Friday, August 29, 2014

Pyre/Human Hecatomb/Chaos Records/2014 CD Review


  Pyre  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  plays  an  old  school  form  of  Swedish  style  death  metal  with  elements  of  crustcore  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Human  Hecatomb"  which  was  released  by  Chaos  Records.

  Powerful  sounding  bass  guitars  and  drums  start  off t he  album  before  going  into  a  more  melodic  and  heavier  musical  direction  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  fast  riffing  as  well  as  a  mixture  of  growls  and  screams  that  bring  a  Swedish  death  metal  feeling  into  the  bands  musical  sound  and  the  band  also  brings  in  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Solos  and  leads  when  they  are  utilized  are  very  dark  and  melodic  sounding  and  you  can  hear  the  rawness  of  crust  in  the  faster  sections  of  the  music  while  the  slower  riffs  are  heavily  influenced  by  doom  metal  which  also  gets  mixed  in  with  the  melodies  at  times  and  after  awhile  the  band  also  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  samples  and  all  of  the  songs  have  a  90's  sound  while  the  production  makes  the  band  sound  more  modern.

  Pyre  takes  a  very  old  school  style  of  Swedish  death  metal  style  and  also  brings  in  a  bit  of  USDM,  crustcore  and  doom  metal  to  create  a  very  raw  and  heavy  recording,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness,  horror  and  gore  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Pyre  are  a  very  great  sounding  old  school  Swedish  style  death  metal b and  with  elements  of  crustcore  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Far  Beyond  The  Unknown"  "Possessed"  "Under  the  Death  Reign"  and  "Disturbia".  8  out  of  10.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pan Interview


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Chris: We have a standard 3 piece rock setup (drums, guitar/bass,vocals). Definitely riff-oriented and we love our feedback, but we're always shifting the mood around. We're rooted in the stoner/doom/death sound but don't have a problem taking it elsewhere. You'll hear the occasional nod to black metal and I suppose there's even a small jazz component from time to time. I think there will always be an experimental nature to the band
Ken: We have been together as a three piece since around 2009 or so. Chris and I started the band back in 2007 as a two-piece. As for how we sound, that has always been difficult for us to explain quickly. I would say that it is a mixture of stoner, doom and death metal, but we also barrow form other genres as well. Lately we have just been calling it “northern Michigan heavy metal” for lack of anything more concise to call it.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from your 2 previous recordings?
C: On this album we went for all long arrangements. 5 monstrous slabs of whatever the hell it is we do. Again the mood varies, at times quite widely, from the beginning to the end of each song. I'd say the biggest example is with "Slow Waters and Grey Skies." It starts out southern/stoner rock and ends up sounding something like late-period Bathory. It is the best sounding album we have made so far. We recorded the majority of it in our friend Andy Roggenbuck's basement. He did an amazing job preserving our live sound while cleaning it up into a well-rounded studio mix.
K: My first thought would have to be is that Driftwoods is more mature than the other two albums. Our first release was a three song live demo called Fucking Primitive: Live at the Loft. That release was basically used to sell at our early our early gigs, and that was recorded when we were still instrumental only. As for Advent, our first full-length, those songs were mostly all written when we were still a two-piece, and we were still trying to figure out exactly what we wanted PAN to do. Well, we are still trying to figure out what we want PAN do musically. I think that with Driftwoods, we are a little more focused, or comfortable with what we are doing. As for production, Driftwoods is our first release where we did not record and engineer it. Our friend Andy Roggenbuck mixed and mastered Advent and when we approached him about doing that again, he asked if he could man the helm from the get go, and I am very glad that he did.
J: Driftwoods is our best sounding recording to date, thanks to our wise decision (and his insistence!) to get Andy Roggenbuck involved right from the start this time around. He's very good at doing things. Stylistically, Driftwoods is similar to Advent in that it defies easy categorization (much to the chagrin of reviewers and critics), but I believe it has a cohesion that exceeds that of Advent. Fucking Primitive: Live at the Loft is more of a promo/demo recording that preceded the addition of vocals to Pan's sound. The sound quality is rough, the performance is imperfect--you might say it's...fucking primitive! That being said, I still like it and it contains an early version of Cold Winds & Dark Waves, which is the opening track on Driftwoods. I like all 3 recordings, but I'd have to say Driftwoods is the strongest. It contains elements of death metal, stoner rock, black metal, even perhaps some ambient/noise influences and psychedelia. But to try to categorize it is to miss the point. Pan is unpigeonholeable!

3.Your lyrics cover some Occult topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this subject?
C: PAN's references to the occult are usually used as a vehicle for broader lyrical themes. It's most mentioned in the song "Serpents and Bones;" where shadowy figures, released from an ancient spell, usher in a phase of dormancy and regrowth for a planet that seems to have spun out of control.
K: I do not know if there is a really direct interest in the Occult. When there are some Occultish topics, I think it is mostly bits and pieces of what we picked up along the way.

