Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dirge Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
 
Stéphane L. : 2011 has been a very active year. We've released our new album « Elysian Magnetic Fields » in Spring, then we toured eastern Europe, played in different countries such as Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, a lot of roads... And besides those concerts, we even took the time to make a remix for a french band called Picore. So we're currently taking a small rest. Then we'll have some gigs in early 2012 in France and Germany and surely other things to come.



2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new release and how it differs from previous releases?

There is a logical evolution through our discography. We've always tried to make evolve our sound from an album to another and « Elysian Magnetic Fields » results of this process. Obviously, it is still a typical Dirge-sounding album, but in the other hand we've tried to move towards something new (I think every band in the world try to do the same with its music), in comparison with the previous one « Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas » (2007), which was very progressive, hypnotic with very long pieces. The tracks on « Elysian Magnetic Fields » are not so long, the structures are less progressive and the songs tend to more melody. Also, the machines are maybe less harsh and corrosive, more ethereal and powerful in the same time. This album represents perfectly what Dirge is about in 2011 after more than 17 years of existence.



3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new album?

The Slumber is the figurehead of this album, with all the symbolic that comes with it. This is not a concept album about the sleep in itself, but rather a gathering of impressions, angsts, bliss and a lot of other mixed and paradoxical feelings. To me, this is a really fascinating topic.



4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

Although we're not playing a kind of « funeral doom » music, we think this name perfectly fits with our music. And it has always fit, even when, back in 1994, Dirge was playing a more robotic and industrial music. We like the sounding of these 5 letters and the powerfull meaning that hides within.





5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

It is difficult to pick one or two shows among others as each of us, musicians can have very different feelings about a same performance. Personnaly, and to talk about recent gigs, I would remain about the the Rock Altitude Festival in Switzerland or our last show in Belgium at Magasin 4. But the quality of a concert depends on so much different elements like the sound on stage, the sound in the venue itself, our own performance, if we're tired etc etc. Plus there are also all the technical aspects of the live thing (amps, guitars...) that can have an impact on our own behaviour, our own concentration on stage if things go wrong. To describe our stage performance in a few words, I'd say : crushing, mesmerizing and intense. According to me, if one of these 3 elements is missing, this won't be a good Dirge set.



6. On a worldwide level how has your new album been recieved by sludge / doommetal / experimental fans?

We really don't know. All the feedbacks that we had have been very enthusiastic, so I think people who aren't impervious to this type of music may love « Elysian Magnetic Fields ». But we're not that famous, the album can be hard to get if you don't know the band, so a lot of potential connoisseur might miss this album. Sadly...



7. Currently you are singed to Division Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?

Actually, our new album is a co-production between Division and our own label Blight Records. They bring us their distribution network and help us on several structural points like promotion etc. The contact between us and them was really easy as some of the guys running the label are playing in a drone/doom band called Rorcal with whom we shared many stages. We became friends and when our previous label Equilibre Music stopped all its activities, they asked us to join them. And we did it.



8. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

Impossible to say. The same dynamics will drive the next releases for sure, but the sound itself can change, like it always did. We haven't really started writing new stuffs so I can't tell you ?



9. What are some band or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Godflesh, Neurosis, Pink Floyd are some of our main influences, that's for sure. Each of these bands had have an impact on our way to create music, even though their influence is just the basis of our music. But as each of us in the band always had really different musical tastes and backgrounds, it's difficult to tell which bands Dirge is listening today. To sum up I'd say electronic, industrial, progressive, brutal, doom, atmospheric, cold, even poppy stuffs. From Einstürzende Neubauten to ZZ Top, from Pitschifter to Black Sabbath, from The Cure to Pan Sonic etc.



10.Outside of music what are some of your interests?

Movies, videogames, travels, food, football/soccer (for some of us).



11. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Thank you very much for your support.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Majestic Downfall/The Blood Dance/Chaos Records/2012 CD Review


  Majestic  Downfall  are  a  1  man  band  from  Mexico  that  plays  a  very  melodic  form  of  doom/death  metal  with  a  blackened  edge  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2012  album  "The  Blood  Dance"  which  was released  by  Chaos  Records.

  Drums  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  drumming  with  not  much  in  the  way  of  fast  playing  or  blast  beats,  while the  keyboards  when  they  are  utilized  bring  a  very  dark   and  atmospheric  sound  to  the  music,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it  has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  is  coming  out  of  the  guitars  and  at  times  they  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Rhythm  guitars  range  from  slow  to  mid  paced  doom/death  metal  riffs  that  are  very  dark  and  melodic  sounding,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  melodic  sounding  guitar  solos  and  leads,  as  for  the  classical  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  they  use  finger  picking  to  enhance  the  darkness  of  the  music.

