One Hundred Thousand – Zodiac

Zodiac Album Cover Art

One Hundred Thousand – Zodiac
Self-Released
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 72:00
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

By nature, Progressive Rock/Metal is an expansive and exploratory genre. Possibly why I love it so much. So, as always, I jump at the chance of exploring further when a new name lands in my review pile.

One Hundred Thousand are a progressive outfit from New Jersey, USA. They have been active since 2017, and recently released their sophomore album, “Zodiac”. As exploratory goes, this one is a smorgasbord. It’s a concept album, with every song exploring traits of a particular sign of the zodiac. Lyrically, it follows a protagonist over the course of a year, from a place of ‘devastating personal loss, through the illusion of hope, to an enigmatic finale’. The way the band released this album is also intriguing. They started with ‘Aries’, the first track, back in March 2020, as the pandemic hit, and continued releasing one track a month, to correlate with the star signs, finishing with ‘Pisces’, which was released in February this year.

The first thing that hits you about this album is precision. Its intricate and heavy melodies, riffs, and rhythms are oozing with detail. There isn’t a single note or beat that isn’t there for a reason. This makes it expansive and immersive, but also delicate. Sweeping areas of ambience are demolished by gritty guitars, thumping percussion, and down tuned rumbling bass, only to rise again with sumptuous solos and soaring clean vocals, which give way to raw vocals, Modern Metal style. And if you listen carefully, there are some extra details added low down in the mix, which fill out this already massive sound even more.

‘Gemini’ is one of a few stand-out track for me. It starts with acapella voices in harmony, with a whole bag of reverb on, which makes it dark and mysterious. But then it moves into guitars, vocals, and a fiendishly complex rhythm. It’s got the tone of 90’s Indie Rock, but a hefty injection of proginess, too. But, and yes here comes my gripe, FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, PLEASE STOP FADING TRACKS OUT! It has always been, and will always be my biggest, nails down a blackboard bugbear. I appreciate this is only my opinion, and there are probably many others who wouldn’t agree, but I want every song to come to a close, not disappear into the distance ad infinitum.

When it comes to hard and heavy tracks, ‘Scorpio’ wins the prize. It has the essence of a modern metal track in terms of tone, and harsher vocals, but it still remains firmly in prog territory. It has a frenetic middle section, and even double kick drum going on, which definitely move it into a heavier territory than the rest of the album up to that point.

Now, I’m not huge on star signs, but I do know that mine is Sagittarius, so I was keen to listen to that track. It’s a very interesting track – quite 70’s vocal harmonies, and very experimental. But, again, every detail is superbly executed. The modern metal sounds come into this song too, adding extra flavour as the album begins to move towards its climactic end. That’s followed by ‘Capricorn’, which hands down wins for expansiveness. There’s so much in this track. It’s like a five-course meal all in one song, exploring a variety of different musical sounds and styles. Love it.

‘Pisces’, the final track, although slow in tempo, is pretty brutal, and see the sound work through various different experimental elements again. It’s an interesting way to close out an album, although I don’t find it as strong as some of the other tracks. That said, apart from my one little gripe about the fades, this is a wonderfully intriguing body of work, and if you like anything progressive and huge, then you’ll enjoy this.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Aries
02. Taurus
03. Gemini
04. Cancer
05. Leo
06. Virgo
07. Libra
08. Scorpio
09. Sagittarius
10. Capricorn
11. Aquarius
12. Pisces

LINE-UP:
Alex Goldenthal – Guitar
Andrew Magnotta – Bass
Rich Matos – Vocals
Gregg Sgar – Guitar
Kurt Wübbenhorst – Drummer

LINKS:

One Hundred Thousand Promo Pic

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

EMQ’s With A FOOL’S MOCKERY

A Fool's Mockery Logo

EMQ’s With A FOOL’S MOCKERY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview courtesy of Victor, with Manchester, England based Progressive Metal/Rock band, A Fool’s Mockery. Huge thanks to drummer/keyboardist Jase Tyler for taking part.

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

I’m Jase Tyler, the drummer and keyboardist in A Fool’s Mockery. The band originated in North Wales, where me, the guitarist Eddy Bleasdale and the bassist Scott Gurnett began recording our debut album while completing our master’s degrees at University. We were joined a year later by Emannuel Thorsen for vocals. It was all recorded in a very “on-the-go” way using my laptop, composing and recording whenever we had spare time.

