INTERVIEWS 06 ARCH ENEMY 10 SEPTICFLESH 12 VADER 14 VALLENFYRE 18 ARKONA 20 HATE DIVISION 24 KING DUDE 26 VINTERBRIS 28 BLOOD OF SERPENTS 30 SAOR 32 VALDRIN 36 DEN SAAKALDTE 38 SERPENTINE PATH 40 WITHERIA 44 HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL 46 TUSMORKE 50 JEREMY IRONS & THE RATGANG MALIBUS 54 WARKNIFE 56 SADHAK 58 GLADENFOLD 60 FROZEN OCEAN 62 ALNAMROOD 64 AZYLYA 66 XII BOAR CONTENTS 70 REVIEWS 78 BOOK REVIEWS 80 SPOILER ALERT 82 LIVE REPORTS 90 METAL PILGRIM W/ ESTEFÂNIA SILVA
AGAINST MAGAZINE P.O.BOX 527 EC ALEXANDRE HERCULANO 3880 OVAR PORTUGAL WEBSITE http://www.againstmagazine.com E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EDITOR Joel Costa DESIGN Cátia Cunha Joel Costa COVER DESIGN photo by Patric Ullaeus graphic edition by Joel Costa TEAM Ana Raquel Mendes, Andreia Figueiredo, Carlos Cardoso, Cátia Cunha, Cheryl Lynn, Christine Parastatidou, David Horta, Diogo Ferreira, Eduardo Rocha, Estefânia Silva, Jaime Ferreira, Jeffrey Allee, Joel Costa, John Glynn, Jorge Alves, José Branco, José Matos, Jude Felton, Kevin Kidd, Kunal Choksi, Labrini Gouma, Luís Alves, Mark Martins, Mike Ritchie, Miky Ruta, Mónia Camacho, Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis, Nuno Babo, Rúben Pinho, Rui Alexandre, Rute Gonçalves, Vânia Matos
our new record “War Eternal” hits the shelves in two weeks. It’s obviously a new step in Arch Enemy’s career due to the latest personnel changes in the band. What do you think the fans can expect from this new album? You know, I can always describe it from my point of view. It’s always very hard to live up to other people’s expectations but I don’t think anybody will be disappointed. From my perspective it’s a more complex, more raged and a bit more dark sounding album. It hasn’t got inaccessible, but it’s a bit more intricate. The sound of the album, it got a bit more of depth I think, and musically it’s fairly intense, even though there are a couple of songs that are in mid tempos, one or two slow ones, but you can expect very much Arch Enemy at our best, I think. What are the main themes on which “War Eternal” is focused? It’s a kind of introspective album, dealing more with inner personal turmoil than what’s actually going on around you. Everything that goes around affects your inner self, it will, absolutely, but it’s more about what’s going on within ourselves than the world around us, which is something that we have focused on the past couple of albums. So, it deals with your everyday struggles, it deals with relationships, it deals with, well…basically anything that we all go through in life. For anyone who knows the previous Arch Enemy repertoire, hearing songs like the incredible “Never Forgive, Never Forget” and both singles “War Eternal” and “As The Pages Turn” might give everyone an impression that you’ve tried to make “War Eternal” your most powerful record yet and a big statement from this new line-up. Do you agree? Yeah. We really made sure. We had more time to scrutinize things a bit more. We really cared for what we were doing. I also think that all the
changes that have happened to the band have brought a new intensity into things. It’s a bit like a new life and you don’t really want to take too many chances on things, so you really make sure that everything is like the best and the most powerful thing you could possibly do this time. We really want to show people that even though there are two new members in the band, we’re still a band to be reckoned with. As we all know, Angela Gossow has been an integral part of Arch Enemy for a long time. When was the point when Angela decided to quit the band, and what were her reasons? This is something that, it wasn’t just one point, it’s been brewing for a long, long time. She’s been a bit unhappy with certain aspects of being in a band, traveling being one thing and also all the pressure that has been on her as the singer and front woman of the band. I think that over time, and we had a bit of time off, she had more time to actually revaluate things and think about her position and what she actually wanted out of life at that point, and then she decided that, you know, “My heart isn’t into this 100% anymore” and I think she could go out there and you know…be all smiles, but that would just be acting and that would be cheating people who come to see us and buy our records. So I think, you know, it was a hard thing to take, but ultimately I think she made the right decision so, she’s a lot happier now and she’s still sort of within the band in a sense, still working with us handling the business side of things, so it was not like there was any sort of schism or anything you know? She’s still very very close to the band. When she left, did you ever feel the band’s future was at stake? Of course. That’s a very natural feeling. The singer is always one of the hardest positions in a band to switch out because people identify a band by its singer, and she had become somewhat
iconic over the past 13 years because she was one of the first ones doing what she did. Faced with something like that, us, the rest of the band we were at a crossroads. Either we’d say “Ok, we had a good run, it was fine, let’s just pack it in and do something else” but none of us really wanted that because we all live and breathe this band and there was already new music written and we were really excited about that. It started to take shape in a different way than before and we just thought, this [music] is too good to just quit, so it was just a matter of finding someone else to fill Angela’s position. About your new singer, Alissa White-Gluz. How and when did she came to enter Arch Enemy’s ranks as new lead singer? Were there any other candidates for this position? We made a list of people that we felt like they could fill Angela’s shoes and when we heard about Alissa from The Agonist, we called her and we didn’t auditioned for anyone else. Alissa flew over to Sweden, and we tried out, did some of the old songs and tried out demoing some of the new ones and it all fit perfectly so we never asked anybody else. What was the general feeling in the band when you’ve heard her singing the band’s classics for the first time? We were super impressed. It was a jaw dropping experience to see how well she did it. Of course, it sounded a little bit different, because all the singers do sound different from each other, but she’s got many other different qualities that Angela didn’t have. It was just so on and so tight, and her singing so intense in a way, so we were just like “wow”, this actually sounds very, very good you know? (laughs) It was fantastic because that was, of course, the first fear like, are the old songs going to sound too different? Will she be able to make the old stuff justice? She proved that instantly. She is more of a musician than Angela was. She lives and breathes music in a different way.
Was Alissa involved in the songwriting process for “War Eternal”? Absolutely! Most of the music was done at the time when she came aboard, but listening to all the demos and stuff that we had done, there were certain songs that sort of called out to her and she said “can I just have that one and that one and that one and see what I can do vocally and lyrically?” Of course! Absolutely, yes! She came out with some great suggestions and she and Michael [Amott] worked on the lyrics and vocals and together they’ve collaborated a lot. She’s done the lyrics for five or six songs on the album, so she was very much a part of this record. Alissa’s previous work in her former band, The Agonist, shows us that Arch Enemy can now incorporate her clean vocal style as well. Do you think that you’ll take advantage of Alissa’s vocal range in the future and probably record some sections or even full songs with her clean sounding register? Yeah, we thought about that on some songs in this album, but as the music wasn’t really written for that type of thing, it was already full of guitar melodies and stuff, it was almost like it was a little bit too much at times, so there’s not a lot of it on this album, although in certain parts of songs that have backing vocals, there’s some clean stuff mixed up with the more harsh singing. But for the future, who knows? I’m very much looking forward to do the next album to see what we can do together. Your video for “War Eternal” reached 1 million views in just four days and Alissa seems to be getting good reviews. Were you in doubt that the fans would accept Alissa this quick or did you already expect this kind of reaction from them? We didn’t knew what to expect at all! It could have gone either way. You have no idea how its gonna go and how people perceive something, because it’s something new, and if they were already fans of the band, you know…I know myself what it’s like when somebody changes
the singer, it’s an important member of the band, it changes the sound and it changes the looks…Change can be good, but it also might not be what you expect, but we were just blown away by the feedback that we got because so much of it was positive! I thought there was going to be a lot more of people that would start to hate it because Angela is not there anymore, but it they didn’t, and it’s amazing. The video hit like three million [views] on the other day and that’s the fastest thing we ever had on YouTube so, we must have done something right! (laughs) What does Angela think about Alissa? Have you guys talked about that? Does she have an opinion about her replacement, so to say? Absolutely. Angela and Alissa have been friends for many years and Angela was giving Alissa good advice about things. She’s done the same thing, being a female singer in a extreme metal band. Also when Angela started to talk about quitting the band, she didn’t know what she wanted to do, that was actually before she quit, and then she said “I think you guys should get Alissa in”, and we were like, ok, you know…let’s try a bit more...but then when it came to the point, she suggested her, so it was more or less like Angela suggesting her from the beginning. They get on very well. Now speaking about your style, what are your main influences first as a musician and then as a bass player? I would have to talk about so much… do we have two hours? (laughs) I grew up with a lot of early ‘80s and also class rock from the ‘70s, early ‘80s punk and then the whole of thrash and death. Its basically everything from Foreigner to Coroner if you know what I mean, it’s like, it’s the whole spectrum in there, and a lot of things outside of metal as well…It would take a lot of time (laughs). You’ve been in Arch Enemy for 16 years now, practically since the beginning of the band. Can you take us back in time, tell us how you came
to enter Arch Enemy and what do you think was the band’s greatest achievement during all these years? I met with Michael for a couple of times back when he was in Carcass. After that, I hadn’t actually spoken to him in a year and a half when all of a sudden one day he called and said that their [Arch Enemy] bass player had left, or they actually fired him, I think, and he was asking if I wanted to play on their new album. I said “sure, let me hear the songs!” This was the first day, and then I asked him, “when do we enter the studio?” He was like “on Monday”, and I’m like “ok, sure”…I just went to Michael’s place and we listened to the songs and he showed me some of the riffs and I think it was “Burning Bridges” and demos that they had. That was some amazing stuff, so that’s how it started. Best achievement, well, I think we achieved a lot of things along the way. I think the way that we actually managed to switch singers the first time and convincing people that women can be just as brutal as men, and that we could that on a broad front, I think that’s one of the good things that we’ve done. There have been so many steps along the way, and I also think that the second achievement is this, the “War Eternal” album, and that we managed to actually change singers and still maintain our sound and at the same time, adding something new and adding some new energy into it. I think, those would be two big highlights, because those are big changes that actually went well. Going back a little bit again, but now on another subject, and it would be interesting to get an outside look on this one. Have you ever felt that Mike and Daniel’s commitments to the Carcass’ reunion back in 2007 could have halted Arch Enemy’s plans? No, not at all! I mean, I thought it was a great thing that they did. It was really cool because people have been asking for Carcass over a decade at that point, and I’ve got to see them a couple of times and they were fucking amazing
live, so I thought that was a good thing they went out and did it and also when they came back and it was time for us to record a new album, I think that the Carcass reunion had somehow put a new spin on things, at least. Michael came out with some great riffs just because he revisited some old guitar playing techniques that he hadn’t used since the ‘90s. So, it was all a good thing for me because I didn’t have a problem with it at all. Other than Arch Enemy, you’ve been active with other projects such as Spiritual Beggars and Night Flight Orchestra with Bjorn Strid from Soilwork, but you are also a member of the last known line-up of Mercyful Fate, which is supposedly on hold right now. Are there any future plans to get back together with Kim, Hank and the rest of the guys anytime? Maybe for a set of shows? Not that I know of. I hadn’t heard anything since we’ve played our last show in Milwaukee since 1999 (laughs), so you probably know more than I do (laughs). Going back to Arch Enemy, what are the immediate plans for the band as far as touring goes? We just did out first shows with Alissa, with the new line-up, so we’ve played in Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria and Slovakia last night so we’ll go on and continue touring, headlining shows on festivals in Europe. Italy will be the next, and that’s gonna take us through the whole summer so, after that, we’re doing Russia and then we’re doing America and doing Japan and then Europe all over again I hope in Christmas, so the whole rest of the year is booked. Thank you very much for the time to answer to our questions. Would you like to deliver a final message to our readers? I hope everybody checks out our new album and if there’s a show nearby you, sling by, we’d love to see you!
s there a concept that lies underneath “Titan”, or is it more so a collection of concepts and ideas put into one record? “Titan” is not a concept album, the lyrics revolve around various themes. However there are connections between songs, for example “Burn” and “Prometheus”, the bringer of Fire. Also “Order of Dracul” with “Prototype” describe the manipulation of the masses through Fear. Also “Ground Zero” stands as a prologue to the following last song of the album “The First Immortal” and it is about a sole survivor in a post apocalyptic world. As for all the albums of Septicflesh, the songs carry more than just one meaning. Since the breakup and reunion of the band, you guys have been putting out albums on a consistent basis. Do you see this continuing into the future, say for another five to ten years? We create albums every three years, which gives us enough time to tour and compose. I can’t predict the future but we have much more to give. I am optimistic. This may be considered a common question, but who do you say has influenced your sound as a band? Taking it further, were there any bands that may have influenced the sound of this new record? Well, in the early days we had influences from bands such as Iron Maiden, Paradise Lost, Celtic Frost, Death and Morbid Angel. But through all these years we tried to filter these influences in a proper way as to not affect our identity. For “Titan” I would say our biggest influences come from the soundtracks and not from bands. Considering the artwork for the new album, how would you describe its representation in conjunction with the sound of your album? The artwork follows the path of the lyrics. It can be viewed from more than one angle, even opposite ones. Seth has chosen to use a devious kind of simplicity. When you focus on the small details you are not as sure about
the meaning as you were the first time that you gazed the picture. For example, the sheep has the teeth of a wolf. But is the sheep wearing the teeth of a wolf, or is the wolf wearing the skin of a sheep? Seth made all the artwork and Sotiris, who is responsible for all the lyrics, worked together extensively and created the visual world of “Titan” to be characterized by the extreme bipolarity of the characters portrayed. “Titan” follows the same path as “Communion”, with the participation of an orchestra and choir included in several, if not all of the tracks. Was the recording process also similar or vastly different? Yes, “Titan” follows the same procedure as “Communion” and “The Great Mass”. We started the recordings at Devasoundz studio, our professional studio in Athens. During the recordings I went to Prague to record with the Orchestra and the choir. We had at our disposal a huge orchestra, and due to that we recorded first the strings and woodwinds, then the brass and percussion and finally the children´s choir. If given free rein to form a tour package of your choice, which bands would you want to tour with? Morbid Angel and, although I know this will never happen, Celtic Frost. Both bands are legendary and pioneers in their genre. MA is the reason we added blast beats in our music and Celtic Frost the one for the orchestral elements. You’re considered pioneers of your sub-genre by many of those within the metal community. Would you consider where you’re from as a big part of how your music manifested? If I understood well your question, it is a big compliment to be considered a pioneer. My point of view is that we didn’t invent the wheel but we have a distinctive identity regarding our dreamy melodic fragments and our use of the orchestra. Of course time will tell if our music had an impact and “changed” the genre.
Another common question: how do you see the metal scene in its present form? Where do you see it heading? I would say that there is a not so bright future. I can’t see any new bands, refreshing ideas, something new that will impress me. Everything has been saturated. Bands worry more about “likes” and more about how to get fast fame. Sooner or later their “career” will collapse if they don’t follow their dreams instead of being a “fashion victim”. Are there any bands/albums that have caught your attention recently? Any symphonic metal bands that you think of highly? Fleshgod Apocalypse are a really good example of a very good Symphonic band that has an entity and quality as a band from all aspects, both in live performance and in their discography. How extensive will the touring be for “Titan”? Are there any parts of the world that you wish to visit? Any festivals planned or that you’d wish to play at? In order to promote a new album you have to tour extensively and we are definitely going to play everywhere. We just returned from an Australian tour and on February we were in Japan. And this was just before the release of “Titan”. For the new album we have some shows in Romania and Czech Republic as headliners, Hellfest and immediately we fly to USA/Canada and Mexico for a tour with Fleshgod Apocaplypse, Hour of Penance and Necronomicon. The only part of the world that we haven’t played in is Africa and South America. We would really like to play in Egypt, Brazil and Argentina. It is in our plans to do it.
ey Piotr, how are you doing? Good. Thanks, I have a couple of weeks to spend at home. It is rather a rare opportunity lately... Summer is coming too. The last time I saw you was in February in Bergen, performing at Blastfest. Did you have a good time? Of course! We were in recording season back then and we all were pretty hungry to play a show after three months. We had a good time, so did all of the fans I suppose. Of course we did! Vader news now: “Tibi Et Igni” is the title of your new album. Can you tell us a few words about it?
Wildfire, death and... New opening? We were waiting quite a long time for a new album. Vader were playing a lot in the last three years. We established a line up in that period, so “the machine” was working perfectly. The band was ready for fresh recordings, so we finally entered Hertz Studio in December last year. We were working for about 30 days spread in three months. The result is an hour of new Vader Music under the title “Tibi et Igni”. What does the title mean? “For you and for Fire” - in Latin. This verse was being used in the past in messages as a designation of secrecy. It means “Read it and burn it”. The whole album is about fire. This natural power -
as creative as destructive – has inspired humanity since its very beginning. Fire is a metaphor and symbolic and you can find it on the album in many different aspects. It will be out via Nuclear Blast soon, do you intend to shoot a music video as well? Not quite. We made a lyric video for “Where Angels Weep” from the EP “Go to Hell” and we will do another one in a few months, just before the tour starts. This low budget work has been seen by almost 40.000 people in ONE day. Of course, we do plan a regular music video for one song from “Tibi et Igni”, but this is not a priority at the moment. Video is an important media today, but
Vader have always been creating their image on the music. Are there any summer gigs in your plans or will we see you on tour with Massive Music later this year? We traditionally start to promote a new album in Poland in September. The tour called Blitzkrieg (or in short, “Blitz”) is going to be more spectacular this time. The first wave is going to hit main cities and we will play 3-4 shows a week. We’ll continue in smaller cities later on. Vader will join Kreator/Sodom/Arch Enemy on tour in December as well. We also have plans for this summer: about a dozen festivals in Europe, a tour in Asia and an official new season opening in Olsztyn in August. The main World Tour is going to start in 2015 though. I see. About the artwork now, who is the creator? Also, is there any specific song that you like best? I like all the new songs and I am sure that our fans will love them too. Who did the artwork? An incredible US Artist - living in Denmark now - Joe Petagno! It is a great honor for me and for Vader that we can cooperate with such a great artist indeed. He created the cover art under the new songs’ and lyrics’ influence. Perfect illustration of what you can find inside the album. Let’s move on to some general questions now. Many bands receive more respect in other countries than in their homeland. How is Vader received in Poland? We can’t complain at all. Vader gained a high status among many Polish fans. We have played for generations for three decades. The media never really supported the band but... we are not as hungry for such a kind of “success”. Of course, we play more shows outside of our country but it does not mean that we forget about Poland. The world is just bigger... Do you think the same goes with Behemoth, Hate and other Polish bands? Behemoth – or rather the person of Nergal – nowadays holds a high position in the media. A few events in the near past made him quite popular on TV and this definitely pushed him and the band ahead. However, these stories did not change the general situation of Metal in Poland. Maybe 4-5 Metal bands in our country are able to do a tour with a measurable success. Reality is not very nice over here, but all seems
to be better. More clubs appear around and bands keep trying to cooperate like if it was in the past. Activity keeps everything going on. Nothing is going to be better if people prefer to stay home instead of coming to the shows or surfing on torrents instead of supporting the bands they like. Do you think this crisis affects people, and especially new musicians? The political situation has been unstable for the last few years. It is always easier to cry than to act and change the situation. I know too many good bands that never got through just because they never really wanted it. I survived with my band during the ‘80s and ‘90s in Poland... So when I hear about “crisis” it makes me laugh out loud. War? I don’t think that Europe is ready for that situation. Too many fat politicians have too much to lose. However, IF it happens one day, then we all will be part of it... War is like a restart for humanity and it follows our existence since one wanted to own more than the other. War looks different on the news on TV, but it changes everything in reality. The global problem is that no one cares until you feel Death. I really hope that we won’t experience that though. As a kid, when you were asked what would you like to be when you grow up, what did you respond? It was changing through the years. When I was in kindergarten I wanted to be a soldier, of course. Then I planned to be a railway man and drive a steam engine. Then I was ready to study medicine or biology later on and that was a really serious decision. I would have become a surgeon or a biology teacher if I hadn’t started Vader in the early ‘80s. But Vader “caught” you! Did you believe you would be still here today after 31 years? No way! We had dreams of course. We wanted to see Vader play a real show with real equipment one day. None of us thought about success though. It just seemed impossible to play extreme Metal and be popular among die-hard fans. The situation changed in the decade that followed as we now know it. Well, I hear many people say “did you listen to that album?” and others respond “yeah, I downloaded it”. What’s your reaction to that? Do
you buy records? Well, this is a sign of the times... When we started with Vader in ‘80s, there were no mobile phones or computers. And there was no internet of course. Social network and free access to all information, music or movies. It changed the whole world. This pretty much affected people and their attitude too. The existence of any band is now way easier. Anybody can produce very good music with good quality and then promote it worldwide with one click. Of course it does not mean that anybody can become a rockstar... Big companies and agencies today - more than ever before - decide who can be a “star”. Unfortunately, they are usually more businessmen than musicians and just a few can tell the difference between Deicide and Scorpions, if you know what I mean. “Likes” and “views” became a tool to decide about good or bad, popular or unpopular... Art in any kind is not a quiz or a test. Such attitude made the quality of music go down. There is no more natural selection of talent and everything depends on the internet, people who just rarely listen to more than a minute of each downloaded song to have an opinion about the whole thing. Many “fans” became too lazy to go to the shows or to the record stores. What for, if you can see it all on Youtube? Free music is NO problem to me! I know how it’s like not to have enough money for music you love... But there is NO Metal with no live shows! I’d change the famous line “protect your Daemons” to “support your bands” or they will only exist in your memory. Things to think over? It’s time. Well spoken… But I guess here is where we have to say goodbye-for now! Any message to your fans worldwide? I repeat what I just mentioned: support your bands! And see you soon in the mosh pit!
