Ok so I decided to bring back the last issue of the "Metal Fest Zine" that I Had at Metal-Asylum. So here it is enjoy. Yes it's old but who cares. We'll eventually make a 3rd issue.
If you want to discuss this issue, do so here
Note: A downloadable PDF version of this issue is available from this location
: Thanks for doing this Bart, I appreciate it...So been a while now since we've heard what's going on with Quo Vadis, what have you guys been up to these days?Bart
: Thanks for the opportunity to speak with your magazine. Well, this year was a very busy year for us, we added a new live guitarist Marc-Andre Gingras ( www.magproject.com ), he brings with him a wealth of experience playing live and various styles from jazz to metal. We did four shows with him in march of 2006, he did exceptionally well and added new energy to the live show which was already pretty much packed with adrenaline. Following the march mini tour I set off to build my recording studio -roughly 1500 sq feet for the live room, a nice control room, shower, guest room and lounge for bands - the lounge and guest room are still under construction but the control room and live room are already functional and have been recording since late September. My aim is to bring studio to the quality expected by myself and Yanic when we used to go to studios to record. The studio is in the woods near Montreal, a very peaceful place to be.
Finally most recently we confirmed our spot on the Kataklysm tour in Europe (January) - I think we'll be hitting something like 9 countries... and a number of Canadian dates in December.Nemesis (Matt)
: That will be a kickass tour without a doubt, especially with Kataklysm with whom you guys have played many times with I’ve seen multiple shots of the studio from some postings on Ultimatemetal.com it looks great, but what made you come up with the idea to build a studio in the first place? Bart
: Easy, I've learned much over the past 15 years of recording albums and DVD’s. And so I began researching the subject about a year and a half ago. Creating music and then being able to capture the performance properly just adds another dimension to what one can achieve as an artist. I recorded the choirs for Defiant Imagination at my place back in 2004 and those came out pretty well. The funny story is we were recording over two days and I had a case of 24 next to me at the beginning of every session... By the end of each session the case would be empty and every take sounded perfect... until the next time I listened to them ;) that's why on the album you mostly hear the morning sessions of both days - this is when I was the most critical hehe. Anyway, moving on....
I've also had the opportunity to work with some experienced engineers on the recent albums like Jim Morris (almost all of Death, Iced earth, etc), Pierre Remillard (Cryptopsy, 2x Quo Vadis) JF Dagenais (QV DVD, Kataklysm) and Jason Suecof (Trivium). With every project I paid a lot of attention to their approach and tried to learn as much as I could. Now I am in the position to give back to the music community and help other bands sound their best. Finally, having my own studio will give Quo Vadis virtually limitless resources to record the next album, with no constraints, either scheduling or financial which is something that I wanted to have for a very long time.
Bottom line is the thing most important to me is music and anything associated with it so it's just natural that I would want to master this side of things as well.Nemesis (Matt)
: Right on So...What was it like making the first ever Quo Vadis DVD?Bart
: Man it was a 4 or 6 month project, I worked with Yanic on getting the recording portion, the stage portion of lights, additional console, in ear monitoring organized. In the end I ended up calling Studio Mobile and setting thins up with them for the recording of the live show - they recently did the Live 8 show in Toronto and they've been doing the Juno Awards in Canada for the past 16 years so they had the level of expertise we wanted. Once the recording portion was decided, and Yanic was taking care of the details for the sound of the show I concentrated on setting up the artistic concept for the show: the artwork for the backdrops, getting in touch with the human canvas people and working with Roxy and the dancers on the choreography, the guest musicians like Claude Lamothe, and Julie Roy (violin) - and not to forget the Choir. Roxy wrote the intro to the show and sent the music to Quebec City where another friend of ours - Marie-Lou got the chorists organized, set up practices etc. All of this culminated the date of the show, when the choir bus arrived from Quebec City that was chartered by us and Capitale du Metal from Quebec... we thought we had it all figured out but we forgot one thing - room for the 28 person choir backstage the night of the show... they had to warm up in the kitchen I didn't sleep the night before the show there was just way too many details to take care of... I don't even remember the show that clearly... At least I have the DVD to remind me now - the months of work went by so fast as if I was in a trance.Nemesis (Matt)
: It definitely turned out nicely in the end I must say...So you guys are heading for a tour with Kataklysm in Europe, what are the plans for Quo Vadis once the tour is done?Bart
: Following Kataklysm tour we already have a show scheduled in Montreal for May 12 at the same venue where we recorded the DVD back in '05. The details are still being finalized but things are looking promising. We may do a few shows around Canada after the tour as well but I think that following the may 12th, I will mostly focus on finishing up new material for the next album. I love doing shows, but at the same time I need to take a break, and write some music.Nemesis (Matt)
