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Paganland/XX Years Of Paganland/Azermedoth Records/2018 Live Album Review

samedi 28 juillet 2018 à 04:24

  Paganland  are  a  band  from  Ukraine  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  pagan  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2018  live  album  "XX  Years  Of  Paganland"  which  will  be  released on  July  31st  by  Azermedoth  Records.

  A  keyboard  orientated  intro  starts  off  the  album  while  also  introducing  acoustic  guitars  onto  the  recording  with  the  keyboards also  mixing  into  the  heavier  sections  of  the  songs  at  times  while  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  also  use  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  which  also  gives  the  music  a  more  raw  feeling.

  Vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  while  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  the  band  also  interacting  with  the  audience  at  times  as  well  as  the  songs  also  mixing  in  elements  of  folk  music,  melodies  can  also  be  heard  in  some  of  the  riffing  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  and  some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  On  this  live  recording  Paganland  remains  true  to  their  epic  style  of  pagan  black  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  raw  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  Slavic  Paganism  and  the  runes  o  the  Veles  book  and  runic  manuscripts  from  the  library  of  Anna  Yaroslavna.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Paganland  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  pagan  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  live  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "At  The  Heart  Of  The  Carpathians"  "Black  Mountain"  and  "The  Gloom".  8  out  of  10.      

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Heathid Equis/Fields/Grey Matter Productions/2018 Full Length Review

samedi 28 juillet 2018 à 02:53

  Heathid  Equis  are  a  duo  from  Texas  that  plays  a  mixture  of  old  school  black  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2018  album  "Fields"  which  was  released  by  Grey  Matter  Productions.

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  album  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  depressive  black  metal  screams  along  with  the  solos  and  leads  bringing  in  more  of  a  modern  and  melodic  atmospheric  sounding  and  you  can  also  hear  a  lot  of  doom  metal  elements  in  the  slower  sections  of  the  songs.

  A  great  amount  of  90's  influences  can  also  be  heard  in  the  musical  style  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  also  being  used  used  briefly  and  as  the  album  progresses  an  acoustic  instrumental  is  added  onto  the  recording  before  returning  back  to  a  heavier  direction  on  the  remaining  tracks.

  Heathid  Equis  takes  the old  school,  depressive  and  atmospheric  styles  of  black  metal  and  mixes  them  with  doom  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  depressive  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Heathid  Equis  are  a  very  great  sounding  old  school  mixture  of  black  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  duo.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Sathos  Funeral"  and  "An  Ocean  Of  Mistrust".  8  out  of  10.    

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Al Ard Interview

vendredi 27 juillet 2018 à 05:41

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

The band was born formally on 2011, but from the early years we knew that it would be unavoidable and it was only question of time. Turin and Pavia were the home towns of our own project, but what was fundamental is the common origin from Sicily. Our own music is a mixture of rotten Black Metal, Dubstep, DnB and a lot of Noise Industrial: not by chance our main sources of inspiration are bands like Aborym, Dodheimsgard, Diabolicum and MZ412. But what, for us, characterize al ard is the detailed research of extremism in an absolute sense and at all levels; generating a sound and emotive violence that overwhelms the listener, even if he/she does not appreciate it.

2.Recently you have released your first full length, what are some of the things you feel you have accomplished musically on the new album?

Our vision of black metal is first of all based on ramping up the experiments to see what happens in there. With our first full length we've been conscious that it is possible and we like the result. This is not the end of the story since our own music is itself our inspiration for moving forward. Nevertheless, the inspiration will come and dictate the way we'll go, so we could explain it as an unconscious revelation on our side not yet revealed.

3.On the album you also mix a lot of different genres, do you feel you are adding something new to the black metal genre?

What we would like to describe is the approach, came out from several influences and along last decade who led us to reach the violence, no matter what the music is. Black metal is the main matrix for us, a channel to spread the hate we have to spit, made both dynamically synthetic with drum'n'bass and coldly static with noise. For people who have a background of black metal, drum'n'bass and noise industrial, will be easy to understand our research through those 3 different music styles, because they surely have felt before the same crazy adrenaline.

For those who have never trespassed black metal, we would seriously suggest giving a listen to Al Ard and let us know if they feel betrayed or excited.

The main aspect for us is also to create a unique channel, being able to merge instruments, noise, electronic. We work a lot to meld them, that's the hard part. We hate when a song plays as parallel dimensions at the same time, it has no meaning. The new songs we're creating now reflect even more this concept.

