Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Culled/Thin The Herd, Fail To Learn/Hibernation Release/2018 EP Review


  Culled  are  a  band  from  Edmonton,  Alberta,  Canada  that  plays  a  mixture  of  sludge,  death  metal  and  grindcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2018  ep  "Thin  The  Herd,  Fail  To  Learn"  which  will  be  released  on  October  26th  by  Hibernation  Release.

  Distorted  drones  along  with  some  spoken  word  samples  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  more  of  a  heavier  direction  while  the  slower  sections  of  the  songs  bring  in  elements  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  along  with  the  faster  sections  of t he  songs  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and  grindcore  influences.

  Vocals  are  a  mixture  of  death  metal  growls  and  screams  while  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  some  touches  of  thrash  also  being  added  into  some  of  the  guitar  riffing  as  well  as  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  melody  as  the  recording  progresses.

  Spoken  word  samples  also  make  a  return  on  later  songs  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  the  closing  track  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  which  also  introduces  melodic  guitar  leads  onto  the  closing  and  the  music  also  has  influences  of  hardcore. 

  Culled  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  sludge,  doom,  death  metal  and  grindcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  influenced  by  the  writings  of  Noam  Chomsky.

  In  my  opinion  Culled  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  sludge,  doom,  death  metal  and  grindcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Divide  to  Conquer"  and  "Contagion".  8  out  of  10. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Voidhaven/Self Titled/Solitude Productions/2018 EP Review


  Voidhaven  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  an  atmospheric  mixture  of  doom/death  and  dark  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  titled  2018  ep  which  will  be  released  on  October  19th  by  Solitude  Productions.

  Clean  playing  starts  off  the  ep  while  both  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  along  with  some  stringed  instruments  also  being  utilized  at  times  before  going  into  a  very  slow  and  heavy  doom  metal  direction  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  dark  and  melodic  style.

  Clear  vocals  can  also  be  heard  at  times  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody  along  with  the  music  also  utilizing  a  great  amount  of  death  metal  growls  as  well  as  some  grim  screams  that  also  add  in  a  touch  of  black  metal,  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  all  of the  musical  sticks  to  a  slower  direction  and  spoken word  parts  are  added  onto  the  second  track.

  Voidhaven  plays  a  musical  style  that  goes  back  to  the  90's  era  of  atmospheric  doom/death  and  dark  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  death  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Voidhaven  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  mixture  of  doom/death  and  dark  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  solo  project.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "The  Floating  Grave".  8  out  of  10.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kaabalh/Self Titled/Dolorem Records/2018 CD Review


  Kaabalh  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  very  putrid  form  of  doom/death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2018  album  which  will  be  released  on  October  26th  by  Dolorem  Records.

  Distorted  amp  noises  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  very  heavy  and  slow  doom  metal  direction  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  along  with  the  vocals  being  mostly  deep  death  metal  growls  and  some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  Most  of  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  while  blast  beats  can  also  be  heard  when  the  music  speeds  up  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  also  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  as  well  as  the  solos  and  leads  also  being  done  in  a  very  dark  and  melodic  style  and  the  music  always  remains  heavy.

  Kaabalh  plays  a  style  of  putrid  doom/death  metal  that  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness,  horror  and  mythology  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Kaabalh  are  a  very  great  sounding  putrid  doom/death  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Acheron"  and  "Death's  Ovation".  8  out  of  10.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kurokuma/Dope Rider/2018 EP Review


  Kurokuma  are  a  band  from  the  United  Kingdom  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  psychedelic  mixture  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2018  ep  "Dope  Rider"  which  will  be  released  on  October  20th.

  Drum  beats  start  off  the  ep  along  with  some  distorted  drones  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  takes  the  music  into  a  heavier  sludge  metal  direction  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  last  track  is  very  long  and  epic  in  length  as  well  as  the  slower  riffs  adding  in  elements  of  doom  metal.

  Vocals  are  done  mostly  in  a  shouting  style  along  with  a  few  screams  and  growls  while  psychedelic  style  distortion  is  also  used  at  times  along  with  the  riffs  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  as  well  as  a  touch  of  post  metal  and  the  music  sticks  to  a  slower  style.

  On  this  recording  Kurokuma  plays  a  very  heavy  mixture  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  along  with  some  psychedelic  elements,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  are  a  concept  album  based  upon  the  comic  strip  "Dope  Runner"  from  High  Times  Magazine.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Kurokuma  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  sludge  and  doom  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Dope  Runner  PT.  2".  8  out  of  10.  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

North Of South Interview

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



Hi!!! It’s a true pleasure to be answering this interview.

Well... A lot of things are happening in these two last months to North of South, since publicly presenting. However, there has been a lot of work behind the scenes.



North of South officially was born in 2017, but I was working in my own compositions for the previous 4-5 years.

My first intention was to gather some people with a common artistic vision: to make a different/crossbreeding kind of Metal. Anyway, as years passed, finally, North of South remained as a solo project and I decided to assume every role and instrument, which gave me total creative freedom.