 Vocals  range  from  deep  death  metal growls,  high  pitched  screams  that  have  a  black  metal  feeling  to  them  and  clean  singing  vocals,  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  depressive  themes,  as  for  the  production  it has  a  very  strong  and  powerful  sound  to  it.

 In  my opinion  Majestic  Downfall  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  doom/death  metal  band  with  a  blackened  edge  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  style,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECEMMONDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The Blood  Dance"  "Majestic  Embrace"  and  "Cronos".  RECEMMENDED  BUY.      

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Heirs Interview


1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the bands these days?
Currently we are organizing shows for us to play in Europe next year.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the EP and how it differs from the full length that came out a year ago.
These new songs have a much stronger melodic resolve. It was touched upon slightly on the album, and since then we have been working on decreasing our reliance on absolute heaviness to pull everything through.

3. Since the music is instrumental what are some of the emotions or feelings that you bring out with your music?
For me, there is no real emotion attached to this. It's not any type of post-rock influenced "journey" that we feel connected to. 

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
The idea of the name was to hunt and gather musical ideas that have influenced us directly, and to combine them into a cohesive whole.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Shows all have different outcomes and I could give a lot of different answers for different reasons. Personally I have enjoyed the shows in areas where you can tell that what you are doing is definitely a new experience for the audience. Our stage performance is something that happens naturally, no one is trying to put on a performance. 

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
Yes, lots of touring in 2012. Plenty of Europe, a couple of runs around Australia and some other countries which we are working on.

7. I know that so far the music has been instrumental are there any plans on using a vocalist in the future?
My parents ask this question. It could happen, we could also get a shirtless saxophone player.

8. On a worldwide level how has your music been received by fans of underground music?
Really well so far. We are very happy with how it is being received.

9. Are there any other projects besides this band or is this a full time line up?
We all have a lot of various projects that we work on, besides Heirs. We structure the band so it does not get in the way of anything else in our lives.

10. Currently you are singed to Denovali Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?
They contacted us through Myspace, and started releasing our stuff. There has been a tremendous amount of support and we are very grateful.

11. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
That is something none of us know until we start writing and see what comes out. Judging by the new songs, there is quite a militant feel to the new stuff. We are also working a lot closer as a band to find new ways of resolving sections, so they don't fall into the soft/loud way of operating.

12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
At the moment we are heavily influenced by early 4AD stuff... Cocteau Twins, Dead can Dance, Clan of Xymox.

13. Outrside of music what are some of your interests?
We all do a fair bit of traveling. We also like food, all of us are pretty good cooks in one way or another.

14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the interview, we hope to get over to the US real soon.
 

The Gardnerz Intervuew


1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
 
Francisco Martín: We are working on a mini album to be released during 2012. We don't have any specific plan for it other than releasing 4 or 5 songs, and that we will recoding, perhaps, during February or March.
We are looking for a studio where to record the drums and the strings and vocals tracks will be done at the same studios where we tracked for our debut, and for the mix and mastering seems like we've found who we'll be working with but nothing's written in stone so far.
 
 
2. How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new album?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: It is Doomy Death Metal basically, with some twists and turns. I have taken inspiration from so many places. Most reviewers that have listed the influences they think we've got have been dead wrong. The album has an old school feeling, but without being a rip off of the old Gods.      
 
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: it is mainly me venting different things. We have some anti-religious songs,"Flaw in the Axiom" and "Maybe it's Time". "Shift in Thought" is about Sweden's sordid past as Sweden has been on the forefront of racial biology long before the Germans. "More or Less" talks about tabloid journalism and my feelings regarding those scum-bags. The lyrics for "Lady in the Grave" were written by our former vocalist and is about what happens when you cut down on care for the insane.          
 
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: It is my take on some ideas from the pre-socratic philosopher Epicurus, with some elements of Nietzsche. Epicurus talked about his garden, so I thought the gardeners would make a killer name, but besides sounding way to pretentious, it was name already taken and a google search yielded 9 million hits. So I changed it around a bit and added the z as a tribute to my Swedish musical heritage.      
 
5. Has the band had any opportunities do any live shows and if so what are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
 
Francisco Martín: So far we haven't played any live shows. We are really longing for it, but first we need to establish our line up before being able to play live.  We expect that when going onstage we'll be able to deliver what we feel about our music, and that way people will be able to feel it as well, as you know, the most sincere the performance the better reaction you get.
 