How did you come up with your band name?

It was Scott who suggested the name; I think the “Fool” part was inspired by the Jester who appears on the cover artwork of the band Edguy. “Mockery” was a euphonious word to complete the name.

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

We are based in the UK, and most of us live in the city of Manchester. Here the rock and metal scene is thriving – before 2020 there were plenty of rock and metal gigs in various venues, ranging from bands making a stop on a world tour, to small performances in bars. I hope to see this continue in the near future.

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

At the beginning of February, we released our debut concept album “Empire of Doubt”. This followed the release of the two singles ‘The Great Lie’ and ‘Plea for Forgiveness’ in the previous month, which were each accompanied by a music video and a lyric video, respectively. These are available to watch on our YouTube channel. We are all extremely pleased with what we’ve come up with, and we look forward to making the next one!

‘The Great Lie’ (Official Video)

‘Plea For Forgiveness’ (Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

For me personally, the bands Dream Theater, Avantasia, Ayreon, Ghost and The Neal Morse Band have captivated my ears like no others! But one thing I find so refreshing and wonderful about working together with the other AFM members is that we all herald from different musical genres – so if you were to ask any of the other guys the same question, you’d get a totally different answer. I’m also partial to the more “classic” metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc – but then, who isn’t!

What first got you into music?

It was through learning to play the drums and joining my first band that I became infatuated with music – both in listening and performing. That pushed me into finding out what other drummers were doing in famous bands, so I explored their discographies and learned some of their songs. The composition side of music became much more exciting for me personally with this album “Empire Of Doubt” since it’s my first real use of the keyboard in song writing.

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

I’d love to work with Tobias Sammet, since his voice has always seemed so powerful yet expressive to me. I also think Jordan Rudess’ keyboard playing is in a class of its own, and it would be majestic to jam with him some day. I love Arjen Lucassen’s musical arrangements, so it would be pretty cool to collaborate with him too!

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

Definitely Wacken! I’ve dreamt of playing there since I was about 15. I love the community that is present there, and the pure emotion from all the acts on stage. As Eric Martin said when he was there – it’s the Mecca of heavy metal!

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

A pair of shoes.

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

I would emphasise the importance of perseverance – don’t let circumstance stop you from achieving a goal! I believe our album is a testament to that effect: we recorded it without expensive equipment, while at University, and finished it during the abomination of a year that was 2020. Keep on reminding yourself that there is always another way to accomplish something!

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

Ronnie James Dio.

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

I love how it allows me to be creative and express myself, and specifically in the setting of the band, how collaboration results in a melting pot of ideas. Someone might come up with a riff, which gets reinterpreted by someone else, and ends up in various iterations throughout a song from having different people’s perspectives and input into that musical idea. I hate the tedium that is an inevitable necessity of the recording process: I am something of a perfectionist, so I’ve recorded some parts many more times than I’d care to mention for the sake of them sounding the way I want.

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

More music and less ego.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Conceptual albums have always stood out to me. I’m torn between naming Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory” and The Neal Morse Band’s “The Similitude Of A Dream” as my favourite! Both feature excellent virtuosic musicianship and storytelling, with brilliant thematic reprisals which complement their respective narratives. If any of the readers have not heard these albums, I can thoroughly recommend having a listen! The artists have each made a huge contribution to the Progressive Rock genre with these albums.

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

Vinyl, Cassettes and CDs for sure.

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

Headbangers Attack Festival.

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

I suppose I’d be doing the same job as I am now, just with less to occupy my free time. I currently work in a genomics company, developing diagnostic products for cervical cancer. I’ve also been involved with microbiological research.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Angela Gossow, Michael Kiske, Doro, Eric Adams and Rob Halford.

What’s next for the band?

Hopefully, after the pandemic we can get together to work on a second album, and all being well we can play some live shows! This depends on a lot of things though, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and you can listen to our music pretty much anywhere! The main website from which you can purchase the album digitally is Bandcamp, and most of our other websites (merch etc) are linked to from there as well.
www.facebook.com/AFoolsMockery
www.twitter.com/afoolsmockery/
www.instagram.com/afoolsmockery/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCE8BkNLxaMi2fErdcBSI8eg/
www.afoolsmockery.bandcamp.com/
www.afoolsmockery.dizzyjam.com/ (Merch)

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cakes harden as they go off, whereas biscuits turn soft. Jaffa cakes become hard if left out for a while, so I’d say they are cakes.

