Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Body Void/Ruins/Crown & Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records/2017 Lp Review


  Body  Void  are  a  band  from  San  Francisco  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black,  doom  and  sludge  metal  with  touches  of  noise  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Ruins"  which  will  be  released  on  January  31st  as  a  joint  effort  between  Crown  &  Throne  Ltd  and  Dry  Cough  Records.

  Atmospheric  soundscapes  start  off  the  album  along  with  the  music  going  into  a  heavier  doom  metal  direction  a  few  seconds  later  and  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  at  times  and  the  vocals a re  high  pitched  screams  that  mix  black  metal  and  sludge  together  and  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  melody  at  times.

 All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  along  with  all  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  elements  of  crust  punk  are  added  onto  the  recording  along  with  with  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  and  elements  of  noise  are  also  utilized  at  times  and  one  of  the  tracks  also  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  samples  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  dark  yet  melodic  fashion.

  Body  Void  plays  a  musical  style  that  is  mostly  rooted  in  sludge  and  doom  metal  while  also  mixing  in  black  metal  vocals  and  elements  of  noise  and  crust  punk  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  oppression,  gender  and  science  fiction  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Body  Void  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black,  doom  and  sludge  metal  with  elements  of  noise  and  crust  punk  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Erased"  and  "Ruins".  8  out  of  10.    

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hypocras Interview

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

The recording process has been made during September 2016. So we've first released the digital format of the EP on our Bandcamp because we didn't receive the physical ones yet. Few weeks after the release, there were a lot of people purchasing it (I mean at our level...). So it has received a heartly welcome from the public. We also received a label offer, but unfortuntely it didn't fit with our own production schedule. The fact is that we had already ordered  and paid the print of the EP on our own and we were supposed to transfer some money to the label for that and we couldn't afford this extra expense. Many great reviews have already been written on the new baby and it's always a great pleasure to read something positive on your musical endeavor. It means a lot. But for us, the most important thing is to play shows because we all think this is the soul of Hypocras. The real Hypocras is on live in my opinion and we're still un-labeled so this is also the best way to meet people and have new fans. So we're actively looking for new gigs !

2.Recently you have released a new ep how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The stuff  of the past was really flute oriented. The other instruments were there to support the flute. On the new EP the flute supports the other instruments. So it's quite the opposite but I think it was a logical forward in our musical path as a band.

3.I have read that the band originally started out as an instrumental project, what was the decision behind adding vocals into your music?

   It started as an instrumental project because it was a project for his final exams so he had not expected to make some shows in the future. The fact is that even after he had graduated, the band continued to make rehearsal and worked on new music. Step by step, the idea to perform live has born and it became consistent to add vocals on the musical score.

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

Like the music, the lyrics have evolved. If on our first EP and full-length album, the lyrics were definitely oriented on the fantasy and viking themes, the new ones are directed on more philosophical, psychological concept. Actually on "Implosive" I'm trying to explore the constant dialog you have with yourself during on the critical times of your life. Which place the cognizant "I" is supposed to take ? What are the best way to keep this "I" aware ? I supposed these kind of questions only reflect my own interrogation at a time of my life where I have to make crucial choices. The bond between my lyrics and my life is strong.

5.I have seen the band being labeled as a death/viking metal band, do any of the band members have an interest in Paganism?

We have some during our early years but no longer...

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Hypocras?

There are not a lot of meaning or inspiration behind the name. It's an unique word so easier to remember and we like the medieval wine called Hypocras. Sorry, there's no conceptual inspiration behind the band's name :)

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I think that the first one on a big stage with a big crowd in front of us was an unforgettable time ! It was on 21th May 2011 at Les Docks in Lausanne (CH). We received a proposition to open for the band Eluveitie (CH) which was already a big name in the metal world. There were us and them ! It was the first time we were playing in front of more than one thousand people... For a little local band it was nearly obnoxious. We were quite impressed by the space on the stage but I think we managed to do it well because we did again at the Palladium in Geneva (CH) in 2012 and at L'Usine in Geneva in 2013. The show at the MetalCamp 2012 (SLO) was also a big highlight ! In front of more than two thousand people ! The first real tour with six followings shows in Japan in 2013 was also mad.

Our stage performance is very powerful and we try to share a lot with the crowd. Maybe too much for the crowd sometimes... But that's the way we like to do it. We like to see the smile on people face or something in their eyes which says : "I feel something right now". Like I said before, the live performance is the soul of Hypocras.