4.I know that the bands name come from Greek Paganism, what was the decision behind naming your band after this deity?
C: Pan in Greek mythology represents a lot of what our music is influenced by. We admire the natural wilderness and strive for the musical proficiency that he symbolizes.
K: I cannot remember exactly why we chose that. I think it had something do with the quick description we saw in a book once. It was probably something like “Pan-god of the forest and rustic music”, and we probably said something along the lines of “well, we like the woods and music. Works for me”.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
C: Currently, we're gigging mostly in small clubs/bars in southern Michigan. The response has been overall positive and I'm having a great time meeting new fans. We've been playing with some really talented bands of like-minds who have kept us motivated and inspired to keep making this music that we love. Our live show is pretty straightforward. We get up there and jam. Being the guy with the microphone, I usually try to keep it pretty light with the audience while maintaining our badass persona :-).
K: Best shows… A few weeks ago we played our first “hometown” show in four years, so the crowd and the energy there was great. That was a very fun show for us.  As for our stage performance, I would like to think it is relatively straight forward. We like the idea of just being able to stroll up to our gear and start playing… no fuss, no muss. I think we are able to maintain the power trio sound with heavy metal, and that is something I do like.
J: In the early days after I joined the band we'd host concerts in the loft/practice space for close friends and family. We'd do it up big with lights and fog and cloaks and play every single thing we knew how to play. Those are still probably my favorite shows. Our first show in Kalamazoo, which was sort of our unofficial CD release concert for Advent, was also a highlight--more for its significance as our foot-in-the-door to doing "real" shows than for the performance itself. And we made some good connections there that got the ball rolling for things to come (Thanks, Ben Boggs!). We've only recently started playing gigs with any regularity--maybe 1 or 2 per month--so at this point I'd say every show is memorable and unique in some way. Of course, some performances are better than others. Some sound systems are more (or less) conducive to a successful show. Some audiences are more receptive than others to our still unfamiliar way of doing things. We've been in top form in front of unenthusiastic crowds, and we've played poorly in front of cheering strangers who didn't seem to notice or care about our flagrant fuck-ups and flawed execution. I think each show is a learning experience.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
C:  As far as live shows, we're looking to venture a little farther out this year. We will continue working on our Michigan fan base though setting up some mini-tours that may venture into some nearby states like Ohio and Illinois.
K: I think currently we are going to take a month or two break from playing live because we are all going to be very busy with our lives outside of the band. During this time however, our goal is to start writing some new material and get some much needed practicing in. We all live relatively far away from each other, I live one and a half hours drive from chris, and four hours from john, so we don’t get to practice very often. We have been talking recently about trying to get a Michigan mini tour planned for November or December.

7.According to the Metal Archives page the band is signed to Working Class Druid, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
C: Working Class Druid is pretty much a stamp that we've been putting on the projects we've worked on for the past few years. We may seek to develop it into a proper label in the future, but at this point we are an unsigned band.
K: This is kind of a funny question for us. When we first started PAN, we also started Working Class Druid with the intention of having it be a label to release our music, as well as any type of other local music we wanted to record and produce. We also used it a few times as promotion label. When we first started playing out, we would have to do everything because there is virtually no metal scene in northern Michigan. So we would have to book the venue, the other bands, make the posters, etc… So we would usually say something like “Working Class Druid presents [show, venue…]”. Now we pretty much only use the Working Class Druid to put on our albums to let people know, we are still doing this on our own.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?
C:  We've heard some encouraging feedback from countries including Italy, Poland, Canada, and Germany. It's really exciting to have our music heard in other parts of the world. From the responses we've received, it appears as though metal fans from these countries view us as a talented, promising band.
K: To be honest, we are just starting to get some worldwide feedback. It seems to be mostly all positive. Its funny, We have been sending Driftwoods to different places to be reviewed, and all save one have been sent outside the US, and the one we did send inside the US decided he did not want to review it anymore hahaha.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
C: Probably just gonna let it roll as they say. We're starting to accumulate some pretty dope new riffs and we'll probably start a focussed period of writing for the new album this winter. Ken has acquired an old Hammond organ with a Leslie amplifier. I foresee that making an appearance on the new album.
K: I think we are just going to keep exploring what our sound is, and what we can do with it. Some of the new parts we are just starting to write are exciting to me because they are new of course, but again, it seems like we are starting to be even more comfortable with what we are doing.
J: The existential void.