n “Spliters”, your second record, one thing that’s immediately noticeable is that you’ve seemed to have hardened your sound on some songs, but you also began incorporating melodies on others like “Bereft”. It sounds like Vallenfyre, besides getting heavier, is now starting to open up to different avenues in your sound. How do you personally compare “Spliters” to your first record “A Fragile King”? It’s definitely diversified, a little bit. With the first record, it was kind of meant to be a straight death metal record. On “Splinters” we wanted to keep that kind of call to it, but then push everything further, making the slow slower and the fast, faster, etc… but we also wanted to try to get our own personality into it, make the record more live sounding and to have more input from everybody else to get our own sound. People will still call it a death metal record, but influence wise, it hope it will sound like there’s more to it than that. What was the point when you decided that you were going to take Vallenfyre forward after having recorded and toured for the first record? When did the songwriting process began? After the first record, we didn’t knew if we were going to play it live, and then we’ve got a few offers to play it live so we did some gigs. It wasn’t really until the shows that it felt like a real band. It got real. We had a great time doing the shows, and after the last gig we did, we kinda decided “let’s call it a day, let’s end it here” so it stopped and that was it. We all went on to our respective other bands and then…maybe a year later, a couple of the guys like Hamish and Adrian said that people really liked that first record and certainly that was a good basis to try to write some new stuff, so I’ve said “let’s start writing some new stuff, and then if its good enough, we think about doing another record”. It took about a year to write I think. We talked to some people whom we respected their opinions, and they’ve said “Yeah, that’s good”. We didn’t want to do an album that wasn’t at least as good, or at least a bit different. There was no point otherwise…So, yeah, I would say about a year before we did the recording, at last february. Still talking about the songwriting process for the new record, I’ve heard that the songwriting in “A Fragile King” was pretty much your creation for the whole record, but now, other than possible arrangements, have the other members contributed with song
ideas this time? Yeah, on the first one, that’s true, I pretty much wrote it before I even put [Vallenfyre] together as band. I guess at one point it became a little bit aggressive. It started like something that was cathartic to me, but doing everything on your own…you can become a little bit insular, so this time I thought it was important to have everyone’s opinions and ideas from day one. So yeah, I did still write the majority of the material, but the arrangements, and the way it was played, a lot of it was ideas and things from everyone in the band, and that went right to when we recorded the album in the studio. We’ve just played loose interpretations of what we have written. It feels more spontaneous you know? There was quite a lot of stuff that changed in the studio as well which, I’ve never done that before with any band really. You’ve kept the line up of the first record intact. So, going back a little bit, what were your backgrounds with the other musicians? I know that you all have been friends, but how did you came to originally meet Hamish and Adrian, who also plays with you in Paradise Lost, and the other guys? We did actually lose a member on this record! Mully, the other guitarist, quit before we did the recording. But it was because… It’s the best reason for any musician to quit a band, because he got offered a good job and he got married. So…people want stability and a normal life I guess, and there’s no time for that when you’ve got bands… The other guys…the guy I’ve known the longest is probably Scoot, our bass player, who plays in Doom. When he moved out of home, when he was like 18 years old, cause he was a few years younger than me, he was looking for somewhere to stay and I owned a house, so he started to live in my house and lived with me for a couple of years. I kind of showed him the way to the world (laughs) you know? (…) I’ve known him the longest. Hamish was even younger than that. he was in lots of bands around our own town in Halifax. At the time I was probably doing the “Shades of God” album with Paradise Lost, and he was a young kid. He wasn’t even supposed to be around some of the bars where he was playing. I just thought he was a really cool guitarist and a nice kid. And he’s gone out to prove himself. He’s been in Solstice, My Dying Bride…he’s just a great player. Adrian I met…well we knew each other kind of through other people, because we grew up at the same scene. I’ve bumped into him over the years, and said “Hello”. I guess…a
couple of years before he joined Paradise Lost, so maybe 6 or 7 years ago, I was in a bar in London, and I’ve just bumped into him. We’ve started talking and we’ve became good friends and started hanging out a bit. Then when the drummer position came up for Paradise Lost, Jeff Walker from Carcass actually suggested to Adrian to tryout, (…) so the rest is history I guess… Going back to the “Splinters” record, how did the production and recording process went down? Other than that, how did you and Hamish managed to capture this really aggressive and dirty guitar sound, somewhat reminiscent of the Swedish death metal early scene? Well, the recording was really cool. I’ve got Kurt Ballou involved because I liked his [style]. He doesn’t want to make perfect records, he wants to make records that have a feel, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a record…it didn’t matter if it had imperfections as long as it has a great vibe to it. A lot of the records I was doing when I was growing up were filled with imperfections, but that made you kind of enjoy them more. (…) It [the recording] was kind of easy going I guess. (…) We used analog stuff that he [Kurt] had to mess around and try to get that sound down. We brought a lot of pedals with us and other things as well. So we just started doing tuning things. To get the guitar sound we had to go through two guitar rigs at once. One was, it was actually an Ampeg, but then we’ve put one more guitar through it, and then we’ve put a VHF2 to that, and that went into a VGold retro cab, and the VHF2 is kind of the Swedish sounds you can hear, because that’s what creates that sound. We’ve also went through another cab setup where we had put an M22 pedal into a Blackstar cabinet and through a Boogie head. So we had these two stacks to create that noise and distortion going through, and [sometimes] we had to leave the room because it was so violently noisy and loud...so hats off to Kurt Ballou for mixing the stuff and make it almost sound listenable because, we’ve made a hell of a noise in there! Talking about the lyrical contents on the record, your first record “A Fragile King” was lyrically rooted on the impact your father had in your life as well as in other themes such as religion, corporate exploitation, politics, relationships and consumerism. Where is “Splinters” going lyrically wise? What are the main themes you’ve focused on this time?
On the first record, its kind of, the theme like you said, there’s a general theme of grief in it. On this new record, there are a couple of tracks that deal with that but in a more generalized kind of way. On some songs there are similar themes to the first record like say, consumerism in society, religion and stuff like that, but I also deal with addiction and self-medicating. Also, others deal with war and greed...I think there’s an occult theme about the lyrics...things I feel strongly about, and it could be anything, you know? Anything that affects you, you just want to talk about it. I’m just venting on the songs, just letting off steam and talking about things...It’s all real stuff you know? It’s not like the majority of Death Metal which is kind of blood and guts and gore, which is fine...it’s fine but...while I was growing up I loved the early Death Metal style, but lyrically I prefered the crust punk lyrics, because they had something to say to me, it connected to me. So, I kinda tried to do that with the lyrics in Death Metal songs you know? And talking about those particular influences, some of the songs in the new record such as “Scabs” and “Instinct Slaughter” or “Cattle” they all seam to bear traits from some of Death Metal and Grindcore’s early crossover
acts such as Napalm Death, Repulsion and even probably, I don’t know if you agree with this, some of Sweden’s early outfits such as Nihilist. So which other bands were your sources of inspiration for writing this kind of music? I think you’re right on all those you’ve just said really! I also liked some punk bands when I was younger. The first gig I ever did was with the first line-up of Napalm Death and I used to write to Nicke from Nihilist when I was a kid so, all those influences are very important to me and I also liked Celtic Frost, Hellhammer...even early Black Metal stuff like Bathory, the first two Bathory records, I liked them...Yeah, and a lot of crust punk too, because I was actually involved in the punk scene before I got into metal, so stuff like Conflict and Discharge and Antisect and Amebix and stuff like that were very important to me. The influence might not be obvious on this record but you can still hear it in certain songs. This also poses an interesting question, because I was thinking about Paradise Lost’s first record “Lost Paradise” and it’s easy to see that these sounds you play now in Vallenfyre represent a path that you could have followed after Paradise Lost’s first record, but obviously we know that evolved into some-
thing different. Did you you always had the need to do this kind of project, or did the events of your life surrounding your personal loss propelled you to move forward with it? A little bit of both. But I wouldn’t say I’ve always had the need to do something like this, you know? This kind of music I was influenced by was my first love. It was what I’ve got into when I was 12, 13 years old up to my early twenties. It was the first thing that affected me musically in my life. That never goes away from you. Even if you might go through a different path down in life, it’s always in the back of your head. You hear this stuff and it just takes you right back to being a kid again. So that’s the reason behind choosing this style to work on Vallenfyre. But the actual reason that led me to do it was actually the death of my father because, until that point, I guess I wouldn’t have just thought about it or do anything. I guess an experience like that in people’s lives just makes you think. You know, life’s too short, what’s the worst thing that can happen? People won’t like it and I won’t do it again. It was just written more spontaneous I guess, I was just more willing to try things out I guess, not worrying about consequences. This kind of old school death metal
sound has been missing nowadays, and since you’ve been exploring this variant, do you feel that the resurgence of this early style, mixed with other type of influences, could be the answer to inject new life into death metal? I think it is. I think it’s already working! I mean, its already happening because up until two or three years ago, I think death metal was becoming really boring...All the technical stuff just for the sake of it, no hooks, no songs, everyone has the same production, too clean, too edited... I think all the new bands are just kind of losing the plot of what it was meant to be when it first came about. It was an exciting offshoot of punk and metal mixed together and doing something new. And I think that in the last couple of years there have been a few bands coming out that are acknowledging the early days of that. But you still need to be able to write some decent songs and just get excitement out of it, not just trying to get perfection, not try to polish things, that’s the whole point of this music, it’s not polished! It’s raw, it’s rough! I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction, there are some bands that are starting out that are sounding good, so I look forward to what’s gonna come out in the next few years. Returning to “Splinters”, you’ve just released a new video for the title track, which is kinda like a short story in itself. Where did the concept came to do this video and who was involved in its direction? Well, it actually came about because, I once had a dream about it, it sounds weird you know? (laughs) I had a dream about this concept for the video. I’ve approached Century Media to get a budget for the video and when they told me what the budget was, I’ve said, well...for that budget we were only going to get a generic producer to do a generic headbang video, and we’ve already seen enough of this! If you type “metal video” on Youtube, 99% of them are guys with long hair shaking heads around, which again, there’s nothing wrong with it, that’s what people want to see, but for me, it just kind of gets a little boring. So, I’ve persuaded Century Media to give me the budget and with my brother I’ve edited the video. You’ve made the video? All the process of shooting and editing? Yeah, me and my brother went to do it. My brother is trained in photography and he’s a graphic designer. So we did it since the
storyboarding, right into the editing and post-production after the whole concept. But we had to get a lot of people involved to help us with it. We had to get actors and call a few favors here and there. Yeah, I think it worked out but I didn’t want to announce that was me and my brother making it because people could have made a preconception of that. But to me, it’s important to get a piece of the story to a video, especially for a song like “Splinters”. I just wanted to tell this disturbing little story in cinematic style, using references like “Begotten”, and “Nosferatu”. I kind of wanted to blend them together to get a kind of B-movie, silent-type vibe to it. It worked out, I think. About Vallenfyre’s sound, having in account that you’ve also started to explore other kinds of sounds and melodies in this record, do you see the band progressing further and embracing other kind of influences to its sound in the future? I think... never say never! At this moment in time, I don’t see me doing anymore Vallenfyre records. I would say that I’ve achieved what I’ve needed to achieve. But like I’ve said, never say never, anything can happen in the future, but in this moment in time you know, I just think that the longer a band is going, the more history you have to live up to, and the more, I guess, pressure is on you. So, I didn’t want that to happen to Vallenfyre, I wanted it be a fun thing to do so, if it becomes a pressure in any way I don’t want to continue it, so...we’ll see how this record goes and maybe do some shows and we’ll take it from there. I have no plans to do anything else of it, at this moment in time. But if this record gets you to another level, wouldn’t you consider to make this more of a serious outlet such as Paradise Lost? It all depends on material and drive. I mean, if we feel like doing it, I think we can come up with material that is as good again but it takes in another way, so there’s a lot of different factors, I don’t think too far ahead, I never plan that really, you know? I just see what happens next week and then see what happens in the week after that. About Paradise Lost, I’ve heard that you were about the enter the studio to record a new album soon, is this correct? No, we were meant to go in the late summer to record it, but because of some of
the festivals and things we can’t do it in the summertime (…). It looks like were going into the studio in the autumn now. I have like half of it written already. Do you think these experiences with Vallenfyre, where you’ve been reconnecting with your old Death Metal flame and writing material in this style will translate somehow to Paradise Lost? It’s hard to say. I mean, maybe involuntarily. I tend to keep them very separate, it’s like two sides of my personality, one is very structured and polished and the other side is chaotic, messy and angry. It’s kind of two separate sides. But, you know, it’s all coming from my head so, you never know (laughs). We could do things without realizing from time to time, but I think in half of the new Paradise Lost record, there’s definitely a lot of things happening in there that people will be quite surprised of what we’re doing. It’s a bit different! What’s the direction the band is heading into this next record? It’s going to be different from the last couple of records. I don’t really want to go into it too much, but yeah, there’s gonna be some sort of elements that we probably haven’t used in more than twenty years, and there’s also some new elements in there as well. Final question! Would you like to share some thoughts to our readers and Vallenfyre fans in Portugal? I just hope everyone like the record and the video [Splinters] enough to maybe invite us over there for a tour at some point. It would be nice to get there and do one, two, three, or how many shows you want us to do there! But my goal with Vallenfyre when I did this record was that I wanted to play at least once in every country in Europe, so hopefully we’ll go to Portugal this year at some point, and if anyone reads this or whatever, give us a shout, get in touch on our Facebook and we’ll come and play a show!
t has been ten years since «Vozrozhdeniye», your debut album. What has changed in this past decade? Since that time, we have released seven albums, signed a contract with one of the leading European labels (Napalm Records) and another contract with the concert agency Rock The Nations. These are the main news. We can also point that there were some changes in my musical perception that reflected in our latest release. It is said that you wrote all the songs this time around. In which way do you think that reflects in «YAV»? «YAV» is the darkest and most experimental creation of our career. We can say that it uncovers my mood and my soul during the writing process. To be honest, I think that real creativity doesn’t look for sources of inspiration. Instead, it appears from nowhere like if someone planted a seed in your brain. The musicians get their inspiration from another world in order to present it to the public. Then, music can germinate at any moment, whether while you’re in the subway, working on something important, during your sleep or even while you’re having a conversation. It is impossible to guess when it will happen, it just happens. What does «YAV» mean? What’s the story behind the title? Yav’ means “Reality”, the world we live in. In the Slavic mythology there are three worlds: Yav’ (our world), Nav’ (the other world, the dark world) and Prav’ (the world of Gods and spirits). «YAV» is a concept album not in the sense that each song relates to the previous one and the whole album is a story, but rather that all the songs are my point of view on our world today. Vlad “Artist” Sokolov left the band in August and Andrey Ischenko was officially announced as the new drummer by the end of January. In what way did that influence the composing and recording processes? «YAV» was recorded with two drummers: the first six songs were recorded with our old drummer Vlad “Artist”
and the last three were recorded with the help of our new drummer, Andrey Ischenko. Vlad left the band due to disagreements within our staff that set off when we started working around «YAV». I think it is a common situation when someone becomes tired or uninterested in continuing to work with a band: he leaves and finds himself in something else. We wish him the best of luck! When the decision about Vlad became certain, we immediately thought of Andrey to take his place. Andrey Ischenko is an old friend, we have known each other for many years, so it was easy to take him in our staff. Andrey is a very famous Russian drummer; he worked with many bands, not only as a session musician but also as a constant member of many former Russian groups. We are glad to see such a great musician like Andrey with Arkona! Since «Goi, Rode, Goi!» you are known to invite choirs and an orchestra to contribute to your music. How do you choose these contributors and why did you decide to incorporate them? Are there any contributors in «YAV»? The idea to use choirs and an orchestra fit nicely into our latest concepts, creating a harmoniously amplified arrangement. We had our friends’ help in order to find the right people/groups to contribute. During the last album’s recording we decided to leave behind the idea of using choirs and violins given that the arrangements became overly saturated even without it. It turned out to be unnecessary. Nevertheless, there are plenty of guest musicians on «YAV»: Olli Vänskä (Turisas) plays the violin leading solo in the song «Zov Pustyh Dereven’», Thomas Väänänen (Thyrfing’s ex-vocalist) wrote the lyrics and sings in «Vedma», Vika Yermolyeva (who is a very talented Ukrainian pianist and well-known for her metal covers) plays in the song «Indigo Child» and Aleksey “Master Alafern” (who is a well-known Ukrainian musician and a good friend) plays most of the folk violin parts. «YAV» doesn’t seem to be an easy album to present live, due to all its arrangements and duration. How do you choose the songs that will be played live?
The setlist was trusted to me. I chose the songs that I felt to be the most dramatic and concert-friendly but I can also state that I have chosen my favourite songs. Of course our new material is difficult to present live and requires some concert practice but that’s what tours are for, so we can practice and gain experience through it. You have announced a DVD to be released in May, called «Decade Of Glory». What can we expect from it? Not so long ago we celebrated our 10th birthday. We made a Russian tour and the main show was held in Moscow where the live album «Decade Of Glory» was recorded. We invited choirs and an orchestra and we can say that it was our greatest show to date! «YAV» was released with a bonus DVD featuring the entire footage of the show. How do you manage your roles as a woman, wife, mother and frontwoman? Is it difficult to manage those roles while, for example, touring abroad? Sergey “Lazar”, our guitarist, happens to be my husband and rides with me. During our absence, my mom takes care of our house and children. I need to thank her so much for that! Other than that, my life goes its way. There is always a lot of work at home, work that must be done and that’s why I have no rest back there. During the tour, I get to relax from all the home work and troubles... but my thoughts are always with my children. What are the future plans for Arkona? We do have great plans; I can only advise you to check for new information on our official website. Hope to see you in our concerts!
t seems you have found a name for yourselves that really suits you! Where does the hate come from? Paul was going to use the name for a grindcore side project back in ‘06-‘07. After our band at the time dissolved, we decided to adopt it. The name basically symbolizes how hate can divide us. Humans have infinite capacity to love and also to hate. You also seem to have your own definition of “Extreme Metal” and you don’t seem to be the kind of band that follows any standards when writing music. How do you usually come up with new songs? Is there anyone responsible for that or do you work as a team? It’s basically a team effort. One of us will bring a few riffs to the table. We comb over them and start arranging, adding and subtracting parts until we have the basic song structure. From there we fine tune it and try to make it as cohesive as possible. Howie writes a lot of the music but most of our songs are made up of riffs from all three of us. Lyrics are usually written after the music is completed. I guess that’s part of the reason why we have always taken the non-standard “verse-chorusverse” approach. We always wanted Hate Division to kind of have that “organized chaos” element but still remain listenable. For me, every album has its own identity and we can’t compare one to the other because they’re all different. But if you had to compare “Order of the Enslaved” with your debut record, which differences would you point out? “Order” is definitely our most mature material to date. We spent a lot of time writing, practicing and recording these songs to ensure they were the absolute best they could be. Our goal was to produce a better sounding record but keep that live and organic grind element intact. Everything you hear on the album is real performances. No studio trickery. We also really tried to add some new elements to our sound this time around. Stuff that probably wouldn’t have fit on our
previous recordings. Which song was the first to be written for this record and in which ways has it influenced the composition process for the following ones? After “Strategy of Obsolescence” was done, we were a bit worried because we really had nothing. None of us had written anything new for a while. I believe the first song was either “The Divine Reward” or “Medicated”. I think these two pretty much opened the flood gates and allowed us to start thinking outside the Hate Division norm. There are parts in both that would have never made it on the “Strategy” album; especially “The Divine Reward”. Based on your lyrical approach, where do you think our world and society are going to? And why haven’t we learned from our mistakes yet? Shane: Personally I think society is heading down the toilet. There are definitely some intelligent people out there but as a whole we’re in serious trouble. Without radical change we may be heading towards our own extinction. Why haven’t we learned from our mistakes? I think greed is one of the main reasons. It’s in our nature to seek power over others. I try not to dwell on the negative though. You get more out of life surrounding yourself with people who make you happy. To what extent are we all slaves? We are slaves to everything. Our technology, social status, quest for wealth… the list is endless. And because of this we are slaves to the people in power who control these things. In reality we don’t even own the land we live on and pay for. I’ve learned that over the past few years. Freedom is an illusion. I think this quote sums it up best: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” If you could change anything on this world what would you change and why? I would abolish the current monetary
system and move to a more resource based economy. Money is the main reason people are starving, crime rates are increasing and we’re poisoning the earth. The almighty dollar will eventually be our undoing. How do you think grindcore and death metal fans in general will react to this record? This one is probably more death metal than grindcore but we hope fans will see the energy we put into making it. There are a lot of parts on the album where we said “Hey this sounds awesome! I’ve always wanted to have a part like this in a song. Let’s put it in!” I think some people will be surprised at a few tracks. One in particular comes to mind. People will either love it or hate it and we’re totally cool with that. Do you believe there are several lines yet to be written in the grindcore book? Well I guess everything has already been done in one way or another but there are definitely innovative bands out there that continue to push the boundaries. Bands like Noisear and Gridlink come to mind. Outside of grindcore, bands like Menace, Enslaved and Gorguts are producing some pretty interesting music. What are your plans for the future? We’re currently working on setting up a few shows for the summer to support the release of the album. We don’t really play live that often so it will be nice to hit the stage again. Other than that, no real plans to start another record just yet. When the timing is right, we’ll be ready to grind!
saw you last year in Oporto, Portugal, and it was really great! According to Ván Records, you’re currently on tour… How’s that going? Thanks, it’s good, we just did a month long tour in the USA with Ghost and next week we are headed to Europe for another month or so with Scout ParéPhillips. When listening to “Fear” I noticed electric guitars have a stronger role than in previous works. Are you trying to figure out how a new path can be walked within King Dude’s sound?
Yeah, in a way I guess things are getting a bit heavy and more rock and roll here and there. But I still like quiet stuff too, there’s a fair amount of that on “Fear” as well. It’s just that having a full time drummer in the band really causes it to sound heavier at times. I also felt it gives an electric darkness to your songs. They’re more vibrating, heavy and obscure. Did you feel the same way when you heard them for the first time after the recordings? I think of the songs as being way less obscure actually. I remember the feeling that this recording was a lot clearer because it was done in a professional studio with a producer and an engineer. Like before, sometimes I would
record a guitar so bad or just with the worst microphones that it wouldn’t even sound like a guitar anymore. People would sometimes ask, “What instrument is that, a saxophone?”, and I’d laugh and I would have to explain that it was a very, very damaged recording of a guitar. In some songs you sing about love, in others you can sing about devilish stuff… It’s a miscellanea of cool scenarios. At some point, do you try to concentrate all themes in just one current theme? No, not really... Every record I make has at least two themes, so I plan on
making sure that a dichotomous nature remains to the songs. Looking back at your discography, how do you define or how do you label your style? Is there any chance to call it death country? Death country? I don’t know! I usually just say it’s “American Rock N’ Roll”... Or “Spiritual Music”! You’re a Johnny Cash of the contemporary times, but darker and with distortion in your sound. An example of that is the “Lay Down In Bedlam” song, it’s very Cash. Do you have him as influence? I love Johnny Cash of course; he was such a great singer and songwriter. I think “Lay Down in Bedlam” was inspired more by a person I know and
not by a particular musician. It has a very country feel to it though I agree. Working with Chelsea Wolfe is a thing that pleases the audience, everybody loves your duets. Is that a thing to keep doing in the future? Can we expect more of you two together? Yes, most likely! I’ve got another song written for her that I’d like to get her to sing with me. It’s a very fun thing to do and I’m so pleased that the audience has reacted to our collaborations so well. Is the black metal life put to rest?
