Saturday, February 22, 2014

Aksu Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

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 Interview

For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

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, 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/Echos And Cinder/Candlelight Records/2014 CD Review

  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.
follow on twitter @aabankuk

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Warfist/The Devil Lives In Grunberg/ Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho/2014 CD Review

  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.

Aksu/XXVII/X/Xl Act III/2011 EP Review

  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.

Aksu/XV/X/XI. Live Act II/2011 EP Review

  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/XI/X/XL Act I/2011 EP Review

  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/Death Curse/Dark Descent Records/2014 CD Review

  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/Cruel Domination/2011 CD Review

   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.