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Exhausted Prayer Interview

jeudi 8 décembre 2016 à 19:55
1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Chris: We're currently working on new material and booking gigs in support of our new record. 

Swansong: We plan to do a tour up the west coast and maybe the southwest in 2017. We've already finished 2 brand new songs so we may debut these on tour as well, which we usually prefer to do to work out the kinks before recording.

2. You have a split coming out in January, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Chris: As far as our sound goes, I'd describe us as  experimental black metal. In many ways the sound on the latest recording is a continuation of what we've been doing for many years. Fast, brutal, progressive metal. 

Swansong:  Musically I can only say this split is a continuation of our sound, nothing fancy or gimmicky, just how we have felt and continue to feel, it's what comes out when we write without us having to control or sculpt it so much.  We have never consciously pre-planned out what we want to do for a record, the songs kind of appear, we refine them, and we slap on a title at the end.  This time however, Ben from Burials approached us about (finally) collaborating on a split and he had the concept of "landscapes," and wanted each song to represent a location, or the feeling brought on by place.  We didn't take it seriously at first but in the process of finalizing the songs and writing lyrics the idea grew on us and we ran with it.  So much so that each song has a main and alternate title, which is both a joke and serious, and this says a lot about us.

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

Chris: Our lyrical subject matter varies,  whether it be about death, destruction, mental illness or politics it's usually about something dark. Our latest record is a concept album with a post apocalyptic arch to it.

Swansong: well, some of my songs are secretly about ex-girlfriends disguised as death metal lyrics haha.  As I mentioned the theme for this album was landscapes, so the song Garden is about a midnight hallucinatory romp through the forests where our buddy used to live in Santa Cruz, wandering around confused in the middle of the night thinking you are being chased, which is based on real life events.  Sewer is basically about all the filth that accumulates and overwhelms human civilization because of our society's disregard for the environment, pollution, and trash.  It's basically a post-apocalyptic tongue-in-cheek critique, like an "I told you so" about the disgusting consequences of ignoring over consumption, leading to the buildup of human and animal waste, with people becoming used to living in a literal sewer.  Infinite Shadow is about our worsening global drought and climate catastrophe, basically that humanity is forced mine fresh water trapped in permanently shadowed craters at the moon's north and south poles, which you might guess doesn't end well. The last song, Fallow Fields, is about leaving your home for a while only to return to it ravaged and barren, and all your loved ones are gone or dead.  So yeah, they're all pretty grim...

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

Chris: Our band name represents hopelessness and despair. It is a quote from Beowulf. "I had given up hope, exhausted prayer, expected nothing but misfortune forever." Our original guitarist/bassist and founding member Blake Russum came up with the name back in high school.

Swansong:  Blake, Mike and I all went to a Jesuit boys high school and we had our first 3 periods of freshman year together, so we had no choice but to become friends.  We had jammed a few times and Blake mentioned the name at lunch, we all thought it was cool so stuck with it.  I mean we literally had disavowed our religious upbringing, but over time it took on multiple meanings.  I feel it describes the moment that you have an epiphany after having spent years/lifetime of expecting the universe or the supernatural to make your life better, waiting for a better job, a "happy life" and not taking any meaningful action to achieve your goals-  it's a colossal waste of time.  At your lowest point, you may have become so distraught, desperate, and have given up, that you are finally able to let go of the old mental restraints and expectations and start a new approach, so it can even represent a rebirth if you will.  The old ways are dead, let's start living for real.  After devoting your entire being to something imaginary, it takes a lot of courage to step back and accept it was a painful mistake, and then move forward from there.  Or more generically one can think of it as a suicidal mood, since there is nothing left to live for without the blessings of a god, in that archaic mindset.

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

Chris: One of our favorite shows over the years had to be opening for Nunslaughter down in Mexicali back in 2003 or so. It was a packed noisy house full of booze! We've also had some great shows in Eugene and Portland over the years. One particularly great line up we had for a show in Portland back in 2009 was Knelt Rote, Exhausted Prayer, Doom Lit Sky and Burials. As far as our live performance goes, there's a lot of headbanging.

Swansong: One of my high points was getting to open for Enslaved- they are huge idols for us and this was a major achievement for us as an underground band.  The funny part was that we were competing with our good friends and fellow blackened metal act Noctuary for the better time slot, based on who sold more tickets (one of the few times this was worth doing).  I forget how many we had to sell, but both us and Noctuary kept it secret that we sold extras to beat the other band, so when we met the promoter it turned out we were still in a dead tie!  Sadly she picked Noctuary and made us open, since she knew them longer, you win some lose some. 

