Saturday, January 21, 2017

Author/Lopon Alku/Naturmacht Productions/2017 CD Review


  Author  are  a  solo  project  from  Finland  that  plays  an  old  school  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Lopun  Alka"  which  will be  released  on  January  28th  by  Naturmacht  Productions.

  A  very  distorted  yet  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  album  before  speeding  up  and  adding  in  blast  beats  a  few  seconds  later  before  adding  in  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  the  tremolo  picking  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  raw  feeling  and  the  music  also  brings  in  the  90's  Finnish  era  of  the   genre.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  all  of  the  songs  sound  like  they  could  of  been  recorded  and  released  20 years  ago with  its  vintage  second  wave style  and  when  guitar  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  and  a  half  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  one  track  also  brings  in  a  brief use  of  clean  guitars.

  Author  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw  and  goes  back  to  the  90's  era  of  the  Finnish  style  of  the  genre, t he  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Finnish  and  cover  death,  darkness,  pain,  and  hell  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Author  are  a  very  great  sounding  raw  black  metal  solo  project  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lopun  Alku"  and  "Kadotus".  8  out  of  10.    

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wolfkrieg/Fire Of Ragnarok/Nymphaea Records/2017 CD Review


  Wolfkrieg  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  national  socialist  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of t heir  2017  album  "Fire  Of  Ragnarok"  which  was  released  by  Nymphaea  Records.

  Epic sounding  synths  and  acoustic  guitars start  off  the  album  and  gives  the  music  more  of  a  bronze  age  feeling  and  they  also  mix  in  with  the  heavier  style  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  introduces  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  onto  the  recording  and  the  synths  also  add  in  a  touch  of  classical  music  at  times.

  Folk  instruments  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  one  track  also  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  war  samples  and  clean  guitars  can  also  be  heard  briefly  in  some  of  the  heavier  sections  of  the  music  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  a  later  song  also  introduces  nature  sounds  onto  the  recording  and  acoustic  guitars  also  return  briefly  on  a  few  tracks  and  their  is  also  a  brief  use  of  melodic  guitar  leads  for  a  few  seconds  and  all  of  the  songs  stick  to  either  a  slow  or  mid  paced  musical  direction.

  Wolfkrieg  creates  a  recording  that  brings  in  a  more  epic  side  of  national  socialist  pagan/black  metal  on  this  album,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  Germanic  Paganism,  War  and  National  Socialism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Wolfkrieg  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  national  socialist  pagan/black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Fire  Of  Ragnarok"  "Eighty  Eight"  "Wotan's  Bowl"  and  "When  Wotan  Awakes".  8/5  out  of  10.   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Æðra Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the musical project since the recording and release of the new album?

At the moment I am trying to stay as busy as I can musically. As a solo-project that does not currently tour, it can be really tempting to take a break upon completing an album cycle. I’m doing my best not to rest too easy now that I have done a complete record on my own. It was nice being able to step away from things over the holidays and breathe a sigh of relief that Perseiderna is finally finished, but now I am thinking ahead musically with more focus compared to after releasing The Evening Red.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
What I really wanted to focus on Perseiderna was building on the sound from the first album and turning it into something more driving and cohesive. I feel like this album flows much better with smoother transitions and better song structures. As for the actual sound production, what I was going for was a rawer, more human approach to the guitar tone and performance coupled with colder, sterile drum programming and synths. Like the first album, this was an autobiography of sorts for a distinct time in my life. However, as opposed to it being about the closing of a chapter it reflected events that were rather turbulent. As the lyrics deal with moments of both triumph and despair throughout the last few years, I wanted the production itself to reflect that dissonance. The human aspect that can shine through on a record is something that has always been important to me. I loved the production on the first record and had a wonderful time in Redwood Studios, but given the subject matter on the new album I wanted to explore another path. Perseiderna doesn’t sound like a huge polished modern metal production nor a four-track-in-the-forest black metal record. It sounds like the times that inspired this work and, to me, that’s a good thing.

