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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interview: Katla


On October 27th, Katla, the band of former Sólstafir drummer Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson, will release its debut album Móðurástin. DutchMetalManiac's Julia Obenauer already reviewed it here and now you can read her interview with Guðmundur Óli Pálmason.

Hey! Thank you for doing this interview with DutchMetalManiac. Could you briefly introduce your band?

Katla. is a holistic artproject that combines music, poetry and visual art to create an atmosphere that hopefully moves whoever is on the receiving end.

Your band name refers to an Icelandic volcano. Why did you choose exactly that one as namesake?

Why Katla.? Because Eyjafjallajökull isn’t really a good bandname haha.

Seriously though, we felt that the destructive, but also life giving powers of a volcano fitted our concept and music 100%.

„Life giving?“ you may ask. Well, even though volcanos can be destructive and deadly, we wouldn’t be here without them. You see, volcanos don’t just spew out lava and ash and fire. Volcanos have created our atmosphere be spewing out gas that would otherwise have been trapped inside the earth. Sure this gas is deadly to us, but over millions of years this gas has turned into the atmosphere we breath.

Life and death are forever linked.

Also we wanted a name that connected to Iceland’s nature. We both enjoy nature a lot, and I work as a tourguide so I’m out in this nature every day, this is our reality.

Speaking of Iceland’s beauty: congratulations already on Móðurástin, it’s a very impressive album and I really loved it! I had the chance to visit Iceland last year, and all songs projected me in my mind to different places I visited throughout the island. Can Móðurástin indeed be seen as a homage to Iceland’s nature?

It can for sure. The red thread throughout the album is family and generations. It is about Iceland, its nature and its people and their battle against the elements in the unforgiving conditions up here in the far north. But also about the joy of summer and the life that prevails despite the harsh circumstances.

How did you experience the album production process? How did you approach the songwriting and the recording?

Einar started writing some new music immidiately after we recorded our Ferðalok 7”ep. The man is a machine when it comes to writing music, but unlike most machines this one has a lot of soul. He was living in Norway at the time so we sent each other ideas over the interwebs. This was a totally new way for me to make music, no rehearsals. But it was a good way and it’s really liberating for me to work with Einar as he’s open to ideas and he took a few crappy guitarriffs and vocal melodies I wrote and turned them into real songs. He writes the majority of the music though, while I do the majority of the lyrics. He can write a few songs in the same amount of time it takes me to write one guitar riff haha. So in that way this co-operation is perfect.
The recording took 6 months, as we worked on it on and off with producer Halldór Á. Björnsson of Legend and engineer/mixer Leigh Lawson. We had to work this way as Einar still lived in Norway at the time. He came to Iceland for me to record the drums and then he tracked all guitars and bass in Norway. We later reamped them in Iceland with Halldór.
After Einar moved back home we finished doing vocals and additional instruments and we gave Halldór a free pass to add what ever he wanted to the music and he did a great job at that, adding elements we would never even have thought of.

You’re only two guys in the band – how did you manage the instrument recording? Did you have guest musicians on board?

For the main tracking it was just the two of us. First we demoed the songs in Einar’s computer and we used them demos as a base to build on. Then I recoded the drums. Einar played along for some parts, some parts I just played by memory without music but mostly I played to the demos. Then as I mentioned earlier Einar tracked the string instruments over those recordings. Later on in the process our producer Halldór from Legend added some synths and also Einar's sister Sylvía Guðmundsdóttir sang on the title track. Both of them added their unique touch to the album. At the end of the titletrack is a recording of my great grandmother from 1934, we are proud we could keep it in the family.

How long did it take it to get the whole album done?

It took us about half a year to record it, on and off because of the conditions.

You use quite a variety of music styles throughout the record, which I liked as well. What was the reason for it?

We’re not even conscious about that. We just make the music that comes to us. We don’t want the music of Katla. to be confined to one style or the other. Next album might be grim trve blakkmetal or it might be jazz or it might be idm or a combination of both. It all depends on our mood at the time of writing.

Which bands inspire you as individual musicians or as a band, and why?

None. Or Idunno, probably some, inspiration is such a fleeting thing. Something plants itself in your brain and brakes out months or years later and you have no idea where it came from. Personally I’m more inspired by life itself, arts and general estetics.

Icelandic bands have been up and coming, especially these last years, in the metal community I feel. Did you experience the same? And how does it affect Iceland’s metal scene?

Yeh Iceland is the new Norway. I don’t know about the scene as neither of us are involved in it anymore. We are just old men with kids and families, trying to make a living and making art on the side to keep our sanity. We have no urge to belong to a scene. As far as I can tell “occult” blackmetal seems to be the flavor of the day in the Icelandic metal scene. Singing about Satan or some other made up bullshit that has no bearing on our reality on this volcanic island up here in the frozen north.

Do you plan a supporting tour for this album? Where can we see you?

No, no such plans exist.

How’s the future for Katla looking?

I really don’t know. I no longer have any plans for the future nor do I have the illusion of knowing what the future brings. The only thing I’ve learned in life is that life never turns out the way you think it will.

Thank you for doing the interview with DutchMetalManiac! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thank you very much for the support and the great review you posted of Móðurástin, we are truly touched.
Support your local jarðvarmavirkjun!

Read part 12 of Promoting Bands, in which we also mentioned Katla, here.

