May 31, 2009

Blake From Hecatomb - Bringing back the old guard

Hecatomb are a exiting fairly new Doom Metal band doing things a little different.With so many bands starting to sound the same "Hecatomb" have something a little different to offer Doom fans.Mixing various influences including some Black Metal they have a sound that grabs you from the first listen.I see a good future for them.Here is a interview with Blake(bass) from the band.
Thanks Blake for this interview.First let's get the ball rolling by telling all the readers about how the band got together ?
Well to be honest I'm not necessarily an original member, but I am their first bassist. From my understanding Josh [Gardner, lead singer] and Ian [McKinney, guitarist] knew eachother from high school, and since they are into the same kinds of music, they formed Hecatomb about a year ago I guess.
Obliviously you are a Doom Metal band.Has this always been the direction you wanted to head in ?
Well yes, I love Doom Metal, obviously, but Hecatomb is more than just an ordinary Doom band. You see Ian and Tyson [Jacobs, drummer] have been in a number of Black Metal bands over the years, so that style leaks into our music quite often. Just recently, Ian and I started working on a new song that sounds alot like Emperor if you ask me. SO yes I'd say this is exactly where I want to be in music.
What has been your own musical history,what instruments do you play and when did you first discover Metal ?
Well I play a few instruments: Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, and I do vocals from time to time. I discovered Metal through my friend Jacob Harber and my dad. They both showed me Black Sabbath almost around the same time and I was hooked, and started listening to bands like Metallica and AC/DC. Soon I picked up bass, and you know the rest of the story.
What is your opinion on the current crop of Doom bands ?
Well I've always liked the old guard over the new guard, but I must say a lot of the newer Doom bands like Witchcraft and The Sword really have that nice Sabbath-like heaviness to them.
The band looks like it could have a big future judging by the tracks i have there a certain level of success you would like the band to achieve ?
It would be cool if the band became big somehow, but the state music is in at the moment, I don't see it happening for a number of years. I would like to at least put out a few more albums and tour, but again music right now is not in the best state with all of the rap and Disney shit being the biggest form of music right now.
Hope this questions isn't too personal but being a Christian involved in playing Metal.Has this been easy or have you had some pressure put on your to play something else ?
Christianity and metal have always been tied in, ever since the days of Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. A lot of people at my church know that I am in a Metal band, but not really what kind, which is kind of a good thing. I don't think it is really it is a big deal that I am a Christian and also in Hecatomb, because we're not singing about Satan or anything. Most of the lyrics are about Josh's life experiences, nothing more than that really.
What is in store for the band with recordings,anything planned at the moment ?
Well we recently started recording a new track called "Child of Rape" which sounds a little bad I know, but it's not what you think it's about.
I also see you are a big fan of Sabbath,are you disgusted as much as i am about the direction Ozzy has taken over recent years.Seem like he has totally lost the plot.
Oh yeah, I'm really pissed that Ozzy sued Tony Iommi recently, that is the lowest thing he has ever done if you ask me. I actually burned some of my Ozzy shirts yesterday.
Back to the band now,has the band got a particular way to construct songs ? Do you jam a lot ?
We jam once a week because the guys have jobs, and I don't. Me and Ian will sometimes just mess around and come up with a killer riff every now and then, just yesterday we came up with two new riffs for a new song.
What about influences,what bands inspire the band the most ?
Our influences range a great deal. for instance one of my favorite bands are The Beatles, yet we all listen to stuff like Katatonia, Pentagram, Venom, Immortal, Darkthrone, Besatt, Emperor, Mayhem, Sabbath, Burzum etc. so to round up our influences I'd say something along the lines of Black and Doom Metal with a hint of Death Metal.
Do you see the band re-locating in the future ?
I don't know about that yet, TN is our home.
OK,thanks again for this interview.Any final words for the readers ?
All I have to say is STAY METAL. haha and listen to Hecatomb hah.

May 30, 2009

Dead Southern Bishop - S/T

Dead Southern Bishop don't fuck around on this short but sweet E.P.The killer artwork is the first thing that will stand out here,really cool cover.What is on display is some really gritty Sludge Metal which comes from the EYEHATEGOD and CROWBAR school of down and dirty Metal.The raw production really enhances the tunes on here,not many bands benefit from raw production but DSB are the perfect band for this type of sound.“Junkie’s Self Destruction” has a very familiar riff to it but that is not a problem as this tune is one of the highlights.Every riff on here is quite intense,full of crunch and power.Black Peacock’s vocals are filthy and in your face which compliments the songs,can't imagine them finding a screamer that's the band so well.Best track for me is “Coven of Carrion”,a tune that is about as Sludge as you can get.Not much Doom on offer here,this is pure Southern Rock Stoner Sludge and fans of bands like Acid Bath will love this.Its all over before you know it which is a sign of good tunes.Nothing out stays its welcome and every songs is straight to the point.Can't wait to hear more from this band.8.5/10

May 27, 2009

Sons Of Otis - Exiled Review

Since 1992, Sons of Otis have been recording in what is in my opinion some of the worlds best dirging cosmic doom blues known to man. Sons of Otis will be holding their CD release party in Toronto, Canada on June 13th with Electric Magma opening for them along with Keef and Skull and I figured this would be a good time to review their latest album "Exiled", which happens to mark 15 years since the release of their first EP released when the band was simply known as Otis. Sons of Otis have been on some of the worlds best stoner rock labels including Mans Ruin and seeing their latest release to be their second time with Small Stone. Fans of the likes of Acid King, Goatsnake, UFOMammut and others I would hope know of this amazing band. I have yet to hear a more psychedelic form of stoner doom. Blues has always been a staple in Sons of Otis' sound, and it only gets stronger with every release. Oxazejam truly would be the rule. the song first appeared on their split with Queen Elephantine, but has been re-issued on Exiled. A jam that shows us that the blues will never die, and will always have its place in metal. The best thing I have to say about Sons of Otis is that they seem to build upon their sound with every release where most bands grow stale or change their direction. This album is keeping true to everything Otis has ever done has reached what I believe to be their best outing, and somehow manages to be heavier than anything they have done to date. When "Tales of Otis" kicks into gear with its menacing droning doom atmosphere, you will see what I mean. Exiled is a work of art that will please many fans of slow dirging music ranging from stoner doom to slow psychedelic blues, droning doom to a kick ass version of Motor heads Iron Horse. If you haven't picked up a copy of Exiled, I suggest you do so now and own a piece of what may be arguably Canada's best heavy metal group.

Derek Edward Kellington

Doom Metal Alliance Sampler Vol.4 - Free Download

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<1.job - coram deo
2.spider kitten - this pointless exercise
3.rezinmouth - the dankest breeze
4.fullmoon rapture - chemical dreams
5.elliotts keep - black wings
6.assyrian - endless
7.mar negro - preaching of the cross
8.solarfall - melting under the sun
9.desolation - the mourning light
10.w.t.t.a - to rage in sound this valiant despair
11.unicorpse - catch and release


May 25, 2009

Desolation - S/T

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Desolation who i think without checking it out fully have all the recordings available for free download at the moment.You should take this opportunity and check them out if you are in the mood for some quality Drone.Overall this is pretty minimal Drone but crosses over into different styles and textures within the genre.I downloaded all the recordings but for this review i concentrate on the self titled release,they have a couple of split albums with other bands that are excellent but i will do them in a different review.This album really stands out in the world of Drone,at times this album reaches in some dark metal realms and yet other times has a "Syd Barrett Pink Floyd " feeling about it.This is very sparse for the most of the album but has some big atmospheric guitar passages.Stand out tracks are "The Mourning Light" and "Vehemence" which really make for great late night mood music.Overall the passages are very dark sounding which i think is the only way to produce good Drone.This could fall in the category of Drone Doom but is also very Psychedelic in places.Kudos must go out for some guitar freak out sections and some evil sounding growls and chants you hear in the background of some of the tracks.This is one of the better Droning Doom CD's i have heard in a while,the genre has lost a bit of quality in the last year but with bands like Desolation around it proves it still has a future.8.5/10

May 22, 2009

Black Pyramid – S/T (Meteorcity)

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I have been thinking lately that the quality coming out on "Meteorcity" has fallen a little in the last year or so but now its gone right up there again with one of the best albums released this year.Black Pyramid's debut is a instant classic,featuring “Visions of Gehenna”, “Mirror Messiah” and “No Life King” from their demo plus 6 new tracks this is as good as anything you will hear this year.Anyone who has hear the original demo tracks know how good they are and here they seem to get even better.Guitarist/vocalist Andy Beresky’s use of Sabbathian riffs and the occasional Matt Pike induced melodic groove wash over you.All tracks are complete with killer solo,s,swagger with attitude and a sense of real Doom Metal quality songwriting. “Mirror Messiah” is a standout track along with “No Life King” .Both tunes have a kind of High On Fire feel about them but in my humble opinion are much better than anything that HOF are dishing at the moment.You have the sweeping, acoustic instrumental “Celephais” and the full on boogie Doom rock of “Twilight Ritual” which conjurs up images of Sabbath and Ozzy in a "Hole In The Sky" frame of mind.There is a good dose of fuzz on this record but it is all done in a tasteful way and not overdone at all.Another good example is “The Cauldron Born” which starts off in a melodic way before kicking in the gut with some killer guitar hooks.The closer “Wintermute” is almost like a complilation of all the styles and sounds that are on the album all wrapped up in the one tune.Dynamic and powerful Doom meets classic 70's rock all blended together with a modern crossover edge.This album is almost perfect,just wish it was longer.9.5/10

