Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum

Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Black Lion Records
Release Date: 05/06/2020
Running Time: 46:47
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

I guess I am not the only person in the world that has a dream to visit different countries and learn about their culture, food, and drink. Of course, many people have this dream, but it is very expensive, and a short five-day trip is not enough to understand everything about another country. Maybe it is just my impression, but sometimes I feel like I know more about a country from listening to their music, in my case, imagining local scenes and bands. Here I am talking about Finland and whilst I can’t visit to see its beauty I have, at least, got this specific review and band to give me a good impression of Heavy Metal.

Re-Armed are not a new band considering this is their fourth album and I was impressed by how they managed to include so many elements throughout the 46 minutes of this record. The balance between all of these elements is sublime and it is hard to say which of them is the most prevalent. Of course, Melodic Death Metal is probably the first thing that will appear in the listener’s mind, but influences like the symphonic darkness from Septic Flesh or keyboards that perhaps remind of Cradle Of Filth are present on this album although these elements are not used to exacerbate their sound like some bands use. The technique of the solos and the excellent record production are of a quality that you usually associate with Power or Symphonic Metal bands. This is magnificent considering Re-Armed’s music is nothing like those two genres.

I also have to mention something related to the atmospheric music that comes from the multiple Doom influences contained within the album, like the beautiful ‘The Hollow Lights’. Maybe it is the slow cadence, the clean vocals in this song (cleaner than other songs) and all catchy and lilting melodies that made me feel it. I had this same impression during the slow introduction of ‘Remain Unbounded’ even though this track speeds up, in a perfect Dark Tranquility style, after the intro. All the heaviness returns in ‘Words Left Unsaid’, keeping a good cadence and ‘Voyager’ also seems to rescue the fast spirit from the two first songs on the album, that are perfect to understand the essence of Re-Armed. This time, in ‘Voyager’, the keyboards reminded me of old Progressive Rock players, like Rick Wakeman, for example.

As you can see, Re-Armed are a very complete band. What left me most astonished is how they manage to marry so many incredible and diverse elements, yet the music is still so easy and enjoyable to listen to and digest. I don’t know anything about Finland, but in terms of Metal, I can assure you that the bands that come from there have perfected the art of clear production and of writing melodies and harmonies. I can and will call “Ignis Aeternum” a masterpiece, considering the complexity of the compositions, but which also sound simple at the same time. If you are a fan of good music, you will easily love everything on this album from the first note until the last.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dive Within
02. Beyond The Horizon
03. Ode To Life
04. Eager To Collapse
05. Resistance
06. The Hollow Lights
07. Remain Unbounded
08. Words Left Unsaid
09. Voyager
10. Built To Last

LINE-UP:
Oskari Niekka – Guitars
Juhana Heinonen – Bass
Iiro Karjalainen – Drums
Allan Välimaa – Guitars
Jouni Matilainen – Lead vocals

LINKS:
www.rearmed.net
www.facebook.com/rearmed
www.twitter.com/ReArmedOfficial
www.instagram.com/rearmedofficial/
www.youtube.com/user/ReArmedOfficial

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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.

Ensiferum – Thalassic

Ensiferum – Thalassic
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running Time: 43:46
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Well hello metal followers! Tis Sunday here at Ever Metal base camp. The idiots of our nation have gone back to the pub and the entire of England now has a collective hangover to deal with, as well as intense stupidity! But here in our little corner of Wales, we’re still being sensible. So, what better way to get our Sunday morning metal worship underway, than with a hefty dose of Folk inspired Melodic Death Metal from stalwarts of the genre, Ensiferum, in the shape of their new, and 8th studio album, “Thalassic”.

Hailing from the rugged shores of Finland, Ensiferum have been kicking it for a considerable length of time now, releasing their first album, of the same name, in 2001. They continue to delight fans globally with their brand of metal. It’s been three years since the release of their last album, “Two Paths”, and in that time they’ve been keeping themselves busy, writing, and exploring musically, in order to produce this new release.

Littered with huge orchestrations and traditional folk instrumentations, this album is the first of theirs to be based around one centralised theme: water and the sea. And it could not be a more fitting theme both for this style of music, and for the origins of the band. So much myth, legend and folklore are borne from the idea of the mystical waters that it provides a wealth of material to be explored.

And if there’s one thing that Ensiferum do spectacularly well here, it’s exploring. And after they’ve finished exploring, they’ve chucked everything they’ve found in the boat, and make it sing! It may only be the morning here, as I write this, but I really feel that I should have a large flagon of ale, and an equally large flagon of rum to enhance my listening experience!

The album begins with the sound of crashing waves, swirling wind, and the creaking bows of a ship. This progresses into the initial lamenting sounds of ‘Seafarer’s Dream’, an orchestrated opener to the album, with rolling timpani and strings setting the scene, and instantly bringing to mind wide shots of a grand vessel setting sail, big budget Hollywood period drama style.

And, what’s the first thing all good seafarers of olde want to do, once the shore is out of sight? Have a goddamn party, that’s what! And the second track, ‘Rum, Women, Victory’ provides the perfect soundtrack. Fast paced, ripping riffs, crazy folk fiddle, and chanted choruses make this a ridiculously riotous and bouncy track and I love it!

The album continues on in this style, melding folk fiddle, flute and Bodhran, with full string sections, chunky riffs, metronomic drumming at speed, and stunning melodies and guitar solos. This is all topped off with huge vocal diversity; crystal clear clean vocals, pentatonic harmonies, and guttural roars and screams, which not only deliver some fantastic lyrics, but also add so much colour and excitement to this already exciting sound.

And just when you think you’ve got the measure of this album; you get gifted with little extras – a whistling section akin to an old western movie soundtrack in ‘The Defence Of The Sampo’ being one such example.

From beautiful acoustic melancholy, to fluttering sea shanties, to rowing songs and rip-roaring pirate partying, this album has everything you need to cheer up a dull day.

Production wise it is equally brilliant. “Thalassic” was recorded and produced in Petrax and Sonic Pump studios by Janne Joutsenniemi, who is a renowned name in the industry, and has worked with the band before, so quality and precision were always a dead cert for this album. Everything is balanced and spaced perfectly, producing the depth and immersion that you would expect from a large live orchestral experience.

Its full-on cinematic qualities make it one of the most tangible albums I have heard this year. An absolute blinder of a record, stunning musicality, immense talent not just instrumentally, but in the sense of clever musical vision, AND they don’t have to fade out a single track to end it – see it can be done! These guys truly are the real deal, and long may it continue!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Seafarer’s Dream
02. Rum, Women, Victory
03. Andromeda
04. The Defence Of The Sampo
05. Run From The Crushing Tide
06. For Sirens
07. One With The Sea
08. Midsummer Magic
09. Cold Northland Vainamoinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay By Your Side (Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Petri Lindroos – Vocals/Guitar
Markus Toivonen – Guitar/Vocals
Sami Hinkka – Bass/Vocals
Janne Parviainen – Drums

LINKS:
www.ensiferum.com
www.facebook.com/Ensiferum
www.instagram.com/ensiferummetal/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCJSZkYiD1tDoyw2icpflQRQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0krXCIkthz13P8o0v2tksH

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.

