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Israthoum/Arrows From Below/New Era/2019 CD Review

mardi 12 novembre 2019 à 11:06

  Netherlands's  Israthoum  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  which  continues  the  occult  black  metal  style  of  previous  releases  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2019  album  "Arrows  From  Below"  which  will  be  released  in  December  by  New  Era.

  A  very  heavy  and  epic  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  the  riffs  also  adding  in  a  decent  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies.  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  sounding  black  metal  screams  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  also  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard.

  When  tremolo  picking  is  utilized  it  gives  the  music  more  of  a  raw  feeling  while  the  songs  also  add  in  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.  When  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  along  with  one  track  also  adding  in  a  brief  use  of  classical  music  style  pianos,

  A couple  of  the  tracks  are  also long  and  epic  in  length  as  well  as  some  melodic vocals  also  being  utilized  briefly  on  a  couple  of  the  tracks  and  there  is  also  some  ritualistic  spoken  word  parts  in  some  parts  of  the  recording,  stringed  instruments,  synths  and  clean  playing  are  also  added  onto  the  closing  track.  The  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  the  left  hand  path,  darkness  and  death  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Israthoum  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  occult  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Bracu  Magistris"  and  "Tuam  Vocavit".  8  out  of  10.


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Toluca/Soras/Tokyo Jupiter Records/2019 CD Review

mardi 12 novembre 2019 à 09:54

  Toluca  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  has  had  music  reviewed  before  in  this  zine  and  on  this  recording  plays  a  mixture  of  post  black  metal,  blackgaze  and  screamo  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2019  album  "Soras" which  will  be  released  on  November  29th  by Tokyo  Jupiter  Records.

  Clean  playing  starts  off  the  album  along with  some  distorted  guitar  drones  while  a  great  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.  Vocals  bring  in  a  mixture  of  post  hardcore  style  shouts  and  screamo  style  screams   along  with  the  riffs  also  adding  in a   great  amount  of  melody.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  also  add  in  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  which  also  gives  the  music  more  of  a  raw  black  metal  feeling,  growls  can  also  be  heard  at  times.

  Elements  of  post  rock  and  shoegaze  are  also  used  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  along  with  the  songs  also  add  in  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.  Clear  singing  is  also  utilized  briefly  as  well  as  some  tracks  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  keyboards  and  the  music  also  has  its  atmospheric  moments,

  Acoustic  guitars  and  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  as  well  as  the  solos  and  leads  being  done  in a   very  melodic  style  when  they  are  utilized  and  as  the  album  progresses  a  brief  use  of  saxophones  can  also  be  heard,  spoken  word  parts  also  also  added  onto  the  closing  track.  The  production  sounds  very  professional  while the  lyrics  cover  the  Goetic  demons  from  The  Lesser  Keys  Of  Solomon.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  decent  sounding  album  from  Toluca  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  post  black  metal,  blackgaze  and  screamo,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Leraje"  "Vassago"  "Gusion"  and  "Sallos".  7/5  out  of  10.



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Trajeto de Cabra/Supreme Command Of Satanic Will/Iron Bonehead Productions/2019 CD Review

mardi 12 novembre 2019 à 08:31

  Trajeto  de  Cabra  are  a  band  from  British  Columbia,  Canada  that  plays  war  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2019  album  "Supreme  Command  Of  Satanic  Will"  which  will  be  released  in  December  by  Iron  Bonehead  Productions.

  A  very  fast,  raw  and  brutal  war  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats.  Bestial   growls  are  also  a  very  huge  part  of  the  recording  while  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  and  also  adds  in  elements  of  death  metal  and  grindcore.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  also  hear  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  chaotic  style.  One  of  the  tracks  is  very  long  and  epic  in  length  along  some  black  metal  screams  also  being  utilized  at  times as  well  as  the  riffs  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  at  times,  all  of  the  musical  instruments  also  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  all  of  the  tracks  stick  to  a  heavier  direction.

  Trajeto  de  Cabra  plays  a  style  of  war  metal  that  goes  back  to  the  90's  era  of  the  genre.  The  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  Satanism,  War  and  Darkness  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Trajeto  de  Cabra  are  a  very  great  sounding  war  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "In  Fear  of  Saturn"  "Supreme  Command  Of  Satanic  Will"  and  Heretic  Terrorist".  8  out  of  10.  

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BlackQueen Interview

lundi 11 novembre 2019 à 21:16
1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

We reached a point where we stopped playing live shows due to some of the members being too busy with other things to further contribute, which, although unfortunate, has also given us the time to work on new material and restructure things for the next venture. We are shifting gears to continue for the most creative and positive outcome for next year. Touring Europe is on our radar next, and a new recording.

