viernes, 31 de agosto de 2018

Interview with VORBID

by Vpower

The Band: Vorbid
Country: Norway

VORBID’s first full-length ever will be out is here and it shows a rapid and intense growth into a quite unique style of Thrash Metal. But maybe the best is yet to come, as the band comments to us in this interview, it seems they are evolving into more complex sounds and only destiny knows what will be next. But for now, let’s enjoy their debut “Mind”, one of the best debuts I can remember from a thrash band in so many years.

Hi guys, your debut album "Mind" will be out in April 4th through Indie Recordings, how do you feel about it?

Hi, first off, thanks for the great review! The release date varies from different places on the internet but the one we have is 13th of April. When we got the call from Indie Recordings in the end of 2017, we knew that 2018 was going to be a good. We’re treated very well, and are excited about the response on the album!

Vorbid is a young band formed but young people, as least it appears so from the photos, but you deliver a storming thrash attack of high-octane, where is the magic?

We have a really synergy with each other. We also have different side projects that will never become anything other than witticisms, but serve as an outlet for the music not good enough for Vorbid. We also go through the same kind of music evolution together. When one of us first started listening to King Crimson, we all did, and so on we all followed on the Genesis etc. So we all have kind of the same idea of what we want our music to be.

Your first few songs were released with your homonymous EP in 2016, any change since that time?

The first side of “Mind” (the first 4 songs) are kind of a follow-up on what we did on the EP: It’s raw, in-your-face thrash metal with some progressive and experimental elements thrown in from time to time. However, the title-track is a hint of the path we are currently taking Vorbid in: more experimental, unorthodox composition and phrasing, deeper lyrical themes etc. So yes, I would say that we are going through a change in where we want Vorbid to be, or what we want it to become. In my opinion “Mind” has more freedom to do what it wants, and the stuff we’re currently writing for a potential new album is furthermore experimental than “Mind”, so I guess there’s really no nostalgia with Vorbid and previous releases.

So, we await more surprises in the future. How long have you worked in "Mind"? All ideas were clear from the beginning of the process?

The opening track “If There’s Evil (There’s People)” were in the making as we recorded the EP, but other than that, it’s all fresh. I don’t know exactly how long it took to put the whole album together but the title track wasn’t even completed when we entered the studio to record the album. The working process went like this: We would start of by the ambition of writing a song that embraced all the elements of Vorbid at the time “Mind” and we knew it would be long and hard (no puns). As we worked on the piece that ultimately became the title-track we would often get stuck and write other independent pieces that became stand-alone songs like “Zombie”, “Invention Intervention” and “To Mega Therion”. I guess the complete process of making the 23 minute title-track took from 6 to 8 months.

Not wonder it’s a killing track. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think "Mind" is kind of a conceptual album, what’s it all about?

Yes, you’re right. “Mind” is kind of an abstract concept album where we dive into the factors that make up the human mind and what controls it. In part 2 to the title-track we tell the story of five age-old beings that are set to craft the human mind (as pictured on the cover art). Four of these five beings are personifications of the first four songs of the album and their themes: Political control, change, fear of others and fear of yourself. The fifth (centred on the cover art) being is the personification of the son “Mind”. This fifth character concludes there are too many ifs, whats and whys for the human mind to comprehend and too many sides to one matter, so he creates the concept of an almighty “God” to keep it simple: “Though engulfed in enigmas of right and wrong, the birth of gods were called”. This is how the song “Mind” starts, and it follows up with the problematic situation where humans exist together with the concept of God:

“Now the sins of man and eye of gods
Are bound to one common sphere
Though when manmade divinity reside above all
The very fabric of minds shall tear”

Cool enough! You deliver classic thrash metal but you also go farer than that an even introduce some progressive elements in your music

Yes, at least we like to think so. We like to have long and unorthodox sections, odd time signatures and tempo changes to make the music more interesting. As time went on we got more and more engulfed in the progressive music of the 70ties, and that sometimes leaves its mark on our music. As mentioned, the stuff we are currently writing is going to have more of this influence so we hope we are doing it well enough for people to like it.

All sounds good to me, but guitars are really brilliant in your album with a countless number of solos delivered

Thanks man! I don’t think anyone would argue that Vorbid sometimes relies on the instrumental. We find thrash metal a good foundation to make the most out of the guitars: you can have clean parts, aggressive parts, harmonies and melodies, a ton of solos… you can pretty much do whatever you want with the guitar in thrash, and the genre goes really well with elements of other types of music, so we have a lot of working space when we write.

And of course we have to talk about that great song that gives name to the album, Mind. 23 minutes of song. It was your intention to do such a long and crazy song or it happened in between many beers?

I have to admit that we were really into the album “Hemispheres” by Rush at the time, where the title-track clocks in at 18 minutes. This served as a direct motivation to do a “long-song”. So, it was actually a goal from the start to have it reach 18 minutes or more. I remember all the times at rehearsal where we would time the song, and how disappointed we would be when it only reached 7 or 8 minutes. We really wrote the song from start to finish and didn’t just piece different sections together as we saw fit, that’s why it took so long, because all the parts had to glide well into each other.

Thanks to Rush for the initial push, then, and you for the big effort. Mind, the song, can be considered itself as an ep hahaha, you will play it in your gigs?

