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sábado, 21 de octubre de 2017

Interview with STRIKER



by Vpower




The Band: Striker
Country: Canada
Answers by:  Timothy Brown (guitars)


This is not the first time we talk to Canadian STRIKER. And it’s normal because they never stop working and releasing new material. In 2016 they released their album “Stand in the Fire” and this year they are a back with a fantastic new album, “Striker”. We got this fast interview with Tim, we thanks him for the extra effort when touring.


Hello Tim and congratulations for a new album, “Striker”, the fifth in your career

Thanks!

With the release of “Striker” I think we can say that you guys are the dream of every metalhead, you work so hard and always deliver the goods

Ha Ha thanks again! Well it's a lot of hard work, so it's not quite as dreamy as it may look... But we are doing some really cool things and getting lots of great opportunities!

We were greatly surprised by the release of “Striker” only one year after the release of your previous album “Stand in the Fire”. Did you had the songs half composed a year ago or they are brand new?

They are all mostly brand new! We all enjoy writing music so it's something we are always interested in

Nowadays the usual process is album-tour ever 2 or 3 years, with “Striker” you are “breaking the law” hahaha as the Metal God would say, how? Why?

Well we are on our own label now, we can do whatever we want! We have no label telling us what to do or how to do it. Labels these days are stuck in the past and we are just doing what the fans are responding to.

But it’s not only the quantity, it’s also the quality. Because “Striker” is in my opinion your best effort to date, pure heavy metal, full of energy, clean and direct as a thunder

Thanks! It's also my favourite Striker album to date as well. I think we just wanted to focus on making good music, and we really wanted to cut out all the extra bullshit that might be in an album.

You have chosen “Striker” as the name for the album. It is kind of a definition, like if you were saying “ey guys this is our purest sound”

Yea you nailed it! We thought this album was a good summary of our sound. If someone has never heard Striker before, this is the place to start!

The covert artwork also goes in that direction, simple but striking hahaha

Yes exactly! We wanted something different, but also stripped down yet elegant.

You have released it through Record Breaking Records, how was it and how do you feel with the result?

So far so good! Record Breaking Records is our own label, and we have had great response from fans and the industry. I think going independent is the only way to go if you want to make it in the music industry these days, traditional labels are a thing of the past.

Cool. I would like to remark the work on riffs and solos by you, Tim, you are so  inspired

Ha ha thanks! I just try to shred as hard as possible!

In my opinion the solos have a natural taste that remind me of the Randy Rhoad’s legendary style

I try really hard to make sure the solos are very melodic, and that the solos are a song in and of themselves. I think Randy did that a lot, where each of his solos were their own song so to speak.

You have included an Ozzy’s cover, any particular reason for it?

It sounded good! We wanted to do an Ozzy cover and we liked Desire a lot.

I think you are at the highest moment of your career in terms of composition, at a level that allow us to say that Striker is nowadays one of the most inspired heavy metal bands

We just try to write good music! We are always learning and we like to try and find as much inspiration as possible from lots of different genres of music.

As we commented in our review, there are not weak points in your new album, so it would be hard to select a few songs for the gigs. Have you made your choice already?

That was definitely a hard choice! We ended up choosing songs that were closer to the other bands we have been touring with for now.

Because I suppose you will go out to present your brand new album, as you did with “Stand in the Fire”, right?

Yes! Right now we are on tour in Europe with Sonata Arctica. The tour is 7 weeks long and has been packed every night! We hope to have some more news to announce soon!

You have made several covers from big bands along the years. But I think you are on the way to get covered by others in the future, to be a reference in a word

That would be cool! We've seen the occasional guitar solo cover on facebook and instagram!

Are you releasing any video or whatever to promote “Striker”?

We released a video for "Born to Lose", and we hope to have some new music videos out after we get home from the European tour

Thank you Tim, we hope to see you around Spain soon and enjoy with your live music

Thanks for the kind words! And thanks to all the fans, without you we couldn't survive!
Cheers
Tim

ANGEL WITCH

En Metalbrothers.es os hablamos de Angel Witch, una de las leyendas de la NWOBHM http://metalbrothers.es/bios/biografias/angel-witch/

MARC VANDENBERG – Highway Demon (2017)




1.Highway Demon
2.Blue Eyes
3.Bad Paradise
4.The Last Battle
5.How Do You Feel
6.Indispensible
7.You´re Like Poison
8.When I Turn the Key
9.The Final Chapter
10.Total Eclipse

Marc Vanderberg – guitar


Segundo album de este guitarrista alemán de hard rock de toda la vida. Ojo, aviso a navegantes, no confundir con el mítico exguitarrista de Whitesnake, el señor Adrian Vandenberg, el nombre es parecido pero no es igual y además tienen estilos bien diferentes. Este Marc tira hacia el hard rock pero con ramalazos de heavy metal y también de estilo neoclásico, de hecho se le compara y lo veréis a lo largo de los temas con excelsos guitarristas como Malmsteen o Marcello.

Vanderberg es el compositor de los temas y el guitarrista, de los demás componentes poco o nada se sabe, al menos en la información que nos ha llegado ni se les menciona, lo que da idea del tipo de proyecto que tenemos delante. De todas formas, después de escucharlo y comparado con otros cracs de la guitarra como el egocéntrico Malmsteen hay que decir que este alemán no está tan obsesionado con su propio reflejo en el espejo y hace unos temas donde lógicamente brilla la guitarra pero tienen un equilibrio, una buena estructura y suenan clásicos.

