EMQ’s With AGE OF ATHENA

Age Of Athena Logo

EMQ’s With AGE OF ATHENA

Hi everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview this time with Canadian Symphonic Metalcore band, Age Of Athena. Huge thanks to their Guitarist/Vocalist, Zachary 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! My name is Zachary and I play guitar and scream in the Symphonic Metalcore band, Age of Athena! I met our pianist Nathan in university. We started jamming and writing songs, and bam! That’s when we decided to make a band together. A year later we found Helen and Michael on Kijiji, believe it or not! After that, everything just fell into place and the rest is history!

How did you come up with your band name?

We wanted to come up with a name that sounded very large and in charge. Avengers: Age of Ultron came out a year prior and I remember thinking that movie title (and movie) felt huge! So that’s where we got half the name… the other half came from browsing a list of Greek gods and goddesses because that’s what everyone does when coming up with a name, right? Right!? We decided to go with Athena, the goddess of war and protectress. She is a balance of chaos and protection – good and evil. Similarly, our music is a contrast between the chaos of Metalcore and the sweet Symphonic sounds of our female vocalist.

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

We are from Toronto, Canada! The scene is great – we know a lot of local talent and have played with quite a few of them! We’re lucky to be in a city where there is a large audience for Metal bands! That’s all you can ask for really! The Agonist and Spiritbox are popular Canadian Modern Metal bands and it’s really cool they’re experiencing international success – there is hope for Canada!

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

We just released our first single, ‘Dance With The Devil’, on October 29th. Our second single, ‘Together We Fall’, dropped on November 26th. Our debut album, “Gate To Oblivion”, came out on December 17th, 2021! This album has something for everyone – from heavier Metalcore screamed breakdowns, to smooth and angelic Melodic vocal melodies.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Synyster Gates from Avenged Sevenfold and Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Their song writing is genius, and their solos are very memorable and well written. When writing, I try to create solos that listeners can hum, sing, and air guitar along to, just like these two guys do! As a band we are all inspired by a variety of different artists of different genres. This works to our advantage as it brings in new perspectives and ideas stemming from all different kinds of music.

What first got you into music?

It’s strange to say but honestly 2007’s Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock! That game changed my life forever. I remember getting the game for Christmas and playing “Slow Ride” by Foghat. From then on, I was obsessed with the guitar. When I could play all the songs on expert mode in the game, I thought it was time to graduate to the real thing. I haven’t stopped playing since, always trying to challenge myself and test the limits of my own personal “expert mode”.

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

Honestly, we love so much music and so many bands that I would be very happy to collaborate with anyone. I think having any strong female metal vocalist would be awesome on our tracks – Simone from EPICA, Vicki from The Agonist, Courtney from Spiritbox, and Tatiana from Jinjer, to name a few.

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

Obviously, there are a lot of huge festivals in Europe… but playing Heavy Montreal in Canada would be very special. I’ve attended as a fan several times and have always had a blast!

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

My Mom gave me a Fruit Roll-Up once.

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

Don’t give up on your dreams. Hard work pays off!

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

Jimmy “The Rev” from Avenged Sevenfold. His whacky song writing was genius, and his absence has really been felt by the band and fans alike. Gone too soon.

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

I like hearing music come together sonically as a full band. Jamming out tunes for the first few times can be rough but when everyone comes together and brings their A game, I’m very satisfied with the music we make.

Honestly, I hate feeling the comparative / competitive pressure with other guitarists. I get stressed when I can’t play something as well as I would like, and I get stressed when I can’t play at the level my heroes and other contemporary metal guitarists play at. Taking a step back, not letting it get to my head too much, and only comparing myself to… myself, is helpful when trying to chill out about it.

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

Unless your name is Taylor Swift, you need a second job. Music has been getting less and less financially sustainable for the average everyday musician.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”. It’s the greatest rock n’ roll debut album ever. The song writing is genius. Those punk ass kids from L.A. had no business writing an album like that!

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

Umm… don’t kill me, but downloads. I’m young, I’ve embraced the technological age, and streaming services are just easier and more convenient. I don’t even have a CD player anymore! However, I think streaming compresses the audio a little bit. So, CDs are my best bet for clear audio fidelity.

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

Probably our last gig at Bovine Sex Club downtown Toronto. It was the last gig we played before the pandemic hit. We’ve done a lot of gigs playing as sort of a cover band and this was our first show playing wholly original music. I loved it! We had a lot of fun playing and hanging out with our friends Anger By Design and Driftglass. There was a great turn out in the audience as well!

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

Pro gamer. 1v1 me on Call of Duty bro.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Adele, John Mayer, Jack Black, James Corden, and Jesus Christ – to make things spicy.

What’s next for the band?

Our debut album “Gate To Oblivion” arrived in December which was exciting. We’re very happy to be releasing music into the world for the first time! We just filmed a music video so stay tuned for that! Beyond that we’re looking forward to joining the world in getting back out there and supporting live music and playing some shows ourselves!

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

Our music is on all streaming platforms! You can find it and check us out at
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ageofathena
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ageofathena/
Website: https://www.ageofathena.ca
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5cqA1zq210eUdlakOih8sN
iTunes: https://music.apple.com/ca/artist/age-of-athena/1587830112 
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ca/artist/age-of-athena/1587830112

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Hahaha I don’t think I’ve ever had a Jaffa Cake… but after some research I am going to say biscuit!

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.

