Timeline

Reach – The Promise Of A Life

The Promise Of A Life Album Cover Art

Reach – The Promise Of A Life
Icons Creating Evil Art
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 38:17
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Hands up who likes Queen?…(NB, if you don’t have your hand up, leave now, because I don’t need that kind of negativity, and for the record, you’re wrong!) Got your hands up? Good, good. Now keep them up if you also like Muse, and can stomach The Scissor Sisters, Mika, and Lady Gaga, and also quite liked the 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s, and all the collective musical genres they had to offer. Anyone who put their hands down can now also leave, as this probably won’t be for you – BUT!!!…Don’t go too quickly, because you never know, and opening your mind to possibilities can be highly enlightening.

Today’s musings from my increasingly unhinged middle-aged psyche are about Swedish boundary pushing Rockers, Reach, and their new album “The Promise Of A Life”. And, my fellow lunatics, if you’ve ever wondered what a soup made out of the artists mentioned in my opening paragraph would taste like, then your answer is right here. (That’s a normal train of thought to go through, right…Come on guys, throw me a frikkin bone; it can’t seriously be only me who thinks about these kinds of philosophical, 3am problems…)

Since their inception in 2012, Reach have achieved critical acclaim, building a unique sound that likes to challenge. This new release is every bit of that. Its individuality shows no bounds, and the band’s willingness to experiment is clear from the start, even in the opening track’s title – ‘New Frontier’. This track begins with ‘Wild West’ whistling, and then starts galloping across the desert bareback on a stallion, carrying a Fender Strat and a large swag bag full of insanity, attempting to connect with Ziggy Stardust and James Bond before they drive Elvis to the moon in a big red bus! (None of that happens in the actual song by the way, that’s just the picture it painted in my head when I was listening to it, inspired by the tones and rhythms that were being put in there by this bunch of lunatic geniuses!)

And that gives way seamlessly to Sister Gaga Scissors, for track 2, ‘The Law’. You get the general idea. The theme for Reach’s sound is ‘Theme? Who needs a theme! What even is a theme?! Flibble.’ It takes the anthemic qualities and showmanship of Queen, and throws a host of modern methodology at it, to create something that really can’t be pigeonholed into a genre. Instead, it simply exists, as a presence refusing to follow any logic, but in the best way imaginable. It’s familiar, but insanely different all at the same time. Every single song is unique, and there’s not one that isn’t an absolutely killer track.

We have 80’s-esque rock rhythms, mixed with chunky guitars, solid bass, synth that’s popped straight in from the New Romantics (See the middle 8’s in ‘Satellite’ for reference), soundscapes that make it undeniably modern, and vocal harmonies that will never die while the memories of early Queen are still kept alive. There’s elements of 70’s prog, and the Woodstock generation underpinning everything, too, as well as the occasional moment of funk akin to the likes of Prince, and the fine line of genius/madness is fully trodden when it comes to orchestration. It’s experimental mastery that just makes your brain feel like a lovely mess. It’s prog without pretention or aloof irritation, rock without safe normality, and pop with eons more talent. I mean this is just ridiculously good. I literally cannot fault anything about it. I would even go as far as to throw the word ‘iconic’ into the mix. If Freddy Mercury had still been alive, he’d have been all over these guys like a rash. Love, Love, Love it!!! I need more. Hell, even the front man’s name – Ludvig – suggests that he was born to be a musical prodigy and impresario. I’m now addicted. I need to lie down. Too much excited lunacy for one day. Everyone needs this in their lives.

‘New Frontier’ (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. New Frontier
02. The Law
03. Young Again
04. Satellite
05. Motherland
06. The Seventh Seal
07. Higher Ground
08. Cover Traces
09. The Streets
10. Promise Of A Life
11. The Streets

LINE-UP:
Ludvig Turner – Vocals/ Guitar
Marcus Johansson – Drums
Soufian Ma´Aoui – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Frozen Crown – Winterbane

Winterbane Album Cover Art

Frozen Crown – Winterbane
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 52:56
Review by Mark Pritchard
10/10

As I write this review, I am actually celebrating my 33rd birthday. I mean what more could I ask for? It’s a nice warm day with the sun out, and I’ve got my headphones on, blasting out “Winterbane”, the new album by Italian Power Metal band Frozen Crown. It’s been a tough old time recently for all of us, so having some new music to turn to on my birthday has given me a great way to try and shut out the bad stuff, and to even have a smile on my face. So, for an insight into my thoughts of this album, continue reading. But first, some history!

Frozen Crown are based in Milan, Italy, and were formed back in 2017. In the following couple of years, they released their first two albums “The Fallen King”, and “Crowned In Frost”. The band then toured alongside the amazing Dragonforce on a European tour in 2020 as special guest, as well as working on this third, and newest, studio album. Although the band’s journey has only been four years long so far, they have done quite a lot during this time. As well as the touring with Dragonforce, their videos on YouTube have garnered over 18 million views, and “Winterbane” has been endorsed by Dragonforce’s own Herman Li on his Twitch channel, not many bands can say the same thing! Long may the journey continue, I say! So, what does it sound like?

Well, it’s fair to say that I’ve listened to this album a good few times now! So much so, I think I’ve lost count. But I’m sitting here at my desk, cup of tea in hand, rocking in my chair with my eyes shut for the slower songs, and headbanging without caution to the rest, as “Winterbane” contains both ends of the spectrum when it comes to heavy metal intensity. There are songs that hit the heart, but then others that hit deeper, to the soul, with awesome instrumentals, and beautiful vocals. It makes for an album that I can listen to over and over again and it never gets tiring.

