Sunday, December 4, 2016

Video Review: SNAKEWINE FEAT. SAALFELD TITANS Mean Machine

SNAKEWINE FEAT. SAALFELD TITANS
Mean Machine
Starting with an intro sounding like Tool (the outro reminds you of Therion/Ginnungagap) during the first 25 seconds, Snakewine starts with a powerful quarter turn sequence. We expect to hear a rock'n'roll vocal but the singer Ronny Konietzko offers us Lemmy style vocals. A pure gem distilled in Motörhead influences overexciting our ears. A fighting spirit with powerful riffs, released like a mean machine that nothing can stop. Metal is like a great team: we stick together and no one can stop us. -Abyss Forgottentomb

Saturday, December 3, 2016

CD Review: MIST OF MISERY Absence

MIST OF MISERY
Absence
Black Lion Productions
Mist Of Misery is a Swedish depressive, black metal project formed in 2010. “Absence” is their second, 2016 full length release. The haunting and emotive quality is evident throughout their music from the first instrumental track- aptly named “Melancholic Thoughts”. Mist Of Misery has attained an excellent balance in between the brutal aspects of their customary sound while adding an almost orchestral quality to be appreciated on this release. Beautifully crafted lyrics leave another aspect to appreciate about Mist of Misery- a quality consistent throughout “Absence”. Brutal, melodic and a consistently melancholic atmosphere add a dramatic feel to “Absence” while allowing consistent appreciation of their considerable musical talent. Raw and powerful vocals are accentuated by unexpected instrumentals are a constant within this release- providing the atmosphere to enhance a musically diverse experience. The instrumental tracks provide a welcome and musically intelligent break from the more brutal tracks allowing further appreciation for “Absence”. Morbidly and hauntingly beautiful with a distinct, raw black metal sound- “Absence” is a must for those who appreciate depressive and brutal black metal. -Sarah McKellar

Track list:
1. Melancholic Thoughts
2. Euthanasia
3. Absence
4. Final Departure
5. Epitaph of Penitence
6. Wistful Twilight
7. Paragon of Perdition
8. Mist of Misery
9. Serenity in Nothingness

CD Review: SERPENTINE DOMINION Serpentine Dominion

SERPENTINE DOMINION
Serpentine Dominion
Metal Blade
Serpentine Dominion are a melodic death metal project formed in 2009 by members of Killswitch Engage (Adam Dutkiewicz), The Black Dahlia Murder (Shannon Lucas) and Cannibal Corpse (George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher) and based in California. “Serpentine Dominion” is their self-titled, full length 2016 release. From the opening tracks- technical death metal played at a relentless breakneck speed is consistent throughout this release. A melodic approach applied to the brutal wall of sound intended to assault your ears continues through this release- while a harmonising mix between clean vocals and guttural growls provide another unexpected aspect. Slightly slower paced and more melodic tracks allow the listener to focus on the technical aspects of the music while remaining consistent to Serpentine Dominion’s polished, technical sound. Ripping through to a brutal and unrelenting aural assault mid release allows a more death metal influence to become apparent-allowing the listener to further appreciate their musical diversity. Technical drum work is incredibly tight within this release, assisted by technical riffs and aggressive bass further enhance both the clean and guttural vocals. The melodic aspects are amplified by a technical approach- remaining consistent to the brutal and aggressive approach customary of Serpentine Dominion. A brief instrumental interlude provides another insight into the musical diversity displayed within this release- a slow and unexpected melodic track before resorting back to the face melting brutality consistent throughout this release. -Sarah McKellar

Track list:
1. Intro
2. The Vengeance in Me
3. Vanquished Unto Thee
4. Divide, Conquer, Burn, and Destroy
5. Sovereign Hate
6. On the Brink of Devastation
7. Jagged Cross Legions
8. Prelude
9. This Endless War

