Thursday, April 25, 2019

Track Review: FULCI "Eye Full Of Maggots" by Dave Wolff

Band: FULCI
Location: Caserta, Campania, Italy
Genre: Brutal death metal
Track: Eye Full Of Maggots
From their upcoming album Tropical Sun to be released on Time To Kill Records May 31, 2019
Release date: April 23, 2019
Since I’m an enthusiast of eighties horror, gore and splatter, I jumped at the chance to listen to the premiere of Fulci’s second album. Tropical Sun is a conceptual opus based on Lucio Fulci’s 1979 film Zombie, still recognized as having broken new ground in horror. I should add the movie’s roots go even farther back, as its screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti penned the script (originally titled Nightmare Island) to homage The Walking Dead (1936), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and Voodoo Island (1957). I always saw the darker tone of Zombie as a polar opposite of the social commentary of George Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead. Instead of commenting on corporate greed Fulci’s movie reflects the theme of the classics of the 30s, 40s and 50s telling a tale of reanimated corpses preying on the living after being awakened by a voodoo curse. The theme of mystery and menace, and the graphic gore, is reawakened with the old school death metal theme of Fulci. Considering the band comes from the same country as the director, it makes sense they’ll have a similar perception of horror as that of the movie. Italian horror cinema had an ambience not like American horror cinema. It was much more murky, inexorable and hard-line, like early death metal. The title of the first track from the new album calls to mind the iconic poster of Zombie, with the makeup effects created by Giannetto De Rossi, Maurizio Trani and Rosario Prestopino. At two and a half minutes in length the track is brief and to the point, presumably depicting the undead conquistador emerging from his grave before it takes a bite from the horrified woman watching it happen. The song’s presentation and delivery should remind you of old Necrophagia, Mortician, Obituary and Bolt Thrower; bands from death metal’s formative years. It’s well produced, with lots of crunch and double bass, with an occasional hint of death-thrash added. Refer to the Youtube link below for more information about the album. -Dave Wolff

Interview with Kane of DEHUMANISE by Dave Wolff

Interview with Kane of DEHUMANISE

Dehumanise recently released their debut full length “A Symptom of the Human Condition” on CDN Records and plan to tour Europe with the death metal band Monstrosity this June. How many countries will you be touring?
We will hit six countries, and have over twenty shows booked in the UK well into 2020.

Dehumanise describes their music as blackened crust punk with some death metal influences. Describe the lyrics written by the band and how they fit your music. Are they politically based or just written to talk about social issues?
That does sum it up. We mix old school death metal, anarcho, d-beat and metal. We are inspired by bands like Discharge, Hellhammer, early Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and a host of others. The lyrics are about a lot of things, personal issues, direct and indirect. Some are to do with social issues, some are political, it depends how I feel at the time and what inspires me, what grinding my gears, what I wish to address and process myself or feel from the music that we have put down.

How many similarities does the band perceive in the musicians you cited as influences? I’m not familiar with anarcho and d-beat. Is anarcho a subgenre of punk? In what ways does it and d-beat fit into your style?
Check it out, make up your own mind, you should have a listen. Anarcho and crust are both subgenres but metal influenced punk. Think of early Celtic Frost, Dark Throne, Motorhead, Venom as inspiration but probably heavier and faster, all that stuff. We do our own thing and play it our way, but people have to have their categories, which I don’t like to do to be honest, it’s all rock n roll. Don’t analyze it, just enjoy it. I’d happily listen to a raw black metal band, then a stoner band, then a death metal band, but you don’t get that at shows. It’s all too fragmented, which personally, I see as a negative, we need more unity in music. It is about freedom and creativity not regurgitating another band by numbers and calling it a genre. You get one original band with an original tone and all of a sudden you have a genre. Just play it guys and let’s enjoy it, not split ourselves.

Sometimes categories are needed, if anything to give listeners an idea of what to expect from a band. But other times categories aren’t so much limiting as they are overused; in other words it seems there are too many. What are your thoughts on this idea?
Best thing to do is go and listen to a band on Youtube or Bandcamp or Facebook page. Or even better go and check out a local underground live show, have a beer, make new friends and discover some good new music. Make up your own mind. We aren’t here to decide for you, no one is, not the magazines, not the labels pushing their advertising and not the essentially corporate machines running the large festivals. The listener does that themselves. If it’s for you, great. If not there is a host of other bands to discover to someone’s taste. Go give the real stuff a chance and don’t swallow the plastic. We do what we do without limitations and it comes out the way it does, the way we feel. Feel is a big factor, our end of the business is not fake in anyway. Same with 90% of the bands we play with.