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

We could say Al Ard contains a long story and several topics. It could be defined in paragraphs. Each song, different stories, merging themselves during the album, to then disappear. The songs are born from instinct and scorn of a moment, more than being created for a specific, wide and unilateral concept. There's a lot of shit around to savor only one. To give you some examples, FOR A HINT OF DIVINITY is a manifesto against the self-commodification, what could a man do for a moment of glory... P.P.P tells about the christianity habits along the centuries, the morality and values collapsed under the evolution, the two STRANGE OLD PRACTICE go deeper into the real face of a war, the fear, the desolation, the disgust; in Strange Old Practice II, the mantra obsessively repeated during the song is Sicilian dialect and means "Deformed children are borning". The all is linked with the Sicilian culture, a fundamental inspiration for the entire album and place where we come from. Ultimately the recipe is filled with dreamlike statuses, real funerals stories, private deviations, southern Italy traditions, introspection and human's inhumanity of life.

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

The name AL ARD is the arab for "The Land", referred to Sicily, named " al-arḍ al-kabīra " ("The Big Land") at the time of arab domination.
The main inspiration was to highlight the importance of our origin and how it influenced our own lives. Unlike the classic iconography of Scandinavian black metal that exalts the "coldness" of those places and their lifestyle, we aim at the clear contrast, not only geographically, trying to express the "darkness" that unsuspectedly distinguishes the tradition of the south.

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

Also the artwork is a magnification of Sicilian tradition and cult of death.

The mummies on the cover (which represent our "dead" own person) are three of the several ones inside the Cappuccini's Catacombs in Palermo, which preserve their excellent status of conservation thanks to an ancient embalming technique.

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

Principally the hardest things to yield properly are the guitars: generally the rhythmics of each guitar have been merged trying to obtain the best stage result but in rare cases other guitars are played directly in background.

S.V.D. has got sufficent stuffs to play the huge quantity of fucking bases, synth and samples have to be spited out from the sound COD the only task of screaming, singing, playing bass and destroying everything on stage like a fucking insane that goes wild against the crowds.

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

We're working on it to be able to play live during the end of the year and in 2019. It's always hard to plan for live dates because we live far from each other, but not so far to erase the will of playing and planning for tours or single events. Turin and Sicily will be for sure a place where we'll organize something, but our scope is to plan for a tour in several places in Europe.

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

The reaction has been very good till now. For example,  the Industrial band Preemptive strike from Greece asked for a featured song that will be available very soon. Basically the response for album has been very succesful from our side, however we think that the possibility to perfom live sessions in the next future will contribute to make our visibility to an higher lavel.

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

We really hope to produce music that satisfies 100% of our needs, tastes and deviated desires. Basically, we want to improve the connection between our way of concepting black metal and our urge of playing experimental! Actually this is our objective since we realized the best results came from it. This is already happening with the new material we're on right 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?

Hard to say, each one has a different experience and idea, but for sure we all agree that bands like Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth were the trigger for a neverending research of the estreme. During the years this meant Death, Morbid Angel, Dissection to finally reach the black twilight with Emperor, Satyricon, Mayhem, Darkthrone, the entire avantgarde or industrial black metal scene. Then we can expand on what each member privately listens, reaching genres like pure noise and pop in the same hour on Spotify.

Nowadays we're going to different directions in terms of music listened, and that's a longevity secret for us.

12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?

There's no doubt we are fascinated, but we've never studied it. The concept of death and our personal visions of it represents a strong incipit of every moment of inspiration in music and lyrics.

We touch it in our creations, but we're not obsessed as an omni-lyrics or omni-themes band. There's so much to tell, to be disgusted by, to criticize, to hate.... to be wrapped only by one veil.

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

Thank you for the interview and for the time spent. To all the readers searching for something new, we strongly suggest to listen to our album and let us know what they think. We're sure they will be not disapponted. Hail Al Ard

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Mongrel's Cross Interview

jeudi 26 juillet 2018 à 04:12
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
1. Hails death and black freaks. Goet Euryn and I have actually been working on new material. We have 7 new tracks written which have taken what we did on Psalter to another level. We’re in the process of demo’ing them and expect that they’ll be ready within the next 6 months.

2.You have a new album coming out in August, what are some of the things you feel you have done differently with the newer music that you where not able to do with your previous material?
2. On Psalter we have gone back to what is our core inspiration and influences. 80’s and 90’s black, death and thrash. A new element we’ve introduced on Psalter is synths and we are really happy with how they sound. They are that perfect type of synth, one that adds depth to the guitars but in no way lessen the impact of them.

3.This is going to be your first release since 2018, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
3. Yes The Sins Of Aquarius was released in 2012 and we took a bit of a break. We had some line up changes and quickly realised that Goet and I work best as a studio duo. So we began work on Psalter and when we had the guitars written we enlisted our current drummer Wretch.

4.Your music is mostly rooted in  a blackened thrash metal style, what was it that made you want to go into this musical direction and also what do you feel you add to the genre?
4. It’s definitely what we relate to the most. We are riff orientated and that’s what attracted us to metal when we were kids and it still rings true today. It’s a cliche but it’s substance over style for us. We aren’t really interested in the leather jacket and hood scene.

