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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Interview + giveaway: Rise Of The Wood


In November the Dutch stoner metallers of Rise Of The Wood released their debut album First Seed. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with their bassist Alex Wijnhorst about the debut, their Metal Battle adventure among other things. DutchMetalManiac is also giving away one First Seed cd! See more info here!

Hey, how are you?

I’m good! I was looking forward for your questions!

You're a relatively new band, but you aren't strangers in the scene. Can you tell us something about how Rise Of The Wood started?

We started in a way that’s normal for a band I guess. Just jamming some covers and hanging out together. In a short time we start writing our own songs.

After a half year we had a representative setlist and hit the stage for the first time!

Congratulations on your debut full-length First Seed. It sounds really great!

Thanks man, we’re really proud it! Most of it, like the guitars, bass and vocals we recorded in the home studio of our guitarplayer Jeff. Only the drum was recorded in the Plug unit Studio in Reeuwijk.

Hans WM Pieters did a great job on the mixing and mastering! We wanted to have a big massive sound but also not too muddy and I think he succeeded with that!

How does it feel to have your debut released?

It’s great to have the album released and to hear and read all the responses about it.

Also we’re stoked that we can work on new material now.

How are the reactions on it so far?

Better than we could imagine! From the beginning we knew we wrote some good songs, but when it all come out and you read the positive reviews it’s like: Hell Yeah!!

We were in one album yearlist for 2017 together with youth idols like Paradise Lost, Kreator and Sepultura, so that was the best that ever could happen!

You all come from different musical backgrounds. How does your writing process go and do those different musical backgrounds have its reflections in that process? If yes, in what way?

The foundation of the songs are mostly written by Jeff and myself. We recorded a rough demo of a song at home so that everybody could already know how it sounds. At a rehearsal we finish the songs and everybody comes with more ideas.

Indeed we all come from different music backgrounds. We’ve former band histories in Death/Thrash/Doom/Punk/Progressive/Nu-Metal bands. Everybody still likes their own genre so we try to combine that in Rise of the Wood!

What makes Rise Of The Wood stand out in the stoner metal subgenre?

I think our songs are more to the point with no endless jam sessions. When we play a riff 4 times it’s just good for us and we go the next part of the song. Really basic popsong structures actually.

Also with Nol as a singer we can combine a lot of different moods in our song, from aggressive to bluesy and all that’s between.

Recently you played in the first round of the Dutch Metal Battle. How was this experience?

Yeah we had a blast! Unfortunately we didn’t win but the response of the crowd was fantastic and that was for us the most important.

You already announced some shows for 2018. Can we expect more of them or not?

There are already some nice gigs coming up and in the summer we hit the festival season.

Still, we have some open spots so whoever reads this: Hook us up with your local stage!

Any other future plans you can already tell us something about?

We’re planning a small tour in Germany in spring and are already writing stuff for our second album.

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

Thanks for reading about Rise of the Wood. You can listen to First Seed on Spotify, Bandcamp or Youtube.

See you at a show!!

Read a Promoting Bands in which we mentioned Rise Of The Wood here.

Rise Of The Wood Official Website
Rise Of The Wood Facebook

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Klynt - Faustbreaker


In 2008, five guys from Graz, Austria formed a band called Klynt. Now, 10 years later, Klynt is a four-man-band with two of the four members being there from the start. These two band members are vocalist Dadu and bassist Lexi. Furthermore, Klynt's members are guitarist Flavi and drummer Alex. In 2011, they released their first material, a demo called Epic As Fuck E.P. This demo got a successor in 2012 with their full-length debut Of Klynt And Man. Now, since May last year, Klynt added a second full-length album. This one is titled Faustbreaker.

What immediately stands out within Klynt's music on Faustbreaker are the vocals on this album. Most of Dadu's vocals are clean power metal-esque vocals with a very low voice. At first, this sounds a bit weird and maybe even a bit forced. Your attention will probably go to these vocals very soon, because these stand out very much. Of course, this results in less of your attention going to the other parts of Klynt's Faustbreaker. However, this is not really fair, because the other band members are playing very nice with guitarist Flavi as an absolute highlight. When Flavi gets some space to show his skills a bit more, he gratefully uses this space by playing some very nice solo's. A few examples can be heard in Faustbreaker and Kitsune.

The vocals I described above might be something to get used to. However, there are also some other vocal styles to be found on Faustbreaker. From time to time there are some high-pitched shouts that sound very cool. Sporadically there are even some thrashy vocals and grunts to be found, for example in Deadly Prey and Allegiance Of Wolves. If you aren't used to the earlier described vocals above yet, the a bit thrash-ier tracks Deadly Prey, Kitsune and Thrash FM might be good to start with. In my opinion, those vocals fit a bit better in these tracks.

Other tracks I would recommend are the calmly-starting To Absent Friends with at a certain moment two different clean vocal lines at the same time, which creates a very nice effect. This To Absent Friends is also the most melodic track on this album. Another very nice track on this album from Klynt is the mostly instrumental track Epicness Initiated... GOOOSH MODE! with a little bit of choir-like vocals at the end of it.

This Faustbreaker album of these Austrian metallers Klynt won't be one of my favorite albums. However, after I got used to the vocals after a few times listening to it, it seems to be a solid album. My favorite track on Faustbreaker still is the mostly instrumental Epicness Initiated... GOOOSH MODE! but Deadly Prey, Kitsune and Thrash FM are very close behind it.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Klynt Official Website
Klynt Facebook
Klynt Twitter

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: Mavradoxa - Lethean Lament


After their formation in 2015, the American atmospheric black metal band Mavradoxa released their debut full-length, Sojourners, in 2016. Since June 22nd guitarist/vocalist Nival and drummer/vocalist Lux got a successor released. This successor is titled Lethean Lament and was released via Hypnotic Dirge Records.

Lethean Lament contains four track surrounded by a folky intro and outro. In the intro, called Cicadan, one of the two guest musicians of Lethean Lament can be heard immediately. It is Andy McGirr, whom you might know from the American black metal band Hubris, playing violin. Right after this relaxing intro, Mavradoxa gets unleashed, especially guitar-wise. The guitars on The Phantom Visages sound loud and heavy, but also melodic, executed in a very great way. Meanwhile, the drums are really on the background in the mix, but not too much. The drums sound very flat, making it sound a bit emotionless. Luckily this gets better in the remaining tracks. This track, The Phantom Visages, and the track before the outro, From Fog are the heavier, faster tracks. The tracks in the middle, Crimson Waves Of Autumnal Flame and Across The Nival Grove are the more atmospheric tracks on Lethean Lament. The first of those, Crimson Waves Of Autumnal Flame, even starts with an intro only consisting of an acoustic guitar. Later in this track the second guest of the album can be heard. This time it is a vocal addition by Mark Welden, vocalist of American grindcore band Blurring. At the end of the other more atmospheric track, Across The Nival Grove, Andy McGirr and his violin make a comeback, while the guitars are also still very present. This combination makes the end of this track very loud and noisy as well as beautiful and atmospheric at the same time. Vocal-wise Mavradoxa lets us hear atmospheric vocals as well as screams on Lethean Lament, which is a very nice combo.

