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Abigorum/Exaltatus Mechanism/Satanath Records/Death Portal Studio/2019 CD Review

mardi 23 juillet 2019 à 06:15

  Russia's  Abigorum  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  which  shows  them  expanding  from  being  a  solo  project  to  being  a  full  band  along  with  some  embers  residing  in  Germany  and  also  playing  a  mixture  of  black,  doom  metal  and  ambient  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2019  album  "Exaltatus  Mechanism"  which  was  released  as  a  joint  effort  between  Satanath  Records  and  Death  Portal  Studio.

  Atmospheric  soundscapes  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  heavier  doom  metal  direction  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to t hem.  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  sounding  black  metal  screams  along  with  the  riffs  also  using  a  decent  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies.

  At  times  the  music  also  gets  very  experimental  sounding  while  more  deeper  and  demonic  sounding  vocals  can  also  be  heard  in  some  parts  of  the  music.  Elements  of  ambient  and  drone  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.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  as  well  as  a  couple  of  tracks  being  long  and   epic  in  length,  as  the  album  progresses  a  brief  use  of  grim  sounding  spoken  word  parts  and  clean  vocals  can  also  be  heard  and  all  of  the  music  sticks  to  a  slower  direction.  The  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  German  and  cover  enlightenment,  death  and  cosmos  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Abigorum  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  ambient,  black  and  doom  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Grau  Und  Schwarz"  "Fur  Die  Ewigkeit"  "Krieg"  and  "Das  Kloster".  8  out  of  10. 

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Pierre Noir Interview

lundi 22 juillet 2019 à 02:20
1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Pierre Noir was born from the idea of mixing techno and black metal.  For quite some time I was making techno music and at the same time I listened to a lot of black metal so I thought it could be mixed as no one had really done it.  If black metal and electronics had been mixed certainly but specifically with techno, i.e. the bass on the floor, 4x4, and the basic scheme of techno, I personally hadn't heard it in anyone.

2.Since 2018 you have put out at least 3 releases, musically how do they differ from each other?
Well, it was two releases. Pierre Noir is a slow project. I want to perfect the technique of mixing the two styles little by little.  I think the first "Welcome to the black rave" is more basic. for this new ep "Licantropia is the relationship of the barbarized mankind" I have worked more the atmosphere and I wanted it to sound more raw, as it is generally how I like black metal. The problem with this is that in techno the bass drum must be in the foreground to be techno, everything else goes behind. I'm trying to find the balance on this last record between these two things, the bass drum, the atmosphere and the maelstrom of guitars and raw black metal screams.

3.The lyrics on the new album deal with anti capitalism themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in politics?
In black metal talk politics is very controversial because there was a large part of the scene that was far-right or directly Nazi. However, lately this is changing.  Black metal is an underground musical movement rejecting the existing. He's not accommodating or looking to please the general public. This trend has been mainly in my opinion that has led some black metal bands and projects to embrace Nazi ideology. However, I believe that the idiosyncrasy of black metal is closer to an anti-capitalist social critique. Personally, I'm someone very critical of money being the only thing valid in this world. I also see in the evolution of modern capitalism a growing human barbarization that turns people into a mass report without critical thinking or the ability to choose their lives beyond what the system prepares for them.

4.On one of your earlier releases you also covered some occult themes, how would you describe your interest in the dark arts?
I am particularly interested in the part of the occult that is related to reality.  Historically what their vision of the world and existence meant to peoples in their concrete cultures. A vision that was not based on an established religion as then were the great religions first polytheistic and then monotheistic but on a multiple knowledge of the real experience with death and birth. I am particularly interested in how this knowledge resisted Christianity in Europe in the form of what was called witchcraft in the Middle Ages and also its relationship to the patriarchal drift of society. I also like "satanic" imagery because it represents antagonism and denial that are important points to be free people

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Pierre Noir'?
Pierre noir means in French black stone and refers to the mythological archetype of a black stone present in many cultures. Mecca is a black stone that was already revered before the advent of Islam.  There are many references to black stones in many civilizations and they have a fairly similar character.  The  name plays a little bit with the meaning of black stone and black metal.

