Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Tournai, Belgium Modern Djentcore band, Ocean Encounters. Huge thanks to bass player Pieter, guitarist Nathan, and vocalist Thomas, 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?

Pieter: Hi guys! I’m Pieter the bassist, and I’m here with Nathan (one of the guitarists) and Thomas (the singer). There’s also Quentin (the drummer) and Greg (the other guitarist) but they couldn’t make it today. Together we are Ocean Encounters from Tournai in Belgium. We started back in in 2015. Greg and Quentin got together with our old guitarist and singer and started jamming out. Soon one of my students (I’m a teacher) who knew Greg approached me saying that she knew about a band looking for a bassist. So, I went to a practice session and by the end we had 2 songs ready to go!

Nathan: Then a few years later the first guitarist had to leave because of some differences in the band, and so I was lucky enough to be asked to come on. I’d seen them a few times and really enjoyed the music they were making, so when Greg sent me a message saying they needed a guitarist, I jumped on that chance!

Thomas: Yep and then a similar thing with the original singer. He didn’t want to keep going, and I had just left my band, so the timing was perfect. Although Ocean Encounters was just at the precipice of a huge line-up of shows, so to say that I hit the ground running is an understatement (laughs). I had to learn 8 songs within something like 3 weeks!!

Pieter: Now in the most straight forward terms we play metal. Heavy down-tuned guitars, guttural vocals, big drums, lots of headbanging. But if you’re a fan of niche genres or hyper-classification of the multitude of subgenres that exist in the metal world, we like to throw around the term Modern Djentcore. That’s because if you listen to any of our tracks, there’s moments where you’re nice and comfortable, cruising to a nice little section you might enjoy, and then WHAM, out of nowhere you’ll take a nice rap/trap section to the face, followed by a rumbling breakdown chugging its way straight through your living room, and then WHOOSH you’re on the wings of a fire-tailed nighthawk soaring the notes of an ethereal sweep picking guitar solo taking you way above the clouds and into the upper reaches, where you’re serenaded by an angelic chorus, which then dissolves into fire and ashes, as you tumble back down to this purgatorial speck of dust flying through the cosmos…. too much? (laughs)

How did you come up with your band name?

Thomas: Well, as we were getting started, ocean-themed band names were really up and coming, and we were huge fans of those bands. So, we thought, why not head in that direction?

Pieter: On top of that the Ocean allows for an un-depletable source of song topics. You can talk about the monsters that definitely live in the depths, you can talk about ships, adventure, hope, despair. All of it!

Nathan: Yeah plus the fact that Pieter spoke only English or Dutch in the beginning so the internationality of it was a fun metaphor to play around with.

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

Nathan: We’re all from Belgium, except for Quentin, who is actually French. But he’s lived here for over 15 years so he’s pretty much Belgian, but don’t tell him that (laughs). Belgium actually has a HUGE metal scene. And our festivals are award-winning international insanity. Graspop Metal Meeting is huge! Plus, festivals like Alcatraz that try to give non-megastar bands a chance to play on a huge stage with thousands of people.

Pieter: Even the town we’re from used to be huge in terms of the punk/hardcore scene. You hear stories about how back in the 80’s people would come from the big neighbouring cities just to go to the shows here in town. Our drummer even had a live music bar a few years ago, but the town has gone downhill in terms of cultural or artistic support, so it’s all died out a little bit, which is really sad to see.

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

Thomas: We just came out with our debut album! It’s called “Anchored” and available on all the usual sites and services. We even have them on old-school actual CDs! So those are available for purchase by either sending us a PM, or coming to the shows!!

Nathan: We also have an EP that came out a few years ago, and that has some serious bangers on, that we still play live from time to time. Like ‘Clock’, oh man I love playing that one live.

Who have been your greatest influences?

(everyone laughs)

Pieter: We are so all over the place when it comes to influences. Even though, just like with our genre, you can place an umbrella over all of them and say ‘rock and metal bands’, but we have everything From Jack Johnson and Xavier Rudd, to Blink 182 and The Offspring, to Northlane and Polaris, to Infant Annihilator and Thy Art is Murder. We even have some EDM and rap/trap influences. So that’s a tough question.

Nathan: And you’ll hear some of those throughout our songs. Like on our first single off the album ‘Disappoint’, there’s this really catchy jumpy riff at the beginning, a heavy lumbering rap section in the middle, and the chorus is this bluesy, emotional, epic thing that sits on top of it all. It’s fun taking the listener on an adventure (laughs).

What first got you into music?

