Thursday, April 29, 2021

Full Length Review: Bones Of The Earth "II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Bones Of The Earth
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Country: USA
Genre: Doom/sludge/stoner metal
Full Length: II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown
Format: CD, tape dad cassette
Label: Independent
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on everyone!
It’s *METAL TIME* again! And I think it’s time to take it back to a genre I haven’t covered much on here so without any more wasting time, Bones Of The Earth “II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown”.
So this is the latest album by Bones Of The Earth who is a new band I’ve discovered and I’m all the better for it!
Because among these six tracks you have quite the interesting blend of Sludge Metal/Groove Metal.
So, what they have going on is an album with incredible pacing combining the slow moving elements of Sludge with the also commonly slow elements of Groove to find that little sweet spot in the middle.
Most songs feature these heavy-handed but melodic guitar progressions and methodical drum patterns to sync, some songs would just feature mainly instrumental before any words kick in which gives more of a ‘Progressive’ metal feel I suppose but the sound and production incorporated give it that strong sludge, an apocalyptic vibe that bands such as ‘Eyehategod’, ‘Acidbath’ and early ‘Swans’ are used to its awesome!
Another element of the music is the vocals! With the main singer sounding like his own combination of Phil Anselmo and Henry Rollins. You have that strong in-your-face attitude that both attribute to but also that heavy punk flair that Rollins brings combined with the relentlessness that Phil possessed so all in all a fascinating mixture to have on the record but it works! The more I listen to this project, the more it hits me how well it’s constructed based on all the elements coming together as one!
For a band I just recently discovered, they are really good! They do a great job bringing back to life a prominently lost genre and upgrading it to fit the modern era with heavier instrumentation, devastating vocal performances, and more!
If you’re looking for a consistent, good time then these guys are for you! The link will be below and make sure you go support them!

Lineup:
Raif Box: Bass, vocals
Erik Ebsen: Guitar
Cody Martin: Drums, vocals

Track list:
1. Decline
2. Machine Rising
3. Peaceseeker
4. Inoperable
5. The Empire Never Ended
6. Reclamation


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Full Length Review: Juha Jyrkäs "Sydämeni kuusipuulle" (Earth and Sky Productions) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Juha Jyrkäs
Location: Helinski
Country: Finland
Genre: Kantele folk metal
Format: Digital album, limited edition CD
Label: Earth and Sky Productions
Release date: February 12, 2021
Imagine pagan and folk metal entirely recorded with traditional instruments, and this is what to expect from Juha Jyrkäs’ debut “Sydämeni kuusipuulle”. Jyrkäs is a musician and author from Helinski, Finland who has written short stories, novels and lyrics for the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani (Clan of the Wilderness) from 2006 to 2012. For him, the most convincing way to sustain Finland’s cultural origins is to forego writing and composing modern instruments in favor of with the kantele, a traditional Finnish instrument dating 1000 to 2000 years. With the gusli (Russia), the kokle (Latvia) and the kankles (Lithuania) it belongs to the zither instruments of the Baltic Psaltery. Unsure as I am that Jyrkäs is the first musician to record in this manner (who knows how many others are doing so), he is expanding on material extreme metal bands recorded with multi-stringed electric guitars and bass, presenting opportunities for new, over-and-above songwriting techniques. When I listened I got the feeling I get from Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance” or Sarah Brightman’s “Harem”. Is it metal or world music? In the end it doesn’t seem to matter.You may forget this album has anything whatsoever to do with underground metal as it sounds like an altogether different style of music. If you really become immersed you may find yourself leaving the modern world behind to a distant period when these instruments were first constructed. The ambience created between them and the other instruments employed in this recording (such as jouhikko, bagpipe, saz, mouth harp and various percussion instruments) feels like another world where there’s no compression, iPods or even electronic keyboards. I mean the album was recorded with modern equipment but Aslak Tolonen who did recording, sound engineering, mixing and mastering gave the album enough atmosphere and resonance to make it a macrocosm akin to a piece of history carefully preserved and unaltered by modern sensibilities. One that feels real as opposed to a museum exhibit. “Sydämeni kuusipuulle” goes beyond genre classification; it’s art. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Juha Jyrkäs: Vocals, electric kantele, bass kantele
Pekka Konkela; Percussion
Hittavainen: Violin in “Tulisydän” and “Honkajuurella Asunto”, Estonian bagpipe, saz, mouth harp and backing vocals in “Voimaa”
Milla Asikainen: vocals in “Hämärästä Aamunkoihin”, “Korpien Kutsu”, “Tulisydän” and “Honkajuurella Asunto”
Tero Kalliomäki: Electric jouhikko in “Otson Voima”, “Korpien Kutsu” and “Juhlapäivä”
Gorba The Cat: Purring in “Otson Voima”, “Korpien Kutsu” and “Juhlapäivä”
Avdakeja Andzhigatova: Vocals in Kamass language in “Juhlapäivä”

Track list:
1. Poimotus
2. Kymmenen Kyrvän Nimeä
3. Otson Voima
4. Hämärästä Aamunkoihin
5. Manalan Valtikka
6. Korpien Kutsu
7. Nuole Mua
8. Voimaa
9. Tulisydän
10. Honkajuurella Asunto
11. Juhlapäivä

Monday, April 26, 2021

Full Length Review: Sylvatica "Ashes and Snow" Format: (Satanath Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Sylvatica
Location: Aarhus, Midtjylland / Nyborg/Odense, Syddanmark
Country: Denmark
Genre: Melodic Death/Folk Metal
Full Length: Ashes and Snow
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: Satanath Records
Release date: April 20, 2021
While searching Satanath Records’ Bandcamp profile I hoped I stumbled across something worthwhile with Sylvatica’s sophomore full length. What I found was melodic, heroic, and extremely caustic; something like old Amorphis but with twice the conviction and technical capabilities, with some Amon Amarth and Enslaved poured into the cauldron. I got the impression of setting sail through an endless landscape of icebergs, watching the sky, the horizon, and even the water catch fire in the wake of your sailing vessel. The carefully thought out, meticulously arranged, classically tinged intro promises a memorable collection of tracks on the way. “Ashes and Snow” doesn’t disappoint as its consistent heaviness and relentless drumming add infinite weight to its classical and folk/pagan/symphonic elements. It’s a marriage made this side of Valhalla that’s not too overbearing for the unprepared metal fan who hadn’t expected such crushing songs. Sylvatica travels all the way back to 1994/95 and develops the density and thickness of progressive death metal as well as its atmosphere and proficient melody. The deep, guttural, and higher-pitched vocal fry are more than suitable for an album like this, fulfilling the role of a berserker captain leading his throng (represented by the melodic backing vocals) into battle, and the guitar solos are enough to stimulate listeners of Yngwie Malmsteen. All these fundamentals are properly layered and granted as they need to be, coming across as natural results of the songwriting. For a band’s second album, “Ashes and Snow” is presented as a masterpiece, and it’s more than worth a chance if you’re looking for music that’s simultaneously heavy and epic. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Jardén Schlesinger: Vocals, guitars
Christian Christiansen: Guitars
Thomas Haxen: Bass, backing vocals
Jacques Harm Brandt Hauge: Drums

Track list:
1. Daybreak Ashes and Snow
2. Pillars of Light
3. Creation
4. Cosmic Strings
5. Helios
6. Halls of Extinction