10.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?
C: If you're familiar with our music, you can probably gather that we've heard of Opeth before. Otherwise, bands like The Sword, Down, Witchcraft, Melvins, Gojira, Katatonia, Bloodbath and Darkthrone have and continue to be a source of influence. Some of the albums I've been into lately include Cathedral - The Etherial Mirror, Aura Noir - Merciless, and the new Triptykon - Melana Chasmata. Aside from that I love Weird Al.
K: I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music. There was quite a bit of jazz, classical and good old rock and roll being played in the house I grew up in. I was very into 70’s rock when I was younger, and I think that has influenced me in my approach to playing drums in PAN.
Right now I am not listening to a lot of metal to be honest. I have been listening more on the mellow side of things… so post (I am still not entirely sure what that means, but heard it associated with some of the bands I am listening to…) rock(?), and recently Sigur Ros has been making their way into my stereo lately. And then there is always Waylon Jennings, I am a big fan of his. I just ordered some new albums, I have to order them online because there is not a record store within 90 miles of my house, and most of them are heavy and I cant wait to check them out… The new Vader, Eyehategod and Monarch!.
J: Opeth is probably the biggest influence/inspiration that all three of us share. However, there are plenty of other bands we all like: Gojira, Vader, Witchcraft, Katatonia, Craft, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, to name just a few. But I think each of us brings his own unique influences to the table as well.

I've been listening to and thoroughly enjoying the latest Gorguts album Colored Sands, the most recent studio album Viljans Öga by Swedish prog-rock badasses Änglagård, Helmet's 1990 debut Strap It On has made its way back into rotation lately, and I've been digging some early Leonard Cohen--the folky stuff from the first few albums.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
C: Hiking and biking and kickin' it with my wife.
K: Doing things outside, I am a fan of that. Hiking, camping, sitting on a boat, things like that. I also like ice hockey quite a bit, playing and watching games on the television. I also like to drive cars. Just driving for driving’s sake. That is also how I listen to a lot of music, when I am out on a drive. Oh, and bourbon.
J: Reading books, sipping bourbon, imagining the undoing of the un-undoable.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
C: Aaaaaaand..........I got nothing. Dammit.
K: Thank you very much for this opportunity, honestly this was my first interview about PAN, I hope I was not too boring and babbling and all the things that make interviews terrible to read hahaha.
J: If you add an "s" to laughter it becomes slaughter. That's pretty weird, eh?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pan/Driftwoods/2014 CD Review


  Pan  are  a  band  from  Michigan  that  plays  a  mixture  of  stoner,  progressive  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Driftwoods".

  Dark  sounding  flutes  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  heavy  doom  metal  direction  along  with  progressive  style  melodies  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  which  leads  up  to  some  deep  death  metal  growls  and  screams  and  all  of  the  songs  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

 There  is  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill  in  the  bands  musical  style  and  you  can  also  hear  psychedelic  sounds  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  some  spoken  word  ritualistic  parts  and  the  solos  and  leads  the  band  uses  are  in  a  melodic  70's  doom  metal  direction  and  as  the  album  progresses  melodic  chanting  can  be  heard  in  the  music  at  times.

  Clean  playing  is  uses  on  a  regular  basis  throughout  the  recording  and  after  awhile  the  death  metal  side  of  the  bands  musical  style  starts  having  a  more  powerful  sounding  presence  on  the  recording  along  with  a  few  blast  beats  being  utilized  briefly  and  on  the 4th  track  back  up  shouts  which adds  in  elements  of  hardcore  and  stoner  rock  style  vocals  are  added  into  the  music.

  Pan  creates  a  very  original  sound  with  their  musical  sound  taking  the  heaviness  of  death  metal,  the  dark  atmosphere  of  doom,  the  melody  of  stoner  rock  and  progressive  rock  style  playing  to  create  their  own  musical  style,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  Horror,  nature,  Occultism,  Death  And  Anti  Civilization  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Pan  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  stoner,  progressive  doom  and  death  metal  and  if  you  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should c heck  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Cold  Winds  And  Dark  Waves"  and  "The  Ancient  Isle  And  Disillusionment".  8  out  of  10.          

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brainoil/Self Titled 2003/Tankcrimes/2014 CD Review


  Brainoil  are  a  band  from  Oakland,  California  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  sludge  metal  with  elements  of  d  beat  and  crustcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  titled  2003  album  which  will  be  re-issued  in  September  by  Tankcrimes.

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  sounding  bass   starts  off  the  album before  adding  in  heavier  guitars  along  with  more  of  a  doom  metal  sound  and  high  pitched  sludge  screams  and  the  music  also  contains  a  great  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  along  with  some  of  the  tracks  also  having  a  stoner  vibe  to  them  at  times.

 Most  of  the  music  sticks  to  a  slower  direction  while  the  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  bring  in  elements  of  crust  punk  and  d  beat  as  well  as  the  slower  riffing  having  almost  a  blues  rock  feeling  to  them  at  times  and  there  are  also  a  few  seconds  of  guitar  leads  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  on  some  of  the  alter  tracks  the  vocals  almost  have  a  death  metal  feeling  to  them  at  times.

  Brainoil  create  a  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  on  this  recording  as  well  as  having  more  of  a  raw  approach  than  the  alter  bands  of  this  musical  genre,  the  production  sounds  very  dark,  raw  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  was  a  great  sounding  album  from  Brainoil  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  check  out  this  re-issue.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Naive  In  NUmbers"  and  "Inquisition".  8  out  of  10.    
  

