domingo, 22 de enero de 2017

Interview with CWEALM

by Vpower

The Band: Cwealm
Country: Sweden
Answers by: Astraeus (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals)

CWEALM is a new band from Sweden, just debuting with his first full-length Odes to No Hereafter, a one-man project recommended for all the people who enjoy black death metal, a great blend of 90s sound with new and fresh touches and ideas. Astraeus is a great musician with a very developed artistic vein in all senses.

Hi Astraeus and welcome to our underground metal site

Thanks. Since I don’t speak Spanish I can only enjoy your English interviews, but I see you’ve reviewed and interviewed many a great underground band. Keep up the good work!   

Thanks man, we continue with our battle to spread good Metal around the world, from small or big bands, but always great Metal. And so Cwelam is here! Congratulations for your first album as Cwealm, the great Odes to No Hereafter, a big surprise for the Metalbrothers that work in this web

The pleasure’s all mine.

Cwealm is the creature of Astraeus, so how was it born and who is under the nickname Astraeus, if you are ready to unveil the mystery?

Cwealm was born in 2014, but I had had ideas for a long time before that. Even full songs: Kadavret and Nidhuggs Hymn were written many years prior to Cwealm's founding, though they were honed and somewhat rearranged for Odes to No Hereafter. The reason I started Cwealm in 2014 was because of a creative boost or how I should say; a malicious, internal force that grew stronger than ever. I felt I could delve into unexplored fringes of myself and get more qualitative results out of it.

My real identity? I don’t see that as important, but for those curious it shouldn’t be that hard to find out.         

Yeah, you are right. Cwealm is a one-man band, that is, all the music in this first album is thanks to your effort, except for the drums which in this case are played by Jocke Wallgren (Amon Amarth), right?

Correct. I used programmed drums first, but when I got the opportunity to work with Jocke, the choice was easy. And the album got so much better for it! 

No doubt. How long have you worked on Odes to No Hereafter?

Depends on how you view the matter. Some riffs are, like, ten years old. But I’d say since 2014, because that’s when I started Cwealm for real, with a conscious vision of what I wanted to do.  

Cwealm is a black death metal band. In your opinion, what are the most relevant points in your musical approach?

Hard to express without sounding shallow. You know, I see Cwealm as a transcendent project where music, lyrics and imagery should combine to make a whole – bigger than the sum of it’s parts. But mournful melodies, speed and aggression are of course pivotal corner-stones of the project.     

A perfect definition. I love the way you create atmospheres but also the great range of sounds we find through the whole album

Thank you. Yeah, this was a conscious choice: to stay within the borders of 90’s influenced melodic black but to experiment with it, keep it varied, so as to give the listener ”surprises” along the way. Which I hope will make the music more rewarding in the long run. 

Kadavret is one of my favorite songs, it shows the variety I was talking about before, with a great work on keys and riffing, growing in intensity till the final blast

Again, there’s a reason for it being the album's last (full) song. It has a kind of narrative structure, musically and lyrically which I thought made it fit to finish the record, or at least be the last ushering towards the final bitter end, which would be the outro. Kadavret is, by the way the only song where the lyrics aren’t written by me. It’s a poem by Charles Baudelaire, called ”Kadavret” (The Carcass) in Swedish whereas the original French title is ”Une Charogne”. From Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil, 1857).

Cool! Odes to No Hereafter is a great debut album, it shows an old school vein but you don’t forget your own and new ideas

The old school thing was important since that’s were I come from. Not the old school of the eighties (which is great: Bathory, Tormentor etc.) but the nineties. When I started listening to this kind of music  Mayhem, Dissection, Emperor etc. were bands I checked out first. So they became the base. When I write, I have that kind of stuff in me. But wanted to add my own personal touch of course – plus that a lot of non-metal has influenced me: classical, medieval music, circus music, folk music etc. I’d say that the album is a synthesis of the three sources I just mentioned.
Cwealm is a band from Sweden, we can suppose the northern metal has influenced your sound, is it this way?

For sure. Scandinavian black metal as well as the non-metal influences are, I think, the most important.

As I mentioned before, you got the cooperation of Jocke Wallgren on drums, how did it happen?

It happened thanks to Tore Stjerna who mixed and mastered the album. As we transfered Cubase projects from my computer to Tore’s, he asked if I wanted Jocke to play the drums. And after listening to some YouTube-clips of the guy I immediately said yes. So the drums were recorded last – at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm.  

Are there any other kind of contributions in the album? For example, we liked very much the cover too...

The cover is an old miniature by the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. I’m not terribly well-versed in art history, but I like e.g. the romantic period and not least de Goya. For those that buy the album, even more old art awaits: from Odilon Redon, Matthias Grünewald, August Brömse etc.!      

I should have known about Goya... ups! Hahaha. As a musician, you enjoy the most doing or playing what?

Playing the guitar. Also playing drums, actually, though I’m not very good at it. Writing music is cool too but that’s always a more painstaking process. 

Cwealm is born as a one-man band. It will continue this way in the future?

Yeah. At least that’s how I see it now.

You were signed by Italian label Dusktone, guys with a list of extreme bands in their roster. How do you feel about it?

Great. As you hinted, Dusktone has some awesome bands from around the world; with a focus on black and doom metal. I’m satisfied with our cooperation so far.      

Have you done some gigs around already or you plan to do so in the short-time? In that case would you hire any guys around or you would use samples?

No. I’d love to play live with Cwealm, but it won’t happen in the near future. To use samples is out of the question for anything else than keyboards, so provided I can learn to play the riffs and scream at the same (which I actually doubt), I’d have to hire at least a bassist and a drummer; a friend could perhaps take care of the second guitar. This is not something I can afford. But who knows…               

We are patient... Apart from Cwealm do you have another musical activity, some other projects...?


Now that you have made your first step, what are the following chapters for Cwealm?

The next step is to finish the music video I’ve started working on for the song Wither, Tainted Crown. After that, I’m going to write another album. Unfortunately I’m a slow writer though, so it's going to take a while for sure.     

Quality is all, even if we have to await a little more. Thanks Astraeus and we wish you a big moment with Odes to No Hereafter and many good things to come in the future

Once again, thank you. Graviora manent!

EDDY MALM BAND - Northern Lights (2016)

1.Saturday Night
2.Heart Of A Warrior
3.I Had Enough
4.Turn It Down
5.Nasty Women
6.Dark Nights
7.Get Out Of Here
9.A Loser
10.Northern Lights

Eddy Malm: Lead vocals
Per Hesselrud: Lead and rythm guitars, EBow, background vocals
Tomas Malmfors: Bass, background vocals
Micke Kerslow: Drums, percussion, background vocals

Eddy Malm es un personaje consagrado para la historia del metal por haber tocado como guitarrista en el Stronger than hell y el Death & Glory del grupo de culto sueco Heavy Load, poca broma. Además fue vocalista con los Highbrow, una banda de hard rock en la que luego participarían, ojo al dato, tipos como Yngwie Malmsteen. Este es su proyecto en solitario, qué le ha picado para abordarlo a estas alturas de la película? Ni la más remota idea, trataremos de averiguarlo si nos concede una entrevista. Lo que sí está claro es con esas referencias lo que te puedes esperar de estos EMB es material clásico por los cuatros costados.

