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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Live review: Skálmöld, Omnium Gatherum, Stam1na at Backstage, Munchen, Germany, November 12th, 2017

On 12th of November, the Arctic Circle Alliance stopped by for an evening at Backstage club in Munich, Germany. The frosty name of the alliance is hinting towards the countries of origin of the groups: up high from the north, Finnish bands Stam1na and Omnium Gatherum are touring together with Skálmöld from Iceland.

This epic evening kicked off with the guys from Stam1na, who not only entertained with their Finnish-speaking songs, but also with their profound knowledge of the German language (“Mein Arschloch ist kaputt!” (a.k.a. my asshole is broken!)). Time flew by way too fast, especially for me as this was the first time I’ve seen the guys live, but surely not for the last time!

Omnium Gatherum then took over after a quick tag break. The sextet obviously had a lot of fun during their show, and entertained the crowd by constant interaction and with a broad selection of old and new songs. Amongst others, they played Formidable, The Pit, Skyline and the crowd-favorite, Frontiers. In addition, they also performed their newest track, Blade Reflection, already wetting the appetite for the follow-up longplayer to Grey Heavens.

Lastly, Skálmöld climbed the stage, and with them came the more folky part of the evening. With texts only in Icelandic and dealing with Norse mythology, the audience was drawn into the wild past of the sextet’s home country. Also here a wide variety between old and new songs guaranteed a very diverse show, from Gleipnir and Kvadning all the way to tracks taken from their latest release, such as Nidavellir, the dark Muspell and the mid-tempo Niflheimur. The audience rewarded Skálmöld’s enthusiasm with circle pits and imitations of rowing Viking ships, and really had a blast. All in all, the Arctic Circle Alliance delivered an epic evening and hopefully will come back to Munich soon!

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read our review of Skálmöld's Vögguvísur Yggdrasils here, as well as two live reviews including Omnium Gatherum here and here.

Skálmöld Official Website
Skálmöld Facebook
Skálmöld Twitter
Omnium Gatherum Official Website
Omnium Gatherum Facebook
Omnium Gatherum Twitter
Stam1na Official Website
Stam1na Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview: Dvne


In July, Scottish metallers Dvne released their debut full-length Asheran. At their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen during their tour with French metallers Crackhouse, DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart, drummer Dudley Tait and vocalist/guitarist Dan Barter.

For people not knowing you (yet), can you tell us something about Dvne's history?

Victor: Yeah, I am French, I moved to the UK eight years ago. There I started the band with the drummer, then the rest joined in. The first show we played was with EyeHateGod in Glasgow, which was really cool. Dan joined us when we already wrote some songs for the first EP. So from that moment we were a proper band with vocals. Before that we didn't have any vocals. Then we wrote another EP, Aurora Majesty, and toured with Fange, a band from France. They are really good, heavy, kind of noise/sludge/d-beat. After that we toured with Trudger, which are really like us, but a bit less melodic, in Europe, which was also really cool. Then we wrote Asheran, which is our last one and our first full-length album. We actually start singing, it's more composed music.

The homeland of Dvne is Scotland right?

Victor: Yeah, it is. We started the band in Edinburgh and are still based there. I am moving to London soon, but the band will stay as it is. Edinburgh is a great city and Scotland has been great to us. Our label is from Scotland as well, they pretty much released everything we did so far. We've done a music video recently for Thirst, which was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. It's a beautiful country, sometimes bleak but also really beautiful with great landscapes. When we went to do the music video, we thought like our music is expansive, aggressive, we felt that it was a great way as a tribute to the kind of landscapes we have around us. I would highly recommend Scotland.

How is the Scottish metalscene?

Victor: It's great, there are a lot of bands doing some very interesting stuff at the moment. A really good band I would highly recommend is Sapien. Another band is Barshasketh, who play black metal, one of them is from New Zealand, but I think the others are from Scotland. I know some of them, actually. You've got Haar, a great black metal band. Haar means fog in Scottish. In Glasgow there's a great scene, but I know more about the Edinburgh scene. You've got King Witch as well, which we are good friends with. They are doing pretty great and just signed with Listenable Records. There are quite good venues. Glasgow is also great, the underground scene there isn't what it used to be, but they still have some great bands, for example The Cosmic Death, it's some kind of acid prog. They played Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, they are really topnotch.

You already played some shows with Crackhouse, including tonight, how is it going so far?

Victor: Amazing. Funny enough, some shows were in basements or houses. Those small places tend to be packed and when we play bigger venues, as tonight, fewer people come. However it doesn't really matter, because I think the reception is pretty much all very good. We are not used to it, since Asheran came out, people show more interest to the band. So we are going to gigs and see people knowing the music. People are much more engaged to our music then before. It's makes the show more interesting for us as well, we put more effort in it.