El disco empieza con Highway Demon, un hard rock melódico con su punto heavy, tiene actitud y chulería como corresponde a un buen tema de hard rock. La producción es excelente y la melodía de las guitarras me recuerda a otro alemán, el melódico Axel Rudi Pell, aunque este Vanderberg le da un sonido más potente en este tema. Buen solo y parada de rigor para volver al riff.

Blue Eyes me gana por el espectacular sonido de las guitarras, un heavy neoclásico, con buenos solos y licks continuos. El vocalista cumple con su función y tiene un deje a Rob Rock. Un tema que te recordará a grandes bandas como MSG, UFO o Impellitteri, gran tema de aires neoclásicos.

Con Bad Paradise empieza el tema punteando y es un hard rock de ritmo vivo y guitarras de hard heavy, la estructura es sencilla, de toda la vida, pero las guitarras salvan el tema. The Last Battle vuelve a meternos el sonido neoclásico en las guitarras tan típico de Malmsteen, con ese hard rock de sonido clásico y guitarras elaboradas, un medio tiempo que nos deja además buenas melodías y mucho feeling a veces de raíces blueseras.

Seguimos avanzando y How Do You Feel es uno de los temas más simples de este trabajo, una balada al estilo Scorpions, Bon Jovi, no tiene mucha historia salvo por las guitarras de Vanderberg que tiran del sonido neoclásico. Indispensible es otro balada, y van dos seguidas, aunque esta empieza con punteo y eso ya le hace ganar puntos, aparte de los consabidos punteos las baladas diría que no son el punto fuerte, no es que sean malas pero carecen de la inspiración o del feeling de los temas cañeros, quizás ahí se le nota más el que sea un grupo conformado alrededor de un guitarra más que un grupo donde todos los miembros aportan.

You´re Like Poison es un hard rock clásico que nos vuelve a subir la moral, mientras que When I Turn the Key es un hard heavy de sonido neoclásico a lo Impellitteri, el sonido en el que parece que este técnico guitarrista se encuentra más cómodo, en este caso con un buen apoyo de teclados. The Final Chapter es otro tema donde Vanderberg acapara focos desde el solo del principio, con bastante efecto en las guitarras pero también con mayor incidencia de teclados que nos trae al sabor de bandas clásicas como House of Lords.

Acabamos el recorrido con Total Eclipse y por supuesto no podía faltar el tema instrumental en el repertorio, dejándonos de nuevo un giutarreo de estilo neoclásico. Lo dicho, un disco bastante compensado, con las idas de olla y el ego típico de esta clase de guitarristas pero que nos deja temas de buen hard rock, donde no solo brillan los solos sino también los riffs y hace que el disco mantenga un buen nivel, no sólo técnico sino también a nivel de entretenimiento, nada que ver con los pestiños que viene sacando Malmsteen desde hace muchos años. Es solo su segundo album pero es un guitarrista que apunta alto sino es que el ego no le gana el pulso.

Puntuación: 7,75/10

Stronger than steel (by Jack Starr)


miércoles, 18 de octubre de 2017

JAG PANZER – The Deviant Chord (2017)




1.Born Of The Flame 4:00
2.Far Beyond All Fear 3:49
3.The Deviant Chord 5:37
4.Blacklist 4:19
5.Foggy Dew 3:20
6.Divine Intervention 3:30
7.Long Awaited Kiss 6:16
8.Salacious Behavior 4:07
9.Fire Of Our Spirit 4:37
10.Dare 5:17

Harry Conklin – vocals
Mark Briody – guitars
Joey Tafolla – guitars
John Tetley – bass
Rikard Stjernquist - drums


Jag Panzer es un nombre de sobras conocido para cualquier under que se precie, no necesitan presentación. Llevan desde principios de los 80 entregando grandes discos de heavy power y esos son muchos años dando caña. Qué tienen que demostrar a estas alturas? Absolutamente nada. De hecho, el propio Briody ha dicho siempre que la banda es algo más que un grupo de música, es un grupo de amigos, por eso no se entiende la misma si en ella no figuran nombres como Conklin o Tafolla o Tetley o Rikard... No, por suerte, o por desgracia, en esto de la música hay algo más que dinero, hay pasión, hay ganas de hacer buena música, de dejar tu impronta, de hacer cosas grandes. Por eso, Jag Panzer ha vuelto, porque después de pasar momentos de crisis entre 2011 y 2013 cuando no sabían muy bien para dónde tirar, por fin la banda ha vuelto unida y reforzada y con ganas de demostrar casi cuarenta años después que siguen estando entre los mejores.

Cuando tienes enormes discos en tu discografía como Ample Destruction, Thane to the Throne, etc, siempre te van a comparar con lo que has hecho en el pasado, es inevitable. Ellos son conscientes de ello y además siempre quieren estar a la altura de las circunstancias, no se trata de sacar un disco porque toca, como hacen muchos viejos dinosaurios, como todos sabemos, se trata de sacar el mejor disco que puedas en cada momento, y eso lo llevan a rajatabla. Para muestra este The Deviant Chord, vamos a destriparlo.

Born Of The Flame es el tema encargado de abrir fuego y para mí es el menos interesante de todo el disco, pese a ello no es un mal tema, para nada, simplemente adolece de una estructura demasiado simple o conformista, aunque con las señas de identidad de la banda. Tenemos la voz de Coklin, tremendo el estado de forma de este señor, y los guitarrazos típicos de la banda, aunque le falta algo de variedad y es un tema para mí gusto excesivamente lineal y más comercial de lo acostumbrado en ellos, repitiendo en exceso el estribillo, pero sí que es un tema con calidad y consistente.