Malm era un buen guitarrista, pero también un tipo con una muy buena voz, y eso es lo que se dedica a cultivar en este disco y lo hace realmente bien, dejando las labores guitarreras en manos de un viejo conocido suyo como es Per Hesselrud, y la verdad que ha sido todo un acierto, porque el señor se ha quedado a gusto a base de hacer solos a lo largo de todo el disco. Por cierto, no todos los temas son de nueva factura, por decirlo así, hay un puñado de ellos de la época de Heavy Load y Highbrow, pero remozados y con nuevos arreglos. Y suena clásico a más no poder, vamos con ello.

Arranca el disco con Saturday Night, riffs tope new wave, sonido ochentero que recuerda mucho a las melodías de los Diamond Head o los Demon. Un tema heavy a ritmo constante, con un gran riff central y un punteo de lo más clásico, un tema revival cien por cien.

Heart Of A Warrior tiene un inicio a base de redoble de caja y riff new wave, un tema a medio ritmo que disfrutarán como enanos los amantes del heavy británico de los 80. Grandes melodías y un tema de lo más pegadizo, te recordará a bandas como los primeros Samson, Holocaust. Punteo y parada tipa de hard heavy con unas guitarras muy a lo Michael Schenker. Es algo que se repite en el sonido de la guitarra, sobre todo en los punteos, gran parecido con el genio teutón en cuanto a estilo y sonido.

I Had Enough es un tema de hard rock a caballo entre los 70 y los 80, sencillo y con repetición de estribillo, alargando el final a base de punteos y manteniendo el ritmo, estilo UFO; MSG. La voz de Eddy Malm acompaña perfectamente ese sonido clásico que impregna todas sus composiciones, una voz con mucho equilibrio y emotividad, gran trabajo del señor Malm, y teniendo cuenta sus edad eso es algo más meritorio si cabe. Nasty Women es otro tema de riffs heavys, en este caso con un deje a lo Van Halen, es decir, un tanto fiestero o desenfadado, con una base rítmica tan simple como efectiva. De nuevo los solos son abundantes y melódicos.

Dark Nights tiene un sonido mezcla de UFO, Heavy Load, hard heavy ochentero con gran estribillo y mejores melodías. Get Out Of Here es un heavy de aire gamberro y cierta sicodelia setentera. Punteo largo y jugoso, se dejan notar las infuencias de los Heavy Load en las melodías, excelente la labor de las guitarras, consiguen que los temas sean muy divertidos.

Danger es un medio tiempo heavy de riff básico y ritmo sencillo en su primera parte. Luego meten un solo espléndido y una parte final con mucha más atmósfera, recreándose y alargando el tema, una de las mejores pistas del disco.

A Loser es un heavy que nos lleva de nuevo a los parámetros de la nwobhm pero mezclado con el rock clásico de unos MSG o Triumph. Una excelente parada con el estilo Judas Priest y vuelta a pillar el ritmo inicial. Rematan la faena con Northern Lights con un riff melódico y muy feliz de inicio que nos recuerda al sonido Schenker, seguido de un estupendo cambio de ritmo para meter más suciedad en el tema y punteos y punteos sin descanso, hard heavy de primera división.

En definitiva, tenemos un disco que adorarán todos los que disfrutan del heavy clásico. Excelente voz, ritmos básicos pero efectivos y una labor en las guitarras de sombrero, con riffs adictivos y solos de mucho nivel. Han grabado un disco que resulta muy entretenid, de esos que enganchan, sin complicarse en exceso en la composición de los temas, diría que tirando de calidad y puro clasicismo, para qué queremos más? A darle al play otra vez, es inevitable.

Puntuación: 8,5/10

Mosh-Pit Justice - stop believing lies (2016)

1.Burn to Live
2.To Hear My Name
3.Rest in Flames
4.Till Death
5.Mosh-Pit Justice
6.Left for Dead
7.Stop Believing Lies
8.The Battle Within

Mariyan Georgiev - Bass
Staffa - Guitars, Drums
George "Peich" - Vocals

Interesante el nombre de esta banda y el del título del disco, porque ciertamente hoy nos tragamos tantas trolas que nos cuentan los medios de comunicación, los políticos y lobbies varios que ya ni somos conscientes de ello, es el pienso transgénico de todos los días. Un poco parecido es lo que ocurre en el mundo del thrash, ya son tantas las bandas que hay y todas haciendo lo mismo que apenas notas la diferencia entre unas y otras, aunque técnicamente sean buenas. Estos búlgaros juegan en esa liga.

Burn to Live es un buen resumen de lo que va a ser el 80% del disco. Thrash bay area por los cuatro costados, si no te gusta toma dos tazas. El solo muy a lo Megadeth, buenos solos los de este trabajo, no son espectaculares pero si buenos técnicamente y limpios, quizás lo más destacado. Luego un cambio de ritmo para meterse con unos riffs a medio tiempo que me recuerdan a los Evil Dead, unos tipos que eran más simples que una maza de gimnasia rítmica pero que tenían un carisma que hacía su thrash diferente.

To Hear My Name es más de lo mismo, lo más interesante es la voz que en ciertos momentos se mueve en parámetros heavy apocalípticos. Guitarras afiladas y buen sonido a lo Testament, Exodus. Rest in Flames sí que ofrece algo novedoso en sus inicios, pues comienza con un buen punteo de corte neoclásico a lo Impellitteri. Luego ya entra la base rítmica a saco y tenemos servido de nuevo el thrash americano de los 80, mezclado a veces con un poco de speed metal a lo Sanctuary, lo que eleva la nota del corte y del disco en general.

Mosh-Pit Justice transcurre por los derroteros comentados hasta que hacen una ralentización oscuarilla a lo Nevermore. Left for Dead es un tema a pedal de principio a fin, sin mayor historia, o haces headbanging o seguramente acabes poniendo la radio. Stop Believing Lies intercala el thrash con el speed metal, lo mejor algún riff más lúgubre que meten de por medio.

The Battle Within es el mejor tema del disco, haber empezado por ahí que diría el otro, bueno, como final no está mal y te deja la sensación de que pueden sonar más frescos. Empieza de modo muy interesante con un dark riff y la batería increscendo, pero en este caso cuando empiezan a dar brasa no te meten el típico ritmo y riffs bay area hasta el final, ejecutan un thrash speed a lo Testament, Helstar, con unas guitarras más ambientales y una estructura mucho más variada y trabajada.

No son una banda que destaque de la media, aunque de vez en cuando les ves destellos que te hacen decir eh cuidado que aquí hay algo..., buena técnica pero les falta meter más chicha en los temas y no seguir tanto lo de toda la vida, algo que es difícil si te ciñes solo al thrash, las cosas como son. Eso sí, el disco se escucha de principio a fin sin problema.

Puntuación: 6,25/10

Chine - immanent (2016)

3.Behind the Vivid Light
4.A Thousand Cuts     
5.I Forgive You          
6.Tid for hämnd

Tommy Erichsson - Bass
Jesper Sunnhagen - Drums
Andreas Weis  - Guitars
Jokke Pettersson - Guitars
Ola Svensson - Vocals

Banda sueca con ya unos diez años en esto del metal y con tres discos en su recorrido con este que os comento hoy. No van a destacar por su originalidad, una apuesta bastante conservadora o tradicional se podría decir.

