After many many delays, and almost a year since the last issue, here it is. My apologies to all who eagerly awaited this issue, hope you enjoy it and hope you find this issue as enjoyable as many others. The interviews are a bit longer on some bands, and there's more CD's reviewed this time around.

We tried like hell to at least have three issues out before the end of 2008. The delays between issue #46 and #47 were numerous, way too numerous for my tastes. The delays between #47 and #48 even worse.

Address to send stuff to, blah, blah blah:

Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
P.O. Box 1258
Suwanee, GA 3024-0963 USA


ALLTHENIKO 'Devasterpiece' (My Graveyard) SCORE: 83/100

This is a rather interesting release from a band who obviously is trying to create music like the 80's greats such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and even Accept! The album title is a little odd, but I must admit the iron beast picture on the front cover is cool! The CD starts out with the cut 'Erased,' and it doesn't take long to figure out there's some blazing riffs from a guy who is obviously quite skilled. The vocals are rough edged, which is a good thing as it keeps a somewhat gritty feeling to the metal. Not a bad way to start the disc, especially since there's some headbanging pieces. Still don't know about the semi acoustic passages here along with the clean sung vocals, but so far I don't feel a need to complain. 'The Evil Forces' follows and is DEFINITELY a standout piece, complete with slower but thrashy stop/start riffs and catchy choruses to boot. The energetic vocal work definitely provides extra incentive to bang your head to this one. 'Thunder And Steel' follows with somewhat melodic sung vocals, though the vocals soar into the high range with the choruses. It's not too bad a piece! 'Law Of The Stronger' I thought was one of the weakest cuts on the album, and it's wierd to see that this song was the one they picked to do their video for ('The Evil Forces' would have been a much better choice). The prechoruses are very awkward, especially on the sung parts, and the choruses are weak as well. 'Devasterpiece,' the song, follows, and is a surprising instrumental, utilizing some Spanish sounding acoustic guitar work; it was a nice change of pace before finishing the album. 'Metal Unchained' was a decent tune as well. Followup 'Rise And Fall' wasn't a bad cut, though the choruses could have been better written; still, the heavy guitar work keeps you interested, and the last half of the song definitely picks up. 'I'm A Fuckin' Zombie' was an interesting instrumental, well, mostly instrumental, with a few vocals in it. There's quite a bit of variation for a rather short (3.5 minutes) piece! 'Feel The Power' is another standout cut, and headbangers will most definitely dig the "Die for metal!" sreams throughout the track. It's a raging fast tune, folks, and proves the lead singer can hit some really high notes! 'When This Demon's Coming' and 'The Godfather' finish off the album in somewhat weak fashion, however, though 'When This Demon's Coming' is definitely the more enjoyable of the two, with some melodic choruses and nice dark acoustics. The last track was quite annoying, as the choruses were very weak, and the spoken parts were rather goofy; it seems like this track kinda aimlessly drifts off into space! It's not a masterpiece, but the flag of metal is held high, and there's plenty of enjoyable tunes. This CD comes from an Italian record label that currently holds the newest releases from 80's metal bands Dark Quarterer, Feline Melinda, Taramis, and Sabotage, so look for more reviews from them in the next and upcoming issues!
Contact: My Graveyard Productions.

ARKONA "Ot Serdca K Nebu" (Napalm) SCORE: 94/100

This is my first exposure to Russian folk/metal unit Arkona, and I must say this hit me right off the bat! It does tend to run a little long at 14 songs and a playing time of a little over an hour, but there's so much to digest I dare say you won't do it all at once. Once the prologue is out of the way, you are immediately dropped into some vicious death metal instrumentation and a female vocalist that sounds very vicious! Some say there's a black metal slant to Masha's vocals, but it sounds more along the lines of death metal. She can definitely growl with the best of them, but oftentimes you'll hear her clean sung vocals soar! 'Pokrovy Nebesnogo Startsa' is one of the heaviest tunes on the disc, though there are others. You will hear flutes, hurdy-gurdys, and bagpipes on nearly EVERY song, and they really add a folk feel, especially when the instrumentation is blazing away at a fast pace (though the blackened style pace doesn't happen too often; mainly on songs like 'Sva' and 'Nad Propastiu Let'). There are a few instrumentals, like 'Gutsulka' which does a nice mix of flutes and bagpipes, and 'Tsygular.' There was an interesting doomy approach to the instrumentation found on 'Strela,' which utilized slower guitar riffs and some slow, tribal drumming... So here we have folkish doom! And when you get to the death vocals on 'Sva,' it's more like folkish doom/death! And yes, this is the SAME song that starts off with the blackened guitar work and a speedier pace. Though you will hear MUCH variety and diversity (which is needed since at least 3 songs break the 6 minute mark), there are tendencies when you hear some vocal melodies or instrumental passages you've heard on earlier parts, and this obviously means it was tough to be completely original and diverse throughout not only 14 tracks, but an hour long disc. There were a few odd moments on the record, mainly with some of the odd spoken male vocals at the 'Epilogue' (which, save for the ending synth only ambience, could have been dropped due to it's similarity to the 'Prologue'), and some of the female vocals tend to get a bit odd on the preceding track 'Katitsia Kolo' (though it could have been more due to the unusual pronunciation of her language which I am not completely fluent in). All in all, though, this is a stunning disc, one that showcases an amazing amount of diversity mixing Russian folk music with extreme metal. If you think everything that can be done with music HAS been done, then this disc is DEFINITELY going to change the way you approach folk oriented metal. HIGHLY recommended.
Contact: Napalm Records.

COLOSSEUM "Chapter 2: Numquam" (Firebox) SCORE: 98/100

Even though 2009 JUST got started when I received this disc, I knew it would be one of the top 5 doom metal releases for 2009. AMAZING orchestration utilizing violins, cellos, and flutes (like Shape Of Despair) and also... Ready? TRUMPETS! More on that later. It's of the slow, doomy variety, akin to funereal doom/death, but so rich in instrumentation that it stands above and beyond the rest of what the doom/death world is doing right now. You have 7 tracks (one of which is useless, more on THAT later) and most run 7 and 9 minutes, so length is a bit shorter on songs than their last release. The most amazing thing about Colosseum is how flawlessly and effortlessly they go from light and melodic to dark and heavy all in the space of one song; what makes the transitions seem near perfect is the ultra heavy percussion on every song; it's rather a thunderous affair. 'Numquam' starts the disc off with some dark acoustic guitar work before utilizing some epic high ended guitar work. Such crushing heaviness is not to be ignored. The violins and cellos on 'Towards The Infinite' add a unique sorrowful feeling, making this one of the standout tracks on the record. Flutes are heard clearly for the first time on 'Demons Swarm By My Side,' and this is a track that DEFINITELY reminds me of Shape Of Despair via their "Shades Of..." release. You get some beautiful acoustic guitars opening up 'The River,' which is one of the best examples of back and forth emotional content between heavy and dark and light and dreamy ambient landscapes. The 6th track 'Prosperity' to me should have ended the CD, as it had some VERY epic trumpets closing out the song, and they were amazing to hear alongside the crushing slow and heavy percussion and guitar work. This song is 11 minutes long; the longest here but worth EVERY DAMN SECOND. Even the 3 minute solo synth passage stuck near the end was worth it to hear beautiful acoustic guitars and high ended heavier lead solo work. The ambient synth passages here will remind one almost instantly of Vinterriket, earliest Mortiis' or even Uruk-Hai in their more melodic moments. ONE MAJOR COMPLAINT comes with the CD ender which is not listed on the CD itself, but is referred to as the "outro." This is 5 minutes and 30 seconds of almost worthless noise; Heavy one hit percussion to be sure, but some odd notes and noises from the guitar and strange sound effects tells me that this should have been left OFF the CD. Since it's not listed on the CD anywhere, and some have even hinted that this track was removed, I assume it might have been only on the promotional copies, even though Firebox sent the full packaging along with this. Despite this, the CD is HIGHLY recommended to all doom fans and fans of well orchestrated doom/death (or funereal doom/death, whatever your genre tag of preference), and one of the best doom releases to come out in 2009! BUY IT! NO EXCUSES!!!
Contact: Firebox Records.

DESTROYER 666 "Defiance" (Season Of Mist) SCORE: 98/100

What a sick record! I had been dying for some time to hear this band, hailing from Australia, and with Season Of Mist now setting up shop here in the States, I finally get to hear what cult followers of this band have been talking about. The CD starts off with a bang in 'Weapons Of Conquest,' which is easily one of the catchiest tunes on the record, especially chorus wise, and once you hear the vicious riffing and powerful, in your face blackened vocals, you're hooked! The guitar work is INSANE on this record; many of the lead solos blaze along at a furious pace but are crafted in a rather unique way. 'I Am Not Deceived' follows things along with some high end guitar riffs, and thunderous percussion work to boot. 'Blood For Blood' starts things off in a bit slower fashion, proving that Destroyer 666 can craft slower instrumentation that crushes just as much as the speedier tunes. The guitars are rather haunting, and there's some dark melodies to be found within. This 5 minute piece retains a slower pacce for the duration. 'The Barricades Are Breaking' will remind one a bit of Marduk with their blitzkrieg speed attack, but with tons of insane lead solos. Slower once again is 'A Stand Defiant,' which by the song name alone sums up the lyrical stance. And though followup tune 'A Path To Conflict' starts out at a slower pace, it soon kicks things into high gear with some intricate drum work and good variety on the mainline guitar riffs. There's lots of varying tempos and structure patterns here as well, proving that this is NOT a band stuck in high speed mode. 'A Thousand Plagues' conveys, with forceful viciousness and multivocal parts, their hatred and defiance of religion, which proves their black metal stance once and for all. 'Human All Too Human' reminded me of the mighty English heathen metal band Forefather with the amazingly majestic guitar riffs, and you'll hear some shouted/yelled vocal work which contrasts nicely with the more blackened variety. Slow though it is, you'll get a speedier ending to this cut, and finally the CD ends on a rather epic note with the slower and majestic paced 'A Sermon To The Dead,' complete with very well done sung, almost chanted vocals and retaining an interesting folkish feeling that wouldn't be out of place on a Forefather release. A great way to end this CD, and a CD that surprised me and kicked me square in the ass from start to finish! Here's to hoping for a proper U.S. tour sometime soon, and I'm ready now to start checking out their back catalog!
Contact: Season Of Mist Records.

DESTRUCTION "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N." (Candlelight) SCORE: 60/100

This is a VERY frustrating record to listen to, and an even harder one to "score." First of all, the songs are ALL over the place. Half the time the mainline vocals and instrumentation are hard to listen to, the other half of the time you've gotta put up with weak choruses and prechoruses. Only a handful of songs are listenable all the way through; the other half force you to sit through some real oddball stuff. The biggest problem on this CD is with the guitar work; they're seemingly trying too hard to throw some melody into the mix, and it doesn't seem to suit them well. The opening cut 'Devolution' is a prime example of what you'll sit through for 10 tracks; a wierd dark acoustic intro, followed by a sudden burst of speed and then vicious prechoruses and choruses follow. The stop and go thrash riffs starting out 'Elevator To Hell' perked my ears before the opening instrumentation and vocal mix lost me. Many songs that I didn't care for seemed to pick up steam before their endings, however, leaving me with some hope. The CD's ending tracks had the most potential, however, 'No One Shall Survive' and 'Odyssey Of Frustration' were among the CD's best cuts, and both feature some wicked thrash guitar work that sounds MORE like Destruction than some of the other cuts. Also noteworthy were songs 'Vicious Circle,' the somewhat anthemic 'Last Desperate Scream' (though some of the lyrics could have been improved), and 'The Violation Of Morality.' When Destruction sticks to the thrashy and crunchy guitar work, all is well. More often than not, however, this is a frustrating listening exercise and one that will see me completely bypassing this for other records with a more consistent structure from song to song.
Contact: Candlelight Records.

ELFFOR "Son Of The Shades" (Northern Silence) SCORE: 95/100

Another quality release from our friends at Northern Silence Productions! First off, I must say that unlike many bands who utilize an ambient theme, Elffor KNOWS how to creatively construct lush and epic landscapes with multiple instruments on each track, not just some nut plinking a few notes here and there on a keyboard and daring to call it "ambience." These are exquisite soundscapes, folks! The intro didn't sit too well with me, mainly due to the excessive repetitive clean sung chanting, though things did pick up for a minute with the addition of some blackened vocals to the mix. The instrumentation is RARELY ever at fault. One small complaint I do have is with the transition in some structures, especially where the lighter passages are suddenly replaced with ominous or dark passages. This occurs very infrequently, however, so it's not really a huge problem (although, to be honest, the cut 'The Nocturnal Moon' almost was ruined by the weird wooden clock sounds and odd bagpipe sounds). There are so many different moods and structures going on in each and every song, which is a MUST considering that (for this reissue anyway) of the 8 original tracks, 5 are instrumentals, and the intro has a very small vocal part near the end. Speaking of vocals, the tracks that do have them are done quite well, though on 'Son Of The Shades' and 'Unholy Gleam,' there's only FOUR lines of actual lyrics! So my biggest complaint with this CD is that I wanna hear more black metal vocals! That being said, though, the epic soundscapes are phenomenal. 'Infernal Woods' reminds me a bit of Summoning, and at times I thought a few of the instrumentals were a bit too long, like CD ender (and exclusive bonus track for this reissue) 'Endless Dark Flames' clocking in at over 9 minutes, and 'The Nocturnal Moon' at over 7 minutes. Really, though, for the score of this review, I'm somewhat nitpicking, because these are wonderful tracks and nary an odd bit of instrumentation in the bunch. I did think putting three instrumentals together in a row might have been a bit much, but two of them are right around the 4 minute mark. Some may even find some similarities in the structures of a few tracks, but really, this is music you can SO easily get lost in. Northern Silence signs music of the highest quality, and the fact that they saw fit to reissue MANY of the earliest works of Elffor tells you ALL you need to know. DEFINITELY for fans of Summoning and Mortis' earliest ambient works!
Contact: Northern Silence Productions.

ELITE "We Own The Mountains" (Folter) SCORE: 92/100

This is Norwegian black metal done properly, and viciously I might add. Folter Records is a somewhat small label out of Germany that produces many bands that, while not "superstars," are indeed of good quality. And so we have the Norwegian 5 piece that definitely retains the old feel of black metal, while adding a few elements like dark acoustics and a few soundscapes. The CD starts off with 'Volvens Vinter Seid,' and right off the bat there's some fast and vicious speed involved, which is true of nearly all the cuts on this record. The blackened vocals are in your face, up front and VERY emotional, which means this guy is usually screaming his lungs out it seems! The high ended guitar work is quite nice, and really gives the impression of an icy landscape (thus, the "mountains" part of the album title). Many of the tunes clock in at around 4 or 5 minutes, giving enough time to adequately convey the overall tone of the track, while giving much room for the varying tempos and riffing. 'Amanita Musicaria' has some nice dark acoustic work, though I thought the choruses were a bit weak. One of my favorite tracks is the tune 'Winter Moon King,' and this cut has some fast but majestic guitar riffs, and it's such a crushing tune! Really, most all the cuts here have great guitar work mixed with vicious blackened guitar work, but now and then there are a few odd riffs or melodies that don't sit well with me (like on the ending few riffs on 'Likmyren,' a few more odd leads on the followup 'Rovnatt,' and the unusual low toned sung vocals AND guitar work towards the end of 'Fra Askens Kilde.') It was even unusual to hear a few clean sung passages on 'Rovnatt,' which added a rather folkish feel to the track. There's some vicious black metal going on here, folks, and the formula works very well, especially given the fact that many songs vary the tempo and guitar structure quite a bit in the space of each song; an almost important fact when you have a track like 'Fra Askens Kilde' that tops out the 7 minute mark! CD ender 'Odal' (not listed on the back of my wonderful cardboard sleeve promo) is interesting in and of itself, utilizing nothing more than acoustical guitar work. This is a band definitely NOT afraid of utilizing melody to achieve icy effect, I am reminded a LOT of older era Tulus on the slower passages, and overall though many of the riff structures tend to sound familiar over the course of a 10 track CD, it remains that this band is definitely creating a vicious, old school black metal vibe that is quite enjoyable.
Contact: Folter Records.