Dudley: If you don't know the music you can enjoy, but if you know the music, there's more. Because we released the album, it feels like people are getting a bit of experience. It makes a big difference for us.

Victor: The same story with Crackhouse, people are really engaged with their music as well.

Both bands play very intense music.

Victor: Yeah, of course. The shows are meant to be. What works for both of us and why we toured together is that both bands have a melodic edge. They are probably more into the doom/post-metal scene, we are probably more into the sludge/progressive. You can name it however you want, I don't really believe in labels these days, it's just what you play. We both have melodic moments in common. We want something melodic and not be heavy and relentless all the time. Both bands don't want to do so, but want to go through movements and change.

What is it that makes Dvne Dvne?

Dudley: It starts with the fact that we are all good friends, we can really get to the fine parts of music by communicating the way we want. Things just happen because we know each other. We know what we are trying to go for. It always brings out the best in us.

Victor: We are a band who will release a new album when we feel like we have something. What we are trying to do is make something that we generally enjoy which is melodic and heavy at the same time, with a lot of impact. To have a lot of impact we go through quiet sections and after those the energy is there. When we wrote this album, we really enjoyed jamming and writing it.

Dudley: It was fun, but not really hard. The songs flowed in.

Victor: When we had a period where we kept changing bassists, we were playing a lot of tragedy and heavy stuff.

Dudley: We even played some black metal.

Victor: We wrote two tracks on the back of the previous EP and they were heavy, old school tragedy kind of stuff.

Dudley: When we started exploring how we felt, the music came. Rather than trying to vent somewhere outside. Victor found himself and the music came. We all were in the zone.

In July you released Asheran. When you compare Asheran to the first two EP's (Progenitor (2013) and Aurora Majesty (2014)), what is it you notice?

Dudley: They were the way we were feeling at that time.

Victor: For me, the EP's were things we wanted to do like other bands. Asheran feels like it's really us.

Dudley: The EP's were us venting ourselves.

Victor: What we have done on this album is what we like to listen to. I don't listen to our own music.

Dudley: I like it, also the EP's. I have some evenings when I have a good beer, put one of my own songs on and I get goosebumps. It's a weird feeling. It took a long time for me to listen to my own songs without listening to the drums or another specific part. Just trying to forget it. One night, I will never forget, I smoked a big joint, zoned out and heard the music from listeners point of view, rather than from the person who contributed to it. That was very exciting.

Asheran is your first release with Allan Paterson on bass.

Yeah, but he left the band because he had two kids. He is a great bassist and a great friend, we had great times together, but with his kids it's impossible to tour for him. There were no issues for his replacement, but now Anderson Fry is our bassist.

What's the story behind Asheran?

Victor: Actually Dan, our gitarist, can answer that question the best.

Dudley: We came up with an idea, Dan took the idea and turned it into his own story, really cool.

Victor: We write the music first, then we get to the story.

Dan: It has influences from a lot of things, for example sci-fi and Studio Ghibli films. It's like an ark, from two perspectives, so you have people coming back that left a few thousand years ago. I like to leave things a bit open for interpretation. They come back and then it's basically a story about how they interact with the nature that has regrouped since they left.

Dudley: The earth got damaged because of what people have done to it, so they left. When they came back there were still some very small civilizations that could live with nature and life, they way it should be.

Victor: The story is much more from the nature itself, nature taken the world back and humans coming back.

Dudley: When they came back the planet had grown back to life the way the planet would. When the people came back, they did so because they lost with what they tried to do in space. The simplest way to say it is that they not learned about their mistakes.

Dan: It's a very tragic story.

Dudley: They came back and are going to do the same thing again that caused the problem.

Victor: Dan is vegan as well.

Dan: I like the planet.

Victor: We are all kind of green ecologists. Gojira also talks about that a lot. We really find inspiration in nature. We are all conscious about it, that was a point we had in common for this album.

Dudley: And we like Princess Mononoke.

Victor: Yeah, it's amazing, a very good story.

On Edenfall you have a guest vocalist, Jenni Sneddon. How did you met her and how was working with her?

Dan: I work with her outside the band and she's also in a band with my girlfriend. She came in quite late on, because there was someone else but couldn't do it. Then she stepped in, which was very cool, because she had a very short notice.