A partir de ahí todo va como la seda. Far Beyond All Fear lleva un ritmo de cabalgada desde el principio, un tema de heavy power, por momentos acelerado por momentos más pausado y heavy a lo Dio o los Sabbath de Martin, es decir, heavy con solera combinado con ritmos power, un tema de aires ochenteros donde la banda brilla con luz propia por su calidad e inspiración.

The Deviant Chord empieza con acústicas y Conklin que amolda su poderosa voz a registros baladísticos, cuando entra la distorsión nos dejan un tremendo medio tiempo de riffs cargados y poderosos, con un excelente solo marca de la casa. Me parece correcta la elección de este tema para dar título al disco porque es una de esas canciones que se convierten en himnos y arrasan en directo, un clásico. Tiene la magia de bandas como Judas Priest y Riot, como ellos Jag Panzer juega en la liga de los grandes. Y de nuevo vuelvo a llamar la atención sobre la atronadora voz de Conklin, uno de los mejores vocalistas de heavy metal de todos los tiempos y que increíblemente conserva su poderío intacto después de tantos años. Y si lo has visto en directo sabes que no se trata de una voz de botón, el tipo da la talla sobre el escenario y clava los temas, un portento.

Después de la descarga a fuego lento del tema anterior, Blacklist se inicia con mucha más rabia, riffs poderosos y con su dosis de oscuridad, perfectamente acompañado por registros más oscuros por parte de Conklin, que sigue haciendo lo que cada canción pide en cada momento. Me encanta el enfoque que le dan a este tema, un heavy que recoge el testigo de los Mercyful Fate, reuniendo heavy potente con tintes occult y terror. Un tema de dark heavy con un trabajo espectacular en los riffs y solos, con unas melodías que se te clavan como puñales. Temazo incontestable y el disco que sigue creciendo a cada paso.

Foggy Dew empieza lento y sigue aportando matices con una épica medieval y de fantasía. A medida que pasa el tema suben un peldaño la velocidad y se orientan hacia un power con tintes folk con un soberbio Conklin, menudo estado de forma en que se encuentra este vocalista. Divine Intervention es otro tema brillante entre el power y el heavy, sacando grandes melodías, guitarras dobladas, a ratos suena a Maiden, a ratos suena a la épica de unos Visigoth, y es que suena a lo que son, a Jag Panzer de toda la vida.

El disco no afloja, desde el primer tema sigue para arriba sin descanso. Long Awaited Kiss es el tema más largo del disco y es una delicia escucharlo, van intercalando acústicas de sonido folk con distorsión, construyendo una gran atmósfera que culmina en un solo excepcional de true metal y con mucha melodía, que por momentos recuerda a los mejores tiempos de Zakk Wylde.

La voz de Conklin tiene tantos matices que es fácil buscarle similitud con distintos artistas, pero sin duda en los registros graves y más pausados me recuerda a Dio y a eso suena Salacious Behavior, por lo menos hasta que le meten las partes power, con un solo cien por cien heavy y a tope de velocidad, otro gran tema, con unos coros bien ejecutados. Fire Of Our Spirit se inicia con un punteo y es uno de los cortes más veloces del disco y en el que las guitarras toman más protagonismo. Curiosamente las voces se desarrollan más a través de coros que en la voz solista de Conklin que mete un par de poderosas líneas, es como si fuese un tremendo tema semiinstrumental.

Y ya está aquí el final del disco, Dare es la culminación de esta gran obra, un corte de heavy melódico donde Conklin vuelve a estar soberbio y le da un aire epic al tema. Para completar otro gran corte tenemos unas guitarras a caballo entre el sonido neoclásico y el heavy de toda la vida.

Los Jag Panzer vuelven por la puerta grande después de seis años sin sacar disco. Un disco que está a la altura de su legado y puede mirar directamente a los ojos a los grandes clásicos de la banda. Y lo increíble es que esto lo siguen haciendo después de cuatro décadas, cuántas bandas tienen esa capacidad de inspiración compositiva? Pocas, muy pocas, por eso los Jag Panzer son una de las bandas más grandes de nuestro rollo, aunque sigan viviendo en el mundo underground. Los Jag Panzer presentan su candidatura a disco del año.

Puntuación: 9,6/10

Take me to... (by Professor Emeritus)


lunes, 16 de octubre de 2017

Interview with BATHSHEBA



by Vpower



The Band: Bathsheba
Country: Belgium
Answers by: Michelle (vocals)
           

We are here today to talk about new Doom sensation BATHSHEBA. As you may know already guys we don’t give a damn about commercial stuff or trends, this is Metalbrothers.es’ territory all the way and Bathsheba fits perfectly on it. A band with their own personality, as Michelle points out, they are the blend of several different characters and the result is brilliant. They give the doom approach a new sense and Michelle’s voice is a clear example of that. You never know how is going to be in music business, but this guys have it all to make a stand out. Plus, Michelle’s opinions are cool and different, to say the least.


Hello Michelle and congratulations for your first full length album “Servus”

Thank you very much! And thank you for this interview!

Good to have Bathsheba and Michelle on the microphone, not singing just talking this time J Michelle, you are not new in this business, you have experience from previous bands, what’s your story?

Yes although we are a new band, we all have a little history in music already. You might know Jelle mainly from Sardonis, a heavy 2 piece band that just stopped previous year. Dwight is known from bands as Disinterred and Raf used to play in Gorath and in Death Penalty with me. I set my roots in music with Serpentcult. I also have another project that is called Leviathan Speaks, which is more ambient triphop with noise. The music scene in our area is quite interesting and there’s some nice and good musicians reaching out to each other. Jelle and Dwight wanted to start a band. Jelle knew me from the tour we did with Grand Magus, Sardonis and Serpentcult. And I knew Raf because we were friends. Et voila.