Descend – The Deviant

Descend – The Deviant
Aftermath Music
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time:55:53
Review by Beth Jones
6/10

I’ve been pretty spoilt recently, as far as music is concerned! The sheer volume of excellent new releases is staggering, especially in the current climate, and getting the chance to pen some thoughts about them has been great. Next up for me is Swedish Progressive Death Metal quintet, Descend.

These guys have been around a good few years now, originally starting out as a Thrash band in 2003. However, through line-up changes and new musical influences creeping in, their style has morphed into what they now offer. Their first album, “Through The Eyes Of The Burdened” was released in 2011, and in 2014 they released a second album, “Wither”. Since then, the line-up has changed somewhat again, with the addition of Raul Vicente (bass) and Emil Nissilä (drums).

Recorded at Wing Studios, Stockholm, with Sverker Widgren (Diabolical) as producer, their third studio album, and latest release, “The Deviant” is being billed as their ‘milestone’ album. So, what does it sound like?

Well, the first thing that strikes you is power. The opening track, ‘Avalin’ hits you with a catchy riff and melody from the beginning. This is less of a track, and more of an intro/walk on piece, and at only 1 minute 40 in length, would be just about enough time to get the band on stage, let the crowd go wild, and do a quick line check.

This progresses swiftly into track 2, ‘Blood Moon’, which starts with a riff that is pure classic Thrash. It quickly drops off into a quiet mid-section, with clean vocals and acoustic sounds being the driver, then pumps back up for the chorus to guttural screams and growls, skilful wandering bass, and a hint of a blast beat, as well as some dark and overdriven down tuned guitar riffage.

The album continues on in this way, through four more tracks which all appear to be going for some sort of record in length. ‘Standard for prog!’ I hear you cry. Well, yes, but I do have an issue with this. Musically, this album is definitely Death, Melodic Death in places, with a good few nods to classic Thrash sounds. However, in my opinion it is lacking a little in the prog department. Don’t get me wrong, it has elements, but sometimes they feel a little forced, almost like afterthoughts to make it ‘fit in’ with the genre. The inclusion of a tenor sax solo in the penultimate track, “Wallow”, is interesting, but again feels like it’s been done purely ‘to prog it up’. And, dare I say, the extended length of the tracks has a tendency to be a little boring, as they’re not extended in order to introduce new variations around a theme, or explore different elements in instrumentation, they are just there to make the songs longer.

The only exception to this comes halfway through the album in the form of track 4, ‘Lily’. This track does do what it says on the tin, it’s Melodic Death in the heavy sections, and does successfully bring it down to indulge in some exploration in the middle. If the rest of the album was the same calibre as this song, it would be much more pleasing.

These guys are, without question, very talented technical musicians. The album is peppered with some extremely good guitar solos, precision drumming at impressive tempos, and bass lines that explore a decent range. And the ability of singer Nima Farhadian Langroundi to go from clean vocals to guttural roars and tortured scream is very impressive. But I’m not getting the important connection, that comes from the soul, when I listen to this album. I think this is a band who have the potential to do great things, but I think they really need to focus on what they actually want to be, and let themselves really feel the music rather than getting hung up on the technical detail.

Production wise, it’s pretty good, although I do find that sometimes the vocals are a little further back in the mix than I would like. It’s a very guitar driven sound though, so this is probably intentional. And if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand time. STOP BLOODY FADING TRACKS OUT BECAUSE YOU CAN’T WORK OUT HOW TO FINISH THEM!!! As a musician, and a huge fan of live music, it infuriates me! You can’t achieve that level of fade live, so why do it on a recording? Yet again, we see it here, with the final track on the album. It’s disappointing.

So, to sum up; Has it got some interesting elements? Yes. Is it technically very good? Yes. Did I like it?… it’s ok. It’s not terrible, but nor is it ground-breaking.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Avalin
02. Blood Moon
03. The Purest One
04. Lily
05. Wallow
06. The Deviant

LINE-UP:
Andreas Lindström – guitars
Alexander Wijkman – guitars
Nima Farhadian Langroudi – vocals
Raul Vicente – bass
Emil Nissilä – drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/DescendOfficial/
www.instagram.com/descendofficial/
www.descend.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfWjdGm10-b7E4Y51eYnCMA
www.open.spotify.com/artist/33EUSEyZ6PyFhsFrXIfsjb

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.

Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination

Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination
Century Media Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 66:12
Review by Beth Jones
11 /10

“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
       The earth, and every common sight,
                          To me did seem
                      Apparelled in celestial light,
            The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
                      Turn wheresoe’er I may,
                          By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.”

Yup! Wordsworth. ‘But why?!’ I hear you cry. Well, when you put on an album to find the first track is almost 15 minutes long and opens with a recitation of a verse from one of the greatest poets ever to have lived, you know you’re going to be in for something special. So special in fact, that I am struggling to find a suitable way to even start talking about it! So, I’ll begin at the beginning.

For those not in the know, Wilderun are a Melodic Death Metal band from Boston, Massachusetts, who chuck more than a hint of prog, folk, and orchestral elements into the mix, in order to create their sound. They’ve been around since 2012, and “Veil Of imagination” is their third album release. They have recently joined Century Media, and the album is now to be re-released through them. They’re Opeth meets Devin Townsend and anything in between, and I think this is possibly the most excited I have been about an album since Devin’s ‘Empath’ dropped!

This masterpiece is seriously epic from the start. Following the delicate and beautifully poised recitation, the opening track leads in with acoustic guitar, and solitary violin, which begin to build with the addition of soft vocals, more string. Then orchestral instruments, and floating choral harmonies before burst into full on, speed drumming and some serious guitar riffage and growling vocals, all in a more complex time signature, exuberating prog and oozing musicianship.

This carries on, and flows into the second track, ‘O Resolution!’ with ease. I can’t be completely sure, but I’m pretty certain I can here pipe organ within the depths of all the other instrumentation on this track. I mean Jesus! How much is it possible to fit in?! It’s ludicrously marvellous in its decadence!!

The dynamic peaks and troughs of this album are on a vast scale, going from full on, in your face, walls of sound, to subtle and tender solitary piano, and lilting vocals, in the blink of an eye. This is less of an album of individual tracks, and more a classical work of art consisting of many movements to make up a full symphony. It’s also not an album that you can listen to just one track alone – it has to be heard in its entirety for the full effect to be appreciated. It tells a story through its orchestration and explores every nuance of emotion as it takes you on a journey through your own imagination. For me this conjures up colours, and scenes of rolling meadows with extraordinary wildlife, medieval battlefields, and tempestuous rolling waves. This is not just music. It’s a fully immersive experience! Just stunningly sublime… I have no other words.

Technically, this album is perfection too. The production, mixing, blending and placement of the individual elements is faultless. The fact that we’ve been sent the files in WAV format rather than MP3 speak volumes about the care and attention that Wilderun pay to their sound. This is illustrated perfectly towards the end of the penultimate track, ‘The Tyranny of Imagination’, where they deliberately overdrive the levels of certain elements, in order to distort the sound. It’s genius-level insanity, but just adds to the impact, and again makes the dynamic shift to the delicacy of the final track more enhanced.

The final track incidentally contains a section of brass, flutes, and strings, and finishes the album off on the same epic scale that it started, because why the fuck not, eh?! They do carry out my pet peeve, the fade, in this last track, but I seriously don’t care here because it fades into spoken word again, followed by random discordant piano, to bring everything to a climax. The fade has a purpose, and not just because they couldn’t work out how to end it, and that is the only occasion on which I will allow a fade to wash over me without a scowl! And if they can break my rule of docking points for a fade, then I too am going to break the rules of logic and the number system by awarding this lavish insanity 11 out of 10! So there!