Temple Of Void/Of Terror And The Supernatural/Rain Without End Records/2014 CD Review


  Temple  Of  Void  are  a  band  from  Michigan  that  plays  an  occult  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Of  Terror  And  The  Supernatural"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Rain  Without  End  Records.

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  old  school  death  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  deep  growls  and  after  awhile  clean  playing  is  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  as  well  as  elements  of  doom  in  the  slower  parts  of  the  bands  musical  style  and  you  can  also  hear  a  great  amount  of  melody  in  the  bands  musical  sound.

  The  solos  and  leads  the  band  uses  are  very  dark  and  melodic  sounding  and  there  is  also  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  throughout  the  recording  and  the  band  sticks  mostly to  a  90's  style  of  doom/death  metal  while  the  production  makes  the  music  sound  more  modern  day  and  a  few  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length

  As  the  album  progresses  high  pitched  screams  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording.  along  with  a  small  amount  of  atmospheric  sounds  and  after  awhile  acoustic  guitars  as  well  as  a  short  instrumental  are  added  in  briefly  which  use  both  finger  picking  along  with  a  70's  progressive  rock  feeling  to  enhance  the  bands  dark  and  heavy  approach  to  metal  and  one  of  the  alter  tracks  shows  the  band  bringing  in  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts.

  Temple  Of  Void  remain  true  to  their  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  making  their  music  sound  a  lot  more  darker  and  heavier  as  well  as  displaying  a  great  amount  of  progress  as  musicians,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness,  supernatural  and  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Temple  Of  Void  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  doom  and  death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Embalmers  Art"  "Invocation  Of  Demise"  and  "Exanimate  Gaze".  8  out  of  10.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The King Is Blind/The Deficiencies Of Man/Mordgrimm/2014 EP Review


  The King Is  Blind  are  a  band  from   the  United  Kingdom  that  has  recently  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  ep  "The  Deficiencies  Of  Man"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Mordgrimm".

  A  very  dark  and  atmospheric  sound  starts  off  the  ep  before  going  into  a  more  brutal  death  metal  direction  along  with  blast  beats  and  a  mixture  of  growls  and  screams  and  you  can  hear  a  very  heavy  old  school  vibe  in  their  musical  sound  and  there  is  also  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  present  throughout  the  recording.

  Some  of  the  riffing  on  the  recording  has  a  black  metal  feeling  to  it  at  times  while  some  of  the  slower  parts  shows  the  band  bringing  in  elements  of  groove  as  well  as  the  darkness  of  doom  metal  and  one  of  the  tracks  sees  a  small  amount  of  melodic  chanting  before  going  into  a  faster  direction  with  the  following  track  and  adding  in  grindcore  influences  and  on  the  last  song  there  is  a  brief  use  of  acoustic  guitars.

  The  King  Of  Blind  take  their  music  into  a  faster  and  old  school  death  metal  direction  on  this  recording  while  still  having  a  bit  of  doom  metal  in  their  sound,  the   production  sound s very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness,  mythology  and  anti  religion  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  The  King  Is  Blind  and  if  you  are   a  fan  of  doom  and  death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Of  Osiris  &  Execration"  and  "Revelation,  Apocalypse".  8out  of  10.              

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Manipulated Interview


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Before there was The Manipulated, there was Meek. Meek turned into The Manipulated Living and this turned into The Manipulated, because people had a hard time pronouncing the entire name.  We consist of two guitars (before three), drums, bass and visuals. We only play instrumental music, ranging from psych rock to noisy doom. 

2.So far you have released new ep's, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

We’ve moved from the more conventional post-rock sound towards a more doom/sludge-sound, which is probably the biggest difference between the two. But we still feel that they both have the Manipulated-sound, which is an awfully corny thing to say. Present on both Eps would be our love for noisy soundscapes. Having three guitars opens up to creating dynamic soundscapes that probably wouldn’t be possible if there were fewer and that is something that doesn’t change in our music. Instead of the conventional guitar solo, we’ve got noise soli.

3.So far all of the musical has been all instrumental, are you planning on ever using vocals in the future or do you prefer to remain instrumental?

A future project will bring vocals in the form of a poet, ie. spoken word. But there will probably never be vocals in the form of singing/screaming/etc. It has almost been some sort of fixed idea in the band that vocals weren’t a part of the music. We’ve used samples from films at times, and even the trumpet, which you’ll hear on Yr An Arsonist’s Daydream. You’ll find that on the first EP. Vocals often steal the show, whereas we want the listener to create their own images when listening to our music. And here we are, getting corny again.

4.What are some of the themes and images the band brings out with its musical sound?

Our goal is to have people form their own images when listening to the music. When we perform live we have a VJ that projects images onto a wall or sometimes directly at us, which of course gives the viewer a chance to reflect on both image and sound. For ourselves we’ve always had weather as a big inspiration; be it the cold Danish winter or rain pouring down on a grey Sunday afternoon in autumn. The weather outside is weather.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'The Manipulated’?