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores on the newer album and also how would you describe your progress as a song writer over the years?

5. The new album centres around the primordial Dragon and its role in mans psyche as well as other meditations on the universe. my process is quite simple, I find something I find interesting, explore it and adapt it in to lyrical form.

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the cover artwork on the new album?
6. We are very happy with how the cover art turned out. David Thierre was the legend behind that. It’s the mighty Dragon I spoke of earlier tearing the heart out of a lion. As we know, the Christian god has been referred to asa lion so I will leave the interpretation of that up to readers.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
7. We haven’t played in some time as we feel fairly distant from the scene these days. Anyway our best shows were always with fellow bangers like Innsmouth and Gospel of the horns. Nights of big riffs and sore necks. 

8.What are some of the touring or show plans that you have for the remaining of 2018?
8. So I touched on this in the last question but I’ll elaborate. We feel like we get much more out of writing and recording than playing live so for the time being no shows are planned. We don’t really associate with anyone in whatever scene is present here at the moment and have no desire to do so.

9.Most of your material so far has been released on 'Hell's Headbangers', do you feel this label is perfect for the blackened thrash metal style that you play?
9. HHB have been really good to us. Chase took a punt on us back in 2011 and we are now doing our third release with them. I'm not much of a label enthusiast but yes I think there are some bands on the roster that share a similar outlook to us.

10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your recordings by fans of black and thrash metal?
10. We are pretty happy with the response from fans, particularly with the new material. It's always cool when you see that someone has an album, shirt etc of your band and they are on the other side of the world.

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically on future releases?
11. As I mentioned early we are well and truly on the way to a third album. It's building on the stuff we started on psalter but pushing it further. Black and thrash parts but also lots of heavy metal. We will always be 80's and 90's warriors. We've demo'd a few tracks and they sound unreal.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that you have been listening to lately and have you also found other musical inspirations over the years?
12. Lately I have cranked the new Angantyr and Darkenhold. I find lots of little new gems here and there but quite often go digging back in the old bands to see what I missed. I've always liked dark ambient/traditional folk stuff like Arcana, Dargaard and Elend etc. A newer one to mention is The moon and the nightspirit from Hungary.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
13. Psalter of the Royal dragon court is out August 3rd maniacs so get it and blast it! 

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Paths Interview

mercredi 25 juillet 2018 à 05:56
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the musical project since the recording of the new album?

Since recording “In Lands Thought Lost” I have just about finished writing and recording demos for what will be the fourth full-length. I'll soon send the demos to Austin once I've finished the last bit of tinkering and then we'll set about the recording in full once he has learned the songs. And at the moment I am actually also writing riffs for what will become album five.

2.You have a new album coming out in September, what are some of the things you have done musically on this recording that you where not able to do on your previous releases?

Having real drums is a big step forward, especially when they're played by someone as good as Austin. He really brought a new sense of dynamics and aggression to the music. Aside from that, Spencer Morris, who mastered the album, gave me a lot of help with the mix which has made this by far the best sounding Paths album. It feels like I'm finally reaching the sound I've always wanted to have but struggled to get.

3.In 2013 and 14 you released a great amount of material and then took a break until this year, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time frame?

The initial spout of releases was definitely a very creative time for me. I was just inspired all the time and had such a craving to find new sounds and to experiment, though with admittedly mixed results. When I listen back to the demos now I can see what I was going for and what I tried to do, but the execution was rather sloppy. Things really started coming together in a clearer and more refined direction when I did the first full-length, “Where the Oakenhearted Dwell.” Shortly after the digital release I did myself of that album, Werewolf Promotions came into the picture. They released the first album on tape, the second album, “Beauty and Nihility,” on CD and finally a 2 tape set compiling all the demos. These releases should all still be available on the Werewolf Promotions site for anyone who hasn't gotten them yet.

“In Lands Thought Lost” was written at the end of this period. I originally recorded the album back in May of 2015, shortly before a temporary move across the country which led to a halt in writing and recording. The album was recorded with programmed drums, like everything before it. It was around this time I got in contact with Austin from Panopticon. I'd been a fan of his work since around 2007, and it was rather humbling to find out that he liked my own music after his has been such an influence on me for so long. At that point I was just sitting on the finished “In Lands Thought Lost” album. I sent it to Austin as I was curious to hear what he thought of the new material. He really liked it, so much so that he offered to record drums for it. Once his participation in the project was decided, it only made sense that we would release the album through Bindrune Recordings. Unfortunately, a number of unforeseen circumstances arose that delayed the release till now.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore on the new album and also how would you describe your progress as a songwriter over the years?