Arrancamos con Floating, después de una intro de sonidos batante inquietantes. Este primer tema es una buena carta de presentación de lo que nos vamos a encontrar a lo largo del disco, pues ya os digo que la frescura de propuestas no es una de sus fortalezas. Tenemos un death metal con groove bastante recargado y una buena ambientación a base de teclados de fondo, le quedan realmente bien al ambiente del tema, le dan un grado de oscuridad interesante que cotinúa con la intro de inicio, riffs potentes metiéndose en terreno thrash.

Behind the Vivid Light es un death metal más convencional, más old school, mucho cambio de ritmo que me recuerda a los grandes Coroner, groove por doquier. A Thousand Cuts es un thrash death con un inicio más contundente, también juegan con la melodía aunque no diría que tanto como para catalogarlos como una banda de death melódico, pero ya sabéis que esto de las etiquetas es igual que el tabaco, cada uno fuma la marca que más le gusta aunque es muy difícil definir donde está la diferencia. En todo caso, son temas que tienen una buena ejecución pero que no soprenden.

I Forgive You tiene un inicio con mucha distorsión y cierto grado de paranoya que le que concede más frescura respecto a otros cortes, cambio de ritmo para meter acústicas y melodía combinadas con voces guturales. Medio tiempo con riffs old school, no está mal. Tid for hämnd mezcla el death con el grindcore y melodías ambientales de por medio, un tema muy visto.

Sky ofrece una mezcla entre death y voces de rollo alternativo. Por cierto, no lo he comentado hasta ahora, pero no hay un solo punteo a lo largo de todo el disco. A ver, habrá gente que eso le dé lo mismo, yo personalmente soy de la escuela tradicional y un tema que no lleva un solo se me queda un poco huérfano, aunque si la composición es buena y rica puedes pasarlo por alto, pero ya todo el disco en ese sentido se me hace bastante cuesta arriba.

Immanent cierra el disco con un death de escuela nórdica y un buen inicio ambiental. No está mal el disco, aunque le falta más variedad, salirse de lo trillado, un poco más de experimentación, pero bueno, estamos en lo de siempre, cuántas bandas son capaces de sacarte un disco que te sorprenda? Pocas, muy pocas. Da la impresión de ser una banda que se disfruta más en directo que en tu casa, que seguramente se te irá la olla mirando las noticias sobre la eleección de Trump como presidente del gobierno y otras cafradas varias.

Puntuación: 6/10

A million gods (by Conception)

sábado, 14 de enero de 2017

Interview with WYRUZ

by Vpower

The Band: Wyruz
Country: Norway

Hailing from Norway we get the second album from this death thrash metal band. "Judge and Jury" will bring you a bunch of guitar solos, killing riffs and demoniacal rhythms, for sure not a good chance for those who seek meditation through yoga or the like. They are not new in this but their second effort is really a giant step in their career and they are on fire, preparing the third chapter already.

Hello guys and congratulations for your second album "Judge and Jury". Wyruz was formed in Norway in 2002, 14 years already... what do you remember of that time?

Hi, and Thanks!

What I remember the most is that when you are younger it tends to be a lot more distractions in your life. You don`t want to miss anything and staying to one thing for a longer period of time is a challenge. When I look back I don`t think we did many things the wrong way, but we didn`t have a clue on how things was in the industry. It`s all about knowing the right people and having some luck along the way also. Me and Kim were more about practising the guitar-skills and not so much selling the band. I guess we thought that everything would work out as soon we had record-deal, but i reality it`s 10% music maybe and the rest is selling a product. But hey, I am really happy we honed our skills rather than selling ourselves back then, `cause today we enjoy it and have been true to it for almost 15 years!

 What has changed in Wyruz since then?

The biggest changes is that we have some peace surrounding us all while we make music, and how we have found our places in the band. It`s all about the teamwork and mutual understanding towards what we wanna be as a band. We all have jobs and have certain routines which makes it easier to see what comes next. We are also very good friends as well outside of the band. I feel that this line-up is the line-up until we part for good.. not for another 30 years I guess, and then we will battle who`s got the worst case of arthritis or something. haha

 It seems the beginnings were a bit difficult, you didn’t get your first album, “Fire at Will”, on the streets till 2012, right?

Yeah, we had a good run in the first years, but we just could not get a label back then. I also moved to Oslo for some 6-7 years and because of that we had a gap for a couple of years even though we never thought of splitting up or anything. When I moved back to Hamar we got into it more than ever before so it was a good not-so-very-active period in the end. The result was "Fire at Will". Now we are more active and like playing in a band more than ever before.

Now we have in our hands your second album, in my opinion a great progression regarding your debut album

Yeah, it`s more of everything I think. You got more variations in the songs and the overall thread is way more complete. It sounds Wyruz and we finally found what we were searching for. We are not a pure thrash or death-band, and the struggle was to find our "sound" so we could shine the best on each our department of playing our instruments. If you have a drummer that plays really fast I think you should let him be at his best, and the same goes for the guitars. If someone kick ass playing thrash, don`t make them play less than what they are capable of. This was kind of our mentality this time around. - Let us mix up what we do the best as individuals and see what comes out of it, but don`t let it get in the way of the music!

How was the composition process of "Judge and Jury"?

The writing process with “Judge And Jury” was basically done by each band-member individually. Everyone in the band writes songs and plays the guitar, so each band-member makes pre-prods of their songs on their computers, and sends it to the others in the band for feedback and critique, and input on ideas on what to change and so forth. This process takes a good amount of time to complete before we start to rehears the songs before hitting the studio. We are very critical when it comes to songwriting and arrangements as we discuss this a lot, and we try to agree on details as best we can. «Judge And Jury» contains 13 songs that all of us felt had it's place on the record and we all agreed on that. It's a lot of hard work writing the songs that we do as we try out a lot of different arrangements, try out different solos, drum-parts, bass-lines, we take riffs out and put new ones in, and we use a lot of time to get the vocals to fit each song before we are satisfied.

"Judge and Jury" is many things except... relaxing hahaha, do you agree?

He he! Well no, it’s not relaxing music that we create and that`s a fact! One thing for sure is that we feel that we have found the style of music that fits us as a band, but when we have finished a concert or a practice-session we feel relaxed, `cause playing this type of music takes a lot of energy! That is the beauty of metal, it`s an outlet and a tension valve of releasing pressure!

I like very much the mix you make between death and thrash, spiced with some heavy and black metal. An explosive cocktail!

On our first album «Fire At Will» we actually were more strict to how we should sound when it came to be more genre-specific, and it was a good start. We found the basic foundation for Wyruz. We brought this with us when we wrote «Judge And Jury» and the foundation is Thrash Metal. But things changed a bit when we started to write «Judge And Jury» as the songs got faster, way faster actually, and they changed in terms of arrangement. We just said fuck it! We are gonna write what comes out of us without going through any genre-«filter», so yeah it came naturally to us when we just wrote the songs without thinking to much about it. In that way we found the sound that we feel Wyruz should have, and we feel that it fit us very good.

To describe our music as an explosive cocktail is very fitting, and we will take it as and compliment!

Be careful with some of the riffs and solos we get through the album because they can burn your skin! I think you should have posted a warning label on the cover, shouldn’t you?