6. On the album there was a cover of a Winter song what was the decision behind that cover tune?
 
Francisco Martín: I'm the one to blame for the covers, and talking specifically on this band, let me tell you that I became a fan of Winter since their debut demo tape as I had the chance to listen to it through a friend of mine who was running a fanzine in the 80's (Violence Fanzine).
I remember getting in contact with the band and later interviewing them for a fanzine (Blasphemer) I was working for, and then buying their debut CD.  I'm really glad to say that I have the very first edition of it, the one that was released by Future Shock Records but then I was looking for years for the LP version that was put out by Nuclear Blast Records but never got the chance to find it, now thankfully Southern Lord Recordings has re-issue the LP edition so I can finally say that I own a piece of Winter vinyl.

About Vulcano, I saw them live in 1987 and they blew my brains off.  Their "Bloody Vengeance" album was one of my favorites for several years but then I stopped listening to them as I didn't like so much what they released after.  Anyway, when thinking about recording a couple of bonus tracks for our "The System Of Nature" album I suggested both tunes to Wilhelm and he agreed as he didn't want to record covers from too "obvious" bands.

I will end up this by saying that I feel very pleased to have the chance to show those two bands through our own versions to a bunch of new fans, fans that perhaps never had a chance to listen to them before and that I'm totally sure that now will get interested on listening to the original versions.
 
7. On a worldwide level how has your music been received by fans of doom/death metal?
 
Francisco Martín: So far the feedback has been very good to the point that some times it is a bit overwhelming. We are very thankful of the way everything has turned out as we are conscious that there are thousands of bands out there trying to get their gig out, to get signed and so on so we feel we have been very lucky.  After only a couple of years working we have managed to get signed, to release our debut album as CD and LP, to work with Dan Swanö for the mastering process, to get in contact with lot of fans all over the world, so we can't complain.
 
8. What is going on with the other projects these days?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: We are keeping ourselves busy, I play in a Black Metal band called Pandemonium and I also have a acoustic project going. The other guys have different bands as well.

Francisco Martín: I'm also involved with the band Inner Sanctvm and we are just releasing the Itunes version of our second album and the CD release is coming on a couple of months. I'm very proud of what we've achieved with Inner Sanctvm as out of the members of the band we all live in different countries, Heber is in Uruguay, Alvaro in Italy, Anton (also of Lock Up/Pentagram/Criminal) in Spain and myself in Sweden so it wasn't an easy task to come together with this album.
Also I've been involved since a long time with a project called Bells Fright together with Alejandro of Sacramento and David of Avulsed.  We have a few songs ready to be recorded but we are taking almost forever to get ourselves onto that stage.
 
9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases/
Wilhelm Lindh: As for the new songs I have written they are in more or less the same style, maybe a bit slower, some of them anyway, but I have tried to keep it varied as I did on The System of Nature. We keep belting out our hybrid of death and doom, mixing technical riffs with some minimalist stuff.     
 
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced the music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: Some of the biggest influences have been Bolt Thrower, Katatonia, Acheron, Death, Broken Hope, Nile, Slayer. But if you listen closely I think you can hear a lot of Non-Metal influences as well, J.J. Cale  to name one.
Nowadays I mainly listen to music in my car and when I'm cooking, some CD's I have in my car are, Blaze Foley "Live at the Austin Outhouse", Darkthrone "Panzerfaust", Hooded Menace "Never Cross the Dead", Neil Young "Greendale" and John Prine "Sweet Revenge".
Right now I'm rocking out to the Tom Waits "Heartattack and Vine" CD that I bought yesterday.      
 
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
 
Wilhelm Lindh: I guess that my cats come high up on my list, lately I have been spending a lot of my time reading crime novels. My girlfriend got me hooked on those novels, addictive as hell, I really enjoyed the books by Simon Beckett.

Francisco Martín: Lately I've been trying to set my mind up to create the ultimate Metal News web site in Spanish. With my friend Ignacio Orellana who lives in New York are looking all over several alternatives so we'll soon come with something to say about it further than just the idea or project of it.
 
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview
 
Wilhelm Lindh: thanks for the time and for those of you who hasn't heard us hit up www.thegardnerz.com and listen to the album there. Keep on Doomin' in the free world.


 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rue Interview


RUE interview (answers by Mike Burns)
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

At this moment taking a little bit of time to regroup, get threw the
holidays and start working on new material.