Mavradoxa delivers a great album with Lethean Lament. It is very guitar-oriented, music-wise as well as production-wise, but it isn't something which is annoying. This one is definitely recommend for atmospheric black metallers!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Mavradoxa Facebook

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Live review: Amenra, Aluk Todolo, VVOVNDS at Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, January 20th, 2018

A splendid start of the year, indeed. Literally months of anticipation has led to the Amenra-hosted short festival at the Doornroosje in Nijmegen. Sadly I had only the pleasure and time to witness two of their special guests in the evening at the non-acoustic show. VVOVNDS and Aluk Todolo. Which I am going to elaborate on a bit further.

Upon my arrival at the venue I already started to feel a bit of a vibe. I was all by myself because none of my friends like Amenra or music related in any form or way to Amenra. That didn’t really have any impact on my experience during the shows because I was to busy being in my own world.

First up was VVOVNDS or easily pronounced as WOUNDS. A stage dark as mud is where the young but thriving musicians opened up their personal abyss. For those who didn’t know, VVOVNDS has previously released a split EP with Amenra and are closely related to the Church Of RA. When I saw the band members walking on stage there was just one thing I continually noticed, they were all about the same age as I am and they were angry and lustful young, wild dogs. The music VVOVNDS conjured up was a mix of ambient, creepy sounds and a blend of the most dark form of hardcore I have ever heard. It wasn’t very impressive for me until the singer stepped away from the keyboard and opened his fucking pie hole. The guy was genuinely angry, as it seemed. He was screaming relentlessly and hopeless into the crowd but it feels to me that he was unheard. Like a voice talking to a wall. Screaming into the mass of people to face his own demons I think. All speculations aside, it was an incredible show with a great performance by the vocalist. I believed every word he uttered into the microphone.

After a smoke break and a bit of mental rest (?) Aluk Todolo was up next. A French band which I had never heard of before and I think for good reason. First and foremost I want to express my opinion in this review and I do not want to bash the band. Very softly spoken… this was not my cup of tea. I wish there was a rhythm to hold on to or to let yourself go to. There definitely was not. For the time they performed I have been waiting for a logical conclusion to a wall of noise. I could not make anything of it.

I’m sure they are all very skilled musicians but I just think I wasn’t ready. It made me feel paranoid and with a great restlessness I watched Aluk Todolo’s performance. I must say though, I found the light bulb in the centre of the stage a very interesting object. It seemed to get brighter while the music progressed. That was a nice touch to their show that made it less boring for me and gave me an impression of what to look for in their style of music. Just to repeat myself, I was not ready for this.

At last… the headliner of the show was ready to show their true electric form. It was 21:45, the lights were dimmed low and Amenra’s famous tripod appeared on the screen with ambient noises for 15 minutes exactly before the show started. After those 15 minutes a hooded figure (CHVE) entered the stage with two metal bars. Kneeled on the ground and started rhythmically clanging it to each other. We all knew what was coming. Amenra had started playing Boden from their 2012 full length (Mass V). After the ticking intro that had me hypnotized to the fullest a force was unleashed. The sludge chords hit me at full blast and almost knocked me right off my feet.

Soon after I had my eyes closed and was bobbing my head relentlessly to the abysmal drumbeats and ripping riffs.

With a great set list with a lot of fan-favourites it was time to close the set list with Diaken. My personal favourite from their latest LP (Mass VI), a perfect closure to an almost religious experience (mind you, almost). I left Nijmegen with a weight lifted from my shoulders. I do not know exactly why but Amenra had a huge impact on my mind since I discovered them by accident on YouTube. The way they express their feelings on the stage and the very reason they create the slabs of huge musical expression is because of pain in their lives. Which left me thinking, why doesn’t everyone do this? Find yourself a catharsis to relieve yourself of inner pain.

I can assure you, seeing Amenra live is an experience unmatched by any of their peers.

On a side note I have a complaint. Not to the band but to the crowd. There were some people in the building that clearly don’t know of the origin of this kind of music. When it is a little more quiet or peaceful at a show of this platform. Please don’t go yelling stupid things. You just make yourself look like an ignorant moron. It doesn’t benefit the show in any way. So please, try and contain yourself next time and respect the musicians on stage.

Written by Joost van der Leij

Amenra Official Website
Amenra Facebook
Amenra Twitter
Aluk Todolo Official Website
Aluk Todolo Facebook
VVOVNDS Facebook

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Interview: Maiden United


On January 27th, Maiden United will perform in Carré, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. DutchMetalManiac's Glenn van der Heijden spoke with Maiden United's Joey Bruers about this show and the concept of Maiden United, among other things.

Congratulations with your upcoming Carré-show, it's a real honor, right?

Yeah, it sure is an honor. It's also nice that you're saying congratulations. Sure, I think Carré is the top.

Is that also the way you see it?

Yeah, in The Netherlands it is of course the top of the theatres. It is also one of biggest things to accomplish with Maiden United.

In the documentary you showed on Facebook for the last 3 months you also said that Maiden United started as just a short-term idea and it got a bit out of hand.

It sure did, this wasn't the idea at first. This is something we didn't expect, we didn't start it back then with this in mind.

What was the idea you had in mind back then?

The idea was to make one album and after that we booked 10 shows. That was what we did at that moment. In December 2010 we released our first album, Mind The Acoustic Pieces, and after that we played those 10 shows in December. That was the idea and that was all it would be.

What was the moment you thought there was more to do for Maiden United?

At that moment it was all finished for us. We released the album, booked the shows and had a great time. We were satisfied. Until we got a lot of phone calls after those shows. First, the organization of Paaspop called us, who wanted us to play on Paaspop. At first, I told them we couldn't do it, because we were finished. In that week I also got a call from the UK asking us if we want to play there, because we didn't do so at that moment. At that moment Ruud (Jolie) and I called the rest of the band for playing Paaspop and the UK. After we announced playing at Paaspop, Wacken and Donington also wanted to book us. At that moment we had to make a decision, because if we also would be playing those other festivals, it would become a long-term project. Then things would change, you have to stay active in that case. So we decided to do it that way.

Now you've already released three albums and you're looking forward to a show in Carré. A place some people can only dream about playing there.

I am one of those people, I always dreamt of playing there.

I assume you are also a bit proud of playing there?

Of course it is. We have a lot of fun, but we also work very hard. You don't get to perform in Carré just because it is nice to do so. That was also part of our decision back then. Of course, it's not only the fun you extend, but also the part of working hard.

When I talk about Maiden United with people who don't know your music I explain that you do covers of Iron Maiden in an acoustic way. I also tell them you arrange the songs yourselves and you make it special in your own way. How do you see that part and how does that grow?