How has your previous works in bands such as Death Penalty or Disinterred influenced your sound in Bathsheba?

That’s an interesting question indeed. I think you mainly take the experience with you. Every band is different and in every band you are another version of yourself. I think through the experience you develop your own sound or style. You always take something with you to the next band or project that you have developed or learned in the previous thing you were doing.

Your name has something to do with the Hebrew myth of Bathsheba?

Yes. When looking for a band name we were thinking of having ‘someone’ representing us. It didn’t matter if this representative would be a male or a female. We just wanted to have someone with a very complex and colored personality representing us. Bathsheba has many faces. She’s dark, seductive, kind, mysterious, clever, she is the Daughter of the Oath, mother of King Solomon,… And on a deeper level as well there is much to tell about her, even though she is somewhat in the background.

You released a demo in 2014 and an ep in 2015. Is there an evolution regarding your new album?

There is definitely an evolution. In 2014 we were still very much looking for an identity as we just started this band, end 2013, early 2014. Although we are still the same, we also really grew. Two demo songs are also on the album. That’s ‘The Sleepless Gods’ and ‘Manifest’. Then we recorded the 10 inch in 2015. Servus of course still has somewhat the same tone. A song like ‘Conjuration of fire’ still carries that heavy doom but we also developed more apart from of that doom genre. ‘Ain Soph’ and ‘I, at the end of everything’ carry a somewhat more black metal feel. My personal favorite is ‘Demon 13’. I can’t even put my finger on a style there. It’s very outrageous and honest. I think this was the most important thing to us to come to a point that you can express utter emotion indifferent to what style you are bringing.


A great analysis, indeed. How long have you dedicated to the composition of Servus?

Of course there are two songs we did in 2014 on there but apart from that we wrote a good one and a half to two years on it I think. All together taken. We like the idea of letting things develop naturally and record when you are really ready. Some bands like to hurry and I do say I got impatient too at moments. But you know this is something that when you record it, you can’t undo it. It will be out in the world like that so you better be sure that you make it the best you can and that you are ready for it.

Is there any big force inside Bathsheba that shines more than the others in terms of composition or musical direction?

That’s something interesting to think about. I think the doomy aspect, the slow, heavy sound is very important to us. But for Servus it was also important to get out of that more typical thing. I think we all had that urge to explore something more. We are all equal and I couldn’t see BATHSHEBA continuing without any of us. I think that is a big force too. The fact we are all equally important and we are all very different.  A big motivator for me personally was sorrow and frustration and to be able to express that as much and honest as possible.

What is the story you tell in Servus in terms of lyrics?

Servus is like waking up in the morning and realizing that everything and everyone is your enemy. The moment you wake up and open your eyes and you feel the walls closing in and you’re being smashed towards the walls of fact. You feel tired and heavy, even more than when you went to sleep. You get up wondering why you exist at all. There’s so much sorrow. Sorrow from life itself, events that happen, people you lose,… But there is also some intrinsic sadness. An understanding about life and our own inability to see how beautiful it can be. So it’s almost a hymn to the burden of life you are carrying both on an earthly and spiritual level. It also has some frustrating and schizophrenic moments where you are almost happy to wallow in the decay. Like you are the chosen one, hated by all and you love it. Because you feel better knowing you are not part of the society who live with their eyes closed. Sadness, sorrow and hurt never disappoint. You can get so lost in your own mind. The abyss of your own mind can reach levels so deep you couldn’t ever fantasize about that. But indeed sometimes there is also sun, let’s try to not forget that.

Kind of a big nightmare it seems…, something we have all felt or experienced one moment or another I guess. I would like to remark, Michelle, your great work on vocals, you really make a difference with other acts

Thank you so much. Well the guys agree on that it is different and very personal. I try to become myself more and more vocally. I think it’s pointless to sing like anyone else. How could I if what I express is what is inside of me. Then it’s so personal that it has to be me you know. And when this somehow sounds good to people then I think I can just say that I’m very grateful to be able to sound like that. My main purpose wasn’t to sound good, it was to sound honest. And with doing that I am really satisfied. It’s the first time in my career that I actually like my voice and that I can actually listen to my own album and enjoy it and undergo what is happening, what we have done.

Moreover, you have a great ability to create a thick dark and bizarre atmosphere

I could say as a person I am quite dark. I mean I’m also very light. But, there is a certain dark side of me that is very present. And I am somewhat a bizarre person I know that. I don’t mind, I don’t want to change either. I think I lack of any technical knowledge so the only thing I can do is give a part of myself in what I am doing. So naturally this darkness and bizarre thing that is a big part of my personality is expressed in what I do. Musically I think the atmosphere again comes from the fact that we are all very different and we all have different ideas.

I praise your sincerity and maturity. Dwight delivers some tremendous  riffs and solos along the album, with some psycho rock and stoner feeling

Yes Dwight is a rare character. When I met him I really didn’t know what to make of him. Sometimes he does something and I feel it completely differently. Or visa versa. So we are somewhat adversaries. It’s hard sometimes to let go of your own judgement or preferences but it somehow works. So during our process we really developed a trust in one another. I also really don’t like solo’s too much but what he did on Manifest for instance… There’s a riff I truly immensely love and the solo he did is so full of feeling that even I have to love it. He comes up with very diverse riffs. One moment there’s an epic riff and another moment it’s more a death metal riff but he has this natural weirdness I suppose and it just works somehow.

We are talking about six songs in your album and no one less than five minutes, with Manifest over ten minutes. How is a gig by Bathsheba?