(( Thorlock )) - (( Thorlock ))

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I have to be honest here,even though this band is on my friend list on Myspace i haven't had much time to spend listening to their material so getting hold of their self titled album was a real awakening.For the most part ((Thorlock)) play a kind of Stoner Doom meets Southern type of groove rock but then they have some real surprises in store on this release.The album has two centerpieces “Mississippi Wheelwash” and closer “Beyond Cosmic Dimensions",both being around the 18 minute mark these tracks are a feast of feedback and Doom.Great as they are,these tracks are the hardest tunes to endure because of the length of the tracks.The guitar work on these two have a real pulsating feel that pummels the listener.The rest of the album though is a different kettle of rock,still heavy and still very stoner but asskicking from a direction you may not expect.Tunes like “Extinct” and “Assneck" get you headbanging in a whiskey fueled kind of way but then the real surprises take place.Covers of Kiss "Deuce" and Neil Youngs "Rockin In The Free World" turn the thing on its head.Good versions of these songs but something i really didn't given the context of the rest of the album.I made the mistake of setting my CD player on random when i first listened to this so after sitting through the 18 minutes of "Beyond Cosmic Dimensions" to be confronted with a Kiss tune was like what the hell is going on !This is the sort of album that will appeal to fans of Sleep type bands but could also fit into the party band setting.I was having a few beverages when i first gave this a spin and it seem to fit the mood very well.At the end of the day this is a "Stoner Doom" album but one that is unique even if it is just the two covers they play.Give it a try,i dig it.8.5/10

May 19, 2009

"Doom Doesn't Exist" - whatever dude !

The original post from some idiot on the Metal Archives Board -

"1. There is no base form of doom metal. Other genres, such as black metal, death metal, or thrash metal, have bands which can be described accurately without any modifiers. Doom has no such privilege; all bands are some variety of combination or subgenre. Death/doom, black/doom, traditional doom; there is no one variety of 'doom metal' which is the standard from which everything else extends. 2. In the case of these fusion-style doom bands, every band which can be labeled doom can just as easily be placed in the other genre with which they fuse doom. Older My Dying Bride is simply melodic death metal while newer material is gothic. Winter is a very slow, Autopsy-derived death metal band. All traditional doom bands are simply Sabbath-derived heavy metal slowed down. Not only is there no base form of doom, there's no band in doom which can't be lumped just as easily into another category. The notable possible exception to this is funeral doom, but with a bit of finagling most of those bands could likely fit into black, death, or sludge. Drone is simply at extension of ambient music.

3. Doom has no basic canon of distinguishing elements apart from slowness and, to some degree, mood (and even that is questionable). All other genres of metal such as death, black, or thrash have basic, canonical elements which more or less remain similar throughout the reaches of the genre, but apart from a general slowness of tempo, there is nothing to link Cathedral to My Dying Bride to Skepticism. Even the mood, typically regarded as 'depressing', varies greatly; numerous stoner/doom bands don't have that atmosphere, and many death/doom bands such as Winter go in a more misanthropic direction. Does anyone have thoughts on this idea?"

* A reply from Derek Edward Kellington

I decided I would take a walk through whorespace a couple weeks back, and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this article. It has been some time since I have been able to get down on doom metal. Its amazing what the arrogance and ignorance of others will do for you. At least this is how I'm feeling at the moment as I am listening to Blood Farmers for the first time since I can remember. So to begin with my little rant here, I shall start quoting. "1. There is no base form of doom metal. Other genres, such as black metal, death metal, or thrash metal, have bands which can be described accurately without any modifiers.

Doom has no such privilege; all bands are some variety of combination or sub genre. Death/doom, black/doom, traditional doom; there is no one variety of 'doom metal' which is the standard from which everything else extends." This I find to be very troubling. This whole paragraph describes exactly what is wrong with your "hardcore" fans as well as with the Big 5 (your major labels in the music industry). You MUST sound a certain way, and you MUST sound similar to the flavor of the week. Its this kind of narrow mindedness that destroys music. Its this kind of temperament that see's many truly astounding and innovative bands go completely unnoticed. "2. In the case of these fusion-style doom bands, every band which can be labeled doom can just as easily be placed in the other genre with which they fuse doom. Older My Dying Bride is simply melodic death metal while newer material is gothic.

Winter is a very slow, Autopsy-derived death metal band. All traditional doom bands are simply Sabbath-derived heavy metal slowed down. Not only is there no base form of doom, there's no band in doom which can't be lumped just as easily into another category. The notable possible exception to this is funeral doom, but with a bit of finagling most of those bands could likely fit into black, death, or sludge. Drone is simply at extension of ambient music." This statement only further points out the arrogance of "hardcore" behavior. I am not going to deny what he has to say about My Dying Bride or Winter. But I do wish this guy would listen to a little bit of doom metal before he tries to debunk it.

Knowing of two bands labeled as doom does not give one extensive knowledge to be a connoisseur or critic. If he truly knew what doom metal was, he would not be calling upon traditional doom like its a new sub genre of metal, when in fact it predates the true origins of death metal and black metal by a decade. Bands like Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus (previously Tyrant circa 1979) Pagan Alter, Trouble, Obsessed the reincarnation of Pentagram and a handful of others are your pioneers of doom metal. They are the basis of the genre. All these bands predate all your big important names to metal. Surely we all know that Slayer wasn't kicking out the jams in the 70's. Even Iron Maiden at the time wasnt a metal giant. Nay, they sound quite a bit like the origins of Pentagram mixed with Thin Lizzy. You want to talk about easily lumping a band into another category? Venom is a large part of the origins of thrash, yet their album "Black Metal" is influential enough to describe a sub genre itself. Shame on you Cronos! Make up your fucking mind!

Yes, one can say that it all is just Sabbath derived riffs. Of course it is. All metal is Sabbath derived. If you want to get pissy about it, there is only one kind of music when it comes to metal. THE BLUES! Come on now. Think about it. Sit down and really listen to the first Sabbath album. While your at it, break out Zeppelin I. Both have blues covers. Both have blues original scores. Both bands have blues roots (Earth anyone?) So this is to say that heavy metal doesn't exist? Its just the blues? Rightly so. Lets not forget the HUGE jazz influence behind Sabbath.

You think Geezer was the first to play his bass like that? I'm afraid those aren't walking bass lines like you hear in the blues. Ward and Bonham were the first drummers to beat the shit out of their kit? Im afraid assault and battery of the drums predates even Keith Moon. The power chord surfaced in the 50's. The diminished 5th is a jazz trademark. Why do you think Christians hated jazz so much? It would appear that all of a sudden borrowing in music is a bad thing. Well, we had better eliminate music altogether then. "

3. Doom has no basic canon of distinguishing elements apart from slowness and, to some degree, mood (and even that is questionable). All other genres of metal such as death, black, or thrash have basic, canonical elements which more or less remain similar throughout the reaches of the genre, but apart from a general slowness of tempo, there is nothing to link Cathedral to My Dying Bride to Skepticism. Even the mood, typically regarded as 'depressing', varies greatly; numerous stoner/doom bands don't have that atmosphere, and many death/doom bands such as Winter go in a more misanthropic direction. I agree that there isn't much that can link Cathedral to My Dying Bride to Skepticism, and to me this is fucking awesome! Variety! No wonder doom metal is so appealing to me. My musical taste is extremely diverse. At one moment I will be listening to Sleep.

I then can get down and bust out some Stevie Wonder. How about some Gregorian Hymns? Bach's pipe organ works? Miles Davis? You gotta be able to get down on Miles! Richard Wagner? (thanks Indy!) Cheers by the way to the writer of the article that has inspired this rant for being able to produce two more doom metal bands that however influential and important they are to the genre have no baring on its origins. All these bands surfaced a decade after the genre took hold. All these bands did was practice Darwinism. Evolution? So please, someone take the gore paint and bloody dagger away from this guy. Take away his gauntlet. Give him a joint as he is taking life too seriously (Bill Hicks?).

But I guess I can't blame the author. This is typical North American behavior to music, namely heavy metal. If it aint fast, it ain't metal. Even Buzzo recognized this, and where would metal be without him? You don't have to like his music, but you have to give props to one of the most influential bands of our time no matter how little recognition Melvins get. It's the whole aspect of speed in metal that see's our most beloved bands tour over sea's to get an audience. Sleep doing three reunion shows in Europe? Saint Vitus? Hell, Sons of Otis wont even play Canada cuz no one shows up at their shows (Sons of Otis review coming soon. a lot to be said there), and they are Canadian. So basically what I took from the article that inspired such a rant is that narrow mindedness is key in music genres.

