Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mortis Cruentus/Hellthrone/2017 Full length Review


  Mortis  Cruentus  are  a  band  from  Spain  that  plays  a  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2017  album  "Hellthrone'.

  Dark  sounding  synths  and  demonic  voices  start  off  the  album  while  spoken  word  parts  can  also  be  heard  briefly  before  going  into  a  very  fast  and  melodic  musical  direction  which  also  brings  in  a  great  mixture  of  both  black  metal  screams  and  death  metal  growls  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  also  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  chaotic  yet  melodic  fashion  along  with  some  synths  and  clean  playing  also  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  as  well  as  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  being  utilized  in  the  fast  riffing  and  when  spoken  word  parts  are utilized  they  give  the  music  more  of  a  ritualistic  feeling  and  symphonic  elements  can  also  be  heard  briefly.

  Mortis  Cruentus  plays  a musical  style  that takes melodic  black  metal  and  death 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  blood,  war,  death  demonology  and  occultism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Mortis  Cruentus  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Demonic  Veil"  "Sculptures  Of  Possession"  "Supreme  Hellish  Congregation"  and  "Blood  And  Blazing  Flesh". 8 out  of  10.

    

Monday, December 4, 2017

Vargrav/Netherstorm/Werewolf Records/2018 CD Review


  Vargrav  are  a  solo  project  from  Finland  that  plays  an  old  school  form  of  symphonic  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  album  "Netherstorm"  which  will  be  released  in  2018  by  Werewolf  Records.

  A  very  dark  and  symphonic  sound  starts  off  the  album  and  also   mixes  in  with  the  heavier  sections  of  the  songs  and  after  awhile  grim  black  metal  screams  make  their  presence  known  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  dark  and  melodic  fashion  along  with  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  also  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats.

 A  great  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  can  also  be  heard  in  the  guitar  riffing  while  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  most  of the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  mid  90's  symphonic  style  of  the  genre,  when  spoken  word  parts  are  used  briefly  they  give  the  music  more  of  a  ritualistic  feeling and  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  can  also  be  heard  in  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  and  the  album  closes  with  a  cover  of  Emperor's  "Ancient  Queen".

  Vargrav  plays  a  style  of  symphonic  black  metal  that  goes  back  to  the  90's  era  of  the  genre,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Occultism  and  Darkness  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Vargrav  are  a  very  great  sounding  old  school  symphonic  black  metal  solo  project  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Netherstorm"  "Ethereal  Visions  Od  A  MOnumental"  and  "The  Glory  Of  Eternal  Night".  8  out  of  10.

  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Enhailer/Dumb Enough To Care/Blackseed Records/2017 EP Review


  Enhailer  are  a  band  from  Akron,  Ohio  that  plays  an  mixture  of  black,  doom  metal,  progressive  and  stoner  rock  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  ep  "Dumb  Enough  To  Care"  which  will  be  released  on  December  11th  by  Blackseed  Records.

  Melodic  stoner  rock  riffs  start  off  the  ep  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  track  is  18  minutes  in  length  as  well  as  mixing  in  the  heaviness  of  sludge  and  doom  metal   and  at  times  the  music  also  gets  very  progressive  and  the  solos  and  leads  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody

  Vocals  are  mostly  angry  screams  and  growls  which  also  gives  the  music  touches  of  black  and  death  metal  while  the  riffs  get  more  up  beat  and  mid  tempo  at  times  and  the  music  also  brings  in  more  of  a  jam  orientated  and  improv  feeling  at  times  as  well  as  remaining  instrumental  and  experimental  for  a  few  minutes.

  Enhailer  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  progressive,  stoner,  doom  and  black  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Enhailer  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  progressive,  stoner,  black  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are a   fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  8  out  of  10.  

Frost Giant Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

Matti Frost: Trying to get the lineup solidified and rehearsing for the release and subsequent shows. We lost our bassist a couple months ago, and the person we asked to join up immediagely after said yes but then backed out, so now we're in the process of auditioning people. We are also rehearsing the new songs and gearing up to play them live. It will be the first time we've played onstage since May of 2015.
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2.You have a new album coming out in early 2018, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Matti: The sound is something I would describe as being rooted in extreme metal but also marbled with accessible riffing and tons of hooks, melodies, and choruses that are meant to be sung along with. It's multi-dimensional and dynamic with a lot of different emotions, and there are many parts of songs directly written to reference other songs or interludes on the album. It's meant to be listened to as one long song, like NOFX's 'The Decline' or Sleep's 'Jerusalem', and most recently, Insomnium had a record called 'Winter's Gate' that has the same type of structure.