Haha yes. It’s sometimes difficult when you only have 35 or 40 minutes. We have a fixed set for now that is about 45 minutes but if we have to play less it’s sometimes really a puzzle to do so. We somehow always manage, sometimes we ask for 5 minutes more. Because if you play 35 minutes that means 4 songs if you include manifest and the samples… Which to me is really not enough to express myself often. But after 45 minutes I gave so much I’m entirely finished too. So 50 minutes would be perfect. We could play the whole album with samples then.

Talking about Manifest, it’s one of my favorite tracks and I think a clear statement of what Bathsheba is able to deliver now and in the future, a brutal new force in the Doom scene

For me personal it was the song I liked less because well there’s obviousely not so much singing so it’s not a very exciting song for me to do. We mostly end our concert with this song because it gives me the chance to calm down again when I finish. Also the guys can do their thing and it’s a good song to finish a gig I think. When I listen to it myself, yeah I hear it. It’s a great and powerfull song, it’s really a manifest I think. I also think it’s Jelle’s favorite and maybe the other guys favorite too.

You have signed by Svart Records, how is going the promotion of you great new album?

We are working together with Svart records and Bidi van Drongelen from Bidi Bookings. We can’t complain for now. Noisey had the première of streaming the album, we were on Never mind the Hype Radio, Metal Hammer.de had the premiere of the lyric video for Ain Soph, We had interviews with Zero Tolerance, Rock Hard Italy, you guys etc. So I think we are spread about and people are talking about the album. We are very grateful to Svart and Bidi for all the support and of course to all of you, sincerely.

Great to hear so. Have you released any videos or any other promo material or you will do it in the near future?

We did the Demon 13 video, Ain Soph lyrics video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzd3Kyod9WU
           
And now we are mainly preparing to do live gigs and in meanwhile slowly writing some new material. It’s all good to make video’s and let people see some footage of the band, but the focus for us has to be in making music and playing our gigs well live. We also like that kind of mystery where a band doesn’t shove themselves in everyone’s face all the time.

How do you see the current Doom scene?

I’m not so much in most doom to be honest. I find it a bit boring most of the time. Doom I really like or music that has a doomy touch are bands like Blutch and Thee plague of Gentlemen but they both don’t exist anymore. I like things like Primitive Man or Bongripper, Raketkanon has some interesting doomy parts,… I don’t think I’m the right person to talk about doom music. I know very little of doom bands. Doomed Gatherings in Paris previous year, where we played had some great bands playing like Throw me in the Crater, Toner Low, Mantar,… I think doom needs a serious innovation as we are seeing now in the black metal scene. I think black metal is now much more interesting than doom nowadays.

A very interesting opinion, once again. Belgium is a too small market for a big doomy monster in constant growth as Bathsheba?

Belgium has a cool metal scene and doom has had some expension but indeed Belgium is Belgium. We are a bit spoiled I think. There are so many great Belgian bands and luckily some of those bands even make it to the main stream. Things like Amenra or Steak Number Eight. They are pretty underground musically but still attract a great audience. So I’m very glad that things like that are possible! I don’t think though it will happen to us because we are already a weird trade within the tiny doom scene.

Well, who knows, let destiny do his part… Have you planned some tour dates around? What countries will you play through?

For now we haven’t any tour dates fixed. I hope to announce some cool gigs soon. What I can announce is our release party 30th March in the Botanique in Bruxelles together with the release of Emptiness new album. We play at Roadburn in the Netherlands, Rodeofest in Belgium, Dragonfest in the UK,…

We won’t be there, too far from home, but we wish the best. What can we expect from Bathsheba in the future?

Hopefully more good music, more growth, some nice live shows, maybe a tour,… I hope we can continue our path and become better, wiser, deeper,… and always be ourselves.

Thank you very much Michelle for your time and interesting opinion, keep your glorious path

Thank you so much for having us. It was a pleasure to answer your questions. We really hope to come to Spain and play there and reach out to you guys! Thank you for reaching out to us!

The Cult



En Metalbrothers.es os hablamos de una de las bandas del rock más carismáticas de todos los tiempos, siguen activos hoy en día pero está claro que sus tiempos dorados ya forman parte del pasado. Aquí lo analizamos http://metalbrothers.es/bios/biografias/the-cult/

TRAVELIN JACK – Commencing Countdown (2017)




1.Land Of The River 4:31
2.Metropolis 4:04
3.Keep On Running 3:39
4.Cold Blood 4:47
5.Galactic Blue 4:42
6.Time 5:06
7.Miracles 3:51
8.What Have I Done 3:50
9.Fire 4:01
10.Journey To The Moon 3:59

Alia Spaceface – vocals, guitar
Flo The Fly – guitar
Steve Burner – bass
Montgomery Shell – drums


Formados en 2013, practican un sonido clásico, según ellos no un sonido retro, simplemente es que se decantan por el sonido de una época que es irrepetible. Debutaron en 2015 con New World y este nuevo disco según ellos es un poco más lento pero igual de alocado. Vamos a comprobarlo.

Land Of The River es el tema encargado de abrir este segundo album de la banda berlinesa, lo hacen como se esperaba de ellos, si es que te has escuchado su primer disco, con un sonido de rock de los setenta, la voz de Alia muy a lo Robert Plant, es decir, cargada de sicodelia y de intención. Pero no se quedan sólo en eso, aportan buenas melodías y un cierto sonido new wave en las guitarras, sobre todo en el punteo. Imposible no enamorarte de esta alocada banda si te gusta el buen rock de los 70.