Pieter: Pheewww man. I think that’s also gonna really differ from person to person in the band. I know for me performing on stage has been something on my mind since my parents played Paul Simon CD’s in our house growing up. Then picked up a guitar around my early teens, got together with a friend to play some covers and the rest is history!

Thomas: Yeah for me it was the urge to play in a band. I had a lot of friends that has started different projects, and then one day, while singing along to a song in the car, I realised I could do this whole screaming thing without destroying my voice. So, I practiced a little bit and before I knew it, I was in a band doing it for real!

Nathan: I used to just cover songs in my bedroom. Then bought a 7-string guitar because I wanted to go heavier (now I’m up to 8 strings haha). Then Greg called me saying his band was looking for a guitarist, so I thought why not?! As good a time as any!

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

Pieter: Me personally I’d have to say Lamb of God. These guys have been in the game for so long and keep putting out quality material. Plus, every show is a party. I’d just follow them around and pay attention to every single tiny little detail and soak it all up.

Nathan: It’s gonna sound stupid but I’d love to colab with a Grindcore band. For some reason, their shows pull crowds time and time again. You can have a big-ish metalcore or djent band come in from England, and there’ll be 5 people in the audience. But there was this show by this Austrian grindcore band, (not sure how explicit you guys can print but the band was called Vaginal Penetration of an Amelus with a Musty Carrot!!) and the same place will be PACKED. I don’t know how or why, but it’s something I want to learn.

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

Thomas: Of course, there’s the big ones like Big Day Out or Download. But I think I’m gonna have to go with either Graspop Metal Meeting, or Alcatraz Music Festival. They’re in good ol’ Belgium, so we’ve got the home-crowds, and we can speak all 3 languages of Belgium, plus English, so we can most definitely reach every single f*cking person in that audience. Which is what we aim to do for each show anyway!

Nathan: I’d love to have a Burning Man, but for only metal. Or what was that festival where everyone got stranded because of COVID? Like this island where it was just music and jams for 3-4 days. THAT would be awesome. An island for only metal. Can you imagine? Maybe we should start that…?

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

Pieter: An old, beer soaked, smelly, woven bracelet from a woman easily in her 80s. She threw it on my wrist without a single word or caution, tied it tight and spent the rest of the show in the front row. Moshpits and all. It was wet, it smelled bad, but I couldn’t take it off right away because she seemed so happy to give it to me. It was weird hahaha!

Thomas: I’ve never gotten a present! Now I want one!

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

Nathan: Listen to the whole album. Even if you’re bored, use it as a mental exercise to focus on something, and stick with it for more than half an hour. Some songs fit the ‘single’ profile, so they’re juicy bits come in soon and fast, but we don’t write all our songs with the sole intention of making them big. A lot of songs are written from personal stories and have a lot of work that went into them, but might take more than a minute to really kick it in gear. Sometimes you gotta climb the mountain to see the best views, not all of them have chair lifts or gondolas to take you straight to the top of the mountain, grab a selfie, and go back down.

Pieter: I totally agree. ‘Free Bird’ or ‘Child in Time’ or ‘Stairway’ don’t “kick off” until several minutes in, and those are some of the biggest songs of all time!

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

Pieter: Ronnie James Muthafuckin’ Dio! That guy knew how to get a crowd going. And such a NICE dude. Always humble, always polite, always a winner through and through.

Thomas: I’m a huge Linkin Park fan, so I’m gonna go with Chester.

Nathan: Dimebag, man. Wow could we get any more obvious with our answers? hahaha! We literally just picked the 3 most straightforward answers to that question!

Thomas: Well, yeah, all those guys had huuuge impact on the scene when they passed. Let’s throw some Kurt Cobain in the mix as well!

Pieter: Fine, but then I’m adding Robin Williams. He wasn’t a musician, but when he passed, I literally cried every time I thought about it.

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

Pieter: Playing live shows. There’s nothing better than seeing a few heads bob in the crowd. As soon as heads are bobbing and feetsies are tapping, I consider that success. We’ve had moshpits, and there’s no denying that that is awesome when it happens, but a head bob or a foot tap is instinct when you’re hearing something you enjoy, so that’s the signal I look for.

Nathan: For me it’s funny, because right up until the moment I’m actually on stage, I hate it. I hate it so much. The anxiety of going up in front of a few hundred people is something that I still struggle with. But once the intro kicks in, that IMMEDIATELY goes away and it’s go-time. And then I love it.

