Saturday, February 22, 2014
AKSU is a duet composed of my cousin Guillaume (guitar, effects, trumpet) and I (drums and percussion). The project was born at the end of 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. At this time Gui was studying architecture and he was working on some contemporary asian artists and architects.
One day his teaching staff imposed him some sort of workshop exam and he didn't want to present a classical architectural project with model, plan, outlines etc. so he called me, and we decided to make something special. A sort of spatial exploration of the museum near to the architectural school.
An exploration based on improvisation and feelings related with the place we were in.
At the very beginning AKSU was supposed to be an ephemeral project but after this 1st try we understood that we've created something we liked and we wanted to develop.
2.Recently you have released a new album, can you tell us a little bit about the musical direction it has taken?
"The Way to Destroy and Create things/ Screenplay and Outline for an Unexpected Space" is our 1st full length album. The other recordings you can listen on our Bandcamp are some live recordings.
We have recorded it during one night in the same architectural museum where we played the first time.
This album is also entirely improvised, we've only chosen what we wanted to maintain for the album. We wanted something loud but complex at the same time. A mix between fury, dark ambient and spontaneity.
3.A few years back you released 3 separete live ep's which where all recorded on the same night, what was the decision behind releasing them in 3 different installments than putting them on a full or double album?
Actually they are 3 different live recordings, recorded during 3 differents events in 3 differents locations.
We would like to release them together in cassette. A box containing those 3 cassettes could be a nice object! If one day a label is interested we will make it.
4.What are some of the themes and concepts the band brings out with its music?
We don't have any particular concepts. Every time we play, the only goal is to make something special and the most spontaneous possible. We try most of the time to divert sleeping architecture and conventional live conditions to create an other reflection of space and sounds, to be connected together and with the place we are in. The process is the most important for us. Improvisation is the core of our actions. It reminds me a sentence by Genesis P-Orridge, I can't remember it exactly but it's something like: "The joy of real creativity comes from the exploration of the unexpected".
5.Currently all of the music is instrumental, are you planning on using vocals in the future or do you choose to remain instrumental?
Our music is changing all the time. For exemple Gui was singing during our last show.. so yes I think we could use vocals at some point. Maybe in the next album, maybe not.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Aksu'?
Lots of meanings, lots of possibilities.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We are not playing lots of shows but we try to make something musically different each time. Our stage performances are short, various and intense.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Yes we really would like to tour but only if it's to play in special places, or at least not exclusively in classical shows venue.
9.Currently is located in Belgium but all of the members are French, what was the decision behind moving to a different country?
We are both from south of France. We came to Belgium at first because we decided to studying here. Gui just finish his architectural studies and I'm finishing mine but in History of Art. Belgium is a great country for music. Lots of great bands, great shows etc. we really like Brussels and Belgium.
10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your recordings by fans of underground music?
For the moment we have a very good feedback. Generally people find the album intriguing at first, then they really enter in it after
a second listening. For the moment we have only positive feedbacks which is really rewarning for us, apprently we have made a good job!
11.Where do you see the band heading into music wise during the future
Don't know.. we will continue to record albums, find labels, trying to find great places to play..
12.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We have a lots of influences from the musical world like SWANS, Boris, John Cage, Glenn Branca, Peter Brötzmann, Max Roach, Genesis P-Orridge, KTL, Steve Noble, Deathspell Omega and lots of other metal bands. Electronica and classical stuff as well.
We are also very influenced by architecture (especially by ruins, bunkers, brutalism etc.) and art (Joseph Beuys and Piranesi among others).
13. What are some of your interests outside of music?
Too much things.. Gui paint and draws a lot since this year, some beautiful and very detailed pieces. I'm currently finishing my studies so I don't have a lot of time to spend in museums and exhibitions but it's of course something we love to do.
14.Before we wrap up this interview do you have any final words or thoughts?
PEOPLE, don't hesitate to visit our pages and spread them everywhere!
thanks for this interview!
Nidra: We have formed about four years ago. Both of us had played different music (from pop-rock to death metal) in different bands before we met, but when our duo was created, it became clear we did not need anything more. In the beginning we were a pure black metal band, however, as you can see, our music is far from true black nowadays. We are not a band, really, in a usual meaning of this word. We are definitely a studio project, what is more, we do not care about how many musicians and musical instruments we will need for creating even one song. We are trying to make compositions without influence of any limits, nevertheless, our music is far from experimental – it is free.