Haha, you could say that. We haven’t played it live yet but are planning on doing it for our gig with Tantara at Hard Rock Café Oslo at Indie Recordings’ label night the 28th of March. It only depends on if our playtime is 30 or 40 minutes (it would be kind of dumb to play 2 only songs).

Don’t forget to upload it to Youtube! By the way, this album is preceded by several contests you have won, it seems you were destined to do something important and Mind is the culmination of that trend

I think some people might like this album and the musical style of it, but I also think that we are only starting to find our true genre, the perfect balance between thrash, heavy, speed, melodic, mellow and progressive, if you know what I mean. I like to think that “Mind” is our “Caress of Steel” where we did some things spot-on and other things are left to be perfected. So, in my mind our goal is to make that perfect album where everything fits and Vorbid becomes Vorbid.

Have you already played with some big names around? Any live dates programmed?

We’ve done gigs with Tony Carey’s Rainbow Project and Aura Noir, and of course the Wacken and Bloodstock gigs of 2017. It’s not like we were backstage with Dave Mustaine, but we got to chat with Jeff Waters from Annihilator and he even introduced us at Wacken. We’re currently planning tours and gigs with oyher bands, but as of now I can’t really reveal anything more than our gig with Tantara who are heroes of ours.

Vorbid is one of those bands that make you believe that thrash metal is still alive, how do you see the genre nowadays?

Thrash is not a big genre in Norway. The metal scene in Norway mostly consist of core and djent acts that try too hard. I’m not trying to be a dick as I can have a certain amount of love for any kind of music as long as it’s done good. The bands Art of Deception, Fear Theories, Fuzz Generation, Underwing and Vanvidd are some of the bands that come to mind when I think back on good localbands that we’ve played with, though none of them play thrash.

Thank you very much for your attention and congratulations for your great debut album, if you wish to add something…

Again thanks a lot for the review!

GODTHRYMM – A Grand Reclamation (2018)

1.A Grand Reclamation 7:09   
2.Sacred Soil   7:17    
3.The Pantheon  8:14  
4.Forevermore  1:41

Hamish Glencross - vocals, guitar
Lee "Chaz" Netherwood - guitar
Rich Mumford - bass
Shaun "Winter" Taylor-Steels - drums

Excelente noticia la presentación en sociedad de este combo compuesto por gente experimentada y con galones en esto del heavy doom. Tenemos gente como el guitarrista Hamish Glencross que ha pasado por bandas como My Dying Bride, Solstice, o Taylor Steels que ha colaborado con Anathema, My Dying Bride, Solstice. Añádele a eso Rich Mumford, bajo en Malediction y Chaz Netherwood en las guitarras y ya sabes que lo que tienes delante es un caballo ganador, al menos sobre el papel, ahora toca corroborar esas excelentes perspectivas escuchando los cuatro temas que significan el comienzo de su andadura. Por cierto, que parece que han empezado con buen pie pues ya tienen contratadas varias actuaciones por su país, y seguro que les saldrán más a poco que empiecen a moverse.

El primer tema de este ep es A Grand Reclamation y viene a confirmar que estos ingleses están dispuestos a ser una referencia dentro del género del epic doom. Riffs con mucho zumbido de guitarras y una sonoridad muy sabbathiana. Un tema cocinado a fuego lento, con pausas en las que casi únicamente se escucha la voz de Glencross que por cierto es totalmete imperial. Lo estaba esperando y por fin sucede, el cambio de ritmo es demoledor para introducir un heavy doom que lleva la marca de los grandes Solstice, con un solo que desprende magia, elaborado y con mucho efecto. Excelente primer tema, si las primeras impresiones son las que cuentan estos han dado en la diana con este pedazo tema.

Sacred Soil es otro largo tema, pero de esos en los que no te quejas del minutaje sino que lo agradeces y lo disfrutas, en el que lucen de manera impecable e implacable melodías y grandes guitarras cargadas de epic doom de primer nivel. El comienzo no puede ser más brillante combinando la sonoridad doom con melodías de estilo folk oriental. El tema cobra un ritmo trepidante, acompañado de oscuridad y melodías que no dejarán indiferente a ningún seguidor de este tipo de bandas. Combinan la oscuridad y el apocalipsis de unos Trouble con la magia pagana y trasncendental de los Pagan Altar, sobre todo en la parte final instrumental y con una atmósfera que dibujan en tu cerebro con facilidad pasmosa.

The Pantheon es un tema de ocho minutos donde de nuevo se despachan a gusto, es el más doom de todo el trabajo. De nuevo quiero llamar la atención sobre el gran despliegue vocal, no hace sino engrandecer la pegada de este grupo, lo lleva a otra dimensión. Este es un corte más oscuro, atormentado y pausado, donde la voz se amolda de manera perfecta, más grave y agresiva que en cortes anteriores. La parte final con el solo melódico y truculento, acompañado de una voz limpia lleva a esta canción a un climax perfecto. Tienen un feeling enorme estos señores y le ponen la puntilla a este corte con un outro acústico, Forevermore, que te deja con ganas de nuevos y mucho más temas, pero supongo que para eso habrá que esperar. Aunque intuyo que no mucho, porque con las ganas con las que han desembarcado estos Godthrymm la cosa pinta más que bien. Se vislumbra otra banda inglesa de gran nivel en el epic doom, que puede estar a la altura de unos Solstice, Solitude Aeternus, Procession, etc.