For me, this album is setting the bar for this year, and possibly for a good few years to come. These guys are not only superbly talented technical musicians, but also gifted composers who set the sky as their limit, and then some! If you want to impress me, make it sound like this!

Tracklisting:
1. The Unimaginable Zero Summer
2. O Resolution!
3. Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun
4. Scentless Core (Budding)
5. Far from Where Dreams Unfurl
6. Scentless Core (Fading)
7. The Tyranny of Imagination
8. When the Fire and the Rose Were One

Line-up:
Evan Anderson Berry – Vocals, Guitars, Piano 
Dan Müller – Bass, Synths, Orchestrations 
Jon Teachey – Drums 
Joe Gettler – Lead Guitar 
Wayne Ingram – Orchestrations

Links:
www.wilderun.com/
www.facebook.com/OfficialWilderun/
www.twitter.com/wilderunband
www.instagram.com/wilderunband/
www.youtube.com/user/Wilderunband
www.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wilderun/id569311375
www.amazon.com/Wilderun/e/B00E80N5NW
www.wilderun.bandcamp.com/

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.

EMQ’s with CYANIDE PARADISE

EMQ’s with CYANIDE PARADISE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Noord-Brabant, Netherlands based Melodic Death Metal band Cyanide Paradise. Huge thanks to bassist Jeff Wennekes 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?

Hey there! My name is Jeff, I’m the bassist and co-founder of Cyanide Paradise. I started the band together with our guitarist and vocalist Martin last year (2019). Martin and I played together in another band before, where we discovered we really ‘clicked’ musically. After we both quit that band for several reasons, the natural next step was to start working on new music together. So, the both of us started writing, partly based on material Martin had laying around already. At the time Martin was doing all of the vocal work as well as the guitar parts. Linn had been a longtime friend of us and showed great interest in what we were doing, so she kind of naturally joined the project as vocalist. The three of us went on to produce our debut EP ‘Reach for the Stars’ in June 2019, all recordings and production done by ourselves. We received a lot of positive feedback on our release and we really craved being on a stage again. So, with some material to show, we started looking for a drummer and second guitarist to back us up and enable us to really get our songs out there in a live setting. We were fortunate enough to get the attention of Sebastiaan and Fabrizio quickly enough for them to join our formation in the closing months of 2019. Since then we had a really successful first live show in March 2020, before the Covid-19 virus put a temporary halt to our gig plans.

How did you come up with your band name?

I actually had the band name in my head for a while, and when we started this project it suddenly felt really appropriate. Besides having a certain ring to it, it also hints at a theme really fitting with where our songs are headed. Without spoiling too much, the title song from our debut EP ‘Reach for the Stars’ is actually the start of a prolonged story arc we are planning over the course of several releases.

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

We are from the Netherlands, a rather small country on the North Western coast of Europe. Our metal scene is actually not too bad, albeit still quite underground. The majority of metal bands over here are mostly playing small venues and bars and being, a naturally somewhat reserved people, it usually takes some work to get the Dutch audience excited. Despite that there’s a really dedicated scene, with a lot of great bands making awesome music and supporting each other!

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

Our latest release has been a single, recorded at Project Zero studio in Belgium. After our fully self-produced EP it’s a step forward for us in terms of production quality while also further defining our sound as a band, since it’s the first release in our current (complete) formation. The single, called ‘Downfall’, was released in April 2020 and is available on most popular streaming platforms!

Who have been your greatest influences?

We mostly just write music we think sounds awesome. A lot of the time this happens to be heavily influenced by melodic death metal with some, by lack of a better word, epic influences. Some bands and musicians we listen to a lot and on some levels identify with are, among others, Amon Amarth, Devin Townsend and Scar Symmetry.

What first got you into music?

Personally, I grew up with the classics, Beatles, Rolling Stones etc. along with some heavier stuff like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. thanks to my dad. This led to me developing more and more interest in music and picking up the guitar around the age of 10. I gradually started listening to the heavier stuff and felt really drawn to the lower frequencies. After getting a job and earning my own money I decided to buy myself a bass and join a band. That was pretty much the start of it!

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

Part of me wants to say Amon Amarth, because I love their theme and I think musically we do draw some inspiration from them. On the other hand, I personally have great admiration for the talent of Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, PAIN, Lindemann a.o.) and I would love to be able to work together with this amazing multifaceted musician. So, for me it would be a toss-up between those two.

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

Any of the big ones would be amazing of course! But after visiting there, MetalDays in Slovenia holds a special place in my heart!

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

As of yet in our short existence we haven’t received any gifts yet, besides a lot of kind words we are really grateful for! But if anyone feels inspired, be sure to hit us up through our website! 😉

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

Keep enjoying the awesome metal scene and support your local bands! Most bands really depend on people coming to their shows and buying their merch to enable them to keep making their music, so check your local venues and take a chance on some lesser known bands. And if you happen to like their stuff, buy a t-shirt!

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

To be honest I wouldn’t know. There are so many great musicians, living and dead, that I find it impossible to choose!

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

The energy you get from being on stage and playing your music for an enthusiastic group of people. There are few things better than that feeling. Besides that, I really enjoy working with a group of likeminded people and channelling our creativity into creating new songs.

My least favourite aspect is probably all the work that goes into band management. For a small band that isn’t able to afford a manager, this can really cost a lot of time. Time I would rather spend making music!

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

More diversity! Or at least, more attention for different genres and types of music, at least here. In The Netherlands, there is one type of music that apparently sells the best, resulting in every radio station playing the same songs, leaving so much good music undiscovered by the public. I think it would be amazing if there was more variety in what gets attention, even if it’s not what makes the most money.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

There are so many bands I like and so many albums I listen to, and I still discover awesome new albums every day. I don’t think I could possibly pick just one!

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

For convenience I make a lot of use of downloads/streams. However overall, I would have to say CD’s, because buying them supports the bands a lot more. Of course, the same goes for vinyl and cassettes, but since they’re a little less widely accepted, CD’s it is for me!

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

Obviously, we have only played one gig yet, but I play in another band called Pictura Poesis and have played in other bands as well. It’s hard to pick a favourite since each had their own charm. If I had to pick, I would have to say Cyanide Paradise’s first gig is actually up there, since this band is the most personal for me.

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

Unfortunately, being a musician is already a part-time endeavour for us. In these days where supply of bands is usually greater than demand, it is extremely difficult to make a living solely by making music. Because of that most our time is spent working regular jobs or studying for those.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Friends and family, in the end those are the people that support me and I want to spend the most time with!

What’s next for the band?

Since we can’t play live for the time being, we’re currently working on new material which we plan to release in the form of a second EP or maybe even an album. We do have some more shows planned for later this year and for 2021. We’re also working on adding more to those, so hopefully there’ll be a lot of live playing ahead for us once the current crisis is over! Keep an eye on our website for the latest updates!

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

We have our own website with all the important information about the band. Besides that, we use a Spotify channel to get our music out there and both a Facebook and Instagram channel for events and other updates. Check us out at:

www.cyanideparadise.com
www.facebook.com/cyanideparadise
www.instagram.com/cyanideparadise
open.spotify.com/artist/4DcuRPlZF63pXya3Jl56ze

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I can’t say that I have ever eaten one that I know of, so I have no idea whatsoever! I might have to try one and come back to you about that!

