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Fortress Of The Pearl/The Grove/Fiadh Productions/Vita Detestabilis Records/2023 Full Length Review

dimanche 15 janvier 2023 à 03:04


  Fortress  Of  The  Pearl  are  a  solo  project  from  Greece  that  plays  an  atmospheric  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  2023  album  "The  Grove"  which  will  be  released  in  February  as  a  joint  effort  between  Fiadh  Productions  and  Vita  Detestabilis  Records.

  A  very  fast  and  raw  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats.  Epic  sounding  synths  are  also  mixed  in  with  the  heavier  sections  of  the  songs  while  a  couple  of  the  tracks  are  also  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  the  vocals  ar e mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams.

  Melodies  are  also  added  into  a  lot  of  the  guitar  riffing  while  the  solo  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  melodic  style.  At  times  the  riffs  also  get  very  repetitive  sounding  along  with  some  tragic  sounding  pianos  also  being  utilized  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  also  adds  on  touches  of  classical  music,    nature  sounds  can  also  be  heard  for  a  few  seconds.  A  couple  of  the  songs  are  instrumentals  and  the  heavier  sections  of  the  songs  stick  to  either  a  mid  tempo  or  fast  direction.

  Fortress  Of  The  Pearl  plays  a  style  of  black  metal t ha t is  very  atmospheric  sounding  and  also  very  synth  and  piano  orientated.  The  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  nature  themes.

  In  my  opinion   Fortress  Of  The  Pearl  are  a  very  great  sounding  atmospheric  black  metal  solo  project  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "A  Solemn  Sanctuary"  and  "At  The  Center  of  it  All,  I  Fear  Of  What's  Outside".  8  out  of  10.

  Fortress of the Pearl  


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Blood On Black Leather Interview

dimanche 15 janvier 2023 à 02:28


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the solo project?

Blood On Black Leather is a one-man multi-disciplinary project. The project designs a transversal blend of industrial music elements, cinematic thriller-themed soundscapes and old-school black metal attitudes. Polaroids, 35mm film photography and vintage digital visuals form an integral part of Blood On Black Leather art.

2.In March you have an ep coming out, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?

During the recordings of "Thoughtful Remark About All Things" my main focus was to transduce sound from emotions. A very personal musical style has been the natural result of this approach. I think "Thoughtful Remark About All Things" may sound like a blackened soundtrack. 

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored so far with the music?

Psychoanalysis, oneiric visions, Samurai culture, the Sword of Damocles, Gustavo Rol. 

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Blood On Black Leather'?

When I wrote and produced the record, a '70s leather trench was in the studio. The scent of his first grain leather has accompanied me during the process. Blood stains on black leather are concealed like hidden feelings. I also like it as a reference to the "Italian Giallo" cinema genre. 

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?

The cover art has been designed by me. It shows a shot taken with a vintage digital camera through a special technique that involves the use of color gels. It has not been subject to post-production editing. 

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

I don't like my solitude to be disturbed. 

7.Do you also have experience playing in any other bands or musical projects?

I have been producing music since 2003. I'd prefer to keep the Blood On Black Leather project as a separate entity of my journey. So, I'd prefer not to mention my other musical projects. 

8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

I would like to keep the Blood On Black Leather project independent. I'm available to consider any proposal for printing my releases in physical format. 

9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of industrial and black metal?

"Thoughtful Remark About All Things" is getting genuine interest during the worldwide promotional campaign and I'm glad about that. Anyway, I'm not looking for a consensus from a genre music audience. 

10.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?

You should. I am in a research phase now. 

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?

Between the various musical references that accompanied the writing of “Blood On Black Leather” may be cited Goblin, Carol OST by Carter Burwell, Black Cilice and Puce Mary. Vocals have been partly inspired by Xasthur and his masterpiece “The Funeral Of Being”. 