FEJD "Storm" (Napalm) SCORE: 98/100

This is billed as Nordic Medieval Folk, and I can't say I disagree with the genre description! The band hails from Sweden, and utilizes a TON of different instruments not commonly found in metal; the keyed fiddle, a Swedish bagpipe, something called a Bouzouki (which seems to resemble a mandolin), a hurdy gurdy, willow pipe, recorder and of course the Jew's harp. What you WILL notice is the absence of any guitar work, relying mostly on heavier, almost tribal percussion, to provide any heaviness to the atmosphere. The CD starts off with pretty much what you'll hear throughout the CD, and the fiddles do a nice job of conveying melody and atmosphere. The sung male vocals are a little on the rough side, though quite clear, and adds the right touch to the proceedings. My biggest complaint was the addition of female vocals on the tune 'Alvorna Dansar,' as they were a bit too light hearted for what is going on in the song. They should have left this out. The female vocals are quite mellow and nice, they just seem to change the overall tone that is going on throughout the disc. 'Vid Jore A' has some of their best choruses on the record, especially since they are of the soaring variety, and many times Fejd utilizes multitracked vocals for added effect. There is a definite Nordic feeling in these tracks, most noted on 'Egils Polska,' where you have tribal percussion and the recorder starting things off. 'Varg I Veum' had an almost waltz like quality, and the fiddle even gets a little solo time! 'Aril' had some heavy piano notes opening the proceedings up, and an interesting use of minimal instrumentation going along with the vocals, as if to emphasize the atmosphere and the vocal content. 'Skuld' is probably their fastest and heaviest piece, once again considering the fact that there are no guitars utilized to achieve this effect, making the result even more amazing. Though I could have sworn there was an acoustic guitar somewhere in the proceedings of this tune. The last two tracks are remastered versions from their "Eld" EP, though the band states emphatically that they are NOT re-recorded. They make a nice addition to the disc, especially noting the fiddle work. When people talk about true Scandinavian folk music, this is probably about as close as you can get to the actual thing without adding heavy guitars and a more "metal" element. No death/black vocals, and pure Nordic class shines through. A highly recommended disc, and very enjoyable from start to finish.
Contact: Napalm Records.

FORSAKEN "After The Fall" (I Hate) SCORE: 48/100

This band is REALLY a lot better than this score would reflect. (Damn, how many times have I uttered those words?) This doom metal band from Malta has quite a few release out already, and I can see the strengths of this band in the few songs that are of great quality. (And thus, why I Hate took a chance on them). Right off the bat, we see the CD has 9 tracks, and the intro (with the rather banal raining fire and people screaming sounds) can immediately be tossed out the window. IE, it's useless. Also, the dark acoustic pieces of track 4, The Lord Sayeth,' were nice, but the vocals and acoustics only piece was another track to be skipped. 9 tracks, we're already down to 7. Right off the bat, 'Aiden Falls' showcases the strengths of this band. Slow, heavy and dark guitar work and the soaring sung vocals of Leo Stivala are immediate highlights. The choruses utilize a bit more melody than the menacing tones of the mainlines suggest, adding a nice touch. And those blazing lead solos craft melody and passion rather than just flying along at a hundred miles per hour. So far, we've got one great track. Followup 'Sins Of The Tempter' prove what the overlying problem with this band is. For heavy doomy material, this tune really just plods along for it's 6 minutes in length. Granted, we have cool lead solos again, and the vocals aren't too bad, but something's missing. The instrumentation and vocal interaction is just weak. The choruses picked things up a bit, but we're still not buying. 'Vanguards Of The Void' has more heavy and dark moments, but once again it plods along almost lifelessly, although the sung vocals (singing the song name) at the track's end were nice. It's over 8 minutes long though, folks. And the vocals sound a bit strained near the beginning, leaving me to think he was rather at a loss to figure out how to properly convey the emotion of the song. Once again, the solo instrumentation proved to be a better highlight. The next great song is 'Armida's Kiss,' and this time the tune starts out differently, with some rather melodic guitar work and a tempo and pace that isn't slow doom. THIS is really where the band shines, when they inject melody into the heaviness and aren't content to play at a mere 1 mile an hour. Don't despair, though, there's still some crushingly heavy guitar work to be found, and the slower passages convey a rather epic feeling, which a vocalist of this caliber is fully able to pull off. These guitar riffs rock, people, and the vocal/instrumentation mix is written very well. 'The Sage' is a track I'm still not too sure about: on the one hand, it's got a rather ballad like effect with the dark acoustics and sung vocals, but it soon trades off with some dark and rather dirty guitar riffs, doing that back and forth thing. Another 9 minute piece that seemingly ends around the last minute or so only to add solo acoustic guitars to nice effect. CD ender 'Metatron And The Mibor Mythos' is the third best song on the record, and has probably some of the most rockin' guitar work on the album. The vocals really shine and soar here, and the choruses are kick ass, just what you'd expect in a song of this nature. The crushing doomy riffs add an extra weight, and it's a shame that Forsaken couldn't write more songs like this. It is indeed a shame that out of 9 tracks on this, I will only ever want to hear 3 of them again, with one still undecided. I expect better things from this doom metal band from Malta, and I suspect that if things are fine tuned, then the next Forsaken record could become indeed a top 5 doom metal release for the year. WATCHING THIS BAND CLOSELY, am I.
Contact: I Hate Records.

FRAILTY "Lost Lifeless Lights" (Solitude) SCORE: 70/100

The Russian doom/death scene is quite vivid and alive, and Solitude Productions is just one of a handful of labels that gives blazing support to the scene. However, the mighty Russian label doesn't just sign acts in their backyard; they also venture abroad for bands that convey the doom spirit. Going to Latvia for the band Frailty was a case in point, and for the most part it's doom/death of good quality, with some flaws. The vocal work is primarily death metal, what you would hear in many bands in this genre, but there are also some black metal styled vocals added here and there. The biggest flaw with this CD is the clean sung vocals. They are obviously used to add a somewhat gothic flair to the music without being overtly sappy, somewhat like Cultus Sanguine, but like that band, they are just poorly done. They make many tracks unlistenable, even when the instrumentation is right on key. Case in point: 'A Summer To Die,' which has almost thrashy and heavy guitar work and the right kind of dark atmosphere, but the clean sung vocals threaten to ruin it all. And on tracks like 'Ariadne' and 'Graphics In Ebony,' you'll hear the sung vocals mixed right in with the death vocals, somewhat masking their ugliness, but they still bleed through. So really, only 4 songs here are listenable all the way through, while the rest are full of potential but ruined by a really bad set of clean styled vocals. Bonus points are added for the bonus track 'Lugsana,' which is a cover of a band called Monro, who I've never heard of but assume is a popular Latvian group. This cover is very interesting, as all the vocal work is of the black metal variety, and it's a unique approach to the doom genre. Lots of nice acoustic guitar work and lush synth arrangements help the band to create good, doomy soundscapes, in fact fans of My Dying Bride will especially appreciate the mood created on 'I Know Your Pain.' Just short of being a solid keeper, this one will require some patience and an ability to tolerate a rather quirky clean singer. As for me, I definitely enjoy the 4 tracks that are devoid of clean vox (and I'll pass on the opening instrumental intro), but for the most part I'll be passing this CD by on my way to more solid releases.
Contact: Solitude Productions.

GULLOTINE "Blood Money" (Pulverised) SCORE: 94/100

The thrash revival, in case anyone forgot to tell you, is in full swing. That being said, however, Guillotine is not by any means a new band; their last release was brought to the world's attention almost ten years ago, so it seems a rather odd coincidence that this new record is being released now. Stranger still, considering Guillotine features within it's ranks two founding members of Nocturnal Rites. Regardless of that fact, Guillotine is most noted for playing some vicious and crunchy thrash, reminiscent at times of some of the heavier Exodus riffing (see the vicious strings on 'Insanity' for a great example). Though Guillotine's main tempo is speed, they realized early on that a CD of nothing but lightning fast paces would get old quickly, especially considering this is a 12 track affair. 'Insanity,' for instance, starts out slow enough, and is probably one of their best tunes. Gang chant styled vocals add a nice touch too (on 'Welcome To Dying' and 'Skeleton City') and aren't overused. 'Skeleton City' is a pretty powerful track in its own right I must say. There's a break with track 7, a somewhat dark acoustical piece, before you get right back to headbanging speed. The vocal work has to be commended, it's a rough edged affair with plenty of long winded screams to further drive the point home. Percussion wise the double bass keeps pounding away, and adds an extra burst of heaviness to the affair. Lead solos are ALL over the place; in fact you can hear hints of the duo's time in Nocturnal Rites, especially on the melodic leads found within 'Welcome To Dying' and 'Dying World.' You can hear some similarities on later tracks, which makes me think (since I'm not a guitar player or expert) some of the riffs are built around similar chords or structures, but there's enough variety going on to keep you interested. Although I have to admit, I thought 12 tracks might have been a bit much for this particular CD; still, there's not a bad track on the disc. Guillotine play thrash viciously and fast, which makes me surprised this isn't on Earache alongside Evile, Municipal Waste and Gama Bomb. Great stuff!
Contact: Pulverised Records.

HOLY MOSES "Agony Of Death" (SPV/Wacken Records) SCORE: 93/100

This record is a MUCH heavier followup to their "Disorder Of The Order" full length (which is the last album from them we heard, and incidentally the last album they released through Century Media). Despite Century Media's rather poor handling of that particular release (IE, no U.S. coverage), Holy Moses has been doing the aggressive female fronted thrash thing for over 20 years now, a fact that Angela and Arch Enemy should be taking CAREFUL notes on. This record is probably one of their heaviest, due to the sick and twisted thrash guitars which are ALL over the disc. My major complaint is due to the overabundance of "intros" and "outros" on nearly every track. The synth work is nice at first, and quite dark, however it begins to sound a bit repetitive after awhile, especially since it seems to often times break up the viciousness that many of the songs are portraying. There's guest spots all over the record too, including the most notable (and my favorite) singing parts found on the tune 'Schizophrenia,' done up by none other than Henning Basse from Metalium! It adds an otherwise interesting note to a CD full of heavy and snarling riffage; most noteworthy too to hear the somewhat power metal styled guitar work found ONLY on this particular track! There are some odd lead guitar parts in spots; most notably the beginning leads on 'Dissociative Disorder' and a few solos on 'Bloodbound Of The Damned,' but the tracks themselves DO pick up rather quicky, and are enjoyable all the way through. One of my favorite tunes was 'World In Darkness,' for it's somewhat catchier chorus work, and some rockin' lead guitar work to boot! Headbanging paces abound, and many of the songs are fast and furious; though I thought the disc MAY have been a bit too long at an hour and 9 minutes: this considering the fact that two songs clock in at over 8 minutes and of course the many synth intros and outros throughout the disc. Holy Moses are back with what is considered by many to be the best of their career, and Sabina Classen's vocals have never been sicker, darker or more twisted. I'll take the 20 year career of Sabina and pals over any Arch Enemy records anyday!
Contact: Wacken Records.

ICED EARTH "The Crucible Of Man" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 65/100

All the hype and controversy surrounding this album has made me wonder if I should even have tried to tackle this album. I am one of those who appreciate all that Iced Earth means to the metal community, but I have NEVER been a huge fan. Those who remember my review of the first Demons And Wizards album may remember my comments as some of the heavier tracks being a bit forced and not fleshed out well, losing some of the catchiness and dynamics that make a track stand out. And from what people are saying, the move on THIS record seems to show Jon writing in a bit more epic and dare we say melodic style. Which at first is alright with me. The CD starts out with a nice intro and then one of the best songs on the album 'Behold The Wicked Child.' A track like THIS is why I found the second Demons And Wizards album so much more enjoyable than the first. And with a storyline so detailed and fantastic, epic is truly what this album calls for. The atmosphere on 'Behold...' is what the entire album should have been like. Great use of male/female sung vocals, and the vocal work on this disc is mostly stellar. 'Minions Of The Watch' is a heavier track, and one that I suspect most will find sounds more like earlier Iced Earth material. Catchy choruses abound here, and the heaviness is utilized well. Followup 'The Revealing' has lots of dark and heavy sung vocals, something the returning Matt Barlow is quite good at. I did have a small problem with some of the riffing here, and for a short song there's probably too much emphasis on solo instrumentation. From there, it kinda goes downhill; 'A Gift Or A Curse' is a ballad like piece that really detracts from what Iced Earth is really about; it's definitely not as good a ballad as 'Fiddler On The Green' or 'Wicked Witch' from either Demons And Wizards albums (the fact that Blind Guardian's vocalist is more suited to the true melodic ballad also bears notice). 'Crown Of The Fallen' fails to grab me either, though there's some decent heavy guitar work going on. I think the ultra melodic choruses kill this one. 'The Dimension Gauntlet' is a track most people seem to dig, and it's more of a speed metal piece that is decent. 'I Walk Alone' contains great use of alternating heavy and melodic passages, and definitely has an epic feel. I've got complaints with 'Harbinger Of Fate' and 'Crucify The King,' as both definitely have a lack of feeling in the vocal work, though both ALSO have interesting things going on (the latter track definitely ends well). "Sacrifical Kingdoms' has some odd vocal work going on, though one trademark of many of the tracks is the care and attention paid to the choruses, which often outshine the rest of the track. The next best track is the 7 minute piece 'Come What May,' and it was nice to hear strings utilized and what sounds like a flute midway. This track has the epic feeling to it that this storyline so desperately needed. The outro would normally be skipped over, but the strings and tribal drumming were definitely movie soundtrack like, and was a surprise hit! Folks, I'm not expert on Iced Earth, but it seems to me that with 15 tracks, the CD was WAY too overburdened with needless filler, and the epic scope of this story is lost behind tracks that quite simply fail to grab you and make a long lasting impression. If the rest of the songs were as good as the few mentioned, this would be an outstanding disc, and true to Iced Earth's credit this is nowhere near a horrible CD, but I'm just not getting it. With alternating fast and slow tempos all the way through, the consistency is just not there.
Contact: Steamhammer U.S.

KAUAN "Tietajan Laulu" (Bad Mood Man) SCORE: 97/100

I eagerly awaited the newest full length from the Russian band who took their name from the title of Tenhi's great longplayer. This album definitely goes in more of a melodic direction, this time toning down the blackened vocals (to only a few instances on the tune 'Prozrachni Cvetok' and a bit more on the previous track 'Aidin Laulu.') and adding more interaction with violins, piano notes and a few other interesting instruments. The violins, I must say, are done surprisingly well, and on a track like 'Kyynelten Sijaan' induce a very melancholic and atmospheric structure; indeed I do think the violins are utilized in a post rock fashion! My BIGGEST complaint is with the opening of the CD, with this wierd digeridoo sounding vocal thing, which really detracts from the mood and atmosphere of the disc. The tribal drumming isn't bad, but I think the instrument is called a duda, or a buben (both are credited in the liner notes). It seems to be used in conjunction with the throat, and makes for a wierd sound. This wouldn't be a big deal if it was limited to the opening of the first track, but we have to hear it AGAIN to open the third track ('Pesnja Materi') and yet again on the opening of track 5 ('Prozrachni Cvetok.') This is a 6 track CD, though, and the shortest tracks (2 of them) run 6 minutes a piece, while the longest runs 12 minutes, and not a dull moment in the bunch. Taking a drastic turn from their previous effort, these are very relaxing and atmospheric tracks, and all are excellent. 'Prozrachni Cvetok,' however, does contain some of the darkest instrumentation on the record, right down to the rather chilling low toned sung vocals. Most of the vocal work here is of the clean sung variety, as mentioned before, and I sincerely hope that we get more blackened styled vocals on a future release (you have to wait until track 4 before you even hear the first extreme vocal!) The traks sound rather minimalistic instrumentation wise, but that is an illusion you soon will see (especially when the duelling piano notes share space with the violins and the ocassional heavy guitar). All in all, a very good release, and one that shows a great variety of depth and structure, especially when the songs run for longer lengths of time. I find the disc very relaxing, however I do hope the band will return to the harsh vocal work a lot more in the future. Hopefully we haven't seen the last of it!
Contact: Bad Mood Man Music.