Friday, December 2, 2016

Article: Music And Experience Design by Liam Anthony

Music and Experience Design
Article by Liam Anthony
Also posted at Zerstor Creative:
While being a musician in a band is indeed a form of artistic expression, it’s always important to consider the value the listener places in your output. What can set a good band from the rest of the pack is not just in their songs, but in the overall “experience” they can provide to the listeners through various touchpoints.
This approach is very similar User Experience design in web development or mobile app development, where the focus is in improving an app’s usability or interactivity for the end user. However in this case, the product is your band’s output, and the end user is the audience.
I have been an active member of my local music scene for over ten years now. I have played as a drummer in several bands that have toured the country, opened for major acts, had airplay on national radio, and played to packed venues including one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in Australia, not that I’m bragging or anything…
Often, I would get questioned by fellow musicians about our achievements, and I couldn’t blame them for asking as the Australian music scene is a tough one to make your mark in. Usually musicians would ask “We’ve been playing so many regular shows at our local venue, but we don’t feel like we’re progressing. What gives?” While some would probably answer “It’s not what you know but who you know in the industry”, as I’ve been studying the theories of user experience design and reflecting on my previous musical efforts, I can say there’s a lot more to it than that.
Despite the Australian metal scene being largely underground compared to the major centres overseas, we do have some amazing high-quality bands that are potentially world-class. One band that has particularly broken the mould is King Parrot, who have played their cards correctly and have ventured further than most metal bands in Australia usually go.
Unfortunately, a lot of local bands in Australia plummet before they get the chance to show their true potential. Some bands believe that merely playing the same set exclusively in the same town every week is the key to success, only to leave their audiences disinterested very quickly. Some bands fail to promote or sell themselves, relying on “support the local scene” and “support all local bands no matter what!” memes on their Facebook page to try and guilt-trip people when nobody shows up.
The harsh truth is, as much as you are an up and coming band and as much as you believe everyone should “give you a go”, nobody owes you their time. Earn it. While there should be an equality of opportunity for every artist, that does not mean an equality of outcome. While it is indeed “just art” that you have indeed put a lot of time and money into producing, to be a professional band you must create something of value to the end user: your audience.
What can set a good band from the rest of the pack is not just in playing music (yeah, it’s not all “just about the music”, sorry), but in the overall “experience” they can provide to the audience. This can be achieved through good experience design.
First, what is “Experience Design?” This is the practice of designing products or services with the focus placed heavily on the quality of the user experience.
For example, in Australia coffee has become such a cultural phenomenon. Buying a cup of coffee from a coffee store has become something more than just purchasing the product itself, but the overall experience within the realm of where it is purchased. There’s a distinct difference in the experience of buying an affordable express coffee from a modern-looking kiosk, to sitting down and enjoying a premium grade coffee at an expensive-looking store. The same goes with purchasing many other products from different retailers.
The fundamentals of experience design are driven by the modes of where a customer interacts with a business. These modes are called “touchpoints”. When applied to the coffee shop example mentioned earlier, the primary touchpoints can be situated in the coffee shop’s physical storefront, their website, and the packaging of their product. Whenever a customer encounters one of these touchpoints, it gives them the opportunity to form their own opinion of the business or service they are using, or compare previous experiences with it. Experience designers are often employed to identify existing touchpoints and build upon them, or create new ones for the brand. The result is always to produce the best possible user experience that ensures the return of a customer.
Nathan Shedroff’s theory of engagement is often looked to when observing experience design, which is broken down into five aspects: Identity, Adaptivity, Narrative, Immersion and Flow. A medium is engaging if it draws the individual in, surrounds their activities and stimulates their imagination (Benyon, 2010).
It really isn’t that different with playing in a band. You have your major touchpoints – the live show, the recorded output, internet presence, merchandise, advertising etc.
I mentioned the band King Parrot earlier – not only are they an excellent live band, they provide an “experience” to the end user through their major touchpoints, one of them being their music videos. King Parrot’s music videos serve as comedic short films. Their live shows are rife with larrikin Australian humour, often ending up with vocalist Matt Young being carried around on the shoulders of various audience members.
Another great example is the band Lagerstein, an Australian “pirate metal” band. Following Nathan Shedroff’s theory of engagement, a live show from this group is also something of a playful and engaging experience unto itself. In one of Lagerstein’s songs the band performs an act where they “lose” their guitarist Neil Rummy Rackers, and ask the audience to find him. In another one of their songs, an acoustic ballad, vocalist Gregarr walks into the audience and gets them to sit down on the floor with him, as if it were a campfire story.
This isn’t an overly new concept limited to local bands, as some major acts have been using new and creative methods to engage their audiences over the years. In 2000, Metallica were notorious for being against particular digital distribution avenues for their music, now they embrace digital media. For their recent album “Hardwired, to Self-Destruct”, Metallica produced music videos for each of the new album’s tracks, and created a program where people could type and share their own phrases in the Metallica logo typeface. In 2013, Canadian rockers Arcade Fire released an interactive music video for their single “Reflektor” that makes use of your location in Google Maps. In 2011, Bjork released the first “album app” in Biophilia, where the listener can play various games that interact with each song’s instrumental compositions.
A band I’m currently playing drums for did an amusing video promoting one of our shows at a folk metal festival.*
Does this mean that as a musician you absolutely must resort to methods beyond your live shows and recorded output if you want to start a band? No. Not necessarily, but good presentation will always yield a good result. Don’t just go out and play show after show with the hopes that the audience will one day “accept you for who you are”, give them a reason to care about you. Keep your audience engaged and create something of value to them. If your band can keep a growing audience interested enough to come back for more and more of your product, then you’ve won.