Victor: We had something in mind, so we knew how we wanted it. Guests is something we might look for in the future as well. It's interesting stuff to do. On our releaseshow we had Allan (our previous bassist) playing extra guitar and Jenni played keys and did backing vocals. So Dvne is a four-piece for now but it might change. I am big fan of bands like Magma, Ulver, they don't care about that. They want to do something and when they need more people on stage, they just do it.

Dudley: They know what sound they want and they bring in whoever they need to get that sound. The sound is top priority. It's better than taking samples or something.

Victor: I would never do that.

Dudley: It has to be naturally and honest.

Victor: Honesty is a big thing for us.

The artwork of Asheran is created by Eli Quinn, what made him the right person for this job?

Victor: I have seen his artworks. He did the cover for a release from Droid and it was fantastic. What we were after was something intricated. Eli did the artwork and Dan kind of build on that. Eli is great, we felt like the cover has everything we wanted and he is very Princess Mononoke/Studio Ghibli-inspired.

Dudley: He was happy to work with us.

Your music combines a lot of different music styles, what are your musical influences?

Victor: Isis, Tool, Mastodon, Neurosis, Inter Arma, classic rock, Led Zeppelin, we all listen to different music styles. Dan was in a band, Dudley in a rock band, I came from a classical musical background.

Dudley: That's why the music is us.

Victor: A next album probably has elements from Asheran, but it also will be different as well. I am very interested in having a keyboardplayer, maybe a bit of folk, some violin. If we can do it, we will do it. We try to not limit ourselves.

Last month you were announced as the first band for ProgPower Europe next year, looking forward to it?

Victor: It's going to be great! We will try to make things a bit special for it. It will be a Dutch exclusive, we will probably make a tour out of it. We will be on some festivals the week before and after, but I can't talk about that yet. There is another Scottish band just announced for it, Ramage Inc. . We are friends with some of them.

Do you already have plans for new material?

Dudley: We have started for some riffs and drums.

Victor: We wrote two tracks for Asheran which aren't on it. Every band does it, but our tracks are a bit long, so it's a lot of work. After this tour we will probably start really writing some new stuff.

Dudley: We are doing great, quality shows and after that we spend our spare time writing stuff. Asheran wasn't rushed, we will do take our time again.

Victor: We won't do the same thing over and over again, no Asheran 2 or something. We want to do something different.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Dudley: Look forward to the next stuff, because it will be kickass. We try to stay in control of our music. When it's the right time, the next stuff will be there.

Dan: See you at ProgPower.

Dvne Facebook
Dvne Twitter

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I


When it comes to Kobra And The Lotus, I am relatively new to the band. Even though the band already has three full-length albums under their belt. Prevail I is this third album. The first song on the album has a really familiar name, it is called Gotham, named after the city where Batman lives. If you listen clearly, you can even hear the Batman tune, although the guitars are a lot heavier in this one! When the vocals start immediately after that, it becomes inescapably clear to me what an extraordinary lead woman Kobra Paige is. At first glance, her vocals aren’t really that special, you might say, yeah, I’ve heard this before, but these vocals are so incredibly powerful that you immediately know what this band stands for. Because that’s what goes through my head when listening to this. You can’t compare the vocals with anything else I have heard in this genre. They are unique, granted, at times they are somewhat simplistic like many of the catchy choruses on the album. Now, I don’t mean simplistic as in not well thought off, no I just mean catchy. The choruses remain in your head, so that if you go to a live show, you can easily sing along with them.

The second song TriggerPulse starts with some heavy guitars. Again, just like the first song the chorus is catchy, almost a little pop like. But the song is accompanied by a really strong rhythm section and a very powerful guitar riff, which makes it a full-blown metal song. When listening to the next song on the album You Don’t Know you can hear that it was meant to be the first single. This song was also my first acquaintance with Kobra And The Lotus and one an acquaintance that has been! If you, upon hearing that song for the first time, only pay attention to the drums than you might think you are listening to Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 but when those heavy guitars come into play, you can clearly hear that it’s Kobra And The Lotus. Despite that it is not a typical Kobra And The Lotus song. The next song Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber) is a very heavy song with tight guitar riffs and outstanding drums, this song is easily one of the best songs on this album. Kobra Paige is a force to be reckoned with, with her threatening and powerful vocals. Less prominent is the ballad Light Me Up. But the song does exactly what it needs to do, it breaks the heaviness of the album by being a beautiful intermezzo.