EP Review: Darsombra "Call The Doctor / Nightgarden" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Darsombra
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Country; USA
Genre: Trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock
EP: Call The Doctor / Nightgarden
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on all, I’m back again with another album review!
This time around I’ve discovered one of the most unusual bands yet, and that band is none other than Darsombra and their exclusive EP (that will later be a double album), ”Call The Doctor/Nightgarden”.
So, as with all new music the album cover and track titles can only do so much in helping guess what the album is going to sound or feel like, I’ve heard brutal albums with plain or peaceful album covers, then mellow albums carrying the most disturbing of images it’s all relative and today neither the album cover nor tracklist could have prepared me for what I heard.
For started the first track ‘Call The Doctor’ which is over 14 minutes long has this strange fusion of electronic and Progressive Metal. The best way I could describe it is what would have happened if you combined Daft Punk with someone like Porcupine Tree.
It’s gone the one and only spoken lyrics which is ‘Call The Doctor’ said in this real 80’s Synth Pop style with it almost auto-tuned and lingering in the background.
There are a lot of interesting elements such as the constant guitar riff combined with the future introduction to the electronic elements spoken about earlier, you’ve also got some strange vocal harmonies making the ‘ooooo’ and ‘eeee’ sounds in between certain parts of the song.
The next track ‘Nightgarden’ I feel and the stronger emphasis on the electro/synth sounds as it started off with this prominent Synth chord that follows the track as the guitar follows with stronger and longer riffs and solos.
What’s interesting about this track besides the occasional use of sparkle sounds is at the end there’s this 1 minute lingering of owls in the night, when I was listening to this album I was walking my dog at night so it wasn’t the best time to hear this sound and maybe it wasn’t done on purpose probably just forgot to trim the end of that looping sound effect, or maybe it was I’m not sure either way I can safely say it’s got a strong ‘ambient’ quality to the song, has a more consistent vibe than the first track and it makes you feel like your in a psychedelic experience (someone has to give this a try and see).
Overall, a very creative two tracks, and as said above it’s apparently meant to be a part of a bigger double album and if each track on this album is as long as these two then that will make for quite the lengthy but surely immersive experience!
Link above if you want to go support them! They definitely deserve it! –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Brian Daniloski
Ann Everton

Track list:
1. Call The Doctor (Sun Side)
2. Nightgarden (Moon Side)


Friday, April 23, 2021

Single Review: Desaster "Learn To Love The Void" (Metal Blade Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Desaster
Location: Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate
Country: Germany
Genre: Black/death/thrash metal
Single: Learn To Love The Void
From their upcoming full length “Churches Without Saints” to be released on Metal Blade Records June 4, 2021
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release date: April 13, 2021
What’s going on everyone I’m back with another absolute banger!
This time it comes from the band ‘Desaster’ and the track is ‘Learn To Love The Void’.
I’ll tell you now, as with all new bands I discover I never know what to expect in terms of sound, deliver, performance etc but I can tell you now what I WASN’T EXPECTING was a Death/Thrash Metal fusion that would blow me away!
First of all the vocal performances are insane in the best way possible! The vocalist brings out the best in the track with his ‘mad’ delivery of psychotic laughed and maniac and depraved screaming and death growls! It really helps you stay invested in the track the whole way through and leaves you wanting more!
The next thing great about this song is the instrumentation! Combining the elements of Death Metal and Thrash metal it’s the kind of sound that would give early run Cannibal Corpse a run for their money!
So all together with the key elements of
-Fast and Heavy instrumentation
-Monstrous vocal performances
-Killer production and tempo
It all makes up for one of the most exciting and blood pumping metal songs I’ve heard all year!
If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend you do so! Great job guys! –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Sataniac: Vocals
Infernal: Guitars
Odin: Bass
Hont: Drums


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Single Review: Auld "Hollow Mews" (Eschatonic Records) by Ashara Armand

Band: Auld
Location: Canberra
Country: Australia
Genre: Folk black metal
Single: Hollow Mews
From their upcoming EP “...of Petrichor and I” to be released on Eschatonic Records May 5, 2021
Format: Digital, streaming
Label: Eschatonic Records
Release date: April 15, 2019
I will not bullshit you. Everyone has a reason to write a song. Everyone has a reason to write anything, basically. We all have those moments where we want to write something and get it out of our system. The words itself sound like an outcry. You can feel the tension in the writing. You can feel that someone was trying to get something off of the chest. This is a band that I never heard of before. I have always been hesitant to listen to new music. If it's not something that I'm really pulled into by hearing the first few chords. I was surprised. I didn't think I would like it. But I do. We have come to a point that during this pandemic we have to try new things, despite our opinions. Despite any opinion from any individual. When you go through a phase of self-discovery, go through the self-discovery of finding music. They say music cures the soul.
Having your own soundtrack is important. Does it matter what song it is, as long as it sounds good? As long as it's for the moment that you find yourself in a deep hole and that one song gets you out of it. It inspires you to uplift yourself. Maybe this is a song that you go to that you are experiencing grief or anger. You just want to throw things. You want to hear breaking glass. Sometimes you need a fantastic scream. Not everything has to be negative. Society takes music to a different aspect sometimes. It will get misconstrued. People's opinions take a different turn. It's because they want something to complain about. That's the actual reality. It's always about something, but they don't like or what they don't understand. It's not really about understanding for the reason of someone's artistic value or their Vibes. It's because they wanted to write it and they wanted to get something out there. It was because at the moment it sounds good. Sometimes your hand leads you across the paper and the words just pour out. It's better to pour out than be missed. I think you should get that one moment of creativity you just have to run with it you have to go with it in order to really feel. The inspiration inside of you.
Sometimes the pain is the best inspiration. When you feel voiceless, the only thing you can do is write things down because you are your only Outlet, the book in your hand is the only out like you have to keep from screaming. Or lashing out at somebody. But this is my opinion. You can take it how you want it. It really doesn't matter. It's what your perception really tells you. You can listen to the song in form of an opinion all your own. No one is holding a knife to your neck. Listen to it.
I am grateful that I came across this song. Teaches me about somebody else's methods. This tiny piece has potential. It's a respectable piece. It has menacing vibes. But who doesn't like that type of shit nowadays? I hope you like the song. I wish the band all the success in the world. They have an extreme amount of talent. –Ashara Armand

Lineup:
Daniel Weber
Arron O’Cearbhaill
Joshua Smith-Roberts
Craig Novak

Interview with Ted Axe by Dave Wolff

Interview with Ted Axe by Dave Wolff

Your first band The Action has been referred to as Canada’s first punk band, and opened for The Ramones and The Stranglers getting a great deal of press. They’re also said to have imploded after releasing one EP. Do you sometimes regret this band didn’t achieve greater success?
Every day! But they say the first sign of aging is when your dreams turn to regrets. I am focused on the future and not the past. In terms of recognition, I am sure it would've helped me open doors in the music industry afterwards. I was also hell-bent on self-destruction at the time though so I think the success I craved would've gone straight to my head which was already too big trying to prove I was a punk. Got no time for regrets! I am one of the only ones from that time doing something new.