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

Thanks again for your interest and support. For me it's a pleasure to be featured on Occult Black Metal Zine. I invite those who are interested in the Blood On Black Leather project to visit my only official web presence on 

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Lunar Mercia Interview

samedi 14 janvier 2023 à 05:27


Lunar Mercia: 

WS = William Southworth – 2018/present - (Guitars, clean vocals on current releases)

SW = Stephen White- 2018/present -  (Drums, harsh vocals on current releases)

SB = Stefano Bassi – 2022/present - (Clean and Harsh vocals live and future releases, bass)

Occult Black Metal Zine

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

WS: Back in 2018 Stephen (LM’s drummer) and I got together, really just to play some music for the sake of it, and not with any great plans to start a band. We developed some songs I’d originally started writing for another project that never really got off the ground and after a while it felt that that the songs and us playing together was really working. I’d known Chris (former LM guitarist) from when we were kids and we’d bumped into each other a few times at gigs in Birmingham, and I thought he might be interested in joining, which he was. Chris, Steve and I released our EP ‘Departing & Adoring’ in early 2020 and had at one gig in the diary but obviously Covid-19 put pay to that. After the Covid-19 restrictions eased we decided to crack on with recording the album which we did in July 2021, finally finishing the process in August 2022. After Chris left Simon, an old friend and former band mate of Steve’s, joined us and Stefano came aboard around the same time, after I spotted an advert that he’d put on social media. We played our first show supporting Wode and Gaerea at Dead Wax in Birmingham in April 2022 and then following the release of the album in September we played four shows to support the launch of the album.

2.So far you have released an ep and a full length, musically how do they both differ from each other?

WS: They’re quite similar in many regards. The only real difference is that the form is more extended on the album tracks. What I’m really interested in is balancing contrasting moods and dynamics; light and dark, if you like. I think the EP demonstrated that we could convincingly have long passages of quite quiet music, so on the album there’s a significant amount of time where the music is fairly gentle.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored so far with the music?

WS: I find talking about the lyrics that I write quite difficult, in the sense that I’m not sure what to say about them; they are what they are. Writing them for this album was a very long process, that probably began before really any of the music was written, and they weren’t finished until the day before we recorded the vocals. If there is a theme to the lyrics it is perhaps time or memory. As I’ve got older the

past has taken on a kind of wistful quality; it becomes a sort of fantasy world of half-recalled memories where one retreats from the day-to-day. That can be both a positive and a negative thing. I’ve had some really positive feedback from people about the lyrics, which surprised me. Despite spending an inordinate amount of time writing them I didn’t think anyone would really take much notice of them, so it’s nice to that people have taken time to read the lyrics and that they have provoked a reaction.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Lunar Mercia'?

WS: It is deliberately ambiguous, if not actually meaningless. Both ‘Lunar’ and ‘Mercia’ are kind of half-references to Birmingham and the Midlands area of England, but don’t read too much into it; we just liked it as a name!

SW: It is a portmanteau of The Lunar Society and the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. I feel we adequately represent both with our sage intellect and regal good looks.

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?

WS: All the design work was done by Chris, our former guitarist. There was no falling out when he left LM and I was really keen to have him do the artwork as he’d done the cover for the EP and whenever we’ve had a conversation about artwork he’s always had some really interesting thoughts and ideas about what makes good album art. I found the picture, it’s a photograph by Fitz Guerin (1846 - 1903), quite randomly on the web somewhere. I was specifically looking to have something similar to the image on the EP cover, to continue the theme or look. I really like early photography, it has an odd atmosphere about it that I don’t think you can re-create with modern technology.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

WS: Our hometown gig to finish our short run of shows to support the album was great. We supported Underdark and The Sun’s Journey Through the Night. There was a big crowd in and I think we went down pretty well with people. But the whole ‘tour’ was fantastic, we got to play with a whole load of different bands and made plenty of new friends along the way. Our performance style is pretty straightforward. It’s four guys playing metal without too much in the way of theatrics. We’re not going to be introducing corpse paint or masks anytime soon!

SW: I particularly enjoyed playing Camden and also to our "home-crowd" in Birmingham. From my perspective, I generally tend to play differently at each gig, depending on what is called for: The kit, the venue acoustics and sound gear, and also how I feel in the moment. This might sound obvious and something that all musicians do, but I also think I play considerably differently live to the records because of the way I tend to never finish rewriting and edit my drum-parts. The more I play a song the more I tend to re-evaluate them. If I were to record a song I'm 100% happy is the best it can be, then it'd probably take more than a decade to write!