: Yeah, it must take it's toll here and there when you tour for so long that you haven't gotten time to do other stuff you'd like to do. So this is going to be Quo Vadis' 5th, full-length album. What can Quo Vadis fans expect from this next album? I've been hearing that you guys are intending on doing maybe more acoustic stuff?Bart
: Hmm last album had cellos and choirs so from that point of view we will have acoustic instruments on the next one as well. There are already some things that will make the next record unique in context of the past QV albums, but I will keep the surprise until the release which may be some time in 2007 or 2008. At this point we're still very busy with shows that deciding which riffs to keep and where to put them keeps getting delayed. I can tell you this; the next album will have it's own soul like each of the other QV records in the past. It will stand on it's own in terms of what it will represent, it will have a unique mood and it will not be a clone of any one of the previous records. We do not like repeating ourselves and certainly there is no danger of that on the new album, it will be undeniably QV, with the power, agression and relentless intensity that defines our music, but all from another perspective.Nemesis (Matt)
: Well from what your saying it sounds kickass! Well thanks for doing this Bart, I appreciate it, would you like to add anything else?Bart
: Thanks for the interest and your support Check out our DVD and see you on tour
Septycal Gorge InterviewLou:
Written By Loucifer
Thanks for agreeing to the interview at such short notice! I understand that Septycal Gorge are planning to come over to England in April. Could you tell me a bit about how this was organised? How did the relationship with Grindethic come about?Diego:
Alright Hello Lou and first of all thanx a lot for the interview. Well, We knew Tom fron Grindethic records when we had the chance to play @ Obscene Extreme fest then in Prague last July. He liked our music and told us about the possibility to organize some gigs in UK. So here we are, Tom helped us out a lot and also Paul that is a promoter from Manchester. We have to thank a lot these guys to have given us the opportunity to reach Uk!Lou:
Do you know which cities you'll be playing in?Diego:
We’ll play in Manchester on Sunaday April 1st and in London on April 2nd . I don’t know the name of the venues yet.Lou:
I'm a sucker for band merchandise (and I absolutely love my girlie "Growing Seeds Of Decay" shirt!) so I was wondering if there was going to be a special tour shirt available on those dates? Diego:
We’ll have for sure new tshirt for these gigs (we gone out of stock with the old ones very quickly).. we are going to print them in these days! Lou:
Do you know which other bands you will be performing with on those English dates?Diego:
I know we’ll play with Cerebral Effusion in both gigs, they are a killer spanish band. There will be also some local acts I guess but still don’t know the name.Lou:
If you could tour with any band in the world who would it be and why?Diego:
I’d like so much to tour with Inherit Disease and Condemned . They are some of my faves band form California (of course I’d like also Deeds OF Flesh and Disorge US… but this is more like a dream) and also with Defeated Sanity from Germany, they are a fucking great band and also good friends of ours.Lou:
"Growing Seeds of Decay" has been available for a while now, what has the feedback been like from it? Which bands have you been compared to?Diego:
The feedback about our full length was really good all over the world, most reviews used to compare us to Deeds Of Flesh, Suffocation Disogorge US. It was a real honour for us as far as these bands are my greatest infleunces in writng music!Lou:
What were your favourite tracks from "Growing..."? Is there a particular one that you're especially proud of?Diego:
Yes my favourite song is Abominated Hierarchy,. It is the last song written for the cd so I can say it’s the most mature song and also the one who displays better the style we aim to reach. Other songs of GSOD are old, lots of them were written 2 years ago when the band was formed since few months.Lou:
When we were talking on MSN, you mentioned something about a brand new EP. Would you mind telling us a little more about it? Is there a release date yet? What are the new tracks like? Basically, is it as brutal as the full length?!Diego
: The new EP I’ve mentioned will be a 3 tracks promo disc that will contain totally new songs we’re actually writing. The new songs will be a step forward respect the old songs, I can assure you. I hope the promo cd will be recorded on summer (june-July)Lou:
Will you be playing any of the new tracks at the forthcoming English shows?Diego:
I hope we will play at least one new song for the UK gigs! Lou:
I know you're going to be extremely busy with the tour and the EP, but are there any plans for another full length in the near future?Diego:
We’ll try to make a good work in recording the promo ep this summer, then we’ll see the results we’ll obtain and then we’ll decide about the second full length. I hope it will be out for the next year!Lou:
What's the best thing about being in a band like Septycal Gorge?Diego:
The best is for sure the possibility to express my passion for death metal writing some brutal songs and playing in diffirent countries and knowing more and more people involved with extreme music!Lou:
What equipment do you use?Diego:
I use a Jackson RR-1 guitar, Line 6 preamp, Rocktron poweramp and marshall cab for now. I’m going to change the cab as soon as possible.Lou:
I'm currently learning to play bass (it's early days yet, but I'm definitely seeing some progress!) and I was wondering if any tabs for the tracks on "Growing..." were available?Diego:
I used to write Septycal Gorge song with Guitar Pro, for now online there aren’t any tablature but I think I will put online some new material soon in .gp4 formatLou:
What advice would you give to any budding muscians like myself?Diego:
No advice in particular… just keep up the passion for what you do and do it real. Don’t follow any fucking trend or shit like that!Lou:
I probably should have asked this question right at the start of the interview, but I was so excited at the thought of that tour that I got carried away... so... For the benefit of our readers who haven't listened to you yet, I was wondering if you could give us a bit of background information on the band. When and how was Septycal Gorge formed and what kind of music do you play?Diego:
Septycal Gorge is a five piece coming from Northern Italy (near Turin) spreading some massive techincal brutal death metal in the veins of US gods like Deeds Of Flesh, Suffocation, DisgorgeUS, Vile, Inherit Disease!Lou:
Now I'm going to give you a chance to do some blatant advertising! Where can people listen to your stuff and buy your CDs from?Diego:
Just come to our shows in Uk and check out our music! We’ll try to fo our best onstage for shure. If you’ll like it we’ll be there with all the merchandise (Cds, pins, Shirts), If someone are interested in buying our stuff by mailorder just write us at email@example.com or by PM at www.myspace.com/septycalgorge Lou:
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Diego. I look forward to catching up with you in April!Diego:
Thanx a lot for this nice interview and for the support Lou, see you soon at the show!!
I was going to write a big introduction here, but nothing can prepare for the almighty force that is KOVD…Lou:
Firstly, could you tell the readers a little bit about KOVD? How did you get together and who is in the band? El:
The band was an idea of Heiland and Zap but it was me who made it the glorious thing it is. I think the whole idea came up when the two guys listened to Mortician and thought: He thatìs not so hard Letìs do the same. Heiland:
(Thinking)Damn, sometimes I hate this arrogant latino-guy... hm, on the other hand he sucks cock like a hoover... Eh, I mean, donìt forget that weìve got the greatest drummer in the world: Mister Angelo Sasso Zap:
Heiland and I met at a conference of Alcoholics Anonymous meeting co-sponsored by the YMCA were I was jobbing at the time. I am not absolutely sure what he was actually doing there… in a break, we were listening to some Metal over a glass of beer and found a lot of common ground in our… preferences. The idea came about to express this special relation in a musical way. Heiland liked Mortician for its similarities to German brass music (humpa-humpa) so we tried to play a few songs, but since I can only play the bass a little and Heiland’s fingers were too rheumatic to play any technical riffs, we decided to ask a fellow-member of a club we had joined meanwhile to do the riffing – the latin lover known as El Mariatschi. Lou:
On your website you describe yourselves as glamgrind . What exactly is GlamGrind? El:
The one and final answer to everything thatìs metal. Zap:
A musical performance art show. A combination of body and soul of the bandmates. Mainstream Commercial Nihilism. Heiland:
I would even go so far as to announce that GlamGrind gives you the possibility to experience the ultimate harmony in the relation of body and soul. Listening to Glamgrind your spirit will mingle with the eternal, archaic forces that are the beginning and the end of all things. Lou:
As you know, I especially like the track called Die from your album Mainstream Commercial Nihlism . What is your favourite track from that album and why? Zap:
Probably Cumshot Corpsepaint because it was the first one we wrote. El:
The best tracks are of course: Self Inflicted, Cumshot, Battleship, Wurst, Lungenkranker, Double Time and ICBM. All the other songs suck donkey dick in hell. Why??? Because those ones were written by me. Heiland:
Yeah, what El wanted to say, is that all the songs he wrote alone suck donky dick in hell. Sometimes he's mixing things up a little Watch out what youìre tellin people, butthead But to answer the question: I like Fratzengeballer, Satan & Bitches and Wurst und Klötenfolter best. The first one, because it has the best drums and songwriting we did til now, the second because of its blend of different styles and the third one because of its stupid and numb primitiveness. Lou:
What's the feedback from fans been like? El:
They worship us. What else? Zap:
The grab for my penis. I guess that’s what makes true fans. Heiland:
Eh, guys, just in case you didnìt realize it yet: They worship me Only ME and only MY chest hair Every bit of attention you get is just a desperate attempt to get close to ME Lou:
Who comes up with the lyrics and song-titles? They're hilarious El:
Look at Zap... Just look at him... Zap:
The titles or concepts mostly resulted from our group meetings. The lyrics were very often written under the influence of heavily mind-altering substances like tea or Heiland’s cheesecake. However, the lyrics have a in-depth meaning worthy to be explored. Mostly, they relate to the fundamental constructist (constructivist?) nature of all human relations. Heiland:
Nothing against my cake, man Yeah, but indeed, we sit together, talk nonsense, out of that nonsense we form song titles and finally Zap is forced to write lyrics that fit the nonsense song titles. Lou:
