sentinel Steels acts after all these years. Because he's a metalhead he wanted 'I'm A Fool With Love' out of the reissue. For me personally that was a shame, but working together is always a compromise, and here I had to compromise about this lovely ballad. But after all it may be a good thing, because we can use 'I'm A Fool With Love' as a reissue single. So, if there is somebody out there who wants to reissue this song, please let me know... :)

  • It was interesting to see "Track Of Doom" start off with an instrumental. Not many bands did that back then, was that part of your stage introduction music?

    Yes, we started our gigs with 'The Centaur' and then did 'When Giants Collide.' That was a great start of every show! I always liked instrumental songs and so did Bert and because Edgar Lois was drunk or high most of the time, we could play the instrumentals without him going wrong with his lyrics or anything. :) I can laugh about it now, but in those days I could get very angy with him.

  • Speaking of the stage, I know it's been reported that Angus played out live quite a bit in Holland, but did you ever venture out of your home country for shows? Who did you share the stage with on your tours, what was an Angus live show like, and tell us about your most memorable tours and any funny tour stories you have to share.

    We were never really serious about a lot of things. For us a venture was a ball, a party with Angus. It meant we could get drunk for free...., and play our music. I still remember playing a gig and our bass player never plugged in his bass. Nobody, including the bass player himself, really heard this because the PA was so loud. Another time we were arrested after a gig because we could not get something to eat and drink at midnight at a bar and got a bit pissed off about it. At a point Edgar broke his leg and performed on stage sitting on a chair with his leg up in the air because it was broken. And our bass player Gerard once fell through the ice in winter before playing a gig. That was really scary becauce he could be dead if he got under the ice... Nobody knew where he was at that time. He walked in soaking wet just before the sound check. And at some point we did a summer outdoor festival. I heard Ed's voice through the PA that they needed a drummer because it was time to go on stage... 'William, please leave your girlfriend alone and come on to the stage....' I suppose you know what I was doing with her in the bushes at that moment! We shared the stage with bands like Picture, Sleez Beez and Death Angel. Before ANGUS, I played in a band called Steel Forest, we did the support of Phil Lynot and his band. That was great.

  • Megaton Records apparently was the label of choice for BOTH your albums, how did you come to be on the label, and what sort of contract did you have worked out? Were they helpful with tour support and merchandising? What other bands did Megaton work with, as I am not too sure of any other bands signed to Megaton except for Exises, the Argentina based Samson, and Acid had a record on the label.

    In fact Megaton Records was the only label who was interested in our music at that time. We had to pay our way with them. That means we had to pay the recording of "Track of Doom" before they made an album out of it. It was never my personal choice to be a Megaton act, but nobody else would have us. I really tried to switch to another, bigger and better label but in those days none of the labels were interested. Exises was Megaton's main act, and we were seen as a sort of support, but after "Track of Doom" the tables turned and we became the main act. But they were never really helpful. I wanted 'I'm A Fool With Love' out as a single with a video clip, but Megaton would not invest in those things. After some time they went bankrupt, but at that point I left the band already.

  • When you think back to the 80's era of heavy metal, what were some of your favorite bands both popular and seemingly rare?

    My favorite band was and still is Judas Priest. But I also liked Saxon, Accept and Metal Church. My alltime favorite though is The Who.

  • I hear tell of a new Angus record in the works, can you tell us how this is going to be approached? Are you going to try and record an album like you would have made in the 80's, or are you into newer styles and sounds (since a lot has changed for metal since the early 80's) that will be a marked influence on the new Angus sound? Maybe we'll see more speed, some death or black metal influences or maybe just a straightforward heavy metal style...

    If there is a label out there that is interested, we have some pretty nice songs left on the shelf. And it would be very nice to re-record some of the old stuff with all the new techniques. Our music will be what it was, but up to date. No death or black metal but good old heavy metal such as the likes of 'Halford'..... Rob's band.

  • Of the two albums you released, which one is your favorite and why? Would you have done anything differently today, if you had to redo those albums all over again? And of course I'd like to know what was your favorite and least favorite cuts on each album.

    Both albums have good and bad songs for me personally. "Track of Doom" was recorded and mixed in a week because we had to pay for it ourselves. So, we had to cut costs and had little time to do what we had to do; play our music. My least favorite cuts on "Track of Doom" are 'Finally Out' and 'Lost Control.' "Warrior Of The World" was recorded with John Tilly producing it. That was really great. He had more time and could use more state of the art studio techniques. My least favorite cuts of W.O.T.W. are 'Black Despair' and 'Freedom Fighter.' My favorite ANGUS songs are 'When Giants Collide' and 'Dragon Chase.' The most beautiful ANGUS song is without a doubt 'I'm A Fool With Love...'

  • It is indeed good to know that people haven't forgotten the 80's metal bands: as you may or may not know I was partly responsible for getting Atlanta based Hallows Eve back on track. Where are most of your fans from? Do you still keep in touch with those who say they've listened to you since the beginning?

    Strange but true, most of our fans seem to be from all countries, especially Germany, but not from Holland. The Dutch metal fans seem to like non Dutch bands better. I don't know why, but that is the case. Dutch fans were never really nationalistic or anything. Particulary in the 80's when most Dutch bands like ANGUS never really got a chance to prove themselves for the Dutch audience.

  • I know your website states that the band split up after a falling out with Megaton Records, what exactly happened? Wasn't there ever a thought to try and find another record label to work with? I would think that after much success you got, you would have tried to keep going (besides the Theriac project).

    Well, we never thought of ourselves as being successful and I really tried to get other labels interested in ANGUS, but none was. And after years of Edgar's bad behavior I had enough of the whole thing and left the band and the metal scene. To me it was a huge surprise that Denis wanted ANGUS reissued in 2000.

  • You and I have seen many trends come and go since the glory days of 80's metal. What do you miss most about those days, and what did you hate the most? Personally, besides my gripe above, I always felt that true metal would never die, and even if the bands got sicker and heavier, metal is still popular to some degree in one form or another. I've been with metal through the rise and fall of grunge music and rap, and here metal STILL is over 20 years later.

    Metal back in the 80's was not only a trend in rock, it was a social thing. It was a reaction on things that were happening at that point in time. And because nothing really changes over time it still is popular and to some degree will always be popular. For me, I grew up with 80's metal so it will remain my kind of music although I studied Jazz and am interested in many other styles of music. Rap is not my thing though...

  • I was surprised at hearing that the master tapes to one of your albums was found in a vault at CBS Records here in the States! CBS was a VERY big label which leads me to ask what was happening as far as U.S. plans? I know "Track Of Doom" was issued here in the States, but only after reading your website! Do you have any sales figures of how many copies your albums sold? Where did you gain the most sales? Do you still see any royalties from your records? (I know Tommy Stewart from Hallows Eve still receives payments from Metal Blade as Hallows Eve Records are still sold both in the U.S. and overseas!)

    We never got rich off our royalties. "Track of Doom" was released through Enigma Records in the 80's and it sold about 2000/4000 copies. In Europe our albums sold about the same number of copies. So, all and all we sold a total of about 10,000/14,000 copies I suppose. But Megaton Records was never open about their bookkeeping and payments.

  • The 'Papa Don't Freak' single I must admit I've never heard but seems a bit unlike what Angus had done previously. How did that whole project come about and how do you feel about it now?

    'Papa...' was a joke. An "in between" to "Track of Doom" and "Warrior Of The World." Megaton Records wanted to surf along on the success of the Beastie Boys and wanted ANGUS to do a Madonna cover with some explicit lyrics. Of course we gave them what they wanted. I remember that the cover was chosen "the most resentful cover of the 80's" by a Dutch magazine called Hitweek. We were on the cover in "Ladies Lingerie" in front of a peepshow in the Amsterdam Redlight district, where I used to live at that time. You can find the cover and much more on our new site

  • As we wrap this up, are there any plans for any shows anywhere in the world? Anything else you want to talk about that we didn't mention?

    Well Steve, thanks a lot for your interest in us, this interview, and hail to our fans all over the world that still like 80's metal and ANGUS. Keep the metal fire burning, I'm sure we will.....!! We will play anywhere as long as they will have us. So, to all promotors out there; contact the ANGUS Agency and we will play anywhere in the world. In December 2007 we will play at Swordbrothers Festival #6 Germany. Metal on my friends!!!

    DANTALION. Interview with Thorgrim through email...

    Dantalion is one of those bands I had searched out through filesharing services and general ebay auctions. After all, how will I ever know about new bands and new styles of metal if I just wait for the labels I deal with to sign them? Dantalion impressed the fuck out of me with the vicious black metal attitude coupled with atmospheric and doom metal stylings and lyrics. Hailing from Spain of all places, it's one band I definitely had to go searching for, and was quite pleased at striking pure brilliant gold. Can't wait for their next full length either!!

  • Listening to the album, there is a very marked doom metal influence in the instrumentation and also the lyrics, but for some reason no one else seems to have mentioned that. The lyrics especially convey themes oftentimes found in doom metal, would you agree and would you say that Dantalion is really a mixture of doom and black metal, with some death metal vocals thrown in here and there for good measure?

    Hails Steve! Well it's true that a Doom metal influence can be noticed in our music. In fact we all like Doom Metal bands as My Dying Bride, old Paradise Lost, old Anathema, Shape of Despair, Ataraxie, Mourning Beloveth, Morgion, and I think that some elements coming from their music can be noticed in Dantalion. However I think that a big influence for us when we are writing the most melancholic and depressive parts comes from other bands that also mixed Doom and Black Metal before us. Katatonia, Krohm, Shining, Beatrik, Forgotten Tomb, Xasthur, Dolorian, etc. are also very important for us and I think that their influence can be also heard in our music. Lyric wise as you have noticed we talk about subjects that can be usually found in Doom Metal, but I think that we always give them a more aggressive approach that fits better with our musical style. I think that our lyrics are not so "melancholic" as Doom Metal's. And I don't think that there are so many Doom Metal bands out there that mainly talk about the only real truth, Death, as we do.

  • I'd like to get your opinions on mixing doom metal and black metal styles, because to me this is an intriguing combination, yet one that is not often done. I feel that the icy leads found in black metal (usually of the higher ended variety) can work well within a doom metal framework, especially when slowed down.

    Of course we think that both elements work perfectly together. We see Dantalion as a musical translation of our feelings, and as they vary from pure rage and hatred to moments of agony, solitude, etc. we think that they should have the proper musical representation. That's why I think that, as you call them, the icy leads of Black Metal work perfectly with doom metal structures and melodies. Dantalion was born as a band that would try to mix fast and aggressive Black Metal parts with melancholic and dark fragments, and we'll keep that formula in the future, although our music is getting more varied every day.

  • Speaking of the songs, many contain such varying tempos and speeds, all within the space of one song! Were the slower riffs and passages more in fitting with the themes of the record, or the style of the band? Which do you find more enjoyable to perform with, the slower or faster varieties?

    Probably some people would think that the slower parts fit better with the lyrical content because we talk about really dark and emotional subjects. However, those gloomy feelings cause us a lot of frustration and anger, and we express that kind of contempt to the world in general, and to the human race in particular, through our fast and aggressive parts. So I would really say that both sides of our music are equally necessary for us. If I prefer to perform fast or slow parts... Well, both have their enjoyable sides, but between those two I would choose the faster varieties as my musical roots are really drowned in the first and second wave of Black Metal and that's what makes me feel more powerful. However, we've included lots of mid tempos based on double bass drums in our new songs, and I really love to play those because they allow me to headbang 'till I break my neck!

  • The lyrical themes of the album seems to deal with the eternal rest, or death. Was there a specific theme for this record, and what are your thoughts about death and beyond: Is this life all there is or do you believe we're headed on to something better once this life has passed?