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

Rock on.

Victor’s original review of “Empire Of Doubt”

A Fool's Mockery Promo Pic

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

A Fool’s Mockery – Empire Of Doubt

Empire Of Doubt Album Cover Art

A Fool’s Mockery – Empire Of Doubt
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/02/2021
Running Time: 63:43
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Music can be a very interesting thing and I am not just talking just about the act of hearing it, but how it connects people around the world. As you probably know, I am the first Brazilian to be part of Ever Metal and during almost 2 years with this beautiful team, I have understood a little more of the culture in the UK, even if I still live an ocean apart from them. But it is funny that, even though I have got closer to them, I still discover things from there, from friends in my own country and this is how I found out about A Fool’s Mockery, an amazing band from the UK, thanks to their singer and my great friend Emannuel Thorsen.

Emannuel is also Brazilian and we lived in the same city when he was part of a great band called Hell Bound. When he moved to the UK, he had to leave that band, but his path converged with the other members of A Fool’s Mockery. Now, this is a new era for him and the band, with their first release. I don’t know exactly how they ending up meeting each other but my advice to you is that, after listening to “Empire Of Doubt” for the first time is not to expect immature music and performance just because it is a debut album. I don’t know their ages, but they are young as a band, however, this is a very mature album. So, let’s understand what it has offer to us, the listeners.

Opening track, ‘The Great Lie’, shows what I consider to be a mix of Classic Heavy Rock (Deep Purple) with Power Metal elements such as the fast drum fills and Emmanuel’s vocals interpretations. The presence of Jase Tyler’s keyboards is another element that navigates between Classic and the more Melodic Power Metal style. By the way, Jase is also the man who holds the drumsticks in the band (at least, in the studio) and I must highlight how astonishing he is on both instruments. Next track, ‘Let The Truth Be Known’ keeps the happy spirit of the band’s sonority and, once again, the keyboards are very present. In this song, the bass of Scott Gurnett also has a strong presence, considering there are almost no guitars, just short and good solos.

I guess the dramatic change of the album’s sonority happens on ‘Enter The New’ where progressive elements take over. If before, I felt a balance between Classic Rock and Power Metal, this time I could feel the influence of bands such as Rush and Dream Theater. This makes it sound a little less Metal and Rock and, as I’m not the biggest fan of Progressive Metal, I started off worried but, in this instance, I absolute love the end result.

As with most material labelled ‘progressive’, you get extensive songs, such as the beautiful ‘The Heretic’ and the eighteen minute long ‘Cardinal Sinner’. The former I loved because it has a lot of different cadences and moments. It is the best time to check out the versatile riffs of guitarist Eddy Bleasdale and, once again, there are excellent independent bass lines from Scott Gurnett. What I admire here is how the band maintain a smooth atmosphere even when things become heavy!

The instrumental ‘Much’ has the same spirit, but with more space for kick ass drum work, even showcasing some blues influence. However, we still have space for heavier stuff such as ‘Wrath Of The Divine’ or the more ballad driven, in a very good Deep Purple way, ‘Plea for Forgiveness’. To epically finish the album, the band present ‘Legacy’ which includes great orchestration. Emmanuel’s beautiful vocal interpretation together with Jase, Eddy and Scott show how incredible they are on their instruments, without creating music full of annoying and over the top virtuosity.

Despite “Empire Of Doubt” being a debut album, it is wonderful how they have worked so hard to create great material. The main goal, at least for me, is how they found a way to mix different genres, that on their own, may be considered a little boring for those of us not fans of them but, in this case, sounded cool and the listening experience became incredibly enjoyable. This album is 63 minutes long, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.

If you are fan of Rock/Progressive bands like Rush and Deep Purple but like something a little more Metal, or love Progressive Heavy Metal but miss the simplicity of Rock then I am certain that you will love and admire how A Fool’s Mockery have combined the best of these two worlds.