3.This is the first album to be released in 5 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
It’s been quite the journey. I was actually living in Västerås, Sweden when “The Evening Red” was released in 2011. During the time gap between releases I moved back to my home area in Illinois then across the United States to Colorado. Peppered in between were a few relationships, employment changes, and general life transitions, which led to upheavals of the status quo. Needless to say, there was a lack of stability and a lot of time needed to build new foundations, which didn’t leave a lot of room for music production. Because of this I really wanted to give these songs time to grow and not rush anything. Results are always better this way.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your newer music?
The lyrics on Perseiderna continue the trend in being somewhat of a personal autobiography of sorts for me. So naturally, the lyrics on the new record pick up where The Evening Red left off. While the lyrics on Perseiderna deal with nostalgia for better times in the past and personal struggles, I tried to focus on perseverance and triumph over the battles life throws at us. When penning lyrics about occurrences in my life, I strive to veil specific details around these events somewhat so a listener doesn’t get bogged down with me and can make the music relate to their own struggles.
From a general lyrical perspective, I feel the darkness in life is something to embrace and overcome with your own inner strength, not to retreat from into solitude because one can’t cope. I know full well time spent alone can be used to heal wounds and improve oneself, but I am inspired by the fact my ancestors didn’t row across open oceans just to off themselves in the throes of depression. I want to convey that hope and will to press on in a person’s own journey. Bettering oneself in order to truly thrive is the only thing that matters. 

5.I know that the bands name means 'higher, more exalted, in Icelandic, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
It really all boils down to my state of mind when the project came into being. I originally started this project while I was playing bass and keyboards in another band active in the central Illinois scene from 2004 to 2009. We had a record deal with September Riot Records out of the state of Missouri and were pretty busy playing shows around the region. What I could not get over during this time was the number of bands who displayed absolutely no originality or creativity and simply copied the trendy breakdown-laden hardcore and metalcore that was prevalent then. I know this is probably true in every scene, but it did lead to a lot of disillusionment.
As I improved on the guitar I started stringing riffs together and recording them, but since guitar wasn’t my place in my first band I decided to start my own project for practice. I settled on the name Æðra because I wanted something that would reflect my Nordic roots and push me to live up to the word’s meaning. The meaning and unique characters may seem pretentious to some people now, but really it was just a complete reaction to the watered down musical environment I was experiencing. It was more of a desire to make something different from my peers and go my own way I guess. To be completely honest, I did not really expect it to be heard by listeners around the world when I started this and am very humbled by and grateful for the attention it has received. 

6.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to remain solo?
From a logistics standpoint, it is way easier for me to complete a project on my own. Working alone allows for the music to evolve naturally as intended, and there is no worry about weak links, scheduling issues, or having several members tugging in all sorts of creative directions, which can ultimately kill a project. With that said, however, I really love collaborating with others in a limited capacity. Case in point, it was great working with Danielle and Karen, and their vocal lines added a lot to the tracks “Alpenglow” on Perseiderna and “Horizon” on The Evening Red. But to answer your question directly, I highly doubt Æðra will ever have a traditional full band lineup due to its personal importance and my workflow preferences. Outside of this project though, I’m pretty easy going and play nice with others. 

7.According to the fb page the current location was Denver, Colorado and you are originally from Illinois, what was the decision behind the move and also how would you compare both of the states?
Carlinville is a rural Illinois town of a few thousand people, and while I had a great childhood there comes a point in time where wanderlust kicks in and it’s time to move beyond your hometown. To be fair, travelling a fair amount really sped that process up, which I think is normal for a lot of people after they get into adulthood. I don’t care to elucidate the negatives in explicit detail as it’s my home, but I can’t deny that poor state management, lack of natural aesthetic, and better economic opportunity elsewhere were also primary factors. If you haven’t lived in the rural Midwest, it’s a lot of humid summers, bitter winters, and small towns with very little to see. This environment breeds hearty people, and I feel spending so much time out in the seemingly endless fields led to a more atmospheric bend to my work, but after I finished at the university I quickly took the opportunity to relocate for work.
Living in Denver is much different. There is so much available from a nature perspective because the city is nestled right at the start of the Rocky Mountains. For an artist, especially those who make metal, this access to nature aids the creative process immensely. There is nothing more inspiring than hiking up a mountain, taking in the view and thin air at the summit, and getting the feeling that you and your group are the only ones in the untouched wilderness.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of atmospheric and melodic black metal?
I never imagined when I started this I would get the positive feedback I have received. On a whole, reviews for Perseiderna have been positive and it has been an honor having individuals from all over the world tell me they’ve enjoyed the albums. It’s also heartening that critical reviews have been constructive and not simply “this album is trash” rants. I am fine with that, and hope to improve on future works.

