EMQ’s with AGE OF FIRE

Age Of Fire Logo

EMQ’s with AGE OF FIRE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Charlottesville, Virginia based Progressive Thrash Metal band, Age Of Fire. Huge thanks to Michael Heck & Laura Viglione 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?

Michael Heck: I play a lot of instruments, but mostly guitar these days, and have covered guitar, bass, and production duties in Age of Fire. Age of Fire is really the brainchild of my friend Greg, sort of the rebirth of his old thrash band. Greg is an old friend of mine. When I first met him, I liked a few metal bands, like Metallica and Pantera, but I think my metal taste at the time was fairly limited to just a few bands. Greg expanded my metal vocabulary pretty drastically, introducing me to bands as diverse as Nevermore, to Queensrÿche, to Helloween, to King Diamond. Later, Greg was working on the Age of Fire music, and I heard some of it and liked it and offered to beef up the production a bit for him. This led to him saying he wanted a female singer on some songs, so we drafted Laura into the project, and the modern Age of Fire was born.

Laura Viglione: I’m the singer in Age of Fire. I’ve known Greg and Mike both for a long time, and when they asked me to be part of the project I jumped at the chance!

How did you come up with your band name?

Mike & Laura: That’s all Greg. He came up with it back in the 80’s, I think. I was surprised it wasn’t already taken!

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

Mike & Laura: We all live in central Virginia, near Charlottesville. The metal scene is pretty small, pretty underground. Richmond, which is about an hour away, has a bit more of a metal scene (Lamb of God and Gwar are from there), but even there it’s fairly dead. We’re trying to carry the torch haha.

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

Mike: We put out our album “Shades Of Shadow” in 2020, right around the time COVID hit. Great timing!

‘Judgement Day’ (Lyric Video)

‘King Of Aquilonia’ (Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Mike: I play a ton of instruments and produce, so a ton of people across all those areas. For metal specifically, I’d say my earliest influences were probably Metallica and Pantera, but my biggest influence is probably Nevermore and Jeff Loomis, who I think is one of the best riff writers of all time.

Laura: My influences are a mixture of musical theatre and 90’s music growing up, followed by modern bad-ass female front-women like Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Just like Mike learned a lot at the feet of Greg, Mike has, in turn, educated me.

What first got you into music?

Mike: My dad was in a band when I was very little, sort of a Styx rip off type thing, and he played keys, but I remember being very enamoured with the drums as a toddler. Later, I had a great music teacher in elementary school and loved that class, then continued into band in middle school. I wanted to play drums, but my parents wouldn’t let me, so they sort of forced me into my second choice, which was saxophone, but two years later I finally convinced them to let me switch to drums. I did drums in marching band and jazz band all through high school, was drum captain, and was in a rock/metal band with a couple high school friends, and from them I learned to play guitar just hanging out as a teenager. By my early 20’s I was playing guitar almost exclusively, although I still enjoy drumming.

Laura: My mom listened to music a lot growing up, lots of old R&B and cheesy pop ballads. My older sister was really into a bunch of 90’s bands, so that really got me into rock music. Then, I discovered Rush and fell in love with their early proto-metal sound. Later, this gradually evolved into more hard rock bands and metal bands.

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

Mike: Probably either Jeff Loomis or James Hetfield. Tony Iommi would be killer too.

Laura: Geddy Lee would be amazing to work with!

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

Mike & Laura: one of the big European festivals probably! We love visiting Europe and really want to get over there to play!

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

Mike: I don’t remember too many weird gifts. A lot of times people just want to give you something they made or something like that which I always enjoy. I especially enjoy getting music from fans that they made that was inspired by us.

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

Thank you for all the support and please keep following and sharing our stuff!

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

Mike: This is a really tough question. I’d say it’s a toss-up between Randy Rhoads, one of my all-time favourite guitar players, and a huge lead influence on me, or Dimebag Darrell, whose death was just so unfair. Both of those guys died too early and music would’ve been very different had they had more time on this Earth.