So, as I have listened to “Winterbane” so much, finding a song that stands above the rest has been a challenge, but I have found it…‘The Water Dancer’. The instrumentals are really soothing and play through the song like water in a stream which is calming and coupled with the lilting vocals make this such a relaxing song to listen to. This is a superb album and I have really enjoyed listening to it. If you enjoy Dragonforce and positive sounding, up-tempo Melodic Power Metal, played effortlessly, then I thoroughly recommend it.

‘Embrace The Night’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Embrace The Night
02. Towards The Sun
03. Far Beyond
04. The Lone Stranger
05. Crown Eternal
06. The Water Dancer
07. Angels In Disguise
08. Night Crawler
09. Tales Of The Forest
10. Blood On The Snow

LINE-UP:
Federico Mondelli – Keyboards, Guitars & Vocals.
Giada “Jade” Etro – Vocals.
Francesco Zof – Bass.
Niso Tomasini – Drums.
Fabiola “Sheena” Bellomo – Lead Guitar.

LINKS:

Frozen Crown Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lasting Maze – Thunder EP

Thunder EP Cover Art

Lasting Maze – Thunder EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 26:12
Review by Simon Black
8/10

This Brazilian Melodic Metal four piece have been hammering the boards since 2014 and this EP follows their first, “Silent Spring” back in 2016. There’s been a couple of singles in between, which are included on here, but it definitely feels like a full album is the next key step. The musical style doesn’t stay still, which is nice and tells me that this is a band that has depth of writing skills, but is probably struggling with the finances needed to get a full album off the ground.

Musically though, these songs are beautifully written and arranged, with some incredibly nifty and technical instrumental performances to go alongside Grazy Mesquita’s soaring vocals. What’s letting them down are the budget limitations of the recording itself, which desperately needs a bit more consistency in the recording quality. It’s clear that these songs have not all been recorded at the same time. The two singles feel like they’ve been in the can a while, as by the third track the musical tone changes significantly, becoming richer and slightly more expansive sounding. There’s no mention of a keyboard player in the blurb, but whoever it is from ‘To The Wolves’ onwards adds a nice Prog/Power dimension to the music, which is a bit punchier and brutal in its delivery and has a noticeably better recording quality. I’m not going to give them a hard time about this, as when you are just getting off the ground, have no access to the money you need for a decent studio, engineer or mixer you have to make do and hope the songs hold up well enough to move you forward. Which they do – and brilliantly so.

By the time I got to the epic final track ‘Destiny (Carry On)’ the band had me in the palm of their hand. This stands up on two firm feet because of robust song-writing, talented musicianship and sheer belief in what they are doing and they pull it off despite the recording quality. Please get an album deal, and soon, because it’s a win-win for everyone.

‘To The Wolves’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Thunder
02. Greatest Sin
03. To the Wolves
04. Kosmos
05. Destiny (Carry On)

LINE-UP:
Grazy Mesquita – Vocals
Pedro Anselmo – Guitars
Isaac Barros – Bass
Mick Souza – Drums

LINKS:

Lasting Maze Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Kardashev – The Baring Of Shadows EP Reissue

The Baring Of Shadows EP Cover Art

Kardashev – The Baring Of Shadows EP Reissue
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 51:42
Review by Steven Hooke
8/10

Back in the early dystopian haze of the pandemic, Arizona four-piece Kardashev released their third EP “The Baring Of Shadows”, a crossroad of genres the band would label as “deathgaze”. Listening to the EP at that time, it felt like a difficult sound to put a finger on, as beautiful waves of post-rock washed over the versatile flurry of vocalist Mark Garrett, all the while musically shifting from searing blackgaze to blasts of deathcore, such a herculean task which is then met in the execution. Now the band have returned, nearly a year later, with the re-release, complete with instrumental versions of all four tracks, to celebrate their signing with Metal Blade Records.

Quite what Metal Blade can do to add to the sound of Kardashev is both terrifying and exciting. The production levels of “The Baring Of Shadows” are already of an insanely high quality, every aforementioned layer that becomes the Kardashev sound is clear, concise and compliments each other so effectively. When the full band comes in on a song like opener ‘A Frame. A Light’, it’s hard to think of a layer of the mix that can’t be picked out and isolated, right down to a fantastic, reverberating bassline from Alex Reith.

With the genre fluidity, a captivating vocal performance (essentially the best advert Mark could do for his Kardavox Academy vocal training business), and effective layering being amongst the highlights of the release, Kardashev stray into Devin Townsend territory quite deservedly. Particularly on ‘Torchpassing’, where Garrett’s vocal/drum duets with Sean Lang, the delicate twinkling’s from guitarist Nico Mirolla, and the occasional eruptions from the band as a whole feels indebted to the “Z² – Sky Blue” era of The Devin Townsend Project.

Closing track ‘Heartache’ feels like the cathartic release at the end, with the band’s deathcore side coming out in force and proud. Possessing the kind of slow, gradual, yet still blindingly heavy opening build that invokes latter-day Thy Art is Murder, ‘Heartache’ is, perhaps, the most literal example of the “deathgaze” moniker. A dirged blast of deathcore which is accentuated by the looming clouds of reverberated riffs, for that often-poignant shoegaze sheen, with the desperate cries from the subject of the lyrics, mourning for their lost lover to compound the song’s emotion.