SB: I have to agree with the guys here saying that every show had a very positive feel to it and it’s been great to get out and about so quickly after the release of the new album. The reception of those shows has been great and certainly encouraged us to put even more efforts in our future endeavours. On a personal level and although we were missing Simon due to illness, I really enjoyed the London show as the Dev, the crowd there is always great. Birmingham is our home, so it’s always positive to play there. We’ve also been incredibly lucky to share the stage with incredible bands and people, that alone is a victory on itself.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

WS: We’re playing again next year in June at the Fortress Festival, but other than that we’ll be putting together a new album. Though we will hopefully have a few other shows.

SB: Things are shaping up nicely and we will focus our energy on a new album first of an foremost, but should any good opportunity to play life come our way we will make sure to take it and make the most of it. Nothing beats the buzz you feel after a good gig. 

8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

WS: Yes – absolutely – it’s an ongoing project. Hopefully the next album will be outon a label

SB: We are working in the background to make our music listened to, hopefully resulting in a label being interested to release our material. It would be good to have appropriate support to make sure that our music is out there and ready to be heard. As much as I love the poetic pleasure of creating music for its own good and for a personal satisfaction, I cannot wait to have more people experience it through our releases; to do so an supportive label behind us would certainly make all the difference.

SW: Don't tell the other guys but I'm holding out for a solo 5 album deal with Polydor myself.

9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of post black metal?

WS: Those who like what we do, really like our stuff. I don’t think it clicks with everyone and that’s fine, but that contrast of light and shade; quiet and loud, seems to really appeal to some people. I’ve had plenty of comments from people who have little or no interest in either black metal or metal generally who absolutely love our sound.

SW: Globally I'd say that we've been extremely well received so far, but that's not an opinion I'm prepared to back up with any facts or statistics.

SB: So far the response has been extremely positive. We are fully aware to be “the new guys in town” on our scene but the feedbacks we have received, locally or from afar, have been very encouraging. As William says, the music might not be for everybody to like, but with so many elements in it I truly believe we have the means to at least grab the attention of a good audience. Considering what we have achieved in this year together with this line-up, we cannot wait for what’s out there for us to grab in the future. It goes without saying but all the support we have received hasn’t been unnoticed, we’re very grateful of all the kind words and feedback that came back to us whether they were about the albums, or how we performed at a gig.

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

WS: In the new year we’re going to start putting together the next album. It is very much going to be a companion piece to Leaving the Fragile Space. In my mind I see the EP and the two albums as a kind of trilogy of works that explores those light and dark contrasts that I spoke about earlier and alludes, throughout the lyrics, to ideas around time and memory. I’ve a lot of material written and it’s in the same vein as Leaving the Fragile Space, though I hope the contrasts will be even more pronounced. It sounds a bit overblown, but ultimately what I hope people will do once we’ve made the new album is listen to all three recordings back-to-back and it should feel like a coherent and satisfying musical journey. After all that? Who knows.

SB: Sky’s the limit right? We are a very open-minded band and we have a very honest relationship between ourselves. The result of being in such a relaxed and productive environment is that we are not pinning anything specific down, yet. We are happy to do music that works for us, in the hope that more people will come along with us through the journey, whatever that will mean in terms of musicality and production. I see Lunar Mercia as a very intimate and personal project, even if I am the latest one to join the band, and that is often reflected in the way we do and see things as a collective effort. Anything could happen…

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

WS: I think LM draws it’s influences from a pretty broad range of bands. You can definitely hear the 90s black metal in what we do, bands like Darkthrone, Dissection and Emperor. In addition to that there’s a clear influence of 90s alternative rock in there as well. Bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Screaming Trees and Sunny Day Real Estate. I love that era of rock music and still listen to it all the time. However, Lunar Mercia isn’t an exercise in nostalgia, there’s plenty of music from the last ten years that has influenced my writing, and the biggest of those is Alcest. But where Alcest use metal to punctuate a shoegaze sound we’re definitively a metal band that uses alt rock to drive melody and ideas from post- rock to create atmosphere. I’m just looking at my Spotify to see what I’ve been listening to of late and the last six things I’ve listened to are Ereb Altor, Marduk, a playlist of 90s rock and metal, Panopticon, Steve Reich and Immortal. I just need some Slayer and Wagner in there and that is me in a nutshell!