    Yes you're right, all our lyrics are based in the one and only truth in this fucking world, DEATH! We just have one thing (for) sure when we are born, that some day we're going to die, sooner or later, and until then we should try to stand this painful existence. Do you really think that there's anything after death? I don't really think so. I just have the almost certainty that nothing awaits me after my death. We all have to die one day and then we will just be food for the worms or fucking dusty ashes. However, if I'm wrong and something awaits for us beyond, I'm sure that it won't be better than this shitty world, trust me, it will be even worse. If there's something, we all deserve to fucking burn in hell.

  • I've heard you're getting ready to work on a new album, can you tell us ANYTHING about it, like song or album titles, will it be mixtures of slow and fast instrumentation, anything resembling the "When The Ravens..." album?

    You're right again, man. We have already recorded all the songs for our second album and right now we're in the process of mixing them. And you're lucky because this is the first interview that we do after all the work is done so I'm able to give you some details about it. The album title will be "Call Of The Broken Souls" and it will contain 8 songs of fast atmospheric, yet dark and depressive Black Metal. Some of the tentative titles are: 'Prophecy of Sorrow', 'Forest of Laments,' 'A Corredoira das Ánimas' (our first song in Galician, the mother tongue of our region), 'Death’s Cold Layer', 'Wandering the Paths' (which is already uploaded at:, 'Cold Winter Dusk...' Of course you'll find many resemblances to "When the Ravens...", but this time we've included some new elements. As I told you before, now we include more mid tempo parts based in double drums and the guitar riffs sound colder and darker than in the first album. We've also tried to give a different touch to the (disc), trying to make it rawer and darker this time, but still maintaining a powerful sound. We think that all the people that liked the first album will also like this one.

  • One thing this band has in common with many doom metal acts is the length of the songs. What do you see as the main reason for Dantalion songs to go into the 6, 7 and 8 minute range, something that is mainly uncommon for many black metal acts? Was this purposefully planned? (Maybe in order to get all of the lyrics to fit within a framework of a song?)

    No, in fact all the lyrics are done when the music is already finished. To be honest, it's a totally natural process. Usually Netzja comes to the rehearsal room with some ideas and then we all begin to give form to them and make them work together in a coherent way. We don't really plan to write long songs. It's just that, as we try to express different sensations with every song we finally end (up) with quite lengthy songs. However the second album sounds more varied as we have a couple of songs over 5 minutes, as well as some songs over 7 or 8 mintues. It's nothing conscious at all.

  • How do you see the black metal genre today? What's amazing about Dantalion's music is the ability to create cold, desolate, haunting and melancholic landscapes, WITHOUT ever using a keyboard or female voices, basically anything short of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Do you feel the "elite" among black metal opinion that keyboards and female vocals have no place in black metal?

    Well, here I will have to correct you in one appreciation because we do have keyboards in the album, but just a couple of fragments in one or two songs. And the same will happen in our second album. I don't usually like bands using keyboards, as 90% of the bands that I listen to don't use them at all. However I really think that they can be useful to create certain atmospheres in concrete parts. You just have to give a listen to some early Black Metal albums as Bathory's "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark," Emperor's "In The Nightside Eclipse," Burzum and Satyricon's early work, or even current bands as Xasthur, Krohm, Sterbend, Nehemah or Beatrik to see how useful can keyboards be sometimes, but only in certain parts and used with a good measure, always keeping the dark feeling. About female vocals... Can we consider the singers from bands such as Funerus, Tymah, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Thor's Hammer, Adorior, Astarte, etc... as female vocals? If you answer yes, I obviously like female vocals in Black and Death Metal, but if you refer to those shitty gothic female singers, of course not! They should use their mouth for better purposes! Haha.

  • What's your opinion of the earliest of the Norweigan black metal scene? I know you're from Spain, has there been any big happenings (like church burnings or murders) within your country?

    I really used to respect the scene and the happenings in Norway back in the day, but nowadays I don't consider them as anything more than some youth experiences had by some youngsters. You know, when I was younger I was more impressionable and those "evil" happenings really shocked me a lot and helped to attract my attention towards Black Metal. But now, and especially watching the evolution of most of the people involved, it's obvious that they were just some kids playing and trying to be "evil," as I was a kid impressed for what they did. Don't judge me wrong, I think that the attitude was worthy; it's good to express your contempt against religion and humanity, but what I think now is that all the publicity that those acts received killed the true spirit of early Black Metal. However, musically talking, I have to confess that some of my alltime favourite albums were recorded during those years. I can't understand Black Metal without albums as "In The Nightside Eclipse," "Antichrist," "Det Som Engang Var", "Transylvanian Hunger," "The Shadowthrone," "Pure Holocaust," "De Misteriis Dom Sathanas," and they usually sound in my CD player even more than ten years later (for example right now I'm listening Ulver's "Nattens Madrigal"). I don't really think that a current Black Metal album can beat any of those recordings. In Spain nothing really important related with Black Metal occurred, aside from some grave desecrations and frustrated church burning alcoholic attempts (hehe). Sometimes news about animal sacrifices or grave desecrations appear in the newspapers, but nothing really remarkable.

  • Tell us a bit about the music scene in Spain, as we don't really hear about a lot of bands coming from your area. Most of the ones I know of are power metal based. Is there a big black metal scene, and tell us about where is good to play shows in Spain, especially city wise. I would assume Madrid would be one such place.

    Yes it's true that there are many shitty power metal bands here in Spain, in fact it's the most famous metal style here in our country. Too much melodic gay power metal, and only a few true Heavy Metal bands. I can't say that there's a big Black Metal scene here but, without any doubt, there are some really good bands that deserve to be mentioned, although they're not really known outside our country. To name a few I would mention some as: Numen, Balmog, Akerbeltz, Empty, Amnion, Argar (RIP), The Last Twilight, Mortinatum, Berserk, Nazgul, Profundis Tenebrarum, Dhaugburz, Aboriorth, Nakkiga, Beheaded Lamb, Spectre, Cryfemal, Xerion, Primigenium, Martyrium Omnium, Godus,... and tons more. They're all worthy bands for sure, so I recommend you to check our scene and see that we have something good to offer.

    Obviosuly the "best" places to play shows in Spain are Madrid and Barcelona, but just because they're the biggest cities and they have more population, but the percentage of people going to concerts it's not so good. There are more people who say that (they) like metal in those cities, and prefer to stay at home than attending to gigs. Apart from that other good places are Amurrio in the Vasque Country (a small town, but there's some really active people around there), Irun, Vigo, Valencia,... and not in Spain, but quite close to the place where we live, we can see good gigs in Portugal; especially in Porto and Lisbon. In fact last month there was an excellent fest in a village called Barroselas in northern Portugal with excellent bands as Merrimack, Inquisition, Watain, Destroyer 666, Napalm Death,... Its name is Steel Warriors Rebellion and we really had a good time there. Unfortunately we're usually out of the good underground tours done around central Europe; some underground bands can only be seen, sometimes, in Barcelona.

  • Tell us what happened with Mydgard, as I know a few members of Dantalion come from that band. I never got to hear any Mydgard stuff, any obvious differences between the two bands? Did Mydgard play any shows (and in case you didn't mention it, why did Mydgard split up). I noticed that the website for Mydgard is down as well...

    I (Thorgrim) am the only current member of the band that didn't play in Mydgard, but I quite know the history of the band as I used to hang out often with them when they disbanded. What were the reasons? Really unoriginal and simple ones. Although it may sound as a cliche, they mainly decided to finish with the band due to musical differences. At one point, the members of the band wanted to reach different objectives and express themselves in different forms, so that began to cause some problems within the band. So after that, they decided to go separate ways. As you see, nothing really original happened. Musically talking, Dantalion and Mydgard are totally different, although both bands play Black Metal. Mydgard began as a melodic Black Metal outfit influenced by bands as Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, And Oceans, early Covenant, Emperor, and some other bands that were popular at the end of the 90's. That's for the first demo, "Mortificated Interior." "In Decay Of Thy Gods" they became a more aggressive Black Metal band, with some Behemoth influences and less keyboard presence. So as you see they were not really similar to Dantalion.

  • Now it's funny, because the song 'Grant Me The Eternal Rest' was used in two different compilation CD's, though personally I thought one of the best songs on the album was 'Dreadful Outcome.' How did you get to be on the "Hell Awaits" sampler, and did these ventures generate any more interest for you?

    The label sampler features that song only because they liked it and they decided that it would be the suitable one to promote the band. Obviously they asked us if we thought that it would be a good idea to include that song, and we agreed with them. Hell Awaits was a quite known metal magazine here in Spain and they released a compilation CD with each issue. We got the contact with them because our old bass player (Maiestas) used to write for H.A. and, as soon as they knew that he had a band and that they had recorded something, they asked him if he would be interested in including one song. Of course the answer was affirmative as that mag was quite successful a couple of years ago and it was an excellent promotion for the band. Det Germanske Folket has released another compilation CD some months ago called "Might is Right" and we are featured (on) that with some quite known underground acts as Kampfar, Helheim, Hel, Angantyr, Koldbrann, Myrkgrav, (and) Orlog. I really recommend everyone to check it out because it's really interesting. Our song in that sampler is "Everything Ends," and it was also a label choice.

  • Looking back at the last album "When The Ravens Fly Over Me," what would you say are your best and least favourite tracks? Anything you would have liked to redo were you given a chance to re-record the album and make it better? Personally, I don't see how you could have improved on the album, as it's great!

    Hehe, as I was not involved in the process of writing and recording the album, I think that it would be a bit easier for me to chose my favorite song than for the other members of the band. I really like for example 'Dreadful Outcome' and 'Grant Me The Eternal Rest' and probably on the other side I would place 'Only Death Is Real.' However I deeply think that all the songs from the album have a really high level and I congratulate the guys for doing such an excellent job. As I told you I joined the band some months after the recording of the album, but I talked with them several times about it. For example I know that they think that the sound could have been more atmospheric and more "black metal" (I hope that you would understand what I'm trying to say). I think that the production, although being excellent, sounds too clean; the guitar sound could have been sharper. Obviously a band always thinks that some aspects could have been improved, but I know that they are all really satisfied with the work done for "When the Ravens..."

  • Has Dantalion played any shows outside of Spain? I noticed you recently played with Destruction, how did that go, and are there any funny tour stories you want to share with us? Any future plans for shows?

    Yes, the gig with Destruction was on May 16th, and then we played the same week again in a small venue in our city. In the Destruction show we suffered the typical "supporter syndrome". We just had a sound check of 10 minutes, although we were supposed to have 30 minutes. Then we had some problems with the set list and we had to take one song out. And finally during the show we suffered a horrible sound. I was told later that, when we were playing, the technician went out of his place to have some beers in the bar. In fact, on stage, we only had the sound of the bass drums and the vocals on the speakers, no guitar at all. It was quite hard to play in those conditions. However, as we are metalheads, we obviously enjoyed the fact of playing with a band as Destruction (we all love them), and the guys from the band were really friendly and gentle (I can't say the same about their tour manager). We haven't played outside of Spain yet, but we have talked several times about the possibility of going and playing some gigs in central Europe with some other bands from the label. But as you would suppose we all have day jobs and it's quite difficult to plan something for more days than weekends. We would like to do something bigger, but it's quite hard to arrange everything. We don't really have any funny events during our shows or travels, as we only played 10 times live since 2004. I just can remember now that, in my first gig with the band (April 2006) I got one foot tied with the bass cable and I nearly fell off the stage. But nothing really funny though, hehe.

  • You're signed with Det Germanske Folket for your next album also, you must be pleased with the work they are doing for you. What is your contract with them like (how many albums did you sign for), and do they offer any perks like tour support or merchandising deals? I don't know what other acts are signed to this label, so maybe you could give me more info about the label.