The view from below (by Heir Apparent)

miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2018

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK - A Voice Unheard (2018)

1.Within The World Of Dreams  (5:02)
2.Descent   (5:20)
3.Through Shuttered Eyes   (4:02)
4.A Voice Unheard  (5:35)
5.Outlaw   (5:33)
6.Times Of War   (6:56)
7.The Enemy  (6:41)
8.One Final Prayer  (5:59)
9.Fly Away   (5:56)
10.Nothing Shall Remain   (7:00)
11.Darkside Of Aquarius (Bruce Dickinson Cover)   (6:54)
12.Slave To The Evil Force (Aria Cover)   (6:53)

Andreas Stenseth - All Bass Except Track 11
Trond Nicolaisen
Øystein K. Hanssen - All Guitars Except Solo Track 4
Ralf Scheepers - Vocals Track 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10
Tony Johannessen - Vocals Track 2, 3, 6, 11, 12
Andreas Nergård  - All drums Except Track 11, 12 and All Keyboards.
Scott Oliva - Vocals Track 5
Andreas Angell - Additional Vocals
Vitaly Dubinin - Bass Track 11
Maxim Udalov - Drums Track 11, 12
Danny Webb - Narration Track 10
Jamieson Price - Voice Overs Track 2,  6
Terry Gorle - Guitar Solo Track 4

Este es uno de esos proyectos que como decimos en Galicia no sabes muy bien si suben o si bajan, si vienen o van, o en qué consiste el asunto. El caso es que la andadura del grupo se inició hace ya diez años, dos años después sacarían sus primeros temas en forma de ep que pasaron totalmente desapercibidos para la mayoría de la comunidad metalera, o más bien fueron recibidos con total indiferencia, la verdad es que eran temas que no aportaban gran cosa.

De repente parece que los tipos se ponen las pilas y empiezan a invitar a un montón de gente a colaborar. El núcleo duro de la banda lo forman Tony "Thunder" Johannessen, Andreas Stenseth y Trond Nicolaisen. Entre los invitados encontramos nombres ilustres como el de Ralf Scheepers, cierto es que este se apunta a un bombardeo o a lo que surja, se canta un buen puñado de temas  y lo hace a su manera, como siempre. También es interesante mencionar que el disco habla sobre un tema tan “desconocido” y poco habitual como el apocalipsis... cuántas pelis se habrán hecho sobre este asunto... De hecho, cuentan con la colaboración de actores como el británico Danny Webb (Alien 3) y el americano Jamieson Price para darle un poco más de carisma y animación a los temas. Pero veamos el resultado final de todo el asunto.

Within The World Of Dreams hace los honores de apertura del disco con Scheepers al frente, un tema entre heavy y power, entre Iron Maiden y Primal Fear, mucho riffeo melódico, pocas sorpresas y lo más destacado la buena voz de Ralf, se mantiene en forma este vocalista.

Descent hace gala de un sonido a lo Iron Maiden total, de hecho suenan mejor que los Maiden de hoy en día, pese a quien le pese, pero también hay que decir que es un tema que adolece de frescura y originalidad. Y es que cuando el señor Tony Johannessen se hace con el micro sabes que te van a meter un tema que suena clavado a la doncella, esa es una constante a lo largo de todo el disco y en mi opinión le resta frescura. Lo mismo se puede decir de Through Shuttered Eyes, un tema clon de Maiden, eso sí, la ejecución es impecable, melodías por doquier que harán las delicias de los fans de la banda legendaria banda británica.

A Voice Unheard es un tema con más garra, más espontaneidad, debido en buena medida a la actuación de Ralf, me convencen más sus temas que los que se canta Tony. Heavy metal de sonido clásico, con un cierto regusto rockero a lo Graham Bonnet e incluso neoclásico en las guitarras a lo Impellitteri. Buen solo y en las melodías me recuerdan a los mejores Masterplan, el mejor tema hasta ahora.

Outlaw es un tema demasiado previsible, power con una cierta orientación epic, pero sin ningún riesgo, bien ejecutado pero carece de magia. Además, se empieza a notar otra de las características que no me convencen de este disco, alargan los temas sin necesidad, pasando de los 5 ó 6 minutos largos, cuando realmente no aportas nada sino que lo que haces es repertir la misma estructura con quizás alguna variación en los riffs pues la cosa se acaba haciendo un poco pesada.
Times Of War mejora notablemente el anterior corte, riffs arabescos y un poco de heavy con rollo a los Queensryche y Iron Maiden, con alguna parte ambiental y otras donde las guitarras tienen algo de shred, finalizando con una parte melódica final. The Enemy es otro de los temas cantados por Ralf, pero en este caso no me convence en absoluto. La razón es simple y evidente, Ralf solo sabe cantar de una forma, con agudos y con potencia, pero este es un tema a medio tiempo, más ambiental, que pide una voz más pausada y melódica, solo con el cambio de ritmo se acompasan la instrumentación y la voz, pero el tema se hace de nuevo demasiado largo.