Who's idea was it to put dildos on the album cover? They definitely make it stand out from the other releases I bought last year... Heiland:
Well, it's our first full length and it stands out, as you say... So what else than penises could have been on the cover? El:
Besides, we are members of the first official Dildo-Collectors-Club Zap:
We wanted to express the timelessness of our concept – what else could represent this idea in a better way than the cover as it is? Lou:
Have you got any other releases that we should look out for? El:
Not yet. Zap:
There’s stuff in the tube but no tune recorded yet, unfortunately. Lou:
What's next for KOVD? Are there plans for a new album? A tour of the UK perhaps? El:
We will record some stuff soon and play live as much as possible to spread the new religion. UK-tour? Just send over the plane tickets and book the gigs and we will do the rest... Heiland:
That would be great indeed. I assure you that plane tickets for a UK tour would be the first step to world domination Lou:
If you were to play a show or two in London, what song would you open with? El:
Battleship Ballad Heiland:
Ah, no man I propose we do a pure cover set, starting of with the A-Team melody, rollinì over the Knight Rider theme and reaching its climax with our astonishing version of the Power Rangers title track. Hell yeah Lou:
...and which song would you close with? Heiland:
Since its a cover set, we'd (as always) pay tribute to the Überking of Durchness Helge Schneider by playing Room To Room With The Devil at last. El:
Die Over and Over Again till Lou hates it... Lou:
Do you play any cover versions at live shows? If so, what are they? Heiland:
Damn, I should have read that question first... El:
We don't cover. Others cover us.Zap:
Strictly speaking, we do, but nobody ever realizes this, since the songs are either so little known or have been altered to quite an extent so that they are more re-arrangements of good riffs rather than covers. Lou:
In the last few interviews I've conducted, I've mentioned merchandise... so, you guys aren't going to escape it either. Do you have any t-shirts available and, most importantly, do you have any girlie t-shirts (this is a blatant hint because I want one )? El:
Not yet but we plan T-Shirts... All xxs of course. Heiland:
Yeah, heìs right Moreover we plan some string tangas for men to pay tribute to the very inspiring String-Emil. You donìt know him? Be sure to check him out, heìs a legend Zap:
I’d love to do a full print shirt with the pattern of our front cover wallpaper, the logo in pink up front and some of the silly sayings we have sitting in the vault on the back. Girlies would be my preference though, I wear ‘em, too Lou:
I like a good drink so... If someone was to make a KOVD cocktail, what would be in it and why? It can be as tasty or as vile as you like El:
Thatìs espresso, milk and caramel Sauce for me... I am so metal I do not drink alcohol. Heiland:
Ah I see, milk and caramel huh? Zap, we know what to do right? As far as Iìm concerned: I donìt drink alcohol either although I would like to, but my doc told me, if I wanna grow even older, I would have to quit. So today Iìm fine with a nice green tea flavoured with lemon and cactus’ figs. Zap:
A good drink at a time rocks. My favourite would be something with absinth but to represent the other suckers I’d say there’d be dickcheese and washed off corpsepaint in it. Disgusting. Lou:
Since we're still pretty near the beginning of 2007, what were your favourite albums of 2006? Heiland:
Oh, really difficult to say... I didnìt buy so many new albums last year. But I bought some older ones, for example the last Bolt Thrower that really rocks, same goes for AC/DCìs “The Razorìs Edge”. Ah and I should mention the weird hippie-folk band Espers with their album “Espers II”, also very good. El:
Hard one... Perhaps the new Misery Index and the collection of Django Reinhardt I bought. Zap:
Celtic Frost – Monotheist, the mentioned Bolt Thrower, Suffocation and a ton of other great stuff. Best non-metal was the soundtrack of legendary German porno movie series “Schuldmädchenreport” (which would translate as “report on schoolgirls”) – funky Lou:
What was the most disappointing album you bought in 2006? El:
Didn't buy crap this year. Heiland:
Me neither... my taste is so infallible and divine, that all the bands are honoured, when they hear that Im listening to their records.Zap:
I bought quite a lot of shit this year, but the worst thing was some of the stuff I listened to at a friend’s place who writes for brutalviews.de – some sorry shit there. Lou:
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Before we finish this, where can our lovely readers purchase your equally lovely album from? Zap:
Up to now, we distribute our album Mainstream Commercial Nihilism exclusively by ourselves. If you're interested to get a hold of a copy, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CD comes with a full-coloured, 8-page booklet, all the lyrics, good sound quality and 32 minutes of the finest Glamgrind to be. 5,- Euros a piece plus packaging (about 2-3 Euros usually)
Dark Remains Interview
Interview by Loucifer
A while ago I noticed that Burning Misery had released the new Dark Remains album. I’d heard that Dark Remains were Death Metal of the ‘old school’ variety, so I quickly decided that I wanted to listen to them – I even included an advert about the release in an issue of “ARSE!”. It did, however, take me a couple of months before I got myself together and actually placed an order. To make up for my slowness, I ordered both of Dark Remains’ albums and I haven’t looked back since. Both albums are a must for fans of this type of Death Metal!