Haha, we have worked hard on getting the riffs memorable and the solos to fit the songs as best we can, so it should give some infection or at least a rash of some sort.. That was actually a mighty cool idea, with a sticker saying something like that or just send along a rusty spike you cab stap yourself with to get that little extra.

After listening to the whole album I felt my neck was smashed, age has no pity, and your music neither, this is a “do headbanging or die album”, was that your intention?

Of course! Our assault of metal will not take any prisoners! But on a serious note we just wrote the music that came to us so to speak, and therefore you could say that it was intentional on a subconscious level. We write our music to be aggressive, brutal, catchy, fast but also to have a militant groove so to speak, and have contrast in our songs with tempo changes and solo`s with melodies and not only shredding all the time.

If I had to choose a song it would be Not The Enemy, I love the darkness in this song. Do you have any favorite?

That is a very tough question and extremely hard to answer! It will probably be different to each member of the band. The thing is that when you work very hard on an album, it is very difficult to point out a favorite tune, when each member work hard on their respective instruments on minor details, and perfecting it, you find things in every song that you are satisfied with!

“Judge and Jury" is a curious title for an album, what are the lyrics about?

We actually were gonna call it "Carved in Stone", but there was another band that had something similar, so "Judge and Jury" it was. We think the title is awesome and there is definitely some judging going on in the lyrics as well. we don`t have any main themes in the lyrics, but there`s some about serial killers, war, religion and even politics even though I`m not into it.

What bands have influenced your sound?

We like a lot of different bands and music within Wyruz, but to list some of the bands that we like without making the list longer than a whole year, it would probably look something like this: Slayer, early Metallica, Death, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Krisiun, Zyklon, Myrkskog, Nile, Blood Red Throne, Hate Eternal, Misery Index, Exodus, Megadeth, Testament etc.

Listening to Wyruz you believe that you can also be a big band in Norway without playing only black metal...?

Norway is a small country, and the city we are from is Hamar, Which has about a population of 30.000 inhabitants. We Actually had two release-gigs in our home town, and our “main” concert drew more than 300 people, and that shows that we have a good supporting group of loyal fans in our hometown! The second gig we did was at the local “house of culture” were it was free entry and free age limit, and there were a little over 100 people there, so it is possible to draw a crowd in Norway without playing the metal of the blackness!

Wyruz has been part of the two-week European tour called “The Norwegian Invasion Tour”. Which countries did you invade and how was it? Would you repite the experience?

The countries that we invaded was: Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. It was a really good tour and experience! In total we were five Norwegian bands on tour(therefore it was called the Norwegian Invasion Tour) The bands got along great, and had a good chemistry! The tour went extremely well with little problems. We had the co-headliner place on the bill, being the 4th band on stage each night just before Blood Red Throne! As for Wyruz,  and the reception we got and it was our first tour outside of Norway, was very good! And it resulted in more tour offers, festival gigs and other cool stuff!

Yes, it is an experience we definitely would repeat! Probably a one-time experience for sure, don’t think that there is an opportunity for a tour with 5 Norwegian bands emerging in the near future, so we were lucky to have the opportunity!

To get lucky, sometimes you must attract or seek the luck... At this moment what are your touring plans for the following months?

We had planned to do a tour in November, but unfortunately there were some things that was out of our hands that happened, so we could not do it. We got another offer in December, but it did no fit our schedules. So no tour as of yet, but we are working on getting a tour early next year! I can ‘t reveal any details yet, but it’s in the planning stages.

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

Touring is of course the first priority as mentioned earlier. We are planning to shoot a new video in November, and we have some ideas about the video and so forth. The process of writing stuff for our 3rd album has begun, but the main focus is to shoot that video and do some kickass touring next year!

Thanks, guys, hopefully we don’t need to await a long time to get another great album from Wyruz. If you wish to add something...

Thanks so much for the attention! Go buy our album and spread the word so we can tour a lot next year! The next album will be even better and we`ve already have started to write new material.

Desolate Pathway – Of Gods and Heroes (2016)

2.The Old Ferryman   
3.The Perilous Sea      
4.Medusa's Lair          
5.Into the Realms of Poseidon
6.Enchanted Voices
7.Gods of the Deep    
8.The Winged Divinity 
9.Trojan War

Mags - Drums, backing vocals
Vince Hempstead - Guitars, Vocals

Producto para clasicómanos, indudablemente, el que os traigo hoy aquí. Para abreviar en presentaciones creo que lo mejor que se puede decir si no conoces a estos ingleses es que su guitarrista y cantante Vince Hempstead ha colaborado con los dioses Pagan Altar, creo que con eso queda todo dicho. Y no en vano, a lo largo de todo el disco notamos de manera muy importante la presencia e influencia de esa mítica banda británica, sobre todo en el sonido de la guitarra.

Este es el segundo disco de Desolate Pathway, la banda se formó hace dos años, en 2014, año en el que debutaron con su primer larga duración, al que ahora le sigue este muy buen trabajo, así que parece que las ideas fluyen de manera muy clara en este banda de solo dos componentes. Como nota anecdótica la batería la ocupa una mujer, algo poco habitual, y además hace una gran labor.

Arrancamos con The Old Ferryman, después de una breve intro a base de cánticos monásticos, y tiene un inicio a base de caja y riff epic war, guitarras melódicas dobladas y sonido nwobhm por los cuatro costados, algo que va a ser una constante a lo largo de todo el disco, como ya os decía antes es un disco para amantes del sonido clásico e incluso rancio, deliciosamente rancio. Además, el señor Hempstead tiene una excelente voz, grave y profunda, que acompaña perfectamente la orientación doom del grupo. Un tema de sonido oscuro y heavy que te recordará a grandes del género como los Pagan Altar, Manilla Road, Witchfynde, Omen, etc.

The Perilous Sea se inicia con una cadencia muy lenta y un riff épico, es un medio tiempo con un sabor total a Manilla Road, metiendo punteos melódicos aquí y allá que le dan mucho aliciente al tema. Los ritmos mantienen mucha tensión, oscuridad y mucha épica son las claves de su sonido, los ritmos lentos son la nota predominante pero la fuerza que transmiten sus temas es brutal.

Medusa's Lair se inicia con unos aires Black Sabbath innegables, riffs de la era Ozzy. Otra vez la voz me vuelve a sorprender por su presencia y la actitud que transmite, realmente es algo poco habitual en un guitarrista el aunar buena técnica con grandes dotes vocales, lo contrario suele ser mucho más frecuente, ahi tenemos claros ejemplos como el de Uli Jon Roth o Tipton. Este es un tema con predominancia de sonido doom stoner, tirando de la influencia de bandas como los Sabbath, Pentagram.

Into the Realms of Poseidon se inicia con el murmullo de una corriente de agua y va seguida de un ritmo muy lento, lo más pausado del disco hasta ahora. Ritmos baladísticos introduciendo guitarras melódicas por medio, con un gusto realmente exquisito. La riqueza del tema se ve complementada con los riffs a lo Sabbath y Brocas Helm, sobriedad y elegancia por igual.