Thomas: Yeah definitely love the live shows. What I hate is how nobody prepares you for the very real amount of shit you have to haul from one place to another when you’re in a band. Like, 90% of being in a band that plays live shows, is literally hauling stuff. Amps, guitars, cables, mic stands, the drumkit, merch. All of it. Actually, physically playing a show is MAYBE 5% of what you ACTUALLY do in a band. And while my love for it is a motivator to do it all, it really blows having to do it over and over again. But you just do it because that’s what gets you on stage.

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

Pieter: It’s easy to put this responsibility on the shoulders of the music industry because they’re the ones catering to it, but I’d have to say the formula of “success”. It’s leading to simplification of music as a whole. The need to bang out hit after hit after hit is causing the music to simplify, and musicians to run out of ideas (why on EARTH do you need 10+ producers on a single track?!). But I think that responsibility also lies with the audience. Try treading into genres you never listened to before, listen to an entire song start to finish, start listening for, and appreciating diversity in your taste.

Nathan: Yeah, I’ll step in that same boat. I don’t have any idea of how to fix it, but making money from album sales again would be awesome. You really have to understand and exploit the algorithms Spotify and Facebook use before they can be used to an advantage, and by then they’ve run off with such a large chunk of the cut that you’re starting from behind once you get popular enough to actually start drawing money from those streams.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Pieter: “Enema of the State” by Blink 182

Thomas: “Hybrid Theory” by Linkin Park

Nathan: “Miasma” by Black Dahlia Murder. I love the song too because it’s in ¾ measure, so you can Waltz to it hahaha!

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

Pieter: Urgh I’m gonna have to be a dick and break the question down into what it is you’re looking for. I know it breaks the rules a little but there really are 3 different answers for me. If you’re looking for quality of sound and dynamic in your tracks, you gotta go vinyl. But do a bit of research and make sure it’s been mastered for vinyl. It makes a serious difference, and once you hear it, you can’t go back. CD’s for in the car 100%. AUX cable is good, but a CD gets that little extra bit of volume and crunch you just can’t get anywhere else. Then download for ease of access. There’s no denying the convenience of Spotify on a phone during a road trip. Thousands of songs, poof, just like that.

Honestly can’t think of a reason for cassettes to be better than any of those 3 options. Plus, they deteriorate and you gotta rewind it every time and yeah, no, CD’s, Vinyl’s and downloads depending on what you need.

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

Thomas: Gotta say Durbuy Rock Festival 2019. We opened the festival with big big names like Napalm Death and Black Dahlia Murder, we had a solid moshpit, strangers coming up to us afterwards and praising our music, it was just so awesome.

Nathan: Yeah and our shitty little van was parked right next to Black Dahlia Murder’s tour bus, so it was this first moment where we were like “oh sh*t, we’re in it now!”

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

Pieter: I’m already doing the other thing! Teaching and history tours of the battlefields around Ypres. I love history. If you don’t like history then you had a shitty teacher. It’s fascinating!

Nathan: Honestly, no idea. I’ve got a job on the side, but there’s nothing that gets me going like playing music with these guys.

Thomas: I’m with Nathan, I do a job to pay the bills and survive, but it’s the music that I really WANT to do all day, every day.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Pieter: Oh man, so many options. But I’ll stick to the question this time hahaha! And just for the sake of making the conversation at that party as interesting as possible: Robin Williams, Jesus, Hitler, Alexander the Great and a Neanderthal.

Nathan: There is nobody I would add or remove from that list. Why a Neanderthal though?

Pieter: We all have a bit of Neanderthal in us, but we don’t know a lot about them. Could they talk? Did they make music? Did they procreate with Homo Sapiens? Was it awkward introducing your Homo Sapien girlfriend to your Neanderthal parents? You know, the questions that matter.

Thomas: You guys are weird. But yes, that list seems perfectly fine.

What’s next for the band?

All collectively: TOUR!

Pieter: Yes, most definitely. That’s a collective goal of ours. Short term is just getting a tour on its feet. A few weeks, a few countries, either with a few bands or by ourselves. We just want to drive to the location, set up, play, break down, load the van, drive, set up, play, repeat for a few weeks. Dirty, tired, craving healthy food and a good bed, yeah that’s the stuff.

Thomas: Definitely. And then long-term the dream is really to get just big enough that we can make a living off of this stuff. The BIG goal is to write an album for a year, then tour for a year, then write an album, then tour. And do that until our bodies give out, or we can’t financially do it anymore.

Nathan: Yeah, we have a few small differences of opinion in the band sometimes. but I think we can all agree that touring is both a short- and a long-term goal.