After listening to the albums numerous times (mostly at work – I have to thank bands like Dark Remains for helping me to survive my day job!), I contacted the band and asked them for an interview. As you can probably guess they agreed (otherwise this would be an incredibly short feature!).Lou:
Hey guys, thanks for agreeing to this interview! I only 'discovered' Dark Remains because of Burning Misery. How did the deal with Burning Misery come about? Frank, Dark Remains:
Rik our bassplayer met Marco from Burning Misery someday and they planned the whole thing together .Lou:
Which five words would best describe your new album, "Planet Earth Scourged"? Frank:
Brutal old school death metal !!!!!!!!!!!!Lou:
Where does the title "Planet Earth Scourged" come from? Why did you choose it as the title of the album? For me, the word 'scourged' conjures up images of punishment and torture. I'd say that's a pretty fair representation of what the world's like today! haha. Was that intentional? Frank:
Well, our vocalist Rogier is the man for the lyrics so he likes to spread around about the destruction of the earth in all its forms .Lou:
What are your favourite tracks from the album?
Frank: All of them hahaha, but if i have to mention one it will be Misanthropic Rage because it represent the way we like to play brutal, heavy, slow…..Lou:
Have you received any reviews of "Planet Earth Scourged"? What has the feedback been like?
Frank: We are satisfied with the reviews so far , the comments of fans or the internet has been very positive.Lou:
How long did the album take to record and did you experience any problems during the recording process? Frank:
Within two weeks we recorded it, and the experience of our first album helped us a lot to make this album.Lou:
I understand that there have been a couple of line-up changes recently. Could you tell me who's in the band now? Frank:
Rik is our bassplayer, Erwin our new vocalist, André is the drummer and me, Frank ,is playing guitar.Lou:
After hearing the live tracks that are on the CD, I'm keen to get myself along to a Dark Remains show. Do you have any plans to tour in the UK? Frank:
We hope to play abroad someday, but it takes time to realize plans for a little tour or something but were hoping thing will work out.Lou:
Have you got any shows coming up elsewhere? If so, who are you touring with? Frank:
We have played with Houwitser, Putrefied, Officium Triste..and more but now in the coming months we hope to play with Vermin a band from Breda in the south of Holland.Lou:
Have you got any plans to get some 'girlie' Dark Remains t-shirts made? I ask this simply because I want one! Frank:
Were planning for new shirts so to make some girlies shirts is a good idea. I hope I can inform you later about it.Lou:
You released "Death Manifestation" in 2002. What have you been up to during the break between that and releasing the new album? Frank:
Playing gigs and writing new material of course and we also took a little break Lou:
Are you involved with any other bands? If so, where can I go to check them out? Frank:
I’m working on a project with a friend of mine but time and distance is the problem for the moment but we hope to bring it out someday.Lou:
What are your views on the Death Metal/Extreme Metal scene at the moment? Do you have a big fanbase in Holland? Frank:
There is a good scene, our fan-base is local but we are busy to improve it.Lou:
Which bands influenced your decision to play Death Metal? Who are your heroes? Frank:
Immolation, My Dying Bride, Incantation , Napalm Death, Deicide , Obituary Lou:
If you could play a cover version by one of those bands in your live show, which would it be and why? Frank:
For me Immolation is my favourite they have there own style of death metal, the song I would like to play is“Those Left Behind”, because its death metal the way it should be. Lou:
Hopefully now a few of our readers will want to check you guys out. Please can you tell them where they can listen to/buy your stuff? Frank:
Listen or order you can at www.myspace.com/darkremains or at www.burningmisery.com. Thanks to you Lou and the readers!!!!
Amon Amarth - With Oden Our Side
Amon Amarth – With Oden On Our Side
1.Valhall Awaits Me
2.Runes To My Memory
4.Hermod’s Ride To Hell (Lokes Treachery Part 1)
5.Gods of War Arise
6.With Oden On Our Side
7.Cry of the Black Birds
8.Under The Northern Star
9.Prediction of Warfare
Viking Metal giants Amon Amarth arise again, with Oden on their side. The god of war, poetry, wisdom and death gathered a portion of slain Metal warriors in his hall of Valhalla. The coast line was rocky and the sea rough with the wind blowing, but nothing would stop them from returning victorious. As the ship is coming closer to shore, it is time to pick up swords, axes and shields
After their Fate of Norns release, which received great and lesser ratings, Amon Amarth provide us with a new voyage into the Nordic mythology. And this time, they are truly in a fighting shape. The performance is flawless. The lyrics are bloody. The pathos of death is again perfectly described in songs such as Runes To My Memory. If you take some time to carefully listen through the songs and lyrics, you can feel the fluidness of how Amon Amarth captured the scene’s emotion of battle, carefully connecting melodies to words.