Is King Dude what you’ll keep doing without any deviations? There will be a lot of different things coming from me as far as new influences to the next records. But as far as black metal is concerned... Let’s just say don’t hold your breath!
ongratulations on your sophomore album “Solace”. It seems that this album has continuity, like if it was telling us a story. What does the title mean and what’s the overall lyrical content of this record? Henrik: The lyrics are centered around existentialism, and on this record, specifically about a man’s struggle with self acceptance. It’s about a depression
process and how the human mind raises questions about the nature around them. “Solace” is thus about the process of depression and finding a way out of that mental state. It’s like a journey from start to finish, where we try to represent the different stages that one goes through in times of despair, and we think that the music and artwork express this in a good way.
One thing that really caught my eye the first time I heard “Solace” was the artwork, which was created by Kim Holm. How did this partnership come about? Henrik: Kim has certainly been around the block concerning the Bergen metal scene, and we had the pleasure of talking to him for the first time when he was drawing us live by the stage on Hulen, a local club. Since then he drew
us again at Kvarteret, another local club, and we were set on asking him to do the artwork for the album. The partnership started with sessions and discussions on how he would produce the artwork, and we concluded that he would interpret each song in his own fashion. Each drawing represents one song. Were you happy with Kim Holm’s interpretation of Vinterbris’ sonority? Kristoffer: Very. I think he’s put a lot of heart and soul into the creation process, and this shines through. It’s nice to have a different person’s perspective on the songs, and it compliments the songs in a cool, unique way. How much of a step further is “Solace” when compared to your self-titled debut? Kristoffer: I think, as the co-producer of the first album, that a huge progress has been made in both maturity (composition-wise) and in the more technical aspect of the mix/master/tracking. There are a lot of cool ideas on the first album, but they didn’t really have a good scene to be showcased on, meaning that the mix lacked some of the x-factor needed to make a song really shine through. Since then we’ve refined the technical side, but retained most of the procedure in terms of the recording process. How were the recording sessions for this album like? Have you learned something new that you’ll remember the next time you enter the studio? Kristoffer: Having our own setup to track and preproduce all of the compositions is an immensely important tool for us. We tracked the songs in two stages before we initialized the final recording. For the last eight years I’ve always tracked most of my own music myself, and doing so gives you great control of the creative workflow. You don’t really have to rush anything and you can rework the compositions until you find it to be up to standards. I think we probably spent more time on “Solace”
compared to the debut, and the result was of course a better, more sophisticated creation. We also worked closely with our main producer and good friend Tor Vegard Aksnes who really dedicated a lot more time on the production than we paid him to. He worked as the technical engineer on the tracking of the drums and vocals, as well as the acoustic guitars and mixed/mastered the final mixes you hear on “Solace”. As for learning new tricks of the trade, one cannot avoid making errors and thus new experiences so that goes without saying, haha. Continuity surely is a word to remember. If you start something, be it the tracking of guitars or vocals, complete it before you move on. Have a plan before you do anything. This is your first release with a record label. Was the searching process easy? Kristoffer: We did go through the standard procedure when looking for a partner to release “Solace”. Starting out at the top and working your way down. Black metal is not really anything the big labels have much interest in, and that’s understandable. The big names like Immortal and Taake have their fair cut and usually sell enough albums to interest investors, but smaller bands like ourselves surely are a high-risk investment. Luckily for us we found a great label willing to help build the name of Vinterbris, and we couldn’t be happier with the amount of idealistic work Nordavind Records have put into “Solace” without any real promise of monetary gains. Hopefully it turns out to be worth it, since a lot of great potential in a very exciting genre seems to be stuck in the rehearsal area. What do you expect when it comes to reviews and people’s opinion? Do you think “Solace” will be understood and well received by the media and the audience in general? Kristoffer: Our hopes are of course that people will find it to be great, but the public opinion doesn’t really matter as much as our own. I’d like to think that
we made the best record we could at the time and we are all very happy with the result. Hence, we are of course expecting better than average reviews, as the small sample which has already gone online/in print has showcased, but in the end it all comes down to the process of creating the songs which for us have been satisfactory. Having said that, black metal, maybe even more the melodic side in the genre, seems to be heavily subjected to personal preferences. It might be too heavy for the average Alcest listener, but not kvlt enough for those who enjoy early Mayhem and the likes. There seems to be a void in the middle that, without sounding overly self-absorbed, we can help filling. My hope is that “Solace” can do the job as a gateway album for those not necessarily familiar with the black metal scene. 1349’s Archaon wrote some cool lines about you. How did you manage to have him write some promo material for you guys? Henrik: We met him while we were playing at a club in Oslo called Unholy. He hung out with this other band that played that night, Gate to Khaos. He seemed to enjoy our show, and he’s been helping us out ever since. He is a really great guy! What’s next for Vinterbris? Henrik: Right now, we’re writing music for our third record, which is yet to be named. We are also planning to do some shows in the late summer, as well as promoting “Solace”. Our main focus as of now is to get “Solace” heard and preparing to play gigs.
ongratulations on your debut full-length. Are you pleased with the way it turned out? Thank you very much! Yes, we are very pleased with the result, with everything from songs, sound down to the album layout, we got it the way we wanted. Your sound is very refreshing and it seems that you have put a lot of effort and dedication into this record in particular. How would you describe your writing sessions for this album? I would say the writing began about a year and a half before actually going in the studio to record; it always starts with riffs, me (Fredrik) and Kristian met up at our rehearsal room and presented to each other what we had to offer, then from there we started to put things together, arranging songs as we go along, one song could have maybe 4-5 different arrangements before it gets the approval that it’s good enough. So effort and dedication are always 100% in everything we do, we put a lot of work into our music and aren’t satisfied easily. For this album we wanted every song to be really strong, no leftover songs would be on the album, that was our vision, and I think we managed to do that. In which ways did your previous EPs help define your sound? Not to knock those EPs down, but I would say they helped us more with what not to do than with what to do. I still think they are good EPs, but at that time we hadn’t really found our style and sound that we wanted and now have. But there are 2 songs from the EPs that we changed a little and rerecorded for Black Dawn, so the EPs were a good starting ground for us for sure. Lyrically speaking, what is “Black Dawn” about? Do you follow specific themes when writing lyrics or do you just go with the flow? Two of us wrote lyrics for this album, and I think we kept a good theme on
the album, what they mean to us might not be the same as for the listeners or even the others in the band, we always want the listeners to make up their own minds about it, and the lyrics are there to be read. But I would say the lyrics have gotten darker, more occult and blasphemous… to go along with what the music also became. Lars Broddesson, Marduk’s drummer, not only was the chosen producer for this album but he also recorded the drums. How did he end up playing for you and how was it like? Well, when we made plans to start the production we had some lineup changes in the band, so we kinda stood without a permanent drummer as we were going into the studio, so the obvious choice was to ask Lars to play the drums; he’s an amazing drummer and a good friend and we share the same vision in what we wanted out of these songs, and he said yes, and during recordings we found our now drummer Christoffer, so now the band is complete and a strong force. Working with Lars is great! I have nothing but good things to say about him and the way he worked with us in the studio. Did Lars have any input on how your songs should sound like or did you go to the studio with everything sorted out? Yes, the things Lars was most involved with besides producing (and drumming) were some arrangement ideas, “make this longer”, “shorter”, “try this on the guitar”, etc. He had some really good ideas and has an ear in which we trust, so if he says “this is better” we don’t have to second guess it. What was the most difficult thing in recording “Black Dawn”? I don’t know if there were so many difficult things recording it to be honest, we were ready for the task when we started, it’s more about getting it done, and knowing when to stop and go
home for some sleep and not to record when your head is not fresh. But overall it was a great recording session. Considering that there’s a bunch of new bands appearing every day and there’s so much diversity out there, how do you think people will react to this album? And how groundbreaking do you think your new record is? As you said in the beginning, refreshing… that’s what I think as well, I think we have a new and fresh take on black/ death metal, all the recognizable ingredients are there, but I think we have a very unique style, and we are not afraid to mix it up. Hopefully the listeners will feel the same way, if some other band had made this album and I heard it, I would be truly fired up, and I think that’s how they will feel too when they hear it. Will you promote “Black Dawn” on the road? If so, can you give us some details? Yes, we hope to bring Black Dawn on the road everywhere in the near future, right now there are some dates in Sweden planned for the summer and first we will have a release party for it in June where we will play the album in its entirety live for the first time. What does the future hold for Blood Of Serpents? Hopefully it holds a lot! We are very excited about the future of this band, doing live shows, playing festivals, doing a second album, simply take Blood of Serpents everywhere!
he name Àrsaidh was already well settled within the atmospheric black metal scene. Why did you change it to Saor? I had a few problems online and digitally with the accented “A” and I grew to dislike the name altogether. A lot of bands have changed their name early on, so I don’t really see a problem with it. I prefer the new name. Do you fear having to start all over again due to the name changing? No, because most of the fans of “Roots” followed me to the new Saor Facebook page and spread the news about the name change anyway. “Roots” will be getting re-released via Northern Silence Productions under the new name. In spite of original lyric themes, you’ve written some derived from Scottish poets. Who did you choose and in what ways did their work help you to create Saor’s universe? On “Aura” I chose poems from Robert Burns and John Cameron because I am a huge fan of Burns and Cameron’s poem is one of my favourite Scottish poems. I guess their work helped, because Burn’s poem is about longing to return to the North and not feeling at home in the city and Cameron’s is about being there and how wonderful it is. The soundscapes provided in “Aura” are amazing and they give me chills of joy and sorrow at the same time
– it’s a struggle of feelings and it’s hard to mentally manage it. Please take it as a compliment. Do you think that’s how Nature works and you are just transfiguring it into music? Yes, I agree with you. Nature is unpredictable and I suppose that reflects in my music. One example could be the weather in this country. One day you can have sunshine, hailstones, rain, snow and wind all in the one day! Some of those emotions come from the tin whistles and bagpipes used in “Aura”. Can we see them as the key element in the album? I didn’t want to use folk instruments constantly throughout the album or have them up front in the mix. I think only a few bands can pull that kind of sound off, the rest sound really cheesy and annoying in my opinion. The tin whistles and bagpipes are definitely key atmospheric elements in the album. Being Saor a one-man-band, is the option of gigs out of question? I am currently looking for musicians to form a live band, so hopefully Saor can perform live in the future. Listening to Saor, I imagine you working on your songs embedded in Nature under the foggy mountains. Is that how you work? What’s your opinion on cities nowadays? There have been times when I have camped at places like Glencoe or the Isle of Skye and taken my acoustic guitar with me. Other times I will just
be sitting at home and will come up with a few riffs and melodies, it really depends on what mood I’m in or if something has inspired me to write a piece of music. My opinion on cities has always been negative. I think it’s totally unnatural for so many humans to be living and working in such an enclosed space, also almost all of the natural beauty has been stripped away and replaced with filthy roads, pavements and buildings. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate some of the amazing architecture and sights in cities but I am not a fan of busy, polluted places. I am definitely more of a rural person. How important is for you to keep the Highlands’ heritage alive? I think it’s very important for every nation to keep their heritage alive. It’s one of the great things about the earth, that we have so many different cultures and ways of living. In Scotland we have always been a nation that’s very proud of our roots and history, so I can’t see it fading any time soon.
eyond The Forest” doesn’t sound like something made by amateurs. Can you give us some details on your musical background? Where have you been hiding? We’ve been hiding out in Cincinnati, Ohio creating this music for a quite a while actually. It all started for me at the age of 14 when I formed my first real band, Viravoid. We played thrash metal in the vein of the German, Brazilian and U.S. thrash stuff we were all into at the time. Around this period (2006-2007), Cincinnati was becoming a haven for the most disgustingly terrible deathcore/metalcore/emo/ christian nonsense. We hated every bit of that kind of music and we did all we could to oppose it (how ironic, seeing how it’s mostly dead now.) We saw ourselves as the adversaries to all these poser breakdown bands. We related to the fire that Metallica and Slayer had dealing with the Glam Metal era of Los Angeles, and subsequently I believe it drove us further into dark obscure metal. Around this time I discovered the record that changed my life, “Bathory – The Return….. “ When I first heard that album, I felt some sort of spiritual calling to create evil music, and that was when the embryo that became “Beyond The Forest” was conceptualized. Around 2007 we changed our name to “Dawn of Wolves” and gradually started going away from standard thrash metal to a more blackthrash type of sound. Around 2008 I started writing the album “Beyond The Forest,” the first song I believe was “Come Forth” and then “Rusalka Succubus”. By 2010 I had finished the album and had home recorded it myself. We went through many lineup changes in Dawn of Wolves until eventually the band was James Lewis, Avik Subedi, Ryan Maurmeier and myself. We played one last show as Dawn of Wolves in Lexington and then decided to change the name to “Valdrin” as he was the main character of our story. It took us many years, with a few more lineup changes to complete the lengthy, epic record that is “Beyond The Forest.” Today we exist with our most solid lineup, with myself (lead guitar/guitar synth/ vocals), James Lewis (bass) and Ryan Maurmeier (drums) and we have had
great success playing all over Ohio and Northern Kentucky and the response worldwide to the record has been astounding thus far. What’s the overall feeling towards this album? Is it what you wanted to do from the beginning or once in the studio did things follow a different path? Well, as you can tell from what I said above, “Beyond The Forest” was originally finished and recorded by myself in 2010. So to me the record represents where I was at that time, which wasn’t a very great place. Still to this day I look back on that period as one of the darkest points of my life. Dawn of Wolves was together but we didn’t get to play out much, as terrible metal scenes were permeating the air like a plague around our city. I mostly stayed in my room and listened to stuff like Peste Noire, Bathory, Xasthur, Leviathan, Endless Dismal Moan, Dissection, Sabbat (JAP), Windir, Mutiilation… etc. When I listen to “BTF” I still hear those influences. Of course we didn’t get around to recording it in the studio till late 2011-2012 at which point I had gotten out of that hole so to speak. When it came to recording the album in a studio, the songs took on a new life, mostly due to it being recorded by a band as opposed to just myself. I still have the home-recorded versions; they indeed have a “bedroom black metal” sound, which was unique in itself. However, the record wouldn’t have sounded as mighty as it does today if we had just put out a home recording that I did on my computer. To summarize, I’d say that “Beyond The Forest” is a very painful and melancholic record to me, it has a lot of personal strife that I’m glad has been cathartically removed from my soul since the record has been finished. Nowadays I enjoy a more nihilistic view on the world, the mournful and melancholic feeling I projected once before has turned to outward anger and hatred, which I find even more useful for Valdrin at this point. It’s not every day that we get to listen to some good Melodic Black Metal coming from the US. How do you compare the North American Black Metal scene to the European
one? Overall, it has taken the USBM scene a while to catch on after the European black metal explosion in the late ‘90s. In our first wave we had bands like Profanatica, Von, Absu, Grand Belials Key, Black Funeral, Blood Storm … etc. I’m a huge fan of all those bands but I believe the USBM that hit me the strongest was the early Xasthur and Leviathan stuff. Now, of course one could say that their sound is slightly derived from the Les Legions Noires (France) bands like Mutiilation. These bands just took that sound a bit further. It carried no folk or paganistic feel, just a haunted, nightmarish sound that to me resembled an almost Resident Evil 2 feeling. That stuff definitely inspired us at that time. Nowadays the USBM scene has become watered down with boring and almost hippie loving atmospheric black metal, which we all despise vehemently. Unfortunately I think that Xasthur and Leviathan, as well as Weakling, played a big part in making atmospheric black metal more popular in the U.S. On the other hand, there have been a few bands playing a more evil black/death style recently like Prosanctus Inferi that I am quite fond of. When it comes to black metal we are more inspired by the scenes from France, Japan, Greece, and the U.S. rather than just Norway. Metal has always been an international form of music and it seems to go back and forth with bands from different countries inspiring each other. The USBM sound is still not clearly defined to this day…. but there have been great contributions and we certainly believe our stuff stands on its own two feet amongst the black/death of the USA. In what way does the intro set up the mood for “Beyond The Forest”? The intro (“A Drain in The River”) is basically a musical soundscape of our main character, Valdrin, ending his human life by jumping off a bridge. If you listen, you can hear voices saying “Jump, jump into the river.” We are very pleased at how well this portrays the feeling of one preparing to end his life. You can hear him jump into the river and fall through a portal or drain if you will. This drain siphons up his mortal body and spews him out below
the earth, to the Orcus realm. That is the beginning of his journey, and the song “Beyond The Forest” represents his welcoming to the abyssal realm of the Orcus. The title track really shows what you are made of! As far as composition goes, is it any harder to create a 10 minute song than an average 4-5 minute one? Good question. Honestly, I believe it’s more difficult to write shorter songs, especially in our case because our songs are like spells that have to be complete and unified with strong rises and falls. The song “Beyond The Forest” was the last track to be written on the record. It was put together by myself with the help of James messing around on drums, and we basically used every riff that had been left over from the record and the song essentially wrote itself. That’s the best way I could put it, it just came out and took a life of its own. It’s definitely one of my most proud moments on the record. Blast Head Records has been releasing great records one after another and yet it seems people aren’t paying the amount of attention they should. Do you agree? And how did this partnership between the two of you first start? Blast Head is a very dedicated label and Mr. Paul Shaw has a keen eye on underground black/death stuff. I haven’t heard every single band on the roster yet but it seems like it’s growing and the reception is getting better. We discovered Blast Head ourselves and felt they had a roster that reflected a love for quality and not quantity. Blast Head and Valdrin so far have had a great partnership, I look forward to what we can accomplish in the future. Can you elaborate on the lyrical content for this record? The Valdrin concept is a collectivized mythos encompassing elements of many ancient creation stories. The triad of worlds in our story is Earth, Orcus (Latin: Underworld) and Aurae (Latin: Heavens), these three worlds feed into each other and each have significant influence over the balance within the triad. If the equilibrium be-
comes drastically tilted by the negative forces of the Orcus, all three worlds could face imminent destruction. The story follows Valdrin’s journey after his suicide, beyond the realms of death and into the vast threshold of the Orcus. Here he is greeted by the old overseer, Nex Animus, He is the father of the Orcus and the keeper of balance. The sanguinary landscape is riddled with battles of demigods fighting for greater hierarchy. The strongest one, Senjyn Ahkcae, has created an empire of enslaved souls and has taken refuge in Nex’s sacred catacombs, where he gathers black energy from the dying earth. The tale of Valdrin’s arrival has been passed through esoteric lore in the Orcus since the ancient times. Valdrin is told to be a soul born from an unknown cosmic force that perpetuates balance wherever it roam. He is called by Nex to traverse the great forest and plains of Orcus to find and kill Senjyn and thus restore balance within the triad. This is as much as I can reveal, this only sets up the concept for the course of actions that take place in this album. The story is filled with many twists and turns that are sure to give the mind a painful jaunt. I’ve been writing the book version since 2010 and it’s more than halfway finished. The album tells the action and mood of the story almost like a movie, the book version will be deeper with more attention to finer details and the history of these worlds. How do you usually know if your lyrics are a good fit for a specific song? It starts from when we write the songs initially. I let the song paint a picture in my mind, each time it feels like unlocking a new dimension to the whole story. The vocal rhythms come from what the riffs need to have on top of them, if that makes sense. The lyrics come out as they do naturally, and I mold the story to fit the expression of what the scene is conveying. That’s been the formula since the beginning. I have a mental outline already of where each act (or album/book) in the giant story of the Valdrin mythos will go. But honestly it always takes on a new life when I assemble the songs together into an album. For the first
half of writing “BTF” the songs were just stories or events happening to a character in an abyssal underworld. It wasn’t until we assembled the songs in the order they are and finished writing the title track that we were able to see it had become a compelling story, filled with twists, turns, unbelievable characters and otherworldly settings. Forgotten Souls had always been in mind to end the record, but once it was all there, the songs tied into each other like a giant web of unfolding chaos and revelation. What’s next for Valdrin? At the moment we are playing live as much as possible and getting things arranged to do some touring. We are also knee deep in writing our second record. It’s now more than halfway finished, having been in the works since 2012. We are doing everything we can do to get “Beyond The Forest” out to those who are worthy to understand it. In late June we will be going into the same studio we did “BTF” at to record a 2 song EP with live drums for the first time. It will have two crushingly hateful tunes from our upcoming 2nd record. The two songs will be “Funeral Tides of Orcus” and “Junnatox (Sanguinary Spawned)”, the former being the title of the EP. Our new music is way more hateful and twisted than before. Where we once enjoyed melancholic melodies of woe, we now enjoy perverse almost neo-classical evilness and disharmony. Our new record will be godly, but it will take time, as our full lengths always will, so that’s why we are releasing this EP to prepare everyone, and ourselves. You can expect our second record “Two Carrion Talismans” sometime in 2015. Thanks for the interview. Hails to thee and hails to the maniacal supporters of Valdrin!
re you happy with the final result of “Kapitel II: Faen I Helvete”? Do you feel it’s the most complete and well-done work so far? Yes, I think we feel quite comfortable with the sound of this album. It is simple, raw, powerful, rough in a way but at the same time sharp and with definition. The songs are being presented under the right vibe. In regards to the layout, I think Trine + Kim [Design Studio] did a great work around it that fits the idea and mentality that this album has. This album is the most complete album until the next one. When listening to the album, I feel the greatest accomplishment is the guitar riffs. Do you feel the same way? And I recall, for instance, the track “Djevelens Verk”… I think that the biggest accomplishment is that the album works in an absolutely great way as a concept. It is 49 minutes of work through 7 songs and, when listening to the album, one does not get bored or tired. Every single song has its purpose and its rightful wise positioning in the album... Nothing is “random”. “Djevelens Verk” is a song in which indeed many guitars blend together and make a good synthesis... But when it comes to the whole vibe and mentality of this album, everything works together. All 7 songs are becoming one entity... And that is the greatest accomplishment of all, I think. How hard, or not, was it to form a new line-up for 2014? Not hard at all, really. The core of Den Saakaldte remained the same, being me and Seidemann. Besides that, Tjalve has been with us as a live guitarist since 2009 and became a steady member in 2010. The fact that Kvarforth decided to leave Den Saakaldte and focus only in [the Swedish band] Shining, of course it disoriented us a bit, but maybe at the end of the day it was good for us too, as we wanted a new push... A fresh start. We were lucky that Eldur were rehearsing in the same location as Den Saakaldte does... We managed to talk, experiment in rehearsals and come to
the conclusion that he should be the one stepping in for the vocal part. As for Tybalt... he had wanted to step in Den Saakaldte for many years so... All was decided over a few beers. Den Saakaldte is a group of individuals with common mentality and ideas... It is not a corporation. The one that wants to be a part of it, will be a part of it. Can we call Den Saakaldte a supergroup mentored by Sykelig, because we have musicians from Curse, Fortid or 1349? No, because I hate this term. None of us has anything super in regards to anything. We are individuals that have been in the scene for over 2 decades and decided that we should work under one banner and that is all about it, I guess. However, Den Saakaldte was formed as a one-man-band. What pushed you to transform your project into a six-piece band? I guess time. When I conceived Den Saakaldte I was fed up with everyone and everything. Back then I couldn’t think that anyone would understand what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it as such. I guess time passes by, widens the horizons. I saw that I can find people that share the same aspects with me in life... Maybe under a different approach, but that is also a nice way to do it... If we were all the same, life would be boring. I can embrace the chaos but I cannot embrace the disorder... Not sure if you understand what I mean but that is how it is. Was Eldur the one chosen to perform vocals due to his prominent presence in the black metal scene? Eldur was the chosen one, first of all, due to the fact that his mentality fits with the band, and because his approach on how the songs should be delivered out matched with how we wanted things to be. The final decision was taken after our gig in Denmark, last November. I hadn’t even listened to Fortid or any other band he is contributing to before he joined Den Saakaldte. As I said... It was kind of fate that
the bands rehearsed in the same room and that we had common friends. Why did you had an absence of five years? Personal issues and bad situations some of the band’s members had. In the first 2 years, things were quite bad and rough... Especially for me... There was no motivation or the right feeling to make music. It was just void... It is better for one to wait to make and release music coming from the heart, instead of forcing oneself to make music just because there is a contract behind demanding this. Then music would most likely be shit and no one would get anything of importance out of it. Agonia Records respected the fact that things had to wait and we are grateful for that. Being a non-Norwegian speaker, I always felt singing in native northern tongues makes everything more tenebrous and emotionally deeper than in English. Do you, as a native speaker, feel the same? I think that the Norwegian language is just right for black metal. The roughness and sharpness of the language is working in the right way so yes... We can agree that the Norwegian language is offering the most grim and cold sound... However, there are many examples where bands have used text in native language and masterpieces have come out of it... Rotting Christ, Master’s Hammer which I adore since the old days... Bethlehem... I guess all languages have their “magic” here and there.
