Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Damnation Gallery/Transcedence Hymn/Masked Dead Records/2016 EP Review


  Damnation  Gallery  are  a  band  from  Italy  that  plays  a  mixture of  black,  death,  thrash  and  havy  metal  and  this  is  a  review of  their  2016  ep  "Transcendence  Hymn"  which  was  released  by  Masked  Dead  Records.

  Horror  movie  style keyboards  start  off  the  ep  and  they  also  have  a  symphonic  feeling  to  them  at  times  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  a  heavier  direction  along  with  soem  aggressive  female  vocals  that  also  have  a  touch  of  black  metal  to  them  and  the  melodic rififng  is  very  heavily  influenced  by  traditional  metal.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  clean  singing  while  the  music  is  very  heavily  influenced  by  80's  metal  and  death  metal  growls  are  also  used  at  times  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  and  elements  of  thrash  are  also  used  on  a  regular  basis  while  one  songs also  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  guitars  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard. 

  Damnation  Gallery  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black,  death,  thrash and  heavy  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  their  own  style  of  'horror  metal', the  production  sounds  very  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  nightmares,  everyday  fears  and  paranoia  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Damnation  Gallery are  a very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black,  death, thrash and  heavy  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Evil  Extreme"  and  "Transcendence  hymn".  8  out  of  10.   

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Vircolac Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Jamie: Very little currently to be honest, as our individual “real life” commitments have kept each of us busy since the end of summer and we’ve had little time to get together because of that.. I guess also we’d been preparing for the release of “Demeter” anyway, so there’s been a fair bit of behind the scenes type stuff that had to be done in terms of label contact, mastering, art, etc. In the interim however myself and Brendan have been working on song ideas together in preparation for a full length album so we’ll be back in the rehearsal room probably in the new year to start work on that in earnest.







2.Recently you have released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

Jamie: If you want a soundbite I’d go with “Atmospheric Death Metal”. I think we had a chance to push the sort of morbid, nocturnal and dare I say “gothic” elements to the music a little more on this release which was the goal. The speed has been backed off in places a little to allow the personality in the music to come through, and I think we tried to make it a little more dynamic and really have the music carry a mood. I guess I’d explain it to anyone thinking of checking it out to approach it in the way we did – think of it as four chapters in a book, each having its’ own identity but all fitting into the main narrative. But if you want riffs, we’ve got ‘em.



Brendan: While we were in the studio words like dramatic,intense and atmospheric were used a lot between us.

We used these darker tones to guide us through the creation process, always aware of our aim.

There are subtle moments throughout the EP which is quite uncharacteristic of a standard death metal sound,

but we used subtlety as a tool to create the tension and atmosphere we wanted and of-course increase intensity by contrast.

The EP has a very distinct start, middle and end which helps to heighten the drama.

We also draw on our individual influences throughout to add diversity and variety to the sound.







3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Darragh: The first song and title track is centred around the ship Demeter that the Count sails in from Varna to Whitby in the novel Dracula. Given Bram Stoker was  a Dublin man and how much his novel has influenced me personally, I wanted to pay some kind of tribute to him but also, at the same time, write something allegorical. The concept is "death arrives on a ship" and can be applied to the coffin ships that sailed from Ireland to the US during the famine in the mid 19th century or even the arrival of the Conquistadors in South America.



The second track, Charonic Journey, is effectively a meditation on death and rebirth. I've been somewhat fascinated with megalithic tombs and have spent a bit of time researching them and this provided some of the inspiration behind this. The third song, Lascivious Cruelty, is loosely based on Emperor Caligula's reign and his proclivities. It can also be reflected on those in positions of power today, for example Dominic Strauss Kahn and his decadent, opulent, frivolous lifestyle.



The final song, Betwixt the Devil and Witches, is a paean to the eternal allure and wonder of the female form in their beguiling and bewitching ways. It is greatly influenced by the mythology of witchcraft in the woods we may have heard about when we were growing up or passed down through mythology, which is a massive part of folklore here in Ireland and part of oral traditions that stretch back into the pre Christian era.







4.In a couple of interviews you had talked about Celtic Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

Darragh: This I can only assume is related to the Bardo Methodology piece where I mentioned Cu Chulainn. I don't recall mentioning it in any other interview. let me know if you want me to comment on this as well. (addressing this to you Jamie, not the interviewer)



Jamie: I have a hunch here that you might have mistaken “Irish Folklore” with “Celtic Mythology”. We don’t really have anything to do with Celtic mythology at all apart from a couple of members having a personal interest, but we have talked at length in previous interviews about our interest in the darker end of local history in a wider sense (things like the Hellfire Club, Bram Stoker And Le fanu being from here, the crypts and tunnels under Dublin city, old Irish witch tales like Alice Kyteler and Darky Kelly etc). Our drummer was formerly in the “celtic Metal “ band Cruachan for a while but that’s as close as we get to Celtic Mythology. Only death is real baby.