The songs most worthy of mentioning are Valhall Awaits Me, Asator, Hermod’s Ride To Hell (Lokes Treachery Part 1) and Under The Northern Star. They couldn’t have created a better opening track than Valhall Awaits Me. It simply breathes a march to war, inviting every warrior to come and join them in their fight. The album’s most aggressive and fast song is Asator, a dark, Gothenburg-Death-Metal-influenced track. This being followed up by a prime example of pure Amon Amarth Metal, Hermod’s Ride To Hell (Lokes Treachery Part 1): atmospheric, Black-Metal-influenced mid-paced guitar and drum work combined with Johan’s deathly roars. Under The Northern Star is one of the most melodic tracks ever created by our Nordic Metal gods. This makes sure it is not as dark as the other tracks, though without losing the overall emotion of the album. To top this all, the production sound is amazingly clear, making the album even more intense.
If you are looking for a band who is continuously progressing, Amon Amarth probably won’t satisfy your Metal needs. They are happy with their formula, and it works, accomplishing one successful anthem after the other, which is reason enough to praise them. This release will surely satisfy any Amon Amarth fan again. So put on your horned Viking helmet and enjoy Amon Amarth’s metallic bliss once again.
“Blow the war horns. The Vikings are coming. The Vikings are coming…”
Astarte - Sirens
Astarte – Sirens
01.Dark Infected Circles (Outbreak)
02.Black Mighty Gods
04.Bitterness Of Mortality (MecomaN) (Featuring Nicholas S.I.C. Maiis)
06.Oceanus Procellarum (Liquid Tomb) (Featuring Sakis)
07.The Ring (Of Sorrow) (Featuring Shagrath)
08.Twist, Nail, Torture
Astarte exists out of a female Black Metal trio hailing from Greece. As far as my Metal knowledge goes, they are unique, being the only complete female Black Metal band out there. And although bands, consisting fully out of women, aren’t rare anymore, it is still not common to find them in the Extreme Metal scene. One other band coming to mind here are German’s Death Metal act Sacralis, but that’s pretty much where it ends.
Sirens is not an old school Black Metal album. Astarte have not solidified themselves completely within the status quo of Black Metal . Through the years, they have evolved into a more Black / Death Metal sound rather than sticking to pure Black Metal. This has of course the advantage of being accessible to Black Metal fans as well as Death Metal fans. Another positive point here is they have completely thrown their bombastic keyboards overboard, choosing for a more sensible approach. On the other hand, it will surely not satisfy a part of the Black Metal heads. It does not have the epic feel of an average Black Metal album, nor the raw hatefulness.
Vocalist Tristessa does a wonderful job as Astarte’s talented front lady. Yes, she can perfectly sing Black Metal and more, it would fit on a lot of other Black Metal releases as well. Next to that, she’s also in charge of all lead guitar, bass guitar pounding and some beautiful acoustic guitar work on the instrumental tracks Lloth and Underwater Persephone, plus the ballad Sirens. Katharsis’ keyboards are placed much more effectively into the songs than on previous releases, leading to a better overall song composition. The credit of all rhythmic guitar work goes out to Hybris, the third Astarte core member. They have also always worked with session drummers. This time, it is quality drummer Ivar, providing a lot of straight-forward double bass and blast-beats. Technically, it all sounds very decent with some strong melodies.
Overall, their music is easy listenable and well-produced. The album starts out strong, with one of the better songs, Dark Infected Circles (Outbreak), moving on to one of the Blackest sounding tracks, Black Mighty Gods. After the nice instrumental Lloth, named after their former band name, Sirens starts to lag. Bitterness of Mortality still has a catchy and mesmerizing main riff, which will be able to hold your attention, but Deviate is plain dull. This is the beginning of often feeling the urge to push the skip button after a minute into each song. The exception being The Ring (of Sorrow) with guest vocal appearance of Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath. The ballad Sirens and instrumental track Underwater Persephone, containing acoustic guitar, piano and cello, are also quite enjoyable, best listened to lying on your bed, eyes closed.