KREATOR "Hordes Of Chaos" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 95/100

Wow! This CD bludgeons you from the opening notes and doesn't stop 'till damn near the end of the disc! The title track is up first, and of course the first few opening notes showcase a more melodic side of Kreator that doesn't detract from the viciousness of this record! Were these guys on crack when they recorded this disc? I'm dying to see how this goes down in a live setting, especially since older (but newer styled Kreator) cuts like 'Reconquering The Throne,' 'Enemy Of God' and 'Violent Revolution' sounded a LOT more brutal than I remembered upon first hearing them on record! The percussion is up front and in your face the whole way, which really helps when there's some melodic riffing going down! The vocals and drums NEVER let up; in fact I'd say that even though the majority of this disc is blazing thrashy speed, you can always count on the somewhat yelled vocals to carry any intensity that the music might be lacking. You have some acoustic "intros" too on tunes like 'Escalation,' proving there's lots of diversity on this disc. I read a review that complained the choruses were too simplistic on many tracks, especially where he's just basically repeating the song name, but they keep the catchy choruses simple and to the point: for this 38 minute affair, it's all about crushing you with power. A few nitpicks, however: 'Amok Run' sounds strange when repeated in a chorus setting, though it's probably one of the fastest on the disc. I did hear a few odd riffs on 'Absolute Misanthropy,' which brought the track down a little, and that's pretty much all there is to complain about. One of my favorite tracks is the sheer intensity of 'Destroy What Destroys You,' especially those sick, almost melodic leads right before the screams come. There's some sung vocals too in a few spots (VERY few, and I forgot to mention that, since I didn't care for them too much in the opening of 'To The Afterborn.') 'Demon Prince' was seemingly the most "experimental" tune for Kreator to, ahem, "Kreate," since the opening melodic leads sounded more like something Running Wild or even Alestorm would come up with! Lots of variety and vicious headbanging to a disc with SO many sick and vicious thrash riffs, all over the damn place, that by the time this disc is over you will DEFINITELY run out of steam! Thrash 'till the death, the awakening of the gods has commenced!
Contact: Steamhammer U.S.

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR "War Metal Battle Master" (Southern Lord) SCORE: 89/100

War metal. The title of the album sells it all right there, and you can bet this is one juggernaut of a record. It has some very interesting concepts to be found within; first of all many of the vocals resemble a somewhat hardcore approach, while other times you'll hear sick black and death metal styled vocal work. The sound is quite simply massive; those riffs have a rather dirty touch to them... folks, these guys ain't fucking around! From the semi fast start of CD opener 'Horde Of Undead Vengeance,' the tone is set, and it's a bit thrashy for those into the current "revival" phase. You got your swords clashing sound effects to start off the title track. And here we see a hint of an almost plodding doom metal delivery, something they utilize infrequently, but to good effect. Your warlike percussion kicks off track 3, 'When The Ice Giants Slayed All,' complete with TONS of varying tempos. Let this be a forewarning to ya, the structure of these songs is NOT constant, which for some might make these collections sound a bit like a stack of riffs and drum fills, but it's crushing material none the less (hint: I don't subscribe to that philosophy). 'Black Viper Barbarian Clan' was one of my least favorite tracks: the overall tune has some good stuff, but those lead riffs opening up the tune annoyed the hell out of me! And you'll hear them pop off a few times more before the song ends! 'Doomtrooper' is the one everyone's talking about: the 9 minute plus length, the crushingly slow doom metal riffing that is peppered here and there, but take note: this is NOT a doom metal piece! The blackened vocals make sure you know what's going on! CD ender 'Hades Unleashed' closes out the assault with speed and fury that are going to leave you quite senseless, and it was nice to hear a bit of middle eastern guitar work on the opening leads. People are saying this isn't highly original, true, but for a disc that gives you three different and distinct vocal patterns, plus a thrashy almost death metal assault mixed with some sludgy and doomy passages, I'd say this outfit manages to mix up a variety of sounds and styles to make for one kick ass album! Can't wait to hear what this sounds and looks like LIVE!!! (I'm afraid a live show might not stack up to the fury and intensity of the disc).
Contact: Southern Lord Recordings.

MENDOZZA "White Rhino" (Reversed) SCORE: 96/100

I just recently heard about this band, since they released "White Rhino" in 2007, and if their past two albums are anything like this crushing mix of stoner rock and sludgy, fuzzed out Doom, then I'll be buying these post haste! The guitar work is mostly downtuned and dirty, making for some crushing riffs! The CD starts off with an "intro" that's mostly feedback and distortion, so I skip this and get right to the next tune 'Illuminairus,' which right from the get go crushes anything in it's path! The vocal work especially is gravelly and quite rough, which makes for the perfect mix. There's definitely a heavy stoner rock vibe going on here. 'Otzi The Wanderer' follows down the path with some cool slightly high-ended riffs that retain a fuzzed out dirty heaviness to them, man you gotta hear these angry riffs! There's lots of solo instrumentation here for a 6 minute track, before taking the last minute to repeat a one note guitar riff and crashing one hit percussion to the song's end. By now one of the things that you'll notice is many songs are very thin on instrumental variation, choosing instead to focus on BEING focused on a single pattern of crushing heaviness. As in, the baseball bat is repeatedly pounding you until there's nothing left to hit!! The title track has some rockin' guitar work that is very catchy, and this song has a bit more variety to the structure, especially with the drums and bass taking their turns shining solo in the spotlight, and *gasp* a lead solo!! 'The Rise Of The Piscean' follows things by utilizing some VERY stoner rock like guitar work (think earliest Orange Goblin, or Abdullah on their 'Now Is The Winter' track from their self titled Meteor City release), and a very heavy and catchy vibe. One thing that's most noteworthy is this band chooses not to stick to one speed/tempo for very long, which makes for a nice touch when the vocals and instrumentation slow things waaay down for a brief moment only to suddenly pick the pace right back up. The acoustic interlude had very nice acoustic guitar notes, but I didn't care much for the female vocal chants, so I'll probably skip this piece. Now, the band employs a female drummer, most notable because the female vocals back up the harsh throat work of our lead man on the cut 'Halo Of Crows,' and the opening guitar riffs and fuckin' dirty and downright mean! The repetitive ending thing goes on again, and I'm reminded of the old Beatles classic 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' where that repeated guitar loop sounds so cool you could listen to it all day! 'Pink Slips,' despite the rather fruity title, is not only one of the shortest, but also the meanest, fastest, and must alcohol fueled, raging shit kicker of a tune you'll ever hear from this crew, and it's a raging classic! Yeah, they even throw the words 'Satan' and 'Weed' in there, so ya know this tune has all the makings of a "best song ever!" The final "track" consists of the following: 4 minutes of silence, followed by about 5 minutes of some of the wierdest and godawful noises and silly dialogue ever, followed by an actual "song" of about 3 minutes (said to be a Melvins cover), which in and of itself is pretty kick ass. So there ya go, one of the heaviest stoner rock/doom metal/sludge things you'll hear in quite some time, like a bastard child of Water Dragon Records band Rite, Sleep and catchier parts of outfits like Sparzanza and Kyuss. GRAB THIS FUCKIN' DISC!!!
Contact: Mendozza.

METAL CHURCH "This Present Wasteland" (Steamhammer) SCORE: 36/100

GOD, this record is Soooo boring!! Just to give you an idea, I had trouble just writing out the review! In my final listen of the album, I got through about 6 tracks before I had to go do something else, it was that bad... Don't get me wrong, these songs aren't absolutely horrible, but the passion and fire is totally thrown out the window on this record! I think Vanderhoof needs to go back and LISTEN to real heavy metal to remember what the metal is about! These songs just scream lackluster, boring, and totally restrained. Now, as for the guitar work, even some of the lead solos sound restrained (like on 'The Perfect Crime,') and I don't know what's wrong with the record, if the production is just substandard, or the guitars aren't crunchy enough (maybe they're TOO clean I dunno), or the mix of Munroe and this material doesn't work well, but something is WAY off. The heavier guitars are mostly suspect; I think they needed some crunch or extra distortion or something. The best tune here is without a doubt 'The Perfect Crime,' and even this is weak even by Metal Church standards (that is, if you only regard the first few Metal Church albums as even worth a damn). Munroe sounds rather silly when he's trying to sing aggressively; this comes out as PAINFULLY obvious on 'Mass Hysteria,' and then again on the album's absolute WORST track 'Meet Your Maker.' (Well, one of the worst anyway.) CD ender 'Congregation' picked my ears up a bit; it's more rooted in the traditional 80's metal sound, and rather anthemic at that. This is really where Metal Church should head back to, and try and capture the energy and passion David Wayne brought to the table with "The Dark" and their self titled debut. This band just sounds lifeless and dead, and nothing Munroe can do vocal wise will ever seem to change that. Vanderhoof, if he is guilty of writing such substandard material, needs to give it up and give this once proud name to someone who can actually light a fire under the weight of sheer mediocrity. Points given for actual interesting instrumentation ideas sprinkled throughout the disc (though they're given rather begrudgingly; personally I'd drop the score down even further).
Contact: SPV/Steamhammer Records.

MYSTERIARCH "The Majestic Fall" (Ophiucus) SCORE: 93/100

I was first introduced to this band a few months ago when I saw them open up for Norway's Mayhem in Spartanburg, and was immediately impressed. The guitar work live reminded me a LOT of the English heathen metal band Forefather, and upon talking to the vocalist/guitarist afterwards they informed me that on THAT particular night, they were without their keyboardist. Upon receiving their 2007 release "The Majestic Fall," I instantly realized just how vital a role the synths play in the definition of their sound. Great instrumentation is to be found within, however my one complaint is that sometimes the keys tend to drown out the majestic guitar playing. In fact, it's funny that they use the word "majestic" in their album title, for that's exactly what this collection of 9 tracks will remind you of. From the starting title track, the lead guitars and synths hit you all at once. There's definitely lots and lots of high ended guitar work, and the sick blackened vocals are mixed right into the madness (though sometimes I wish the vocal work was a bit more upfront instead of just being mixed level with everything else). This track is a 7 minute piece, and you don't hear any vocals until about a minute and a half into the cut. 'Beneath The Emerald Clouds Of Niburu' follows, an almost 7 minute piece, and of course I really dig how the drumming is so intense, in fact in some places the double bass kicks are flying, tending to make this song sound much faster than it actually is. There's a nice instrumental passage in 'Blood Of Vanquished Heroes Part 1,' opening up with some battle sounds and a familiar synth pattern. It's a short, two minute piece but definitely demands your attention. For a 9 song affair, there's three instrumentals, which may seem a bit much to some, but they're spaced out well in the tracklisting, so it might not bother some. 'Empyreal Legion' was another fast track, showing off some intricate drum patterns going solo to open the track. Once the track gets into high gear, though, the drums tend to sound a bit lost in the mix; I'm assuming it's because there's an unending volley of double bass drumming utilized to keep up the fast tempo. These are fast tracks, folks, but they definitely know how to vary things up. Someone needs to sign this band, pronto, because the talent is DEFINITELY there and the songwriting is strong. No need to fear this band as a Dimmu Borgir clone, as they remind me more of acts like Forefather, Summoning, Elffor, and the like, so they're regarded in very high company!
Contact: Ophiucus Records.

NAE'BLIS "Sketches Of Reality" (Northern Silence) SCORE: 94/100

This is a 4 track, 52 minute affair. I thought I would get that out of the way now, because if song length determines your interest in a CD regardless of genre or mood, this one will tax your stamina! The shortest song here is 11 minutes, the longest 15, and of course everything else falls in between (hint: another 11 and a 13 minute piece). That being said, it's one of my favorite hybrid genres at work here, the blackened doom metal variety. And Nae'Blis KNOWS how to vary things up and keep it interesting, ESPECIALLY on CD opener 'Distorted Mind.' You know, the 15 minute piece? You'll hear first some dark landscape sounds, and considering the album artwork featuring a rather bleak and desolate building (is THIS the famed "Dungeon" where this album was recorded?), one tends to think the chain draggin and creaking door sounds came from such a place of dwelling. Surprise, surprise, the first thing you hear here are somewhat sorrowful acoustic guitars. This track has some great guitar work on it, and is probably one of the best tracks. The sick blackened vocals are somewhat echo effected, which adds to the "haunting dwelling" feeling. The song stops about three or four times to change things up a bit, making for a bit of variety, and the "breaks" occur on every song (though not as numerous on the beginning piece). You're going to hear acoustic guitars, pianos, and even a church organ, sometimes all at once, (especially on the title track, where the acoustic guitars mix really well with the somewhat horror movie themed church like organ). At times the instrumentation seems a bit too light hearted, especially around the 6 minute mark on 'The Curse Of Evolution' (track 2), when you have the faster paced instrumentation backed by these highkeyed piano notes. Also, the piano notes clashed with the odd almost deathlike vocals and guitars on the CD opener, but all in all there's very little to complain about, except for when you listen to the CD ender and notice some similar passages to the ones heard before, but all in all it's a very diverse piece of work, and a rather bold move to add almost unorthodox instruments to the framework. There's fast and slow passages on the tracks; though to be honest the percussion kinda muddies up the mix a bit to where you can't really tell how fast the guitars are actually going, so it might be just the percussion speeding up the mix. Still, everything is pretty much up front and in your face, and this interesting mix of blackened doom metal throws many different types of emotions at you, sometimes all at once making for a melancholic and somewhat haunting experience, while not being afraid to throw in some melodic passages. If you're a fan of suicidal, blackened doom, you just might find much to offer on this disc. Just make sure you spin it several times to be able to take it all in; it's not the 10 minutes of over-repetitive layers on every song!
Contact: Northern Silence Productions.

SACRED OATH "Sacred Oath" (Angel Thorne) SCORE: 88/100

It's been a loooong time since I heard "A Crystal Vision," the 'Oath record from 1987, and yes, I'm aware that I've missed a few releases in between. CD opener 'Paradise Lost' is a scathing attack on the Bush administration, and proves that power metal can have a singer that still knows how to be HEAVY. At first I wasn't sure if I liked this track, though I did definitely like the thrashy guitar work. 'Blood Storm' follows, and wasn't too bad but wasn't quite as good as other tunes on this disc; in fact, the heaviness on this cut sounds rather forced and almost un-Sacred Oath like. 'Buried Alive' has nice melodic leads to start and killer riffs found within, in addition to energetic sung vocals and catchy choruses, which are key in this style of music. 'Voodoo Dolls' continues things in fine fashion; note the rather long winded sung vocal patterns on the choruses! 'Counting Zeros' was one of my favorite tracks on the disc, complete with amazing soaring vocal work, and emotional sung vocals of near ballad status opening the track up, only to hammer in heavier guitar work and more sung vocals on the choruses. So far we're seeing that Sacred Oath STILL knows how to write heavy material. 'Caught In The Arc' is next, once again supplying us with heavy guitar riffs and energetic choruses. There's lots of solo instrumentation found on this track, a few pieces not so good, but it's quite varied for it's short length. 'Mistress Of The Setting Sun' didn't sit well with me; for one the industrialized style sung vocals didn't seem to work well for this cut, and there's a bit of awkward vocal patterns following the vicious aggressive vocals on the choruses, making it hard to get into the track fully. 'High And Mighty' was another of my favorites, and yes it's one of the more melodic tracks on the disc, though not without it's share of heaviness and catchy choruses once again. I love how the opening instrumentation fools you into thinking you're getting an instrumental! 'Wings Of Salvation' to me just seemed to plod along, though the dark guitars starting the track off were rather dirgy and somewhat interesting. The choruses are the best part but once again, not extremely energetic like their other tracks. It does do a double take near the end with some shouted vocal work and more interesting axe work. Finally, the crown jewel in this CD's track list is obviously 'Order Of The System Lords,' and it's amazing how much this sounds like a Bruce Hall era Agent Steel track; it's punishingly heavy! The dark and ominous guitar work does not betray what is about to come. The ripping thrashy guitars sound like some of the heaviest from 80's thrash bands, and the multivocal shouted parts on the choruses were quite surprising. There's still some melody and sung parts but this track blew me away! The discrepancy in this disc comes from the fact that there's 14 tracks, when some places list just 10. This is obviously the deluxe edition which I got. Tracks 11 and 12 were good, in fact the 11th track 'Sacred Oath' is the best of the 4, and followup 'What The Dark Will Undo' is a more traditional ballad like piece. It's decent but nothing overtly special. The last two tracks seem a bit directionless ('Scourge Of Sin' and 'Hunt For The Fallen Angel,' respectively), and they really failed to bring anything catchy and memorable to the table. There's good guitar work found on these two tracks, to be sure, and even the CD ender 'Hunt For The Fallen Angel' had some nice "whooah" chants and lead solo work, but overall I feel the CD was about 3 tracks too long. Still, for the value, it's a damn good disc, and proves that 80's metal bands (especially of the power metal style) can still write heavy material that culls influences from their early days, while still not sounding like a rehash or retro band. The band should be proud of their efforts.
Contact: Angel Thorne Music.