Regarding music, North of South proposes a fresh and daring mixtures of styles: from Progressive Metal to Pop, from Jazz to Melodeath, from Latin to Gothic... However, its music contains enough heavy riffs to please every die-hard true metal fan.

Experimenting, but maintaining a certain line of musical coherence, is the true nature of North of South.





2.You have a new album coming out towards the end of September, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you went for on this recording?



I think it’s some kind of sophisticated result of the music I have listened in my life.

For example, I love Swedish Melodic Death (In Flames, Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates), so this reflects in same search for melody in a context of heaviness and harshness.

But I also dig unique and bold bands like Opeth, Katatonia, Amorphis, Novembre... That kind of musicians that do not fear to evolve and experiment. So this attitude of avoiding creative restraining is a basic principle for North of South. It’s something that NOS also share with Progressive bands, which are another main influence for North of South.

Anyway, as I’m truly interested in melody and creating some catchy Metal, some quality 80-90 Pop elements are also integrated in North of South’s formula, as well as some Latin influences that come from my own culture and that gives to North of South some plus of unique identity.





3.Your lyrics are inspired by the writings of William Shakespeare, Orson Scott Card,  and Jorge Luis Borges, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in their works and also are there any other authors that have an inspiration on your songwriting?



I’m so tired of these bands with a such limited lyrical spectrum... Satan, blood, evil,... Or dragons, warriors and swords,... Or that “united people of Metal against society” speech...

Ok... Above all, I’m a Metal fan, so, ocassionally, I can enjoy that. But that approach doesn’t fit with North of South as a band and with me as an artist.

Literary influences is something natural for me, as I’ve been reading all my life and looking personal inspiration in books.

I’ve always seen Jorge Luis Borges as a fascinating author with whom I share some concerns and topics: man against Universe, Reality against Fiction, the enigma of Time, the mirror’s game, the transience of human being,...

Some years ago, I dedicated my University thesis to him and his political evolution, so it’s a well-known figure for me.

These kind of topics (Humanity, time, our place in universe, ethics...) are also common in the work of some relevant sci-fi authors, like Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov,... Their writings are also very inspiring...

Regarding Shakespeare, he was the best when portraying the human condition, our motivations, our forces and weaknesses.

If you go deep in “New Latitudes” lyrics, you’ll find that the person is in the center of the album. Every song talks about how we relate with each other, what are our motivations and fears and how we can be a better and more complete individual.

I also love other amazing author like José Saramago, Paul Auster, Aarto Paasilinna and some classic Spanish writers, like Unamuno and Quevedo.



4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'North Of South'?



It summarizes the ambivalent nature of this music project. It’s the melody and the heaviness; it’s the election of English language but without renouncing my Spanish/Latin cultural heritage; it’s the continuous search of mixing different genres.

Also, in a literal way, it makes reference to my own city, León, that it’s located in the North of Spain, the southernmost European country. So NOS is in the North of the South, haha.



5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the album cover?



As with lyrics, I wished to avoid some Metal/Evil topics, like monsters, blood, warriors, spikes and that stuff...

So the final artwork symbolises North of South’s vocation of exploring unknown musical latitudes. The astronaut figure and the planetarian background fits very well with that. The booklet also includes some brilliant work by José Luis González Macías, a local artist from León, with some powerful imagery with floating islands, enigmatic lighthouses and lonely cosmic men.



6.On the album you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?



Yeah!! Why not? But some specific conditions must be present. In a small city, like mine, it’s not easy to find other people who have the same risky metal perspective like me. Usually, most of the people want to play a particular style: thrash or metalcore or traditional metal or death metal or hard rock. But when you say: “ok, let’s mix all of that and also to include some jazz, pop, latin elements and, at the end, use clean vocals very far from Dickinson/Halford standard...” Well...you have to be lucky enough to meet someone who understands such specific way of approaching Metal.

At the present moment, I prefer to appreciate the benefits of working alone, especially the fact of not having cut my artistic freedom. Right or wrong, it lets me to make the music that I feel inside.



7.You have also been a heavy metal radio show for the past 2 decades, can you tell us a little bit more about your work in that field?



I'm a professional journalist, not specialized in music, but in news. I work for a relevent national radio station. Working here, one day I had the opportunity to take over a veteran metal radio show in an affiliated music radio channel. Well... That was in 2001, so this is my 17th season with this show. I really enjoy doing it every weekend, sharing my tastes with listeners and constantly discovering new bands. That's a very important point: it's very helpful for me to be up to date about what is happening in Metal scene.





8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of metal and other genres of music?



I'm very happy with the first reactions. Everything is going a bit fast, but it is great. Only two months of public activity for North of South and I'm getting in touch with a lot of very interesting people.

Some great reviews and coming. And I feel that many listeners have understood NOS' proposal: forward-thinking, nonconformist listeners that are always looking for something different in Metal.