* – Of course, I have to make a disclaimer. In spite of the comedic nature of the video, I do not encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol, nor do I condone fighting people for the last beer!

References:
Shedroff, Nathan. 2001. Experience Design. 1st ed. New Riders Publishing
Benyon, David. 2010. Designing interactive systems: a comprehensive guide to HCI. 2nd ed. Addison Wesley.

Fiction: Steps In The Night by Alexander Kautz

STEPS IN THE NIGHT
Fiction by Alexander Kautz
I had moved into the little basement suite of the old house on Hanover street just over a year ago. The previous tenant's, of over six years, having left it within a state of utter chaos, had afforded me the luxury of not having to pay a damage deposit, but cost me endless hours of work. The landlord, Bruce Templeton, a middle aged, timid little fellow, had agreed to pay for all the necessary repairs, though contributed little to any actual, physical labor.
Leading a reclusive life and having few, if any friends at all, he spent the days sleeping and evenings watching his television. He had never concerned himself with upkeep of the wild and over-grown property, but instead, had appealed to my kind nature, wherein, due to his assumed health conditions, he was unable to manage physical tasks.
In the months that followed, through the spring of my arrival, all seemed well, until I brought to his attention, the concern of his hoarding and the dirt and resulting mold. The half of the basement that I occupied, was separated by a wall and adjoining door, which led into the area housing the washer and dryer, and of course, the furnace room. An area entirely filled and cluttered with moldering furniture, old automotive parts and assorted cans of cleaning and paint supplies, many of which were flammable liquids. In the beginning, he had promised and guaranteed to have this disaster area cleaned and sorted at the soonest possible opportunity. At one point, due to the stench of the mold, I had even attempted cleaning this mess, but soon lost heart as he refused to take any action. In the end, as winter approached and the months became colder, the true issue began, when the heat was turned on. For as the old furnace began drawing upon the air within that room, it forced filth and that ghastly stench through vents neglected for many years, blowing the mess into my suite...
Frustrated beyond words and at a complete loss as how to politely approach the matter, I appealed to his common sense, complaining of the health concerns and unpleasant odor. This of course bothered him little and within mere days of my appeal, he had unceremoniously dumped a box of things of which I had given him as gifts, at the top of steps. Refusing to answer his telephone or door when I attempted to inquire as to what this was all about, I soon realized that he now considered himself, admonished of all responsibility, within this simple act.
Once more, I sat and fell into utter despair. I had spent a great deal of time and energy within the repair and restoration of the place, and owning many heavy items, breakables and antiques, dreaded the thought of moving again. It was during this time of silence between the two of us, that I became aware of the fact, through the discovery of dirty boot prints and the disturbance of certain items within my home, that he had crept in through that adjoining door, while I was out... Angered, but refusing to pose accusations that would only worsen the matter, I decided to take the only action that remained to me. Sitting down, I wrote a polite letter, stating that it was quite obvious he had decided to break our friendship, and simply said that I would find another residence, rather than remain in a place where we would both be uncomfortable.
This I placed under his door, preferring not to force contact and create an even more volatile situation. As several weeks passed, he kept his blinds closed tight, peeking out and observing my movements from time to time, but never communicating. I had fancied myself becoming paranoid, as leaving the place to collect boxes of which to pack my belongings, I often put tape on that basement door, watching to see if he came in while I was gone. More often than not, it remained undisturbed, but on the occasions when it was broken loose, I became enraged! I now loathed the little man with a hate that was fueled by his ignorance, intrusions and my own dire straits within having to move again! Within a few weeks, I had managed to pack all of my belongings and now, being confined to the couch, struggled to sleep as he thumped upstairs, wandering about in the night. Having been an evening person myself, it had been hard enough, managing the details by day and searching for another place, but being kept awake all night as well, now wore heavily upon my shattered nerves. I had lay there, in the darkness, buried beneath my heavy covers, dreading to turn on the heat for fear of that moldering dust blowing into my place. I had been coughing up that filth. Choking up the dirty gray stuff for weeks and even now, felt the tightness within my chest. It angered me knowing that it had all been unnecessary, but for his greed and ignorance. Restless, wearied by stress and weak with fatigue, I had contemplated his suffering and slow death in so many twisted and terrible ways. Once, I had even smiled within the contemplation of cornering him in that dank, dark place, and beating him senseless... The very thought had left me feeling horrified by having even considered such a thing?
