Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Night Conquers Day/Rebellion Is The Art Of Survival/Hammerheart Records/1999 CD Review

  Night Conquers Day where  a band from New York that played a progressive mixture of black, doom, and death metal and this is a review of their 1999 album "Rebellion Is The Art Of Survival which was released by Hammerheart Records.

Drums are mostly slow to mid paced beats with some fast playing and blast beats while the while the keyboards have a very atmospheric and symphonic as well as progressive sound, as for the bass  playing it has a very dark tone with riffs that follow the guitars and at times have a very powerful sound.

Rhythm guitars are mostly mid slow to mid paced black riffing that also has progressive death metal, thrash and doom influences, while the lead guitars are distorted guitar solos that have a good sense of melody and a lot of talent that takes influences from progressive metal, as for the acoustic guitars that have a progressive feel that makes the music darker and at times there is a classical guitar being utilized.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams as well as a little bit of deep death metal growls mixed with some whisper passages and some clean singing that hits some very high notes, while the lyrics touch on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche with some anti Christian themes as well as some Luciferian and esoteric lyrics, as for the production on this recording which was recorded at Mortuary Temple Studios sounds very  professional and you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this album.

In my opinion Night Conquers Days was a very talented and underrated band for their time and if you are a fan of melodic black metal that is very progressive you should check this band out. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Perseverance Of Ignorance" "Rebellion Is The Art Of Survival" and "Dream Deep Sorcery". RECOMMENDED BUY


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Somnus/Awakening The Crown/Root Of All Evil Records/1999 CD Review

  Somnus are a band from Ohio that plays a mixture of black, doom, death, atmospheric,symphonic, and gothic metal and this is a review of their classic 1999 album "Awakening The Crown" which was released by Root Off All Evil Records.

Drums alternate between slow, mid paced and fast drumming with some brutal blast beats, while the keyboards have a very dark sound that is very melodic, and symphonic sounding and has the epic feel of a medieval warrior film, while the bass playing is all rhythm and follows the riffs coming out off the guitars and at times the bass lines sound very powerful.

Rhythm guitars are very melodic with the slower riffs being influenced by doom metal while the faster riffs are mostly black metal riffing with some death metal influences while the lead guitars are melodic solos that mix mix classic metal, doom metal and melodic black metal together.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams mixed with some deep death metal growls as well as some spoken word parts and the female vocals remind of off a more well down black metal band of their mid 90's and early 2000's which I don't feel are necessary to announce here.

Lyrics on this album cover some fantasy style lyrics that are influenced by paganism, alchemy and some anti-christian themes from a Gnostic point of view while the production sounds very professional and you can hear all of the instruments that are present on the album.

In my opinion Somnus where a very talented band and had the potential to be as well known as their European counterparts but since they where from America at the time when the country was only getting recognized fro brutal death metal they got ignored. If you are a fan of symphonic black metal before it became the trend it is today you should get this album. STANDOUT TRACKS INCLUDE "The Alchemist" "Beyond The Shore" Fulfilling The Throne". RECOMMENDED BUY.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Alastor Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
JA - Well, we just got our fourth album out which includes the unreleased first album. Besides that, nothing is going on. We already recorded most stuff of 4 songs and we're still not sure of what to do with that...

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
JA - I think that this album is more Thrash and less Black than the previous ones. That wasn't intentional, but it seems to have turned out that way. That I think, is the biggest difference. The sound is also a bit clearer on this one.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
JA - Well, for the first time, I had nothing to do with the lyrics, but it seems that GC managed to stick to the theme I've been using, with his own twist. Eradicate Christianity!

4. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
JA - Although I formed the band back in 1988, our first gig was in 2008. And besides that, we played 5 songs at the release party of the new album. So there isn't that much to talk about our live performances.

5. I have noticed with the new album you have lyrics written in both your native tongue and English, which is the style that you prefer to write in?
JA - Actually we only use portuguese on our albums now. The english lyrics are the songs from the debut unreleased album. That was the only album with english lyrics. I like to write in portuguese cause it sounds very different from english and the metric is also very different.

6. With the new release you have covered both Motley Crue's Red Hot and Black Sabbath's Children Of The Grave, what made you decide to do these cover tunes instead of the traditional German thrash or Celtic Frost cover tunes that most bands go far which i felt has been done a million times over?
JA - Again, we're talking about two albums. The cover of MC was done cause we're all MC fans and that song has been one of my fave for years. BS was done in 1996 and at that time I wanted to do this version of the original song, a faster version. We did the usual bands in the other two albums though.

7. Currently you are signed to War Productions, how did you get in contact with this label anfd how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?
JA - I've been in touch with them for some years, eventually we talked about ALASTOR and how I was looking for a new label... that was it. They like to keep it simple, just like me, it seems to be working ok.