Conspicuous by its absence in this review is sophomore track ‘Snow-Sleep’, which is by no means an oversight, but rather, saving the best until last. The EP’s second track had the distinction of being one of the most gorgeous songs of 2020, up there with the likes of Caspian, Creeper and Respire, and now a 2021 re-release means it can be in contention for one of the most gorgeous songs of this year too. A simply magnificent piece of music, blending prog, black metal, deathcore and post-rock into one symbiotic mesh of beauty and disaster, echoed in the lyrics that appear to deal with loss and punishment. The power in the band during choruses is astronomical, the call of “where have you gone?” could collapse a sun, it is somehow so empowering yet soul-crushing at the same time. The sheer temerity of Kardashev to have released this song at (hopefully) the book-ends of the pandemic is unreal.

The instrumental versions of each track certainly hold their own and will likely be of particular interest to those more invested in post-metal and blackgaze, but given what Garrett brings to the band’s sound, it feels criminal to leave him out.

Kardashev certainly feel like they’ve found their mark musically. While early tasters of “deathgaze” can be heard on the 2017 EP “The Almanac” – which in itself saw a huge development of sound compared to their prior release, 2015’s “Peripety” album – the jump in quality and composition into “The Baring Of Shadows” is astounding. This progression, alongside a newly-forged partnership with Metal Blade should make people very excited for album #2.

‘Snow-Sleep’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Frame. A Light.
02. Snow-Sleep
03. Torchpassing
04. Heartache
05. A Frame. A Light. (Instrumental)
06. Snow-Sleep (Instrumental)
07. Torchpassing (Instrumental)
08. Heartache (Instrumental)

LINE-UP:
Mark Garrett – Vocals
Nico Mirolla – Guitars
Alex Reith – Bass
Sean Lang – Drums

LINKS:

Kardashev Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

INTERVIEW WITH EMPIIRES

Empiires Logo

INTERVIEW WITH EMPIIRES
BY Stephanie Stephens

Dallas, TX hard hitting, hard rocking, energy driven sensation EMPIIRES are coming in strong with their latest single and video for ‘THROUGH THE FLAMES’. Fire riffs, hooks that pull you in with ease and the catchy melodic nature that slides in and out of the track just confirms these guys are going to be excelling in the music community in no time.

They are putting excitement back into the game of music bringing a unique approach of blending modern metal and hard rock soundscapes with groovy melody and ear catching choruses and dynamic, killer guitars that will pull you in and will leave you content to stay and enjoy.

I had a chance to ask the guys about how the band became to be, what the process is for songwriting and found out some fun facts about the members. Enjoy!

Q: I’m so excited to have you guys a part of the East Coast Romper, I pride myself in helping people get to know up n coming bands and you guys have such a catchy, high energy and relatable sound that I can’t wait to promote the hell out of you. So, on that note tell me How EMPIIRES became a band and what each member brings to the overall sound of the band?

A: We all knew each other and have worked together in some capacity prior to this band. We started talking about writing and that led to working on some ideas. The next thing you know, we’re making demos. Each member of the band has their own strengths but I think it’s the chemistry of the four of us together that makes it work.

Q: Being from Dallas, TX; how has that inspired you guys as musicians and just your look into the world of art in general?

A: There are lots of rock and metal bands from Texas so it’s an inspiring environment to be in as a band.

Q: You have a special spelling for your band name; can you tell me the reasoning and what the band name means to you?

A: We were looking for something to make the name stand out. Our graphic artist friend showed us a couple of logos with this spelling and thought that looked cool.

Q: Your newest single ‘THROUGH THE FLAMES’ is addicting. I have had it on repeat since I got introduced to it. How was the writing process for it? And was it a fun song to write because the sound makes me feel like there was hi-energy and a lot of positivity when it was all coming together?

A: Thanks for checking it out, it’s always great to hear someone tell you that they connected with our song. We did have a good time writing it! The riff and the lyrics worked well together live and we were hoping that would translate in the recording process.

Q: Along with the track being just badass, the lyrical content shines with overcoming obstacles in life. How do you guys pick subject matter to write about and with a song like this does it feel cathartic when it’s written and you listen to what you came up with?

A: The lyrics and the story just kind of wrote itself about fighting through adversity. We were thinking most people could identify with the feeling of going through tough situations.

Q: If you could look back on any song the band has written and take a lyric, you’re proudest of that you wrote, what song would it be from and what is the line?

A: I think we’re really proud of the chorus in ‘Through the Flames’. It tells the story of why we can’t walk away from situations even when they are really tough.

Q: Another single you guys released prior to this new one is a song called ‘LOVE OR HATE’, a darker side of the band. Do you guys pride yourself on being diverse in your sound and if so, how do you know when to pump the brakes about being overly diverse or does it not matter?

A: We’re always trying to write the best song that we can and not repeat ourselves. We write a lot of different songs and see which ones make it through the process that a band goes through with new material. It’s kind of like a dating show, the ones that stick around make it!

Q: In your opinion what makes you really go insane? Love OR hate?

A: I think they both come with their own level of insanity, just depends on what part of the process they’re in!

Q: With the singles doing well have you guys thought about releasing a full album or EP or do you feel that singles are the way to go in this day and age of rock music?

A: We’re thinking about creating some type of package once we have enough singles to put that together. Whatever format that’s on, we just want to make our music available to the listener.

Q: Mentally how did you guys deal with the chaos we all endured the last year and half and how does it feel now that life for the music world is slowly coming back to normal?

A: We dealt with it by focusing on writing and recording. We knew things would get back to normal at some point and wanted to be prepared as a band to go out there and kick some ass when it did.

Q: Have you spoken about touring and if so any hints or info you can share with the public?

A: We’ve been playing shows and talking about doing some touring. We’re just looking for the right situation and will probably have something put together for this fall. Looking forward to getting back out there on that level!