"I just need to get out of this godforsaken hole--," I had whispered over and over to myself,
"Not much longer, and I will be moved, and this will all be nothing more than a bad memory."
But the search for another home had not been so simple. Limited by little money and even less opportunity, I now struggled within providing even a single meal a day for myself. I had to save enough money to pay for a damage deposit as well as rent, hydro, telephone... What had all once been so simple before, had now left me destitute. In the end, I could only blame myself. Due to over-confidence, having made several bad financial decisions and careless purchases, not expecting this sudden move, despair took me...
One morning, I had seen him leaving the house. He had gained considerable weight, growing fat on the money that he had saved by refusing basic upkeep and repairs. My own aching, grumbling stomach, forcing my bitterness further as while watching him waddle off, I cursed him unto his own death.
At the month's end, having not found anything, I was forced to contact his brother William, who living close by, payed him the rent and bill money, being kind enough to pass it on for me. The silence between us continued, though now, I had packed boxes against that adjoining basement door, so he could no longer gain access. This gave me little comfort as he still watched my departure each morning from between his closed blinds. I knew that he was too nervous to dare entering my place through the street main entrance, for fear of being caught, but it still bothered me... I worked at a warehouse during the day, sorting orders to be sold at antique auctions. It was something of a living, but not what it had once been. The entire time, my mind remained upon my empty place. Wondering, worrying what that little weasel might have been doing among my things?
It was during mid-November, as the snow piled high and I shivered in the cold, angry and yet unwilling to turn that old furnace on, that I received a call? The long anticipated acceptance of a landlord for an apartment that I had applied for several months prior! Words could never express the joy and relief that now filled my heart! Finally, I would escape this misery!
Quickly, I sat down with pen and paper and put to proper words, my thirty day notice of vacating the premises! I could not even wait for the morning's arrival! Getting dressed, I went upstairs and slipping the envelope addressed to him into the mail slot, chuckled, making my way back downstairs! I would be out within a month now and it would all finally come to an end!
In the following days, I thought little of the bitter wretch or his filthy place, occupying myself instead, with thoughts of a new home! I had sold several antique items from my collection, though the money had been far less than their worth, it would provide some comfort. I had sat down, one Friday evening after work, to the first, decent hot meal that I had enjoyed in weeks. Having come from a decent home and never having been resorted to the misery and poverty I had recently suffered, I fell into silent prayer of thanks.
It was as while, taking my evening tea in my favorite chair by the old fireplace, that I heard the telltale creaking of the floor boards above me. The fire had brought comfort, the reassurance of a secured home, and yet, his very presence brought something dark out of me. Something so despicable and chillingly evil, that I felt cold within my own embittered thoughts...
It had been all too silent the past week, but now, he moved restlessly, as though pacing back and forth. His steps were light, but the boards groaned, creaking beneath his weight. I sat and listened as his movements went toward the back of the room, then faded as he now, ever so slowly, crept down the basement stairs? Yes, that was it. He was making his way through that dark, filthy basement now, quietly pausing just behind the door that adjoined my suite. There he stood, silently, as though listening in the hopes of discovering whether I were home or not? I remained absolutely still, only the crackling of the fire in the hearth and the low flames, dancing upon the dark walls. My eyes focused upon the old brass door knob as, ever so slowly, a weight fell upon it and it began, inch by inch, to turn...
I watched, my eyes fixed upon that door handle as ever so slowly, the door began to open, stopping immediately as the stacked boxes halted the effort. Then, as slowly as before, it closed once more, the knob turning again as all movement ceased and the world became absolutely still.
"You little sneak-thief--, I thought to myself in little more than a whisper,
"Your days of creeping around in my place are over..."
I waited, listening as his movements became distinct, the creaking of his steps back up the basement stairs and into his suite. And then, he paced again, several times, back and forth, before the sudden sound of his weight, thumping back into that reclining chair.
"That's right you little creep--," I cursed under my breath, my eyes focused to where he rested on the ceiling above me,
"Not much longer and you will be alone here again with your filth and misery."
The days passed quickly, but the nights seemed an eternity as, each and every night, he paced, creeping down those basement stairs and attempting to gain access into my suite. It was upon the third weekend, less than a few days before I had planned to move out, that I had decided to shock him! Moving the boxes away from the basement door, I sat by the hearth, taking my tea within the comfort of the fire, awaiting his evening approach.