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

Mike: I love writing, recording, and playing music. Hanging out with friends and talking about gear or songs. Listening to music. I hate the business side of the industry. Having to do promotions and shop around for deals/gigs/etc. It can be gruelling. I just want to play lol.

Laura: I love singing and performing. Recording can be draining depending on how it’s going though. Mike can be kind of a perfectionist, so when we’re doing vocals and I’m on the 20th take , trying to get it “just right” and I’m about to murder him that can be taxing sometimes haha.

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

Mike: I’d probably do away with labels all together. I don’t think they have a future, but I would like it to be easier to discover new music. I think the big media companies need to be broken up. Some crazy percentage of US media are owned by a very small number of companies, and this creates problems with radio and TV (and news) where we are all force fed the same 20 songs/artists all month or whatever. With more independent stations this would be less of a problem. I’d like to see more of that, and more bands doing it DIY without major label help. Smaller labels like our label, Sliptrick, can be helpful for taking over some promotional duties, video production, etc, like they have for us though!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Mike: Nevermore’s “Dreaming Neon Black”. Probably my #1 all-time favourite metal album and one of my favourite albums of any genre.

Laura: Coheed and Cambria, “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3”. It’s just perfection from the first note to the last. Dynamic, massive orchestration, hard guitars and soaring vocals.

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

Mike: Streaming is the most convenient for sure, but you have to make sure to go into your settings and set it to the highest quality (320kbs if you have it) so the audio doesn’t suck. CD’s are alright, but a lot of stuff that was mastered for CD, especially early on, wasn’t mastered well for the medium and sounds awful. Cassettes were just a pain; I hate them lol. Vinyl is great, and I hope we are able to put out some stuff on vinyl one day. I think the big thing about vinyl is that it sort of forces you to listen to an entire side of an album, because you can’t just skip to the next track like you can for CD’s and streaming. You just put the record on and let it play, and I think this is better/healthier in many ways for our modern short attention spans.

Laura: I’m too lazy for all that, give me streaming all day. Mike is such an audiophile, he’s picky, but I can get down to any quality of sound as long as something is playing.

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

Mike: We’ve played so many shows over the years it’s hard to pick one. I like most any gig where the crowd is into it and moving around. When people are just standing there staring and giving no sign that they’re into what you’re doing, those shows can be hard.

Laura: For sure, I remember a magical night in this dive bar where everything just aligned, and the crowd and I were completely synergistic…I’ll always remember it.

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

Mike: Well, we all have day jobs, so we’d be doing those things haha. Artistically, if I couldn’t play music, I would probably write stories/books. I’m (very slowly) working on a sci-fi book, but who knows if I’ll ever finish it. It’s pretty epic though!

Laura: I’m a giant theatre nerd: I have a regular Shakespeare study group I might have done some community theatre stuff, but would love to do more!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Mike: Living or Dead? Probably people that like good food. I hear Dave Grohl and Dimebag make/made mean BBQ, so they’re totally in. Probably James Hetfield, cause he seems like a cool guy. Lzzy Hale seems like she could throw down with these guys. And last but not least, let’s throw Zac Wylde in the mix. I think this would be a fun backyard BBQ throw down!

Laura: I’m kinda with Mike, I enjoy hanging with people who can just be low key and real. Some tunes, some brews and good food, come one over!

What’s next for the band?

Mike: We are hard at work on our next album, and working on being more active on social media. We’re deep in the writing process now, with a lot of awesome riffs and ideas, writing lyrics. I’m building a new 7 string multi-scale guitar from scratch, and a new studio production desk in my workshop, which may come in handy on the new record as well. Laura and I also have another band called Supervixen (less metal and more straight up rock) that has its own record nearing the end of production as we transition to working on the next Age of Fire record.

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

Mike: We have all the things haha. Facebook, Youtube, etc. I let Greg handle most of that stuff.