SANCTUS INFERNUM "Sanctus Infernum" (Bad Mood Man) SCORE: 93/100

The world of music never seems to get any less stranger. A metal band, from Kansas of all places, having to sign a contract with a Russian record label. Only in the realm of heavy metal! This band seems like the only other act I know hailing from Kansas. And though I didn't think about it at first, that "other band" has been around for a LOOOONG time. That band is Manilla Road, who saw their ex guitar player head over to Sanctus Infernum! Right off the bat, the lead guitar work is exceptional. Quite moving in fact. The band does a very unique and interesting take on death/black and doom metal. Yes, all at once. Many of the songs (at least the first 4) fall under the same framework, and it's a rather doomy affair. The vocal work is quite unique in and of itself; some heady distortion and a slight guttural affair without sounding like either death or black metal, all the while still retaining a hint of brutality and sickness. The nice thing is that the singer at least makes a wholehearted attempt at being understood. Some dark instrumentation is found within, and you hear a quite doomy framework. Now it's understandable why Solitude Productions out of Russia picked up on this (even though this appears on their sublabel). My biggest gripe with the album is quite possibly the order of the songs, as the first 4 cuts seem to have slightly different variations on the same musical theme, though 'God Unto Myself' is clearly the best of the 4. The last 4 tracks are quite a bit different in their approach (for instance, 'Waking The Dead' has a stoner rock set of guitar riffs, almost southern styled in fact, while 'Suffer' is a rather short piece that does some heavy, thrash riffing set to a somewhat slower framework). This leads me to think the band should have mixed the first 4 tracks up in the running order a bit more. That being said, I didn't care for most of the lead work on the mainlines of the song 'What Calm Is Without Storm,' but without a doubt this disc is one that will go down as a rather different experience from the usual norm. Lyrically too the band explores some different thematics, especially in the area of man discovering his own power and divinity; it seems like EVERYTHING was given special attention to create a unique and rather unusual metal experience. Too bad they couldn't have secured a bigger label deal. LOVE those lead solos!
Contact: Solitude Productions.

SIG:AR:TYR "Beyond The North Winds" (Morbid Winter) SCORE: 100/100

Obviously the pick hit of this issue, and even more amazing than Daemonskald's "Sailing The Seas Of Fate" release reviewed last issue. Sadly, as late as this particular issue is going to be, this is easily a top 5 release for 2008. Let's start by mentioning how well written the guitar parts are. This record sees a more metallic slant to the songs; however there's still a TON of well executed classical acoustic guitar work, often dual layered and sometimes blending atmospheres with the heavier guitar work. Opener 'King Of The World' starts off with some dark synths, and with the militaristic/tribal like percussion, you can tell these tracks will take on epic proportions. The almost Egyptian like guitar work on this track was rather surprising, and it was cool to hear some vicious blackened like vocal work. You end up waiting so long for the vocals on this one, that when they hit it's like "Fuck yeah!" This track definitely reminds one of Bathory. 'Beyond The North Winds' follows, with some wind sounds naturally, and some nice mellow acoustic guitar work opening up. The most amazing thing about the guitar work is that sometimes the notes are so simple, yet you can feel they were crafted with thought and care rather than just trying to find "the cool note." More blackened vocal work abounds, and then it's off to 'Pale Autumnal Moon,' which is one of three instrumentals (and very well done I must say; once again it's more exquisite classical guitar picking, though my most minor complaint is that sometimes the blazing speed of the classical picking tends to leave the notes sounding rather blurred together, to somewhat dull the effect). 'Under The Mountain' shows that Daemonskald has a rather interesting singing voice as well; in fact you'll hear some soaring high ended vocal work on 'The Way,' which will send a chill down your spine when you hear the emotion in his voice. Some of the songs are long and it will seem with most that there is very little vocal work (some tracks it sounds like vocals are at the beginning and end of tunes, with a LOT of solo instrumentation in the middle; though the synths help bridge the gap with some atmospherics and ambience), but the highlight here is definitely on the well crafted soundscapes! The last track 'Far Away' is a VERY fitting way to close the album and it's ballad like all the way, with some nice acoustic guitar work and some rather distant sounding clean sung vocals, making a nice way to end the CD and this gem of a masterpiece! It's all about atmosphere, and this disc easily transcends a mere title like "folk metal," or "ambient/folk/black metal" or any titles you can throw at it. THIS my friends, is a work of art that goes above and beyond anything else you think you have heard in music today.
Contact: Morbid Winter Records.

THE GATES OF SLUMBER "Conqueror" (I Hate) SCORE: 78/100

This band has been on I Hate Records for a few releases now, and I was eagerly awaiting this full length release. For the most part, the Indiana based doom band has put out a mighty album, with a few chinks in the hefty armor. The CD starts out with the cut 'Trapped In The Web,' which showcases a tempo that is a bit faster paced than what you'd normally expect out of a band like this. The guitar work is kick ass and very heavy, including some Sabbath like melodic lead solos. The title track kicks in next, and it's cool to hear the heavy and slow bass guitar rumblings. There's some sick guitar work going on here, folks, and it's definitely a dark and doomy piece for it's 8 minutes in length. 'Ice Worm' starts a trend of very catchy choruses, and of course the kickass guitar work rears it's monstrous head again. You can kinda hear the dark atmosphere and feel the creepiness of the Worm's lair! The first real complaint about this disc opens up with track 4, 'Eyes Of The Liar.' There wasn't much here that really caught me, especially given the rather odd fuzzed out guitars that open the track. There are some cool heavy parts though, but overall I wasn't into this tune. Cool crazy lead solos near the end though. After the rather wierd synths die down, what has to be their best track on the record in 'Children Of Satan' blasts through, once again at a heavier but faster pace than the norm. The mainline vocals are sung to a slower pace though, and of course the catchy choruses rebound in your mind, having you sing this one quite a bit! 'To Kill And Be King' was another downer, unfortunately, though the instrumentation is a bit heavy. It's slow and heavy, but this track proves darker is not ALWAYS better! This band really shines when they're writing catchier material that isn't plodding along at half a mile an hour. The vocal effects kinda threw me off on this one as well, though the second half of this track features a lot of improvement. 'The Machine' is almost like a stoner rock piece, and it DEFINITELY kicks serious ass. Though it has a slow start, it picks up the pace quite nicely, and has an almost punk attitude with it. CD ender 'Dark Valley Suite' is a 16 minute piece that really should have cut out the middle section; it's a sung ballad like piece over dark acoustics, and the opening part seemed to plod along for a few minutes. I know it's in three parts but it really seemed way too long. Still, this disc is worth having for some scorching songs, and it seems to me like doom metal bands are cranking up the tempo quite a bit in an effort to distance themselves from the funereal pace of their peers (see November's Doom and even the newest Candlemass disc). Good damn CD that almost lost "keeper" status due to three tracks out of 8 that I usually skip.
Contact: I Hate Records.

THOU "Peasant" (Autopsy Kitchen) SCORE: 88/100

This is some sick, sludgy and drugged out DOOM!!! The vocals are rather sick, reminding me of Johnny Morrow from the late, great Iron Monkey. And the riffs, man these are some downtuned and SICK sludgy riffs. Something that doesn't always work, especially in spots here and there when the guitar riffs sound a bit odd. There's also an interesting use of high ended melodic riffing, making the tune 'Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories' one of the standout tracks on the album. There are 6 songs and they vary in length as well as structure and tempo, proving that Thou is able to work with ANY tempo and speed structure within the framework of each song. 'Burning Black Coals...' is most notable for having such beautiful melodic guitar work while the screeching vocals add an extra dimension in sound to this outfit. There's an 11 minute piece, which may have been a bit too long ('An Age Imprisoned'), but you'll also find three 5 minute pieces and two 7 minute tracks. This means that time and structure mean nothing to these guys. It's definitely a mash of feedback, echoed string loops, and sick vocal work, making for one ultra heavy and brutal experience! If you're into drugged out stoner/doom/death, then this is definitely right up your alley! HEAVY points for being signed to one of the coolest names for a record label EVER.
Contact: Autopsy Kitchen Records.

VIKING SKULL "Doom, Gloom, Hearache And Whiskey" (Powerage) SCORE: 90/100

I'm a little late to the party, but THIS party involves lots of drinking, gambling, and kick ass heavy rock. HEAVY rock that is, with a metal edge to it. Viking Skull has a good album here that knows how to make some kick ass heavy music. 'Start A War' is a rather aggressive piece that starts the CD off with a bang, with a fast pace and pounding percussion, yelled out vocals that have a very rough edge to them, making this delve deep into metal territory. The title track contains some choppy guitar riffs, and there's some killer lead solo work going on all throughout the disc. It's obvious the band members have spent lots of time honing and perfecting their craft! The CD seems to follow the pattern of going from faster pace to slower pace via each track; however, by slower I do mean a bit more midtempo than anything doom metal related. So your first 4 tracks kick ass and rock, including 'Hair Of The Dog' which I thought might have been a reference to the Nazareth track of old. 'Shot Down,' track 5, starts out with an odd acoustic intro, reminiscent of an Old Western saloon piece, before bringing in the heavy guitars to mimick the acoustic parts, only at a heavier pace. It's still heavy but a bit odd. 'Double Or Quits' had some unusual lead work to start off as well, but picks up the rockin' tone. '19 Swords' seems like their battle tune, with a bit slower pace and lyrics that wouldn't be out of place on a Manowar album. CD ender 'Drink' sounds like something straight out of a drunken saloon, utilizing pianos and what sounds like a tambourine only, and the rough edged vocals seem VERY out of place here. This track's quite horrible folks. Sorry. And I have to say, from the lyrics, if you are into the idea of "drinking until you shit your pants," well folks, it's time to get in touch with Alcoholics Anonymous. Shitting your pants ain't cool... Other than that, it's a kick ass metal disc that you can bang your head to and down a few beers with some good friends, preferrably ones that LOVE heavy music.
Contact: Powerage Records.(Released through Candlelight Records).

WINO "Punctuated Equilibrium" (Southern Lord) SCORE: 38/100

This is an utter disaster. Wino finally decided to strike out on his own, and can't seem to write a decent song to his credit on this 10 song nightmare. It's pretty much a mix and match affair, with almost NOTHING matching up. The riffs and guitar work seem thrown together, and half the time it's "punctuated" with noisy grating sound effects, robotic vocal samples, and guitars that sound like they're doing nothing more than trying to prove they can be played at 100 miles per hour. Gone are the simplistic, catchy songs that made Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed albums so great, in fact only 3 "songs" are even remotely listenable. There's quite a few instrumental passages as well, in fact 'Wild Blue Yonder' is the longest of these. I mean come on! An instrumental that clocks in at over 6 minutes?! 'Smilin' Road' is the closest thing you'll get to a decent catchy tune, with some interesting, almost jazzy instrumentation found midway. And the ULTIMATE insult to me was reading over the interview I did where Wino complained about Sherman adding a death metal vibe to some of the Spirit Caravan material; then he goes and writes a song like the title track, which is rather embarassing in it's speed and exaggerated heaviness in the guitars. This is really embarassing coming from someone who is supposed to be a legend in the stoner rock scene! Leave the extreme metal to the masters of the genre who've been doing it longer... Okay, so what else. Well, let's be a bit positive here: short instrumental 'Water Crane' was nice, with the Egyptian ambience throughout the guitar work; one of the few times the guitars are actually well structured and written with some sort of melody and structure in mind. That's the main complaint with this album; directionless writing and nothing remotely resembling strong, catchy songs that you'll want to hear again. One of the worst records of Wino's career. (points were given because you HEAR his potential, and there's good solos in many a spot.)
Contact: Southern Lord Records.


COLOSSEUM. Interview with Juhani via email.

What an amazing start to 2009 for doom metal; in particular the brand of Funereal Doom/Death that Colosseum has perfected. "Numquam" so far gets my vote as one of the best doom releases of 2009, and though their previous album was good, it was nothing like this! Get ready to meet the mastermind behind a band everyone SHOULD be talking about for years to come, and learn why trumpets in doom metal are a GOOD thing...

  • The new record Numquam is absolutely amazing, but I'm curious why Firebox decided to make this release a limited edition? I was told only so many copies would be made.

    Yes, 2000 copies were made and there should be also a second pressing of our debut "Chapter 1: Delirium." I'm not sure of the motives, but this is quite marginal music anyway despite the quality of the music.

  • Speaking of the record, I'm curious as to why you decided to name the album "Numquam?" I know it is a Latin phrase, but am unsure how you mean to use the title in your collective works.

    Numquam translates to "Never" and has to do with the finality of death. Whoever passes the gates will never come back.

  • How do you see the new record's development compared to "Chapter One: Delirium?" It seems like the sound is more dramatic and emotional than the last record. What would you say is the major difference between the two?

    The actual style remains the same, but this time the songs are a bit more accessible and with a better production. We've tried to make rich orchestrations and massive soundscapes; that was also a case with the debut, but this time there's real classical instruments instead of keyboards and a few shorter songs. There's also a bit more variation between the songs and that makes this album more interesting. Chapter 2 has no more breaks between songs, 'cause there's these ambient soundscapes between each track and thus the album is on the whole like an entity that's interesting to listen to.

  • It was interesting to hear trumpets, especially on the next to last track 'Prosperity.' It's almost like the track ends on a somewhat positive note compared to what most would think of doom/death metal.

    The trumpets were a right choice. There's real violin, cello, flute and trumpet on these tracks performed by session players. Trumpets and cellos work together well for example on the track 'Towards The Infinite' and 'Prosperity' you mentioned. The ending of 'Prosperity' is inspired by the second part of Beethovens 7th symphony. It's very massive and is indeed more positive than the usual Colosseum song. It's like a Grande Finale and fits like a hand in the glove.

  • I know you are also in a band called Yearning, which existed before Colosseum, so I'm curious to know if Colosseum was created to express musical viewpoints you felt were too extreme for Yearning?

    I had to change my ways and find a new style and I found it with Colosseum. Yearning has a certain concept and so has Colosseum. Colosseum takes darkness into extremes blending catatonic stillness and slowness into symphonic and ambient influences.

  • Speaking of the band, what prompted you to choose the band name Colosseum? I can somewhat picture an ancient monolithic structure that is filled with sadness by it's age and decaying ruins, but majestic and proud in it's history and purpose. Yes, I am indeed referring to Rome's Colosseum.

    Colosseum as a name is quite majestic and death lurks behind every corner. (The) Band's music is very massive, so it fits to the concept very well.

  • Except for the next to last track 'Prosperity,' the running times of many of the songs are shorter than on your first full length. Was that a conscious decision; I know some people have made comments in the past about how long many funereal doom/death songs have become in recent days.

    This was no conscious decision at all. The songs just came out naturally and this time there's also these "shorter" songs, meaning 7 minutes instead of the 12 for example. The length is not relevant as long as you can say everything you wanted with a song. I myself enjoy long and epic songs, but this time it just happened this way. Bands like Esoteric and Comatose Vigil are very pleasant to listen 'though the songs are reaaally long.