What were your intentions back when you started Serpentine Path and how close are you from your initial goals? Our intentions were to create a bastard beast of doom and death. Something that is undeniably overwhelmingly heavy. We took the common ground in sound and approach between our previous bands and took that thread to the 10th power. I think we absolutely achieved those goals and then some. And what brought you all together? Jay, Darren and I were in Unearthly Trance and we went on a US tour with Electric Wizard in 2002 and that is where we originally met Tim Bagshaw. Years later UT went on several European tours with Tim’s band Ramesses. Through that experience, we became good friends with Tim and years later he was coming to the US to visit and possibly move. At that point, we had a jam in NYC and it went great. Once he moved to New Jersey permanently we decided to do the band for real and recorded our debut EP on Parasitic Records. With all the sound terminologies out there, how would you define your sound? Do you think it’s fair to simply call it “Doom Metal” since your sound is more than that? I think it is hard to define our sound as our band has nothing to do with the cutesy hippy bands that also refer themselves as doom or the slower hard rock bands that are also touted as doom. We have more in common with the ‘90s death metal scene and we’ve mixed that with more sludge doom feeling of Grief and bands like Burning Witch/Thorr’s Hammer. So for lack of better term, we are a Death Doom band. Do you think all these sub-genres within the Metal genre are really necessary? In your opinion, what would be the best way to describe a band’s sound? I don’t think they are necessary. Growing up I listened to metal bands that
had way more of their own identity rather than conforming to certain genre definitions. I prefer people to talk about a band in more terms beyond Genre tags. I would rather someone say we sound like Autopsy drinking beers with Winter at a Saint Vitus concert than being neatly tagged for their iTunes. Having said all that, I really don’t care whatever is clever. Tell me about “Emanations”: are you happy with the way it worked out? Yeah I am very pleased with how our second album has come out. I think the sound has been improved and we are a bit more focused as a band. The first album is fantastic but having two guitarists and even more confidence and determination made this album just a bit more intense. I think we really focused on working on the songs and making sure they sounded killer before we recorded. There were also some brand new fresh songs we had recorded before we hit the studio. So there was a mix of songs we rehearsed quite a bit and songs that we never played in rehearsal besides once or twice. And I will proudly say no one would be able to tell the difference. I was able to add some additional guitar on this album in the form of solos and lead guitar that I think came out really cool. Once again, our bassist recorded the album and I think he improved his technique and ability from the first, so to me this album represents growth without changing our core sound. “Emanations” was mastered by Audioseige this time around and I think Brad did a killer job, he is the man. You not only try to sound the best way possible but you also pay a lot of attention to your lyrics. How do you usually come up with ideas for lyrics and how important are them for your music? Lyrics are very important me. I have been writing lyrics for 20 years and it is something that comes very naturally to me. I use the lyrics as a form of expression but also use words to paint a picture that compliments the sound of the
song. I don’t just take random things I have scrawled in a notebook and add it to the newest song written, rather I really contemplate what feeling the song is emitting and try to translate it into words that reflect what the listener hears. That way, if someone actually gets the album and reads along with the lyrics, their experience is elevated and intensified. In Serpentine Path lyrics and vocals are my job, so I try to do my very best and give it my all. How is a Serpentine Path writing session like? Is it a democracy where everyone gets to “vote” or are there specific members to call the shots? Tim is the main songwriter of Serpentine Path. He presents us his demos that he records at home and then we all give our two cents on the structure, repetitions, speed and the general arrangement of his skeletal songs. We all have to agree that we like something but for the most part, we all agree and Tim always presents us with excellent songs. He is a Riff Wizard! And how do you manage to keep such a solid and strong identity in your songs? I think that is experience that you hear. Tim was playing with Electric Wizard since the ‘90s, so he knows exactly what he wants to hear and how to make it happen. Unearthly Trance began in 2000 and we were busy crafting super heavy metal over many releases. Stephen was in one of the most influential Doom bands ever: Winter. He knows exactly how to create the heaviest of guitar sounds possible, he was one of the originators. The identity that is communicated through song is that of instinct and conviction. Any upcoming tour dates to support “Emanations”? No tour dates at the moment but we are playing a record release show at the Acheron in Brooklyn on 21 June. It is at a small underground grimy venue that is perfectly suited for our brand of morbid doom.
ow excited are you about your new record? Very excited! So much has happened after the previous album, and all the changes made working on the new album very interesting indeed. We had some line-up changes and put together this new album in a way we had not done before. I also really liked the previous album, so it was unclear to me if we were going to top that. So, everything was exciting and challenging. I’m also somewhat excited about how people are going to receive this album, but I think we have succeeded with this one. It sure was a challenge, but I like challenges – you need to always push the boundaries a little bit. Evil has no boundaries, you know. “Devastating Return” is your fourth album in eight years. What did you want to accomplish with the title and to what extent is this a “Devastating Return” to Witheria? Our first album was recorded in 2005, although it wasn’t released until 2006. And some of its songs were written in 2002-2003, so we didn’t really make 4 albums in 8 years. We could, but we don’t want to push it! The best material comes whenever it comes, and we don’t want to compromise that. As for the title, it really has nothing to do with the band going away or being absent and then coming back. We never went anywhere! People seem to take the title as if Witheria now returns, back to the front! And I don’t really mind – let people think what they will, but I don’t make up titles and songs about the band, they are always about something else. The album titles and the themes of some songs on our albums have a certain continuation between them. So the album title comes from where the previous album left off – in a way. I’ll let the listeners figure it out. If I would have come up with a title that represents the band’s current state, the album would’ve been called “Reaching the middle age”. You have had a couple of changes in your line-up. Why was that necessary and what did the new elements bring to Witheria? Our guitarist J. Warhead left the band
after “Vanishing Order” because he felt he could not contribute with his best effort to the band as a guitarist. We respect that and there was no drama – he’s still a great friend and continues his musical journey in other bands. Right after that, in early 2012, we considered continuing as a four-piece, with Markus as our only guitarist, but after a while it became apparent that we really need two guitarists in this band to complete our sound. The twin-guitar thing comes from the ‘80s great bands like Maiden, Priest or Testament, so it’s really embedded in all of our songs right from the start. At this point we also had some new songs brewing that really had a demand for two guitarists – it really comes from the song writing, and the fact that we always wanted two lead guitarists who could have solo battles going on. Haha! For a short period we looked for the 2nd guitarist, but it soon became clear that the best twin-guitar chemistry was already within the band. Lappis, who had played bass in Witheria until then, switched to guitar and that was it! He already plays guitar alongside Markus in Nowen, which was formed about 15 years ago by Lappis, so he really knows his way around guitar and the two have a great chemistry as guitarists. Lappis also contributed as a songwriter more than before, so we had an album worth of material in no time. We then booked SoundSpiral Audio and recorded the album as a four-piece, with Lappis also handling the bass in the studio. It was clear that we had the strongest line-up so far! The studio experience only made it more clear to us – this really works! Now, with two solid guitarists in the band we only needed to add a bass player for the gigs – not an easy task! Lappis had played such impressive bass lines to our albums that we needed an experienced and motivated guy to fill his shoes on stage. We auditioned a few candidates; most of the people who applied actually didn’t even bother to properly rehearse one song. Some people just want to play in a band, but when it comes to learning complex songs, 9 out of 10 drop out. So basically we spent a year looking for a bass player. Now I’m glad we didn’t take a mediocre bass player into the studio, letting Lappis to work his magic with the
4-string once again. After the studio I finally asked a friend of mine, Max, if he would be interested in doing live bass for us, even as a session member. He took the job right there, not thinking twice. He really surprised us all with his enthusiasm and fast learning! I already knew he was a phenomenal guitarist in The Jasser Arafats, but he turned out to be also a great bass player and a musician. We then asked him to join as a full member, with all the benefits! Haha! He also has the worst kind of sense of humour, fitting the pack perfectly. After a couple of decent releases, it seems you have changed things a bit and came up with an improved sound! How did the recording sessions for this record go compared to your previous efforts? Thanks! I’m also satisfied with the sound. We didn’t plan to change too much, but we didn’t want to get stuck with the old habits either, so the changes came very naturally. We didn’t rehearse very much with the whole band before the studio, which made things a bit exciting. We also changed the studio, once again. Three of us had already worked with Juho Räihä in his SoundSpiral Audio studio, so we already knew what to expect from him. He really made us feel like home in the studio, still pushing the best performances out of us. We only worked on weekends this time and had the time to charge our batteries in between. We worked in a fast pace and in about four weekends the album was done. Juho managed to capture our actual sound. We used Rob Diver’s own drum sound, all natural, as well as our own guitar gear. No tricks, no time wasted. I can hear all the instruments in the mix, drums don’t sound plastic and the overall sound is big enough, not too polished but not too amateurish either – I’m very happy with it. Almost too happy. Expect some happy lyrics and upbeat choruses in the future! This album has plenty of leads, something that is missing more and more in today’s modern metal bands. How important are guitar leads to Metal music and Witheria’s in general?
Leads are the salt of Metal! They have played a really important role in Witheria’s music, right from the first demo. Markus was already a hungry, promising lead guitarist back when we started the band. He was only 17 at the time. He always incorporates solo parts within his songs, and he always pushes himself to play the best solo in the history of mankind! From day one he’s had his own solo style that he constantly pushes forward. And I know he always wanted an equal solo partner to share the lead parts with. I think all our songs have some kind of leads or solos in them, usually more than one! As with the new album, we finally have two guys that are confident to step up and play a good share of leads each! It’s a battle, and it rages on! “Devastating Return” sounds very organic. What’s your take on today’s digital approach by some bands? Today there are so many bands and albums coming out that I can’t keep up with them. And it seems like everyone has this big sound, with 8 rhythm guitar tracks, perfectly organized and sampled drum tracks, bass buried somewhere in there and 5 vocal tracks with a little distortion added to them. It’s a shame most of them sound exactly the same. When there are 10.000 bands out there doing metal, what’s the point of sounding the same as the next random band? I know Andy Sneap is a great producer, and what he does, he does well. His sound even fits the new Testament and Accept very well! But the problem is with all the bands and producers out there that want to sound like him! They just end up sounding the same as each
other. The counter reaction to this (or to anything else mainstream) is the underground scene where people are deliberately trying to sound like they were 16 year-old lads living in 1986 Germany! I guess we fit somewhere in between. We don’t want to sound like anything else other than Witheria. And a little bit better than on our last album, of course. Would Thrash Metal be Thrash Metal if it had more digital elements? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Some people have their rules and little genres. Take Coroner or Kreator for example – great Thrash metal bands in the ‘80s! Come the early ‘90s and they want to have something else in their music, something else going on... so they made some interesting stuff in the early ‘90s. Some people didn’t like it, because it was no Thrash. Some people don’t care and give the albums a chance! It’s Metal and it’s music. I have no rules when it comes to Metal, or music in general. If Sodom would do a pop album for example... no, wait!!! What was the Thrash Metal album that changed your life? So many of them... one of them was definitely “Slaughter in the Vatican” by Exhorder. It was not my first Thrash album but it surely made a big impact with its relentless energy and just pure aggression. I was 11 years old when I got it and it was one of the heaviest things I’d ever heard – it still is. What can you tell us about the current Finnish Thrash Metal scene? Any bands we should pay attention to?
There are some young dudes who have a good old school Speed Metal thing going on, Ranger and Speedtrap for instance. Bloodride are also worth checking out, but they are not young, on the contrary. Haha! I’m sure they like it if I say they are old as fuck! I don’t actually follow any Finnish scene, so I’m not the best person to say who’s the best out there at the moment. Also, there is no Thrash Metal scene, but rather just a Metal scene which I am a part of I guess, just not the most active part. I’m like an appendix. What’s next for Witheria? We are going to play some gigs to support the new album that is being released on 30 May, check it out! We have already played a show with a couple of new tracks, and this really works live! New songs with this new line-up, that’s what we’re going to do. We have already rehearsed the whole album. It’s great fun! We will start working on the next album eventually. We already have one unfinished song for the next one. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. “Devastating Return” is coming out on 30 May, and that’s what we’re waiting for right now. Hopefully we’ll get some great gigs in the near future as well!
arvas” is more than an EP… It’s a compendium of studio songs, live songs and even electronic remixes. How was this release compiled? A.C. – The original idea was to release only the four new songs. However, we concluded this release could be used to assemble a compendium which might work as the materialization of what we’ve done during the last two years. The album “Gorefilia” was a very important step for Holocausto Canibal and we had to find a way to “carve in stone” the lived experienced during its promotion tour – and, in fact, nothing better than to add some live songs which were recorded at Obscene Extreme 2013 (that was our second presence in that great grindcore celebration). Then we
wanted to do the last deserved homage to “Gorefilia” by inviting some friends to remix some of the songs included in that album in order to give them an electronic outfit and I think I can talk for the other members when I say that the final result was more than satisfactory. Whether Ermo, Mad Magus or Epitome Criminal achieved an outstanding approach in each song and gave something from themselves to a task that would be hard to interpret for someone who isn’t familiar with the genre. Innovation has been noticed work after work, and to prove it there’s the track “Corrosão Uretral”, which somehow differs from the traditional grindcore, for instance, because
of the guitar solo; with “Imundo Bizarro” something different is also felt. Is this the evidence of your real evolution? A.C. – I think that’s an analysis that we are unable to make because we are intimately connected to the music we create, so we are always biased in the comments we make regarding our own work. But it’s funny you should say that, because “Larvas” and those new songs are precisely used to show the transition that’s going to be operated between “Gorefilia” and the next album, which is already being written. Not for the solos themselves, because “Gorefilia” featured a lot of them, but because of the direction that was created in these songs. Although it has little to do with the work
developed with “Gorefilia”, I believe they’re not the baton that will guide the next album (they only make sense as long as they are “Larvas” [worms in Portuguese] crawling over a new “corpse”) but they can, in a certain way, point out what’s coming next. About the remixes: what’s your relation with electronic music? How did the idea happen and who worked around it? The “Obsessiva Lactação” remix is quite old-school… Z.P. – The idea to include remixes isn’t new. Both in “Opusgenitalia” and “Sublime Massacre Corpóreo” some tracks were targeted to perform remixes and sound manipulation with, although in “Larvas” that incursion was more electronic. The resultant sound in the three remixes is totally distinct between them. In “Dilacerante Pungência Subvertida”, made by Ermo, we have a more experimental/ambient/obscure path; “Preeminência Carnaz”, made by Epitome Criminal, delivers us a profoundly intense D’n’B/Dubstep; and with “Obsessiva Lactação Paranormal”, Mad Magus effectively did a merciless trance approach revisiting the classical ways of the genre! Curiously, Mad Magus featured this song in his live-set during the European tour and according to him it was very well received by the audience. Personally, our relation with electronic music has always existed, as we’re all consumers of different electronic sides, and in fact Diogo P. and I had a radio show for some time, the nostalgic Neurocosmos, in which we played exclusively electronic music regarding its aggressive side. About the live songs… How was it to have Ricardo S. in Holocausto Canibal’s lineup again? Z.P. – Ricardo S. has recorded and toured with us. So, concerning lyrical knowledge as a big part of the set, he was a candidate with unique characteristics. Here in Portugal you can be the hero in the bar around the corner, but when you have to be out of borders, going up to the stage and see thousands of people in front of you, you “piss yourself”. Of course all of that is previously prepared, but when you have experience on stage and travelled a long path, everything becomes easier and immediate. Our usual rhythm doesn’t regard hesitations and doesn’t allow us to shoot in the dark. A.C. – It was the obvious choice. Touring,
experience and lyrical knowledge, so there was nobody better for the position. Let’s say he prepared himself very quickly for two years of intense road and with great success as you can witness in the live part of “Larvas”. Losing Carlos Guerra, who’s now in Sarrabulho, during the promotion of “Gorefilia” was a fucked up setback, right? A.C. – Yes, it wasn’t easy. C. Guerra was an important piece within the group, but fortunately we achieved all our goals. How’s your experience touring Europe going? According to what you’ve shared, it seems that it has been fantastic! By the way, are the songs in “Larvas” being played outside Portugal? Z.P. – In a year we played in more than eight countries – some of them for the first time. We lived a lot of memorable moments and mainly without any bad experience. There are countries that we should have visited long ago, like England and others that we’ll keep visiting because we feel we already have a base of followers and that makes us obviously motivated. About the inclusion of live songs from “Larvas”, we think the gig at the fifteenth anniversary of the Obscene Extreme festival was memorable, so we thought it would make sense to immortalize the magic, ambient and intensity we felt that night and share it with more people by recording it. In fact, at this festival’s edition we actually went on stage twice, and on the second time we made a humble homage to some grind classics which always influenced us, having “Compêndio de Aversões” as a basis and making way for a potential second volume of a similar release. E.F. – Yes, the songs were recorded at the Obscene Extreme 2013, in Czech Republic, which is like a second home to us. We always try to have bookings in eastern countries because, without any doubt, we feel like home there. We are always well received and have a fantastic audience that not only lives the grindcore like a musical genre, but also like a way of life. You’ll only understand what I mean if you’re there. I vividly advice it! Concerning other European experiences, they’ve been very good during these years. Without doubt they’re the best experiences you can have as a musician, traveling from country to country
to show your music to the audience. Let there be more years like these and we’ll be here to run more kilometers. A.C. – No doubt. From May 2013 to May 2014 we played in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Slovakia – and right now we are finishing the last details to embark on an extensive tour through Brazil, which will be our first time in the South America – and it has been incredible to visit new places and to play in places we’ve been before. The international experience was so intense and positive we decided to immortalize part of it in this work. And nothing better than to pick one of the higher moments we had in this recent tour: the comeback to Obscene Extreme. Regarding full-lengths, the first two albums were released two years apart and the other ones have been released much further apart. Is it in your plans a way to work around it? A.C. – It isn’t in our plans because truly our releasing rhythm is much accelerated since 2012. Let’s see: we’ve released “Gorefilia” in 2012, a 7” split with Kadaverficker (via Godeater Recs, from Germany), the “Compêndio de Aversões” tape (via the Portuguese Larvae Productions), now, in 2014, we’ve released “Larvas” (via Bizarre Leprous Production, from Czech Republic) and we are part of two tributes to Dead Infection which are out soon, one Mexican and one Spanish (via Gore Cannibal Records and Base Records, respectively). Besides that we have some special plans to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of “Gonorreia Visceral” with a re-recording to be out in 2015 and a lot of unreleased material from the last two years. Everything without mentioning the upcoming full-length that’s being written, so I believe Holocausto Canibal are really active regarding releases.