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

Well, we subscribed to the Swiss Wacken Metal Battle this year so we hope to play at Wacken this year. We also have a Spanish/Portugal tour scheduled for May. We also have two shows in Berlin and Hamburg (DE) during the summer. Maybe we'll try to book another european tour in October but nothing sure.

9.On the ep you had done a 'Djizoes' cover, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?

Djizoes is a band from Geneva so we're friends. They change their name in "The Erkonauts" now and we're playing with them tonight ! We choose to play this song in 2015 when the bassist and leader of Djizoes was celebrating his birthday and invited us to play in a local venue in Geneva. Our ex-drummer thought it would be a great gift to play one their song for the show. So we worked on it and two years later, we choose to record our own version of this song.

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

We are a little bit lazy about that because if we had dreams about signing with a big label, now we don't have anymore. So even if the things are slower to set up when you're unsigned, you have a the feeling that your band owns you. Plus, we didn't receive a lot of offer so the choice was not a real choice.

11.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?

It depends of the kind of fans of extreme metal... Some of them are not listening only extreme metal and they often like or not dislike our music and performance. The ones listening only to extreme metal are more sceptical : "The flute is so gay","This is too gentle" or "Not enough blastbeat"... Well, I think it's more about the open mind than about being fan of extreme metal.

12.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

I don't know where we're heading in the future. Probably on the same line we're doing now. And of course, we would like to record a second full-length album but before that, we need time to write the materials. And we also have our jobs, family and this is not going to happen before 2018 I think.

13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Hopefully we became very, very eclectic. Jazz, hip-hop, rap, blues, bluegrass... Everything works if you feel something. I don't really know how these styles have an influence on our music but it has some. Only the future will tell us ! If you want some really good jazz : Hiromi Uehara Trio, Mammal Hands, Matthew Halsall, Avishai Cohen...

14.What are some of your non musical interests?

Probably reading and video games for myself.

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

Thanks for the nice review and for this interview ! You're doing a great job !

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Aether Interview

   1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
1) Hi, we're Aether. We've been around for a little bit more than a year, pillaging and raiding the lands of Poland from our hometown, Łódź. Thus being said, we started the band in late 2015 with the spirit of Melodic Death Metal in our hearts. Which of course led to the release of the "Tale of Fire" EP on September 30th.

    2.In September you had released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
2) It's a mixture of our biggest influences such as Wintersun or Blind Guardian and our first attempt to create something unique and original. It has all that you might want it to have - blast beats, powerful screams, acoustic parts, INGENIOUS BASSWORK, a little choir and a lot of orchestrations! And, a riddle to us, as some people say black metal influences. ;)

    3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
3) That's one vast topic to explore. Fair enough to say each song is a separate story and for a careful listener the whole EP somehow blends into a bigger picture (which was actually unintended when I was writing the lyrics). And if someone's careful enough it's easy to notice that the stories touch more profound topics regarding man's dilemmas and his quest for understanding.

    4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Aether'?
4) In ancient Greece Aether was one of the primordial deities, a personification of the upper air. He embodies the pure air that the gods breathe thus filling the space between the realms of gods and mortals. However he had barely any shrines and no cult or temples at all. In other words, Aether is something that exists, yet is not to be touched nor seen; an idea of magic and all beyond understanding.
It's also a magical element in the "Witcher" saga and sounds dope as fuck :D

    5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
5) Since our first stage appearance we had our fair share of gigs in entire Poland with a lot of great folk metal bands, but our hearts always beat faster in our hometown - Łódź. And so, the most memorable Aether's concerts were played there. Such as our EP release party, which was a priceless experience.

    6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
6) Well, it's a hard topic to talk about without spoiling anything or making hype of things that may not happen, but we definitely want to grow bigger, go HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER... We want to start playing gigs outside of Poland and have our first serious tour. And even though we're starting to catch the first glimpses of what may the future bring us, only time will tell.

    7.The ep was released on 'Art Of The Night Productions', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
7) Well, it all started when we were playing one of the "Folk Metal Night" gigs. There was this one funny guy selling merch, sipping his beer from a drinking horn.
We were introduced. His name is Leopold and he's the owner of the label. Long story short, a few months later, after sharing a few beers and gigs he said "Hey, once you have some stuff recorded, hit me up, I may release it". And well, that's basically how it worked. Leo, aside from being a super cool guy, is one of the main reasons the Polish folk metal scene is so cool.