Eventually, it came again. That steady pacing, back and forth, from one end of the room to the other and then, he came down those stairs, ever so quietly...
This time, I would be ready for him and give the little monster the start of his life!
Standing in front of the basement door, the breath caught tight within my breast, I watched, my eyes focused upon that door handle as it once more turned! Just like all the other nights, it slowly clicked the latch, the door drifting slowly open... Grabbing the handle, I tore it open and throwing it wide, shouted while finding myself, staring into the utter blackness of that cluttered, filthy darkness! Emptiness and nothing more...
This could not be? I peeked into the deep shadows, my eyes scanning for any sign of movement, finding, absolutely nothing... The hair on the nape of my neck stood on end, a cold chill causing me to tremble as, quickly closing the door, I hurriedly moved the boxes back in front of the opening. Within turning back toward the hearth, I caught a moment in the corner of my eye? A shadow, something darker than all others, moving swiftly along the wall, then vanishing into the ceiling? No, it was my imagination. Just a trick of the firelight on a strained mind. An imagination forced into fancy by stress and fatigue! Dropping back into my chair, I tossed another log onto the fire, my hands trembling as I struggled with my tea cup, sipping at the hot liquid.
"I am finally losing my mind in this damned place..." casting off the fearful thoughts, I placed down the cup, deciding to retire for the evening. Sleep came slowly and was by nightmares haunted, as cold sweats and terrifying images awakened me, shrieking into the dawn. I was grateful for the final weekend in that despicable place, as checking all things to be certain that boxes were secure and everything was properly packed, I sat down to a simple dinner.
It was that final night, as sitting by the hearth with my usual cup of tea, I once more listened, following the little man's steps across the creaking ceiling. Once again, he quietly made his way down those basement stairs, moving ever so slowly to the door where, testing the knob, he opened the door, bumping against the boxes and halting. But this time, something was different? The door did not close... But remained open, allowing that cold, putrid stench into my suite....
This brought me to anger and one part of me thought to shout, curse him on his way! And yet, something halted me? Never before had I felt so alone, so utterly helpless as staring into the blackness of that crack between the door and wall, I sensed without seeing, the presence of something sinister...
The skin crept upon my forearms, hair standing as I gazed into that blackness and but for a moment, I thought to have seen the form of a shadow, deeper than all others, gaze back...
"Damn you!" I forced out the words, tossing down and breaking my tea cup as I leapt from the chair, more out of terror than rage,
"Go back to your own little hell--leave me alone!"
There was a moment of stillness, then the door slammed shut with such fury that it shook the house! Enraged, I considered going after him, but on second thought, decided against it. I would simply move out and be done with the little scoundrel once and for all!
Sleep came slowly again as deeply troubled, I had awakened many times, assuming to have heard someone in my suite? I had gotten up several times to look, but ended up dropping into my chair by the hearth, as fatigue , having taken me, cast me deep into a swirling, nauseated haze.
The following day had gone much faster than anticipated, as aided by several friends from the warehouse and utilizing the company truck, I was soon moved into the new apartment. Surrounded in boxes and comforted by a warm, clean furnace, I sipped at my tea, looking out through a large window into the falling snow. I had just managed to avoid the worsening weather and as the darkness came early, smiled with the greatest of relief. There was a moment when, as someone in the apartment above me walked across the floor, the recollection of those steps in the night, haunted me once more. But brushing the thought and sounds aside, closed my eyes, sinking deep into my chair.
The phone startled me, as answering, I was shocked to hear from Bruce’s brother, William, as he said,
"I am terribly sorry to bother you--but needed to ask you something, if you don't mind"
Having always been on good terms, I politely agreed, asking as to what I could assist him with.
"Well--," he began rather hesitantly,
"I was wondering? When was the last time that you spoke to Bruce?"
Thinking briefly, I sipped at my tea, switching on a table lamp beside me, as I said,
“It would have been several months ago. When I had asked that you pay him the rent."
"I see..." His reply came quietly, sounding somewhat nervous.
"I did hear him pacing back and forth these past few weeks--," I put down my tea cup, sniffing at the air around me as I noticed the feint stench of the old place,
"Is there some kind of problem?"
"You--heard him upstairs?" William hesitated,
"But--that is simply not possible."
Catching a movement in the corner of my eye, I turned, imagining to have seen a shadow upon my wall? Asking,
"What do you mean -- not possible?"
"Well--" he swallowed hard, almost whispering,
"That was the reason that I am calling you. You see--the police found him this morning--in his chair. Apparently--he passed away several weeks ago..."