Katla Facebook

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: Katla - Móðurástin


Icelandic band Katla, composed of the former Sólstafir drummer Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson, will release its debut album Móðurástin on October 27th. I had the chance to already have a listen, and here’s what you can expect:

The longplayer kicks off with the midtempo, drum-driven, instrumental track Aska. The general vibe is a mixture between desolation and hope, and would make a perfect soundtrack to drive to through Iceland’s wild north. Hyldýpi, the second track, starts off with the same sound, but soon picks up and becomes more of an alternative rock rack, accompanied by clean vocals and Icelandic lyrics – while still maintaining the melancholic sound. Nátthagi, the album’s first single, then contrasts the first two tracks by being more upbeat and fast, describing the return of life upon the first rays of sunshine (if Google translate of the lyrics didn’t mess up too bad ;)). Next up are two more mid-tempo tracks named Hvíla and Hreggur which remind of Sólstafir, but are still more upbeat, although Hreggur turns to a more doom-meets-rock sound towards its end. The title track starts off nice and quiet, but then turns out to be the fastest track of the entire album, with blast beats and more shouty vocals than the clear singing offered in the previous songs. It’s very refreshing and adds another layer of versatility to this album, on which you’re bound to discover new things with every time you listen to it. Kul, the second-to-last track, has even some jazz-vibe to it, and by being the slowest song is then also a stark contrast to Móðurástin. Unfortunately, the 8th track named Dulsmál already marks the end of the album – but before everything’s over, all the different layers, tunes and moods are picked up once again in this epic track, which proves itself to be a dignified closing song.

In conclusion: Katla’s Móðurástin once again proves that Icelandic bands are an analogy for high-quality music. It was advertised by Metal Injection as an “Ode to Iceland’s beauty”, and what sounds quite cheesy is actually very true – when you have been to this amazing country, then Katla’s music will take you back to all the great places you have visited. For anyone else it’s still an epic soundtrack for the darker days to come… and a record that you don’t want to miss! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read part 12 of Promoting Bands, in which we also mentioned Katla, here

Katla Facebook

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Interview: Psygnosis


In May French instrumental progressive extreme metallers Psygnosis released their third album, Neptune. Below you can read the interview DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen had with Psygnosis' Rémi Vanhove.

Hey, how are you?

I am fine! Preparing our French tour at the moment, and we are very excited about it! Looking forward to be back on the road with our friends of Zayuz, we met them in our Mexican tour last year, and we are glad to have them with us for the first part of our tour!

Psygnosis, how did you come up with the name?

Well, Psygnosis was the name of a video-game company who developed and edited some games that I loved in my childhood, like WipEout (I'm a huge fan of this serie of games), Shadow of The Beast, Lemmings, Colony Wars, etc. And this name always intrigued me! I started this project 8 years ago, I wanted to have this kind of name, it became obvious. Later we discovered that it mean "spiritual knowledge", which is a good fit I think!

Eight years ago, Psygnosis was formed, can you tell us something about the last 8 years and Psygnosis' members?

At first it was a one-man-band, I released a first ep, Phrases, that I composed and recorded in one or two weeks. It was experimental, I had a black/death metal band, Euphorya, and Psygnosis was only a side project. My friend Jeremy was the drummer in Euphorya and told me "this stuff kills grandma" haha, a French expression to also say "this is awesome". Euphorya stopped, and we decided to seriously work on Psygnosis, and he switched from drums to bass. Meanwhile, we met Anthony, and we needed a second guitar player!

We had two different singers before we decided to become an instrumental band with Raphael on the cello. We worked with him since Anti-Sublime, our first album, and it became some kind of evidence to have him in Psygnosis as a full member! In 8 years we evolved a lot, had several mutations but I think we kept the original substance of what was the music of Psygnosis on Phrases. With, of course, maturity and better technical skills!

Your music is not something you hear very often, how would you describe it yourself?

Honestly I don't really know. We call it "Progressive extreme metal" because it is progressive, and extreme, and it's metal (duh), but I think we are more than that. We have a lot of electronics, a lot of atmosphere, and some "in your face" stuff between all of this. So, I don't know. Maybe we are doing some "AWESOME METAL"?

Nowadays, your music is only instrumental, but you did have a vocalist earlier. Why did he exit Psygnosis and what made you decide to go instrumental from that point on?

Yohan had health issues and wasn't able to perform on stage anymore. And from his point of view, if he can't be on stage with us, he don't have to be with us at all. So he decided to leave. We had some auditions, none of these guys, even if some of them were nice and became friends, had the same skills as Yohan. We didn't want to see the comment "the previous singer was better" with our future releases, so we decided to avoid vocals. And as I said earlier, to have Raphael with us was logical, he worked with us in the past, he is a friend and understand our music, so let's go! I still think it was the best choice!

So, your music doesn't have vocals, you have no drums, only two guitars, one bass and a cello. How do you manage to combine such heavy music with the sound of cello, with enough room for the cello?

It's not something that I think. In fact I'm still doing music the same way that I did in 2009. Every tracks I do, I have to be sure that it can be listened even without vocals. If it's boring without vocals, it is boring, period. I never wanted to be a slave of literal stuff, I always wanted music just to be « music ». Maybe because I discovered music with electronic music, and learn music without vocals in the beginning. Anyway, this kind of work is for Raphaël, and he decides if there is room for him, or not. For the next album we have a more connected way to do things, at the moment I still do everything except the cello parts, but we talk together, to know what kind of stuff he want, and what kind of stuff I want, don't want, and am able to do!

Recently, you released your new album Neptune, how are the responses so far?

The responses are GREAT! Honestly I don't remember any bad response about it, except the "instrumental metal is not my cup of tea", which is not a big deal! So yeah, great response from our fans, from the press, etc. And I agree with almost all the flaws pointed in reviews !

When you compare Neptune to your earlier EP, AAliens, which was your first release as an instrumental band, what differences do you hear?
Not so much. In fact, the track Man ov Steel was supposed to be on Neptune, it's a song from the same "composition period". The obvious differences are production and length.

Neptune was preceded by the first metal show in a French opera, l'Opéra National du Rhin, with Empyrium, Igorrr, Grorr and Laniakea. How did it go?

It was incredible! It's not a place where we play metal everyday, it was an incredible opportunity for the band and for us as persons! I hope that we'll be able to have this kind of events in the future, in this opera, and other opera's in France or in the world!

You already announced some tourdates in France and one in Switzerland. Can we expect more shows? How about The Netherlands?

Of course you can expect more, this band will stop the day I die! I hope we'll be able to come to the Netherlands! We hope that we'll be able to be on a few summer festivals in 2018, and have more gigs around Europe!