One Final Prayer es otro tema de esos que lo ves venir, con el sello de Primal Fear, Sinner, estribillo y melodía, poco más. Más interesante resulta Fly Away, un tema entre el heavy melódico y el power, con muy buen riffeo y ritmo de cabalgada, a lo Iced Earth, Onward. Acaban los temas propios en el disco con Nothing Shall Remain, canción a lo Maiden cantada por Scheepers que suena a más de lo mismo. Por si no te habías enterado de la onda que lleva el disco te dan dos versiones de regalo, una de Bruce Dickinson y otra de los maiden rusos, los magníficos Aria, para algunos aficionados al género mejores o más consistentes que los propios Iron Maiden.

El disco tiene luces y sombras. Claramente, en lo negativo está la falta de sonido propio y que suenan a clon de Maiden en la mayor parte del disco, si te gusta bien, sino seguramente acabes abandonando el disco a la segunda o tercera escucha. Tampoco cuenta a su favor que alargan en demasía e innecesariamente los temas. En el lado positivo de la balanza está que la ejecución es excelente, que cuentan con buenos vocalistas y que los temas están trabajados, no hay improvisación, aunque no suenen como propios.

Puntuación: 6,75/10

Metal will never die (by DIO)

LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS – Under The Waves (2018)

1.An intimate voyage
2.A frozen heart
3.The loneliest road
4.Don’t look back
5.Deep blue sea
6.Under the waves
7.Leaves in the wind
8.Winter of the world
9.Do you remember the monsters
10.A survivor is born
11.Into the storm
12.In the dark of dreams
13.Blood and thunder

María Barragán – vocals
Adrien Fowl – guitar
Christopher Red – bass
Alejandro Tineo – drums

Segundo disco de esta banda gaditana formada en 2010. Hasta ahora un ep y su primer disco en 2012, ya ha llovido desde entonces y además eso se ha notado en la formación de la banda que ha cambiado de vocalista, María Barragán, también vocalista con los andaluces Absentia, es la encargada de sustituir a su antecesora Tatjana Klee.

Tenemos una primero intro de corte sinfónico al uso y acto seguido empezamos a desmenuzar el disco con A frozen heart. La voz de María es muy melódica, muy suave, demasiado lineal para mi gusto, sin apenas inflexiones ni cambios de registro. Un tema que se mueve entre el heavy y el power y donde lo más destacado es el solo.

The loneliest road sigue por esos mismos derroteros, de nuevo la voz suena demasiado limpia, como si tuviese mucho arreglo en el estudio, esto es algo que se mantiene a lo largo de todo el disco y que para mí le resta espontaneidad y naturalidad al disco. Por lo demás, este es un tema con más garra que el anterior y con un punteo con carisma.

Don’t look back es un tema donde priman las melodías pero me falta algo que haga el tema vibrante. Deep blue sea usa más el groove guitarrero, pero la voz parece contrarrestar con su apatía la fuerza que quieren meter las guitarras, las melodías son aceptables, al igual que el solo. Ya os podéis imaginar que su estilo va por los caminos marcados por bandas como Epica, Nightwish o Within Temptation, pero con unas composiciones que resultan menos vibrantes, algo que en este estilo de bandas se me antoja fundamental.

Under the waves no mejora el cuadro general, un tema muy lineal, con una voz excesivamente blanda, solo se salva el punteo de un tema que resulta anodino. Lo mismo se puede decir del medio tiempo Leaves in the wind, pasa sin dejar rastro. Winter of the world tira más hacia el power que hacia el heavy melódico y ahí se desenvuelven mejor, aunque sin hacer nada sorprendente.

A survivor is born es un tema de transición que da paso a Into the storm, lo podría resumir como un tema que tiene las mismas directrices que todos los anteriores pero que suena demasiado artificial en la producción y carece de pegada. In the dark of dreams nos deja constancia una vez más de lo que es el principal problema de este disco, la voz suena sin garra y todos los temas se los canta por igual, contribuyendo a la monotonía general del disco. Pero por lo menos acabamos con buen sabor de boca con Blood and thunder, sin duda el mejor estribillo del disco y además las voces masculinas que introducen en el tema contribuyen a darle más fuerza y diversidad, la fueza que no tienen las anteriores. En resumen, es una banda que puede dar mucho más de sí, la voz resulta demasiado lineal, me faltan riffs poderosos y con energía que es lo que piden este tipo de bandas, estribillos con más gancho y algo más de variedad rítmica entre temas.

Puntuación: 4,5/10

martes, 28 de agosto de 2018

Interview with GATEKEEPER

by Vpower

The Band: Gatekeeper
Country: Canada
Answers by: Jeff Black (guitar)

Originally formed in 2009 as a solo project by guitarist Geoff Blackwell, their new album “East Of Sun” boasts a mixture of older, unreleased material written by Blackwell which are complemented by live staples that have recently been updated. A band to follow by every epic heavy metal maniac. All the details in this cool conversation with boss Geoff.

Hi Geff! after some splits and eps this first full-length album "East Of Sun" takes us totally by surprise with its magic, kind of an unexpected appearance, do you have that same feeling?