Band Interview: BESTIAL INVASION

Interview with Metal Priest of BESTIAL INVASION

Tell of your departure from your previous band Violent Omen, and how you formed your current band Bestial Invasion.
I founded Violent Omen in 2009 and in five years we achieved good results. We had three albums, frequent concerts and media reviews. In April 2014 I left because of a destructive and depressing atmosphere in the band. We could no longer get along and it was time to make a change. I moved to another city and founded a completely new band.

Name the three full lengths Violent Omen have out, and where can they be streamed and/or purchased on the internet?
Infernal Express, Lunatic's Revenge and L.U.N.A.C.Y. are available on Ebay and on independent labels.

Are people still ordering Violent Omen’s albums on Ebay? Were those albums released independently?
I don’t follow Violent Omen’s work so it’s hard to answer. Those albums have been released in Russia and the USA and I suppose they’re still available for purchasing.

Were you involved in any bands before Violent Omen, or was Violent Omen your first working band?
Violent Omen was my first group. But before them I played in a local band Crucifix. We even had a demo and performed on a local town contest. It was funny; we were so loud people remembered me as the Crucifix bass player for years.

Are copies of any of Crucifix’s releases still available to your knowledge?
The Crucifix album hasn’t been released on CD. I can’t see any reason it’s going to be out someday.

Where did you move to found Bestial Invasion? Was this band founded with local musicians?
I lived in Zhytomyr and Violent Omen was founded there. Then I moved to Sumy to live with some lady and formed Bestial Invasion. So there are completely different musicians.

How many local clubs are active in Sumy at the time of this writing?
Not many. It’s hard to say now but people almost don’t visit concerts so it’s difficult to put on live shows.

Many of the bands that influence Bestial Invasion have been active since the 80s. Explain why you wanted to play technical thrash.
We took the name from Destruction’s song. Initially we were supposed to play fast and raw thrash metal but eventually our roots and way of thinking affected on us to play technical thrash.

Why did you decide to name the band after Destruction’s song Bestial Invasion? What appeals to you about that song?
We considered it an excellent name for a band at the time and have no regrets. It sounds like it can be easily remembered.

Name the band’s lineup and indicate the instruments and equipment each member plays?
The band is V. Zadiev on vocals, Metal Priest on bass, Evgeniy Maestro on guitar, A. Klapchov on guitar and I. Semenchuk on drums. We use MP Custom Bass 28, Gibson Studio, Tama Drums.

How much input does each member of Bestial Invasion have into writing and composing songs?
Every member of the band is involved in creating songs, but basically I bring the main ideas and music and then we all work on it and improve it.

Who writes the band’s lyrics and from where does the inspiration come?
The lyrics on the first album was written by our first singer. I wrote the lyrics for our EP and the upcoming album. This time I tried to make the music and lyrics much closer than ever before. We missed that on the first album.

You have a Youtube channel where you write reviews of your CD collection. What was the reason for starting it?
Recently I made a new channel for amusement where I am supposed to do reviews on my favorite CDs and vinyls. Pretty funny thing.

How did you get the idea of reviewing your collection on Youtube? What do you usually review for your channel?
I got this idea in 2014 but I didn't have much time. Then the idea came out a few more times as a joke. And finally I started making reviews this year. I don't review my own albums. I review albums from my music collection.