Thematically, there are a lot of similarities to the lyrics on the first album. Nature, overcoming personal struggles, and Odinic themes of sacrifice and growth are prominent. Though the final epic on the album delves into history rather than mythology, being inspired by the doomed expedition to the South Pole led by Robert Falcon Scott (though there is a metaphorical meaning to this song as well). I have been an avid student of history since childhood, even gaining a degree in history at university, but this is the first time I've let that other passion seep into my lyrics.

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

When I started the project I knew I wanted an ambiguous name. Something that didn't tie me down to a specific style or theme. The name itself is taken from the Sol Invictus song of the same name.

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

The artwork is done by Solfjall Design. She has worked on album art for a number of other bands, including Panopticon, Jodöden and Falls of Rauros. I made a VERY rough mock-up in photoshop to give an idea of what I wanted, then she took that rough and sloppy idea and turned it into a wonderful work of art.

7.With this musical project you record mostly everything by yourself, is this more of a personal project to you?

Paths is definitely a very personal project. Having full control of the musical direction and overall sound of the band is very important to me. Paths is just the music that flows naturally out of me and I don't know how well I would be able to work within the constraints of a full band.

8.On the new album you also had some session work from a member from 'Panopticon', can you tell us a little bit more about his contribution to the recording?

I touched on this a bit earlier, but to go into a bit more detail, I sent Austin what I thought was a finished album. I had programmed and mixed all the drums, and thought it was done, but then he came on board to do real drums. He learned the songs based on the beats I had programmed, but I allowed him some leeway. He changed the beats in a few places based on his own ideas, plus threw in his own fills. He sent me recordings of what he'd played and I loved the changes he made. The songs felt so much more dynamic and felt like they had much more forward momentum.

I also then did some additional guitar recording, and completely re-mixed the album from scratch with Austin's drums. The resulting 5 songs are by far the best music I have made to date and I am immensely proud of what we made created. I can't overstate just how important Austin's contributions to this album are and I am eternally grateful to him.

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

Bindrune put up a song (titled “To Brave the Storm”) from the album on youtube last month and the reaction has been nothing but positive so far.

10.Can you tell us a little bit more about 'Teeth of The Wolf'?

Teeth of the Wolf is my side project. It was conceived as an acoustic-singer songwriter sort of thing, somewhere between neofolk and Townes Van Zandt, though also incorporating elements of ambient and darkwave. I recorded two demos and played a couple shows, but since then have had little inspiration for writing acoustic songs. My musical focus has been solely on Paths since then, and it looks to continue that way for the foreseeable future. So I guess Teeth of the Wolf is on hiatus.

11.Where do you see yourself heading into musically during the future?

The material I've written for the fourth album, and am currently writing for the fifth is much more direct, and, dare I say it, catchy. My song writing has become much more disciplined and focused, yet at the same time I think the songs are a lot more exciting and lively. I've been experimenting more with writing dual guitar parts and it's really adding an exciting element to this new material. I'm very much looking forward to the future of Paths' ever shifting sound. The fourth album looks to be a bit more of a straight forward black metal album, while the filth is slowly going into some weird directions, though that's still in the very early stages of writing so I can't say for sure...

12.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?

The biggest influence on Paths is the Norwegian second wave as a whole, but also bands like Moonsorrow, Falkenbach, Drudkh, Walknut, Agalloch, Hate Forest, Bathory, Panopticon, Wodensthrone, Ygg, Angantyr, Mgla, Winterfylleth, and Death Fortress. I may disagree with the politics of some of those bands, but their music is a continuing inspiration.

That said, my musical taste has been slowly changing over the last few years. Or maybe regressing is a better description. I find myself drawn more and more to older bands, the bands I got into as a teenager, particularly first and second wave black metal bands, and classic heavy metal in general. My interest in contemporary black metal, particularly so-called post-black metal, has waned quite a lot, with the exception of a handful of exceptional bands.

I have been exploring heavy and epic metal much more thoroughly in the last few years. Bands like Manilla Road, Omen, Heavy Load, Ashbury, Fates Warning, Sumerlands, Doomsword etc. All this change in listening habits over the last few years is definitely filtering into my riff writing as well...

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

A mentioned earlier, I am a history buff. Particularly military history. Outside of that, I am an avid reader in general. In particular, writers like J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, E. M. Cioran, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, Friedrich Nietzsche, H. P. Lovecraft, and many more that I have doubtless forgotten to mention. Beyond that I like to spend time outside, especially in forests. Whether with friends or in solitude, trees provide a much more comforting surrounding than the the grey concrete of everyday life.

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

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project so far. It's been a long wait, but new material is finally dawning. We are currently awaiting the test presses of the vinyl and we're hoping to have “In Lands Thought Lost” released sometime this fall. And believe me, it will be worth the wait. After that, the time in between this new album and the next should be much less than three years! There is lots of new Paths music on the horizon...

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