Any other future plans you can already tell us about?

Yep! We already working on the little brother of Neptune. I'm not planning a release until 2019, but we're already on it. We will release a second volume for our compilations series Lost & Forsaken with demo tracks from the Neptune Sessions that we didn't use in the final album. Maybe in November. We have a lot of ideas for other "non-album" stuff to release, some experimentations, but it's too soon to tell. And of course, more shows, more shows and more shows!

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

Thank you for your questions! Thanks to everyone who read it, and I hope you had or/and you will enjoy Neptune as much as we do! See you on tour!

Psygnosis Official Website
Psygnosis Facebook
Psygnosis Twitter

Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Arch Enemy - Will To Power


Melodeathers Arch Enemy from Sweden have been around for a long time, but experienced a new popularity high with their critically acclaimed album War Eternal back in 2014. After three years and more or less constant touring, they released their newest longplayer, Will To Power, on 8th of September.

Will To Power starts off with an instrumental intro piece called Set Flame To The Night, which sound-wise is a typical Arch Enemy song and could have been found also on War Eternal. The song fades out towards the end, before a more brutal The Race takes over. The grunts, as well as the more powerful sound that are not a copy/paste from War Eternal, make it one of the best and innovative songs on the album. Next up is Blood In The Water, a War Eternal (the song) clone – quite good track, but nothing too innovative. Same holds true for the fourth song and the first single of the album, The World Is Yours. Way better, because in my opinion a bit more innovative, is the second single, The Eagle Flies Alone. It’s a midtempo track, interspersed with slow, ballad elements. This also sets the tone for the album’s slowest song, entitled Reason To Believe. While Alissa uses clean vocals in the verses, the chorus is still heavy – and doesn’t really fit in. Murder Scene has a Children of Bodom vibe to it, while First Day In Hell is another War Eternal clone. After another instrumental interlude, the remainder of three tracks are once again more standard Arch Enemy songs, even though A Fight I Must Win, the album’s final track, comes with more pathos than usual.

In conclusion: Arch Enemy deliver a solid album, but fail most of the time to show any type of evolution. Still, we can find a couple of good tracks on Will To Power, like The Eagle Flies Alone and the heavier The Race, so give it a go! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Check our live review of Arch Enemy's gig together with Amorphis and Nightwish here and our review of their live album As The Stages Burn! here.

Arch Enemy Official Website
Arch Enemy Facebook
Arch Enemy Twitter

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: Septicflesh - Codex Omega


Greek death metallers Septicflesh have been around for quite some time, since 1990 to be precise. Since then, the guys have released many albums, like my personal favorite Communion in 2008, while the current one is their tenth studio album. It’s entitled Codex Omega and was released on the 1st of September. Let’s give it a spin!

Dantes Inferno starts off rather softly with guitars and an orchestra, before tuning into a more bombastic track. Septicflesh are known not to shy away from dramatic music, and that’s exactly what you get here before the song ends with a mellow outro accompanied by a choir. What a start! Third Testament is a more straight-in-your-face death metal song, before another ominous, gloomily starting track awaits with Portrait, which then turns into another very big, orchestra-loaded song accompanied by epic growls. Its outro is as ominous as the intro. The remaining tracks follow that recipe as well, all while being little pieces of art in themselves. In general, Septicflesh once again draw the listener in and gives you a feeling of being in an opera rather than merely listening to a death metal record.

In conclusion: Codex Omega is a typical Septicflesh album regarding the composition and sound of the tracks. While the Greeks stick to their trademark sound, the record itself once again has enough little twists and turns to keep the listener engaged until the very end. Codex Omega thus comes highly recommended and will surely stick with me for some time. 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Check our live review about Septicflesh's gig together with Kataklysm and Aborted here.

Septicflesh Official Website
Septicflesh Facebook
Septicflesh Twitter

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Thy Art Is Murder - Dear Desolation


The Australian death metal machine returns with the follow-up to 2015’s critically acclaimed Holy War. Thy Art Is Murder’s new effort is called Dear Desolation and it is definitely end-of-the-year-list material.

Following the succes of Holy War and a tumulteous year for TAIM they apparently went soul searching for this record. I’m sure some of these statements have made it to the studio.

- What do we want to sound like?
- Who are our influences?
- What do our fans want to hear from TAIM?

I feel like they have taken all of those things very seriously. They found their own sound on Dear Desolation by taking all of their albums and blend them succesfully together with some renewed death metal energy.

I could fill my whole review with things like, wow, it’s amazing their vocalist CJ McMahon returned to the band and debating if TAIM is deathcore or death metal. Fact is, who cares?! Of course elitist snobs will be cry babies about breakdowns on the album (which are excellent for that matter).

TAIM have grown into their own way and sound and they sound heavier than ever. CJ’s vocals have improved, there are more actual guitar riffs instead of a constant chugfest. Even well placed solo’s are in the mix which make the songs sound more sinister. What caught my attention for sure is the drumming on this album. It is phenomenal. Lee Stanton is a fucking BEAST. I’ve listened to quite some death and black metal and I can honestly say that I haven’t seen or heard anyone play that fast in a way that it doesn’t sound dense. Their sound is inhaling life and exhaling death and destruction.

When you listen a lot to Behemoth and (older) Decapitated and you fuse it with Thy Art Is Murder you get an end product called Dear Desolation. I’m inclined to say that this is one of the best death metal albums coming out this year. Whilst I am definitely aware of Decrepit Birth’s new album and Decapitated’s new album this album stands tall among the giants.

Thy Art Is Murder is finally on to their sound. I would say, evolve further from this, perfect your sound and in 1 or 2 albums Thy Art Is Murder will be at the top ranks of death metal with a stand-alone style which is not afraid to innovate without damaging their heritage.