I can't answer how that grows, because I don't know it myself. You can do so by playing the songs exactly the same as the original ones, but on acoustic instruments. That won't work for some parts and we don't want to do so. We want to let people see and hear how great the songs of Iron Maiden really are, because they are really great. First of all, we break up the song in many pieces, then we start creating something from the beginning. We try to keep the core part of the track intact. That core part can be anything, for example the melody, the vocals or the rhythm. After that you can go different ways.

For vocals you got Damien Wilson to be part of Maiden United. He has very characteristic vocals, which is also a choice you made, right?

Yeah, besides the fact Damien was also high on our personal lists of people we want to work with, for both Ruud and I. I haven't seen and heard a vocalist as great as Damien. Looking back at all those years working with him I can count his false notes on one hand, literally. That is really unbelievable. He is also really busy with his work as a vocalist. His show isn't from half past eight till ten in the evening, his show starts at ten o'clock in the morning. At that moment he is already preparing for the show in the evening: he goes jogging, does his warming-up, his vocal technique exercises. That last part of the evening is his big final of the day. Every day when he has to sing he does it this way. He is always busy with it. There is also another reason we wanted Damien to be part of it. When we play a show with Maiden United we all sit down. Then you need someone who attracts the audience. Damien is very charismatic and when he enters the stage things happen, even when he hasn't done something yet. We also don't know what exactly is going to happen, it some kind of big mystery, which is fun. It all fits perfect and besides that, he is of course also a big fan of Iron Maiden.

I assume you are all Iron Maiden fans?

For sure. Sometimes it happens in a funny way, for example with Thijs, who's playing Hammond. He wasn't an Iron Maiden fan, but he became one because of Maiden United.

When you announced the show in Carré you also came up with other stuff, for example the aforementioned documentary in preparation for the show. How did that go?

It was some sort of collection of different ideas. We didn't see the impact Maiden United had at people. When we released the first album we often heard that something happened. At one moment we even got the compliment of someone saying that it felt like Iron Maiden released a new album for the first time. People got curious. In December 2010 that album was released and about half a year later, in the summer of 2011, we played all big festivals. The attention we got grew and people wanted to know things about us. We paid no attention to such things, we also hardly have any video material of the first few months. That wasn't the idea, we were doing it for fun. Now that we are going to play Carré, we thought it was a perfect moment to share some more stuff about us. That is why we started the documentary with explaining what we have done so far and talk about how we started up to where we are now.

When starting to work on a Maiden United album, how do you decide which Iron Maiden tracks you are going to use?

Ruud and I are the ones who arrange and produce everything. It's very hard work, a lot of searching and trying to find good ideas. Of course it also has to fit all together on one album, we recorded a lot more than that we actually released. Sometimes it doesn't fit that well, it's not ready enough or it might have completely failed. At a certain moment you have to fit things together and when you have a bundle of tracks, you have an album. Of course, it's important to have a direction you want to go in. For example, with the latest album we've chosen to work with a Hammond, because of that you have to work with tracks in which you can apply the Hammond.

You also got several guest musicians. How do you decide which guest musician there will be?

That is the biggest part of Maiden United. Of course "Maiden" is clear and "United" stands for uniting all Iron Maiden fans around us. Sometimes I thought about which guest musician fits a specific track, but it can be the other way around as well. The first time we did it like this was with To Tame A Land, it was pretty difficult to make an acoustic arrangement of that, it cost a lot of time. At a certain moment I got the idea to do that canon at the end of the track. It would be Damien and someone else doing that. I started thinking about who fitted in there and it became clear that Anneke (van Giersbergen) would be the right person for it. In the studio it fitted perfectly. After that, my idea was to also do it on stage and in the end, we also did. However, it was pretty difficult to convince them to do so.

Can you tell us something about the Carré-show?

We have four supercool guests. Of course Perttu Kivilaakso already joined us a while ago, which was so nice that he is doing so again. We also got Dennis Stratton as a guest. He only joined us in the UK so far. Now, he is also coming to The Netherlands and we also are going to play some old Dennis-tracks with him. Furthermore, we have Wudstik as guest. He is probably the biggest surprise for the people in the metal scene. He is more known within the hip-hop music. He is a really great vocalist and a big Iron Maiden fan. The fourth guest we have is Sharon den Adel. Everybody was waiting for the moment that she would be joining us after Anneke and Marcela (Bovio) joined us. It never fitted in both agendas, but now it does.

How is having a former Iron Maiden member as a guest for your show?

It is awesome, I am a big Iron Maiden fan myself and Dennis has been part of that. Now I can work with him. In the meantime, he already joined us several times, which is also very nice, he didn't join us in The Netherlands and Germany until now, but now he will.

Was Wudstik as a guest a no-brainer?

To be honest I didn't know Wudstik that well. Ruud started working with him with For All We Know. At the moment I heard him singing I was immediately in love with his voice. It was really awesome. We started working with him and it really fitted great. When he also worked with us on our Remembrance-album he also joined us at the cd release party. At that moment the audience really embraced him. When asking the audience who they love to see joining us again, many of them answer Wudstik. He is a totally different vocalist compared to Damien, which is also really nice. Damien has a really classical trained voice and Wudstik has a real rock voice with a raw edge on it. Both of them are really great vocalists and to have them together on stage is awesome.

How do you see the future of Maiden United?

From the moment we decided to continue we had a series of plans. That series ends at the show in Carré. I really don't know what we are going to do after that. I decided to wait until we have done the show in Carré, to see what happens.

Do you see that as something difficult or are you ok with it?

I don't know, it was difficult for a long while for sure. It was some sort of block, I didn't know how to go further, but now I am looking at it more relaxed. We are definitely not going to stop, but we are open for what happens next. Maybe there won’t be happening that much and we have to create new things by ourselves, which is also fine. My head is full of ideas. I don't know whether I can apply those ideas after the show in Carré or not. If we already plan stuff for after that show, we are bound to that. If I wait with new plans I can be completely open for whatever is going to happen. It is exciting and of course isn't without a risk. We are just waiting with planning new stuff until after the show in Carré. Of course, we aren't the only ones deciding that, our audience also does. There is one episode of the documentary you couldn't see so far in which our fans are speaking. Funny thing is that a lot of people want us to go back to the small venues, because they liked it the most in those places. It could be that Carré is our highlight and after that we go back to the smaller venues. I don't know if that is practically possible, but we sure are open for everything.

The show in Carré is coming closer, are you nervous?

I am not a person that is nervous quickly, but I am tense. I think there is a bit of a difference between them. However, most of all I am really looking forward to it. It is going to be a day full of fun. It will be fantastic.

Sharon also immediately said yes to joining you?

She was the first one. When the date of the Carré show was planned we of course had to communicate that with Within Temptation, because there couldn't be a Within Temptation show at the same date. When we did, Sharon immediately said she wanted to join us. She was sure very soon and she is also really looking forward to it.

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

We are bringing Iron Maiden to Carré, while Iron Maiden never would perform there themselves. Of course, we do so for our fans, but we also do so for the scene. That kind of venues are getting a bit more confronted with metal this way.