You have been referred to as a provocateur in zines and webzines. What is your personal definition of this term? Do you feel there remains a need for one?
A provocateur is someone who provokes. I am a performer that excites rather than incites. I am an entertainer who entertains, who puts on a show. I have new songs but my influences are from The Golden Age of Rock and Roll. My fangs call me The “Count of Rock” and I am bringing back the rock and roll fantasy. In the early days of The Action, I fancied myself the Malcolm McLaren of Canada and fed the press what they wanted to hear. It brought people to the gigs. Everyone wanted to see the crazy stage antics of Ted Axe! Is there a need for a provocateur now? Well, music is stale. Rock is dead. There needs to be Ted Axe the provocateur to bring it back to life.

What is killing true rock in the mainstream and how would Ted Axe repair the damage?
6/If we listen to what is on the radio, we hear music. Rap that used to be dangerous when it first started is bland and artificial and cliché. What lies at the bottom of the mainstream is crap. Everybody wants to be a singer and everyone now has the power to be a celebrity. Look at the term influencers and how they have millions of followers and do even public meet n greets. Only problem in they can't have an invisible face tune with them so their fans become disenfranchised once they see what they really look like. Then the “influencer” will get plastic surgery, filler etc to make them look more the way they do on Instagram and tic toc. Rock has faded into the nostalgia radio playlists and metal has taken its place. It all depends on an individual's definition of ''true rock''. Metal has become boring though (to me I'm saying) with the usual cliché guitar sound and white faces, Satanic fonts and occult symbols ext. What is true rock besides Ted Axe? Iggy when he was in The Stooges, The New York Dolls, MC5, Alice Cooper when he was with The Alice Cooper Band before “Welcome to My Nightmare”. The Sex Pistols who's demo was produced by Chris Spedding who did my demo in LA in the 90s. And many more of course but all from that era. Digital recording killed Rock many years ago and that's why I recorded “Sex, Horror, Violence” on two inch tape in an all analog studio ion a Neve board. Ted Axe is already changing all the boredom with “Sex, Horror, Violence”. My producer is on the same page musically so it worked out. I do all the guitar work on the album and played all the bass and drums on the track “Heaven” which was the first track we recorded at the studio. I play Ted Axe right down to the hilt. Black nail polish, half-cocked top-hat, black leather trench coat and Cuban high-heeled beetle boots .Raccoon eyes and sometimes dried blood purple gothic lipstick. The Count of Rock has risen.

What was punk when you started your musical career, and how many changes has it undergone since then? Was The Action actually the first punk band from Canada or were there others? How did Canadian punk differ from the US and England?
I went to London in '76.It was the start of Punk and it was extreme! (The beginning of any movement is extreme) King's Road, once the promenade of long-haired satin-clothed 70's rock stars, had given way to tribes of leather-jacketed punks with multi-colored patches of close-cropped hair and Mohawks. It was the actuality of the song Diamond Dogs by David Bowie. There was only one of club that had punk bands-The Oxford Club and I saw The Vibrators open for The Jamir was violent. I went to the loo and there was skinhead with a trench coat and a nazi armband who started singing “Surf City USA” when he saw my Peter Frampton-like blond curls. The Damned had “New Rose” on the radio. It was the first Punk song on the radio. It was mostly a very young male audience and they would be slam dancing and pogoing up near the stage. The first punks however did not wear leather jackets but instead they wore long Teddy Boy jackets. London was long overdue for a change. I went through my money fast and the Gibson Les Paul Jr I brought with me got nicked right away. “Why did ya come here Mate?” the taxi driver asked me on the way from the airport to the hotel. Every second bloke plays guitar!'' he said. I starved on a diet of beer, English Acid and Hovis and Drippins (a mealy English bread and bacon grease) ending up in a squat in Sheppard's Bush with some insane methadone addicts and a craggy bearded long-hair with an advanced case psoriasis who insisted on getting me in a headlock every time he saw me. If you put a piece of hash under your pillow, it would be gone in the morning. I sold my stereo to get back to Canada and joined The Action. There was no punk scene in Canada that I was aware of at the time. I invited the TV stations down to our practice place (affectionately known as “The Pit” and I made sure there was ton of garbage on the ground for them to wade through. We had a couple of groupies watching and I bought fake blood for them to spew out of their mouths during our song “Do The Strangle”. That night we were on the 6 PM news in the nation's capital. It was a laff watching myself giving the finger to the cameras as I mugged for the press. When we played rednecks had no idea what to do or how to react! They had heard that to dump beer on us and spit was the thing to do and they did not know how to react to our songs with titles like “TVs on the Blink” and “Do The Strangle”. We played a high school in the sticks on Halloween and I called the papers to exaggerate my stage antics. The next day the lurid headline screamed “Obscene Action Raise School's Ire!” We were starting to get known. There were other bands starting but they didn't start to make a noise until 1977 and mostly all were in Toronto. We were the first. We came out of Ottawa, the very dull capital city and seat of government. The only true punk scene as far as I could see was the one I had witnessed in London. We were the house band at The Rotters Den in Ottawa that started to develop a punk scene but kids would be driven there by their parents and bring punk clothes in a bag and get dressed and made up in the bathroom. In Toronto, Crash and Burn started and more punk bands started. The US had a similar punk start, mostly copying the UK one. The Ramones were like The Beach Boys on speed and when they played in London every future punk star was in the audiences.

What were your experiences sharing the stage with The Ramones and The Stranglers at the beginning of their careers? When you performed with those bands, did you have a feeling it was the beginning of something that would have such an impact?
When we opened for the North American debut performance of The Stranglers at a High School in Ottawa, one could sense the adrenaline in the crowd. We promptly nicked all their beer from their dressing room while they were onstage and their road manger was not amused! I remember that we tuned their guitar for them before they went on. We got signed to a small label that actually put a logo of a safety pin on the sleeve of our EP which we told them to take off. That pioneered EP format in Canada and it was the size of an album but was meant to be played at 45 RPM and a lot of people played it a 33! When we got the Ramones tour we started in Flint Michigan. Joey at one point near the end of their set lost his voice and mimed the words while DD sang lead. Johnny was a task master and mean to the others. He was the leader. I learned from him about focus while on stage. Most everyone in the audience thought they were brothers. I had the sense of more insanity happening near the stage it was all poseur-like compared to The UK scene. Joey had OCD; a lot of people don't know. I never thought of it having an impact on the world like it did as I was drinking all the time and would go off like a rocket on stage!

After The Action disbanded, what made you want to continue writing and recording as an artist? How long did it take you to found another band?
After The Action, I moved to Toronto in the back of a Taxi cab with my cat and girlfriend for 100 dollars cab fare. We got a place next to insane asylum because of the cheap rent and I started the band Khroma Key with my girlfriend. We were a duo. I finally could write new stuff and it came out like sped up Bowie and became more like Bauhaus as it got darker towards the end. It was the 80s but the stuff I was writing was pretty sophisticated. I called it Cryptic Funk. At one point I remember going to CBS Records and meeting an A&R guy who said that my girlfriend sounded too angry and that she should sing more like Madonna. It only took a year before we were playing out in the clubs and now Punk was pretty much over. Again however, the scene in Canada was a pale comparison to the 80s scene in London. Canada is a copycat nation. There is an old joke that goes something like...How many Torontonians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Four...Three to screw it in and one to go to New York to make sure it's done properly! Canada eats it's young. You need to be successful in America before you get respect or taken seriously otherwise they will ignore you and back then at least you had to go gold in Canada to even be released in The States.