They must sound similar to each other, and they shouldn't be innovative nor expressive. Keep exploration out of music please. *** Note to the reader. Put down your Revolver magazine and search music for yourself. Fuck the flavor of the month. Do your research. Find the bands that are trudging away in the trenches, for they are the true warriors of metal. The privates that are shot in the line of duty to be all but forgotten with no purple hearts awarded for their bravery. Many bands have withered away without recognition, and this truly is a pity.*** Derek Edward Kellington May 19, 2009

Its A Lunken - S/T Due Out In June

Its A Lunken's self titled album is due out in June and you will be in for a hellish ride listening to this one.This is one of the most original sounding bands i have heard in a long time.They just don't sound like anyone really,the music is psychotic,un-hinged and original as you will get these days.This is Doom but its not about big riffs or deathly growls,this is experiment in distorted sounds.At times they sound like the Pink Floyd of Doom and yet at other times they make sounds that remind me of the most bizarre Frank Zappa stuff yet real heavy.The music is intense,demanding and very psychedelic.They use instrumentals like mouth organ which you wouldn't expect on a Doom record.The bass sounds on this are so full of fuzz you may find yourself adjusting the controls on your stereo.I mean this leaps out at you and leaves you crushed in its wake.The album runs almost like a concept album in that tracks seem to mesh together and the whole thing just flows.The vocals for the most part are very aggressive which just adds to the choas.The album runs over a hour so its a long journey to get through but its a true test on your braincells.There is some very unique twists and turns in the tracks that leave you wondering what was going through their minds putting these songs together.If you are expecting straight Doom Metal this will leave you unsatisfied but if you are willing to take a dark trip into something really different in the world of Doom,you will dig this.This band that can be proud of this their first full release,the question is where can they go from here.We will have to wait and see.Indulge yourself in this when its released.8.5/10

May 17, 2009

Southern Vein - The Witch Is In

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Thanks to the dudes in Southern Vein for sending this great little EP.The opening 3 tracks gets the mood flowing with some stomping Southern Rock style Stoner Metal."He Who Shuns The Light" and " The Witch Is In" both have some real groove and power.You could call this Riff Rock with a Southern Rock flavor.Great musicianship is on display here as they charge through these tracks.Catchy and instantly memorable.I really dig the vocals on here which sounds like someone else but i am dammed if i can figure out who !Track number four is a "Led Zeppelinish" instrumental called "Neptune" which is a great little piece of music.After this though the EP just gets even better with the highlights of the CD for me."Mountain Pussy" is a pure golden track,8 minutes plus of some mellow,melodic riffing with some slower grooves but no less heavy.

The middle section of the song reminds me off some classic 70's rock and the way the song twists and turns is awesome.There is also some real nice solo work in the second half of this particular track.Track number 6 is "Mindcuffed" which starts off with a Drum/Bass intro which then leaps into some Metallic riffing.The vocals are more of the spoken word variety which enhances the song perfectly.Once again this is more in the Southern Rock vein but in a very "Stoner" kind of way.

The EP winds up with "Welcome Mat",another stomping Stoner Metal track.Its a fine way to end a very good EP.Good production on this one but i would have liked the drums to be a little louder in the mix.They seem a little buried at times.Apart from that minor criticism this is a great release that will please Stoner Rock fans and fans of classic 70's rock.8.5/10

May 16, 2009

Hooded Menace - The sound of horror

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Hooded Menace,the kings of Death Doom unleashed their 9 song masterpiece "Fulfill The Curse" to some great reviews.The album is a classic from "Razorback Records" and while the label has many other great bands,Acid Witch and Hooded Menace are the best two for what i am into.Here is a interview with the main man Lasse.

1.Cheers for this allowing me this chance for a interview.Lets start at the beginning,i read the band really started off by you playing Candlemass songs with more Deathly vocals !

My pleasure! Yep, that..s exactly how it all started.

2.The album has been a surprise to everyone,it seemed to come out of nowhere and now its somewhat of a Death/Doom classic.Are you pleased with the reaction the CD has got ?

Wow! Thanks for the compliment! Yes, I have nothing to complain. The feedback has been amazing. We never expected getting this much attention. Well, I mean it..s not like we are a huge band now, haha, but it has been an uphill since the day one and we know the album came out great but still... we are a bit shocked about the awesome feedback. Good to see that people care about this type of music.

3.Did it take very long to get that crushing guitar sound or did it all happen naturally ?

It took some time to crank it right but not like days... let..s say it took more like a couple of hours. It was not found by an accident. It was supposed to be heavy, crumbly and dark and I worked hard to get it even tho I can..t say it took days, ha! I..m a bit surprised that it turned out that good actually because usually I have had problems getting the sound I wanted to.

4.The atmosphere of the CD from the artwork to the music is "pure horror doom".Was that the plan for the band all along ?

Yeah, you can say horror is a huge part of our "concept". No horror - no Hooded Menace.

5.A lot of the lyrics seem to be influenced by horror films featuring monsters and animals like werewolf's and so on.Did you sit around watching a lot of these films before recording or was it already in your head ?

It was already in our heads. So, we didn..t sit around watching the films over and over again. We were in the mood already.

6.What is your favorite tracks from the album in terms of lyrics ?

Hmmm... maybe the opening track "Rotting Rampage (Menace of the Skeletal Dead)" written by Billy Razorback. The lyrics are very simple actually and they are based on the movie called The Ghost Galleon from the Blind Dead film series. I think the lyrics capture the mood of that flick in an very efficient and straightforward way. Anyway, it..s hard to pick up the best. I like them all. The next day I could name another track. Right now "Rotting Rampage" just came to my mind first as a very successful text.

7.How did the deal with "Razorback" come about.That label is full of bands of extremely high quality....

Basically Billy from Razorback who I was friends with already was there from the start when Hooded Menace was born. I told him that we are jamming Candlemass with death metal vocals and that we are going to write our own material that will be a mixture of doom and death metal. He got really excited about it and came up with his ideas for the lyrics etc. He even came up with the name Hooded Menace. When he heard our demo "The Eyeless Horde" it became clear that he would release the album. So we kinda hooked up from the very beginning.

8.I know you were influenced by Candlemass,early Cathedral,Winter etc but is there any bands outside of the Metal world that made a impact ?

Fabio Frizzi, Goblin... great horror film soundtracks in general.

9.I must say the vocal sound is one of the best i have heard in a long time.Did you have to work on it a lot to get it right ?

Thanks again! Yeah, singing is the hardest part. I had some problems with it at first but then I got it.

10.With the guitar work,who would you say has had the biggest influence on Hooded Menace ?

Candlemass definitely.

11.The band has kept a pretty low profile in terms of band photo's and such.Do you prefer to just used the artwork for promotional purposes ?

At first we though about having only drawn art for promotional purposes but now it seems like we are going to take some band photos in the near future. It..ll be cool and fun actually. We never had anything against band pics, we just thought that it could be fun and different to use drawings only. But now as we have done that for some time already, we are getting into the idea of having band pics, ha!

12.The album is now out on Vinyl with slightly different artwork ! Do you noticed any difference in the sound with the Vinyl release ?

Yeah, I guess the vinyl sounds more rough (in a good way of course) but well, my vinyl player set up could be better. I..d like to play it with a really good set up. Anyway, I like to listen to it in both formats. I don..t listen to it often tho.

13.I also read that Billy Nocera(Razorback) came up with the name for the band.Did have much of a influence on the actual music ?

Yes, he came up with the name but musically we did our own thing. The lyrics he wrote for us could have had a little influence on me as I wrote some of the songs. Setting me in a certain mood and so, you know.

14.You are from Finland which has always from what i can tell has had a great Metal heritage.What is the Finnish scene like for extreme underground Metal bands ?

I guess it..s pretty much alive. Lots of bands.... more than I know. I don..t follow the scene that much. I..m too focused on my own things to keep up with everything. I have always been like that. Some active bands worth mentioning are Slugathor, Vorum, Ascended, Fall of the Idols, Spiritus Mortis, Speedtrap...

15.Are we going to see a Hooded Menace tour anytime soon.I think a Razorback Records Showcase tour would be amazing !!!

Man, if there ever will be a Razorback Showcase tour Im in, haha! I don..t know about touring actually. I..m not even sure if we wanna play gigs at all! I..m more into creating new stuff and recording it but never say never... time will tell.

16.Have you been working on any new tracks for another Hooded Menace album and if so,can you tell us a bit about them ?

Yeah, 6 songs are written already and we need 2 more. It looks like there will be 8 songs on the 2nd album. They are in the same vein as the material on the debut album. Maybe it..s a bit more melodic at times but then again some parts are darker than ever. If you liked the first album you will like the second as well. The production will be rawer I guess.

17.Well before the interview gets too long i better wrap up by saying i think the album is one of the best releases of recent years.Is there anything you want to add ?

Thanks! Glad you like the album and thanks for this interview! It didnt get "too long" because of my short answers, ha! Sorry about that! I..m a bt in a hurry! Thanks for the support and keep your eyes and ears open for the upcoming Hooded Menace splits and the 2nd album! Take care

May 15, 2009

Maegashira - The Stark Arctic

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The Album "The Stark Artic by Maegashira" is the sound of a band hell bent on destroying any Doom Metal posers out there.This one hell of a aggressive Doom meets Sludge recording.Like taking Eyehategod,Sleep and Electric Wizard putting them in a blender !"Ongoing Corneal Erosion" and "Caribou Crossing" set the album off in bruising fashion but with some psychedelic guitar solos combined with JJ Koczan's violent outburst's of aggression. "Ammonia for Sweat." is more of a plodding Doom track but no less as dirty,great track and one of my favorites.“Baggage Claim/Skin Slip” make up the middle part of the sludge fest,two tracks in one that seems to blend together so well it seems like one real long tune or detune should i say.They have moments of tranquility before punishing the eardrums once again with some great southern rock sounding type of sludge rock.