    Of course we're pleased with the work that they're doing for us. Since the very beginning they showed us a lot of support, they have a quite good distribution worldwide and they do their best to promote the bands in their roster. We signed for three albums: "When The Ravens Fly Over Me," the second one "Call Of The Broken Souls," which will be hopefully released in a couple of months, and a third one. Aside from the recording, they offered to do the merchandising for us, giving us a percentage of the items done (you can still find t-shirts around there, I think) and if we have the opportunity to do a mini tour they will organise it for us. I really recommend you to check some of the bands from the label: Orlog is a classic Black Metal band in the vein of early Dark Funeral, Setherial or Emperor. Their first album, "Reinigende Feuer" is a really good piece of German Black Metal, really worth the listening. Myrkgrav plays Folk inspired Pagan Black Metal ala Kampfar, Falkenbach, Helheim, etc. Really good balance between Black Metal parts and folkish tunes. Their debut album is also really good. Angantyr is an excellent Heathen Black Metal band from Denmark. Their last album "Haevn" is a really excellent example of Nordic Black Metal. It sometimes reminds me (of) bands as Taake, Ulver, or the good works from Satyricon and Borknagar. Riger is a quite known Pagan Black Metal band in Germany. I only heard one of their albums many years ago and it was quite good. I don't know what do they exactly play right now as they hadn't released anything with DGF yet. Hel play Viking Metal reminding a bit (of) the Viking days of Bathory. They include many classical influences. "Falland Vorandi" can be really suitable for those checking for Viking Metal with synths, clean vocals and influences from classical music. Helritt is a quite fast German Pagan Black Metal band. Nice stuff also. There are a couple of bands more, but I haven't heard their albums yet.

  • The version of your latest album I have is through Concreto Records, a label I must say I'm not familiar with. How did you come to be on this label?

    When the band recorded the album they sent many promos in order to find a label to release it. The guys from a band that we were in contact with some time ago gave us the name of Concreto Records and we sent a promo to see if they were interested. Quechol soon replied us saying that he wanted to release the album. That was around December 2005/January 2006. However as he only has distribution in America we decided to search for another label in Europe, finally finding DGF. The deal with Concreto Records was only for that album as we're now working with Det Germanske Folket until the release of the 3rd album. However we really thank Quechol (for) his support and confidence in Dantalion and for spreading our name in the Americas.

  • Finally, if there's anything else we didn't talk about you want to mention at length, feel free to use this space here... Thanks again!

    Thanks a lot for your support and for this interesting interview Steve. We think that everybody who liked the first album will enjoy our second opus "Call Of The Broken Souls." You can check a song taken from the album at and To anybody else interested in the band, feel free to contact us at Only Death is Real!!

    FALL OF THE LEAFE. Interview with Jussi and Miska through email.

    Following their career for a LONG time as I have, I originally had this interview written up around the time that "Vantage" was released. I have their very first album "Evanescent, Everfading," and though their days of blackened vocal work is LONG gone, they STILL manage to kick ass even if we've missed a few albums between 1998 and now (forgetting, of course, the mess that was "Fermina" in between) and even if they're more of a, damn how do I say this (great sign of their diversity and originality right there), well, a bit more emotional but still with a heavy edge. If you missed the soundfiles for their latest for Firebox (once again, a bit of a shock as this is NOT Firebox's usual fare) then by all means go buy this album, or go read the review over again, or just pay attention to this interview!!

  • You have been on a number of different labels throughout the years, why do you think it was so hard to stay with one record label? Could it have something to do with the fact that your music doesn't neatly fall into one musical category? Tell us if you could about how you got with each label and why things went south before hooking up with Firebox.

    Jussi: We definitely are not a commercial band so that could be one reason. But I think the main reason is just simply bad luck. So far every label we've been doing co-operation has gone down and that's quite sad yet also very amusing. When you see the third time the label you're working with going bankrupt you begin to see a certain pattern. (Interestingly enough, the label that signed Fall Of The Leafe for "Fermina," Icarus Music, seems to have regrouped - Ed.) However we are not the ones to blame with this. The story is about the same with every label. They sign too many bands and can't afford to promote the bands properly. So the bands remain unknown to the wider audience and don't sell as much as the label would need them to sell. And eventually the label ends up being belly up. It has been very frustrating to send promo packages over and over again after all the setbacks but so far we have managed to keep going on. Fortunately some labels have been interested in us every time.

  • When you first started out, I remember your first release came out on Defiled records, ("Evanescent, Everfading") and I was pretty impressed with it. However, it seems like the vocalist used only lasted that one album. What happened to him, did the change in styles force him out, or something else? I must admit that the vocal work on this record does have tinges of black metal, was that intentional as well?

    Jussi: That was intentional back then yet the band was evolving. The reasons behind his departure were those classic disagreements of style and he didn't quite fit the group. The rest of the band was very much united but he had this Dark Funeral thing going on. Since his departure he has been doing his thing and he has lots of underground black metal projects still going on. But I think he has only done demos with his projects. The true underground stuff you know.

  • The move to Firebox is a somewhat unusual one (at first glance), considering they started out primarily as a doom/death oriented label.

    Miska: Actually Fall of the Leafe was previously in a label called Rage of Achilles and Firebox was distributing albums released by Rage of Achilles. So it was really a very simple choice to sign with Firebox Records when RoA stopped working.

  • Being with Firebox, I suppose it's nice to have a record label in your own backyard to make things easier to deal with. What are some of your favorite bands on the label and are you into the doom metal genre at all? I really like the newest Doom:Vs project, as it sounds somewhat similar to Draconian, another of my favorite bands.

    Miska: It's very easy to communicate with these Firebox dudes because we have the same language and their office is only few hundred kilometers away from us. My personal favorite band in Firebox roster is Total Devastation. I'm sure that other FotL members do not share my opinion. About doom metal: I do not actually listen to doom that much. Shape of Despair is one of my favourites and of course I like Ablaze in Hatred (I wouldn't play in Ablaze if I didn't like it!)

  • Live, what is the band like? Do you still perform any of the songs off of "Evanescent, Everfading" anymore, and are they done in the harsher vocal style like on the album or reworked?

    Jussi: With this present line-up we've never played live any of those songs from that period but we still play some songs from "August Wernicke" and they are as harsh as they are on the album.
    Miska: Fall of the Leafe is a rockin' live band. Our shows are quite positive and usually the crowd and the band are having a good time and are smiling.

  • There was a demo before your first album, entitled "Storm Of The Autumnfall," any chance that recording will ever be reissued?

    Jussi: I don't think so. Some Russian underground label printed and sold that demo years ago and I believe the master is still there. We have no contact whatsoever to them anymore so the original recording can be considered as lost forever. It wasn't that great though but at least we got our first recording contract with the demo.

  • I noticed you don't have lyrics available anywhere (keeping in mind all I have is a CD and front sleeve, promo like), but from what I can gather you tend to write in "short prose." Are there any themes running through any of the songs, do they feed off of specific emotions or states of mind?

    Miska: Tuomas would be the right person to answer this but he is so busy nowadays. It's hard to reach him. Tuomas writes all FOTL lyrics and refuses to share them with the audience. He won't even give them to me because he knows that I might sell them to the fans. Just kidding :) The lyrical themes are maybe a bit political and against war and other things that causes suffering for the people around the world.

  • One thing I have noticed is it really IS hard to pin this style of music down. I mean there's keyboards, but it's not gothic oriented, it definitely has soaring vocal work but it's not totally metal either; even gothic metal doesn't fit, as there's a lot of heavier guitar work and atmospheres... SO, how would you describe Fall Of The Leafe's sound to newcomers?

    Miska: It's metal and rock. If you are into pop/rock music FOTL is too heavy and if you're into metal we're too light. It means we are in trouble with our music. haha!

  • I read recently you are working on a new recording, any song titles, themes, or lyrical input you can give us? (Note: We have their newest release, we'll get to it next issue!)

    Miska: The graphical theme of "Aerolithe" is quite industrial (Industrial? - Ed) and there are some influences from the 1930's. These graphics are made by Mr. Kalle Pyyhtinen from Utudesign. And here's the tracklist:

    1. Opening
    2. All the Good Faith
    3. Drawing Worry
    4. Lithe
    5. At a Breath´s Pace
    6. Graceful Retreat
    7. Sink Teeth Here
    8. Minor Nuisance
    9. Especially By Stealth
    10. Look into Me
    11. Closure

  • I know touring has ceased for the rest of the year, are there plans to ever come to U.S. shores? I remember reading that you rarely ever toured until recently, why was this? Your show listing says that your only live shows have been in Finland, so I take it you have never ventured outside your home country?

    Jussi: We played a couple of gigs when "Evanescent..." came out but after that that we encountered lots of line-up problems so it was impossible to do any live shows for many years. After "Volvere" our line-up situation has been stable and we've had no problems to play live again.
    Miska: Back then when Volvere was released I joined the band. I used to play a lot of live shows with my previous bands. When I joined FOTL I was very anxious to play live. I just love playing live. Fall Of The Leafe finally got a bass player so that live shows could be played again.

  • Out of all the albums you have made, which ones do you find the best and which ones do you care for the least? I know personally I thought the debut was fantastic, and of course "Vantage" is one of the best you've ever done, but I found "Fermina" rather confusing and lacking any distinct sound or style. Rather it's hard to listen to...

    Jussi: Yes I agree. I personally had high hopes for "Fermina" and I still think it would have been a great album if we had done it properly. The songs were great but the production turned out to be a major disappointment. Most of the songs didn´t sound at all like they were meant to sound. And in the end we rather tried to save what could be saved. Yet it's unbelievable that some people find "Fermina" our strongest album! Maybe the confusing elements appeal to them, I don't know. In my opinion our strongest albums are "August Wernicke" and "Vantage." They are quite different from each other but back then we were 100% confident of what we were doing and that is certainly heard on both albums.

  • Coming from Finland, which is better known for extreme music styles than anything, what countries do you find make the best music, and what are some of your favorite bands? Personally, I find that my favorite bands all seem to come from the Scandinavian region, especially black metal or metal espousing Nordic themes and cultures...

    Jussi: There is definitely a very recognizable sound here in Scandinavia and especially in metal music. Maybe it's in our bloodline or something. In general I'm not that interested in metal music so I can't even name any favourites. I've listened bands like New Model Army or Killing Joke since I was a little boy and I still like them as much as back then. Bands like those give me the inspiration year after year.
    Miska: There are lot of great band coming from Finland. One of my favourites is Throes of Dawn. But still my top bands come from England, America, Germany and Norway. For example Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Helloween, Emperor, Toto, Megadeth, Slayer, Darkthrone...

  • What kind of music scene is there where you are located? I know about individual bands, but do you find you've had to move or travel long distances to get to shows? I'm located no more than 35 miles from the capital of Georgia, and we get a lot of overseas and national acts coming through the area.

    Miska: Here in Turku there is a great metal scene. Everybody knows each other and are having good times when metal bands play here. There are no big international stars playing live here in Turku except Ruisrock festival which is in July and there are always the biggest bands. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Rammstein, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams... But normally all the greatest shows are in Helsinki, the capital of Finland which is about 160 kilometers away from Turku. And the best festivals are also elsewhere: Tuska Open Air is in Helsinki and Sauna Open Air in Tampere. Just look at their band selection this year. I must see all of them :)

  • Each cover I have seen has been quite different and sometimes striking, for example "Evanescent, Everfading's" cover was an interesting sky scene, while "Vantage" has a rather unusual statue display going on. How do you go about choosing covers, and are they related to the themes of each album?

    Jussi: Maybe in some level the covers are some way related to our music but basically we have only given some lyrical theme to the designer and he has had the freedom to do whatever he likes. Usually he has sent us an idea and we're like "OK, brilliant". It's that simple (of a) process. The clock-theme has been going on for some while in our covers. We've said "we like the clocks, put there some clocks again". I don't think the clocks have any other meaning. However if there's some profound meaning I've missed it.

    INSOMNIUM. Interview with Niilo via email.

    I have been into this band ever since their first album "In The Halls Of Awaiting." Of course, fast forward several years and two full lengths later and STILL on Candlelight we have their newest release "Above The Weeping World," which is definitely heavier and more aggressive. I've been wanting this interview for quite a long time, so here it is...

  • I was really pleased to see an interview in Metal Maniacs with you guys. How did you feel to finally see your name in one of the biggest metal magazines in the world, and just out of curiosity, how many copies of the magazine did you guys buy?