Cite some of the d-beat and anarcho bands you listen to and add if you recommend them to the readers.
Discharge is always a good place for people to start. I did session bass for The Varukers too, they are worth a check out.

I noticed you are also influenced by American punk and hardcore bands like The Misfits, The Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. Do they help you stand out from other bands?
My first tattoo was the Black Flag logo, done in 1995. A band stands out due its own interpretation and presentation of their work. I am a fan of James Brown and the energy he had on stage. Everything shapes who you are and when you work with other people they bring their own thing to the band and you become what the audience sees.

Which countries does the band plan to visit on the upcoming tour? Assuming the tour is the first time you’re visiting those countries, are you anticipating expanding your fan base?
Scotland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium. We will do more countries any opportunity we get. I have toured in most countries in Europe several times and they are all good. Nineteen at the last count.

Describe some of your experiences visiting Europe and meeting fans there.
It was good and bad, same as anywhere really. It was with my previous bands and some bands I have done session work for. Some places are well attended and some aren’t, some people are cool and some aren’t. Same the world over. It’s all good fun though, we just love to play loud heavy and live.

How long has the band’s current lineup been together, and how well do you work as a unit? Does any of their experience in other bands help Dehumanise?
Dreads took over on drums in February when Nick left due to a heart condition he was born with and had to retire. We work perfectly otherwise it wouldn't work at all. All experience helps.

Where was “A Symptom of the Human Condition” recorded? Did the band use their own recording studio and produce the album independently, or did you visit a professional studio to get the sound you were looking for?
We went to Shoestring Studios in Stoke on Trent. It’s a full time professional studio and it was recorded on analog, so gave us a live, raw sound that we were looking, so yes we did, Ade the producer is a veteran of the punk scene and was good to work with. He is also our friend and we share the stage with is band. Knowing where the band is coming from is very important, I have made too many errors that way in the past! Haha.

What social and political issues does Dehumanise address on the album? Are they mostly events in the U.K. or did the band write about events in other countries?
Some of the issues addressed are child abuse and PTSD. Some issues in the UK are addressed, like issues in the National Health Service. I’m an ex-psychiatric nurse and was in the Parachute Regiment. I also look at environmental issues affecting the world.

How long were you a psychiatric nurse before starting Dehumanise, and how profoundly did your experiences have an influence on your role in the band?
Many years. Dehumanise is fairly new after the demise of my last project. My experience in all things always influences whatever band I am in.

What are the environmental issues you wrote about? Is writing about them as important as getting involved with them as an activist (as Napalm Death did with PETA)?
Besides issues with the NHS in the UK, worldwide pollution, animal cruelty and terrorism. But there is some happy stuff in there. We are actively involved with some mental health charities. All proceeds from the track 'Shattered' goes to PTSD UK for example.

How much revenue has “Shattered” generated for PTSD UK since 'A Symptom of the Human Condition' came out? Are you equally involved in other mental health charities?
Not as much as I’d like to say to be honest, it is an ongoing project however and there is a possible fundraiser gig coming up too. Not at the moment, but we probably will be once the profile of the band gets bigger. We were approached by an organizer we know; it will be in Birmingham, U.K.

List all the tracks appearing on 'A Symptom of the Human Condition' and indicate what their subject matter is.
• Bones of Anger - this a black magic spell set to music
• Never Forgive - this is about having my parent arrested for child abuse
• Misfit - this is about Frankenstein
• The Struggle - this is about mental health
• Ehwaz - Ehwaz is the character M in elder futhark runes and it means horse, this song is about my horse.
• Symptom of the Human Condition - this is about the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
• Terror - this is about things happening in the word right now that people shouldn't have to be dealing with.
• City Streets - this is about Frank Castle, the comic book character The Punisher.
• Cursed By Me - another black magic spell set to music
• Total War - this is about the negativity of war and the effect it has on innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with the political climate that created it, the fact they shouldn't be effected so badly but such a thing that has been caused and decided and controlled by people who are sitting miles away in safety.
The EP is included as a free bonus on the album’s CD format.
• DBol - education regarding the dangers of anabolic steroid abuse
• Product Of Today's Environment - the mess the UK government have made of the NHS a formerly world class organization and how it is such a tragedy.
• Shattered - the effect me living with C-PTSD
• Your World - look at the world that you live in! It’s yours, stop fucking it up.
A live video of your song “Misfit” recorded at The Dark Horse in Moseley last March is uploaded to Youtube. Does the video’s sound and the acoustics of the club represent your live show?
The acoustics were good and so was the sound engineer, but it was set up for live sound, so it was to the people there to decide. It’s hard to record a decent live sound on mobile phone. It was a simple representation of the gig.