Once again the solo's are great but brief."Hi from Jersey" is a shorter dose of booze filled complete with a message to for all the trendy hypocrites everywhere or at least thats the message i get.These guys seemed pissed off most of the time and it just makes the album even more monumental.The final track is the epic "Back to Muro" which extends out past the 20 minute mark.Like some sort of bad acid experience the song engages the listener in some psychedelic Doom with some of the best riffs to be found on the album.Not a easy listen because of the length but you will be exhusted by the time you get through this one.I guess this album could be describe as Doom Rock N Roll for the most part but it also has the aggression and anger of some more hardcore acts.The bleak album cover kind of describes the music in a way,cold and unfriendly but all so cool to experince.The album is sprawling in parts and covers a lot of ground in the 60 minutes it plays for but this has to be one of the albums of the year.9/10

May 13, 2009

JJ Koczan From Maegashira - A doom entrepreneur

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Hello, thanks for the interview. How things been in the Maegashira camp lately?

Things have been busy in and around the band lately. The response to the album has been really good for the most part, so that was cool, and there’s been a ton of personal, real-life stuff going on as well. Our guitarist, George Pierro, just got married, and in between that, we’ve got two – almost three – new songs written, all of which I think are pushing and progressing what we started with The Stark Arctic. It’s a really great time to be in this band. We’re all having a lot of fun writing songs and jamming on what we already have.

2.Tell us about when and how the band originally came together ?

George started it. Blame George. He and our bassist, John Eager, were jamming late 2004, and as I recall it I came aboard early 2005. My dates could be off; I’d have to go back and check the extensive Maegashira Archives. In any case, we mark March 2005 as the start because that’s when we got together with Steve Moraghan on drums. I’m pretty sure George got in touch with him online somehow. The magic of technology and so forth. There isn’t really a grand story to it; George wanted a band and he got one. I wish I could say it involved some sort of Mayan adventure or something like that, but it, like us, was really just a case of being lucky enough to find people on the same page.

3.The band seems to be under appreciated in the doom scene or that just me.

Personally I think the whole doom scene is under-appreciated, never mind Maegashira. Given the fact that we’re not and probably won’t ever be a full touring band on the road however many months of the year, I think the reception we’ve been given has been pretty good. I don’t know how many records we’ve sold off the top of my head, but more importantly, we feel positive about what we’re doing and what we’ve already done. Just getting the album out was huge for us, let alone anything after. If we’re under-appreciated, that’s cool by me. I like underground bands, and I like people who like underground bands. If someone happens upon us on MySpace or wherever and digs it and is one of however few people in the world who’ve heard of us, our music is that much more likely to mean something to him or her (though knowing what I do about doom demographics, it’s probably him more than her). I don’t think any of the four of us have grand commercial aspirations for the band, we’re just four guys having playing heavy music. If you can get down with that, great. If it’s overlooked, so be it. Considering we’re a relatively new band to most people, I’m cool with anyone who takes the time to check us out.

4.What sub genre of doom what you put the band in and do you get sick of all these new tags that keep popping up ?

I actually don’t mind the sub-genre thing. Contrary to what a lot of bands say, I think it’s actually a good thing for the scene at large, because if you’re taking the time to classify something in one subgenre or another – be it doom or any kind of metal or any kind of music, really – then you’re actually pausing to think about what it is you’re listening to, and that’s never a bad thing. And if you then maybe take that energy and do something creative with it, all the better, but even if not, at least you’ve given real consideration to what goes in your head. As for where Maegashira stands subgenre-wise, I know it’s doom and I know there’s a lot of stoner rock in it, so I’d say we’re aggressive stoner doom or something like that. We’ve used everything from “NJ evil doom” to “angry doom” and a ton of other stuff in between. We’re not ultra-complicated technically, but there are a lot of varying influences in our music. If someone hears one thing or one band and someone else hears another, that certainly works for me.

5.Was being a singer always a goal of yours?

I guess. I don’t really know. I always loved music and I always wanted to be in a band and I suppose lacking the coordination to actually play an instrument, it’s just where I ended up. By no means do I consider myself vocalist of the year. I think of my voice and my approach as a constant work in progress and as long as I can push myself creatively and in terms of trying new things, then I’m happy to keep going with it. What I can say is that Maegashira is the band I always wanted to be in. We’re not perfect, but growing as players and as a unit is one of the things I most enjoy about it.

6.Tell us about the bands recording history ?

We did a four-song demo in November 2005 that we self-released called The Inner Workings Of Block Time and in September 2006, went into the studio to record three songs for a split with Sow Belly and OSSM that only as recently as January came to fruition via Shifty Records. We recorded a cover of “Useless” for that Buzzov*en tribute that may or may not ever come out and an early version of “Baggage Claim/Skin Slip” from The Stark Arctic was used on the Fumes From A Dead Scene compilation put together by our good friend Ryan Lynch from the awesome band 12 Eyes. The record itself we did from January to March, 2008, and we spent most of last year just trying to get it all out. We hope to get back in the studio sometime over the summer to record a couple new songs for splits and stuff like that and be good to go with enough material for a new album probably by spring of next year, barring any of the catastrophes which have a perpetual habit of springing up.

7.What part of the doom scene do you find the most frustrating ?

The lack of finances, ha ha!

8.A lot of doom acts have a copy cat approach to songwriting. How do you guys keep it fresh ?

That one I lay at the feet of George, who is our principal songwriter as far as the music goes and seems to have a natural kind of ability for pushing himself in writing while still maintaining a discernible structure to the songs. It’s innate with him. He’ll show up at practice with these killer riffs and ideas and my mind is continuously blown. He’s the kind of player who makes you want to be better than you are.

9.Has there been any shows that you played that stand out above the rest ?

Pretty much anything we’ve done outside of our home area is special to me, and not just because of some “band on the road” romanticism, but also because I really enjoy the time in the car with the other three dudes in the band. Since we all have jobs and wives and various really important concerns outside the band, I genuinely value any time we can get together just the four of us, whether it’s at practice or, even more so, getting in the truck and heading out somewhere for a show. I don’t think we’ve had a road trip yet that hasn’t resulted in some long-running inside joke. It’s always a lot of fun when we’re forced into tight quarters like that.

10.You were also very involved in writing and working for Metal Maniacs and now other sites. Can you give us a rundown on all the stuff you have done ?

I started out as an intern for The Aquarian Weekly in New Jersey and became the editor there in July 2004. I was still in college at the time, just finishing up, and pretty green as far as the “industry” was concerned. In June 2007, I started as the Associate Editor of Metal Maniacs under the amazingly talented and dedicated Liz Ciavarella. Working for her was easily the best part of that job. Earlier this year, when the tanking US economy claimed Maniacs as one of its victims, I started my own website called The Obelisk (, which is basically just a review and interview playground for me. I get to chase down and talk to whoever I want without word count restrictions or anything like that. At some point I’ll probably try to take on another print outlet or two, but to be perfectly honest, the whole Maniacs thing and the blatant mismanagement on the part of the company who owned the title really turned me off to print media. I mean, think about it: here’s this magazine that thrived for 19 years covering basically underground bands that no one in the mainstream has heard of or gives a crap about; two years of Zenbu Media ownership later and it’s gone. Hmm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had working there, but the environment in the office (which we shared with three other magazines, each of which was a higher priority for the company than we were) was crap and it’s just like every story told by the underground band who signs the major label deal and lives to regret it – minus that whole “living to regret it” part.

11.Is writing/blogging about music something you really enjoy and is it a kind of therapy ?

I don’t know if I’d call it therapeutic – sometimes, as I’m sure you know, it can be pretty damn frustrating – but I do get tremendous satisfaction out of it and I do enjoy the process of reviewing an album probably more than I should. The truth is, I just love music. I love listening to it, I love thinking about it, and if I can spend my days now writing about it on my own terms like I can with The Obelisk, that’s incredibly refreshing to me coming out of the whole Maniacs situation.

12.When i was much much younger i used to fantasize about writing for Kerrang or Metal Hammer or someone like that. Did you always have those same ambitions ?

Actually, I kind of fell into the whole thing. I worked at my college’s radio station and went to one of the CMJ conferences in New York one year and at a panel called “How To Get A Job In The Music Industry,” all I gleaned was that I needed an internship. The Aquarian was local and looking and I’d always been a decent enough writer, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I guess I never really believed such a thing as a job where you can write about music all the time was possible. It seemed too good to be true, and in a lot of ways, it was.

13.Do you think music blogging has a impact on the scene ?