How would you describe the musical sound that is present on the new album and also how does it differ from the EP you released in 2011?
Nidra: Up to the release of our first (and the only, at the moment) album we had been trying to find our own sound and stopped at this atmospheric and viscous heavy one. EP has less qualitative sound and suffers the lack of atmosphere; on the other hand, it has more aggressive tracks.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the new music?
Rain: Black metal orientation of our music in the beginning of the work imposed me, because black metal – is the only style of extreme music, which followers-musicians go deep in philosophical and metaphysical themes. I have chosen the metaphysical course based on some oriental doctrines and partly esotericism for our lyrics. However, I do not use any symbols or terminology, so you cannot say it is around some definite religion. The rest of the lyrics is devoted to pointlessness or searching the meaning - choose what you like more, of human existence in this world. In this country in particular – I am inspired by with what I am surrounded.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'NIDRA'?
Nidra: “Nida” is for the “sleep” in Sanskrit. An “inspiration” can be really called a compromise between us. Rain suggested the names in Russian and was completely against the names in English and vice versa with Cold. So the name in Sanskrit was the real compromise. Furthermore, Rain was keen on Vedic culture at one time.
Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?
Nidra: We have tried to expand the lineup for the live shows after completing our album in 2013, but it turned out we haven’t got a possibility to play our music live – there is always somebody missing, thus our music doesn’t sound properly (without synth, for example). We gather sometimes with the guys we have found, although – so there is a chance we will play some of our songs live in the future, but this will be another band. NIDRA is strictly a duo – studio project, and will always be.
Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
Nidra: It seems we have already answered this question occasionally =)
The new album came out on Electrica Caelestis, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Nidra: Electrica Caelestis is a sub-label of Casus Belli Musica, which publishes pagan metal groups generally. It may seem odd that our music came out on a pagan metal label, but it is not so surprising: Dmitry – the head of the label is the only one who spent some time constructively talking to us, whereas some labels didn’t even listen to our CD. Moreover, we were offered pretty good conditions for young unknown band with its debut album.
On the new album there was a cover of a BLUT AUS NORD song, what was the decision behind doing a cover version of one of their songs?
Nidra: The cover turned out to be a logical completion of our work on the album. From the beginning of the work we planned to cover some song in our style. It was hard to choose – most of the songs of famous bands are perfect somewhat, they haven’t got alternative sound. SHAPE OF DESPAIR “Angels of Distress”, for example. However, it doesn’t mean we think “Procession of the Dead Clowns” is worse or anything like that. We have seen an alternative to it and tried to realize: we have changed the atmosphere with new melodies, musical instruments, samples and by adding vocals. So it wasn’t an attempt to make this wonderful song better, it’s just another version – our vision. If you are interested, you can check out our new cover of a “The Angelic Process” song in our profile on Soundcloud.
On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal?
Nidra: It hasn’t been very strong – our label is not very famous, and we don’t try to promote our music actively, considering that we don’t know very much about promoting on the worldwide level. Dmitry from Electrica Caelestis messages us about foreign reviews sometimes, we have profiles on Soundcloud and Last.fm, where we can see some foreigners listening to us, and that’s all.
What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Cold: it is hard to say now, but we will definitely save our style, with the exception that the music going to be darker, heavier and may be even more electronic. What about sound and mastering, we are going to pay more attention to the final mastering of the ready album, improve the quality of the sound and, as a result, invest more time and money.
What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Cold: Music of NIDRA is not influenced by a great number of groups, but one of them is Amon Amarth, even though this is very strange. The LP “Versus The World”, in particular – it has made its print on my vision of music. However, I wouldn’t prefer talking about an influence of any band – we are trying to make our music without looking back on genres, styles and other bands. That’s why, I suppose, we came to what we have from the idea of playing raw black. At the moment I listen to different music at all: metal of any styles, electronics, ethnic, retro and so on.
Rain: Such bands as BURZUM, KATATONIA, SHINING (Sweden), DARKSEED (“Romantic Tales” LP) and DOLPHIN influenced me and my work more than other. Nowadays I listen to the great variety of musical styles, different electronics mainly. Rock and metal music inspires me less than before, but I have discovered for myself modern stoner/sludge recently – I have never thought I could enjoy something like that.
Do you have any non musical interests?
Rain: Table tennis, snowboard.
Cold: Not many, at the moment, because of studying in the university. However, I can say I am keen on oriental martial arts. I have devoted them a lot of time.