    8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic death and folk metal?
8) Overwhelming. We were shocked how many people wanted to listen to our music and get in touch with us. It's truly amazing. We shipped out quite a lot of CDs, not only in Europe but also to the USA and Japan.
And if it was not enough, we are constantly receiving very positive feedback from members of greater acts such as Beyond Creation, Ionic Bond or Aether Realm. It's so unreal - artists who wrote some of our favourite songs say they enjoyed our music and put it on their playlists! Truly shocking!
So as you can see, the support is amazing and we are truly thankful to everyone who believes in us.

    9.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
9) Difficult question. We have a lot of ideas and as you can imagine it's not this kind of stuff that can be written in one evening. It takes time to write a song we're satisfied with, and we have no idea when all those half-written tunes will be finished. But I can assure you that it will happen... someday... I hope...

    10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
10) It may vary, depending on which bandmember you ask, but we all share a neverending love and appreciation towards Blind Guardian and Wintersun. That's it. There's nothing more you need in life.
(Well, you still have to eat and sleep and do some other things, but who cares about such down to earth things) :P

    11.What are some of your non musical interests?
11) Honestly there are hardly any that we share. Unless you count drinking, partying and eating Chinese food as interests. Seriously now, some of us enjoy games, but who doesn't nowadays. And we all have individual interests, namely some scientific/medical/technological stuff and photography. Life's too short not to explore new areas of interest!


    12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
12) First of all, we want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to write our asses off. Secondly we want to thank all our fans for letting us develop as a band, it's you who make us who we are! And last but not least, thanks to all of you who made it down here, we really appreciate it! Cheers ;)


Friday, January 13, 2017

Saille/Gnosis/Code666/2017 CD Review


  Saille  are  a  band  from  Belgium  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  very  epic  and  symphonic  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Gnosis"  which  will  be  released  in  March  by  Code666.

Ritualistic  soundscapes  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  horror  movie  style  keyboards  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  leads  up  to  a  heavier  musical  style  that  also  introduces  melodic  guitar  leads  and  grim  yet  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  onto  the  recording  and  they  also  mix  the  symphonic  and  heavy  parts  together.

  When  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of   tremolo  picking  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  death  metal  growls  are  also  utilized  at  times  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  and  when  spoken  word  parts  are  utilized  they  give  the  recording  more  of  an  occult  feeling.

   One  track  also  adds  in  a  brief  use  of  operatic  female  vocals  while  clean  guitars  are  also  added  into  some  of  the  later  songs and  as  the  album  progresses  violins  can  also  be  heard  briefly  on  one  of  the  later  tracks  which  is  also long  and  epic  in  length  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present on  this  recording.

  Saille  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to  the  epic  and  symphonic  style  of  black  metal from  their  previous  releases,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  a  concept  upon  based  upon  Promethean  and  Luciferian  ideals.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Saille  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  epic  and  symphonic  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Pandaemonium  Gathers"  "Before  The  Crawling  Chaos"  "Thou,  My  Maker"  and  "1904  Era  Vulgaris". 8  out  of  10.     

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hypocras/Implosive/2016 EP Review


  Hypocras  are  a  band  from Switzerland  that  plays  a  mixture  of  melodic  death,  viking  and  folk  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2016  ep  "Implosive".

  A  very  heavy  and  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  high  pitched  screams  which  also  have  a  touch  of  black  metal  to  them  and  folk  instruments  are  also  used  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  and  the  music  also  mixes  in  some  modern  metal  elements  and  deep  growls  are  also  used  at  times.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  back  up  shouts  are  also  used  at  times  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  stick  to  a  very  melodic  yet  extreme  musical  style  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  they  also  bring  in  a  cover  of  Djizoes  "A  Song  For  Them"  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  grim  spoken  word  parts  and  they  also  bring  in  an  electronic  re-mix  song  as  the  last  track.

  Hypocras  plays  a  musical  style  that  is  mostly  rooted  in  melodic  death  metal  while  also  adding  in  touches  of  black,  viking  and  folk  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Hypocras  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  melodic  death,  black,  viking  and  folk  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Implosive  Absolution"  and  "At  the  Edge".  8  out  of  10.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Deadwound/Indentity Shapes/Black Bow Records/2017 EP Review


  Deadwound  are  a  band  from  The  United  Kingdom  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  doom,  sludge, d  beat, and  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2016  ep  "Identity  Shapes"  which  was  released  by  Black  Bow  Records.