Probably, but it depends on who’s reading, who’s writing and what the blog is. I’m a tremendous admirer of Metal Sucks and the work those guys do over there, and I think they’ve definitely affected the metal scene in general. There are sites out there that have revolutionized the way criticism on the internet is perceived, but like anything on the internet, there’s also a lot of crap.

14.So what is the future for you and the band for the next year ?

Hopefully more writing all around. I was accepted recently into the Master of Fine Arts program at Rutgers University for fiction writing, so I’m going to be starting that this fall and I’m very excited about it. The band will hopefully be involved in at least one more split before we make our next record, so sometime in the summer we’ll look to record for that, and in the meantime, we’re just plugging away and doing shows where and when we can. We’re going to be a part of the Stoner Hands Of Doom festival in Maryland in September, which I’m really looking forward to. That will probably be the highlight of our year this year, as well as mine personally.

15.Thanks for the interview, any last words?

Just thank you Ed for taking the time out to listen to The Stark Arctic and for thinking enough of it to want to do this interview in the first place. We really appreciate the support and hope that anyone who sees this piece who checks us out likes what they hear. If anyone wants to get in touch, our MySpace page ( gets checked pretty religiously.

Eternal Elysium - Japanese cosmic travellers

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Man this is one of the coolest interviews i have done.Eternal Elysium are one of my all time favorite bands so getting this interview together was a real buzz.Most readers would know how good most of the Stoner/Doom bands are that come out of Japan and Eternal Elysium are one of the best.With their Sabbathian tones and almighty talent at constructing powerhouse tunes,the band has always been under-appreciated outside of the underground.All there releases so far have been excellent and there is a new one on the way.I must thank Yukito Okazaki in getting this interview happening for me.Please excuse some of the English on display here but i thought i would keep it un-edited for the most part.Enjoy and bow down to the riff !!!

1.Hello,thanks for doing this interview.I have been listening to the band since 2001.I don't think people realize you have been around that long.Can you tell us about the history of the band ?

All right. This is long story. So I think you guys check here when you have much time..
EE launched in 1991, the original lineup sounded like Sabbath + Trouble + NWOBHM (Angel Witch, Maiden). We put out the first demo in '92 and recorded the first full-length, "FAITHFUL" in early '93. "FAITHFUL" was released in '96 and after that I got a good rhythm section. We wrote a lot of new songs and played shows in our hometown, Nagoya, as well as Osaka and Tokyo. Our sound started to change and became more influenced by 60's-70's heavy-psych, 80's doom and early stoner stuff.

In 1998, my own label, Cornucopia Records, released a compilation of Japanese doom rock called "DOOMSDAY RECITATION". EE, Church of Misery and two other bands joined this album and we tried to spread the word outside of Japan. We got good reactions from the underground scenes in Europe and US. Rich from Solstice and John from Solitude Aeturnus gave us a lot of support, and Meteor City contacted us about joining a compilation and releasing the next album.

The second album, "SPIRITUALIZED D" was released in 2000. This was kind of a "self-compilation" including some new songs, self-covered tunes and re-recorded stuff. We also joined many compilation and tribute albums, like tributes to Maiden, Black Widow, Vitus (still unreleased!) horror movie soundtracks, etc.

More lineup changes. Ume, one of my old friends, a great musician, joined the band on bass. He and I wrote new tunes for the next album and recorded it in spring 2001 with new drummer, Rio. We played some shows with the next drummer, Tom, who also recorded one song on the "SHARE" album. "SHARE" was released in February 2002 by Meteor City and People Like You in Germany. We got the opportunity to do our first US tour in autumn 2002 with Portland's Witch Mountain. This was an amazing tour. We got to play with Unida, Dixie Witch, Earthless, Suplecs, Iota, Lost Goat, Weedeater, Slow Horse, Smoke... I met a bunch of great guys on this tour.

Tom left after the tour and Antonio got the position on drums in 2003. We did a split CD with Of The Spacistor, a spacey rock band from our hometown. Just after that, Ume decided to leave the band. At almost the same time, Tana got in contact with me. I think Tana should explain about it by herself. It's interesting.

I was living in Minneapolis, working part-time at various record stores, playing in bands over the years and was really into the whole stoner rock scene from the late 90's. Around that time I became totally captivated by the sounds of some old Japanese bands, Flower Travellin' Band, The Jacks, Speed, Glue and Shinki. I had known of EE from the Meteor City releases and always dug the sound, thinking of it as "Japanese dudes with awesome record collections that love Sabbath and smoke a lot" . One day I was sifting through used LPs and discovered a band from Tokyo called Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, dude's voice put a spell on me! I was seriously hooked. So when I found that this band was actually still playing and not a beloved relic, I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and headed to Japan to check out four shows during their lengthy tour, May 2003. I had hopes of catching Boris, Garadama, Church of Misery or EE, and while none of them had any gigs at the time, I did make contact with Okazaki and we hung out when I was in Nagoya for the Michelle Gun shows. I had such a great time and made an awesome connection and found out that, hey, EE had no bass player! The trip to Japan was so magical and special, difficult on many levels because I didn't speak or read Japanese, but still, I found rockers and wonderful people wherever I went, I fell in love with the place. About six weeks later, I went back to Japan to jam with Okazaki and Antonio and just check out the feasibility of moving there. The old drummer Tom, a New Zealander, was really helpful because he had the "foreigner in Japan" perspective and was able to answer a lot questions. The vibe with the EE crew was right, things fell into place quickly, I sold my house in Minneapolis, said goodbye and officially moved to Japan and joined EE in November 2003.


In February/March 2005 we recorded the new album in California at Donner & Blitzen, played some shows both in California and in Minneapolis/St Paul. "SEARCHING LOW & HIGH" , the fourth album, was released that summer. That year we played with Greenmachine and Church of Misery a lot, they were our label-mates on Diwphalanx Records, Boris too. I felt the history of the Japanese heavy-doom-stoner scene began at that time. People in Japan started checking us and other doom bands. We also started touring Japan with great bands from overseas, like Acid King, Black Cobra, Nebula, Electric Wizard, Om, Orange Sunshine, Ogre... Japanese fans had never seen these underground doom heros, with the exception of some major acts (Cathedral, Fu Manchu, Orange Goblin).

We have a great relationship with Acid King and Black Cobra, so we toured with those guys in the US, from west to east, in 2006. Great experience, totally. In 2007 we did a split with Black Cobra, released in Japan only, by Diwphalanx, and BC toured with us in Japan to promote the CD. We got such good reactions everywhere! BC will come back to Japan this September.

In spring 2008, Belgian label Electric Earth released a limited press 10" of our EP, "MYSTERIOUS VIEWS IN STONE GARDEN". "SEARCHING LOW & HIGH" had almost no distribution in EU so we're glad. I guess some people thought EE no longer existed. Anyway, this is a great piece of vinyl, thanks a lot to Jelle from Electric Earth.

Earlier this year, we were back in Arcadia, California, near LA, to record basic tracks and some awesome psychedelic sounds for the next album. We did a few shows on the West Coast too, with Black Cobra, Earthless, Damnweevil and other new friends. It was fun, totally.

Thanks for reading.

2.The band to me has always sounded like a Psychedelic version of Sabbath while still being original.Are you very much into the Psychedelic sounds ?

Well, I don't think I'm a maniac for Psychedelic music. I'm actually a big fan of Psychedelic bands, but I should say I'm into most music from the 60's and 70's. I got the vibration from those so much. After the appearance of psychedelia, I think a lot of music and scenes were influenced by the taste of psychedelia, so my music has that color. And other arts always inspire me. Surrealism gives me ideas and hints.

3.Bands coming out of Japan are always very high quality.How do you rate Japanese bands compared with the rest of the world ?

Japanese bands have been making good stuff since the 60's. Rock/Pop community in Japan began to follow the sounds from US and Europe since the 50's and they still do. And there are bands who care about something special from our country that have a real original taste, like early Flower Travellin' Band. Japan is already one of the great rock countries.

4.Apart from Tony Iommi,who is your biggest influences ?

Lots of early hard rock musicians influenced me much. Tommy Bolin, Paul Kosoff, Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Mark Farner, Carlos Santana... I can't say who's best. Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio influenced my vocal. 1st Vitus singer Scott Reagars is one of my favorites, too. Wino is also important for me. If I have to choose only one person, best to me, that's Chris Goss . All of his performances and studio works keep moving my mind. Because, I'm also sound engineer, and keep making a bunch of products at my studio for 10 years.

5.Out of your recordings so far is there one CD that stands out as being your favorite ?

Best quality of the sound is "Searching Low & High" album.
But, my favorite is the Split CD with Black Cobra. I think we found our original sound on it.

6.Its been a while since your last full length album,when will we get to hear some new Eternal Elysium tracks ?

Very soon. We're just finishing the new one. Basic tracks were recorded in Arcadia in March, we brought those back to Japan and have just started doing overdubs and vocals now. The new album will be released by Diwphalanx in Japan, in late August. We're still looking for labels in the US and EU.

7.Who came up with the name "Eternal Elysium" ?
I and original bass player Atsutoshi named it.
There is a great Japanese Zen word "Goku-Raku-jodo". This meaning is almost same as "Eternal Elysium". Paradise is the most closest word, I think.

8.You have always had great production on your albums,do you spend much time getting the sound just right in the studio ?