Maiden United Official Website
Maiden United Facebook
Maiden United Twitter

Monday, January 22, 2018

Promoting Bands Part 14




Hey everyone! \m/

It's been a while since the last part of Promoting Bands, so here is a new one.

If you enjoyed the earlier parts and want to check them again, or you missed them, here they are:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13

And remember: don't hesitate to send us an email, Facebook or Twitter message if you want to be featured in the next part of Promoting Bands!

\m/

Tim van Velthuysen

1. Haggard


I start this part of Promoting Bands with a band I already listen to for a while, Haggard. Tales Of Ithiria is the latest album so far from them. It was released in 2008, so it's a bit of an older release. However, Haggard deserves to be mentioned. This band around Asis Nasseri, Haggard's mastermind, mixes classical music, medieval music and death metal making this a beautiful, epic combination. Below you can listen to the already mentioned album Tales Of Ithiria, but to be honest every album of this band is very much worth listening. A unique band I surely recommend.



Haggard Official Website
Haggard Facebook
Haggard Twitter

2. Kobra And The Lotus


In contrast to Haggard, the second band is a band I discovered last year, Kobra And The Lotus. The music this band plays is heavy and catchy at the same time and Kobra And The Lotus found the perfect balance between these two. Their latest album, the first part of a double-album called Prevail (check our review here), is definitely recommended and I am surely looking forward to the second part of Prevail. Their live show comes with a lot of energy and is also very much something I would recommend. Want to know more about Kobra And The Lotus and their frontwoman Kobra Paige? Check our interview with Kobra here. In the meantime you can listen to the track Prevail below.



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

3. Seita


The next two bands are also bands I discovered last year. I am talking about Seita and Apophys, here you can read my live review of Seita's releaseshow for their Maledictus Mundi album with Apophys as support act. Another live review of a Seita show where DutchMetalManiac was can be read here. The energy coming from this Dutch death/thrash metal band, especially at live shows, is phenomenal. If Seita is coming to a place nearby, make sure you don't miss this. Their video of the track Cowards To The Lions, coming from Maledictus Mundi, can be seen below.



Seita Official Website
Seita Facebook
Seita Twitter

4. Apophys


As you can read above Apophys was the support act of Seita's releaseshow (see link to live review above). They are another great band I discovered last year. With their very tight death metal they gave a very nice show. What was standing out the most is probably the way vocalist Kevin Quilligan performed, of course supported by the, also great, performance of the other band members. What I said about Seita is also the case for Apophys. Are they coming to a place nearby? Then you don't want to miss this if you dig death metal. Below you can listen to their new album Devoratis, which releases today, January 22nd.



Apophys Official Website
Apophys Facebook
Apophys Twitter

5. Grafjammer


Besides Seita and Apophys, there are two other bands coming from The Netherlands in this part of Promoting Bands. First of those two bands is Grafjammer. This dark, filthy band is going to release their second album on February 10th. It will be entitled Schalm & Schabauw and there will also be a releaseshow in dB's in Utrecht on the releaseday. Below you can listen to the second single of Schalm & Schabauw, De Dode Molen Van Buiten Catharijne.



Grafjammer Facebook

6. The Subliminal


The last Dutch band is The Subliminal. This band plays groove metal with a very aggressive and powerful sound. Want to experience this yourself? Then you can listen to their track titled Behind Dead Eyes below. Recently the guys of The Subliminal announced that they are writing new material for an upcoming EP. So, with the fact that we have to wait sometime for new material, the earlier released tracks will have to do for now. No problem, because based on these earlier tracks the new material can't possibly be anything else than great.



The Subliminal Facebook

7. Storm Seeker


When speaking about the combination of metal and pirates, the pirate metallers of Alestorm soon come to mind. But wait, there is more! They come from Germany and exist since 2013. They released their debut EP, titled Pirate Scum, in 2016 through Aeterna Records. I am talking about the pirate metallers of Storm Seeker. All tracks of the Pirate Scum EP are definitely recommended, below you can watch their video for the track The Longing.



Storm Seeker Official Website
Storm Seeker Facebook
Storm Seeker Twitter

8. Throane


Last weekend I went to a concert of Amenra, which is also a great band you should check if you don't know them yet. One of the support acts at that show was Throane. This French band plays extremely dark, haunting, almost hypnotizing music which is almost impossible to describe. This is music you have to experience. Their show was phenomenal, just as the Amenra show. Both bands are very recommend to go to when they are playing nearby you. Throane's second album, Plus Une Main A Mordre, which was released in October last year is definitely worth listening to, so don't hesitate to do so below.



Throane Facebook

9. Cruachan


The next band is Cruachan, a folk metal band from Ireland. In 2018, Cruachan already exists for 25 years and they are also going to release a new album. This album will be titled Nine Years Of Blood and will be the last part in their Trilogy Of Blood. Their latest album Blood For The Bloodgod is very nice, so I am surely look forward to the upcoming Nine Years Of Blood album. Below you can listen to a teaser for Nine Years Of Blood.



Cruachan Official Website
Cruachan Facebook

10. Corpus Callosum


The last band of this part of Promoting Bands is a band playing heavy progressive metal in a way you don't hear that often. They hail from Canada and are called Corpus Callosum. They formed in 2015 and released their debut EP called Second Sun in 2016. Below you can watch their animated music video for the track Mirror Stone.



Corpus Callosum Official Website
Corpus Callosum Facebook

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: Vin De Mia Trix - Palimpsests


Vocalist Andrew, guitarist Serge (who also takes care of samples), bassist/vocalist/guitarist/pianist Alex and drummer Igor, together they are Vin De Mia Trix. Hailing from Ukraine, Vin De Mia Trix plays a mix of different doom metal styles, but they aren't afraid to cross boundaries with some other subgenres. Since their forming in 2007, they released an EP (El sueño de la razón produce monstruos, 2009), a demo (Promo, 2012), a full-length (Once Hidden From Sight, 2013), a live album (Live In Kharkiv, 2015) and a split with American death/doom metal band Nethermost. Since May 31st they got a second full-length added. It carries the name Palimpsests and it is a double album. Palimpsests consists of only four tracks, but it has a total length of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

The intro of opener Matarisvan sounds a bit dreamy, creepy and hypnotic to get you in some sort of trance for this album. When the instruments of Vin De Mia Trix starts it is soon clear that, mostly, it will be slow, heavy music, like funeral doom, on Palimpsests. Is the musical style of Vin De Mia Trix funeral doom? Yes and no, sometimes it surely can be named as funeral doom, but that isn't the case for their music in general. For example, they let us hear that they can also play very fast in this same track.

These people from Ukraine use a lot of variation within their tracks, but because the tracks are very long, it never gets chaotic. The transitions between the often big differences stay natural and not forced, with closing track Noe as the perfect example. At some point Noe even sounds a bit atmospheric black metal-like which is followed by a relaxed, acoustic guitar-sound with atmospheric, clean vocals. All done very naturally.

