Sunday, January 21, 2018

Nadir.The Sixth Sense/Grimm Distribution/NGC Productions/2017 CD Review


  Nadir  are  a  band  from  Hungary  that  plays  a  mixture  of  doomcore  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album "The  Sixth  Sense"  which  was  released  as  a  joint  effort  between  Grimm  Distribution  and  NGC Productions.

  An  atmospheric  soundscape  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  synths  before  going  into  more  of  a  heavier  and  melodic  doom  metal  direction  along  with  some  death  metal  growls  a  few  seconds  later  while  the  music  also  mixes  in  elements  of  hardcore  as  well  as  the  solos  and  leads  also  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody.

  A  great  amount  of  90's  influences  can  be  heard  in  the  bands  musical  style  while  also  sounding  very  modern  at  the  same  time  along  with  some  songs  also  bringing  in  a  small  amount  of  spoken  word  parts  as  well  as  the  solos  and  leads  also  being  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion,  when  the  music  finally  speeds  up  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  they  also  bring  in  an  instrumental  track  which  also  introduces  acoustic  guitars  onto  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

 Nadir  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  doom,  death  metal  and  hardcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  social  problems  and  the  relation  of  mankind  and  nature.

  In  my  opinion  Nadir  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  doomcore  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Human  Predator"  "Along  Came  Disruption"  and  "Les  Ruines".  8  out  of  10.

  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hamferd Interview

1.    Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Jón: It has been quite some time since we finished “Támsins likam”, and because we wanted to have a complete product to showcase our capabilities, most of the time since has been spent talking to labels and discussing how to advance the band and the new record. Luckily, Metal Blade was interesting in talking with us and showed keen interest in supporting us in exactly the way we had hoped. They signed us on, and since the Summer of 2017, we have been working together to prepare for the release of “Támsins likam”, developing the artwork, creating music videos, all the amazing things surrounding the making of an album. It has been exciting, but also quite exhausting, and it’s a great relief to finally have the record out!

2.    You have a new album coming out early this year, 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?
Theodor: I think that “Támsins likam” is an evolution of the sound we have created on our first two records. However, the biggest change from our previous albums to this one is that “Támsins likam” has been written as a whole piece of music.  The songs do work in isolation, but we feel that the music is best represented when you listen to the album in its entirety and hear the songs in the context of the album. I'd say that the new album is more intense than our older stuff. There is more dissonance and tension in the music which means people probably need to hear the album a few times before it really starts making sense.

3.    This is your first album since 2013, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
Jón: We did quite a bit of touring after “Evst”, especially in 2013 and 2014. Since then, most of the time has been spent writing. The concept of “Támsins likam”, both musically and lyrically, are grand in scope, and it has taken a lot of time and work to build them and coordinate them, trying to get everything connect and come together as a coherent whole. This working process has been quite new to us, and it has certainly been the biggest challenge we have undertaken so far.

4.    Your lyrics cover the folklore of your home country, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
Jón: I find that folklore is quite an inseparable part of Faroese culture on quite a deep level. It used to be a pillar of social development back when the written word was uncommon and stories were told as they were heard without much enlightened scrutiny. All nationalities or societies have a history of word-of-mouth knowledge, but the Faroe Islands are small and isolated, and the stories have lived on through swift modernization.
Personally, I have always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction, particularly when working with ancient and modern concepts alongside each other. The timelessness of some ideas is awe-inspiring, while, on the other hand, some ancient ones are astonishingly imaginative but completely incompatible with reality.

5.    I know that the band’s name describes the epiphany of a dead/missing seamen in your native tongue, how does this name fit in with the musical style you play?
Jón: Considering that we anchor our concept quite firmly in Faroese culture and folklore, I think it is quite fitting that we name ourselves for this particular supernatural phenomenon. It made perfect sense 10 years ago, and it makes perfect sense now. Still, we have yet to include hamferð in our lyrics yet, but we aim to correct that when we start writing for our next album.