usmørke started in the ‘90s, when the Scandinavian progressive scene was growing. However, you guys only released your first album in 2012. Can you tell the fans why it took so long? It probably took so long because Krizla and I are these weird ginger twins who are difficult to be with. Since we are identical, it’s hard to tell which one is the evil one, so other members keep misplacing their trust. Besides, we are involved in genres that few people appreciate or understand. Personnel changes leave you vulnerable since replacements are hard to come by. With the band starting out at rather a tender age, there were a lot of changes of plans and priorities from 1994 to 1997. Tusmørke was formed in a small town that has nothing to offer in terms of jobs or higher education and certainly it’s not a place where a progressive or psychedelic band would get a lot of gigs, if any. In the process of moving to Oslo, we lost vital parts of our network. The initial delay was due to failing to find the right musicians to work with after the quitting of original percussionist and fellow ideologue Håkon Andersen (nephew of Jørn Andersen who ran the record label Colours, responsible for issuing the first records by Änglagård, Anekdoten and Landberk). After moving closer to the capital, the mediaeval pagan folk of Tusmørke was overshadowed by the more progressive or symphonic tendencies of Les Fleurs du Mal. After recording a demo, the band disintegrated. Krizla and I tried continuing in a semi-similar vein with the Few, but the project was abandoned after the sixth bassist and fifth drummer had come and gone. Disgusted with false start, “nearly theres” and band democracy, we both concentrated on studying ancient history and dead languages at the University of Oslo and limited the music to DJing and hosting a local radio show. Then Krizla lived in Berlin and Bergen for a spell while I joined legendary wild boys Lydia Laska in 2007. In 2009 circumstances were suddenly perfect and a reincarnation
of Tusmørke was possible, with fellow radio host Svenno completing the trio. This trio format of bass, flute and percussion never made it to the studio, even though we did loads of gigs around Oslo. We were joined by Reggie from the Chronicles of Father Robin on keyboards and then HlewagastiR from Wobbler replaced Svenno, bringing in a full drum kit. After that, Deadly Nightshade from Årabrot/Lydia Laska replaced Reggie on keys. For a while we had both him and Marxo Solinas in the band, but now only Marxo plays the synthesizers. We hope this version of Tusmørke will last for a while, since it’s the best one yet. From what I could gather, you guys formed from a project called Les Fleurs De Mal, a group that had Wobbler’s lead singer Andreas Prestmo and even shared the stage with bands like White Willow. What is left from that era that is still a part of the foundation of Tusmørke? The sources of inspiration remain the same; the mystery of history, the wonders of nature, tales of the unknown and of course treasures from our vast record collections. Also, we are still close friends and Andreas provides backing vocals on several tracks on Riset Bak Speilet. Besides, the music that we make comes from deep inside the core of our beings; what we were in ’97 is still a huge part of what we are today. It sometimes seems like we never grow up, just grow old. Tusmørke is Norwegian for “Twilight”; is there any special significance to the name? Yes. The Norwegian term for twilight carries with it connotations of the supernatural; “tus” means “elf” or a magical subterranean creature; “mørke” means “darkness”. The word is quite a cozy term in Norwegian, yet at the same time can be twisted into something a bit more sinister when put in the right context. The ambiguity of the name fits perfectly with our approach to reality; at dusk or dawn,
things are different from what they seem and sometimes distortions lead to a clarity beyond apparent lucidity. While listening to “Riset Bak Speilet”, I was mesmerized by the little unconventional sounds, and I found myself wondering if some of the unusual influences you speak of (Norwegian nature, birdsong, pareidolia, Monty Python and Black Adder) are the inspiration for them. Is there any connection between them? Yes, well, I guess some of the things we do are “unusual” or “unconventional”, but we couldn’t do things differently if we were to stay true to our ideals. The music and sound is a product of our “life world”, which contains elements that some people might find “strange”. It all ties in; Tusmørke is the sonic manifestation of the lives we lead. Also, we probably like a good laugh a little bit more than the next man. We’re not taking the piss, but sometimes we like to take things… far. You state in your facebook page that the imminent apocalypse, the word of god and the silence of god are also influences. Is there a religious theme to “Riset Bak Speilet” or is it something less obvious? The religious theme is primarily to be found on “Gamle Aker Kirke”, which among other things is concerned with the futility of trying to capture spiritual power in material structures. “Riset Bak Speilet” means “the birch behind the looking-glass”, that is a veiled or concealed instrument of punishment, barely hidden and just waiting to be brought out; it is the constant threat of chastisement. The song is a commentary on the processes of taming and conditioning that goes on when we are gradually conforming to society’s demands. In the end we discipline ourselves in a police state of mind. I think it’s difficult to become a responsible adult and not feel a little bit cheated. Sometimes I grow bitter and resentful and want to go live with the elves.
Jethro Tull, Amon Düül and Black Sabbath are some of the influences that critics and fans will certainly recall to try and label Tusmørke. Do these comparisons make any sense to you? Sure. We love those bands, maybe Amon Düül II more than Amon Düül, though. Black Widow, Bo Hansson, Magma and Høst need mentioning, too. However, we do wish that people would remember that Jethro Tull never had a monopoly on flute, even in the ‘70s. From what I could gather, Tusmørke use the foundations of good progressive rock and then add their own personal twist. When writing “Riset Bak Speilet”, did you guys think of how you were going to be able to distinguish yourselves from the sea of oldschool prog rock bands that are flooding the market? It things it’s the other way around; we use the foundations of our own personal twists and then add progressive rock. We never made any conscious decision to distinguish ourselves from other bands, only that we don’t want to sound like the bands we don’t like. Plus, we never use bass and guitar at
the same time, since that far too often proved to be a one way ticket to the blues, which we hate. Almost half of “Riset Bak Speilet” is sung in Norwegian, while the rest is in English. Most bands tend to stick to one language. Why did you choose to sing in both languages? I think it’s because we can. Krizla throws in some Ancient Greek on “All is Lost” for this album, and on Underjordisk Tusmørke there was a bit of German. Certain subjects are better suited for the English language, while some words have a special double meaning or curious sound in Norwegian. The Norwegian audience will know both languages, so people don’t miss much when we switch. In the progressive rock scene, many bands feel that, when recording albums, analogue equipment provides a more sincere and organic sound. Was this an issue when recording “Riset Bak Speilet”? Yeah, sure, we are suckers for the real thing! Thanks to the phenomenon Marxo Solinas’ extensive vintage synthesizer collection we can get all these weird and wonderful authentic sounds. Still, we are not purists, and
do use digital technology wherever it is necessary or convenient. We are trying to achieve a classic sound. Anything too “now” will quickly sound dated and obsolete. Are there any plans for tours throughout Europe, or will you take a well-deserved rest after having just released the album? We have no tours planned, but will push on with finishing the third album and a split LP with Spectral Haze. No rest for the wicked! There will be some gigs in the autumn; hopefully we can join Spectral Haze if they revisit Portugal. Other than that, we’ll do a show in Oslo with Next Life and then probably take a trip to Helsinki to see if Hexvessel are there.
istening to “Spirit Knife” was quite a journey! Are you happy with the way it turned out? Yes, we have always been a band that let the music guide us and not vice versa. We are not the ones sitting with a riff for hours and wearing it to perfection. Perfection is in the present. What one knows just when one gets his hands on the instrument. The whole process of “Spirit Knife,” from the creation of the songs through rehearsals and recording to a finished product, took about 5 weeks. It was exactly how we wanted it, honest and raw.
kind of concept with the lyrics, but the risk of making something too prestigious fucked it up. In the end I think it became more of a source of inspiration than a lead story. I think people experience dramatic and existential moments all around the globe and I think people have done so through most of our history as humans, that are still pretty much the same as we are experiencing them now. It’s just illustrated in different ways. The Native Americans really did a wonderful job doing their illustration. We made some illustrations with this album.
When did you first hear “Spirit Knife” tale and what motivated you to create something around this story? To be honest, I can’t recall how I came in contact with the title “spirit knife”. It started out with some kind of fascination with a story somebody told me. I think it was Henrik. Something about a drug recipe that Native Americans supposedly had been given to by the thunder. So then I started to do some research about that stuff for inspiration. Somewhere along the way I stumbled across something about a spirit knife. At first I just thought it sounded cool, but after a while it all started to make perfect sense. I have pages of thoughts written down somewhere about the subject and why I got so fascinated about it but I can’t remember right now. It was only the name of the track at the beginning but Micke thought it would be nice to give the name to the album as well.
It seems you have done much more with this record than with just the music itself. What did you want to accomplish from the moment you decided to write and record this album? We wanted it to be a journey through space and time, to make it able to lift the listener to another level and let them experience their inner selves. And present pieces of our inner selves as an illustration.
Despite having such a complex and interesting story around the release title, can we say that this is a theme album or is it far from that? As I was reading all those stories about the Native Americans and all the different characters, I was intrigued to make something of an ongoing theme through the album. I remember that I thought it would be cool to make some
Do you ever feel afraid of not “overcoming” your own music the next time you enter the studio? No never, when you have that preference and pressure to “overcome” yourself, you’re dead as a musician. That’s when you start listening to the music industry of how you should sound like, what you should look like etc. Listen to yourself. The idea of creating something personal and genuine is the main goal. This is not possible if there’s another factor involved, like a commercial one or some kind of search for fame. It also becomes harder to accomplish something that you feel is genuine and free when you have a pressure of overcoming the past. It’s best painted with the colors of the present. Do you see yourselves as musical warriors ready to conquer and
bring some fresh music to today’s scene? No, not really, we don’t feel like we’re part of a scene. But if we were to decide a scene to belong to, it would probably tighten and narrow the creativity. It would be boring. What’s your take on today’s music scene? What’s missing? Don’t know. It’s always nice when you get that feeling when you are listening to an album and feel like going to the woods or something. You know, when you want to listen and watch stuff at the same time. But that’s not missing. You just have to search for it and it’ll be easy to find. What kind of people will definitely love this record? Hopefully people that are interested in catching a glimpse of a nice musical illustration. And having a great time. Genuine people with great values who’re in it for the music and nothing else. What should we expect from this project in the near future? We’ll make more records for sure. But as far as the music industry goes we often get fucked around by people so we really can’t say, it’s hard to trust anyone anymore. Many of those promises were lies so we stopped listening to them. We’re following ourselves and the music and we’ll see how far that will take us.
http://www.warknife.bandcamp.com http://www.facebook.com/warknife www.memorial-records.com
hat were your goals when you first started Warknife? Have you ever thought you would be doing these eight years later? We have been loving music since we were kids. We started playing just to have fun, but things changed when we started performing and when we noticed that people really liked our music, so our passion for this project grew even more. If you play in a band, your biggest hope is to perform in front of millions of people, to publish your albums, to transmit your message and become famous. We are not a famous band, but we are trying to make our dreams come true. How much have you changed since then? A lot. And we think our fans can notice this in our new album “Amorphous”. Time passes, you become older, you have new life experiences and listen to different kinds of music. These are the factors that determined our change. A change that can be found in our music as well. You have now released your sophomore album, “Amorphous”. Have you brought something new to this new release? This album represents a transition from what we were to what we will be. It is completely different from our
previous album. It may be defined as a hybrid with both extreme and unusual sounds. This album divided into two acts. Can you make a brief description of it? And why have you decided to do that? There is not a real fil rouge among our lyrics, but there is a leitmotiv: transformation. This change splits the album into two parts: the first is more calm, while the second has violent sounds. I’ve really enjoyed the song “Bleeding Sunset”. What’s the story behind it? We really like this song, even if we had to admit that it was not easy for us to agree on this song, but after we finished it, we loved it. “A Bleeding Sunset” is one of the first songs of the album. It talks about the description of a gothic sunset, with the sun dying behind a tree that is struggling against the wind and whose sound is almost a voice. The music perfectly reflects the scenario: the first part expresses anxiety; the second represents a sort of reflection. And in your opinion what is the song that summarizes what “Amorphous” is all about? Every song somehow represents what the album is about: change. So it is not easy for us to answer this question.
Warknife features some hardcore elements in your Thrash/Death Metal sound and it seems you all have different influences from each other. How are your writing sessions usually like? Who calls the shots? The first step is the music and then we write the lyric. We are like a family, so we all call the shots. What touring plans do you have to promote this new record? We want to promote this album as far as possible, so we are trying to plan a tour that includes places outside Italy, and maybe also outside Europe. Anything else you’d like to add? We invite your readers to listen to “Amorphous” and buy it, if they like it. They can also watch online our music video (Ill becomes order) on YouTube, or on Blank TV. Greetings, Warknife
ow would you present your project Sadhak? Sadhak is a combination of music, lyrics and art that I use to convey a recurring state of mind that I have. It’s something I felt inexplicably compelled to make. I had these songs in my head for years and it is just something I feel that I really need to do. Your self-titled first demo tape was recently re-released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Why have you chosen the cassette format to complement the digital release? The biggest reason is that I like cassette demos and that it felt right. It really is a mid-eighties to mid-nineties thing and that is where a lot of the bands that I like came from. I am too young to have been into real tape trading, but there are tons of old demos available online and I make good use of that. It’s a perfect format for the atmosphere that I was creating and it has that unique tape compression sound that I wanted. Because of the way I mixed and mastered it, the tape sounds much better than the digital version because of the mild saturation and reduction in fidelity. This project is truly a “one man band”. Why have you decided to do this alone? I have always been fascinated with one man bands like Burzum, the things Fenriz did alone, Sarath, Selvhat and so on. I wanted to do the same and, since the songs are really dear to me, it felt better to have full control of the process. I think it can produce wonderfully single minded music when the only filter is the person making the music. It was also logistically easier, because I didn’t have to find people, teach them the songs, find time when they’re available and so on. I have recruited a drummer for the album and I will most probably use a bass player. The drummer is the best drummer I know and he really likes the band and gets the whole thing. I think it will be better when
he can just weave his magic and I can focus more on the guitar and especially the vocals, which is where I have the least experience. How was the recording and production process? From an artistic point of view, it was cathartic in a way. I had these songs in my head for so long and when I recorded and mixed it I was all alone and it turned into a kind of meditative thing where I was really absorbed in what I was doing and I found peace in that. I recorded on a regular stereo cassette and did single takes of everything. The drumming was hard to do alone. I hummed the riffs inside my head while playing because that’s how Fenriz used to record alone. It’s a real test of your concentration to get a good take of a long song that only has subtle changes in the drumming without having anything to play off of. My rehearsal space is in an old Nazi bunker, so I got some good reverb from the hallway outside that has a big staircase at the end of it in super thick concrete. I only had the most basic of equipment for the production, I didn’t even have studio monitors. I just used my stereo. I just try to make the best use of what I have. You seem to point to a very specific kind of Doom that combines a hypnotic and also an esoteric approach. It seems like the guys from 40 Watt Sun did a jam session with Burzum in the “Filosofem” era… What are your main inspirations? Burzum is a big influence and Earth, Sleep and Om are always in my musical mind, although that’s probably more subtle. There are three bands from Trondheim, Selvhat, Sarath and Unbeing that have had a big impact on me, especially Unbeing. I don’t really think so much in terms of where I would like to draw inspiration from when I write, I just have this feeling and then I play the music that is inside my head. I make artistic choices based on what feels right and it’s only later, when I get
some distance, that I can tell where that idea probably originated. What are the main themes in the lyrics? It’s hard to put into words. The motivation behind the combination of the music and the lyrics is to communicate something that I am otherwise incapable of doing. I have a really clear picture of what I want to say, but I think the effect would be diminished if I tried to explain it. In what terms does the sound of Sadhak diverge from all the other projects that you are involved in? I have more chord based riffs and it’s not as based in the pentatonic scale. It has some inspiration from bands that are called black metal which Resonaut and High Priest of Saturn don’t have. I think it’s more introverted and that’s a natural consequence of how the songs take shape when you create them alone. In the other bands more people are involved in the creative process, so that it becomes “ours” instead of “mine”. I think both approaches have equal value; they’re just different. How far would you like to take this project in terms of future releases? I feel that Sadhak is a voice that I can use to communicate with people and I hope to keep releasing stuff as long as I have something to say. The good thing about having started as a one man band is that there is no sense in ever breaking up the band; it just is.
he band took quite a while to release a full-lenght. Why? During the years we have had so many line-up changes in our crew and our music had a lot of varieties of different genres, so we didn`t even think about making a full length album. In addition, we were a bit too naive as we had high hopes of getting a contract with a recording label with just a demo or an EP. And of course, it is always about the money. For a band like yours what does “debut” mean anyway? To us, it means quite much actually. It took a lot of time and effort to get it done and we are really proud of it. Even though we have recorded many demos and EPs, making a full-lenght album is a real challenge for “newcomers” to show what they are capable of. What is so interesting about eternity? Well, enernity... it’s a fascinating thought, hard to comprehend. However, we are sorry to disappoint you, there is no special story or such related to the album title. You have an interesting voice work on this album (that makes kind of a duality). Do you want to tell us something about that choice? I suppose we are talking about how we utilize both clean vocals and growls in our music? It’s been one of Gladenfold’s trademarks since we started making music. It was not a choice really, it has naturally become of one of the defining features in our sound. This album is a mix of mysticism, sophistication and unpredictability. Do you recognize these qualities in the music? We hope listeners can find these qualities in our music, we certainly recognize them. Most of the songs are not that straight-forward or follow the traditional verse-chorus-format. We really put effort into the arrangements
and instrumentation on this album, so we hope it turned out as something that can be described as sophisticated. Would you say there is a certain scent of film soundtrack in the way this album sounds? Orchestral elements and choirs are present in most of the songs and they do add citematic vibes to them. However, these elements are just a flavour, not a main course, so we don’t want to overuse them. Is there some classic guitar inspiration on some tracks? The first and the last song on this album are instrumentals and more or less based on acoustic classical guitars. So the classical guitar inspiration is definitely there. What are you seeking in terms of musical project? Our aim is to express ourselves as a band. That’s the most important thing. To write and play songs that we love. Maybe we were seeking our own sound on previous recordings but we think we have found it. We are really happy with our present style so we are not going to change it for a while. Do you feel that the way music is made changed since the time you started as a band? Obviously, every band member brings something to the table, and because of many line-up changes, things have changed a bit during the years. However, it has always been Esko (vocals, guitars) who writes most of the songs and lyrics. Do you feel your country influences the way you sound and the music you create? Or you feel music is completely universal now? Of course, we grew up listening Finnish metal music so it has influeced our music as well. But in general, we don’t see the music we are playing as typical to Finland or Finnish people. Let’s just say
it’s certainly more universal. It would be such a cliche to say that the Finnish nature inspires us but apparently it is not so. Do you have preferences of themes for songs? Not really. On this album, there are both fantasy and sci-fi flavoured themes but also some more realistic and serious stuff. We like the idea that the listener can decipher the meaning and the context of the lyrics in many different ways. So they can get a bit complex here and there. Do you ever think of how the music is going to sound when played live while you are creating it? We don’t limit our creativity by thinking what can be played or not on stage. When performing, we don’t try to achieve exactly the same sound that is on the album. Lately we have started using backing tracks for acoustic guitars, choirs and some orchestrations because they are an essential part of our music but reproducible only this way. Is there a place where you would like to play these songs, that you haven’t? Not necessary a certain place. We will play some gigs around Finland to support the release of our debut album. There are still many cities even in Finland where we haven’t played yet. And of course, we would like to get a chance to play abroad as well.
an you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album? There probably will be 3 new Frozen Ocean releases this year after the release of “The Dyson Swarm”. A tape release contains the whole “Norse” trilogy, an electronic fulllength album and I hope the very first Frozen Ocean vinyl release. Some of them should appear real soon, so it is wise to be in touch. You released a new album in March, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from the other albums you had released? “The Dyson Swarm” is absolutely different from all project has done before, although this is true for any previous records (except “Norse” trilogy which is conceptual). If you ask me personally, I would like to call this release an ambient album in wide meaning of these words. I said so, because it sounds like a soundtrack to imaginary journey through the space, leaving the listener to fulfil the narration with his own mind, and that I would like to coal “perfect aim for ambient music”. Speaking about styles and tags, officially (on project’s site for example) this album is tagged as dark metal, electronics and ambient: slow trip-hop-like electronic breakbeats surrounded with ambient yet heavy guitar riffing and
dense yet transparent guitar-keyboard polyphony. What is the meaning of “The Dyson Swarm” tracklist? Can you elaborate on the title tracks? If, as I mentioned, the album can be considered as a journey through the space, tracklist represents objects and phenomena you could face during it. For instance, “CE-4” is an abbreviation for the phrace “close encounters of the fourth kind”, or “Sloan Great Wall” is an object of Universe macrostructure: a giant (1,37 billion lightyears long) wall built of metagalaxies. I recommend everybody to have some time and try to find meanings of another tracks by one’s own, because it is quite interesting and keen. The center of the album is conception of Dyson swarm: a discrete variant of Dyson sphere, a hypothetical astroengineering construction devoted to the most effective consumption of energy of central star in star system (our Sun, for example). It is, although a bit close to initial Sphere conception, portrayed on the album’s cover. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been so far? Not so wealthy, and almost all is provided by efforts of mine or PR agencies. I think, under modern conditions of overpopulation on underground music scene this is the best that unknown project (especially from Russia) could gather. But the majority of opinions on album is
quite positive, that is very pleasant. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays? Speaking of this album, Ulver and Seirom gave far and very general influence. Mainly, I was always admired how Ulver did change all their paradigm but didn’t lose the courage and ability to write gorgeous tracks. As for personal examples, Mikael “Vaalkoth” Baiyusik from Tearstained, Night Conquers Day and Into the Sunless Meridian, was the one whose works inspired me and encouraged to make my own music. Nowadays I listen different music but preferentially brutal, technical and progressive death metal. What does the future holds for Frozen Ocean? More interesting and unexpected stuff. I will try more and more new means for make Frozen Ocean’s music more and more distinctive and unique.