Thank you! I'm glad to hear that people are enjoying the album. This lineup of the band is relatively fresh but we spent about 6 months working on this album so it felt like it has been in the oven for a long time. However, the positive reaction we've been getting to the album has been very exciting and helped bring some more immediacy to how we want the band to run.

Cruz Del Sur Music, that has a special eye to reveal new bands, were quick to sign you?

Yeah, it was pretty quick process I think. We only emailed a handful of labels, some were ones that we'd worked with before. Cruz Del Sur gave us immediate interest and requested some demo songs right away. After some discussion we settled on a deal that we were both satisfied with and we've been working with their team to come up with the strongest album release possible with our music. It goes without saying that we're very pleased to be a part of Cruz Del Sur Music as they have released a ton of music that we enjoy from bands who we consider our influences and others we consider our contemporaries.

As far as I know this "East Of Sun" is a collection of old compositions never released before and some songs you just played live, right?

There is a mixture of stuff on the record. Some of the songs I wrote years ago that I pitched to the current lineup. Some are older songs from previous releases that we were still playing live, and a couple are brand new songs written by the whole group. Most of the songs have my writing stamp on them in some way but the rest of the band brings their own style and attention to detail into the songs which makes them more interesting I think. Our singer JP wrote all the lyrics in the newer songs and also re-wrote all the vocals in “North Wolves”, which is from the first EP from 2013.

That nature can be percieved in the variety of styles, from the speed metal of Blade Of Cimmeria to some more heavy songs as Warrior Without Fear or the doom of tracks as Oncoming Ice, what do you think, Jeff?

I think you're correct. The song “Blade of Cimmeria” definitely caught some people off-guard, which is what we wanted. We did our best to write an album where each song stands on its own and says something different from the others while still making sense in the context of the band and the people playing in it. I really don't want to fall into the trap of playing every song in the same tempo, the same key, the same themes. I want to see how far we can stretch the “Epic Heavy Metal” tag that we've been associated with.

That array of sounds takes us to the next question, what can we expect for your next work? Do you have any trend already clear in terms of style?

We're already working on new material and there is definitely a lot of the Epic Metal stuff in there. I would say that there's more of a US Heavy Metal sound happening too. I've been listening to a lot of non-metal stuff lately too—British folk rock, jazz fusion, Indian classical music and prog rock for example. I don't plan on releasing a smooth jazz album anytime soon but I think it's healthy to listen to stuff outside to metal spectrum to keep your perspective fresh and down to earth.

I agree with you and your words just arises high expectations for your next work. The songs on "East Of Sun" were re-recorded altogether or it was more a process of picking up material from different stages?

The drums and rhythm tracks were all recorded in the span of 4 days and the rest of the record was tracked across 6 months. We had to spread out the recording due to the studio schedule as it was also a recording school, so we had to work around the student schedules. Also, our singer JP lived in Portland until earlier this year so we had to work with the long distance. I did almost all the guitars in the summer of 2017 and I would usually get into the studio at 9pm, record until 6am, then work from 8am-5pm, then take a nap at home and do it all over again. It was tough but I don't mind making sacrifices and pushing myself for the art. So everything you hear is taken from the same studio from the same sessions, it's just that the sessions had lots of time between them.

In terms of lyrics, “East Of Sun”  is inspireed by  a book of Scandinavian folk tales, right?

The title was inspired by this book, yes. However the lyrics come from a variety of places. JP wrote most of them, but in general they are songs about things going on in his life but with fantasy imagery and metaphors used to represent them. JP would tell you that Dio is his biggest influence there. I wrote a song about Beowulf (“Swan Road Saga”) and another based on the Robert E. Howard story “The Hours of the Dragon (“Bell of Tarantia”). Of course, some of the songs are just about fun, cool things like swords, snake cults and overcoming adversity.

If you pay attention to the cover design by Duncan Storr even before listening one single note, epic music is what comes to my mind

That's exactly what we wanted! We knew we needed top quality artwork for the album in order to catch people's attention. Duncan listened to some demo tracks, went into his vault and came back with the painting that you see on our cover. We fell in love with it instantly. Duncan was also kind enough to add in a few details for us, such as the sword and the tattoo on the character's shoulder. It was one of those lucky things—it was as if the painting had been sitting there waiting for us.

Your music can be compared to some classic bands such as Omen, early Manowar, Manilla Road… But if we think of more recent bands I guess Atlantean Kodex is the nearest point… Have the German guys got a strong competition from the other side of the ocean?

Haha, well it's no secret that I've had a musical relationship with the Kodex guys since the early days. Manuel was a supporter of the band at the beginning and their drummer Mario even played drums on a few demo tracks, which can be heard on the CD split we did with Eternal Champion on No Remorse records. I had started writing some songs before I discovered Atlantean Kodex so I didn't mean to sound like them, but when I heard them it was definitely an inspiration to hear a band doing something similar to what I wanted to do. We also got compared to Solstice a lot too, which is fair.

Now that I've had some time to develop my skills on guitar and now that the other guys in the band are contributing musical ideas, it's definitely blossomed into different areas. We've been getting lots of comparisons to Omen and Manowar and even 90's Bathory which makes a lot of sense to me.