8. Your music is more rooted in the first wave black metal area, what are your views on black metal from the early 90s to modern day?
JA - I don't give a fuck about the NWONBM (new wave of norwegian black metal)! VENOM is Black Metal!

9. Are you currently involved in other bands, or is this a full time project?
JA - My main band is DECAYED. ALASTOR is one of my projects, alongside HOTH, THUGNOR, NETHERMANCY...

10. On a worldwide level how has your music been received by black/thrash metal fans?
JA - People seem to like what we do. Not that many people though, there's a lot of talk about the revival of Thrash Metal, but to my ears, this new Thrash, sounds more like Hard Core than Metal... especially the "angry" vocals...

11. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
JA - I have no idea. Like I said, we're already working on 4 songs for a future release and these songs are pretty much in the vein of the album. Next year I hope to release a new album, so, then, and only then, will I know how the new album is going to sound.

12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
JA - From Hard Rock to early Death Metal, everything has influenced me. VENOM being the biggest influence. I don't listen to that much new stuff since I honestly think that Metal started to decay in the late 80's. There are a few good releases, but... it's getting harder and harder to find anything interesting.

13. What role does Satranism or Occultism play in your music and how would you describe your views on these topics?
JA - I am not a Satanist, but I do think of me as a Ancient Pagan. These are not topics to me, these are ideals and to be spoken in private since humans are a bit dumb and usually tend the distort what one says.

14. Outside of music, what are some of your interests?
JA - Travelling, photo, drawing, reading, food, smoking, drinking, movies and talking.

15. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
JA - Thanx for the support, all the best and anyone interested in contacting me for some merchandise or info: chroan@sapo.pt

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Opera IX Interview

1. Can you update us with what is going on with Opera IX these days and when we can expect new material?
1 Our 20th anniversary dvd, we concentrated on the production of the follow up to Anphisben. We decided to take a little more time, also as we are coming up to the 20th anniversary of Opera IX we wanted to recover some old material left out in the past such as the re-printing of the first demo’s and the DVD, which I can assure took up a lot of time, we had to recover a lot of material which often wasn’t in our possession. Right now, in these autumn months we are concluding the pre-production of our next album, I can say it will be the ‘darkest’ album of the history of Opera IX, and this will conclude the trilogy that started with Maleventum, the main theme will still be witchcraft, however, this time it will all be in a medieval setting.

2. Were did you come up with the idea for the band name?
2 Opera IX was born to represent an emotional form of what we wanted to project esoterically in the music, a part from living a symphonic aspect straight from the beginning it is necessary to analyze the first letter of Opera, which means ‘creation, or the plasmation whilst the ‘nine’ assumes directly an ‘occult’ connection, with our name we wanted to bring to the real world the sensations that we get from other worlds, those that exist out of the material realm

3. What direction is the new material heading into?
3I can say that the next job will be very dark, symphonic and more direct…if I had to describe it to you in pictures I’d direct you to a book by author Umberto Eco, The name of the rose… We are recording everything in my Occultum studios and I am taking maniacal care of every detail, until it matches exactly what we want we will not publish the material, but we still need to see which label to work with, unfortunately this is still to be determined.

4. What are some of the best live shows that you have played so far?
4After twenty years of Opera IX career is difficult to quantify the best, certainly the public in response to Romania and the tour dates in Mexico but I remember with pleasure the first major live in Italy in 1995 and also along with Absu ... moments were very intense with occult friendship.....

5. According to the Metal Archives the band is currently unsigned, what kind of label are you looking for?
5. We are looking for a label that can help us to reach the maximum of our possibilities, and most importantly that they don’t treat us only as a historical band that can sell a few thousand extra copies from their roster..Up to now the band has only helped others earn money and has not been valued to the maximum of its possibilities…we’ll see!

6. Are there any plans for a U.S tour?
6. Maybe! It’s years that we’ve been trying to organise to come to the USA, but unfortunately we have not been able to collaborate with a serious promoter, we had contact with a few large festivals over the last few years, such as the Milwaukee metal fest and the Monster of Madness Metal festival in Galveston but at the end of the day we didn’t conclude anything, we hope to get there in the near future.

7. What are your main influences music wise or non music wise?
7. Our main musical influences are to be compared to the 80’s extreme metal, bands such as Celtic Frost, Bathory, Mercyfull Fate, but also antique music, medieval and classic have brought us inspiration.