‘The Great Lie’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Great Lie
02. Let the Truth Be Known
03. Enter The New
04. The Heretic
05. Much (Instrumental)
06. Wrath Of The Divine
07. Plea For Forgiveness
08. Cardinal Sinner
09. Legacy

LINE-UP:
Emannuel Thorsen – Vocals
Jase Tyler – Drums, Keyboards, Percussion
Eddy Bleasdale – Guitars
Scott Gurnett – Bass

LINKS:

A Fool's Mockery Promo Pic

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 DYSTORCHESTRA

Dystorchestra Logo

EMQ’s with DYSTORCHESTRA

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

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

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

How did you come up with your band name?

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

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

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

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

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

‘Burn It Down’ (Lyric Video)

‘Anarcadia’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

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

What first got you into music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

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

What’s next for the band?

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

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

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

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

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

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

Thank you for having us!

Dystorchestra Promo Pic

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

Twisted Illusion – Temple Of Artifice

Temple Of Artifice Album Cover Art

Twisted Illusion – Temple Of Artifice
Self-Released
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Running Time: 35:52
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

The music scene in the UK is full of some very exciting bands right now. So much so, that it can be difficult to make an impression in an already saturated market, unless you’re a) a different level, and b) prepared to put in the hours and legwork that self-promotion requires. One band that has both of these factors down to a ‘T’ is Manchester based progressive rock aficionados, Twisted Illusion. I first encountered TI on the Very Metal Arts stage at Amplified festival a good few years back, and was instantly captured by their exciting sound, which combined all the music I loved, and wrapped it up in a compelling stage presence in the form of frontman and driving force behind TI, Matt Jones. Since that first encounter, I’ve been an avid follower of the band, not just in a press sense, but also as a genuine fan.

It’s fair to say, in the last few years, TI have experienced some ups and downs. But Matt’s relentless passion to make them a household name has kept on driving him forward, refusing to let adversity steal his dreams. Now, finally, it’s starting to look like his complete and persistent dedication to his art is beginning to pay off. And this re-recorded version of the 2016 debut album will, I have no doubt, be the springboard that launches them to the next level. Obviously, I own the original album, which was great anyway. But this release is not just a remaster or remix, it’s a full re-record (done mainly in Matt and Saxon’s flat), and my god has it taken things to a new level! They’ve also been on a single releasing mission, with the majority of the 7 album tracks having been released as official singles in the last month!

The main thing that hits you is how full the sound is now. On first listen, I sent Matt an excited message that basically said “This is mega! It’s expansive as fuck!!!” Powerful vocals are the leader here, but the instrumentation that sits behind them is equally as mesmerising. Saxon is an absolute beast on solos, and his additional vocals complement Matt’s voice perfectly! Everything has elements of Queen and Rush deep routed within the style (I mean what’s not to like there already), but those elements are formed into something uniquely different. Add into that Matt’s ingeniously dark lyrics, set to up-tempo ‘happy’ sounding melodies, and you have the TI sound. It’s just exciting. I can’t really describe it any other way. It makes me want to listen, and keep on listening until the power dies. It’s a classic sound, with a modern twist, and it’s executed in a way that makes even the most complicated sections make perfect sense.

My favourite track was, and still is, ‘Hatred Is A Virtue’ – it’s the track that contains the lyric ‘I have music, I have life’, which has almost become the bands tagline, and it’s so damn true. This track is powerful, pacey, and full of classic rock riffage, that makes you move, as well as some pretty proggy timings! (It’s also one of the best ones to scream along to the chorus to when they’re playing live!… God how I miss live music. Like, every bit of my soul is aching to see a band on a stage again right now).

The release of this album marks the start of a very busy year for TI, as they are set to release three more albums – the newly recorded versions of “Excite The Light” Part I, II, and III. I’ve heard them, and they’re mind blowing, hence my 9.5 score here – our esteemed lord and master at Ever Metal, Mr Richard Tilley, won’t let me do scores over 10/10 now, because it’s mathematically impossible, and I need somewhere to go for those next three masterpieces 😉.