Punk may have ended in the mainstream in the 80s, or became new wave, but it remained underground to the present. How did Khroma Key sustain punk as you remember it?
Khroma-Key was all about style. We looked good, very high quiffs (courtesy of Final Net Extra Super hold), tight pleathure jackets and cheekbone city. Having virtually no money meant no food and a quarter ounce of Hash + we would snort diet pills which was like cheap speed.(uppers).The music was brash but original and did not follow the cliché 80's drum machine, synth and Bowie wannabe vocal. I sounded very punk whether we were doing pseudo-mid-eastern 60's like secret agent riffs on a cheap guitar or playing African fela Kuti Manu Dubango like cryptic funk riffs. We both shared the vocals as a duo and I remember an A&R guy from CBC Records who came to see us asked why does she have to be so angry...she should sound more like Madonna.(Probably because “she” could never hear the monitors) but Toronto was very industrial back in 1981 and bleak... and tough. We were constantly berated and in some instances attacked by rednecks and college jocks at night for the way we looked. I was attacked on the last crowded subway home from a show and no one did anything. My lyrics were all different depending on each theme but I remember my song Alienation in which I referred to us as “We the wretched of your nation have no homes except some trip/ Alienation where we kiss”. It was all very romantic and Parissien chic punky sophistication. We didn't dress up. We lived i.e. hated our new home and longed to go to New York or Europe. We found Toronto to be too dull and provincial. We didn't relate. We were not ambitious and we were kinda anti-social. It was more important to be different from everyone else and we also didn't like the Canuck music industry. We were rebels without a cause you might say but beautiful rebels.

Many clubs that hosted punk had to call it a day because of rising rent or Covid. But as a result, bands have gone DIY with free internet streaming. Is this relatively the same in Canada?
I myself have not done a live stream. I think they make an artist look bad. The ones I have seen from homes... well who wants to see the singer/band in their living rooms standing stationary on his carpet. With one camera angle, there is a lack of production value. They bore me and I don't think they work for Ted Axe. I have my own fog machine affectionately dubbed “Sparky” that I take with me to every show and our light guy uses horror-flick lighting to get “The Count of Rock” ambiance and dark vampire atmosphere. The clubs here have now been prohibited to do live streaming because of a brutal resurgence of the pandemic. What good is a concert without an audience reacting though really? I think getting people to pay to view these events is a rip off.

How much or little has the club closings been a detriment to independent music? What would remedy the situation of there being fewer places to play?
Clubs closing means fewer places to play and it has had a huge impact on the scene here. Today the government doc just issued a statement saying that outdoors is a very hard place to catch this so I would have to say outdoor festivals. But again contagion risks go up with crowds and rock festivals. It is a very hard thing to monitor especially with drugs and alcohol fueling crowds.

How often has the band gotten to perform amid the Covid restrictions of the past two years?
We have not played since March 2020.I am getting antsy being off stage but have still played my Dambouke mid-eastern drum in the park all through the winter which is like performing in a sense. It has also afforded me a spiritual yet musical outlet.

Where was your band most often playing before the Covid outbreak? Was your draw increasing each time you performed?
The Ted Axe Band started playing out in Feb 2019 at The Opera House, perhaps Toronto's oldest and one of its most prolific venues. Like an old Opera House (I saw Gary Numan there), it suited the Vampire vibe. There are some vids of this show up. We had a tremendous crowd and we were opening for 3 tributes. People were blown away as they all thought we'd been playing for years together. Starting somewhat tentatively, I soon took control of the show once I felt that surge of energy coming back to me from the audience who totally got into i.e. then started playing a lot at a club that has a lot of these tribute acts play. The crowd is mostly into classic Rock and Heavy Metal. My music, one DJ told me, has almost created its own genre but I disagree. To me it is just dark hard rock. It has turned out to be perfect for this massive club and its clientele....Mostly blue collar long haired rockers and their girlfriends. It's kinda Neanderthal but no one said Rock is pretty. Reminds me of the 70s in fact except they are all a bit older now! We have opened for all these tributes and when This American band with the makeup came around-Wed 13, we were a natural support for them. So now having paid our dues, we are moving to play support for original recording acts like Wednesday 13 who are a bit Mansonish. In Toronto, I have the only band like mine. I am influenced by Alice except I am cuter according to my Fangs. Which is what our draw has been growing steadily. I have about 5000 Ted Axe Fangs in my Ted Axe Fangs Group on Facebook and 1000 in my new Ted Axe Band Fan Club. This is constantly growing and the two groups are mostly all female. My Daddy always told me “Just sing to the ladies and you'll be alright!”

Flash forward to the formation of your solo project and the making of your debut album. Firstly were there any specific happenings in your life that were an inspiration to the lyrics? Did the lyrics come first or the songs you composed?
Music always comes first...a riff. The riff is crucial. I have a review by a magazine that says “Riffs that kill. Looks that thrill”-BallBuster Magazine. I am all about the riff and with all the good ones taken, it’s not that easy to come up with a great original riff. Then a chorus and I like bridges and/or middle 8s so that comes third in the process. Then a few words here and there which may lead to a story which will take me to a chorus and bridge and an outro. I like recording on cassette tape (if it was good enough for John Lennon, it works for me).Words are scrawled almost in shorthand on paper and of course editing and re-editing those first ideas without losing the crux or watering it down. Inspiration comes from different places. If we look at the songs on the album...“Get Out of Rehab” (perhaps the hit of the album as proven by its popularity with DJs and fans on radio) it is about a dude I met in the park I live near that is close to the areas main rehab. This guy had escaped that morning and he had a case of beer early on Sunday morning. He walked up to me as I was playing my Djembe drum in the park and sat down next to me. I sensed he was harmless (but I do get some crazies playing my drum in a public park at strange hours) and he told me he got fed up because they did not allow him to smoke cigarettes) so he flew the coup. Well the second line of the tune mentions this and so it goes on and the conversation, (at least that which I could remember although I jotted it all down when I got home that day) comes out in the verses. Also the possible danger is captured in the song. “Death Us Do Apart” (Both “Rehab” and “Death Us Do Apart” are videos on Youtube) is a song about marriage gone bad and uses the vows of marriage as its main theme. In it the bride “wears a smile”, because she knows she has trapped the groom in the institution of holy matrimony. Nuthin At All is about an ex bandmate and ''My Own Worst Nightmare'' is self-descriptive and “Hurt People” is about someone who is hurt who in turn hurts other people. “I Don't Want To” is self-descriptive and again the song is a situation I have lived through repeatedly. “Mother's Day” is about my brutally abusive and cruel mother (God rest her unforgiving soul) and “Heaven” is a song about someone missing someone who has passed. Once walking past a newspaper box in downtown Toronto years and years ago, a headline glared out at me from the front page- “Sex, Horror, Violence.” It screamed and I always remembered that as those three words touch are most base emotions. I used a few stories I'd head on the news recently and I became the killer in the car about to commit a serious crime. TMI means too much information and describes an ex co-worker I had major problems with and who eventually got me fired. (I have had a terrible time working in strait jobs) until of course before I became rich and famous.