Wilderun – Epigone

Epigone Album Cover Art

Wilderun – Epigone
Century Media Records
Release Date: 07/01/22
Running Time: 71:14
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Rarely is it that an album comes along which leaves me completely lost for words and in complete awe. Over the years a few artists have managed it. Devin was one, with “Empath”. Much earlier in my musical listening life, Queen’s “Innuendo” album left me speechless too. But in 2020 I had the pleasure of reviewing “Veil Of Imagination” by Boston, Massachusetts based Symphonic Progressive Metal band Wilderun, and that left me in much the same state… 

Well, now they’re back with their new release, and bugger me, they have done it again! This album is ridiculous, and I simply do not have enough words for it (I’m pretty sure I said similar in my last review)! So, without further ado, I will try and explain why “Epigone” is a modern masterpiece. 


Wilderun’s previous offering began with a track that was over 14 minutes long, and absolutely huge. I didn’t think it was possible to make a sound any bigger than that track. Turns out I was wrong again! While this record starts with a beautifully haunting acoustic number, we are introduced to the epic track next, with ‘Woolgatherer’. It’s insanely gigantic in every imaginable way, not just in length, and it all starts from the position of stunning, beautiful gentleness, both vocally and instrumentally. This is the most ridiculous prog I have ever heard – delicate, yet flamboyant and sumptuous, it sails you away to some sort of weird, and a little dark, symphonic Atlantis that simply should not be possible, or at all plausible. Massive orchestrations, intricate cross rhythms, close harmonies, clean vocals that soar, and demonic growls that tear at your soul, and it’s all rounded off with guitar riffage and bass wizardry that moves through so many colours during the track.

And this is very much how this album continues. Darker than their previous album, it really is an absolute genius masterstroke, and I am in total awe of the musical brains behind Wilderun. Magic. That’s what it is. There is no other word to describe it.

‘Ambition’ serves as a pause within the album, and is a haunting and sinister soundscape, which feels oppressive and insular – almost like being in a submarine deep under the ocean. This leads into ‘Distraction – parts I-IV’ which creates a 20-minute Progressive Metal Juggernaut that takes us to the end of the main album. Its orchestral elements are frankly stunning. I have visions of it being performed by a full orchestra in venues like The Royal Albert Hall, or Sydney Opera House. And the skill of every single musician in the work is exhibited perfectly within these tracks. The guitar solo in part III is just nuts! 

I implore you though – do not let that be the end of the album. Purchase the full works that have the 2 extra tracks, because if you don’t, you’re depriving yourself of more brilliance. ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ is heavy and crunchy, but still retains that beautiful orchestral element, and a choral element as well. And the Synth remix of the opening album track ‘Exhaler’ is equally as beautiful, but somehow more haunting. 


Stunning. Absolutely, totally and utterly astounding. Everything is perfect. If I could give a million out of ten, I would. Probably my album of the year already and it’s only January. It’s going to take a massive amount of beating. I’m feeling emotional right now. If you like prog, classical, or anything symphonic, and want music to make you really feel something, you need this album. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Exhaler
02. Woolgatherer
03. Passenger
04. Identifier
05. Ambition
06. Distraction I
07. Distraction II
08. Distraction III
09. Distraction Nulla
10.  Everything In Its Right Place (Bonus – only on CD & digital)
11. Exhaler (Synth Mix – Bonus – only digital)

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

LINKS:

Wilderun 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 IMMATERIUM

Immaterium Logo

EMQ’s With IMMATERIUM

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Polish Epic Symphonic Metal solo project, Immaterium. Huge thanks to main lady, Ma’ar Gareth, 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 real name is Małgorzata but it’s too hard to write or pronounce for foreigners, so I use the  English version, Margaret. My music is influenced by many bands because I like almost all kinds of metal, and I’m a fan of soundtracks too. So, I would just call it ‘Epic Symphonic Metal’. Still better than calling it ‘Epic Symphonic Melodic Progressive Metal with Djent and Opera influences”.

I formed this project because I couldn’t deal with the amount of ideas that I had in my head. I could create a whole fantasy universe during a boring lesson or write lyrics for a concept album when I had a few free days. When I had a lot of song lyrics, I decided to learn music theory. I never believed I could to that, but after about ten months I wrote the orchestral parts for my first real song (Hymn of The Warmaster). The songs I wrote before? Well, let’s pretend they never existed.

Then came the worst part. Finding band members. Where I live, I have only a few friends, and they aren’t interested in music, especially in my genre. I browsed the internet but everyone was like: ‘new project? Wow, great, I want to join!’ Then there were two weeks of silence and a response: ‘Sorry, I can’t write anything and I quit.” Finally, I just found musicians for hire. I asked if they are interested in music like this, they wrote the rest of the song, and we all were happy.

How did you come up with your band name?

I knew it had to be some kind of reference related to science, sci-fi or fantasy. I had a few options: Exocortex (brain-computer interface), TechMage (as the name says, the magician dedicated to technology), Mechanomachia (Titanomachia was a mythical ancient Greek war with titans but make the titans mechanical), CyberSkull (can’t imagine how cheesy that would be), Kyber (crystals used in Lightsabers in Star Wars universe), Korriban (a sinister planet in Star Wars), Katana (sorry, taken!), a bunch of technobabble like ‘quantum/cyber/space + random word’ names (bonus points if they were in Latin), and then the final choice: The Eye of Terror, Warp Storm, or Immaterium. All of them are related to a fictional realm from the Warhammer Universe that could be called ‘the opposite of reality’. Think about hyperspace in Star Wars but with monsters, demons and suffering souls that drive people into insanity.