Sirens does not reach excellence at any point during the album. There are few memorable moments, although we are dealing with talented musicians and the song arrangements are not necessary unoriginal. They will have to add more of their own emotion and be able to capture their audience. Nevertheless, Sirens is worth checking out by any Melodic Black Metal fan, or even Death Metal fan. Astarte also shows that an Extreme Metal band can perfectly succeed without male assistance. After all, we all know it should not matter that they are all women, but we also realise it does.
Astarte are currently in the studio working on their fifth album, Demonized. They will again feature some impressive guest musicians such as Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Death Metal’s finest female vocalist, and Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. You can listen to a preview of the song Mutter on their official website, which you will hear, leans a lot closer to the Death Metal genre.
“Weakness Sows Its Seeds”
No LabelBy Loucifer
My first CD review for this issue isn’t actually a CD as unfortunately Reckoning have sold out of this EP. The good news is that the whole EP is currently available from their website. I’d suggest downloading it pretty soon though, since I’ve been led to believe that the tracks will only be online for a limited time.
I was first brought into the world of Reckoning after seeing a new forum pop up on the Hard N Heavy Commonwealth (yet another forum where I am a regular ). It turns out that this new forum is now their official home. Anyway, I followed the link to their website and, after being won over by the artwork to this release, I decided to give them a listen. What I heard once I’d downloaded the tracks was some good old school metal with some pretty decent thrash influences. To give you a better idea of the style of metal we’re dealing with here, I think that Reckoning would go over very well at Bloodstock, or at a Iron Maiden or Machine Men gig. Basically, if you like those sorts of bands, you’re probably going to want to find a space in your music collection for Reckoning (the Maiden-esque riff in “Disciples Of Fear” is definitely worth listening out for). My only issue is that Reckoning end up sounding a little bit too much like other bands of the same ilk.
All of the four tracks on “Weakness Sows Its Seeds” are of a very high quality and are the kind of songs that demand more than a couple of listens – I quickly found myself becoming hooked on (my now favourite track from this selection) “Martyr of War”.
It’s well worth giving this one ago… especially since it’s completely free
“Setting Dying Day” Promo
No labelBy Louciferhttp://www.myspace.com/scarecrowmetal</div>
I have to be honest here – I’ve been slacking. This promo CD from Italy’s The Scarecrow was sent to me a few months ago, but because of the changes with “ARSE ” and Metal-Asylum, I have only had the opportunity to review now. I know it’s a poor excuse – but it’s all I’ve got
The Scarecrow aren’t going to win any prizes for originality with this collection of tracks, and even though it’s not particularly a bad thing, they seem to be covering a lot of old ground.
‘So what do I get for my money?’ I hear you ask. Well, you get six tracks of Death Metal that’s lively enough for you to bang your head along to like a mental ward escapee. That’s what you get. This is simple Death Metal and, despite many of you may feel that you’ve heard it all a thousand times before, The Scarecrow do it in style.The Scarecrow definitely show potential. Will they big name on the metal scene in the future? I really don’t know. There are many Death Metal bands out there at the moment. Having spoken to the one or two of the band members over MySpace a few months ago, I must say that I do hope that they get a record deal very soon. They’re definitely willing to put the work in and they seem very passionate about the music they create.
This promo CD can be ordered through the band’s MySpace page.
“Mainstream Commercial Nihlism”
Those of you that read the last issue of “ARSE ” may already be aware of manic genius that is KOVD. For those of you that aren’t, KOVD are a ‘glamgrind’ band from Germany… and a damn good one they are too.
If you like your music heavy and with a good strong dose of humour then “Mainstream Commercial Nihilism” is the album for you – so get yourself along to the band’s MySpace and pick up a copy.
The mix of Glam and Grind works fantastically and throughout the CD you are greeted with surprising little touches. The guitar solo in “Die ” (my personal favourite) for example will seem unexpected from a grind band, especially one that doesn’t seem to be taking all of this too seriously. Also, the doom feel to “Candleblast” is another stroke of genius. As you can tell – I’ve really enjoyed listening to this album…. And it gets bonus points for having the best cover-art ever
Punishment 18 Records
I must admit that on my first listen to this album I wasn’t blown away, but I persevered with it and found that I liked it more and more with each listen. This album is definitely a grower.
Ground Control is a thrash / hard rock band from Italy, but the thing that separates them from everyone else are the vocals. Alessio Garavello clean and powerful vocals could easy have been pulled from a Power Metal or Hair Metal album. At first I wasn’t to sure if they suited this band, but after listening to the songs closely, I found that the match is perfect.
With “Insanity” Ground Control have created a selection of anthems heavy enough to please most thrash fans, while maintaining enough melody in their sing-along choruses to keep those that like softer metal happy. There is a good sense of energy on this album and I’d very much like to see this band live to see if they can recreate that onstage.
My current favourite tracks on this album are “Metal Thrashing Mad” and, the ballad, “Alone”.