9/10

Written by Joost van der Leij

Thy Art Is Murder Official Website
Thy Art Is Murder Facebook
Thy Art Is Murder Twitter

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Project Renegade - Cerebra


Recently vocalist Marianna and drummer Ody formed their new band, Project Renegade. Soon after that, guitarist Tasos and bassist Makis were added to the lineup. So, Project Renegade from Athens, Greece was complete and ready to go. In March, their debut EP titled Cerebra was released, which contains 3 tracks with a total length of almost 19 minutes. At this moment, Project Renegade is already working on their debut full-length, but for now it is Cerebra.

Project Renegade plays their metal in a modern, challenging way. The instrumental part sounds very promising. It's clearly audible and sounds really heavy. You can hear that Ody, Tasos and Makis play very solid and has a lot of variations in the music, which makes it clear they are musicians who know how to handle their instrument. Especially the drumming from Ody stands out, for example during the second track Natural Born Killer, where his drums almost sound tribal-like. Marianna's beautiful vocals are added to these heavy instrumentals, her voice is clean and can almost be called catchy. All of this is completed by some added electronical elements, but not in a bad way.

What makes Cerebra complete is the combination of Marianna's beautiful, clean vocals and the heavy instrumentals. It strengthens each other and keeps all in balance.

Project Renegade delivers a really strong EP, full of challenging, modern metal, especially considering it being a debut EP. If these Greek metallers can hold this to their debut full-length, Project Renegade can't fail. So, do you dig heavy, varying metal with beautiful female vocals? Be sure to listen to Cerebra by Project Renegade! Before you know it, you are waiting for their debut full-length, just as I am.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Project Renegade Facebook
Project Renegade Twitter

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Order - Lex Amentiae


When speaking of black metal from Norway, of course Mayhem comes to mind. However, there is a lot more good stuff to hear in this scene. For example, Order, the band in which former Mayhem members Manheim (drums) and Messiah (vocals) join each other accompanied by guitarist Anders Odden (Cadaver) and bassist Stu Manx (Gluciefer). Stu Manx joined Order later, earlier René Jansen took care of bass duties, but sadly he died of leukemia in December 2014.

Order was formed in 2013 and their debut, titled Lex Amentiae, is released in July via Listenable Records.

The moment Lex Amentiae starts, the dark atmosphere is immediately getting your attention. Instrumentally it sounds almost ritualistic and it takes you in its grip for the upcoming 50 minutes. Put on your headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are in the dark Norwegian woods, Order will get you in this trance a dark, hellish trance, extra strengthened by the misanthropic, hellish vocals of Messiah. The vocals of this man are really miraculous, from intense screams, loud shouts to horrific growls. From the third track, Torquemada, instrumentally it gets more challenging and at the seventh track Folly Grandeur's end Anders Odden picks his moment to show his guitar skills in a nice solo.

These four guys from Order show they are a valuable part of the Norwegian black metal scene and they deliver a really strong debut with Lex Amentiae. Hopefully, they can hold this for their next albums, to which I already look forward. So, be sure to check Lex Amentiae by Order!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Order Facebook

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Promoting Bands Part 13



Hey metalheads \m/

Got a new part of Promoting Bands for you, hope you enjoyed the earlier parts!
If you haven't checked those, be sure to do so at the following links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

And remember: be sure to send us an email, Facebook or Twitter message if you want to be featured in the next part of Promoting Bands!

Enjoy!

Tim van Velthuysen

1. Prismind


We already reviewed their debut album Disciples By Design here, made a live review about one of their gigs here and interviewed them here. Of course, I am talking about Prismind! Recently, they released a video for Our Broken Fate, coming from Disciples By Design, you can check that video below. This is a band that is worth checking out for sure!



Prismind Official Website
Prismind Facebook
Prismind Twitter

2. Royal Jake


Three Belgian guys, Arjen van Acker, Kjell de Raes and Peter de Bondt, together they are the metalcore band Royal Jake. In November last year we already reviewed their EP Retaliate/The Answer, which you can check here. Now, they just released a video for the titletrack of that EP, it is below if you want to check it. Great job guys!



Royal Jake Facebook

3. Vetrar Draugurinn


In this part of Promoting Bands we have three Dutch bands for you. The first one is Vetrar Draugurinn, which is Icelandic for The Winter Ghosts. Vetrar Draugurinn is the band of former Stream Of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, Autumn vocalist Marjan Welman, former All For Nothing drummer Jim van de Kerkhof who are recently joined by former Acrid bassist Arjan Heijden and Ancient Rites guitarist Thomas Cochrane. At this moment they only released one EP, titled I (One), which you can listen to below, but they are currently working on their debut full-length. So, be sure to follow Vetrar Draugurinn and get siked for their upcoming album!



Vetrar Draugurinn Official Website
Vetrar Draugurinn Facebook
Vetrar Draugurinn Twitter

4. Savage Messiah


Savage Messiah, coming from the UK, already made three great albums. The Fateful Dark is their latest full-length to date, but more Savage Messiah material is on its way! In October they will release Hands Of Fate, their new effort! Below is the video of the title track for you to check out. I already interviewed Savage Messiah a while ago, when DutchMetalManiac was only 2 months old. Check my interview with them here.



Savage Messiah Official Website
Savage Messiah Facebook
Savage Messiah Twitter

5. Tsar Stangra


Bulgarian black metallers Tsar Stangra formed in 2007, now in 2017 they celebrate their ten-year existence with their full-length debut. Небесният ковач, as it is titled, was released in May. Небесният ковач is an album full of great atmospheric black metal combined with some Bulgarian folk elements, a very nice combination which is also very well executed. The video of Небесният ковач's titletrack can be seen below!



Tsar Stangra Facebook

6. WildHeart


Now, it's time for the second Dutch band in here. I already mentioned another project from the mastermind behind WildHeart, John B. Jones, earlier. In part 7 of Promoting Bands I mentioned his Wheezy John B. project, read it here. Now, he is back! His fourth release of 2017 is with his WildHeart project and is called The WildHeart EP. You can listen to this extremely heavy EP below and be sure to follow him if you dig it!