My stage name is just my English name with more letters. Margaret sounds like a normal girl, while Ma’ar Gareth sounds like some kind of ancient magician or goblin warlock or whatever like this.

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

I’m from Southern Poland, also called ‘Bieszczady’, and we’re the home of the legendary Tech-Death band Decapitated. I’m not very much into the local scene, but the bands that I can recommend are: Kalt Vindur (Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal), Hermetic Evolution (Djent/Industrial Metal), Diaboł Boruta (Folk Metal) and Neolith (Death Metal).

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

The latest, and also the first release is the EP called ‘The Primal Evil’.

Who have been your greatest influences?

The first two bands that gave me the idea were Nightwish and Epica. If they can play metal with orchestral music influences, why can’t I? Then I dived deeper and found many Symphonic Death Metal Bands: Ex Deo, Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Shade Empire and Wintersun. But the band that helped me make the final decision was the band that I love with my whole heart: Mechina.

What first got you into music?

Weird story. When I was a kid, I absolutely hated music. The thing I disliked the most was lyrics. Love, broken hearts, romances… boooring. Then, when I was 14, my classmate started listening to Rammstein in front of the whole class. That was it. Raw, heavy, and catchy. I fell in love with that band (now I like still like them, just not that fanatically). This led me to the whole big, vast realm of Metal. The beginnings weren’t so easy. It was very hard for me to find something more impressive than Metallica, Slipknot or Nirvana. When I thought I almost lost my interest, I accidentally saw a Facebook ad about Behemoth. That was a revelation. Finally, I found what I was looking for and with all those years I was discovering more and more interesting music, not only Metal.

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

Brittney Slayes, the vocalist of Unleash The Archers. No one can change my mind that she is the best vocalist in Modern Metal, and one of the greatest vocalists in the whole Metal history. She can do pretty low and deep cleans, high Power Metal screams, and even opera, that is all I need in my music. But that’s just a dream, too perfect to be real.

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

ProgPower. I like Prog and Power, I play Prog and a bit of Power, do I need more?

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

Someone paid $4 on Bandcamp, when my price was $0.90. I had only one song, I could give up at any moment, but someone trusted me that much. That person believed I can do more. That was heartwarming.

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

Not only my fans, but fans of any underground band: if you can’t or don’t want to spend money and buy my things or donate to my Ko-Fi page, you can always help me in many other simple ways. Share my music or posts, tag your friends, tag me under other people’s posts, recommend me to other people. It costs nothing, takes only a few minutes or even less, but it helps a lot.

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

Probably Alexi from Children of Bodom. I wasn’t a big CoB fan, but they influenced many bands that I love: Kalmah, Skyfire or Norhter. Without him, the Melodic Death Metal scene would feel empty and ordinary. He and his band have many worthy successors, but those bands wouldn’t be the same without his influence.

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

Storytelling. I love telling or retelling stories. Writing music lets me unleash my imagination, it’s like creating fantastic events and universes, or travelling through places that no one else could think about.

And the thing I hate is music promotion, marketing, and social media. Wake up, send messages to bloggers, add posts on Instagram or you will lose all your reach and engagement, then browse through playlists and submit your music, then go back to Instagram and look for followers. Earlier I posted only when I had something to say. Now, after the Instagram change, I need to do it three, four times per week or their damned algorithms will bury my account.

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

I would grab all those scammers, lock them in a big underground cage and throw a bunch of spiders or cockroaches on their heads. Why? I’m frequently looking for a new ways of music promotion and the amount of scammers is unbelievable. All this ‘5k Spotify streams in 2 days, 10k likes on Facebook, you will go viral and be the next Lady Gaga, and every time you tag #music, don’t forget to DM us for promo!’ gives me a gag reflex. Someone should take care of those scammers and bots. I heard about way too many artists who get scammed by very believable and professional looking morons. Before you pay for any promo, do research. Don’t trust anyone who promises you too much in too short time for too little money or who got hundreds of five-star reviews from fake accounts.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Mechina – “Progenitor”.

(Beware, spoilers!) Every time I promise myself I won’t cry during  the lines ‘At any moment this will end, my final breath, like embers turning to dust’ or ‘The price we pay begins with boundless pain. Awaken, only to die’. And I fail. The goosebumps I get during the orchestral parts feel like some kind of frozen mist. The beautiful and powerful voice of Mel Rose plays with my feellings. It can make me feel like I was one of the characters from the story: depressed like I was the one who got betrayed by her own sister, lost like the character who got deprived of memory in order to survive or awed like the creators of godlike machines. Enough spoilers, go and listen to this band (in chronological order of the story!) and visit their Wiki to understand the awesome lore. Seriously, this could be the sci-fi series in history! 

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

Of course, the feeling of holding a vinyl or CD in your hands is a special kind of experience but not everyone can buy them. I don’t have enough space to hoard hundreds of CDs, ordering CDs from more underground bands in other countries is expensive, and sometimes I just like a few songs from the album. My personal choice is to buy music from Bandcamp.

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

I never played a gig because I’m in an international project and the whole logistics would be too complicated and expensive. I only took part in a few gigs as a fan and the best one was a Vader live show (the scene was very low, someone pushed me and I fell on the scene. Fun times.)

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

Now I’m studying photography and that’s what I’m going to do in my life. Aside from that, I would be a writer if I were smarter and better at marketing. I hope I will be able to go back to writing one day.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Thomas (ex Gloryhammer), Christopher (Alestorm), Jonne (Korpiklaani), Michalina (Eluveitie) and Arjen (Ayreon). Let’s order a big pizza and a lot of beer and we can party long after the dinner!