have to say, you must have balls to have a band like AlNamrood… Are you happy with the final result of “Heen Yadhar Al Ghasq”? Absolutely. What’s the meaning of the title? “Heen Yadhar Al Ghasq” translates to “When Dusk Appears”. AlNamrood’s lyrics are in Arabic. What can you tell us about the message? In each album we try to write a unique plot, “Heen Yadhar Al Ghaq” mainly articulates the time after the album “Kitab Al Awthan”. The Arab reality in that era witnessed diverse intellectual and cultural effects evidenced in various literatures in the Arabian Peninsula. One of the many examples is the Marib dam, in Yemen, as evidence of scientific progress and urbanization, and numerous poems and literature as evidence of the intellectual and cultural progress. Yet, the war against Art and Science and the worship of people and of the Lord of mankind from the injustice of religions continues through decades, where ignorance was the condemning of previous religions, savagery scattered here and there, and the tribal system prevailed as tribes were fighting each other in order to live in a pitiful chaotic situation; the bloodshed wars for tyrants and lords never saw an end. The lives of pagan Arabs depended on the nature of tribes, and it is less stable than royal life; wars between tribes lasted for various reasons, whether economic, criminal, protection, or for revenge, which generates more wars. In spite of that, it always was a noble thing to spill blood and seek revenge. We have examples like Melechesh and Orphaned Land that mixed metal with folk elements, but AlNamrood go further and inject a lot more regional elements. At the beginning, did you think it would fit well or did you struggle to find a balance? In fact there was a slight challenge to
find the correct harmony and scale; as you may know, the Arabian instruments have different scale and structure and majorly rely on the quarter tone (the distance between each successive note being a quarter tone); the Arab tone system is more complex and the lack of sources was an issue. We researched Arabian scales, such as Oud and Qanoon, got some scripts to learn how to read and transfer the scale to guitars and vice versa; eventually, it took us some effort for sure. Al Namrood means “the non-believer”, right? Are you trying to defy God and religion like black metal bands do in Europe? What differs from one scene to another? The Message is more stubborn; we are fed up with the control, the lunacy and the insanity that religion inflicts; we don’t compare it to western society, because the theocracy in Saudi Arabia is oppressive, politically outrageous; the supposition of bringing the kingdom’s policies in line with those of Western nations is a joke. For example, being an atheist is equal to throwing away one’s loyalty to the state, and seeking a musical or any artistic approach are all exemplary ways to be recognized as a threat to the security of the state. It’s incomparable to anything, it’s nuisance of its own. I noticed Humbaba is AlNamrood’s fourth vocalist. Is it some sort of problem to get a steady vocalist or do you prefer to have session vocalists? Well, a steady line-up was the initial issue for which AlNamrood cannot perform live; basically, the job is done by two permanent members. Every vocalist joins and leaves on his own accord, since finding a dedicated member in the land of Saudi Arabia is extremely tough; however, we manage with what we have and carry on releasing our music in the best possible way. According to my info you’re living in Saudi Arabia, right? In what ways
are you putting your life at risk by doing black metal music? What would happen if Saudi Arabia’s authorities found out about what you’re doing? Basically, if we get caught, charges of apostasy will be pressed and a death sentence will be issued by Islamic court with no possible appeal. Music studios are forbidden in Saudi Arabia, and for that professionals are nowhere to be found. We do our own production away from the eyes and ears of neighbors and religious police; we keep an extremely low profile about our identity, using nicknames and never publishing any photos or lyrics. Even our families don’t know about our project. We aim for the western metal scene, as we do not find much reception in the Middle Eastern metal scene. Did you ever think about leaving the country? Yes, but there are steps to be made first. You were highlighted by the English newspaper The Guardian about your situation regarding music versus society in the East. Did you know about that article? Yes, we read it. The author informed us and sent us the link. How did you get in touch with metal music in such a closed country? We didn’t, our metal friends are from abroad, and we can’t even mention that to anyone locally, if they report us to the Islamic police we could lose our heads [laughs].
t’s been a while since the release of your first album “Sweet Cerebral Destruction”. How was it back then? Our album was released a year ago and we have received many reviews in magazines and on the internet. They were positive in 90% of the cases. Of course, we know that they were hosting a first album and that the public expects us to confirm the second album. Owning a first album published by an international label gave us the opportunity to make some great gigs in Belgium (PPMF, MFVF ...), France (Paris, Strasbourg and Lille), England (Dames of Darkness) and Switzerland (Symphony Metal Fest, Festiwolf). Would you change anything now that you have given it a few laps? No, we’re usually happy for a first album because this is our first album and it will remain a magical moment forever. As our line-up has changed since the release of SCD, the second album will have new influences and hopefully it will be better than the first one. What is the meaning of the title of the album? We wanted to highlight the sweetness and innocence of a little girl in face of her destruction by abuse, her entering an asylum, her confrontation with people with severe mental illness and her slow descent into hell when rocking herself into madness and violence. How do you think “Brain Sweet Destruction” has evolved from your EP 2009 “Thanatos’ Insanity”? Our EP was sort of rough. The songs can be found on the album but were recorded differently. On the EP, the battery is an electronic drum, and that is not the case for the album. The singer’s voice that accompanies me is not the same. The voice is more sung on the EP, on the album the voice sounds more like growls. How do Azylya write a song together? Is there a main songwriter in the band? First I tell the story, I write it and
everyone gives their opinion. Then, it is truly a collective effort. We meet and the guitarists try out riffs; when one of them pleases us, we keep it and they work it. Anthony and Yohann also provide compositions individually, but occasionally our drummer and guitarists work together. Sebastian, our keyboardist, also composes some parts and handles all the orchestrations. Finally, I come up with my vocals and I write my lyrics. In short, as I said, this is actually a collaboration of all members... I forgot to say that Polak, our bassist, is also involved in all of the compositions. What was your best moment as a group? Playing live! Playing live is the best time for us all. Whether it’s a concert in a small concert room or at a major festival, every gig is a joy for us. The Metal Female Voices Fest, the Dames of Darkness and the PPMfest allowed us to be better known, as we hope will also happen at the Symphony Metal Fest and the Festiwolf. We meet new groups, and most importantly new audiences, and that’s really cool. At small concerts, we love being close to the public during and after performances. If I have to point those special moments, the MFVF was a beautiful festival, the contact with the audience was great. Another moment was a small concert in Switzerland at the ManoirPub, we were treated like royalty, with incredible kindness by the organizers and the Swiss band Seventh Wave. The Dames of Darkness in England put us in front of a large, responsive and pleasant audience. Our surprise to see the audience crowding around our merchandise booth was a great moment, because English people are extraordinary. WormHole Death have released some great acts of gothic metal. How do you feel to be in their list and what makes WormHole Death a major label to be signed with? We had the great opportunity to sign with WormHole Death thanks to Real Sound Studio in Italy, who had spotted us on Facebook. We had never ap-
plied to a label and were surprised to embark on this adventure. We thank both of them for the trust they have placed in us. Our label has excellent groups indeed, we are proud to be among these groups and hope to gradually move closer to the quality of the headliners. What are your thoughts on the world of current Gothic Metal scene? When you play metal, you know that you are part of a world that’s a little apart, so except for a few groups, you know that you will have limited visibility. Besides, we need to understand the term Gothic in order to have a clear vision of the groups that belong in this category. Nevertheless, I feel that there are big female fronted metal acts that currently are treading a good path. In order to better known, we should do more commercial stuff or get closer to traditional rock... What are your plans for the future? Our label asked us to make a second album and we’re working on it. Currently, with few exceptions, we are no longer accepting new dates before the end of August, that’s when we are presenting our first recording. We hope that this second album will be well received in order for us to continue our extraordinary adventure. We would like to present it everywhere, of course, but we would especially like to play in Holland, Germany, go back to England and France, and why not, discover other countries like Spain or Italy ... because we must keep dreaming.
t what age did TH pick an axe for the first time? About 5 or 6. There were always guitars in my house as I was growing up, an old Echo acoustic from the 70’s; a juggernaut of a guitar that totally dwarfed me back then. It was a proper beast to play and the strings were old and tarnished and the action really high. I remember how it would cane the shit out of my little fingers and I didn’t enjoy playing it at all! At about age 13 I got bought my first electric guitar, a cream colored Columbus ‘strat’ shape guitar. This was a real turning point as I began to then try and learn the songs that captured my imagination when I was a kid. Do you recall the first bands that connected you to rock n roll? My dad used to play in rock bands back in the 70’s so there were tons of rock and blues vinyl’s knocking about. Before I got into metal I was brought up on blues music, a huge influence of how I would end up writing and playing music in my later years. I would sit for hours listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Howling Wolf, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, BB King, Son House... the list goes on. Then what followed was Deep Purple, early Fleetwood Mac, Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hendrix and of course ZZ Top. I’ve always been attracted to songs with a solid hook and groove and I can’t bear to listen to any music that doesn’t wanna get me moving. How did it all start with XII Boar? Jesus now I gotta delve into the memory bank! I went to Uni with our bassist Adam, he was the only other
greasy long haired metaller in a Uni full of art geeks and hipsters. We became friends. I met his mate Dave, our drummer, and we also became friends from the get go. We started doing a band called ‘Black Wizard’ but because we were pretty young and hadn’t found our own sound we wrote really badly sounding Black Labelesque songs. We shit-canned that project and went into hiatus. One day I was desperate for a shit while I was in the library and went to drop the kids off. I sat down on the porcelain throne and I was thinking about band names and boom! Just like a turd hitting the cold water, the name XII BOAR popped into my head. I texted Adam and Dave. ‘Let’s do a band called XII Boar’. The rest is history. What about the name? From what I know there are some people that mispronounce it. If you can’t read Roman Numerals you are a retard and probably won’t like our music any way. “XII” and “Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof” are two amazing EPs, how would you describe your music to a new listener? The best thing you’re ever likely to hear from the UK Metal/Rock scene. If I’m not mistaking you guys performed at last year’s Bloodstock edition. Were you satisfied with the way the public reacted to your music? They went ape-shit! Very satisfied, indeed. A couple of months ago XII Boar
shared the stage with one band I suppose you might note as a primary influence, Corrosion of Conformity. Also, you’re on the way of performing in Germany with the godfathers of sludge, Crowbar. Is it fair enough to assume that performing with these people, some dreams may have come true for you? Man we feel so honored to have been main support for C.O.C, it made us step up our live performance to another level and raise the bar. I listened to these guys so much in my teens and they were a massive inspiration. Supporting Crowbar is a dream came true. As a singer/guitarist Kirk Windstein is my hero and the best there is. Cliché as it sounds, Crowbar is my go to music when I feel shitty and it resonates with me so deeply. There is a slow down section towards the middle of our song “Hellspeed Viper” that is inspired by Crowbar. One thing about playing with such epic bands is it fires up our competitive genes, and in true XII Boar fashion, no matter who the main act is, we aim to blow them out of the water. Would you consider hitting the road on your own European tour in the near future? We’re on it! Watch this space! Is there any chance we’ll see XII Boar unleashing their debut full length this year? We most abso-fucking-lutely will! November I reckon. Keep your ears to the ground and your arses to the wall!
ABADDON INCARNATE Pessimist
ALNAMROOD Heen Yadhar Al Ghasq
BEASTWARS Blood Becomes Fire
BLOOD OF SERPENTS Black Dawn
Eternal Sound Records
/10 Abaddon Incarnate
have been rather inconsistent in their sound although quality has been impeccable. After flirting with Death Metal influences predominantly a la Napalm Death on the last two albums, the band is making a comeback to its atavistic stage where Grindcore reigns supreme and rightly so. “Nadir” was the standout album in the band’s discography but “Pessimist” is challenging its position with its undiluted, vicious inyour-face spittle. Death/Grind can be dubious if not generic but delivering pure aggression via mostly Grindcore is what the band is adept at. It’s got substance, experience and is definitely not beating around the bush. “Pessimist” meets all expectations and surpasses them even - excellent Grindcore release if there ever was one. [Kunal Choksi]
ARCH ENEMY War Eternal Century Media
/10 Due to Angela
Gossow’s departure, the making of Arch Enemy’s new record essentially became a moment of “make it” or “break it” for Mike Amott’s brainchild. Also, to make matters worse, there could have been an extra element of pressure involving
/10 Hailing from
Saudi Arabia, AlNamrood defy the society they live in with their black/folk metal and their fourth album “Heen Yadhar Al Ghasq”. Introducing the new vocalist Humbaba, featuring some kind of vocal distortion and singing in Arabic, it becomes even more diabolical. Of course we have other bands, such as Orphaned Land and Melechesh, that blended metal with local folk elements, but AlNamrood go further with more regional percussion and oriental rhythms throughout the whole record. A martial soundscape is delivered in “Youm Yukram Al Jaban” and furious drums mixed with oriental strings are heard in “Bat Al Tha Ar Nar Muheja”. We shall raise our fists for AlNamrood’s irreverence and to the breaking of boundaries through metal music.. [Diogo Ferreira]
possible comparisons to the comeback effort of Amott’s former bandmates, Carcass. Having these factors in consideration, it’s easy to see why Amott felt the need to push “War Eternal” into what became a vastly accomplished and highly energetic album. Arch Enemy’s trademark musical duality between death metal structures and neoclassical melodies is maintained, but now pushed even further into far more brutal extremes. Songs like “Never Forget, Never Forgive” or “Down to Nothing” sound like they could have entered Carcass’s “Surgical Steel”, and reveal the vast influence Amott could have had on the Brits’ new record. Of course other numbers such as “No More Regrets”, “Time is Black” or “Avalanche” all keep Arch Enemy’s more traditional
/10 For the sludge
maniacs out there that weren’t paying too much attention to last year’s releases, we have a special one for today – “Blood Becomes Fire” album by New Zeeland’s loudest sons, none other than Beastwars. Unlike most sludge bands, these guys don’t stand in the same place for too long, they did one hell of a job in avoiding repetition, their songs are overall short and focused on a more dynamic output. “Blood Becomes Fire” is stone cold solid, heavy, dirty and at some times it embraces a slightly mellow shape. As a sludge fanatic myself I say that this record is definitely a keeper, something very different from your average sludge metal album. [Kevin Kidd]
melodic approach, making the album evenly balanced between a nod to the band’s past and the more mainstreamed sound of their latest records. The new singer, Alissa White-Gluz, though being highly skilled, somehow lacks Gossow’s guttural depth, with her voice sounding much more scratched, but nevertheless she managed to pull off the job of ensuring an almost
/10 When listening
to Blood Of Serpent’s “Black Dawn”, you’ll realize you’re face to face with a band with some anger issues. Sure, the Metal genre is filled with hate, anger and violence but what you’ll find hear is aggression in its purest form. Blood Of Serpents are nothing but a delicious act that combines all the good things you can find in the extreme music spectrum. It’s glorious and brutal and it has something for everyone to enjoy! This Swedish quintet put forth an awesome recording and we can’t expect nothing but good things from Blood Of Serpents. [Joel Costa]
seamless transition between singers. “War Eternal” sounds like a powerful statement from a new line-up that has chosen to keep their legacy alive instead of folding due to the loss of what seemed to be an irreplaceable member. On all accounts, it succeeded in delivering what can be considered one of Arch Enemy’s best records. [Luís Alves]
BLOODY HAMMERS Under Satan’s Sun
/10 Most people try
to fit Bloody Hammers under the stoner/ doom metal tag but they stand miles away from your typical retro stoner/doom band. The dark melancholic layers forged by Anders’ voice, Lovecraft-inspired lyrics and Devallia’s organ all bring to memory bands like Charon or even later Sentenced, providing the album with traces of occult rock, 90s Scandinavian gothic rock or even grunge. «Death Does Us Part» is the perfect blend of all those catchy melancholic references, sticking to your ears like gum to your soles. Towards the end, we get to experience a more dynamic and energized facet of this (recently turned) quintet, having their peak with the punkish «Dead Man’s Shadow On The Wall». [Estefânia Silva]
/10 While old school
revivalists are a dime a dozen, Bokluk are shocking in its expression. Coated by gore, this band is a whirl of Death Metal. It’s heaving, rotting and lurching around like a zombie dinosaur, the big, raging kind. The band is unstoppable once it begins and you can’t help but be overwhelmed. This is a mix of Carcass, Repulsion with old school Death Metal bands like Carnage and Entombed circa “Clandestine” – you get the idea. It’s raw, primitive and hungry as hell. Memento Mori have done well in capturing the essence of the underground with this release. It’s one of the highlights of this year where it comes to sizzling, crushing Death Metal leaving no stone unturned. [Kunal Choksi]
AUTOPSY Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves Peaceville Records
/10 Autopsy continues in
the same path they have forged for themselves since their inception. Never one to take the easy route, the band plays its trademark ugly
CAPILLA ARDIENTE Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness
CASTLE Under Siege
High Roller Records
/10 I never would have thought I’d be drawn to a doom release that tests the boundaries of its label. Capilla Ardiente (a phrase in spanish meaning Burning Chapel, a place where the recently deceased receive their funeral) infuse an epic heavy metal veil vocals and guitar sections over the decaying and dragging instances of doom, which surprisingly works out better than expected. Soaring clear vocals take charge for the most part, with guitars following suit with exquisite solos that heavy metal fans can adore. This album has the best of both worlds in which fans of either will enjoy. Although it doesn’t hit as hard as other albums I’ve come across at first, the lasting effect is definitely present. [Jeffrey Allee]
Death Metal style with rabid vocals and twisted riffing. The classic appeal is intact even though the progression has stagnated ever since the band’s comeback. The last album was only more of the same, perhaps less bold, but this one is ballsy. It’s very satisfying with many songs opting for the darker, more fleshed out riffing which is something few bands these days are able to pull off. Autopsy don’t have to rely on theatrics or studio appeal. This band reeks of Death Metal and encapsulates the essence like no other. These guys are masters. The album is rife with great moments, and even though the songs are too varied, it’s probably for a reason. It’s easier to get through
Prosthetic Records / Ván Records
/10 Castle return with
their third album “Under Siege”. This is the usual mixture of Heavy Metal and old-school Doom and there isn’t much to say about it. It has haunting vocals by Elizabeth Blackwell, great thick riffs by Mat Davis and McCartney’s work on the drums is solid. Elizabeth claimed she wanted to summon the powerful and unrelenting feeling she got while playing live, and although we can see that emotion in a track like “Labyrinth Of Death”, the rest of “Under Siege” does not show that passion. The highlight of the album is actually the production of Billy Anderson (Cathedral, Neurosis). He was really able to imbue Castle with a dark aura that ultimately saved “Under Siege” of being mostly forgettable. [Carlos Cardoso]
the whole album without getting put off by it. This goes for those who aren’t into the kind of Death Metal music Autopsy peddles in. As for the purists, the old ones, the classicworshippers, the album will not leave them disappointed. At the same time, it must be said that it’s best to treat it on its own accord than constantly keep “Mental Funeral” or “Acts of the Unspeakable” as reference. That was two decades ago. With that said, this new one ranks as one of the best in the band’s recent discography. It’s worthy of your interest in this band and lives up to the reputation even if it’s no classic. [Kunal Choksi]
CEMETERY Enter the Gate
CEMETERY LUST Orgies of Abomination
CHASMA Codex Constellatia
CROSS VAULT Spectres of revocable loss
The Path Less Traveled Records
/10 Cemetery are from
Germany, not Sweden or someplace else. Thanks to Memento Mori, they have been released in all its restored glory, including the album that had never been released in a double CD edition. Basically this is an extension of the early Death sound, in a way that even Death hadn’t explored. It’s like Death circa “Leprosy” meets the progressive touches of latter Edge of Sanity – long-winded, lots of leads and melodies and unconventional placements. It’s still very much logical but it’s interesting because very few bands have been able to do this kind of thing. Germans always had a knack of doing something relatively interesting with Death Metal be it Torchure or Fleshcrawl or Atrocity but this band is in the league of Morgoth. Highly interesting and worthy of your attention. [Kunal Choksi]
/10 Black/Thrash is in
vogue. Even if it belongs in the ‘80s. Never mind, good ‘ol nostalgia doesn’t hurt. Cemetery Lust, the sexual themed band much like say the ones emanating from South America back in the day, is from US and sounds like a cross between the Teutonic Thrash Metal trio in Kreator, Sodom and Destruction and primitive Slayer. It all sounds dated and deliberately so. There’s nothing modern, neither in the aesthetic nor the sound. Hells Headbangers revels in this form of music and it’s fairly enjoyable for what it is, even with limited potential. [Kunal Choksi]
SAOR Aura Northern Silence
/10 “Aura” is Saor’s
debut album, but it’s really Andy Marshall’s second one since he has already released the “Roots” album under the name Àrsaidh. Due to problems with the accented “A” and starting to dislike the name
/10 Keeping the
/10 Cross Vault’s press
Cascadian black metal scene alive, the northAmericans Chasma are releasing their second album, “Codex Constellatia”. With a more cosmic magnitude than the usual earthly one within the sub-genre, Chasma’s “Codex Constallatia” is able to put us down in mourn through solitary guitar notes when all of a sudden the song explodes like supernovas, as we can see in the track “Reflections”. The atmospheric soundscapes, like in “Burning Shapeless”, are like space highways through stars and nebulas. Despite every instrument and sound being very well compacted, the double pedal is heard here and there with a clear presence. “Codex Constellatia” is another successful brick in the pavement to make them one of the best. [Diogo Ferreira]
release speaks truth: Warning are their main reference. The ingredients are all there: the sorrowful voice, the slow paced riffs, and the mournful bass. They even cover Warning’s «Footprint». But the most shattering part of the album is not the music per se, rather its poor recording and production. The drums and bass sound like they are being played inside a closed auditorium behind us and the only thing that really emerges is the voice, flawless given the genre. When compared to other bastions like Warning, 40 Watt Sun or even Pallbearer, Cross Vault stand a few steps behind but with the ability to catch up if they invest a bit more on the studio. [Estefânia Silva]
itself, Andy decided to change his flag to Saor – however, “Roots” is about to be re-issued under the new name. This album has the power to musically and mentally pick up our lazy city lifestyle asses into dimmed light roads covered by majestic trees, into dark green fields abruptly raped by rocky hills where Scotland ancestors raised their swords and shields against the Englishmen. This feeling provided by Saor’s new songs is mainly evident with the using of tin whistles with the embracing guitars and fast drumming back there. However, Andy could use it wisely, because he only plays those instruments when the music really needs it and not during the entire album – bands which play folk instruments during the whole albums run the
risk to become boring and we know it, Andy knows it. “Aura” does not feed only from folk elements and black metal as we have a shoegaze/post-rock intro in the title-track reminding me of Alcest’s most recent style with celestial chorus and echoed solitary guitar notes. Accompanying Andy’s furious growls there are also victorious and clamorous choruses in tracks like “The Awakening”. The last song “Pillars Of The Earth” exalts the northern spirits with its nostalgic emphasis with female voices and mournful yet violent soundscapes clearly inspired by Nature. “Aura” is definitely a contemporary icon and with it you’ll be swimming the purest Northern lakes.. [Diogo Ferreira]
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/againstmagazine
CROWBAR Symmetry in Black Century Media
/10 “Symmetry in
Black” is the first record since Kirk Windstein left Down to concentrate on Crowbar at full time, and it sure sounds like the bearded guitarist has dealt his best hand in their 10th full length. Throughout “Symmetry”, every riff is carefully thought out and hits you with the weight of a thousand bricks echoing from a plethora of beastly guitar tones. In typical Crowbar fashion, there’s a Sabbath-y type of cadence to the songs, featuring frequent crosses into sludge and hardcore territory, with each song receiving several flourishes in the form of intertwining doom tinged dual guitar melodies. Choice cuts like “Walk With Knowledge Wisely”, “I Will Walk alone” or “Shaman of Belief” are some examples of this and of what might just be one of Crowbar’s best releases so far.. [Luís Alves
DESECRATION Cemetery Sickness
DEVIL YOU KNOW The Beauty Of Destruction
Giant Electric Pia
Metal Age Productions
DEN SAAKALDTE Faen i Helvete
/10 Starting with an
impressive opening track of pure black metal, this album keeps the atmosphere and influences of the previous full-length release. The change of vocalists, although Kvarforth’s vocals are extremely charismatic, did not change the dynamic of the music. The fast drums and the guitar riffs that walk the fine line of classic and predictable manage to keep it all coherent. It keeps the dark and depressive theme, with some trace of black n’ roll in a few tracks, ripping through this barrier of darkness like a well sharpened knife. It’s the kind of album I’d definitely find myself listening to while driving down a dark winter night. [Ana Raquel Mendes]
SEPTICFLESH Titan Prosthetic Records / Season Of Mist
/10 The titans were a
powerful, primeval race of Greek mythology that held high divine status. They were descendants of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky), emerging as immortal giants that served as the first generation
have come up with an album that’s satisfying in all aspects – it has brutality, groove, riffs and hooks that are mighty. It’s done well to come from out of the shock-value shadow of Cannibal Corpse to do something of its own. “Cemetery Sickness” is full of undeniable catchy songs, each different as far as possible from the other without straying from the intended sound. It encapsulates the essence of Death Metal and gives us 11 songs of what’s right about it. This album is solid and unrelenting right from the start. The music is brisk, memorable and the right level of brutal – it’s all what you need in this day and age. Great stuff. [Kunal Choksi]
of Greek gods and goddesses. This description can also be used in relation to the Greek symphonic death metal band, Septicflesh, along with their latest effort, “Titan”. Septicflesh are known to be the masters, or rather the “titans”, of their craft. I have yet to hear any band measure up anywhere close to the quality this group has accomplished over their extensive career. “Titan” doesn’t cause this trend to fail, as it has become an album that I simply can’t see not making one of the top positions of year-end lists. This record manages to bring in the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, a children’s choir, as well as a fully-fledged choir on top of that. Septicflesh pull out all the stops and more to create
FOLLOW US ONLINE http://www.againstmagazine.com
/10 Supergroups tend to
be a bit of a risky proposition because most of the times the clash of egos makes it impossible for the band´s sound to flourish. Being this a minor supergroup formed by members and ex-members of Killswitch Engage and All Shall Perish the formula seems to work. Branded by their label as a Modern Metal band, it’s another way of saying this is a power metal band with some Nu Metal leanings (ever so gentle) in their sound. They don’t present anything new, but manage to create a personalized vision of a style that has seen its heyday in the precious century. [Nuno Babo]
one of the most pummeling cinematic experiences I’ve ever heard. “Prometheus” and “Prototype” are just a couple of the many examples as to how well these groups are worked. The orchestra contributes with its clean, tight-knit compositions as perfect contrast to Septicflesh’s harsh and foreboding atmosphere provided by the harsh vocals and abrasive guitar riffs. These guys swiftly demonstrate why they reign as the best of what they do. “Titan” is one of the more consistent records you’ll find this year, especially in its sub-genre. Septicflesh remain in the realm of the elite and show no signs of stepping down. [Jeffrey Allee]
DOMAINS Sinister Ceremonies
ECHELON Vivito! Creato! Moritor!