Q: What is one thing about live shows you feel will be the hardest to get the rust off personally for you?

A: Pacing ourselves and not getting too excited from the beginning of the show. That was the hardest thing about our first few shows. We’re ready to go out there and slay it because we’re excited about what we have to deliver.

Q:Three fun facts that people may not know about the band or band members you would love to share?

A: We worked on a TV show together. Toured in other bands together. Have written and recorded together for film and television.

Q: What inspires you guys when you think about the fans of EMPIIRES and has there been one highlight from a fan interaction that stands out for you?

A: When anyone tells you they identify or connect with your music, that’s really cool. Probably the best ones are when people tell you that they put on your music for workout motivation or to deal with a tough day.

Q: Anything I missed touching upon you guys are working on you want to share before we end this? (Plus, I just want to wish you all the best of luck, you have something really motivating and powerful in these tracks I heard)

A: We’re working on a video for our next single release, looking forward to that and playing more shows! We want to thank everyone who helped us put out our music and the people listening. Thank you all!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Through The Flames’ (Official Lyric Video)

Empiires Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with DYSTORCHESTRA

Dystorchestra Logo

EMQ’s with DYSTORCHESTRA

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Louisville, Kentucky based Progressive Rock/Metal band, Dystorchestra. Huge thanks to guitarist, David Kisselbaugh, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is David Kisselbaugh, and I am the guitarist for the Progressive Metal band Dystorchestra. I’m joined in Dystorchestra by Shawn Dugdale (Keyboards and Guitar), Shawn Matty (Guitar), Tim Owens (Drums), Joe Easley (Bass) and Steve Yocum (Vocals). We formed out of a passion for progressive music and combined that with our love of story-telling to produce narrative driven music that reflects the times we live in.

How did you come up with your band name?

Dystorchestra is a portmanteau of the words Dystopia and Orchestra. We felt like it was a perfect description of the subject matter of most of our songs and the density of the music.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from Louisville, KY in the United States. We have a vibrant metal and original music scene here. It’s generally more on the metalcore side of the genre historically but we’re starting to see more progressive and technical bands show up.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest release is our debut album “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” as well as a companion novella to bring the story of the music to life. “Deus Ex Machina, Pt. 1” tells the story of Thomas, an infantry soldier who is conscripted to fight on the front lines of an endless domestic war that has torn the United States apart. He is forced to choose, first, between family and country, and second, between the family he is born into and the family he has made with the fate of the world resting on his decisions.

‘Burn It Down’ (Lyric Video)

‘Anarcadia’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

That’s one of the best things about being in Dystorchestra. We all have vast and varied influences, and they all coalesce in our sound. There are the obvious progressive influences like Coheed and Cambria, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater. But you can also find some death metal, funk, and jazz/fusion aspects in our sound.

What first got you into music?

For me it was the 90’s rock bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. I quickly moved on to the shred stuff that came in the 80’s on the Shrapnel label and heavier metal like death and thrash metal.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

I would say having Steven Wilson produce the next Dystorchestra album would be an incredible collaboration. I think he would bring out some truly magical stuff in this context. But, isn’t everything he does magical?!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d love to be on our hometown festival Louder Than Life. There’s nothing like playing a huge hometown crowd.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I can’t think of an answer for this. But, in a previous band, we were opening for a big regional band that had a member who went by the name Goat. To thank them for giving us a shot we gave them a taxidermized goat’s head. They mounted it on the inside of their van.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you. We put this music together for our own gratification. To make something we believed in completely. The fact that so many others have responded to it is truly touching.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Frank Zappa. Hands down. I would love to talk to him about what he truly felt was important in music and ask him about how he went from hearing such crazy music in his head, to putting it on stage.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love performing most. Nothing like playing for others. I hate the load out at the end of the night.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Streaming royalties. It remains the most broken part of the industry. I don’t have all of the answers to this issue, but an artist who has thousands of streams a month should be able to sustain themselves financially on that usage. If the business models of the streaming companies who provide the service cannot support that, they either need to get a new business model or find a way to support it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

King Crimson – “Thrak”. It was my gateway to progressive music and stays in rotation today. Doesn’t have a lot to do with how Dystorchestra sounds but it led me to a lot of things that formed my approach to music today.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Honestly, I think CD’s were the apex of fidelity. I still like to buy them and listen to the full lossless tracks at least a few times before succumbing to the convenience of downloads/streaming. That is, of course, getting harder and harder to do.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

A sweaty club gig at Third St. Dive in Louisville, KY. The crowd was amped and a mosh pit developed that spilled out of the front door into the middle of Third St. downtown. The Bar owner was blowing fireballs with Bacardi 151. Truly epic night!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

If we’re talking artistically, I’ve always wanted to work in sketch comedy.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d like to be a fly on the wall for the conversation if Steven Wilson, Claudio Sanchez, Jake Willson, Mikael Akerfeldt and Guthrie Govan were all having dinner together. I don’t think I would have a thing to say. I would just want to absorb that vibe.

What’s next for the band?

As the Covid restrictions ease up we’re going to be mounting a stage show for “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” and start writing songs for Pt. 2.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Everything can be found at www.dystorchestra.com. That has links to everything we do.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Being an American, I’ve never had them. But, Wikipedia tells me they are biscuit sized cakes, so, we’ll go with that!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for having us!