Yes, I do, especially for mixing. My parts in EE are vocal, guitar and soundboard. I've engineered most of the EE recordings since "SPIRITUALIZED D". The rhythm tracks on the last album and this new one were recorded at Donner & Blitzen, by Mathias Schneeberger who used to work with The Obsessed , Saint Vitus and many more great doom/stoner guys. He knows how to get the great tone that we we want, perfectly. Guitar overdubs, vocals, percussion, effects and other sounds we do at my studio, Studio Zen. We like this process. We get the massive bottom end on the West Coast and then cook and add spices in Japan. The split CDs and many other compilation tracks have been done entirely at Studio Zen.

9.How do you guys come up with such killer tunes,do you jam a lot ?

We usually pick the ideas up from jamming at our studio. I'm always trying to record good jam stuff by old casette recorder. And, we spend so much time for arrangement. This is the point.

10.What has album sales been like in Japan compared with the rest of the world ?

Sales of the last album were better than previous releases, but it didn't have much distribution outside of Japan. I often hear that people can't find it. I think "SPIRITUALIZED D" was still the best score internationally, that and "SHARE" were released in the US and EU, but not in Japan. Sales of all music related things in Japan are getting worse, that's the same everywhere. This is a problem for underground artists.

11.Is there any one country where you have more success than others ?

We got pretty good reactions touring in the US every time. That's not bigger than Japan, but we feel that's growing. We have a lot of friends in the US and Minneapolis is a very special place for us.

Tana :
Minneapolis is a great city and I think the guys feel so comfortable there because it's a bit like Nagoya! A big city, but not too big and overwhelming. I still have a lot of friends there and people have always been so warm and welcoming to the band. There are good record stores, friends at guitar shops, rockin' bands, it just seems so easy to set up a good thing there. And I'd say that San Francisco and Portland, OR are also very special cities for us. Location, yes, but really it's about the people.

12.Whats your musical pedigree,what bands did you all play in before this band ?

I was singing high tone vocal on metal band. Can you believe it? And, I used to play the guitar on punk rock band, too. Oh, I just remember I was playing organ in a cover band of Deep Purple. That's my first experiece to join the band. I have the experiences to join with blues/folk bands, too.

I played bass and did some vocals on and off in various bands in Minneapolis, usually kinda spacy/noisy sounds, gradually getting heavier. The last band I was in before EE was called The Pollen.

I was on the seat of emo/core band was called MUGA after some experiences to join local bands. I was playing drums on this band until that was broken up last year, so I was in 2 bands since I've join EE.

13.What has been your favorite live shows so far and have you played many big festival type shows ?

One of my favorite shows was Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in Arizona, 2002. That night was amazing. That's the moment that I felt US people accepted us. Big festival? We've joined outdoor events in Japan a few times. I hope to play on a great festival in the near future, and I think we can.

14.How much is Doom Metal supported in Japan ?

That's not enough, honestly. Doom/Stoner scene is still small in Japan. I mean, there are not many doom bands here. Usual heavy rock heads usually don't care about Doom, but, I feel the situation is improving. Our promotion clip is sometimes shown on music stations and I recently had the opportunity to talk on a radio program.

15.What are you guys listening to at the moment ?

Zaki : I'm just listening 1st one from May Blitz. Killer album. Live album of Earthless is recent heavy rotation in my car. Muddy Waters "After the Rain" is also one of recent my fav.

Tana : The Who "My Generation", Judas Priest "Sad Wings of Destiny", Gay Witch Abortion "Maverick" and Municipal Waste-thrash mania!

Antonio : PENTAGRAM "First Daze Here", AC/DC "Let There Be Rock, Thin Lizzy "Johnny the Fox". Must items.

16.What other merchandise is available,i know i would love to get a T-Shirt or something but i don't think i have seen many available...

We have a few different T-shirt designs, we sell those at gigs. We're planning to make new shirts and possibly some other items in time for the next release. Keep checking our web site or myspace, we'll let you know there.

17.Finally what is the bands plans for the next year or two ?

We hope to tour in EU next spring, and we think we can. Hope to tour in US again, too
And I hope to have less time between album releases. If we can start making our future album in a couple years, that would be great.

18.Any last words ?

I want to say thanks to the people who keep checking us. I think the next album will be easy to get by EU and US stoner heads. See you guys someday, somewhere.

May 12, 2009

Apehanger - If it's heavy as hell i don't care what the genre is

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Apehanger from Kansas City know what it takes to make some cool ass music.Check out their Myspace page for evidence of that.Blending Doom,Stoner Metal with their own unique take on things they have constructed some killer tunes.Here is a interview with Jay the drummer,by the way they are true supporters of the underground scene which is a bonus in my book.

1.Give us a bit about the background behind the band members,previous bands etc ?

-Will plays guitar and backup vox, he's been playing bass in the band The Burning Fifteen for years.
Ricky sings and plays the guitar, previous to this he was in the band Scarfinger.
Adam on bass, formerly of Devil Rides Out
Me (Jay) drums, been in lots of bands, most recently Another Broken Vehicle.

2.What was it like getting "Apehanger" together ? Did you have many dude's come and go before settling on the current line-up ?

-Will and I had been friends years ago in Warrensburg so when I came back to Missouri his name came up right away. We just jammed and drank beer with whoever came by for months and months. We had all kinds of characters come jam. Ricky and Adam just were the ones who got the idea we were going for and kept showing up.

3.How important is friendship within the band ? Do you think you could play with anyone if you had to ?

-I think it's mega important personally. I've definitely been in some bands that I could have gone without certain members. It is never a very fun experience. Thankfully with us this isn't the case. As with any relationship, ease of communication is the key in my opinion.

4.Playing live seems to be important to the band.How much emphasis do you put on live performance ?

-Playing out is actually something we just kind of got pulled into. We had some songs but really hadn't even solidified the line up yet, and we just kept getting offered shows. Most of the time we justified it as well we can play in the basement Saturday or we can play at the bar with some kick ass bands. The later often wins. We all love to play live, it's just hard to juggle setting aside time to rehearse/write new songs ect.

5.Tell us about some of your favorite shows you have played ?

-The last show we played was pretty sweet. It was in Warrensburg MO at Bottomfeeder Bay opening for Joe Buck. Pretty awesome vibe, 3 out of 4 of us have some roots in Warrensburg so playing down there is all about old friends and good times. We had their attention for sure.

6.What has been happening with recordings ? What is the plans for the band and CD releases ?

-We've got a 5 song basement Demo available via myspace/facebook and such, or pick it up at a show. I'd predict later summer or early fall we might record something more seriously.

7.Influences ! A boring question i know but is there bands that have influence Apehanger that people may not be aware of ?

-We draw our influences from all kind of stuff. Music that at first listen you wouldn't really think. The list is countless.

8.What is your opinion on your local Doom scene compared with the rest of the country ?
-We don't have a doom scene. In KC all of the metal bands support each other and mix it up regardless of sub-genre. which is really cool cause when you go to a show it's all still metal but every band is something different. We are just the guys that do it low and slow.

9.How do you feel about the current state of Doom/Stoner music ?

-Personally i think it's all so hard to categorize. If it's heavy as hell i don't care what the genre is, it kicks ass. I'm happy to see so many bands out there i feel fall into that category.

10.A weird question but is there a song you have always wanted to cover that is non-metal related ?

-With every band I've ever been in. Fat Bottomed Girls.

11.Have you got a favorite track from "Apehanger". One that you are really proud of ?

-Giant Eye Rising From the Deep is pretty much our theme song.

12.Lyrics - who is the main writer in this department and what are some of the subjects that the songs are about ?

-Ricky, Will and I all share this duty to some extent. I've probably wrote the lyrics to 70% of our stuff to date. So far all our songs are about things that are epic fictional mythology. Sea Beasts, creatures of all sorts, meteorites, zombies, atrocities, gore, and end of the world type stuff.

13.Getting your tunes heard is always a struggle for a band playing a underground genre of music.Has there been any one thing that has help the band? Internet maybe ?

-The Internet is the obvious way to find music these days, it will be interesting to see how bands adapt. It's bands on our level that are the most innovative about how to sell the product. Indies label and below are really embracing the digital download which I think is the way to go.

14.Plans for the rest of the year,shows etc etc ?

-We've got a bunch of new shit we are working on so the rest of the year will be spent writing recording and playing a few regional shows I'd bet.

15.Thanks for allowing me to do this interview.Any messages for anyone out there whether it be positive or negative !!!

-Thank you! I'd just say thanks to everyone for showing so much interest in our music. We really started playing together for fun and music. It's awesome to receive all the support!