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new ep cover?
The cover is a picture by the German artist Lucas Cranach, from SXVI, entitled "Der Werewolf oder der Kannibale". Lycantropia is something that we have encountered since the beginning of the centuries and that is nothing but the figurative representation that the human being is a wolf to the human being in certain circumstances. The werewolf does not appear except at very specific times, the rest of the time he is an ordinary man. This helped me to focus the concept I wanted to refer to from a humanity barbarized by capitalism where lycantropia is the common and normalized relationship

7.I have read that you have decided to keep this project anonymous, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
I don't see any need to show my identity or anything like that or actually contribute anything to this project so I've decided to leave it anonymous

8.With 3 releases in less than 2 years do you feel you spend a great amount of time writing and creating music?

Well, I do spend a lot of time making music, it's an essential part of my life right now. However it is not only for this project Pierre Noir, I am in others, I play in bands of other styles, however I am not professional in any way. It's pure love of art.

9.On a worldwide level how has been to your music by fans of black metal and techno?
So far the reception has been much better among people who like black metal than those who like techno. It's also true that black metal fans are a lot more music lovers than technoheads who often only listen to that music when they party .without worrying or cared who makes the music they're listening to.

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

I see myself researching sounds and atmospheres and recording techniques.

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?
Pierre Noir is influenced above all by the black metal that started in Norway, especially and despite the differences and political antipathies that I feel towards Varg Vikernes, the sound achieved in Burzum is what has influenced me as I suppose 90 percent of people who makes underground black metal today. Also another band not specifically black metal influenced me a lot and it is Devil's blood. I am also influenced by many things I hear now, a lot of raw black metal like Sanguine Relic, Moras of Finland, Carved Cross from Australia, Haxenzirkle from Germany, some danish bands like Jordslaet and the Korpsand collective, Batilda, Vaal, I usually like dark projects of current raw black metal

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
thank you for the interview and congratulations for the fanzine. A much-needed job to keep the underground alive

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Draugen Interview

dimanche 21 juillet 2019 à 20:14
1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
1.I am Arturo, I make bass guitars and vocals in draugen, draugen is a project born of the need to bequeath music and knowledge. Draugen is raw black metal noise that's experimental.

2.So far this year you have released an ep and a demo, musically how do they differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
2. Musically I think what's better now. First because I jave evolved a lot in black metal in my way of playing than it was before. Second, the discography differs in that the previous disc were recorded without giving a message or some preconceived idea, while the current discs are more based and the music I get much better if I have something to express.

3.On one of your tracks you showed soem inspiration from the writings of 'Clark Ashton Smith', can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in his work/
3. The lyrics contain names, words and concepts of Asenath Mason's Nekronomicon gnosis, those comcepts are intermingled with other concepts from the toltec shamanism. About that I usually read Carlos Castaneda's books and get into his work every night.

4.What are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects you have explored over the years wirth your music?
4. War, satanism, paganism, death, hate, extreme, darkness, gore, now I am with the witches of Mexico and their knowledge of the Toltecs, everything mixed poetically in my lyrics.

5.Your current project evolved from 'Belfegor', how is the music from 'Draugen' different than your previous project?

5. Belfegor was dysfunctional, there were lengthy experimental guitar passages there, sounds were quite calm for turning off in a fast tremolo picking and back to the dark melody from where started in a melancholic trastorned vein. Draugen contains still parts of those experimental sounds in Belfegor, they differ in that Draugen is black metal and Belfegor was instrumental blackned experimental noise/ambient almost without drums.

6.What is the meaning and insiration behind the name 'Draugen'?
6. The draugen are the ghost of the dead in the seas, I was inspired that peraphs we are all Draugens, dead in some metaphorically is the sea of life and march dead towards a system that preys on us, is something poetic, inspires me something impulsive in me that is not explained by words, if I tried to tell you what I would say is the pressure exerted by the fact of being alive.

7.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to remain solo?
7. I am working together with Kadesh of Deeper Villeness. Something is cooming soon, Winter Bristles... I've played in bands before, but today I would not, my task involves a lot of time.

8.In 2017 you where a aprt of a split with 'Cryptorsatan' 'Satanian' and 'Sycamore 3', what are your thoughts on the other bands or projects that had participated on the album and also do you have an interest in national socialism?
8. They are good bands and the results was very good, Cryptorsatan possesses the power of the old school, Draugen and Sycamore 3 have their rawness, Satanian is a live recording.
For me the politics is decadent, it is not ruined because it continues to work in most countries of Latin America: it continues trolling. I can not answer that question because I never lived under the yoke of national socialism, I can only comment om what I have lived, Argentina has been in democracy since I was born, I can only say that politics is in decline but is not ruined because it works and hooks thousands of people every day, that is seen here.