As to how it compares with our older stuff... It's definitely more ambitious. The riffs are stronger. The vocal arrangements are more intricate. The guitar soloing is much more present. The production and recording quality are monstrous compared to our older releases. AJ Viana at Sylar Sound Studios really made us sound phenomenal. Overall, it's much more mature and pretty strong for a 55-minute release.
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3.A lot of your lyrics are inspired by Norse Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic and also what are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?

Matti: I've been into Norse mythology going back to my childhood. The gods and goddesses, the stories and sagas of all the heroes and the people, all of it was very fascinating to me. I was also a fan of the Greek, Roman, and Celtic pantheons too. These tales were way more entertaining to me than the Bible stories I had learned, although the Old Testament is pretty brutal too from a storytelling perspective. Yet, I've never been particularly religious. Even as a kid I was skeptical about the existence of a literal God that watches over everything you do and keeps a list and will one day spend eternity judging the souls of the dead for what they did in life. It seemed a little unrealistic to me. When I started learning about the reconstructed religion and practice of Ásatrú, I was roped in, at first, like many others. It was around this time I got into a deep interest around the Ancient Norse, Vikings, and history of those peoples. Now, I am not a hardcore scholar, and there are few religions that have a stronger basis in research than Ásatrú. It's been called "the religion with homework". I did come out of my "metal dude into Thor" phase, though, and I like to think that in my 11 or so years of being Heathen I have a more nuanced and practical view of it in a modern context.

A lot of the other topics I deal with are allegorical references to the experiences and journey I've had in my life. The Harlot Star is, if you take the lyrics literally, a priest in the 1500's who cannot reconcile his doubts about Christianity, rejects the Church, flees for his life, tries to find the gods and people his ancestors came from, fails, and yet somehow stumbles into the rest of his life. In reality it reflects my own spiritual journey, and the second half of my life is yet to be written.
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4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Frost Giant'?

Matti: I first discovered what frost giants were when I started reading Norse myths. Then there was Dungeons & Dragons in my teens, and they were pretty formidable monsters. Primal, destructive forces of nature, wild and untamed, powerful and mighty, and fearsome. When I decided to name the band Frost Giant I was also rather surprised that it wasn't taken. That's always a plus.
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5.What are some of the best shows that yo have played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Matti: Our very first show in October of 2012 was with Agalloch. We have also had some great gigs playing with Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, Turisas, Wilderun, Trollfest, Ignite, Bane, Aether Realm, Swashbuckle, as well as many other local and regional bands. I don't actually know how we look onstage. I'm always more concerned with making sure I am playing decently and not singing out of key. Armen (Korohglian, also of Cognitive) and Ty Asoudegan are new to the band but have amazing energy, and Scott Breustedt has always had excellent stage presence. How we are onstage remains to be seen.
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6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

Matti: Yes, as of now we only have a couple of shows booked, but that will change once the album comes out. We're going to shoot for playing in different areas, choosing our shows carefully so as not to overexpose ourselves in one area or venue, and possibly some weekend trips or a week long tour in Spring or early Summer.
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7.The new album is coming out on 'Transcending Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Matti:. I knew nothing about the label until my friend sent me a message saying that they were looking for albums to release. I sent Mike (Ramirez) the video for 'Prisoner of the Past' and a link to the whole album and he really liked it and made us an offer. It was a good deal, so we signed it. The label itself has a broad mix of bands, from death metal and deathcore to doom and sludge, to shoegaze, to desert rock and melodic black metal. Some of my favorite artists on the roster are Transylvania Stud, Grief & Bliss, Monolith Cult, and Vesperian Sorrow. There are many more bands on Transcending I haven't heard yet. It's a very diverse roster, and Mike & Chase (Brown) have done a lot of us and the other bands. We can't say enough good things about Transcending Records.
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8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic and extreme metal?

Matti: We have had some positive feedback in the past from European fans, but outside of a few good reviews of our old EP and maybe an interview or two, not much else. We didn't know how to really promote our music to international markets back then and we are really just learning about it now. It seems that the heart of extreme metal is in other countries besides the United States. That's not to say there aren't amazing fans of extreme metal here, but not as many per capita compared to other countries. It seems like metal is just more popular overseas. We're hoping to hear more feedback from international audiences and possibly tour in Europe.
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9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Matti: As the main songwriter, I've always held that whatever I write under this band name will be whatever I want. Whatever sounds good to my ears. However, I now have a pretty amazing band to work with. These guys have way too much talent and skill for me to just say here, play this. Future writing might still be based on my ideas but the actual writing will probably be much more collaborative. As far as genres and styles, I have ideas for music that is far heavier, and music that is way more ear friendly. Whatever it is, it will still sound like us, though.
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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?