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

Thanks a lot for having us and for your support!

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.

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder
By Dark Juan

Good afternoon, you beautiful bunch of misfits and miscreants! I trust you have been following the gospel of Dark Juan and have given your livers a workout worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime? Have you been defiling with wanton and base lusts the bodies of those closest to you as you have been exiled for the good of the realm? If not, I WANT DETAILED REPORTS OF WHY NOT ON MY DESK THIS AFTERNOON! If there was ever a time for peace and love to flourish it’s now, boys, girls and persons of other genders. I request and require that you show love to everybody. Love is the law.

In other news, I spoke to one of my musical heroes and it was surprisingly NOT the fucking car crash I expected it to be, considering I am an enthusiastic and somewhat demented amateur music journo. Couple this with an accent thicker than the mud at the bottom of a drain and a sense of humour that could charitably described as baroque and you might consider that Mr. TREVOR FUCKING STRNAD OF THE BLACK FUCKING DAHLIA FUCKING MURDER actually deigning to speak to me and being a consummate gentleman throughout was something of a minor miracle. He happily appeared to be able to put up with all kinds of amateur nonsense, such as a Northern monkey rapidly riffling through notes and simultaneously soiling himself and Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover alternately yowling, barking, meowing and for one glorious moment mooing. He did this with grace, class and bonhomie. Trevor did, not Igor. Igor’s a twat. I present to you all, my Church of the Poisoned Mind, the verbatim conversation we had, INCLUDING my deeply embarrassing fangirling.

I wonder whether animals can have species dysphoria? It would explain much about Igor. Anyway, the “interview”…

Dark Juan: Good evening, Mr. Trevor Strnad. I’m Dark Juan and I am the ridiculously overexcited idiot responsible for the 10/10 review your album “Verminous” got from Ever-Metal.com.

Trevor fucking Strnad!!!: Ah, thanks a lot man, that’s awesome. I’m very flattered by that.

DJ: (frothing in a frankly disgraceful fashion): Mate, what a record! In fact it’s not a record; it’s a weapon, man!

TS: (Laughs ): Fuck yeah, dude. Glad you like it man.

DJ: (heart rate still not normal and running off pure adrenalin and copious amounts of cider): It’s awesome. Forgive me for being a prat because this is my first time interviewing a major metal star and I’m shitting bricks about it!

TS: (one wonders how often this man comes up against pretenders of music journalism): You’re doing good man, no worries.

DJ: (desperately trying to appear professional and failing catastrophically): “Verminous”, first of all, a total contender for record of the year as far as I am concerned.

TS: Big words there, I like hearing that, man. Thank you so much.

DJ: First time I listened to it, it was almost simplistic, but on repeated listens it opens up in front of you and you have got these polyrhythms and super complicated riffs and your vocals range from the depths of hell to taking God’s head off with a buzzsaw. It’s got everything.

TS: (struggling gamefully on and proving his professionalism considering the fact that there hasn’t been an actual QUESTION yet): It definitely has more layers to it (than previous releases) and I don’t think it reveals itself fully the first time you listen to it, you know. There’s definitely some information to unpack over time.

DJ: (Deciding that now is NOT the time to preach his own somewhat confused faith): Yeah, I get that totally. Do I detect a SLIGHT HINT of antireligiousness in there, by any chance? A tiny bit of not liking the church?

TS: (Perhaps composing a stern email to the PR company to make sure this doesn’t happen again in his head): What else is new, man?

DJ: (finally managing to marshal his confused thoughts into a form that might actually have a question in them): So, your vocal style. I’ve noticed that you have said that Carcass was/ is a major influence on you. Was that Jeff or Bill’s vocals?

TS: (the man is a legend. He hasn’t yet screamingly clawed for the end call button): Well, it’s both actually. I wanted to be able to do both vocals with one person. I know I’m not the deepest, most guttural on the low end of all the guys out there, but I’m influenced from that Bill Steer mid rangey grittiness you know. It was listening to the “Tools Of The Trade” EP, that was the first glimpse of Carcass that I had and it’s still my favourite of their output you know? I have the “Tools Of The Trade” tattoo on my arm and yeah, dude, I’ve just been aping those guys ever since (laughs) and on the song “How Very Dead” (on “ Verminous”) I was trying to sound like I have an English accent and really going for Carcass.

DJ: (on safe ground at last!): Yeah, I thought I detected a real classic Carcass vibe on “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” – my favourite song on the record.

TS: Yeah, that song’s cool man. It’s different for us. It’s kind of progressive and very groovy. There’s a lot of groovy stuff on this record which is kind of new territory for us. Yeah man, that’s a definite high point of the record for us. A very creative song.

DJ: I have been a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder since 2003 (Trevor interrupts in surprise, “NO WAY!”) Yeah, man, you’re one of my favourite singers…

TS: You’re making me blush over here!

DJ: (inappropriate sense of humour immediately making an escape out of the box it had been beaten and forced into): Never thought I’d hear a bearded man tell me that but (TS is busy laughing) this record really does transcend all your other releases to date as far as I am concerned.

TS: Thanks, man. Yeah, “Nightbringers” was such a success, and having Brandon (Ellis – lead guitar) in the fold now we have a lot of creative juice and everything was just going right so it just gave us the confidence to push things a little further than we have done in the past. We are very happy with how it came out and it feels like a very proud moment for us.

DJ: (finally behaving like a fucking journalist!): Talking of Brandon, what did he bring to the party that wasn’t there before do you think?

TS: Um, Ryan (Knight, ex-guitar) was another awesome songwriter too, so I don’t wanna slight him but Brandon has this youth and this excitement to be here amongst the band. He’s just the most creative person we have had and he’s the most musically inclined, honestly. He’s the most educated, I mean he taught himself to play guitar from different sources on the internet and has never taken a lesson in his life which might surprise a lot of people. He’s just kind of a virtuoso and he looks at music in a different way and we have all been learning a lot from the guy even though he’s the youngest member of the band – He’s wise beyond his years and he has definitely taught us a lot about songwriting and different detail you can weave into a song and to consider the very minutiae of a song and I think that’s what makes these songs special , a little more elbow grease and he’s got a unique way at looking at songcraft and I think it’s kind of affected us all and we’re just trying to keep up with the kid. He’s lifted us all up and inspired us all and he’s definitely the guy you want in your band! Just feels like a really great time in TBDM history and feels like a real high point right now.

DJ: (having nearly shat himself with relief at getting a reasonably interesting question in before his already shaky confidence falls apart): That’s something that really shines through on the record I think. That kind of indefinable something where you can just tell that people are really enjoying playing that song, that’s what shines through on “Verminous”. That’s what makes it special I think.

TS: (doubtlessly relieved to be talking about the album instead of responding to Dark Juan metaphorically prostrating himself in front of him): Right on man, I’m glad that came across. It was fun to build from the ground up. Giving Brandon more control this time, with him recording most of the record, I think was a good move and gave us more control and able to take it really slow and look at things with a microscope. I think this is going to be our recording process from here on out because it was so successful. He stepped into the band and wanted to have a big piece of the pie and be creative and in control of things and we trusted him. We trusted him a lot on “Nightbringers” during the mix and he took a lot of control then and he just showed us what he could do, so this time we trusted him with more responsibility and the record is that much better for it. He’s just that kind of take charge kind of dude, man.