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

9. The reaction was right, from Belfegor to Draugen it started being very anti-commercial in tape in under places u know?, with handmade cover like Les Legion Noires... Then I just started to share the music in the networks and I got a circle of audience, also i  russia are cooming out copies of dark vermis under the label barbatos prods. Same with cvlminis and floppy noise records. There is planned release grim forest sky in germany and sweden by the end of this summer.

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

10. Soon, I'm working on a new album, there's no place we should not refuse.

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?
11. Gorgonas, Ulfhethnar, Moloch, Throne, death metal, grindcore, Satanicum Tenebrae, Black Murder, Torgeist, LLN, Emperor. I  terms of influences the old Darkthrone, the new demo "grim forest sky" although it is black metal I get inspired by the "Brujería" fierce sound. Vocal referents are Gezol from Sabbat, Dead, Ash, Nattramn, Varg, and the Maniac of "Deathcrush".
Lately I listened Holokauston, black metal from India made by a 19 years old boy.

12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?
12. All days occultism play a role in my music, I am sure that my music was born by and for the purpose of the occult, I can not explain how, but symbolically it is close to all, the occult is what trascends reason to enter unexplored lands.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
13. Thanks Occult Black Metal Zine for the opportunity, I was reading the blog and you have a vast potential here.

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Sophist/Betrothal To The Stone: Conception Ff Mephisto/2019 EP Review

dimanche 21 juillet 2019 à 04:27

  Sophist  are  a  duo  from  Edmonton,  Canada  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal  and  grindcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2019  ep  "Betrothal  To  The  Stone: Conception  Of  Mephisto "  which  will  be  released  in  August.

  A  horror  movie  orientated  sound  starts  off  the  ep  before  going  into  a  heavier  grindcore  direction  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  grim  black  metal  screams.  When  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  can  be  heard  which  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  feeling.

  A  decent  amount  of  melody  can  also  be  heard  in  the  guitar  riffing  while  death  metal  growls  can  also  be  heard  at  times.  The  songs  also  add  in  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  the  guitar  solos  and  leads  being  done  in  a  very  distorted  style  when t hey  are  utilized  and  they  also  bring  in  a  couple  of  bonus  instrumental  tracks.

  Sophist  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black  metal  and  grindcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own.  The  production  sounds  very  raw  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  Occultism  and  Alchemy  along  with  some  inspirations  from  an  alchemical  text  called  'Hermaphrodite  Child  of  The  Sun  And  Moon'.

  In  my  opinion  Sophist  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal  and  grindcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Betrothal  To  The  Stone: Conception  Of  Mephisto"  and  "A  Captive  Of  Saturn's  Scythe".  8  out  of  10.


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Once Upon A Winter Interview

dimanche 21 juillet 2019 à 00:33
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the musical project since the recording of the new album?

The recordings of the new album have finished around January I think. Since then we’ve focused on rehearsing a lot with the guys from the live line-up and we’ve played a couple of live shows here in Greece (Athens and Thessaloniki), alongside some great bands. Furthermore, I’ve composed some new songs and I’m starting to see how the 4th album will sound, but it is too early for that.

2.In September you have a new album coming out, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Hmmm.. I think it embraces the dark side more, while keeping the ambient and atmospheric parts. The core essentially is the same. And when I’m talking about a core, I mean melodies. I’ve always liked the idea of having melodies that people can sing along to, melodies that provide motion. No matter the orchestration, the ambience or heaviness of a song, what matters most to me is if you strip down everything and keep just the melody, the song should have the same emotional impact. And I think that is something that continues in the third album.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored over the years with your music?

I draw inspiration from everyday stories that happen in life, while combining them with a variety of issues that I’m interested in. The first album is composed from different stories on the same concept.. the inner battle you have with yourself, while trying to reach something.. something more.. A “more” version of yourself, while interacting with everything around you. The second album is one story, but different moments within that story. It’s mostly regarding perception and expectation.. what do you expect from your life, what is the significance of you being here. It’s a love story for life and existence. The third album.. I think it’s the natural consequence of the previous love story. You end up having more parameters to examine like time, space, distance etc.

4.In another interview you mentioned an interest in the Big Bang and the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, van you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?

Well, I like to read. It’s part of my regular job as a researcher and PhD candidate in engineering, but I also just like to read as part of my everyday life. From music theory, to physics and philosophy. The Schopenhauer theme of the previous album, continues on the third album as well. Parts from “Studies in Pessimism” are present both in the self-titled track of .existence, as well as in the first track of the new album. I wanted the new album to continue where the last track of previous album left of. I just like this kind of philosophical pessimism.. I find it comforting in some weird way.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Once Upon A Winter'?