So, to sum up, if you appreciate clever lyrics, thoughtful song structure, ultra-talented musicians, and proggy, classic rock sounds, you need this album in your life. And Matt, and TI deserve to be huge. This much talent should not go unnoticed.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Imitate Me: Part 1
02. Freedom To Fail
03. Hatred Is A Virtue
04. Apocalypse…#LOL
05. Online And In Line
06. A Moment Of Lucidity
07. Imitate Me: Part 2

LINE-UP:
Matt Jones – Guitars/Vocals
Saxon Davids – Guitars/Vocals
Mark Wagstaff [back for this album only] – Bass
Chris Jones – Bass
Andy Gotteri – Keys
Jess Lawton – Keys
Phil Shacklady – Drums

Kenny Souter – KING OF MERCH! The best merch guy ever, no question, and a jolly happy sausage, despite what Zuckerberg thinks!

LINKS:

Twisted Illusion Promo Pic

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

Video Interview with Johnny Ray of THE MOURNING

The Mourning Logo

Video Interview with Johnny Ray of THE MOURNING
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello Everyone! Sheri here…

I am back with another new 2021 interview – and this time I had the wonderful opportunity to have a chat with vocalist/keyboardist Johnny Ray of Florida based Progressive Rockers The Mourning.

Johnny Ray will also be recognised by fans of the band 3 Headed Snake.

As for The Mourning well, I feel, these guys are wonderfully different. They blend Progressive Rock with elements of Jazz, Metal and, what I would call, a Spooky Alternative sound. I find this interesting as there are not too many Prog Rock bands that would enter the realm of mixing Jazz with their music and creating something so soothingly melodic whilst taking you down a Tim Burton style staircase at the same time.

The Mourning formed in 2017 with Johnny Ray recruiting Drummer Jason Berlin, Bassist Spence Howard and Guitarist Thomas Griggs, and together they released the 2018 EP “Theosis”. They then added Keyboardist John Richardson and Guitarist Andrew Stout during live sessions and are now creating their first full length album, due to be released for the Summer of 2021!

Have a watch and see what’s in store…

THE MOURNING Video Interview by Sheri Bicheno

The Mourning are:
Johnny Ray – Vocals/Keyboards
Jason Berlin – Drums
Spence Howard – Bass
Thomas Griggs – Guitars
John Richardson – Keyboards
Andrew Stout – Guitars

LINKS:

‘Hush’ (Audio)

The Mourning Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Heyoka’s Mirror – The Uninvited King

The Uninvited King Album Cover Art

Heyoka’s Mirror – The Uninvited King
Self-Released
Release Date: 06/03/2021
Running Time: 50:49
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Rick, the grand high wizard here at camp Ever Metal, knows my tastes pretty well now. Not really a surprise, as he has lived with me and my eclectic temperament for the last 6 years! So, when Calgary based Progressive Rock/Metal band, Heyoka’s Mirror dropped their debut album, “The Uninvited King” into the EM inbox, he sent it in my direction. Their email stated that they had been likened to a variety of bands, including my all-time favourites, Queen, which made me pay attention.

I can confirm that there’s definitely a vast variety of influences in Heyoka’s Mirror’s sound, including the aforementioned gods of music themselves. The opening track ‘The Light Within’ starts with drums, alongside some delicious synth and guitar, very much akin to the likes of The Enid. But it launches into an indulgent guitar solo, which just has Brian May written all over it, and some ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ vocal harmonies.

The tracks that follow are much heavier, drawing from Classic Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, and a touch of Thrash, 70s Hard Rock, and 90s Grunge to boot, but all with the overarching difficult rhythms and ‘might as well chuck it in, why the fuck not’ nature of prog. We even get some death growl vocals, because, in prog, anything goes! There are some pretty groove-laden riffs throughout, too (‘Shadow Man’ is full of them).

The mid-point to the album treats us to a 10-minute prog marathon, exploring the full range of progressive sounds, right from the more modern, to the more classic. It’s full of discordant guitars, crazy vocals, soft interludes, pauses, reverb, complicated rhythmic patterns, and unexpected cadences. My kid brother once dropped acid at Reading Festival, and completely missed Metallica (one of the main reasons he went in the first place) because he was curled up in a ball on the floor, facing away from the stage, rocking and staring into a hallucinogenic abyss that had opened up in the field in front of him. I’m fairly sure that this track was probably pretty similar to the sounds inside his head at that moment!