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

Pieter: All the classics and the competition of the classics. Spotify, Facebook, Apple music, Google Play, Amazon, Youtube, Groover etc.

Nathan: Yep but all the important information is on Facebook, I think that’s the easiest one.


Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Pieter: A cake cut to the size and shape of a biscuit. Kind like mini muffins. Muffins are ALREADY small cakes, why you gotta go and make them even smaller!?

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

Thomas: Good questions! A little bit more than the standard! Nice!

Nathan: I love lamp.

Pieter: Nothing for me. Thanks guys!

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

Volturian – Crimson

Volturian – Crimson
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 35:53
Review By Mark Pritchard

On what was a bright and sunny day with a nice cool breeze, I decided I would pop to the local shops to get a few bits and bobs. My soundtrack for this expedition was “Crimson” by Volturian. As I headed to the shop listening to the music, I found out why, when you’re walking, it’s a good idea to look where you’re going! In my right hand was my stick (as I have nerve damage in my right leg) and in my left was my phone. I was quite happily looking at track titles on my phone and then SMACK, I walked straight into a streetlight! Thankfully, I didn’t drop my phone and it didn’t interrupt my listening pleasure! Now you would have thought I would have learnt my lesson, but that wasn’t the case, as when I was walking back from the shops I did the same thing! It’s safe to say that I have learnt the hard way. Definitely not the kind of headbanging I was expecting! Anyway, enough about me, let’s get on to the cause of my slightly sore head!

Volturian are a modern metal band who hail from Italy and are only recently founded, in 2019, by singer Federica Lanna of the band Sleeping Romance, and songwriter Federico Mondelli of the band Frozen Crown. “Crimson” is their first album release and displays their mixture of styles amazingly well. They bring calming, dreamy female vocals alongside heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs, and a big hit of electronic sounds to boot.

The press release for this album says: “Lanna’s pristine and ethereal vocals move fluently between slow paced groovy songs and rigid, industrial inspired hymns, held together by Mondelli’s Swedish death metal-oriented guitar riffs (early 2000 In Flames and Soilwork) and by a powerful and precise drumming. Keyboards add a fundamental layer to Volturian’s music, ranging from New Wave to 90’s Europop to obscure gothic atmospheres. The album concept relies on dark, obscure and romantic themes, infusing the band’s lyrical imagery with gloomy Victorian vibes.” I couldn’t have said it better myself and can definitely say that these influences and variations are very much what you will hear, and they create a very pleasurable sound.

It is full of fast paced playing and amazing vocals, and the added electronic sounds give it a huge and eclectic range of genres. It’s heavy, dark and powerful, but I’ve also found “Crimson” quite calming. On more than one occasion it has been so relaxing to listen to that I’ve actually fallen asleep! Volturian have done an amazing job here, especially as they’re so new to the scene as a band. It’s an album you can listen to many times without it getting old, and I find something interesting and new in it with each listen. Definitely an album I will be adding to my collection.

1. Crimson Dust
2. New Life
3. Haunting Symphony
4. Broken
5. The Killing Joke
6. In A Heartbeat
7. Between The Sleepers
8. Days Before You Die
9. Forevermore
10. Fading Like A Flower

Federica Lanna – Vocals
Federico Mondelli – Guitars and Keyboards
Massimiliano Rossi – Bass
Alberto Mezzanotte – Drums


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.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with West Windsor, New Jersey based Modern Death Metal band Dystopia A.D. Huge thanks to Chris Whitby & Aki Shishido 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?

CW: Dystopia A.D. is an American two-man modern death metal band consisting of lead guitarist Aki Shishido and myself (vocalist/bassist/guitarist Chris Whitby). Our signature blend of death metal, thrash, and progressive rock features blistering shred guitar solos and a variety of vocal styles.

In 2018, we released our debut album “Designing Ruin”, which included guest appearances from numerous musicians in the underground metal/progressive rock scene, including Justin Greczyn of Swashbuckle and John Tuohy of Mile Marker Zero.

How did you come up with your band name?

CW: It’s a reflection of the constant turmoil the world faces. I think the word ‘dystopia’ conjures images of a distant, unpleasant future, but, in some respects, we’re already living in one.

There’s an influential punk band called Dystopia. The name ‘Dystopia A.D.’ sounds like we’re a reformed version of the band (a la Entombed A.D.), but there’s no connection. They kind of called us out on Twitter and said that Dystopia A.D. is ‘just a new band without Google.’ I can’t really argue with that!