Were the musicians you worked on the album with people you worked with previously, or did you find them while seeking a new band to record with?
I finally got a band to perform the album onstage, it was through a bassist who works in a high profile Kiss tribute band (who has since left) and he introduced me to Toronto drummer Stefan Ford who was working with Toronto's main Ozzy Osbourne tribute. It went on like that and now I have Marcel LaFluer on lead guitar who has been around since 1979 and who I have known for years. Bassist Corrado Bartolo and Rhythm/lead guitarist “Jules” Julio Biafore are the new guys and have only done two shows with the band before the plague. We were able to play frequently in 2019 and in Jan, Feb and March 2020 and then everything stopped. I have hit on a great way to play in front of massive audiences and that is to be the support for the city's biggest tribute bands. We have opened for Kiss, Motley Crue, Guns n Roses, Thin Lizzy, Megadeth and Ozzy tributes to name a few. The audiences have loved us and dug the tunes! Is this Punk? you might ask...having an original band open for tribute bands...well I think it is because we come out and hit hard with mid-tempo rockers that bulldoze the crowd into submission and we get huge audiences and paid well unlike other original bands who have to settle for whatever the cat drags in playing in rooms that may not have the large stages or lights and sound needed to put a band over.

Talk about the making of your two promotional videos. Who filmed and produced them, where were the locations, what equipment was used etc.
'I wanted to do a video for “Get Out of Rehab”. I did not have a band in place yet. I just looked for people who were offering their services online and found one guy whose stuff I liked more than any of the others. He had experience and he was in his late twenties, early thirties. He shot it on his phone! I shot it in our rehearsal space. It’s just me and my reflection which actually makes it look like two people. Of course we are all two people...the “normal” one and the addiction. During editing the videographer was a whiz kid...fast and we edited in McDonald’s burger joint in China Town. The whole thing and process is so punk because of all this and because it cost 100 dollars plus 40$ for the room! For ''Death Us Do Apart'' I put a different ad in and again I chose someone who was not from here...a Polish cat Michael Novalski. We shot on his tiny vintage video camera in a large graveyard on a beautiful spring day. With no band or extras, the inhabitants of the graveyard and all their graves lent a certain beautiful and gothic ambiance to the video. “Get Out of Rehab” was black and white and “Death Us Do Apart” is colour. We edited on his phone just like “Rehab” was edited. I kept on pushing him to use as many creative edits and wild effects and at one point in the vid, I am singing and shape-shifting at the same time. It’s like taking acid for 3 and a half minutes. Total cost-$350. Its guerilla warfare and videos are not about the money but about the creativity. I really don't like typical videos with a model ext...So cliché or all slow motion...again so overused in rap and rock. So the dark rehearsal space with its staircases, hallways and mirrors in a sense became Rehab and the graveyard became a symbol for the institution of marriage!

Where have you posted your videos and how has the response been since they were premiered?
“Death Us Do Apart” - https://youtu.be/ftNWtz9RP5Y
“Get Out of Rehab” - https://youtu.be/t4g9MHfknv0
Fangtastic response. Reviewed in England positively on a British video review show and a ton of views each.I still love watching both and would not have done anything differently.Videos are ridiculously expensive and they do not have to be. My videos are a testament to this. This is the crux of today’s Instastar mentality. How many of the new crop of pop stars and so called influencers actually have true rockstar charisma. The kind that drew us to Bowie, Hendrix, Morrison? You can have a ton of likes but that does not mean anything anymore. We live in a world where Madonna's daughter showing her armpit hair in a selfie with her increasingly bizarre-looking mother makes world news and anything Kardashian supercedes the most urgent world events on the news.

Are you planning to produce more videos from “Sex, Horror, Violence” in the coming months? If so, what songs are you considering?
I have been looking at “My Own Worst Nightmare” for the next video which I am already doing pre-production on. It will be completely different than the last two.

What ideas do you have in mind for the “My Own Worst Nightmare” video? How will it differ from your last two videos?
I wish I could divulge the concept but that would be telling and my Fangs would not want me to let it out of the coffin yet! It is going to be a Nightmare! It will be more surreal and there will be a cast of characters.

Are there any established underground/independent labels interested in signing you, or do you prefer to keep promoting your work independently for the time being?
We have been scouted at our last show by a great label that wants to see more. We can't wait for these lockdowns to lift so we can get back at tithe involvement with a heavy label can greatly boost your visibility so I am interested in signing with another label.

For future releases, would you consider basing lyrics on bigger world events as well as personal experiences? How do you think your audience would respond to this?
My next release will feature my new recording “Will We Get Out Of Here” which is about this current plague but also about a toxic relationship at the same time. My audience will love this song as it is very moving and shows a different side and voice of Ted Axe. However, it does rock hard! It will be on the new “Count Of Rock” album that we will resume work on asap!

How soon do you expect the next full length to be released? Will this also be in digital format or are you also planning to release it on CD?
As soon as I can safely get back into the analog studio with my producer and the studio owner I will resume recording. There are four tracks already done and just need vocals and a mix. I have been writing new material and there will six more tunes as well as the four I have done tracks for already. It will be called ''The Count of Rock'' and signifies the merging of image and songs. I would love to say I anticipate a Halloween 2021 release but can't speculate what will happen here in Canada in the coming months. It’s a tough position to be in but also one that gives me recording to look forward to when this surging is over. I have been keeping track of my band's vaccination progress as well as that of my recording team because am focused on the future. CDs, shirts and decals are all in the plans as well as vinyl.

What kind of an impression do you want to leave on the punk and heavy rock worlds? Do you see yourself eventually leaving this impression in the long haul?
I am just starting to see the potential and the effect my album “Sex, Horror, Violence” and my new album “The Count Of Rock” could have on the rock world. Right now, I just thank today for being alive! We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic that civilization has not seen the likes of for quite some time. Every day I tell myself to C'mon try a little harder...nothing is forever. I have been going through a phase in which I just wanted to get it heard by as many as possible and have them make their own minds up if they like it. Success means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To one person getting 1000 streams on their Spotify will be the single greatest day of their lives. I would love to have that ''gone but never forgotten'' thing but who does anymore? The way you talked about my album in your review reinstated things I hoped someone would see in it and for that I thank you. I felt like a god damned prophet after reading it! We would all want to leave a lasting impression on our worlds. You, on the world of writing no doubt and me on the worlds of music, art and poetry but isn't it better to be remembered for positive virtues as a decent human being? One who's made a difference where it counts...with helping animals and all living things rather than destroying. I am not satisfied with my current status in the rock world if that's what you’re asking but then who is? I have heard a famous person say that they were happier before they were famous. You can't be popular all the time. When they asked Freddie Mercury how he'd like to be remembered, he simply said “I'll be gone...what do I care?”

With his new self-release SEX, HORROR, VIOLENCE produced by Rob Sanzo (Sum 41), and mastered by LA Rock icon, Jack Atlantis, Ted is getting world-wide radio-play and recognition. He is currently performing dates in Canada and The US with his new band-Corrado Bartolo-Bass, Stefan Ford-Drums, Marcel LaFleur-Lead Guitar and Julio Biafore - Rhythm Guitar.
Buy directly from Ted Axe- www.tedaxe.bandcamp.com
Add Ted Axe to your Playlist on SPOTIFY- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2YWALenCFJCXQiMjXLz7ac
Join and Follow Ted on his Instagram Ted Axe Fangs Group - https://www.instagram.com/ted_axe_fangs_group/
Get Ted Axe’s new album on Amazon, Spotify, Apple, iTunes and Deezer - https://levelmusic.lnk.to/KCBGHE
Subscribe to The Ted Axe Channel on YouTube-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCibIeDDDLmta7LeUbLLBzbw
Follow Ted Axe on Twitter - https://twitter.com/axedbyted
Follow Ted Axe on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ted_axe/
Video for “Get Out of Rehab” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4g9MHfknv0
Video for “Death Us Do Part” - hhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftNWtz9RP5Y
"Riffs that kill combined with a look that thrills are a no better way to describe Ted Axe. A seasoned Veteran who has trekked the world and accumulated an outstanding list of accomplishments in the process that will make even the harshest of Critics say 'Wow!'" - Now Magazine