Metropolis acentúa en ese sonido heavy new wave de bandas como Samson o Diamond Head, se nota como os comentaba antes su adoración por el sonido añejo, lo plasman de forma espléndida en cada una de sus composiciones. Keep On Running nos lleva ineludiblemente al territorio rockero clásico de grandes bandas como Blue Oyster Cult o Talon, grandes riffs en la guitarra, buena voz y un ritmo de road song que te llevará muy, muy lejos, una canción ideal para evadirse, el título le va que ni pintado.

Estos alemanes te la pueden liar en cualquier momento. El comienzo de Cold Blood es bastante lineal pero a medida que el tema avanza le van metiendo un sonido más heavy y doom ochentero, la voz en este tema me recuerda mucho a los Diamond Head de Sean Harris. Galactic Blue sigue una línea de rock sicodélico de los 70, con sus pausas y sus idas de olla habituales en el género, suenan igual de eficientes en esta faceta. Y ya tardaba en llegar el tema Deep Purple, bueno, y Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin y todas esas bandas míticas de antaño. Mención especial en Time para los punteos, sobre todo el primero con un estilo space y guitar hero al mismo tiempo, el segundo es de rock sucio, lo dicho, gente con altas miras. El tema acaba de manera brutal, rematando la faena y dándose a la locura, de lo mejorcito del disco.

Volvemos al rock setentero con Miracles, donde lo que más destaco es la voz de Alia, en verdad le da mucha vidilla a esta canción. Para completar el repertorio qué mejor que meternos un blues por medio, eso es What Have I Done, blues de toda la vida, sin más. Pero no sé si es cosa mía o es en esta segunda parte del disco se dan más a la experimentación, de manera controlada, eso sí, no se puede hablar de progresivo, pero si de una banda que se mueve entre distintos ritmos y estilos, primos hermanos todos ellos, pero que lo hace de manera estupenda. Fire es una prueba más de esto que os digo, un tema rock de la vieja escuela pero con un sonido funky, con unas guitarras brillantes en el punteo y metiendo una buena atmósfera sicodélica.

Journey To The Moon cierra el disco en esa misma línea, dejándonos la sensación de que estos Travelin Jack saben lo que quieren, no se conforman con recrear los sonidos del pasado y apuestan por adrentarse en diferentes terrenos, siempre con acierto y transmitiendo muy buenas vibraciones. Además, por lo que he podido leer por ahí sus actuaciones en directo son estupendas, con una puesta en escena estimulante y muy visual, como corresponde a su música. Gran disco y gran banda.

Puntuación: 8/10

Whiskey in... (By Thin Lizzy)


lunes, 9 de octubre de 2017

Interview with HELLWELL



by Vpower



The Band: Hellwell
Country: USA
Answers by: Mark “The Shark” Shelton (guitars, vocals)

           

No need to introduce “THE SHARK”. If you don’t know MANILLA ROAD it means you are new in this business or either you are lucky because you still have a so big band to discover and enjoy. We talk about his parallel project HELLWELL, and of course about Manilla Road and The Shark’s career. I am proud to talk to an all time legend as Mark “The Shark” Shelton, long live to him and his legacy. Come and know more about the man behind the legend.



Hello Mark, it’s a pleasure to talk to a legend as you

Shark: It is my honor to be doing this interview with you my friend. Many thanks.

You are in a great moment in terms of composition, with machines at full speed both with Manilla Road and Hellwell, aren’t you?

Shark: Yes. It seems to be as you say at this time in my life. For many years I had to work a normal job as well as work at keeping a music career alive. That and also raising two children left me very little time to spend working on writing and recording music. Now days my children are fully grown and I am making a meager living on my music alone. I don't have as much money as I did but I am much happier. So I have much more time that I can spend in the studio working on projects and that is what I have done in the past couple of years. In the past two years I have completed three different projects that will be released this year and I am currently working on a sonic landscape project that I should be finishing up in a few weeks. Because of the extra time I am afforded these days I have let the creative juices flow and it does feel like I have been running at full speed here. I remember being accused of doing albums too often and fast around the release of Mysterium because they thought the album was not as artistic but more mundane. I sort of agree that about half of that album was a little uninspired but I would blame that on all the other stuff that was going on with my life at the time. I was dealing with all the real world problems at my job and stuff with my kids and changing bass players and drummers that all led to that album being a bit off the mark. I don't really have those oppositions in my life now. My mind is free of such bullshit and I have much more time to be creative.

And all metalheads are here to enjoy that situation. Behind the Demon's Eyes is your second album under Hellwell brand, the first was Beyond the Boundaries of Sin in 2012. How did you decide to start off a parallel project to Manilla Road?

Shark: The project became an idea after having to finish the Manilla Road album Playground of the Damned with E.C. Hellwell on bass due to Vince developing an illness that would lead to him leaving the band. I had been talking with my engineer, Dr. Doom, Derek Brubaker about doing some much heavier stuff with evil lyric content that I did not really think totally suitable for Manilla Road. MR was sort of in a limbo state at the time while band member changes were happening with Josh Castillo and Neudi coming into the scene. So I started the Hellwell project with Johnny Benson and Ernie and we decided to call it Hellwell because...well hell it's a cool name and it really fits the idea behind the philosophy of the projects that we are doing. We have a motto for Hellwell and it's “No happy endings”. It's all about entertainment with the Hellwell approach. Sort of a fusion between 70's and 80's progressive hard rock, heavy metal, doom and science fiction, horror and adventure fantasy. All the concepts seem to be life threatening in some way or another ha ha.

We could say that Hellwell’s staff is in some way connected with The Circus Maximus, an album that was initially meant to be your solo project?

Shark: Only in the sense that both projects were not intended to be Manilla Road albums and that they both have a progressive approach to some of the music. But other than that they really are not related that much. Circus Maximus was sort of all over the board when it came to the style of the music and Hellwell is much more centered on a specific approach to the music.