    To be honest I haven't seen it yet. Of course it's a great thing for us and I'm sure it helps us to get some new fans from America. US and Canada are important areas for us so naturally we are thrilled!

  • It's been mentioned that Candlelight Records has made you guys a priority, do you know if that includes the U.S. Candlelight office? I'm sure you guys are probably wondering what "priority" means to the label, right? Have they offered you any tour support and how many albums must you still do for them? (Any details about the contract you can tell us would be cool).

    Candlelight's US office is doing a good job for us and they are arranging a US/Canada tour in September which includes Katatonia, Scar Symmetry, Insomnium and Swallow the Sun. The venues and dates can been seen from our website: So at the moment we are very happy with Candlelight. We have one album left in the deal and then we'll see what happens next.

  • Speaking of Candlelight, how difficult is it for you to conduct business with a label based all the way over in the U.K.?

    We've been doing this since 2001 so we are used to this. It's not always easy but we know that there are some differences in British and Finnish working culture so we know that it's not good to lose your temper too quickly... Generally all has went well. No need to complain.

  • I know you have a video up on your site for 'Elder,' and a video currently being worked on; are there any music video channels or T.V. outlets playing this? I don't know what the state of MTV is in Europe, but I don't know if we will see it on a video channel here in the States.

    'The Elder' is not a masterpiece, heh, but our new video 'Mortal Share' is a much better one. American MTV and Finnish MTV have both been playing it in HBB. (HeadBanger's Ball for those not in the know - Ed.) It has also received quite a few hits on the internet.

  • Speaking of the video, some of the background footage was very cool to look at, especially the streets and some of the buildings, and what looked like a fountain in a park. Where was this filmed, and what was the idea behind the girl with headphones following that guy?

    It was filmed in Turku, which is the oldest town in Finland. So some of the buildings might have been from 14th century. Two of us lived there at the time (2002) so that's why we did it there. I don't know what was the Grand Idea behind the video but this girl finds this mysterious tape and listens to it and then some hairy metal musicians lure him to their concert... heh heh. Both of our videos can be seen from our website if someone is interested.

  • Finland seems to be a hotbed of doom metal activity, especially doom/death, what with Firebox Records, and several bands like Shape Of Despair, Thergothon and the like, what do you think it is about Finland that has taken the ball and ran with it in regards to doom metal? Come to think of it, there aren't as many black metal bands in Finland as there are in Sweden or Norway, maybe there's a different mindset amongst Finnish bands?

    (The) Black metal boom has died pretty much here. There were lot of bm bands some 5 years ago but few of them got noticed outside Finland. I wouldn't say that doom metal is hugely popular now but Swallow the Sun is pretty big at the moment (bigger than us, goddamnit;) It’s nice to get on tour with STS so we can also get in touch with US doom fans since there are lot of doomish elements in our music too.

  • I know the summers in Finland are short, while the winters and autumns are quite long, do you think that there is somewhat of a depressive atmosphere in the country? How do you feel about the shorter daylight hours, and does the nighttime hold any special place for you? I am mostly a night person myself, even though I work during the day... :)

    Not a depressive atmosphere, no; we are used to the cold and dark. Some Finns may seem like sullen people but in reality most of us are pretty much "normal", heh. Silent we are, that's true, and a bit shy perhaps. And some of us might get a bit drunk, too...

  • It seems like Insomnium changes with each release, as "In The Halls Of Awaiting" is a bit more melodic and atmospheric than "Above The Weeping World." Why did you feel the need to be heavier? Was this the natural form of progression for the band's sound, or is that up in the air with each new release?

    We don't want to make the same album every time. It's just natural progress. I think that "Since The Day It All Came Down" was really atmospheric and now this new one is a bit faster and more straightforward and heavy. We really learned to arrange the songs better after "Since..." so the arrangements are really much better on the new album. When we learn more we get better and better, I hope...

  • I know it's been awhile since "Above The Weeping World" has been out, any chance you might be working on new songs or new material? A new album in the works maybe? If so, we'd love to know song titles, themes, or anything else you can tell us that might make your next album more noteworthy.

    It's in the works. Ville Friman has done some riffs, I've been playing some melodies with a piano, but it takes time before we have 9-10 songs ready. We've been too busy to really compose anything. It still takes time before we are ready to hit the studio.

  • It's amazing that you've had the same lineup for the last three albums now. What's your secret? Do you guys hang out when not doing band stuff, or do you only meet up when there's band situations to handle? I know several of you live in different areas of Finland, does that make it difficult to get together?

    We have a good line-up, no need to do changes. We are good friends and we get along really well, that's the secret. Usually we do "band things" together but also we can just go and have a beer or twelve together. These guys are my closest friends.

  • I read that you weren't happy with the sound on the first two records. I thought the sound on "In The Halls Of Awaiting" was great, so I'm curious if you could tell me specifics of just what you didn't like.

    If you listen to the two first albums after you have listened the new one you will clearly hear the difference. "Halls..." has good sounds, no doubt about it, but not good enough. It's not heavy enough.

  • Anything else you want to tell us about or mention that we didn't cover, feel free to use this space here! Thanks again, and we look forward to your next release (or even stateside tour!)

    Everyone, come to see us in September! We'll guarantee a show you'll never forget! Meanwhile go to our website or MySpace and see what this is all about. Stay Metal, friends!

    NOVEMBERS DOOM. Interview with Larry Roberts.

  • I just wanted to say I REALLY dig the new record "The Novella Reservoir." Like I'm sure you're probably hearing that from every fucking body you talk to!

    Um, some, yeah... (laughs)

  • Some?!?!

    Yeah, you know, there's always some people who go "Oh, it's not as good as your last one," or "How come you don't sound like you did 7 years ago?" It's 7 years ago man!

  • It seems like you're a lot heavier these days anyway, so what the hell are people complaining about?

    I guess it depends on people's tastes, some people really like the really soft stuff we did in the past.

  • Well, there's still softer stuff on the new record.

    We're never going to leave that behind.

  • How's Paul doing these days? We actually saw you guys in Minnesota, back at the Heathen Crusade festival when we covered it. One of the guys that took care of us, John Beeson, you know him right?

    Yeah, definitely.

  • I was trying to get an interview with Paul back then, and John told us that there was some tragedy in his family and Paul wasn't feeling good, so I hope he's doing alright.

    He's okay. I think at that point, that was when he had a real bad flu and stuff. But in the long term of things, I'm sure you've probably heard or read about it, but he has two different degenerative spine diseases. In terms of that, he kinda takes it day by day.

  • That must make touring excruciatingly painful, or incredibly difficult.

    Yeah, and it's a big part of the reason why we don't do it that much. A couple of weeks is pretty excruciating; plus, he has a family and other guys in the band have families. We're not spring chickens anymore (laughs).

  • In other words, the whole "life" thing happens.

    Absolutely. The majority of us, well, with the exception of Vito (Marchese, guitars - ed.), he's the baby, but we're in our mid 30's. Anyway, getting back to Paul, he's doing okay, he's dealing with it and he's pretty strong willed. And he gets a lot of his frustrations and demons out through us.

  • So you guys just beat the crap outta him? (laughing)

    Ha ha ha! No, I mean, through artistically, he's able to vent through his lyrics, which is why his lyrics tend to be so personal.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. But I have to say, this is one of the most brutal releases I've ever heard from you guys! Those guitars are just sick, and believe me when I say sick, that's a good thing! "The Pale Haunt Departure" was damn good I thought, but those guitars are just nasty!

    Cool, well thanks! (sounding a bit unsure of the statement)

  • Trust me, that's a compliment once again. I mean you're talking to someone who really loves some of the sickest death and black metal!

    I mean, that's the thing, so do we! A lot of people made presumptions I think that we bow just to the altar of Candlemass and My Dying Bride. And while those bands are great, there are elements of that in what we do; Paul and I come from a more predominantly death metal background.

  • Yeah. Well, that's obvious you know, if people would just pay the fuck attention!

    We kinda touched on it in the past, the more aggressive stuff, but a few years ago we just kinda more consciously started saying "let's touch on more of our other influences." I love Candlemass and Trouble, but I also love Grave, Entombed and Pestilence, stuff like that. I think now, where Novembers Doom is at, it's more of a representative of our raw personalities. Before it was kind of a niche thing, but now we're not worried about any sort of niche; we're like "let's cover all the bases but still be us." I don't ever want to put out an album where someone that likes us and has heard our other albums puts on an album and goes "oh my god, who is this!"

  • Well, I don't think that could happen, I mean I don't see how. Look at your history!

    Well, I've seen bands do it. You know? We won't even mention "Cold Lake!" (laughs).

  • (laughing like hell) Oh, man!!! It's funny you mention that. We did an interview with Celtic Frost and I got to talking about how I hate Metallica, how I burned all my Metallica shit. And Martin Ain's like "I don't have a problem with Metallica, I don't have much room to talk. I was in a band that did "Cold Lake!" So you know, even he admits there's parts of the past that he'd rather forget about! What's done is done, man, you know?

    Yeah. And also too, at least you look at a band like Celtic Frost, and sometimes it's like relationships; you gotta go through heartbreaks and bad stuff until you learn your lesson. Now I listen to the album they came back with in "Monotheist" and in my opinion that was my favorite album of last year.

  • It's funny too because Celtic Frost in mentioning that album said that "Monotheist" is probably THE most underground Celtic Frost record they've ever done. Of course, he was saying that it's more true to the spirit of what Celtic Frost really is. I can understand, I'm probably one of very few people who still supported Metallica once the Black album first came out. You know, the motherfucker has a good singing voice, why not use it once or so? But it's not just the music changing; I have insider friends who know lots of personal details about Metallica, and with Jason. One of the reasons that Jason left Metallica was because they totally shit on their fans.

    They shit on him too, you know?

  • Yeah. Well, the thing is, Jason was doing a Metallica show, and afterwards he was going out talking to the fans and greeting them, and Lars was like "What the fuck are you doing, we don't need this shit anymore, we're so much bigger than this!" To me there's a VERY fine line that you DO not cross, no matter HOW successful you get. And Metallica's crossed that line several times over. Not many people know this, but you remember when Metallica played Lemmy from Motorhead's 50th birthday party? You remember hearing about that? That was when all the Metallica covering Motorhead singles came out. Well, the day after they played Lemmy's 50th birthday party was when they cut off all their hair. What a slap in the face, you know?

    You know, unfortunately what happens to a lot of these artists when they get to a certain level, they seem to become so detatched from reality. They sit there and say "our fans want this" and "our fans know this." It's like YOU have no idea of what your fans want anymore. All you know anymore is your little inner circle of "yes" people. You know, people who sit there and tell you what you want to hear. And analysts and managers and all this other stuff, telling you this and that, sitting there with charts and graphs. These guys don't really KNOW. I think they tried to know, maybe tried to make appearances that that's what they were doing when they did "St. Anger." They started mentioning bands like Entombed and Meshuggah. Unfortunately, if you listen to that album, you can tell it's painfully obvious that they DIDN'T GET IT.

  • Yeah, quite obviously!

    They were still out of touch. But I don't slag off bands, even bands like that. I have my opinions about Metallica too, but I know firsthand how easy it is to make mistakes and have people be so quick to turn on you.

  • Well, that was NOT a quick decision on my part, that was a result of many, MANY years of frustration. I have to look at all sides of the issue, since I'm in the music business. I mean, you'll see a review of a christian metal band like Tourniquet right alongside Deicide. The music is first and FOREMOST THE most important focus of what I do. I don't give a fuck about the religion or the politics; it's nice to discuss in an interview though. The music is the very heart and soul of what goes on here.

    I agree with you, that's exactly my attitude towards that as well. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I don't care about whether it's trendy, whether it's underground or not, or where the bands are from or who's doing it. I just base it on if it moves me, if it interests me and sounds good to my ears.

  • It's cool to hear you say that, I mean I know a LOT of people blame grunge for the downfall of metal, but the fact is, the first Soundgarden album on a major label, and the very first Alice In Chains album were heavy as fuck! And I really love those records, you know?