What’s next for the band?

A full-length album. I will be back even stronger with even better music. Trust me.

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

Instagram was my favourite site ever but after the algorithm changes, I hate it, but I still need to use it because it gets a lot of attention (comparing to other sites). This platform is still pretty easy to get reach (use hashtags, comment, follow people and they will come to you). The engagement is pretty high too (30 likes with less than 300 followers, while on Facebook where I have over 150 likes, I barely get one like per post.)

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Both. Biscuit is a subtype of cake. Trust me, I’m a certified baker (seriously).

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

Three things:

Thank you for responding to my message and I wish you a nice day.

Remember people, a healthy dose of sleep is very important in your life.

And the last thing: support the underground because a long time ago, all the legends were small bands.

Immaterium 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.

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation

Glory For Salvation Album Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation
AFM Records
Release Date: 26/11/2021
Running Time: 66:00
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

Few things are more cathartic and more immersive than an album from Rhapsody Of Fire. With fantasy concepts spanning multiple albums, and cinematically bombast soundscapes, my expectations are always going to be high where these Italians are concerned.

Before I delve into this album, a bit of context…the 2nd part of a trilogy of albums which started with “The Eighth Mountain” (2019), “Glory For Salvation” explores themes such as regret, sorrow and atonement in an alternate world. The band line-up changed once again before this album was laid down when, without much fanfare, Paolo Marchesich replaced Manuel Lotter behind the drum-kit. Other than that, the band’s approach doesn’t seem to have changed.

I get the impression that, with “Glory For Salvation”, Rhapsody Of Fire have endeavoured to create a multi-faceted album, without compromising the quality of their own musicianship. Yes, the album is good. Very good. Lead vocalist Giacomo Voli has outdone himself – his singing gave me goosebumps in songs such as ‘Un Ode Per L’Eroe’ (‘Ode For The Hero’), or even the title track. On guitars, Roby De Micheli showcases the range of his skills, from the blazing solos on ‘Maid Of The Secret Sand’ to the heavy riffs of ‘Abyss Of Pain II’.

The style of Alex Staropoli’s keyboard playing remains an essential element of the band’s sound, and wrenches all the emotive content out of the album’s music, sometimes punctuating it with some great keyboard riffs.

I hinted at the album’s layers….’Terial The Hawk’ is a galloping song with some Abba-style choir vocals. ‘Eternal Snow’ is an English-language narration that’s very clearly done by an Italian….it doesn’t possess the drama of, say, Christopher Lee’s narrations….but I’m willing to turn a blind eye on that. ‘Magic Signs’ is an incredibly well-written power ballad, containing some great acoustic guitar. And all the time the music keeps reflecting the concept’s evolving storyline.

‘Magic Signs’, ‘Un’Ode Per L’Eroe’ and ‘La Esencia De Un Rey’ are the same song but with, respectively, English, Italian and Spanish lyrics. So, Giacomo’s not just a great singer but a polyglot too!

As far as I’m concerned “Glory For Salvation” is an album of breathtaking proportions.

‘Chains of Destiny’ video:


TRACKLISTING:
01. Son Of Vengeance
02. The Kingdom Of Ice
03. Glory For Salvation
04. Eternal Snow
05. Terial The Hawk
06. Maid Of The Secret Sand
07. Abyss Of Pain II
08. Infinitae Gloriae
09. Magic Signs
10. I’ll Be Your Hero
11. Chains Of Destiny
12. Un’Ode Per L’Eroe
13. La Esencia De Un Rey

LINE-UP:
Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Paolo Marchesich – Drums


LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Ignea & Ersedu – Bestia (Split EP)

Bestia EP Cover Art

Ignea & Ersedu – Bestia (Split EP)
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/10/21
Running Time: 38:33
Review by Simon Black
9/10

I had come across Ukraine’s Ignea with their “The Realms of Fire and Death” album last year – an album that melded Power and Symphonic, with a Middle Eastern vibe at their heart, and I was quite blown away at their rather unique sound. This piece sees them sharing the release with their old friends Ersedu – a way more Death and Symphonic orientated act, who haven’t so made the same level of impact globally yet – something this record is clearly designed to redress. Although to be fair, Ersedu are something of an enigma, with a minimal internet presence, and no clue on any of their web pages as to who is in their line up.

To be honest, it’s more like an album than an EP, as it’s a concept piece exploring the mythological bestiary of their home nation. And, despite there only being six tracks on there, the run time is the best part of forty minutes. Interestingly, although the two bands have each contributed tracks individually, the recording mix, and cross-fertilisation between the two acts means it’s sometimes not clear who contributed which tracks to a casual listener. Both utilise very powerful female frontwomen who can deliver roaring guttural shred and clean brilliance in equal measure, and the more I listen, the more I realise that this is a country with a very unique take on Extreme music, that I need to dig into more deeply. Ignea take the first two tracks with Melodic brutality, Ersedu the next three showing a more subtle and Symphonic, although no less brutal edge. The epic closer ‘The Symphony of Bestia’ however is a joint affair, which really rams home by point about cross-fertilisation, and is very much on its own as an instrumental piece, far more classical in nature, and really not in the slightest bit Metal at all.

I love the way that the more established act has opened proceedings, but then stepped back to show the world what their contemporaries and friends can do – that’s not a behaviour you see often in the brutally competitive music industry, and for that alone this release deserves credit. But the fact is it’s a fabulous record in its own right. This was a fascinating project, and it’s at moments like this when my frustration with this reviewing lark, and the relentless pile of material I have to cover each month, peaks.