EMBRACE OF DISHARMONY Humananke
EMPTINESS Nothing But The Whole
The Sinister Flame
My Kingdom Music
Dark Descent Records
/10 Domains are the best
discovery of the year – this band melds various styles pertaining to Death Metal and creates music that is artistic and effective. It’s like a mix of Behemoth, Immolation and Deathspell Omega with touches of Krisiun in terms of riffing and pulsating aggression. Too often bands sound derivative and while Domains isn’t the most original band around, it can be slotted alongside Dead Congregation where the music is concerned and it would even rival that band just because it’s using all the influences to channel a unique vision. The songs are catchy and dark at the same time, memorable and yet remaining somewhat intriguing. The quality shines like no other. It’s probably the best Death Metal debut of this year and one of the best overall. [Kunal Choksi]
/10 Echelon emerge
from the blackened soils of Austria to bring upon the masses their debut full length record, “Vivito! Creato! Moritor!”. Yeah, I don’t see album titles like that every day but it suits this five piece pretty well considering they are hailed as an avant-garde black metal band. The project acts the part in the sound as well as in the concept behind the record (if you’re into that sort of thing). Echelon implement the basic sound of black metal in their compositions, but use outside influences to mold a sound that contains much more than that. Add in the interesting concept, the question of war, the question of the idea of war. Interesting to say the least, and worth a listen. [Jeffrey Allee]
SERPENTINE PATH Emanations Relapse Records
/10 Featuring members,
or ex-members, of bands such as Electric Wizard, Winter and Unearthly Trance, it could be easy to look at Serpentine Path as just another genre “super” group. I personally didn’t pay any attention, or
/10 Ever since Accept
released Breaker in 1981, there has been a proliferation of Neo Classical Power Metal bands. Accept planted the seed, Helloween perfected the formula and bands like Stratovarius and Nightwish streamlined the sound. For all the technical proficiency this genre implicitly has, some bands tend to fall in the same pitfalls. These Italians obviously are great musicians and the record is very well crafted, but even with a female lead singer and some guttural vocals and quasi black metal influences thrown in the mix, I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu and a lack of original ideas in their sound. [Jeffrey Allee]
have knowledge of, this until it came to writing this review. Instead, I had just heaved this weighty behemoth onto my stereo and blasted the hell out of it. This, as usual, allows full focus on the music, without the annoying distractions that come along from time to time. What you do get with Emanations is an absolutely crushing album, from start to finish, which layers riff upon riff of the heaviest music you can imagine. Although this is primarily a doom album, or death doom if you prefer (and like you tags), there is an obvious love for the slower and more brutal output from death metal veterans, Autopsy, who themselves love to throw in a little doom here and there. However, Emanations is an album that stands on
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/againstmagazine
/10 Emptiness have
created something stunning with this new album – it’s a mix of Black and Doom with the underground aesthetic somewhat intact. It’s most comparable to the Finnish Black/ Doom band Dolorian crossed with Disembowelment with some of the eerie atmosphere and structures of Blut aus Nord. It’s not as much original as it is innovative and for that the band gets maximum points. The atmosphere is suffocating but welcome, for it is intriguing, and the music remains largely unpredictable. Nonetheless there’s coherency and a semblance of thought-out structures which makes it way better than the fancy bands out there. The album is innovative, refreshing, bold even and plays around with your psyche in a subtle but effective way. Excellent. [Kunal Choksi]
its own, delivering 7 tunes; with each one a destructive beast of its own. With the likes of Primitive Man and Coffinworm both unleashing contenders for the most vitriolic albums possible, you can now add Serpentine Path’s Emanations to that. The sheer oppressive nature of the music negates the need to know what the lyrics are. They could be singing about mowing the lawn, but as the music is so damned heavy, it makes no difference; it will stomp down on you, leaving you a whimpering mess. Emanations is an incredibly ugly album, one which also happens to be incredibly good. Its music will snake its way inside you, and then the damage is done. Quite excellent. [Jude Felton]
EYEHATEGOD Eyehategod Housecore Records
/10 American sludge
metal masters, Eyehategod, have bestowed upon us their self-titled album that conveys the everything this band has experienced and become. If you’re looking for some sludge that brings in some different influences and sounds, this one may be for you. Eyehategod incorporate a heavy sound that contrasts to what a lot of modern metal bands are doing now, putting more emphasis in the oomph instead of the volume. You’ll also hear the emanating pulses of psychedelic rock sprinkled all over in a way that doesn’t come off as annoying. The doom-esque foundation hits it home for me and ends up giving this album a more consistent feel than other sludge albums. Eyehategod are legends for a good reason, putting out another solid album. [Jeffrey Allee]
FINNTROLL Natten Med De Levande Finntroll
FROZEN OCEAN The Dyson Swarm
HATE DIVISION Order of the Enslaved
Blast Head Records
/10 After 81 minutes of
live recording distributed around 19 tracks, we get the impression that this is the Finntroll live album every fan was craving for. Even though it was recorded in September 2008 (in Amsterdam) and most of the tracks were originally recorded with other singers, we can say that «Natten Med De Levande Finntroll» summarizes well Finntroll’s history. «Midnattens Widunder» is played almost in its entirely, «Jaktens Tig» has four tracks representing, «Nattfödd» gets six tracks, the “recently” released «Ur Jordens Djup» gets only three and there is still time to visit the EP «Visor Om Sluter» with «Försvinn Du Som Lyser». Besides the chronological aspects, the recording quality should also be noted, making this release of huge significance to any troll. [Estefânia Silva]
VADER Tibi Et Igni Candlelight
I’m sorry but Vader peaked very early. In my books, ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ and ‘De Profundis’ is where the band shines. Ever since, the band has released decent to mediocre albums in its discography. ‘Litany’ was a
/10 Frozen Ocean was
formed in late 2005 by it’s only member, a very busy dude called Vaarwel. The man has released no less than eight full length albums, five EPs and two splits. Goddamn impressive! Erupted in March through Kristallblut Records, “The Dyson Swarm” is one massive bundle of space, electronic, drone and dark ambient metal. Very tense due to the low tempos, atmospheric and creepy, with weird song titles that make the album more fascinating and ambiguous. Although it was a really hard choice, I would name ”CE-4” (2nd track) and ”The Dyson Swarm” (6th) as my personal favorites, especially because these are the only ones where Vaarwel performed vocals as well as establishing some great haunting lyrics. [Kevin Kidd]
blip on the radar but the ones after that were hardly remarkable. The band has simply been treading waters since. The problem is that the band is constantly repeating itself and to make things worse, it’s hardly energetic. The reason ‘Litany’ got its level of success was mostly because of the energy level. But to be fair, the band’s previous album ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ was rather good. It was hardly challenging but it was reasonably agreeable and fairly well done, albeit obviously rehashed. In comparison to that one, ‘Tibi Et Igni’ sounds even more watered down, although the music is more upbeat, catchy and more importantly thrashy. It’s as if the band is trying to recreate ‘De Profundis’ all over again but this time the
FOLLOW US ONLINE http://www.againstmagazine.com
Fusing aspects of death metal and grindcore, Hate Division’s sophomore album is an absolutely brutal affair. Evolving in every way imaginable, from production to song writing, the Nova-Scotia purveyors of the dark arts guarantee a unique listening experience for extreme metal enthusiasts. Their latest record encompasses dogmatic viciousness and a revolutionary structured sound, elements that are propelled by arduous vocals and a detonation of drums. Paul Shaw’s dexterity on the bass coupled with Shane Forsyth drumming is a powerful relationship; just listen as the group alternate between brutal frenzies and short, defined, captivating intervals. Then, most notably, there is Sean Wyszynski, one of the most ferocious death metal vocalists in operation today, just observe his sheer presence and insane ability to transform his pitch mid-breath. The man, much like the band, operates in an impressive manner.
intent is all diluted. It’s a hit and miss, hardly any reinvigorating songs or moments, even though the music is certifiably Vader – it’s the band’s only saving grace. I don’t understand why the music had to be so simplified. The previous album was at least consistent – here the songs are all over the place, varying drastically in their quality. Yes, it’s catchy music, good for the mass audience but not for someone who really understands the genre or the greatness of Vader. This comes as a disappointment because when you’re playing Death Metal, you’ve at least got to keep the balls strong, much like the Massacre album released this year. This Vader is barely decent, effective perhaps, but you’ve heard better Vader. [Kunal Choksi]
HUMAN INFECTION Curvatures in Time
HELLGOAT End of Man
HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL Larvas
HOUR OF PENANCE Regicide
Bizarre Leprous Production
Blast Head Records
/10 Hellgoat bring about
some interesting sounds with this new effort. Honestly, I don’t often hear black metal ever reaching these absurd levels of demonic and menacing energies. The introduction to “Demonic Worship of the Horned Beast” fools the ears into thinking that the band is going for a more atmospheric and mysterious output, but instead you’re bludgeoned in the face with hellacious vocals not normally found within your average black metal outfit. The constant assault of heavy, tarry guitar riffs almost numbs the senses. Even with this constant destruction being brought forth and destroying everything in its path, it is also mesmerizing and addictive. This isn’t for your average listener. [Jeffrey Allee]
/10 After the cool and
well-received album “Gorefilia” (2012), the Portuguese banner of grindcore, Holocausto Canibal, strike again with the “Larvas” EP including four new songs, live tracks over Europe and even some electronic remixes. Holocausto Canibal keep surprising the scene with their innovative grindcore that beautifully defies the keystones of the genre with the near-melodic guitar solos or with the complex riffs putting the old-school style in the closet. The live part – that also includes “Death By The Master Key”, originally by Dead Infection – shows the true competence of their gigs where the songs are perfectly delivered. As it was said, the EP also features three remixes, being “Obsessiva Lactação Paranormal (Mad Magus remix)” the coolest reminiscence of the trance musician Skazi. [Diogo Ferreira]
VALLENFYRE Splinters Century Media
/10 Back in 2011,
when the all-star line-up of Vallenfyre came to be known, the results of their debut couldn’t have possibly been disappointing. Gregor Mackintosh successfully reconnected with his early
/10 The opening track,
Through the Triumphal Arch, from Hour of Penance’s follow-up to 2012’s Sedition should serve as a forewarning of what is to follow. It’s just under a minute of Satanic-like chanting and ominous build-up, before hurtling forth into Reforging the Crowns. From here on in it is absolute bedlam, as Hour of Penance slam their collective feet straight down on the gas pedal. Regicide is a fullblown sonic assault of the purest death metal essence, and if there is one word I’d use to describe it, it would be relentless. This is no understatement, as the Italians roar through the ten full songs on display here, after the aforementioned intro. The bass and drum are gods here, striking at us like heavy artillery, whilst the guitar and vocals serve as covering fire that is no less lethal. Lacking in variety, yet impressive nonetheless. [Jude Felton]
death metal influences and went on to deliver one of the best releases in the old school revival of the genre. “Splinters”, its follow up, encapsulates all of the debut’s songwriting elements, but whereas “The Fragile King” was for most of the time a mid-tempo styled affair, new songs such as “Scabs”, “Cattle” and “Instinct Slaughter” take the dirtiness and extremity to other heights with Swedish death metal reminiscent riffs and a frequent use of monstrous blast beats by veteran drummer Adrian Erlandsson. On the other hand, the influence of Mackintosh’s other creative outlet, Paradise Lost, also comes to the front, as songs like “Bereft” show a new element of melodic diversity to the material that wasn’t that
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/againstmagazine
/10 Human Infection
stand out from the sea of Brutal Death Metal bands by incorporating classic methods into its relevant brutality. Suffocation are the father of this sub-genre but Human Infection infuses the dark sludginess of Morbid Angel as well. The result is dark and thick Brutal Death Metal without diluting the essence of the music in any way. This is a welcome change from the slam-ridden sub-genre where the focus is shifted on the thick grooves and churning riffs and atmosphere as well. The artwork is superb and the production justifies the sound of the band. There’s little to dislike here if you’re looking for some well-played Brutal Death Metal. [Kunal Choksi]
much present in the debut. This sophomore release is definitely a big step up from Vallenfyre’s first record, and ups the ante in terms of songwriting diversity and overall sonic brutality. Listeners of old school death metal will definitely love it and even being more extreme than what Paradise Lost usually does, its fans will also recognize enough elements to be able to fully embrace this effort. Besides being a beast record, “Splinters” also shows the synergy path for the meeting of old and new death metal styles, bringing something fresh to the table on a genre which is again, after so many years, in need of a reinvigoration. [Luís Alves]
INCARNATED Try Before Die Selfmadegod Records
/10 “Try Before Die” is
the third full length album by brutal death metal veterans Incarnated. Now I’m going to be honest, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of most brutal death metal. I love my death metal to hit hard and fast, but the approach taken by this sub-genre just doesn’t ever settle with me. Incarnated doesn’t exactly wow me with this record, but they do show some solid chops and keep me interested for the most part. The guitars and drum work are the only elements that really draw me in to enjoying this, even though they are pretty repetitive and tiring after some time. Dedicated death metal enthusiasts may enjoy this more than me. [Jeffrey Allee]
JEREMY IRONS & THE RATGANG MALIBUS spirit knife
KARNIVORE In the Halls of the Wicked
Small Stone Recordings
/10 Picture Audioslave jamming with Pink Floyd, pretty cool, right? Well, while that scenario seems rather unlikely, Jeremy Irons & the Ratgang Malibus, a.k.a. JIRM, generate a sound that helps one visualize this fantasy line up. Spirit Knife, JIRM’s latest album, sees the group reawaken their psychedelic desires. A sumptuous affair, a clear evolution from the creativity displayed on Elefanta and Bloom, the band’s previous full-length albums, is evident. A decade ago, when the Swedish quartet formed, their music delivered a punch, however, nothing as imposing as their latest offering. Hypnotic riffs complimented by alluring drums help fashion an album of sundrenched, unapologetic bliss. Spirit Knife is the perfect soundtrack to a perfect summer. [John Glynn]
WHITECHAPEL Our Endless War Metal Blade
Deathcore never made it under my skin, it’s safe to say that Whitechapel represents `the golden exception. It was love at first sight between me and their 2007 debut “The Somatic Defilement”, includ-
Lake of Fire Productions
/10 Karnivore are a
“Reckless” Metal trio from Sweden who began their journey in 2002, but became truly operational somewhere around 2012, after changing their name and started releasing material. Today we face their second creation, “In the Halls of the Wicked”. The record consists of eight tunes, heavy and melodic, with an interesting dynamic in the songs’ structure, fair amount of creativity from the guitars, pounding drumming and edgy vocals. Overall “In the Halls of the Wicked” is a good album, the instrumentals and vocals are executed by the book, however I wouldn’t label this record as a collector’s item, due to it’s rigidity and lack of catchiness. [Kevin Kidd]
ing all that went after. Their fifth full length, “Our Endless War”, came out on April 29th through Metal Blade Records and in my book it’s noted as their best work so far. However, the record embodies a different musical pattern compared to its predecessors. With “Our Endless War” the band kind of stepped with one foot out of the Deathcore spectrum and smashed it into the realms of Thrash, Prog and Groove. In some cases, when a band (or their producer) starts playing with the influences, it can go wrong. But it’s obviously not the case, Whitechapel have shown signs of great musical maturity, an emphasized touch, a powerful delivery, better technique and master-
FOLLOW US ONLINE http://www.againstmagazine.com
MISERY INDEX The Killing Gods Season Of Mist
/10 Misery Index
have kept getting better over time. From what sounded like Dying Fetus trying to play Grindcore, the band has come a long way in carving what can be called a sound of its own – relatively. It’s got more variations than a standard Death Metal/Grindcore band and when you have highly competent band members involved, the result has to be remarkable. The music has a sense of urgency, an inherent groove and catchiness which makes all the difference and the genre needs that. The dynamism is not only cathartic and is kept in check – thus, everything is in the right proportions, thanks to the experience of the band members over the years. The album is excellent and certainly one of the best in recent times for this style of music. If you like the idea of Napalm Death crossed with Dying Fetus, you can’t go wrong here. [Kunal Choksi]
minded song structure. It’s hard to pick a favorite out of “Our Endless War”, every track has it’s very own importance and genius behind it. To make it clearly, this sucker owns during its entire length. Great bands became and stayed great because they impressed with every move they made in their lifetime, in this case we’re talking about releases – albums, EPs, etc. If you take a closer listen at heavyweights like Pantera or Lamb of God, you’ll notice that every album has different musical influences, but somehow the band manages to keep it’s originality and identity. Whitechapel walks in the right shoes. [Kevin Kidd]
MORTUALIA Blood of the Hermit Moribund
/10 Mortualia is
Shatraug’s depressive black metal solo project and the rare “Blood Of The Hermit” is being re-issued via Moribund Records, which have already re-released the debut album a few years ago. Mortualia’s slow pace and heavy noised guitars build one of the most depressive and doomed soundscapes ever. “Become Meaningless” is like a lingering walk towards funereal fields where the casket will be buried – but never reaching the destination, it’s endless. In this album there’s no such thing as beauty, as every moment expires darkness and enclosure. However, the last track, “Pain At Least…”, turns out to be a nice melodic surprise after all the perdition passages. If you follow Shatraug’s work, this is an indispensable item to have! [Diogo Ferreira]
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS Jamat-al-Maut
OPIUM WARLORDS Taste My Sword Of Understanding
ORANGE GOBLIN Healing Through Fire [re-issue]
/10 How often do you get a Grindcore band from Pakistan? Not too often. Yet the music is right for the angst prevalent in that country. The duo of Hassan and Sheraz are bold in expressing their feelings without being politically correct. This is a short, vicious and potent slab of Grindcore with Crust elements and fairly diverse songs. It’s not as cathartic as it promises to be but then again it expresses the versatility of the band members. This EP is a reminder of the potential of the duo and one can expect better things from this promising band from Pakistan. Slave to the grind only. [Kunal Choksi]
Sami Hynninen (aka Albert Witchfinder) returns with his third Opium Warlords release and this time thinking a bit less “all over the place”. «Taste My Sword Of Understanding» was composed between 1994 and 2009 but, unlike its predecessor «We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky» (that was actually composed and recorded after this one), the composition sounds more cohesive and comprehensible, resembling a concept mix tape. You do get Reverend Bizarre in «The Self-Made Man» but then «The God In Ruins» brings back the usual avant-weirdness with its suicidal doom ambience, killing any hopes of a traditional approach to doom. This balance between doom and avantgarde is quite fragile, as the album will turn out to be difficult to digest by doom metal fans and maybe “too easy” for drone/avant-garde connoisseurs.
/10 It’s always weird
when an album gets a reissue less than 10 years after its launch. One might think: “time for some good ol’ money grabbin”. The truth is, Orange Goblin suffered a great injustice. The album was originally released through Sanctuary Records at a time when the label was imploding. This lead to the album going almost unnoticed in the USA, where it never got the appreciation it deserved. So now, here it is, through Candlelight Records, to all of the world, one of the cornerstones of the Stoner genre. A festival of dirty riffs and groovy melodies that will reveal that Orange Goblin are the bluesiest band in metal today. Go and get it now, they deserve it. [Carlos Cardoso]
Max Cavalera - My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura to Soulfly and Beyond: The Autobiography
/5 I have to admit it. After Andreas
Kisser called this book a work of “science fiction”, I was immediately interested in trying to know what would make the current Sepultura guitarist make such curious remarks, so, as a long time Sepultura fan, I felt like I really had to read this. Even though most people don’t really know what happened in the acrimonious Sepultura split, the truth is, at least from my point of view, that Max’s book might indeed be only one side of the story, but since everyone has his own side, he seems to be adopting a sincere posture about what happened not only in that process, but also in his life, even if he might seemingly choose not to paint the full picture at times.