How often do you update your Youtube profile? Are you planning to post a new live video or promotional video sometime soon?
Whenever we have something relevant and that we think people may find of interest. Please come and subscribe to our channel.
Does Dehumanise plan to start working on new material this year? If you have any new songs written, will you be previewing them or adding them to your next release?
We have a live album out in the summer and new album out before Christmas and 7" split coming out later in the year too. We are always writing new material.

-Dave Wolff

Interview with Anthony Begnal of CHESTY MALONE AND THE SLICE ‘EM UPS by Dave Wolff (second interview)

 
CHESTY MALONE & THE SLICE ‘EM UPS

You just released your latest EP “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” on Bandcamp the other day. Will you also stream it on other social media outlets?
The whole record (three songs) is up on Bandcamp now at https://chestymalone.bandcamp.com/album/satanic-brooklyn-scum. More importantly, it’s out now on 7” vinyl, came out on April 1st on 1332 Records out of the great state of Idaho. Eventually it’ll be up on iTunes, Spotify and all the other streaming sites.

How many labels did you seek before working out a release deal with 1332 Records? Did they only release it on vinyl (how many copies this pressing) or will they also release CD copies?
I think I only wrote one other label about putting out our new record. It’s on vinyl and digital, no plans for a CD release. I think they pressed 500 copies, give or take. Somebody said there’s a listing on Discogs with all that info but I haven’t checked.

Were any of the songs on “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” inspired by movies or TV programs, or based on ideas the band thought up? Describe the concept of each track.
No. We got the title “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” from a NY Daily News headline. The story was about how someone vandalized a nativity scene outside a church somewhere in Brooklyn and spray painted satanic symbols. The song is not about that though, it’s about us and other vile miscreants who reside in Brooklyn, although we recently temporarily re-located to an undisclosed location in the wilds of Pennsylvania (as the saying goes, the rent’s too damn high!). We’ll be back though! It’s also about satanic demonic possession, complete with biblical references. The other two tunes, “Cannibal Girl (Don’t ya Wanna Eat Me?)” and “Everybody Hates Me” are two lovely paeans to the wonders and beauty of everyday life as we see it.

What is the band’s current lineup? Is this lineup for live shows as well as recording?
The current Chesty lineup is of course myself and Jackie B along with Kyle “Haunted” Haust on drums and Buddy Jon Hell on bass. We’ve been playing shows with these guys since St Paddy’s ’19. Smoking’ rhythm section! Here’s a pic of us taken in Nazareth, PA at the Jacksonian Club. We of course still love all past and present members of Chesty Malone!

Did you visit a recording studio to record the EP or record and produce it independently? If the latter option, does the band have equipment to record with for their desired sound?
We recorded SBS at Seizures Palace in Gowanus, Brooklyn in mid-December of 2018 with Jason Lafarge at the helm. We make demos at home but we always record at real studios.

Why did you choose April Fool’s Day to release “Satanic Brooklyn Scum”? Is there any significance to it coming out on that day?
It just kind of happened that way due to international postal services (it was pressed in the Czech Republic). Perhaps it was sort of unfortunate due to some people maybe thinking it was a joke.

Is the making of SBS your first time working with Jason Lafarge, or have you worked with him before?
This is our first time working with him. Great place and a great guy to work with for sure. The building dates back to the 1800s, but it’s being overshadowed by the Whole Foods that opened by the nearby fragrant Gowanus Canal. 
 
If you made demos of the EP’s three tracks, in what ways are their final versions improvements?
They’re the same basic songs, just in demo form. I kind of like our home demoes (we’ve made a bunch of them over the years) and someday maybe they’ll end up on the Chesty Malone boxset. 
 
The band shot and released a promotional video for the song “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” which can be viewed on Youtube. Was it made with the same people you worked with on past promotional videos or did you find new people to work with?
Our long time video collaborator Sam Snead made this one for us. The awesome husband and wife team of Chris and Kirsten Jerome, from the great state of New Hampshire made our last video before this for “Fun Things to do During Robberies” off of our last album.

In what ways did Sam Snead help the video visually represent the song? How much exposure has it gotten?
He did a terrible job representing the song and we are locked in a personal battle that I’m not sure will ever be resolved. But we do love the video anyway. Check the YouTube stats to see how the exposure is going.

Are you planning to make more promotional videos to advertise the new EP, with blood, gore and horror themes?
There are only two other songs on the record so… maybe? We might do one with a love and flowers theme.