Releases like this have taken a huge amount of thought and I feel like I am barely doing justice to it. Three listens in, and I know that I’m barely scratching the surface of one of the most fascinating pieces of work to cross my desk all year. No, fascinating is not strong enough a word ‘fantastic’ is better…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bosorkun
02. Magura’s Last Kiss
03. Mermaids
04. Black Garden
05. The Eaters of the Sun

LINE-UP:
Ignea:
Helle Bogdanova – Vocals
Dmitry Vinnichenko – Guitars
Xander Kamyshin – Bass
Ivan Kholmohorov – Drums
Evgeny Zhytnyuk – Keyboards

Ersedu:
Good question. Good luck finding that out!

LINKS:
Ignea:

Ignea Promo Pic

Ersedu:

Ersedu Promo Pic

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.

ElisaDay – Auftakt EP

Auftakt Album Cover Art

ElisaDay – Auftakt EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/10/21
Running Time: 24:38
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Rising from the ashes of Symphonic Metal outfit Lanewin, this is the third EP from Russian five piece, ElisaDay. The four tracks on here are pure Symphonic Metal, with very heavy, almost cinematic orchestrations, containing movements that evoke hints of Russian Folk, along with almost Middle-Eastern touches in the mix, just because they can. Also, deep down in the structure is a strong love of classical Progressive Rock, with Dmitry Popov clearly channelling his inner Division Bell era David Gilmore slide guitar, on ‘Fire Or Ice’.

I know this might not work for everyone, but as someone whose musical background was hugely influenced by Classical music, I’m always appreciative of acts that can meld the two successfully. This they spectacularly do, most notable on the epic ten minute closer, ‘Hear Me’, which gives the band a chance to really build and craft a complex, but flowingly beautiful piece of music. Many acts churn out lengthy songs which in reality are a pot pourri of bits of songs spliced together to show how clever they are, but this one doesn’t have that feel. Not only that but there is an uncredited male voice added to the mix, initially with some occasional bursts of more Extreme vocal style, keeping it fresh, energetic, and fundamentally a Metal piece, before that voice slows down, takes a clean turn, and delivers a blistering duet with Lubov Antropova that is quite simply fantastic. Although the first three tracks are fine in and of themselves, ‘Hear Me’ rules the release and is worthy of attention in and of itself. Time for a full album I think.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Inner War
02. Fire Or Ice
03. Poison Ring
04. Hear Me

LINE-UP:
Denis Geit – Bass
Dmitry Popov – Guitars
Ivan Kaiser – Keyboards
Lubov Antropova – Vocals
Igor Borodin  – Drums

LINKS:

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Eternal Silence – Timegate:Anathema

Timegate Anathema Album Cover Art

Eternal Silence – Timegate:Anathema
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 08/10/2021
Running Time: 50:28
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Italian Symphonic Metallers Eternal Silence have been ploughing their particular furrow for about a decade and “Timegate:Anathema” is their first full-length album since 2017’s “Mastermind Tyranny” (although the void has been filled with a couple of EP’s in between). There are attempts at more overtly Power Metal tracks in this – the opener ‘The Way of Time’ being a good example, but the band work best when they stick to their Symphonic guns, as the second track ‘Edge Of The Dream’, which almost feels like it belongs to a completely different act or recording block. When they throw these more technical flourishes and time-change complexities into the mix things work much, much better for them and the effortless way that a nice lengthy instrumental section can be thrown at the front of tracks like ‘Ancient Spirit’ tells me that these guys have got the song-writing balance between the technical and the catchy-melodic just right.

The two handed vocal performance between Marika Vanni and Alberto Cassina works really well, although Vanni takes the lion’s share of the work. I also can’t fault the instrumental work at all, particularly their uncredited keyboard player, who whilst avoiding the cliché of inter-instrument shredding with the guitars, has some absolutely superb yet restrained solo spots scattered throughout.

Symphonic Metal works best when the production is top notch, crisp, layered and sensitive in equal proportions to the brutal or heavy when they are part of it. Fuse the two and you get the harmonic equivalent of being bashed around the ears by a concrete melodic elephant. Sadly, the production on this falls a little short of that. Although the vocals are clearly presented at the front of the mix, and given both depth and clarity, the Metallic instrumentals in particular sound very trebly, lacking in depth and way too far back in the mix (even the orchestral elements suffer from the same distance problem in places).

Now to be fair to them, this is probably the first time the band have tackled remote recording – a skill let’s face it that every act is having to grapple with at the moment. In reality this normally comes down to whoever is in the producer’s chair, not the musicians’, as there is usually a world of difference between what gets laid down in the raw and what makes it through the engineering and mixing process. However, in this instance, it’s a combination of Michele Guaitoli and the band themselves, and my gut tells me that they should perhaps step back from this area next time out and trust to a strong producer, as the mix is that little too close to a baseline recording.

The song writing is what holds this record up and the structure and arrangements here are spot on – ‘Heart of Lead’ being the stand out track for me, although the experimental but catchy as fuck ‘Glide In The Air’ deserves mention as well, as you can tell it will be a cracker live. Love the tunes, but let down by the recording and mixing – nonetheless the song-writing and performances still make “Timegate:Anathema” worthy of attention.