Vocal-wise Palimpsests varies between clean vocals, low grunts and hellish screams, all perfectly executed. At some point in Noe there are 2 vocal lines to be heard right behind each other, which gives it a bit of orchestral effect. The guitars on Palimpsests are sounding shoegaze-like in the more melodic, dreamy parts while they sound very massive in the heavier parts. There is also a part in Fuimus which gives us a bit of experimenting with the guitarsound including lots of shredding.

All together, Palimpsests is a great album on which Vin De Mia Trix let us hear that they are comfortable with many different musical styles. Of course, Palimpsests, with its long duration, isn't an album you listen to between other activities. Palimpsests is an album you have to sit down for and give it the time it needs. Then you'll hear how great Palimpsests is. Definitely recommended!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Vin De Mia Trix Official Website
Vin De Mia Trix Facebook

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review: Odradek Room - A Man Of Silt


Since 2010, guitarist Ilya Zernitsky, bassist/keyboardist Sergey Kuznetsov, drummer Roman Borovikov and Artyom Krikhtenko, who takes care of vocals, guitars, keyboards and samples, make music together under the moniker of Odradek Room. Odradek Room's musical style is kind of progressive death/doom metal, but they regularly cross those boundaries. In 2013 they released their promising debut album, called Bardo. Relative Reality. Since October 12th it got a successor. It is named A Man Of Silt and is released as a co-release between Hypnotic Dirge Records and BadMoonMan Music.

So, close your eyes and let the relaxing, dreamy intro Arising In The Void lead you to the world of Odradek Room. A Man Of Silt truly is a great journey through a dreamy, atmospheric world. The basis of A Man Of Silt are atmospheric, often even epic soundscapes. Of course the drums, bass and guitars are regularly present, with Roman Borovikov's drumming skills standing out the most. Sometimes Artyom Krikhtenko's vocals are added, which are phenomenal no matter what style. Whether he grunts, screams or sings with clean vocals, in for example the beautiful Texture Of Reality, Artyom Krikhtenko can do everything with his voice!

While Odradek Room's music is dreamy, it for sure isn't boring. Variation is very important on A Man Of Silt, with the tempo- and rhythm-changes being present. A perfect example of this, is the earlier mentioned Texture Of Reality. It has a slow, acoustic start followed by a hellish scream and a very nice guitarsolo before going back to rest again. For Odradek Room, crossing boundaries isn't a problem. They let us hear influences from for example, prog-, doom- and post-metal, but the start of Mirror Labyrinth sounds even a bit atmospheric black metal-like. Another track which is really standing out on A Man Of Silt is the beautiful Rain Trip. Beautiful female vocals can be heard and the addition of a sax, a unique and unusual instrument in metal, is a real plus. After Divide, which is the heaviest and longest track on A Man of Silt, it is time for the relaxing, hypnotic outro Conditional Eternity. When this outro has ended you are finally aware about how fast the past 50 minutes flew by and you probably want to enter Odradek Room's world again immediately. What an album!

A Man Of Silt is not only a great album, but it is a whole experience on itself. Odradek Room delivers a phenomenal album, very recommended for sure.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Odradek Room Facebook

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: Anthrophagus - Anima In Decay


Ready for some massive death metal? Because the Belgian guys from Anthrophagus, Glenn Leuckx (lead guitar/vocals), Wout Havaux (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Antoine Sohier (bass) and Maxime Moreira (drums) got a new album released. After their demo from 2009, Putrefaction Through Retribution and their EP from 2012, Cleansing The Red Light District, they released their first full-length album on November 1st. It is called Anima In Decay. This is their first release with Glenn on vocals (besides guitar) after the departure of Wim Vandenbranden in 2012. It is also the first release on which bassist Antoine can be heard after the departure of Gregory Bars in 2014.

The first track of Anima In Decay, Slaughterhouse Orgy, starts with a creepy intro, to shake you up when Anthrophagus bursts out with their musical violence. Slaughterhouse Orgy is a perfect opener and promises a lot for the remainder of Anima In Decay. Something which immediately stands out are the pounding drums from Maxime. He plays very tight and he appears to be a very solid backbone of Anthrophagus on this entire album. Besides that he, as Anthrophagus' backbone, takes care of a very solid musical basis, there for sure is space for him for to show his skills, which are great! Glenn's growls sound raw and filthy which perfectly fits their death metal. The backing vocals sometimes sound a bit more screamy, which is a very nice addition. Of course, the guitars are very present in a great way, with sometimes even a nice guitarsolo, for example in the before mentioned Slaughterhouse Orgy. The addition of the shredding guitars is also nice. Anthrophagus plays their death metal in a very tight way. Anima In Decay is pretty complex death metal, but it won't be too complex. The complexity is mostly coming from the many rhythm-changes, but it isn't getting proggy.

The energy coming from Anima In Decay is overwhelming. Combined with the fact that there is a lot going on here, makes that this is an album you might need to recover from, in a good way. Or are you strong enough for an immediate replay of Anima In Decay?

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Anthrophagus Facebook

Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: Andreas Budweiser - Alarm


Andreas Budweiser, you may know his name from the German thrash metal band Predatory Violence, of which he is the vocalist/guitarist. Andreas already released four full-length albums and 2 demo's with Predatory Violence so far. However, in May, he released his first solo effort. This solo debut is called Alarm and is released via the also German label Kernkraftritter Records.

The first melodies of opener Melody Of Scorn are immediately promising and there sure is an old school heavy metal vibe present. While it might let you think about older metal bands, Andreas does surely give his own, personal touch to his music which for sure doesn't sound dated. Variation means a lot for him on this album, there is something for everyone on Alarm. For example, the drums in the faster tracks Alarm and Stalking The Prey could also fit really well in thrash metal. However this isn't very strange, because of the fact that the drummer on this album is David "Dave" Amendt, drummer of aforementioned Predatory Violence. The other person that can be heard on Alarm, besides Andreas and David, is bassist Ralf J. Rock. He gets a bit more space to show his skills in Stalking The Prey. When talking about variation, the electro-influences in Pika-Don and the many tempo-changes are definitely worth mentioning. Andreas' vocals are sometimes a bit low in the mixing, but not very much. His vocals sounds very nice with as highlight Pika-Don, which makes me think about Judas Priest, partly because of the Rob Halford-like vocals. Vocal-wise The Wig is also special, because of the two different styles combined.

On Alarm there are a lot of things happening, but it isn't an overdose. Everything is brought with a lot of energy, which makes it impossible to sit still while listening.

Andreas Budweiser delivers a perfect solo-debut with Alarm. The time flew by listening to it, recommended for sure!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Andreas Budweiser Facebook

Fleshgod Apocalypse, Obscura, The Charm The Fury and more at Amsterdam Metalfest, on Saturday May 19th at the Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Lurking ominously behind the canaled facade of Amsterdam’s street view, is Amsterdam Metalfests’ haunting spell waiting to be cast. May 19 th marks the first edition in the biggest hall of Amsterdam’s much revered venue Melkweg, The Max, and features an array of metal as symphonic, technical, melodic and stoner-groove are all on tonight’s menu. This year, Amsterdam Metalfest has the support of Buma ROCKS! Doors open at 16:00, tickets cost €22,50 (excl. membership).