-Dave Wolff

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Single Review: Infitar "Regurgitated Hate" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Infitar
Location: West Java
Country: Indonesia
Genre: Death metal
Single: Regurgitated Hate
From their upcoming album "Inhuman" to be released on Suddendeath Records (cassette) and Lingering Records (CD) April 28, 2021
Format: Digital, streaming
Label: Independent
Release date: January 23, 2021
I interviewed this Indonesian death metal band in 2015, after reading Frank Garcia’s interview with them at Arte Mortifica Reviews. Back then they had just released a couple of demos which they were circulating through the tape trading network in their country and abroad. They've since released some more demos and their 2017 debut full-length “Rotation of the Sun”. “Regurgitated Hate”, released last January is their latest outing, which I got wind of when Latif sent me its Bandcamp and Youtube links. There is more information offered on Youtube but both links showcase flawless sound and technical improvement on the band's part. “Regurgitated Hate” is a preview of their next full-length "Inhuman"; if this single is any indication of how Infitar is maturing I'm looking forward to this month's release. This single is surprisingly well produced with classic thrash metal and early death metal vibes prevalent. The instruments and vocals pay excessive homage to the late great Chuck Schuldiner, and the gleaming production doesn’t undermine its savagery. I'm easily reminded of seeing Death for the first time and feeling something new was brewing in the world of underground metal. The production of the drum tracks reminded me of Kreator’s “Endless Pain” and Sodom’s “In the Sign of Evil”; that slightly bassy, compressed sound that helped drive the material. There seems to be echo added to the vocal tracks which give “Regurgitated Hate” additional substance and depth. The classic thrash energy supplements the innovative riffing inspired by Death, Obituary and Autopsy and will revitalize your affinity for those bands and early DM in general, earlyDM from a time when the genre was beginning to show the bands were capable of writing accomplished songs while making them raw and unforgiving. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Latif: Vocals
Leonard: Guitars
Gembes: Bass
Bob Gulma: Drums

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Single/Video Review: Kafirun "The Seed, The Serpent, The Scythe" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Kafirun
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Country: Canada
Genre: Black/death metal
Single/video: The Seed, The Serpent, The Scythe
Format: Digital track, video stream
Label: Independent
Release date: April 6, 2021
What’s going on everyone, I’m back with another singles review!
The Seed, The Serpent, The Scythe by KAFIRUN
This is the latest 2021 single by the band and do they kick things off with a BANG! What we have here is a combination of classic Norwegian Style Black Metal combined with elements of hint of Death Metal blaring through those headphones!
What I love about this track is that it features those classic symphonic elements that come with the territory of classic Black Metal with those long drawn out strings in the background, accompanied by that Death Metal flavour of bombastic Drum Patterns and Guitar work!
Also this track is just over 6 minutes long but really doesn’t feel it! It breezes through so quickly because of how well put together the production, instrumentation and overall synchronization are!
I also love how throughout the song you’ll get these melodic mini solos to transition to the next leg of the song (Next Verse etc) and I love it because most bands would feel the need to add something extremely technical or over the top just to compensate for the lack of vocals but here they ‘Glide’ you over track instead of hurting your head with something too complex and unnecessary for a simple transition!
This is definitely a MUST for any fans of both Black and Death metal as it presents the best of both worlds! Don’t miss out and go support them today! –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Luzifaust: Vocals
Hanephi: Guitars
Hypnocrotizer: Bass
Mesmorphion: Drums

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Full Length Review: Gravehuffer "NecroEclosion" (Black Doomba Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Gravehuffer
Location: Joplin, Missouri
Country: USA
Genre: Metal, punk, crust, grind, sludge/doom
Full Length: NecroEclosion
Format: Digital (includes live stream), compact disc, vinyl (different colors)
Label: Black Doomba Records
Release date: January 15, 2021
What’s going on, I’m back and this time with a special album review! Because we are here today to discuss one of the most unique metal album blends I’ve heard in quite some time! NecroEclosion by Gravehuffer.
So, where to begin with this, there’s just so many key elements to discuss so what better way to start then one at a time.
Let’s first talk production, what I felt after listening to the album in its entirety is the bands split focus between the two half’s.
First half is the band’s attempt at ‘Larger Than Life Novelty’ tracks and the other half being the ‘Raw and Brutal’ saga to close the project off.
On the first 4-5 tracks you have luscious chord progressions, interesting use of voice/sound sampling, creative and outside the box thinking and utilization.
While on the final tracks you have such relentless instrumentation, fast paced solos and drum patterns, noise based rhythms and playing and overall presenting the sense of dread and insanity.
The other thing I wanted to discuss was the themes and lyrics because for me (at least regarding the first half) that’s what carried the albums personality and character!
For example the first track ‘Custom Of The Sea’ is a kind of prayer and tribute to the Greek God Poseidon which I absolutely loved as I am a sucker for Greek mythology!
The second track ‘HellHound’ is very self-explanatory with the songs theme being ‘HellHounds’ which is pretty badass considering the mixture of sludge/death metal fusions.
The third track ‘Sights To The Sky’ is an interesting track about ‘Buzz Aldrin’ and his ‘Apollo 11’ mission, it uses the voice samples introducing him and even the countdown to blast off, it’s such a creative use for a metal song that I couldn’t help but love it!
And then for what has to be the most fun and Bizarre use of creativity ‘Death Before Disco’ it seems they use a sample from ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and for the first 30 or more seconds it actually plays a disco song (which was wild) but then a sudden metal breakdown forms and we here in a death growl.
EVERYBODY GET ON THE FUCKING DANCE FLOOR!
Like WHAT?! What Metal album have you heard that has done ANYTHING like this? It’s absolutely insane yet simultaneously genius! I was smiling the whole way through!
Look, I would say just for the ‘novelty’ alone I would say check this album out, it’s gone tons of personality, character and Alpa attitude to blow your socks off!
Its tongue and cheek yet creative as hell! It allows you to experience the beauty of both worlds of
-Story Tracks
-Mindless Metal Mayhem!
It’s got everything you could have possibly asked for and definitely a lot more! Go and support these guys for their amazing effort! -Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Travis McKenzie: Vocals
Ritchie Randall: Guitars, vocals
Mike Jilge: Bass
Jay Willis: Drums, vocals
Stan Boman: Guest vocals
Guitar solo on “Sights to the Sky” by Dan 'Chewy' Mongrain (Voivod)
Guitar solo on “Smaller Than Death” by Curran Murphy (Annihilator, Nevermore)
Guitar solo on “Stingray” by Craig Hecht
Horns arranged and performed by Doug Dicharry

Track list:
1. Custom Of The Sea
2. Hellhound
3. Sights To The Sky
4. Death Before Disco
5. Stingray
6. Smaller Than Death
7. Ghost Dance
8. Quarantine War Machine
9. Revenge Of The Dumpster Baby
10. Causes
11. Backpack
12. Mad Wolf


Interview with Elle Noir by Dave Wolff

Interview with Elle Noir

How has the response to your latest EP “Like a Black Doll” been since its release last November?
"Like A Black Doll" is my second EP, and to be honest I'm really happy with the result.
It received a very positive response with a lot of very good reviews. This made me realize that I'm on the right way, the path that totally belongs to me.
The first Ep "SIN" was an experiment born in my studio, I was alone after years of Metal and I decided to abandon the band sounds and make it more electronic. It's a good EP, but I felt the lack of drum and distorted guitars, so I decided to insert the human element again in the second EP.
This is the path I'm following also in my first full-length album, on which I'm working on this period.
 
