Next Door To Heaven – Inside EP Self-Released Release Date: 25/03/2021 Running Time: 21:24 Review by Beth Jones 7/10
Russia is a mystical sort of place to us here in the West. Vodka and the KGB is about all we know. But there’s one thing that is becoming more and more apparent to me; they know how to make some damn fine metal music. Today’s subject certainly follow that theory. Deep routed in Djent, “Inside”, the latest EP from Progressive Metalcore quartet Next Door To Heaven, packs a hefty punch, exploring the genre in an exciting way.
According to Vocalist/Lyricist Daria Mazunova, the concept of this EP is ‘a fight between a human and a machine and a master/obeying inside one person’. And the placement of her clean vocal style, with some raw distortion on, against the almost industrial, metallic, technical sounds of djent guitars and synth ambience, you do really get a sense of that battle. It’s almost futuristic – the resistance in the fight against the takeover of the machines.
For all it’s technicality and precision, the sound on this EP does not shy away from progressive at all, making it an interesting listen, with twists and turns rhythmically, and epically proportioned walls of noise, that make it pretty consuming, and a little bleak in parts. It’s like being on a frozen plane, having your breath taken away by the force of the icy wind. As this has been another lockdown project, guitarist Evgenii “Gene” Mazunov took on the duties of guitars, bass, and composition for the EP, and used a 9 string Ibanez, which I think gives it that huge sound. There are some fantastic bass synth drops in it too, which wobble your brain.
I think my Favourite track here is the title track. It’s brought down a little in terms of dynamics and has some really thoughtful guitar work during the verses, then it punches in for the chorus. Daria’s vocals are also superb on this track. It’s also not as guitar heavy as the other tracks, giving it more of a balance between all the instrumentation.
My one real gripe with this EP is I would have like just a touch more bass. It’s very treble heavy, and there are occasions where the bass sounds get completely lost in the mix of crunching guitars. And the recording we had was heavily compressed, which made it harder again to pick up the bass. Thankfully, because I’m slow on the uptake, I reviewed this after it had been released, so I was able to listen to it on Spotify, where it isn’t as heavily compressed.
That said, it’s still a very accomplished record, and one for fans of Djent/Metalcore the world over.
TRACKLISTING: 01. Dark Alley 02. Calibrate 03. Unleash The Beasts 04. Inside 05. Flare Up (feat. Lord Nelson, ex-Stuck Mojo)
EP LINE-UP: Daria Mazunova – Vocals, Lyrics Evgenii “Gene” Mazunov – Guitar, Bass, Arrangement, Composition Pavel Lokhnin – Drums
LIVE LINE-UP: Daria Mazunova – Vocals Evgenii “Gene” Mazunov – Guitar Oleg Ermakov – Bass Pavel Lokhnin – Drums
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.
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Los Angeles, California based Progressive Metalcore band Kinkshamer. Huge thanks to vocalist Riley Rowe 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, I’m Riley Rowe, the vocalist of Kinkshamer. The band formed in 2018 between college classmates and began working on material within a DIY dorm studio. After months of writing and recording, we had five tracks that made up our 2019 debut EP release ‘Societal Sects.’ From there, we landed our debut local show and have been working on some sweet visuals for the music.
How did you come up with your band name?