- Well, as mentioned before the band was first called Meek and had a slightly different constellation. Tobias and Christian were the main members and have been so throughout. We changed it to The Manipulated Living to signal a change in personnel, but also because there was another band with the same name. We got the inspiration from the film, Donnie Darko. We then changed it again, because it had a better flow. There isn’t really a great story behind it. We took ages to find a new name, because our focus really was in playing music.

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

The shows we’ve played at Raum Eins (local club) have always been fun, because it’s a great place, very intimate. We played a party at an animation school once, which was very different from other gigs, but it turned out pretty well, even though it was a bit chaotic. Among other things, a storm trooper mask was involved. We shamefully also played a band contest of some sorts in 2008, which was utter rubbish, because the promoters only cared about the money and not the music. So we played a two-song-set that ended in a wall of noise. We, of course, didn’t win at all.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

- It’s hard to say at this stage. We’re at a waiting point right now; people have jobs, kids, side projects, but we will definitely be playing gigs when the spoken word project has begun. That’s all we know for now.

8.On a worldwide level how have underground music fans reacted to your musical sound?

- Curiously enough - and also, unintentionally - Russian people have taken a liking to our music. With the new EP, though, we’ve had a lot of great response from American listeners and blogs.

9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Absolutely no idea. We’ve just released the new EP, Neon Messiah, which is our primary focus. Next up is the spoken word thing, so we’ll see how that goes, before we venture into new territory. 

10.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?

- Earth, Torche, Kylesa, Converge, Mogwai, Swans, Sonic Youth, Yob have been our primary inspirations. Nowadays, Søren is listening to Corrupted and Karate. Andrew has been listening to Deafheaven a lot, but also discovered War recently.

11.What are some of your on musical interests?

- We work hard, we play hard.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Søren: Have you ever played oatmeal-canasta? If you haven’t then you’re missing out on something pretty special and a heart-warming adventure.

Andrew: Once a wasp flew into my living room and it landed in an open lamp bowl. It flew ‘round and ‘round getting more furious. Now see, the thing is, we hadn’t cleaned the lamp for a while so a great deal of dust had gathered. This created a sort of dust tornado, in the middle a furious wasp. Never in my life had I been so terrified and amused at the same time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Majestic Downfall/The Slow Death/Chaos Records/2014 Split CD Review



  This  is  a  review  of  a  split  album  between  Mexico's  Majestic  Downfall  and  Australia's  The  Slow  Death"  which  was  released  by  Chaos  Records  in  the  year  of  2014  and  we  will  start  off  the  review  with  Majestic  Downfall  a  band  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  very  melodic  form  of  doom/death  metal.

  A  very  slow,  heavy  and  dark  sound  starts  off  their  side  of  the  split  along  with  some  early  90's  style  doom/death  metal  melodies  which  leads  up  to  a  mixture  of  clean  and  heavy  parts  and  after  awhile  growls  are  added  into  the  music  and  you  can  also  hear  some  fast  parts  and  blast  beats  being  utilized  at  times.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  add  in  more  melody  as  well  as  somewhat  of  an  early  gothic/doom  metal  feeling  and  all  4  of  the  tracks  the  band  brings  onto  the  split  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  they  capture  the  classic  style  of  90's  doom  metal   down  perfectly  while  adding  more  of  a  modern  melodic  and  progressive  side  of  the  genre  to  their  musical  sound  and  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  their  side  of  the  split.

  Majestic  Downfall  continue  the  melodic  doom/death  metal  approach  that  they  started  on  the  earlier  recordings  while  also  showing  a  great  amount  as  progress  as  musicians  over  the  years,  the  production  on  their  side  of  the  recording  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  depressive  themes..

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Majestic  Downfall  and  if  you  are  a   fan  of  melodic  doom/death  metal,  you  should  check  out  their  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "The  Dark  Lullaby".

  Next  up  is  The  Slow  Death  a  band  that  plays  a  very  atmospheric  form  of  doom/death  metal.

  Clean  playing  and  atmospheric  sounding  synths  start  off  their  side  of  the  split  along  with  some  melodic  riffing  and  leads  a  few  seconds  later  before  adding  in  melodic  female  vocals  and  deep  death  metal  growls  which  leads  to  a  heavier  yet  still  melodic  musical  direction  and  as  time  goes  on  by  you  can  hear  a  small  amount  of  flutes  being  utilized  in  the  music.

   On  the  second  track  the  band  starts  focusing  more  on  a  melodic  style  of  doom/death  metal  an d  all  of  the  songs  they  bring  onto  the  recording  are  all  long  and  epic  tracks  while  the  music  is  more  in  a  slower  direction  than  the  earlier  band  on  the  split  and  the  last  song  sees  the  band  bringing  progressive  touches to  their  musical  style.