Why did you decide to release it exclusively in digital format? Has it gotten more of a response from listeners who surf the internet for new goth music?
It's related to today's music market.
Unfortunately, the world of CDs is in decline more and more, and for my audience, it is much easier to listen to my music in digital format. It seemed like the right choice now. With my former bands, I made several LPs in physical format, but people asked us for digital.
I would definitely like to make a vinyl, it's something I've been thinking about for a while and I hope to make it with the new LP.

Were you always in gothic and dark alternative bands before Elle Noir? Or did your former bands play other genres?
I have had several symphonic metal bands. I have an opera-singing background, which I have been doing for several years. I also specialized in the 20-30s Cabaret world studying in Berlin. For years I have been performing as a singer and performer in London thanks to my shows. I worked in the Netherlands in contemporary musical theater. Music is my job, not just my great passion. I love to experiment, create and expand my boundaries, although I can say that the goth side is what most represents me.

In what ways were singing opera and cabaret fulfilling? Were your backgrounds in opera and cabaret helpful to you as a symphonic metal vocalist?
Everything I have studied in depth has helped me because it has taught me something. Opera singing is the most difficult vocal school and has taught me to control my voice, to enhance it, to use it to my maximum. Cabaret helped me to move on stage, to relate to the audience, to use my body to express music and words.

Where did you study opera and how long? How similar or different do you find vocal techniques for opera and symphonic metal, having worked in both genres?
I started studying opera singing at the age of eighteen when I went to live in Milan to devote myself to music. I started with a good private teacher, Elisa Turlà, who brought from America to Italy the "Voicecraft" method, a very famous singing method, based on phoniatrics. After three years with her, I entered the Conservatory where I graduated in Opera Singing after five years studying with different singing teachers. In the meantime I graduated in musicology at the University of Bologna and once I graduated I enrolled in Composition at the Conservatory. During these years and for many years after I studied privately with a fantastic teacher to whom I owe a lot, the strict Serbian Jasmina Radanovick. I stopped taking opera singing lessons, but not studying, two years ago. I have been studying singing opera for almost 20 years and believe me, we never stop improving. Now I'm a singing teacher, but still, I'm studying to become a singing therapist and I'm attending a Master's in phoniatrics. Yes, I really love studying.
The Opera technique was very useful for metal because being used to working to the maximum with the voice, metal sung with a classical vocality was for me the comfort zone. The big difference is that in opera you have to stick strictly to the vocal technique, in metal you don't. And that's what I've always liked: being free to express myself with my voice.

Is there anywhere, in particular, you teach opera singing or have you visited a number of locations to teach?
I currently teach in four different music academies in my city, I also teach online and in my studio. I don't only deal with opera but also with modern singing.

How do you find the time to teach in so many locations as well as teaching online? Are a lot of students coming in despite the Covid pandemic?
I have an intense schedule, it's a matter of organization. Let's say that during this period I am working anyway, also because the academies have organized themselves with online lessons.

As a metal vocalist were you familiar with the techniques of vocal fry, fry screams, or false cord? How much more expressive was singing in metal bands?
Singing in a metal band, as well as in my Goth Elle Noir project, is from a stylistic point of view a personal choice and not bound by rules. I can do exactly what I want. Obviously, this is not possible in opera. I studied vocal Fry, but I only used it on one particular occasion, in the Netherlands in a contemporary music festival, in a very different project from metal. Anyway, I haven't been singing metal for several years.

Why did you choose to express yourself through gothic music? How well known and supported is dark and gothic music in Italy?
I don't think I have chosen the musical genre to express myself with. I believe that different genres of music express different sides of me, but that the moment I sat down to write my songs, which are about me, this was the natural result. The goth world is the most intimate and intense world I have inside. Unfortunately, the situation in Italy does not support the underground dark-goth scene very much.

What formats was your debut EP “SIN” released on? Being that this EP was your debut, how much promotion was needed to let people know it was available?
Both of my EPs are in digital format, so it will certainly be for my next album as well. My first EP was an experiment born in my studio and honestly, it was not promoted except on my social channels. The second EP, in which I feel I have found my identity, was instead sent to radio, DJs, and blogs to be reviewed.

Are DJs airing your new EP on their programs? How many reviews has it gotten since its release?
The DJs have helped me and are helping me. I have had great reviews, about twenty all over the world, countries like Holland, Germany, the UK, up to the US.

List some of the publications in which you got favorable reviews. Are they mostly local fanzines, larger underground zines, or webzines people can access worldwide?
Here are some links you can check:

Do you see the advantages of reaching more listeners through digital format? How many contacts have you made through digital and streaming formats?
I cannot establish the exact amount, what is certain is that it has allowed me to reach fans all over the world. And, most importantly, my audience is much targeted, goth and dark. Targeting is one of the tasks of social media, on which a lot of my self-promotion has been done. In Italy and especially in my city, there is no support for dark alternative music, so there is no point in trying to build a fan base here, so for me, the digital format in the best solution.

What countries outside Italy have fans of dark and gothic music who appreciate your work as a goth vocalist?
I can honestly say that thanks to social media it is quite easy to reach the whole world. The gothic world is still alive, everywhere. I have fans in Australia, Romania, USA, and South America, Germany.... and I could go on. It's a targeted audience, and very selective and I like that.

Do you work with other musicians while recording or do you compose and record your work solo? How do you define what you call the human element in your work?
This is a project that comes from me, from my need to write music. So I create melodies, harmonies, structures, lyrics. I'm lucky because I have a partner who helps me with the arrangement and production.
Sebastiano is a very good producer and multi-instrumentalist and in the second EP. He is the human element that I decided to add. In the first EP I was alone, I practically did everything in my studio. I have experimented a lot with electronics. But I have a long history with bands, and honestly, I find the sound of the second EP more mine.
Also the members of my former metal band are ready to play live with me on this project as soon as the pandemic allows it. We remained friends and it's a great team. This for me is the way to make music that makes me happy, the human element: relationships and friendships, sharing experiences. Something that belongs to me deep down.

Which of your former bands wants to perform with you? Going by how long you’ve worked with that band, will they have a fairly easy transition adjusting their musicianship to fit your songwriting?
The band I have the pleasure of playing my songs with is After Apocalypse, a band I worked with for five years. I love these guys, we broke up three years ago as a band, but we have remained very close friends. So I'm really happy that they want to be part of this project. As I said I love to work and play with others rather than alone, and with them, it's really always funny. As for the music, they are good musicians who are not having problems, plus there is a lot of alchemy between us.

How long had you worked with After Apocalypse while you were active? In what ways did working with them give you alchemy?
We played together for four years, we always had a lot of fun together. As I said, we remained friends even after, which hasn't happened with the bands I've played with previously. We see each other regularly and even did a concert after two years of breaking up, just for fun.
Alchemy in a band is spontaneous, either it is there or it is not there. Between us there is and I can't wait to play live with them with my project.