    I do too, Novembers Doom, ALL of us, were really big Alice In Chains fans! Paul and I especially love Alice In Chains, and I could dare say that they were actually an influence. Soundgarden as well. A lot of people don't really realize what our true influences are. Everybody makes presumptions and that really drives me NUTS! Our influences are very diverse.

  • To sum up the essence of what you FEEL when you listen to music is more important than mere genre tags. If you want to get REALLY technical, Eronymous... I don't know if you know about the whole history of black metal in Norway?

    Oh yeah.

  • Well, anybody that has any sense, you know these little fucking "troo, elite" kiddies... Anybody that knows anything about Mayhem knows that the night Varg killed Eronymous... When they were driving back from his home, what were they listening to in the car, Dead Can Dance! Eronymous' cold, mechanical, harsh stare (in the promo photos) was adapted from Kraftwerk. You know, that cold, inhuman, machine like feeling? They were borrowing from German industrial and electronic music! And that goes back to the roots of the whole black metal scene, come on!

    Absolutely! Speaking of the roots of death and black metal, look at people like Tom Warrior, look at Quorthon. Yeah, they grew up listening to Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but they were NOT guys that were just limited to that. They liked that early prog and kraut kind of stuff. Even pop, look at (Celtic) Frost, look at their 'Mexican Radio' cover!

  • And Quorthon was a Beatles fan!

    Absolutely. So am I! I think that's one thing that a lot of people just DON'T understand or think about. Most of the prominent people in metal do NOT just listen to metal amd they certainly don't just listen to one subgenre of metal. You look at a band like ours, we've evolved and changed over the last 15 years. There's more to us than that. If we were the kind of guys who ONLY listened to doom/death metal, and that was ALL we cared about, we probably WOULD still sound like that. Inevitably, that's why bands change and evolve, and if you look at the bands that are TRULY unique, like Frost, Bathory, or Voivod... you know, all my favorite bands, what I loved about them was you couldn't put your finger one just one thing they were influenced by, you could tell there was a LOT going on.

  • Well, let me play Devil's Advocate here, because one thing that really pissed me off was Orange Goblin... Their first two albums were absolutely fantastic... They're getting pissed off about being lumped into the stoner rock category, and all of a sudden they changed to something that I'm not really very much into at all. It's kind of sad, but it is pissing me off. It's a double edged sword, because we as journalists have a job to do, we have to describe the music to people. Maybe I'm one of the only ones that DOESN'T say, "Oh, look, new Novembers Doom record. Doom Metal band." I recognize that there's more going on. And you're going to have bad eggs everywhere, but why do so many bands pay so much attention to that. I mean you have your fans, you do what you do, but why do you pay so much attention to THAT particular negative aspect of it?

    You wanna know why? Here's why. A lot of people, and we ourselves, try to give us the advice not to listen to the naysayers. And generally we don't. The only reason why we get bent out of shape on some of the journalists is because there is this old saying... I don't remember exactly how it goes, but it's something to the effect of "The most dissonant voice is ALWAYS the loudest." You know? It ALWAYS tends to be the one that gets heard the most. I mean what is the point of a review if it's not to turn people on or turn people off, it generally informs them about stuff. I'm all for reviews as long as it's accurate. I don't even care if it's a negative review, as long as the reviewer gets it RIGHT. Now you can hear how our new album, I would hope, can appeal to different fans who don't just listen to doom/death metal.

  • Oh yeah, one hundred and fifty FUCKING percent.

    Okay, so you agree with that. Now my thing is, if you put yourself in the shoes of some 18 year old kid who doesn't LIKE Paradise Lost, or My Dying Bride, and isn't into that kind of stuff... Yet he looks up in his favorite zines or magazines and sees that we're more or less being written off as a second or third generation Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride, odds are that kid's not going to bother with us. And that's a shame because in truth, if he were to go and just check us out himself, he might go, "oh, I don't care for those kinds of bands generally, but this has got something else going on." And we've been trying so hard to open ourselves up a little bit more with our different influences so that people understand we're not just some band from Chicago that wishes we were from Birmingham, England. (I'm laughing here - Ed.) To me, what happens when I see reviewers name drop the Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride thing constantly, it tells me that they're not really listening to the record, they're not really trying. It's like they're just quoting the bio sheets that came with the record!

  • Oh hell, I've seen some reviews that do nothing BUT quote the bio sheet! It pisses me off because it gives the rest of us who work our asses off a bad name!

    If I have to work for TWO YEARS on trying to write a decent album, whether someone's going to give us a good review or a horrible review, I at least would appreciate it if they would spend more than 20 minutes on it.

  • That's not really that much to ask, because I mean you spent more than 20 minutes just recording the album!

    You'd think after all these years that we would just kinda get over it.

  • Yeah, man, GET OVER IT!! ha ha.. Well, from what I have understood, I know Paul writes like 90 percent of the lyrics....

    Paul writes ALL the lyrics.

  • Well, it's not just like "Hey, we're a band we write songs, this is our job, this is what we do..." These things are kinda personal, especially lyric wise. I mean, when I was in Hallows Eve for a short time, I didn't write any of the material...

    (interrupting me)...Oh, that's AWESOME!

  • You didn't know that?

    No, I didn't realize that! I know of Vibrations of Doom and of course the radio show and everything, but I never put two and two together! Me and Paul LOVE Hallows Eve! "Death And Insanity," "Tales Of Terror," all that stuff. It was a HUGE influence on me in the early days, I used to cover 'Metal Merchants' in my early high school band.

  • Yeah, Stacy Anderson was one of my idols growing up. It just started with me doing an interview and next thing you know things took off. There was a difference in the way the new record should have went. I was like "you're Hallows Eve, you can't be completely gone for over 10 years and then come back and throw some completely new sound at people, you work them up and slowly get them into it."

    Things happen, you know even if the people are great musicians and everyone can get along, sometimes things happen, you know how it goes as a musician, we all have personalities.

  • You guys have been through TONS of lineup changes, and a ton of record label changes as well, but the last three records you put have been on The End Records. I'm assuming you've been around for all those records, right?

    Yeah, I joined back in late '98, right before the second album came out. I've been in the band for, pretty soon it's going to be 10 years.

  • I'm curious about the cover of "The Novella Reservoir," I was curious about what it meant. I have to say the only thing I HATE about the record is the fact that it's in a cardboard sleeve and I have NO lyrics or any idea about the concept of the album!

    Well, I understand why labels do that because of money and costs. But it's a HUGE disappointment because for us, we put almost as much effort into the layout and artwork as we do the music. And it's all meant to be taken together. You can listen to the song, read the lyrics and then you look at the artwork and see that the art wasn't just thrown together because it's looks dark and cool. There's meaning behind it, and it's even more so on "The Novella Reservoir."

  • The artwork is interesting here, I mean, I dunno, it looks like a man drowning in his umbrella! (laughing, because I don't know what else to say here)

    Drowning in an umbrella. Well, that's pretty much the basics of it. The theme of water, obviously there's rain, and what not...

  • I know it's a cleansing effect too, especially from the first track

    There's different meanings given to the use of water throughout the water. There's cleansing, there's the feeling of drowning in sorrow, being overwhelmed with grief or whatever. Paul recently put out a book which is still available, if anyone's interested in it. You can order JUST the book from our website; it's not available as part of the album package anymore, where you could get it with the poster and the sticker. It's like 12 bucks, it's not very expensive.

  • I heard it covers lyrics from EVERY single album that Novembers Doom has ever done.

    And Paul goes pretty in depth in terms of what EVERY song is about. It might take away a little bit of the mystery but I think there's still enough room for interpretation. We get interpretations from people ALL the time, people write us and say "oh, I love this song because it's about this, this and this," and what's funny is because we read it and go, "wow, that's not what this song is supposed to be about at all!" You can get the general idea of the album, I think the three feelings on this album are aggression, a little bit of despair, and also a sense of questioning things. Paul's questioning a LOT of stuff, like the logic behind fate, and what it really means and does for people. It's not an anti-God album, we don't take any kind of religious stance. Just in terms of anything you put blind faith into, you have to sit there and wonder sometimes about certain people, you know, "is it really doing you any good?" Or is it just sidetracking you from really dealing with stuff.

  • It's funny you mention fate, have you heard about this movie called "The Secret?"

    No, I can't say that I have.

  • It's a movie that's put together by some visionaries, and... well, I don't want to say New Age Healers, but that's what it's going to sound like on the surface to most people. It's kind of like the power of positive thinking and stuff like that. And we're all like finely tuned vessels of energy and we can interact with the universe and things like that...

    That's pretty close to how I feel about a lot of it.

  • This has had a pretty profound effect on my life, I mean it seems like since I've been applying the effort to focus on things the movie talks about, my life has completely changed, my life is different and I feel like I'm in a completely different place than I was even three weeks ago! Of course, I'm still exploring it, discovering it and seeing how it's going to integrate itself into my life. The one story that struck me was this story about "the miracle man," who was in an airplane crash that completely shattered his windpipe and was told by doctors he would never walk again or breathe without machines again. And his goal was, he told the doctors "I will walk out of this hospital by Christmas time." Then he started breathing on his own, and it was said to be a miracle, but sure enough he walked out of that hospital by the year's end. It's absolutely amazing; his resolve was SO strong. Maybe THAT'S the true power in the universe.

    I think you're on to something there! (laughs). I do believe that. Some people go in depth with it and think it's magic or like The Force. (laughs).

  • Well, there's a lot of things that can be explained that way. Like electricity, I mean you can't see it but you can see its effects.

    My attitude towards a lot of it, and I'm really not trying to be flippant here... Humans try really hard to explain everything, and it's in their nature. Everything has to be explained, we have to have a reason for things. Like a reason why we live, a reason why we die, a reason to where we're going when we die. The honest to god truth is, we don't have the slightest inkling as to why things are the way they are. And that's where FAITH comes in. That helps a lot of people get through their day. But there are people who tend to use that to their disadvantage; they get so caught up in that that they're not realistic with themselves anymore. I think they lose touch. I don't really like to get too in depth with spirituality or religion.

  • I'm pretty much anti christian, but mainly because I've seen what it does to ruin people's lives.

    It's wierd, but I'm not anti-anything, but I'm really kind of anti-EVERYTHING. If that makes any sense. There's good to be found in just about every way almost. As long as people are doing good with it and not hurting other people, or themselves. And what I'm saying is; if people have faith and it's enhancing their lives, whatever their faith is, then that's fantastic. As soon as you start pushing that on somebody else, or it starts infringing upon someone else's life and makes their life a little less good, then that's when it starts turning bad.

    SAMMATH. Interview with Jan Kruitwagen via email.

  • I recently saw the video for 'Enter The Sadistic Nightmare.' Were you given a budget by Folter, and do you know if this video was shown on any TV shows?

    Not much budget, no TV shows, it was just an idea I had just before the release of the CD. So I called Joerg from Folter and asked if I could get a small budget for something like this, he told me fine. It's only viewable on you tube and a lot of online metal video sites, but it's pretty damn low quality. Tv shows, I really couldn't name any shows who show violent black metal, or I'm looking in the wrong place. I just wanted to visualize the ideas I had with the second album "Verwoesting;" as my lyrics are pretty strange I wanted people to know what I was about. Showing 5 minutes of bombs exploding and chaotic warfare made it all pretty clear I think.

  • Obviously the theme for the video was war, care to tell us about how this was put together?

    I actually thought I would be finished in a week. But while I was gathering footage of world war two I found so much new stuff I thought I'd make the entire clip more diverse, what you see is 84 different pieces of film all cut up to fit along with the music. Every time the riffs change or the chorus starts, or even a drum break, the visuals change along with it. I ended up spending a good deal of a month just screwing around with cutting and pasting the different scenes so it's all in time with the music; very hard to do but it worked out well. Biggest problem was the deadline of the releases was approaching fast, so I had to work quickly.