  The  Slow  Death  creates  a  very  dark,  melodic  and  atmospheric  approach  to  doom/death  metal  as  well  as  combining  clean  singing  female  vocals  and  deep  death  metal  growls,  the  production  on  their  side  of  the  recording  sounds  very  powerful  while  the  lyric  cover  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  The  Slow  Death  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  doom/death  metlal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  their  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "People  Like  Me".

  In  conclusion  I  feel  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  split  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  atmospheric  and  melodic  doom/death  metal,  you  should  add  this  album  to  your  collection.  8  out  of  10.  

   

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sadhus (The Smoking Community) Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
The band formed during the summer of 2008, composed of five people who were already friends, having similar music influences and a great need of jaming and music communication. We had already marked our studio place and since then we began to jam, making music, participate and perform in several lives in Greece, opening for some great foreign bands of our music genre. We' ve released a song (Foondamentalist) participating in the compilation of Spinalonga records called “Miss Fortune Was A Henhouse Manager” and nowtimes we are releasing our s/t debut album and we are arranging some lives to promote and express in a live way our sound.

2.So far you have released a single and a full length, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings?
We  believe that we are playing some kind of  heavy sludge and doom music but someone who will try to listen to our releases may find some other music influences.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Being members in community and observing the human progress we' d like to express our thoughts about the negative and even rotten feelings that are produced by human soul during the daily fight for survival. We also have in some way lyrics that express our meditation ways and views of life. The lyrical topics are coming straight from our soul, our feelings, beliefs and daily live situations.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name  Sadhus “The Smoking Community”?
There are those people called sadhus who have a community, living in natural places and having some meditation ways to consider life during the days. Our own community seems to have similarities with this one especially in the way we choose to communicate  in music, either arranging meetings such as jams or other sessions. The community parted not only from the band members but also from several persons who have same ideas about the way of considering life and music and it seems day by day to become bigger and stronger in bonds.
   
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Every show has a special meaning for us. There are a gig here called Praise The Fuzz taking place in a sandy beach somewhere in Athens in which we have already played twice which was very nice shows for us. We also had great time and nice live feeling opening for great bands such us Suma, Sardonis, Black Tusk,Toner Low or playing with very special friendly bands as 1000mods, Lucky Funeral, Korsikov and many others. It seems that every live is great opportunity for us to release some energy and party with people. We offer loud music with heavy and doom sense and we hope that our lives succeed it.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We are working now on our release party for our debut album which will take place in An club in Athens at 19th  of September and we also try to arrange some giggs in cities around Greece. We haven' t already fixed any shows in Europe but there are many ideas and the will to make it true in the next year.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
There is interest about our music offer and we are so glad to receive great feedback from labels and people who are involved in underground music. We chose not to have a label for our first release and maybe we are going to do the same with the upcoming ones, but we are also in interest for any cooperative offer.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?
We are now noticing the reactions about our debut release and we have to say that the feedback is great. Seems that there are many people worldwide that like our music suggestion and this kind of response give us the strength and energy to go on with our music.

9.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?
Greg(drums) is participating in a great greek band called Last Rizla. The rest ones have played during the past in bands such as Violet Vortex, Noiselust and Soul Fracture and nowadays we plan some  ideas for several music projects.
 
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
It is difficult to say for sure but we think that in someway whatever we decide to play it will sound heavy and loud. We also hope that during the years we' ll succeed to create our personal sound and “touch” in the music we like.

11.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?
Bands such as Iron Monkey, Eyeheategod, Bongzilla, Sleep, Electric Wizard, Om, Ufomammut, Black Sabbath are some of our main influences. There so many new good bands in doom and sludge scene, even in Greece or worldwide. Dopethrone, Belzebong, Dopelord, Windhand, Conan are bands that lately tickle our ears.

.What are some of your non musical interests?
We all like to gather or go out together with friends and drink. Some of us produce other kinds of arts as silkscreen, some have interest with motorbikes, other with science and maths, or with water pumps(what the fuck?) and there always new things that daily catch our interest.  Of course we have our jobs and some their own families that decrease our free time for other interests. The music is always taking the most of our time but we like this and we hope that it will not change in the future.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We hope that you enjoy our release and that we can make it true to play in front of everyone that like our music in the future. Peace, health and good music for the ears and the soul.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Heavy Death/Forebear Avenger/Caligari Records/2014 Demo Review


  This  is  a  review  of  another  recording  from  Heavy  Death  which  also  shows  the  band  continuing  their  mixture  of   doom  and  death  metal  with  the  demo  being  released  by  Caligari  Records  in  2014  and  called  "Forebear  Avenger".

  A  good  amount  of  distortion  and  reform  start  off  the  demo  being  going  into  a  doom/death  metal  direction  and  bringing  in  a  mixture  of  both  growls  and  clean  singing  and  you  can  also  hear  a  good  amount  of  melody  in  their  musical  sound  as  well  as  the  bass  guitars  being  very  heavy  and  just  like  with  the  previous  demo's  all  of  the  music  sounds  like  it  could  of  been  easily  released  in  the  early  90's.