Which of your albums from your collection have you reviewed so far? How many viewers have watched your videos?
I have made eight videos so far. Besides album reviews I review all kinds of thrash literature like books, magazines and so on. I have already reviewed Iron Maiden, Dark Angel and King Diamond. Since it’s a new channel each video has around 1k-2k views so far.

What book and magazine reviews are posted on your Youtube site?
Nothing yet. But I have planned to review many others. So it's kind of a secret for now.

How many demos have been recorded since Bestial Invasion formed? Are they available either on CD or online?
We don't have any demos. We got some rehearsal footage and stuff. But now it's just for personal use. Maybe someday we will release it as the bonus materials.

How many full length releases does Bestial Invasion have out at the time of this writing?
We have done one album, one EP and a few singles. Hopefully at the end of 2016 we plan to release the second album.

Tell the readers about Bestial Invasion’s debut album. Which songs appeared on it and how well did it do when it came out?
It was recorded in 2015 and contains eight original songs and two cover songs. It was our first release so we had a lot of trouble before we actually started recording, and some troubles with the band members. But we have gotten through this and done a wonderful and spirited album.

The band recently recorded a cover of Destruction’s instrumental Bestial Invasion. How did this come about?
Yeah that was a great idea! For ten years I’ve been hearing that idea from my friend Faunus. And finally I decided to make it! To make a kind of exclusive thing which has never been done before. So we took random lyrics from a few Destruction songs and mixed them. And then recorded vocals. I think it was pretty cool.

Are there other songs by Destruction or other bands you may be interested in covering? You mentioned on Facebook that Raven is one of your favorite bands.
I think there will be no more covers in the future. We have already covered Raven’s “On And On” which you can hear on our first album. And we also are going to do a cover version of one of the Toxik songs.

How many new songs does Bestial Invasion have written and arranged at present?
Eight songs from the new album are written and ready for recording. There will be different songs with a different atmosphere and mood. We got songs inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, Caligula, about Dreams and Caravaggio and so on. It's gonna be interesting I think. The songs are: Inception , Prisoner of Miserable Fate, Repudiating the Power, Caravaggio Specular Vision (Camera Obscura), Enigma (Bass Etude), Zodiac: Crime World Mystery, Thy Own Soul Terror and Caligula: Salacious Age.

What inspired you to write about Edgar Allan Poe and Caligula for the next album?
Different life situations and literature inspires me to write. Caligula was an odious ruler. And Edgar Allan Poe has also inspired me.

Will the band be recording the new album at a professional studio or do you have your own recording studio?
We don’t have our own studio. So we have to use other options. But a studio will be definitely professional. Although our drummer’s father owns a studio it does not fit our style and the features of our music.

Are you working on vocals for the new album at present?
At the moment we are recording drums for the new album. That video was a demo rehearsal. We will start recording vocals in two months.

How will the band be promoting the next album when it is released in the end of 2016?
Most likely we will release the new album in the beginning of 2017. We decided there’s no hurry and we will take our time to make great work. So wait for the new album in January/February. It’s gonna be stunning and blow your minds!

-Dave Wolff

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CD Review: CHALICE OF SUFFERING For You I Die

CHALICE OF SUFFERING
For You I Die
War Productions (Cassette)
Chalice Of Suffering from Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) just released this, their debut full length a few days ago. On top of this I’ve only been listening to this album for ten minutes and I’m already floored by its grandiose scale. This is doom metal that strives to push its boundaries, travel and explore the uncharted regions of extreme music and create something personalized, singular and matchless which refuses to pander to any target audience or the bottom line. I remember when a band from the U.K. called Enchantment released one album, Dance The Marble Naked, in 1994. I remember it being years ahead of its time for throwing method to the wind and taking real chances with its compositions. It’s a shame they disbanded as they exhibited unheard of potential. This album is buried deep in doom metal’s annals if you dare seek it. The Japanese black metal band Sigh did likewise on Ghastly Funeral Theatre and Hail Horror Hail and continue to push the envelope. The quickening I got from those bands I experience the same way from Chalice Of Suffering. Plunging headlong into darkness and solitude, they illustrate the emptiness, longing and despair within with more animation than you’d anticipate from a band that peers this far into the void. The term “beauty in darkness” applies as their energy is channeled into talent, originality and ingenuity, not fleeting fame, prestige or even a quick buck. Pushing the latter aside at least for the time being they bring nightmares to life, painting the horrors of nightmare as if they were tapestries by Giger or Goya. To present an idea of what to expect musically here, the band’s Youtube profile includes a list of favorited videos from bands that influence them. Some of these are Evoken (USA), Ahab (Germany), Mournful Congregation (Australia) and Skepticism who are considered one of the founding bands of funereal doom metal. If those bands are familiar to you, think of a band that incorporates some of each into their sound, together with My Dying Bride and Moonspell. There are many more doors to be opened, and Chalice Of Suffering are opening several. It helps if each track is different, and you can expect those differences in Darkness, Who Will Cry, Alone, Fallen with its wind and string instruments and its ambiance, the atmospheric Void and especially Cumha Do Mag Shamhrain performed entirely with bagpipes of all instruments. The range in lead vocals stood out above all else, assuming many forms as they seemed to hover over the musicianship like mist over an ancient lake. This is one band you should watch for in 2017. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Darkness
2. Who Will Cry
3. For You I Die
4. Alone
5. Screams of Silence
6. Cumha Do Mag Shamhrain
7. Fallen
8. Void