I’ve always been attracted to musical projects that push the envelope not only musically, but thematically. A band like Marilyn Manson took the world by storm in the late 90’s/early 2000’s by pushing the pressure points of Christianity and conservatism in America. Nowadays, society has become so desensitized to many taboos, but I felt compelled to reignite the art of shock in music. I wanted to create a band that heavily emphasized sex but in a visceral and dark way, highlighting topics of frowned upon fetishes and fantasies. Once that concept was ingrained in my head, the term Kinkshamer perfectly presented itself and so began the band.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Our line-up is spread across Los Angeles, CA. There’s plenty of huge name venues here like the Wiltern, Hollywood Palladium, Troubadour, The Roxy, Belasco, Glasshouse, etc. where I’ve been fortunate enough to see bands such as Gojira, Ministry, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend, Fallujah, After the Burial, Born of Osiris, and many more. Since moving here about four years ago, I’ve also tried diving into our local metal scene where we have tour packages and local acts play at the 1720 venue. We have some sick local bands like The End of an Age, Better Left for Tomorrow, Akasha, Throne of Tyranny, Zombie Eating Horse, The Arson Choir, Apricity, Within Reach, and Elixir of an Alchemist.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Last year, we released our debut EP, ‘Societal Sects,’ where each track revolves around a specific fetish, kink, or aspect of sex. More recently though, we’ve edited together music videos for each track off that EP. The “Foreplay / Beauty and the Beast” music video is out now, but more will release this month too.
Foreplay / Beauty And The Beast (Music Video)
A Most Vulgar Display (Music Video)
Disregarding The Generational Gap (Music Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Musically, I’d say the modern djent scene was super influential, so I’d point to After the Burial. Lyrically and thematically though, early Nine Inch Nails is a big influence for the sadomasochistic vibes on the “Broken” EP and “The Downward Spiral” record.
What first got you into music?
Back in middle school was when I really developed my own taste of music. Funnily enough, Guitar Hero 2 exposed me to lots of heavy music. I discovered the whole grunge genre and the heavy side of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, which eventually led me to other heavier music from industrial, nu, and progressive metal to death metal and metalcore.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
One of the most inspirational modern acts right now would have to be Code Orange. It’d be sick to have Reba or Jami lend vocals or even Slade lend some synth noise to a track of ours.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
A big fest in Southern California is Knotfest. I’ve seen Slipknot headline the festival multiple times, but Korn, Rob Zombie, Gwar, Emmure, Code Orange, King 810, and Loathe have also been highlights. Usually they give some local bands time slots on a small stage earlier in the day, so I could potentially see Kinkshamer playing there one day.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We had a fan cross stitch our logo in those wooden hoop rings. It was definitely cool, but I can bet no other band has received that before.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
We love you all for the support and be as damn kinky as you please, as long as it is consensual.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Absolutely Peter Steele from Type O Negative. He had one of the most luscious vocal deliveries in metal and I heard he had a huge schlong. I read somewhere that it was eleven inches. Like damn, the man was truly blessed in so many ways.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I don’t think anything is as fulfilling as being an artist. Having a vision in your head, putting hours into creating it, seeing the end result, and sharing it to the world is truly one of the best parts of life. Of course, that’s all easier said than done. Having your music reach the right people in a world where there’s thousands of other bands trying to do the exact same thing is a certain struggle.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
While it’s frustrating that it’s nearly impossible to make a living off of music with the minuscule payoffs from streaming services, I don’t have a realistic solution that could pay out all artists fairly. Maybe with time, someone will figure out how to correct the unfair payments to artists, but in the meantime, the one thing I’d love to change about our industry is weeding out all the abusers. It seems like at least once a month; some form of sexual abuser is outed whether they’re an artist or involved in the business side.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I mentioned Type O Negative before, so I’d dedicate their “October Rust” album as one of my all-time favourites. That record is perfection from front-to-back…well, except for “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend;” that song is too cheesy. It’s also a perfect album to jam to right now since it is spooky Halloween time.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I have crates of CD’s in my garage and car trunk, so I definitely love collecting them. But I also love the vinyl resurgence. I don’t think I have ever own a cassette, but props to anyone who has passion for such a dated commodity.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Kinkshamer has only had one official show, where we opened up for Brojob and other acts. There may or may not have been a sex doll in the mosh pit. We would love to play more, but have to be patient until things are safer for shows. Hopefully, next year we can get back on stage and get freaky.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’m definitely a bit of a Halloween junkie and last year was involved in acting in a haunt maze, which was so much fun. While this year, our usual Halloween events are practically cancelled, I’m looking forward to jump scares again next year. So, if I wasn’t taking a music career path, I’d love to get more involved with theme parks, haunt events, and such.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Borat, Trent Reznor, Bernie Sanders, Poppy, and Bo Burnham. Now that’d make for some interesting dinner conversations and there’s no denying it.