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

Chris: We don't have any concrete tour plans, but we should be hitting the road this summer and doing some local gigs throughout the year in support of the new album.

Swansong: Our bassist Richard is a professor at different colleges so he doesn't have spring break off unfortunately, but we will definitely do a big tour next summer if not a few shorter runs beforehand. 

7.You have a split coming out with 'Burials', what are your thoughts on the other band that had participated on the recording?

Chris: Burials is one of my favorite bands, so I couldn't be more stoked to be releasing this split with them. I'm a huge fan of the music and think their songs on this album are top notch.

Swansong: We have known their guitarist/singer Ben for over 10 years, since he played in a different post/alt-black metal project called Hacksaw to the Throat, from Oakland.  We realized right away that he was envisioning music much the same way as us, and it was very inspiring, so naturally we became friends and toured a lot with Burials.  They were on hiatus for a while so when we decided to do the split I was thrilled that they would be back in action.  The album slays, and we are very pleased with how it turned out, artistically AND musically, and that our different styles complement so well.

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

Chris: Well, we aren't the biggest metal band in the world or anything, but I feel we've received solidly positive feedback from fans of extreme metal all around the world over the years.

Swansong: we've definitely had good responses at every live show we've ever played, people can tell we are not rehashing any particular sound and they can sense that we are after something deeper and more majestic, which makes it hard to categorize.  We've had fans and reviewers contact us from the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, all over Mexico and South America, Scandinavia, Spain, France, Germany...  It's amazing to know that the music of a diy extreme metal act can actually be spread across the globe, which has only gotten easier thanks to the internet, in fact I met my wife because she hit up Exhausted Prayer up on myspace back in the day.

9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?

Chris: Mike has been keeping busy with Terrorizer(LA),  House of Rabbits and Dreaming Dead who is also about to release a new album early next year. I also play with Dreaming Dead and have been trying to get my new raw black metal project Inverter off the ground. Swansong has been playing a lot with the prog metal act Cetacean. And Richard has got his hip hop project going.

Swansong: i was the last one to join a side project, as EP has been my only/main band since high school.  A friend of a friend from high school came to see us a few years back and he shared his bedroom doom/post-metal project with me, and that eventually evolved into my new project Cetacean.  We jokingly refer to it as "Black Floyd" (pink floyd meets black metal).  It's been great to see Terrorizer LA doing so well all over the world, really proud of Mike for getting to play with such a legendary act, it's insane how huge of a following they have everywhere.  I've also heard the new Dreaming Dead and it kicks ass, stoked they are finally releasing it soon.   Richard goes by the moniker "Baby Moose," check out his shit on youtube featuring some EP guest appearances haha.

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

Chris: Musically I see us heading in a more intense avante garde direction with more mature songwriting.

Swansong:  I've always hated this kind of question, since we can't answer it.  We've always played according to how we feel, and it seems disingenuous to insist you will feel like X in a year, and then be forced to hold yourself to that commitment.  I like that we have evolved more or less in the same progressive black metal vein even before it was hip, so we will always have that twisted melodic sound even if there are more structured elements and possibly even more clean vocals going forward.  We've lately been experimenting with different rhythms and accents not commonly found in metal, such as latin and indian styles, which keeps it interesting.

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

Chris: Back in the late 90s when the band was getting started some of our main influences were Emperor, Enslaved, Opeth, Dissection, At the Gates and Cryptopsy. Lately I'm really digging the band VI from France, but there is a lot of great metal out there these days. I'm really into the new Gorguts album and the latest MGLA album.

Swansong: Chris covered the bases, Type O Negative and Carcass were also big influences on me and Mike, and of course the classic Cannibal Corpse and Deicide albums, Cradle of Filth, and dare I say it, Metallica, Failure, and Hum, as well.  Lately I've been listening a lot to Ulcerate, Abyssal, Thantifaxath, Aevangelist, the new Deathspell Omega and Gorguts... I totally love almost everything on this small Italian label called I, Voidhanger Records, particularly the bands Ecferus and Summit.  I've also been obsessed with the band Jaga Jazzist, and have been studying a lot of vintage Hindustani recordings by the great Ustad Vilayat Khan.

12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?

Chris: Occultism plays no role in our music. We're a rather secular band.

Swansong: We like inverted crosses for obvious reasons, and we wore corpse paint once back in 1999, but other than that we aren't interested in the supernatural or anything superficial like that.  The most occult thing we probably do is walk through the forest at night.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Chris: Outside of music, which consumes most of my life, I like the outdoors and related activities. I also have an awesome vegetable garden.