Are you still designing artwork for flyers, shirts and personal projects as you were the first time I interviewed you for the zine? What have you designed lately?
Of course I am, that’s what I do. I’m always doing tons of artwork. My current favorite is the “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” record graphics.

Describe your design of the “Satanic Brooklyn Scum” cover, and how it was meant to represent the three songs appearing on it.
Here it is, check it out! Listen to the songs and look at it, it speaks for itself.

Besides the EP’s cover art, what have you designed recently to sell through your website, either for commissions or for other bands?
I have a pretty extensive website where people can check out my artwork: www.anthonybegnal.com. I’m available for any kind of art project, so get in touch if you’re looking for an artist.

How often have you been performing lately, and at which venues? Are fans of the band responding to the new material?
Our last show as of this interview was April 5th in Nazareth, PA at the Jacksonian Club, good place. We played with the Nihilistics and the Undead and a couple others for a Joey Image from the Misfits benefit. It’s a good cause we were happy to be a part of. We played in State College, PA on St Paddy’s at Zeno’s, first time we ever played that God forsaken town (kidding! Relax everyone). Good show. We’re also playing in Delaware and Philly soon. And we return to Brooklyn on 6/15 at Lucky 13. We’re really happy to be playing some places we’ve never played before and returning to some that it’s been a while since we were there last. So far, from the new record we’ve only been playing “Satanic Brooklyn Scum”. People seem to like it. It’s got a slightly different groove from most of our other stuff. For our Brooklyn show we plan on playing the record in its entirety. And there might even be a ritual from the Satanic Temple of Brooklyn to start off the show.

Has the band been involved in other causes, or do you plan to do so in the days to come?
Sure, we’ve played some benefits and been on some benefit comps but we’re not really a “cause” kind of band and it’s kind of gauche to talk about that stuff in my opinion anyway, announcing to everyone what a good person you are and that kind of thing. Although Michael Jackson did ask us to be a part of We Are the World part two a while ago. It never worked out though. We do what we can, we ain’t so bad.

You played a show or two with the Murder Junkies (GG Allin’s band before he passed away). How did those go? Would you play with them again given the opportunity?
We’ve played with them a few times over the years but the last time was a year ago so that’s not part of our recent shows at all. Happy to hear Dino Sex is doing ok though! Sex Kills Cancer! And yes, it’s always fun to play with those wacky guys.

One of the shows where you will be supporting the new EP is at the Killadelphia Slasher Fest in Philadelphia this July. Tell the readers a couple things about this event.
Yup, Saturday July 13th in Philly at Voltage Lounge with the Jasons, Voodoo Death Cult, Splatterhouse and lots more. It’s being put on by Horror Punks USA, who are also doing the Hellaware Fest in Wilmington, Delaeare on May 18th with DR. CHUD and us and a ton of other awesome bands! We’ve never played Delaware so this should be interesting. Check our Facebook page for all the events for the shows. Philly is a great town and we love playing there so we’re stoked for sure.

Who else will be appearing at the Hellaware Festival? How long has the band known the people involved with Horror Punks? Do you expect to return to Delaware if the fest goes well?
Like I said above, check our Facebook page for the show events for all the details. I don’t know how long we’ve known them, a little while I guess. Good folks. No, we will never return to Delaware after this one show no matter what. Yes of course, if the show goes well we’d expect to return for more. Why not?

You were interviewed on Bob’s Asylum Radio to promote SBS. How did you hook this up and how much did you talk about the new songs? Where can the interview be heard?
Someone asked us to do it, probably Bob? I’m not sure. No, we did not talk about the new songs at all. Ha, of course we did, what a question! We also talked about tacos and pizza, was a good time. His show and a bunch of others is on www.whatever68radio.net.

On your Facebook profile you mentioned planning an interview at noecho.net. Talk about how you arranged the interview. Is it to promote the band, your artwork or both?
The good folks at No-Echo premiered SBS for us back in March but I’m also doing a series of interviews with classic era Hardcore band members called “A Hardcore Conversation”. You’ll have to wait and see who I interviewed.

How much of a buzz did No-Echo create for SBS on their show? Did they play one song or all of the songs from it?
We checked our trusty Buzz-o-Meter after the article came out and it was off the charts for sure. No-Echo is not a radio show; it’s like a news site for Hardcore, punk and metal type stuff.

How soon do you expect to post the interviews you are conducting for “A Hardcore Conversation” and where? Or have some of the interviews been posted already?
The first one’s up now, with Bryan Migdol, original drummer of Black Flag. Pretty epic.