How many electronic effects did you experiment with on your EPs? How much of a process was it to combine them with the human elements of your music, and how helpful was Sebastiano?
I absolutely cannot say how many effects I experienced, certainly a lot... until I was satisfied with the result. Sebastiano helped me in the process, but since we collaborate on several musical projects together, we don't quantify the amount of help we give each other. We both know what we want from the various projects, we help each other and above all we complement each other.
I believe that quantifying an artistic process in any sense is outside the logic of art itself.

Is there anything you are considering experimenting with on future releases?
I'm working on it right now and I'm doing a music genre that totally mirrors me right now. I have come a long way from my first EP and am always looking for something interesting. I've used different instruments, different synths ... but you'll see.

Besides experimenting with different instruments, how much of an emotional range do you want to achieve with Elle Noir?
My goal is to say what I feel. The songs I write are my way of expressing sides of myself that would otherwise be suppressed, hidden. My songs have no goals other than to tell something about me, which is something universally felt anyway. I can say that they are all really lived and felt.

-Dave Wolff

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Single Review: Betrayal "Disorder Remains" by Jorge A. Trejos

Band: Betrayal
Location: Aschaffenburg, Bavaria
Country: Germany
Genre: Death Metal
Single: Disorder Remains
From their upcoming full length “Disorder Remains”, to be released by Rising Nemesis Records, April 16, 2021
Release date: March 25, 2021
“Disorder Remains” is the single the German group Betrayal has chosen to promote what will be their second album "Disorder Remains", which will be available this coming April through Rising Nemesis Records. The band call themselves Modern Death Metal, and cites bands like Misery Index, Death and Behemoth among his influences. But truth be told, you won't hear much of that on this single. This is, rather, a Death Metal type with its melodic streak, ragged vocals, sharp guitars, with an interesting solo and drumming that reverberates in time. The inclusion towards the end of what seems to be piano that offers a good closing since it makes us think that the fog has ascended leaving us in the dark. Good band; if the rest of the cuts are made with the same material, the end result will be promising. –Jorge A. Trejos

Alex B: Vocals, guitar
Bastian Kraus: Lead guitar
Phil Valenta: Bass
Manuel C: Drums

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Full Length Review: The Crucifier "Merciless Conviction" (Hell Productions) by Corban Skipwith

Band: The Crucifier
Location: Athens
Country: Greece
Genre: Thrash metal
Format: CD, streaming
Label: Hell Productions
Release date: 2009 (released independently in 2002)
Welcome back, everyone!
You know, I thought to myself why not turn back the clock a bit? The only thing going is “time” itself so I decided to rewind time back to 2009 with this brutal release from the Greek band The Crucifier and their album “Merciless Conviction”.
The first thing I can say about this just over an hour-long album is that it’s packed with enough firepower to take on the whole army (and then some!) with its destructive combination of Thrash, Death, and hints of Black and even Garage Metal all thrown into one pot to create this true monster of an album!
Just like the Greek Gods themselves, they unleash all the wrath of Olympus. They bring the thunder of Zeus with their ferocious vocals, screaming, howling, and downright acting ballistic on the microphone to prove just how riotous they can be!
With the force of the waves of Poseidon, they crash down their relentless drums with the speed of Hermes unleashing the Thrash origin as hard as fucking possible!
To almost go against the motherly Goddess Hera they strip the album of any kind intent, any peaceful thoughts or actions. They are purposely morbid and just like the god Dionysus they have the power to be animalistic and drive all mortals insane!
It’s almost as if the god Athena herself granted them the ability to create new objects of horror and madness through their music, screeching and pondering all kindness out of all men and woman, with the foresight of Apollo ripped the souls out of even the toughest of metalheads and left them shaking and red all over!
Without the guidance and care of the goddess Artemis to cure the world of the destructive plague brought upon the ears of mere mortals. It’s safe to say metal will never be as ravaged again! If you think you’re up to it, please check out this album. I will link it below! -Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Hlias "Thanatoid" Kyriazis: Vocals
George Balotis: Guitar
Angel Nakasis: Rhythm guitar
Kostas Pavlidis: Bass
John Balaskas: Drums

Tracklist:
1. Lost Mind
2. Execute Them All
3. Innocent World
4. Merciless Conviction
5. Suffering Hours
6. Pure Hate
7. Violent Vortex
8. Yappie Dream
9. Crucifier
10. Lost Mind (bonus track from “Innocent World” demo 2001)
11. Innocent Word (bonus track from “Innocent World” demo 2001)
12. Suffering Hours (bonus track from “Innocent World” demo 2001)
13. Violent Vortex (bonus track from “Innocent World” demo 2001)
14. Crucifier ((bonus track from “Innocent World” demo 2001)

This review can also be read at Skipwith's Facebook group Relentless Reviews with Corbz. -DW

Monday, April 5, 2021

Full Length Review: Ted Axe "Sex Horror Violence" (Elipse Records) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Ted Axe
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Country: Canada
Genre: Punk, rock
Full Length: Sex Horror Violence
Format: Digital album
Label: Elipse Records
Release date: January 1, 2019
As we know there’s always a band pooling the influences of their youth and delving into the time their favorites created something new when it was most needed. Ted Axe seems a contender in today’s saccharine pop with its overused millennial whoop. Since the days he blew off high school to see Alice Cooper’s “The Killer” tour, Ted Axe has had an unquenchable thirst for wanderlust and creativity that spills over into many different mediums, including drawing, painting, sculpting, and writing music. Channeling Cooper, Marc Bolan, David Johansen, David Bowie, and James Brown on his first solo effort after a decade of working with Sister Hyde, he finds a new outlet for his demons/angels he hopes will grow enough to make a lasting impression on classic and contemporary punk fans. I should also mention Guns N Roses since the vibe of “Sex Horror Violence” representing the seedy, unlovely underworlds of London, Los Angeles, and Seattle is quite similar to the attitude GNR brought to the 80s MTV generation. Instead of having moved to L.A. from a small town, however, Ted Axe writes and plays like he was spawned from beneath the dirty sidewalks of those cities, giving validation to the shady, unsung characters he introduces you to. This is no romantic depiction of the typical rock star dream, it’s a testimony to alcohol and drug abuse, toxic relationships, danger, violence, revenger, and who knows what else. It’s been long since I’ve heard the term “provocateur” applied to an artist, and as I listen to “Sex Horror Violence” I begin to realize there hasn’t been an artist deserving of such a title since Marilyn Manson happened upon the mainstream twenty five years ago. This album’s appeal lies in the duality between rawness and relatability, between reality and catharsis. This is not college-oriented pop-punk in any sense of the term; it shows life at its most brutal and unforgiving, leaving you with a sense of being unraveled from within by remorseless people who drain you of everything and move on without looking back. It hardens you in a way that slaughters all good intentions while hardening your heart in preparation for whatever comes your way next. If you’re looking for frank and honest, swagger-driven punk rock and roll without hubris, you should seek this album out. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Ted Axe: Vocals
Marcel “Marz” LaFluer: Lead guitar
Jules “Julio” Biafore: Rhythm guitar
Corrado Bartolo: Bass
Stefan Ford: Drums

Track list:
1. Get Out of Rehab
2. Death Us Do Apart
3. My Own Worst Nightmare
4. Nuthin at All
5. Sex Horror Violence
6. Femme Fatal
7. I Don't Want To
8. Hurt People
9. Heaven
10. Mother's Day
11. T.M.i.
12. Insatiable