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?
Theodor: We have had quite a few memorable shows, to list them all would probably take me a few hours. However, if I were to mention one it probably has to be when we performed in the cathedral of Tórshavn back in 2013. You probably need an insight into Faroese society and history to properly grasp the context of a doom metal band being allowed to perform in a church in The Faroes, but it was a truly unique experience and one which we will never forget. A recording of us performing the song “Vráin” from that concert can be found on Youtube.
We always try to approach our stage performances as ceremonies. We dress in black suits as if we were attending a funeral, and we spend a lot of energy into trying to create a very specific atmosphere at our shows which hopefully adds to the experience of seeing us live. We are not the type of band that will show up wearing jeans and band t-shirts even if most of us are also in other bands where we do exactly that.

7.    Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Jón: Yes, we will go on a European tour on February 2nd with Downfall of Gaia, first visiting 8 countries over 16 dates, and then going on a 4-date tour in Denmark. After that, we return to the Faroe Islands for our release concert in the Tórshavn Theatre on March 17th. Later in the year there will be a few festivals and hopefully another tour in the Fall. We are aiming to cover many more countries!

8.    On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of doom and death metal?
Jón: Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and of course, since we play very doomy music, fans of doom/death tend to appreciate our music. But we are not aiming exclusively for that demographic with the music we make, so there may be some more traditional doomsters out there who don’t enjoy our style and that’s perfectly fine. We still have one and a half feet solidly planted in doom, but we are not necessarily married to one particular genre.
Since we have only toured Europe so far, that is probably where you will find the majority of our listeners. After signing with Metal Blade Records, though, our profile in North America definitely seems to be strengthening. We are also aware of listeners from countries as diverse as South Africa, Iran, Russia, Australia and Brazil, among others, and we are really hoping to be able to tour outside of Europe in the next year or two. You never know!

9.    What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Theodor: The guys in the band who are probably most busy with other projects are Jón and John. Jón is releasing a new album with Barren Earth in a few months, and I think that John is entering the studio with his other band Hamradun quite soon. Me and John also have a death metal side-project called Goresquad, as soon as we get the time we will write 2-3 songs more and record a new EP. So there are a few things going on here and there, but our focus right now is 100% on Hamferð and on our upcoming touring in support of “Támsins likam”.

10.  Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Jón: There are many different ways for us to go, and I think the biggest challenge will be deciding which elements are the most crucial for us as a band. Certainly, the cultural and environmental aspects of the Faroe Islands will always be a sort of framework for us, and the Faroese language is an integral part of the Hamferð-concept. Thematically and atmospherically, the darker shades of life are more fascinating to us than ever, so it is unlikely that we will move into modern Anathema territory quite yet.
But each member of Hamferð has their own unique musical style and aspirations, which may take us into interesting territory in the future. As I have stated earlier: If we manage to find and maintain the band’s core elements, we are not necessarily bound to one particular genre. It goes without saying that it takes a hell of a lot of work to create something entirely new when you have already released a few albums and established a certain style. But I believe we are ready for pretty much anything that comes our way.

11.  What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Theodor: That's a hard question to answer for us collectively, so I will just answer it for myself. The artists which have probably directly influenced me the most while writing on our latest album would be two old guys by the name of Tchaikovsky and Mahler. I was listening to a lot of classical music a few years ago when we started writing “Támsins likam”, so that influenced the way I approached writing quite a bit. However I try to stay away from getting directly influenced by anyone for Hamferð's music. By now we have a pretty good idea of what we want Hamferð to sound like, so we don't need to consciously reference any other musicians or composers to be able to write our own music. I have a few artists which I rip off all the time for Goresquad though, that band is a 100% copycat haha. It's a lot of fun to write music which isn't supposed to be original but just has to be cool. But in the long run it is more rewarding to try to create something unique, at least for me.
I don't listen to as many different artists as I used to a few years ago. I work with music full-time, so when I sit down and listen to music by myself I like to listen to stuff I know well, and if I get a new album which I really enjoy I can usually listen to it a lot before I get bored of it. Some of the artists that I've been listening to lately are Leprous, Karnivool, Pain Of Salvation and Cannibal Corpse.
Jón: With regards to the writing of ‘Támsins likam’, my approach was similar to Theodor’s, although my experience with conceptual albums has mostly come through progressive rock and metal, and I also tend to gravitate towards weirder, avant-garde-ish styles of metal. That usually shines through when I am writing vocal lines. I am also very careful not to make obvious references or copy a certain style, but of course, you always end up making something that you yourself would like to hear, so the connection is always there, somehow.
Personally, I am always digging for new music, although getting older usually means getting more picky, while amazement becomes increasingly rare. Recently, I have been digging new stuff from old favourites, like Pain of Salvation, Akercocke and Fleshkiller, a band that has risen from the ashes of Extol. The new Sorcerer album was pretty epic as well. But I have gotten way behind, and lately I’ve found myself backtracking a few years back, to albums I still haven’t checked out. So much music, so little time!