What did you and Bryan Migdol of Black Flag discuss? Was the interview mostly about the band or was there some talk about the punk/hardcore scene they were part of at the time?
Go read the interview and find out!

What gave you the idea to start taping “A Hardcore Conversation” and where on the internet can people stream it?
My “A Hardcore Conversation” series is interviews that you read, it’s not streaming anywhere but you can read it at noecho.net. I’ve always liked the interview format and I had the idea to interview some folks from the OG Hardcore era that maybe don’t get as much attention as they deserve.

Where else in the U.S. are you thinking of performing? How about eventually appearing in other countries?
Anywhere that wants us and can give us a couple bucks for gas and stuff. Get in touch people! As of right now, pretty much limited to the Northeast portion of the US unless someone wants to pay for us to fly somewhere, in which case, definitely get in touch! And also, yeah other countries would be awesome but someone would have to wanna help pay for airfare. Ideally, we wanna play anywhere and everywhere. We’re like Black Flag and Van Halen in that respect.

Does the band have any other plans or projects you plan to undertake in 2019, that you want to briefly mention in this interview?
Right now we’re focused on SBS and playing as many shows as possible and getting to places we’ve never played before. But we’ve also started writing some new tunes for a 4th Chesty album and Jackie B and I have been talking about writing a concept 7”, as opposed to a concept album, called “The Youth”, as opposed to “The Elder” (KISS).

What is the storyline you and Jackie have been discussing for “The Youth”?
It’s a concept 7” (perhaps the 1st of its kind?) about old school Hardcore.

Check out Chesty Malone at:

-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

EP Review: PLAGUE WEAVER Plague Weaver (Independent) by Ashara Armand

Place of origin: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Black metal
EP: Plague Weaver
Label: Independent
Release date: March 17, 2019
The shape of this piece is heresy at its climax. We are in a realm crowded of sinister events we cannot comprehend. When you listen to Plague Weaver. Someone carries you into an encircling of glory. They are on the rise with a double-song post. I ask they develop more tune for this collection. Its tease at first. You can sip the ashes but you crave more. There is something devious about it. It is haunting. I can almost hear the words in my mind repeatedly. It's beyond this world. They pull us into their dimension of music. -Ashara Armand

Track list:
1. Condemned to Worship
2. YHWH

Full Length Review: DEAD TO A DYING WORLD Elegy (Profound Lore Records) by Ashara Armand

Place of origin: Dallas, Texas, USA
Genre: Blackened sludge, doom metal, crust
Full Length: Elegy
Release date: April 19, 2019
You indulge in the spirit of the statements in this fascinating collection. They deliver it in a darkened stand. The album Elegy. Has six sophisticated songs. The emphasis is tragic. But there is an infer behind the melancholy. It allows you a sample of what the character is thinking. Their spirit possesses anguish. The collection is gut-wrenching with remarkable lyrics. I appreciate what they are telling. It offers you into a diving watch. Reflective state. It creates out all the positions of how beastly it is. The overtones of style. The energy in every message. The weight behind it finest I have discovered. -Ashara Armand

Lineup:
Mike Yeager: Vocals
Heidi Moore: Vocals
Eva Vonne: Viola
Sean Mehl: Guitar
James Magruder: Guitar
John Schiller: Bass
Josh Dawkins: Drums

Track list:
1. Syzygy
2. The Seer's Embrace
3. Vernal Equinox
4. Empty Hands, Hollow Hymns
5. Hewn From Falling Water
6. Of Moss And Stone

Monday, April 22, 2019

Interview with CRYOSPHERE by Dave Wolff


Interview with CRYOSPHERE

Cryosphere’s approach to metalcore draws influence from post-hardcore, alternative metal/nu-metal, progressive metal and classical metal. Does the band combine all those subgenres to redefine metalcore? How far have these efforts come in the brief time you’ve been active?
Matias Lambropoulos (rhythm guitar): I don’t think that we are actively trying to redefine metalcore as a genre. The blend of genres you can hear in Cryosphere is probably more akin to the music that we like, and when your influences are from different genres then maybe it can affect the music we are playing. When I try to write the rhythm guitar I don’t think “alright today I want to write a nu metal guitar part in this song”; I just play what I think is the most fitting to the music. And of course there are a lot of different genres in Cryosphere’s music, but again I think it is more of a byproduct of the different music we are hearing at home.
Christopher Baklid (drums): What's fun about our band is our extremely different ideas of what our sound and style could be. We're currently in the middle of rewriting a very old song where we're playing around with djent-like tones, catchy chord progressions, odd rhythms, electronic and symphonic parts. Since we're a new band we haven't found the core of our sound yet. This is very much an experimental phase for us. The most important part is that we enjoy what we play and push skills forward for ever more interesting songwriting.