In any case, North of South is taking its first steps of a very long journey. I just want to work very hard, with a humble attitude, and trying to enjoy all this process.

It's very difficult to stand out because there are so many great bands out there, so this first album just tries to position this project and to spread the word about North of South as much as possible.



9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?



Wow! As one of North of South’s song says: “Nobody knows!!”, haha.

Anyway, I know what I would love to and that’s dedicating music as much time as possible. I don’t know if that is going to continue in the future, but, at the present  moment, I feel the only limit to my creativity is the lack of time available for music and composing. Many unwritten songs are already in my mind and my heart and I wish I had enough time to materialize and share them with the audience.

Regarding North of South, I really want to keep experimenting and looking for an own music language and identity.



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?



Although it’s not very present in North of South’s music, I’m particularly into extreme metal music, mainly into bands with a few drops of melody. I love bands like old Entombed and Dismember, the Goteborg Melodeath (In Flames, At The Gates, old Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquillity). Also some 90’s bands that evolve from the very extreme to a more gothic/melodic sound: Moonspell, Katatonia, Opeth, Anathema, Novembre.

But I listen to every kind of Metal genre. Iron Maiden are my favourite band. I love very different things: from Jeff Waters/Annihilator guitar stuff to Carcass, from Amorphis to old Deicide, from Joe Satriani to Killswitch Engage.

Talking about 2018 releases, some of the best ones that have been on rotation on my metal radio show are Immortal “Northern Chaos Gods”, Omnium Gatherum “The Burning Cold”, On Thorns I Lay “Aegean Sorrow” and Fractal Gates “The Light That Shines”.



11.What are some of your non musical interests?



Nowadays, music is absorbing almost all my available time. When you are in a one man band, there’s no choice to distribute tasks between other members.

Anyway, literature is one of passions. I really love reading novel, essays, etc.

Obviously, as a professional journalist, I’m very much into news, trying to keep informed.

And I also love soccer.

Finally, this next January I’ll have a baby, so childcare will become a new personal interest and hobby for me, hahaha.



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



Thank you so much for your amazing interest and incredible support to North of South. I hope your readers enjoy “New Latitudes” album, so if you want to support us buy the cd or/and follow us on Spotify and the usual social media.

That’s very important for new bands that, like North of South, try to pop in this competitive and massive worldwide metal scene.

Some cool merch will be also available on the official website: www.northofsouth.es

I’m already working on new stuff, so you can expect a solid continuity in NOS’ career.

Dare to explore new musical latitudes... North of South is a different kind of Metal!!!



Dirge/Ah Punch/2018 Full Length Review

  Dirge  not  to  be  confused  with  the  band  from  France  that  has  been  featured  before  are  a  band  from  India  that  plays  a  mixture  of  sludge,  doom  death  and  atmospheric  post  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2018  album  "Ah  Punch"  which  will  be  released  in  October.

  Atmospheric  soundscapes  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  synths  also  being  utilized  at  times  before  going  into  a  heavier  doom  metal  direction  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  sludge  style  screams  along  with  the  riffs  also  bringing  in  a  decent  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  the  music  also  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  post  metal  elements  as  well  as  some  of  the  riffs  also  capturing  the  heaviness  of  doom/death  metal,  as  the  album  progresses  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  they  also  bring  in  an  acoustic  instrumental  and  all  of  the  music  sticks  to  a  slower  direction.

  Dirge  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  sludge,  doom  death  and  atmospheric  post  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  Mayan  and  Aztec  Mythology  mixed  in  with  historical  events.

  In  my  opinion  Dirge  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  mixture  of  sludge,  doom  and  post  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Invoking  The  Demigod"  and  "Curse  Of  Cortez".  8  out  of  10.    

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Loneshore/From Presence To Silence/BadMoodMan Music/2018 CD Review


  Loneshore  are  a  band  from  Brazil  that  plays  a  very  melodic  and  progressive  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2018  album  "From Presence  To  Silence"  which  was  released  by  BadMoodMan  Music.

  Nature  orientated  soundscapes  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  clean  playing  a  few  seconds  later  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  along  with  the  slow  and  heavy  riffs  being  mostly  rooted  in  doom  metal  as  well  as  the  riffs  also bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody.

  Vocals  are  mostly  death  metal  growls  along  with  a  few  screams  that  add  in  a  touch  of  black  metal  while  all  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  can  also  be  heard  as  well  as  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Elements  of  post  rock  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  while  clean  singing  is  also  added  into  some  parts  of  the  music  along  with  some  acoustic  guitars  are  also  added  into  some  of  the  tracks  and  as  the  album  progresses  a  brief  use  of  stringed  instruments  and  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard.

  Loneshore  plays  a  style  of  doom/death  metal  that  is  very  atmospheric,  progressive  and  melodic  sounding  along  with  a  great  amount  of  post  rock  and  black  metal  elements,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  melancholic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Loneshore  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  and  progressive  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out t his  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Effigy"  and  "From  Presence  To  Silence".  8  out  of  10.