5.I know that the bands name means 'werewolf' in Romanian, how does this name fit in with the music style that you play?

Jamie: I associate old werewolf myths with a combination of bloodthirst and tragedy – the transformation into a feral force of nature, balanced with the inability of the afflicted party to control their transformation and the consequences of it. I think that sums up a couple of the major elements in our music pretty fucking accurately. Violent in some places, melancholic in others. Plus, let's be clear on this: werewolves are just really fucking cool,









6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?


Jamie: Hah..you could say our stage performance has a hint of the werewolf about it to if you’re looking at it as “transformative” I suppose. I think we definitely approach the stage with a more “rock n’roll” approach to performance than some of our peers and the five of us generally use it as an excuse to let loose and release as much energy to those in attendance as possible, anything can happen on stage with us. None of this standing around with hoods up swathed in dry ice, and I think people are often very pleasantly surprised when they see us because of that. We’d much rather be Metallica in 1986 than Mayhem in 1996 if that makes sense. I think in terms of best shows my personal favourite was Metal Magic in Denmark this year. I think the room was the perfect size, the sound was fantastic and everyone in the crowd was up for it. Such a great weekend overall too.


Brendan: The Dark Arts festival in Galway was pure insanity. The crowd was a blur of bodies, alcohol and glass.

The boundary between floor and stage didn't exist anymore. Equipment was damaged, injuries sustained (by crowd and band),chants, pits, crowd surfing and a complete disregard for all order and sense.The feed of energy from the crowd was indescribable. It was a welcome reminder of the true spirit of heavy metal.Our main objective during live performance is once again to create an atmosphere that is uniquely Vircolac without sacrificing any of the energy.







7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Jamie: Not as many as we’d like currently, and we’ve had to turn down a few things we really wanted to do because of work commitments lately which is massively frustrating. Opening for Asphyx locally in February, then North of the Wall festival in Glasgow and another local festival in April so far. I’d really like to try and do a small tour, even 4 or 5 days next year, as we haven’t done that yet. We’re open to offers for 2017..cough cough..







8.What is going on with 'Invictus Productions', these days?

Darragh: The label continues apace and is entering into it's 18th year of existence next year, which is quite a feat given being located on an island on the periphery of Europe that has a very limited capacity when it comes to underground metal. Currently preparing for two big end of year shows and lining up things for 2017.





9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death metal?

Jamie: I don’t know really. I’ve seen many positive words but really I can only gauge it by where we get orders for merch from..and in those terms we’ve had an amazing response from all corners of the world, from South America and the Far East to Mainland Europe . It’s an amazing feeling to know people in places like Mexico or Korea are listening to some shitty little band from Dublin. People here are largely not interested in what we're doing outside a handful of folks.




10. Do you have other projects

Brendan: Yes, Bassist Karen is involved in quite a few projects. Disguise, Wizards of Firetop Mountain and Cat Piss Brain rot.

I play in a 70s Rock/ Blues cover band that tour Ireland.



11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

 Brendan: We will most likely use the EP as a platform to build from. I can see an expansion of the newer elements that we  have added in Demeter.There are no boundaries when we write so it is very difficult to describe what it might sound like.If you dismiss adventure you dismiss growth. We will incorporate any element as long as its true to our overall vision.

But I can say for sure that it will be strange and dark.


Jamie: I have a bunch of it already written, and outside of what Brendan says, I'm saying nothing else just yet. Wait and see. It's not going to be "Demeter Pt 2", I can assure you of that. Defintely strange, definitely dark.





12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Jamie: The influences on me remain constant: Voivod, Celtic Frost, pretty much everything Peaceville/Deaf records released in the 90s, Immolation, Ceremonium, Decomposed (UK),  Carnage, Divine Eve, Bolt Thrower, Coroner, Morbid Angel, Dark Angel, blah blah blah then maybe the likes of Coil, Swans, Portishead, Bauhaus, the Cure, John Carpenter, and  Christopher Young for atmospherics. My recent listening has mostly been non metal and widely varying so some recent favourites: Egisto Macchi, Clipping, Pact Infernal, The The, Tenro, Bee & Flower, Danny Brown, SURVIVE, Lycia, Chris Connelly/Cocksure, Echo Beds, Intensive Care, Anna Von Hauswolf, The Saints, Nick Cave etc.. I’d like to especially mention an Irish experimental collective called Eordeslajyr’s new album,inspired by the film “Haxan” which is a brilliant, evocative and genuinely chilling piece of work. In terms of metal I’ve really enjoyed Tideless, Slidhr, Unyielding Love, Blood Incantation, Irkallian Oracle, Tomb Mold, Qrixkuor, Taphos, Deiquisitor and Coscradh recently amongst others.