Curiously, the band’s name happens to be the same as keys and bass player E. C. Hellwell… Mere coincidence?

Shark: No. Not a coincidence at all. It just seemed the obvious name of the band to us. It is because of the fusion of Keyboards and synthesizers with the guitars that really gives this band a different sound and so it fits to use Ernie's name and besides it sounds evil as hell so it fits perfectly with our direction as a band.

Apart of that, we don’t know much more about E. C. Hellwell, what can you tell about him?

Shark: He is not a very outgoing person and keeps to himself most of the time. He hides out and writes stories and works of music at times. He totally refuses to play live or tour but he is one really good bass player and keyboardist. My first encounter with Ernie was in high school in Wichita, Kansas. He was in the same creative writing classes that I was taking. It was his cool short stories from those classes that caused me to befriend him. I sort of stole his concept for the song The Riddlemaster on our Crystal Logic album along with the song Cage of Mirrors from the Metal album. Both are really neat stories that Ernie wrote. I love to put music to literary themes and stories from great authors. For example Queen of the Black Coast inspired by the story of the same name by Robert E. Howard. All the songs we have done inspired by Howard, Poe, Lovecraft, Barker all proof to how I am enthralled with this type of musical / lyrical format. Ernie is no different and I found it really easy to put stories of his to music. Even the Acheronomicon saga on Beyond the Boundaries of Sin was a delight to work on. Ernie has some of his stories published and if you are interested you can read some of his work in the Swords of Steel compilation book series. The 3rd volume is to be out in May 2017 and he has stories in the first two books as well.

Awesome. The third leg of your project is Randy Foxe, a Manilla Road’s old friend, that comes to be the replacement for Johnny "Thumper" Benson on drums

Shark: We were a little sad at first when we found out that Thumper was not going to be able to do the second Hellwell album with us. But it led me to ask Thrasher if he would be interested in taking on the drum duties with Hellwell and I became elated when he said yes. It has been really fun working with him and Ernie and Dr. Doom on this new album. I really like the first Hellwell album but this one has a bit more grit and tech approach to it that I love. Randy has really done a great job with the drum parts and we all seemed to really jell together very well on this project.

When you created Hellwell you had already clear how you wanted it to sound? Are you showing an approach that you have not been able to release until now?

Shark: Yes I guess you could say that. With Manilla Road we have sort of stayed away from the keyboards and remained, throughout the years, primarily a guitar based band. So it is an approach that I have not pursued that much but always thought I would like too.

This takes us to the next question, has the music business, labels and so on, determined in some way your career? Are you now more free than ever to play and compose whatever you like?

Shark: Actually I think I pretty much did what I liked all the way through my career. That is why I am only making a meager living at music and am not living in a mansion counting my money. I have never gone the route of doing what the labels or our AR guys at the labels wanted. I'm usually an easy to get along with person but when it comes to my musical integrity I'm very stubborn. I have had the chance in the past to sign deals that I felt would have compromised my own philosophy of music and therefore did not sign those deals. I've most likely passed on some things that I could have done very well at but decided to stick to my own artistic ideas instead. It's very important to me to feel that the music I put out there is what is really in my heart and mind and that I'm not just punching the clock and doing this for the job of it. I always want it to be about the love of music.

It seems this second chapter is heavier than Hellwell’s debut, with an 70’s and 80’s flavour on it that sometimes reminds me of all time classic Crystal Logic or early works as Invasion

Shark: Ha ha, I don't really see the Invasion aspect except for all the weird sounds that we put into it. It for sure is a retro approach with Hellwell and it is meant to be. My idea was to have Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and the heaviest version of Manilla Road slammed together with some Hawkwind sonic stuff and tahdah...Hellwell.

Also, keyboards and synthesizers are not so prominent on this Behind the Demon's Eyes as in your debut

Shark: I would have to maybe disagree with that. I personally think there is as much or even more keyboard activity on this album compared to the first. There is a section in To Serve Man that is nothing but Cathedral Organ for several minutes and the first part of The Last Rites of Edward Hawthorn is piano and synthesizer only. There might be a few more guitar solos on this new one in comparison and maybe that helps to give the appearance that the guitar is more present. I guess I had not really given it much thought as to if there were more or less keyboard parts on this album. Now I'm going to be thinking about this every time I listen to it...damn you ha ha.

Hahaha It’s my duty to debate and be a pain in the ass hahaha. However, this is not a Manilla Road’s album, for example, we can feel your voice is not so much nasal as used to be and there is a more theatrical approach on your music

Shark: I agree with you on this. But in truth my nasal sounding voice has all but gone away many years ago. I actually have to work at the nasal sound now ha ha. My voice is much more husky and gravel like after all the years of vocal punishment I have been through. I do for sure take a very theatrical approach to the vocals on the Hellwell album. It needs that type of feel to pull off the stuff we are doing. It's almost a grindhouse style of music and concepts so I figure it deserves a similar direction from the vocal parts as well.

Mark Shelton’s guitars are there, you have a sound that is unmistakable as other well known guitarists. Surely, they will have asked you this a thousand times, but at this is my first interview with The Shark I cannot loose the chance to ask, how did you start playing guitar and how did you get that sound of yours?