What’s next for the band?
Ever since Covid and lockdown, it’s been difficult to write and record more music, but we definitely have ideas for a follow-up EP and are equally excited to play more live shows. For now, we’re releasing a music video for each track off our previously released EP this month.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I think this is a…British thing? Looks like a cookie to me. I guess we’ll have to order some overseas because us Americans go hard with Oreos.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?Keep your eye out and subscribe to our YouTube channel for our upcoming music video
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.
Vernon Of Persia – Ascend EP Self-Released Release Date 10/01/2020 Running Time: 24:06 Review by Tammy Lomax 9/10
So, I did actually ask Mr. Editor to throw some random albums at me and one of the ones he selected was Vernon Of Persia. Well what can I say, Mr Editor knows me very well indeed!
Vernon Of Persia are a five-piece Progressive Metalcore band from San Antonio, TX. They began their journey in 2016 when two brothers, Tyler & Kalen Thomas came together with the other three members joining later that year and “Ascend” is their second release!
They are so far up my street they are hammering at my front door! I am more than welcoming, come in and join me for a cuppa. I feel all light and fluffy after listening to “Ascend”. These guys definitely give me my fix.
There is no mucking around with long introductions when ‘Weightless’ opens proceedings, just a massive wallop to the face, from the start, setting a standard of supreme talent. The only minor niggle for me is when second track ‘Ascend’ plays. There is a prolonged gap between ‘Weightless’ finishing and that starting and it’s similar at the end. A very long fade out? ‘Ascend’ is a belter of a track though so be assured it’s not detrimental toward the talent seeping through from Vernon Of Persia.
Throughout the entire six track EP there are some blinding choruses and bridge sections, it’s almost like there is a fight taking place between good and evil. I do appreciate clean singing if it’s done well and fits in the right place. Vernon Of Persia pin that particular trait down, completely.
For example, ‘Sea Of Trees’ (my favourite track on the EP), has a powerful and seemingly dominating riff but the vocals meet and over-take entirely, claiming complete territory. “Climb to the top of the mountain, reach the sky” go the lyrics! Yes, I am singing along, disregarding the fact I might sound like a cat getting strangled.
It really sounds like they are using some serious equipment and they sure know how to use it to their advantage! There is a tremendous amount of technique and skill cemented together here. It shines through, crystal clear. I visually see them playing in the sky to the entire world. Fan-bloody-tastic!
I had to listen to final track ‘Marc Of The Okubo’ a few times to understand its flow. At first, I felt they were trying to cram too much in, and it seemed a bit misplaced and off beat, But no, that’s not the case at all, it’s a case of opening up your ears! Keep up Tam!! There’s a belter of a bassline leading the whole track and powerful double kick drums do not go unnoticed. You can’t miss them, they are fast.
Vernon Of Persia are continually growing and have already played with some huge bands like As I Lay Dying, Within The Ruins, Suicide Silence etc…and the more they experience, the more they will grow. They have released a REALLY good EP here. All the tracks are far more advanced than on their previous EP “Relativity Of” (which I also listened to) It’s full of flavour, you have super-hot, spicy and sweet …it tastes marvellous with the right amount of mixture, texture and technique, thus it does not spoil. 😉
Thank you for letting me review these guys Mr Editor and good luck to Vernon Of Persia!
TRACKLISTING: 01 Weightless 02 Ascend 03 All Through My Veins 04 Inner Sleep 05 Sea Of Trees 06 Marc Of The Okubo
LINE-UP: Tyler Thomas – Drums/Synth Producer/Back-up Vocals Kalen Thomas – Guitar/Producer Steven Giro – Bass/Producer Anthony Narvarijo – Vocals/Lyrics Jamie Vargas – Guitar/Producer
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.