9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
I really admire musicians like Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson who often explore other genres outside of the ones to which they’re normally pegged. I have a large backlog of riffs and songs that don’t fit with this project and am looking to get some of those revamped with some friends from back home into a cohesive album. However, I don’t have an ETA or genre description of what it will actually sound like, as it’s an open slate at this point.
As for Æðra, I am already actively working on writing the next album. What has always been a personal draw of metal is the way each nation or culture can put its own twist into it, and I am looking at stylistically incorporating folklore and musical themes from my home in central Illinois into the next record. Additionally, I have always been a huge fan of extended range guitars and recently made the jump from an Ibanez seven-string to a nine-string from Agile. Since my original instrument was a five-string bass, it feels completely natural. I know what you are probably thinking though and don’t worry, the next record will NOT be banjo djent.

10.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?
Over the writing of Perseiderna I found some great atmosphere-focused gems like the bands Hammock, God is an Astronaut, and the album Night by Gazpacho. On the blacker side of things, I often listened to bands like Harakiri for the Sky, Behemoth, Thränenkind, Kvelertak, and Nordjevel while I was working on the latest record. A lot of genres other than metal take up a lot of my listening time as well. I’ve always been a fan of acoustic, prog, more straightforward rock, and certain styles of EDM like trance. I tend to bounce around to other genres a lot, especially when working on Æðra, to change it up since the same metal songs I’m working on are blasting for hours on end.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
I’ve always loved being active and find it therapeutic to hit the weights in the gym. Living in Colorado has also led to more outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, and skiing. We have an exploding craft brewing scene out in Denver too, so when I need a break from everything I enjoy clearing, or clouding rather, my mind in the river of artisan beer flowing through the city. I’ve also gotten into brewing a bit myself, and have around twelve gallons of mead waiting to be bottled. That’s the extent of drugs for me, though.  We have legalized marijuana here but I am not too keen on the actual product. Other hobbies include reading and keeping abreast with current events.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
It was a pleasure doing this, and I hope to discuss the next record with you!

Insanity Cult/Of Despair And Self Destruction/Ogmios Underground/2017 CD Review


  Insanity  Cult  are  a  band  from  Greece  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  raw  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Of  Despair  And  Self  Destruction"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Ogmios  Underground.

  Acoustic  guitar  playing  starts  off  the  album  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  a  very  fast  and  raw  musical  direction  that  also  uses  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and w hen  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion.

  Throughout  the  recording  there  is  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  great  amount  of  90's  second  wave  influences  and  when  spoken  word  parts  are  utilized  they  give  the  songs  more  of  a  ritualistic  feeling  along  with  acoustic  guitars  also  returning  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording.

  At  times  the  vocals  also  bring  in a   depressive  edge  at  times  while  some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  as  the  album  progresses  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  briefly  along  with  some  of  the  heavier  riffing  bringing  in  a  small  amount  of  melody  and  there  is  also  an  acoustic  interlude  before  returning  back to  a  heavier  direction.  

  Insanity  Cult  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to  the  raw  and  epic  style  of  black  metal  from  previous  releases,  the  production  sounds  very  dark,  raw  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  Mythology,  Nothingness,  Misanthropy,  Inner  Struggles,  Nihilism  and  Self  Destruction  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Insanity  Cult  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  raw,  epic  and  misanthropic  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Seeds  of  Lesser  Gods"  "In  My  Abysmal  Dreams"  and  "Sinister  Lights  And  Manic-Depression".  8  out  of  10.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Palace Of Worms/Ecferus/Crown & Throne Ltd/2017 Split Abum Review


  This  is  a  review  of  a  split  album  between  San  Francisco,  California's  Palace  Of  Worms  and  Indiana's  Ecferus  which  will  be  released  on  January  31,  2017  by  Crown  &  Throne  Ltd  and  we  will  start  off  the  review  with  Palace  Of  Worms  a  solo  project  that  has  been  featured  before in  this  zine  and  plays  a very modern  form  of  black  metal  on  this  recording.

