EMQ’s with AURAL DECAY

EMQ’s with AURAL DECAY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with UK based Modern Progressive Metal Project, Aural Decay. Huge thanks to main man Dan Robinson for taking part!

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

My name is Dan Robinson and I handle vocals, guitars, bass and drum programming in Aural Decay. I started the project in June 2020, reviving compositions from my postgraduate portfolio during my time at the University of Huddersfield. My postgraduate research was based around the various compositional approaches to modern Progressive Metal, and my increased knowledge of the genre led me to begin my work as a solo artist. The lockdown really inspired me to take the free time to tap into my creative side.

How did you come up with your project name?

I mainly focused on trying to come up with a name that encapsulated the sound of the music, and the name Aural Decay sprung to mind. It ended up sticking, plus I had a perforated ear drum at the time, so it ended up being kinda fitting!

Where are you from and what is the Metal & Rock scene like there?

I originate from a small town in County Durham called Willington, but have also lived in Huddersfield for several years. The rock and metal scene in Huddersfield is great, the thrash metal band Evile originate from there. It is also home to the Parish pub/venue which has hosted bands such as SikTh and InMe!

What is your latest release?

My debut single ‘Spiralling Down’ was released via all platforms on Friday 24th July, with the follow-up single ‘Facing The Obscure’ released on Friday, 18th September.

‘Spiralling Down’

‘Facing The Obscure’

Who have been your greatest influences?

Metallica were my first big influence within metal. Hetfield played a big part in influencing my rhythm playing when I was growing up. My compositional approach toward Aural Decay comes from bands such as Periphery, TesseracT, Meshuggah and Humanity’s Last Breath. I’m somewhat of a riff fanatic and modern Progressive Metal continues to blow me away with its compositions.

What first got you into music?

When I was really young my mum used to play a mixture of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana and U2 in the car on cassette a lot. I became obsessed with all four very quickly, and while my taste as changed over the years, they are still some of my favourite bands.

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

I would have to say Buster Odeholm from Vildhjarta/Humanity’s Last Breath. His style and sound is so devastatingly heavy that I sometimes think one day his music will swallow us up into a black hole.

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

I would love to play any of the big UK metal festivals such as Download, Bloodstock or Sonisphere. While I love smaller venues, I would relish the opportunity to take to a festival’s main stage and experience walking out in front of a crowd of that magnitude.

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

With the project being relatively new I’m yet to receive any gifts, although they would be extremely welcome. *hint hint*

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

Thank you for your continued support. I know it sounds cliched, but a band/artist is nothing without their fans. They are the people who are with you from the beginning and can have such a big hand in helping you establish yourself further.

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

As a huge Metallica fan, I would have to go with Cliff Burton. There have been some incredible metal bass players over the years, but I really think Cliff set the bar high with his innovative playing.

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

My favourite part would have to be playing live music. There is no greater feeling than getting up on stage and watching a crowd form in front of you in anticipation of your set. The part I hate the most is probably recording. I feel I always undergo an immense level of pressure for some strange reason, I don’t think I’ve ever nailed a take on the first go!

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

It would have to be the removal of streaming services. That sounds a bit hypocritical considering I own a Spotify account and use it for all of my personal listening, but the royalties musicians receive per play is daylight robbery considering the amount of effort that goes into every track.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

A very typical choice but I would have to go with “Dark Side of the Moon”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an album that flows as seamlessly as that. No matter how many times I listen to it I always feel an overwhelming sense of sadness when it’s over.

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

Vinyl will always hold up as the greatest listening experience out there. I believe the digital age has its benefits due to the fact a listener can quickly download your track in the blink of an eye, but Vinyl will always be the best in terms of audio quality.

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

I’m yet to play a gig under the Aural Decay moniker due to it being a recently formed project. My favourite gig I can remember was a gig at the Corner bar in Huddersfield with my old prog metal band Tetra Hydra. We headlined with support from other friends’ bands and it was like a massive party with most of our Huddersfield friends. People were piggybacking each other during our set and just going mental, it was an absolute blast!

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

Not a lot has changed since the project started with it being relatively new. Maybe I would try my hand in magic, I can fold my eyelids inside out and juggle a grand total of three balls (only dropping them now and again) so it wouldn’t be a bad start!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Trent Reznor, Corey Taylor, Frankie Boyle, Robert Smith and Christian Bale

What’s next for you?

Now that ‘Facing The Obscure’ is released, the aim is to have released at least one more single by the end of the year (hopefully more). I reckon providing we’re all still alive in 2021 that an EP will be on the way!