Enchanted Voices arranca con voz femenina y riff doom y va ganando un poco de velocidad, pero siempre dentro de los ritmos lentos y cadenciosos que son la marca de esta banda. Una de las cosas que más me ha gustado de esta banda británica es la perfecta mezcla y equilibrio que logran entre el sonido doom y el heavy epic, consiguen impregnar su sonido de oscuridad pero también de elementos que te hacen vibrar. Este corte es especialmente claro en ese sentido, una especie de cruce entre unos Atlantean Kodex o Battleroar con unos Sabbath, y el final es realmente mágico, aunque solo dure unos segundos, con un riff Savatage ochentero.

Gods of the Deep es un heavy a medio tiempo con un riff central genial muy Omen, puño en alto y a hacer coros. La melodía que consiguen en este corte es épica a más no poder y el reguero de punteos incontable. Pero como en todo el disco, tienen que meter el rollo sombrío, la parte esotérica del tema con su punto psycho, les ha quedado bordado.

The Winged Divinity es el corte más largo del disco, siete minutos de epic doom donde destacaría la gran interpretación vocal. Excelente el solo melódico y los riffs que acompañan todo el tema. La riqueza estructural de sus composiciones es muy alta, la parada con acústicas en este corte es realmente una obra de artesanía, seguido de un solo melódico extralargo, me recuerdan mucho el sonido de los Morgana Lefay, uno de los temas más destacados del disco. Y el final lo ponen con Trojan War, otra dosis de heavy doom con grandes melodías y el lucimiento en el micro de Vince.

Gran disco que nos deja esta banda británica, como comentaba, sus influencias están claras y son deudores del sonido de grandes bandas de la historia del heavy y el doom, pero eso no resta mérito a unas composiciones con gran riqueza y perfecta ejecución. Todos los que gustamos de ese heavy cavernicola y rancio con tintes de epic doom disfrutaremos como enanos con este disco.

Puntuación: 8,5/10

Hostis – hostis (2016)

2.Beneath the Machinery of Demise    
3.Mutilation of Truth   
5.In Shadow of the Crucified  
6.Gods are Dead

Aleksandar Dragojević - Bass
Miloš Klikovac - Guitars
Srđan Mišović  - Vocals

Desde Montenegro nos llega el primer disco de esta banda de death metal. Se trata de un trío y este primer disco lo han editado ellos mismos, aunque sea en una tirada muy limitada, nada es fácil en el mundillo de la música, y en el del Metal más si cabe.

El inicio del disco es contundente, parece como si Hostis, el nombre de la banda, del disco y de este tema tuviera que ser la caña, no les falta razón, si es tu seña de identidad hay que poner toda la carne en el asador. Un tema que rinde tributo al sonido Vader, potencia y la parada típica con un riff melódico, y buen solo pone el colofón a un tema interesante, nada innovador pero con mucha pegada.

Beneath the Machinery of Demise es un tema con un ritmo mucho más directo, una mezcla entre death melódico y death old school, aceleraciones constantes y solo melódico, buena ambientación y riffs con gancho.

Mutilation of Truth es un corte variado, se trata de un medio tiempo de death melódico donde lo más destacado son los riffs con groove y los blast beats. El solo es melódico y afilado y la parada se toma su tiempo para arrancar finalmente con unas guitarras a lo Schuldiner, un tema que pasa por todas las fases para acabar a toda máquina. Una composición con mucha energía aunque no precisamente original por su composición.

Demigods tiene un inicio thrasher y luego meten riffs y solo de power trhash, cambiando el tiempo del disco. Se trata de un tema instrumental con su pausa de riffs pesados, con un segundo solo de heavy metal que resulta fresco y le da versatilidad al tema.

Los dos últimos temas pasan de los 7 minutos. In Shadow of the Crucified es un death melódico con ciertos aires de viking metal. Parada, riff melódico y solo que entra como un puñal. Un segundo solo típico del death sueco y luego a correr. Gods are Dead remata el disco con una nueva variación respecto a lo visto hasta ahora, una mezcla entre death y grindcore, con voces a lo brutal death. Así que se puede decir que el disco empieza de manera muy convencional y aunque luego no inventan nada sí que van dando pasitos para hacer un disco bastante variado y entretenido, con buen trabajo en las guitatrras y en los ritmos. Son solo 6 temas pero con una duración de casi cuarenta minutos que hacen que el disco no decaiga en ningún momento.

Puntuación: 7/10

The Perilous Sea (by Desolate Pathway)

jueves, 12 de enero de 2017

Interview with HAMMER KING

by Vpower

The band: Hammer King
Country: Germany
Answers by: Titan Fox (vocals, guitars)

Featuring talented musicians from Germany’s heavy/power metal scene, HAMMER KING  emerged last year with their debut album “Kingdom Of The Hammer King”. Now, it is time to unleash their second opus “King Is Rising”, with a nod towards faster paced songs compared to their debut. Titan Fox was talking to Metalbrothers.es and we enjoyed it, a very interesting chat.

Hello Titan and congratulations for your new and second album "King Is Rising"

Titan: Hello Metalbrothers, Hello Spain! Thanks a lot, we are happy to see "King Is Rising" released and it's great talking to you!

When was the band formed and how did it happen?

Titan: The legend says that the band was spiritually formed in 1978 by the Hammer King – we started working in 2014, recorded "Kingdom Of The Hammer King" in 2014, released it in 2015 and started playing shows in 2015.

“Kingdom Of The Hammer King” was your debut album, released just last year 2015. The machine doesn’t stop...

Titan: We really hoped to have a strong follow-up within 1,5 years and thankfully the songs came along really great – and our label Cruz Del Sur Music has been able to put the album out equally quickly. The machine doesn't stop, right. A new band needs to live through putting out albums and playing shows. We try to fulfill both jobs at the same time!

Comparing “Kingdom Of The Hammer King” with "King Is Rising", I think the second is wining, how do you see it?

Titan: I am really glad to hear that! Honestly, it was tough writing songs for the second album as the first was such a spontaneous effort. This time we really worked very much in the depth of the songs, the demo we did for the studio was absolutely worked out into the smallest details. So after some months of hard work we knew that "King Is Rising" was gonna be a strong album – but after we came out of the Studio Greywolf (Hail Charles!) we felt that the album was very much a natural thing. We could feel the confidence and the strength of a grown band. Still it's hard to compare the albums – they are brothers, maybe "King Is Rising" is the bigger brother of the two :-)

Some people calls it power metal, but I think "King Is Rising" is more heavy metal than other thing, although with some roots in other styles, as it’s common in the Metal nowadays.

Titan: Well, I am old enough to remember Heavy Metal before someone brought up the term Power Metal. So I never really got the difference between the two "styles". I think Hammer King's sound is not as "fat" as most Metal bands' sound is. We play many traditional open chords, use less deep strings than it is mostly done nowadays – we do not use samples or keyboards at all, so actually we are quite Heavy Metal in its original sense. We sang all the choirs ourselves, we played everything ourselves, one guitar on one channel, the other on the other – strictly and always. We played the twin leads with two guitar players, not one guy playing both tracks. We even played the recorder (wooden flute) and the castanets ourselves. How much more Heavy Metal can you be?

Horns up! Let’s talk more about it. If your first album was released last year...the Mathmatics say that you preparaded all the pack in less than a year, how was it?