2. You have a new album coming out before the end of November, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The Destructive Cycle is a concept album, designed to have a certain effect when all the songs are played in the proper order. It has been written as a sort of musical spell. The results of which I can't actually reveal as it may compromise the effects of its charge. Musically its our most technically composed album. I think it stands apart from the other records in the totality of its overall theme.

3. This is also your first album to be released since 2015, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?

I spent a straight year writing and composing these songs with our drummer Patrick. He lives in Portland Oregon so it was kind of a long distance thing. We crammed for entire weekends at a time, so we were very prepared when we got together to write. He's a very competent and solid thrash/grind drummer, so the songs for this album were written with his style of playing in mind. We tracked and mixed the album ourselves for a full year also, taking our time, as is usually not the case when you are in a studio paying an engineer and staying on budget. Our keyboardist Brandon Fitzsimons did all the production and we are very pleased that we took our time as the results more than lived up to our expectations.

4. The lyrics on the new album deal with the Taoist five element theory, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in eastern esoteric religions and cultures?

I have been studying chinese martial arts since the early 90s, and in 2005 was certified as an instructor of Wing Chun Do Gung Fu. After that I became involved in the Taoist Wudang internal styles, specializing in sword. Five element theory bleeds into the techniques of sword and XingYi which the former i have studied for 10 years, and the latter for many. The creative and destructive cycles are part of the forms of these arts. In 2010 I traveled to the Wudang Mountains in China with a Taoist priest as my guide and teacher. The spiritual and electromagnetic energy there is overwhelmingly strong and made a huge impact on me. I relate to this way of understanding the world and cosmos very intimately, and am a firm believer in its power.

5. You have also covered lyrics deal with western occultism on previous releases, can you tell us a little bit more about how your interest in this topic has evolved over the years?

I have always been a solitary practitioner and have never been a follower of any one lineage or stylistic practice. Looking at my evolution of influence, it is probably closest to Chaos Magick but with a strong emphasis on the internal martial arts as a catalyst for generating creative power. Over the last few years I have worked with a very talented teacher of hermetic alchemy. The more I study the different arts, the more I discover about my true self, and this reinforces my belief that the only true practice is the one you make your own. As alchemy states, 'Know Thyself'. I am still and will always be on the path to self knowledge.

6. You have also shown an interest in Italian horror movies, what are some of the films that have had the biggest influence on your music?

Definitely Dario Argento's Suspiria and Inferno were a big influence, especially in the old days of the writing of the Witch Metal demos. His interpretation of the fates as witches was a driving force for me at that point. Really any film that had a strong soundtrack and was part of the Giallo imagery has always been influencial. Both Goblin and the soundtracks of Fabio Frizzi have been very motivational.

7. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Black Queen'?

The name is inspired by a character from Dario Argento's Suspiria. The black Queen is what the initiated members of the coven refer to the coven head as. One who has become a master of her own magick. Black Queen can also be thought of as a reference to the destructive power of nature, which most humans seems to view with fear and misunderstanding. Most natural disasters are treated as tragedies by humanity due to the loss of human life, when in all honestly it is part of the natural cycle of the planet and cosmos, and very necessary for growth and progress. The powerful fearful psychological energy created by the human ego as a result of these events is like a massive destructive entity that cannot be reckoned with. This also is the black queen.

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

We contracted Jef Whitehead for the painting of the cover as we have a very high degree of respect for his artistic vision and originality both visually and in his musical endeavors. I sent him a string of photos of movements from the Wudang sword and whisk form for inspiration. Other than being used as a weapon, the taoist whisk is used for banishing malevolent energy. The being wielding these in the painting represents the destructive power of the universe in female form (mother nature), who is creating a swirling circle with the weapons as energy is emitted from a black triangle representing the void. We couldn't be happier with his interpretation of the album's concept. It fits the music perfectly.

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

The one that really stands out was playing Housecore Horror Film Fest in Austin Texas. We got to pretty much open the festival and also playing were Goblin, Eyehategod, Repulsion, The Melvins, lots of amazing performances and horror films screened. We also each ate our weight in tacos. I really have loved all the shows we have played but it's always more fun to play in a town that is not where you are from. People just seem to react more responsively and get into it more. As for stage performance, everyone in this band is able to lose control live, it's not one of those bands where people just stand there and play the songs in a controlled way. When you are really having fun on stage, the crowd will pick up on it and respond. The way i see it everyone is there together, it's not just that the band is playing and everyone is watching, it's everyones energy together that makes a good show, not just that band's.

10. Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

Not at this point. We plan on going straight into writing new material and working on some video first. We would like to have something brand new to play the next time we play out.

11. The new album is going to be released thought both 'Roman Numeral Records' and 'Super Sargasso', can you tell us a little bit more about both of these labels?

Super Sargasso is a label out of Lima, Peru and we worked with them on the release of The Directress. A small label but very great to work with and we are very happy to have representation in South America, where people take their metal very seriously. Roman Numeral is run by Paul Pavlovich, who i played with in Assuck, and has also remained a very close friend since those days. He is releasing the vinyl and doing the design on it. All of his releases have a very high bar for the visual artistic integrity of the release. He really makes everything he puts out something very special to hold in your hands and behold. Everyone should really check out the releases from both these labels, its all really great stuff.

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

Pretty good. Some people get it, some do not. We have always never really gave a fuck about what is currently going on and what is popular, we just create our art the way we want to. It seems like some people really want your music to fit into a genre, like it's death metal, or it's black metal or doom or whatever. We really have never cared for that mentality as we see it as very limiting. You might have a very black metal band that has people wearing cloaks and lots of candles and burning sage and all that, but is the music coming straight from their soul and their pain and experience in life? Or is it just mimicry for the sake of fitting into some lifestyle or fashion? We don't try to fit into these moulds, and we hope that our music reaches people, but we just do what we do without the outside influence of trends. It's the subtleties of our music that i feel make it unique, and many people have been able to tap into that.

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

Well things are going to get a lot more into the soundtrack realm for the next release, it's something we have always wanted to do. It will still be metal, just more theme driven instead of being focused on extremity and thrash. All the same signature traits will still be there.

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

As influences that are older there is Celtic Frost's To Megatherion, C.O.C.'s Animosity and Septic Death as well as things like Goblin, Fabio Frizzi and Ennio Morricone soundtracks. Recently been listening to Oranssi Pazuzu and Leviathan's Scar Sighted, as well as the Nasa Voyager recordings which isn't really music, but its unique because it wasn't recorded on earth. I listen to my share of field recordings and experimental music of all kinds too, and some traditional balkan music also. Ved Buens Ende and Ulver have always been a big influence for me also. I love their music.

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

Don't let the monkey brain get in the way. As Bruce Lee said, "Don't think, feel!". Thank you for your time.

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Moregengrau Interview

lundi 11 novembre 2019 à 20:57
1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Vultus: Hi there. Morgengrau is a black metal band from Germany, more specifically from Lower Bavaria.  The band started out as a two-men project 10 years ago, consisting of our former drummer Necrodaemon and me. In the following years we completed our lineup step by step, resulting in todays formation of Morgengrau. Since two of our members (guitarist Katharsis and drummer Moloch) live in Austria and we therefore can not rehearse on a regular basis, everything has to be well organized. In 2013 we released a demo cd called "Schattenzeiten". The demo was recorded without a bass (our bassist Krieg joined the band one year later). Our debut full-length album "Staub zu Staub" was released in March 2017. Approximately one year later co-founder Necrodaemon left the band, which forced us to search for a new drummer, which took quite some time. Finally, in August 2019, Moloch joined the band as the new man behind the drum kit. Currently we are in the middle of the songwriting process for a new album.

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

Vultus: Well, let’s take a look at the sound as well as the production aspects. The demo was completely recorded and produced by ourselves. We wanted to create both, a melodic as well as a raw sound but by taking into account the advantages of a modern production. Nevertheless, people often refer to us as old school black metal, where we tend to not agree with. However, even since we use certain traditional elements, which may be associated with old school black metal, it was never intended to mimick the style of 90's black metal.
When comparing the demo to the album the most obvious, yet one of the crucial aspects regarding the differences in sound, is the presence/absence of a bass guitar. The demo was recorded without a bass and to be honest, we first didn’t even consider to add a bassist to our line-up. After our live performances in 2012 and 2013 some sound engineers recommended that we should add a bass guitar to our sound. Finally, we had the opportunity to engage the very talented bassist “Krieg” and from nowadays perspective we couldn’t be happier with this decision.
Songwritingwise we had a bunch of new ideas for the full-length album and it was our goal to present black metal driven by blast beat drumming at higher tempos in general, including atmospheric and vicious guitar riffs and a rocking, yet melodic bass. Also, I guess one of our signature elements is the notorious voice of our vocalist Lupus, which adds the “spice” to our compositions. With this in mind, the production of "Staub zu Staub" started in May 2014 and ended in November 2016. While the guitar and bass recordings were done in our home studio, we entered a professional studio for vocal tracking, mixing and mastering.