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

Aural Decay is currently active on Facebook and Instagram using the following links:

www.facebook.com/auraldecayproject/
www.instagram.com/auraldecay/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2EG2ZUHHJuzmpWyjYH3o2Y

I’m definitely missing an opportunity by not being on Twitter. I wish I had a valid reason for that other than the fact that I’m sometimes incredibly lazy…

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Definitely a cake. They’re soft and spongey! Unless they’re stale. If so, then they’re definitely marching on over to biscuit territory.

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

My pleasure, and thank you for yours as well! Don’t forget to keep up with all things in Aural Decay land and keep your eyes peeled and check out ‘Facing the Obscure’, the brand new single available on all platforms!

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

Flight of Eden – Dante’s Inferno EP

Flight of Eden – Dante’s Inferno EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 09/04/2020
Running Time: 22:39
Review by Sheri Bicheno
8/10

For those that don’t know, Flight of Eden are a prog metal four-piece band from Reading, risen in 2018 from the previous group Zodiark! To me, this new release brings more of a progressive metal feel to that of their 2019 EP “Transition”, which features more of the heavy and groove metal angle of Flight of Eden. The progress these guys have made in such a short space of time should not go ignored, gaining endorsement from Ashdown Engineering, Dingwall Guitars and Payson. Another point to make is the outstanding EP artwork on this release, by Monument’s Will Cross, Which I feel really represents the feel of “Dante’s Inferno”. Look out for a theme in the track titles.

We are welcomed into the EP by short intro piece, ‘Nessus’ – a symphonic organ sounding wave gently washing over us and floating us into ‘Selva Oscura’. This is another short piece, that I feel is designed as a small taster for what else could be coming…transporting from those gentle waves of the first track into a more grandeur melody and riff. The drums are heavy and take us to an abrupt end.

‘Canto I – Virtue’ slams into an aggressive start, with faster strings, and hostility, yet in some places, beautifully soft vocals. About halfway through, we are introduced to some synth keys which help meld the track with the strings, and a slower pace, with some twists of Kurt’s growling entwined with Christian’s soft vocals. Slow but heavy. A perfect symphonic sandwich.

The gentle side of Flight of Eden absolutely shines through the next beautifully put together track, ‘Canto III – Heresy’. This one sets me into a gentle sweep through emotions of love, light and… hope. With beautiful keys and the gentle sways of strings into a few melodic chords, leading then to a bigger light of sound that hits us with Simon’s guitars. I imagine water; healing water when I hear this short piece. Sunshine, ripples, colours, reflections of blue and clouded skies…endless and rolling…

…Which rolls seamlessly into the next faster, harder track, ‘Canto IV – Morning Star’. The guitar through this track tends to stick to one particular melody but keeps the song creative and forward moving. The vocals are not as harsh and tell us of retribution, betrayal, and self-image.

‘Canto V – Purgatorio’ is another short but incredibly beautiful taste of strings. Soft, calm and flowing. I feel these short bursts of serenity on “Dante’s Inferno” are to remind us that there is a balance between peace and sin, dark and light, hate and love. It’s my reflection on things…but these gentle and serene symphonic pieces are an opposite to the longer and more brutal tracks on the EP…it’s a nice change of direction every so often.

A wonderment of piano introduces us to ‘Canto VI – Paradiso’. Another reflecting track, I feel. And then we are hit with a sudden surge of shining vocals about halfway through. No harshness here, just light and beauty. This melts into last track, ‘Virgil’ that gives us the penultimate orchestral strings, suggesting a grand end to a long and very old story.

Flight of Eden have shown on this EP that they can separate themselves from other prog metal bands – the, few, very short tracks that shine so much emotion and beauty, as opposed to mixing that in with their harsher tones in other tracks, makes them stand out somewhat to me. There are elements of conflict and serenity in this album, and it leaves space to draw your own conclusions.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Nessus
02. Selva Oscura
03. Canto I – Virtue
04. Canto II – Cerberus
05. Canto III – Heresy
06. Canto IV – Morning Star
07. Canto V – Purgatorio
08. Canto VI – Paradiso
09. Virgil

LINE-UP:
Kurt Jones – Vocals
Simon Robins – Guitar, Synth, Production
Christian Sturgess – Bass, Vocals
Gualter Couto – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/flightofeden/
www.instagram.com/flightofeden/
www.flightofeden.bandcamp.com/

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

Freddy Spera – Temper EP

Freddy Spera – Temper EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/04/2020
Running Time: 27:45
Review By Beth Jones
10/10

For anyone who hasn’t come across Federico “Freddy” Spera, he is an Italian-Brazilian musician and producer based in Liverpool, UK, and one of the founding members and bassist of hard rock band, Novacrow. You may know that I am pretty partial to a bit of Novacrow, but I haven’t experienced Freddy outside of that… until now. Reading his bio he, like so many brilliantly talent musicians that are popping up around the UK, does a lot of stuff and has many projects on the go. As well as releasing music with his extreme metal project, Crejuvent (who Rick did an interview with last year), he’s also part of a Misfits tribute band, and a session musician and producer for a host of other bands. Not content with that, he has now released his first solo EP, “Temper”.