WildHeart Facebook

7. From North


Dig folk metal? This next band is for you! The Swedish metallers From North recently dropped their their self-titled debut album and it's great folk metal. Below you can watch their videoclip for the titletrack. These folk metallers sound like they can be the next folk metal sensation and can easily be mentioned alongside Ensiferum and Korpiklaani.



From North Official Website
From North Facebook
From North Twitter

8. Dopethrone


Wow, this is heavy as fuck! After their four full-lengths (Demonsmoke, Dark Foil, III and Hochelaga) and their split with fellow sludgers Fister they released their latest effort, an EP called 1312, in August last year. If you dig sludge, heavy doom, stoner or anything relatable you have to check Dopethrone. It's an amazing band and if you dig 1312, which you can listen to below, I surely recommend you to check their other releases too!



Dopethrone Facebook

9. Acrid


Next is the third, and last, Dutch band for now. It's about Acrid, five guys from The Hague whose latest effort is an EP released in 2014. Below you can watch their recently uploaded lyric video for Afterburner, which is a track from that 2014 EP. However, Acrid is working on new music which is planned for release in early 2018. So for now, enjoy Afterburner, and if you dig it be sure to check their other material as well and get siked for their early 2018 release!



Acrid Facebook
Acrid Twitter

10. Isolated Antagonist


Latest band in this part of Promoting Bands is the band of Nate Exx Gradowski and Glen Mitchell. Together they are the sci-fi metallers from the USA, Isolated Antagonist! Since they formed in 2014, they already released two full-lengths, The Isolated And The Antagonist (2015) and Affirmation Of Entropy (2016), and an EP, Engineered Audio Hallucinations (2015). In August they dropped a new track, called Binary Decisions, which you can listen to below. It's a great track in which Christian Olde Wolbers takes care of bass duties, besides Nate and Glen.



Isolated Antagonist Facebook
Isolated Antagonist Twitter

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Selbst - Selbst


From the opening strums, Of Solitary Ramblings, I am finding a solid like of this so called “black/death metal” genre. This 2-person ‘group’ (I still can’t fathom this, but ‘da hell with it) hailing from Chile, via Venezuela does a damnable fine job at presenting this material.

Intricate guitars and playing make this malevolent maelstrom of utter despair and voidness of hope…nice. Even Visions Of Mankind Withering crank out a ferocious tempo that makes the end of the world seem like a Saturday afternoon cartoon review. Hammering, soulful wilting guitars are the backbone of this one and it’s actually easy listening at over six minutes.

Another 9+ minute opus, Instrument Of My Own Destruction is alright in title, but seems to lose it for me amidst the steady stream of strumming and grunge-overtones.

Wandering through grief as I hear Wandering Through Grief, I’m reminded of a dark, plodding walk I had in a torrential downpour the other week and had this machine gun fire guitar and helpless sounding vox been playing that night, I would’ve been happy. Easily my favourite, this reeks of soulless rapture and true, hardcore death metal. Outstanding!

Despised And Forgotten…not forgotten! Excellent tune, good drums and chorus changes and well deserved of the title! Ha!

Finally, loosely translated as Neat Skullcap (love it! Only in death metal can you get this stuff), Nefasto Calvario is a dim, dark, death ridden drop of constant strumming and some barely audible drums. A vox n’ vigour piece, it’s not hard to listen to, even at 7+ minutes.

Quite good!

8/10

Written by Alessandro

Selbst Official Website
Selbst Facebook

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Review: Crafteon - Cosmic Reawakening


A neat group hailing from Denver, Colorado, the band here introduced as Lord Mordiggian (Guitar/Vocals), Fthaggua (Lead Guitar), Ithaqua (Bass) and Rhagorthua (Drums), present an interesting take on the works of H.P. Lovecraft (hence the bands’ name), apparently and masterfully written near verbatim and set to some drudging, death enveloping music.

Being born on a full moon, I immediately went to What The Moon Brings to see…what it would bring. An excellent beam of powerful vox and nicely balanced music set in a dark netherworld, that’s what! An outstanding piece that is sure to please any metaller, death, black or otherwise.

Setting the tone for me for the rest of the album, I listened at a lower-than-11 volume for the neighbors’ sakes and found the right vibe for this lively yet brooding, dark yet full of light disc.

Some pleasant Rush-ish (!) strums in the first 00:25 of Dagon and the song took off with some massive riffing at the 3:33 mark. Great stuff here!

Skillfully navigating the pages of H.P. Lovecraft is no easy feat and even more so, setting these pieces to music of your own doing. Lord Mordiggian does a superb job and one will need liner notes (yea!) to follow the lyrics and make good sense of them.

The music stands on its own and is masterfully done by the current troupe. There is very intricate playing and changes to suit the splayed writing of Lovecraft (in this view). Fashionable attire and a cool, unified, foreboding look also helps sell this feature presentation!

Of course, check out their Bandcamp and FB for more information, but listen and buy the music first!

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Crafteon Facebook

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: Bereft Of Light - Hoinar


Cascadian Metal. This is a new one on me as since this one man band hails from Romania and The Cascades are a mountain range from British Columbia, Canada through Washington, Oregon and finally Southern California. I’m just going to concentrate on the music not the self-styled attempt at creating or influencing a ‘genre’. It’s all filed under ‘M’ for metal in my cabinets.

Daniel Neagoe, “The Player” I’ll call him, introduces Hoinar, Googly translated as Wanderer in a well-produced, clear and seemingly introspective foray into the music world, not the C-World, with an awesome musical intro of Uitare (Oblivion). It sounds and feels like it indeed. Well done and it might just make my ringtones!

Legamant (Covenant) is a 12+ minute opus with plucking strings and thunderstorms punctuated with harsh vocals and super-fast drumming. A definite experimentation into something here and, at a lower volume, I can deal with it.

Pustiu (Wilderness) is an entirely acoustical sounding piece, soft and gentle reminding me of the true wilds of my hometowns in Northern Ontario. I have pictures in mind that this music would suit perfectly. This would be a pleasure to see live.