12.  What are some of your non-musical interests?
Jón: I recently received my Master’s degree in Biology and have a very strong interest in nature and the environment. Birds are a big focus of mine, both in research and in daily life, and I do enjoy a proper birding trip now and then. Besides that, I enjoy reading, particularly sci-fi and fantasy novels, and a bit of gaming. Movies and series also get their share of my time, and currently I am very much into 70’s and 80’s sci-fi and horror movies. So all in all, you could say that I’m a big consumer of both science and fiction.
Theodor: I've turned into a bit of an outdoors guy over the last couple of years, when weather permits I try to get out as much as possible. The Faroe Islands is a small place, but as soon as you start embracing the outdoors there is an almost unlimited amount of things to do and experience. I have a small boat which I go fishing with and I have two big Border Collies which I walk twice a day. This time of year it can be a bit tricky as the weather tends to be pretty bad in these parts, but when you've got dogs you have no choice but to get your ass off the couch and go out with them. Apart from all that I'm a big football fan, I'm finishing up an open water scuba diving certificate and I am taking a part-time university degree in mathematics. So as you can see I like to keep myself busy!

13.  Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Jón and Theodor: First of all, we’d like to thank you for your interest in us and our new album. Secondly, we hope people will enjoy ‘Támsins likam’ and get the experience from it that we have been trying to realize. And lastly, we sincerely hope that your readers will come see us live, if it so happens that we are visiting the area in February. See you on the road!





Thursday, January 18, 2018

Anatomia/Carnal Obsession/Nuclear War Now! Productions/2017 Album Review


  Anatomia  are  a  band  from  Japan  that  plays  an  old  school  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Carnal  Obsession"  which  was  released  by  Nuclear  War  Now!  Productions.

  A  horror  movie  soundtrack  orientated sound  starts  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  very  fast  musical  direction  which  also  uses  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  while the  vocals  are  mostly  guttural  death  metal  growls  along  with  the  music  being  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  and  grim  screams  are  also  used  at  times. 

  Keyboards  are  also  mixed  in  with  the  heavier  sections  of  the  songs  at  times  while  the  slower  riffing  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  doom  metal  along  with  some  of  the  tracks  also  bringing  in  a  great mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  as  well  as  clean  guitars  also  being  used  briefly  and  some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  Anatomia  plays  a  style  of  doom/death  metal  that  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  while  also  capturing  the  atmosphere  of  a  horror  movie,  the  productions  sounds  very  dark  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  gore,  corpses  and  cannibalism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Anatomia  are  a  very  great  sounding  old  school  mixture  of  doom  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Necrotic  Incision"  "Morbid  Hallucination"  and  "Abysmal  Decay".  8  out  of  10.

 

  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Schwarzer Engel/Kult Der Krahe/Mssacre Records/2018 CD Review


  Gerany's  Schwarzer  Engel  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  which  continues  their symphonic  mixture  of  dark  and  goth  metal  and  this  is a  review  of  their  2018  album  "Kult  Der  Krahe"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Massacre  Records.

  A  very  symphonic  goth  rock  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  air  raid  sirens  as  well  a s mixing  in  the  heavier  sections  of  the  music  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  while  the  vocals  are  done  in  a  clean  style  along  with  a  few screams  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sound  very  powerful.