SW: If I answer this honestly I will be pilloried. Let's just say my influences run far and wide and I often mainly only listen to music that is distinctly elsewhere from what I play. I do this partly to try to avoid sounding too much like other musicians in metal. Whilst that might sound a bit odd, I also find it keeps things fresh for me too.

SB: I come from a wide spectrum of genres, like the rest of the band. Personally I love metal music (obviously) but I am also interested in classical music, theatre and visual arts in general. I was a teenager in the 90s therefore I am partial to the alternative rock scene of those years too. All to say that I would find very restrictive to confine myself in a single genre or to listen to only extreme metal. I have always been a jack of all trades and that is reflected in my musical taste too. Quite literally from Chopin to Cannibal Corpse via some punk and hardcore too, throwing in some industrial music, electronic, alt-rock, musical theatre, soundtracks and probably way more examples that I would have time to mention. A few names? Gorgoroth, Alcest, Philip Glass, Nothing, Sopor Aeternus, Elisa, Anathema, Bjork, Paradise Lost, Bowie, John Grant, The Gathering, Goblin, Sigur Ros, Das Ich.

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

SW: "Take out free dreams on the bank of lifetime accomplishments, but pay back early to avoid fees". This is a thought that came to me many years ago and has stuck with me ever since, due to its enigmatic and meaningless nature.

SB: We’d simply like to thank you for your time and this opportunity to talk to us, just as much as we’d like to thank everybody who has supported us so far. There’s more to come in the future from us and we cannot wait for you to see it and hear it.

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Aeon Furnace/Providence Descends/Ancien Culte/2023 EP Review

samedi 14 janvier 2023 à 02:53


  Aeon  Furnace  are  a  band  from  Finland  that  plays  a  very  raw  and  old  school  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2023  ep  "Providence Descends"  which  was  released  by  Ancien  Culte.

  A  very  distorted  sound  starts  off  the  ep  before  going  into  a  very  fast  and  raw  musical  direction  which  also  utilizes  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats.  All  of  the  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams.

  Most  of  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  era  while  the  songs  also  add  in  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.  Angry  shouts  and  tortured  screams  can  also  be  heard  briefly  along  with  most  of  the  riffing  being  done  on  power  chords  as  well  as  only  adding  in  a  brief  use  of  melody  and  the  whole  recording  also  sticks  to  a  heavier  direction.

  Aeon  Furnace  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw  and  old  school  in  the  early  90's  European  tradition.  The  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  themes.  

  In  my  opinion  Aeon  Furnace  are  a  very  great  sounding  raw  and  old  school  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Eternal  Hunt"  and  "Beast  Resonance".  8  out  of  10.

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Bræ/Av Vålnader Bortom Allt/Amor Fati Productions/2023 Full Length Review

vendredi 13 janvier 2023 à 05:29


   Bræ  are  a  duo  from  an  unknown  area  that  plays  a  very  raw  and  old  school   form  of  black  metal  with  elements  of  ambient  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  2023  album  "Av  Vålnader  Bortom  Allt"  which  will b e  released  in  February  by  Amor  Fati  Productions.

  A  very  dark  yet  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  album  while  both  of  the  tracks  are  over  the  20  minute  limit.  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  yet  high  pitched  sounding  black  metal  screams  that  also  sound  very  tortured  at  times  along  with  the  synths  also  bringing  in  elements  of  ambient  when  they  are  utilized.

  When  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast b eats  can  be  heard  which  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  feeling.  The  album  also  adds  in  a  decent  amount  of  90's  influences  along  with  both  of  the  tracks  also  adding  in  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Angry  shouts  can  also  be  heard  briefly  along  with  both  of  the  songs  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  acoustic  guitars  and  whispers  as  well  as  the  music  also  adding  in  some  atmospheric  medieval  touches  at  times.  The  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark t hemes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Bræ   and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  raw  and  old  school  black  metal  with  elements  of  ambient,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "I  nattskrud  viska".  8  out  of  10.          




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