  The  clean  singing  and  chants  the  band  uses  gives  the  music  a  very  ritualistic  and  occult  feeling  and  as  the  demo  progresses  you  can  also  hear  a  little bit  of  70's  rock  and  metal  being  an  influence  in  their  musical  sound  and  the  second  side  of  the  cassette  show s the  band  re-doing  a  couple  of  tracks  from  their  previous  demo's  and  they  are  just  as  heavy,  slow  and  dark  as  the  original  versions  while  they  also  have  their  mid  paced   moments  and  show  an  influence  of  early  90's  Swedish  death  metal and  the  last  track  is  a  more  softer  version  of  one  of  their  older  tracks  and  they  also  bring  acoustic  guitars  into  the  music.

  Heavy  Death  remain  true  to  their  doom/death  metal  sound  on  this  recording  while  also  making  the  melodic  vocals  sound  more  ritualistic  and  the  re-done  tracks  also  show  a  more  heavier  sound  to  the  bands  musical  sound  as  well,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  horror  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Heavy  Death  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  doom/death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  demo.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Forebear  Avenger  and  "Into  The  heavy  Death".  8  out  of  10.         

Heavy Death/Demo III A Long Obscure Trip Demo II-Darkness of No Return/Caligari Records/2014 Cassette Review


  Heavy  Death  are  a  band  from  Sweden  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  old  school  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  cassette  compilation  which was  released  by  Caligari  Records  and  contains  their  2  demos  "A  Long  Obscure  Trip"  and  "Darkness  Of  No  Return".

  The  first  side  of  the  cassette  has  the  3rd  demo  and  it  starts  out  with  some  psychedelic  style  sounds  being  mixed  in  with  a  more  melodic  doom/death  metal  sound  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  demo  and  after  awhile  growls  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  some  melodic  chants.

  Most  of  the  bands  musical  sound  is  heavily  rooted  in  the  early 90's  Swedish  style  of  death  metal  while  also  mixing  in  a  bit  of  the  U.S  and  U.K  doom/death  metal  sound  from  the  same  era  while  the  clean  singing  gives  the  music  more  of  an  original  feeling  and  the  music  on  the  3rd  demo  sticks  to  a  slow,  dark  and  heavy  sound  from  beginning  to  end.

  On  demo  number  2  the  music  starts  out  with  a  dark  ambient  sounding  drone  before  going  into  a  doom  metal  direction  a  few  seconds  later  along  with  some  morbid  sounding  melodies  and  growling  vocals  and  just  like  the  previous  demo  all  of  the  musical  instruments  are  very  easy  to  hear  and  the  band  also  still  has  the  old  school  feeling  of  early  death  and  doom  metal

  The  vocals  at  times  have  a  melodic  tone  to  them  reminding  me  of  early  Cathedral  and  one  of  the  later  tracks  also  sees  more  clean  singing and  when  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  sound  very  dark,  distorted  and  melodic  while  they  are  not  a  huge  part  of  the  recording  with  most  of  the  demo  focusing  more  on  a  slow  doom/death  metal  sound  and  when  spoken  word  parts  are  added  in  the  music  starts  to  have  a  more  ritualistic  feeling  along  with  a  heavy  Hellhammer  influence.

  Heavy  Death  remain  true  to  their  doom/death  metal  sound  on  those  2  demo's  keeping  everything  slow  and  heavy  as  well  as  adding  in  clean  singing  which  makes  the  music  have  more  of  an  original  edge,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  horror  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  compilation  from  Heavy  Death  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  doom/death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "All  I  See  Is  Decay"  "Darkness  Of  No  Return"  and  "Infernal  Celestial  View".  8  out  of  10.    

   

  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sorxe/Surrounded By Shadows/2014 CD Review


  Sorxe  are  a  band  from  Arizona  that  plays  a  psychedelic  mixture  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Surrounded  By  Shadows".

  A  very  heavy,  dark  and  heavy  doom  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  high  pitched  screams  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  have  a  melodic  edge  to  them  at  times  along  with  a  small  amounts  of  growls  and  the  guitars  also  utilize  a  decent  amount  of  melody,  the  band  also  uses  a  decent  mixture  of  both  clean  and  heavy  parts.

  After  awhile  psychedelic  and  ambient  sounds  are  added  into  the  bands  heavy  doom/sludge  metal  sound  along  with  the  melodic  vocals  adding  in  some  influences  from  grunge  and  when  guitar  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  give  the  music  more  of  a  70's  rock  feeling  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  as  well  as  the  band  using  2  bass  players  instead  of  1.

  When  synths  are  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  they  give  the  music  more  of  a  darker  sound  and  some  of  the  later  tracks  also  see  the  band  adding  in  drones  at  times  as  well  as  adding  in  a  few  tracks  that  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  which  also  sees  the  guitar  leads  going  into  a  more  darker,  modern  and  melodic  direction  and  as  the  album  progresses  the  band  evolves  more  into  a  psychedelic  form of  sludge  metal.