Headliner Fleshgod Apocalypse proves that ‘death metal’ and ‘symphony’ make a savage blend. This, combined with their onstage theatrical bravado, promises to be nothing less than a spectacular showdown. The German technical death metal quartet Obscura is the second to last act to play the podium and their latest well-praised Akróasis (Relapse Records, 2016) possesses a sound that borders the virtuose. The Charm The Fury will have the home advantage! After a year of riding the European lands, playing high-profile support shows, this melodic metalcore foursome from Amsterdam finally returns to their hometown.

The first half of this evening is filled with the brutal death metal of the Italian Hideous Divinity, the also-from-Amsterdam melodeath outfit For I Am King, and the icebreaking groovy-sludge-blues of Onegodless.

Line-up
Fleshgod Apocalypse, Obscura, The Charm The Fury, Hideous Divinity, For I Am King, Onegodless.

Logistics
The Melkweg is smack-bang in the middle of the city centre, easily reachable by public transport, bike and on foot. It is situated around the corner from the busy nightlife square Leidseplein, and surrounded by hotels and hostels. Do not hesitate to contact us for any travel tips!

Amsterdam Metalfest | Melkweg, The Max
Saturday May 19 th , 2018 | doors open: 16:00
Tickets €22,50 (excl. membership) | pre-sale January 14 th
Lijnbaansgracht 234A, 1017 PH, Amsterdam

Check a live review we did of The Charm The Fury and For I Am King here as well as another live review of The Charm The Fury here. You can also read our album review of The Charm The Fury's The Sick, Dumb & Happy here and read an interview with their vocalist Caroline Westendorp here.

Amsterdam Metalfest Facebook
Metal Amsterdam Official Website
Metal Amsterdam Facebook
Metal Amsterdam Twitter

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: Agony By Default - Catastrophes Of The Mind


Agony By Default is a solo project by US-based musician Matthew Brammer. He initiated the project back in 2013, and released an EP back then. Afterwards, Agony By Default underwent some hiatus, until resurfacing in 2017 - a year that was marked by great productivity: Matthew Brammer released one EP and two full-lengths, the second of which is entitled Catastrophes Of The Mind. Let’s give it a go!

After the instrumental, somber and mellow piano intro Premonition, things pick up very rapidly with Mistress Of Agony. This song kicks off with a dark metal intro, spiked with high-pitched screams, and then turns towards a blend between brutal and melodic death metal. Around the middle and especially towards the end, piano tunes add a touch of symphonic metal as well – all in all a perfect track for the darker winter days! Your Gods Still Bleed can be divided into two parts as well: the first half being more brutal and tipping its head towards old-school death metal bands, while the second half is again more melodeath. Less variation is perceivable on Eternity Stares At Me, a classic death metal track, before we can enjoy a perfect mix between brutal death metal and melodic passages on I Am God, And This Is My Grave. The Darkness Within is another purely instrumental track and lets you breathe through before the last two tracks of the record, You Believe In A Lie and Plague, hit you. You Believe In A Lie has a darker note to it than any tracks before, but comes with the same brutal aggressiveness. Plague, the final track, is quite alike its precursor, but ends off with a melodic piano solo that connects well with Premonition, and guarantees a nice round-up of the album.

In conclusion: Agony By Default, a.k.a. Matthew Brammer, has definitely found his style and combines it in an interesting blend between brutal, melodic and symphonic metal, with some splashes of dark metal here and there as well. My personal favorite is I Am God, And This Is My Grave, but the entire record come highly recommended, especially to fans of any of those genres, and let’s hope that 2018 will be another productive year for Agony By Default! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Agony By Default Official Website
Agony By Default Facebook

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Peace Is Just A Break - Little Boy


Swiss melodic death metal quintet Peace Is Just A Break are around since 2011. While they played several shows up until now, it took until October 2017 to release their debut album, Little Boy. Better late than never - let’s give it a spin!

Little Boy kicks off with Peace Is Just A Break (the track), a very melodic, fast-paced death metal song. Spiked with nice growls and kick-ass lyrics, this track is sure to stick with you for a while. Next up is Alice In Monsterland, a track on which you can discern some influence by In Flames. Like the first track, it’s also spiked with catchy tunes and sticks, also thanks to the title ;) . The album’s third track, Insane Circles, starts more midtempo and stompy, but picks up speed very soon. A perfect track to headbang to! War Is Over is somewhat alike, but that’s surely not a bad thing, as every melodeath enthusiast will truly enjoy this track. Tunguska, on the other hand, starts off way more rock’n’roll-y, but then turns into a full-blown death metal track with some black influences. An interesting combination that is highly recommended to check out. Another great find is the slower Rain, which has even some ballad-like moments in it. A chance to breathe through, then, before the album closes off with two more melodeath tracks of their own, as well as a cover of Maître Gims’ Brisé.

In conclusion: well, it is quite obvious that I really like the album. Why? While it’s clearly a melodic death metal album, it’s not more of the same, but has a nice diversity to it that keeps you, as a listener, engaged from start to the end. Also, production’s great and the guys are very good musicians, so what more is there to ask for? Go check it out! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Peace Is Just A Break Official Website
Peace Is Just A Break Facebook

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Preview: Veghel Blackfest at Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands, February 17th, 2018


In a bit more than a month, on February 17th, 2018, it's time for a new festival. After three successful festivals in death metal style organized by Doc Holliday Metal Productions, this time it will be in black metal style. Doc Holliday Metal Productions, who are they exactly?

Doc Holliday Metal Productions is founded by Alwin Roes, bassist of the Dutch band Dead End. In a pretty short time, Doc Holliday Metal Productions' activities were extended and so did their crew with Dave Blummel and Meindert Meinsma being the main men besides Alwin. Nowadays Doc Holliday Metal Productions is an agency for twenty bands, for example the Dutch band Altar and the Belgian guys of Moker. Besides being an agency, they also got their own record-label and -shop. Last but not least, they organize gigs. They do DocFest Metal Meetings at different locations, they have the regularly returning Veghel Deathfest and now they got their first edition of Veghel Blackfest lined up. Besides Veghel Blackfest, the following gigs are already confirmed coming from the Doc Holliday Metal Productions camp:

Death From Within IIat Studio Gonz, Gouda, The Netherlands, March 24th, 2018
Doc's Metal Massacreat De Reunie, Geleen, The Netherlands, May 12th, 2018
Veghel Deathfest IV atDynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, May 26th, 2018

However, first of all: Veghel Blackfest!

As you can probably now by its name, Veghel Blackfest will be a festival for people who dig black metal. However, within black metal there are many differences and Doc Holliday Metal Productions have got that perfectly balanced with this line-up of Veghel Blackfest.