‘Red Death Masquerade’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Way Of Time
02. Edge Of The Dream
03. Ancient Spirit
04. Heart Of Lead
05. Lonely
06. Glide In The Air
07. Rain
08. My Soul Sad Until Death
09. Firefly
10. Red Death Masquerade

LINE-UP:
Marika Vanni – Vocals
Alberto Cassina – Guitar/Vocals
Alessio Sessa – Bass
Andrea Zannin – Drums
Enzo Criscuolo – Guitar

LINKS:

Eternal Silence Promo Pic

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 KULL

Kull Logo

EMQ’s with KULL

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Sheffield, England based Epic Symphonic Black Metal band, Kull. Huge thanks to all of them 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?

[C]: Chris Maudling – Guitars.

[W]: Wak – Drums

[J]: Jonny Maudling – Composer/keyboard player. Kull basically picked up from where Bal-Sagoth left off.

[M]: Alistair MacLatchy – bassist for Kull. Kull formed from the remains of Bal-Sagoth, after Tarkan stepped up to sing for us in Liverpool in 2011, when the previous guy decided to be absent.

[T]: Tarkan – vocalist and lyricist. I was a Bal-Sagoth fan for many years before getting to know everyone personally following my move to Sheffield to pursue a History & Philosophy degree back in 2000. Around the same time, I formed the band Extreme Maggot Infestation (later renamed Dyscaphia) with me on guitar, Wak on drums and a couple of other friends. Some years later Wak was poached by Sagoth after having a few changes to who took the throne for them. It wasn’t until much later that I stood in for Byron at the last minute to play Liverpool back in 2011. It wasn’t my finest moment but I couldn’t give up the opportunity to share the stage with some of my favourite musicians and help out friends at the same time.

Following this, I started attending the weekly Sagoth rehearsals and gradually Kull came into existence from there.

How did you come up with your band name?

[M]: Don’t really know, I wasn’t at that meeting!

[C]: It fitted with the tone and narrative of the material.

[T]: We knew the kind of connotations we wanted with the name; something direct, to the point – a short, sharp shock ,if you will. But also, we wanted something that spoke of the Bal-Sagoth legacy. For those who aren’t aware, the name Bal-Sagoth is taken from the writings of Robert E. Howard – most commonly known as the creator of the character Conan. He was also the creator of another hero – almost a prototype of Conan – a little darker in some ways, a little more introspective – Kull seemed to fit both with the lyrics I was beginning to write at the time, it was short, direct and for the uninitiated kind of continues the great metal tradition of misspelling band names…Maybe we should add some umlauts.

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

[J]: UK Sheffield. It used to have a bit of a scene, and there are some notable bands from yesteryear which hail from here. It’s the North that gives the music its metal edge.

[C]: England/South Yorkshire. The metal/rock scene has declined over the last 10 years but we are fighting to keep it alive.

[T]: London born but have lived all over the place. Nowadays I consider Sheffield as my adopted hometown – although currently not living there. I must admit that I had already drifted from being part of any real scene and am pretty unfamiliar with the individual local happenings. Having said that, there are interesting bands coming up all over the country. We’re not a very big island and seemingly growing smaller all the time. I don’t see subdividing the UK metal scene into regions as necessarily helpful. We’re in this together after all and there are plenty in all sub genres of metal pushing the envelope and doing some really interesting things.

[M]: Sheffield, and the metal scene is probably best described as “Underground”. There’s Terminal Sun, and Eoten who are very good though.

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

[T]: Our debut album “Exile” (out on Black Lion Records) – hopefully, we’ll have the follow up completed in the not too distant future.

‘Vow Of The Exiled’ (Official Visualiser)

‘Set Nakt Heh’ (Official Visualiser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

[J]: Everyone I ever got into, Geoff Love, Holst, Thrash/Death, 80’s contemporary, Classical, Tangerine Dream, Queen, The Police, John Peel, to name but a very few.

[C]: Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Emperor, Deicide and many soundtrack albums.

[W]: Greatest influences on me and my playing style were probably Deicide, Fear Factory, Machine Head and Metallica.

[M]: Any of the musicians I have played alongside over the years (too many to list). You learn more from playing with other people than practicing alone.

[T]: I always find this difficult – In terms of lighting the fire of music and making me want to pursue that it’d have to be everything from Michael Jackson to Max Cavalera – those people that at some point made me look up to them. When it comes to lyrics/vocals etc, again it’s a melting pot. Robert E. Howard of course features prominently and has influenced what I’ve done with Kull as well as some solo tracks here and there. Michael Moorcock, Iain M Banks and a history of reading various historical text and esotericism also play a significant part. Coming to performing with what were certainly childhood idols at one stage, obviously Byron influenced my approach to the style I heard when presented with the Maudlings’ music. Added to that, however, and as someone who never really tried to be a vocalist, I try to learn new things from wherever I can – amazing metal vocalists abound these days; Psycroptic’s “Sceptre Of The Ancients” is a masterpiece, for example, and vocalists like CJ McCreery & Travis Ryan (off the top of my head) are phenomenal, although I’m unsure how much of an influence any of that has really been on my own style.

What first got you into music?

[J]: My Parents record collection, probably a Geoff Love soundtrack thing.

[C]: My parents all made us (myself, brother and sister) have piano lessons at an early age. There was always a classical guitar lying about and many albums.

[W]: Essentially, it was hearing “Appetite For Destruction” and watching Heavy Metal Heaven on VHS, it was a live G’n’R concert hosted by Elvira.