Titan: Yes, we really did. I can't remember how soon the King wrote the first songs for "King Is Rising" after "Kingdom Of The Hammer King", but it must have been quite early – and honestly, there are already bits and pieces for songs for a third album. I personally love doing new stuff, it's what I find extremely exciting about being in a band. Right now the demo-computer is empty, it's a thrill seeing it filling up again!
But we have become really very structured and focussed. We have equipment in the rehearsal studio at Castle Rockfort and we record and arrange all the time.

Who has more power inside the band to decide about the composition?

Titan: The KING has all the power! All songs are written by the KING, of course each of us has a certain realm he is responsible for. Dolph does the graphics and designs, the online things, orga work – Gino the financial stuff, K.K. takes care of the warehouse and the inventory, I sort of am the musical director and I do the talking. Plenty of work for everyone!

When listening to "King Is Rising" I was thinking: these guys have to burn it up on stage. In that sense your songs remind me of bands such as Hammerfall, Grave Digger, etc that are a bomb in the live shows

Titan: Very honestly: Yes, we are! We Are The Hammer, we bring you fire! We can certainly say that we do deliver, no matter how tired, how far travelled, how big or small the stage is, we love playing live, we love to sing about the King. And we proudly play all you hear, we sing everything live, no tapes except for the intro!

 The cover is stunning and we get the hammer in the middle, kind of an icon already?

Titan: The KING rules with the Reichshammer, so the hammer will always be an icon on the cover, absolutely! We always bring our Hammer on stage and I have used it to rest my feet and hands on in the studio as well – and the people love taking a picture with the hammer at the shows!

I can imagine it hehe. As I said before, I was surprised by the variety in your songs. For example, King Is Rising offers a great heavy power song, with excellent melodies

Titan: Thank you very much for this compliment! We have always been very much into keeping everything melodic, big chords, big melodies, the sort of songs you can directly understand when hearing them live. We are a live band – and we want the audience to sing for the Hammer King.

We get also some epic heavy metal approach in Warrior’s Reign

Titan: Ross The Boss once said to me "You know, everyone tries to play faster all the time. I try to play slower, that's more difficult" – he is right! I love to play moody and slow solos, so I am very much into doing epic stuff. We had Chancellor Of Glory on the first album, Warrior's Reign is like its successor, we also have Dolph's marching snare in the intro and the melodic bass lines. Actually the entire song was a jam session we recorded at Castle Rockfort, we only added vocals later on. I love the vibe of it!

Cool, a very interesting vision. Even we will find some speed metal dose in Battle Gorse. No one can say you repeat the same song once and once again

Titan: We are happy to have such a variety of songs in this very specialized musical path that Heavy Metal seems to be. Many people have requested more fast songs at our shows – and when we got the story of the Battle Gorse, we knew it needed to be fast song! The riff was first, the rest was a jam session. The song was good on the demo, but it got a killer in the studio. The high screams were the last thing I sang for this album. It even is on the studio report video!

What is your favorite song?

Titan: It changes, at the moment it is Last Hellriders, Battle Gorse and Eternal Tower Of Woe.

If you were to make a tribute album, what bands would you cover?

Titan: Ohlala! That's a tough one, really! Maybe we would spare out all our obvious influences like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and so on and just do unexpected stuff like Simon and Garfunkel, Wishbone Ash and die ärzte – I can't tell! Maybe we would just never do that – who's ever been better than the original band itself?!

Anyway, we thank the effort answering. You have signed by Cruz del Sur Music and the official presentation of "King Is Rising" will be in Rome at the "Burn This Town Festival", sharing stage with other bands in the Italian label’s roster as Sacreed Steel. How do you feel about it?

Titan: That's really great! We are so much loking forward to that! Gerrit came on stage at a Keep It True show we played with Ross The Boss many years back and sang Secret Of Steel with me. So of course I am absolutely looking forward to meeting him again. I love Sacred Steel and I am also looking forward to seeing Gianluca Silva and Battle Ram again. Some old friends from Italy will also be there, so this is really gonna be one hell of a night to kick the second Hammer King chapter into action!

Apart of that event, do you have any other touring dates for next months?

Titan: We are constantly looking for shows and at the moment we are getting more shows than before. We will have a release party at the Hardrock Café in Kaiserslautern, there's Mannheim, Cologne and Ludwigshafen coming up. Two summer festivals have already been confirmed. But we are looking for support shows with bigger bands and we are looking for a booking agency. We want to play more and more, you never improve more than by playing live – and the King wants us to play His songs to as many people as possible.

Thanks Titan for this chat and we wish you a big success with the powerful "King Is Rising", hopefully we will see you through Spain!

Titan: Thank you very much, brother – the pleasure was all mine! Thanks a lot for the support! God bless the King, may the King bless you!

WHEEL OF SMOKE – Mindless Mass (2016)

3.Bad Shepherd
6.No More TV

Tristan Michiels – bass, vocals
Erik Heyns – lead guitar
Filip Remans – guitar, vocals
Jouk Op De Beeck - drums

Aunque posiblemente aquí, y en otros muchos sitios, sean unos totales desconocidos, estos belgas hacen con este ya su cuarto larga duración de su carrera y se les nota que son tipos con tablas y calidad, de esos discos que dejan un poso y te llaman a escucharlos reiteradamente. Mezclan heavy clásico con rock setentero y sonido new wave.

Empezamos calentando motores con Degeneration, un tema con abundancia de ritmos setenteros, voz rockera con tintes punk y algunos riffs a lo Black Sabbath, es decir, un tema de sabor muy añejo. Además, como ocurre a lo largo de todos los cortes del disco, las pistas son bastante largas y les permiten ir introduciendo diferentes elementos, logrando estructuras complejas pero muy interesantes. Este tema evoluciona en su parte final hacia un psycho rock y stoner con cierta épica que sube el nivel el corte.

Ruins tiene un inicio de rock progresivo con cambios de ritmo alocados, punteo de heavy clásico under a lo Brocas Helm, Cirith Ungol, un tema muy under donde destaca la instrumentación y la voz juega un rol secundario, especialmente destacable la base rítmica.

Bad Shepherd tiene un inicio con bajo y unos aires de rock alternativo, nos siguen ofreciendo nuevas facetas en su repertorio sonoro. Se recrean en riffs progresivos muy adictivos y la voz tarda en entrar, pero ahora lo hace con mucha más presencia, en plan occult metal con riffs muy de la nwobhm. A mitad de tema ralentizan el ritmo de manera genial, con mucho feeling y rematan la faena con un buen solo largo extenso y de heavy clásico, gran tema.

Unnamed arranca con unas acústicas agónicas y nuevo giro de tuerca en su sonido, en este caso nos ofrecen su cara doom que alternan con grandes riffs heavys y sonido british ochentero, un tema con una gran ambientación. Synchronicity tiene un inicio brutal con un riff a lo Pagan Altar, voces de ceromonia ocultista y ritmos sicodélicos y oscuros, un tema muy de la new wave, con sabor a unos Angel Witch, Death SS.

Ojo a No More TV, posiblemente el tema más completo y elaborado del disco. Se inicia con bajo y rítmicas disonantes, cambio de ritmo y velocidad speed pero con guitarras setenteras. Por medio bajan el ritmo y se meten en un rock a lo Motorhead pero no tan sucio. Se explayan en la ejecución de los solos, en una especie de jam session, para acabar volviendo a meterse en ritmos oscuros de heavy doom.