Rotting Christ

Headliner of this first edition is the Greek band Rotting Christ. These Greeks are already playing black metal for a while now and while doing so they regularly use ancient Greek influences in their music. Last year this band existed for 30 years, so they have enough experience to give you a phenomenal show. Curious!

We also reviewed their Rituals album (here) and their Lucifer Over Athens live-album (here).



Rotting Christ Official Website
Rotting Christ Facebook

Arkhangelsk

The other band coming from Greece performing today is Arkhangelsk. In contrast with fellow Greeks Rotting Christ, this is a fairly new band. They just formed in 2015 and released their debut EP in 2016. Last year, Arkhangelsk also played their first shows and made the announcement that they are writing new material. The tracks on their debut EP sound great, so I really look forward to their new material and their performance at Veghel Blackfest.



Arkhangelsk Facebook

Carach Angren

Doc Holliday Metal Productions also makes sure you can support your local scene. They got six bands playing on Veghel Blackfest that are Dutch. The biggest name of these six bands is Carach Angren. This horror metal band plays dark, theatrical music based on concept stories. I already saw them live twice and I also really look forward to seeing them perform again at Veghel Blackfest.

Read our interview with Carach Angren's keyboard-player Clemens 'Ardek' Weijers here.



Carach Angren Official Website
Carach Angren Facebook
Carach Angren Twitter

Misanthropia

One of the other Dutch bands is Misanthropia. They play a melodic form of black metal, sometimes even in epic proportions. The in 2016 released album Omerta is a fantastic album with sometimes even some prog-elements shine through. Seeing this live must be amazing!



Misanthropia Official Website
Misanthropia Facebook

Ceremony

The band who is probably the most divergent music-wise today is Ceremony. This, also Dutch, band plays music being more death metal than black metal. However, this offers a variation for the audience. This way, Ceremony can shake the audience's heads while they are headbanging before they go back in black metal modus.



Ceremony Facebook

Dystopia

Dystopia, another Dutch band, play their black metal mixed with some psychedelic doom influences. To do this they use two instruments that can be called unconventional in metal: the trumpet and the trombone. This gives a very nice touch to Dystopia's music and if their show will be as nice as their latest album Chaos Philosophorum, which is released in April, I can't do anything other than looking forward to it.



Dystopia Official Website
Dystopia Facebook

Yaotzin

Yaotzin is a Dutch band playing fast black metal, already existing for quite some time. Other than a hiatus between 2009 and 2013 they are going strong in the black metal world since 1995. Based on their music this will be a crushing show!



Yaotzin Official Website
Yaotzin Facebook

Noctambulist

The last Dutch band to mention is Noctambulist. This band is formed a short time ago and as far as I know they haven't released any music yet. However, the members of Noctambulist are no strangers in the metal scene. Bassist/backing vocalist Sam C.A. used to sing in progressive metalcore band Discreator. Guitarist Stef Heesakkers also plays guitar in doom metal band Treurwilg, which is also where the band’s drummer Mitchell Scheerder plays in. Last but not least, their vocalist/guitarist J.D. Kay also sings in the modern death metal band Purest of Pain. Based on their Facebook page Noctambulist plays atmospheric post-black metal. Curious to hear their music and see the show!

Noctambulist Facebook

Svart Crown

Svart Crown hails from France and plays blackened death metal. In March last year they released their fourth album, titled Abreaction, which is a great album. The music on Abreaction is very intense and this promises a very nice and intense performance!



Svart Crown Facebook
Svart Crown Twitter

Thyrgrim

There is only one more band I haven't mentioned and that is the German band Thyrgrim. Personally, this is the band on Veghel Blackfest I am mostly looking forward to. The first time I heard Thyrgrim's music, which was on their 2015 album Dekaden, I was immediately blown away. What an album! The successor of Dekaden, Vermächtnis (released September last year), is also definitely worth listening. Really looking forward to their show at Veghel Blackfest!

Read our review about Thyrgrim's Dekaden album here as well as a Promoting Bands including Thyrgrim here.



Thyrgrim Facebook

This promises to be a very nice afternoon/evening full of black metal, do we see you there at Veghel Blackfest?

Haven't got tickets yet? Buy them here.

Veghel Blackfest event on Facebook
Doc Holliday Metal Productions Official Website

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Unleash The Archers - Apex


Despite the fact that Apex is the fourth full-length album of Canadian-based band Unleash The Archers, I didn’t know the band from one of their earlier albums. But I have to say, Apex was a great album to get to know them better. Many bands in the female fronted genre, which is a hideous term by the way, have the standard guitar riffs, keyboards, and melodic vocal lines. But with Unleash The Archers you sometimes think you’re in the 80s again. Sure, the opening song Awakening serves as a bit as a showcase song, where everything that this band is capable of comes together with grunts, heavy guitars and loud drums, making it a powerful heavy metal song. But when you listen to the second song Shadow Guide you can hear that Unleash The Archers is as a band that mixes metal and hard rock a little bit. And this is very refreshing. Being a fan of the 80s classic rock myself, I love to hear screeching guitars and a fantastic female vocalist, because that is what Brittney Slayes is!

Sure, if you ask me her voice would’ve suited better in a hard rock band, but this also works like a charm. Throughout the whole album Brittney Slayes shows what she is capable of. Does the music of Unleash The Archers have no metal at all then? Of course it does! By adding grunts and tuning the guitars down, creating what we call in metal the devil’s tone, Unleash The Archers definitely brings the heavy metal to you! If you combine these metal elements with long screeching guitar solos and some 80s choruses, then you have a great band making great music. The next two songs on the album The Matriarch and Cleanse The Bloodlines really are powerful battle songs. They stand out from the rest and are among the better songs on the album.

In the song Ten Thousand Against One you hear the very tight drums of drummer Scott Buchanan. I already said something about the great guitarists, Grant Truesdell and Andrew Saunders. They play incredibly good and have time for a nice long solo in almost every song. Furthermore, the title track Apex really stands out because, despite the fact that throughout the whole album I can hear that vocalist Brittney Slayes is really good, the quiet part of this song really shows how great a singer Brittney really is! I think that that is the only negative point I have of the whole album, I would’ve liked it if there were some ballads present. But I guess that’s a matter of taste.