Matti: Wintersun amd early Ensiferum were the bands that got me serious about starting up a band that was sort of in that genre. Jari Mäenpää just has a way of writing that really appeals to me. I'd also add in a ton of skatepunk, melodic hardcore, and post-hardcore. Bands like NOFX, Strung Out, Lagwagon, MxPx, Grade, Small Brown Bike, Tyr, Avail, Lifetime, Ignite, Devin Townsend Project, Hum... So many different bands, and yet, there's a common thread to all of them that I've found.

I've been listening to a lot of non-metal bands lately, anything from 80's new wave and alt rock to modern indie rock. A few of the bands I've been really into are Strand of Oaks, Cigarettes After Sex, The War on Drugs, and Future Islands.
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11.According to your fb page some of your non musical influences include Game Of Thrones,  Dragonlance,  Deverry and Ancient History, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in thse topics?

Matti: I love to read and I love fantasy. In my opinion, the Deverry novels by Katharine Kerr are the most amazing Celtic fantasy books I've ever read, and I've read all of the books multiple times. I have not read all of the George R.R. Martin books yet but I am caught up on the HBO series. I go way back to my teens with Dragonlance by Weis & Hickman and other authors that have written for that world setting. I've read most of those too, many times. I have the Solamnic Oath tattooed on my chest. So... I am a bit of a fantasy literature geek. I frequently reference concepts and character archetypes from many of these books, and the song 'Silver Dagger' is written about a band of mercenaries featured all throughout the Deverry novels. Actual history has been a big influence too. The Harlot Star was a term that Martin Luther used to refer to comets back in the 16th century, as they threw a wrench in the application of geocentricity. Their paths across the sky, their orbits, didn't make sense to astronomers who were trying to make them fit in a cosmos where everything revolved around the Earth. They defied the divine order of the heavens. That term alone spawned and inspired the whole story told on this album. The comet, specifically Halley's Comet, is what plays the seed of doubt in the protagonist's mind as a young child, and then it's sort of hinted that he sees it 76 years later when he is on his deathbed and the comet returns and brings his life full circle.

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

Matti: Thanks for asking about us. I enjoy talking to folks about music, literature, or pretty much anything. If your readers are so inclined, they can follow us on Instagram @frostgiantofficial, on Facebook at facebook.com/frostgiantofficia l as well. We have a YouTube channel that needs more subscribers so we can get a custom URL, so please, search us out there and mash that button. And our music is available at frostgiant.bandcamp.com. The Harlot Star will be available there on 19 January 2018 and CDs can be ordered at transcendingrecords.com.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sabhankra/From The Frozen Mountains/Metalism Records/2018 CD Review


  Sabhankra  are  a  band  from  Turkey  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  epic  and  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  on  tihs  recording  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  album  "From  The  Frozen  Mountains"  which  will  be  released  in  2018  by  Metalism  Records.

  Melodic  guitar  leads  start  off  the  album  along  with  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  bringing  in  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  grim  black  metal  screams  as  well  as  the  riffs  also  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  great  amount  of  death  metal  influences.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  synths  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  they  also  give  the  music  more  of  an  epic  and  symphonic  feeling  and  a  couple  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length and  as  the  album  progresses  death  metal  growls  and  doom  metla  infleunces  can  also be  heard  briefly.

  On  this  recording  Sabhankra  moves  away  from  the  folk  elements  and  focuses  more  on  an  epic,  symphonic  and  melodic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  epic  themes. 

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Sabhankra  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  epic  and  melodic  black/death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "They  Are  Everywhere"  and  "From  The  Frozen  Mountains".  8  out  of  10.

Frost Giant/The Harlot Star/Transcending Records/2018 CD Review


  Frost  Giant  are  a  band  from  Pennsylvania  that  plays  a  mixture  of  folk,  melodic  black/death  and  hardcore  punk  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  album  "The  Harlot  Star"  which  will  be  released  in  2018  by  Transcending  Records.

  Acoustic  guitars  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  sound  effects  in  the  background  and  after  awhile  heavier  riffs  are  added  into  the  music  while  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  along  with  some  clean  pagan  vocals  also  being  used  at  times.

  Death  metal  growls  and  black  metal  screams  can  also be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  along  with  some  symphonic  elements  also  being  used  at  times  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  also  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  also  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  songs  also  mix  in  elements  of  folk  music  and  hardcore  punk  as  well  as  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  a  couple  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  there  are  also  a  couple  of  instrumentals.

  Frost  Giant  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  folk,  melodic  black/death  metal  and  hardcore  punk  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  something  very  original,  the  production  sound s very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Heathenism,  Legends,  Mysticism,  and  Personal  Struggle  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Frost  Giant  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  folk,  melodic  black/death  metal  and  hardcore  punk  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Forgive  Me  Not"  "The  Forgotten  Graves"  and  "Monuments  To  Nothing".  8  out  of  10.      