Dystorchestra Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with DARKEST HORIZON

Darkest Horizon Logo

EMQ’s with DARKEST HORIZON

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Berlin, Germany based Epic-Melodic Death Metal band, Darkest Horizon. Huge thanks to guitarist, Daniel, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I´m Daniel, guitarist of DARKEST HORIZON. We have experienced quite a lot. We released two EP´s, two Albums and our third single in a row last month. We played many festivals around the globe. To name some of them, we have been second headliner at Maelstrom Festival in Sri Lanka, Metaldays: Slovenia, Metal Gates Festival Romania, Dong Open Air Germany and many more. We have toured with Cradle of Filth, Septicflesh and Wintersun. Ok, to be honest, now that I read this, it’s quite a lot.

How did you come up with your band name?

This name exists longer than I do in this band. I only know that Olli, our former lead guitarist and the second founding member, came up with this name.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I am from Germany. The metal scene here is nice, but I have to admit, that I´m the wrong one to ask about the metal scene here in Germany. I like visiting festivals with my friends, and I do know some people around, but I rarely go to bars and meet people there.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest release is single “Conquer And Command”. You can find it everywhere as long as you are online 😊.

‘Conquer And Command’ (Visualiser)

‘Ad Nauseam’ (Visualiser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Oh, that is a difficult one. Me personally, I love Nuno Bettencourt and Angus Young but there are many more styles and guitarists like Pat Metheny and John Scofield I look up to. For Darkest Horizon I think there are much more different genres and styles from which we mix and build our own style.

What first got you into music?

At the age of 12 I got my first CD from my mother. It was at the Airport. She just let me choose one CD from my likes. My choice was AC/DC´s “Highway To Hell”. This is how I became infected with music. Later on, I fell in love quite fast with bands like Dimmu Borgir, Norther, Imperanon and Ensiferum.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

Oh, maybe Hans Zimmer and Two Steps from Hell. For metal it could be interesting to work with bands like Nightwish, Amorphis and of course the big ones like Iron Maiden etc.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I would like to play Wacken very much, I´ve been there several times and the people are just amazing. The audience is so nice and friendly, of course it´s overcrowded by now but still I could imagine that it would be amazing to play there.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Hmm, so far nothing special, some mobile numbers but that´s it for now. But Jonas had a weird experience: A fan asked him, if he can give them his wet and dirty stage outfit after a show. This was a new one for all of us.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you that you support us with all our ideas and that you have been with us all the time. Without you we would not be here (anymore).

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

For me personally it would be Lemmy, his attitude with his fans and his way to never give up his passion is a true inspiration for me.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Of course, the most enjoyable thing is to make music. That´s why we are here, and this is what we love. Furthermore, it is the fact to continue learning more over time. You learn how to make videos, photos, how to run a company and do different things and witness if your ideas work or not. I don´t like the fact that you have to wait a lot, sitting around and waiting for your time to soundcheck etc. Therefore, you need something that you can do with your spare time. Another no go in my opinion is the music business itself. So many companies are trying to trick you, some on purpose, others don’t know any better; that young bands are pushed to decisions they can´t overview, because they think “a company always helps and maybe we sign here so we can be bigger”, but young bands can´t see what really happens. So, this is a point I hate, because so many wonderful and talented bands get caught early in their careers and they aren´t able to reach their full potential because of the trap they are stuck in.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

If a band is able to reach a certain level of “fame”, give them a chance.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Fiction” by Dark Tranquillity.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I am an internet addict. So, I love streaming and downloads. For Darkest Horizon, the online way is a great way to knock ourselves out. Currently we don´t release CD’s but singles. We can develop our sound from song to song and take our fans with us on this journey.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

For me there is no best gig. We have played a lot of amazing shows but some of them are standing out. One is the Maelstrom Festival we played. We flew to Sri Lanka, played there and the day after we flew back to Germany. It was hard, never slept less but the experience was outstanding. The two tours with Wintersun were amazing as well. We played a European tour together, we got to know each other, and a good relationship has developed between the two bands and the touring team. So, we went to Finland and played a tour there and the bond between us became even stronger.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I am currently still studying to become a teacher for special needs, so if it fits with the music, I will do that on top, but I would prefer to do music only.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Yes, that´s an easy one, my girlfriend and the rest of the band.

What’s next for the band?

We are working on some new stuff but for sure, the next single just awaits being released soon.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We love the idea behind Bandcamp, so we use it a lot.
www.darkesthorizon.bandcamp.com

To tell our stories we use Instagram.
www.instagram.com/darkesthorizon

But you can find us almost anywhere.
www.youtube.com/darkesthorizonband
www.facebook.com/darkesthorizon

Spotify (but we are on almost every other streaming platform, too) www.open.spotify.com/artist/69pjvzdL4JuBCcRyyYFpGn

Our homepage
www.darkesthorizon.com

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

😉

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_Cakes (That’s cheating – Rick 😊)

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for these amazing questions. Really enjoyed to go through this. If the gentle reader wishes to support us, we can only recommend visiting the online shop on our homepage.

Darkest Horizon Promo Picture

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues: The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro

Anaal Nathrakh Reissues Advert

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues
The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 44:45/49:25
Review by Dark Juan
10/10
10/10

Greetings and salutations once again, dear acolytes, followers of the Left-Hand Path and my army of zealots! It is I, Dark Juan, and today I have returned to regale you with information about why you should in fact give your soul to Satan (Hell has the world’s best lounge band, you see) eat all the delicious food and gorge yourself on the finest wines, spirits, meads and beers (fuck it all, you only live once and you give FAR too much of your lives to fucking wankers in suits and ties telling you that you aren’t doing enough to earn the pittance the capitalist scum pay you. Burn down their house) and play with the genitals of whichever sex tickles your fancy as often as humanly possible (just fucking because, OK? Trust me on this…) Also, listen to heavy fucking metal until your eyes bleed.