Shark: I was an educated pianist, percussionist and vocalist before I picked up the guitar. I was about sixteen when I first started toying with the guitar but I did not take it seriously until I was almost twenty. By the time I started playing guitar seriously I was already able to read and write music so I sort of picked up playing guitar on my own. I watched other great guitarists and stole certain tricks from each one of them but mostly it was just me sitting with a guitar experimenting on making chords and sounds. I knew music so it was easy to figure out how to tune and what frets were which notes. So I sort of did it on my own without an instructor and without books for the most part. So because of learning chords and scaling on my own I did not necessarily finger everything the way that one would be taught in school or by a teacher. I invented my own chord voices and my fingerings are sometimes totally off the wall. My style was derived from fusing the styles of every guitar player that I loved into my own style as well. I think I sort of experimented my way into guitar playing and that is the reason that I have such a unique style and approach to the instrument and its sounds.

Another classic question, I guess, how did you get “The Shark” nickname?

Shark: Randy Foxe and the guys in the band Stygian Shore gave me the name. They used to do this thing where they would take the first letters of you first and last name and swap them. Mark Shelton came out to be Shark Melton. So after that they all started calling me Shark and for some reason the nickname stuck and before long everyone was calling me that.

And the rest is history… What are the lyrics about on Behind the Demon's Eyes?

Shark: There is a different story and concept for each song. Lightwave is about a dimensional being that travels to the earth on light waves for evil purposes and is taken by early mankind to be a demon. Necromantio is an ancient ghost story inspired by Greek history. To Serve Man is about the cannibal Carl Danke. It's Alive is based on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein story. The Galaxy Being is based upon the first Outer Limits episode of the same name. The Last Rites of Edward Hawthorn is a story idea that I have come up with that I'm trying to talk Ernie into writing in the near future.

The cover artwork has a nostalgic air to me, similar to the Circus Maximus or Out of The Abyss

Shark: I totally love the artwork to Behind the Demon's Eyes. Paolo Girardi of Italy is the artist and he also did our last Manilla Road album The Blessed Curse. His work is utterly fantastic. The thing I love about Paolo is that it is all oil on canvas art with no computer or even air brush. He is truly a traditional artist and a great one at that.

Beautiful work, indeed. Time to talk also a little about Manilla Road, because this year you are celebrating your forty anniversary, how do you feel about it?

Shark: It makes me feel old....haha. It's because of the number forty I think. It seems like only yesterday that I was trying to figure out how to get into the recording business but at the same time it feels like it has been one really long journey up till now. I think the one constant thing that I feel is thankful that I have been able to pursue my life's dream of being a musician. It has been an incredibly difficult road to travel but it has all been worth it when I think of all the great people and other bands I have encountered throughout the last forty years. I'm so impressed with our fans who are the real reason that I continue to do this. If not for their love and support I don't think I would have the energy to keep on. I feel lucky that I have been able to play with so many really gifted musicians over the years and blessed that Manilla Road has turned into such a legend as it has. I may not have lots of money but I do feel rich.

More than enough reasons to feel proud, sure. To celebrate it you will make an international tour that will go through Spain (four dates on May). I think that these last years you have made more international gigs than in the 80’s or 90’s

Shark: That is for sure. We thrive on playing live as much as we do working in the studio. It's really all about the show and the music. I love playing live for our fans and touring is one of the most important things about this musical quest to me. Our popularity has grown since the 80's and 90's which is fine by me he he. That is why we are able to tour more than we used to. Also just the fact that my kids are all grown now and I have more time to tour than I did back in the day.

Did you ever think you will come this far with Manilla? Any moments where you almost gave it up?

Shark: I always thought that my music could be related too by others but I was never sure if it would amount to anything. I always had the dream and I guess I'm proof that sometimes dreams do come true. But it appears this only happens when you really work hard at it and don't give up. And yes there were times that I almost hung it up for good but in the end I always succumb to the music and have to keep on with the quest. It seems to be in my blood so now I just don't even dare think about stopping. I will do this until they tell me I suck or I die.

Yeah, big Shark! Your popularity has grown steadily, so, we can say that Manilla Road is not so much the underground monster it used to be 20 years ago and now you reach a larger audience than ever before?

Shark: It's a miracle I tell you. My mother asked me awhile back why this amount of popularity could not of happened when I was still young. I laughed my ass off at her when she said that. Of course I wanted to be popular but I just never wanted to give up my musical dignity to achieve success. So I stuck to my guns all these years and played the music I wanted to play. Thanks to the musical gods it appears that over the years the music attracted it's due. I don't have an explanation for it all but I'm damn glad I'm still able to do this. And I must admit it is more fun when you play to a bunch a people that really love and know your music. It's an honor that I'm not sure I deserve but I'm definitely enjoying every minute of it.

I’m pretty sure you deserve it. For many metalheads Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol are the kings of underground metal, and both bands are active right now. Metal is living a second youth?

Shark: Hell I've survived so many metal revolutions that I have lost count. Metal just refuses to die. Sort of like me and Manilla Road. We refuse to give in. No rolling over and playing dead here mates. It makes total sense to me why metal is still thriving. It's because it's fucking cool. Sort of like vikings...they are fucking cool also. To be real it is a great honor to be given the status of king of underground metal. Do I get to wear a crown? Do I get to keep the crown? I'm friends with Tim Baker and I'm really glad to see them get back into the water. It was way overdue. I think part of what is happening is that the young metal heads are starting to see how cool some of the old bands are that actually started the movement towards epic metal.

Amen. With Manilla Road’s international tour this year is impossible to think about a presentation of Behind the Demon's Eyes on the international arenas?

Shark: No. Hellwell will most likely stay a studio based project. I suppose if the demand were enough we might entertain the idea of bringing Hellwell to the stage but I sort of doubt it.

Thank you very much for the interview, Mark, I will keep it for telling my grandchildren some day, we await your arrival to Spain on May!

Shark: Thanks to you my friend for doing this interview with me. And especially thanks to all our fans for their undying support over the years. Up The Hammers & Down The Nails
Shark