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lord Shades Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Alex : The new album will be released on the 8th of December 2017, we're preparing a French tour in 2018 and a series of shows along 2018 & 2019.

Cyril : Since we're done with the album, we've been looking for partners to promote and distribute it. We've inked a deal with Dooweet Agency which is in charge of promotion and distribution. Meanwhile, we're searching for gigs – at first in France, then we'll be trying to book gigs in Europe and get in touch with several European festivals.
We're preparing a show for the 13th of January that will be the starting point for the live promotion of the new album.

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 the stuff you have released in the past?
Alex : « The Uprising Of Namwell » is our third album and the end of a trilogy.

Cyril : First, with each album we want our sound to evolve. We try to learn from our mistakes on the previous albums. The toughest point with us is that each instrument has to be audible, the amplified ones (bass, guitars, drums) that are the skeleton of our music, but also the traditional ones (acoustic guitar, accordion, African percussions…) as well as the backing vocals – which for this new album have been performed by a real choir, without samples and electronic stuff. Then, once everything is mixed properly, we have to add to it the orchestral samples, the sound effects and the various sonic atmospheres created by our arranger Olivier PERRIN with whom we've been working since our first album, and who delivers a performance which makes us really proud.
The sound of « The Uprising Of Namwell » may be darker than on our previous album, but it's also more straight forward !

3.This is your first album since 2011 can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
Alex : Yes, and the one before that was in 2008. I'd rather have some time running before starting to write new material, to let our tastes and expectations evolve between two albums. In doing so, in my opinion, a new album is inevitably more mature and different from the one before.

Cyril : Like Alex just said, that lapse of time allows us to put things into perspecvtive about what's been done in the past, and release a Lord Shades album which won't be a copy of the one before.
Between these two albums, we've been achieving some plans like playing at Wacken Open Air and Metal Days. We thank these two festivals for their trust. We also did a special show in France at Rock Metal Camp, which allowed us to play on stage with some of our studio guests. It was very interesting to show the audience something else than the average metal band, and help them discovering the human richness of the band.


4.Your lyrics have a concept involving a fantasy world that was made up by the songwriter, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Alex : We have created the world and the saga of Lord Shades with the help of Laurent Barbarit, who is our official lyricist. He's been writing all of our lyrics since the beginning of the trilogy, we owe him a lot. The only exception on that new one is the choir singing in Latin, which has been written by Hugot Blanchet and the words in Arab written by Sofiane 2under, which he sings himself on the track « The Awakening ».

Cyril : As a matter of fact, all our lyrics are dealing with heroic fantasy. The story has been created from scratch. Laurent Babarit, our lyricist, wrote all by himself the words and the story after common ideas that we're discussing together during meetings about that topic.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Lord Shades'?
Alex : From the very first chapter of the trilogy, Lord Shades is a ghost locked within his own spell. We can see him sometimes as a dark misty mass, maybe that's one of the reasons why he's called « The Lord Shades ».

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Alex : Many French gigs and festivals have been amazing experiences, with great reception. But I think that Wacken 2012 and Metal Days 2014 still are the most amazing stages we've shared.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Alex : We're currently working on a co-produced tour for 2018, and looking for festivals in 2018-2019 in order to promote the new album and the whole trilogy as well.

Cyril : The plans for dates and tours are in progress, but it takes time to achieve that. It's hard today to set somehing reliable and serious. We don't want to play gigs that wouldn't be interesting neither for the audience nor for the band. Our goal is to deliver real shows that will transcribe Lord Shades' atmosphere and capture the audience.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of symphonic black and death metal?
Alex : The response to our second album has been excellent ! We've had a lot of positive reviews, and we can't wait to see how this third album will be greeted. We feel like waiting for doomsday !

Cyril : We don't claim to have reached a worldwide level with the second album, but the feedbacks were really good, from the media as well as from the fans.
Maybe this third album will help us reaching more people in various countries. We are currently waiting for feedback.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Alex : Anyway, on stage, in a communion with the numerous guests that we had on each album. The idea is to have much more than 4 people stepping on stage ! We tried it once, and we plan to make it again. Lord Shades really comes alive with those guests !

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?
Alex : Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Mozart, Benighted, Moonsorrow, Endlaved, Morbid Angel, Pink Floyd, Hanggai, Septic Flesh, Tinariwen… Many different things have an influence on us, all of us 4 have multiple and varied tastes.
Recently I discovered Skalmold live, and I went to see my favorite childhood band Helloween on their Pumpkins United tour.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Alex : Nature, country, fresh air… Everything that can be inspiring.

Cyril : Wine and good food… We're Gallic !

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Alex : First, huge thanks go to the guests who took part in our albums/demos/gigs, and without whom Lord Shades wouldn't have the same interest.
And last but not least, huge thanks to you !