  A  great  amount  of  dark  metal  elements  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  while  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  along  with  a  small  amount  of  black  metal  elements  as  the  album  progresses  as  well  as  the  guitar  leads  being  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  and  all  of  the  music  sticks  to  either  a  slow  or  mid  tempo  direction.

  Schwarzer  Engel  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to t heir  symphonic  mixture  of  goth  and  dark  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  German  and  cover  emotions,  suicide,  apocalypse,  nature  and  gothic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Schwarzer  Engel  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Krahen  an  die  Macht"  "Sinnflut"  "Meerflucht"  and  "Unheil".  8  out  of  10.

 

  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Empress/Reminiscence/2018 EP Review


 Empress  are  a  band  from  Vancouver  B.C,  Canada  that  plays  a  mixture  of  stoner  and  sludge  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2018  ep  "Reminiscence"  which  will  be  released  in  February.

  Field  recordings  start  off  the  ep  before  adding  heavier  riffing  into  the  music  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  vocals are  a  mixture  of  screams  and  growls  as  well  as  the  music  bringing  in  the  heaviness  of  sludge and  doom  metal. 

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  groove  and  melody  along  with  the  solos  and  leads  being  done  in  a  very  distorted  fashion  as  well  as  adding  in  more  retro  and  stoner  rock  elements  into  the  later  tracks,  clean  singing  can  also  be  heard  briefly.

  When  the  music  speeds  up  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  and  tremolo  picking  can  also  be  heard  while some  songs  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  psychedelic  and  progressive  rock  elements  and  as  the  album  progresses  in  a  brief  use  of  clean  guitars  can  also  be  heard  on  a  couple  of  later  tracks  and  they  close  the  album  with  an  instrumental.

  Empress  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  stoner and  sludge  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  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Empress  are  a  very  great sounding  mixture  of  stoner  and  sludge  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Offering"  and  "They  Speak  Like  Trees".  8  out  of  10.




  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Coffin Torture/Dismal Planet/Sludgelord Records/2018 CD Review


  Coffin  Torture  are  a  duo  from  Westminster,  South  Carolina  that  plays  a  mixture  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2018  album  "Dismal  Planet"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Sludgelord  Records.

  Distorted  drones  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  more  of  a  heavier  doom  metal  direction  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  the  vocals  being  mostly  high  pitched  sludge  style  screams  and  most  of  the tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in length.

  Growls  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  groove and  melody  along  with  a  brief  use  of  atmospheric  synths  being  utilized  in  the  background  which  shows  the  heavy  riffing  being  more  powerful  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  elements  of  crust  and  d  beat  can  also  be  heard.

  Coffin  Torture  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  the  heavies  t  forms  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  space,  animals  and  abstract  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Coffin  Torture  are  a  very  great sounding  mixture  of  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you should  check  out  this  duo.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Bull  Of  Minos"  "Gustave"  and  "Trench  Hog".  8  out  of  10. 

  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Shadowpath Interview

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

- We’re a metal band from Switzerland that plays a mixture of different styles, mainly using symphonic, melodic death and progressive elements (see also question 2.). Our line-up underwent a few changes over the past years, mainly due to the circumstances many younger adults experience in this phase of life – jobs change, families grow, plans change. So back from the original founding days, there are today still Samuel Baumann (drums), Amos Zürcher (bass guitar) and me (keyboards, growl and backing vocals) remaining; the guitars are played by Stefano Riario and Gisselle Rousseau is the lead singer. We all come from different musical backgrounds and none of us does Shadowpath fulltime; but we put all our passion, our energy and a lot of time in it!



2. Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

- It seems to be difficult (for me too, to be honest) to put our music into a specific genre, that’s why in reviews the album has been labeled all from “Symphonic Rock” to “Death Metal” by the different writers.  J  And honestly: we don’t think too much about the genre, since the songs I write come right from the heart and reflect themselves all the various musical styles that I love. In the recording and producing process we aimed to achieve a tight, very atmospheric and multiverse sound, balancing the dichotomy of bright light and darkness, always staying interesting throughout the whole record, never repeating itself. We also wanted to use a lot of keyboard elements while still giving the heavy guitars all the room they deserve. To our belief, “Rumours of a Coming Dawn” is an album, that reveals its full strength only when listened to it several times, unmasking more and more details in its structure with every repetition.