DJ: “Nightbringers” was such a massive success, you were touring that for two or three years, right? I mean, touring “Verminous” is kind of on hold because of coronavirus which means you could end up touring an album that’s a year old. What does that make you feel like? Do you feel the songs will stand the test of time or do you chalk “Verminous” up to experience and record a new album for the touring cycle?

TS: Um, I still think people are going to be excited to hear the songs and they have a lot of time to listen to it and fester on it. Honestly, from our point of view being in the band, there’s nothing better that could have happened during this than drop an album. That’s the ultimate content you could have and entertain all these bored people right now. The pace of life at the moment is so freaking slow. There’s time to enjoy art and absorb it, so in a weird way I think this has turned out to be advantageous, you know? Um, it’s just that it was nothing that we could foresee but we could have got caught at the end of a record cycle with no new content or anything else to offer up so honestly it’s turned out to be the best kind of thing that could have happened, I think. Honestly, it has hurt the sales a little bit, not being able to go to the record store, also we were booked to go on tour with Testament which would have been our biggest tour ever. But I’m hoping we can just jump back into this thing and pick up our momentum where we left off and hopefully people will be excited to hear these songs.

DJ: This record, I’ve found when I listen to it, third or fourth time through, you have so many different influences on it… Instead of the straight up melodeath on previous releases, there are so many disparate influences you have managed to weld into a cohesive whole and it could all so easily have sounded like a load of metal pans falling down the stairs. Has the songwriting taken longer than usual, or is it luck or judgement?

TS: It’s a lot of years of experience of writing Black Dahlia Murder songs. In the last few years, I think the goal has been to make the most dynamic music we can make. Music that really takes you on a ride and has different emotional flavours to it and I got to agree that we did add a lot of approaches that we didn’t have before. We got songs that are pretty rock injected where we close the high hat and just rock out and we have never done that before. You have “The Wereworm’s Feast” for example which is very King Diamond influenced, very classic heavy metal feel to it. Yeah, I think this record has a lot more style and we are becoming more comfortable and spreading our wings and focusing on that aspect of it. It is definitely a cocktail of that classic Black Dahlia Murder sound but also mining from different corners of heavy metal.

DJ: (having managed to obtain the dizzy heights of competence for all of seven minutes before plunging back down into the black murk of idiocy): I finished the review off by claiming that “Verminous” is the first metal album that doesn’t need more cowbell.

TS: (Laughs): We definitely did put some rock in there! It’s Brandon’s influence. He’s not like your normal 26 year old. He’s definitely a child of the 80’s and he’s very progressive in what he writes and he has pushed us all in that direction to be more creative with what we do and lifted us up and we are all just trying to keep up with him and he’s inspired Brian (Eschbach – guitar and vocals). Brian has turned out some of the best songs he’s ever written and it’s just a great line up right now. It’s the culmination of a lot of positivity, a lot of great times together – we toured together for three years off of “Nightbringers” together and had a great time and a lot of success. We just took all of that praise for that record and the positive vibe and just pushed it into this record and it made us very creative and something that felt new for us.

DJ: (in sensible question SHOCK!): Do you know what kind of response you had with online and pre-sales? Are you selling well?

TS: (Clearly wondering what sort of madman has been allowed to talk to him this time): Yeah man, we have hit the charts pretty hard which was surprising. I have to credit a lot of it to our fan club, the Blast Fiends, they have a Facebook group that really focused on collecting Black Dahlia stuff, vinyl variants and they are just total hounds for the record! So some of those guys showed up and bought a lot of copies and they are like our unofficial street team and they have really pulled for us so we could hit the charts hard, and we made some waves in the press because of it. Even during this pandemic we are able to make waves so that’s pretty cool.

DJ: Got any words for the Blast Fiends while you’re here?

TS: Thanks a lot guys, we really appreciate it. We do this for you guys and you are a huge part of it and we have yet another victory for the Black Dahlia campaign!

DJ: (still panicking like a schoolgirl but much less obviously now): “Verminous” – The title gave me the impression you were trying to evoke the seedy underbelly of life in general. Do you want to expand on this? Are we (the metal kids and the alternative people) the kind that are creeping out of the sewers to terrify the norms?

TS: Yes, that’s how I see it, man. The world on the album cover is sort of a metaphor for our place underground, literally underground. I look at metal, and especially death metal as this kind of hidden world, a secret that most people can’t see. They can’t see the value of it, they can’t see the culture of it and they can’t see the positivity of our scene, and how it’s like our lives and it’s so important to us and it’s a secret, a hidden world and it’s a plague we’re spreading, like a plague of knowledge and an awareness, an awakening to this world of freedom from religion, creativity, free thought and unfiltered art. I mean, death metal is not made for everybody – it’s made for a select few and it’s a labour of love. If we had any delusions of trying to become rich or hugely famous we would have been a totally different kind of band. It’s an act of love and something we pride ourselves on making this music and staying extreme. This is the culmination of years of hard work, trial and error when writing in the past and I feel like we are an older, wiser band right now but also that we are still young with regard to how creative we can be. I feel like this is the opening of a new chapter where we can be more creative as a band. We’ve been together for twenty years now of history with the band, but I still feel we have another 20 years. I can’t see us doing anything else. It’s been my entire life, this band, we’ve gone so hard in one direction and Brian especially, being the other original member, and we have to just see this through. We have to keep going and I feel honoured that people have stuck around and we have had so much success and that’s a big inspiration to make our music as good as we can and to keep our fans happy. It’s a never ending thing, man, and it keeps snowballing out of control, the success of this thing and we have to honour the initial opportunity Metal Blade (record label) gave us and just push it to the hilt.

DJ: (gotta hit those clichés!): Do you view “Verminous” as your “Reign In Blood moment”, or is it more your “Show No Mercy” moment and you are going to grow bigger and more expansive?

TS: (to his eternal credit, NOT rolling his eyes at the demented Englishman): I kinda see “Nightbringers” as more like “Reign In Blood”. It was more of an attack, attack all the time record with a lot of information crammed into it. More of a barrage, if you know what I mean. “Verminous” is more a “South Of Heaven”, where it has a lot more variety and is more dynamic. It still has its fast parts, but it’s much more like us opening our doors, spreading our wings and using this dynamic energy. We wanted the album to feel less samey and have real variety in the songs and let the songs stand out as their own entity. We tried to make the compositions more epic, this time around, definitely less intensity at times, perhaps some buildup, to have some tension, release and to have the chance to really emote this time round. We have a lot of melancholic songs that are gripping on that level and trying to be a more emotive package as a whole and really trying to elicit a response from the listener.

DJ: (now having calmed down somewhat and actually doing what he’s supposed to): Songwriting techniques – how do you go about it? Do ideas spring from a single riff, or a lyrical idea, or a title idea? How does The Black Dahlia Murder work as a musical entity?