Before we wrap up this interview do you have any final words or thoughts?
Nidra: NIDRA – is more than a usual music project now. It is a part of both of us. Thank you for this interview, your attention and feedback is a great pleasure. Such things make our work even more delightful.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ancient Ascendant are a band from the United Kingdom that plays a mixture of black, death and thrash metal and this is a review of their 2014 album "Echoes And Cinder" which will be released by Candlelight Records.
The album starts out with a very heavy blackened death metal sound along with some black metal screams which also leads up to the guitar adding melody to their riffing along with some solos and leads and after awhile the band brings in a mixture of acoustic and heavy parts as well as all of the musical instruments having a very powerful sound to them.
As the album moves on blast beats and fast parts are added into certain sections of the recording as well as some deep death metal growls and after awhile they bring in traces of traditional metal and thrash and on the instrumental there is a small amount of keyboards and melodic chanting before the band returns back to a heavier direction on the following song.
Ancient Ascendant bring in a very heavy and melodic sound with their mixture of black and death metal while also having elements of traditional and thrash metal and with this album to create one of the best metal albums that has come out so far in 2014.
Song lyrics cover anti religion, strength and inner will, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy and professional sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording as well as some of the songs being very long and epic in length.
In my opinion Ancient Ascendant are a very great sounding mixture of black, death and thrash metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Patterns Of Bane" "To Break The Bonds" and "Caged in Tunnels Of Time". 8/5 out of 10.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Warfist are a band from Poland that plays a blackened form of thrash metal and this is a review of their 2014 album "The Devil Lives in Grunberg" which was released by Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho.
The album starts out with a very heavy thrash sound along with blackened metal style vocals as well as the music speeding up a bit and after awhile the music starts bringing in melody while also combining first wave black metal with more traditional style thrash metal as well as bringing a rock music feeling to the recording and all of the musical instruments have a very powerful sound to them.
As the album continues the music sticks to an old school black/thrash metal assault and they use some rough style vocals that pre-date death or second wave black metal and go back to the roots of the more extreme genres and on the 4th song they bring in a small amount of acoustic guitars before returning back to a more heavy and aggressive sound as well as bringing in a small amount of blast beats at times and halfway through the album they finally bring in guitar solos and leads.
Warfist go back to the days where black and thrash metal where still closely related to each other on this album and while seem people compare this band to Venom, Motorhead, Bathory and Sodom, I still feel they have a sound more of their own and this is one of the best tributes I have heard to 80's metal in a long time.
Song lyrics cover Satanism, Occultism and Thrashing themes, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy, professional and old school sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording.
In my opinion Warfist are a very great sounding mixture of first wave black metal and thrash and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Bestial Attack" "1665 - The Last Pyre" "Black mass Ritual" and "The Damned". 8/5 out of 10.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Aksu/The Way To Destroy And Create Things/Screenplay And Outline For Unexpected Space/Paradgims Recordings/2013 CD Review
This is the final review of a recording from Aksu which continues their improv mixture of black/doom metal, drone, noise, dark ambient and free jazz with the album being called "The Way To Destroy And Create Things/Screenplay And Outline For Unexpected Space ' which was released by Paradigms Recordings.
The album starts out with drum beats which have a tribal feeling to them and after awhile doom metal style guitars are added into the music and after awhile drones are added into the music along with harsh noise sounds and saxophones which makes the music have a more brutal sound to it.
As the album continues the music gets more experimental and avant garde sounding as well as showing a great amount of growth from their live recordings and the guitars also bring in a blues feeling during certain sections of the recording and as time goes on by the synths bring in dark ambient and psychedelic sounds which also adds in a horror film soundtrack feeling to the recording.
When we get more into the album clean playing is brought into the music and adds a good amount of darkness to the recording while the music sticks to mostly a heavier direction along with a great amount of distortion and experimental/psychedelic effects.
With this album Aksu show a lot of growth and the music is even more heavier as well as having more structure this time around while still having an improv feeling and there is a good amount of variety on this recording from soft experimental sounds to heavy doom metal riffing.
Song lyrics are all absent from this recording with the music being all instrumental, while the production has a very strong, dark, powerful and heavy sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording as well as some of the songs being very long and epic in length.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Aksu and if you are a fan of improv, experimental and heavy music, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Multiples" "Mantra 1.3" "The House That Burns Everyday" and "S- E". 8 out of 10.