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

CW: I live in the United States just outside of New York City where the metal underground is going strong.

AS: Chris and I both grew up in New Jersey and there was a raging metal and hardcore scene when we first started making metal. I now live in Baltimore and prior to COVID there was a great death metal scene.

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

CW: Our latest album, “Rise of the Merciless”, will be released in July 2020 and pushes our sound to new limits in terms of technicality, musicianship, and songwriting complexity. The album was partially recorded from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where Aki was deployed as a Major in the U.S. Army.

Who have been your greatest influences?

CW: Musically? Probably the same stuff we were listening to when we were kids. Sepultura, Death, Blind Guardian, and In Flames come to mind. I also listen to modern bands like Revocation, Cattle Decapitation, and Pig Destroyer, and I think the influence of these bands shows in our songwriting. Non-musically, I think I just need a nihilistic outlet where I can unleash unbridled brutality while still expressing emotion and passion.

AS: I started out with the classics: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and evolved into the melodic death metal scene with bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquility. Blind Guardian is my favourite band, but really the only power metal band I can listen to with any regularity. Now, in my old age, I find myself listening to a ton of Testament and Death. Non-musically, I am influenced by science, justice, patriotism, and beer.

What first got you into music?

CW: I grew up in the 90’s, and the raw aggression of grunge music that was popular at the time started my journey into heavy music.

AS: I actually got into metal through soundtracks. The first 2 CD’s I bought as a kid were “The Last Action Hero” and “Mortal Kombat” movie soundtracks. The Last Action Hero is loaded with gems from AC/DC, Megadeth, Anthrax, Alice in Chains and Cypress Hill while Mortal Kombat had Napalm Death, Fear Factory and Type O Neg.

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

CW: I’m a big fan of Andrew Lee (of one-man death metal band Ripped to Shreds). His music has that nostalgic OSDM aesthetic while still sounding fresh/modern. He’s a skilled songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and I have the chance to connect and work with him in the future.

AS: I would love to work with Frederick Thordendal. His guitar playing absolutely blows my mind because he’s just wired so differently, and it’d be an immense challenge for me to play with him. He’s also apparently a pretty interesting guy and I’d love to watch a UFC fight with him.

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

CW: Wacken! Is there any other answer?

AS: Agreed.

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

CW: Evil Chuck! I feel like he was at the top of his game with “The Sound of Perseverance” and “The Fragile Art of Existence” when he died.

AS: Damn, Chuck would have been mine too. So instead I’ll have to go with Randy Rhodes. I’m biased with guitar players here, but he was damn good one. The first solo I ever learned was Crazy Train.

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

CW: I enjoy being able to continue to grow as a musician. There is limitless scope for learning new theory, technique, etc. I think that “Rise of the Merciless” displays significant progress for us as musicians and songwriters, and I hope to continue that evolution on future albums.

AS: Music is the one thing that I have that is a combination of raw emotion and technical complexity. It engages my soul and my brain, and in the case of metal, my physical endurance and dexterity as well. It is never boring, and will match my mood whether I feel like laying low and relaxing or I feel like punching someone in the face. As far as what I hate…Outside of a few significant exceptions (e.g. the latest Testament album, among others) a lot of the top metal acts featured on the iTunes metal playlists are very uninspiring. There is so much awesome new metal out there and it is not recognized on the largest platforms. I understand that there is definitely pride in staying underground – but damnit why is all this garbage so popular?

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

CW: “The Gathering” by Testament. Every song is masterful – the performances are polished without losing that raw thrash metal aesthetic. The album is masterfully composed and, for me, is the best answer to the question, “what is metal?”

AS: Agree with Testament’s “The Gathering”. If an Alien asked me what metal sounded like, I’d play it “The Gathering”.

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

CW: I understand the appeal of vinyl but can’t rationalize stockpiling physical media in this day and age. Streaming services that offer music in lossless format (like Bandcamp) are my preference.

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

CW: As much as I love the thrill of performing for a live crowd, the physical distance between us and our demanding personal lives mean that we’re strictly a studio band. for the time being. For what it’s worth, I think that our recordings illustrate our raw passion and intensity and how seriously we take being musicians.

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

CW: Aki and I both have demanding day jobs. Aki is a U.S. Army veteran and doctor of infectious diseases. My resume pales in comparison – I work at a prominent FinTech company. Our music has been an important outlet for me emotionally and creatively. The band isn’t and won’t ever be a source of significant income, but that helps us keep our music untainted creatively.