TS: The lyrics come second. I’ll have a list of some ideas that I kick around but for the most part I’m reacting to what I hear in a song. Either guitar player will demo the song in ProTools and by the time I hear it, it has both guitars, it has bass and it has programmed drums that sound pretty good. Then our drummer rewrites the drums hit for hit what will end up on the album and then I’ll start writing with it. I’ll sit with it, I’ll listen to it a gazillion times in my fucking underwear and really it’s a challenge to me and something I look forward to. Listening to the song a million times and then plotting how the plotline is going to go up and down with the music. I try to make the story fit every moment of the music and it is a challenge to write in those confines but it’s also very cool when it all comes together. I try to make the lyrical climax come with the musical climax so it makes this bigger picture. I really care about the lyrics and it’s not just something I scribble down but I try to bring somebody in. I try to make the listener go to a different place or imagine a different character. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a hell of a challenge though. The rest of the guys pretty much write in solitude, either guitar player and it’s been this way for a long time now since we had members living out of state and we are pretty used to being spread out – there’s a lot of WhatsApp group texts that we talk to each other through, emails with ProTools files and we are used to this way of working now. Before we all used to write together in one room at band practice, but now we don’t have a traditional band practice anymore. We will get together before a tour all in the same spot and freshen up on things for a couple of days but now we rely on everyone looking after their own upkeep at home and keep their chops up on their own time and that’s a big responsibility but it’s just how this thing works now. The creative process is something I look forward to – every time I come back to it I’m excited to see where the band is musically and with every record there’s a big jump with creativity and I think the guys absorb a lot of information during three years of touring. We play a lot of music to each other, we play a lot of shows, see a lot of bands, so even though we are cranking out these records at a fairly alarming rate, there is a lot of growth between records and this is the most growth we have had between albums and a lot of it has come from “Nightbringers’ ” success. I’m looking forward to the future man. I see us pushing the boundaries further in the future.

DJ: I’m looking forward to seeing you tour in the UK as soon as this virus is done with. You’re going to be hungry. I expect you’ll be tearing my face off…

TS: There’s talk about maybe January for Europe and the UK. I think it might be our first tour back, but I’m not sure just yet.

DJ (who actually really does need to visit the lavatory at this point such is the relief of ending this extremely stressful experience): How different is Trevor Strnad, mad bastard throat with The Black Dahlia Murder, to Trevor Strnad sitting peacefully at home?

TS: I dunno man. I don’t really feel that I have two faces. I feel like I’m the same person here too (at home). A fun, easygoing metalhead. A lot of my life revolves around music, you know, collecting music and being a hound for the underground and checking out new bands and checking the scene… getting metal in the mail every day… I don’t look at what I do with The Black Dahlia Murder as a job, that’s an insult to it I think, it’s so fun. It is hard too, there’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hardships. Tours are largely very boring – there’s a lot of waiting around and shitty travel situations and you can liken it to camping at times. It’s not really glamorous and a lot of people don’t really think about or see the amount of work that it entails. I basically gave up my entire life to do this and I love it, I love staying in touch with the underground and it fuels my passion for The Black Dahlia Murder. I’m pretty much the same guy behind the scenes, you know, a big metal nerd!

DJ: Maybe a slightly quieter one than on stage…

TS: A little more reserved. There is a dark part and it’s a release for me to be on that stage and embodying the demonic characters that I have conjured up. Getting into that villain role – I feel that death metal is villain music and we’re the villains to societal norms and religion and it’s all about celebrating freedom, celebrating the underground and the friendship and the culture that’s there and there’s so much positivity there for “negative” music. I think people give us a bad rap, man.

DJ: Thank you, Sir Trevor of Strnad, for putting up with me barking drunken questions at you and basically flailing desperately to appear like I know what I’m doing… You fucking legend.

TS: Thanks a lot, man, it was fun. Take care.

And that’s fucking that. If you need me, I’ll be in a darkened room with an IV of absinthe and 24 nubile young virgins. Knock before you enter, otherwise it’s at your own risk.

Buy “Verminous”. It’s awesome. And so is Trevor Strnad.

“Verminous” by The Black Dahlia Murder was released by Metal Blade Records on 17.04.2020.

LINKS:
www.tbdmofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial/
www.twitter.com/bdmmetal
www.instagram.com/theblackdahliamurder_official/
www.youtube.com/user/blackdahliamurdertv

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and 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.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous

The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 17/04/2020
Running Time: 35:53
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

It is pitch black, so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. A sinister pall hangs over the place where I am walking and a hunter’s moon feebly tries to shine down through the scudding clouds and the wind howls through the trees and down the narrow track I traverse. Somewhere in front of me I can hear the hurried breathing of another person. I know where they are. I have been following them for quite some time. Silently and without hurry. My boots make no sound against the damp earth and the smell of petrichor floods my senses. The breathing has turned left and is currently waiting (or concealing themselves) behind a large and venerable oak tree. I stop dead, and make no sound. Not even my breathing is audible. Clad as I am in black from head to foot there is no way I can be seen in the eldritch dark.

Movement! From behind the tree there is a rushed and panicked lurch towards the path. I reach forward, obtain a fistful of hair, pull back and draw my beautiful blade across the exposed throat. When you do this, your victim can still scream. It’s not like in the films where a razor-sharp blade instantly shuts someone up. In reality, you keep sawing until you’re through the windpipe and you’re virtually holding a severed head in your hand. Death is a messy business…

Ah, hello! I didn’t hear you come in. No, it’s not blood, it’s an art installation I’m playing with. Good evening. I’m Dark Juan and you are no doubt here to be educated and entertained by my thoughts on “Verminous”, the latest offering by the rather splendid The Black Dahlia Murder? As I suspected. Please do be seated in this sumptuous wingback chair by the fire and perhaps I can offer you a warming brandy? A rich burgundy? No? Absinthe? As you wish…

TBDM (I keep spelling murder wrong and it’s getting on my tits!) were formed in Waterford, Michigan in 2001, and it was around 2004 that they came to my somewhat dubious attention as a band that were happy to play with genres, much still be heavier than all the female members of your family in their very best depleted uranium pants. “Verminous” is their ninth album release and it really should be illegal under Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties as this is not a record I’m listening to, it’s a fucking weapon! Opening with the title track after a bit of a TBDM hiatus, I’m immediately looking for the skin off my face, because it has been instantly torn off. The band has lost none of the savagery that permeated early releases, instead honing and sharpening their sound, and forming delicate scalpel bladed death machines instead of charging at you and clubbing you to death with the nearest rock. However, here be melody and structure instead of blastbeat driven histrionics. This is a very thoughtful record. On first listen, it’s almost superficially simple, but then you listen again and you hear some magnificently complex arrangements played at warp speed. On repeated listens the album opens up in front of you like a carrion-reeking corpseflower, showing you incredible beauty within the stench. There are simply some sublime arrangements on here. TBDM describe themselves as a melodic death metal band but they are something much, MUCH greater. Effortlessly taking black metal influences, prog, death metal, tech death and classic metal and welding them into some kind of horrific matt black murder machine belching everything short of Zyklon B from its exhausts as it cuts a bloody swathe across an unsuspecting world, TBDM redefine just what extreme metal is. And this is even before you get to the powerhouse vocalist that is Trevor Strnad. A man who appears to be possessed by at least four different demons, judging by how his range encompasses earthquake inducing low tones, the kind of midrange a buzzsaw emits as its blade passes effortlessly through your midsection to the high notes emitted by the swarm of killer hornets currently enveloping your head, plunging their venomous stings deep within it, Strnad remains one of this hellpriest’s favourite vocalists.