  • We've seen Chapter One and Chapter Two in your album's history: Any chance we will see a Chapter Three? And while on the subject, is this all part of a greater storyline or just simply another "chapter" in the band's career?

    The future is not set. There's a few songs ready for Colosseum that are not rehearsed yet. There's no storyline between the albums and each album is a separate entity.

  • It's interesting to me that you are involved with two bands that are signed to different record labels; why not just have both bands on ONE label? Are there any stipulations in either recording contract (from both Holy and Firedoom) about what can and cannot be done with the other band signed to the other label?

    Well, Holy Records were not interested in Colosseum and Firebox were not interested in Yearning, so I made 1 album deal with Holy for Yearnings' 5th album and with Colosseum we wrote a separate agreement for each album. This is no problem and everything has worked out fine. If all the members in these two bands were the same it wouldn't be possible, but with Yearning there was only me and session musicians in the studio, so it was no problem.

  • Early on in your history there was a band known as Flegeton. Tell us a bit more about this outfit and how it differs from either Yearning or Colosseum. I noticed it is somewhat of a doom/death outfit with only one 4 track demo released. Any chance that demo will ever be properly released, and were there ever any other songs done by Flegeton that didn't get recorded or released? Why did you decide not to continue on with Flegeton?

    Flegeton had a '94 demo called "Through a desolate lands" that wasn't distributed at all. I don't own it myself, so it's rare indeed. The style was Death Metal in the vein of early Amorphis/Rotting Christ etc. Second '95 demo "The Temple of Sagal" had a better production and different style and 2 of the 4 songs ended up on Yearnings debut after a name change. At the time we were pleased with this new Doomy style, so there was no reason to continue with the name Flegeton.

  • So far I'd have to say that even though we're early into 2009, I see the "Numquam" album becoming one of the top doom metal releases of the year. Have you gotten any press from this release yet, and what are some of the press people saying?

    I've read some reviews and the response has been very positive.

  • What inspires you to write lyrics? The Encyclopedia Metallum notes your lyrical topics deal with Lovecraft and Sumerian Myths, but I'd like to get a bit more in depth. You can provide song examples if you wish, but a general overall picture is fine.

    Music itself inspires to write lyrics and everything else can serve as an influence. Lovecraftian influences were present with our debut, but this time there's subjects such as death, paranoia, depression, suicide and escapism. Lyrics illustrate the mood of the music and form an entity. Very dark and heavy atmosphere in this case.

  • If you're into Lovecraft, what are some of your favorite stories? Personally, I enjoyed "Dreams In The Witch House" and of course I think everyone refers to the Chtulhu stories in general. Have you seen any of the movie adaptations of his work, like the movie Dagon, and the silent film adaptation "Call Of Chthulhu" which was made to look like a 1930's black and white silent film?

    "The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward" has been inspirational and all his shorter novels also. I read those a lot in my youth, but these stories are still captivating. There's some cosmic horror in there. Unfortunately I haven't seen those films, but should have. Maybe someday.

  • Any chance we might see Colosseum playing live here in the States? I know there are always events like the Stoner Hands Of Doom Festival, and here and there doom metal shows pop up around the world. What is a Colosseum show like live? Do you ever have to shorten the lengths of some of your songs for the live show?

    Colosseum's sound is much more powerful and heavy on stage and there's some ugly people playing it. We haven't done many gigs live, but this music seems to be working on stage as well. There's not much demand for Funeral Doom anywhere, but luckily there's some happenings now and then. This far we have played all the songs in their whole length, so the listeners can really suffer and get bored. Coming to the States would be nice, but would cost alot I guess.

  • I was always curious why Firebox records decided to start Firedoom Records strictly for the doom/death stuff? What are some of your favorite bands on Firebox/Firedoom? I really like the Doom:VS stuff, and Withering's "Gospel Of Madness" is a great album as well.

    I guess Firebox have got their reasons for spreading this kind of music. I haven't heard all the bands on Firedoom, but Doom:Vs for example is very good. Ablaze in Hatred and My Shameful are some of the Finnish quality bands in this style.

  • Anything else you want to talk about that we missed, feel free to do so here. Thanks again for your time, help and support; know that we are playing Colosseum cuts on our radio show!!!

    Check out Chapter 2: Numquam and Doom on. Cheers, thanks and bye!

    DESTRUCTION. Interview with Schmier...

  • I remember seeing you some time ago when you were with a pretty diverse selection of bands, like Kataklysm, Vader, and Gravewurm.

    We were kind of complaining because of being put on too early and what not. But it was a good step to come back after that break we had, from 2002-2006, like 4 years when we hadn't toured the States. For us it was just good to catch up again and come back on the road. We returned in 2007 again to the States, and it was a good tour. Vader treated us very well, and Kataklysm are very good friends of ours. So we didn't really care about things, like us going on too early.

  • You know, a LOT of people have talked about this dream German thrash tour; with Destruction, Kreator and Sodom.

    That was something we wanted to do this year. We had meetings with the guys, and basically Kreator has this management in the States; Sodom were not satisfied with the money, so the tour didn't happen. I was very sad about that; I really wanted this to happen. I don't want to say anything bad about my friends, but I was REALLY disappointed this didn't take place. I guess it's business...

  • I was really sad to hear about Sodom's drummer Chris (Witchhunter) passing away...

    He was going through rough times, and I didn't see him for many years. In 2005 we were touring with Deicide in Europe. It was a great tour, this was back when the Hoffman brothers were in the band. Chris came to the show and I hadn't seen him for almost 10 years. I was really happy to see him, so we brought him to our tour bus to drink some beers, and he killed an entire bottle of Vodka in about 10 minutes! The whole bottle! And we were like holy fuck, he was drinking harder than ever! And the other night after a show we were looking for him to drink with us again and he was laying in the dirt totally drunk. Even last year he was so drunk he couldn't even talk anymore; I mean he tried to talk to me but I couldn't understand him. He was very depressed and didn't sound very good. He was drinking too much; it's a problem that we all have when we're touring and playing rock and roll. He was playing with Destruction on tour and helped us out when our drummer left. It's a bad thing because he was such a funny guy. He was homeless and living with his mother I think. We're gonna play a concert in April (which has no doubt already passed - Ed), it's Sodom, Destruction, and some old bands from the 80's like Darkness, Assassin, and we're gonna do a tribute show and save up some money to help his mother get him a real headstone. Chris didn't ever really want any help from anyone; Tom from Sodom told me that Chris didn't want help from anyone; he said "I'm fine, and I live my life the way I want it to be." He never seemed to get over not being in Sodom anymore I think.

  • What really surprised me is your first two albums being on Steamhammer; it surprised me that with Sodom and Kreator BOTH signing to Steamhammer that you guys didn't sign to the label; signing instead with Candlelight.... I just thought you guys should all have ended up on the Steamhammer label together, it would have been cool!

    Well, Kreator was signed to Noise Records, but their first albums were with Metal Blade here in the States I think. Sodom went back to Steamhammer. The problem with Steamhammer/SPV and us, we had a lot of trouble with royalties and what not. That's why we left the label. Right now, actually, talking about this case, I'm still waiting for my paycheck for the last two years for the old records. They're still selling the reissues and stuff! We tried to talk to them about releasing the old albums with liner notes, remastered sound and liner notes. They had no booklet with the reissues; it's real cheap quality!

  • Well, I have the reissue of your first two records, and I can't remember right offhand, but I know when they did the first two Sodom titles, they got the tracks out of order and some of the track numbers didn't go with the actual song names they were supposed to represent, so they kinda screwed things up.

    Well, we redid all that; with the lyrics and the pictures, but they weren't interested. They just used what they had and it was a rather cheap way to reissue it. They would have had to repress the booklet and remaster the album. But we're in talks now, so maybe the proper reissues will happen.

  • The new album "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.," I'm curious what challenges you had as far as making this record? Obviously you didn't try to re-create the sound of the 80's... How do you see Destruction in the year 2000 and beyond as opposed to the way you did things in the early days?

    Destruction is like a bunch of pissed off guys, living in the countryside and we didn't want to go into the mainstream, didn't want to be part of the 9 to 5 thing; we didn't want to be a boring part of normal life. We tried to break out of that and that's something that's still similar with us to this day. We're still kinda angry! We're grown up but we still look at the world and see things that are fucked up, that are crazy! All that anger is going into the music, but the way we do it now, it's more focused, and thrash metal is more of an established musical direction now. We still try to have something to say: we don't try to repeat our basic riffs and our basic ideas. The new album is not just a thrash album; it has progressive elements and lots of details; hopefully it's still original, and I think that's what is an important part of the band's success. You don't want to sound like anybody else and even if we're using a production that's on a top notch, modern level, it's still important. If you want to compete with the young bands you definitely have to have a powerful sound today.

  • It definitely has to make you feel good that thrash has gotten popular once again; like over in England you had Deathwish, Atomkraft and a band like Onslaught who have reformed, but you have newer bands like Evile and Municipal Waste that are coming out. And they're sounding just as vicious and sick as the bands that were around in the 80's! It's gotta make you feel good to hear these young bands go "Yeah, man, we listened to "Sentence Of Death" and "Infernal Overkill" and we were just blown away!"

    Well, we're gonna come back to the States, and we hope to be touring with Krisiun and hopefully Evile from the U.K. It's gonna be a good lineup! First of all, young bands are indeed getting back into thrash, but some people are just getting with the newest trend. They did the same thing with Swedish and death metal too. Now we have all this pagan metal stuff from Scandinavia too. It's a whole new scene however, and it's exciting to see.

  • Some metalheads think I'm wierd for saying this, but I always thought that thrash metal died out WAAAAY too soon. To me thrash kinda peaked with Metallica's "Master Of Puppets," but then it just kinda died!

    Well, at that time, metal was moving so fast that people were waiting for the new extreme. Then in the beginning of the 90's death metal was getting big, and you know how people are, they were looking to the media and the young kids were jumping on the bandwagon quickly. And now it's of course all the black metal bands. And of course Venom, Slayer, Destruction, Sodom and Kreator were all major influences on the kids and they just kinda wanted to see where all this stuff came from.

  • Now I gotta be honest with you, and I hate to say this, but when you came out with the album "All Hell Breaks Loose," I wasn't too crazy about it...

    I mean, well, how difficult is it to come back after such a big break, when we were trying to rehearse every day and bring back the band in a serious way. It was really difficult to come back. And then all those expectations people had. Some people still say that it's a great album and they love it. Now I do understand it was a different approach. 'The Butcher Strikes Back' from that album is definitely a great anthem that we wrote.

  • The song 'Tears Of Blood' off that record was great too.

    That also will be in our set list in 10 years. That's already fair enough. It's important that an album has standout songs. It's not the best Destruction album, but "The Antichrist" was definitely a much better album. (I agree - Ed.) It was a decent comeback album. But the other thing is that we were under a lot of pressure the last years and doing a lot of touring. It was good that this time around we didn't have so much pressure; the new album I think is a very strong release that can hopefully compare with the "Antichrist" album. A classic album is not a classic when it's first released; it will take some time to see if these newer releases are considered classics.

  • Now when you do touring these days, you've got over 20 years of songs; how do you pick what tracks you play live? That's got to be difficult!

    It's tough. Now after 10 years, we're experimenting with the set list, and we know pretty well what's to be in there. And we have contacts on the website, where you can vote for what songs you want to hear. We can also sometimes tell by the crowd's reaction at shows. The setlist is pretty much fixed, like 2/3 of the songs are already set. And there's some songs that HAVE to be in the setlist, like 'Mad Butcher,' 'Curse The Gods,' 'Bestial Invasion,' 'Total Desaster,' etc. We try to have some from every album. We do one or two medleys that include 2 or 3 songs that are kinda meshed alltogether. When we headline we try to play for at least an hour and a half.

  • As we wrap this up, I'm curious how you feel about our current president Obama, who has just started his term in the office (at the time of this interview anyway)? It seems like almost the whole of Europe was behind him after his speeches and meeting in Europe.

    Obama gets a very, very positive response here in Germany. Everyone in Europe wanted Obama to be president in America. But everybody knows that not so much will change, because the people that are behind the scenes usually are all the same. Not so much will change, but America's face outside of the world will change again, because Obama is having better relationships with other countries. Obama was here in Berlin awhile ago, and he had a speech like Kennedy had in front of some thousand people here in Berlin. I mean he wasn't even president yet but he was drawing the interest of a lot of people. He's got charisma, and I think he can put the angry face of America away. The only thing that really helped Bush was his father and the weapons industry in America that made a lot of money on the Iraq war. Now the people in the States have had big problems with the crashing economy and oil.

    HOLY MOSES. Interview with Sabina via email...

    Metal has certainly seen it's share of tragedies over the years: the closing doors of Metal Maniacs magazine, many of our heroes passed away, the arrival of grunge in the early 90's, etc. etc. etc. One of the biggest tragedies is a band like Holy Moses who have been doing vicious female fronted thrash for over 20 years, long through the grunge era and STILL active today. While Arch Enemy may get huge accolades for being vicious and featuring an extreme vocalist who is female, I think Century Media should have hyped up Holy Moses A LOT more, considering "Disorder Of The Order" came out on THEIR label, but never got worked here in the States. All that aside, Sabina Claussen has one of the most vicious set of vocals you'll hear from a woman; all the more reason to give her the space she so rightly deserves. Armed with a new record deal in Steamhammer, it's time for Sabina to spin her tale....

  • First of all, it's good to see the band going for so long, over 20 years now is it? What would you say is your secret for doing music so long?

    This I can tell you in 4 words: strength, power, will, passion...

  • One thing that really upset me, when "Disorder Of The Order" came out, I got the Century Media version, but this CD wasn't released or supported by Century Media U.S. I suppose they were more interested in pushing Arch Enemy, even though you'd been doing female fronted aggressive vocals since the 80's! How do you feel about that collaboration with Century Media; obviously it wasn't a very supportive relationship. I always had a problem with Century Media U.S. not releasing things the European branch was working on.

    You are speaking out the words which are deep in my soul. And I hope now with SPV US we did the right choice and looking into a better future.

  • Speaking of "Disorder Of The Order," I wasn't too happy with the record overall, your latest release "Agony Of Death" is definitely heavier and more aggressive. How do you feel about the "Disorder" record; I'm pretty sure you feel your new release is better.

    Yes, you are again totally right. "Agony Of Death" is now the result of a long process and shows Holy Moses like Holy Moses has to be. The Disorder Album was a first step to be back but not written with Michael Hankel. If you look to the album "Strength Power Will Passion," which was released after the Disorder album; in 2005, you could already see the evolution of the new Holy Moses century. So step by step we got back into the old power and aggression of Holy Moses. With "Agony Of Death" we are on the way we want to be.

  • The band has been around for over 20 years; when you put together a set list for your concerts, what records do you focus on and what songs are what you would call "fan favorites?" Do you focus more on the older material or the newer stuff?

    It is always hard to do. Mostly we are doing the choices of our fans. I can see that the fans like to have the focus on songs from "Finished With The Dogs," "New Machine Of Liechtenstein," "World Chaos," "Terminal Terror" and the new albums like "Strength Power Will Passion" and "Agony Of Death."

  • There has been a "thrash metal revival" going on here recently, especially with the newly reformed Hallows Eve (which I was a part of for a short time), then you have bands like Evile, Municipal Waste and even the newly reformed Onslaught. How do you see all of this, especially considering you were one of the first ones and are still going today?

    I think, if the new ones are finding their own style and mystique it's always fine for me. Also with newly reformed bands; if they find their ways to go on and make really great new songs, I love to listen to it. But it scares me sometimes, if bands are coming back without the old passion and without a new passion.

  • I was reading where you took 6 months to record your vocals for the new album! Why did you feel so much time needed to be taken to doing your vocal tracks?