The next song, Manifest Destiny, is with some distance the best track on the album if you ask me. Vocally, lead singer Kobra Paige shifts into a higher gear! In the chorus she uses all her vocal capabilities and opens all of her registers. What amazing vocals this woman has. The song Victim is about being responsible for your own actions, I only agree to this to some extent, but I am not here to advocate life lessons, but to review a good album. Anyway, this song is heavy and transfers the message very well. Check The Phyrg is kind of an different song. Why? Well, the song is completely instrumental and it has a lot of guitar violence! It is pointless to me to try and describe everything that is happening in this song, because there is so much going on and it’s truly epic. Despite the catchy chorus again from the next song Hell On Earth this song is the most lugubrious song on the album. The song has a lot of threatening vocals and a very threatening tone overall. Again, there are these very tight guitar riffs and outstanding vocals. The variations in the vocals fit this song very well. While Hell On Earth is very dark, the title track Prevail is really positive and patriotic. It’s a nice positive closing song on this nice album.

If I have to describe Kobra And The Lotus, then I would say it’s accessible metal for people that don’t listen to metal very often, but also for true metalheads. It’s a wonderful band that deserves the attention it gets, because if their live shows are as good as their studio material, then people are in for a very good time!!!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Kobra And The Lotus Official Website
Kobra And The Lotus Facebook
Kobra And The Lotus Twitter

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Live review: Lynch Mob, SFD (Searching For Daybreak), Ryder at The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, Canada, November 4th, 2017

Ryder


A super pleasant surprise of good ol’ fashioned rock n metal! They were playing as we got into the venue, already jammed to the gunnels, so missed some of their tunes, but what was heard was fabulous. You know when the sound of a band you’ve never heard but hits you just right? Great audio and a tight presentation, James Ryder: vocals/guitar, Andrew Bloch: guitar, Tim Freyr: bass and Billy Smith: drums from NYC garnered lots of love. Lovin’ their song Do or Die! No swag CD’s there but their EP IV, is available through their Facebook. They were pleasant as all grits at their merch table. Remarkable performance after driving 20 hours and then having to drive back! Putting on some rock n roll miles in addition to the miles they have already put on! Hilarious FB bit back at the hotel post-show. Keep goin lads! 9/10

SFD (Searching For Daybreak)

 

Admittedly, I was doing some intense networking here, but what I did hear was pretty good. More of an Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Shinedown groove especially their song Scream, (so not ultimately my favourite), but very solid and pretty intense presentation. Garrett Alto: vocals, Brad Black: guitar, Zakk Scott: bass and Steve Scott: drums do a great job as the act before Lynch Mob, ramping everyone up and getting the fists pumping. Their CD So Far Down is available on their Facebook. With a long and storied resume, playing with some big acts, these lads are sure to please the 90’s music fans, with some good rock riffs and beat laid down for the newbies of the world. 8/10


Lynch Mob


From the set list, it pretty much went as expected with the unseen bonus addition of the Dokken gem, Tooth and Nail. Their musicianship and onstage presence was awesome and their experience shone through, navigating the above-average annoying, high-flying phone fans. A few pictures, OK, I’m taking them too, but wasting a front row space and videoing the whole show? C’mon!


My highlight was seeing Mr. Scary performed in its entirety. A scorching 5+minute guitar solo that has been my favourite (except for Triumph’s Rik Emmet’s Rock n Roll Machine) from the Dokken classic album Back for the Attack. Lynch powered through this in his inimitable style, searing riffs and face-melting licks and I am glad I got to see this up close in this excellent venue.


Oni Logan’s vox are as searingly great as ever, glad you’re back in brotha! and the backbone pound-sound of drummer Jimi D’Anda and Sean McNabb’s thundering, chest-burster bass completed this perfect rock picture. Sorry, I can’t take a picture worth a damn, but I hope these convey the feeling of that night’s vibe. (I was trying not to be one of those clowns with their phone in the air for too long).


Sadly, the troupe didn’t come to the swag table except for Sean where I got my copy of Brotherhood signed but alas, my Back for the Attack cd will probably remain blank forevermore.


Overall 9/10 great show!


Written by Alessandro

Lynch Mob Facebook
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Official Website
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Facebook
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Twitter
Ryder Facebook

Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Mindkult - Lucifer's Dream


As a follow-up to their 2016 EP called Witches’ Oath Mindkult released their debut full-length album Lucifer’s Dream. Venturing more into the occult realm with fuzzy force!

After striking the first string you can definitely feel doom and smell the disgusting smell of sulfur in the air straight from lucifer’s throne. Followed up by a creeping guitar solo that feels like a melancholic blues lick to get you in the mood. With the clean vocals they hit a mark not many bands could pull off. A very empty, distanced sound but still prominently apparent. It’s really Ozzy Osbourne-like in an early Black Sabbath way but still it’s not a copy but really inspired by.