Brendan: As there are five of us we have many influences to draw from. Everything from 70s prog rock, punk, late 80s and early 90s death metal. The strange chord sequences could be attributed to bands like Genesis and Voivod. The expansion to the dual guitar comes from bands like Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest.Autopsy, Morbid Angel and Soulside Journey era Darkthrone are a huge influence on the overall sound.Speaking for myself, I have been listening to our label mates Grave Miasma, Vorum and Blood Incantation.The new Bolzer album" Hero" and lots of Pink Floyd, Ulver and Portishead as well. There really are too many bands to name here.




13.How would you describe your views on Occultism?

Jamie: I’ll jump on this grenade for the rest of the band: we have no belief in or association with it whatsoever. I’m the only one as far as I know in the band with any interest in it really, but I’m very clear on the fact that my interest in it is more as someone with an interest in the arcane in general, and I’m certainly not a practitioner. I greatly enjoy reading about certain schools of occultism  but I find little that applies to me or my daily life in there, and as such I can’t help but view a lot of it as fiction – albeit enjoyable fiction – in the same way one would view, say, HP Lovecraft. I enjoy reading about traditional witchcraft (eg Gemma Gary’s “The Black Toad”) and some of the materials published by Ixaxaar, Fall of Man and Theion. There have a been a few books that have struck a chord in a personal or philosophical way with me and I’d recommend Peter Grey’s “Apocalyptic Witchcraft”, “Aghora:At The Left Hand Of God” by Robert E. Svoboda or Ramsey Dukes’ “SSOBTME” as fine pieces of inspiring writing in that regard, and Thomas Karlsson’s “Qabalah, Kliphoth and Goetic Magic” as one of the few books on that end of the scale that makes its’ subject in any way really graspable to non academic types like me. I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming Craig Williams book that Anathema publishing are releasing next year, and I’m going to start reading Richard Gavin’s “The Benighted Path” this evening.  There are flashes of truth in the occult in the same way that there are in many other spiritual outlooks, and I think those are ones that resonate on a deeper level than just being  some mysterious evil dude a la the Order of the Nine Angles or whatever (a lot of whose stuff, much like the likes of Crowley, I see as glorified self help manuals for loners). Vircolac as a band doesn’t embrace the occult as a religious or spiritual thing, but we embrace occult knowledge if you get me – the hidden, arcane and macabre underneath the day to day world.







14.What are some of your non musical interests?

Jamie: Horror movies. I fucking love Horror movies. And their soundtracks. I write for a couple of websites here and there including my own "Destroyed Human" one, largely about either horror films or music. My interest in travel both local and international grows as I get older too.


Brendan: Stand up comedy, movies, books. Music really takes up the majority of my time whether it is listening or playing.





15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Jamie: go watch Lucio Fulci’s “House By The Cemetery” and “The Beyond”. They’ll give you a better understanding of our music than this interview will.


https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-cursed-travails-of-the-demeter-cd


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vircolac/The Cursed Travails of the Dementer/Dark Descent Records/2016 EP Review

  Vircolac  are  a  band  from  Ireland  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2016  ep  "The  Cursed  Travails  Of  The  Dementer"  which  was  released  by  Dark  Descent  Records.

  A  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  ep  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  after  awhile  black  metal  screams  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sound  very  powerful.

  Most  of  the  music  is  heavily  rooted  in  the  mid  80's  and  early  90's  while  also  mixing  in  a  more  modern  approach  and  the  riffs  also  use  a  decent  amount  of  melody  and  death  metal  elements  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  remain  true  to  a  very  dark,  melodic  and  old  school  style  and  some  of  the  faster  riffing  brings  in  a  decent  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  clean  playing  along  with  keyboards  can  also  be  heard  briefly  in  the  background  and  a  couple  of  the  tracks  are  very long  and  epic  in  length  and  ritualistic  spoken  word  parts  are  added  onto t he  last  track. 

  Vircolac  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  old  school  death  metal  and  mixes  it  with  black  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover  horror,  death,  macabre  tales, shamanism  and  occultism themes.