How is the band’s name mean to represent the music you write?
Sirene (vocals): All of our lyrics always have multiple meanings and our band name represents us in that same way that CRYOSPHERE means something different to everyone.

When your listeners hear your material, can they generally tell Cryosphere is musically removed from other metalcore bands?
Anders Elleskov (vocals): I think we have the unique sound that would tell us apart from other metalcore bands, because we mix so many different genres and styles. And also our mix of our two vocals, in the way we do, IS special and not very common in the scene today.
Sirene: I don’t think that we sound completely like every other metalcore band out there, but at the same time it’s not our intention to set out and try invent something completely new and progressive that will revolutionize the genre. But for us it happens naturally, due to our unique situation with our diverse backgrounds and our decision to have two primary vocalists.

What genres does each member of the band listen to most often?
Anders: Thrash, metalcore, alternative metal and pop-punk.
Sirene: Metalcore, nu-metal, doom, prog, new wave, art rock and rock.
Christopher: Prog, Death, Tech Death, Doom, Djent.
Matias: Black and Death metal but all kinds of extreme music not only in metal but dark techno and dubstep. But I like every kind of music but again mostly Black and Death.
Asger Markussen (bass): Prog, metalcore, djent
Emil Tronborg (lead guitar): metalcore, prog metal, prog rock, symphonic metal.

Does the band hear a prevalent sameness in metalcore these days? Or do you know of some bands who are taking the genre in new directions?
Anders: Sam Carter and Architects do things that distinguish themselves due to Sam’s incredible vocal techniques, and personally I think that bands like Jinjer and Infected Rain stand out with their female vocalists, which is still a minority in metal. Otherwise there is a lot of generic music that copies sound and style from the established scene without adding that much personal flavor.
Sirene: Honestly, I feel, there’s a lot of generic stuff out there. It doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily bad music, because they can be generic AND successful, but personally I think the magic happens when musicians do their own thing regardless of genre. I know that changing up the music makes people on edge. It divides and confuses the fans, but if that’s your thing, I think it’s smart. Specifically, I’m thinking of Bring Me The Horizon and In This Moment.

Of those bands you mentioned, which of their releases would you recommend?
Anders: Architects: Holy Hell (Album), All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (album)
Jinjer: Pisces (song)
Infected Rain: Orphan Soul (song)
Bring Me The Horizon: Sempiternal (album), Throne/Avalanche/Don't Go (songs)
Sirene: I agree with most of your list, Anders. I’d like to add though In This Moment: Blood (album).

In general, what about those albums and songs have that take underground metal in new and different directions?
Sirene: Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, In This Moment, Jinjer and Infected Rain blend the melodic and harder very well. All of them try to implement things from other genres, for instance electronic effects, symphonic and etc. in their music and they have a very charismatic front figure, who has some clearly defined vocals. Today it’s important that the fans can feel that the music comes from real people, with pain, happiness and stories they want to share with the word. And it feels that way with all of these bands while they’re playing around with genres and pushing the limits of each genre. Especially BMTH are trying to push the limits of metal in general. Their newest album most wouldn’t even classify as metalcore anymore.

What do you mean by clearly defined vocals? Did you mean vocals that phrase the lyrics so that they can be understood without the need for a lyric sheet? A common complaint about harder metal genres is that the lyrics aren’t intelligible. What is Cryosphere doing to improve this?
Sirene: By clearly defined I mean that it's easy to distinguish these vocalists from everybody else. They have that special something that makes them stand out. They are not necessarily easier to understand, but they have something and together with the music they create something unique by simply being themselves. We always provide the lyrics of our songs since the lyrics are important to us and we want everyone interested to be drawn into our lyrical universe with us - even if some of it is unintelligible to most people.

On Youtube there are tutorials from trained vocalists who instruct aspiring singers in extreme metal to use the vocal cords to avoid damaging their throats while singing. These vocalists who post the videos also tell the differences between vocal styles within the genre. Do you think this is a good thing? Have you watched any of those videos?
Christopher: As a former vocalist I started out with Melissa Cross's DVDs The Zen of Screaming, they were absolutely crucial to me learning to scream correctly, especially when performing live where adrenalin runs high and you forget your proper posture and using the right muscles. So yes, the Youtube tutorials are a good place to start, just be sure to read the comments to vouch for whether the instructions lead people down the right paths.
Sirene: Well. I think it depends on who you are. If you have a basic idea on how to sing or scream they might be a good idea, because you usually just need a hint, but it can be very dangerous for your voice to just follow Youtube videos and think everything’s alright, if you have no idea about singing properly. The body has an amazing ability to remember and if you do something wrongly too much, the body will automatically go back to that even when you’re trying to learn the right techniques later. Vocal cords are very fragile and if you screw them up, they might never really recover. I would recommend getting a vocal teacher to at least get the basics in place before going into extreme vocals. I have watched a lot of videos, because screaming did not come naturally to me, but I also had a great vocal coach, who could tell me when I did something wrong, so that I wouldn’t practice the wrong thing over a longer period.