  • Taking a glance at your Encyclopedia Metallum entry, your first release is quite different from the newest one, so I'm curious how you see the progression from first release to the newest one "Dodengang?" Apparently the lyrics for the first album are in your native tongue, are there ever to be plans to do this again?

    The first release is a completely different sound, I was very much inspired by the black metal of the early 90's. Unfortunately I also used a keyboard back then; these days I think it's totally not on, but as I said I wasn't searching for originality I just wanted to do what the Norwegians were doing. When you start out with a band you obviously get very influenced by whatever you are listening to. The first two albums are totally different. "Strijd," the first album is totally Norwegian inspired black metal, the second a grim death grind black album, way too chaotic for my tastes these days, and less black metal oriented. This last album "Dodengang" is how I wanted to sound all the time, but now I finally achieved it. I'm still satisfied with the album now, even after its release 6 months ago. The progression is mostly in finding my own style; this just takes time, you need to find your way and shrug off any obvious influences, or your existence means nothing. I think we have in a lot of ways created our own style, in recording as in songwriting. Singing in Dutch was something I wanted to do because the Dutch language is very harsh, only German sounds more sinister. If you ask me, Norwegian is ok, but nothing beats German black metal in way of the sheer violent nature of the sound. I will always have the album titles in Dutch, and one or two songs. I grew up in Australia, so my English is just a better way of expressing myself; I've been over here in Europe for 12 years now, but now I live in Germany, so I speak more German and English these days, except with friends from Holland.

  • How tough is it to balance working for the label itself (Folter) and managing your band? How much do you do for Folter Records, and do you find that sometimes your schedules with band and label conflict?

    I get this question a lot the last months, I only do some promotional work for Folter, meaning I send out promos of new releases, that's all I do for Folter really. I have a lot of contacts in the underground and the old promoter Macrel from folter was kind of losing interest in some ways I think, he was very busy with his study and other stuff. I also just wanted to make sure that the last Sammath cd got to as many reviewers as possible. Its pretty fucking cool though, getting your own promotion for your band, I sent out about 250 promo CD's of the last three folter releases, for a small label it just keeps growing and growing. I also arrange interviews, make sure radio stations get the Folter stuff, I've been very active in the black metal scene since 93, so I know many people. Also its good to be part of Folter, I like all the bands he signs, like new singing Decayed, very good old school stuff. He has a good taste for music, Joerg from Folter.

  • I'm curious about your recording lineup, because it says that you use a live vocalist... Does this mean that on stage you don't perform vocals yourself?

    I tried this but I'm definitely not Chuck from Death, whenever I start to use vocals on stage I automatically stop playing guitar, I've tried and tried but it just doesn't work, I'm totally useless at both in the end when I try to combine these. So I got a vocalist, he is also on the "Verwoesting" album doing the grunts, damn good front man also, Cor Van Maris. He can also do the black metal vocals very well, he sounds more diverse than I do, but he now tries to imitate my black voice as much as possible live, otherwise it just doesn't sound like Sammath.

  • I can understand maybe needing another person to man the bass guitar or regular guitar, please explain the difference between recording and live?

    I record everything alone, except the drums, the drummer Koos Bos is a total maniac! His style is so damn rugged and furious that I could never achieve this, even with years of practice. I used to work with a drum computer but that was getting boring and it just didn't sound or feel right anymore. The only band that sounds good with a drum machine is the mighty Mysticum!!!. So when recording I do the bass, guitars, and vocals. Then live the rest of the band does their thing. On the next album we will record as a band I think. I'm still not totally sure about this but I can't keep expecting the band to only perform live and let me have all the fun recording the cd. I'm a control freak when it comes to my CD's, so it's hard to let go.

  • I also noticed that you have a female guitar player in the band as well. As far as I know there are VERY few females in black metal, even less so than traditional metal or any other styles of metal for that matter! (Except for maybe bands like The Gathering, Elis, or Theater Of Tragedy).

    Yes, well that's all very new to me as well, but Hanna fits in quite well. It does take some getting used to, we always seem to make very sexist remarks, all the time, so I'm working on cutting this down when Hanna is near; but she can show me a lot about how to learn tracks and the way she looks at black metal is very different to mine, but that's due to the 13 years age difference. She plays very technical, she is only 20 years old; so young and hungry, she's also very good looking, haha, also a nice thing to have in the band! But seriously, I also had problems with having a female in the band, but she had proven me wrong from day one, she's more black metal then many men around. We need more nice looking chicks in metal. I used to have a hard time when I was still single and younger finding something nice at concerts. Metal woman are getting better though. Hanna is totally black metal in thoughts and lifestyle; all she really does is go to concerts, work and play lots and lots of guitar. When people see her live they will know its ok.

  • What is your deal with Folter Records like, did you organize the deal yourself or was that managed through someone else? I'm curious now if the label was started by yourself or if you have someone else running it?

    I got a letter form Folter in 97 after sending out a promo tape. I didn't start the label, no no, Joerg started Folter way before Sammath signed to them, I think in 91. I'm not really that involved at all really, I just send out the promo CD's to zines as explained earlier. All other work is Joerg, the boss of Folter records, he has some people in service who help out at concerts and metal markets.

  • It's interesting that especially on the video I hear death and black metal vocals running, are you able to do both?

    I can do both, but Cor Van Maris has a better deeper and more filthy death grunt, mine isn't bad but it could be better. On the last album I did everything myself. I told the rest of the band that I really needed to record "Dodengang" by myself, only drummer Koos Bos was in the recording lineup. The thing is, Sammath was just me by myself for about 8 years, so it was pretty damn difficult for me to just let others be part of the recording lineup, let alone write any material. I told them all in 2002 after the "Verwoesting" album that they could record the next CD with me. But in the end I'm too much of a control freak to let anyone else be part of this. I wrote and recorded the whole thing alone, the drummer just did what I wanted him to do; he is a machine, he can just keep blasting away for minutes without losing pace, obviously something I can't.

  • How do you feel the black metal scene is today? I know some have said that keyboards and female vocals don't belong in black metal, but do you see them having some use if they are done correctly? Even Mayhem in the earliest of days were obviously influenced by other styles of music (such as the cold, harsh mechanical stares came directly from Kraftwerk, and Varg was apparently listening to Dead Can Dance after the murder of Eronymous).

    If someone would have told me back in the early 90's that Sammath would one day have a keyboard, or a chick in the band I probably would have punched their heads in. Keyboards are something I really regret using. Hanna, the new guitarist in the band is a different story. We had been searching for a second guitar player for live shows for ages, the rest of the band, Cor (vocals) Ruud (bass) Koos (drums) and I had already had about ten or so people do audition for Sammath, but they were all pretty much morons, they were arrogant and couldn't play, or they could play but were total pussies. Koos knew of her and told me, but after meeting up with her I knew she was what we were looking for. She's damn fanatical about black metal, and she can play the Sammath tracks perfectly; she has a certain way of playing that fits in well. As to what people say about what can or can't be done in black metal, fuck them. As long as black metal is true to its roots I don't see any problem.

    I think black metal has some boundaries: in Holland there are some Christian black metal bands, total wankers, that's raping the essence of black metal if you ask me, or doing house and drums and bass breaks. Furthermore, black metal is what you want it to be. I don't listen to any other forms of music; never have, maybe some heavy classic music sometimes, but since 86 it's all metal. I really don't see what Dead Can Dance has to do with any metal feeling or moods, if you ask me its pretty dodgy music.

  • How did various people in Holland react after the news about the church burnings and murders in Norway? Were you affected by it at all?

    Back then I must admit I found the whole thing quite interesting, I knew someone who received a part of Dead's skull, we were all screaming satan back then; some still are. I'm too much of a eighties thrash metal maniac to be totally sucked in by all the black metal Satan worshipping though, I got into black metal when it all started but my background is thrash and death metal so I probably think more like a metal head then a black metal elitist. The thing is that after the church burnings you get the copycats, over here in the village where I used to live some little black metal bloke started to burn down little chapels, ruin graveyards, shit like that. The problem was that he also ruined the grave of the dead mother of a friend of mine, he had some nice hospital time to think it over after my mate caught up with him. I remember talking to him after the cops also got him, he was ranting on about how when he was caught he was listening to the church bells in the background and he felt like a real Satanist, that's when I got tired of the whole thing, mostly very boring people who don't get laid enough I think...

  • Any new songs or material you might be working on for a new release? Anything you could tell us...

    I'm always working on new material, the next album will be in the same style as the "Dodengang" album, but more worked out and I definitely need to spend more time working out the vocals lines. I seem to be spending hour upon hour composing and getting the song structures right and in the end I sometimes spend too little time getting the vocal patterns right. A new track will be online soon, more total chaos!!!

  • I see a lot of warlike themes on the albums, especially the new one. Our last question for ya, is this how you see humanity's "last stand," as it were, maybe the downfall of the human race will be caused by a massive world war?

    I doubt it. We always seem to survive war, I think only nature can rid the world of mankind. I just find it all very interesting; I used to teach history so that's where I get all the lyrics from. I now live in Germany and one of my neighbors actually fought in Stalingrad, that's where I get lots of inspiration for lyrics for that track on the new album. After hearing his stories I'm glad I just have a pretty normal life, he ended up having to eat horsemeat to survive, in 25 degrees freezing temperatures, losing most of his toes and fingers. The total destruction of war is most fitting for Sammath lyrics, I hate the church but there are plenty of people screaming Satan so I can do something else. Our last stand will probably be something completely out of our control, like sun bursts, or some very destructive natural occurrence we can't do shit about: a fitting end for a animal that thinks he's always in control, but really isn't. Thanks for the interview man, keep the flame burning, metal or death!!

    TYPE O NEGATIVE. Interview with Josh Silva at their show in Atlanta.

    Unfortunately, Type O Negative, those crazy, goofy, fun loving metalheads, got a rather bad rep with their "October Rust" album. An album, in Ground:Xero frontman Sean Morrisey's and mine's opinion, is a well crafted, emotional and amazing album. It's definitely different, a bit LESS devoid of the sense of humour that runs the gamut from extremely bizarre to tongue in cheek, even going so far to put themselves down in the process (nothing and no one is safe or even sacred). Armed with a new album that hearkens back to their roots and even punk and hardcore laced elements (even touches of Carnivore!) and a new label in Steamhammer, Type O has been given new life and of course, given us all a great show to an insanely packed house. Sean Morrisey joins me on this interview as well as friend Shane, to recount and recollect an extremely lengthy career for the bad boys from Brooklyn.

  • It's good to see you guys with a new record out... It's been a long time actually... What have you guys been doing in all that time?

    Attorney? (much laughter, there's a long running joke being played on me, where Josh pretends the sound guy is his lawyer.) "We decline to comment on that!" Honestly, 4 years isn't really much longer than usual for Type O. Three years for four albums, and four more for 2 more. It's on target for us!

  • So what's your deal with Steamhammer like? That's an interesting label move.

    Our deal is with SPV, and SPV has the deal with Steamhammer. We deal with SPV directly.

  • You got a few more albums in the works with them?

    Ummm... (pause) Attorney? (more laughter here)

    Sound guy: "Take one day at a time! Have faith in god. Everything will work out!"

  • I gotta say I really like the new album, it seems to have something for everyone! There's some doomy stuff, some punk stuff, even some Carnivore influence! It's a good record.

    We're indecisive with age. As we get older we get more indecisive. It's harder to make like a "World Coming Down" or "October Rust" kinda album.

  • I remember the last time I talked to you guys, "October Rust" had just come out, or had been out for like half a year or so. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that's a really good record. I remember you said something about that was the direction that Road Runner wanted you to go in?

    Oh I would never say that, good god.

  • Maybe Kenny said that (laughing nervously).

    Oh, I think Peter said that. (turns to the "fake lawyer") Am I allowed to say that?

    Sound guy: Yes, you are.

    Josh: Thank you. You know, the record companies always want what they perceive as "a hit." But what the fuck is a hit? Nobody really knows what "a hit" is, a "hit" is something that enough people like, it gets played on the radio. We only did that once and we didn't do that on purpose! We didn't sit there and go "Let's write a hit!" That's fucking stupid! There's two kinds of bands, there's bands that tell you they did something that got recognition accidentally, and those that won't admit it.