Basically it is a callback to the winter I decided to start this project. It was a weird period of my life, I had completely abandoned music for months, and I was in an empty state. And to be honest I was kind of hating this whole thing. Through discussions, walks, nights out with some booze, after some time, I managed to gather myself and started composing music again. So yeah.. that winter started everything. 

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

It’s something special to me because it was created by my mother. I think she did a brilliant job encapsulating the emotion of the music. It is a result of discussions regarding the music, what I had in mind, and my mother’s own perception and imagination. It was created as a full painting from scratch and it looks beautiful. 

7.On the albums you record most of the material by yourself, are you open to working with a full line up in the studio on future releases?

Well, this album was indeed recorded with a full line-up. I’ve worked with some awesome musicians and people for this album, and I believe it’s because of them that this album has more character and it feels more organic. In the final product it is me on guitars, vocals and synths, and:

Emi Path - Vocals on Nepenthe
Fotis Sitaras - Bass (he is part of the live line-up as well)
Ioannis Varelidis - Drums
Ntenia Vamvakou - Violins
Fifi Alexopoulou - Cello
Chrysa Kourenta - Piano on Forgotten (plus she was in charge of every string recording session)

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?

Since it started out as a solo project, and just recently the live line-up was assembled, we do not have that many shows under our belt, but for sure opening for God Is An Astronaut here in Thessaloniki was something special. I mean opening for a band you listened to as a kid, in your hometown, in one of the best live stages of the country… and all that on our first live as a live band… It was extreme. There are moments that I still don’t believe that it actually happened.

As far as our stage performance… I feel that we zone out. It’s us and the music, but in a way that helps the music reach out to people. We just wanna let the music do the talking. 

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

We are working on it. There are some booked shows, but it is hard because all of us have regular jobs, but we are definitely working on it.

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

To tell you truth, I don’t really know how to answer that question. There are for sure people who embraced this project from the beginning, since day 1 of the first album. And I think that the main audience could be found in the “post-rock” demographic, since every album was uploaded on post-rock related YouTube channels. Lately, with the addition of the more blackgaze/black-metal elements, once in a while I hear someone saying that “All good up until the vocals came” or “I can’t stand the vocals”, but that is an exception, not the rule. I’ve always thought that post-rock and black metal have a lot in common. Plus, I’ve been listening to black metal since I was 15 years old… it’s natural to have those influences. Generally, I think post-rock fans are open-minded people that welcome musical diversity, and consequently the slight change of pace of Once Upon A Winter music.

Now regarding black metal fans… I really don’t think that Once Upon A Winter’s music is on their radar.

11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?

Who knows? Right now I’m focusing on the release of third album. I really want to tour with the guys and get the chance to perform these songs live. Moreover, as I’ve mentioned, I’m kind of working on new songs so I’d like to see where that road leads. I have some ideas on extra stuff, like a live rendition of some songs just on piano and classical guitar, but we’ll see.

12.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?

Lately I’ve found myself listening to a lot of synthwave stuff. I feel that there is some sexy, nostalgic and creepy atmosphere in there that I do enjoy. Artists like PERTURBATOR, GUNSHIP, Lazerhawk, Carpenter Brut, Magic Sword etc. I’m still scratching the surface since I’ve just dived in the genre. Besides that, I still listen to a lot blackgaze, atmospheric black metal, and post rock which are the main influences of Once Upon A Winter. 2019 had some amazing albums in those genres from artists like Deha, Suldusk, Numenorean, Crows in the rain, Old Solar and so on. 2019 is the gift that keeps on giving musically (and we are still waiting on the new Falls of Rauros, Alcest, etc).

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Well, normal stuff. As I’ve said I try to read as much as I can. I enjoy good and well-written TV series. I really like nerd out with MCU and science fiction. I used to read a lot of comics, but I haven’t done that in a looong time. I do not have all the time in the world since I’m working, and trying to finish my PhD studies, so I try to do anything that helps me relax. Lately I don’t go out as much as I want to, and I need to fix that.

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

I would like to thank you for the interesting interview. Furthermore, I would like to thank everyone who embraced Once Upon A Winter from the beginning and keep showing their love and support in every way possible. We really hope to see a lot of you on the road!

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