In any form or way you could classify this as stoner-rock, doom, metal but the most important tag is definitely the groovy elements. It captivates you and drags you down to hell to follow Lucifer’s Dream. The album is very cohesive and doesn’t feel unfinished when the last note strikes. The duration of the album is just enough to keep your attention with it all the time.

For clever use of known elements within stoner/doom metal I rank this album 8/10.
Because Mindkult didn’t really reinvent the wheel but surely helped refine it.

Written by Joost van der Leij

Mindkult Facebook

Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Drakkar - Diabolical Empathy


The intro, featuring The Arrival is bizarre, complete with eerie whispers, monkeys and other jungle sounds. Perfect for the All Hallow’s Eve season and finely introducing this very experienced and historical band! From Mons, Richy (Guitar) - Pat (Guitar) - Leny (Vocals) - Adrien (Drums) - Humungus (Bass) are again very welcome into the metal world!

A long and storied past, they have overcome much adversity and risen strong with this heavy, powerful piece. They have done many past shows and the only current one I see on their FB is as support for Tank and Raven! Unfortunately I am nowhere near Maasmechelen to see this incredible lineup.

Drawing from themes such as Padre Pio’s stigmata, the mind of Jefferery Dahlmer and the works of Goya, they are a very entertaining, intelligent group of songs.

Stigmata is my favourite with crunching string abuse and broken, guttural vox.

There is some crazy thrash/speed and power metal riffing and chords in Rose Hall’s Great House with hardcore musicianship and great tempos. An upbeat song indeed!

The Witches Dance with its Maidenish guitar duets and wailing fills is fast, angry and instantly recognizable, this is the stuff we air-guitared to!

Thundering metal albums such as these are punctuated by ground-pounders by a seeming hit and Lucifereo Moderno is it. Now my favourite song, sorry Stigmata, you lose out. The perfect arrangement is metal meets melodic metal with crowd revving chants sure to be a live hit.

Although I don’t get the inclusion of 1:21 West Allis, it would make nice filler at the end of a cassette tape.

The remainder of this record gets raves all around; powerfully played and well produced, it’s a metal dream!

The closing warbled outro of Opening Towards the End inspired by Carmen’s Bizet, is a bizarre little piece like the intro, balancing the album off but I would have preferred another full song.

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Drakkar Official Website
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Drakkar Twitter

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review (+ contest): Insurrection - Extraction


Near the Canadian capital city Ottawa is another city named Gatineau. Several metal bands hail from this place, one of them is called Insurrection. Drummer Philipe Moreau-Latreille, bass guitarist Francis Girard, vocalist Stef Jomphe and guitarist-combo Antonin Perras-Foisy/Vincent Laprade Séguin are the current members of Insurrection and recently they, released their latest album called Extraction. After Prologue (2008), Fracture (2010) and Prototype (2013), Extraction is the fourth full-lenght album from these Canadian metallers.

First of all, a little warning! Did you train your neck muscles lately? Because you're going to need them! This album is a real neck-breaker, full of blastbeats and brutal metal. If you're looking for an album with a point of rest in it, this isn't what you're looking for. So, I suggest you already start training those muscles to handle Extraction.

From the first notes of opening track System Failure, it's immediately clear that these guys know how to play some very brutal metal. Especially the very heavy bass and drums are standing out. You can hear the bass-snares blasting trough your speakers, which sounds really awesome. Guitarists Antonin and Vincent play very brutal riffs, but regularly, they let us hear that they can also play some cool thrashy riffs. Vocally, Stef can do a lot with his voice as he shows on this release, ranging from low and high growls, via screams (Pull The Plug), till pig squeals at the start of Le Prix A Payer. Sometimes he sings in English, sometimes in French, which is probably because of their origin. At Data Extracted... End Transmission, the vocals are taken care of by Stef together with guest vocalist Bruno Bernier, whom you might know from Obliveon. Besides the brutal sound and extreme vocals, there are also some tempo/rhythm changes present in Extraction, which also really keeps your attention.

With Extraction, Insurrection delivers a really nice album. They grip you and shake you 40 minutes long. Then they leave you alone with the feeling that those 40 minutes were going very fast, but it’s definitely worth it all.

Want to win a CD of Insurrection's Extraction? You can get a chance by:
1. Sharing our Facebook post of this review and commenting on it after you shared (be sure to share publicly, so we can see it)
or
2. Retweeting our Twitter post of this review.

After November 12th we will pick one winner. Good luck! \m/
Writers of DutchMetalManiac can't win.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Insurrection Official Website
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