Swansong: I can't stop accumulating hobbies... learning new random musical instruments and Tuvan throat singing, flying drones, astrophotography, vegan cooking, hiking and backpacking the Sierra Nevada mountains, permaculture design (<3 2018="" a="" am="" and="" another="" archery.="" as="" back="" be="" br="" building="" but="" can="" complain="" compost="" cool="" for="" get="" gotten="" hey="" i="" in="" into="" is="" job="" lately="" launched="" leave="" my="" of="" our="" part="" planet="" project="" rocket="" satellite="" something="" space="" stoves="" t="" that="" to="" toilets="" totally="" touch="" unqualified="" ve="" which="" will="">

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

Chirs: Thanks for the support! Cheers.

Swansong:  Thanks to all the promoters and fans who took a chance and booked us or came to see us, this means everything to us and keeps us going. We are lucky to still be playing music together after nearly 20 years, so I want to thank my bros in EP for keeping it real and being super cool drama-free dudes.  Also to our families who gave us the means to pursue our musical journeys and tolerated our noise for so long. 

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Ovnev Interview

jeudi 8 décembre 2016 à 19:48
1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Ovnev is a solo black metal project with a focus on atmosphere. I like to focus on creating a mental picture of the wilderness.  The debut album Cycle of Survival is a concept album about a man living off the land, surviving in the desolate mountains.

2.So far you have released a demo and a full length, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

On my demo, I was more in a mindset of creating a raw atmospheric black metal sound with obscure lyrics about landscapes and the human condition. On the full length, I chose to go with a cleaner sound and added melodic solos and acoustic guitars. I wanted to tell a complete story and have all of the songs connected.  I feel like acoustic guitars and solos lend to the beauty of an environment that is untouched by man and scattered them throughout the album. I had 7 years of practice in between the two so I had lots of time to develop better skills which is another reason the two sound so different.

3.The project has been around since 2008 but you waited until 2015 to release any material, can you tell us a little bit more about the long wait?

When I created Ovnev in 2008, I had just gotten back from a lengthy stay living in the wilderness of Colorado. I was there for about 4 months. When I came back I didn't have a steady way to support myself or my own place to live. I wrote those two demo tracks along with a few other things and then had to focus on getting my life together. I didn't have the funds then to release the demo so it just fell on the backburner for years until I got a steady job and was able to get serious about my music.

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

My main focuses at this point are on nature, landscapes and their relation to mankind.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Ovnev'?

To be honest, there is no meaning behind it. It is a word I made up alongside my logo. It is so easy to have the same band name as another band and I wanted mine to be unique. I never thought a band name was very important, the sound is what matters.

6.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to remain solo?

I am definitely open to working with other musicians, it is just extremely hard to find someone with the same mindset, musical taste and schedule as myself. In previous bands I was in, I ended up having to compromise too much and did not enjoy it. There are not many black metal musicians in the area that I live and I would rather work together in person.

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

It has been overwhelmingly positive; everyone I have heard from enjoyed the album.

8.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

I plan on continuing on the path of black metal and creating more atmospheric music first and foremost. I really enjoy playing deathgrind and neofolk as well and may pursue something along those lines in the future.

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

I would say my single biggest influence is Dissection. Later on I drew more influence from atmospheric/folk black metal bands like Agalloch, Falls of Rauros, Panopticon, Old Graves and Gallowbraid. I also am influenced by various death metal/deathgrind, doom metal, post-rock and neofolk projects.  Nowadays I am always on the hunt for good black metal and make it a point to listen to at least one album I have never heard a day.  Some of my favorite albums released this year are Wędrujący Wiatr, Waldgeflüster, Uada, Coldworld, Elffor, Void Omnia, Woman is the Earth, Marsh Dweller and Thrawsunblat. 

10.Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in your music?

If you consider Paganism part of the Occult then yes. I love music focused on Satanism along with the philosophy but thought it was a bit too overused for my band. I would consider myself an Atheistic Pagan. I believe in no gods, I just have a deep, spiritual connection to nature which plays a big part in my music. The inverted pentagrams that are used in my logo represent the 4 elements (earth, air, fire, water) on the top four points and the human spirit on the bottom point to symbolize nature being superior to mankind.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Hiking, backpacking, camping, bushcraft, traveling, kayaking, fishing, reading and PC gaming

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

I am working on the second full length right now and should be finished sometime next year. Thank you for the interest in the band and it was a pleasure to do this interview.