The album steamrollers you on the first three tracks. TBDM are out to kill you, pure and simple. How good a strategy this is for creating a fanbase I don’t know, but they are all clearly psychotic and every song is a finely crafted piece of complexity and dare I say delicacy. The violence is placed upon a teetering precipice of musicianship as the band ask the listener the question, “Just how far do you want to go?” The production of the record by the band themselves is another high point. Arctically clear and cold, the production is superb and utterly fits the music although the band have managed to still retain soul and personality in the music – most modern tech or melodic death opts to have a sonically sharp, but utterly lifeless production that shows off the instruments, not the songs. Here the production manages to weld the instruments into a cohesive whole, where no one part overshadows another, yet every instrument has its personality shining though. Bonus marks for excellence.

Highlight of the record for me is the simply hypersexy ‘The Leather Apron’s Scorn’. Six songs in, an extremely complex opening sequence breaks into staggeringly heavy chugging and Strnad howls like he’s about to have an embolism. There’s even fucking cowbell! TBDM literally have covered all bases on this one. It is just staggering, there are time changes, polyrhythms, vocals that go from the depths of hell to the heights of the upper atmosphere before the middle of the song reminds us of classic death metal with the guitar soloing, then there’s some black metal speed and it is just jaw dropping in intensity. This is just ONE song. The whole album is this sonically complex, which is why I have decided to concentrate on just one song. Otherwise we’d be here all fucking day.

Dark Juan is currently just sitting quietly in his seat, staring aimlessly into his computer screen, trying to put words to what he has just heard.

There are no words.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has decided that this is the first record in the history of heavy metal that does not need more cowbell. 10/10.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Verminous
02. Godlessly
03. Removal Of The Oaken Stake
04. Child of Night
05. Sunless Empire
06. The Leather Apron’s Scorn
07. How Very Dead
08. The Wereworm’s Feast
09. A Womb In Dark Chrysalis (Interlude)
10. Dawn Of Rats

LINE-UP:
Trevor Strnad – Vocals
Brian Eschbach – Guitar, Vocals
Max Lavelle – Bass Guitar
Alan Cassidy – Drums
Brandon Ellis – Lead Guitar

LINKS:
www.tbdmofficial.com
www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial
www.twitter.com/bdmmetal
www.instagram.com/theblackdahliamurder_official
www.youtube.com/user/blackdahliamurdertv

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.

Antipope – Apostle Of Infinite Joy

Antipope – Apostle Of Infinite Joy
Fertile Crescent Productions
Release Date: 21/02/2020
Running Time: 44:46
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

Once again, I have decided to navigate through unknown seas, this time going deeper into the world of Gothic music. As I used to say before writing something about a genre that I don’t listen to often, my apologies to the band and fans if I’ve written something wrong, but I’ll do my best to express how amazing I have found the Finnish band, Antipope.

My first impression on hearing this album for the first time was that it was like travelling back in time to 1995 and listen to “The Gallery” by Dark Tranquillity. I could feel some influences from them, especially on a few of the guitar harmonies of Antti J. Karjalainen. However, Antipope’s music goes further than Melodic Death Metal sonority, making it just an (good) Influence, not a carbon copy. The atmosphere created by the band along the melodies is really paradoxical, because the music is a mix of dark and depressive sounds, but the melodies bring happiness to it. Maybe it’s got me confused, but it is what I felt.

The opening track, ‘Harbinger Of Dawn’, demonstrates what I am saying – with clean notes before all the heaviness appears. The great drum lines of Tuska E. help to give a good cadence. At this point, it was simply Melodic Death Metal that came to my mind. But then, ‘Natural Born Heretic’ appears, exploring speed and fast tempos, but you’d be mistaken for thinking that all the melodies and technique would be left behind because of this. They weren’t. And what a great solo from Antti J. Karjalainen in this song, too.

My second impression of Antipope appeared in ‘Intoxicating Darkness’. After a great bass intro from Joni Tauriainen, I felt some Doom influence in the way Mikko Myllykangas sings. This Doom Influence increases with the title track, throughout its seven-minute track time, displaying many variations. Maybe some Blackened Death influences are present in this song too. What I can assure is that even though it’s 7 minutes long, this song is so amazing that you won’t realize the time flying.

The violent side of Antipope returns in ‘Red Goddess’ and ‘Venereal Ritual For Dispersion And Reintegration Of The Soul’ even though the last one has a few slow parts. ‘Serpent Of Old’ is not as fast, but it’s definitely heavy with a good focus on riffing. The closing song ‘0=2’ is a kind of mix of everything you’ve heard so far from Antipope’s music.

As I said before, I am not the most knowledgeable person to talk about the genres I mentioned, but my impression was that Antipope don’t get stuck in only one style. “Apostle Of Infinite Joy” is a lesson in technique and has brilliant compositions. Antipope put in the best of all the styles that have influenced them, and offer a good balance between heaviness and dense atmosphere. The final result is nothing less than an amazing record. For sure, it is one of the best releases of 2020.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Harbinger of Dawn
02. Natural Born Heretic
03. Intoxicating Darkness
04. Apostle Of Infinite Joy
05. Red Goddess
06. Venereal Ritual for Dispersion and Reintegration of the Soul
07. Serpent of Old
08. 0=2

LINE-UP:
Mikko Myllykangas – Vocals
Joni Tauriainen – Bass
Antti J. Karjalainen – Guitars
Tuska E. – Drums

LINKS:
www.antipope.info
www.facebook.com/Antipope/
www.twitter.com/antipope_band
www.instagram.com/antipope_band/
www.spotify.com/album/45X0a6O6ELJNZl0aAt0WJI
www.youtube.com/channel/UCwjQceSCS0gQJZrHeDVBmkQ

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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.

EMQ’s with SHADE OF HATRED

EMQ’s with SHADE OF HATRED

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with De Bilt, Netherlands based Melodic Death Metal band Shade of Hatred. Huge thanks to vocalist Rik van Schaaik 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 Rik and I do vocals on the last two Shade of Hatred releases. If you want a bit more of an in-depth story, you can read our biography. But I’ll give you the quick rundown.

Shade of Hatred as a concept started under another name about ten years ago. Our guitarist – Florian- and drummer -Yannick- met in high school and started playing metal together. Ever since we’ve had quite the line-up change but the philosophy of the band remained unchanged. We aim to create the perfect blend of bombastic pounding riffs and sweeping catchy melodies. Accompanied by thundering drums that groove as much as they make you want to bang your head. Oh yeah, there’s also lyrics. You can read them if you like!

How did you come up with your band name?

I personally wasn’t around during this process, but I guess the band really needed an edgy name. Over the years the name started to have a deeper meaning to all of us. The “shade” started to refer the darker side of the human experience we want to cast light on. By telling stories through our lyrics, we aim to explore these darker avenues of the human psyche and history.

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

We hail from the Netherlands and honestly, I like the scene here. The Dutch are a somewhat sober bunch of people, so you don’t see that much crazy-ass crowds. But, there’s a deep love for the music and I think that might be more important than people getting drunk and banging their heads. 😉

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

Our latest release is the full-length album called “Reflection on Ruin”. Check it out!

Who have been your greatest influences?

It’s difficult to say. All band members bring something different to the table. When we started out, bands like Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Kataklysm, God Dethroned and Carcass inspired us musically. Nowadays, bands like Gojira, Decapitated and Meshuggah come to mind.

What first got you into music?