Se cierra este gran disco con Feral, básicamente un corte de rock setentero pero con continuos cambios de ritmo. Tampoco faltan las pausas y la melodía, grandes guitarras y sonido new wave en su vertiente más oscura. Una gran forma de acabar el disco. Esta banda belga bebe de las fuentes clásicas, elaborando grandes composiciones, complejas pero con mucha pegada.

Puntuación: 8,5/10

Freedom Call - master of light (2016)

1.Metal Is for Everyone
2.Hammer of the Gods
3.A World Beyond
4.Masters of Light
5.Kings Rise and Fall
6.Cradle of Angels
7.Emerald Skies          
8.Hail the Legend
9.Ghost Ballet
10.Rock the Nation
11. Riders in the Sky
12.High Up     

Chris Bay - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Lars Rettkowitz - Guitars
Ilker Ersin - Bass
Ramy Ali – Drums

Noveno disco de los alemanes Freedom Call, una banda ya con muchos años en esto del power metal. Se puede decir que es una de las pocas bandas que sigue fiel a su estilo de toda la vida, el power metal puro y melódio, muy melódico y muy muy comercial, es decir, muy al estilo del que triunfaba y arrasaba en Europa a finales de los 90 y a principios de siglo. Como todos sabemos, en esos años parece que sólo existían bandas de power, pero como era de preveer la saturación de bandas significó también la crisis del estilo, algo que tenía que pasar tarde o temprano. Hoy en día vivimos tiempos donde lo que se lleva es conjugar estilos diferentes, por eso eso decía que estos alemanes son de las pocas bandas que todavía hacen power metal europeo a la antigua usanza.

Y eso es lo que nos espera en este nuevo capítulo de la banda, nuevo porque son nuevas composiciones pero no nos aguarda ninguna sorpresa respecto a lo que han hecho siempre. El power de Freedom Call es muy melódico y azucarado, muy happy si lo queréis decir así, siguiendo la estela de bandas como Gamma Ray o Helloween. Pero siempre han hecho especial hincapié en los coros, una profusión que puede llegar a resultar cansina. Este disco no va a ser la excepción, es una apuesta por la continuidad, hay bandas que evolucionan, no es el caso de estos alemanes.

Metal Is for Everyone abre el disco con los consabidos coros y el doble bombo a todo trapo, melodías y repetición del estribillo hasta la saciedad, lo mejor son las variaciones que van introduciendo en el ritmo, power de toda la vida.

Hammer of the Gods se inicia con un riff muy Helloween y los coros marca de la casa. Mucho teclado y punteo melódico no apto para diabéticos. A World Beyond arranca con un buen epic power riff y buenos arreglos de guitarras, pero en este tema los teclados ganan presencian y nos trasladan un poco al sonido de los Rhapsody.

Masters of Light es un medio tiempo con riffs y teclados de ambiente neoclásico, los típicos arreglos de voces y las aceleraciones a lo Stratovarius. Kings Rise and Fall se inicia con sintetizadores y es un tema de power clásico que me recuerda a los Edguy. Cradle of Angels es una balada que encaja muy bien a mitad de disco para romper un poco con el monólogo power melódico, uno de los temas más logrados, la ejecución de las guitarras es muy buena y recuerda al sonido de unos Guns and Roses.

Emerald Skies es heavy melódico, bajan el ritmo pero no la melodía y la pompa que se gastan en todos sus discos. Hail the Legend no inventa nada, power metal estándar. Sin embargo, Ghost Ballet es un tema más especial, un power space metal a lo Pagan Mind que le da más profundidad a su música.

Los últimos tres temas son power hasta el infinito y más alla, con todos los elementos típicos del tema. En resumen, que estos Freedom Call no inventan nada, y nunca lo han hecho, pero sí que hay que reconocerles su constancia y que tienen las ideas muy claras. Los fans de toda la vida disfrutarán de una nueva taza del caldo que les gusta, en cambio los que no disfruten tanto del power metal más comercial posiblemente no sean capaces ni de acabar el disco, porque no ofrece apenas alternativas dentro de ese sonido, no hay dudas con estos germanos, tienen las cartas bien marcadas.

Puntuación: 7/10

Pray for fire (by Vesen)

martes, 10 de enero de 2017

Interview with QARTZ

by Vpower

The Band: Quartz
Country: UK
Answers by: Tim Perry on behalf of Quartz

What we bring you here is a piece of Metal history. If you talk about the NWOBHM and you don’t mention QUARTZ, then something is definitely missing. So, it’s time to review a little their story, but also to talk about the new times and their new album “Fear No Evil”. With the line-up they currently show you can only expect the best, and you will get it, because they are back to deliver the goods once again, this is not a pose.  

Hello Tim and congratulations for you new album and your long heavy metal career

Thank you and a big hello to our “Metal Brothers” in Spain from of all the members of QUARTZ. We are all very excited about our new album “Fear No Evil” that will be released on the 28th October 2016 by High Roller Records. It may have taken us just a little longer than we anticipated or expected.

Before going with your current activity we would like to talk a little about your story, you are part of the Heavy Metal history and it is always a privilege to talk to such kind of bands. Looking back, how do you evaluate all these years, more than three decades?

The music industry has been a great place to be involved in over all these years and we have been fortunate to meet and rub shoulders with many great musicians and bands. There have been numerous ups and downs and some highs and lows during this time but to be accepted by generations of Rock, NWoBHM and Heavy Metal fans is very rewarding for us and we actually feel privileged to be part of this phenomenon.

If you had to choose, which would be your best moments as a band?

We all agree and are unanimous in saying it has to be getting our first recording contract for a full length album and then Tony Iommi offering to produce the album for us. Gig wise then back in the day playing the Reading Festival three times and touring with Black Sabbath and AC/DC amongst others. More recently it has to be being asked to play at Keep It True XVI shortly after we reformed the band and getting such an unbelievable reaction and reception from the crowd there that just blew us away. To see so many young people in the hall singing aloud our songs was an amazing sight.

Any funny time or facts from the past that you remember with a smile in your face?

Yes there were many funny times and jokes played whilst we were on the road touring.  For example at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow we put cling film on most of the toilet pans in the venue and then we hung around to witness the chaos and carnage unfold once the doors were opened to the general public …  Sorry folks we apologise if you were one of our victims back then.

Hahaha at least so many years later they know all the truth about it... Quartz is a renowned band and usually linked to the NWOBHM, but you were already existing before the movement exploded, right?

You are correct. We formed a band towards the end of 1973 called BANDYLEGS and this band would transform into QUARTZ in 1977 ahead of our self-titled debut album release on Jet Records. With the name change many people associated with the music business thought that we were new and we assume that is probably why we were labelled NWoBHM back then by the press etc.

In the beginnings you were a heavy metal band based in Birmingham. How did that fact influence you?

That’s not strictly correct. We had played a variety of different and contrasting musical styles in our early formative years in various numerous bands dating back to the early 1960’s. Being from Birmingham and having bands around like BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN literally on our door step we decided that was the kind of music we wanted to write and play and hopefully aspire to.

A goood reason. Do you still consider yourselves a band from somewhere or the globalization has changed it all and it does not matter anymore?