Laura: I gotcha- I’ve recently discovered that many fans think of me as “illusive” so I’m making an effort to be more present on social media – it’s just life is so boring right now during the pandemic 😊.
www.facebook.com/ObsidianDreams9
www.instagram.com/age_of_fire_band/
www.ageoffire.net/
www.ageoffire.bandcamp.com/

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Mike: I love British culture and snacks and whatnot, but I don’t think I’ve had one! I need to go get some haha. Wikipedia says they’re “biscuit sized cakes”, so I’ll go with that haha.

Laura: I think it all depends on what you’re eating them with. By themselves, cake. With tea – biscuit.

Age Of Fire Promo Pic (Credit Eichner Studios)
Credit Eichner Studios

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.

Reaper – Stranger Than Fiction

Reaper – Stranger Than Fiction
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/10/2020
Running Time: 37:53
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

Merseyside. An area in the North West of England, known for some interesting stuff; The Beatles, a couple of decent football teams (one arguably better than the other – which one that is, I’ll leave up to you to decide), and the exit point of the River Mersey into the North Sea (I believe there’s a ferry across it, too. I heard it once in a song 🤣). And now, Merseyside has a new offering! A young four-piece Progressive Thrash Metal band, by the name of Reaper. Over the last couple of years, we’ve become quite friendly with their frontman, Dan Moran, so it’s a great pleasure to now be able to review their second full length album, “Stranger Than Fiction”.

Inspired by the great and good of Thrash, Prog, and Classic Metal, Reaper create a sound that’s full of thumping melodies, entwined with faster thrash riffs, and intricate rhythms, which give the sound a distinct edge. “Stranger Than Fiction” was originally set to be an EP, but then Covid happened, and the lockdown that followed led to some intense and inspired writing, leaving them with enough material to go the whole hog! The concept of being thrust into life in a world full of chaos, then learning to accept that chaos is all part of life’s rich tapestry, forms the basis of this album. It explores some of the harsher sides of life that run starkly through the world, especially at the current time.

After a short introduction, made up of a collection of chaotic samples to set the scene, ‘Sigil’, the bands previously released single, kicks the actual music off. It’s pacey and full of epic riffage and thrashy rhythms, with Dan’s vocals ripping over the top of everything. His voice is somewhere between Rob Halford and an angry Bruce Dickenson! Powerful and gritty, with a great range, and an even bigger lung capacity (there’s some ridiculously long notes in this track)!

‘The Titan’ is slightly slower, but still with all the vim and vigour you want from a meaty Thrash track. It’s a real thumper. It gets a bit trippy in the middle, too, before coming back to shotgun staccato work on the guitars, bass, and drums, and a pretty epic guitar solo. This thunderous sound is continued in the first half of ‘Upon The Sun’. However, halfway through, it suddenly drops into a quite acoustic section, followed by a proggy interlude, which really mixes things up a bit! Again, this is another belter.

‘Flight’ takes an amble through full on prog, with a heavy edge. It’s many cross-rhythm sections, discordant guitar solos, and bonkers vocal effects, intertwine to create a reasonably psychedelic, hallucinogenic experience. Don’t try and bang your head to this one. It will just annoy you! Just pay attention instead! There’s so much going on in it, that you’ll find something new with each listen.

The business end of the album brings the thrash back, (with ‘Jericho’ being a full-on thrash number that you just have to move to) then goes all out thrash prog genius for the final two tracks, ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Walk The Sky’, which are both of epic length, and by far my favourite tracks on the album.

‘Afterlife’ starts off pacey and powerful, then builds and builds, until it crashes into the stratosphere of epic melodic prog, before finally coming back down to earth, with an acoustic guitar closing the track. It’s so emotive and exciting! I think it might be my favourite Reaper song ever, actually! ‘Walk The Sky’ is almost a resolution of ‘Afterlife’. It offers a fair amount of heavy and pacey thrash riffs early on, but then floats down into intricate, measured, chilled out prog. The symbolic “moment of acceptance and contentment” realising and resolving the discordant chaos.