What’s next for the band?

CW: We’re currently promoting Rise of the Merciless and hope to connect with fans that will feel the same exhilarating rage and joy when listening to Dystopia A.D.’s music that we did while writing and performing it. Afterwards I’ll likely take some time to reflect and expand my repertoire as a songwriter by studying more music theory, listening to different genres of music, etc. before starting to write our next album.

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

You can pre-order Rise of the Merciless here:

The entire album will be available for streaming on Spotify after it releases on July 31st:

You can follow us here:

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

CW: I don’t think I’ve ever had one, but they sure look like biscuits to me.

AS: In America we’d call these cookies which per Google (see, learning here) is based on the Dutch word meaning “a small cake.”

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

CW: Thanks to Ever Metal and all of its readers for supporting the metal underground!

AS: Thank you – stay safe – stay Metal.

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.

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger
Time To Kill Records
Release Date: 07/02/2020
Running Time: 47:18
Review By Tammy Lomax

There has been a tremendous amount of negativity floating around social media recently and it’s a shame considering all the good that goes unrecognized! So, allow me to distract you for a moment and inject something good into your lives.

Italian Modern Metallers Soul Dragger are clouting us with their debut, self-titled, album which was released back in February via Time To Kill Records and It follows their EP “Before Chaos”, released in 2018. It was produced by Marco Mastrobuono (Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse) and their sound has been compared to such heavyweights as Machine Head, Trivium and Testament!

“Soul Dragger” is a fantastically agile album that will kick your teeth right in.

‘Rise’ opens the album and because I am a Soul Dragger virgin, I have no idea what awaits. However, it is well balanced and opens the album soundly. There is technical guitar playing with a fast thrash feel and I already feel assured that these guys will bring all the cream. ‘Damnati Memoriae’ swings in next and it’s incredibly good. It’s a bulkier and chunkier track. Vocalist ‘Alex’ is diverse, he executes some really decent metal growls, and throws some lighter noted vocals into the mix too. They are a fitting match to the rest of the music being played.

‘Angel’ enters, and it is so fast. I’m keeping up though and I have started to mould myself into the Soul Dragger vibe, I’m beginning to understand their message. Every instrument is being played impeccably. Intensity starts to build up about halfway in and when a slower riff hits my ears, I start to headbang to the vegetables that I’m preparing for dinner; they also approve! ‘Maid And The Beast’ breaks the album up, however I feel it’s a little too soon to place a ballad in the album. You’ll need to get your lighters out for this one though, because it’s still emotional. The lyrics make sense to me in a personal way and it pulls at my heart strings.

If you are listening along whilst reading this then I hope you are well recovered because from here, everything is going to mess you all up, a lot more! Carrying over the feelings from ‘Maid And The Beast’ the album reaches another stage of awesomeness. ‘Everyday’ gears you up ready for when instrumental track ‘Before Chaos’ plays. With the vocals out of the equation you can hear hefty amounts of talent on display. I love drummer Flavio’s double kick footwork; he is very good. What a great opportunity for Soul Dragger’s musicians to express their talents. They are alert, energetic and more particularly, on point.

‘Alone’ is a great addition to the album. The more it plays, the more it grows on me. Firing in an angelic chorus which battle the ripping roars of the verse, adding the best guitar solo and… I feel all fluffy. It’s a shame there wasn’t more clean singing because, wow, what a voice! By this point I literally want to kick the air, my emotions are flying all over the place. ‘War Nightmare’ is next and it is relentless. I feel totally armed and ready for war, Souls Dragger just keep pounding and pounding… breathe Tammy… Jesus!

‘Soul Dragger’, the track, keeps the pace of the album going. There are some awesome screamed vocals, it is a buoyant track, bouncing you about all over the place. I love how quickly it’s projected straight at my throat and just wants to cause straight up carnage. ‘Death ‘n’ Destruction’ highlights exactly how versatile Soul Dragger are, it’s emotional again but in a different way, it brings out all the inner demons. hammering, breaking you up bit by bit and it is dark. ‘Collapse’ closes the album, and wow, what a journey. It’s just as ripping and consistent as the rest of the tracks, I am finally full, right to the brim. Absolutely fantastic work.

This has literally blown my everything off and I am now a new fan of Soul Dragger. They smash through the album with sheer energy. It’s fresh, experimental, combining the old and new, and has some brutal components.

Let’s recognize positivity and what better way to do it than through music ❤.