Surely our religious interests towards Paganism and Occultism has been inspirational for our symphonies…I admit that most times my references don’t come from my mind, but from the whispers of ancient spirits…

8. What are you listening to nowadays and what would you recommend?
8. Hope not to let you down but lately I’m only listening to Opera IX, this question comes at a time when we are composing and therefore, as in past years, I close myself in the studio only with Opera IX. I can certainly recommend some albums I was listening to up to a short time ago, Absu…..geniuses, it’s as if they have awoken from a 10 year hibernation and continued with that same musical dimension from their past. I was also impressed by the latest Gorgoroth, I find Infernus has returned to the origins of the band, they have all my respect.

9. How would you describe the band's approach to paganism and occultism?
9. Occultism and most of all Paganism are a great source of life for our band, personally I am very much involved in the neo-pagan movement, both myself and all my family. A part from being interested in Paganism for the search of historical origins and traditions of our ancestors, it gave me a clear path for contact with the divine, which for the traditions I follow has a large connection with celtic sciamanism. With this I have found a way of life that matches my nature, where the mysteries of life are celebrated in direct contact with nature, that can be Mother healer or the dark destroyer..it’s fascinating and overall I am my own pastor… The analysis of this spiritual path often connects me with magical and esoterical practices, that project me through the ‘worlds’ and from there I listen to the echo’s that I bring back and transform into music with the Opera IX

10. What are some good books or films that you would recommend?
10. Lately I have not seen films that have caught my attention, I remain on the classics such as the series of ‘Conan the barbarian’ or better the 13th warrior, to which I tie up the book written following the film ‘eaters of death’, this for the more epic theme. Another book on my table is ‘the spirit of the trees’ by Fred Hageneher, along with ‘fire in the head’ by Tom Cowan and ‘I Benandanti’ by Carlo Ginzburg. But I actually have more than 300 texts all on witchcraft and European Paganism…it’s difficult to draw up a list of my favourites. One day I will also finish the book I’ve been writing over the last 5 years, this talks about modern Druidism.

11. How does your home country react to your music, would you say that your best fans are in Italy or would you say they are in other countries?
11.Your never prophet’s at home…at least this is the case in Italy, which pays more attention to music from abroad, therefore I can say the majority of fans are not in Italy.

12. Any final words?
12. My last words are for you, who I thank for this interesting interview, spread our name as much as possible in the USA and sooner or later we will bring our witchcraft to you too…that’s a promise!

13. Thanks for the interview?
13 May the anciet Gods be with you!



The Living Fields Interview

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

The album comes out July 12th, so we're getting all of our website & social media stuff in order, having merch made and answering interviews.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?

I think it's a lot more polished than previous efforts. Jay Walsh's (Farview Recording) mix and having Chuck Bontrager (violin/viola) and Petar Kecenovici (cello) on board both made huge improvements to this album's production. Musically, it's more riffy, more guitar-oriented. That was a conscious decision because a lot of the memorable bits on The Miseries Never Cease and The Living Fields aren't guitar parts. So I manned up and wrote more riffs this time out. Also - and I could be wrong about this - the previous releases seemed to have more folk and exotic stuff going on; Running Out of Daylight is more "Western," for lack of a better word.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?

We have a couple historical tunes… The title track is about Galileo in his last days, Perseverance is about Sir Edmund Hillary (the first man to scale Mt Everest and live) and From Miseries to Blood-Drenched Fields is a continuation of the story we started on The Miseries Never Cease and gets into the American Civil War. Remnant is based on the classic sci-fi novel "I am Legend". Bitterness and When the Walls Go Up are more personal. Glacial Movements is about geology and time. All of Jon's lyrics and notes can be read in the Discography section of our website: www.thelivingfields.com

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

I was just looking for something organic and somewhat positive. There was no deep thought put into it, but my upbringing in the countryside of Michigan certainly had something to do with the "fields" part.

5. Has the band had any opportunities to do any live shows? If so what are some of the best shows that the band has played o far and how would you describe your stage performance?

Sadly, no. Only Samu and I have met and jammed so far. Hopefully we'll be able to make that happen in the future, but it's a big financial and logistical hurdle.

6. What are some of the things you hope to accomplish with the new full length when it comes out?

Sell enough copies to keep us in Candlelight's good graces and hopefully get the name out so we have an opportunity to play live at some point.

7. Are there any side projects besides this band or is this a full time band?

The Living Fields is definitely not some bedroom vanity project, but we're not really a "real band" since we've never played a show or even met (besides Samu and I), so we all have side projects that are more or less our "real bands". Jon's baby is Monsterworks, a high-energy metal band that puts out a new album every 15 minutes (I think they've released three in the time it took us to make Running Out of Daylight). Chad's a full-time drum instructor in Canada who plays with a lot of local artists and occasionally plays with larger acts (Paul DiAnno, Exciter, etc.). For myself, I have Earthen Grave, a traditional Chicago-style metal band with Ron Holzner (ex-Trouble) on bass and violinist Rachel Barton Pine. Samu has his own brilliant project, Cairn, which has an EP coming out any day now. Additionally, Samu and I are working together on two other side projects - Fields of Burden (somewhat folky European "pagan" stuff) and Wintering (death metal).