  In  my  opinion  Vircolac  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  death  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Charonic  Journey  (Stygian  Revelation)"  and  "Betwixt  the  Devil  And  Witches".  8  out  of  10.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Obscure Evil/Void Fumes/Caligari Records/2016 EP Review


  Obscure  Evil  are  a  band  from  Peru  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  and  thrash  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2016  ep  "Void  Fumes"  which  was  released  by  Caligari  Records.

  A  very  distorted  bass  guitar  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  drum  beats  before  adding  dark  and  melodic  guitar  leads  onto  the  recording  and  after  awhile  thrash  influenced  riffing  and  black  metal  screams  are  added  onto  the  recording  and  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the   80's  while  also having  modern  touch.

  When  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  the riffing  also  brings  in  a  decent  amount  of  morbid  sounding  melodies  and  one  of  the  tracks  is  all  instrumental  and  all  of  the  songs  stick  to  a  heavy  musical  direction.

  Obscure  Evil  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  first  and  second  wave  black  metal  and  mixes  it  with  thrash  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  Abstractionism,  Satanism,  Black  Metal,  Nietzsche,  and  Nihilism  themes.   

  In  my  opinion  Obscure  Evil  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  and  thrash  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Darkness  Descends  Upon  The  Eternal  Flames  Of  Doom"  and  "Cosmic  Ascension".  8  out  of  10.       
 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Evocacion/Self Titled/Caligari Records/2016 Cassette Review


  Evocacion  are  a  band  from  Spain  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  doom/death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  titled  2016  album  which  was  released  on  cassette  by  Caligari  Records.

  A  very  dark  yet  melodic  doom  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  death  metal  growls  a  few  seconds  later  which also  adds in  grim  black  metal  at  times  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard  and  the  guitar  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  dark  fashion.

  A  great  amount  of  90's  influences can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  and  there  is also  a  brief  use  of  melodic  yet  ritualistic  chanting  and  some  of the tracks  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the album  also  remains  very  heavy  from  beginning  to  ending  of  the  recording.

  Evocacion plays  a  musical style  that  takes  90's  doom/death  metal  and  mixes it  with  elements  of black  metal  to  create a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  old  school  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Italian  and  cover  darkness  and  occultism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Evocacion  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  doom/death  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  cassette.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Rituales  Sin  Forma"  and  "Irreverencia".  8  out  of  10.   

Crucify My Gently/Circles/2016 Full Length Review


  Crucify  Me  Gently  are  a  band  from  Ukraine  that  plays  a  blackened  form  of  deathcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2016  album  "Circles"  which  will  be  released  on  November  29th.

  A  very  fast  and  melodic  sound  along  with  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  aggressive  vocals  that  seem to be  influenced  by  hardcore  and  post  metal  while  death  metal  growls  can  also  be  heard  at  times  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  the  recording.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  style  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  some  metalcore  elements  in  the  mid  tempo  parts  of  the  songs  and  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  you  can  also  hear  a  great  amount  of  black  metal  influences  throughout  the  album.and  as  the  album  progresses  high  pitched  screams  can  also  be  heard  on  some songs  and  a  couple  of  later  tracks  also  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  keyboards  as  well  as  a  few  seconds  of  operatic  female  vocals.

  Crucify  Me  Gently  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  black  metal  and  deathcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  something  very  original,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark,  occult  and  angry  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Crucify  Me  Gently  are  a  very  great  sounding  blackened  deathcore  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Occultist"  "Out  Of  Time"  "Fame  Will  Fade"  and  "Circles".  8  out  of  10.

 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Second To Sun/Blackbound/2016 Full Length Review


  Second  To  Sun  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  instrumental  mixture  of   black  metal,  djent  and  Finno-Ugric  folk  music  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2016  album  "Blackbound".

  Nature  sounds  start  off  the  album  and  when  tremolo  picking  is  utilized  it  gives  the  songs  more  of  a  black  metal  feeling  and  atmospheric  synths  are  also  used  at  times  while  clean  playing  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  instrumental  and  the  mid  tempo  sections  are  very  heavily  influenced  by  djent  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  when  guitar  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  acoustic  guitars  which  also  gives  the  songs  more  of  an  ethnic  feeling  and  one  track  brings  in  spoken  word  parts  and  a  later  song  is  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  Second  To  Sun  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to  instrumental  mixture  of  black  metal  and  djent  of  their  previous  releases  and  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording.  

 In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Second  To  Sun  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  instrumental  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Chokk  Kapper"  "Ladoga  Master"  and  "Idemevs".  8  out  of  10.