Freamat (Thrill), a 10+ minute foray into “methodical metal” (my name for it) stings the heart with nice vocals and harmonies, deftly mixed with expert playing and good sound. I am thrilled for this tune actually, pleasantly surprised!

Tarziu (Later), appropriately at the end of the record, is a somber, mellow bit that has some vocal range that bellows out over the Cascadian Ranges, especially at 01:40. More black or death metal here, it is an excellent creation, aside from a small tempo-dip at 3:33 that sounded unintentional and offbeat to me.

A good opus!

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Bereft Of Light Facebook

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Blackfinger - When Colors Fade Away


Blackfinger is a doom rock/metal band hailing from Pittsburgh, USA. If the band’s name does not ring a bell, which isn’t all that strange, I’m sure its frontman’s name definitely will. The mastermind behind this in 2012 founded band happens to be none other than former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner, who is renowned for his characteristic voice, pretty much Trouble’s trademark for many years. He put together a relatively unknown group of musicians to materialize Blackfinger and managed to release a solid self-titled debut in 2014. That line-up was short-lived though, because nowadays none of them remains a member of the band. Save Eric Wagner of course. He teamed up with fellow doom-celebrity and Penance- and Dream Death guitarist Terry Weston to form the new backbone of the present day Blackfinger. The new line-up is completed by Matthew Tuite on guitar, Matthew Cross on bass and David Snyder on drums, again pretty much unknown musicians. The band’s aptitude test comes in the form of a new album to be released later this month called When Colors Fade Away. The title is not chosen randomly, it was thought up by Eric when he was listening to his debut Blackfinger shortly after completing it. The main concept of that album was the feelings various colors conjured up, making it a logical step wondering what it would be like when there are no colors anymore, which can be translated into real life as the loss of all hope.

With a title like this you’re bound to be heading towards a date with misery when playing this, but the reality is that it isn’t that dark and ominous at all. The overall atmosphere is definitely not one of pain and sorrow despite telling titles like When Colors Fade Away, All My Sorrow and Crossing The River Turmoil. The at times overwhelming melancholy and the slow, lingering sound that is present in many of the songs unmistakably classifies this as doom, yet there’s something to this one that lightens the atmosphere, giving it a more dreamy, mysterious feel to it rather than a gloomy one. Of course Eric’s one-of-a-kind voice and vocal style is a huge contributor to this, but it’s not just that. There’s a certain frivolity in the song structures that amplifies the effect of those vocals, creating said atmosphere. So approaching this as a pure doom release wouldn’t be right nor do this piece of work justice. When Colors Fade Away consists of multi-layered, well-composed songs with an emphasis on guitar work, but with enough room for the rhythm section to grab their moments of fame. All songs are built around the vocal lines that are fittingly unfitting the rhythm, as if they are an entity of their own. Despite the way this might sound it does work out very well. Eric’s voice is a beacon of rest, vaguely reminding me of a pleasantly creaking old door. Music-wise there’s quite a lot to discover, with various more or less subtle influences from other genres. A good example are the bluesy influences that can be detected here and there, specifically in Afternow, but Black Sabbath certainly put its mark on the music as well.

Concluding it’s safe to say that this release will appeal to a wide audience. It has the dark elements of a doom album, the more heavy pieces to please the metal oriented fans and the frivolity to keep the atmosphere from becoming too sad and dismal. The strongly guitar based compositions are plenty varied to keep you focused and avoid boredom and the vocal lines add that extra special something, not in the last place due to the timbre of Eric’s voice. Despite the fact they replaced all but one of their members for their second release Blackfinger managed to avoid that being an issue and deliver a great album that is well worth a thorough listening-to.

Written by Henric van Essen

Check part 12 of Promoting Bands, in which we already mentioned Blackfinger, here.

Blackfinger Official Website
Blackfinger Facebook

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: Hexed - Exhaling Life


After a period without writing I am thrilled to review this very good EP from new and upcoming band Hexed, titled Exhaling Life. The EP consists of 3 songs, beginning with the heavy title track. From the get-go, we are greeted by a typical symphonic keyboard riff and some heavy-duty guitars. Not long after that vocalist Tina Gunnarsson enters with her mighty strong vocals. Her voice is lower than many other metal bands in the symphonic genre and thank god for that! It brings a fresh and unique sound to this band and this is the case for all 3 songs on the EP. The vocals really bring this band to another level. So much so that the band is different enough from everything else I listen to in this genre. The male vocals from guest singer Thomas Vikström on the title track match very well.

In the second song Forsaken Tina Gunnarsson really showcases her capabilities. In an almost banshee-like manner she screams ‘forsaken’ and the song begins. The vocals in the song strongly resemble those of Charlotte Wessels (Delain) until the moment Tina Gunnarssons’ voice reaches its highest point. At that moment she does something unique with her voice, something you’ll want to hear more and more.

That’s actually the only critical note on this EP, instrumentally it is all a bit on the safe side. However, this is partly rectified in the last song Lightyears Away, a song where everything from the previous tracks comes together and you can actually hear how great the potential of this band really is.

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Hexed Official Website
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review: Myrkur - Mareridt


From the very first second I heard Myrkur, which was when her self-titled debut EP was released, I immediately loved it. This is some really beautiful, intense music. After this self-titled EP, her debut full-length M was released in 2015, followed by Mausoleum, a very nice live album recorded in the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. Now it's time for Myrkur's next full-length album, titled Mareridt, being released through Relapse Records on September 15th.

Mareridt, Danish for nightmare, revolves around the nightmares of Amalie Bruun, the mastermind of Myrkur. Instead of shoving them away, she started listening to these nightmares, to make songs of them.

Right from the start of Mareridt, in the title-track, you can hear that Amalie learned kulning, a Swedish traditional cow herding call, which sounds really beautiful. Mareridt, besides the standard instrumentation, also contains some traditional instruments. For example, violin, mandola and nyckelharpa (an ancient Swedish key harp). Another nice, extra addition to this release is that, not only there are the usual drums, but also other forms of percussion.