However, you should not attempt to have sex with Anaal Nathrakh being the soundtrack. There are several VERY SOUND reasons for this. Firstly, if you are a man above the age of forty and you try rattling the bones of your beloved at the insane tempos of an Anaal Nathrakh song then frankly you’re guaranteed a spell in hospital due to exhaustion and also, you’ll put your back out which is not a good thing. Maybe this is what happened to our Glorious Leader, Air Chief Marshal Richard “What I get Up To In My Bedroom Is No Concern Of Yours, You Fucking Northern Ape” Tilley. Secondly, your significant other’s pelvis will be reduced to rubble in short order, unless you are enjoying some oral action in which case there will be an immediate requirement for emergency dentistry and she (or he, or xim, them or any other pronoun that is inclusive. However, I am a heterosexual male so I will write primarily from my point of view) will end up sounding like Phyllis Pearce instead of the winsome, lilting voice she previously stole your heart with…

A lilting, winsome voice is something that V.I.T.R.I.O.L (unsurprisingly his real name is Dave) does not have. He sounds like a demented banshee screaming pure unadulterated hatred at pretty much the entire world and surrounding galactic environs. I am privately convinced that he is solely the reason that extraterrestrials haven’t yet contacted us, because they got wind of “The Codex Necro”, listened to it once and then had to go back to wherever the fuck they came from to repair their ship because V.I.T.R.I.O.L and Irrumator (Mick Kenney) basically fucked it to the point of structural failure with the power of their music. Which is a term I use advisedly.

Yes, I am currently turning my brain to soup with a reissue of Anaal Nathrakh’s utterly classic “The Codex Necro” on Metal Blade and by God it has just reaffirmed just how savage metal can be. This is ultra-primal, martial black metal of the very highest caliber, easily rivalling anything Scandinavia had to offer for sheer sonic violence. You will all no doubt remember that I don’t normally score reissues highly, normally viewing them as a cynical cash grab (hello, Paradise Lost) for bands that were financially not too badly off, but this is going to be disregarded today because of this motherfucking shitty arsed pandemic pushing our music to the brink. Frankly so many of our bands need some form of income to keep going and if you’re going to bang out a reissue during these straitened times, I say have at it. And to be fair to Anaal Nathrakh, reissuing their utterly classic debut album is a smart move. It makes everything released nowadays look wimpy and insipid, and still shows the righteous way for unrelenting brutality in music. I have always regarded them as one of the most sonically dense bands there has ever been, in company with The Berzerker (and now The Machinist).

Everything about “The Codex Necro” is fucking perfect. Unparalleled vocal fury from V.I.T.R.I.O.L is underpinned with nothing less than the aural equivalent of messy and explosive murder by Irrumator (who does everything else apart from the vocals). Rarely does the album’s velocity drop below Warp Factor 9 and the rageometer NEVER drops below a full on ten, and it is a testament to the quality of this album that after 20 years, it is yet to be challenged by any pretender to sonic Armageddon. It is also a testament to just how unrelentingly murderous full on black metal can be when it is underpinned by a proper production job, rather than the production being handled by a corpse painted heroin addict from Oslo who has put all the microphones in fishbowls while stoned out of his gourd and forgotten to turn up the bass on the mixing board. “The Codex Necro” still sounds fresh as fuck, mate. Everything is clearly heard, even though they go that fast there are times when you simply can’t take in the savagery and horror.

Everything about (he gaily repeats himself) “The Codex Necro” is perfect. EVERYTHING. It is a landmark of black metal and the perfect distillation of the rage that fuels heavy metal, stripped back to speed and aggression. If I were scoring this by itself, it would always be full marks, it is that seminal a work.

On to “Total Fucking Necro” then…After you, please.

A rather rawer recording composed of pieces from three demos (“Anaal Nathrakh”, “Total Fucking Necro” and the unreleased “We Will Fucking Kill You”) including two cover tracks from Mayhem (‘Carnage’ and ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’) compared to “The Codex Necro”, this album nevertheless showcases what was going to become the absolute last word in British brutality to devastating effect. With a sound not unlike being on the wrong end of an extensive and long lasting carpet bombing campaign with added incendiaries, Anaal Nathrakh set a fucking marker that the rest of the world could not ignore – here we are, we can play black metal better than you pasty faced, skinny limbed, church burning Scandinavian lightweights and we dare you to fucking come at us with your swords and your Satanism – we will destroy you with merely our teeth, for we are not warriors of Satan, we are fucking feral and we are going to chew our way through your faces.

Where “The Codex Necro” had a superb production that enhanced the power of the music considerably, “Total Fucking Necro” does not. The sound is woolly as fuck and instruments drop in and out of the mix willy nilly and at times curiously poppy sounding cymbals overpower everything – it must be remembered that this record is a collection of demos and they are still absolutely uncompromising in power and savagery. The speed of the playing sometimes impacts negatively on precision and there are a few dropped notes here and there, yet they don’t compromise just how promising the young and thrusting Anaal Nathrakh of 1999 was. V.I.T.R.I.O.L relies more on the classic black metal strangled yowl vocal on the demos before finding that hate fuelled roar that made him one of the finest BM vocalists ever and Irrumator clearly hadn’t learned the finesse he later displayed on AN recordings, appearing to be flailing desperately at every instrument he could lay his hands on, rather than playing them as he struggles to maintain the punishing tempos Anaal Nathrakh became famous for.