    Sean Morrisey: It's kind of like the old addage that "innovation happens by mistake" in a lot of ways.

    Josh: Everything's an accident. Even my kids. (MUCH laughter here)

    Sound guy: THAT you're not allowed to say (more laughter here)

  • That "October Rust" album, I like the way that was put together. It's really mellow, but still has hints of the heaviness. Um... (I realize I am wondering what this "lawyer" is going to say) I'm just going to throw this out there, a lot of the greatest bands in my opinion that have recorded some of the greatest works of art ever... The Beatles, Hendrix... Type O Negative is definitely in that category.

    I disagree, but that's okay.

  • I'm sorry you do! (laughing). A lot of bands cited, um... Well, I don't know what your lawyer is gonna say... Under the influence, so to speak, the green stuff. I definitely hate the way marijuanna is perceived in culture and society today, some of the most beautiful records ever created were written under the influence.

    I'm off drugs, so you probably don't want me to answer that (laughing). I've been straight for 6 years now. I'm not gonna tell people don't smoke weed. Anything in excess will probably kill ya. I'm not your fucking parents. I would suggest not driving, but that's only a personal choice. I mean I don't wanna die if some idiot runs me over stoned.

  • Well, he's gonna run you over more if he's been drinking than if he has just had a joint or two.

    That may be true, I think it's retarded to make drinking legal and marijuanna illegal. It's stupid. Everything used responsibly is as bad as everything else. Or as good as everything else. I just, my throat closed up so it was like stop or I die. Obviously I stopped so I didn't die. It might have been the wrong choice (laughing).

  • I do a classic albums section on the website, and something that I have been asked repeatedly and recently found was a 2 song, 7 inch from a band called Fallout. (Josh's shocked laugh and "whew!" were PRICELESS!) I just wanted to get your thoughts on it, because I thought the songs were really good.

    Yeah, they were. Well, that was a band I was in with Peter a long time. You probably weren't even born!

  • Well, I was born in '71.

    Okay, so then you were NINE. (at this point the air compressor in the tour bus goes off). We'll wait for the noise to die down, because it's loud. It's a compressor, it'll shut off in a few minutes. You can relax, he's not my lawyer. I don't mean to make you uptight, he's just the sound guy. We gotta fuck around ya know!

  • Shit, you had me going! (everyone's laughing at me!)

    Sean Morrisey: I was about to ask, is he on retainer? That's pretty good to have a lawyer on tour with ya!

  • (At this point the laughter and the air compressor died down). Any chance that stuff will ever get reissued or anything?

    I don't think so, it was a long time ago and those people are doing other things. Plus to get permission to use material written in that time period from other people...

  • The version I had had 'Rock Hard' and 'Batteries Not Included,' but I heard there was another song that didn't get released.

    We've recorded a lot of songs; the two that were on that single were reproduced by a producer and they were also previously recorded before that recording. And they came out much better when WE recorded them.

  • Anything you want to ask, Sean?

  • I know you do a lot of production and mastering work, how long have you been involved in that?

    I still don't really feel THAT involved with it, I guess I've been recording since the early to mid 80's. (looking at me) when you were nine!

  • Sean: I've seen you credited on a couple of people's works, I know you were credited on Pist-On's record as I believe engineering and mastering.

    I produced the record actually, the first one, and that's when they got picked up by Atlantic.

  • Sean: Do you run your own studio at this time?

    Yeah. I mean everybody has a computer right? I use Pro Tools a lot. Do I do any outside work? Not really, as a producer I don't take jobs that I don't like. And I'm not the easiest person to get along with, so that leaves me with less work than most producers.

  • Sean: And that gives you more time to focus on your own music.

    Well, Type O is more full time for me, yeah. I'm sitting there for every step of the way. People play their tracks and they go home and they're done for a month or five, and I'm sitting there rotting the whole time. I enjoy it but there's a lot of downtime.

  • That kinda leads me to the next question, because I've been doing the music magazine for over 15 years, and believe me there are times when it's like "ah, fuck, this work again!?" So I'm wondering if you ever got to that point where you were like "I just need a break," you know maybe you wanted to take the time to focus on something else?

    Only four times this hour. (said with a straight face while we're laughing). So I guess the answer would be yes, and often. You know, anything can become hard, and certainly the personalities in music can become, at best, infantile. Including myself, you know, I'm not taking myself out of that category.

  • I'm assuming you guys all get along pretty good.

    Beautifully, like the fucking Partridge Family! (laughing my ass off here - Ed).
    Sound guy: He's Carol.
    Josh: I thought Johnny was Carol?
    Sound guy: Johnny's Carol. You're Alice?
    Josh: He fits the suit. Ah, that's the Brady Bunch!
    Sean: Wow.
    Josh: Man, these guys are fucked up!

  • Sean: It's pretty cool that you guys have managed to keep a fairly consistent lineup for all these years, I mean with the exception of Johnny stepping in when Sal left. That's impressive, because a lot of bands these days....
    Me: Change members like some people change socks!
  • Sean: Seriously. Or you have the one or two main guys that stay in over the years, and then the different cast of characters that are coming and going.

    It works better that way. It's good to have disposable people. That's why you don't have to put up with people's bullshit. So it's like "boom! You're gone, you're gone." But when somebody is too much a part of it then they become harder to get rid of.

  • Anything else before we wrap this up? Sean?

  • Sean: I'm curious about your process of creativity, where does a lot of the songs stem from, say like from your keyboard writing, or from Peter, or...

    Peter writes the songs, and then they get deformed as we play them and go through the studio process. Things get added, changed, removed, fighting, the whole deal. It never stops changing until somebody kicks everyone out of the studio, and it's over.

  • Sean: So it's a fairly cohesive effort along those lines?

    No, absolutely dysfunctional! It's horrendous the entire thing. It's throwing everything, fits, teeth... (at this point the compressor starts up again, and things get crazy again).

  • Sean: You should sample that sound and make a song out of it!

    We did actually. 'Slow, Deep And Hard,' that's it! (making generator noises). No, that was actually our sound man, it was an oscillator from the studio. We just tweaked it.

  • Sean: I've always been very curious. At the very beginning of "Origin Of The Feces," it's a stupid question but I gotta ask, I gotta know, WHAT is that alarm sound at the beginning, where does it come from?

    It's a backup alarm on a truck.

  • Sean: That's what I thought it was, but I wasn't sure.

    You're right, that was a stupid question (we're ALL laughing).

  • Sean: You're absolutely right. Completely trivial, but I HAD to know.

    Well, I hope we're all satisfied now.
    Sound guy: I asked the singer from Celtic Frost if it was "K"eltic Frost or "S"eltic Frost (emphasis on the pronunciation).
    Josh: That was an important question (laughing)
    Sound guy: Yeah, and Tom was like "that WAS a stupid question!" But you know what the answer was right?
    Josh: "K"eltic.
    Sound guy: "K"eltic yeah, that's what he said. But, like 5 years into their career, they went and looked it up because so many people were asking about that that they were unsure themselves.

    TYR. Interview with Heri through email.

    I was pretty impressed with some of the songs on their newest full length "Ragnarok," especially since I'm heavily into Viking lore and culture. Though not 100% pleased with their newest effort, there's some very strong songs on there that REALLY speak to me. I will be going back to check out one of their earlier releases "Eric The Red" quite soon! In the meantime, enjoy this interview with a band that hails from the Faeroe Islands and embraces quite strongly the heritage and culture of their ancestors.

  • Just out of curiosity, when "Eric The Red" was reissued through Napalm Records, there are two bonus tracks from your first full length "How Far To Asgard." Is there any chance that particular record will be reissued for us, and why were those two particular tracks chosen for the "Eric The Red" release?

    The bonus tracks were not taken from "How Far To Asgaard", they were taken from the Demo recorded in the autumn of 2000. Napalm Records have not expressed any desire to reissue "How Far To Asgaard". It is still printed and distributed by Tutl Records here in the Faeroes. It is available worldwide at the Tutl webshop.

  • I am an American who has become fascinated with Viking culture, lore, and mythology. Partly because of the fact that 90 percent of my favorite bands come from Scandinavia, but also because I find the qualities of fierce and brave warriors to be something this world seemingly needs more of, and those are qualities I find lacking in my life. Do you feel that today's world has become so dependent on technology and fast paced living that we've forgotten the basic building blocks our earliest ancestors knew were the key for boys and girls to successfully become real men and real women?

    I think you have a point. The Nordic Mythology gives much better human idols, images and much more humane morality than Christianity. I think the popularity of the Viking culture is also a reaction against Christianity. Partly because of the new conflict between Islam and Christianity, which I think the moderate masses of Christianity feel they have nothing to do with. They suddenly realize that they are part of a conflict that they wish no part in, and the alternative is what was here before Christianity was forced upon us, so many will turn to the Viking lore. And ofcourse it is only a bonus that the Scandinavian bands that sing about this subject are good ;-).

  • The "Ragnarok" album chronicles the entire race of the Nordic gods and how their last days were spent. I find it extrenely admirable that even though the gods knew they would perish, they fought the last battle anyway, with strength, pride and honor. What does this story of the end of the world mean for you, and how do you see the end of the modern world's era?

    This story means to me that hopelessness, to despair, is a grave mistake. We don't know the future and to deem a battle lost before it is fought is wrong. Odin knew his future and that he would loose the battle at Ragnarok, but still he pressed on trying to change the outcome against all odds. I also see a strong analogy to the fact that we are all going to die someday, but that is no excuse to lay down today and want to get it over with. It is the responsibility of each of us to get out of life what we want, and not give in to old age and death one day too early. The end of the modern world could be brought about by war, finances, epidemics etc., impossible for me to say.

  • There has been a lot of movements amongs the Scandinavian bands, especially the most Satanic and misanthropic ones, to turn back to their pagan ancestors, and of course this is a movement that has spread to cultures and peoples even outside of Europe itself.

    We clearly distance ourselves from the Satanic and Nazi bands of Scandinavia. All men are born equal and deserve a fair chance: no nazism, racism or fascism from us. To want to turn back time and erase the past is completely idiotic, I'll say no more about that. Whatever form of Asatru we have today will always be somewhat re-constructed based on very incomplete sources. It will reflect more about us today than our ancestors, and that is also the way it shoule be. If it is not useful for the present then it is obsolete.

  • "Ragnarok" has a bunch of instrumental tracks scattered within the vocalized songs. How do these instrumental tracks fit in with the rest of the album, are they interludes between songs or do they somehow mirror the song names they are given?

    They are part of the songs of the same chapter, chapters indicated by roman numbers. The theme of the instrumentals sets the mood for the following songs and can also be heard again in the songs. The names for the instrumentals are taken somewhat out of thin air, as the names were given after these instrumentals had been recorded. They just loosely fit the storyline and loosely fit the mood of the respective instrumental.

  • According to a list, (the Encyclopedia Metallum) there are only 4 known bands in the Faroe Islands. Is there any kind of developing music scene within your country? For those who have never been to this land, what would you tell people is noteworthy to see and do while in your land? I'm also curious how much original literature and Viking relics have been recovered in your land, as I heard that there was much better preservation of earlier times here than anywhere else in the world.

    There is a rich music scene with some semi international names. I would recommend sailing to Vestmannabjorgini, hiking across the mountains to Sjeyndir, and eating in Roykstovan in Kirkjubour the oldest preserved log cabin in Europe. We don't have much original literature, but we have an abundance of folklore, which was written down over a long period a few hundred years ago. This folklore includes melodies from ancient times and texts about the Vikings and the stories that the vikings themselvs revered, such as Sigfried Dragonslayer, Charlemagne and Attila the Hun etc. Also texts about the gods of the Vikings. The detail of the stories is not as good as the written saga's of Iceland, but at least it is alive and well amongst the common people of the Faeroes.