Having only heard him as part of Novacrow, and liking to ‘go in blind’ to new music by not reading anything about the artist beforehand, I didn’t know what to expect. There is something very special about the first listen, and you can pretty much tell in the first 30 second if you’re going to like it or not. It took the first few bars for me to make up my mind. I loved it.

‘Why?!’, I hear you cry! Well, there are a few reasons – it’s kind of proggy, it’s not too heavy, parts of it almost have a ‘90’s indie’ feel (which was my formative era!), it’s beautifully mixed and mastered, but the main grabber for me is that it’s heavily Devin Townsend influenced. You should all know by now that I hold DT on a pretty high pedestal, and anyone with the talent and skill to emulate his sound deserves high praise indeed.

The EP starts with the title track ‘Temper’ – a very relaxed and beautifully understated guitar composition, which then progresses into the second track, ‘Summer’s Walk’. This instantly hits you in the face. It’s pacey, full of unexpected chord progressions and melodies, and a mix of rough and clean vocals in close harmony, which is what first drew me into Devin’s spell. This made me smile, a lot!

The whole EP follows this line, peppered with interesting instrumentation, complicated cross rhythms and cross melodies, and experimentation around themes. It combines gentle and ethereal acoustic sounds with powerful vocals and percussion, crunching down-tuned guitars, and ripping bass lines, but nothing is over-stated or over-done. It’s just superb. I can’t pick a favourite track, they’re all beautiful, and personally I feel like this has to be listened to not as separate tracks, but as a full body of work – one track with several movements.

And then comes the killer crux of all this – I read the bio that we had been sent, and it turns out that, apart from the drums which were created by Pete Roper (XamVolo, Tommy Tenderloin and the Peppercorn Kids, The Rhythm Magicians), every other sound on this EP was Freddy! Vocals, Guitar, Bass et al! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Mind blowingly talented bastard!!

This is by far and away my favourite release of the year yet. It has left me hungry for more, and I will be delving as far into Freddy’s work as I can over the next few months, for sure. People of the world, buy this record – you need it in your life!! And Freddy – get cracking on an album – I need more!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Temper
02. Summer’s Walk
03. Treading Waters
04. Meanwhile
05. The End Of I
06. Rain

LINKS:
www.freddyspera.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/federico.freddy.spera
www.youtube.com/user/freddy4940/
www.soundcloud.com/freddy4940/sets/temper-ep/s-jishfSH56kC

Summer’s Walk live at Ma Boyle’s:

Rain Lyric Video:

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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20 – White Mammoth

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, 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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 1 – 29/02/20

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales, Heat 1
Mcleans, Pentre 29/02/2020
Review & Pictures by Beth Jones

I need a serious chat with whoever controls time, because somehow M2TM 2019 was a whole year ago and here we are, at the 2020 heat stages already!

Whilst time may have disappeared, what hasn’t is the amount of new, young talent that is popping up all over the underground scene at the moment, and it’s events like this that gives the cream of those bands the opportunity to make it to the hallowed stages of the larger grassroots festivals. This year’s North Wales heats are shaping up to be an eclectic mix of styles, and I get the feeling that choosing the eventual winner is going to be tougher than ever, given the talent on offer.

With that in mind, we got our big coats out to battle yet another oncoming storm, and headed over to our now ‘local’, Mclean’s pub in Pentre, for Heat 1. Only three bands were set to play, two of which would be going through to the semi-final stage. With the crowd assembled, drinks (or in my case, cameras) in hand, and after a quick recap of the rules from our master of ceremony Ian ‘Beany’ North, we were all set for the first performance.

Cry For Mercy

These guys were one of our hot favourites in last year’s competition, narrowly missing out on a place in the final, and if you’ve read any of our recent live reviews on Ever Metal, you’ll know that we really rather like them! Sadly, the band’s drummer, Steven Taylor, was unable to play after having surgery on his wrist earlier in the week. But they had a stand in on hand, in the shape of Bassist/vocalist Kev Plant’s son, Aled. This however did not detract from their performance. They were, as ever, tight and well-rehearsed, with Aled’s drumming carrying the groove perfectly – he’s an awesome little drummer, and really should consider getting in a band himself! Whilst they’re not ‘Metal’ as such, they’re extremely talented guys who deliver a crunchy, groove based heavy rock sound, and they do it with ease, which makes them very endearing. They’re also incredibly humble, with nothing they do on stage being an ‘act’. What you see is what you get, and that is bloody good, solid hard rock, with this performance being a perfect example.