That’s not to say it isn’t good though. Raw, untamed Anaal Nathrakh can still kick the arse of pretty much every single modern black metal band with ease. This is absolutely fucking classic black metal from a band that desperately deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum (may Varg Vikernes forever rot in some endless fiery hell specifically for right wing murderous fucknuggets) and Darkthrone as black metal luminaries and leading lights. And they did this without recourse to corpse paint and pseudo-Satanic silliness… It also has to be said that Anaal Nathrakh are considerably better when they are ploughing their own massively furious musical furrow than aping their contemporaries, although this reviewer has an incredibly soft spot for the classical and expansive nature of Emperor and Dimmu Borgir, yet AN display touches that move them ahead of the black metal crowd even this early in the development of the band and their sound. Absolutely fucking irreplaceable.

And there we have it. Anaal Nathrakh have reminded me just why they will always be one of my favourite bands. As a retrospective recording of their early days, these two records are an essential purchase if you don’t already have them. If you don’t and you are the kind of masochistic person who will enjoy having your face reduced to its component atoms by concentrated musical hatred, fucking buy these albums. If you’re dipping your toes into the water of black metal and you ignore the fucking idiotic gatekeeper kvltists (who are all frankly boring dickheads) who will inevitably claim that AN aren’t black metal because they weren’t hanging around a certain record shop in Oslo in 1995, you really can’t do much better than Mayhem, Emperor and Anaal Nathrakh as your gateway into a scene that has pretty followed its own path in isolation from mainstream metal for decades. I can’t believe these records are over 20 years old – both still sound as fresh, vibrant and exciting as they did when this (at the time) teenage Hellpriest discovered them and Cradle Of Filth at the same time and made my parents wonder just what the unholy fuck was going on in my bedroom. And that was before I had managed to lure any teenage girls up there…

Absolutely superb. Absolutely fucking superb. I’m blown away as much now as I was then.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can do nothing but award Anaal Nathrakh 10/10 for both fucking records. Both are absolutely uncompromising slabs of concentrated murderous hatred that get full marks for different reasons – 10/10 for “The Codex Necro” because at the time it was THE gold standard for brutality, and 10/10 for “Total Fucking Necro” for the sheer juggernaut raw power and untrammeled talent it displayed. By golly I’m proud to be British right now!

TRACKLISTINGS:

The Codex Necro:
01. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
02. When Humanity Is Cancer
03. Submission Is For The Weak
04. Pandemonic Hyperblast
05. Paradigm Shift Annihilation
06. The Technogoat
07. Incipid Flock (sic)
08. Human, All Too Fucking Human
09. The Codex Necro

Total Fucking Necro:
01. Anaal Nathrakh (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
02. Necrodeath (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
03. Ice Blasting Storm Winds (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
04. Carnage (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo; Mayhem cover)
05. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
06. Satanachrist (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
07. L.E.T.H.A.L.: Diabolic (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
08. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (“Total Fucking Necro” demo; Mayhem cover)
09. The Technogoat (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
10. Necrogeddon (“We Will Fucking Kill You” unreleased demo)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Before & Apace – The Denisovan

The Denisovan Album Cover Art

Before & Apace – The Denisovan
Self-Released
Release Date: 11/05/2021
Running Time: 52:04
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Funny story before I tell you about the music I’ve been listening to for this review. When I put the album files for “The Denisovan” into Windows Media Play, the opening track disappeared. I thought I was losing the plot and had imagined that there was another track at first. But as this album was only 4 tracks, I was pretty sure I hadn’t gone completely mad, so checked the files on my computer. Sure enough, 4 tracks there, but still only 3 on Windows Media Player. I was beginning to think the missing track had gone to another dimension then, upon searching a little deeper in WMP, I found it. For no apparent reason, the inbuilt frustrations of anything Microsoft related had filed it as a track by Cliff Richard…I mean…Just…No. There is simply no explanation! There are some things that could be mistaken for the geriatric hip gyrator himself, I suppose, if you’d drunk enough booze, or taken enough mind-altering drugs. But I can safely say that no matter the circumstances, Before & Apace are very definitely not Cliff!!

They are in fact a heavy progressive rock project from Canada; the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Devin Martyniuk. Now, as you know, I do love a bit of prog. But this is prog and a half!! Just labelling it as Prog doesn’t really cover it. It’s more Experimental Metal Jazz Rock! And before you even listen you know you’re going to be getting some pretty ‘out there’ vibes from it because, even though the album only contains 4 tracks, it’s a little over 52 minutes long, with the final track ‘Simultanagnosia’ coming in at just shy of 20 minutes!

Sound wise, it’s ambitious. I can hear elements of many influences within it. On fleeting occasions, the vocal tones remind me of Muse (particularly in the quiet sections of ‘Ontogeny’). Some of the guitar work has hints of early Queen (back to the Smile days) but heavier and, on occasion, quite Punk. It’s got the technicality of Meshuggah and uses the Drumkit from Hell samples that Meshuggah created. And there’s some ambience chucked in here and there for good measure. But it’s all scrambled up into some sort of weird mathematical scientific omelette. The press release says that this album has been 15 years in the making, and was an immersive experience that Martyniuk saw as, ‘an opportunity to blend the technical and programmatic aspects of music with the emotional.’ Martyniuk himself says that he thinks it will require a certain amount of investment from the listener before they’re able to fully engage and appreciate it. He’s not wrong.