[M]: My Dad was a guitarist in a band, and there were guitars all over the house – it was inevitable that I would follow the same way! The first band I ever really got into was Status Quo, which sealed my fate as a rocker and led me into metal some years later

[T]: In my earliest years it was all about Michael Jackson. As I grew it was discovering bands like G’n’R and then Sepultura and going on from there.

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

[T]: It’d be interesting to do something with Voices – I can’t imagine how that would turn out!

[C]: Hans Zimmer probably.

[J]: It’s not really a desire of mine so I can’t really say. Maybe Tony MacAlpine?

[M]: I’m with Chris on this one – Hans Zimmer. His music is inspiring and varied, and lifts any film that he scores. I saw him live a few years ago, and it was probably the best concert I’ve ever seen.

[D]: Dino, right up to the moment he decides he wants to change the patterns.

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

[W]: I’d love to have been around to play one of the old Monster of Rock festivals back in the day, things were different back then, somewhat less sanitized. Now I couldn’t decide between Download, Hellfest or Wacken.

[J]: Like the rest of the guys probably Download but any metal fest is always good.

[C]: Download would be great and it is in England.

[M]: The old Monsters of Rock at Donington (pre-Download). Back when there were only six bands and one stage – sometimes less is more!

[T]: It would have to be Wacken for me – I’d love to return there as not just a fan but an artist. With that or 70,000 Tons of Metal.

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

[J]: None have been weird. Maybe a box of postcards from a country in the East.

[C]: A crate of Belgium beer. Not very interesting I know.

[T]: Other than maybe drinks after a set, I don’t think I can recall any. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get them, mind…just that I can’t actually recall.

[M]: Never really had one. I recall a case of Trappist beer in Antwerpen though.

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

[J]: Keep open musical minds.

[M]: Never vote Tory

[C]: For all those loyal Bal-Sagoth fans and the newcomers to Kull, thanks for the support over the years. We have loads more to do for all you guys and hope to see you in the live arena very soon. We appreciate every one of you.

[T]: Thank you for sticking by us and showing us so much support over the last few tumultuous years. Your loyalty and fervour speak volumes!

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

[W]: Neil Peart.

[T]: This is such a tough one. So many talented people seem to have gone in recent years. For sheer personality, though, it would have to be Lemmy. He was the link between old time rock and roll and the current metal scene and a symbol of everything metal. Absolute legend that seemed he would outlive us all. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

[J]: There are a few, Cliff Burton, John Lennon, Sid Vicious, Jimmy Hendrix, Bon Scott.

[C]: Freddie Mercury.

[M]: Chris Cornell – the best vocalist ever.

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

[J]: When it comes together & when it doesn’t.

[W]: Playing live shows for me nothing feels better, and the worst…waiting.

[M]: Playing live with my friends is the best feeling. Tinnitus is the worst feeling – wear your earplugs people!

[C]: Beginning as a rag tag unit and improving our live skills over the many rehearsals. It’s like levelling up and nothing feels like a good practice. The bad points are just playing way below par and bad stage sound. You have to be well rehearsed and 100% committed all of the time or there really is no point.

[T]: I love almost everything about actually being a musician form the initial composition to seeing how a song morphs and develops with others’ input to playing a show and connecting with fans.

What I hate isn’t really about being a musician as such but rather how its value is reduced to nothing by the society in which we find ourselves. Save for the upper echelons of controlled, corporate product, everyone kind of expects it for nothing. The value of a cd, a song, a gig – it’s nothing. We used to steal our music by tape trading etc. Now we expect it for free from the source itself. We used to save up for weeks to buy an album that we had ordered in and cherish every moment of that record – the cover art, the liner notes, the lyrics and the music itself. Now we begrudge paying 99p for a download.

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

[J]: I’d make the popular radio stations play more diverse music instead of the banal mediocrity that they currently do.

[M]: Manufactured music – I wish that they would stop programming backing tracks and auto-tuning vocalists, and get proper musicians playing actual instruments again.

[C]: Give more radio play to all types of music. Corporations are sacrificing art for a quick buck.

[T]: See above! I don’t know what the solution is, really. Technology has moved faster than the industry could ever have hoped for. I would like to see a greater diversity of music, especially here in the UK. With the internet people are continuously discovering more music that they love and may never have heard otherwise. Yet this fails to be reciprocated in our culture as the conglomerates and the media have a stranglehold on what actually reaches the people – for the most part churning out lowest possible common denominator detritus to make a few quid.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

[W]: Machine Head – “Burn My Eyes”.

[M]: That’s tough to narrow it down to one, but I would say Pink Floyd – “Animals”.

[J]: Queen – “Greatest Hits”

[C]: Slayer – “Reign In Blood”

[T]: I don’t know how I can possibly reduce it to one but…*flips a coin*…Deicide – “Serpents Of The Light”!

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

[M]: I miss vinyl – there was a sense of occasion when you bought an album back then. I stream most of my music these days though – it’s more convenient.

[W]: I only really listen to music when I’m travelling, so, downloads all the way for me.

[J]: Vinyl for collecting, Download/Streaming for convenience, CD’s for the car, tape-no.

[C]: Not cassettes, they were not robust enough and the fast forwarding/rewinding was a hassle. CD’s are basically a hard copy of a download, but I prefer not having to store a mile of CD’s. I do miss vinyl and the whole size of the purchase; I could look at the album artwork and inlay notes for ages.

[T]: I will always have a soft spot for cassettes – despite the fact that they were shit – there’s nothing better than listening to something you recorded only to be graced by something totally incongruous that you forgot you had recorded over.

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

[T]: For me this probably goes back to one night in Derby. I can’t remember where. I can’t remember when. But I was there. Alcohol might have been involved.