“Philosophy of Winter”
I love impulse buys – especially when they help me to discover something really brilliant. After all, if it wasn’t for this particular impulse buy I would never have come to find Sear Bliss, who are now my current obsession.
Anyway, back to the task at hand – reviewing “Philosophy of Winter”. When I first discovered that this CD only had 5 tracks I was a little disappointed – but when I learnt that each track was over 6 minutes I felt a little better. When I pressed play I felt amazing.
The CD kicks off with the magnificent “Bringer Of The Storm”. The main riff has a great groove and hypnotises you until you are completely immersed in the track. The vocals are a lot like a freezing winter’s night – cold and bitter – just as Black Metal vocals should be.
“Spirits Of The Winds” is my current favourite from the album and this is mainly because of the way it starts. The infectious riff combined with the first onset of vocals (which are almost screamed) is mesmerising. Before I started listening to a lot of Black Metal, I never thought I would use the words ‘infectious’ or ‘groove’ when describing it… it turns out that I was very very wrong This is highly addictive stuff.
The next track, “At The Dawning Of Chaos”, begins in a much quieter and creepier way before taking us back to that raw and hostile place that the previous two tracks introduced us to. With that said, this whole track has a somewhat chilled feel to it.
“Path Of Destruction” is my second favourite here – this is mainly because the main riff is f*ckin’ tasty (apologies for the Tenacious D reference there – I’ve listened to that album rather a lot recently too)
The album’s closer, “Philosophy of Winter”, is possibly the darkest and most oppressive song here… and I like it. The song manages to create an intensely bleak landscape, which swallows the listener whole from the very first note.
I find that so many albums these days end up getting listened to only a couple of times, thankfully (in my case) “Philosophy of Winter” won’t have this problem. It’s had many repeat listens since I first bought it and it’s not growing old yet I predict that it’s got a few thousand more listens in it
Grey Skies Fallen
Reviews by Loucifer
It’s weird to think that not too long ago I was an anti-MySpace kind of person. As you can imagine, all that changed once I got a MySpace page for myself. I found that MySpace wasn’t the world full of Emos that I had originally feared (obviously there are many, but it’s easy to ignore them – just don’t add them to your Friends List – it’s perfectly simple!) and it turned out that this little site was an excellent way to find out about bands. I could list the bands I’ve found on MySpace here, but I don’t have that much time, or space, to spare. Instead I will tell you about just one of those bands… because they’re rather special.
Yes, without MySpace I would never have checked out Grey Skies Fallen…
Once upon a time, when I logged in to see if one of my friends had left me a witty comment, I noticed that I had a new Friend Request from a band. I didn’t have that much time, so I quickly checked out the band’s page and listened to about 10 seconds of a song that was on there. I decided that they were alright, so I accepted their Friend Request and thought that I would check them out properly later that evening. Did I check them out? No, of course not – I have a brain like a sieve! My next encounter with Grey Skies Fallen was after they sent out about half a dozen bulletins saying that they were giving away their 3 albums as free downloads. After reading this for the 6th time, I thought it was time to do what I’d planned to do months ago – check them out properly. So, I clicked myself onto their website and downloaded all three albums and put them onto my MP3 player (I love my MP3 player – Thanks Mark!). The next day at work I had the day from Hell (and not in a good way!) and it was lucky that I had those 3 albums worth of metally goodness on hand to bring me back to somewhere near sanity!
”The Fate Of Angels”
was the first album I listened to and it was also the first album released by the band. I would describe the music here as Melodic Metal with a Doom edge and a few of the songs here have a very epic quality to them. The vocalist, Rick Habeeb, has a fantastic strong and honest sounding voice which really suits the style of music that Grey Skies Fallen play. With this in mind, I am surprised to say that one of my favourite tracks on this album is the instrumental “Spiral Dreams”. It’s possibly one of the most moving pieces of music ever. Another thing I noticed about this album is that the listener is able to hear all of the instruments individually – nothing is wasted or gets lost in the mix. [Rating: 8.5/10]
With “Tomorrow’s In Doubt”
the band manage to create the same sense of foreboding that they did on their debut, but it also has a strangely uplifting quality to it. Again, the type of music is the same, but with certain songs, such as “The Essence Of Motion”, you can feel the band straying into Melodeath territory – which is no bad thing! [Rating: 9/10]
“Two Way Mirror”
pretty much brings us up to date (it was released in 2006). I found that this album leaned more towards the ‘clean’ vocals than the other two did (these vocals were on the other albums, but blended with a lot of rougher ones). Personally, I found that the other albums provided me with a better listening experience. That not to say that this album’s bad, it’s just different. It’s definitely one I need to be in the mood for. [Rating: 6.5/10]
A new album is due out later this year. I’ve read on the web that the band say it’s going to be “Heavy as f*ck!” – this certainly bodes well for me!