3. The band has been around since 2009 but so far has only released a demo in 2013 and a full length in 2017, can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps in between releases?

Vultus: Due to the fact that we are scattered across Bavaria and Austria it is impossible for us to meet on a regular basis. Since we also have to prepare for live performances, almost all of our rehearsal time is occupied with playing already existing songs. As a result, the songwriting process mostly takes place at our homes, where usually one of us comes up with an idea, a riff or even an almost finished song. We type that into our computers by use of an appropriate software and share it with our fellow bandmates and, if necessary, everyone can add his ideas.

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

Vultus: The experience of our life's is the basis for our music as well as for the lyrics. Ultimately, all of our songs have their own conceptual message, which tends to be part of a daily journey. On this journey, you can collect a lot of impressions about life and death, thoughts about the behaviour of human mankind on earth and against nature or, in complete contrast, the beauty of nature itself.

5. The older lyrics were more anti Christian based, what was the decision behind moving away from that songwriting approach?

Vultus: Back in the days, around our founding years, our music was rather primitive and so were the lyrics. Nevertheless this does not mean that it was not demanding for us. Eventually, it is a continuous process of self-discovery that is not less dependent on different life situations. By emphasizing more the atmospherical aspects of Black Metal and moving our minds towards atheism, also the lyrical concept evolved in many ways.

6. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Morgengrau'?

Vultus: The english meaning of 'Morgengrau' is, roughly translated, dawn of a new day. Our main inspiration behind that name is, roughly speaking, that every day starts with a - more or less colorful - dawn, even if there is no mankind anymore.

7. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that was present on the last album?

Vultus: The idea we had in mind by choosing the eye on the front cover of the album was that the spectator should feel watched, or observed. Combined with the title it highlights the message – without any attempt of whitewashing - that everyone of us will return to dust.

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

Vultus: Trying to remember the best shows of us makes me thinking about supporting 1349 on the launch of their Chaos Raids Europe tour in Munich, back in November 2014. This was kind of a real honour to be part of this concert. Later on, besides enjoying every single live appearance we did, some really awesome festival gigs, e.g. co-headlining Hammerfest South Tyrol in 2016 and starting the second day of Dark Easter Metal Meeting Munich in 2018 in front of a full house, were very exceptional experiences.
Performing live since 2012 has been showing us one characteristic feature: This kind of music has to obscurely fascinate people. Otherwise you will not reach out to the audience for a whole show.

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

Currently there are two confirmed 10th anniversary shows this year. The first one will take place in Regensburg/Germany with Waldgefluester and Wolves Den on 16th November. The second one will be our first ever live appearance in Austria's capital Vienna on 29th November.
There are no plans for 2020 yet, except from first ideas about organising a release event.

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

Vultus: We always have on eye if there are some interesting labels that might be a good match for us (at least from our perspective), but we also have received interests so far. All in all I think I don't have to mention that it would be milestone in the band’s history if we sign up to a appropriate label which has certain power in terms of range and money as well. But we take our time until the right opportunity shows up. There is no reason to rush in this matter. But if something changes, you can be sure that the news will be spread through our web channels.

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

Vultus: By talking about our listeners, the vast majority comes from Germany, Austria and Italy. But we also received some feedback from the USA and Mexico.

12. Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?

Vultus: Not all of us are involved with other bands, but some of us are! Krieg is also performing as bassist for death metal maniacs Abstractyss, drummer Moloch is also involved in black metal bands Waldschrat and Heidnir, the death metal formation Abaddon Codex and own-styled Hackmonocut (all of them are located in Austria), guitarist Katharsis also plays the drums for black metal band Ill Tidings from Vienna and is involved as a live member in several other black metal formations.

13. When can we expect new music and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Vultus: Currently we are working on the successor of “Staub zu Staub”. The plan is to release it in the first half of 2020. We all do not know what time will bring to the band's progress, but finally we will refine our style getting away from these raw attitudes into a more epic, melodic and atmospheric sound.

14. 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?

Vultus: Each of us has his passion and his own favorites. We can say that they influence us to make music, but they do not influence our musical content directly (at least this applies to me). Generally I am listening to lots of black metal bands (second wave until today) but I also do have some favorites in death metal and the mixture between these two genres. Some of my all time favorites are Kampfar, Watain, Naglfar, Hypocrisy and The 3rd Attempt.

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

Vultus: I would like to say a big thank you to my fellow band members, including those who parted ways with Morgengrau or were temporary part as session musicians. Also a big shout out to our fans and supporters and partners so far.
Also thank you for the interview!

Official website

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