Amalie's beautiful, clean vocals really shine through on Mareridt, in Danish as well as in English. For example, when you listen to the fourth track Crown which is less heavy, there are almost orchestral vocals over an epic, haunting melody and there's even one sentence in French in it.

Of course, Myrkur's heavier tracks are also present on Mareridt, for example Måneblôt and Elleskudt. In these tracks, it can be heard that Amalie, besides her beautiful clean singing and the recently learned kulning, can also still bring a very intense scream. The end of Elleskudt, the fifth track of Mareridt, let’s us clearly hear a nightmarish vibe, of which you almost get chills.

Funeral gives us a collaboration between Myrkur and Chelsea Wolfe, which is absolutely a very nice combination! She also appears on the bonus track Kvindelil.

Mareridt ends with Børnehjem, which is more of a spoken word outro, but not just a normal spoken word outro. Børnehjem has a very haunting vibe with spoken words from a demon-like voice. A perfect ending for a perfect album.

Myrkur releases a real masterpiece with Mareridt. I was curious whether or not Mareridt could surpass all earlier released beautiful music of Myrkur, but it sure did. Very recommended!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

You can also check part 2 of Promoting Bands in which we mentioned Myrkur here, and our live review of Myrkur and Deafheaven here.

Myrkur Official Website
Myrkur Facebook

Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Pig's Blood - Pig's Blood


US death metallers Pig’s Blood released their first, self-titled full-length in June this year. Let’s give it a spin!

Pig’s Blood are out for death and mayhem, which you not only can tell from their band photo or their stage names, but also right away by listening to their music: it’s brutal death metal with some black metal influences. The songs are sometimes faster (like e.g. on Torches Of War And Retribution or The Age Of Endless War), and sometimes very slow, even doom-like (like Taste The Fucking Poison). The faster ones are then also the ones who stand out for me amongst the 10 tracks, this is brutal death metal as it should be!

In conclusion: Pig’s Blood toy around with an image of total savagery, starting from the art cover and band photo and ending with the stage and track names. In the beginning, they also nicely translate that into their sound, and there are a few fast tracks that give you that feeling as well, but, unfortunately, the majority is too slow and too alike to really capture the listener. Still, the guys are good musicians and the record is well-produced, so if you’re a fan of blackened death, give these guys a go. 6/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Pig's Blood Facebook

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Review: Nephren-Ka - La Grande Guerre De L'Epice


French brutal death metal quartet Nephren-Ka is around since 2006. Since then, the guys have released two records, entitled Revenge And Supremacy and The Fall of Omnius. Their third one, La Grande Guerre De L’Epice, is going to be released on October 13th. I had the chance to listen to it already, and here’s what you can expect:

It becomes obvious from the first second of Watch And Learn that Nephren-Ka nowadays not only settle within the brutal death metal genre, but also incorporate a fair amount of black metal into their sound. The grunts remind me from time to time of Aborted, for instance on the records second track, Plan To Master The Universe. The Demise Of Ix makes it perfectly clear that the guys do not stop at one genre to blend into the death metal sound, but also take some quality thrash metal into the mix. That all blends into a somewhat trademark sound of the guys, while some influences like the aforementioned Aborted, but also NILE (check out Idar Fen Adijica for that) can still be perceived. The total of 9 tracks are very varied and the guys are great musicians, so that you, as listener, will never feel bored. Also to mention is that La Grande Guerre De L’Epice is actually a concept album, taking the ideas for the lyrics from the Dune books by Frank Herbert. Nice plus: some of them are in Nephren-Ka’s native language, French – surely a rare thing in the genre!

In conclusion: the album is very well done in every way! It comprises a total of 10 songs: 9 from the band itself and one very nice cover of Candlemass’ Mirror Mirror. Throughout them all, Nephren-Ka are able to keep the listener engaged by incorporating different musical styles in the mix. La Grande Guerre De L’Epice thus comes highly recommended. 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Nephren-Ka Facebook

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: Warship - The Second Wave


Warship is a 3-man classic heavy metal outfit from Athens, Greece that has been around since 2003, although the first signs of life date back even further, to 1999 to be exact. Build on the remnants of a band called Kokkalo by Captain Foris Ntrikos, who plays the guitar, the current line-up is completed by Mister Kostas Emmanuilidis on bass guitar and Mister Dimitrios Bechrakis on drums. The vocals are courtesy of the Captain himself. However, judging by the impressive list of past members, their line-up has been all but stable, so it could very well be this has changed since I wrote this. Such a big turnover of personnel almost always has a substantial impact on consistency and productivity of a band, and Warship seems no exception to that rule, at least where productivity is concerned. It might not be the only reason of why Warship’s discography to date is limited to two demos and one full-length, but I have no doubt it must have had at least some influence. As far as consistency goes I have no idea, because up until today I have been completely oblivious to Warship’s existence. Time for an introduction, I’d say. The list of bands that in whatever way have had their influence on their music seems promising, but due to the sheer length and diversity of its contents, ranging from the Beatles to Sepultura, I doubt it will be of any help in advance. That is probably for the best though, allowing me to taste Warship’s vision on classic heavy metal completely unprejudiced.

Well, the first taste is a sour one. Opener ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ sets a tone I cannot appreciate too much, because apparently the guys forgot to tune the guitar resulting in an almost false sounding, out of tune intro which bass nor drums can compensate for. The Captain adds to the overall misery by displaying his vocal qualities, which are mediocre to say the very least. To top it off the production sounds as if this is a release that has been recorded thirty-something years ago in a shady basement a mile south of hell. The hope that ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ was just a false start and that things will get better quickly goes up in smoke when the second song, called ‘Ready For War’, displays the exact same flaws. Sounding remarkably familiar this song at least proves the roots of Warship lie in the early days of metal, back when bands like Black Sabbath and Motörhead first started to make name for themselves. By the time the next song, ‘Feel The Pain’, is at full throttle it becomes clear all hope that they might still turn things around is forlorn and the reality that this is all there will be dawns on me. Sure enough the entire album, the full 31 minutes spread over eight songs, is filled with the same, simple type of songs with the same flaws. Normally that is more than enough reason to call it a day and discard of the release, but for some reason my mind won’t accept that. I’ll try to explain why.