Musically, the players on the album are all very good, very technical, and very knowledgeable of the necessary fluidity that’s required in progressive or experimental music. However, it’s all a bit much for me. There are elements in every song that offer relative calm, and you think you’re getting the hang of the rhythm and pace, but they don’t stick around for too long. It’s what I imagine being in a washing machine on a spin cycle would be like.

We’ve been sent a huge amount of literature to explain the concept of each song, too. Admirable maybe, and it’s always nice to have a bit of background. But to be honest, if a concept needs that much explaining, it might not be wise to use it. Just my opinion obviously. Now I will note that I was very tired the first time and, in fairness, even the “Postman Pat” theme music would have been too complex for my brain. On second listen, it makes slightly more sense, and has grown on me a little, but it’s still a bit chaotic to be comfortable. From a reviewing point of view, I don’t have the time to give it the attention it’s going to need to actually get into it properly.

In summary – very talented musicians, very complicated and technical music, done to a high standard, and very well produced, hence my reasonable score. If you like the experimental or extreme end of prog, then you’ll love it. But it’s a little too much for me to be able to properly process and appreciate.

‘Ontogeny’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Zeno
02. Limbics
03. Ontogeny
04. Simultanagnosia

LINE-UP:
Devin Martyniuk – Guitar/ Vocals

Additional Members for The Denisovan:
Kaylon Disiewich – Bass/Taurus Pedals
Bryce Holcomb – Vocals/Guitar
Arlan Kopp – Drums/Percussion

LINKS:

Before & Apace Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lycanthro – Mark Of The Wolf

Mark Of The Wolf Album Cover Art

Lycanthro – Mark Of The Wolf
Alone Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 43:02
Review by Simon Black
7/10

If you mention Power Metal to many fans in the UK, a fair few will wrinkle their noses in disdain, which is a shame, because if your opinion is based purely on what you have heard from Europe, then you are probably missing a trick. It’s a subject I discuss often on these pages, but when we talk about the genre of Power Metal we really are talking about two completely different styles that developed in parallel from a common root (which you can trace back to the Global Supergroup Rainbow and in particular Ronnie James Dio) but which then diverged a continent and major ocean apart. The European variant branch started with Helloween (even though they hate the term) and tends to be closer to NWOBHM and Speed Metal, is more melodic and keyboard orientated, with an unhealthy obsession with over-complex pseudo-historical, fantasy or mythical concept story arcs. The North American branch is a very different beast more akin to up tempo traditional Heavy Metal, with more riffage, little or no keyboards and is generally darker and heavier than its Euro counterpart. Given that Thrash was happening in parallel, way back when, there are many similarities, so when an act like this comes along that blatantly fuses bits of the attitude that came with Thrash and the sentiments of Power Metal this does not come as a great surprise.

For a start Lycanthro hail from Canada, a country whose Metal bands frequently do not get enough attention over here in the UK. It’s their first full album, but not all the material on here is original and dates back to their demo days and has been given a much needed freshen up and revamp. Fantasy themes abound on this record thematically, but it’s not a concept – although there are plenty of werewolves, witches, dragons and the odd hunchback. The album was apparently recorded in a cabin in the woods near Quebec (no TV’s to throw out of hotel windows here, as it might land on your tent), but it probably goes a long way to the slightly spooky atmosphere some of the songs on this interesting debut.

The Thrash / Power hybrid screams out loud and clear from the get-go, with ‘Crucible’, an absolute belter which, right from the first few bars, indicates that Vocalist James Delbridge has something of a range on him. The verse is fairly down and gruff but scales the octaves like a rocket into the chorus. Not an easy trick to pull off quickly, but he does it effortlessly. In fact ‘effortlessly’ is a word that runs through this recording like the lettering in a bar of seaside rock. The staccato time changes in here are not common in Euro Metal, and it creates a great sense of energy in what is actually a technically quite clever track, even though it does not seem so on the surface. ‘Fallen Angels Prayer’ is quite ambitious in its delivery. It feels like it’s going to be a more middle of the road rocker at first before taking a distinctly Symphonic turn with the additional of a really spooky choral section that sets the hairs on the back of your neck on end to finish. The title track doesn’t break new ground, but ‘Enchantress’ is an attempt at something more epic and complex, and in its seven minutes has the space to experiment a little more, but perhaps could have benefitted from tightening up a little earlier on, although the lengthy instrumental bridges evoke early Maiden and are worth waiting for. ‘In Metal We Trust’ is what you would expect with a title like that – a fist-pumping live anthem in the early 80’s Priest vein. Hold out for ‘Evangelion’ as well – it’s the latest single, and is one of the more musically European sounding tracks with a rich, epic feel to it, and which perhaps hints at the maturity that has developed over the course of the lengthy gestation period of the record’s songs. It’s not quite a Power Ballad, but it’s definitely one of the strongest and most mature tracks on this record.

Overall, this is a very promising start, but the mixed bag of old and new material clearly shows it’s covering a longer song-writing period, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they approach their next record. For my money, the older and more complex songs like ‘Lycanthro’ and the blisteringly tight ‘Into Oblivion’ have benefitted from a few more years of polish and muscle memory, but I’m far from writing the newer songs off yet. Interestingly, technically proficient and with an incredibly promising vocal delivery, this is clearly a band to watch.

‘Evangelion’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Crucible
02. Fallen Angels Prayer
03. Mark Of The Wolf
04. Enchantress
05. In Metal We Trust
06. Into Oblivion
07. Ride The Dragon
08. Evangelion

LINE-UP:
James Delbridge – Vocals, Guitars
David Shute – Guitars
Carlo Cote – Bass
Nathan Shuman – Drums
Forrest Dussault – Guitars

LINKS:

Lycanthro Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.