Who was Sirene’s vocal coach, and how helpful were the techniques involved in her studies?
Sirene: I have been training in the CVT (Complete Vocal Technique) style for four years now, because I wanted to learn how to scream and I liked the fact that the CVT is so structured and tries to make vocal training visual with diagrams and whatnot. It has taken me three years to be able to scream just a little bit and the last year I’ve improved exponentially due to the fact that I am finally comfortable in shifting between clean voice and screams and that I’ve been strengthening the muscles needed for loud shouting-style vocals. I’ve changed coaches a lot, since it’s important to be to be in a space that is very safe and when you come down to it CVT coaches aren’t cheap, but I’ve found one Paula Befrits who’s been vital to my progress.

What do you think is the reason bands with female vocalists are still a minority in metal? How much more do bands with frontwomen have to work to be recognized?
Christopher: This isn't just a problem in the metal music industry, this is a fundamental problem. Inequality was established before our time. It became a terrible tradition that needs to be reversed. I think women in metal are already doing everything they can, the problem is the industry as a whole is not doing enough.
Sirene: I don't think that women in music have to work harder to be recognized in general, but I do think that we have to work harder to be recognized as musicians than our male counterparts have to. Somehow there's this underline that female frontwomen are only successful because they're female and that they're just an empty shell. I don't really care about traditions and how the world is supposed to work. I do my own thing and so far people are really responding well to our music. Haters will always hate and people are more than welcome to skip to the next song, if they have issues with my gender. 
When it comes to frontwomen in metal, are looks or ability more important? Or does each have its place? Does visual appeal depend on personal taste in aesthetics and genres?
Sirene: This is exactly the issue with females in (metal) music. Visual appeal has nothing to do with the music that is made. This regards men or women alike, but somehow it’s agreed upon that females have to do the “extra” to be appealing to the masses and that is as important as the music itself. And I just want to distinguish between looks and image. Looks should never matter, when it comes to music, and especially not in metal since metal (usually) carries a higher agenda in the music than just “having a good time”. I wear what I wear for me and not to exploit the fact that I am a woman. I hope our fans like us for our music and not for the fact that I am a woman. I am a musician and I just happen to be a woman.
Christopher: Ability should always be the fundamental reason for success. We (men and women) should not make women aspire to beauty, we should inspire them to greatness.

What more would you do to change the perception of women in metal? What do you feel the underground industry should do? Is the fact that people appreciate what the band does another step in that direction?
Christopher: We hope to inspire new forming bands to include both women and men for their skill instead of their gender by showing that women are just as powerful and hardworking musicians as anyone. In fact Cryosphere wouldn't exist if Sirene didn't work tremendously long hours every day to keep everyone on their toes and pushing forward and we owe her a huge thanks for it!
The underground industry is the best place for people to take a stance against misogyny as that's where everything starts, if people can push for change at the root it'll mold the future of the industry as a whole.
Sirene: Just be a fan of the music. Female fronted is not a genre, it’s just a fact.

Does the band have a principal songwriter, or does everyone share songwriting duties equally?
Sirene: We are all a big part of the songwriting. Most of the time someone has an idea and brings it to a writing session and we all bounce off that idea and expand on it. As a lyricist, together with Anders, we either have an idea we take to the boys or we write the vocal melody afterwards. Most of the time we let the boys work on the riffs and write the vocals afterwards.

Does the band compose songs according to the mood needed for the lyrics? How different does each completed song tend to be?
Sirene: The process with writing lyrics and vocals differ from each song. Sometimes we have a vocal idea we use as a base and write the rest of the song from. Other times we have a finished song where we just need to add vocals and lyrics. In the instances where the music comes first, we listen to the music and dig deep to find out which feelings the music brings out before we write anything. Sometimes the music really tells its own story and it’s very easy to put it into words, other times we struggle a bit. In those instances it’s so great that we’re two vocalists. We never really get stuck, because we can bounce ideas off each other.