8. On a world wide level how has your music been received by metal fans?

Hard to say, but we sold a lot more CD to people Europe than the US, which is a good sign since Europe seems to have much better taste in metal than the States.

9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

The next album, tentatively titled Delta, is about half written. Unless we really screw up, it should be another step up from Running Out of Daylight. I have no intention of dumbing down our music, but there will be an effort towards more economical songwriting, not having a gazillion things on at once, etc. We've asked too much of listeners on certain things in the past. We'll also have room for more of Samu's ideas and hopefully have Chuck writing more of the string arrangements, so that should bring a couple new voices to the process. After Delta, there are plans for a concept album, but that needs to wait until we have enough cash in our pockets to afford a proper production (like getting us all together for pre-production, recording in the same studio, etc.).

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

For me, this band all goes back to the first albums by the UK death/doom bands, specifically Anathema, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride. Modern bands like Primordial and Moonsorrow are also probably in there somewhere. Film scores are another big source of inspiration for me. Jon's a huge Queen fan, which is a bit surprising to some.

Recently, I've been all over the map. One day it's John Coltrane, the next it's The Doors, then it's old Sepultura then it's Swedish death metal demos then it's on to something else. I can't sit still.

11. Does Occultism or Paganism play any role in your music?

Occultism, definitely not. Paganism, probably not. Too many meanings for that word for me to commit to one.

12. Outside of music, what are some of your interests?

Samu and I both love film. Lately we've been comparing notes on Herzog's films with Kinski (I've been coming up woefully short on useful observations). Can’t really say for Chad or Jon as I don't know them well enough.

13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Thanks for having us! We hope people give the new album a chance to sink in and enjoy it when it does. Check out our website (www.thelivingfields.com), find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thelivingfields), and poke around our other projects (www.earthengrave.com, www.supermetal.net, www.raisethecairn.com).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Living Fields/Running Out Of Daylight/Candlelight Records/2011 CD Review

  The Living Fields are a band  from  Chicago,  Illinois  that plays an epic and progressive form of gothic doom metal mixed with black metal and this is a review of their 2011 album "Running Out Of Daylight" which will be released by Candlelight Records.

Drums range from slow to mid paced drumming with some occasional fast playing and not much in the way of blast beats, while the violins and cellos bring a dark and depressive feel to the music with some symphonic elements as well as some pianos and keyboards., as for the bass playing it sounds very strong and powerful with some deep and heavy riffing.

Rhythm guitars range from slow to mid paced riffing that combines doom metal with melodic black metal, while the lead guitars and there are little to no guitar solos or leads present on this recording, as for the acoustic guitars they bring a progressive edge to the music.

Vocals are a mixture of mainstream high pitched black metal screams, deep death metal growls mixed in with a lot of clean singing that has an avant garde feel to it as well as a power metal edge at times, while the lyrics cover dark themes, as for the production it has a very powerful and professional sound to it.

In my opinion The Living Fields re a very good avant garde black/doom/Symphonic band and if you are a fan of this style, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED  TRACKS INCLUDE "Remnant" "From Miseries To Blood" and "and "Glacial Movements". RECOMMENDED BUY.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alastor/Demon Attack/War Productions/2011 CD Review

  Alastor are a bad from Portugal that has a long history in the underground with a style that I would describe as being primitive black/thrash/retro metal and this is a review of their 2011 album "Demon Attack" which was released by War Productions.

Drums range from slow, mid paced to fast playing with a good amount of blast beats, while the bass playing has a very heavy and dark tone with some primitive sounding black/thrash riffing, as for the sound eff very dark and evil sounding.

Rhythm guitars range from slow, mid paced to fast riffs that are very primitive with riffing that utilizes influences from black and thrash metal, while the lead guitars are very primitive and old sounding underground metal guitar solos that utilize melodies at times, as for the acoustic guitars they are only used occasionally and bring a dark and depressive feel to the music with some classical guitars being used at times.

Vocals are a mixture of raspy thrash vocals and first wave high pitched black metal screams, while the lyrics are written in a mixture of Portuguese and English and cover Satanism, Occultism, Necromancy, evil and darkness with some of the songs being cover tunes, as for the production it has a very dark and raw feel to it.

In my opinion Alastor are a very good raw and primitive sounding black/thrash band and if you are a fan of this style, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Evocao A Lilith" "Necromante" "Possessed By Darkness" and "Spawn Of Evil". RECOMMENDED BUY.