  Sorxe  creates  a  very  heavy  and  psychedelic  style  of  sludge/doom  metal  with  their  music  as  way  as  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  to  this  musical  genre,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  and  heavy  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Sorxe  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  psychedelic,  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Streamroller"  "Smoke  Signals"  "Made  To  Suffer"  and  "The  Mountain  Man".  8  out  of  10.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The King Is Blind Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Lee James Appleton (Guitars): We are The King Is Blind, 4 musicians from East Anglia. We are on a mission to bring back some of the lost ingredients of Extreme Heavy Metal; groove, hooks, melody, power, atmosphere and most importantly, emotion.

2.So far you have released a demo and an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
The demo was recorded before we had a full line up in place. 'The Deficiencies Of Man' EP is a group effort with everyone getting involved in composing the songs. The EP is faster and more aggressive, probably because we were unleashing a lot of pent up emotion as we were writing. ‘A Thousand Burning Temples’ was written in our first rehearsal, purely because we were so excited to be in the room together.

3.I have seen the band labeled as 'monolithic metal' can you tell us a little bit more about this tag?
“Monolithic Metal” is basically us mucking around with the concept of 'tags'. No band worth their salt spends more than 5 minutes thinking about that stuff anyway, life's too short. I remember being in Salisbury Cathedral thinking 'I want our music to sound like this cathedral looks!" That's as much as I personally thought about it.

4.The band members are veterans that have also been a part of a few legendary bands, what is it that motivates you to create heavy music after all of these years?
We're only in our 30s, we're not that old! It's a more focused level of aggression these days. I've got more to lose now than I did in my teens, hence I’m willing to go a lot further if we come up against obstacles. Our vitriol is pointed at only very specific targets these days, rather than scatter bombing everything that moves!

5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Steve Tovey (Vocals / Bass): Just like the music and journey of a song is a narrative, or a movement, for me, lyrically, it’s important to have that same dynamic bent, to have that expansion and natural progression of a theme. Some, like ‘Thorns That Pierce The Skull’, are linear stories around events, or perceived events, others, like ‘A Thousand Burning Temples’ are more conceptual. In each case it’s about a balance of metaphor and narrative and telling a story that takes the listener from origin to devastation. 

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'The King Is Blind'?
Lee: It's actually an old song-title from when I was playing clubs in Cambridge a few years ago. I always liked it; I thought it had a cool Brendan Perry vibe. When we started thinking of band names we didnt have too many options. Plague Pit was our early name I came up with; Steve humoured me for a few weeks before stamping that one out… fair enough really. The band name also works as a rather straightforward political, religious or societal statement, none of which require elaboration.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Mostly quite good venues so far. We're playing the Arts Centre in Colchester on Thursday which is the best venue in our area, by a long way.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
As I say, we're playing at the Colchester Arts Centre on 7th Aug, Bloodstock festival on 9th August. Bloodstock represents a landmark moment for this band and for us as musicians. We're looking forward to that one. We're also booked to play Hammer fest next year in March and Candlemass have just confirmed so I'm excited about that.

9.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We currently have a deal with Mordgrimm to release our material. We have a relationship with Frater Nihil that goes back 20+ years from when Paul was in Cradle of Filth, so it's the perfect home for us at this point in time, as Nihil knows exactly what he's doing with a new band like us.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death and doom metal?
We've had great feedback from all around the world, but you never really know how you're doing until you get out there, play in these places and see the whites of the crowd's eyes.

11.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects that some of the band members are a part off?
Everybody is involved in projects outside of TKIB, it doesn't infringe on the band at all. We've known each other for long enough not to feel threatened by stuff like that.

12.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We're writing it now. It’s a huge artistic leap from what we've done thus far and quite a risk, but we have a huge amount of ideas that we are not going to hold back on. I think it’s going to be an important album, very much inspired by ‘Into The Pandemonium’. We should be doing some pre-production in the later part of the year in time ready to record in early next year. We have some very exciting options available to us in terms of studio and producer too.

13.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?
We're all music addicts, we can never get enough, so there are hundreds of seminal bands who inspire us to exist and to play. I won’t speak for the other guys but personally older stuff like Candlemass, Celtic Frost and VoiVod as well as some of the UK bands in the early 90s UK scene like Cathedral, Godflesh, Bolt Thrower, PL and My Dying Bride. Outside of metal, Killing Joke, Dead Can Dance, Godspeed and Pink Floyd are what Im into. I like the latest Ulver record too. To be honest, incorporating non-Metal influences is where the magic happens and is what gives you a unique identity if done properly. That's exactly what we intend to do.

14.What are some of your non musical interests?
My family and my work take up my time when I'm not doing music.

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
No. Thank you for the chance to talk to you about our music.