This is a review of Aksu's third live installment which continues their improv mixture of black/doom metal, drone, noise, dark ambient and free jazz with the ep being self released in 2011 and called "XXVII/II/X/XI Act III".
The ep starts out with amp sounds and drones along with drums which leads up to guitars and drum solos and after awhile doom metal elements are brought into the recording along with a small amount of melody before bringing in harsh noise effects and they experiment a good amount with this improv jam and towards the end there are some brutal blast beats coming out of the drums.
Song lyrics are absent from this recording with all of the music being instrumental, while the production it has a dark, raw, heavy and live feeling to it with the improv session being more than 20 minutes in length.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Aksu and if you are a fan of heavy, experimental improv music, you should check out this recording. 8 out of 10.
This is a review of another recording from Aksu which continues their improv mixture of black/doom metal, drone, noise, dark ambient and free jazz of the previous recording but with more song structure with the ep being self released in 2011 and called "XV/X/XI. Live Act II".
The ep starts off with harsh noises and high pitched screams before adding in drums and heavy doom metal guitars which also bring in traces of black metal and drone as well as all of the songs being very experimental and this recording also has a more metal feeling than the previous one that was reviewed and on the last song you can also hear a small amount of melody being utilized.
Song lyrics for the most part are absent with most of the music being instrumental, while the production has a very dark, raw and heavy sound and you can easily tell all of the music is recorded live.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Aksu and if you are a fan of music that is experimental and heavy, you should check out this ep. 8 out of 10.
Aksu are a band from France and Belgium that plays an improv mixture of black/doom metal, drone, noise, dark ambient and free jazz and this is a review of their self released 2011 ep "XI.X/XL Act I".
The ep starts out with drums and clean guitars and after awhile electric guitars are added into the music which also leads to a more doomier direction along with the drums becoming more aggressive and after a couple of minutes drones and harsh noises find their way onto the recording and after 17 minutes experimental sound effects find their way into the improv jam which also leads up to psychedelic style guitar leads and keyboard sounds.
Song lyrics are absent from this recording with all of the musical being instrumental, while the production has a very dark, raw and heavy sound to it with the jam session being over 22 minutes long.
In my opinion Aksu are a very great sounding improv mixture of black/doom metal, drone, noise, dark ambient and free jazz and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. 8 out of 10.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Gravehill are a band from California that has been featured before in this zine with a musical style that mixes black, death and thrash metal together and this is a review of their 2014 album "Death Curse" which will be released by Dark Descent Records.
The album starts out with dark sound effects and synths and after the intro the music goes into a fast and raw sound along with blackened death metal screams as well as a small amount of old school melodies and solos which also leads up to some growls.
When the album gets onto the other songs slower riffs are added into certain sections of the music while the music sticks to mostly fast parts along with a great amount of blast beats and at times they also bring in a few seconds of synths and as time goes on by the bass guitars start sounding a lot more powerful and on one of the songs there are some back up gang shouts being utilized and on the last song they bring in a small amount of spoken word samples.
With this album Gravehill stick to their trademark sound and still have a very dark, raw and heavy approach their blackened death thrash that was present on previous recordings and this album is heavy from beginning to end.
Song lyrics Darkness, Occultism, Satanism and Blasphemous themes, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy and dark sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Gravehill and if you are a fan of this band, you should enjoy this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Death Curse" "Unending Lust For Evil" and "Crucified". 8/5 out of 10.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Dark Season are a band from Italy that plays a mixture of black and thrash metal with electronic elements and this is a review of their self released 201 album "Cruel Domination".
The album begins with an old school thrash sound along with aggressive vocals and black metal influences and yo can also hear electronic elements in the background as well as all of the musical instruments having a very powerful sound to them along with melody which also leads to solos and spoken word parts.
As the album progresses you can hear a good amount of Swedish death metal and traditional metal influences being mixed into the music along with some catchy riffing and synths that bring in prog elements and you certain sections of the music you can also hear death metal growls as well as the solos having Iron Maiden and 70s metal influences and on the last song there is a brief use of acoustic guitars being utilized for a few seconds..
With this album Dark Season bring in a mixture of the old school and modern day forms of thrash and mix it in with black metal, electronic and prog music to create a sound of their own along with a good amount of melody.
Song lyrics cover darkness, war and occult themes, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy and professional sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording.
In my opinion Dark Season are a very great sounding thrash band with elements of black metal and electronic music and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Shadow of The Evil" "Channel 666" and "This Cruel Domination". 8 out of 10.