    I was not singing every day. This time we did the recordings like that, that we worked in 6 months on the songs in the studio. We did drums, guitars, bass and vocals together. And not doing first the drums, then guitars etc – so I had the chance to be in the right mood to do my vocals. I could say, today I do not want to sing, I don't feel like that, I feel more to write some more lyrics and so on. Also between the recordings we went on tour with Obituary for 30 days on a European tour. We worked also on the album and ideas during the tour. So all in all we worked for 6 months, but not in one part.

  • When you do extreme vocals, do you have any special tips or techniques that you use to either prepare for the aggressive singing or to extend that style for a long period of time? I know many people talk about singing from your gut instead of the throat, but those types of vocals (I practice with black metal styled vocals myself) tend to have an effect on the throat after awhile.

    It is coming from the beginning deep from my inner feelings. I think I have a kind of technique, but I do not do it on purpose. It's a natural feeling. I do not work in the studio or live with any effects. It's just me and I coached myself all over the years. I think the most important fact is, why it sounds so real, is the reason that I feel it; that these growls are in my body and soul.

  • The new record seems to focus on themes of death quite a bit; in fact it seems many bands are preoccupied with the death theme these days. What are your views on death; do you believe there's something after death, or a place that we go when we die? Me, I'm not sure I believe in the whole christian concept of heaven and hell... Hell to me is really just a scare tactic to keep people in line!

    The lyrics are dealing with different types of death. Especially I am working here with the mental kind of death. Thoughts about suicide because of mental disorders etc. – I am also not sure about what is going on after our physical death. So I am more into the psyche and the mystic behind the soul. My lyrics are a method (by which) I am able to recover the ways of natural instinctive psyche and through its personification in the wild women archetype. I am able to discern the ways and means of woman's deepest nature.

  • You were on Aaarrg! Records for your first two releases, do you remember much about the record label at the time? Did you like any of the other releases on that label, like Mekong Delta, Living Death, Siren, Target, etc?

    We were knowing really nothing about record labels and the business, hahahaha. It was an unbelievable time to come into all these things. Holy Moses was real greenhorns in that, hahahaha. We did not know any of these bands before, but during being on this label, we met all these guys. So Atomic Steiff the drummer of Living Death played for Holy Moses and is now back in Holy Moses.

  • What are your thoughts on Angela Gossow, who now fronts Arch Enemy? I feel she definitely has one sick set of death styled vocals, and sounds more vicious than most guys!

    Angela is doing great with Arch Enemy and I wish her all the best to go on with the band for more than 20 years, like I do with Holy Moses now.

  • I rather liked the cover of the new album; I'm assuming the artist did a somewhat sci-fi charicature of you? Tell us a bit about the artist, and how you came drawn to this artists' work? I know your "Disorder Of The Order" album saw you utilizing a somewhat cartoon, or comic book, style.

    The cover artwork is done by Kai Swillus. He is a good friend of ours, and he understood me very fast, when I gave to him the songs and lyrics and my inner concept. We work really close together. He got each part of the songs, when something was ready, also same with the lyrics. So we worked hand in hand, from the beginning, when we started up to write the material. We talked with him about my future visions, the story and my kind of vision about the past, the mental disorders.. and importantly the strength, power, will and passion of the wolf women in the agony of death.

  • Finally, if there's anything else you want to talk about, do so here, and thanks again!

    I wish we can come to tour the US after such a long time for the first time in 2009. I want to thank you all, promoting and loving Holy Moses in the US. Hope to see you all soon!!!! Thanks so much.

    SACRED OATH. Interview with Rob Thorne, founder and guitar/vocals...

    Anyone remember "A Crystal Vision," from waaaay back in 1987? The band are still around, heavier than ever, but still writing catchy and great songs. This latest record, self titled, shows how an 80's metal band writes music in today's era, while still sounding heavy, catchy and writing memorable songs all at the same time. Read on with the vocalist/guitarist AND founder of the band, Rob Thorne.

  • I know you had an album in 2007 entitled "Darkness Visible," which I never got to hear, but what would you say were the challenges recording new releases in the last few years as opposed to the way you recorded and wrote "A Crystal Vision?" Besides not utilizing the higher notes as much on the new record, did you have things you did and did not want to repeat from the earliest days?

    Actually Steven, making a record was much more challenging for us back in 1987. Being 17 years old at the time (and not at the craft for more than a couple years) it wasn't easy to make "A Crystal Vision." We had no idea what we were doing. We were able to bring decades of experience into the new Sacred Oath recordings, and that has allowed us to be very much in control of the final result. But regardless of this, we do what we feel like on a record. I have never made any decision to sing higher or lower, but only what the songs require of me. There are plenty of high notes spread across "Darkness Visible" and the new album, and certainly on the live album. But it's not like I walk into the studio with a list of things I feel are expected of me and then set about checking them off. The music would come across as phony, and we are all about honest recordings. Wow, I can't believe you haven't heard "Darkness!" You're missing a huge chunk of the Sacred Oath chronology.

  • While we're speaking of "Darkness Visible," since I haven't heard it yet, how does it fit into the lineup of the three albums? Is it heavier, a bit more melodic or somewhere in between?

    "Darkness Visible" is a heavy album. All of the songs on it were written back in the mid and late 80's as the intended follow-up to "A Crystal Vision." The strength of those songs is the main reason Sacred Oath is back together today! Kenny and I always felt it was a damned shame that they had never been recorded and released, so we set about doing just that, with no immediate plans to make the band active again. But when "Darkness Visible" was finished, the result was something special, and the fans' reaction encouraged us to launch ourselves back into the Oath full-time. It's craziness. But I have to say it was fate. I cannot explain it any other way. And that is what makes "Darkness Visible" so special.

  • With the new record, some might say that the heaviness of the riffs is just another 80's metal band trying to change their sound to be heavier in the Y2k era, but I know from listening to the very first release there's always been heavy guitar work and even the heavier and rougher vocals, like on tracks 'The Omen,' 'A Crystal Vision,' and 'Shadow Out Of Time.'

    Ha! Have you heard most of the "metal" that's out there today? We sound like a classic rock band compared to some of that shit. No, I think you'll find that our sound has been very consistent over the last twenty five years.

  • Since we've never had the opportunity to interview you before, tell us a bit about what the 80's metal scene was like for you in Connecticut? Did you play a lot of shows around the U.S. and maybe make it over to Europe for some dates? The U.S. band Legend released an album called "From The Fjords" in 1979, did you ever hear of this band or get to know them? Tell us about bands you toured or played with, magazines that you may have spoken with or anything from that time you think is noteworthy.

    It was awesome to be a part of that scene back then, especially as young as we were. We did play around the US in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Hartford, Philadelphia, etc. Not much out west, and we never did get to Europe back then. We did some shows with Fates Warning on their Awaken the Guardian tour. They were real mentors to us. We looked up to them as heroes. We played some with Warlock. But it was all over pretty quickly. By 1988 we had broken up, after only a few years, and I was just 18, so for me I was still at the beginning and it was pretty easy to just move on. We were definitely a part of the New York/Connecticut scene though, and I can remember talking with MARS magazine, Powerline, Grey Matter, and countless other 'zines, as well as Metal Maniacs and Metal Forces. WNHU, WRTN – those were some great local college radio stations back then, spinning metal all the time. The radio and underground 'zines were vital parts of a real scene back then. They were all special and unique, and there weren't quite as many because there was no internet. And on top of all that, it was a constant party. We were fucked up all the time, but maybe that's part of being a teenager. I never heard of Legend, but in '79 I was only 10 and not yet listening to metal. I didn't get into the scene until around '84.

  • It seems like nowadays the shift is from signing with major labels to gain tour support and a wider audience, to artists releasing the music themselves, starting their own labels and even pushing their name through the internet. The times have definitely changed, and I see that you also have released your latest disc on your own label. Do you have other artists planned for Angel Thorne music, or is this just a vehicle for your band?

    Angel Thorne Music is and has always been a vehicle for my music. I've released all of the Sacred Oath catalog, plus two Soundscape albums and at least three solo albums. But it has always been my music. Now I have licensed the Oath catalog to WorldSound Label Group, so fans will begin to see all of our titles popping up in national retail outlets like FYE, Borders, Best Buy, and Hot Topic. This was a good move for us, because it has been hard for metal fans to find our stuff. So on August 25th, our new album plus the rest of our albums (repackaged with bonus photos and art) will be available everywhere for the first time ever. We're very excited about this, because the recent support we've been getting from MTV can actually translate into something if our CD's are actually available.

  • I noticed you recorded a live album from the Keep It True festival over in Germany. Tell me about that, because as a former member of Hallows Eve, I almost got the chance to participate in that famous of events, though it was not to be.

    Again, fate Steven. We never anticipated making a live album on the very first night of our first European tour, and at a famous traditional metal festival in Germany no less. But it worked out that way, and for that reason 'Till Death Do Us Part is a special album for us. It was awesome to be there in Germany, and the fans had come from all over Europe. Many of them had been following Sacred Oath since the first album, and so the energy in that room was very very high. Plus, we were unaware it was being recorded, so we played freely without that self-consciousness that can happen when you know you're being recorded. Lots of energy on that album, from us and especially from the crowd.

  • How has press been for the new record so far? I haven't seen much, which makes me wonder if the disc is getting the attention it deserves!

    The press has been great. The reviewers all seem to really love the CD, which is gratifying after all the hard work that goes into making an album. We had a TON of press back in March and April when we released the album exclusively on iTunes. And now that the CD is being released in stores I expect we'll see another push. I just saw the album got Heavy Metal Addiction's Album of the Month, and over in Germany Heavy Magazine gave it 12/12 points. But most importantly, the Oathbangers love it. And that feels great. There is no better feeling than getting an email from a fan that has followed you since "A Crystal Vision" and they tell you that the new album is your best yet.

  • When looking back on your discography, I noticed you had three demos before getting "A Crystal Vision" released on Mercenary Records. Were the demos used to garner label support, or were you just releasing demos to get the music to the fans? I'm also curious about why songs like 'Battle Cry,' 'The End,' and 'Queen Of The Night' weren't released on your first full length?

    Actually, we only recorded 2 demos before signing with Mercenary Records. And we were recording those to get our music to the fans. But as things began to catch on, we started to hear from labels. It all happened pretty quickly, all within a couple of years. And at the time we were writing music so quickly! So when we went into the studio we decided to record what we were playing the most at the time. 'Queen Of The Night' was one of the first songs I had ever written, and back then seemed old news to me. Who could have known it would be one of the highlight recordings Sacred Oath would ever do on "Darkness Visible?"

  • When you go back to your "Crystal Vision" release, are you still happy with it? I know there was a lot of high pitched vocal work on the record, are you still able to hit those highest of notes easily? You made it seem like you could hold a note forever in those days!!

    There was definitely a period of time in the 90's when I could not listen to "A Crystal Vision." There were many things I wanted to do differently. But now I appreciate that album so much for what it is. Every album is a snapshot in time of where a band is at, and that album perfectly represents Sacred Oath in 1987. I love that about it. And I am deeply honored that fans out there love that album so much. It is amazing to me that the strength of that album was able to keep Sacred Oath alive in the underground all those dark years and see us through to a true rebirth. The songs on that record are still among the most popular in our live show, which forces me to really stay in shape! Yes, I still hit all of those high notes live. It's quite a workout.

  • What does a live set for Sacred Oath these days consist of? How do you go about choosing a set list of songs, and what albums do you prefer to play more off of?

    We just played a two-hour show in Connecticut, which is a bit longer than we typically play, but it allowed us to really cover everything we wanted to do. The set list was:

    Paradise Lost
    Blood Storm
    Words Upon The Stone
    The Ferryman’s Lair
    Voodoo Dolls
    Counting Zeros
    The Omen
    Queen Of The Night
    A Crystal Vision
    Buried Alive
    Message To The Children
    Darkness Visible
    Magick Son
    Two Powers
    Caught In The Arc
    Hunt For The Fallen Angel

    So as you can see, we spread it out as best we can. Of course, we're most excited about playing new stuff because its fresh and that is the record we are pushing, but we give plenty of stage time to our debut.

  • It seems like the only member left from the earliest of days is your drummer Kenny. What happened to the other guys, and how did you go about finding the new members?

    God bless Kenny, my right-hand man. We have a great time together. Pete and Glen were not able to commit to the intense scheduling demands that the Oath puts on our lives so it was a mutual agreement that Kenny and I would move on without them. We're still all very good friends and stay in touch often. Bill (22) and Brendan (20) have been a perfect addition to the ranks. They believe in what Sacred Oath is 100%, and they are great players. Both are former students of mine (I privately teach guitar, voice, bass, drums) so I knew them already, knew what they were about. Plus, they bring a ferocious youthful energy to the band that Kenny and I demand.

  • I'm curious about the choice of artwork you used for the new album, especially since given the lyrics of the opening song 'Paradise Lost,' it seems like you have a bit of disdain for our last president (which I don't blame you one bit for!) The artwork also seems to be a bit of a departure from your previous releases as well...

    Yeah, disdain is an understatement. Lyrically, I was inspired by what's been going on around me for this album. And I wanted to address issues that have disillusioned a new generation of metal fans. The artwork we had commissioned from Ioannis, who has done landmark covers for Fates Warning, Deep Purple, Yngwie, Allman Brothers, and many many more big artists. (And, incidentally, for the band Legend for their 1979 release "From The Fjords - Ed.) He came highly recommended to us, and he connected with our vision right away. We're so pleased with what he delivered, both in the concept and in the modern look of it. We wanted something new this time around.

  • I remember when Sentinel Steel reissued your "Crystal Vision" release, were you happy with the way it turned out? I was always under the opinion that when doing reissues, the original artwork should be preserved somewhere in the booklet, and the recording should be left as intact as possible; save to bring it up to modern day standards (IE, bring out the bass and treble more, boost up the volume a little bit, etc) so that we can hear almost exactly how this piece of history was done. I also noticed that you re-recorded the album later on.

    Denis Gulbey and Sentinel Steel have always done a fantastic job with pressings of our albums, and the re-issue of A Crystal Vision is no exception. He is a real fan, so he puts in that little extra that can make a package special. The re-issue was certainly a better package than the original that Mercenary Records offered! When he first approached us on this in 1998, he asked for a few bonus tracks. We all got together to record 'The End' and 'The Invocation' and ended up burning through the entire album! We were having a great time being together again after ten years apart. Denis chose his bonus tracks, and we shelved the rest. But in 2005 when I started work on Darkness Visible, I released those recordings as A Crystal Revision to get the fans appetites for new Sacred Oath whetted. It really is a bootleg, and not what I would consider a formal part of our catalog, but still very worthwhile having in your collection!

  • As we wrap this up, I wanted to know what some of your favorite 80's metal bands were, and what albums you cranked quite frequently. Were there any bands who maybe dropped off the face of the earth; do you have any ultra rare metal titles you enjoyed listening to?

    Oh man! Fates Warning, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Metallica, Megadeth, Queensryche, Hallows Eve (yes!), Helloween, Anthrax, Exodus, Slayer, Twisted Sister, Dio, Ozzy, there were tons of them! And of course I've always been a huge fan of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Deep Purple, AC/DC. I was not much of an obscure metal hunter, so not many bands I listened to have dropped off the face of the earth. Ultra Rare? Remember Witchkiller "Day of the Saxons?" I loved that song. That was one of the first songs Sacred Oath ever covered.

    THE GATES OF SLUMBER. Interview with Karl via phone.

    It's fucking doom, man! What more do you need to know? The Gates Of Slumber are a rather curious beast; and with many artists involved in making doom metal these days, the emphasis is not ALWAYS on the slow, 1 mile per hour tempos that many critics of the genre endlessly slag these bands for. We had a chance to chat with Karl about a LOT of things, especially the state of the recording industry and how labels are meeting the challenges of the ever changing media format in the Y2K era. An interesting read is this...

  • I got the new record "Conqueror," and the first thing I look at is the cover, looking like something from Conan The Barbarian. So... Do you know what is best in life? (laughing).