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

- “Rumours of a Coming Dawn” is basically a story consisting of 8 chapters; I wouldn’t go as far as to name it a very consistent concept album, but the songs follow a string of events. Some of the tracks have an autobiographic aspect (e.g. Deny me, or Beta), but most of them tell metaphors about life in general. We’d like to leave it to the imagination of the listeners to explore, what images develop in their minds while listening to the songs. But in all the sometimes melancholic and gloomy lyrics, there is always a decisive element of hope, the spark in the night, the sunbeam brightening the cemetary on the albums cover, this “heavenly promise, that survives in our hands” as named in the final verse of Beta.



4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Shadowpath'?

- We chose a band name, that we felt transferred a strong emotional and instantly accessible image. Also we wanted to symbolize in it the different aspects of our musical style, from the lyrical and fragile parts all to the heavy death metal moments: a journey through a miraculous landscape, a wandering through the mists, a path through the shadows itself being a symbol of life, that connects places, moments in life, or people.



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

- Literally every concert we played so far is valuable and a dear memory to us; every gig was different in a way and so was the audience. But if I had to choose a few, there is one show we did in a very small club in Zürich about two years ago (Neugasshof) – the crowd was amazing, the atmosphere perfect and even though the acoustic conditions were far from perfect, this was probably the most intense and rewarding concert we did so far.

If I had to describe our stage performance in general, I’d say very focused on the music, letting the songs develop their intensity, but still connecting with the listeners and always aiming to improve.



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

- Yes, after a break of one year due to family time-outs we play live again starting february 10, 2017 with a show in Thun, a city close to our hometown Bern. After that we play the famous Met-Bar in Lenzburg (together with Deep Sun and Elyria), one show in Zürich and then different gigs in other parts of Switzerland.



7. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

- There are some labels, that have approached us over the last year and offered us contracts to conditions, we unfortunately had to respectfully decline. I guess, experiences like this are part of the usual process, a band like us goes through. Of course we’re very much interested in a cooperation and would love to work with a fitting label.



8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of symphonic, progressive and extreme metal?

- Extremely positive! To be honest, we were just blown away by the dominating majority of the reviews, the comparisons some writers made and the grades they gave us. There were only very few feedbacks that criticized the album, mainly pointing out the sound of Gisselles voice, the missing clear genre-identity (one analyst calling us a “typical weird Swiss goth act” J) and the length of The Impossible Chain. We are really grateful for all feedbacks and we do appreciate so much all the time and expertise people choose to put into the serious analysis of our work! And of course we can’t wait to play the new material live on stage to the crowd!



9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

- Although you never know, where the journey will take you on a longer term, I have very clear ideas and am currently working on the songs for the next Shadowpath album. The writing and arrangement process will probably take until end of spring 2018, then we plan to head to the studio again later that year. Without telling too much, I can already say: it’s going to be a really special release, continuing right where “Rumours of a Coming Dawn” ends…– but different!



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?

- Oh, there are so many important ones… I think the most important influences for our music come from bands like Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, Dream Theater, Katatonia, Blackfield, or Nightwish. But there are countless more, that have inspired us in one way or the other – Rage is one, Lamb of God, Dire Straits, Grave Digger, but also non-metal acts like Faithless or even classical composers like the greatest of all time, Johann S. Bach.



11. What are some of your non musical interests?

- We’re all friends but very different personalities in the band and our non-musical interests vary widely. Sam (explosives expert) loves the wilderness and runs a small whiskey club. Stefano (engineer) is a huge science fiction-fan and gaming freak. Amos (web designer) does nature photography and hikes a lot in the alps, while Gisselle (linguist) promotes Chilean culture and loves to travel. Me (M.D.), I spend most of my free time with my wife and kids, do close-up magic whenever I can and cook vegetarian food for my friends.



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

- Thankyou so much for the opportunity to speak about the band and your interest in Shadowpath. Hope to see you at a show one day! Stay metal!!