We are very proud to say we are from Birmingham which is today regarded to be the birthplace and the home of heavy metal music by many people from around the world.

Who can be named as the founding member of the band?

Mick Hopkins returned to Birmingham at the end of 1972 after living for a short while in Canada where he played in a group called FLUDD. Once back home Mick renewed his contacts with ex band members from LEMON TREE ie Derek Arnold and Taffy Taylor and ex band members from COPPERFIELD ie Derek Arnold and Malcolm Cope to form a new band called BANDYLEGS. Geoff Nicholls from WORLD OF OZ and JOHNNY NEAL & THE STARLINERS completed the line-up in December 1973 and actually played his first gig on New Years Eve.

Your first album, Quartz, and your second, Stand Up and Fight, put you in the map of the NWOBHM and the heavy metal in general. However, Against All Odds showed a much more commercial approach. With the vision of time, do you regret releasing that third album?

Obviously with the departure of three out of the five founding members from the band and with the difficult process of recruiting new members to try and fill their shoes the make-up and sound of the band did change during that period of time. We, that is Mick Hopkins and Malcolm Cope, made a conscious decision to try and become slightly more commercial in an attempt to try and break into the emerging markets at the time and primarily the USA if we could. We do not regret releasing Against All Odds but did experience a lot of difficulties during the recording and production stages so hence the title.

This 2016 you are releasing your fourth album, “Fear No Evil”. It seems you are back to your roots

With four founding original members returning including the ever present Mick Hopkins and Malcolm Cope plus returnees Derek Arnold and Geoff Nicholls it’s simply a case of “Back in the Band” AND business as usual without most of the usual pressures.

Talking about your current line-up, what new blood are we gonna find in Quartz?

The only new blood you will find in QUARTZ may be in the lyrics of the song “Dead Mans World” on the new album which is a song all about vampires in modern day times. Maybe you are referring there to David Garner our vocalist as new blood but actually David was briefly in the band back in 1981-1982 when he replaced Taffy who left in the summer of 1981 to pursue another musical direction. However, then David too left the band just before we went into the studio to record Against All Odds and many people don’t know that.

How long did you work in the composition of the album and how was all the process? Is it easier than 30 years ago?

After Geoff Nicholls was asked if we could write a couple of songs that might be used in a zombie film the rest of the songs on the album came fairly quickly with all the band members contributing in varying degrees. Having Geoff back in the fold with his prolific and proven lyric writing and compositional talents allied with his wealth of experience from his days in BLACK SABBATH has made things easier undoubtedly. What has changed is the technology for recording and producing music.

One thing is clear when you listen to the album from the very first moment: David Garner is a great vocalist, not only for heavy metal but also for hard rock, I would say

No arguments there from us David has a great voice and vocal range to suit several styles. He can virtually sing anything we ask him to and has a great ear for harmonies etc. which is a real bonus for the band. Also Geoff Nicholls is what you could call an “unsung hero” as he shares the lead vocals with David on our new album singing “Rock Bottom”, “Walking On Holy Water”, “Dangerous Game” and “Scream At The Devil”. This naturally brings a lot of subtle light and shade and some distinctive contrast to the album which is what we wanted to do from the outset.

Yes, having a monster as Nicholls on board makes everything eaiser, for sure. I think old fans will not miss Taffy Taylor or Geoff Bate, except for the old and good times. How did you hire Mr. David Garner?

When we finally decided to reform the band back in 2011 for initially a one off memorial charity gig in Birmingham we actually contacted Taffy Taylor as one of the five original members. Taffy wanted to do it but because of ill-health problems and with him living quite far away he ruled himself out. We then contacted David Garner and asked him if he was interested and after some initial reservations (and with Taffy’s blessings it should be noted) he eventually said yes so we didn’t hire him. David is a full and equal member of the band just like everyone else is. We still have contact with Geoff Bate who has his own band and is still working the circuit too.

I also would like to underline the great work on guitars, classic sound, great melodies and elegance all over. Mick Hopkins is really on fire

Mick comes up with some truly incredible riffs which can be the sole inspiration for a song. He continually amazes us week after week, month after month and year after year with more and more riffs when we meet to jam and work on stuff. Mick is a wonderfully gifted musician and guitar player but has also put in the hours and hours of practice over the past fifty years or so since turning professional at the age of sixteen and it clearly shows. We have to keep a fire extinguisher to hand at rehearsals these days for sure.

Hahaha... Also a great work by Geoff Nicholls on keys and the guys on the rhythm section, all in all a great team

Geoff is one of a kind and that is why Tony Iommi wanted him to help him when Ozzy and then Geezer left BLACK SABBATH and the reason he ended up staying for nearly twenty four years in total. Dek and Malc are the powerhouse and driving force behind the band and still are more than able to deliver the goods these days as you can hear.

Talking about the songs on the album, we can talk about old school heavy metal but also some modern approach as Scream at the Devil or the great Zombie Resurrection, right?

We are definitely what you call “Old School” but also want to develop and improve as musicians so we appreciate that you feel that we have also managed to achieve a modern approach with this album. Mick had some ideas for a zombie rhythm riff and had been working on how he wanted to portray the relentless marching of the undead swaying from side to side. He played it to us at rehearsals and we all loved it. Geoff mentioned that he had been asked to write two songs for a zombie movie and then he came up with his ideas for the melody and lyrics and everything worked extremely well we think. Scream at the Devil is one of Geoff’s offerings and he brings the demonic side to the bands writing from his time and long association with BLACK SABBATH.

What are the lyrics about?

We cover a wide range subject matter on the album. Some are drawn from life experiences, others have political and social comment and then we delve in to the fantasy realm with post nuclear survival including zombies, vampires and demons just for good measure.

Is this the album you wanted to create from the very beginning or the monster was growing and changing with time?

Basically both YES and NO as you can’t always tell when you are recording how things are going to work out. It’s a mixture of development and bottled up material waiting to be released fused with experimentation from other influences so it’s also a bit of a monster too. We just hope that people like it and they think it’s been well worth the wait (only time will tell now).

I believe with this great album you have no other chance than making some dates around. Anyone already? For instance, playing in the Keep It True would be a great place to celebrate it...

We love playing live so are really looking forward to the opportunity of promoting this album when it is released at the end of this month. We would really relish a return trip to Keep It True to showcase the new album if possible. As for future festivals and gigs we are playing at HARD ROCK HELL NWoBHM in Sheffield (England) on 3rd of December 2016 along with a spectacular line-up of other NWoBHM bands spanning Friday and Saturday which is going to be amazing. Also co-incidentally we are planning to come to Spain in the New Year to visit our Metal Brothers but details are not as yet confirmed with the promoter or the venue so keep checking on our official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/QuartzBackintheBand  for all the latest information and details.

We will be looking forward to that gig in Spain. What are your plans for the future?

We have already started work on our next album. Some songs have been completed and others are nearly completed with a few still in the early development stage. So all being well you won’t have to wait another thirty three years for another QUARTZ album.

Those are the best news we could hear! Thank you very much for your attention and welcome back QUARTZ!!!

No we would like to thank you for allowing us the time and opportunity of this interview and for providing the means and the platform for getting our message out there. We hope we have managed to answer all of your questions.

It was really cool and interesting, another lesson in Metal, thanks!