So, do you like heavy metal and are you just like me sometimes a little stuck in the 80s? Then Apex from Unleash The Archers is really your cup of tea!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Read our review of their earlier album Time Stands Still here

Unleash The Archers Official Website
Unleash The Archers Facebook
Unleash The Archers Twitter

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Apocalypse Orchestra - The End Is Nigh


Scottish bagpipes, heavy guitars and bombastic drums. This is the beginning of the album The End Is Nigh from Apocalypse Orchestra. The opening song The Garden of Earthly Delights immediately has that Viking feeling to it. After an instrumental intro of almost 3 minutes, the low male vocals kick in. This is a pattern on the rest of the album as well. The music of Apocalypse Orchestra is for the most part instrumental. Long heavy guitar strokes, tight drums that support it all and the low orchestral male vocals I spoke of earlier. This, in combination with some folk influences turn every song on this album into a truly epic masterpiece. Yes, you can say that, because every song lasts at least seven minutes. Instrumentally the songs are very similar to one another. But does the album have enough versatility? It sure does! In the second song Pyre you can hear that there is a completely different atmosphere, it is very threatening compared to the more folky feeling of the first song. This is mainly due to the fact that for the first time you can hear grunts. Each song on this album stands on its own and is a different chapter in the story that is being told. Musically every song brings something new to the table as well, but as a reviewer it is difficult to describe what this is for each song individually because it mainly has to do with the feeling of a song, rather than that the song is significantly different than its predecessor. Over the course of the album a story is being told about warriors preparing themselves for the end of all time, the apocalypse. Hence the name of the album The End Is Nigh. To tell a great story you need a good atmosphere. And by adding instruments such as the Scottish bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy, you immediately think you’re on the battlefield yourself when listening to this album. In the song Theatre Of War a calm male voice narrates from a bird perspective about how everybody is going to battle. In this moment you’re being pulled away from all the direct violence and mayhem. It is a light calm moment in an otherwise dark and melancholic album. This song, that is roughly in the middle of the track list, really is a great intermezzo that can help you catch some air before delving right into the battle again!

The song To Embark serves as a small intermezzo preparing you for the epic closing song Here Be Monsters. In this last song the grunts can be heard again. It is a bombastic closer of a heavy and good album! Like I said earlier, I think that every song is a bit similar to one another. However, that didn’t stop me from completely immersing myself in the world that Apocalypse Orchestra has created, all that is needed is just a little bit of fantasy! They really have outdone themselves creating the wonderful atmospheric tunes about death and decay without neglecting to be stylish about it. If you like metal with an atmospheric ambience, without it being really heavy or technical and are you just as big a fan of Vikings, mythical creatures and other fantasy elements as I am and do you like the sound of Scottish bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy? Then I would really recommend listening to The End Is Nigh by Apocalypse Orchestra. This is a band of which I hope to hear a lot about in the future. Count me in as a fan! However, I have to say that this kind of music has to suit you. It just isn’t made for everybody.

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Apocalypse Orchestra Official Website
Apocalypse Orchestra Facebook
Apocalypse Orchestra Twitter

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Review: Serenade - Onirica


A powerful mix of symphonic and goth metal, the band from North Italy (Padova, my last name, namesake!) of Claudia: vocals, Filippo: guitars, Alberto: guitars, Dario: bass and Leonardo: drums astound and pound the stuffing’s out of you with this record.

"To Serve Society With (Our) Their Metal” is a wonderful sentiment from their FB page and that they do, possibly sending people to chiropractors from all the headbanging as a result of their graciously played metal tunes. The hauntingly vocalized intro Insomnia and leading into the speedy When Darkness Will Fall are testaments to that, hard-driving music with ghostly wonderful vox – what a range!

Kill Your Pain is another riff laden, keyboard-haunted number that rocks nicely with flowing harmonies and more excellent voice. Following is my favourite, Hold Me Back with a deceptively smooth slow intro and then crashing wall of sound at about 00:54...devastating!

Their interesting choice for an 8:39 venture Luceafarul, a gothic sojourn into the lengthy poem Lucifer or actually Evening Star by Mihai Eminescu, is supremely well done, soulfully sung and a fantastic job setting this lengthy poem to music.

Personally, too much of the operatic overtones is not my thing, but this has several songs on my mixtape already. The remainder of this delivers in all sorts of ways, and puts itself into the march of female fronted heavy metal. Again it’s all filed under “M” for me, but if this charge needs to be led, by all means, step up.

There is no mistaking the talent here and while the image and sound is that of some already at the front of the lines, they have a more distinctive look and artistry which will certainly do well to set them apart.

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Serenade Official Website
Serenade Facebook

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Alder Glade - Spine Of The World


Alder Glade is the solo project of a multi-talented musician from Brisbane, Australia. The term ‘solo’ has to be taken literally, because he can be held responsible for absolutely everything that has anything to do with the music of Alder Glade in any way. To say little is known about the man behind this project does not even scratch the surface of the truth, the man, known only as Drøüyn, is pretty much a mystery. Or maybe a well-kept secret would be a better term, that remains to be seen. Perfectly fitting the shroud of mystery surrounding him, his preferred style of music is atmospheric black folk metal. His previous work consists of two demos in 2014 and 2015, conveniently titled Demo I and Demo II, and a compilation called Exordium, which contains the songs of the two demos. Apparently the title was chosen with premeditation, empathically hinting towards what was yet to come, because two years after its release Exordium is succeeded by Drøüyn’s first full-length called Spine Of The World.

The first thing that struck me once opener Spine Of The World had moved passed its intro was the thin, cold production that immediately surrounds you with a chilling atmosphere you can feel in your bones despite the folky rhythm. An atmosphere that gets even more icy when, without warning, the folky tunes burst into a much more black metal oriented rhythm, complete with an inciting drum line and hoarse, distorted vocal work. Things are even turned up a notch in the next song called Lord Of The Lakes, which for the most part is a downright aggressive song, alternating bone crunching parts with melodic, almost soothing tunes. A combination that prevents you from reaching freezing point, but will definitely stir up feelings of coldness and unease.

Luckily (or not, depending on your preferences) there actually appears to be rest for the wicked here. Sun Ritual offers an oasis of rest and relative warmth in the otherwise seriously desolate and sub cooled world Drøüyn manages to create with his music. It’s not a particularly big oasis though, not even two minutes later the arctic winds return when Kingdom Aflame kicks off in yet another bone crunching black metal rhythm. Here too, like in all the songs on Spine Of The World, the relentless punishing of your ear drums is somewhat softened by the melodic folk parts, making things more varied and interesting in my opinion. The next song, Wheel Of Stars is by far the most compelling, haunting piece of music on this release. Starting relatively quiet and peaceful its lingering composition and ditto vocal line lets the song grow into a desolation and despair breathing track. Closing track Beltane, the longest track on the album clocking over 12 minutes, is composition-wise pretty much a resume of the entire album. Melodic, guitar-oriented parts suddenly burst into raw, rough parts and vice versa, creating the proverbial rollercoaster feeling before ending in a slowly fading outro. A great way to conclude this album.

If I had to decide between the earlier mentioned choices, a mystery or a well-kept secret, to describe Drøüyn and his music I’d choose the latter. Hands down. The interaction between folk and black metal combined with a thin, cold production turns out very well. On top of that, or better, apart from that Drøüyn proves he is a gifted multi-talented musician with a great eye for compositions and adding atmosphere to his songs. This leaves us with six songs that are to be enjoyed right away but will also grow as you replay them. The distinct black metal influences, especially in the vocal department, might scare one or two people off, but overall it will appeal to a wide range of metal fans. This is definitely a more than average album. Way more than average to be honest, well worth your undivided attention.

Written by Henric van Essen

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