Top names. Geoff Blackwell, that’s you, is the guy responsible for the creation of the band,  that was born as a solo project. In what moment did you give the step to a full-members band?

Aye aye, that's me. I decided to bring other members into the picture when the demos I'd put online started getting some attention from people in the Epic Metal community. Manuel from Kodex and Pilgrim from Funeral Circle in particular urged me to put a band together and start playing gigs. I believe the first gigs happened in 2011. In late 2014 I moved to Vancouver, BC and after about a year I put together the new lineup that you hear on the album.

The display of riffs and solos in the "East Of Sun" is absolutely devastating!

Thanks a lot! Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I wrote and recorded the majority of the riffs you hear but only two of the guitar solos are mine. Our lead guitarist Kenny tore up his fretboard in the studio and came up with a lot of really badass leads and solos. He's got a fantastic ear and a razor-sharp sense of how heavy metal guitar should sound. I hoping that some of his own riffs will appear on the newer material.

However, I would like to remark also the overwhelming performance by Jean-Pierre Abboud, again, the parallelism with Atlantean Kodex and his great vocalist Markus Becker is unavoidable

JP brings a lot to the table for sure. He and I have been in touch for many years and his old band Borrowed Time started about the time as Gatekeeper did. He's always had a pretty unique, dynamic style and it's been great to watch him grow and develop over the years. To be honest I hear more parallels with David DeFeis (Virgin Steele), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and even John Arch (Fates Warning) than Becker, but that's just me.

You are right, Jeff. You have included two covers as a bonus tracks in the cd version, Omen’s “Death Rider” and Savatage’s “Hall Of The Mountain King”, any special reason for that?

Our drummer Tommy is a total animal behind the kit and finished his drum tracks in half the time we expected, so we decided to go ahead and use some of the spare time to record a couple cover songs that we'd played at our gigs. We did the rhythm tracks live off the floor with no click track and just had fun with them. Omen and Savatage are favourites of ours and we'd gotten some great feedback from playing them live so we figured they would make good choices. We thought it would be interesting to cover these songs than other more popular crowd-pleasers songs that we play.

A good move, I love both bands. After listening to "East Of Sun" the question that arise in my mind is clear: when will you seat and start composing new songs for what should be the confirmation of this great appetizer that is "East Of Sun"?

We're already working on it! We've got a couple new songs totally written and demo'd and we've got piles of new ideas that we're chipping away at between gigs and rehearsals. The stuff we're working on now is mostly written by the group as a whole but some of the other guys are spear-heading their own song ideas and a couple of them might come from my vault of older song ideas too. I'm hoping we can end up with maybe a dozen songs and them pick out the best to use on the next record.

Excellent. What are your immmediate plans?

Gigs, gigs, GIGS! Our album release party is April 27th at the Keep It True festival in Germany and we will do a local release in Vancouver on May 12th, plus a slew of other appearances across Western Canada. In 2019 we will return to Europe for the Hell Over Hammaburg festival and other dates surrounding that. There are so many things in the works that it's hard to remember everything sometimes.

Bigtime, ya! Thank you very much Jeff for the interestoing interviedw and congratulations for your great album, if you wish to add something…

Thanks so much to everyone out there listening, reading and watching our stuff. The support means the world to us.

BLACK CYCLONE - Death Is King (2018)

1.Death Is Crowned As King  (4:28)
2.Hordes  (4:38)
3.Black Cyclone  (3:06)
4.Falling Star  (3:24)
5.Beast Battalion  (4:07)
6.IÄH  (3:52)
7.Under Your Hoof  (3:43)
8.Death By Crushing  (4:04)
9.This Is It  (4:21)

Per Andreasson - Bass
Linus Johansson - Vocals
Viktor Heineson - Drums
Ante Neimi - Guitar
Peter Nilsson - Guitar

Banda sueca que por fin saca su primer larga duración después de varios años en que no ofrecían material nuevo. Publicaron dos demos ya hace tiempo y desde entonces no había mucha actividad que se sepa, ahora vuelven con fuerza con este primer disco que combina de forma acertada el thrash y  el speed metal con algunos momentos de heavy clásico de toda la vida.

El disco empieza de forma arrolladora con la sucia y cañera Death Is Crowned As King, la actitud propia de unos Motorhead junto a los riffs, los coros y la velocidad prototípica del thrash y el heavy ochenteros, con regusto a la new wave sobre todo en el punteo de guitarra. Es un tema de esos que te activan la circulación, ideal para arrancar el disco, no en vano han sacado un video del mismo.

Hordes nos da una pequeña pausa al principio a base de riffs más atmosféricos antes de retomar de nuevo la senda de ese thrash tan característico de ellos con conexiones constantes con el heavy y el speed metal. Imposible que no se me vengan a la mente bandas tan versátiles como los Helstar o los Sodom, que eran capaces de darte sonidos salidos de las cavernas junto con otros mucho más directos y a la yugular.

Black Cyclone se basa en un riff a cañón de la escuela Sepultura, thrash agresivo y rocoso, buenos agudos y un punteo repleto de speed, sencillo y sin concesiones, un tema de directo cien por cien. Falling Star suena más refinada, con más atención  a las melodías y la atmósfera, una composición a lo Helstar, Testament, Megadeth, eso sí siempre moviéndonos en melodías oscuras a lo Mandator, nivel alto de adrenalina y en medio de su despliegue sónico destaca el desgañite brutal de su vocalista.