Horrific - Your Worst Nightmare

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Slasher Dave has come with another instant classic.A lot of you would know Dave from the brilliant Acid Witch and here he delivers one of those rare Metal albums that not only shreds but is insanely catchy at the same time.Starting with the hilarious intro that really gets you in the mood for this,the album delivers one track after another of real old fashion Metal that you could say brings the fun back.This is one of those ultimate party albums that you can down beers to as well have a good old headbanging session.The thing that sets this apart from many other releases is the combination of styles that somehow Slasher Dave has managed to blend so well.Death Metal,Doom Metal,Traditional 70's/80's Metal and 70's Rock all influence and make their mark on the songs.Like Acid Witch,the Horror Movie theme is evident on most of the album complete with Deathly vocals.I know some folks out there find the vocals a bit off in places but i cant imagine it any other way.There is killer riffs and solo's galore and due to the fact the songs for the most part are really pretty short,it leaves you wanting more after every listen.Sure this is tongue in cheek stuff but only someone like Slasher Dave could come up with tunes like this and make it work.For the most part there is a early 80's underground Thrash Metal feel to these songs but when its mixed with the Death Metal gurgles and growls it really makes for something unique.As with most of Razorback Records CD's,the artwork is excellent.The album cover as you can see above makes you want to own this bastard as soon as you see it.Like a soundtrack to a horror movie that is cheesy as hell but pure enjoyment all the same,this is a album i been wanting to hear for years.Its fun and it shreds.9/10

May 11, 2009

Atrocious Depression - Gonarks Lair

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On the back of this CD it states "Desperate Noise Drone" and that pretty much sums up the music on the album.This is blackened Drone Doom that is a musical journey of nightmarish proportions.I think this one of the hardest CD's i have ever had to review because it doesn't sound like any other Drone CD i have ever heard.This is one long dark trip into a musician's mind (Gonark) that begs the question what has happened to this guy to make him come up with something so bleak and dark ?From what i can work out from the notes on the album this is mostly a one man project and while some of these one man bands come off sounding simplistic.This one is one complex album,not so much musically but the concept itself.At times mellow,other times its downright threatening.I like this release but it took some listening.If you don't like Droning music you wont like this but if you are a fan of dark music you will get something out of this.There is 8 tracks on offer here,all of which have a macabre feel to them.You can tell he has put a lot of work into constructing these passages but this requires some deep concentration if you want to enjoy these songs of despair.8/10

May 10, 2009


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Al Morris has been coming up with some of the best riffs in Doom Metal for over 20 years now and with this the new Iron Man album,nothing has changed.In fact,he may have got even better with age.While they known as a Doom Metal band,Iron Man offer up a musical package that older fans of Heavy Metal will also really appreciate.One of the first things that hits you with this album is the incredible production.I will go as far as to say this the best sounding album from a independent label i have heard in years.This could easily be mistaken as a major label release and the people involved should be overjoyed in how remarkable this sounds.There is not one weak track,no stale riffs and every tune on here is catchy as hell.

One of those albums you listen to once and already the tunes are stuck in your head.First track up "Burn The Sky" sets the high standard going and doesn't let up to the final killer track " Among The Filth And Slim" delivers the magic.Louis's bass and Dex's drums are the perfect rhythm section in such a way the compliments the songs in a way only the best bands can achieve. Vocals from Joe are top - notch but the real star is Al Morris.Simply put this guy is a god of the Maryland Doom scene and here proves it big time.The dude has more groove and soul in his little fingers than most guitarists could ever dream of.This is only their 4th album is 20 odd years but this so much better than any of their previous release's.Comparisons for those people who have never heard them,well even though their name comes from the famous Sabbath tune they are actually closer to Pentagram than anybody else.This is album of the year so far for me...Check it out..9.5/10

May 7, 2009

Sanktuary - Raising the horns even higher

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Sanktuary from Canada play good old Heavy Metal that way us older Metal fans remember it.Big Crunchy riffs,solid drumming and some classic soaring Metal vocals that would have gone down a treat in the days of NWOBHM.There is a lot of bands picking up again the classic Metal sound and i have interviewed a couple of them already but i believe Sanktuary are one the best.Here is a interview with Cole from the band and we get the lowdown on how they have arrived at this point.Raise your horns now !

1. Thanks for the interview. First off give us the story on how all you guys got together to form this band?

No problem, our pleasure! It all basically began back in high school with Anders and Alan being jam buddies. Cole was long time friends with both of them and one day it was brought up that Cole should take up bass and they should start a band. One thing led to another and everything just seemed to fall into place. After trying out a few guitarists and doing a handful of live shows as a three piece Glen showed up to one of the gigs. After the show and a few brews later we asked him to come out and jam and everything seemed to click... so here we are a few years down the road from that one fateful night!

2. The band plays I guess what you could call Traditional Metal. Is that the style you always wanted to play?

We never really type casted ourselves into playing a particular type of metal. We always just wrote stuff that we wanted to hear and I guess that just turned out to be a classic style, although that was never really our direct intent.

3. Are the guys in the band into different forms of Metal also, like Doom Metal etc?

Yes, definitely. Our tastes vary greatly from all different areas of the metal spectrum including doom. We believe that this wide variety of influences gives us our particular sound.

4. What were the first Metal bands that ever got your attention?

There are a few cliché answers we could throw out there (Metallica!) but there were a multitude of bands that got our attention at an early age. Many of these bands hailed from the NWOBHM movement and the early 80’s Bay Area thrash explosion. It would be unfair to name a couple in particular and there are far too many to list them all. Once we discovered one band it wasn’t long before we were listening to ten others from the same scene.

5. What is the local scene like for bands like yourself?

The scene is very up and coming. There are a number of well established bands that are regulars on the circuit and know it well but there are also a growing number of younger bands that are just getting their feet wet. Over the last year especially we've noticed the crowds getting bigger, younger and rowdier which is really fuckin exciting. It's almost at the point where the underage shows are even more fun than the clubs cause you get all the kids coming out and moshing with each other on their sugar highs.

6. The CD you sent me has a classic 80's Metal scene and yet doesn't sound dated at all. Do you hear yourselves as being 80's in sound? I know when you are in the band you sometimes hear things differently than others.

We've definitely been labelled as a classic 80’s style band but like we mentioned previously that was never our direct intent. We do have a lot of old school influences which probably show themselves through our tunes but the bottom-line is we write music that we believe in. The culmination of all of our influences from old to new gives us our sound and our creative edge is what differentiates us from other groups.

7. In the last couple of years "True Heavy Metal" bands have gotten a little more recognition. Do you think a lot of people are a bit tired of the Black/Death/Thrash Metal music that has dominated the Metal scene for so long now?

Absolutely. We believe that people are always out there looking for something new and fresh even if has been done years before. Music also tends to go in cycles, so in the same breath something that has been labelled dated these days may be back in style at some point down the road.

8. You are all good players. Do you rehearse a lot and do you sit down to write songs or is it more of a "jam thing"?

Yes, we rehearse and jam quite a bit and that is definitely helping us grow and get better as musicians and as a band. It’s a bit of a combination of jamming and sit down writing. Usually an idea, a couple of riffs or even just a song title is brought into a jam and then we'll decide if it is something we'd like to play around with. If it is we'll sit down and learn it, discuss the structure and then jam the shit out of it until it sounds like butter!

9. What does the future hold for live performances? Have you got much planned?

Well right now we're in a bit of a writing frenzy. We have so many ideas and songs on the go that we are practicing full time so that we can get them out there for the summer. We will be playing as much as possible all summer and may possibly be relocating down south to a major city near the beginning of fall. We would also like to record a follow up demo sometime near the end of summer which will blow the first one out of the water!

10. Have you sent out the CD to many labels?

A few. As any band knows, promoting is a full-time gig in itself. For the past while we've been focusing on sending our demo out to radio stations for air time. We've been receiving a lot of positive feedback so hopefully that translates into maybe having some label interest when we do start getting lots of our press kits out.

11. What’s the long term ambitions for the band?

Well the biggest long term ambition would be to just keep doing what we love doing and that’s making music. We've got a lot of new material on the go and like we said we're hoping to record another demo at the end of the summer. Once the new record is all polished off we'll most likely try and toss it to a couple of labels and see if one of them can't throw some cash our way to help us record a full length.

12. Have you contacted anyone about a possible road trip around the US?

Not yet, but that’s one of the top things on our to do list. We're hoping to set up some Canadian/US dates real soon!

13. What is in your opinion the real home of Metal? England, Germany?

That is definitely a tough one. No one can deny that the NWOBHM was a major metal movement and there were bands much earlier out of Britain that you could say had a metal feel but Germany also spawned a slew of great bands around the same time. We’re gonna go the safe route and just give it to Europe.

14. Is the song writing shared among all the band members and who comes up with the lyrics?

The song writing is completely shared. An idea may be brought forth by one member but not until it passes through the scrutiny of all of us does it become a finished product. We don't believe in having only one 'mastermind' write all of our tunes... we've got four goddamn masterminds! Heh, but seriously, unless your Dave Mustaine the songs will only suffer without everyone’s input. The same goes for the lyrics.

15. Who are the main vocal influences for the band? They sound so classic!

Again, that's a tough one. There are tons of singers that we love and take ideas from but it is totally a combination of influences. Anything from Tom Araya to Jason Decay to Geddy Lee and everyone in between... as long as you don't sound like Fred Durst you'll most likely be in our good books.

16. Last one, tell everyone how to get hold of a CD and how they can support the band...

Well if you are in and around town you can head on down to Triple J’s Music where we sell our stuff exclusively, or you can email us at and we will be glad to hit yah up with whatever you need. Other than that you can support the band by coming out to shows, gettin drunk and having a good time... that's all the support we need. See you on the road.