2. How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the new
album and how it differs from previous recordings.

Well it's always been obvious with this band that we dont really follow
any "rules" when it comes to song writing. What ever comes out comes out,
with in reason. With Thorns I would say we spent more time and thought
into the writing process, and the recording process. Prior releases
were'nt effortless per say, but we evolvled as song writers and recording
artists. In the past I would never lay down a track we could'nt do live.
With Thorns we kinda tried new things I guess.


3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with
the new release?

Mainly hate for humanity, ignorant people, past personal shit ect.. ect..


4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

We wanted a simple name that was easy to remember. The saying "rue the day
you were born" came up in conversation at practice one day, so we rolled
with Rue.


5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how
would you describe your stage performance?

We have played so many shows in so many places with such amazing bands
across the US over the years. And we drink n stuff. Man... that's kinda a
hard one. Also other members of the band I'm sure have different opions of
their best show. So lets just say the good ones have been great, and the
shitty ones were just shit. As far as our live performance, well it's
always loud and full of energy.


6. Do you have any touring plans for the new releases?

We did some east/midwest dates in the few months prior to the release. We
have plans for some things late March/April.


7. You took a long hiatus from releasing new music what where you doing
during that time?

Dealing with line up changes, financial situations, daily life and such.
We never really took any kind of "hiatus" so to speak. We just couldn't
afford to record an album. Plain and simple.


8. Currently you are singed to Shifty Records, how did you get in contact
with that label and how would you describe the support that they have
given you so far?

Shifty is a local guy for us. I met him outside a punk show in Kent prolly
around 99 or 2000. He gave me a Boulder cd he had put out. Then a year or
so later I join up with Sofa king Killer and they had a relationship with
him. That's when I met Corey from Fistula wich also had a relationship with
Shifty. Corey and I went on to start Rue and things just kinda fell in
place. He's a great dude. Easy to work with. very D.Y.I. Wich allows us to
do what we wanna do when we wanna do it.


9. On a worldwide level how has your new album been received by sludge
metal fans?

So far so good.


10. Are there any other projects besides this band or is this a full time
line up?

We no longer have a full time bass player, but we do have a solid fill in
for now. Our Bass player went on to do Mockingbird full time. I myself
play bass in a 70's style rock band called The Unclean that has a new
record coming out. I also dabble in an experimental doom metal project
called Kreatur. Prononced Creature. It's pretty much just me and who ever
I choose to play a show. A lot of amps, lights, and fog. Maybe sometimes
to much fog.


11. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

It's hard to say. So far a lot darker.


12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music
and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Other members like a lot of different things. For me I grew up on hard
core. Black Flag, Minor Threat, Misfits. From there it went to thrash,
like Celtic Frost, DRI. Then death metal, Grind Core ect ect ect. It
finally came back around to good ol loud rock n roll. For the most part I
listen to the same ol shit on my Ipod. The new Rwake album is killer. Got
a Trap Them record from a few years ago I really dig. New Brutal Truth,
good shit.


13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

I myself am into mortorclycles. Street,dirt,track. Sport bikes, American
bikes, British bikes. Chevy trucks on road and off, guns, out doors. I
also enjoy smoking.


14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Cheers!
 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dirge/Elysian Magnetic Fields/Division Records/2011 CD Review


  Dirge  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  very  atmospheric  form  of  sludge  metal  mixed  with  post  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2011  album  "Elysian  Magnetic  Fields"  which  was  released  by  Division  Records.

  Drums  are  all  slow  playing  with  not  much  in  the  way  of  fast  playing  or  blast  beats,  while  the  programming  and  samples  bring  a  very  dark  avant  garde  edge  to  the  music  with  some  church  organs and  keyboards  being  utilized  on  one  song,  as  for  the  bass  playing  it has  a  very  dark  tone  with  riffs  that  follow  the  riffing  that  is  coming  out  of  the  guitars.

  Rhythm  guitars  are  slow  slow  heavy  doom/sludge/metal  riffs  mixed  in  with  alot  of  distortion  effects,  while  the  lead  guitars  are  very  chaotic,  droned  out  and  melodic  sounding  guitar  solos  and  leads  as  for  the  accoustic  guitars  when  they  are  utilized  they  use  full  chords  to  add an  atmospheric  feeling  to  the  music.

  Vocals  are  mostly  clean  singing  vocals  mixed  in  with  some  growls  and  spoken  word  parts,  while  the  lyrics  cover  devasation,  grief,  lost  and  death,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  to  it.

  In  my  opinion  Dirge  are  a  very  good  atmospheric  sludge  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  style,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECEMMONDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Obsidian"  "Elysian Magnetic  Fields"  and  "Falling".  RECEMMONDED  BUY.