Beast Battalion busca la mezcla entre el speed metal y el heavy atmosférico, excelentes riffs y velocidad para anganchar a la primera en un estilo muy a power americano a lo Vicious Rumors, Crimson Glory, es un corte que cambia el paso del disco, metiéndose en sonidos más atmosféricos y melódicos pero sin perder un ápice de encanto, como el solo que culmina el tema y que tiene todo el sabor de la nwonbhm.

IÄH es el típico thrash bay area después de un comienzo ambiental, a lo Heathen, Forbidden, con escalas en el solo. Tampoco se andan por las ramas en Under Your Hoof, un thrash en este caso con acento europeo, pero siempre con la pincelada melódica en las voces que le pone ese contrapunto tan interesante a su música, y que le da ese acento heavy, un tema potente y con muy buena ambientación.

Death By Crushing es un thrash disparado, con Linus desgañitándose por completo, guitarras veloces y contundentes. Acaban eldisco con This Is It, otro tema thrasher con sabor americano, conjugando coros, riffs veloces y metiendo la parte melódica. Una banda que entretiene y que le pone a su música su punto de personalidad propia, sobre todo a través de la labor del cantante y la acertada mezcla de estilos.

Puntuación: 8/10

Scream (by Tony Martin)

lunes, 27 de agosto de 2018

PULVER – Pulver (2018)

1.Howl  (4:13)
2.Salvation  (3:52)
3.Twilight Magic  (4:46)

David Fröhlich - Vocals
Lukas Kunkel - Guitar
Alex Oster - Guitar
Gabor Eichstätter- Bass
Danny Oster - Drums

Pulver es una banda alemana formada en 2016 y que sacan sus primeros temas a la luz, heavy metal de sonido clásico y con aires retro. Howl es el primer tema de este quinteto teutón. Lo primero que apreciarás es la voz rasposa de su vocalista, en contraste con las guitarras limpias y melódicas en el más puro estilo del heavy británico de principios de los 80. El punteo es de lo más clásico, y nos dejan un primer tema a caballo entre el heavy y el hard rock que bien recuerda a bandas de elegancia y alta calidad compositiva como podían ser los Fist, Bronze o Samson.

Salvation parece que va a ser una canción con un ritmo más pausado que la anterior, de riffs más pesados en un principio, pero meten un excelente cambio de ritmo para después ofrecernos un heavy de guitarras épicas. Es un tema rico en matices gracias al trabajo de guitarras que van evolucionando en el riff, explorando nuevas melodías, un tema volcado a la parte instrumental donde nos dejan muy buen sabor de boca en la tradición de unos Angel Witch, Satan o Witchfynde.

Twilight Magic es el último tema de este excelente y breve aperitivo que nos presentan los alemanes, un tema basado en buenas guitarras melódicas que le dan un cierto toque de ansiedad y ambientación al tema, con la voz potente y profunda de David Fröhlich que encaja muy bien en esa dinámica. Un tema donde las guitarras dominan el tema pero la base rítmica juega un papel fundamental, hasta el punto de que se podría hablar de un heavy clásico pero con cierta inspiración progresiva a lo Diamond Head, Queensryche. Buena carta de presentación de esta banda, que esperemos que no tarden mucho en prodigarse con nuevos temas.

Interview with UNGFELL

by Vpower

The Band: Ungfell
Country: Switzerland

A ferocious array of piercing riffs, marching percussions and tortured howls.UNGFELL's second full-length presents Helvetic black metal deeply rooted in medieval lore and tales of pestilent witchcraft.

Hello! "Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz" is your second album, released just one year after the acclaimed Tôtbringære, ideas flowing smoothly it seems?


Good. Menetekel remains the project's driving force to this day, surely?


Excellent. How would you describe your new album "Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz"?

The Album focuses on medieval tales, especially Swiss ones. It is, in a sense, a conceptual work, even though the tracks are not related to each other. Musically, it is a very typical Ungfell album but it is calmer in it’s overall character. There is a more melancholic approach to it compared to the previous album in my opinion.

This second album was easier to finish up than the debut one? Did you have any material you had not use in your previous album that now you have included in this second album?

No to both questions.

No dilemma. "Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz" continues your traditional sound, why to change it if it works, right?


Uhm. Raw black metal with an occasional folk instrumentation, any song you would remark over the others?

No. Every song has its right to exist. I don’t have a favorite one.

With only a few years of existence Ungfell is already a reference in the Swiss black metal and a name that sound more and more in the international arena. It took you by surprise?


Amazing. Menetekel stands also for another project under the name of Wyrgher, also black metal to the bone. How do you split your time between the two projects? I suppose Ungfell is your priority?

At the moment Ungfell is a priority. I am working on some Wyrgher ideas though.

Switzerland is a small country in terms of audience compared to others but with an important collection of names, of which Celtic Frost and C oroner are possibly the biggest ones. Do you see Ungfell entering that realm of mighty darkness after several years?

I can’t say.

Uhm. Do you plan to tour around with your new album in the forthcoming months?