As a kid, music just didn’t really do anything for me. In my teens I heard one of those Linkin Park / Jay-Z collab tracks on the radio and thought: “Man, this guitar stuff is kind of cool, but I could do with less gangsta-rap”. Later I figured out that the parts of the song I liked were basically all coming from LP and I really got into their music! After that it was a downward spiral into heavier, more brutal shit. All the way down to Cattle Decapitation!

As for making music myself. I figured out I could growl kind of by accident and decided to do some Amon Amarth covers. Soon after that my first band invited me as their vocalist and the rest is history.

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

Oh man, that’s difficult. I’d really like to collab with Terry Stooker and Patty Gurdy again (like we did on the latest album). They really added that last 10% of awesome for me. 😊

If you’re asking what band I would like to share the stage with one evening, I think Gojira would be the one to pick.

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

Man, Metaldays! We played there last year on the “New Forces” stage and I really want to go back! Headlining this time of course. 😉

Seriously, look up some pictures. The atmosphere, the environment. Everything is so fucking amazing!

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

Panties. Thrown on stage. I will never forget that one! xD

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

I really dislike the word “fan”, though I have difficulty explaining why. But to the people who’ve enjoyed our music, especially the ones who come to gigs frequently, thank you. I know it’s corny but just knowing that our music has impacted them in some way makes it all worth it. <3

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

So many great musicians have passed away. If I had to choose one, it would be Chester Bennington. His death has had the most impact on me on an emotional level and his passing is one of the saddest ones I can recall.

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

I just love to perform. Especially in front of a crowd that seems to be having a good time! It almost feels like a transformation. You become this version of yourself with heightened senses. Everything you do and feel is so much more intense, and you feel… Alive. Nothing can replace that.

What I hate the most about it is the level of self-critique we all seem to experience. For me personally, that “voice” seems to emphasise the failures much more that the things that are going right. Focussing on that hyper-critical voice for too long can become very toxic and detract from the beautiful side of making music.

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

I don’t pretend to be smart enough to know what the music industry needs right now. If I could change something it would be the arguing among metal-fans. Seriously, I like what I like, and you like what you like. Can we all just get over it? No band is inherently “better” to listen to than another band. Just love what you love. Be proud of it by sharing that love for music instead of critiquing the other guy’s preferences. 😉

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

I don’t really believe I have one. Ask me one day and I’ll say “England Keep My Bones” by Frank Turner and another day I’ll answer with “Spirit” or “Helvetios” by Eluveitie. Ask me now and I’ll have to say “Monolith of Inhumanity” by Cattle Decapitation.

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

I’ll add streaming music to that. For convenience it’s streaming and downloads. For the experience of listening and “putting on an album” I really love Vinyl.

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

I’ll have to say Metaldays. Not just because of the gig itself but the entire experience. It was the first big trip we made together as a band and I never felt this kind of unity with a group of people. Everything was epic! Well… that is until I puked and pooped myself into a German hospital. 😛

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

About the same things I do now when I’m not with the band. Just without a purpose in life. 😛

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My band mates. All four of them. The last spot is reserved for someone willing to do all the dishes 😉

What’s next for the band?

We’re currently not playing gigs because of “the thing”, so we’re writing new music. We’ve also started to care more about our (social) media presence. None of us really enjoy the social media culture so we want to produce some content that is more in line with our values. Stay tuned for that!

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

We try to make our music available everywhere from streaming platforms like Spotify, Deezer and iTunes to download platforms like Bandcamp. For communication we mainly use Facebook, though we’ve started using Instagram a bit more lately.
www.facebook.com/shadeofhatred/
www.instagram.com/shade_of_hatred/
www.shadeofhatred.bandcamp.com/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Dude, are you kidding? The British will come and get me if I give you the wrong answer!

Btw. Dude…. Did you ever eat stroopwafels?!

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

Thank you for your time as well! And for taking an interest in the band. 😊

To all your readers out there, check out the new album “Reflection on Ruin”, it’s everywhere if you know how to look for it. (You know… type in the title and stuff 😉 )

Cheers!

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 MALEFISTUM

EMQ’s with MALEFISTUM

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Jens Faber of Pagan/Power/Melodic Death Metal Project Malefistum. Huge thanks to him 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?

Hi, my name is Jens. I am founder of Malefistum and play Guitar, Bass and Keyboards on this album. Due to contract rights I am not allowed to reveal the drummer. I founded this project in 2019. Most of the songs are performed by Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum, Serenity, Warkings, Rage of Light). One song is performed by Federica Lanna (Sleeping Romance, Volturian), another one by Zagan (Black Messiah) and another one by Eric Dow (Helsott)

How did you come up with your band name?

Sounds simple but this name Malefistum just came to my mind one day.

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

I come from Bochum/ Germany where I founded my main band Dawn of Destiny years ago. Main influence has been Equilibrium and Ensiferum and we mix it with some power metal and melodic death ingredients.

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

The album “Enemy” is our debut. In February the first single “Towards the Sun” was released, two other singles will be released in the next weeks.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Actually I’m influenced by many different metal styles. In case of this Malefistum album it’s been folk/pagan metal as well as some Dark Tranquillity, Wintersun and Mercenary.

What first got you into music?

Just like many musicians I started early with listening to music but began to play Keyboard when I was 18 and guitar even later. I was listening to classical heavy metal and mostly power metal. It took a time to get used to harsh vocals but now I love it J

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

My all-time faves are Savatage, this would be a dream. I love Therion as well and would like to write songs together with Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish) or Tobias Sammet (Avantasia, Edguy)

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

I guess everybody would love to play at Wacken, of course on the main stage at 8pm… but who can achieve that? I must confess I’m not familiar with most festivals so I could not really pick up one certain festival.

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

Not so many fans, so not many gifts, haha. Honestly there was not really anything weird.

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

Please keep on buying CD’s, go to concerts, support as good as you can and already did.

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

I would choose Steve Lee from Gotthard and Jimi Jamison from Survivor. They had great, great voices.

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

I enjoy most writing songs. This is my real passion. Playing gigs with Dawn of Destiny is nearly always fun as well. I hate being there that early in order to put out equipment and then wait for hours for the beginning of the show.

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

Of course I would like to sell my music, not donate it because we all put so much money and passion in this. It should be possible to make snippets for YouTube etc. not put the whole song or album on it. Although metal fans are more faithful then many others. It gets so difficult for small projects like mine to produce new albums or even to try to make a living out of it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Savatage – “Dead Winter Dead”, Therion – “Gothic Kaballah”, Europe – “Out Of This World” and so many more.

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

As a child I loved vinyl but I’m more into CDs and (legal) downloads now.

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

With Dawn of Destiny we supported Sabaton some years ago, that was fantastic as well as a small tour with Axxis. Guess I would choose these ones.

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

I am a teacher, that’s my main job and I love it! J

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jon Oliva, John Petrucci, Tuomas Holopainen, Charlotte Wessels and Melissa Bonny J

What’s next for the band?

There is a video coming with Melissa for the third single in April, really looking forward to it.

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

Unfortunately I’m not very good in using social media but I try to use Facebook and YouTube but too little people follow me so I need the support from my label and other people as well.

https://www.facebook.com/MalefistuM-109917317191323/
https://www.youtube.com/user/evilbobath
http://www.fastball-music.com/

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I’d say biscuit and I love it.

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

Thank you as well. I’m grateful for every kind of support.

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.