    Uh, yeah... There's a lot of things that are pretty good in life. Crushing enemies, seeing them driven before you, that's pretty cool. A nice cold beer doesn't hurt either! The cover is actually done by a guy named Vebjorn Stroman from Norway, who does Conan comic book covers. I think he does some issues over there. For our "Suffer No Guilt" record, we licensed Ken Kelly's "Revenge Of The Viking," and that was a pretty hefty price tag we paid for that one. We didn't have a lot of rights with it, because it is such an iconic picture; it's the one with the Viking dude cleaving that guy with an axe. It's been used in a bunch of places, but we actually paid for it. And we had no rights for t-shirts or anything like that; that was a completely separate licensing deal. And to get an original piece of art from Ken was way out of our price range. So when it came time to do the artwork for "Conqueror" we knew we wanted something that would be in the same vein. I always thought those Molly Hatchet covers were amazing. I remember buying the first Molly Hatchet with the death dealer on it, thinking this would be some HEAVY fucking metal, and it ends up being southern rock (laughs). We found Vebjorn's "Headhunter" and contacted him; he was real agreeable to it, and came up with some terms where we could make t-shirts from it. He definitely has good skills and his stuff doesn't look like a bunch of other people's. I'm really happy. He's doing the art for our new record.

  • I LOVE I Hate as a record label, there's some great bands on that label. I had this issue with Sanctus Inferum, who is a Kansas band signed to a Russian Record label; the band has ties to Manilla Road even! And here you guys are an American band signed to a Scandinavian label; I'm sitting here going "didn't ANY American record labels take an interest in you guys? It's just wierd to me that you have to go all the way to Scandinavia just to get a record contract!

    It's always been that way with us. "Conqueror" is our third record; our first album was on a Belgian Record label, and they folded (I'm laughing here). So we went to I Hate. "Conqueror" is available as a U.S. record through Profound Lore which is a Canadian label. We had a split licensing deal where Profound Lore would handle the U.S. and Canada, and I Hate would handle the rest of the world. Chris Barnes from Hellride Music does one-off vinyl presses, and he did a CD for us back a few years ago. So actually, technically, "Conqueror" is like our 4th CD, because the "Plague Upon The Land" is like a full length. It's basically two EP's back to back; (including) our last demo sessions with our first drummer. We ended up parting ways with our drummer in the middle of it! Profound Lore actually gave us a boost as far as our name recognition here in the States; I'd say we're now doing about as well as an Icarus Witch, or some of these larger bands! We had a video on MTV for a month!

  • Wow, I didn't know about that!

    You can go on youtube to see it, it's for the 'Trapped In The Web' song. We talked I Hate and Profoud Lore into splitting the bill on a camera crew to come out. We filmed the video and submitted it to MTV2's Headgivers Ball... (I'm laughing my ass off at this - Ed.) I'll be goddamned if they didn't play it; they played it every weekend for a month straight! It was really cool; I mean seeing our old, ugly asses on TV next to these fucking kid bands was great. Predictably though, we got our shit ripped apart by those little dickheads on and stuff, talking about "What are these old men doing," but I mean, what are you gonna do?

  • Well, the music usually speaks volumes. Did you ever see the Lair Of The Minotaur video? That was outrageous!

    Yeah, I saw that! Our video is nothing like that, it's just us playing on a stage; the guy set up a lighting rig. It's got an early 90's feel, kinda like what American records did for the songs 'War Ensemble' and Danzig's 'Mother.' It looks a lot like that the way it's backlit and the way it's shot. I'm really pleased with how it came out.

  • Well, now I hear you might be working with Rise Above Records?

    Yeah, we JUST got signed to Rise Above. We knew that after all the attention we got here in the States for "Conqueror," it was a press darling thing; we were right behind Nachtmystium for most important album of all time in some magazine so we definitely got a LOT of attention. It was very cool to get it, and kinda mind blowing for a band like us who is rooted in old school doom and heavy metal to have the tastemakers saying this is awesome stuff!! I'm not gonna argue with it! (laughs).

  • Well, it's wierd with that thrash revival, it's like everything's coming back full circle. When you think about it, it's like is there anything brand new and totally original left to do in music? So I guess the next step forward is backward.

    Originality is one of the things that kinda got overrated at some point in time I think. There's only so many notes on a guitar, you know, there's only so much you can do on a guitar before you just start running into riffs that don't make sense. You can look at almost ANY band and trace it back to Black Sabbath, as far as what they're doing. And if they didn't do it, you can throw freakin' Thin Lizzy or U.F.O. in there, and there you go. I think it's more important to try and make good music that comes from the heart than worrying about "Well, someone's heard this riff before;" it's like, okay, so what?! People have heard an E-note drone before too! If people are gonna be like that, then....

  • ...Why listen to music, right?

    Right, they're not giving you a chance. No one would listen to ANYTHING if that is all they're looking for. I think a lot of people just like stuff because they're SUPPOSED to like it.

  • Now with this Rise Above deal, are you off of I Hate alltogether? Because I know that Rise Above is based out of the U.K.

    They were handled through Candlelight; I know they're seeking out a new U.S. distributor (That position has been filled; Rise Above releases are now handled through Metal Blade - Ed.) It will be a licensing kind of thing, but we are no longer working with I Hate. After Ola left (publicist for I Hate), we didn't really do as well without him; he was our champion so to speak at I Hate. He had to leave for family reason, and Peter has other priorities so we weren't at the top of that list. And we knew like I said with all the attention we got that we could move up a little bit. If we were gonna try to "take it to the next level" and do some serious touring and stuff, now was our chance to do it, so we just threw the dice. Rise Above came back with the most favorable contract! It's a really, REALLY good deal they cut us, and I'm really excited to be working with them!

  • Yeah, a lot of labels nowadays are kinda getting away from the whole "Okay, you have 7 albums you have to do for us, and we get half your merchandise and touring and stuff..." A lot of people have been talking about a label like Cruz Del Sur music, where it's album to album, it's an open ended contract, we can end the partnership at any time, and I've heard people talking about I Hate Records in the same regard. I mean, look at Isole, which was one of my favorite bands on I Hate; they did two albums with them and now they are on Napalm Records.

    A lot of people are doing that. It's a pretty standard thing; Rise Above is doing a similar thing with us. We go album to album and see how it goes; if everyone's feeling the same way. That seems to be the way of the future. Not that there's a LOT of money in this buisness (laughs). People don't want to end up being stuck with a band or a label that's a bad fit. We've never had anyone that wanted to take any of our money, as far as our merch rates and stuff like that. This is the first time we've ever had a contract that had provisions in it to help us get out on the road really!

  • What sort of provisions, just out of curiosity....

    Like tour support basically; the ability, if it makes sense, to buy us onto a bigger package tour. Like if Mercyful Fate and Motorhead tour the U.S. and there's an opening slot that's gonna cost X number of dollars; if we're selling enough records they'll in theory pay that amount to put us on tour. That's kinda wishful thinking though! (laughs)

  • Well, it's wierd because a lot of people, they listen to the music, they read the lyrics and they understand a band's philosophy; but behind the scenes, there's very few people who are actually privvy to the actual workings of the music industry. And the music industry has changed tremendously in the last 5 or 10 years. Bands are like, "fuck the labels, we can release our stuff on the internet," and labels are starting to realize that they HAVE to vary their contracts to keep these guys around. I think things are somewhat coming back full circle where the old bands are coming back, and developing an actual artists' career, that's coming back. We used to always complain that you'll never have artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan that put 20 and 30 albums out with ONE label. The business model has burned itself out.

    It's definitely changed. I mean, it's changing year to year! CD sales are a different kind of thing, and now you're looking at a band that goes silver... That's a huge selling record now! Of course you have like Metallica going platinum, but they (Metallica's CD's) don't go as fast as they used to now.

  • Well, that's because they SUCK now!! (laughing)

    Well... I agree, but I don't wanna go there.... But you can't argue that they're huge; they're one of the biggest bands in the world. Even super huge groups like U2 and stuff; these are phenomenal bands that tour nothing but stadiums, and employ 100,000 people all on their own, doing festival size crowds all on their own. THEY'RE not going platinum as quick as they used to either. They're getting there but sales are down, and everyone's trying to find a new way to do things. It's good that everyone's taking things one at a time. I don't feel like we've been inhibited one bit as far as the amount of music we can do. In the last 4 years we've done 4 CD's. We keep going along. I think the labels STILL have an important part to play because they have the ability to promote. Doing it all yourself on the internet is very well and good, but can be very time consuming, especially if you're working a day job already. And you get home, you gotta do 2 or 3 hours of emails, you have to pack orders for people who are buying your records from you directly! And you find yourself going "Wow, we haven't had practice in two or three weeks!" (Labels) are like taking the burden off of you. We'll see how it goes; it could all fall apart and then we'll all be just buying home recording equipment! (laughs)

  • I work 40 hours a week, and then I come home to try and put together 2 radio shows, a music magazine, and then I try and have a social life; there's sleep involved and plus I have an 8 year old who I hardly see anymore. Things have changed a LOT. One thing I noticed, especially with me: Gone are the days when I have enough time to sit down with a record, listen to it, digest the lyrics and listen to it 4 or 5 times... I have bands I really love, that I... know the melodies and stuff in my head but I don't really know all the lyrics man!

    Life moves really fast these days, I know man! As people, everyone's life is just accelerated to an unhealthy level! That's one of the benefits; some people are like "Why did you sign to Rise Above, why didn't you stay with a smaller label," hell some are saying "Why didn't you just do it yourself!" It's like, because I don't WANT to run my own label. I want to have the luxury to sit at home and take my time developing a song... Or not! I get no pleasure out of answering emails about "oh, the pressing plant is late." Some people are into that, and those are the people that do labels. You want to write your magazine, you want to do your radio shows. You don't want to sit there and listen to people telling you "oh, your server space is running low and you gotta update." The business side of doing the things you love, really sucks the fucking love out of what you're doing! That's my attitude (laughing).

  • Well, let's talk about the new record now. One of my favorite tunes off the "Conqueror" record is 'Children Of Satan.' THAT one I actually paid attention to, and I don't have the full packaging; I have the stupid little cardboard sleeves. It's another thing I hate about the record industry! But anyway, I'm listening to this song, and I'm like "ooh, this sounds like a song about the Muslim terrorists!!"

    Actually, that song is about the genocide in Sudan, in the Darfor region of the Sudan. In brief, there's an Arab population that runs the government, and it's sort of like the upper class of that society who are waging genocidal warfare against the mostly black African population, trying to drive them out. It's over a lot of different things; it's over water rights, and rights to farmland. And there's also a religious element to it: the black population is mostly christian, whereas the arab population is muslim. Jason actually wrote the lyrics and I kinda added a few things here and helped with the construction. People are living in a primitively poor state; they don't have water, electricity or cars. These people are driving into town, and killing all the women and children, even the able bodied men, raping all the women, killing their animals. And no one's talking about it. Well, not no one, but it's certainly not on the front page.

  • You know, people don't realize that maybe the muslim religion has evolved and become more civilized today; but in it's earliest days it was just as bloodthirsty and ruthless as anything else, like the early viking raids and what not. It was NO tolerance for anyone else, religions or cultures otherwise.

    To a great extent I think ALL religions are like that. I mean, well, I can't really say that about Christianity (I'm forced to make a laugh here, as we ALL know the truth about this!), I've done a bit of theological studying and stuff like that. In Islam, hell, even in Judaism... People don't talk about this a lot, but you had people like King Saul and David; these are people that waged wars that eliminated entire nations of people in the old testament. This is what they're talking about; a lot of religions are about excluding people who are different from you, and getting RID of people who are different from you.

  • Well, once again, that's if you buy into this stuff....

    Yeah, if you do. I mean, I'm an atheist, you know, and I've never been baptized and stuff, but I've read a lot about it. It is pretty interesting that there's this thing, you know... For me, growing up, there was this imaginary stuff that everybody else believed in, but millions of people are being killed over it! And I've done a bit of reading about it. On our last record, we had a song called 'God Wills It,' which deals a little bit more with the questions like "Who owns the Middle East, who owns these places, where did this clash of civilizations really start?" I don't have the answers, man, I just play guitar and try to think up some thought provoking lyrics. I am NOBODY'S philosopher or politician. If someone thinks about things, or is just made aware of the fact that, for example, little kids are getting hacked apart by machetes. And that's not cool! It's kind of a tough thing for a band like us, because we DO try to keep our lyrics generally based in cool fantasy stuff. I like to try to keep it like Candlemass used to; about sorcerors, dragons and stuff like that. Real life is hard enough! I work a job, you work a job, and not everyday do you wanna come home and you know, you just wanna hear some music and you put something on that's just gonna fill you up on how evil the world is; you just wanna escape. I think people try to downplay that, but we try to keep a little bit of social conscience about us, trying to stir people out of a little bit of their sleep.

  • You guys aren't exactly a traditional doom metal band, like you're listed in the Encyclopedia Metallium. Okay, yeah, you have like 'Dark Valley Suite' which was 16 and a half minutes, though no offense I thought it was a little overkill on the running time! I mean, listen to 'Children Of Satan,' it's got a bit of a dark overtone, but it's not a traditional doom metal piece! Don't take this the wrong way, but I kinda lump you in with Lair Of The Minotaur. And Lair Of The Minotaur is not even what you'd call traditional "battle" metal, I mean they even have some black metal styled vocals in their music!

    It's funny you mention black metal, because a lot of the guitar tones we used on "Conqueror" were like a hybrid of late era Trouble and then Destroyer 666. I think in the beginning we were very strong in keeping this, pattern, for the lack of a better word, in doom metal. And I think as time has gone by and we've grown as players, and writers, I think it's opened up to the point where we're not doom metal, or thrash metal; we're a hevay metal band, we're the Gates Of Slumber, and we create music that sounds like US. You hear 'Kill Or Be King' and 'The Machine,' and you can still hear US in the music. Even with the very early days of the template my ideas of what real doom metal was very different from what other people's were. Like, I've never been a huge Sleep fan; Sleep is not an influence of mine. I'm way more influenced by the first Pentagram record, early St. Vitus; even back then I was getting super turned on to bands like Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, and stuff like that and trying to infuse more of this...

  • The EPIC stuff...

    Yeah.. UNIQUE epic. That's how I would coin bands like Manilla Road or Cirith Ungol. They weren't playing thrash, they weren't playing Doom. They were playing epic, but there was a lot of rock and roll in there. They were their own creation, and I think that's what a lot of the genre stuff... And I'm as guilty as anyone of going "Oh, this is speed metal, this is thrash metal..." But there's really only two types of music in the world, good and bad. There's the stuff you like and there's the stuff you DON'T like.

  • So you mentioned Cirith Ungol, what other 80's metal bands were you into; did you have any rare releases you got into? I know I was, and still am, TOTALLY amazed by the Legend album "From The Fjords," I mean they were doing the Viking themes well before Bathory came out with "Hammerheart!"

    Let's see... Some 80's metal rarities. I really like the Wizard mini LP a lot. There's a CD reissue I picked up a few years ago in Germany.

  • That was "Knights Of Metal," right?

    Yeah, that was it! Then there was Axe Witch... What was the one?

  • Aww, I LOVE Axe Witch... It was probably either "Pray For Metal" or "Lord Of The Flies."

    "Pray For Metal." That was an awesome record.

  • I bought that when I lived down in Savannah from Mark at Graveyard Records, I have it on green vinyl! I paid like 8 or 9 bucks for it and now it's worth about 60 or 70 bucks!

    That's a very expensive record. Let's see who else, Phantom Lord....

  • That's cool.. The guys from Pentagram!

    Yeah, Joe Hasselvander. I think Jack Starr was in that too wasn't he?

  • I'm not too sure actually. It's a shame that Hasselvander isn't playing with Pentagram anymore, because those two records he was on "Sub Basement" and "Review Your Choices" were amazing, and very heavy.

    I actually like his Hounds Of Hasselvander record. It's missing some of the Pentagram charm but it's got a lot of brutal heaviness to it. I LOVE Oz, and Mercy was a great band. To be honest, though, 99 percent of the time you're gonna catch me listening to Judas Priest! (laughs). And that's hardly a rarity! I NEVER get tired of the classics as far as that goes. That's my shit right there. My favorite Priest albums are probably "Sad Wings Of Destiny," then " "Rocka-Rolla," then "Stained Class." My first Judas Priest album EVER was "Beyond Metal." You remember, that, it was a gas station sampler!! I can't even remember what year it was, but it was probably a total bootleg! I was on the Pennsylvania turnpike one time, and I had like 8 bucks in my pocket, and the tape was like 4, and that was my introduction to Judas Priest. And since then, it's been all Priest, Motorhead, Sabbath, and Dio.