Sinister double (by Malice)

martes, 14 de agosto de 2018

Interview with NECRODEATH

by Vpower

The Band: Necrodeath
Country: Italy
Answers by: GL (bass), Flegias (vocals), Pier Gonella (guitar)

The return of the legendary Italian Thrash Black band! ‘The Age Of Dead Christ’ is NECRODEATH’s 11th album, 33 years after their inception into the scene, when the now legendary demo tape ‘The Shining Pentagram’ was released. NECRODEATH go back to their roots releasing one of the fastest, most violent and brutal chapters in their deadly musical path and we were fortunate enough to have the chance to talk to this Italian Metal institution. Enjoy it!

"The Age Of Dead Christ" is you 11th album, more than 30 years of career, how do you feel about it?

GL: 33 years of career Necrodeath is a life! we have experienced many emotions and experiences that have made us grow both as musicians and as people ... The band was born in 1984, publishing the first demo in 1985, since then 33 years have passed (the age of the dead Christ). We are still here after all these years playing and having fun as in the past, we still have a lot of energy to concentrate on music and this new album proves it.

Since the legendary demo The Shining Pentagram and first album Into the Macabre only Peso remains as an original member. How is the current Necrodeath from inside?

GL: from 1984 to 1989 the band had a different formation, with Peso (drums) a founding member together with Claudio (guitar). In 1990 the band broke up to be reformed in 1998 with a new formation where the only original member remained Peso. The current line-up has been stable for about 10 years and I think it will last for a long time. The fundamental thing for a long cohabitation is to get to know each other and understand each other, the music will do the rest!

I suppose the title of the new album is directly connected with the history of Christ, how did you choose it?

Flegias: Actually the title is not really connected with the history of Christ, the link is with the age when Christ died and the years of our career: 33 years. So this is the reason why we have chosen this title. The lyrics deal with an historical consideration and speak about if it's right to say that Christ has sacrificed himself for people and his apostles after his death immediately started to spread his name everywhere...why in the years thereafter this belief became a slaughter, killing millions of people in God's  name until the coming of the Enlightenment?

 The cover artwork is also very explicit in that sense and also features the band’s old logo

Flegias: The cover album was drawn by myself, trying to recreate the typical demotape graphic of the eighties. Particularly we took inspiration from Hellhammer's demotape “The Triumph Of Death”. We wanted to recreate the same feeling that we wanted to give also with the music, that is a throwback to   our sound. This is why we have also chosen to use our old logo.

What are the lyrics about?

Flegias: Every song have a different story from the others. They range from historical to religious and fantasy themes but behind each one of them you can find actual issues. We like describing the raw reality  referring to the past, our intent is to reflect on how much mistakes of the past continue in being perpetrated nowadays.

This album is really aggressive and goes back to the roots of your sound…

GL: Yes, this album was designed to play aggressive and old school, we did not want a perfect album, but a sound aggressive dirty and heavy. We composed it very quickly and recorded just as fast to capture the essence of the song. For us it was very natural to compose it and we are happy. We were inspired by our first works and all our musical background that has its roots in classic thrash death black metal, so this album recalls the 80/90 years and that sound. We are receiving good feedback and this gives us great pleasure.

You have included a new version of the classic ‘The Undead’ from your album Into The Macabre with A.C. Wild of Bulldozer on vocals, right?

PIER: Yes! Bulldozer are great friends of us. So many times A. C. Wild has come on Necrodeath stage playing The Undead with us. So finally this was the perfect album for moving this collaboration to the studio

This might well be your best album in the new century, what do you think?

GL: for us every album has a story to tell and we are proud of every composed song. Surely "the age of dead Christ" is a record that we like a lot and that I hope will please many people. When we compose a song we never think what effect it will have on those who listen to it, so every time is a new bet .... the important thing is  for us  to be satisfied with the work done.

How long have you worked on "The Age Of Dead Christ"? All flowed smoothly?

PIER: About two years. We don't live close so we cannot practice a very day. Usually after some gigs we      will remain in studio for a couple of days making practice and writing new material. Because we wanted to record everything live and together the work was harder and longer, but we had goodtime also!

The black, raw & aggressive Thrash you show in "The Age Of Dead Christ" will continue on next releases or was just the ocassion for celebrating the 33 years?

PIER: We don't know at the moment. "The Age of Dead Christ" became alive naturally, not because of the 33years of career. We plan every album when we start composing...anyway at the moment the raw & aggressive way is a good way...

I suppose you will tour around, anything already programmed?

GL: yes ... we have many concerts already scheduled and many are coming in these days. We will play mainly in Italy from March to October 2018, but also some dates in Europe. We will try to schedule as many concerts as possible to make our new album known and to meet new friends. So we hope to play in your country too!

On Metal music any past time is better or future is all that matters?

Flegias: Obviously in the past metal music has lived important moments that won't be repeated but of course we must look at the future and not avoid on memories of the past.  Necrodeath are always searching new musical feelings without forgetting its own origin and the past.

Thank you very much for your attention, if you wish to add something…

PIER: Thank you for the interview and the support! Check out our new release on CD  www.scarletrecords.it  and Vinyl www.tfhrecords.com . Keep you updated on our upcoming shows around Europe www.necrodeath.net