  Dark  effects  and  spoken  word  parts  start  off  the  ep  before  going  into  a  more  heavy  and  melodic  sludge metal  direction while  the  vocals  also  take  sludge  and  mix  it  in  with  black  metal  screams  while  crust  style  growls  can  also  be  heard  at  times  and  the  slow  riffing  is  also  heavily  influenced  by  doom  metal.

  A  great  amount  of  hardcore  elements  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  d  beats  can  be  heard and  the  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  the  recording  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Deadwound  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black  metal,  doom,  sludge,  d  beat  and  hardcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  occultism  an  other  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Deadwound  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  doom,  sludge,  d  beat  and  hardcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Kult  Warrior"  and  "Babylon".  8  out  of  10.

Ashenspire Interview

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

Four oddities who like jazz and social justice, making peculiar music. We also have a variety of wonderful outside musicians who bless us with their talent on occasion.

2.       You have a new album coming out in January, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

We do indeed – It’s called Speak Not of the Laudanum Quandary. Musically, it’s a mixture of bleak metal textures with a bit of jazz fusion, a bit of prog rock and a healthy dose of the eccentric and theatrical. The vocal delivery is unlike conventional black metal, or clean vocals; it is called Sprechgesang, and was highly inspired by the mad ravings of the legendary Mr Doctor of Devil Doll.

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

This is actually one of the key components of Speak Not…, because it explores territory rarely approached in metal. The album is made up of 7 “veils”, or observations; each is concerned with a particular issue to do with British imperialism, and how that issue propagates into modern life. For instance, the first track looks at the displacement of indigenous peoples – this has particular relevance in Scotland due to a prolonged ousting of crofting families called the Highland Clearances, but of course is widely recognizable in the actions of imperial Britain throughout the world. Furthermore, it doesn’t take a historian to recognize parallels with modern day attitudes to refugees. It’s very much important to remember the responsibility we bear for many of the less privileged peoples today, considering how our comfort can often be traced back to others suffering.

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

The name refers primarily to smokestacks – vast arrays of chimneys that dominated the skyline here in Glasgow for decades, and similarly so in industrial cities all over the UK. Similarly, most of the older architecture in our city is stained near-black with soot. It also makes reference to the towering blocks of flats all over modern Britain in the fine brutalist architectural tradition.

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

Well, as of yet we have only performed a couple of times; we don’t like to play throwaway shows, every performance has value. But each time has been utterly exhilarating. Doffs of the cap to our friends at Cog Promotions and the North of the Wall team. The performance itself relies on playing tightly, but with feeling, and a pervasive atmosphere tending towards lunacy. Needless to say, it’s remarkable fun for us.

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

We’re going to be supporting the wonderful gents in Ash Borer this April in Glasgow, and details of a big album release shindig (with some extremely talented friends of ours) should be public soon enough. We’d absolutely love to go a-touring for the album, we’ll have to see what opportunities arise with regards to that.

7.       The new album is coming out on 'Code666', are you happy with the support that they have given you so far?

I think delighted would be the word. The folks at Code666 have been very good to us. We’re extremely blessed to be part of such a sterling label.



8.       On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and avant-garde metal?

So far so good, I think is the general consensus. Some very kind words have come in from all over the globe. Folks who are looking for more music along the lines of Dødheimsgard, Vulture Industries or our good friends in A Forest of Stars seem to find something to enjoy. It doesn’t seem to be music that people who like orthodox black metal particularly connect to, but we had that coming, really. Honestly, one of the more surprising things has been the feedback from people who don’t listen to any metal at all – very positive.



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

Saxophones. Lots of saxophones.

10.   What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Devil Doll are a big one of course, as are our aforementioned contemporaries; aside from them, Snarky Puppy, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Deep Purple and Ulver have all had a significant impact, among a huge number of others. I personally haven’t been able to stop listening to the new record by Edward Scissortongue and Lamplighter, Tell Them It’s Winter, ever since it came out. Brooding and melancholy in extremis, but insightful and addictive hip-hop for the discerning listener. Safe to say some of that sound will have leeched into our own writing come album two…

11.   What are some of your non-musical interests?

Outside of music we all tend to stay creative as best we can, in various different ways. We have an actor/comedian, an educational psychologist, a physicist and a chemist, so that fairly plays into it all. Consistently, though, we all like absurd humour, politics, posh beer, and dogs.

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

We hope that all of those who read this enjoy the new album, and we hope to hear discussion and viewpoints on its subject matter; that’s what it’s there for. So long as it makes people think, it has been successful. Many thanks for your time, be safe.