  • It's been mentioned of course that christianity has tried to eradicate most, or nearly all, records of the Viking culture and lore and forcing Nordic people to convert to christianity at swordpoint, something of course I find disturbing. How do you feel about christianity, do you have a strong hatred for it as do such bands like Amon Amarth? I know some weren't totally opposed to the idea of welcoming christianity into their lives.

    The institution of the Church has eradicated some of the folklore in Scandinavia, but most of our lore and language has miraculously escaped, although the Faeroes must be said to be a thoroughly christian nation today. I fundamentally disagree with christianity, but that does not make me hate christians. I compare it with the fact that I fundamentally disagree with smoking, but that does not make me hate the smokers. Like christians, smokers can be fine people, but smoking is not what improves their personality, in fact they would be much better off without it. As mentioned some of the ballads of the Faeroes are about the gods of the Vikings and the fact that they have been passed on through time up unto our days means that there have always been, if not pagans, then some that at least liked the old ways better than christianity in the Faeroes, and that is an inspiring thought.

  • I find it fascinating that the track 'Wings Of Time' from "Ragnarok" was adapted from an original Viking folk melody! How hard was it to get this piece of history translated into a more heavy metal oriented format? It was very cool that you recorded the original melody from men who knew how to sing this, it's amazing to me that this song has been passed down from so long ago. I'd like to know a bit more about the men responsible for preserving this piece of history, and a bit more on what the lyrics mean, of course.

    There has been a great interest in these ballads throughout time in the Faeroes. An abundance of ballads like this have been passed down through times. The long story of this ballad is somewhat complex, but in short it is about a farmer called Grimur A Midalnesi, supposedly the first farmer in the world, and his quarrel with a neighbouring dwarf. Around the start of the ninteenth century they were gathered in a work called Corpus Carminum Faeroensis, the Body of Faeroese Ballads, and it contains more than 50,000 verses of lore. Mind you there were only about 5000 people living in the Faeroes at the time.

  • How do you see the German people's coming to embrace Viking culture and mythology? I was also rather curious to the choosing the German pronunciation Tyr instead of the Scandinavian counterpart.

    Scandinavian folklore is part of Germanic folklore. I dare say we have the best and latest preserved version of the Germanic peoples and everybody shall be welcome to take part in our heritage. I'm not sure I understand your question about the pronounciation. We pronounce Tyr in Faeroese, not German.

  • It was very cool to see 'The Wild Rover' which reminds me of a Viking drinking song! The lyrics were pretty cool on this one as well, was this adapted from an old story? (This song is on the "Eric The Red" CD.)

    This is an old Irish traditional, which is also very popular in the Faeroes, that we have spiced up a bit. We have also used some Irish traditionals on "Ragnarok."

  • What's upcoming for Tyr? Any song titles or themes for a new record you care to mention?

    We have a lot of touring coming up this summer and autumn. We are well underway with a new album as well.

  • I recently saw a movie that portrays Viking culture and themes very well, perhaps you've seen it, it was called "Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King." It portrayed very well the ideologies and characteristics of those who worshipped the old gods, though the movie had a sad ending. For those who are interested, are there any movies you would recommend to people to give them an idea of what Nordic life was like?

    No, in fact I don't know any good movies, but I know a lot of books. The sagas of Iceland are very good. One of them is called Faereyinga Saga, the story of the Faeroese. Very good, but mostly sad, reading, and it tells you all there essentially is to know about Viking life and culture. Also you could visit any Viking museum of Scandinavia and attend a lecture. That will probably give you the most realistic input there is on the matter.

  • How is your deal with Napalm Records structured? I know it must be tough being so far away, but how many albums are you contracted for, and are they helping you out with tour support?

    We have two more albums in the contract. They put us on tour a lot, no complaint about that from us. Our cooperation has worked very well up until now and I think it will continue like that until the end of our contract, then we'll see what will happen.

  • I'm curious where you have played shows, as I heard you recently started playing gigs out of your area. Any shows you can remember that were great ones, any funny tour stories you want to share, and what's your touring itinerary for 2007 and beyond? Any chance we'll see you in the U.S., possibly at the next Heathen Crusade festival?

    We have played gigs in Scandinavia since 2001 and outside of Scandinavia since 2003. We have played over most of Europe and we hope to include the US next year, although there are no specific plans yet. We have been in contact with Heathen Crusade Festival before and they sounded very positive about us, so that's a possibility. We played for some very enthusiastic people in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, all very memorable gigs. There are always a lot of good stories from a tour. We did a great concert in Warsaw, Poland, in November which was recorded by Sam Dunn for his follow up on his documentary "A Headbangers Journey." He also did a long interview with me, which I hope will be in the documentary. It is to be called "Global Metal." Our nightliner, a rented one, broke down after the last concert in November on our way to pick up our own van. It's good to laugh at it now, but it wasn't fun at the time.

  • Napalm Records recently released a DVD set that features two music videos from you. How did this come about, and were these videos ever shown anywhere?

    These videos were shot before we made the deal with Napalm. They were, to my knowledge, only shown in Faeroese and Icelandic television before that.

  • I am quite a big fan of bands on the Napalm label, especially Draconian and Summoning. What artists on Napalm do you really enjoy the most?

    Korpiklaani mostly. I also listen to Summoning and Leaves' Eyes sometimes.

  • If there's anything else you'd like to add that we didn't mention, please feel free to use this space here. Thanks! I really enjoy the music.


    WATAIN. Interview with Erik on the Antichrist Vanguards tour in Atlanta.

    Watain quite simply destroyed this tour with Angelcorpse, Nachtmystium, Gravewurm and Negative Plane. They were headliners and with their stage presence and true black metal attitude, there was no doubt that Christians were NOT welcome to the unholy temple. Though there was much about Watain I learned AFTER the show and interview, be rest assured this band keeps the unholy blackened flame ever burning and close to their twisted hearts.

  • How has the response been on this tour so far? I didn't really know what to expect, since there's no major headliner like a Dimmu Borgir or Cannibal Corpse on the bill.

    A LOT better than we expected, obviously. I heard that America was a big christian country, with ethics and morals that don't allow controversy at all.

  • I gotta ask you, that's a vicious 45 minutes to an hour you guys put on the stage, how do you keep yourself in shape, especially with your voice?

    This is what we live for, this is what we've shaped ourselves to be able to do. It's a hard job indeed, no one said that this would be easy. I've never really had any problems with that, it's like my second voice.

  • Now, over here in the U.S. I know the Ajna Offensive is working press and publicity for you here, but you have some older releases that are out of print. Is there any chance your older albums will be reissued, making it available especially to an American audience?

    The releases are available, it's just that they were available through very small distribution centers. The label, well, what can I say, they are not one of the most ambitious ones. But sooner or later we want a change of course, but right now we just focus on "Sworn To The Dark."

  • One thing I was really impressed with was the opening song 'Legions Of The Black Light," which I wished you had played live tonight. But it was cool that you dedicated that song to Jon Nodveidt from Dissection. I know there has been all sorts of controversy surrounding the taking of his own life, but I think it's better that he chose the manner of his death than to have it chosen for him, especially over some random event. I just wanted to get your thoughts on that.

    I have no comment on that, as his death is too personal for me to talk about.

  • Were you a good friend of his?

    Yeah, I was, but like I said I have no comments.

  • From my vantage point, to me it shows his strength of character, and he felt like he accomplished everything there was to do. And in the lyrics to that song, I know Jon talks about the anti cosmic metal of death, and your lyrics seem very similar, so I'm wondering if spiritually if you two were on the same lines as far as philosophies of life and what not.

    Yes. (I'm thinking this is still a rather tricky subject to go into a bit more - Ed.)

  • Anything else you want to tell us about your latest record "Sworn To The Dark?"

    Everything we do with Watain, from writing lyrics to doing shows and releasing albums or whatever, we like things to speak for themselves quite a lot. The fact that it is an album in relation to a lot of other albums in this genre; when you scratch between the surface, you're not only going to find air, or a vacuum or void, that you'll find on say a Dark Funeral Record. You'll find it contains years of work, and is far beyond most of what most metal people are used to. The labels that exist nowadays have no shame whatsoever, they piss in the mouths of the metal scene, that's how I see it. They release shit albums, pointless stuff. So when albums like ours come out, I think people naturally react in a big way because finally they get something that actually has some meaning.

  • With an album title like "Sworn To The Dark," there's no middle ground; you know exactly the lyrical content and the stance. Personally, I'm a huge hater of christianity. And you know the U.S. in general gets a bad rap, because we have a gun toting, redneck christian in the white house. And that looks bad for the rest of us, especially someone like myself who is an aspiring travelling musician. So anytime anyone can spit venom and blasphemy in the face of christianity it hits home right here.

    On the other hand; of course, the U.S. is an obvious example of a christian nation. But in general, there's a reason why our tour is called "Fuck The World" because there is no place that we will ever feel we belong to. We're not from here and we'll never find our peace anywhere on earth. We don't aim to find our peace on earth. You can clean away christianity, but there will still be other things, like the weakness of mankind in general, to replace it (christianity) with. So that is why complete eradication of everything is necessary. There is no place on earth for people like us.

  • Where were you guys during the time of the 90's during the arsons and the murders, I know you guys hail from Sweden rather than Norway. And this was a new time for black metal, so I'm curious as to what you were involved with.

    It was hard not to be a part of it, as we have always been interested in extreme metal; most people that got into it in Sweden had to deal with extreme metal at one point or another. It opened a lot of people's eyes; some people ran away and some people got deeper into it. We definitely got deeper into it.

  • Anything else you want to add as we wrap this up?

    No, not really. I hope that after 25 or 30 years of extreme metal on this planet that people start to think about what it actually consists of, and the fact that if you call upon death for a long time, then death will come. There are parts of the black metal scene that are not so funny for anyone, and are not meant to be so entertaining for anyone; it's about something else. That is what we are here to proclaim: devastation.


    Yep, another month long delay... YAY! Actually, sometimes this thing takes on a life of it's own and rather forces me into late night weekend frenzies to finish up. There's lots of VERY interesting shows coming to the Atlanta area in the later part of the year: Therion and Enslaved are coming! (Not at the same time). And Sean and I have vowed to make the Heathen Crusade Festival a reality next year, I'm anxiously awaiting the return of a festival which seemingly has turned into a 2 day extravaganza!

    Not much else to say here, but I do hope to have the issue come out on time the next go round. It's kinda sad in a way that for over 16 years or so, there has only been 45 issues... Maybe I'm not doing too bad. As I close this rather short editorial notations section out, you may notice that this is a REALLY big issue. As you all learned, I have been rather fascinated with all this new stuff I've been learning, especially where the movie "The Secret" is concerned. I believe that each and every one of us has the power to create our own reality where we can truly make everything we want to happen, happen. There is an inherent lack of respect by me for organized religion and if many of you knew the struggles I went through in my life just to keep everything all together, coupled with the sometimes miraculous events that brought me closer and closer to what I wanted, you might think there's some guardian angel or mysterious "force" at work guiding my hand. Many of you knew about my involvement with Hallows Eve, however what you may NOT have known was that I had a chance to audition for the band over 12 or so years ago when I lived in Savannah. I of course didn't have any way to get a demo recorded, nor even a way to get to Atlanta at the time. Needless to say, it's amazing that that very same chance happened to me 6 or 7 years after I moved to the Metro Atlanta area (a move I didn't think at the time I would have been able to make). Makes you think! On that note, I want to thank April Smith for the help and understanding she's given me to help me along this newly found path of life, and for all the great knowledge that I've found. There's some truly amazing discoveries coming about in the field of holistic healing and hypnotherapy, basically, alternative medicines, and I hope to utilize the things I've learned to further enhance many facets of my life. I hope you all can do the same. The knowledge is out there, and surprisingly, it's been around for hundreds of years; sadly, though, certain religious sects are quick to demonize anything that they don't understand or have working knowledge of (even more ludicrous when you realize and KNOW deep down that it's all scientifically backed).

    Until the next issue, CLICK HERE to return to the main menu!