I love this album. And the more I listen to it, the more I hear in it. If you like anything thrashy, with some added diversity, then you need this in your playlist. It’s interesting and exploratory, and musically, its skilfully executed, tight, and displays a mature professionalism that goes way beyond the band’s years. I’ve only held back from giving “Stranger Than Fiction” a perfect 10 because I believe that Reaper still have even more to give. And that, my friends, is a hellishly exciting prospect!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Event Horizon
02. Sigil
03. The Titan
04. Upon The Sun
05. Flight
06. Jericho
07. Afterlife
08. Walk The Sky

LINE-UP:
Daniel Moran – Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Capitano – Guitar
Elliott Kyriakides – Bass
Anthony Longworth – Drums

LINKS:

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

EMQ’s with HUNGER

EMQ’s with HUNGER

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Indaiatuba, Brazil based Progressive Thrash Metal band, Hunger. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Mauro Izalbert 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 Mauro Izalbert and I am the guitarist and vocalist of Hunger.

Hunger started in 2002 aiming to make metal with ‘political’ lyrics. We recorded some demos: “Peace Is In Pieces” (2003 EP), Hunger (2004 EP), “When The Truth Lies” (2005 single), “Demons In White” (2009 single), and “Contradizendo um Paradoxo” (2011 Single). We did many shows, but only in the State of São Paulo – Brazil with some great names of Brazilian metal like Shaman, Torture Squad, Angra and Sepultura. The Band also participated in many contest festivals, and always taking some prize.

I am the only member since the beginning, and the constant changing of members was the most difficult thing about releasing a full length.

How did you come up with your band name?

I was searching for a name that represents politically criticising Brazil and I downloaded a song called ‘Hunger’ from eMule, supposed to be Megadeth and Metallica playing together, and I thought to myself it was perfect: Brazil suffered a lot with poverty and hunger at that time and it’s a mixture of two of my favourite bands. Later, I found out I was pranked; the song was from a band called Eternal Decision and had nothing to do with Metallica or Megadeth.

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

We are from Indaiatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.

I think we are growing! There are many great bands around here doing good stuff and helping each other.

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

In January 2020, we released our First Full album “Hunger Feeds Misery” and in April, we released the music video “Peace is in pieces”.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Cliff Burton, Chuck Schuldiner, Dave Mustaine, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Pantera, Testament, Sepultura and Pink Floyd.

What first got you into music?

Pink Floyd was what I enjoyed the most when I was a kid. After that, Metallica’s  “…And Justice For All” got me into metal.

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

Probably Machine Head. Not only for the music but also because of Rob’s Political vision.

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

Wacken! Because it’s the greatest one and the dream of every metal musician.

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

A girl gave me her underwear after the show.

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

Support metal! Don’t make any kind of competition between the bands. Love and Respect.

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

It’s Hard to say only one, but I would love to hear more of what Chuck Schuldiner would make for music.

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

I love that I can express my thoughts and feelings through music, it’s way different than talking. I hate rumours, band’s competitions and weak people who try to fuck other bands rather than worry about making music.

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

I think the internet. Of course, it helps me a lot, but I miss people buying CD’s instead of downloading music and people going to shows instead of watching videos at home.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“The Sound Of Perseverance” – Death

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

A mix of vinyl aesthetics and CD sound quality

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

It was on January 24th 2020

We released our First album and there was a special guest: Marcello Pompeu – Korzus

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

Well, as a child my dream was to be a scientist

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Dimebag Darrel, James Hetfield and Chuck Schuldiner

What’s next for the band?

We were planning to tour before Covid 19. Now we’re planning more music videos

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

www.instagram.com/hunger_metal/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0rVWznTIYGthebFHlOL8A1
www.youtube.com/channel/UCRRDPxK11xE8K9NTZakNtWQ
www.deezer.com/album/152545482

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Hahahaha! I’d say they’re biscuits

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

Thank YOU!

I’d love to thank you Guys, specially Victor Augusto. I’d love to thank all metal people who support us in any way! You’re the best!

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.