Ironic, really, that the next track on the album is called ‘Asylum’ (On a side note, this is also nearly 9 minutes long, and as bonkers as the previous track, which makes me very happy. Great bit of classical inspired piano, and jazz funk bass in the middle of it, too, before the bonkers kicks off again).

The album takes a twist from this point, sticking to a modern prog sound, with a hint of djent. That is until the final track ‘Celebration Of Light’, which almost brings everything back full circle, in epic, cinematic, 70’s inspired anthem style. It’s a great way to finish an album. Beautiful sweeping guitar solos, vocal harmonies, thumping drums, and expansive synth sounds triumphantly march towards the climax of what is, indeed, a mighty fine debut album. This is the musical equivalent of philosophical debate, in an attempt to reach the Nirvana of complete understanding, whilst high on psychedelic drugs. It’s an impressive thing to behold.

‘Asylum’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Light Within
02. Heavy Rain
03. Shadow Man
04. The Darkness Within
05. Asylum
06. Deal with the Devil
07. King Of Deception
08. Celebration Of Light

LINE-UP:
Andrew Balboa – Guitar/Synth/Vocals
Omar Sultan – Guitar/Vocals

Additional Album Line-up:
Casey Lewis – Drums
Johnny Kerr – Drums
Brendan Rothwell – Bass
Renan Weignater – Bass

LINKS:

Heyoka's Mirror Promo Pic

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

Pentesilea Road – Pentesilea Road

Pentesilea Road Album Cover Art

Pentesilea Road – Pentesilea Road
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 71:00
Review by Simon Black
6/10

This is pure Prog. Originally starting life as a solo effort from all round instrumentalist Vito F. Mainolfi, the outfit has extended over lockdown to a wider project, although clearly Mainolfi remains front and centre given that he is delivering guitars, bass, programming and assorted other instruments. The record has actually been available digitally for a while, with a physical version now available this month.

Opening with the lengthy instrumental ‘Memory Corners’, this band deliver pure 70’s influenced Prog from the opening bars and throughout its, quite lengthy, seventy-one minutes of run time. As you would expect, there’s plenty of instrumental breaks and nearly all of the twelve tracks clock in over six minutes of run time, so experimentation is very much the order of the day. Lorenzo Vincenzo Nocerino has a slightly more edgy vocal tone than is normal for this sort of Prog, where cleaner than clean is the norm but actually it works quite well, but the strongest song is when the vocals open up and goes full on rock mode with the guest appearance of Ray Alder from Fates Warning on ‘Shades Of The Night’ being a good example – although he does feel like he has been added to the mix quite latterly.

Recording remotely through lock down has been a challenge many acts have had to manage in the last eighteen months, but many at least have had the advantage of working together physically before Covid called a halt to travel. That’s important here, because with contributions coming from band members and assorted guests located in The Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the USA who have not worked together face to face there comes the risk of fragmentation.

There is some great playing here and I cannot fault the skill of this, but where the album is weaker is the song-writing. Even though by its very nature Progressive music is not going to opt for over-simplification of song-structure, this one rambles just that little bit too much in many places. It’s worth noting that even the masters of the genre can lose focus in this way though and there’s a fair number of noughties-era Dream Theater records for example that suffer from this sort of meandering and slightly lost feeling. The trick would appear to be to have a strong core song structure and then play around the edges, whereas in this instance the experimental parts have been allowed to predominate. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens again when all of the players are in the same room together when material is written and recorded, as all this could simply be the product of the fact that the core material is based on Mainolfi’s original demo’s, with everyone else added later and remotely.

In fact ‘demo’ is probably the key word here. This very much has the feel of a record that is only at the pre-production stage and is missing that crucial studio phase when the artists develop their short hand interactive personal chemistry (perhaps more vital in Prog or Jazz than any other musical genres) and where a firm handed producer focusses them on tightening up the arrangements. Get these guys in a room together to polish for a few weeks, then I suspect the end product will be quite formidable.