  • It's a real shame that Pentagram didn't get the recognition they deserved, having been around almost as long as Black Sabbath!

    It just comes down to, for me I think they had other priorities in their lives. Joe's talked about it, Victor's talked about it... I think Bobby just sank his own ship as far as being a real casualty of the drug scene. It sucks to say it, but if you have to point a finger at why didn't this band make it... Hell, he met Gene Simmons before Gene even took the makeup off! He was one of the elite people to meet and sit down with Gene and Paul and talk about buying songs!

  • I don't know how much stock there is in this, but I've done interviews with Bobby, and everyone knows that sometimes in music there are one second deals that forge the entire course of music history. And the one story that always stood out in MY mind was the opening for Blue Oyster Cult I believe in 1974, and they had a falling out with management which resulted in Judas Priest playing that show and signing to CBS Records. And the rest is like a LOOONG fucking history. Just think the course of music history could have been changed had Pentagram played that show.

    You gotta be ready for it. You can never tell, hindsight's always 20/20, and at the time Bobby's probably like "I'm not gonna sell 'Star Lady,' I'm not gonna sell my songs to these fucking guys, who are they? I'm better than they are!"

  • Well, I support that, I mean he could have sold both of those songs for 10 grand a piece, but he wouldn't have gotten any credit for writing those songs! I respect him for sticking to his artistic integrity.

    Well, I agree, that's a very respectable thing. But in hindsight, later on down the road, he's broke! And he's like "Man, I wish I could sell those fucking songs!" You never can tell what's gonna happen. The only thing you can do, and this is in life, not just in music, but all you can do is be ready for every opportunity that comes along, and don't cry foul if it goes against you.

  • Now I must say, I was very, VERY impressed to see some of your past members. I am a HUGE Abdullah fan, and I was surprised to see that Jamie Walters played drums for you guys!

    He actually played drums on our very first demo. He was playing bass in a band called Boulder, I funno if you're familiar with them or not.

  • Yeah, I've heard of Boulder, I'm not a big fan of their; I do know who they are.

    I can tell why you don't like them; it's the screamy vocals! (we both are laughing). A lot of people get turned off by that, but to me it's like... I just love that U.F.O. meets old Metallica wrestling in a Texas Death match kind of thing with Motorhead. It's just a massive, powerful thing, and Jamie's vocals never bothered me, and you had that guy just shredding these Schenker leads all over the place! Just stunning! But I met Jamie when I lived in Cleveland, and I was really trying to get the band off the ground back then. I had only been playing for a few years and I wasn't exactly tearing it up as far as recruiting members for the band. People at that point in time were not into playing the kind of music I wanted to play. People would come over to the house, or we'd get a rehearsal space, and they'd wanna jam fucking Kyuss songs or whatever and I'm jamming 'Victims Of Changes.' It's like we were in two completely different worlds. And Jamie is a music FREAK but he loves heavy metal. And we got this guy who is a tripped out character to come in and play bass for us.

  • Was that Dr. Phibes?

    Yeah. He's just a piece of work character from Cleveland. He actually plays in Jamie's new band Midnight. This is like classic... one part Motorhead, one part Saxon. But it's like black metal. It's a really good band, an awesome group! They have a couple of records I think on Nuclear War Now. We just laid down the tracks in Jamie's basement one day, and put the vocals to it, and that was the "Blood Encrusted Death Axe" demo! Those were fun days. But neither one of those guys could commit to the band full time. He went on to play drums for Abdullah a little bit later.

  • Finally, I wanted to ask about your first release "The Awakening," it's REALLY hard to get; is there any chance that will ever be reissued?

    That's impossible to get. It was supposed to come out on a Chilean label, but that guy dropped the ball in a terminal fashion. Right now it's still open for licensing. We've severed ties with that guy down there. He basically paid for new cover art for it, and we put the thing together; Iron Codex records out of Germany did a vinyl imprint of it. This is after 6 months of no contact with that dude, and we finally talked to him; he was all pissed off that we did this vinyl issue with Iron Codex , but we told him, "You were like the grey ghost!" So if you ever get your shit together and you wanna press this on CD... He's actually got the video of our performance of Doom Shall Rise that's supposed to be bonus footage for the disc! It's the lineup that did that record, and it's a really good show if I do say so myself; we didn't fuck up too bad that night, you know what I mean (we're both laughing here - Ed.) It's one of my proudest moments. If he ever gets his shit together, there'll be a CD of it; but as far as exclusivity goes, you can't do this, it's like we're trying to keep things moving here; you gotta work out things with us.... I don't even think I have a copy of the original pressing! And I'm not like that; I always give away like, rehearsal demos of stuff I did. People are like "Hey I like your band, blah blah blah," and I'm like, hey, here's some stuff... I figure I know how to play the damn songs!!! (laughs).....

    WRATH. Interview with Scott through Myspace...

    The fourth and final interview with a band having it's roots in the 80's, Wrath have always been a love it or hate it band, and mostly centering around the vocals of one Gary Golwitzer, who DEFINITELY had a unique style on albums like "Nothing To Fear" and "Fit Of Anger." They are currently working on new material, and have recently welcomed Kurt Grayson back into the fold; this was the man who sang on their last ever full length release "Insane Society" (not to mention their self released EP in 2008). Read how it all started and where the band is at now.

  • After listening to "Fit Of Anger," the debut album, and "Nothing To Fear," it's obvious that your original lead singer changed his vocal style from the first album to the next. What prompted the vocal style change; I know some have said that they didn't prefer Gary's singing on "Nothing To Fear," but personally I didn't have a problem with it. In fact, it made him rather unique! I know that some songs on the debut album you could hear that singing style start to surface.

    Gary's vocal style started to change during our time we were playing live shows promoting the first album. It wasn't intentional, and yes it was unique. We believe it was one part of the band that Ronnie Montrose wanted to hear more of when we signed on to do Nothing To Fear. As a band, we loved bands like Accept, Krokus, and AD-Dc. The influence definitely derived from those vocalists.

  • Just out of curiosity, after 18 years you guys got back together and did an EP. Was there ever any consideration for getting Gary back into the band? Why did he leave the band after those first two albums; was it just over a direction of the music?

    We never seriously considered Gary for the reunion, because originally, Kurt Grayson (Insane Society vocalist) was still in the band; he just lived in Texas, where as we were in Illinois. We would bring in Kurt for occasional shows, and it wasn't until late 2005 that we decided to just find someone here who was fresh, could commit to regular shows, and would put a new face on the band. Gary has not sung in any band I'm aware of in many years, so I'm not sure if he would even be interested. Gary originally was asked to leave because we felt the direction of what he was coming up with was not up to the standards we had set for ourselves. Looking back, I think he was in a tough spot in his personal life, and just was not 100% as we knew he could be. We are friends. There's no hard feelings I'm aware of.

  • How do you feel about those earliest of albums? Personally, I found "Nothing To Fear" a better album, but I still enjoy songs from "Fit Of Anger." I unfortunately never got to hear later releases.

    Nothing To Fear is looked at as our best album by many people. I personally like the album, but it is not really a portrait of what we truly were even at that time. In a way, we tried so hard to set ourselves apart: you have to remember, this was the late eighties, there were hundreds of great bands out, many who simply sounded the same. You had to really dig deep for something that stood out or you got lost. This album was experimental, different than anything we had ever done, and in many ways, an album we could never possibly repeat. People have a weird love/hate thing for the vocals. We think it could have been better with a bit more actual production on the vocals. Montrose was a musical genius, and that shows, but I think the vocal production fell short... No fault of Gary's.

  • I would love to hear about your earliest of days. What bands did you tour with and enjoy touring with? Tell us about some of your favorite shows, and did you ever get the chance to play Europe at all?

    Touring was fun. We played shows with Testament, Death, Overkill, Dr. Know, Jackyl (then unknown), Pantera (then new), Biohazard (then unknown), and Raven. There were many more, but you get the picture. We had the time of our lives touring the states, but regrettably, never got a chance to tour the legendary European metal stages.

  • You spent a bit of time on Medusa Records. Besides having a pretty cool name for a label, can you tell us a bit about what your contract was like and how long things lasted? You spent a bit more time on this label than most 80's metal bands spend on one label. How did it all fall apart?

    Our contract was great with Medusa by today's standards. We got a great recording budget, tour support, and promotion. Three albums worth. As a young band, we were treated very well. Bands today just seem to have to record on their own, then hustle a deal with someone who promises to distribute the album worldwide; only to find out it's some kid working out of his basement, and it ends up costing them money and they never get a chance to even tour. Things now are different. We were fortunate to work with people who believed in what we were doing. Medusa eventually folded because they failed to build upon the momentum they started as a new label. There were some bad signings in their later years, but we just signed at the right time.

  • What made you decide to reform Wrath again after so many years? And how do you feel about the current resurgence of thrash metal, with bands like Municipal Waste, Evile, newly reformed Onslaught, Warbringer and the like currently touring and releasing albums?

    Wrath reformed as a working band because we never really broke up. Some of us left, returned, and such, but the nucleus of the band always stayed intact. We are a working band again, because we enjoy doing this, we like each other (I think!), and we still get off on playing and recording music. I think any band that finds it's way back together currently is right on for doing it. Why not? Bands like Testament, Exodus, Kreator, Warbringer, and many more are great bands because they are doing it for the love of music. Period. It can't be for the money, so it's gotta be the love!!!!

  • What were some of your favorite bands from the 80's? Did you ever get into record collecting and checking out rare and obscure bands from around the globe? How about fanzines and the whole demo tape trading thing?

    We have a lot of favorite bands from the eighties. I personally remember listening to bands like Anvil, Mercyful Fate, Saxon, Motorhead, Accept, Armored Saint; and the other guys would probably include Suicidal, Sepultura, Slayer, Anthrax, Laaz Rockit, Megadeth, and such. There were a lot of obscure bands back then, but some have faded long ago. We did get into some fanzines. I remember The Crucible, Metal Militia, and others; in fact, King Klassic, our first label, started as Midwest Metal Militia, a fanzine Dennis and Phil had started way back in like '83.

  • I'm assuming the reformed Wrath will be playing live gigs in the near future. What sort of songs will you play live, and how does your current vocalist handle the older stuff Gary used to sing?

    As far as the live shows now, we are doing mostly "Insane Society" stuff and new material due to the fact that it would be hard to do Gary's vocals. We are thinking about bringing in a few oldies, though. 'Abuse It,' 'RIP,' and 'Mutants' have all come up in discussions. We'll see. We wanted to really concentrate on John's vocals for the time because we were re-introducing ourselves as new WRATH. We will see how thing shape up. Maybe a medley?

  • Did you ever get to check out Gary's other project Stygian? I didn't get to hear it yet, but I heard it was heavier thrash; in fact it's funny because on a song like 'Fanatics' from the first album, Gary does an almost death metal style vocal pattern!

    We heard Stygian when it was released, and we all thought it was very good. We knew the early version of the band, and this was quite a change from that. Gary added a vocal style that strangely ended up sounding unlike anything like "Nothing To Fear." We recorded 'Fanatics' after "Nothing To Fear," and I guess you could hear some of that style on the Stygian stuff. I recently heard some of it on a web site, and it's quite good.

  • How do you feel metal will continue on in this day and age? Lots of people are complaining that MP3 trading and filesharing is to be the demise of the music business; did these people ALSO forget that demo tape trading was how a lot of bands got their start?

    I think the current state of the music business is in trouble not from file sharing, but the repercussions of many, many, many, many years of the wrong people getting rich from the blood, sweat, and tears of many bands whose music was bled, and squeezed out to feed the money machine; and I think file sharing is just a current way for people to get to hear cool new music they cannot find at the corporate record store giants who have killed almost all of the small, obscure, cool record stores. Another difference is back in the day, if you forked over ten bucks for an album, you read the liner notes, you listened to it start to finish for weeks, and you knew everything possible about the band, plus you got killer album cover art work!! You were loyal to a band back then. You would go to a show, and you would know all the lyrics, all the air guitar moves, and you were in metal heaven!! Today, too many people want the flavor of the month, and could care less about cover art. They have no clue what they are missing out on!

  • Being from Chicago, were there any cool bands back in the 80's that you associated with? Maybe there were some cool up and coming bands from the area back then that we didn't hear about. What were shows and the scene like in Chicago in the 80's?

    Chicago had a scene in the eighties. Zoetrope, Mortar, Trouble, War Cry, Tyrants Reign, Sharon Tate's Baby, Daggoth, Znowhite, Stonehenge, and many, many more. Clubs like The Thirsty Whale, Exit, Medusa's, Chances R were all havens for metal acts, and we had the pleasure of playing with all the bands above. Some good people there. There were some assholes, but that was mostly the promoters!!!

  • Finally, tell us about plans for a new record. Do you have any song titles or lyrics available, anything you can tell us about work in progress...

    As far as song titles and the such, our new EP features four killer new songs: 'What You Live For,' 'Fingers Up,' 'Another Day,' and 'Keep'Em In Line.' We play all of these songs live, and they all go over great every night. There are always songs in the works, but if I tell you, I'd have to kill you! Seriously, if you'd like, send us an address, we will mail you a copy of the new EP on the condition that you review it, and print that it's available through, itunes, amazon. com, and more. It's been a pleasure, hope all is well in your world. Keep in touch!


    This issue is, undoubtedly, extremely late. Almost 9 months too late, and an issue that almost never happened. We witnessed the demise of Metal Maniacs early this year, and of course many of our metal heroes have passed on, from Bathory's Quorthon, Exodus' Paul Baloff, even the "mainstream" music world was hit hard with the senseless shooting death of Dimebag Darrel from Pantera. On top of that, the site itself kept getting corrupted with an iframe script that seemed like it wouldn't go away and general exhaustion and depression left me to consider pulling the plug on this long running project. On a positive note, though (which is what I like to end on), Chromium Dioxide was FINALLY launched, and of course the fact they chose me to interview for their very first issue was touching and inspirational. SO, hopefully the next issue will be out a lot sooner than this one was, and these long delays will never happen again.

    HOPEFULLY... Being the operative word. In an age where record labels and bands BOTH have had to rethink the whole business model, in a time when labels no longer send out actual, physical CD"s to press, in an age where if you're not Slayer, Metallica, or even Megadeth, you have a hard time playing shows and god forbid the gas expenses, it's all seemingly going downhill. The economy tanked here in the States, jobs and houses were hard to find, let alone hold on to, but yet somehow the music still survived. Labels still released products, and people still made a living. Happy times still found a way to break through the madness. The overall positivity of the human race has yet to be decimated... Keep that in mind. Some months later, and things are picking up again. We of course are having to change our strategies for this new age, and hopefully we will be able to keep running the radio shows and magazine. Our collaboration with WREK FM here in Atlanta is an important one, especially since now I have opportunities to actually man the board and dominate a portion of the night's playlist.

    Special thanks go out to quite a few of you out there... A BIG horns and hails to Dave Brenner, who is unquestionably and undoubtedly the HARDEST working PR guy in the music business; this guy handles about 14 or 15 different labels!! Thanks to labels like I Hate, Solitude Productions, Northern Silence Productions, My Graveyard Productions, Black Widow Records, Firebox Records, Undercover Records and many many others who spend enormous amounts of postage to make sure I get actual CD's to review and play in the magazine. Thanks also to the crews at Candlelight U.S., Napalm Records, Metal Blade, Prosthetic Records, and the rest of the stateside crew for their help and support, and last but certainly not least, to Jodi Davis and April Smith, two of the most important women in my life for standing by me, believing in me and helping me to forge ahead with my ideas and dreams. Until next issue, always try and stay positive and focused, and don't be afraid when someone kicks the ladder out from under you, because there's ALWAYS another path to the top....

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