In those instances where a song seems to tell a story and it’s speaking to you, how much easier is it to write lyrics to that song? Would you prefer having more songs like that, or is digging deeper into a song helpful to the band’s thinking process?
Sirene: Both scenarios can be amazing. I love it when the lyrics just flows through me. Like the words come from a higher entity and I’m just a vessel and the tool through which they come to life. Other times I have something I want to convey but the process of finding the right words is long and nothing really sounds right, but when the lightning strikes and everything falls into place, it’s the best feeling. Both scenarios give me joy, I don’t prefer one to the other.

Quote the lyrics Sirene considers her most profound. Did they come out in the songs that told a narrative?
Sirene: That would probably be “Wolves & Kings”. This is a song that had a rough birth. I think I rewrote this song more than five times, because I just wasn’t content with the wording of it, but I am really happy with the way it turned out in the end.
I like the silence - seeing the world through dissonant eyes
I seek solitude for my words to blossom
But all I hear is a sound, a scream calling me out
Through the dark constellations that make up my dreams
I’ve managed to turn into a lesser man it seems
A broken bird cries out before it sings
when it’s trapped between the wolves & kings
We storm in with our red painted faces
while the world around us sets on fire
Only ghosts escape our madness
and so the world around us cries out: “LIARS”
My hubris told me I was someone to be prized
Instead I became what I despised
The stars above me are staring down
on the tiniest man with the biggest crown
Am I the only one who lives to see the end?
Is this worth my time? Can I free your mind?
I’ll find my way out of nothingness
and I will swallow my pride before you turn into stone before my eyes!
Voices long forgotten inside of my head,
the blood on my hands, the blood on your tongue,
a whisper in my ear

What story is the song “Wolves & Kings” intended to tell? Does Sirene often rewrite lyrics more than once?
Sirene: “Wolves & Kings” is a journey into ourselves as humans. It’s about waking up one day and realizing that there’s a big difference between who you are and who you want to be and that it is never too late to change the things you aren’t satisfied with. In a way it’s a very personal song, but I’ve tried to add some perspective as well, because I don’t believe that my story is unique in any way. I see it as all of ours story and I want everyone to really look inwards and see if they’re really doing things in a healthy way or if we’re all just stuck in traditions and in doing things the “safe” way, because that’s just the easiest. I want people to be able to think for themselves and decide their own paths and I hope that “Wolves & Kings” inspires to do so. I often rewrite my lyrics. I am perfectionistic; I will not release something that I don’t feel is right.

Name other songs rewritten by Sirene until the lyrics conveyed their intended meaning.
Sirene: I’ve rewritten Nevermore (a demo we’ve released) a few times. The new song we’re rewriting also needs some lyrics rewritten since the instrumentals have changed and that means that the way the lyrics were written before doesn’t fit this song anymore. All of our old stuff is going through a revision period now and as long as we change up the instrumentals in a big way, the lyrics will need revision as well, but “Wolves & Kings” still takes high score since that song has had so many lives before we settled on this one. 

What is the old song the band is in the process of rewriting, as you indicated in the first question? How much of an improvement is it from its original version?
Sirene: The old song we’re rewriting is an unreleased song of ours. We’ve taken the song and rewritten most of the instrumental parts while saving the vocal parts. We’ve undergone a big change in lineup and grown a lot as a band over the past year, so we thought it was a good idea to look at this song again and see if we could improve something, and it looks like it’s going to be our most upbeat song so far. We’re really excited by what we’ve done on it and can’t wait to share it with you all.

What is the name of the song you’re rewriting? Will it be part of a new full length album or released as an exclusive single?
Sirene: The song we’re rewriting is a song we’ve played live a few times and we’ve had really nice feedback on it so we decided to take it back into the studio to rework it. I can’t disclose of yet if it will be a single or a part of something bigger, but we will be releasing some new material later this year. And also the name might change as a part of our rewriting process, so I’d rather not say the working title at this moment, so you’ll have to catch us live to get the name of the song.

How much material will be released this year, and how soon do you expect to come out with it?
Sirene: I don’t want to promise something that we can’t keep, and since we’re doing everything (recording, mixing, mastering) ourselves, everything takes a long time. I can promise that we will release something in the fall, but I cannot promise what it will be yet, since we’re going to record and mix during the summer. But at the least we will release another single this year. Since we’ve reached the finals in Emergenza and got booked for a lot of shows, we haven’t had a lot of time to write and perfect our material after we’ve changed out our lineup, so that’s why everything is a bit behind our intended release schedule, but know that we’re really working hard on making something amazing and we can’t wait to share it all with you.


-Dave Wolff