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Video Review: WEAPONS OF ANEW Killshot

Photo: Frank White
WEAPONS OF ANEW
Killshot
It's nice to see older guys still trying to rock it out and these guys are definitely in their late 30s early 40s and they're still trying to make that last ditch attempt. Admirable. You can tell that at one point this outfit was a real metal band. Or they individually started out that way. They dig metal, they really enjoy it but, somewhere down the line an A and R guy got hold of Weapons of Anew and told them, "You got to pop this up, you got to make this more palatable if you want to sell." Hence the male Evanescence quality to this band's sound. You got it all going on here: high harmonies, smooth as glass production, pretty boy lead singer and it all leads to a kind of vapid, empty candy floss sound that leaves you wanting a Thanksgiving dinner to fill you up.
I get it, I get what you guys are trying to do, and it's understandable the music business being what it is in 2016. It's full of cookie cutter silky production numbers masking as hardcore rock music whether it be punk or metal in their various genres. But you all are old enough to know better; seriously. For starters, the jarring insertion of a Punisher T-shirt on guitarist Freddy Ordine. This is a video, your identity is all out in the line here - it's your calling card. Define yourselves. Don't let their stylist dress you, you're not a 14-year-goth girl. Wear your own clothes you're like a 40-year-old dude. And by the way that's cool and that's seriously metal to be an elder statesman of rock. You're a veteran of the road, you've been through some deep shit, own it - tell us about that stuff. Hell, look at Slayer, listen to the last Motörhead album. Watch the guys that are out there playing it now - they've been through the wars. There's some kind of sonic gravitas in being an older metal band; don't try to make yourself something that you are not to please others because you just don't fit the demographic. Let it go, let it be loose and be yourself because I really think that this is not you.
Don't get me wrong; it's a really good song and I like the idea, I like the video 'Killshot'. You put a woman in a physically powerful position even if she is showing our hero 'no mercy' and he's begging to be put out his misery. Weapons Of Anew really put themselves out there; a lot of older guys wouldn't want to show themselves so much in a video but your good looking you still are rocking the slight figure of the hungry musician. I get it, it makes sense, but at the same time I would have preferred to see something from WOA that's a little bit more dirty and deep. And what are we trying to say here? That some girl cut you to the bone? You do understand this is a 22-year-old guy song. This is the song a guy sings he's just starting to branch out into the world of love. You guys have been around the block a bit and I'm thinking a girl cutting you off at the knees is not gonna have the same affect on you as a young dude. So maybe you handle this subject matter a bit differently and frankly in a more worldly and interesting way.
The musicianship is there - Chris Manfre on drums is particularly outstanding. And I see where this could sort of spill over into an Avenged Sevenfold pop metal, but the iron just isn't there. And your man Ray West with the gravel scream - dude it's STILL IN YOU - clearly!! Don't let someone tell you that you need to clean it up to make a record. I am frankly appalled at the production, the sound is so cold - I can't attach to this song in any way.
Look, I'm in my late 40s I'm not saying that, you know, older people shouldn't be out there rocking it, but you should be authentic and true to yourself and not true to some ANR guy’s idea. That being said, keep going you guys are great musicians and I love the meat of what you have here. But make it steak not sushi. Take a step back, reevaluate and come back out there with something that's filthy because that's what's in your souls - I can feel it. -Heather Dawson