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Ohtar/Euthanasia Of Existence/Deathrune Recordings/2016 CD Review

jeudi 8 décembre 2016 à 07:33

  Ohtar  are  a  band  from  Poland  that  plays  a  national  socialist  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2016  album  "Euthanasia  Of  Existence"  which  was  released  by  Deathrune  Recordings.

  A  very  dark,  heavy  and  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  album  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical instruments  that  are  present  on  the  recording  and  after  awhile  grim  black  metal  screams  are  added  into  the  music  and  the  tremolo  picking  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  feeling and  the  guitar  leads  also  use  a  decent  amount  of  melody.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  the  music  can  also  get  very  atmospheric  in  more  of  a  guitar  driven  style  at  times and  all  of  the songs  stick  to  either  a  slow  or  mid  paced  musical  direction  while also  somewhat  speeding  up  briefly  on  a  couple  of  songs  and  adding  in  a  brief  blast  beat  and  depressive  elements  are  also  used  at  times  and  one  track  also  mixes  clean  guitars  into  the  heavier  side  of  the  song.

  Ohtar  plays  a  style  of  national  socialist  black  metal  that  is very  different  from  most  bands  of  the  genre  and  also  mixes  in  some  modern  atmospheric  and  depressive  elements  which  also  makes  their  music  stand  out  a  lot  more,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  national  socialism,  war,  death,  hatred  and  suicide  themes.   

  In  my  opinion  Ohtar  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  national  socialist  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Portrayal  Of  Damage"  and  "Weary  thoughts".  8  out  of  10.

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Martytvore/Obliteration/Deathrune Records/2014 CD Review

jeudi 8 décembre 2016 à 06:40

  Martyrvore  are  a band  from  New  Hampshire  that  plays  a  bestial  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Obliteration"  which  was  released  by  Deathrune  Records.

  Horror  movie  style  synths  and  ritualistic  spoken  word  parts  start  off  the album  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a heavier  war  metal  direction  along  with  some high black  metal screams  and  during the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  there  is  also  a  great  amount  of  death  metal  influences.

  Most  of  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  and  when  guitar  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  chaotic  fashion  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  some  of  the  riffing  also  brings  in  a  decent  amount  of  morbid  sounding  melodies  and  you  can  also  hear  a  touch  of  doom/death  in  the  slower  sections  of  the  songs.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  when  tremolo  picking  is  utilized  they  give  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  black  metal  feeling  and  a great  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  short  in  length  and  as the  album  progresses  horror movie  samples  can  be  heard  briefly  and  synths  also  return  on  a  couple  of  instrumental  tracks  before  the  music  makes  a return  back  to  a  heavier  direction and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  war  sounds. 

  Martyrvore  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black, war  and  death  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  very  raw  and  bestial  recording,  the  production  sounds  very  raw  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  Satanism,  Occultism,  Anti  Christian,  Death,  Destruction  and  War  themes.

  In  my opinion  Martyrvore  are  a  very  great  sounding  bestial  mixture  of  war,  black  and  death metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Whores  Of  Death  -Wenches  Of  Belial"  "Iron  Satan"  :Earth  Cracked  In  Half"  and  "Witch  Of Death".  8/5  out  of  10. 

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Thyrane/Black Harmony/Woodcut Records/2017 EP Re-issue Review

jeudi 8 décembre 2016 à 05:14

  Thyrane  are  a band  from  Finland  that  has  had  an  album  reviewed  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  keyboard  orientated  form  of  satanic  black  metal  and  this  is  a review  of  their  1997  demo  "Black  Harmony" which  will  be  re-issued in  2017  by Woodcut  Records.

  A  very  heavy,  dark  and  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  ep  and  after  awhile  keyboards  and  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  can  be  heard  which  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  feeling.

  All  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  spoken  word  parts  along  with  classical  guitars  can  be  heard  briefly  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and fast  parts  and  when  guitar  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  and  all  of  the  songs  are  done  in  a  very  true  Nordic  tradition.

  Thyrane  played  a  style  of  black  metal  that  was  very  melodic  and  keyboard  orientated  on  this  recording  while  also  having  a  more raw  edge  than  what  was  presented  on  later  releases,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  for  being  a  demo  while  the  lyrics  cover  Satanism,  Anti  Christian  and  Misanthropic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  was  a  very  great  sounding  recording  from  Thyrane  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  keyboard  orientated satanic  black  metal, you  should  check  out  this  re-issue.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Sacrifices"  and  "Satanic  Ages  Overture".  8  out  of  10.

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