The Lamp Of Thoth / Kill For Satan - Doom, Plague, Death

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This is a limited edition 7" that comes in one pretty cool package.Thanks has to go out to friend in the UK for getting me this one.Its limited to 666 copies,i think there is still a few around but stocks must be running low because this is a must for fans of The Lamp Of Thoth.The other band on this i have never heard much about but they are really good and i will get to them in a minute.The Lamp Of Thoth have released nothing but sheer quality ever since they started and the track “The Doom that Came to Sarnath” is no exception.It has a Doom feel about it but this is a more mid-tempo number this time from the "Thoth".The riff is one of those in your face Metal stompers that the band are already famous for.Its has some rawness to it but with the lyrics telling a story ripped from some Tolkien roots.If you are already into this band you will know where i am coming from.Great track and just makes you hang out for the next full length album from this band.

The other band is "Kill For Satan" and this band comes from a more Black Metal side of things.It might seem like a strange mix being on a split with the lamp but it actually works quite well.The track is pretty pure Black Metal but there no face painted or goth stuff going on.This is angry riffing with some blast beats that will get your head banging.The track is called “Agent of the Plague” and while it isnt breaking any barriers it is better than a lot of other stuff in the genre.Short and sweet this is a great purchase if you are quick enough to get it before it disappears forever.9/10

May 6, 2009

The Real Sludge - Interview with gor gor

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Sludge are a up and coming Doom act from Twin Cities, Minnesota and play a killer blend of Traditional Doom,70's Hard Rock and modern day Metal.They are in the process on getting new material together and playing some live shows.Gor Gor is one of the most easy going people to deal with in the Doom scene and doing this interview was a pleasure.Watch out for this band,they have a big future in front of them in the Doom Metal Underground.As i mentioned before this interview was done with Gor Gor,guitarist and vocalist for the band.

1.First up,tell all the readers about how "Sludge" got together ?

Well, me (GOR GOR) and drummer FRO had been playing in various bands for the last 3 - 4 years, so when the idea for this popped into my head, I naturally chose him for the job. We found Josh our bassist while playing a Band Jam in February with only both of us. He was in a different band at the time but we thought he was really good at playing and asked him to play.

2.Now there is another band called "Sludge".Is this something that is a problem for you and would you consider changing the name

I don't think so. Many bands have the same names as other bands. I suppose the only issue that could arise would be legal issues, but Im not to concerned.

3.Tell us about your early experiences with music.Was Metal the first genre of music you got into ?

When I was younger, I loved to listen to Punk Rock, Which my brother was very much into. Bands I listened to were bands like bad religion and sum 41, but I also was a creedence clearwater revival freak. I got into metal when I heard Enter Sandman by Metallica for the first time and i've been hooked since.

4.You recently played a battle of the bands show.How did that go ?

Pretty well. Though we didn't win, we got some nice pictures from it, as well as various people asking for contact numbers so they can book us for future shows. I really loved playing our cover of "20 Buck Spin" to the crowd and getting some obscure songs in our setlist.

5.You are influenced by a lot of classic Doom,is that the direction the band will always take or do you think the band will head in a different direction over time ?

I think our music style will change overtime because we are constantly influenced by many acts. The drummer for example incorporates the drumming style of Bill Ward but at the same time adds drumming techniques from bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Mastodon. I have also been paying much attention to the guitarists from Mastodon and Lamb of God. I think this can improve our sound.

6.What is it like for Doom Metal in your local area.Is there many other bands playing Doom/Sludge/Stoner Rock music ?

As far as Im concerned, we are really the only doom band in the area. I'm sure there are others though.

7.Have you been looking at playing more shows and if so when and where ?
Yes, we want many shows, but I don't have a exact wish for a area. I guess just simple gigs which will help us spread our name and get us places.

8.What about recordings,what are your ambitions for that ?

To write some pretty kick ass music, bring it to the studio, and share our love for music to the world.

9.There is a lot of people that treat Metal as a bit of a fad and remove themselves from the scene after a while.What is it about Metal that keeps you interested ?

The fact that it keeps changing, and the constant history behind it. Its fun to listen to albums from the 70's and then compare them to albums from the 80's and see where the 80's bands incorporated there own sound as well as took influence from the 70's acts.

10.What bands have you been listening to lately ?

Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Pentagram, Witchfinder General, Iron Maiden, Heaven and Hell, and Pantera.

11.Guitar players - who inspires the band the most ?

Well as a guitarist my number one influence would have to be Tony Iommi by far, but I also enjoy the works of Victor Griffin, Vincent McAlllister, Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, Dimebag Darrell, and Phil Cope and like 1000 other people. But those are the main ones.

12.Since the band has been playing together,what has been the hardest thing to get right ?

Just scheduling and managing our time.

13.There is one song on your profile and its a "Pentagram" cover.How long have you been playing that and is there other covers that you play ?

We have been playing 20 buck spin since February, and so far our who set list is covers, ranging from Wicked World by Sabbath to Communication Breakdown by Zeppelin but we are in the writing process right now.

14.How does the band gets songs together ? Do you jam a lot a lot or do you sit down and have a serious writing session ?

Just jam sessions. Normally I will write the lyrics before hand, create a riff, and well have a good old jam session.

15.Last one,tell everyone how to check out the band and any last messages for the readers out there ?

Well, you can look at our myspace URL, or our youtube account My final message to all readers would be to STAY METAL!

Pombagira - The Crooked Path

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Pombagira are a Sludge/Doom outfit from the UK that deliver some monolithic music but are very original in their approach.Its been a while since i have heard a band so crushingly heavy yet avoid all the obvious cliches.If you have to compared them to anyone it would be Corrupted,Grief and even Sleep in parts of the music.There is plenty of downtuned riffing going on here,some real spooky atmospheric passages and some moody sections that can tug at the emotions if you let it do so.The musicianship is great,the drumming on the album is a highlight.There is even some soft piano interludes that strangely mix well with the drone filled massive sounding sludgefest that this album induces.A word of warning though,this is one heavy duty listening experience.A double CD that clocks in at almost 90 minutes.It is not a easy listening esperience but worth it to take the time to soak this masterpiece all in.Its mind-numbing at times but enjoyable all the same.9/10

May 5, 2009

Lo Pan - Sasquanaut

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Lo - Pan Sasquanaut is the second album from Columbus hard rockers and they have put together a album full of mood and tempo changes.The band consists of the great bass work of Skot Thompson,some excellent drumming from J.Bartz and the incredible vocals of Jeff Martin which are full of emotion.This is a album i normally wouldnt find that appealing but after a few spins i find myself digging it more and more.I guess you could class them as being "Stoner Rock" but this band has more tricks up their sleeve than the average "Stoner Band".They have a Jammy feel to them at times while elsewhere they display a flair for some classic rock boogie.Highlights include "Savage Henry" and the epic album closer "Wade Garrett" which runs so smooth it is hard to believe this is a 10 minute plus track.They have a knack for building a groove and keeping the listeners attention.Production is good and the lyrics are a of a real high standard.Check them out 8/10

May 4, 2009

Lethe - Mnemosyne

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Lethe with the bizarre album title "Mnemosyne" have done a great job on this CD.Dylan Desmond and Joe Proffitt from Samothrace play on this album and while both bands are mining a similar ground,they are different in one important way.While Samothrace play a kind of bluesy type of Doom,Lethe are in a more Psychedelic direction.The album contains 5 instrumentals with a focus on melody and a slighty progressive edge.The first 3 tracks stand out as favorites with their epic feel.These songs are real tight and you can hear they have some real techincal ability.The final 2 tracks are not as strong to me as the riffs don't quite have the impact that the first 3 songs have.I am looking forward to see what else this band has to offer.I hope they are not a one off side project because this shows a lot of potential.8/10

May 3, 2009

Catapult The Smoke - Unearthed

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The Swedes have done it again,this time its a band called "Catapult The Smoke" and you feel like smoking some good shit when you hear this band.Released on Orchestrated Misery Recordings this is one heavy ass CD.The album kicks off with a track called "Travel Thru A Clouded Mind" and from a outset this proves this band has some serious grooves.At first they kind of sound like a cross between "Fu Manchu" and "The Awesome Machine".Fuzz out to the max the band have got the riffs to make even the most dedicated Stoner Rocker stand up and take notice.Picking favorites on this a real hard task because there is no filler at all.Every track rocks in a way that leaves you hooked.While the band has the typical Swedish Stoner groove,they mixed it up quite a lot.Influences range from classic 70's Hard Rock to Sludge to Doom and its all done with sheer class.Strange thing for me is this was recorded back in 2004 so why its taken this long for this band to come to my attention is a pity.The production on this release is excellent and the playing is top notch,vocals suit the music perfectly and it is obvious from listening to this that the band really enjoys what they are doing.The CD comes with 4 bonus tracks recorded 3 years before and they are good but they show how much the band has progressed.A couple of interesting points are the band was formed by Tobias Larsson from "Ocean Chief" who most Stoner/Doom fans out there will already know.This official release is well overdue but the wait has been worth it.This is essential for all lovers of Sludge,Stoner,Doom and for fans who crave 70's Hard Rock grooves.9/10
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