[M]: London Astoria 2 in ‘97, when Bal-Sagoth supported Emperor.

[W]: Close one, Brutal Assault was one of the biggest for me personally, but I don’t think anywhere I’ve played was better than Finland, both Helsinki & Turku, amazing fans there and possibly the most welcoming places I’ve ever been.

[J]: London LA2 with Emperor, Bloodstock 2002 wasn’t too bad either.

[C]: Bradford Rios for Bal-Sagoth back in 2002. I will get back to you with Kull as we only have played twice.

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

[C]: Something to do with motorbikes, either teaching new riders or road racing.

[J]: Some kind of education thing.

[M]: Gaming or building model tanks.

[W]: I have no idea, I’m terrible at everything else *jokingly.

[T]: Being a dad and running a business takes up pretty much all my remaining time. What would I like to be? Either an author or an artist of some kind.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

[C]: James Hetfield, Glen Benton, Valentino Rossi, Sylvester Stallone and Bob Lazar

[J]: Bill Hicks, Vangelis, Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Hardy and Roland Rat.

[M]: Iain M Banks, Hans Zimmer, Mike Patton, Bill Bailey, Scarlett Johannsen

[T]: Brian Blessed, Stephen Fry, Lemmy, Aron Ra and Victoria Coren Mitchell.

What’s next for the band?

HRH Vikings and writing the follow up to Exile!

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

All the usual fare – you can find us on the usual streaming sites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, now that I’ve set up a new one after being hacked.
www.facebook.com/Kullmetal
www.instagram.com/kullmetal/
www.twitter.com/Kull_band
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2UNSiZhk1eDLyrDYBDH08G
www.youtube.com/user/KullmetalUK

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

[T]: They are a cake but only in the same way that a tomato is a fruit.

[M]: The clue is in the title.

[J]: A small wet cushion that tastes of chocolate. Probably a cake?

[W]: Which option gets taxed the least?

[C]: Toast

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

[J]: Cheers to all the believers that are with us, more good stuff to come!

[C]: Thanks for the interview and to the fans again who totally get what we are about.

[M]: It’s a privilege to still be able to make music with the guys in Kull, after all the years we have been together, and even more of a privilege to have the chance to share it with you lot!

[T]: Thanks to everyone who supports us and have stuck it out for the last few years. Rest assured the follow up is coming! Alea Iacta Est!

Kull 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.

Beermageddon 2021 – Day 1 – Control The Storm

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Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula

Acta Est Fabula Album Cover Art

Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula
Wormholedeath
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 47:38
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Spain’s Phoenix Rising have been quiet in recent years, with this, their fourth full-length album being the first to hit our ears since 2014’s “Versus”. Their music is pure Symphonic and Power Metal, fluidly and expertly delivered with some absolutely beautifully layered arrangements and technically superb musicianship. They also deliver the material in their native Spanish – a language whose lilting and romantic enunciation lends itself perfectly to the genre. They have recorded in two languages in the past, and English versions of some songs on later albums do crop up from time to time, but I encourage you to embrace them in their native tongue. I know this sort of thing can be a turn off for many English listeners, but I urge you to live a little and get out of your comfort zone (especially if you include a certain German Industrial Metal outfit in your music collection, then you have absolutely no excuse).

Like the best technical instrumentalists in this sub-genre, the boys weave the guitar work, expertly delivered by Daniel Martínez and singer Miguel González, working in conjunction with keyboardsmith Jesús M. Toribio. These guys riff off of each other in the time honoured tradition but do it effortlessly make the melody lines flow as one, rather than sounding like there’s a one-upmanship competition going on between the three players in the way Stratovarius or Dream Theater might. This sacrifice of ego over songwriting makes for an incredibly powerful delivery model, ably supported by some fantastic rhythm work from Cristian Rodríguez on bass and Carlos Vivas on the drum stool. Miguel González’s vocals are gruffer than some might expect from the genre, but they absolutely fit the band and lend the whole sound an edginess that would simply not be there if a purely clean vocal approach had been taken. It works cohesively with the music and he does have a good range to support this, which the rich and lavish production accentuates perfectly.

This is clearly a fairly complex concept piece of music, as the press pack included an eighty-seven page PDF novel which is the back story – although sadly my Spanish skills don’t go much beyond ordering a beer so I am missing out here. Nevertheless, this screams ‘attention to detail’ from every pore, but not at the expense of the music and is importantly still making it easy to hook in the more casual listener. The floor wiper for me is definitely ‘El Último Aliento’, which has an incredibly catchy, folky riff and melody, with bounce along beats and the technical stuff held slightly back for the instrumental and solo flourishes despite including some fairly complex orchestration, making it the song you know everyone is going to boogie along to live. It’s technical, but doesn’t sound it to the causal listener, and shows that this band have accessibility as well as incredible musical proficiency at their heart. A cracking piece of music indeed.

TRACKLISTING:
01. El Portal de Thalogrim
02. Acta Est Fabula
03. Luna de Sangre
04. El Último Aliento
05. El Doblón de la Muerte
06. Deriva Speranza
07. El Temor de un Hombre Sabio
08. Achterhuis
09. Ira Ciega
10. El Caminante

LINE-UP:
Miguel González – Vocals & Lead guitar
Daniel Martínez – Lead guitar
Jesús M. Toribio – Keyboards & Orchestration
Cristian Rodríguez – Bass
Carlos Vivas – Drums

LINKS:

Phoenix Rising Promo Pic

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.