Despite its more than obvious flaws both production- and performance-wise this release has something that kept me from stepping out after the first two songs. It took me a bit to realize what the reason was, but I finally figured it out. It summons feelings of recognition and melancholy reminiscent to my first steps on the path of metal back in the late seventies and early eighties. Though in no way nearing the quality of those releases, the simple yet effective compositions have a strong resemblance to the music from the aforementioned period which is intensified by the ‘old school’ sound of the production. The basic structure of the songs isn’t all that bad, I might even be persuaded to call them potentially pleasant, easy listening sing-a-longs. There’s no inventiveness whatsoever, nor are they very complicated or exciting, but that is not a bad thing by definition. It all depends on execution and I’m convinced that, had the execution been better, much better actually, this album would have gotten significantly higher rates. From me at least. For now though the best I can do is advising you to consider giving this a spin, with the strong advice to try to listen deeper than the first three or four layers. All is not lost, there’s still hope for Warship, but they definitely have their work cut out for them.

Written by Henric van Essen

Warship Official Website
Warship Facebook
Warship Twitter

Monday, September 4, 2017

Review: Protosequence - Biophagous


This Edmonton, Alberta, Canada band comprised of Jacob Teeple (Bass), Kyle Hunter (Guitar), Joseph McKee (Vocals), Logan Vars (Drums), Parker (Guitar and Vocals), has some good metal stones with this 4 song EP! More and more, the actual musicianship of some of these Death Metal, Djent and other select bands impresses the writer, and the almost Yes-like technical axe-play at 00:48 on ‘Parasitic’ is indicative of greater things. The piano solo at about 3:00 seems a bit contrived (feeling like: thrown in to try hard to SHOW they’re diverse) but a nice bit, surrounded by further Gravocals.

“DFL” is a hammering piece, with complex arrangements and virtuoso playing and an outstanding guitar solo at 2:19 on. A good piece overall but annoying for me after a fashion.

“Shepherd” is unique. Complex and soft, a good showcase for all their musical tools, this is sure to be a concert favourite. The strumming at 2:38 is good mixed with the deftly-mixed and balanced instrumentation of the other elements.

“The Hate Subsides”, angrier than hell, is a well done metal song overall and lunges into prog-rock a-la Trivium for this writer, although not unpleasantly. The drumming at about 1:54 is incredibly amazing and fast, destined to maybe make Modern Drumming magazine.

A good venture!

8/10

Written by Alessandro

Protosequence Facebook
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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Review: Vallenfyre - Fear Those Who Fear Him


UK metallers Vallenfyre have initially developed as an outlet to actively deal with the death of lead singer Greg Mackintosh’s father, but with the great success of the two previous longplayers, “A Fragile King” and “Splinters”, established themselves in the community. On the 2nd of June this year, they released their 3rd album, “Fear Those Who Fear Him” – let’s give it a spin!

“Born To Decay” is a mainly instrumental intro, where only in the beginning we hear “fear those who fear him” a couple of times. “Messiah” kicks off with some brutal death metal drumming, then takes it back a notch only to release its full brutality again when Greg starts to sing. With just 2 minutes of playtime, this track is super intense and an awesome starter. “Degeneration” is less brutal, but still a great track, before we then enter the doom metal field with “An Apathetic Grave”. Very nicely done, as it generates a chilling atmosphere and evokes pictures of death and decay within the listener. After “Nihilist”, being a death metal track again, the sixth track of “Fear Those Who Fear Him”, “Amongst The Filth”, holds a surprise in the beginning in form of more rock and heavy metal tunes, that sometimes remind of Motörhead. About midway through the song this is abandoned though in favor of a more brutal sound. “Kill All Your Masters” is again an in-your-face track, before we can breathe through once again with “The Merciless Tide”, where you can almost feel the water rise due to the bleak, almost depressed atmosphere conveyed by the guys. After this, it’s two more death and one more doom tracks before we end with “Temple Of Rats”. This song combines all the strong points of Vallenfyre and is therefore an epic end to a great album.

In conclusion: as just said, “Fear Those Who Fear Him” is a great album, due to its diversity, the awesome and from time to time bone-chilling atmosphere it creates and the very good production. Fans of death or doom (or both) will love this one! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Dead Asylum - Death Always Wins


Dead Asylum, a quartet from Canada, self-released their latest longplayer, entitled „Death Always Wins“, on 2nd of June – so about time to give it a spin and review it!

The cover art, where the reaper hovers over a bleak world driven by money, power and exploitation, sets the tone of the record. The first of the total of eight tracks is “Defiance”, starting right off brutally with aggressive growls and pressing guitars. Next up is the title track, another fast-paced one. Here you start to feel the overall topic of death and destruction, also due to the repetition of the track / album title throughout the song. “Between Me And The Grave” has a slower, midtempo start, but just like the others picks up fast and conveys the brutal death atmosphere very nicely. This is also due to Samantha Landa’s aggressive drumming, which is very impressive. More of that is following in the upcoming tracks “Bury The Living”, “Forgotten Sacrifice” and “Bred To Die”, while being mixed with melodic elements as well. “Welcome” is the most melodic of them all, a midtempo track that still conveys the feeling of death and decay to the listener. The album then ends with “Inmate 666”, which sums up again all the qualities of the record and thus is a great ending.

In conclusion: Dead Asylum released a great record of very good quality sound- and production-wise, and “Death Always Wins” surely comes highly recommended. Let’s hope we hear again soon from them, in the meantime, give this a spin! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Dead Asylum Official Website
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