01. Rise
02. Damnati Memoriae
03. Angel
04. Maid And The Beast
05. Everyday
06. Before Chaos
07. Alone
08. War Nightmare
09. Soul Dragger
10. Death ‘n’ Destruction
11. Collapse

Alessio ‘Alex’ Pompedda – Vocals, Guitar
Davide ‘Spol’ Spoletini – Guitar
Jacopo ‘Jake’ Gennaro – Bass, Backing Vocals
Flavio ‘Imperatore” Leone – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Naples, Italy based Modern Metal band Jumpscare. Huge thanks to drummer Graziano Ciccarelli 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?

Hello to the guys of Ever Metal! I’m Graziano Ciccarelli, drummer of Jumpscare, a modern metal band from Naples, Italy.

The founder members were me, my brother Salvatore Andrea on the bass, and Vic Mussolino on guitars.

We started to play in late 2015 as a four-piece alternative metal band combining metalcore and a bit of Nu-metal, but with the joining in the band of Andrea Di Martino (lead guitar) and Ciro “Kirion” Silvano (new frontman) we moved to a five-piece band influenced by North European Melodic Death and Modern Metalcore with the addiction of synths, pianos and the symphonic and melodic orchestrated music in addition to the “normal” instruments as drums, guitars, bass and vocals

How did you come up with your band name?

We came up with it in a rehearsal session, we did a real-life “Jumpscare” to our old frontman who was always late. We came up with the idea of Jumpscare by the double meaning of it. The horror film technique has an impact on who is watching, and since someone in the past said that our music was “horrific” (even if we are not a brutal/gore band or a Misfits like horror band) we caught the irony and we said literally: let’s call us Jumpscare.

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

We are from Naples, South Of Italy …our city was called by Greeks both as Parthenope or Neapolis and it is a beautiful place and it has the best culture of the Earth, the birthplace of the pizza too aha

In Italy, our scene is full of different acts from mainstream rock to the most extreme genres, but it’s not so considered by media so it is kept in the underground but bands like Goblin, PFM, Lacuna Coil, Rhapsody and Fleshgod Apocalypse are what keeps are flag high around the world so even if we have a lot of difficulties we have strong support from fans and scene.

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

We released our first album in October 2019 called “Don’t Close Your Eyes” , we had a lot of positive feedbacks both form industry insiders and fans around the world ranking it as best death metal album in US, America Latina and Europe!

Who have been your greatest influences?

In those years Jumpscare carved their own style combining the North European Melodic Death Metal sound (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, At The Gates), the U.S. Modern Metal scene (Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, Darkest Hour, As I Lay Dying, Winds Of Plague) without denying influences from symphonic/power metal, dark orchestras and also from the metal gods of heavy metal (mostly NWOBHM and Metal).

What first got you into music?

My brother, the films “School Of Rock” and “The Rocker” and the anime “BECK Mongolian Chop Squad”.

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

Tough Question ! Maybe Anders Of In Flames or Mikael from Dark Tranquillity…but for an interesting combination I’d like to collaborate with Fabio Lione of Rhapsody, Tarja Turunen as guest vocals on the next album would be awesome!

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

I would choose as international festivals Wacken and 7000tons Of Metal , Wacken obviously because of their vibe and popularity while 7000tons because play metal on a ship is really epic!

One of my dreams is to play also at Aggluntination Metal Festival, a great festival of South Of Italy. During those years they hosted bands as Stratovarius, Cannibal Corpse, Dark Tranquillity, Venom and many big acts… I was every year in the front row of the crowd enjoying great concerts and having good time with my friends… because the organizers have never had any help of any kind, for lack of funds there is the risk of skipping a tradition of half a century, and this is not right because we know the organizer Gerardo Cafaro, one of the best people in the world who has allowed things of the highest level and has allowed us in recent years to be able to attend great concerts near home. Although I know that the times we are experiencing are difficult, I invite you to donate to the link below to allow us to continue this tradition.

Please support at this link:


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

Our fan base is great, and he is loyal, and we appreciate that! Two of them are so funny since they usually make memes on our band members, and we really enjoy them, and we have a lot of fun! Those guys are Rudi and Vlash from the Melodic death metal fans forever group.

But since today we have never had a weird gift!

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

My message would be :”Keep supporting music, without any of you bands, labels, zines, and anything about the music industry will never exist! You are our world and we are grateful day by day of all of you, if we can turn our dreams into reality is because of you

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

Lemmy, because he is the metal god!

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

As a musician, I love playing concerts, spending time with my brothers, having fun, writing music that conveys a positive message for all who listen to us.