‘Memory Corners’ (Visualiser)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Memory Corners (feat. Mark Zonder)
02. Stranded
03. Genius Loci
04. Spectral Regrowth (feat. Mark Zonder)
05. Stains (feat. Michele Guaitoli)
06. Give Them Space (feat. Mark Zonder)
07. Shades Of The Night
08. The Psychopathology Of Everyday Things
09. Noble Art (feat. Ray Alder)
10. Pentesilea Road
11. A Tale Of Dissidence
12. Shades Of The Night (feat. Ray Alder)

LINE-UP:
Vito F. Mainolfi – Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals, Programming & Whatever Else
Ezio di Ieso – Pianoforte & Keyboards
Alfonso Mocerino – Drums
Lorenzo Vincenzo Nocerino – Vocals

Special Guests:
Ray Alder – Vocals on ‘Shades Of The Night’, ‘Noble Art’
Mark Zonder – Drums on ‘Memory Corners’, ‘Spectral Regrowth’, ‘Give Them Space’
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals on ‘Stains’
Paul Prins – First Solo on ‘Give Them Space’

LINKS:

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

EMQ’s with THE GREY

The Grey Logo

EMQ’s with THE GREY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Cambridge, England based Instrumental Post Rock/Metal band, The Grey. Huge thanks to drummer, Steve, for taking part.

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

I’m Steve and I play the drums; Charlie plays guitar and James plays bass.

We’ve been a band for around 4 years now and have released 2 records as well as a couple of singles. I first met the others quite a few years prior to when we first started jamming when we played a show together in other bands. I have a feeling I was jokingly dressed up as an 80’s rocker in leopard print spandex and a giant blonde wig, picture Dee Snyder haha!

I’m not entirely sure but I think we were supporting one of Bill Steer from Carcass’ other bands which in of itself is pretty cool. After that Charlie and I kept in touch through Facebook and he asked me a few times to come and jam with them but due to living about an hour away and playing in other bands I always put it off until one day I took them up on the offer and the rest is history.

How did you come up with your band name?

So, we didn’t want anything too obscure or something that sounds cool but really didn’t mean anything and so decided upon The Grey for a specific reason. As a band we like to play with the dynamics between heavy and lighter sounding parts and felt like The Grey represents the juxtaposition between this nicely.

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

We would call ourselves Cambridge based however we all live about 30 minutes to 1 hour away and as a result I don’t really feel like we associate with any one scene however we have been “adopted” by the London Doom Collective (www.facebook.com/londondoomcollective/) who put on loads of great shows and play at the Club 85 in Hitchin with bands like Everest Queen and Ritual a lot who while being musically different to ourselves are still great to watch and hang out with.

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

“Dead Fire” album – Released through Ripcord Records.
www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

‘Petra’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

This is a difficult one to answer as it really depends on the context. As a fan of music and drumming I would have to say John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Roger Taylor and Mick Fleetwood and having parents buying records in the 70-80’s. I was introduced to music through their band’s and they are all drummers who help to define the bands they are members of. Later this would evolve into the punk bands from the mid 90’s to early 00’s from labels Like Fat Wreck and Epitaph such as Pennywise and Bad Religion and later developing into hardcore with bands on Revelations, Good Life and Dead & Gone Records.

What first got you into music?

Neither of my parents are musical however I have fond memories as a child of going through their record collection and pulling out classics like the first Sabbath record, Thriller and Dark Side Of The Moon and the feeling of putting on headphones and sticking the needle on the record still evokes something inside me.

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

For me that’s an easy one, Aaron Turner. I’m a big fan of Isis and just about everything he does. I’m also going to answer on behalf of Charlie the guitarist as I know he’s a Big Alice In Chains fan so I think for him, it would have to be Jerry Cantrell.

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

Easy, Roadburn.

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

There hasn’t been anything really weird however Charlie and Jim get a lot of fans nerding out on gear. I’ve had 2 people say they were brought to tears watching us live, one of who cried a little when he told me so that’s probably the strangest fan interaction, I’ve had.

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

Thank you and we really do appreciate your support.

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

Jesus…He’s pretty rocking right?

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

I love the comradery, whether it’s in the studio, rehearsing or playing shows. I hate disco load outs!

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

The disparity (monetarily) between the artists and those who facilitate them.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

First one that comes into my head is “Rumours”.

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

For supporting the band, CD’s. For the experience vinyl, for convenience downloads.

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

We’ve been lucky enough to tour with Will Haven so that will always be the answer to that one.