  His  side  of  the  split  starts  out  with  spoken  word  samples  before  going  into  more  of  a  heavy  and  raw  musical  direction t hat  also  uses  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sound  very  powerful  while  the  riffs  also  get  technical  at  times  and  the  vocals a re  mostly  grim  black  metal  screams.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  bring  in  a  very  chaotic  yet  melodic  style  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  some  of  the  riffing  also  adds  in  a  touch  of  hardcore,  doom,  death,  and  thrash  and  the  last  track  is  long  and  epic  in  length,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  paranormal  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Palace  Of  Worms  and if  you  are  a  fan  of  modern  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  his  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Rot  From  the  Stars".

  Next  up  is  Ecferus  another  solo  project  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  raw,  melodic,  and  ambient  form  of  black  metal.

  His  side  of  the  split  starts  out  with  a  very  fast  and  raw  musical  direction  that  also  uses  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  the  riffs  also  use  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  melody and  the  solos  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  his  side  of  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  samples  and  the  synths  add  in  more  of  an  atmospheric  and  ambient  feeling  and  the  last  track  is  long  and  epic  in  length,  the  production  has  a  very  dark,  raw  and  heavy  sound  while  the  lyrics  cover  occult,  metaphysical  and  scientific  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Ecferus  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  ambient,  raw  and  melodic  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  his  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Ritual  Calamity".

  In  conclusion  I  feel  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  split  and  I  would  recommend  it  to  all  fans  of  black  metal.  8  out  of  10.  

     

Mord'A'Stigmata/Hope/Pagan Records/2017 CD Review


  Mord'A'Stigmata  are  a  band  from  Poland  that has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  avant  garde  form  of  post  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Hope"  which  will  be  released  in  February  by  Pagan  Records.

  Clean  yet  distorted  guitar  playing  starts  off  the  album and  they  also  mix  in  with  the  heavier sound  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  introduces  grim  black  metal  screams  onto  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody.

  When  guitar  solos  and  leads a re  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  and  most  of  the  songs  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  clean  signing  is  also  utilized  at  times  and  they  give  the  songs  more  of  an  avant  garde  feeling  and  when  synths  are  used  on  the  recording  they  add  in  a  touch  of  ambient.

  There  is  also  a  brief  use  of  blast  beats  when  the  music  somewhat  speeds  up  while  the  main  focus  is  more  on  a  slow  or  mid  paced  musical  direction  and  you  can  also  hear  elements  of  post  metal  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  a  couple  of  tracks  also  rings  in  a  small  amount  of   spoken  word  parts.

  Mord'A'Stigmata  creates  a  recording  that  focuses  more  on  the  avant  garde  and  post  black  metal  style  this  time  around  to  create  something  more  different  than  previous  recordings,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  negativity,  esoterics,  misanthropy  and  spirituality  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  album  from  Mord'A'Stigmata   and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  avant  garde  and  post  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Hope"  and  "To  Keep  The  Blood".  8  out  of  10.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Falls Of Rauros/Vigilance Perennial/Bindrune Recordings/Nordvis Produktion/2017 CD Review


  Falls  Of  Rauros  are  a  band  from  Maine  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays a  folk  influenced  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Vigilance  Perennial" which  will  be  released  in  March  as  a joint  effort  between  Bindrune  Recordings  and  Nordvis  Produktion.

  Clan  guitars  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  acoustic  work  and  after  awhile  drums  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  after  awhile  the  music  gets  a  lot  more  heavier  along  with  some  high  pitched  black metal  screams  making t heir  presence  known  and  you  can  also  hear  a  great  amount  of  melody  in the  guitar  riffing.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  and  the  acoustic  guitars  also  give  the  songs  more  of  a  progressive  and  folk  music  feeling  and  some  songs  bring  in elements  of  ambient.

  At  times  the  music  can  get  very  atmospheric  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast beats  can  be  heard  and  it  also  adds  in  more  of  a  raw  style  of  black  metal  and  they  also  bring  in  a  brief  instrumental  before  returning  back  to  vocal  tracks  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  decent  mixture of  slow,  mid  paced and  fast  parts.

  Falls  Of  Rauros  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to  the  folk  musical  influenced  and  progressive  style  of  atmospheric  black  metal  from  previous  recordings,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  nature,  misanthropy,  anarchism,  rumination,  and  uncertainty  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Falls  Of  Rauros  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  folk  influenced  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Labyrinth  Unfolding  Echoes"  and  "Arrow  &  Kiln".  8  out  of  10.