Authors: Max Cavalera, Joel McIver Pages: 256 Publisher: Jawbone Press ISBN:190827963X ISBN13: 9781908279637
The whole tonality of ”My Bloody Roots” looks more like a transcription of Max Cavelera sitting alongside you on a bar table over a few drinks and telling you all of the events in the most informal fashion, just as if he was just telling some stories to a close group of his friends. Anyone who knows or has heard Max Cavalera talk will recognize that. Despite Joel McIver’s intervention, this seems to be indeed Max Cavalera opening up and telling his side of things to the reader. Cavalera covers all of his life trajectory since he was born in Belo Horizonte in ‘69 up to his most recent creative endeavour with Soulfly, “Savages”, which came out in
2013. We are given insights into his childhood with his brother Iggor, the impact that his father’s death and the abrupt change from wealth to financial difficulty had in his life, the forming of Sepultura with Wagner Lamounier, the ascension of the band to mainstream success and all of his road between the split with Sepultura and the formation of Soulfly up
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/againstmagazine
PARANORM The Edge of Existence Self-Released
/10 I guess Thrash Metal,
even its oldest forms, refuses to die. “The Edge of Existence”, a four track EP delivered by Uppsala, Sweden based quartet named Paranorm, will take you a few decades back in the golden days of the genre. Compared to the band’s debut EP, “The Edge of Existence” shows great signs of improvement, a more disciplined and better oriented approach. I was really impressed by the shredding and solos these dudes can perform, they’re really nailing it in every song. The guitars are certainly the backbone of this EP. Still, it will take a bit more hard work and time to pass before the band will reach their main objective – to create something new and refreshing. [Kevin Kidd]
PORTRAIT Crossroads Metal Blade
/10 You just can’t go
wrong with great heavy metal, especially when it’s built on such great foundations as King Diamond, Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden. Portrait’s third album, “Crossroads”, is a tribute to everything that the monsters of the heavy metal built over the years. It has everything: over-the-top old school vocals, acoustic intros and great riffs setting up fast guitar solos. “Lily” is the most representative track, closing “Crossroads” on a very high note: it contains all the aforementioned traits in a nine minute epic with the perfect ‘80s aura. This mystique is, of course, due to the stellar production that provides the album with a classic sound that will entertain, at least until King Diamond records a new album. Enough to keep the wheel of heavy metal going.. [Carlos Cardoso]
until this point in time. The Sepultura chapters are indeed what make up for the most interesting read, with Max revealing some funny stories, incidents with other famous rock stars and the path of constant struggle to get out of Brazil’s borders to become an international sensation. When mentioning his former Sepultura partners, everyone, including Kisser, is held in high regard except for Paulo Xisto, who takes up some harsh verbal beatings by the singer. Due to this, Cavalera looks like he’s showing some bitterness over the fact that Xisto was, until very recently according to Max, the only one stopping the Sepultura reunion from happening. On the downside, what was supposed to be one of the most revealing chapters in the book, concerning the split with his former band mates, isn’t as detailed as one would probably like it to be. There seems to be doubt whether Cavalera really decided to tell the full version of the events or if some details were kept private, which is
RAHU The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions
/10 Who would think
of a Finnish black metal band working around Hindu themes? That’s Rahu which are re-releasing the debut “The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows”, originally issued in 2012. Presented as black metal, Rahu is more than that – Rahu are aesthetics, devotion and spirit lifting. The entire album provides us a wall of sound injected by the rhythm heavy guitar and on the other side there’s a melodic and echoed lead guitar which is the heart of the songs. All of that combined with a mid-pace marching most of the time, it gives a feeling of sorrow sometimes interrupted by condemned passages like in “Sceptre of the Auspicious One”. It’s a cool album for black metal ethereal believers. [Diogo Ferreira]
fairly curious as in other chapters Max opens up about really tough situations related to dealing with addiction that he never revealed before. It’s easy to reach the conclusion that this might still be a touchy subject for him to tackle, having in consideration that once again he expressed the will to reunite with his former bandmates in the book’s pages. The other part of his musical career, Soulfly, apart from all the process of forming the band and making its first record, doesn’t seem to be as detailed or as captivating to read as the tales about his times in Sepultura. This might reveal that Max might consider the Sepultura period to be his golden years, and sometimes the reader might be left with the impression that, just like his writing on those chapters, Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy’s careers have entered into the autopilot mode at some point at time, with little to reveal about his life in this period, other than details about songs, entering rehab, some situations regarding traveling to record in other countries or FOLLOW US ONLINE http://www.againstmagazine.com
Shadow Kingdom Records
/10 Like many other
“one man bands”, Sadhak carries a special kind of energy. The two long pieces in the debut demo cassette recently re-released reflect the ideas of Andreas Hagen (from High Priest of Saturn and Resonaut) for a unique Doom Metal project. The Norwegian has accomplished to create an emotional, solid brick sound with existential and spiritual content, a very cathartic experience from the performer and to the listener. The sound recalls the remarkable (only) work by 40 Watt Sun and Burzum from the “Filosofem” era. The clean vocals contrast perfectly with the heaviness of the Stoner guitar sound. A remarkable first effort from a very special project from Trondheim that urges to be followed. [José Branco]
splits with former members. In conclusion, even with its downsides, “My Bloody Roots” still constitutes an amazing read, and its reading flows nicely due to the “street smart” type of language employed. It reveals some interesting details never published before and it’s successful in bringing out not only some of Cavalera’s most intriguing stories, but also his personality and a glimpse of the passion for what he does. Soulfy apart, until another book by any of the other Sepultura members comes out, if you cast aside the really hard to find Brazilian book “Sepultura - Toda a História” (roughly translated “Sepultura - All of the Story”), this is the best account of the Brazilians’ biography up to ’96 that you’ll be able to find out there, but of course, told through the lens of one of metal’s most influential musicians, the one and only, Massimiliano “Max” António Cavalera. [Luís Alves]
SARCÓFAGO Rotting [vinyl re-issue]
THE CHANT New Haven
VALDRIN Beyond the Forest
Blast Head Records
/10 No need for
introduction: Sarcófago are one of the most influential bands to ever come out of Brazil and can be placed alongside Hellhammer and Bathory as part of the First Wave Of Black Metal. Although «I.N.R.I.» is credited as their Holy Grail, the «Rotting» EP deserves as much attention not only due to the line-up changes that occurred at the time but also for presenting us with a more polished and technical sound which withdraws a bit of their early grubby recording techniques. And it’s thanks to its major historical significance to the extreme metal scene that Greyhaze Records decided to release this vinyl reissue featuring sound improvements and all the original colour artwork in a deluxe gatefold sleeve. A musthave for any die-hard black/death metal fan. [Estefânia Silva]
/10 Looking at the cover
of this record I find myself thinking about the latest Anathema records. This Finish band certainly has some similarities to the aforementioned band (specifically their later period), and also some other post metal/alternative metal bands such as Tool and Deftones. Like other bands that play this type of sound it will appeal mainly to the fans of the genre, and those fans will dive into a record that is well played and produced. A record that shows a band that know what they want and how to play it. [Nuno Babo]
Title: Re-Animator Year: 1985 Genre: Horror / Sci-Fi Director: Stuart Gordon Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson
or the last 15 years, horror movies have mostly been about demon spirits or about a bunch of kids who will be murdered on vacation or in a haunted house that they want to explore (Japanese cinema not included!). How-
/10 Valdrin from US play
Black Metal like the Swedish greats. They’re derived from Dissection and have that looming grandeur of Emperor circa early ‘90s. But what makes this band great is that they’re keeping it relevant by mixing the influences, keeping it aggressive, not unlike Naglfar and also slowing down when needed. The result is fleshed out Black Metal with an elegant balance of melodies and aggression, with that authentic nostalgia as well as contemporary nature-themed melodies reminiscent of early Agalloch. The album is long but is well-paced, with the songs getting slower and moodier as the album progresses. It’s one of the highlights if you’re into this style of steely yet melodic Black Metal. [Kunal Choksi]
ever, there were years of glory regarding horror art that somehow remained hidden from the masses – we call it B-Movies. This movement appeared during the 1950s and 1960s and was led by imaginative and misunderstood directors who also had little money to spend. Years have passed and a new wave exploded during the 1980s with directors like Stuart Gordon. His first movie was “Bleacher Bums” (1985), made for TV, but he jumped right into the spotlight with “Re-Animator” (1985) which is a modern perspective of an H.P.
/10 Out of all the black
metal I’ve heard so far this year, I haven’t come across much that dives into the melodic vein. Sure, there have been a few artists that incorporate some sort of melodic vibe here and there but not enough to be officially classified as such. Vinterbris find themselves waving the banner of said sub-genre proudly, especially with their newest effort, Solace. Vinterbris don’t come up with anything groundbreaking in this record, but they do demonstrate a well contrasted opus that resonates mixtures of harsh energies that move elegantly into quiet, elegant moments of calm and a unique emptiness. [Jeffrey Allee]
Lovecraft story. The plot is about a young scientist who discovered a formula to wake up the dead, but he needs help to refine it since the results achieved in Europe were catastrophic. Back in the USA, precisely at the Miskatonic University, the gloomy scientist Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) got in touch with the exemplary student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) who reluctantly helped him at first. During the first minutes, the viewer thinks H. West is the villain, but everything goes
WITHERIA Devastating Return
KING DUDE Fear
Violent Journey Records
the new released from WARKNIFE is made of diversity. First track sets your mind for an electronic, industrial sound, mixed with an epic flavor; you can almost imagine a shape mutating and you think the concept will go that way. But in the next song it all sounds ordinary. Then, suddenly, there comes a perfect song: “bleeding sunset”, where you have all, including a great bass line, and an interesting melody. And the good thing is that you can find, in terms of sound, heaven and hell in the same song all along the tracks. The whispering voice is also a plus. The track “Shining Phoenix” seduces by all the enigma and the melody sounds almost like Durutti Column. The album will certainly give you pleasure. [Mónia Camacho]
/10 Finnish Thrashers
Witheria are back with their most versatile release to date and album title “Devastating Return” is actually the best way to describe what we are dealing with. With their fourth full-length album, Witheria show us that the good old Thrash riffs will never die. It seems some bands are actually trying to make that happen but what they did here was to revisit Thrash Metal golden era, bring that great atmosphere to the present and play it ferociously while keeping it fresh and without losing any originality. An impressive comeback that shall not be missed by any Thrash fan out there! [Joel Costa]
/10 Emerged from the blackened death metal scene,
TJ Cowgill has become an interesting artist outside the extreme music as King Dude. His recognition has been growing from album to album and his duets with Chelsea Wolfe have been received by the audience with ecstasy, so “Fear” is absolutely one of the most expected records of 2014. The single “Fear Is All You Know” is a sudden punch in the stomach as we have an electric guitar at full force, something King Dude hasn’t used a lot before, but the sound we got with “Burning Daylight” (2012) appears within the next two songs: “Maria” and “Devil Eyes”. Tracks like these are already King Dude’s trademark, with its joyful and balanced acoustic guitar mixed with his deep and low amazing voice. With the addition of the electric guitar and a more prominent drumming, King Dude’s songs features a vibrating darkness forming heavier and obscurer soundscapes like in the aforementioned single and in the track “Empty House”. In spite of a new musical approach, and without betraying the original style, the country music influences are still evident as we have a Johnny Cash universe in “Lay Down In Bedlam” – like it or not, I consider this Dude a contemporary Johnny Cash with distortion in his songs. Roaming between love declarations and demonized stories with loss always on sight, “Fear” can be placed as a death country album which will prevail forever in the stones and winds of music history. Let fear conquer you and don’t be afraid, because King Dude is there to guide you. [Diogo Ferreira]
another way when Dr. Carl Hill steps into the scene. He’s a friend of Miskatonic’s principal who has powers of mind control by just using his eyes (yes, go ahead and laugh). He’s trying to tear apart the relationship between the principal’s daughter, the beautiful (by the 1980s standards) Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) and Dan Cain, but he stumbles upon H. West and his main goal turns towards obtaining the re-animation formula. And everything goes awesomely berserk when the dead start to wake up like zombies (H.P. Lovecraft was indeed a man ahead of his time). The special effects are ridiculously delivered, for example when one of the characters loses his head
(I’m not going to spoil who it is) and starts walking beheaded with his own head on a plate by the waist – but it’s so funny and so 1980s! The actors, well, they’re not the best in the world either, but Combs’s serious and near-cadaveric face is the best to play H. West (he, alongside B. Crampton, also stars in Gordon’s “From Beyond” (1986) – another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation). And, of course, the serum must have an outstanding color to get the attention: fluorescent green. “Re-Animator” is funny, horrific and a 1980s icon that kept the BMovies scene alive.
Paganfest 2014 via Columbus Events Group www.facebook.com/ColumbusEventsGroup came to the Alrosa Villa Friday May 2nd and was a night of truly multicultural exchanges with bands from Columbus, Cincinnati (by way of medieval times), Germany, Taiwan and Finland. The evening of armor and knightly chivalry commenced with the Kingsblood www.facebook.com/kingsbloodmetal of Columbus. A mix of melodically epic, Viking, thrash and Swedish death metal, when Amon Amarth meets Cannibal Corpse and the Norse with an appetite for human dead flesh. Forged in the bowels of Columbus’s metal scene, they play an onslaught of battle marching riffs with a vicious drumming assault. Whirling up imagery of epic battle scenes from days long ago, they charge with axes raised high. They’ve been in the works for several years bursting on the scene in 2011 opening for the legendary Immolation. Night Of Fire’s pounding drums and new growling voice of the horde Bill Rush got
the berzerking started off. The marching riffs of Hordes Of The Night as soldiers fight a never ending attacking army to the death along with new song Creature From The Black Forest. Future Norse legends of local lore, with the Trudging Through The Field Of Crows EP out on vinyl with digital download. They finish with a brand new one In The Shadow Of Cowardice. The suits, armor, medieval swag and attire came on stage in the form of cold blooded American Folk Metal Winterhymn www.facebook.com/Winterhymn. The battlefield had its first wave of warriors ready to play and kill along with the seductive musical allures of thy lovely maidens adorned with raven marked eyes, enough to enamor any man to surrender. Front huntsman Draug stood tall, guitar in hand ready to slay, decked in full fur, always ready for the icy kiss of lady winter….even in early May. Drummer Valthrun, bass/vocalist Alvadar and guitarist Varrik were attired in animal skins (thankfully no fresh kills) and appropriate
folk/thrash attire. Our ladies of modern day yore violinist Umbriel and keyboardist dressed in bewitching black Exura, stood equal amongst them. We start In The Troll Forest surrounded by the flesh hungry greedy creatures. The howling moon of the Wolfs Head began with a cold nightly cry and growl as the mist rolled in. This was the closest stop to their home town Draug announced, a quiet sleepy village south called Cincinnati. They thrash out, medieval peasant style as the fire-breathing Dragonborn Comes to save Skyrim and Columbus. You must be a certain level of drunk for the other bands to come out and though they were drinking Canada’s finest, mead and other American booze/ liquors were available at the front tavern. All hail the Alesong! The war-horn was blown as we sang along to an old song as we yo, de yo’d with an aye aye aye, commanded to Stand Your Ground, strong and proud. We’ve earned the right for a wedding cry, group pic. www.winterhymn.net Germany’s Varg www.facebook.com/Var-
gOfficial appeared looking the part of war ravaged warriors, blood stained before the pit started but ready to contribute. With the wolf’s hungry predator eyes, fangs and claws ready to attack they started with A Thousand Eyes. Metalheads are made of metal so time to f’ing headbang and celebrate with a Viking warrior song and start a circle pit! The dirty, nasty sounding Germanic riffs of Was Nicht Darf started with the aggressive words of Freki changing to dark deep whispers and yelling about closed door justice for hypocritical men of the cloth. He gave everyone ‘prost’ with an aggressive German accent for coming out and supporting Paganfest. We got a happy, heavy, hardcore hello German style with Guten Tag and finish with Rotkappchen, the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and this time she’s a real bitch to the misunderstood wolf. Next the mysteries of the Orient came to central Ohio told by Chthonic www. facebook.com/chthonictw bringing their unique form of Orient Metal with a mix
of black, death, symphonic, Taiwanese folk and opera music. Singer Freddy Lim also plays the traditional Taiwanese hena violin adding a classical flavor to the keyboards and other metal instruments. Their lyrics inspired by Taiwanese mythology, folk stories and history are fused with the electricity of one of Revolvers sexiest female’s bassist Doris Yeh, guitarist Jesse Liu, synthesizer CJ Kao and masked drummer Dani Wang. Together for almost a decade they took us on a time traveling journey through their countries bloody history, their songs and albums rich in layered concepts. It’s time for Taiwan to rise again, reborn into the Next Republic. We joined Tsing-guan in the Bu’-tik Palace via the Mirror Of Retribution as military generals plot strategy against the coming Kuomintang army. They could be described as an Oriental Cradle of Filth with cyborg/robotic themes. Being their first time at the Alrosa Villa, they asked for the crowd’s energy recognizing this historic venue. No matter where you’re from,
what ethnicity or nationality you are, we’re all united in metal! Lim declared, finishing with Takao, a name of strength and valor, especially to those who fight on the battlefield for the Japanese Imperial Army. www.chthonic.com It was time to kick ass, with more war paint and the red and black attack Finnish style with the modern day band of troopers, Turisas www.facebook.com/turisas. A God of War has sent these painted battle metal warriors of prog, punk, death and (some would say) folk metal, to us, taking us on our first journey of the night, Ten More Miles toward our true self or the safe PC version. Together with a mix of 80’s arena rock energy and symphonic screaming, Mathias Nygard plays the part of a European Peter Steele when harmonizing. Stand Up And Fight and Take The Day! We set sail on a majestic voyage to Holmgard And Beyond going The Varangian Way. The war horns sound, drums beat as we marched with the Rex
Regi Rebellis. Nygard raised his (Canadian) beer high asking all to raise their drink to those fallen comrades and all those who came to see and support the tour. Olli Vanska’s violin led the way, here’s to One More round. The heart of a true warrior is tested in battle, by Turisas and the Four Winds. Join him on the field in Battle Metal! Spirits were raised again in the name of all good tales that start with strong brew all night long, as the fast punk pace began because No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea. The riding horn sounds as the galloping drums abound and We Ride Together. Off to the great city of Miklagard, the double-edged Varagians went in epic fashion. The band left, returning to Stand Up and Fight, with Mad Max/Road Warrior fury. They prove what few heavy bands can, that violins and keyboards are ‘very’ metal. The dance party ended with Russia’s greatest love machine Rasputin but his reputation and antics were too great, so his enemies shot him till he was
dead. The end. www.turisas.com Now for Finland’s answer to Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Slayer with a bit of Finntroll, Korpiklaani www.facebook. com/korpiklaani. The clan of the wilderness play metal with a festive folk base, fan dubbed ‘beer-metal’, using the usual expected instruments with violin and accordion. They start At The Huts Of The Underworld with Tuonelan Tuvilla as the young lad forged his vengeful bow. Next a grave, happy rock tune about soiled work, Ruumiinmultaa. The slow, sexy Sabbathy opening riffs of Sumussa Hamaran Aamun (In The Mist Of A Dark Morning) roar out. Beware of what lies in the mist and above the haze in the early twilight. Time to fetch some Petoelaimen Kuola (Predators Saliva) from the forest to ferment this sacred drink giving praise to Osmotar. We mope on Kultanainen with The Lonely Lady then flew on the majestic ride of the eagle on Tuli Kokko where flute, accordion and metal guitar collide. The heavy dancin’ foot stomper Eramaan Arjyt was
followed by Little Pints that rose to cheer little men who live without the sun and party, fight and dance till the morning. They got instrumental going back to the Spirit of the Forest. The Finns have Uni while we have dreams as the child tires from heavy eyes of golden yarn, sleep now. The alcohol was pouring all night but the real men drink pure liquid courage in Vodka. We danced and sang with Ieva’s Polka enjoying her conniving romp and listened to the eternal hammerer of steel Ilmarinen forge his mighty creations on Rauta. We finished with a happy slam dancing, speed stomper because after enough mead and nature’s finest inebriants we’re all arm in arm Happy Little Boozers. www.korpiklaani.com Words: Mike Ritchie Images courtesy of Glenn Pine Photography www.glennpinephotography.com Winterhymn/Korpiklaani setlist contributor: Emily Elaine Owens www.facebook.com/bananastickers53
ith regard to the launch of a new tablet concept, developed in a partnership with Dyno Technology, brought from Portuguese Northwest, the voices of Dr. Zee e Biotikka, Zorg on bass, Zdion on guitar and drums of Monkka, the formation of Noidz. The band presented on 17 May at Hard Club, their Trance Metal sight, distinctly based on Portuguese traditional roots, sublimated also with the sounds from two sui generis bagpipes, no less enigmatic than the shadowy figure of its performer, Servus, in wears quite alluding to Star Wars movies universe.
Performing several covers of themes well known among us, such as “O Pastor” (Madredeus), “Estranha forma de vida” of Amalia Rodrigues, sung in alb appearances of the muse Biotikka, as well as “Wherever I may roam” - Metallica and “The beatiful people” of Marilyn Manson, between the themes of its new album “18.104.22.168.” as “Alienoidz theme” or “We are the future”, has revealed the powerful, ancient and eclectic soul of this Alien clan. Words: Vânia Matos Photography: Vânia Matos
etween the 11th and 12th of April took place once again in the city of Guimarães at Ultimatum Bar, Portugal, the 6th edition of Vimaranes Metallvm Fest. Focusing on the promotion, emancipation and affirmation of the local and national community, the event counted once again with the energy of his tireless and noisy public, characteristic of the great hospitality and fidelity of the usual hosts of the festival. During the two nights of concerts we had the opportunity to see the performances of bands like Shad-
owsphere, Serrabulho, Revolution Within, NightMyHeaven , Rock Poets, Extreme Retaliation, Nebulous, Refuge, Ridge Top Hounds and Archétypo 120. The bands reflected the festive environment that was felt in the air by showing an unconditional dedication to the metalhead spirit, making Vimaranes Metallvm Fest one of the most unique events of this nature in the Portuguese scene. Words: Vânia Matos Photography: Vânia Matos