I don’t hate anything about being a musician, I just wish there was more unity in the local music scene. The negative and positive sides are part of the game and as long as we can express ourselves freely, there will never be something I hate so much to mention it …maybe the fact that making rebellious music can attract the anger of conservatives? But we don’t need fools in this environment, our message is pure, positive, and sincere, people appreciate artists and art for what they are able to do: excite!

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

I just want the mainstream media in Italy to give the right space to this music as other countries like Finland or Sweden do. We have many very good artists who should be enhanced. Also, I hate censorship and extreme politics in music!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Roots” (Sepultura), “October Rust” (Type O Negative), “Symphony of Enchanted Lands” (Rhapsody), “Reign in Blood” (Slayer),”Slipknot” (Slipknot), “Comalies” (Lacuna Coil), “Famous Monsters” (Misfits), “Motorizer” (Motorhead), “High Voltage” (AC/DC), “Come Clarity” (In Flames), “Atoma” (Dark Tranquillity) and many more.

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

Every legal fruition of the music is good, but I personally prefer the CD… I love reading the booklets!

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

The one in support to Dreamshade…what a fantastic night!

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

Probably being more focused on my other career as an engineer!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Five People? Hum… Tony Demolition Man from Venom Inc, Gabriel Pignata of Embryo, Anders of In Flames, Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Jerry Only of Misfits.

What’s next for the band?

We have a tour postponed in support of Venom Inc, and a mini Est-European tour that is to be confirmed… this outbreak was really a pain, since an entire year of concerts is wasted…but we have to stay safe, so we wait in our houses that this madness ends.

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


Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I don’t know if they can be considered as a big biscuit or a little cake… I don’t know hahaha. If something is edible, I eat it without asking myself of any problem aha. It must be delicious!

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

Thank you very much for the space you have given us and for the wonderful questions. For any other info on our project visit our website (http://tinyurl.com/jumpscareband) inside you can find a lot of stuff like the links to our social networks! We are present on the major distribution and streaming platforms.

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.

Alphastate – The Grind


The Grind Cover

Alphastate – The Grind
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 03/04/2018
Running Time: 37:28
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

Alphastate are a Greek metal band, formed in 2013 as a personal project of Pete Breaker (guitars). Vocalist Manos Xanthakis joined in in 2015 and the line up was complete in 2016 with the additions of Dimitris Tsounakis on bass and Fivos Andriopoulos on the drums. They released their first album “Out of the Black” in 2015 and received excellent and positive press globally.

Says the band: “we wanted to combine modern metal with 80’s and 90’s influences such as Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera and Nevermore to create a very personal and extreme style with no boundaries.”

So, what genre of metal are Alphastate? To pigeonhole them into one category would be wrong and do them a severe injustice. They play heavy metal that is heavier than normal, but they have thrown in a bit of power too, with just a hint of doom (think Sabbath, Candlemass and Trouble), and this gives them an almost unique sound.

I always think the vocals make any band and am always on the lookout for bands that have distinctive and different singers. If I am totally honest, on the first run through of the album, I didn’t actually like Manos’s vocals but after listening a few times, I realised I really didn’t give him much credit. His vocals are deep, and unmistakably Greek, which is by no means a bad thing. He could quite easily fit into a band such as Firewind if they were ever on the lookout.

I must admit that I hadn’t listened to the band’s first album before listening to this one, but the promo notes that came with the album stated that they wanted to take a more modern and aggressive approach musically with this new album. They wanted “very loud and distinctive guitars, a more modern production that had the vocals pushed up front and drums that punched through the sound.”

I think they were successful on all three counts. Take the guitars out of this album and they would slot straight into a Pantera album, the drums are strong and tight, and I have already mentioned the vocals above.

This album includes a lot more of the band’s own thoughts and experiences making it the most personal release so far, and sonically it is their best. They have made an album that is “pure aggression with the best songs they have ever written.”

One thing that I wasn’t overly keen on with this album, was the lack of variation. Each song seemed to sound much like the last, and I am not sure if this is due to unfamiliarity with the tracks. Maybe with a few more listens through, the songs may start to separate a bit.

But this doesn’t take away from the fact, that this is a solid album, and for a band that has only really been together properly since 2016, it’s a good sign of things to come.
Give these guys a go……and they may just surprise you!


01. Trapped
02. Phantom Desires
03. Speak Your Mind
04. Theater Of Lies
05. The Grind
06. Forevermore
07. Behind The Dark
08. Heaven’s World
09. Man Made God







Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 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.