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

Mad Spanner

We were taken from the ‘sublime to the Cor Blimey’ next, with another firm favourite of ours, Mad Spanner. There are no words that adequately describe the sheer lunacy involved in a Mad Spanner performance. The best I can do is this; imagine the chase scenes from old silent movies, only with more hair, more pulling of silly faces, punk/thrash rhythms and zany observational comedy lyrics, complimented by insanely fast and loud guitar and bass. If a tornado was musical, it would be like this. In fact, I’d like to pigeonhole Mad Spanner in a whole new genre, just for them – Tornado Metal! Bassist and front man, Michael Randall, is mad as a box of frogs, and spent the entire performance with a maniacal look of a man possessed flashing in his eyes. He flew around the stage like a runaway balloon, and how he managed to survive unharmed is a mystery. Coupled with the crazy guitar of Dan Ashley, and the metronomic drums of Ben Codd, it made for a highly entertaining performance. How Ben doesn’t end up with repetitive strain is beyond me, but at least the drum kit does provide some protection from Michael’s craziness! Dan, however, is always in the firing line – a brave choice! They performed their debut album in its entirety here, as it has a running time that slotted nicely into the 30 minutes allowed set time. Crazy, fun, and again very, very good!

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

White Mammoth

Our final band of the evening were White Mammoth. We’d seen them a couple of years ago in Chester for the Mammothfest ‘battle of the bands’ competition, and if I’m honest, they hadn’t really grabbed me then, but I was interested to see them again, to find out if they’d made progress. The answer to that question is, in a word, YES!! Continuing the showcase of ‘completely different genres’ theme, these guys deliver a huge hit of modern progressive metal, and they now do that very well indeed. Littered with cross rhythms and complicated bass and guitar riffs, they took us through a very intense and involved set, culminating with what is, in my opinion, and absolute masterpiece of a tune, during which I went into some sort of trance, completely fixated on the skills of each member of the band. The song was called ‘Naivety of Perception’ and is going to be released soon as a single, so look out for it if you like heavy prog! They embellished their music with a selection of samples, which I felt worked really well, giving their sound extra depth. My only criticism of them is, due to all the insane musicality they have going on, the vocals have a tendency to get lost in the mix and could do with a bit of a boost. The vocalist has an unusual tone, and it is a shame that it can’t always be heard as well as it should be – his screams came through, but some of the quieter stuff didn’t.

https://www.facebook.com/WhiteMammothBand/

And that, as they say, was that! With all three performances done, it was time to vote. One band would be picked by the audience vote, and one by our judges – John Matthews from Phoenix Rising, Dani Maguire from Powerzone, and Beany. I have to say I found my audience vote a very difficult decision, as I enjoyed all three performances equally. Eventually I went with my gut, voting for the band that I not only found most improved, but also that really reached into my musical soul – White Mammoth (sorry Cry For Mercy and Mad Spanner – I still love you, but I’m a sucker for prog!).

After a short break for the judges to deliberate, it was results time! The gathered crowed, which was a good size given the location, and the horrendous weather, collected by the stage in readiness for Beany’s announcement. After the preamble we have become accustomed with Beany, he gave us the result of the audience vote – Cry For Mercy! The Look of shock and amazement on the face of Kev Plant told the story of the night, and just how tough the competition was, but what makes Cry For Mercy so endearing to us had obviously been felt by the entire crowd. They’re very worthy winners of their place in the Semi-Finals. The second successful act, as voted for by the judges, based not only on musicality and talent, but also on their stage performance and presence, was Mad Spanner. This was met with a lot of jumping about and cheering, not least from Michael Randall!

With that, the first heat was over. A massive congratulations to Cry For Mercy and Mad Spanner – both well deserved. But huge commiserations to White Mammoth, who managed the even bigger feat of leaving me speechless for a good few minutes! What I’d say to them is get that vocal mix sorted in the next month! Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, the legend and head honcho at NEW Metal Productions, gets to pick two ‘wildcard’ entries from the bands that get knocked out in the heats, and I would say, with that little tweak made, White Mammoth should be up for consideration, based on their performance.

A huge thank you again to Ian ‘Beany’ North and Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester for their tireless efforts and hard work bringing us spectacular gigs all year round. The scene round here would be dead without them. A massive thanks to all the bands, fans, judges and to the venue too, as without you, music on the whole would be dead. Next up – Heat 2! Bring it on!

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are 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.