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

Probably my day job, being an engineer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jesus, Ghandi, Freddie Mercury and the 2 guys I play in a band with…I’m fair like that!

What’s next for the band?

We’ve just released our latest album on CD with Ripcord www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

and will be back on the road touring as soon as we can.

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

All of them…
www.facebook.com/TheGreyUK/
www.instagram.com/thegreyband/
www.thegrey2.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4IOraLrm86hXDzMKNhJEST

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Soft, spongey, orangey delights that are eaten however the hell you like.

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

Nothing other than thanks for listening to me ramble on and please check us out…

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.

ARTNAT – The Mirror Effect

The Mirror Effect Cover

ARTNAT – The Mirror Effect
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/03/2021
Running Time: 60:40
Review by Martin Bennewith
8/10

If you want to sit down and listen to a feast of progressive, art-rock, you cannot really go wrong with listening to Artnat’s debut “The Mirror Effect”. There certainly is a theme of simplicity marrying with the complex, as the musical mix-up of a fusion style rhythm section, analogue synth sounds along with a lead guitar, that throughout and without sounding flashy, tells a complex musical story.

Opener, ‘Riding the Edge’ has an eerie feel, dark sounding vocals against a backdrop of fusion, with a lazy guitar and synths swirling around varying tonal centre. The rhythm is also quite complex and changeable. Because of the arty nature, it does need some active listening to really appreciate the musicianship involved.

Second track, ‘Eternal Dance Of Love’ is a more laid-back number, with emotional lead guitar and sweet vocal lines against strings and piano, but the track progresses and builds to an energetic rhythmic plateau, and then calms down for the bass driven calmer ending.

There is a lot of music on this album, so I will not cover everything, however it is fair to say that the theme of progressive art-rock runs throughout. Track 3 ‘Return To Om’ will get a mention, as at 14 minutes long, it is a quarter of the album. This track is a mashup of energy and dream from the swirling bass and rhythms, with some sweet vocals, psychedelic melodic synth, and inspiring guitar. It is certainly an interesting journey that takes you from a certain softness to an energetic fusion.

Another standout track for me is ‘Cosmic Machinery’ – this has a very psychedelic improvised feel to it and is almost on the edge of being disturbing. It is chaos but in a good way. Just when you think you have got the meaning, it changes as it pulls away from one part of the journey and sends you on the next part. The grinding synths along with the lead create atonal mayhem against an ever-evolving rhythm.

The title track ‘The Mirror Effect’ centres around chants, vocal storytelling and harmony over piano, but drifts back into the arty guitar that is a theme through the album. There are interesting sections dropped in, such as a tribal sounding rhythm and chanting, as well as some synthesised mayhem. It is an interesting track but to a point that almost caricatures the rest of the album, which is quite fitting for the title track.

‘The Dramatic Beauty Of Life’ begins with some lovely atmospheric sounds, along with some keys, and then breaks into a fusion jam on the drums and bass with some excellent Moog and guitar leads.  It sounds like a free for all, with a jazz edge to it, which develops through the introduction of some vocal sounds and eventually an abrupt ending that contrasts from the slow beginning. An interesting track, although it can be hard to follow at times.

The final track ‘Finale’ is a fitting end, and meant to sound like the end – strings, a choir, piano, and a brass section – there are no guitars in sight. It is detached from the rest of the album but works well to spell out that it is all over.

I did not need to describe every track on this album, as there is a theme running throughout. This means it can be described as a whole from key moments. For what it is, “The Mirror Effect” works well. It is not an easy listen, so I would not recommend it when you are relaxing or driving, but if you want to listen to something that is musically complex, while at the same time not overstretching technical boundaries, then it is certainly worth a go.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Riding The Edge Of Darkness
02. Eternal Dance Of Love
03. Return To OM
04. From Chaos To Beauty
05. A View From Above
06. Cosmic Machinery
07. The Mirror Effect
08. Celebration
09. The Dramatic Beauty Of Life
10. The Complex Art Of Creation
11. Finale

LINE-UP:
Manuel Cardoso – Guitars
Gui da Luz – Synths
Sara Freitas – Vocals
Paulo Bretão – Basses
João Samora – Drums
André Hencleeday – Keyboards

LINKS:

Artnat Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith 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.